Changed my life
Dear Dr. Taleisnik,
This letter has been in production for several weeks now. I wanted to take a moment and sincerely tell you how your gift has changed my life. I am sure in the “circle” of surgeons many of you have views an nicknames for one another – if I were a surgeon I am sure I would view some of my peers as the following: Dr. Hatchet, Dr. Prima Donna, Dr. Artist, Dr. Cut Happy, Dr. Mathematician – to name a few. In my lay person opinion, you are a healer.
I was an athletic child, always outdoors and on the move. In my teen years I was in softball, cheer and swim, I never had a weight problem , nor did I have anything near a sedentary life. The onset of puberty brought with it, breasts and I felted betrayed because this did pose some adjustment, but I coped. Into adulthood I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries and subsequently underwent many infertility treatments to try and conceive (even Pergonal – if you can imagine). I have been told, and have my own antidotal evidence to prove that these things “assisted” in my becoming morbidly obese. The PCO and the morbid obesity; two other times in my life I felt betrayed by my body.
When we met, I had lost over 100 pounds and felt defeated. While I am in the gym three times a week and had begun a lifetime habit of walking 5 miles daily all I saw was the after effects of losing so much weight, my excess skin. For a person who has spent any time in an overly large body their self perception becomes warped, even as – especially as they shrink. I was convinced I would never be happy with my body and would spend the rest of my life, while training as an athlete, secretly loathing myself for this. The scale showed decreasing numbers, my body fat was settling at 26%, which was a miracle considering the previous year but dressing and doing anything that brought attention to my physical appearance was devastating – betraying.
I vowed that if I were going to undergo a cosmetic procedure then I was going to change my view and goal of my body and its value. As I began to look inward I realized it was not just the size or shape or my body, it was the fact that I could not conceive, could not stabilize my weight or my PCO without intervention, and so on. Then I asked myself the night before our surgery, what is it I can do/be/have with this body that will no make me feel at such offs with it, not so betrayed? I had the answer in my training for the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk and I decided that night that I would push my body to be healthy and to performa athletically as I know it can.
The first time I saw my post surgery body, the one you gifted me with, I wept.
For weeks after I could not speak about you without tearing up. As I began making peace with my body, I started to feel a certain thrill that my hard work actually shows! When I went into surgery with you, I weighted 173 with a body fat of 26% – my pants were a size 14, to accommodate my excess skin. As I write this, I weigh 158, body fat of 21%, wearing a size 6 and still shrinking! I am motivated by the fact that I can actually see the results of my hard work now. While all of these stats are impressive – the biggest news is: I no longer feel betrayed by my body and I have you to thank for this. As my walk comes closer, I look forward to the physical challenge and I have even started looking for triathlons in the area to compete in by next summer! None of this would be possible without the confidence and new respect I have for my body and THAT would not have happened if our paths had never crossed.
Now certainly one could argue any surgeon would have made this difference. But I chose you. I chose you because of the atmosphere your office has, in our first meeting you explained things thoroughly, your assistant, Linae is warm and encouraging; never one did I feel like I was in a pretentious Orange County plastic surgeons office. The day of surgery you were so at ease (let me eat my lunch first) that I was instantly at ease knowing that your work (as for many of us is so second nature to you that you had the instant confidence one needs to undertake such a task. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that you were able to share your gift and skills with me.
It is uncertain to me if we will tackle the other “problem” areas of my body that we discussed in our first consultation – I am so thrilled now. This brings a certain degree of sadness with it – how does one have such a temporary relationship that impacts them so deeply? The best I can do is hope this letter imparts to you how very grateful I am, how indebted I feel to you and how I could never forget what you have don to my body that has helped me change my life…Perhaps I will send you Holiday cards to remind you of how deeply you have touched my (our) life? At the very least the vacation one with me in a bikini? HAH! In whatever capacity, I hope our paths converge again and if they do not, please understand that I see you as a doctor, surgeon, artist, and mathematician but mostly as a healer.
All my best gratitude and respect,