So far I have had a preliminary meeting at Dr....
So far I have had a preliminary meeting at Dr. Harley's office where he evaluated my needs for a "Biltmore lift" which is a facelift with neck lift. I am 62 years old. I asked if he had any other suggestions and he said, "no." He thought I would be very pleased with the results. I also received very detailed pre-surgery instructions what foods to eat and meds and foods that must be discontinued two weeks prior to my surgery date. I am very excited!
Farewell Puppet Lines, Jowls, and Turkey Neck!
I am 64 and will be having a face and neck lift ("Biltmore Lift") procedure with Dr. David Harley this-coming Friday. I have been contemplating this for a while because I hate the puppet lines and my crinkly, saggy neck. After looking at the videos and photos on Dr. Harley' site, I scheduled a consultation in June, and instantly felt comfortable with Dr. Harley. He is very professional and soft spoken, not pushy, etc. He has gotten great reviews on this site and elsewhere, plus was recently featured in "New Beauty" magazine. I am uploading some no frills "mug shot" before photos that my daughter took today. Have been doing all the prep: no drinking, no NASIDS, low sodium, and taking vitamin C. Debating on Arnica, but will probably start it two days before. Will update after the surgery. Wish me luck!
The New Me!
Surgery was scheduled for 6:30 Friday morning, Aug. 16, and it went really quickly. Dr. Harley gives you a "cocktail" of drugs--valium, anti-nausea, etc. and then takes you to the surgery room where he takes photos. He then sat me in a chair and started marking up my face. That is all I remember I came home wrapped in gauze, padding etc., with a list of instructions and Hydrocodone, and antibiotic, and anti-nausea pills. The next morning he removed the drain and took off the bandages. He was really pleased with the results. Saturday and Sunday were pretty awful days for me. I had horrible dry mouth, mass confusion, restless legs and arms, fainting, some hallucinations, etc. I called him last night and he told me to discontinue the drugs. Looked on line at the side effects and I was not surprised to see the things on there. So, after being off the drugs, I finally took a tub bath, washed my hair as well as I could and feel half human again. The best part is looking in the mirror, because the results are fantastic. (He did indicated that he thought the results were exceptionally good.) I do still have a little swelling, but hardly any bruising, so far. Take a look at the my photos which aren't the greatest cause I took them myself with my iPhone, but you'll get the idea. Not bad for only a few days after surgery:
Day 4 Update
Well, I had read this was the "worst" day and it wasn't a great day for me. First some bruising has risen its ugly head--my neck is now a yellow tinge and the sides of my cheeks are a little purple in places....ugh. Nothing too bad, knock on wood. Also, I feel slightly more swollen in the same spots as the bruising and it is a little uncomfortable. Still haven't needed pain pills. My hair, which I washed yesterday is totally gunked up with Bacitracin, but this is my last day on that. After tonight, the instructions say to just dab the incisions with a 1/2 Peroxide, 1/2 water solution. On the plus side, I didn't sleep nearly as much today, but am also getting bored (as in cabin fever). Since my hair covers most of these issues, I am contemplating going to a movie with a friend on Friday. (Something to look forward to.) Still getting little needle jabs which I believe are signs that nerves are reconnecting. Right now I am pretty numb on the sides of my face. I am also trying to eat a low sodium diet and that is starting to get boring too, but its okay. My dog sitter brought my dog home today, so it is nice having him around. My neighbor is walking him until I am up to it...we shall see. Think I am going to go watch a chick flick movie.
While fighting off cabin fever, I became aware that I am pushing the limits a little too much, so back to settling in for a few more days of not doing much. Spoke to my PS about some vertigo I am having and he told me to take it easier and not try to do too much yet. I do have some swelling in front of my ears and under my chin, but not too much. Most people wouldn't notice it. I am still icing it every 4 hours. I also have a beautiful yellow neck which hopefully will start fading. That seems to be the only sign of bruising so far. Here's a picture... still can't get all the Bacitracin gunk out of my hair but since I no longer have to use it, I think I am on the downhill side of the struggle. Really happy with how i look, these crummy iPhone selfies don't really do it justice.
