Five years ago today, I had chin augmentation surgery. I finally got around to sending my plastic surgeon a thank you letter a few months ago, and I've decided to share that with all of you. My experience is probably unique in a lot of ways, but in many ways it is not. We all have things about ourselves that hold us back from being our best. Eventually, a solution will come. There ARE answers to your problems, you just have to keep looking. And instead of seeing tough times as obstacles to your goals, learn from the hardships in your life--they are the best lessons for how you can be a better you.
Hello Dr. DuFresne,
It will be five years in October since you changed my life with a chin augmentation. I think of you often and have been meaning to send you some decent "after" photos for the past five years. I can remember the impact other before/after photos made on me in your office, and would like for you to have these photos in case you ever encounter someone else like me.
The photo I've attached of my husband and I during our first dance is my favorite of the 700+ photos our photographer took on September 30, 2006. I think it embodies perfectly the love we have for each other, but, as I write this, I realize it is more than that. Before I met you and before my surgery, I would have shuddered at the thought of a profile picture. Now, though, it's not even something I have to think about. And I think that is the most beautiful result of the surgery you performed, and part of the beauty of this photo. I can enjoy my life without a second thought at whether or not someone is catching my "bad side."
In spite of growing up with a physical feature that incited endless teasing and mocking from my peers, I managed to enter my twenties as a decently well-adjusted adult with confidence in herself and a genuine love of the person I am. There was always something hanging over me, though... a weight on my shoulders that prevented me from truly loving all of me. I was constantly wondering if people thought I looked like a freak, if, when they passed by me, they wondered what made me look so weird. I was outgoing, yet inhibited. I was willing to give of myself, but only to the point that I thought I would safely avoid being hurt when I discovered that I wasn't good enough. It is strange to me to look back now and realize just how much my appearance impacted me, as I often thought I had managed to overcome it.
I came to you anticipating the same old story--braces, breaking my jaw to move it forward, months of rough recovery, maybe a little improvement but probably not what I really was looking for. Instead, I got a simple solution. The joy I felt after seeing you for my initial consultation is something I'll always remember. The idea that what I always called "the bane of my existence" could be remedied in an easy outpatient surgery was overwhelming and invigorating. I couldn't really imagine what life would be like afterwards, but I was anxious to find out. Surgery was exactly what you said it would be, and to this day people are amazed to find out how little pain and recovery there was. In fact, people who didn't know me pre-chin are amazed to find out I've had surgery at all!
When I went back to work after the surgery and as my swelling went down and my face settled into its new configuration, I heard the same compliment time and time again: "You were always beautiful, but now, you glow." I glow. Still, five years later, people tell me this. And I have realized that the reason for that is there's nothing to darken my spirit. No worry that I'm not good enough. No physical flaw that I wish I could hide but know I can't. I don't flatter myself that I'm the most beautiful woman in the room, but I no longer insult myself by thinking I'm the ugliest, either. I am comfortable being average, or maybe pretty... it doesn't matter. What matters is that I don't even think about it anymore. And when there's no negative self-image, a positive self-image is free to blossom... to glow.
I've been meaning to thank you all these years, and I apologize that it has taken me so long. Know that I've sent my gratitude many, many times--especially at my annual "Chin-iversary" parties. :) I know that you have performed many, many surgeries that were much more complex and involved than mine, and probably even more life-changing. I want you to know, though, that I am eternally grateful that you chose plastic surgery as your profession, that you dedicated yourself to being one of the best in your field, and that I had the privilege to call you my surgeon. I am certain that I would not be where I am right now--in a happier place than I could have ever dreamed--were it not for you.
A million thanks,