I am going to be 66 in August (yikes - where did...
I am going to be 66 in August (yikes - where did the time go?) and I will be going on Monday for a facelift and necklift which the doctor has called a submentoplasty. I am a retired teacher, but being retired was difficult for me, so I went back to work part-time at an elementary school. I've been wanting to do this for six years ... and all the while I've been watching my turkey neck Grow! So after several consultations, I scheduled with a doc in Denver who comes highly recommended (and was wonderful about staying in my budget - the number includes everything including a night's stay in the hospital). Part of my decision making process has been reading posts and responses on this forum, and I'm so grateful for them! I spent yesterday getting prescriptions filled and making preparations for sleeping sitting up. I was excited, feeling productive - I even programmed my iPhone to alert me when I need to take the meds - I figure I'll be pretty out of it for the first couple of days ;) I'm posting 'before' pictures now, and I don't know when I'll be able to post again ... hopefully soon!
Almost ready to go home
I'm glad to be on the road to mending, although today is difficult.
Day 5 update and pictures
It's no surprise that the first few days were difficult. Recovering from anesthesia and the surgical event are difficult. I had another factor that became difficult, and that was that the pain medicines undermined my emotional strength. It happened especially in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep but wanted my husband to since he alone provided for all my physical care during the initial "at home" phase. I paced some, rested some, and tried to calm an inflamed tummy. I also was not prepared to become 'emotional' about seeing the new face in the mirror!
My doctor's patient coordinator called me frequently during these first few days. She was caring and positive and both she and my doctor helped to build my emotional strength!
Yesterday (Day 4) was my first post-op check up, and I am pleased (yes!). We live in the mountains and had to drive to Denver - it was a big day! Today, although I moved slowly, I am feeling well and enjoying that we are getting back to our usual household routines. We decided to board our pup during the first week, and I' glad we did. He came home today, and I'm looking forward to some upcoming opportunities to go for walks with him.
I have bruising under my eyes and on my neck - to be expected I know. I am taking Arnica Montana for that, and Bromelain with Quercetin. I am also feeling swollen, and have tightness in my neck, so I am continuing to ice as well as continuing to wear the compression garment. And I'm looking forward to my next check-up on Tuesday!
A new Monday
Each day I feel a little better; a little stronger, a little more comfortable. It is encouraging. I still have some swelling, and obviously black and blue and green and yellow ;) but I'm wondering if I still have some surgical pen on my skin ??? I'll ask my PS at my follow-up appointment tomorrow ... I posted some pics from after my shower this a.m. The difference from before and after are already amazing. In my first day or two I could not imagine saying this, but I am so happy I had this done!
Thursday - Day 10
Today I am sporting the bandana look so I don't have to put my hair through the rigors of styling ;) I saw Dr. Imola on Tuesday, he removed stitches, and that was an emotional boost - a right of passage in my mind. Yesterday, I began to experience discomfort in my neck from what appeared to be a bit of increased swelling for the first time since surgery (did I sleep wrong? try to push my activity level? idk), so I called Dr. Imola, (also checked in with his office today), and I'm on track for my appointment next week. I'm so appreciative that I can call with questions and concerns! Parts of the bruised areas on my neck and under my left eye are starting to fade. I started using Arnica cream in addition to the oral Arnica Montana in hopes I can encourage the bruising away a little more quickly. I'm posting a couple of pictures to show my neckline, as I'm thinking it's becoming more well defined.
Addendum to Day 10
On Tuesday at my post-op visit, Dr. Imola spoke about some of the benefit of the deep-plane lift technique he uses. If you look at the smoothness of the surface of my skin, you can see what I understood to be one very important benefit - the smooth result. I am so thrilled about that!
One small step into Sephora -
I have been feeling good, 2.5 weeks out. I still have bruising and, having not used make-up for many years, I really didn't know where to start. That was frustrating for me. After my check-up today (I love my check-ups - such a positive experience going to see Dr. Imola and Peggy) I went to Sephora and learned how to apply the makeup I need. Woo-hoo!
