With the big 50 on the horizon I proclaimed 2014...
Started with diet and exercise. Lost 25 pounds and down to size six. Simultaneously implemented an aggressive skin routine retina A, vitamin c, exfoliating, lotions etc. Did wonders for my skin.
Next...The biggest problem loomed it's ugly head even more after the weight loss...sunken cheek bones and saggy jowls. Time for Facelift.
Would like to share my experience thus far and going forward.
Pre and Post Surgury Preperation
Looking your best encompasses many factors: skin condition, fitness and clothing. In addition, to get the maximum results from facial surgery it is best that your skin be in good condition and your weight to be within 10 pounds of your desirable and maintainable weight.
In preparation, three months prior to my surgery I began addressing these items.
Knew from past endeavors getting in shape did not mean cutting calories and losing weight. Limiting a fitness program will result in being smaller with a lot of flab. The ticket to getting fit is weights, healthy eating and cardio. A lifestyle change is needed to increase your metabolism which leads to long term success.
There are numerous programs out there that assist in guiding you. I choose Michael Matthews "Thinner Leaner Stronger' as a guide. The most important thing to remember is consistency wins the race. If you slip up just get back on the path. Result of my efforts: At 5'4 I am 128#, lost 28 only 3 pounds shy of my initial goal.
Research and Education
Facial surgery is one of the more complicated elective surgeries. Not to mention it can difficult if not impossible to correct a botched one. Just look at Michael Jackson, Mickey Rourke and Donatella Versace for some prime examples. Let's face it with all the money they have if their botched jobs could be fixed they would be.
Deciding on the Procedure(s) and Choosing a Physician
Armed with a list of qualifying questions each physician was interviewed and consulted with. One of my main desires was to etheir advice. The question posed to all..."What procedure(s) do you recommend that would alter my face that would provide both a natural and youthful appearance?"
I had anticipated that the recommendations would be similar and was very surprised to find a very diverse set of recommendations. Each consult seemed to plant a seed of necessity to secure more information through research. At the end of the day, I settled on what I thought would be the best course of action. Interestingly the two surgeons whom I found to be the most qualified and skilled had very similar recommendation : SMAS facelift, neck lift and utilizing my fat for face filler.
I have found that Doctors often have overinflated egos coupled with superior being attitudes. If complications arose I wanted a doctor who would have the compassion to alleviate my concerns and an ego that would render them capable of admitting revisions were in order. Dr. Eaves demonstrated said qualities and the date was set.
Up to this point my skin regime was stay out of the sun, wash my face with whatever was in the soap dish and slap on some Oil of Olay. I set out to improve my skin and find out if the hyped up creams, serums, exfoliates worked or they were nothing but snake oil.
Wow. I am here to tell you implementing a skin regime can do "wonders" to your face. With a diligent skin regime that was implemented morning and night the following items were vastly improved: general skin texture, creepy eyes, fine lines, puffy eyes and even my turkey neck. The key elements to improving your skin: consistency, Retina A, exfoliating, Vitamin C serum and a good moisturizer.
The weight loss and skin improvement were now set in motion. The improvement was so drastic several people asked if I had work done. My skin and body did look better but the loss of the weight had many the issues even more pronounced: loose jowls, sunken cheeks and turkey neck.
Time to go under the knife...
Preparing for the Operation
-Eat healthy: limit processed foods. Especially products containing sugar.
-At about 3 weeks out eliminate any unnecessary supplements or medication. Do not take any over the counter pain killers except Tylenol.
-2 weeks out start taking 1 Vitamin C-1000 in AM/PM
-5 days out start taking 1 Bromelain in AM/PM. Note continue taking this for about 10 days post op. (Prevents bruising and promotes healing)
-5 days out start taking Arnica Montana supplement-~every 8 hours. Do not eat 15 minutes before or after. Do not touch pill and place under your tough. (Prevents bruising and promotes healing)
-Get prescriptions filled.
