Today’s post was written by Dr. McDaniel’s wife, Meredith.

From the Wife: Reshaping My Perspective

My husband was in his 4th year of medical school when he told me he was considering plastic surgery for his medical specialty. Everything I knew about plastic and reconstructive surgery up to that point came from a Barbara Walters news special, which isn’t saying very much. Wasn’t plastic surgery just for Hollywood? I wasn’t sure how I felt about his decision, but I decided to keep my mouth shut.  (#miraclesdohappen)

About a month after that first conversation, I came across an ad for The Smile Train, a non-profit organization that provides medical treatment to children born with cleft palates.  Could this be another facet of plastic surgery? I asked Jarred, and he confirmed that not only did plastic surgery treat cleft palates, but it also treated a wide variety of congenital deformities—deformities that would otherwise impede the child’s ability to both function normally and have healthy social interactions. Restoring to hope to children and their parents? I was totally on board with that.

Fast forward six years, I had a play date with another mom. We each had three children, as well as the stretch marks and altered figures to prove it. The other mom confided in me that she could not zip up her pants, despite having lost a good deal of weight, due to extra skin that simply would not return to its pre-maternity form. With both frustration and determination in her voice, she told me that she was going to see a plastic surgeon for help.

I have heard many more stories over the years: men and women, parents and children, who likewise have been given physical restoration and subsequent hope. Who do parents want help from when their precious child receives a dog bite to the face? A plastic surgeon, who puts the pieces back to together. Who is able to help a woman when post-partum changes don’t resolve? A plastic surgeon, who reshapes her form. Who is called upon to treat wounds, scars, and deformities? Again, it is a plastic surgeon.

I am continually amazed at how many lives are impacted by plastic surgery’s unique skill set. Certainly, the body, mind and spirit of an individual are wondrously connected, as the restoration of the body gives hope to the soul. I have been blessed to see women come up and hug my husband out of gratitude for how he has helped them, or parents telling us how grateful they are for the care their child received.

We are now 12 years past that milestone decision to specialize in plastic and reconstructive surgery. I often wonder if people look at me, now the wife of a board-certified plastic surgeon, and try to figure out what work I have had done. Little do they know, the most significant changes have been in my heart. I now understand that the services of the plastic surgeon, even the ones that seem the merely “cosmetic,” are so much more than what meets the eye: they are gifts of hope and healing for the whole person.

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