Bullying is a serious issue that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It happens to people of all ages but is particularly traumatizing to kids, and it’s made even worse by the fact that many adults say that it’s “just part of growing up.”
But no person should ever have to go to school, work, or anywhere frankly and be made to feel like they don’t belong or that they’re somehow lesser than everyone else there. It’s your right to feel safe in spaces where you spend your time.
No one knows that better than now 20-year-old Lauren Whitt of Colorado. Lauren was unfortunately born with severe jaw problems that caused her a ton of pain.
The deformity caused her jaw to protrude, creating a painful underbite that created a ton of dental issues for Lauren. She couldn’t eat or talk without feeling severe pain.
It also caused her chin to jut out unnaturally, which led to years and years of intense bullying from her classmates over something she obviously could not control. When she was 12, she was told by an orthodontist that she would not be able to fix the problem without major surgery.
Because she was so young, that was just out of the cards for her until later in life. Because she couldn’t get the surgery, she had to drop out of school because the bullying would not stop. When she turned 20, however, she knew that time was up. She had to do something to take control of her life. That’s when she decided on getting the procedure done.
The surgery involved breaking both sides of Lauren’s jaw and realigning it with 36 metal pins. Still, it all felt totally worth it.
The 20-year-old, who is now a criminal justice student, said, “I could not live life like that any longer. It was making me miserable. I waited until I was an adult to get the surgery because I did not want to go through something so painful as a kid.”
“I had a lot of trouble breathing and it kept getting worse. It got to the point that I couldn’t breathe without my mouth being open,” she continued. “My speech therapist told me that my lisp could not be fixed through speech therapy. I noticed shortly after the surgery that it was gone.”
The road was long and arduous. The prep process before surgery was even brutal! Her Invisalign treatment was so painful that she could barely eat and the already-thin young woman lost eight pounds. Recovery after the surgery was also brutal. As you can see, though, she looks amazing now!
After years of unbearable pain and suffering from both the condition itself and the bullying, Lauren had her life back! “My surgeon told me that my underbite was the most severe he had ever seen,” Whitt revealed. “He said that this was one of the most complicated surgeries of his career.”
After she spends six weeks on a liquid diet, Lauren will be able to do things she was never able to do, like chew solid food without pain. She’s pretty excited to be able to chow down pain-free on a cheeseburger! While she should never have been bullied in the first place, it’s amazing to see how the procedure helped her take control of her life!