My name is Bryan Burningham. I was born and raised in Utah, but have since moved to Colorado for work. Presently I work as an actuary for a reinsurance company. My prosthetic story began 14 years ago. I was moving my father's rifle and it accidentally shot me in the lower jaw. The bullet took sections of my lower and upper jaw, my nose, parts of my eye sockets and a section of my tongue. For years afterwards my life consisted of sporadically attending school while having reconstructive surgeries every 2 to 3 months. Seeing pictures of attempts at surgically reconstructing a nose helped me know that wasn't a route I wanted to take so I looked into getting a prosthesis. Prosthetics looked better and were easier to achieve. It took about 5 years until I reached the point of being able to get a prosthetic nose.
I didn't really struggle with my concept of self worth when I didn't have a nose. However, I did decide to get one based on the reactions of others. There were times where I would walk down a grocery isle in the supermarket and little children would be scared of me, running to their mothers in tears. Getting a prosthesis helped me "blend into the crowd." Of course my mouth is still somewhat of an attention getter, but far less that not having a nose.
An interesting side effect that I've noticed from getting a prosthesis is that I've become somewhat dependant on it. Previously I was fine being out in public nose-less, but now I couldn't do it. There are few times although, where it is just wise to take it off beforehand, like when play racquetball, surf or like the time I went skydiving. My prosthesis does not restrict the activities that I do. This is partially because it is very sturdy and seldom comes off, and partially because I decided not to care if it does come off in front of others. If you have the right attitude, you'll be able to do any activity you like. – Bryan