A PERSONAL COSMETIC SURGERY STORYby Denise ThomasCosmetic Surgery Consultant
At one time Charlotte was a beautiful woman, living in Arizona. Although a practicing attorney, she secretly battled with a disease called alcoholism. It wasn’t until she moved to Manhattan that I got to know her. I was startled to learn her actual age. She was only fifty years old at the time, but truly looked at least ten years older. The mix of sun damage from the hot Tucson sun, careless use of sun screen and over consumption of alcohol are hardly anecdotes to anti-aging!
Charlotte decided to try the Betty Ford clinic, unfortunately, to no avail. Soon after her return to Manhattan, she contacted me and we became friendly. Desperately wanting to help her, I told her abouta well known therapist who dealt with addictions. Charlotte not only agreed to see her, she loved the therapist. This prompted her to join AA, followed by another trip to Betty Ford, and, imagine, she even adopted a puppy, a wonderful idea the therapist offered thinking it might help her to have a pet in her life, to love and pamper.
One day, out of the blue she surprised me by saying, “Denise, I just might be ready for some cosmetic work. I think it might give me a boost and some courage to go forward. I feel ready for a second chance at life.”
I agreed that the time might be right, saying, “It certainly won’t cause a miracle, but if you understand that and use it as a stepping stone, why not? Just remember, you are doing this for yourself, not for anyone else.” Who could blame her for wanting to look and feel better and didn’t she deserve it? Don’t we all?
After having a wonderful face and eye lift, she was so happy, wishing she had done it sooner and very much wanting to venture out into her new world.
With her upbeat attitude and newly refreshed looks Charlotte was ready to move forward. She felt confident enough to step out and accept a Thanksgiving invitation. Although she enjoyed a lovely meal withgreat conversation, suddenly she felt a need to leave. For some strange reason she just felt lonely.
When Charlotte stepped off the elevator, there in the lobby stood a rather dapper, handsome man, holding a flower in his hand. He looked at her and offered her the flower. She smiled and accepted it. Coincidentally, he had just left his dinner invitation as well. As Charlotte later learned, this man was newly divorced and also was overcome with feelings of fear and loneliness. Later he told her he thought it was going to be so hard to find a special someone to share his life with. He confessed that even though he had been introduced to several lovely ladies, in his opinion none of them were as pretty as she, the woman who had just accepted his flower.
Thankfully, he summoned the courage to ask her on a dinner date and many more getting-to-know-each-other dates and outings, until they realized they were deeply in love. They even agree that New York winters were not for them, and are now looking for a new home in Florida.
I’m going to miss Charlotte, even though I know we will keep in touch, but I’m so happy I was able to lend a helping hand in putting her life back on track.
This is a true story. Only her name was changed to protect her identity. I do hope you enjoyed it.Denise Thomas is a Manhattan based Cosmetic Surgery Consultant
Lillian Shah, fellow author and colleague, had sent me this letter some time ago. I thanked her and promptly filed it away. I just rediscovered it and thought it worth posting. Her book, Healthy by Keeping Track: A Complete Guide to Maintaining Your Own Medical Records is well worth the read.
Shortly after we were first married my husband had his upper wisdom teeth removed, under anesthetic. Afterwards I drove him home as he was still a bit groggy. While stopping at a red light I looked at him directly for the first time as he continued to describe his minor surgery.
I immediately interrupted him and asked, “What happened to your front tooth?”
He had no idea what I was talking about. “Nothing, why, what’s wrong with it?” He pulled down the visor on his side and looked at his teeth. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
He continued to examine his teeth in the mirror as I resumed driving and continued to tell him, “Your front tooth! On the right side! Something’s missing.”
“Oh that,” he said. I remember something about the doctor mentioning they had bumped my tooth. It’s nothing.” As I glanced over I could see he was rubbing the edge of his tooth with his tongue and his fingers, trying to fathom why I was so upset.”
When we got home I said, “Let me have a look,” and turned his head to the left, to the right, and touched the chipped edge with my finger.
It was, I know now, the smallest of small chips, but I was beside myself. My husband was, and is, very handsome – think Omar Shariff – and I took great pleasure in that fact. But so far as the case of the chipped front tooth he thought I was truly being silly.
