Thursday, September 22, 2005

I know its been forever...

So, my topic.  Yeah, I really do have one.  Face transplants.

I watched a show on Discovery Health back when I had the free time to do so about this controversial procedure, and I found it quite interesting.  People horrifically burned in devastating accidents, debating about whether or not it was something they could do.  Basically, it involves transplanting the entire face from a deceased individual onto your head.  The idea is to find a donor with similar skin tone and facial structure.  Admittedly, it is a little creepy, but...what if you were faced with a horrendous disfiguring accident like these people were?  Would you be willing to risk everything in order to have a functioning face? 

An even bigger question:  would you be willing to give up your visual identity in order to improve your quality of life?  You wouldn't look like "you" anymore.  How would that feel?  I think it might be quite traumatic to wake up, look in the mirror, and see someone else.

Many of these people no longer have noses or eyelids or ears.  They're scarred so terribly they have trouble talking and eating.  One individual in particular had to put special drops and creams in her eyes to keep them from drying out.  Her tear ducts had been destroyed along with her eyelids.  People stare and gasp at this woman, who was once strikingly beautiful.  She has little hair, no nose except two small holes, and enlarged lips.  Her skin is so scarred it looks painful.  She's had numerous surgeries and she's lucky to be alive.

This begs the question...would you be able to recognize the facial features of the deceased individual on the recipient?  How creepy would that be, to be walking down the street and see your deceased loved one's face on someone else?

This particular documentary involved medical students who were the subject of an experiment designed to test that particular theory.  They were shown pictures of cadavers (donors) before and after the experimental surgery, where the recipients were also cadavers.  The results were mixed - some students readily identified/matched donor to recipient, where others had more difficulty.

Apparently, the risks are huge and involve infection and rejection. Recipients have to be placed on anti-rejection medication that can harm your body.  If the transplanted face is rejected, recipients could be worse off than they were to begin with - no face whatsoever and no tissue to work with.

I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation.  I always think of my kids first, and if I was lucky enough to be alive to be here for them, I wouldn't want to push my luck.  On the other hand, it depends on quality of life issues.  I know its a superficial thing, but I understand completely what its like to be discriminated against and treated horribly for how you look (ie being overweight), and I can't imagine what it would be like to go through life horribly scarred beyond recognition.  People can be so mean.  BUT...do I really want to look like someone else?  Do I want to lose the visual representation of what is ME in order to fit in?  Would it be worth it to avoid the pain and improve my quality of life?  Do I want to risk my life?

Its crazy how well I get treated now, even though I still have 30 or more pounds to lose.  Everyone's nicer to me, people open doors for me and I get respect much more now than I did 50-60 pounds ago.  Like I said, people can be so mean.

So...what would you do?  Would you continue with your scars and pain or would you go ahead with a very risky surgery that'll have you looking like someone else?

Check out the article HERE.

*****

Crazy what a little stress can do to you.  Suddenly the things that used to be so important, the things that brought you a little joy each day are just not that imperative anymore.  Like journaling, for instance.  Seems the classes I took on this semester are just a little more daunting than I thought they were going to be, and my workload has increased exponentially.  So much so that I've turned into a whining, sleep-deprived weirdo who laughs hysterically at things that are just a little funny and does stupid things like rush out of the house without essential items.  (and I do mean ESSENTIAL items)

My application for graduation was approved, however, so I'm going to finally (FINALLY) graduate in May.  That's my mantra these days...

Almost done.  Almost done.  Almost done.  Almost done.

Things are going along swimmingly, however.  Hubby found a job and started Monday, the girls are wonderful, the job is awesome.  I've just sort of put my own needs aside for the short term.  That's all.

I'm just exhausted, overworked, stressed and treading water.  And whining!!!

*****

There's your  monthly (monthly?) purge with a side of whine.  I really would like to see how people feel about the face thing though, so chime in!

More when  I can....

7 comments:

ravenlark2 said...

I don't think I could go through it but then again I don't really know how I would be if I was so horridly burned. I might change my mind for just a small chance at being normal. Hard question and yeah...a little creepy.

WTG on your impending graduation!

Just hang on and May will be here before you know it.

Gotta share weight loss secrets with me. *grins* I need to lose about 50 to 100 pounds too. I think about 75 would be great.

Nice to hear from ya. Take care.

-Raven

gabreaelinfo said...

I read an article last week on the face plants. It would be good for burn victims. But hey! Haven't they been preforming those for the last 20 years on daytime soap operas?

LOL

Gabreael

toonguykc said...

I sound like a broken record -- but if I was a burn victim faced with a "face transplant", I'd just find the tallest buikding to jump off of.  

jmorancoyle said...

    If the face transplant would help me do things that were so easy previously, ie. talk, eat, breath, I'd go for it. It seems to me that if your visual image of yourself has been so damaged in an accident, why would it matter if you had someone else's face? Just because I am who I am, eventually I would make that face mine.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/JMoranCoyle/MyWay

lurkynat said...

Dear Kris,
Thanks for this! It's very interesting! love,nat

andreakingme said...

<< Basically, it involves transplanting the entire face from a deceased individual onto your head.  The idea is to find a donor with similar skin tone and facial structure.  Admittedly, it is a little creepy, but...what if you were faced with a horrendous disfiguring accident like these people were?  Would you be willing to risk everything in order to have a functioning face? >>

I gasped when I read that first sentence ... and then I got over it. Yes, I'd be willing to risk everything to have a functioning face if I was severely ... damaged. At that point, what would I have to lose?

<< An even bigger question:  would you be willing to give up your visual identity in order to improve your quality of life? >>

Yes, I would. As long as the "new" face was an improvement on my own. Kind of sad what that says about me, but there you have it. I'd miss my face for only a short while.

njmom72 said...

Wow, modern medicine never ceases to amaze..face transplants?? How shocking would that be if you have a loved one die and two months later see their face on a completely different body! I can see how it would be a blessing for those who have been horribly disfigured, though..amazing story! :-)

~ Susan