-Secure the following: comfortable pj's with open front shirts, scarf to cover your head during healing,
-Plan to have a person drive you home from surgery and to be with you for at least 3 days following surgery.
-Have a variety of soft foods readily available: yogurt, oatmeal, apple sauce, cottage cheese, soup, ginger ale, jello, potato.
-Purchase a large bag of frozen peas and separate them out into smaller bags.
-Stage your recuperation area with the following: thermometer, water, prescriptions and supplements, Tylenol, numerous pillows to assist you in staying upright, clean PJ's that are comfortable and have shirt that opens in the front, clean bedding, desired electronic devices and charges.
-Have list of emergency numbers handy. Include after hours number of clinic and the hospital they are affiliated with.
Day Of Surgery:
-No eating or drinking after 12 am.
-If directed, take your nausea prevention medicine with a sip of water 1 hour prior to operation.
-Wear comfortable clothing including a shirt that buttons up the front.
-Bring a scarf and sun glasses.
-Take a shower.
-Wash face with anti-bacterial soap.
-No makeup, lotions, jewelry, perfume or hair care products.
-Arrive approximately 1 hour before surgery.
Now the fun began. First off any one that tells you this is not major surgery is off their rocker. You hurt. I have had a few cosmetic surgeries, some extremely painful complications after having my daughter and the ear pain I experienced post op was some of the worst pain I have ever had.
The issue regarding the pain leads me to the complaints I have thus far. One, I was not provided forewarning of the experiences I would have after the operation. Second, there were no clear directives regarding whom to call if I had concerns after the operation.
Fortunately, if you are reading this you will have a heads up on what it will be like after surgery and not go through the confusion.
Your head will be wrapped tightly with bandages. Between that and the swelling your face will look like an apple. Most often people will also have bruising which will gradually change colors and dissipate in a couple weeks. The incisions associated with my facelift were on my ear on the front side and behind my ear in your hair. The incisions for the neck lift were under my chin. I also had incisions that ran under my skin from my chin to neck that created a hard spin like bump.
The drugs will sedate most of the pain and weird sensations. Weird sensations are as follows: electric shock like feelings, face feeling very tight, numbness, sensation that there is fluid draining from your ears and itchy feeling in your ears. Pain for me was associated with my ears. It felt like they were on fire and hurt like heck. The swelling went down my neck from my ear area.
Being that I was unaware that this would occur I tried to contact a nurse or doctor. Being drugged up and not having clear information on how or whom to contact was not a fun moment. I would highly recommend that you ask your doctor what the protocol is regarding whom and how to contact someone both during and after hours regarding your concerns.
I would suggest to immediately begin administering the frozen pea packets. Make sure to wrap them in a towel and move them to different areas in 15 minute intervals. Your skin is numb so you will be unable to feel in the event you are getting the area to cold and can burn your skin. I had very little bruising and associate it with the supplements, drinking lots of water and the ice packs.
This and That during the healing stage
-Arnica and Bromelain for about another 10 days.
-Drinking lots of water
-Sleep as much as you are able and require.
-Sleep in upright position as long as possible. One good thing I think I have corrected the fact that I sleep on my side. Sleeping on your back will greatly reduce wrinkling on your face and chest.
-Clean your ears out gently with peroxide and Q-tips daily. The relief regarding getting all the dried blood out can not be minimized.
-Continue icing your face for about 3-4 days. After that it really does nothing.
-Take your doctors direction regarding wearing the bra.
-If anything feels uncomfortable don't do it. Listen to your body.
-Keep your hands and body clean to prevent any infection.
Most importantly be patient. Please do not compare how quickly I healed to how you heal. Every person is different. The speed that you heal has nothing to do with the final outcome. The final outcome is what matters.
I can not say enough regarding Dr. Eaves. Not only is he a fabulous and honest surgeon but he is extremely personal. He demonstrated patience and compassion regarding all my questions and concerns. With the exception of the lack of clear expectations post surgery and contact info for post surgery questions the entire experience was perfect.