November 28, 2011

That time last week when I thought I was dying…

I’ve been waiting until after the weekend to talk about this because my mom certainly doesn’t need anything else to worry about right now, but it’s just too crazy to not share here on the “story of my life.” 

Last Tuesday I went to the dentist because of some pain I’d been having in my jaw and back behind my bottom right teeth, where my wisdom tooth used to be—five-plus years ago I had my wisdom teeth removed after dentists discovered a cyst around the bottom right one.  My surgery was scheduled immediately after that discovery and all 5 of those bad boys were removed (the four teeth plus the scary cyst).

So a couple weeks ago, when I began to have pain and swelling in that same spot where I once had the cyst, I was pretty concerned and set a dentist appointment right away.  And then I worried. And worried and worried and worried.  Because before my last surgery, doctors had warned me that there was a small chance the cyst could contain cancer, and they would have to biopsy it.  Well, nothing came of that, but of course your mind goes crazy on you, especially after watching all that Edd and my family has suffered.

I waited the couple of days for my appointment and then went in, at which point x-rays were taken and my dentist proceeded to SCARE THE LIVING HELL OUT OF ME and basically say, “oh my gosh, you have an enormous cyst and need to see an oral surgeon, like, TODAY, because basically you might either die or have to have your jaw cut out and your face reconstructed.”

Ummmm, whaaaaaat?!  (and OK, so those weren’t his EXACT words, but it’s what I heard in my head.)

While quietly coming to terms with my untimely demise (AKA having a near inward panic attack), I headed over to the surgeon to discuss my death and/or facial reconstruction.  I had 3D x-rays taken, which clearly showed what would appear, to the untrained eye, that I have an enormous hollow gunshot wound to the face/AKA a giant hole in my jaw (which is actually a bone cyst). 

Long story short, I was wildly relieved to be told that I’m probably not going to die or have half of my face cut out, and this cyst is likely something called an OKC cyst, a type which is likely to recur if you don’t get every teeny bit of it out the first time.  My surgery is set for TOMORROW (Tuesday!) and it will be similar to having a wisdom tooth removed. 

So.  What have we learned here today, kids?  Well, not to mess around when you have pain and feel like something might be wrong, of course, but let me also tell you a little bit about what went through my head during the moments between when my dentist gazed up at my x-ray and said, “I have bad news for you,” and when the surgeon told me, “don’t worry, everything will be OK.” 

Here is the progression of thoughts that were bouncing around in my head: “How am I going to tell my mom if this is something really serious?  And poor Matthew doesn’t need the stress of a dying and/or disfigured wife…  Well, at least if I survive this, it’s the right side of my face that will be effed up….  That’s my ugly side.  Also, if I die, the plus side is that I’ll never have to live without Gracie and Cooper…  I was dreading that anyway… holy crap, what if this is really cancer.  What if I really die…”

And I can’t even describe to you how real my fears were in that moment, how unknown the future was to me, how many crazy scenarios were playing out in my head.  And you know what?  I wish I could bottle those feelings and give them to each and every one of you.  It would be a gift, and as odd as that sounds, I completely mean it. 

When suddenly faced with your own mortality and the very real possibility that you won’t live to be 90 like you planned, or maybe not even to 30, it’s like every priority in your life falls magically into place.  You see, with absolute clarity, the blessings in your life and how you take them for granted. You see, with painful clarity, the flaws of your character and how easy it would be to turn them around, if only you were given a little more time.  Everything that’s important steps forward and everything that isn’t steps back.  And I wish I could give that gift to you, and I hope that I can hold on to it.  It really is a beautiful thing. 

Now I know I’m not completely out of the water yet, and of course I’ll give you an update as soon as I can tomorrow or Wednesday (Twitter peeps usually get first updates, so follow me there if you’d like), but I just wanted to share all this with you before going in tomorrow.  I seriously urge you to take a few moments and just try to simulate that feeling of realizing you could have very little life left, and what would that mean?  What would it change?