Three Weeks ago today
At this three week mark, I find I have so much more of my energy back. I can be active for the entire morning, starting around 6:30 a.m., and sustain pretty well for walking the dog for a couple of miles, doing household chores, and chipping away at my to-do list for getting ready for 'back to school.' I'm posting pictures - still sporting the bandana look while I'm waiting for the official 'OK' to begin using styling products, etc. I'm also so looking forward to scheduling a visit to the salon for my 'back to school' haircut and style ;) You can see, I still have some bruising, but when I compare today's pictures to the ones posted last week, I can see that the bruising on my neck has almost completely resolved, and the bruising on my cheeks seems to be turning greenish yellow - another good sign of healing. In the day-to-day journeys to the mirror, I don't see the progress, so the pictures seem to be a better way to actually see that I am making steps forward in the physical healing process. Everyone says it, and it's true - PATIENCE ;)
I am so clumsy ...
I cannot believe I was clumsy enough to bump my face on the car door! It's a small car, it was starting to rain, and standing by the open driver's door, I leaned down to look over to the passenger side window to make sure it was closed and ... clunk. I hit my face on the corner of the door, about 1.5 inches in front of the tragus of my left ear. the bump left a red mark and now, the peculiar thing is that I have swelling under my left eye. I am icing, but I am afraid ... which is to say, actually more afraid than I've been in the past few days. Having done pretty well and having gotten this far in the recovery process (approaching 4 weeks), I am now afraid and feeling severely lacking in my ability to take care of my new face. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
Thank you ...
Thank you all for posting your support for me during my mini-meltdown. I have to tell you that I also was so fortunate to have received a phone call from Peggy at the PS office. She was so supportive as we talked about me reframing my concerns about taking care of my new face and viewing them as opportunities - instead of saying "I have to ..." saying "I get to ..." This really makes sense to me, and because I am not alone in these feelings, I wanted to share her good advice. Hugs to you all!
Ready for work
I am almost at one month. Although I still have bruising, tingling and sometimes pains in the nerves of my face, I feel so much more that I am getting back to being myself. Today I will start tutoring some children I worked with last year, and it's been wonderful to get back to thinking about planning lessons and activities for them. I'm posting some pictures. I'm wearing makeup (and glasses in one), and I think the bruising is covered pretty well, but I know the kids will notice something and ask questions! Please notice my necklace - it's a little silver bead necklace that I bought years ago and haven't worn in years ... but I can wear it now :-) Wishing you all a great day!
A Month and a Day
I am overall so happy with the amazing difference in my appearance, yet I fret, fret, fret about inconsistencies I see and concerns I have. I drive my sweet husband and the people I communicate with about it (who are very few as I don't want to burden my children and my siblings and parents - who would listen - are gone ) crazy. This week I was bonkers about the amount swelling near my left eye and how different it was from the amount of swelling near my right eye - couldn't get it and possible nerve damage because it hurt, out of my mind. Today, not hurting and the swelling has gone down some ... I think there's a life lesson for me here!
Got "the compliment" today
I attended a meeting for school staff in preparation for the coming year. After the meeting one of the attendees said, "Your new hair style looks great." It made me smile and feel good too. I want also to include a cautionary tale here. I was looking on the web for information about LDM, and I found a yoga site that said to do it right you have to move the skin - WRONG!!! I did that and swelled up so-o-o-o much it scared me, a lot. The swelling is s-l-o-w-l-y subsiding. It was so disheartening - felt like I was back at Day 1 with regards to swelling. So, the cautionary message is to be very careful about info you find. Heather's method of LDM worked beautifully go me - I should have stopped my LDM research there!
my swelling saga.
On Monday I swelled from giving myself an overagressive LDM massage and, being that my swelling seems to worsen at night, by 6:30 pm or so I was very swollen and in pain from it. I called Dr. Imola's service and explained to them what was going on. Dr. Imola called me back right away, asked me to text pictures so he could see what was going on. After I sent the pictures, Dr. Imola called me right back with a plan that included getting a prescription ... well, I live in a rural area - 1.5 hours to the nearest open pharmacy after 7 pm! Dr. Imola helped me brainstorm my options, and when I decided I'd go to the local Emergency facility rather than wait to the morning (being a fretter, I envisioned a sleepless, pacing night if I waited), Dr. Imola encouraged me to ask the ER physician to contact him so he could coordinate with him regarding my care. I felt reassured and grateful knowing that Dr. Imola was responsive and involved, even 'after hours' and on into the night. The next day, Peggy followed up with a phone call, and I saw Beryl (aesthetician) on Friday. She evaluated my situation to report to Dr. Imola ( by Friday most of my excessive swelling had resolved), making sure the swelling was within normal limits. She also listened while I spoke of my concerns about my lingering bruising, and suggested some IPL to help it resolve. She reviewed with me my current face care routines for am and pm and suggested some changes, which I will implement slowly to see how my skin tolerates each change. I left her office feeling good about where I am in my healing process and Dr. Imola and his team of care-givers. With regard to the IPL treatment for bruising, does anyone have experience with it? Hugs to you all for your ongoing commemt and support!
