Monday, August 27, 2012

Cosmetic Surgery From the Inside Out

Reality television and many of self-promoting plastic surgeons would have you believe the experience of cosmetic surgery is much like spending the day at the beach - all sunshine and playful breezes. All it takes is a little snip, snip, snip and life becomes everything your dreamed it could be. No wonder more and more physicians are moving into the cosmetics field whether they are qualified or not. No wonder we are beginning to see the 'abnormal' body features becoming the 'new normal.'
In a day when people want a magic pill to quickly fix whatever needs fixing many people flock to Neiman Marcus or the plastic surgeon when life presents a twist, turn or a downward dip. Like addicts many never realize that external solutions can't solve internal emotional problems. There isn't a Prada bag or Face-lift that can fill the emptiness within.
Which is why I was surprised, and delighted, to hear of a plastic surgeon, Dr. Peter B. Fodor, among the top 1% of U.S. Plastic Surgeons according to U.S. News and celebrity surgeon to the stars. He rules out surgery for about 50% of the people who want to engage his services.
Why? Because if a patient isn't emotionally ready for cosmetic surgery Fodor will tell the patient the truth - this surgery isn't for you and/or I'm not the surgeon you want.
This was someone I had to meet. And I did. Fodor graciously gave me the better part of a day of his time to sit down and discuss his philosophy, what he sees in the emotional and physical diversity of the people who come to see him and give me a personal and private tour of his medical facility. His elegant presence and peaceful environment set the stage for a lengthy and lively conversation that was more about the beauty in wealth of spirit than the ambidextrous artistry of his surgical hands.
Fodor also takes his time when he first consults with a potential patient. Unlike many doctors who rush from one patient to the next, Fodor digs deep to fully hear and understand what a person really wants and expects to get out of the procedure. As he was in our meeting, he is fully present and focused.
As I listened to Dr. Fodor tell me the story of his career and his early experiences I lost the image of a technician and gained the vision of an artist who loves to precisely create and sculpt with his hands. Each movement has purpose. Each tool has a mission to deliver a meaningful positive change.
We talked a bit about the cosmetic surgery industry itself and quickly got to the heart of the conversation. Cosmetic procedures are more about the mind than they are about the body. With a background in psychology, Fodor refers to his work as "psycho-surgery." He treats patients from the inside out.
If a procedure isn't in the patient's highest good, Fodor will opt out.
There are four reasons why Fodor will not move forward with surgery:
1. The patient shows evidence of a body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Such a person is excessively preoccupied with and concerned about perceived defects in their physical features. Sufferers believe that they are so ugly or deformed that they can't function in society until they are "fixed." There isn't a knife in the world that can alone carve away such misguided pain. Fodor's conviction is if what a client wants doesn't naturally exist in human physique he will not create it with his scalpel.
2. The patient expresses unrealistic expectations.
If the expectations are higher than the realities of the procedure, Dr. Fodor will give patients a strong reality check. Instead of ushering me to the payment desk, Dr. Fodor would have politely ushered me to the door oh so long ago when I thought that if I enhanced my barely B Cup into a convincing C Cup my life would change in magical ways. At the time, I guess I was lucky that my first consultation experience made me feel like an anonymous piece of meat ready to be carved and charged. I ran out the door and never looked back. Had I gone forward I would have learned the painful and expensive way that what I wanted didn't come packaged with a boob job.
Unlike the physician I saw at that time, Fodor tells the truth about what to expect throughout the process even if its not what the patient wants to hear. He is intent on giving his patients the tools to be able to make an informed rational decision.
3. When a patient excessively believes 'more is better.'
Dr. Fodor will not produce anything that does not normally exist. Period. If after a discussion on what is in the patient's best interest, a patient still wants an unnatural enhancement Dr. Fodor suggests the patient go somewhere else. "I'd rather have a person be unhappy with me for a day than for a lifetime."