Face shape update
Since grace60 asked about face shape I thought I would post a picture of me from around 1995. I think my face shape has returned to be closer to this than it was in the before photos that I posted. This is so interesting to me. While I obviously look older I can see how the tightening of the muscle layer has affected my facial shape.
Swelling seems about the same--maybe slightly less on the side near my right cheek bone. Both sides and under the chin still feel very firm and a little warm. I think that is due to the swelling and I am icing diligently. Incision areas seem to be healing nicely. The yellow bruising on my neck seems to be less noticeable today. I am taking it easy today, just hanging around the house and reading. Tomorrow, a friend and I are going to an afternoon movie. That will be my big adventure. Fortunately my hair covers most of the incisions and the stitches under my chin aren't too noticeable. So, onward and upward!
Hard to believe a week has passed already! My surgery was the morning of the 16th and now it's the following Saturday morning--one week since my drain and bandages were removed. Last week I was also "under the influence" of the anti-nausea and antibiotic meds that were making me a little crazy--definitely the worst part of recovery for me. Now, it almost seems like this never happened. Perhaps I was just transported to a planet where the years were gracefully erased! I feel great, went to a movie yesterday (fortunately, my mid-length bob covers a lot of sins so I haven't felt like I couldn't venture out). I just snapped these two photos with my iPhone before I head to the shower. The full face shows the nice, even jawline I now have and how smooth my neck is. (I am really, really happy with my neck--it really looks better in real life--I would almost venture to say it is "perfect.") The other pic shows the stitches around my ear--I feel they were artfully done. My PS deserves the good reviews he gets as he is truly a master. I can't wait till Tuesday to have the stitches removed. (I have been going out with the stitches under my chin not camouflaged in any way--what's a patient to do (?)--just keeping my chin down and hoping folks don't notice. Looking back on this, drug reaction aside, it seems like a pretty easy process. Other than some itching from healing, things seem pretty normal around here the past couple of days. I am still icing and I do tire a bit easier than normal but have been sleeping like a log at night and usually having an afternoon catnap.
Having a little fun!
Eight days out and ready for a "fashion shoot!" Ha ha... anyway, probably pushed it a little on the wine, pesto and bruschetta for dinner... not exactly low sodium post surgery foods, but had a little fun with my daughter and her camera. Not bad, considering there are stitches under the hair...shhhhhh....don't tell!
Slowly, slowly we make progress. Walked my dog myself today but seem to tire more easily than normal. I also woke up very itchy. Anyone have any suggestions for that kind of itching that is probably from things healing (so, basically a good thing, but still annoying)? Going to take it easy today after yesterday's adventure of the kids visiting. Need to drink a lot of fluids, ate a little too much salt yesterday. Stitches out Tuesday--hooray!
Suture Removal Tomorrow
Sort of nervous about the suture removal tomorrow. I am especially worried that it will be painful around my lower ears (where I have been uncomfortable between itching and the stitches.) Anyone have any wisdom to impart about the experience?
Getting the sutures out was a breeze--it didn't hurt at all. While he was removing them, Dr. Harley told me to fire away with my list of questions. First, grace60, he said his goal with the SMASectomy is to raise the cheek and he often does the incision like mine but that every patient and facial structure is different so he varies it to suit the patient. Second, one more week before yoga, earrings, etc. He instructed me to get Mederma (vitamin E cream) and start massaging it into the incisions 4 X a day... that is after the tape that he put on my earlobes (jokingly, he said, "so they wouldn't fall off"), comes off in 5 days. I am very pleased with things so far and he seemed to be too. I have added a few more crummy iPhone photos. If you look closely, you can see the pieces of tape on my earlobes. So happy I have hair long enough to cover them, cause I planned to go out to hear jazz tonight! I love my neck!
What a Difference a Day (plus 2 weeks) Makes
Two weeks plus one day have passed and I feel pretty back to normal. This morning (ta da) I got to remove the tape on my earlobes and begin the Mederma treatments. I am also massaging those weird little bumps behind my ears. They feel like someone used too much glue when they put the model of me together. My scars are healing nicely but I don't think they are quite to the place where they can be doctored with Dermablend. Maybe a few more days...
For those of you debating Dr. Harley, I would like to add my summary of the positives of this experience. There were no negatives.
1. Dr. Harley is exceedingly nice, low key but warm and very caring. He obviously takes pride in what he does and treats people with kindness.