Swelling has gone down some more and Dermablend is doing its magic! Earrings today for the first time. Six weeks tomorrow and I feel (finally) like I'm getting adjusted to life post FL - and it's great!
4 Months Yesterday
16 Nov 2013
4 months post
I've noticed that some of my RealSelf friends have posted advice for those considering a FL / NL procedure, and I'm going to add my 2 cents about discussung realistic expectations with your surgeon, listening carefully to what he or she says, and asking questions! Undergoing and recovering from these procedures are major life events, and anesthesia, pain meds, and extended temporary changes in life style and sensation are part of the experience. I think, if I ever really had realistic expectations for my results they drifted off somewhere into the anesthesia and pain med haze (both of which I did not tolerate well). My skin broke out in rashes - I freaked out. Changes in my neck and chin as the swelling subsided freaked me out. I did not take on the responsibility I should have early in the healing process to use the time during visits with my surgeon to ask questions about what had been done and what I should expect, but I did go home and worry and fret. Anyway, at 4 months I am getting back to reality, which is that My PS achieved an amazing result for me, and especially so given what he had to work with - and I quickly lost sight of that reality, too, almost immediately after surgery. My husband tells me I lok great. We visited my sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago and she said I look 20 years younger. Almost all swelling is gone. I still have slight numbness in front of my ears, and tightness in my neck. The tightness is occasionally uncomfortable, but mostly reassuring. So today I am posting a before picture and a picture taken today (no make-up, just lipstick). This juxtaposition helps me stay grateful and grounded ;)
21 Nov 2013
4 months post
Well, RealSelf friends, I had the color put in my hair today , and as promised, here are a couple of pictures! I'm into the holiday spirit now for real, and looking forward to a family reunion next week!
One year later - not where I'd hoped to be
In every difficult experience there is always room for gratitude that it is not worse. I am just past the one year mark post-op, and I am grateful that my face isn't paralyzed. I am grateful for the nice result under my eyes. I am heartbroken that I cannot enjoy the fact that I look younger because I feel so terribly deformed. The deficit under my neck and the accompanying bulges on either side bring me to tears every day, along with the fact that the tightness I feel in my neck and under my chin is at best uncomfortable and regularly excruciating. I cannot take meds for pain, so my lot in life now is simply to deal with it all. The advice for pain provided at my last visit with Dr. Imola last week were to wait to see if the tightness improves in another 6 months and to take ibuprofen for discomfort. He said that if the discomfort hadn't subsided in another 6 months, he would remove the top 4 stitches in my neck, something he had never done before and for which he could make no guarantees with regard to improved tightness or cosmetic result. With regard to the irregularity under my jaw, he offered a revision surgery in 6 months or so to attempt to correct it. That would include flipping the fat pad (the larger of the two lumps) to help fill the deficiency and keep the fat viable, and hopefully would improve the contour of my neck. Has anyone heard of this? A peculiar result of this surgery is that the side of my face that used to be the larger side is now the smaller (and tighter) side, and what used to be the smaller side is larger and lax, with what looks to me like an abnormally huge crease adjacent to my mouth. It may not be true, but I feel at this point in time that my facelift was a surgical experiment gone wrong, and I feel confused and at a loss.
Pity Party is Over
I got my hair cut today ... made me feel so good. The gal who does my hair (for years now) is very kind to me, and sweet, and she tells me pretty lies that may be part truths, and she lets me mull over ideas with her, and she invites me to have a glass of wine with her and we laugh together.
I will need some type of revision surgery to achieve the outcome I was hoping for, and probably some fat transfer and some microderm abrasion. And then again, I might be chasing a plastic dream that is for some like me is only an illusion. I don't know. But for now I'm not feeling bad, or panicked, or frightened, or out of control, or demanding, or urgent. I'm feeling like I need to read The Desiderata every day (at least once), and I'm posting it here for any who might enjoy to read it, too.
"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." Max Ehrmann