I became more and more irrational about his face. Although I hadn’t mentioned it to him, I had become convinced that his jaw line was significantly altered and that it was most certainly his surgeon’s fault. I was even more upset about this than the chipped tooth.
Then we both began to notice something else altogether. He would absent-mindedly tap his face, just above and a little to the left of his front tooth. He continued to do it to such an extent that I asked him about it. “Do you realize you’re tapping your face?”
“Yes,” he replied. “It’s numb there and I seem to tap at it unconsciously. I think they might have damaged a nerve when they did my wisdom teeth.”
“And there’s another thing!” I told him, as I couldn’t keep the change in his face contour to myself another second.
The following week my husband had his regular checkup with his dentist. When he came home he reported that his dentist pronounced the wisdom teeth surgery a complete success and verified my husband’s analysis that a small nerve had indeed been damaged in the process. He said he would stop noticing it over time and the face tapping would stop. Then my husband gave me a big grin and asked, “Did you notice anything different?”
“Yes,” I said, “The chip is gone. Did he put a filling there?” “No, no,” my husband laughed. “It was so tiny, he just smoothed it out.” And on closer inspection, and after touching the tooth again, I realized it had indeed been very, very small, and now it’s absence was not at all noticeable – almost.
Actually it took me months to stop being aware of the changes. As to the tapping, that also stopped along the way; I’ve long since forgotten when. And Father Time has slowly but surely had his way with the contours of the very beloved face my husband still wears.
However, I think if it’s someone super dear to you, even the tiniest change can be quite disorienting. When my 50-year-old daughters walk in with a new clothing style or a completely different haircut (or even a slight change in color) I am always taken by surprise.
It is obviously the person we love – not their hair, their voice, their smile, their size, their shape, the way they move – but let there be the least alteration in just one of these aspects of their person and we can’t help but notice and react.
Lois, I think your book is a godsend. Not everyone can be a great beauty and not many people even aspire to be. But the miracle of plastic surgery is that it can help make us more comfortable, healthier – and more attractive, to ourselves and to others. And we all know, that in extreme cases, it allows us to lead the lives we otherwise could not possibly have.
I know you encourage your readers, as they plan this very significant undertaking, to keep a little sympathy and understanding for those nearest and dearest who will need some time to comprehend that the person they love and treasure is still there, just in slightly (or significantly) different package.
Did you know that if you’re not flossing every day, you’re leaving 40 percent of your teeth surfaces coated with gummy bacteria, which in turn causes yellow staining around your teeth as well as gum inflammation and bleeding. And if this cycle continues, it can lead to gum recession and bone loss.
But I never put it all together until working with Marty Zase, who wrote a chapter for my second book which he titled: The Magic Behind Your Smile. His sub-topic of Cosmetic Dentistry and Sexuality wasn’t lost on me. He shared case studies of intimate ways Cosmetic Dentistry had impacted some of his patients’ lives. How wonderful is that! Did you ever think about flossing for better sex?
Here’s another benefit of flossing. It’s an excellent way to reduce or prevent bad breath, because flossing removes the accumulations of food and bacteria that would otherwise leave “leftovers” stuck between your teeth, incubating in a 98.6 degree oven. And in case you haven’t noticed, bad breath is definitely not a turn on to good sex. If you are more into beauty than sex, here’s another incentive. In a recent study reported in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers found that bone loss in the jaw, as well as the eye sockets and cheeks, aged people in ways that cosmetic procedures like facelifts (to tighten the skin) and dermal fillers (to plump it), can’t fix. Why? When gum disease begins to eat away at the bone, there are changes in facial appearance such as caving in of the lips and cheeks and wrinkles around the mouth and jaws. So if you’re turned on by learning another solid anti-aging technique, you might want to add flossing to your list!
Want to read what Marty has to say about the relationship between cosmetic dentistry and sexuality? Click here.
He can also teach you a thing or two about many cosmetic dentistry procedures (i.e. teeth bleaching, porcelain veneers, gum and lip surgery, composite fillings, bonding, and reshaping of teeth). So if you’re looking for cutting edge info on any of those topics, click here , find your topic of particular interest, and select it to read an easy-to-understand mini article that relates to your interest.
If you want to discover more Outer Beauty tips & news and Inner Beauty inspiring stories, you can find them all on my Facebook Page.
Lois W. Stern