2. The non-anesthesia use seems to make bouncing back a little easier and perhaps there is less wear and tear in general. This was easier than getting my wisdom teeth extracted, except for the drug reaction. But despite that, I only took a few pain pills and none from day 2 on. There really was hardly any pain.
3. I am very happy with the results. They are very natural looking and while I am hardly perfect, I feel better when I look in the mirror and will not longer place myself in the "little ole lady category" I am now thinking foxy, hip chick...lol.
4. No one has questioned my appearance or even commented on it. I did apply for an instant charge card at a department store on Thursday to save some money on Chantelle bras and the saleslady was shocked when she saw the birthdate on my driver's license (I just acted blasé). I fought the temptation to say, "Only my plastic surgeon knows for sure." Paraphrasing the Clariol ad from the early 1960s, but that is dating myself.
Here's a couple of pictures. You can see how well the incisions are healing.
3 Weeks Post and Boy, do I Need a Hair Appt.!
I have the kind of hairdo that can look fantastic for a long time after a cut, but then seems to get to the "overgrown" stage in the matter of one shampoo. I think I am there. Anyway, it is three weeks since my procedure and things are starting to feel pretty normal. I still have numbness in the sides of my face and under my chin, but it is improving every day. My ears feel pretty normal--but still hating those creepy bumps behind them and massaging them daily. I also do still have some swelling in front of my ears and possibly a little under my chin, but again, much improved. Incisions are healing. I am using Mederma--SPF 30 during the day, and sans SPF at night (hate the smell of this stuff). I am also back to applying Renova at night--the fountain of youth!
My energy level seems pretty back to normal, which also means I haven't been sleeping quite as well. Right after the surgery, I was sleeping like a log. Now, I am back to waking up for a while around 3:00 a.m. some nights, but I generally sleep pretty well overall, so it is no big deal. I am still sleeping on my back propped up a little bit and am going to continue to try to do so. I also went back to yoga class this week, but this was the "restorative" yoga class and it is mainly lying around and stretching--nothing difficult. I am walking at least 2 miles a day--sometimes more, with my doggie. The weather is starting to get Fallish, so I am enjoying digging out some new clothes, scarves and hats... I guess I am feeling more stylish now that I don't look so old.
I was over on my neighbors' front porch (a lovely couple my age) a couple of days ago. They know I had surgery cause they helped out with my dog a little. I was chatting away and suddenly the husband said, "WOW, you look fantastic!" He is not the type who has ever commented on how I look before, so it made me think it must be impressive. Of course, over the summer, I have also lost that last 10 pounds I am always trying to shed, so right now, even the rest of me, below my face is in pretty much top form. I figure, if you are going to go for the brass ring while riding the carousel, might as well do as much as you can! Cheers to all of the "friends" I have made on this board, and thanks for all the support and well wishes! Here's a couple of iPad pics (I think these are a little better than iPhone pics for some reason.)
Aargh! Too Much Salt
Over at a friend's house and had some really great crackers with red wine. I could definitely feel my face getting tighter and more numb last night, no doubt due to swelling. Actually, was awake in the middle of the night feeling miserable. (My allergies are making me nuts right now too! We had so much rain this summer--I know it is going to be a bad allergy season.) My under eye area looks a little puffy this morning too (not something I want to encourage). Wondering when I will get over the swelling thing in my face? Anyone have any idea from their post FL recovery? I think I am getting to the "enough, already!" point of FL recovery. Hope it settles down a bit down the road.
I think I am getting to the point where the big progress starts to slow down and, instead, happens in tiny steps. I reached this conclusion because not much seems to be changing on a day-to-day basis. I am massaging Mederma into the scars and rolling scars between my fingers where I am able to do that, or pinching the ones behind my ears, but not much seems to be happening. I guess it takes patience. Have redoubled my efforts to eat a very low sodium diet, which does help, and to watch the alcohol (keeping it to a glass of wine once or twice a week). Swelling is a tad painful and it makes my skin feel numb too. I really want to avoid it as much as possible. I also notice my energy level is pretty good but my daughter was here over the weekend with two little kids and they wore me out. Hence, I now conclude that my energy is not back to normal and I have to pace myself a bit.
