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La La Land, Surgeries, & My Take On It All…

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Quite honestly, I’m not exactly sure where to even begin.

The last thing I remember before going into (as my family likes to call it) “la la land,” was talking about the beach with a dental student who was going to be observing my operation. Then it all went black.
I don’t really even remember waking up…just a blur of familiar faces and the comfort of my dad’s car taking me home. Not surprisingly, I even texted my friends how the surgery went and don’t remember it at all.
Let’s back-track a little, shall we? It’s Wednesday morning, and my Mom & I are headed to a normal appointment at Shands. In December I had part two of my orthognathic surgery where they placed an implant and two titanium screws into the right side of my jaw to strengthen the bone. Needless to say, it was now about five months later and I was headed in for a check-up. During the previous week, I found a “bubble” in my mouth near where the implant was located. At my appointment, I learned that this “bubble” is actually “granulation tissue” and is our body’s response to bacteria. My surgeons then decided that it was best to remove the implant the following morning (Thursday).
Coming out of the operation, I was hit with a mixture of sadness, anger, denial, and, well, a whole lot of being in this weird sort of daze. Yes, some of this was due to the “good candy” they had me on post-operation that sent my pain far, far away. But a lot of my feelings were really deep within my heart and I’m struggling to take a knife, cut away at the granulation tissue, and let it go.
You see, going into that operating room on December 7, 2009, I thought I was making a one-stop shot at a surgery that would correct the deficiency in my jaw. Then, a week later, I ended up back in the hospital as that one out of a million statistic that has a strange reaction to treatment. I remember distinctly the ride back to the hospital that Sunday afternoon, looking at my Dad with big tears in my eyes asking why God was letting that happen to me. I mean, why couldn’t it be an easy recovery with no bumps along the way? I remember those emotions vividly.
Then, I remember the year prep time it took for me to be mentally ready to head back to that operating room. One year later, and I was ready to be done. Ready to get the ever-looming surgery date out of my head and crossed off the pages of my planner. I walked into the room saying, “Let’s do this.” Recovery went well and life went on. I never thought I’d be back for more.
With little to no mental prep time to what happened a little over 48 hours ago, my mind has been reeling with thoughts of why me? And if I’m honest, coming out of that surgery room on Thursday, I was an angry mess inside. And if I truly get down to the bone, I’m still angry. I’m angry that one surgery morphed into three. I’m angry that I missed out on awesome Christmas foods for a surgery that went to waste this past December. I’m angry that I had to deal with swelling, scars, and a soft diet again. I’m angry that an interruption stepped into the heartbeat of my life. I’m angry. But I’m beginning to see what God wants me to do.
Just like my surgeons cut open the right side of my mouth on Thursday morning to cut back the granulation tissue that was forming and remove a bacteria-filled implant, God is peeling back the layers of my heart and performing open-heart surgery. He’s cutting away at the granulation tissue that was forming and saying, “Emily, if you want this–if you want a love like water and chaos to pump through your veins, you need to trust me. I do not waste situations that happen in your life…in fact, I use them to make you stronger. Don’t allow circumstances to build up bacteria around your heart. Break free.”
God is telling me to let go. I can ask questions all day long, but I won’t come up with answers. There isn’t an answer to why me? in this situation; but there is something much more important–and that’s what I do with this situation.
If you struggle with anger like I do…how to feel about it, how to process it, & how to vent it, join me at Church of Hope tomorrow morning at 9:30 or 11 a.m. Find directions or watch live online at

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