Friday, 23 September 2011
Friday, 16 September 2011
I have had an interesting week this week, with a wonderful trip down memory lane with my big sister Andrea. I picked her little boy up from school with her, the very school that both Andrea and I went to as small children. In so many ways it had changed and in others it was just the same! I wondered how I could recall such vivid memories of making daisy chains in the long grass on the playing field in the warm sunshine wearing a gingham pink dress and playing hopscotch on the playground with the knowing smell of hot tarmac under my feet! Were we really that small that we washed out hands in the toilets with wash basins that barely now reach my knees?? As i peeped into the large hall where everything seemed to take place from morning assembly through to gym and dance, I spotted the double fronted cupboard where I recall we used to keep all the hula hoops and netball's. Was this the same hall that the school fair had all its stalls and tombola? It sure was! The parquet floor was as shiny as ever, jeepers I thought this must have been the same floor - it is now over 40 years old but wearing incredibly well!
On leaving the school we decided to take the route home down the path at the side of the school that used to lead us to a large cricket field and our beautiful detached house that we had grown up in lay perfectly on the other side of the field. In true housing development style surprise surprise it is now a small collection of luxury executive homes however the tennis courts that have been there for many years still remain to this day. As we walked through this development there lay undisturbed the very house that back in the day was called Nenthorn, it was a sturdy 1940's property with a beautiful tended back garden that we spent many hours of fun in with our Red Setter Sam. The memories came flooding back of great times growing up in this magnificent house and the amazing views we used to have over the perfectly manicured cricket field and the sound of leather on willow and glasses clinking in the summer months as spectators sipped a Pimms whilst watching their favourite team winning their match!
Was it really over thirty something years ago that we first moved into this house and nearly 25 years ago since we left it? My fondness for this house and its position I don't think will ever diminish, I feel very lucky to have lived in such a lovely area with such a great backdrop to look out to from my window each morning when I woke up.
Monday, 12 September 2011
This article that appeared in The Mail today is by the surgeon who has changed my life Niall Kirkpatrick, Niall and his team have performed some very invasive surgery on my disfigured face over the past 5 years and given me back facial symmetry that I thought would never be possible, they have made me feel so much better and able to show my face instead of hiding one side of it and feeling unaccepted ... I am truly grateful to them for this and they still have work to do on my eye area .... so lucky to have them working on me I trust them so much! Facing The World are a fantastic charity to I will tell you more about them in my next blog. Read on ....
Plastic surgery is not just vanity - it can rebuild children's livesBy Niall Kirkpatrick
As a plastic surgeon, I realise that the term ‘deformed’ is subjective. I often perform nose jobs, facelifts or breast enlargements on patients who, to most onlookers, were perfectly fine in the first place.
But a large part of my work involves operating on children and teenagers with severe facial disfigurements - the type that would, and does, draw gasps.
I don’t think either patient has a more valid reason for wanting surgery. It’s how we feel about the way we look that matters.
Jessica from Columbia suffered from a growth that was so large that she lost an eye. Doctors from Facing the World saved her life and transformed her face
Craniofacial surgery as a separate field is relatively new, yet within the 40 years it has existed, there have been fantastic advances. It requires specialists in plastic, brain, ear nose and throat, maxillofacial and ophthalmic surgery to pool their knowledge and operate together to treat unique complications that have arisen from abnormal growths or diseases that affect the head.
In recent years computer scanning teamed with a technique called stereolithic modelling has revolutionised our work. We are able to map the entire face, skull and brain; make perfect models of an individual’s skull prior to surgery and even produce precise plastic replicas of any bone that might need to be replaced.
Fat grafting has also improved our work, because we can inject fat from other parts of the body into the face to reconstruct features that might have previously been hollow or misshapen.
This now means that severe deformities such as encephaloceles, where the brain protrudes through holes in the skull; facial clefts causing an entire face to split; and syndromes that prevents the skull growing properly are not necessarily the dangerous, life-long problems they once were presumed to be.
