Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pamela - Operation Relaunch Life

Hi everyone. It's Pam with an update on my progress with ORC. I am deep into makeover territory now. My latest appointments have been in the city with Dr. Jeannie Tsai at the SF Aesthetics and Laser Center.

Before my initial consultation regarding filler injections with Dr. Tsai, I did alot of consulting with my friends and relatives as to whether I should even consider the procedure. On the one hand, as a natural healer type, I tend to shy away from anything artificial or potentially toxic, so I really had to weigh if this was for me. On the other hand, this is a HUGE, once-in-a-lifetime gift, and though I wouldn't have given it to myself (my financial priorities primarily being my children and their education), I rationalized that this opportunity could potentially enhance my ability to provide better for my children in the future, so I wanted to give it my full consideration.

Hearing people's opinions on this procedure was interesting. As I had expected, the more holistic, healthy types tended to give the thumbs down. Younger people tended to almost scoff, though they're the first to tattoo or pierce themselves to enhance their appearance. The men I know generally said, "you look fine the way you are, why would you want to do this."? When asking the opinion of the women my age, they were almost unanimously thumbs up, and dare I say some were even a tinge envious.

My initial meeting with Dr. Tsai was very positive and exciting. She has a lovely and easy going manner. She thoroughly explained the procedure, in which a gel is injected into areas of the face to plump up the skin where there is sagging and where tissue has been lost. The gel is composed of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in the body which has been chemically changed by cross-linking the molecules to make them more stable. This way the gel doesn't breakdown as quickly in the body, so the results can last months, and in some areas years. How long the filler stays put depends on how active the muscles are in that part of the face. For instance, the areas around the eyes and nose last longer than around the mouth. Dr. Tsai had reconfirmed that the risks are minimal, and she has never seen an allergic reaction to the gel.

From what I've read about filler, it's all about how skillfull and aesthetically oriented the injector is, and I trusted Dr. Tsai completely. Allowing someone to inject filler into your face requires alot of trust, and I was confident that she had not only the medical expertise, but also had the artistic sensibility to successfully remodel my face. She also showed me several  before and after photos of patients, including herself. Not only did she impress me with her competence, but her thoughtful communication and sensitivity to giving me exactly what I wanted from the procedure. Together we made a plan regarding which areas of my face to inject, and also talked about the importance of follow-up visits.

On the day of my first appointment I was quite nervous, worrying about any possible bruising and hoping I wasn't going to regret this decision in any way. Dr. Tsai had already heard all my concerns and she immediately put me at ease as she began the numbing of my lips with a topical anesthesia as they are the most sensitive area. She then began the injections on the right side of my face. After multiple injections, and many breaks in between to check out the progress in the mirror, my face did instantly look plumped up. The entire procedure took just over an hour, going by very fast, with any pain or discomfort overshadowed by my curiosity and fascination with the entire process. There was a point where we stopped and Dr. Tsai asked if this was enough or did we want to do more. We decided to do a little bit more in the lower lip and around the eyes (I can see how some people might over do this, thinking more is better). Six or seven vials of Juvaderm later, I had a new face, a face that for the most part that looked brighter and happier. We took copious amounts of before and after photos and it was very easy to see the improvements made in my lips, nasolabial folds, cheeks, forehead and around my eyes. The immediate results were pretty amazing if you study the before and after photos. But if you were to just look at the whole face, from a more gestalt perspective, the impression of improvement is more subtle.

The days following the injections there was some minor bruising and a few areas that had a lumpy feeling, and I did have to adapt to my lips feeling puffed up. On my follow up visit Dr. Tsai did notice some swelling that she said was not a problem and that would go down soon. What's amazing is that the gel can continue to be molded into place with firm pressure, and Dr. Tsai encouraged me to come in for additional follow up visits if I had any discomfort or concerns. Oddly, I have felt happier since doing the procedure, maybe relieved that it turned out so great. But also, I wonder if it's like the phenomenon people describe of putting a smile on your face and actually feeling happier, even if you didn't start out that way.

One really unexpected surprise came as a result of this procedure. People often told me that my mother and I shared a very strong resemblance. My dear mother passed away over a year ago after a long battle with brain cancer, which eroded her mind and spirit, and devastated her once bright appearance. Sadly, watching her slowly die in that way, and all the accompanying grief, left me with the experience of seeing my dying mother's face in my own reflection. But unexpectedly when I looked in the rear view mirror while driving home from my appointment with Dr. Tsai, I didn't see that sad dying face anymore. I was astonished to see the earlier me, the one before all the hardship. It felt like having a reset, a fresh start. What an unexpected gift. Thank you to Dr. Tsai and her staff and all the wonderful people involved in Operation Relaunch Career.

