Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Every time she looked in the mirror, Lindsey* was reminded of her painful past. A crooked nose was the physical scar that stirred up emotions from a marriage shattered by domestic violence.
It’s stories like these that make me proud to be a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
When I first met Lindsey, a spirited woman from Brooklyn, I was overcome by her extremely positive attitude. Lindsey came into my office with a lopsided nose, caused by a broken nose she suffered during a dispute with her then-husband many years ago. Her scars were visible from the outside, but did not reflect how she felt on the inside. Lindsey felt emotionally and physically ready for rhinoplasty, and had a beautiful new outlook and plan for her life: to open a spa for other victims of domestic violence, so all women would have the opportunity to feel beautiful and whole again.
I connect with that sentiment – as I find it rewarding to help people feel good about themselves. Lindsey was a perfect candidate for the Academy’s FACE TO FACE Program. Her surgery was mostly to straighten her crooked nose, but I also repaired a deviated septum so she could breathe easier. (Deviated septums often accompany traumatic crooked noses.) I also softened a bump and narrowed a wide nasal tip that has always bothered her.
As you may know, the AAFPRS Foundation is the first surgical group to take a firm stand and become involved in assisting individuals of domestic violence break the cycle of violence, enhance their self-esteem and rebuild their lives. Many victims of domestic violence receive facial injuries and are not financially able to have these injuries adequately repaired. The AAFPRS offers consultation and surgery, pro-bono, to eligible individuals through FACE TO FACE: The National Domestic Violence Project.
Lindsey heard about the program through her divorce lawyer, and after years of going back and forth about making the initial call, finally reached out to us. On February 24, 2011, I performed the surgery and gave Lindsey a new nose, and what I hope was a new start to her life.
My best memory of Lindsey came when about one week post-procedure, I took her bandages off. I wouldn’t let her look until I cleaned her up, but when she looked in the mirror, she started crying. She said she finally felt beautiful again.
While Lindsey is still reminded of the past she feels that the more she talks about her story and helps others, the better she feels.
I hope you will share some of your own stories with the FACE TO FACE program, and invite you to submit your blog ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.