A year and a half after receiving the world's first partial face transplant, Isabelle Dinoire says the operation allowed her to live like a normal person again, though she feels a part of her identity has disappeared.
"I have returned to the planet of human beings - those with a face, a smile, facial expressions that let them communicate. I am alive again," the Frenchwoman told Le Monde newspaper.
Dinoire was severely disfigured in May 2005 by her pet Labrador. In November 2005, surgeons grafted the lips, nose and chin of a brain-dead woman onto her face in groundbreaking surgery.
Dinoire's immune system nearly rejected the transplant twice, but she was given immuno-depressants that helped overcome the threat.
In Le Monde, Dinoire described the moment when she felt sensation in her new face after the operation: "It was like pins and needles in my cheeks, my chin. Almost like bolts of electricity."
Dinoire said she has not yet found a job and that she continues therapy to improve the movement in her new features, saying she still has trouble pursing her lips for a kiss.
"As for this face ... it's not me," she told Le Monde. "It will never be me ... A part of me and my identity disappeared forever. And I have precious memories of what I was."
She thinks often of the donor and her family.
"I want so much for them to be very proud of their gesture," she said. "And for them to know that I will thank them all my life."
Greetings again, True Crime Fans! Welcome once more to these annals of the morbid and macabre. Emerging from the shadows, Michelle was proposed to be chosen the Democratic Running Mate