Sometimes I notice it is hard for me to accept all these wonderful gifts I am being given as a result of winning this life changing contest, but please know I am filled with appreciation and gratitude, and that you all have made a wonderful difference in my life. One of my friends had even said, "Your experience should be called Operation Relaunch Life."

Pamela Mulvey

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pam's Job Search Update

Pam is well on her way to finding herself back in the work force. Some of the things that we have done to help her achieve her goals are as follows:

<!** Revised her resume and cover letter to better reflect her skills and experience.
<!** Talked about interview questions and how to answer them.
<!** Reviewed various tips and tricks for the job search process for her very specific chiropractic field.
<!** Discussed how her interviewing attire should reflect both comfort and the holistic side of her field  with natural fibers. Also about how she should avoid synthetic perfumes and strong scents.
<!** Follow-up strategies once she’s applied and interviewed for various positions.

So far she’s had two interviews and one offer that was not a good fit for what she was looking for. She is currently submitting her resume for qualified positions that fit her experience. 

Operation Relaunch Career Unveiling Party

Mark your calendars to help us celebrate the unveiling of our lovely ORC winners.

Thursday, April 21st - 6 pm to 9 pm - Come and celebrate their success while
benefiting Support for Families with Children and Disabilities (SFCD).

It will be a special night with LOTS of special surprises, including a silent auction,
celebrity bartender . . . . . you won't want to miss this.

No need to RSVP, but we'd love to hear if you'll be joining us for this fun evening.
Email to:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching up on the Blog

Hi Everyone! It's Pam again with an update.

Since my last post I have gone through an extended interview process, which has been a great learning experience and a confidence-builder.  As Cindy Fassler has pointed out, I am interviewing the prospective employers as well, to determine if the job is a good fit for me. As it turned out, this wasn't the job for me, but I am feeling well prepared for the next interview, which I hope will be soon!

Micki Turner, our dream team fashion consultant, met with us at Cindy Fassler's office to discuss wardrobe ideas.

It was fun getting together, and Micki was very helpful. She gave some feedback a few outfits and helped me create a short list of items to purchase in order to present myself more professionally, which includes a tote (to replace my overly casual handbag and accommodate a resume folder). I also need appropriate shoes, such as flats or wedges in a neutral color (apparently"nude" is in!), plus a cardigan which is a nice, softer alternative to a blazer or jacket. She followed up with some t-shirt ideas, which  if they have a crisp neckline can look put together with accessories! Micki addressed adding more color to basic black with scarves. So basically: keep the style simple, but have some style!

Cindy has continued to be a great support in the job search, continuously giving me tips and encouragement, such as recommending that I send a hand written thank you note following an interview. It helps that she acknowledges the process, and emphasizes building one's sense of self-worth.

There's much more to catch up on next time. I need to get back on my training schedule, which has been hard to keep up with so many other demands on my time. I promised Andrew Duffy I'd get in at least 2 workouts per week.

Until then, best to all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank You Dream Team Volunteers with the Heart & Soul of Gold

Hi Operation Relaunch Career Followers!

This is Marilyn Chelini, a very grateful winner of Operation Relaunch Career.
I know I haven't updated in a while.  It seems like I do so much writing in my work, I don't really want to do too much on  my own time.

But this is a long time in coming. Before I start writing about my progress, I want to recognize each Dream Team volunteer individually, as they are giving their time and product/services without charge.  All to make a difference in MY life.  This is just a awesome opportunity which I have been given.  I hope these words express how I feel about entering and winning this contest.  In one word, WINNING!

Thanks to Russel Thompson and Angela Berk of the Carmichael Salon.  Angela has changed my hair forever, along with my buddy Mick Aguilera (you'll always be Mickey to me!) Sandy Hinojosa, Rebekah Nummer, Tania Aragon, Nikko Villanueva and Yvonne Franklin. I love you guys!

Andrew Duffy, CPT...what can I say about Andrew.  Patience of the Saints and motivates me to be the best I can thru diet and exercise.  What a nasty word "diet" is!  Before coming to Andrew, I had a broken leg at the end of 2009.  After nine weeks in a cast and put into a walking boot, I fell down my stairs and shattered my heel, ankle, and tore Achilles Tendon and broke my arm.  After surgery to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, 6 months of PT, I had to wear ortho shoes when walking. Now I workout with my EasyTones!  I feel great! Andrew, you're the best!!! Big Hug!!

When I met up with Cindy Fassler, she understood what I am going to achieve.  After 30 years doing Operations/Business Development, I want to get a law degree.  Cindy took my resume and picked out the things that would help me in my career change.  Cindy is marketing me as a "law assistant" while I start school again. Team TSS is a very special employment placement company.  Just the best.

