Plastic surgery is a big deal

I don’t believe that there is such a thing as minor surgery. General anesthetic should not be taken lightly. And yet, I am personally toying with the idea for a few months now.

You see, I lost a lot of weight, and I had five babies within ten years. That coupled with the fact that I love to run and I have been running for many years now creates a problem that the skin on my stomach is stretched out and it bothers me. In these cases of extreme weight loss, you can apply for eligibility to your kupah and plead your case to be covered by health care. But I haven’t even reached that point because the idea of elective plastic surgery seems so daunting to me.

Would anyone willingly go under the knife?

When I was 8 years old I had plastic surgery but it wasn’t planned. It was one evening after school and I was at the Jewish Community Center waiting for my swimming lesson to begin. My oldest sister Miriam and I were hanging out in the ladies locker room and I decided to see if I could fit myself into the top locker (not too bright, eh? In my favor, i was only 8). I climbed in, held onto the top of the lockers and jumped out.

Unfortunately, I was wearing a ring on my middle finger which caught onto the grooves as I jumped. My mom rushed with me downtown to Sick Kids Hospital where we met my close family friend and Pediatrician, Dr. Colin Geft, who reassured my mother and me that he personally had asked Dr. Ronald Zuker to perform the surgery. He was one of the best burgeoning plastic surgeons in the Sick Kids Hospital of Toronto and he would most certainly reconstruct my finger to be like new.

Even years later, I continue to follow Dr. Zuker’s progress in the world of Plastic Surgery, his move to the States, his move back home (Canada) and his commitment to helping kids with cleft palates, only one of his many specialties. Two years ago he even geared up with other specialists in Toronto to perform Canada’s first face and limb transplant.

(Just today I almost lost hope when I searched for his name and found a search result for a Dr. Zucker with a nip and tuck cosmetics plastic surgery clinic in California…oh right, Zuker, no “c”. Phew!)

That is what plastic surgery meant to me.

So I can’t help but think that this is what plastics are meant to be just from my own personal experience. It is a response to a need, a medical need, something hindering your ability to function on a daily basis, an emergency or a response to a defect in your birth.

No, a bump in your nose is not a birth defect. It’s what makes you unique.

Your boobs don’t stand at attention? Well then, just straighten out your back and compensate by being brilliant and witty. Achieve something that your boobs cannot.

Is it enough that I am not happy with my thighs/hips/breasts/stomach etc. to think that a little nip and tuck will make it all better?

These projects of self fixing stand out in my mind as being quite different from the silicone breast implants that can poke somebody’s eye out. Even if I tried to ask you if you are happy with your new silicone reality, I would not be able to focus on a word you are saying since your boobs will be so freaking fantastic that when we meet, I will spend most of the time we are together staring at them and wondering why you don’t need to wear a bra at the age of 30 plus.

Just as women find their impediments to be a challenge, beauty in and of itself can be something that women find challenging in their daily lives.

Can you relate to this woman or is she just plain ridiculous?

I don’t want to minimize the importance of beauty and self maintenance. I have often times considered which items I would bring with me in my backpack if I were chosen as one of the contestants on the TV show “Survivor” and stranded on a deserted island with no tools available to look after my basic daily care.

Hairbrush. Check.

Pocket mirror. Check.

Tweezers. Check.

So is it our imperfections that help us grow or do they hinder our growth because of self-confidence issues? Do these imperfections force us to improve ourselves as people and to strive to achieve what we otherwise might have missed out on? Don’t our parents tell us that we are oh so beautiful, our souls, our hearts and the essence of our beings? If we don’t feel good about ourselves how can we ever make it through all of the humps of adolescence, child bearing and aging gracefully? Does it ever end?

This amazing story about a Sikh religious woman in response to a picture taken of her with a derogatory comment says:

“By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.

So now the question is if we fix ourselves up, are we not just giving in to altering our bodies for the wrong reasons? Where do we draw the line? I am trying to convince myself that I am doing it because it is uncomfortable for me, and jogging improves my health, quality of life and longevity. I am not doing it because I want to wear a bikini. I mean, that would be silly, right? Who wants to wear a bikini anyways?

The pros and cons are out there on the battlefield:

“So what if you want to have a tummy-tuck in order to wear a bikini? Just wear one anyways? “

“No no, I can’t do that, too embarrassing.”

“But wait; just imagine how easy your running would be without any extra skin!”

“No. No one touches my body. Whatever I have is here to stay. My body is testimony to my life’s war wounds. Who am I if not the body I carry with me throughout my life?”

“Plastic surgery is amazing! Be grateful that in today’s world, options exist that didn’t in the past.”

“True. But what message am i sending to my teenage daughter by doing plastic surgery simply because something isn’t exactly the way I want it to be?”

And on and on…the inner conflict rages within me. Maybe the inner conflict is by itself an emotionally reconstructive experience.

So now I turn to you my dear readers to be the third voice in my head and to ask you what you think.

Would you do it?

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