Put on a Happy Face: A Healing Update

It’s been a while since the last update, and in this case no news is good news. There are still the little things that only I notice, but the bigger issues seem to have resolved pretty well. I need to steer around foods that are crunchy (so long tortilla chips and cookies), foods that require more range of motion than I have in my jaw these days (bye-bye sammiches and It’s Its), and I’m still taking baby bites because of the range of motion thing–but nearly four and a half months post-op, I’ve made big improvements. As my daughter points out, I am able to eat with a fork without stabbing myself.

One thing I can’t quite do yet is put on lipstick without looking, which used to be second nature to me. Since I’m still numb at the corner of my mouth, I have to look to see where the lips end and my face begins. Also, because I’m numb, that corner tends to do its own thing, giving me a resting you-know-what face and a bit of a smirk. Not exactly like this, but still–not the way I want to present to the people I see.McKayla Maroney

So, on a recent vacation, I started making an effort to keep the corners of my mouth turned up–basically turning that frown upside down. I don’t smile all the time, but I’m trying to keep it up because it also makes me feel a little bit happy when I do. Again, not exactly like this:


There’s still a way to go before I get all the feeling back–and I do believe I will someday–but for now, I’m just going to put on a happy face.

I love the duet with Tony Bennett and James Taylor, even with the talking parts in between the singing parts.

As they say:

“Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy
It’s not your style
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
You decided to smile
Pick out a pleasant outlook
Stick out that noble chin
Wipe off that full-of-doubt look
Slap on a happy grin
And spread sunshine all over the place
Just put on a happy face”


Wait, there’s more!

And how about these kids? And the lovely Boylen Sisters! Smile, darn ya, smile!!

14 Responses to Put on a Happy Face: A Healing Update

  1. Howard Kirsch says:

    Glad to hear that things are improving. I think the original Dick Van Dyke version is still wonderful to watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_CE7GqqrvY

  2. Debby G says:

    Glad to hear you are getting better. I am awed by your strength.


  3. Christine Bertko says:

    Yikes, I have never been able to put lipstick on without looking! I’m impressed by your former second nature.

  4. Marc says:

    Hey Cuz,
    Keep it up…literally!! Loved Bye, Bye Birdie…now I can’t that song out of my head!
    Take care,
    The Rev

  5. Caroline Hiffman says:

    So good to hear. Loved the two singing clips. I too saw bye bye birdie on broadway.

  6. Anne Fox says:

    You’ve always looked great to me,even when pondering the most puzzling or annoying literary conundrum. Thank you for letting us know that smiles work to stay right side up. Fondly, Anne

  7. Lauren Doliva says:

    Smiling, according to centenarian research, helps you to live longer! (As well as looking forward and enjoying aging!)

  8. Smiles are so good for us. I know I almost never used to smile because I hate my teeth which are not white by a long stretch (medicine issue as a young’in) and also because my Mom always used to tell me to walk around with a smile on my face and I always told her people would think I was crazy! Glad it sounds like things are getting a bit better for you.

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