I was born with a giant, gaping hole in the roof of my mouth. Also known as a cleft palate, the cave within my lips has been through a 20-year nightmare from which I recently awoke. A rather rare occurrence, I was born with a cleft palate, but not a cleft lip.
My cleft palate surgery was performed when I was two-years-old. The opening was closed, but the odyssey was only beginning. A couple of years later, I had another surgery to have little tubes implanted into my ears, called ear tubes, to help me hear better. My cleft palate would cause many earaches and a mild loss of hearing, so these tubes, protected from the water with custom-made, hot pink earplugs, were crucial. Later on in life, I would have these tubes ripped out of my ears while wide-awake, resulting in one of the two most painful experiences of my life. The doctor told me I could punch him after he was finished, and I took him up on the offer as I was screaming bloody murder. Keep reading »