Here I am driving home from finally getting my hair done. I definitely had a better day than yesterday. I never called the doc. I decided just to chill, watch the salt, and if I need to occasionally to take the OTC diuretic. The main active ingredient is caffeine, seems kind of silly to worry about taking it. Anyway, woke up feeling great (allergies not too bad today) and the new haircut is definitely a plus!
Six weeks out
Here's one new iPhone photo from today. Things are returning to normal. I have less numbness and swelling, but still have some mostly in front of my ears. I can still see the incision lines but they are more of a light pink now. Those little bumps behind my ears, which Dr. H said to massage and even "pinch" are receding.
I am still sleeping mainly on my back, my thinking is this is better long term and will help prevent wrinkling.
I went to a wedding over the weekend and many people commented on how "great" I looked but then said things like, "have you lost weight?" or "love your haircut," etc. My daughter, who was very negative before I had the surgery thinks it is a wonderful job and very "natural" looking. I have been having some back issues in the last week and taking Mobic/Meloxicam which is definitely causing me to retain some fluid.
Have met some nice people on this site and want to thank everyone for all their support. Hopefully, I will be posting some "real pics" soon. I have been playing with using a little more makeup than I have worn in the last 5 or so years. In this photo, I am wearing light makeup including a little eyeliner...
One more photo
Here's another photo. I can definitely see some more-than-usual puffiness around my eyes, probably from the Meloxicam that I am taking. I think I am going to stop it today because my back is feeling quite a bit better. And, who wants to look puffy?
Update 6.5 weeks
I wasn't wild about those photos from the other day because I was so puffy, esp in the eye area, due to some prescription NASIDs I was taking. Here's an update sans the drugs. Things seem to be healing very well. I have even managed to massage away those weird bumps behind my earlobes. I do still have slight swelling and numbness in front of my earlobes and numbness down my jawline about 1/3 of the way. Still trying to watch the sodium intake.
10 Weeks--How time flies!
25 Oct 2013
2 months post
I was thinking I would wait to post until after I see Dr. Harley on Tuesday for a follow up visit, but decided just to say "hi" to you all and add a small update. I see new surgeries popping up on the site and people starting the journey... We are so lucky to have safe/affordable options to just getting old and wrinkly. I am feeling great but still numb on the sides of my face and a little around the chin area. My incisions are fading nicely. I am getting to the point where I am starting take the "new me" for granted when I look in the mirror. Everyone tells me how great I look and those who know, say it is a totally natural job, which pleases me a lot. Anyway, here's a goofy picture and will post more next week after I see Dr. Harley on Tuesday morning.
"Ta Da": The "Official" Before and Afters
29 Oct 2013
2 months post
Had my final follow-up appointment with Dr. Harley. I will miss the warm and inviting office--he and Juanita (the receptionist) certainly make you feel at home. Wish ever medical experience was like this. The closest second, sad to say, is my vet! Anyway, good appointment. I loved that Dr. Harley said I had "Everything going for me--good skin and good cheek bones"--thanks Mom and Dad!
Anyway, here are the pictures (c)David H. Haley, MD. My "before" makes me look like Lizzie Borden or someone. Hello! Make-up aside, think I look a little "refreshed?"
Feeling More Normal Everyday
24 Nov 2013
3 months post
At the 3+ month mark, and starting to feel more normal. I have noticed recently that my skin doesn't feel as numb and the area around my chin feels really pretty normal. Also, the area in front of my ears has regained a lot of feeling. Most of that bumpy area behind my ears has smoothed out and my under-chin incision is less noticeable and feeling smoother to the touch. I am still using a little makeup on my ear incisions. I apply it with a small makeup brush, right along the actual incision line, which is still a little pink. All good… I am really happy with how this has all settled in. I posted my "official" surgeons before and after photos last month right above this post. If you are interested, have a look. I am a satisfied customer :-)
I never expected one of the joys of living in Asheville, NC to be that it is the home of an extremely talented and artful plastic surgeon. I am extremely pleased that I became Dr. Harley's patient for my recent facial restoration. He did an artful job, is extremely kind, patient, and professional. What began as a nerve-racking decision, should I? or shouldn't I? turned into a wonderful experience with a very pleasant outcome.