As it is, nearly 50% of the procedures Fodor does do are 're-dos' for patients who have gone elsewhere and are unhappy with the results. The paradox isn't lost on Fodor who realizes that when he says so many will ultimately find a doctor who will say yes - and then end up back in his office for a correction.
4. The patient isn't intrinsically motivated.
If a patient is in his office only because someone else - a significant other perhaps - thinks the procedure needs to be done Fodor will decline.
For Fodor to say YES, a patient needs to have made an informed decision autonomously, have realistic expectations about the outcomes and (hopefully) have a strong support system within the dynamics of family and friends. Engaging actively as part of that support system is inherent in the ongoing care Fodor provides.
Fodor's passion and mission is to serve the greater good of his client. This philosophy is evident in the physical and technical design of his practice - from the soothing decor, state-of-the-art private in-house surgery center and comfy pre-and post-operation recovery areas, the practice was designed to place the attention on the needs of the patient rather than the accolades of the doctor. I didn't see the celebrity photos, array of diplomas and awards or brochures touting the fabulousness of the typical Dr. Nip and Tuck.
There are other equally motivated and qualified surgeons like Fodor who really want to make a positive and powerful difference in a person's life. As with any industry, there are doctors and professionals who care more about their tee-off time than what a patient or client really needs and wants. If you are seeking a cosmetic solution it is your job to discern one from the other. It is your job to fully understand what you're signing up for.
Stand in line in any grocery store and you'll see an array of tabloids spotlighting the latest celebrity surgical blunder. At the same time, there are many people with surgical success stories who feel better about themselves after the procedure. They report improvement in self-esteem and confidence in a way that enables them to enrich their quality of life. These are the people who have a healthy realistic relationship with themselves and what surgery can and can't provide.
It all boils down to your WHY.
What is it that you're really looking to buy with your cosmetic surgery investment?
If it's realistic, intrinsic and you're emotionally ready to adjust to the change in your body image then go into it boldly with full awareness. Chances are you'll be pleased with the results.
If, however, you think it will magically turn you into someone you are not or will never be then think again. You will not be pleased with what you see in the mirror and in life upon recovery. If you're overweight, 50 years old and have no talent as an actor you will never be or look like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.
Do your homework. There are a lot of books available that will give you an education about the essential facts and surgeon insights about the plastic surgery process. A quick search on led me to "Be Your Best: A Comprehensive Guide to Aesthetic Plastic Surgery" written by industry experts with Fodor as the book's Medical Editor.
No two people are alike. Therefore a good plastic surgeon will take the time to consult and collaborate with you to develop a highly individualized surgical plan. Speak with a few board-certified plastic surgeons. In addition to selecting a surgeon who is qualified to do the procedure, you want a doctor who will have your best interests at heart from first consultation to months - if not years - beyond recovery.
Ask questions and keep asking questions until you get answers that you can understand. Discern hype and false promises from fact and realistic expectations. Even if some of the body parts aren't exactly 'real', keep it real in your head and in your heart. That's where your real strength and beauty lives.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Good Credit Holding You Back

Would you rather have good credit or no debt?
The shift from the gold standard is becoming increasingly evident as the lines between cash and credit continue to blur. Its obvious the average American doesn't have a problem acquiring debt as long as the monthly payments are low enough to manage. I must admit as a twenty-something year old woman, I'm not at all surprised to see people jumping at the opportunity to borrow more money. Since, the recession began in my late adolescence. However, it is interesting to see people avoid paying off debt in order to raise the almighty FICO score.
How Much Are You Willing to Pay for a High Credit Score?
What's even more disturbing is the amount of people deciding to carry student loan debt in order to establish long-term payment history. I understand credit is important. Especially in a debt based society but does it make sense?
According to the Federal Reserve student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt and now tops $1 trillion. It is also estimated that 9.1% of new graduates default within the first two years, according to the US Department of Education. Unfortunately, the news just keeps getting worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate of 7.8% for the month of September. So, the risk of default seems pretty high considering underemployment and those that have simply given up are not included in current unemployment statistics.
