Over to you

Chat - - CONTENTS -

Still, I re­minded my­self I had so much to be happy about. I had a whole fu­ture ahead of me now – as Mrs Sum­mer­field. When we’d dis­cussed my treat­ment, I’d told my con­sul­tant my wed­ding plans.

He’d ex­plained he would take car­ti­lage from my ear and re­con­struct my nose and lip.

‘You’ll be the pret­ti­est bride on the beach,’ he’d promised.

It was hard to be­lieve. Look­ing in the mir­ror now, I barely recog­nised my­self.

A gap­ing hole where my nose once was... My miss­ing sep­tum made me look like I’d been us­ing drugs for years.

For two weeks, I stayed in­doors, fear­ful of what peo­ple would say when they saw me.

Around three weeks later, I had the re­con­struc­tion. The surgeon took skin from the side of my face and put it over my top lip. Built me a new sep­tum

with car­ti­lage taken from my right ear.

I was in the­atre for over seven hours. And when I woke up, my con­sul­tant had good news.

‘It went bet­ter than ex­pected,’ he smiled.

Next day, I was too scared to look in the mir­ror, but a Macmil­lan nurse en­cour­aged me.

‘Let’s do it to­gether,’ she soothed.

Bring­ing the mir­ror up to my face, I saw I was bruised black and blue. Tubes in my nose made me look like a pig with a gi­ant snout, and stitch­ing snaked from nose to lip.

I was hor­ri­fied. Hop­ing it would fade, I was al­lowed home the next day.

Two weeks on, the tubes were re­moved, but my wounds were still vis­i­ble.

Suf­fer­ing with anx­i­ety, I had to push my­self to go out. I was sure ev­ery­one was star­ing.

Soon af­ter, stand­ing in the queue in the post of­fice, I felt so self­con­scious.

‘Look at her nose!’ a lit­tle girl said, hor­ri­fied.

I knew she was just a child, didn’t un­der­stand how much her words hurt. But, thank­fully, I didn’t need chemo or ra­dio­ther­apy. And as my scars slowly healed, my thoughts turned to my wed­ding day. I booked a con­sul­ta­tion with a make-up artist who’d been rec­om­mended to me by aci­dat­tack vic­tim Katie Piper. Thanks to the char­ity Mag­gie’s Cen­tres, I learned how to clev­erly cover up my scars. As I prac­tised at home, my con­fi­dence be­gan to soar. Then I found the per­fect ivory lace and satin gown in a bridal shop at a lo­cal hos­pice.

Last Novem­ber, I mar­ried my beloved Colin in an in­ti­mate beach cer­e­mony. Walk­ing across the sand, I felt ev­ery inch the per­fect bride.

There was no need for a veil. I had noth­ing I wanted to hide. I felt beau­ti­ful for the first time in a long time.

And I could see by the look on his face, Colin thought so, too.

As the sun shone down, I smiled for pho­tos, know­ing I’d cher­ish them for decades.

Un­for­tu­nately, in Jan­uary, the skin graft failed, and I’m now wait­ing for more surgery.

But I’m de­ter­mined to get through it. Can­cer has taught me to trea­sure the spe­cial peo­ple in my life, and I count my bless­ings ev­ery day.

I’m look­ing for­ward to the rest of my life – with my hus­band by my side.

lTracy found the free prac­ti­cal, emo­tional and so­cial sup­port from Mag­gie’s Cen­tres in­valu­able. Visit mag­gi­es­cen­tres.org

Here’s to us – and the fu­ture

I found the per­fect gown

Now I’m wait­ing for more surgery...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.