I started the process of making a prosthesis for Tanya back in September. We went through several revisions along the way. After six hours of extrinsic painting, eyelash and eyebrow application, it was finally ready. On this day, Tanya carefully put on her makeup so it could be matched to the prosthesis. When I arrived the office, she was already pacing back and forth. There is no question that this is one of the most significant events in her life:
I was beyond excited to start the process for the making of my prosthesis. I knew that Janet was going to give it her all. I was really nervous because I have been wearing the patch for 15 years and was comfortable to an extent with how I looked. I wasn't sure how or if I would be comfortable with the new me. I'm happy to say I'm beyond happy. With it I feel whole again. -Tanya
Over the past few months she shared a lot with me and the staff at Dr. Michael Forde's office, where I traveled to make this prosthesis. She even asked me to be her Facebook friend.
Until this point, I had never agreed to be Facebook friends with a patient. Although I know other medical professionals who do, I tend to keep my personal and professional lives separate. Several months ago this exact topic about social media and patient-physician confidentiality came up at a conference I attended that prompted a serious discussion. What Tanya said to me was this: "You are someone who is going to change my life permanently. I would like you to continue being a part of my life."
I can't deny the power of social media when it comes to patient care. I noticed that I had been able to answer her questions more directly through the use of social media and it helped me see a more comprehensive picture of who she is so that I was able to serve her better. It's not a solution for every situation, but I believe this is an appropriate case because Tanya is already using the web medium to advocate her cause--she openly shares her healing process, including photos of this physical transformation, in order to voice awareness about domestic violence.
Between two of our appointments was the anniversary of the original incident. Since then she's waited fifteen years to restore her face. After numerous surgeries and still living with physical pain in the affected areas, she opted to continue her rehabilitation process with a facial prosthesis. The moment of the final delivery was an emotional one. It was a collaboration between two offices that made this happen, and every member of the office staff was celebrating for you, Tanya. We wish you the best.
Just knowing it's done and I can put it on anytime gives me a sense of comfort. I love all the support and positive feedback I'm getting when I wear it. I didn't expect to not be able to wear it 24/7. I thought it was going to be more permanent thing but I'm still happy I chose to go with the prosthesis. I've already been through to many surgeries and didn't want to take the risk of having full blown reconstruction in fear one of the grafts might not take. I'm truly blessed to be alive and forever grateful for the time and effort that everyone has put into helping me regain my new look. Funny thing the prosthesis alone looks like it's a part of me that's how awesome it is. I cannot say thank you enough. -Tanya