Whilst it might not be possible to make the face look perfect, our country provides some of the best treatment available. Sadly, children in other countries - such as Africa, Asia and South America - are not as fortunate.
In many cases these boys and girls are mercilessly teased or in the worst cases ostracised from their community, understood to be sub-human and not worthy of human affection.
Facing the World, a charity I helped to establish ten years ago, is doing its best to help these children, both by sending our experts abroad and by bringing children to UK for treatment.
We treat roughly 12 children a year in the UK, the majority of them at the Chelsea and Westminster or the Cromwell Hospital in London. Each child costs the charity around £60,000 because we provide treatment, intensive care, accommodation and even education for the child whilst they are in the country.
More recently we have started to raise money to fund the construction of craniofacial centres in countries lacking the money to do so.
Four years ago we treated a 15 year old girl called Jessica from Colombia. She was suffering with neurofibromatosis, a disease causing an overgrowth of tissue in the brain that pushes down into the head and face.
The growth was so large that she had lost an eye and the right side of her face was incredibly swollen. The brain had pushed out through the eye socket and into the face.
Local doctors thought that she would die of a brain haemorrhage. The teenager I met was acutely shy and very frightened. But after several operations over a course of two years, Facing The World surgeons were able to remove the growth and make her face more symmetrical.
Since then, she has grown into an incredibly confident young woman. She has even trained as a beautician and is in the process of opening her own salon back in Colombia.
The results of the surgery were good but the most important things is that she says she now feels pretty. I believe our skills should be used to allow everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Facing the World depends on generosity from the public, to donate please visit www.facingtheworld.net
Why can't we these days just accept who we are and be grateful with what we have been dealt? It is a pretty controversial subject I know, however what worries me sometimes is the reasons of some people and I stress some people for going down the route of having these procedures.
Do we women realise that men generally like women with curves? I think possibly not! Society and the media tells us to be as thin as possible and how acceptable it is to be a size zero. Do we think that men(or women) like huge lips filled with botox? Some might, some might not. Do we think that men(or women) like false breast implants? Again some do, some don't. Whatever we consider doing to ourselves as enhancements I would seriously urge everyone to really think about WHY we are doing it! If it is so we attract love, attention and feel better about ourselves I question that this is not the right reason. I will advise one thing though to be safe - to contact the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons http://www.baaps.org.uk/ you are guaranteed the right advice and qualified surgeons and the right advice on any procedures you are considering http://www.baaps.org.uk/procedures.
A lot of a person's beauty comes from the inside ... it has taken me many many years to realise this and to suffer a serious car accident to shock me into understanding that it is not all about how you look! Making the best of what we have is a MUST and looking after ourselves however I promise you that just because we may have had certain surgical procedures or enhancements it sure doesn't guarantee that we will be accepted by others or loved any more because of it. What people really look for if they are indeed genuine themselves is honestly, inner beauty and someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
Can we honestly say we are happy with who we are?
Love Shari x
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Today got me thinking about grabbing opportunities when they arise and how some people truly don't see what is in front of them!
Think about it - we can actually do so many things in life and there are so many wonderful opportunities that present themselves to us on a daily basis, it really is about your ATTITUDE to life that counts here! It all starts with believing in YOU and your worthiness for a place here. Why are you any different from some of the people that have made millions of pounds and been a great success in life? That may not be your goal but to understand that you are no different is really important. A person who is determined to succeed and never gives up no matter what, as a rule of thumb WILL succeed - try it!! Someone once said to me after a talk that I did " You know Shari, a true champion is someone who stands up even when they shouldn't and that is you!" that really struck a chord with me as no matter what life throws at me and no matter how many times I get knocked down I just get right back up again. It is purely down to ATTITUDE again!
Please believe that YOU can be who you want to be in life, its YOU who shapes your future and YOU who has to take responsibility for your actions, successes, achievements etc
Start using your intuition and grasp those amazing opportunities that really do crop up each day/week or year and make something of them, make them count! Carpe Diem ....