Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Plastic Surgery

What comes to mind when I say "plastic surgery?"

Did you think of 'nose-jobs' and other 'enhancements'?

For most of us, 'plastic surgery' is linked completely to 'cosmetic surgery.'

But add two more words to make it 'plastic and reconstructive surgery' and then you have a totally different kettle of fish.

Last week we were blessed to have Drs. Derick and Vivienne Mendonca visit us with their three lovely kids.   Derick practices P&R Surgery at Bangalore Baptist Hospital - and Vivienne is a dentist - though with three young kids (youngest pushing 8 months now) she has her hands full with non-oral matters.  They write about their adventures here.

Our society is full of hidden people.  People whose features have not formed normally, or who have suffered from a disfiguring illness or accident.  Our society is harsh on anyone who is not 'normal.'  The stares, the pointed rude questions, and the nasty comments mean that many people with visible deformities withdraw - or are purposely hidden by their relatives.

For many begging - the degrading high-lighting of their deformities - is the only way they are able to survive.

But so much can be done.  Especially if it is done early.

Derick showed us some of the work that he is involved with at Bangalore Baptist.  Amazing.   Some of the pics were pretty gruesome - but the outcomes are remarkable.  Reconstruction of limbs and faces which accidents or cancer have so gruesomely marred - and now thanks to a patch of skin from here, some muscle tissue from there, and the skilled hands and mind of the surgeon and team - we now have a restored person.

This little girl, for example has a bi-lateral cleft palate.  She was born without the ability to eat normally, speak normally and our eyes do not see her pretty face because we immediately look at the two gaping holes in her upper lip.

But thanks the community health team from Bangalore Baptist, this little girl was identified early.  After counselling the parents, the surgery was conducted and the result is crystal clear - a little girl who has so much more of a future to look forward to!

Sadly the parents seem to feel that now she is restored that she needs some extra protection from the 'evil eye' and hence they have made a big black splotch on her forehead and cheek.

And what about someone who has lived their whole life with a deformity?

Dr. Derick's team came across a man who was 55 years and had been living with a bilateral cleft lip all his life.  After corrective surgery.  Plastic and reconstructive surgery.  This is what he looks like.

55 years of looking one way.  And now able to be look different.  To be in society without everyone staring at you.  Or pretending not to notice you.  To live a 'normal' life.


But think this too.  With all the wonder that the surgeon's knife has done on this man's face - there are also other things within that need healing.  A life-time of disability - of being disfigured - does not disappear at once.   At Bangalore Baptist they do not only heal the body, they also heal the soul.  Patients are prayed with.  Stories are listened to.  Just like our Lord did.

We are so grateful to be in the business of sculpting lives.  We applaud Derick and the wonderful work of reconstructive surgery that he and the team do.  And though we may not wield the scapel like he does - we are so glad that at Jeevan Sahara we are part and parcel of rebuilding and reconstructing so many lives.  The deformities may not be so gross - but they are there - and need the gentle hands of the Master surgeon working through us to repair and renew.

And yes, we are also helping rehabilitate the daughter of a widow who is living with HIV - through reconstructive surgery for a cleft lip and palate - and speech therapy to help her master the power of talking!

Thanks to Derick and Vivienne for coming by and opening our eyes a bit more.


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