Body Farm: “I’ll Have a………”

“I’ll take a knee…and a hip…Heck, throw in a couple of breasts,” said the patient to the surgeon, after looking over choices in an almanac of body parts. It may just come to that. It’s not such a crazy thought.

(She looks good for 55…doesn’t she? She should. Cindy Jackson never started out this way, as you’ll discover if you continue reading.)

These days one can pretty much order up from a cafeteria-style warehouse of body parts to replace the ones that suffered malfunction (disease) or refuse to work properly anymore. Since they’re not comprised of human tissue, there’s little fear of rejection (in most instances), for we’re not tinkering with organic material here.

For those whose mobility’s been compromised by a loss of one of more of their previously-functioning, fundamental parts, these inventions are a Godsend.

For instance, hips and knees not working? Replace those all-important junctures with metal ones that operate almost better than the original. Almost all the seniors I know are in line for one (or all) of these because their own have failed. Let’s face it (and yes, you can get that, too), we’re all outliving our parts, and since we want a quality lifestyle going forward, we’re opting for the man and woman-made creations that replace these.

Organs are another matter. The heart has been reproduced for some time now, but replacement livers and lungs require different protocol as hopeful recipients queue up in waiting lists for the real thing. Why? Those haven’t been artificially perfected yet (at least, not mainstream) , so they’re not fully marketable.

As a result, these essential organs still come from donors who’ve prematurely died and generously willed their body parts. Their intention is clearly marked, ahead of time, on their driver’s licenses (mine says I’m a donor, although it’s debatable anyone would want my older organs). This means that as soon as death occurs, their organs are harvested (God, that sounds awful, but that’s the term).

I can just imagine the donee’s response upon hearing he/she would receive mine: “In full disclosure mode, we need to tell you that the heart you’ll receive has pumped in the body of a 92-year-old woman.” Recipient’s rightful response? “Thanks but No thanks.” (After all, she’s right to wonder: “How long can that tick?”)

It’s not just functioning parts that provide us with the means to live life fully, either. Nine years ago, as a breast cancer patient, I had a mastectomy. I didn’t think it important for me (at 56) to have reconstruction surgery (when you’re facing a presumed death sentence, you don’t worry about aesthetics).

Frankly, my general surgeon did think my appearance would matter to me, going forward, and she sent me to a plastic surgeon who suggested I would care (providing the cancer hadn’t spread.) They were right. Today I sport an upper anatomy that’s true testament to his artistic and surgical talents. Even radiologists compliment his work.

But the medical industry has leapt forward in recent years to allow us freedoms and options unheard of in past generations. For instance, as I alluded to earlier, even the face can be replaced. Oh, not easily and readily, but in the case of the woman who suffered the chimpanzee attack, she now has hope that she can go out in public (her mauling left her with mere vestiges of her former face.)

Then, too, recall the Rhode Island Station Nightclub Fire in 2000? Many of those survived but they suffered severe facial and upper body disfigurement (those were the visible areas). In recent years, they’ve made remarkable strides in recovery due to the efforts of their plastic surgeons.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. The first face reconstruction was a woman in France whose dog mauled her, several years ago (2005). She underwent many hours of surgery by a talented team (it’s not easy to re-craft a face with all its intricacies). That individual suffered rejection of tissue and multiple complications, but she persevered. Why? As most of us recognize: A person’s face is critical; it’s her calling-card to the world.

That’s where the rest of us come in. If we choose to avail ourselves of plastic surgeons’ services (to counter againg via nips and tucks), we’ll be giving them training ground to prepare them for the really big and important cases, the ones that allow stricken others a new lease on life. But maybe I rationalize…

Tell Biddy what you think. Are you in line for any of these miracle procedures or have you had one or more already? “Comment” or “Leave a Comment.” The buttons are below…………..

Now, read the following account by Grace Gold about the woman who’s had more plastic surgeries than anyone else (52); in fact, she holds the Guinness Record for such…55-year-old American Cindy Jackson. And if you’re tempted to believe Jackson’s a “dumb blonde,” think again: She’s been a member of the Mensa Society (the international high IQ society) for years. She takes her brains and that finely-sculpted body and hires out as consultant at over $500 an hour. When you finish reading about her, click on the link that details the miraculous journey of face transplants.

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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