Dr Julie Karnazes, cosmetic Dentist, whitened my teeth.  I had trays from several years ago so Dr. Julie provided me with product and x-rays.  They have whitened.  I need to drink coffee from a straw now.  Thank you very much Team Julie Karnazes (Never mind that I got towed by the Municipal Transit Authority after my last 20 minute appointment with Julie-$575.00 to get my car back!).

And Micki Turner, you really did give me a lot to think about.  I thought you were going to suggest a blue business suit.  Yuck!!!! Not me at all.  You were able to recognize my "style or lack thereof" but what makes me feel comfortable.  I will definitely contact you when I "dress for success.!  Thank You!

To Dr. Jeannie Tsai, you're a sweetheart.  I had some trepidation about fillers and botox, but I trusted you so I just went for you.  You told me I had good genes with minimal wrinkles and good bone structure.  I am so pleased as t the way my face looks.  So subtle that no one notices, except me.  You team is just awesome!

The last member of the Dream Team is Dr Dino Elyassnia, who I will be working with soon.

All of the people I mentioned are selfless and believe in this program.  I cannot begin to thank all for making me feel good about myself.  Of course, I am a work in progress.

On a final note,  my progress is so much more my internal image has improved so much, the external image follows.  Even when my bro tells me I have a "puffy face" (and I don't) I take it in stride.  I don't expect to look like what I did in high school, but to accept my age and do the things that make me feel better.  (and I love it when people assume I'm in my 30'S)  Now that's WINNING, DUH!!
Signing off for now,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Hi All! It's Pam with an update on my progress with Operation Relaunch Career.

Since my last post, I have had a great outdoor session with Andrew Duffy, where he not only helped me to get started on more aerobic training, but also made some valuable recommendations for rehabilitating a hamstring injury that I have been struggling with. I always learn something from Andrew!

Cynthia Fassler from TSS has been very supportive and coached me through my first interview, making recommendations on how to present myself, including what to wear, questions to ask, what personal information to reveal (or not). I felt okay about the interview. I got some feedback that I presented myself with good energy and even came across extroverted (which I am not), however I felt I was too personal and familiar. It occurred to me that in my previous life as a "stay-at-home-mom", I am used to a certain chit-chatty way of communicating which is friendly yet undirected, like striking up a random conversation in the supermarket. What I need to learn is to speak in a more business-like manner, controlling my agenda and redirecting back to my purpose, which is finding suitable employment. Practicing interviewing with Cynthia is definitely helpful. I like her clarity and her business sense!

Additionally, I have been appointments with dentist, Dr. Julie Karnazes, and plastic surgeon, Dr. Dino Ellyassnia, who have so generously donated their services.

Dr. Karnazes office is perched on the top floor of 450 Sutter with breathtaking views of downtown and the bay. What a place to come to work! I was welcomed by her staff, Pamela and Jamie, who were very helpful and kind. Dr. Karnazes herself was extremely thorough, compassionate, and gentle. After examining my teeth, she determined I was a candidate for tooth whitening, so molds were taken, and I am to perform the process at home over a 5 day period. All is going smoothly, except in my enthusiasm I put too much of the whitening gel into the trays the first day and got a mild burn from the bleach! Oh well, now I have skills and have learned. So far the results are looking good!

A few days later I visited Dr. Ellyassnia at his office also at 450 Sutter, this time on the 22nd floor. He works in a beautiful suite decorated with many gorgeous, large pieces of modern art.  I enjoyed the spa-like atmosphere, sipping Pelligrino, as I filled out the paperwork. I was a little nervous, never imagining I'd find myself in a plastic surgeon's office. But Dr. Ellyassnia really put me at ease.

He has a very pleasant, easy-going manner. I had already done my research, polled my friends and family, and had decided to try whatever "injectables" he might recommend. He clearly explained my options and recommended Botox for my forehead, between my eyebrows (frown lines), and on the sides of my eyes (crow's feet) for the best results. He explained that it is important not to overdue the amount of Botox used on the forehead because paralysis of those muscles can make the eyebrows appear to drop or sag too low.  The many (20?) small injections he gave me targeted specific muscles to make them relax, by paralyzing them. It was hardly painful at all, just pricking sensations with an occasional sting, but very tolerable. Right after I did have a few bubbles under my skin around my outer eyes, but these subsided quickly.  I do think it took a day or two for the results to become more noticeable. And the only side effect I can describe would be a taut feeling in my forehead if I try and raise my eyebrows. My impression of myself after the Botox, was that a subtle, yet noticeable change had occurred. I appear more relaxed, less stressed out!

So that's the latest, much more to come. Back to Carmichael Salon tomorrow- I'm looking forward to seeing Russel, Tania and Mick.