Face Lift, Neck Lift, Endoscopic Brow Lift at 56 After 20 Years of Gaining and Losing Weight - Orange Country, CA
Surgery is scheduled for June 27th for a face,...
A little about me; married for 38 years to a very simple man-still the love of my life! 2 grown boys, each with their own children (5 grandchildren in all). An RN for 30 years, yikes a long time! Does that make me feel old saying that! I am a 2 time Weight Watcher lifetime member, who has finally figured it out. Over the years I went as high as a size 26, now I am a 0 or 2! I still cannot believe it! I have realized that the consistent gaining and losing has played havoc with my confidence and self image. This, I am sure is a major part of my decision for surgery.
Reading everyone’s story on RealSelf has helped so much. For my first surgery, I was determined to be a perfect patient; learning from everyone’s comments. For this surgery I want to share my journey, hopefully my story will help someone else. Pre op June 19th: What I have done so far to prepare: healthy eating (part of my Weight Watcher lifestyle) and exercise. I stopped all my daily vitamins 2 weeks post op, and started: Arnica Montana, Bromelain, Vitamin C. I stopped drinking red wine (I wanted this to stop 2 weeks pre op; ended up to be 11 days....just could not give up that red wine after coming home from work, and then there was Fathers Day with the family), I could not remember what was on the “stop list” from my first surgery, so I hope I have not forgotten anything. I am planning on taking the entire month of July off, as only a few people know about this surgery besides my husband (my family-at this point do not know). I hope it will be long enough to return to work relatively “unnoticeable”.
Checking things off my list
Another decision to make...
Surgery in 3 days
Tomorrow at 5:00 am!
5 Days post op (including surgery day)
Made it home OK, after a few hours my right eye started to swell. By the next day I could not even open my eye. Compression bandage too tight and unusual amount of swelling. PS said only about 5% have as much as swelling that she saw in me. Ice, ice and ice. It was very rough, I had second thoughts about doing the procedures (a little too late for second thoughts though). My amazing husband took and has taken care of my every need. Slept on the sofa next to me, changed ice every 20 minutes all night the first night. Salt free home made chicken soup. I do not think I would have made it without him. Probably one of the hardest last few days I have every had. Of course, now the worry about will the excessive swelling change the outcome...
Each day the swelling has changed, from day 1; eyes, to today ears, lower cheek and neck. Swelling definitely works it’s way down, very slowly. Still very swollen around my eyes, however, I can open both of them and see. It was very scary not being able to open the right eye. Due to the swelling the sclera in my eye was bruised, you can see how bloodshot it looks in my ‘day 4 after surgery photo’. My husband notices little differences everyday. Currently it is my ears, very hot and swollen, lower cheeks and neck, so so swollen and at times throbbing. Icing on and off. It has not seemed to help today.
I was able to shower yesterday. My husband put a shower chair and washed my hair as best as he could with baby shampoo. What a difference a shower makes. Exhausting, so worth it. I don’t have much of an appetite, lost about 4 pounds already. Trying to drink protein shakes, broth and greek yogurt. It is difficult to eat due to the swelling and tightness.
What worked: Vicodin for 2 days with stool softener and laxative as a chaser. Extra strength Tylenol after day 2. I wanted the Vicodin, did not want the extra’s that come with taking it too long. Vitamin C, Bromelain, Arnica, Frozen peas, cloths in ice water, pillows and recliner. PS gave me a steroid pack to help with the swelling. What I wish I did differently; mentally prepare myself for the unexpected.
The packing was removed yesterday from my nose. I think I read somewhere on RealSelf that it felt like worms being pulled from your brain. I would agree, only add the worms had suction cups straining to stay in, not come out. Wouldn't want to do that again! Still draining, although not bloody-more of a light pink clear fluid. She said she was surprised I could even breath as the turbinates in my nose were so large. I have probably lived with it so long, it was normal to me. I am looking forward to breathing easier (in a month she said when the swelling goes down), as she did some work with turbinate reduction.
Next PS visit in 2 days, I think she is taking sutures out, staples out of my head and cast off my nose! Not sure if she will have to recast due to continued swelling.
One week ago today
Status: Lost 10 pounds; trying to do more smoothies and shakes. It is difficult to chew due to the hardness in front of both ears banding down along my jawline, continuing under my chin. I have read this is normal? My amazing husband is enticing me with diced mushrooms, spinach with egg white scramble.