Hope you all have a really nice Monday.  Sorry for the “heavy” post so early in the week, but it needed to be said.  :)  Now here’s a completely unrelated cell phone picture that might make you smile:

1that really happened.

jennisig

75 comments:

  1. Wow. I have never heard of anything like that before. Hope it all goes well tomorrow!

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  2. I can't think of anything appropriate to say except, I'm glad you're not dying!

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  3. Wow! so crazy! I freak out to all the time when I'm sick. Hope everything goes well and you feel better!

    xoxo
    Petchie
    http://itsallofthelittlethings.blogspot.com/

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  4. you and the pups. so cute. Will be praying for a quick recovery!

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  5. Haha, I laughed at the bit about the thoughts that went through your head, thats a lot like how mine would have gone. Obviously the rest is very serious and I did not laugh at that!

    I hope your surgery goes okay and it's not too painful. Hope you feel okay again soon!


    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING x

    HANDBAG GIVEAWAY!.

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  6. well I have to say one time i got a Novocaine shot at the dentist and I felt a sharp pain all over my face and proceeded to almost pass out..so Im not a super big fan of the dentist and then of course they tell you that this is a very rare occurance that only happens if they hit a nerve which of course "never happens" psh ok dentist

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  7. Ahhhh so scary!!! I was be thinking about you and sending lots of positive vibes your way! I HATE the dentist so I can totally relate to your fears

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  8. Oh my goodness!!! Hope all goes well!

    And I wish Jax cuddled with me like your babies!!!! SO CUTE! <3

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  9. OMG Jenni that would have scared the shit out of me too... That portion of time when you weren't sure what the diagnosis is must have been insanely stressful. Sending you hugs and I will be thinking about you tomorrow, wishing for a quick and full recovery.... xoxo Noa

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  10. That is terrifying! Good luck tomorrow!! Sending lots of good vibes your way. xx

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  11. Well, if anyone can make something serious sound funny, it's you. Honestly though, you'll be in my prayers tomorrow...even today for some peace!

    Sorry, I'm not cool enough for twitter. I guess I'll have to get updates the old fashioned way. Haha.

    And I really want my puppy to lay on me like that...except 1. She's not allowed in the couch because she'll eat it and 2. She's already more than 40-something lbs which is practically half my body weight. Crush!
    Chihuahuas were out of the question.

    P.S. Never apologize for heavy posts. We all have them from time to time. It IS the story of your life, after all. ;)

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  12. Holy crap..scary stuff! The last picture made me smile. Good luck tomorrow, will be thinking about you.

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  13. Oh goodness that would be SO scary! I am SO SO SO glad that you aren't going to die/be disfigured/have your face cut off. Truly, it makes me extremely happy. Good luck with the surgery! You and Edd will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    -Linz

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  14. You're right. That feeling changes everything. I felt it this summer, and after that, I completely re-prioritized. And it's something you have to keep doing, because you start to forget what it feels like to be on the brink of disaster. But that one initial light bulb... it's such a gift. It really is.

    Hope your surgery goes well and you're not in a whole lot of pain afterward! (I have my wisdom-tooth and tonsil removal to look forward to in the very near future... at least knowing you did this, two oral surgeries, twice will ease my mind that I can do it! Sooo scared of the immense pain. Eeee)

    xo,
    J

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  15. You nearly gave me a heart attack! Thinking of you and sending hugs!!!

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  16. Oh my gosh, good luck tomorrow!! I am very very happy to hear that this is not a super serious ailment!
    And that puppy cuddling picture is so precious :)

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  17. i've missed a lot on my little 2 week vacay, but here goes:

    a) i hope it all works out with your surgery! i'm sure you're in good hands and will be just fine :) praying for you :)

    b)also praying for ed. jeez louise, that must be scary. i hope everything ends up just fine and he feels so loved through all this.

    c) your house looks gorgeous in all the christmas decor! i loved your house tour last time, but with the classy christmas decorations, it's even better :)

    d)your hair looks gorgeous in that post with the outfit. so dark and curly :)

    e) anddddd i like the little sneak peeks of wedding pics you've included :) i can't wait for the whole post full of them.

    now that i've sounded like such a creep, and written the longest comment ever, i'm gonna go. hope you have a good day :)

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  18. Scary! I'm glad you're not dying & hope your surgery goes well! :)

    I've had several similar experiences (realizing my demise may not be a "someday" thing) and have struggled to explain to others what a perspective-shifter it is. You did it beautifully!