I strongly disagree with voluntarily carrying student loan debt because it can't be discharged unless you can prove your 100% percent disabled, in which case you have way bigger problems than personal finance. As a result, I think extending such a large debt with few repayment options and, no possibility of forgiveness isn't a fair trade for a better credit score.
I am aware there are other types of debt obtained to improve credit worthiness. However, no debt is as permanent or damaging as student loans. Here's a perfect example of why student loans should be immediately paid off.
Are You Considering All the Cost?
Our country is heading in the wrong direction with no sign of change in sight. However, an entirely different picture is being drawn by the mainstream media, who claim a rise in consumer confidence is a sign of economic recovery.
The US Census Bureau announced August retail trade sales were up 1.2% from July and 5.3% above the same time last year. This information was reported as a sign of better times which is really disheartening because no real growth has occurred.
The new increase in sales is not a response to new job creation or raised wages but increased lending. In my opinion, the housing bubble and the impeding student debt bubble is just a lending crisis in disguise. Improving credit scores in order to obtain more debt is harmful to the recipient and the country as a whole.
A new normal is being created causing entitlement to spiral out of control. Everyone wants to own a house but, unfortunately not everyone can afford one. So, most people are willing to serve a 30 year sentence in order to buy their piece of The America Dream. Reality is slipping away and owing money is becoming all too normal.
The forces that be are encouraging us to carry large debts for decades. Thus, preventing us from gaining real wealth until we qualify for the senior's discount at Ihop! Consequently, most people's "assets" are leased not owned, including their house! No wonder their wanting to extend the age of retirement.
Side note: How does a homeowner lose their home? They don't! They never owned it in the first place but I digress, that's a post for another day.
At the end of the day credit should be a perk. A tool that allows you get lower insurance, better jobs, and low or no deposits when starting a new service. Perks are nice but not missed. Unfortunately, it seems some people would rather have an excellent credit score and substantial debt, than low or no credit without any financial burdens which explains why Americans are losing wealth by the minute.
We need to remember credit is nice but cash is king. Actually, I take that back. Credit isn't nice, it fact it can have sharp jagged teeth when in the wrong hands. The American dream has been hijacked and refinanced over and over again. Don't believe the hype. Digging yourself deeper and deeper in debt in order to buy things you don't own is just plan stupid. If you were considering managing debt in order to improve your credit score, I hope this article got you thinking and changed your mind.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Homeopathy Helped the Model Smile Again

The patch of eczema didn't just itch, it wept, causing 20-year-old Kayla to seek the help of an "alternative health" doctor. She was due on a large photo shoot in week; the rash HAD to be gone by then. The model had seen several skin specialists, taken several different drugs, used a few different creams, and in the end, nothing had changed. In a drastic effort, she called "one of those natural doctors."
Kayla was the picture of perfection, calm and serene, not a hair out of place. She smiled, sat tall and gave the impression that nothing bothered her. But something was obviously "bothering" her because she had eczema wouldn't go away for the past 3 months.
The Compensated State
Each person makes changes in his/her life to accommodate socially acceptable behaviors, cultural norms, etc. For example, a child is taught to be quiet in church or to sit still in class. People also make changes based on their PERCEPTIONS. If a man perceives that he will be accepted by his parents only if he has a high-paying job, he will work very hard to find that job and keep it, even if he doesn't like it. He will then make mental and physical changes that may go against his own inner voice just so that he can continue to be accepted by his parents.
For the most part, the Compensated State is what people see in others. People put "their best foot forward." Often times, what they feel inside, who they actually are, is a direct opposite of what is shown on the outside.
Homeopathic practitioners understand the Compensated State. It is their job to find the Uncompensated State-the person behind the mask.
Who Was Kayla Really?