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  19. That is absolutely terrifying Jenni! Good luck tomorrow!

    PS That picture is insanely cozy and adorable.

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  20. I have been following your blog for awhile but never posted a comment but I had to comment on this! I had the exact same thing happen to me!! I had a cyst on the right side of my mouth and they thought it could be cancerous so when I had surgery to get my wisdom teeth out, they also removed the cyst and sent it off for a biopsy. It came back clear! It was scary though! I know exactly how you feel!!! Hope everything goes smoothly!!

    www.bryceandliz.blogspot.com

    Elizabeth

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  21. I'll keep you in my thoughts tomorrow! Quick & speedy recovery!

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  22. wow. that's intense. I totally know what you mean though - I had some abnormal test results come back at the beginning of the year and it could have been really bad. I know the clarity of which you speak. I'm glad that the oral surgeon told you everything will be alright. Prayers and well wishes for you and your procedure tomorrow

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  23. Wow! That is totally scary Jenni!

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  24. Love this post. Perspective is something that not everyone has. And it is sad that some people wait until it is too late. I hope your surgery goes well, I will be thinking about you!

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  25. Hope you feel better soon.
    Cute pic.

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  26. Ouch. Good luck with your surgery!

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  27. Wow! That must have been really scary! I was terrified when I was told I had ovarian cysts but they're nothing compared to this!
    Really hope everything goes okay for you tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you (in a non-creepy way of course)
    x

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  28. Oh, Jenni... where do I start? Thank you for sharing this. I went through a similar situation about four years ago and it's like, as soon as the word "cancer" comes up, even if it's just the smallest little chance, your heart just wants to beat out of your chest. It's scary and terrifying and most definitely does change the way you think.

    I'm so grateful that you wrote this and explained in such great detail what thoughts were flowing through your mind because you're right... we each need to experience that. It brought back so many feelings and thoughts for me that I had forgotten about. And, I never want to forget them again. Starting today, I'm going to live my life differently again :) Wishing you the best and following you on Twitter now! xoxo

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  29. Ooof that photo is perfect. And holy God, I know what you mean about bottling that feeling & giving it as a gift. You explained its importance perfectly.
    Oh, also: THANK GOODNESS you are okay. And not dead. Or disfigured. Though you'd still be lovelier than most, even sans jaw. I have a good, strong feeling everything is going to work out, but I'll still send some prayers your way, dear!

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  30. praying for you for tomorrow Jenni! xoxox keep your head up and everything will be perfect!

    ive had health scares before so i can compltely relate. I start to wonder what will happen, how i'll die, etc etc. Most of the time I scare myself by googling and WebMD-ing my problems, which ends up telling me I have something serious (and its really just a rash) but i agree...when thigns like this happen, you start to look at the little things and the people closest!

    hugs kisses and prayers!
    xoxox

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  31. "When suddenly faced with your own mortality and the very real possibility that you won’t live to be 90 like you planned, or maybe not even to 30, it’s like every priority in your life falls magically into place. "

    I so so so agree with this. I've been dealing with a scary health issue for the past 3 months and even though it sucks and is terrifying, I swear I'm thankful for it. I got a reminder at the young age of 25 of how great my life is and how incredibly lucky I got. I was so pessimistic and unhappy with this life before because I was always wanting more/ better things but now I realize I have it all already... anything more is just a bonus. Good luck with everything!

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  32. The idea of facial removal and/or death would send me into tears right then and there. Thank goodness it is neither! Good luck tomorrow (:

    ~Jacqlyn @ plainanfancy.wordpress.com

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  33. Some times it takes a slap in the face (or pain in the jaw!) to help us prioritize what is truly important in life! My fam went through something similar earlier this year when my sister got really sick. She's on the mend now and glad things are ok with you. Good luck tomorrow!

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  34. Jenni, thanks for this post! It really does put life into perspective when we hear something scary like that. I'll be praying for your surgery tomorrow!

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  35. So glad its nothing! Or something but nothing major!! :) I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed but kept having one area swell up and hurt, went to the dentist they did the all around xray thing and discovered I had a 5 wisdom tooth...uuhh random. So it swells up and hurts on occasion. =/

    But I can feel a bit of your feelings only w/skin cancer (its HUGE in my family) and 1 day out of the blue I saw this new freckle on my wrist. Looked different than the others. I was FREAKING OUT but didn't tell anyone and was determined to show my dermatologist when I see her next week...well just 2 days ago I noticed it disappeared. It was there for 2 weeks and now gone. I'm baffled!

    Its safe to say I'm going home from HI just as white as I was getting here.

    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  36. Don't worry Jenni, everything will be ok! All the best for tomorrow!

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  37. I always think the worst too. I have come to the realization that I am border line hypochondriac. I see you may be on that line as well. ;) I am glad that everything isn't as scary as you thought it may be. I wish you the best for your surgery tomorrow! I would totally milk it if I were you...chick flicks, gossip mags, and ice cream galore!

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  38. I would probably freak out just like you did. Good luck tomorrow!!

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  39. Praying that everything goes well and for a quick recovery.

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  40. Awwww, poor you! I'm sorry you're going through all this again and that you were so scared while figuring it out.

    This makes me wonder because I had a cyst under the root of my bottom teeth but they did nothing about it! No idea what or how the heck it got there.

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  41. You never cease to amaze me, Jenni! What a very scary yet touching post..once again.

    I'll definitely be thinking about you tomorrow in hopes that everything will be just fine.

    You're not going to die. Silly head.

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  42. Aw, I hope you feel better!! By the way, my face isn't swollen I just really want some edamame peas :)

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  43. This post killed me! Hahaha I love your dramatic inner thoughts...I probably would have freaked and started crying!!

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  44. a. that picture does make me smile. a lot.

    and b. you poor poor little thing. i would of freaked out the same way you did. because i tend to do that over most things in life. im very emotionally healthy that way.

    send hugs your way my dear! xxxx

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  45. Oh goodness, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. Try not to fret over it. I say that because I often need that advice. Hope to hear you're doing well tomorrow on Twitter.. JUST started following you. Where in the world was I before? Don't know.

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  46. this is one of the reasons blogging is so great. you can't possibly bottle up those feelings you felt and give them to each & every one of us but sharing them the way you did on your blog is just as beneficial. as i read this i took a moment to reflect on my own life, my own imperfections and all the things i can do to become better. and most importantly, i reflected on the time i currently have. it is so important to act now. procrastination isn't just an issue with my homework but my life as well. it also helped me realize that as i struggle with some feelings i have for someone who is leaving soon for school. i need to be entirely honest with him and myself. i haven't quite decided if i want to tell him how much he means to me before he leaves but after reading this i'm now leaning more towards living without regrets and putting it all out there. as always, thank you for the reminder of what truly matters in life jenni. hope your surgery goes well!

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  47. Oh my! So glad you are going to be okay! It is crazy how scary moments like that bring you to the realizations you really need to have. Good luck tomorrow!

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  48. so scary. At least you have excuses to eat ice cream and be a snuggly lump for a few days.

    How do you gets those babies to be so cuddly?!

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  49. so glad to hear that everything will be fine. it realy is scary when you realize that life isn't yours forever. really puts things in perspective. sending you positive vibes for tomorrow. hope all goes well!

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  50. Such a scary thought to really think about what it is like to die...I am so happy that you will be okay! It's so important to get things checked out when you should and trust your instincts; you really put things into perspective. I think, as scary as the story is, it is a good reminder to us all to try and live life to the fullest, without regrets, because so much can happen that we don't think about.

    Good luck tomorrow and speedy recovery!

    ~ Christina

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  51. I hope your mouth feels supah bettah tomorrow! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a fast recovery :)

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  52. Holy crap, I'm so sorry you had to deal with all of that/happy it's likely not serious! Good luck with your surgery tomorrow, I wish you a speedy recovery!!

    xx Melina

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  53. Hi! I am a new reader and was quite worried there for a second! Good luck tomorrow.