The best way to begin an interview to find the person behind the mask is to have the person tell you a little about himself/herself. For Kayla, she stated how nothing bothers her, that she can be in a tornado and she'll be just fine. She discussed how she has great pride in being calm when everyone else panics. In fact, she had been on a photo shoot when a tornado was spotted by the cameraman. She had sat calmly, as if nothing had been going on, while everyone else had sought safety.
She had once been in a restaurant when it was being robbed. She was calm and relaxed, as if nothing was happening. Those around her cried or hid their heads, ducking down. Kayla was calm.
Kayla had even been strong and showed no emotion when her only brother, age 15, had committed suicide. "I didn't shed one tear. I was tough for everyone else."
Kayla went on to relay several other stories of her bravery and courage. "Nothing fazes me," she said calmly.
"Except this eczema on my neck." The patches itched and wept a watery yellow fluid constantly. The patches were in the same area on both sides of her neck.
When asked about the history of the eczema, she stated she had spurts of it here-and-there throughout her life, usually when something happened that was highly traumatic or before a big photo shoot; but that never stopped her. "Nothing stops me either." When she had a back injury after a fall, she went right back to work as soon as she left the hospital. "The doctor told me to rest for a few days, but I didn't. I went right to work and dealt with it. No days off for me! I didn't even let anyone help me at home."
When asked why she had to work when others would have listened to the doctor, she stated that she had to be better than everyone else; she couldn't have flaws.
The theme being seen was that Kayla:
• --Expressed no emotions.
• --Always appeared calm and in control.
• --Had a flare-up of eczema right before important events.
• --Was not dependent upon anyone.
• --Would not slow down for anything.
And it was all Compensation. Kayla was not the person she presented to society. Over the years, she had learned to suppress all emotions, become independent, and would not allow anyone to see who she really was (or to see her flaws).
Remedy Selection
Even in the face of terrifying ordeals (being robbed, approaching tornado, death of brother), Kayla maintained control and did not cry, express sadness, or anything. She was in complete control. Whereas many would consider this courageous, it was a mask in Kayla's case. She was just as panicky as everyone else; she just didn't show it.
Having flare-ups of eczema right before important events was her body's way of trying to slow her down, keep her from facing things that frightened her. She wanted to portray to the world that she was perfect, without flaws-eczema was on the skin and could be seen-it showed the world how she felt inside, that she felt she was flawed, not perfect, lacking in self-confidence.
Because she was sensitive to how she was perceived by others, a plant kingdom remedy seemed to be indicated. And, because of the high degree of compensation to keep others from seeing who she truly was inside, and her fears, this indicated the sycotic miasm.
A miasm is the depth and severity of the disease's impact on a person's life and health. There are 10 different miasms (although some practitioners only acknowledge 3 or 4). It would take another article to discuss each in depth. But for the most part, the degree of impact defines the miasm.
Several of the confirming symptoms were that she wore glasses because her eyes were slow to accommodate when looking far away then close, and drinking alcohol or coffee made her feel better.
Kayla was given Gelsemium 30C.
Kayla Couldn't Weep, So Her Eczema Did
Kayla's Compensated State was to appear courageous and show no emotion in the face of shock and bad news; she always had to be in control, never allow anyone to see her cry. When about to be faced with a trying situation (big photo shoot) where others may see her flaws, the eczema would appear. When she was unable to cry because of her Compensated State, the eczema did it for her. On the outside, Kayla may have appeared to be confident, strong, courageous and not fazed by life's challenges; but on the inside, she lacked self-confidence and was filled with anxiety and panic. And she felt she had to hide from her true self-to let no one see her faults.
She did well on the Gelsemium. In time the eczema disappeared, and to some extent Kayla was able to see how the Compensated State was affecting her health. Perhaps in time more awareness will occur and people will learn who Kayla really is.
Best wishes,
Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys
Homeopathic Centers of America
Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.