    Life, Love, and Roses

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  54. Wow, that's scary as you know what!
    That is my worst fear. Having something happen to me, from inside my body.
    I actually almost died when I was a baby. My sister and I were preemies, and I had lots of surgeries, and had a...I forget % chance of dying.
    Well, I don't want to 'bring down the room', but I understand what that could be like. Although I was little and don't remember any of it...
    Anyway, I'm just glad you're going to be okay. Have a safe and, as worry-free as you can, day tomorrow!

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  55. Your couch picture is exactly the Jen girl I'd love to hang with! :) Great photo love! Your pups simply adore you!

    Glad you are ok! :)

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  56. Oh man, I would have been a nervous wreck! Glad you got it figured out and good luck tomorrow!

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  57. Ah oh my goodness... what a scary experience!
    I hope everything goes ok tomorrow.

    Sending you lots and lots of positive thoughts

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  58. I abhor the dentist...but I am keeping my fingers crossed and saying a prayer that all goes well with your surgery tomorrow! :( I'm glad you went in to have the pain checked out...too many people ignore the signs and then regret it when it is too late.

    Thinking of you, friend...and pretending to eat a fat cheeseburger for you. :) xoxo

    P.S. could your pups BE any cuter? I love that they obviously know where the best seat in the house is! :)

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  59. So scary Jenni! I hope everything goes smoothly tomorrow and you are feeling better in no time. Hugs!

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  60. Good luck tomorrow! I would have had heard the exact same thing. Im almost 100% death is coming upon my body when anything is the slightest bit wrong.

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  61. Oh my... Praying for you and your Mama who must be so stressed... God Bless You and your family...

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  62. so glad you're going to be okay<3 best wishes with your surgery!

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  63. I'm glad it was not anything too serious! I will be praying for you darling! You and those pups are so sweet!

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  64. my panic attack would have been quite similar to yours. I don't know how you handled that... and I commend you for being strong enough to keep this from your mom. Not that I'd usually commend that lol

    I hope everything goes well today and you don't have to go through this again.


    CarissaExplainsItAll

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  65. I didn't know that could happen! Hope your surgery goes well!

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  66. That's terrible! I hate any sort of dental work, much less surgery! Hope that the surgery went well and you're on the mend!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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  67. oh my gosh, i had the same thing happen to me at this time last year! what i thought was just a toothache or pain from where my wisdom teeth used to be turned out to be a hole in my jaw that was infected. it was SO painful and scary (hello ER and CAT scans!) but healed completely - and i felt SO much better after. praying for you and hope you're feeling better soon!! xoxo

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  68. i know the feeling... not exactly because of a cyst in my jaw, but life or death surgery, yes. hope all is well and i hope you feel so much better very soon.

    ps... the right side of my face is the ugly side too. LOL

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  69. Here's hoping those dogs cuddle you like that after your surgery! Get well soon :)

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  70. Praying that things go very smoothly tomorrow!! What a scary week!

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  71. Yikes! I hope you have recovered by now! :O

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  72. Just seeing this, AHHH!!! You still look hot hot hot even after having a near death/face re:con experience?!! How unfair is that...
    Seriously, Im glad everything is okay & i hope everything is healing wonderfully.

    Summer

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  73. So I just watched your vlog on google searches and heard you had a cyst on your jaw. So I came to find your post on it. And Oh My! I seriously had almost the same thing. Tumor on my left lower jaw. Potentially cancerous. Can rapidly grow back and can break your jaw in half if it gets too big. Gah! Way to scare the crap out of you huh!? I had surgery on mine in December 2011, so right around the same time as you. They didn't get it all so I had to do steroid shots in my jaw every week for 8 weeks, which was the 8 weeks before my wedding. Double scary. Thought I was going to be a hideous bride with a fat face. haha. Anyways glad to hear you are healed and you made it! And glad to hear I wasn't the only one with some scary jaw mass where I might need my face restructured!

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