Face: My PS said I had so much loose skin, more than she had seen before (the result of my perfected weight loss and gain over the last 25 years). She used some of the skin to fill in the hollows that had developed in front of each ear (from weight loss too), she said she doesn't like to waste anything and said the hollows made me look older. The stitches have dissolved around my ears. Fresh scars, however, look good to me. Both ears remain swollen, and hot. My husband says “you used to have extra skin on each cheek, especially noticeable when you smiled, it’s gone!” Still very swollen, however, minimal bruising, just a lovely shade of yellow in certain areas.
Nose: Stitches out from my nose. My PS LOVES my nose. She was so cute. She still cannot believe I was able to breath due to the size of my turbinates. I haven't noticed a difference as the inside of my nose is so swollen. I am looking forward to less congestion and being able to breath easier. Developed a small pressure ulcer beneath the nose cast. She had never seen it before, of course, if anything unusual will happen, it historically happens to me.
Neck: Very hard beneath my chin, warm and hot. She said it is due to swelling.
Eyes: She removed the stitches from my lower lids. Still very swollen. Cannot even see where she cut! The right eye is healing quickly, progress every day with the sclera and upper lid bruising from the excessive swelling.
Brows: Tender, swollen, my husband thinks they look good.
I was able to take a full shower today, oh my gosh, I love showers! Took some time getting caked blood from my scalp by the staples (which will be removed next week), gently washed my face. It was a little bit of heaven!
My husband has been taking me on drives around the ocean to get me out of the house. How long do I need to just “sit?” Although, up until today, all I could really do is sit. My PS scolded me because I told her I wiped down the kitchen counters...now I am doing nothing! So hard when I am usually always “doing something”.
Staples out next Wednesday!
2 Weeks Post op
I saw my PS surgeon yesterday. Staples were removed! She said I still have a lot of swelling, and that it is slowly working its way down. My right ear incision is not healing correctly so I am now applying Silvadene on the incision. Left side of my face is slightly more swollen than my right side, with the exception of my right ear. Lots of swelling underneath my chin too. I have what my PS surgeon calls a "crinkle" beneath my right ear. She said it was because I had so much lose skin and she was trying not to make the scar to large. She said if it does not settle down after the swelling goes down, she will do a local and fix it in her office. She did not seem too concerned. To me, my left eyebrow seems slightly lower than the right, she says wait until all the swelling goes down. She says, everything is correctable if needed. Its the waiting that is so hard. My husband said to stop looking in the mirror! It is still difficult chewing, trying to advance a little more each day. Strawberries, blueberries, banana, greek yogurt smoothies are my new favorite food! She had me start using ScarGuard on my chin incision, next week, I will start using it on the face incisions by my ears.
My younger son turned 31 yesterday, so we had him, his wife and my Mom over for dinner. He knew I did "some work” on my face" in addition to the turbinate reduction. Both he and his wife didn't seem to act differently at all. It was a good test for me to be with people. I don't really have much discoloration or bruising (still taking Arnica), just swelling. I still feel self conscious about the swelling in public though.
Today will be the first day I drive, my wonderful husband hurt his shoulder, so I will need to take him to the doctor this afternoon. Funny how little things, like driving can be exciting!
Thank you everyone!! I have appreciated your comments and support so much! I am hoping the journey only gets better going forward!
Finally, 3 weeks post surgery!
I went for a manicure/pedicure today, which was so nice to get out of the house. My progress has been slow. No bruising, I still have swelling overall, with more beneath my eyes, chin and side of face. It is so funny, my right ear is still very swollen. I am still using Silvadene on the incisions inside my ear. Some of the dissolvable stitches have not dissolved well. My left ear is doing great! My eyes are gradually decreasing in swelling, although, very slowly. My chin is still swollen with some hardness beneath my chin. I am finally getting used to the tightness from my PS pulling the muscles so tight for the facelift. Eating more substantial food (made by my wonderful husband), and drinking my first glass of wine in 5 weeks! Just a small glass to start with; it is delightful! Hopefully it will not increase the swelling. I still have a lot of swelling on my nose, even with the swelling I like it much more than before surgery. Dealing with this cold and not being able to blow my nose has been interesting. Going through lots of QTips. My husband said "the beak is gone" He is so funny! I am using ScarGuard on the scar beneath my chin. I will start this on the scars on my face by my ears soon. Any suggestions on what else to use would be wonderful and appreciated!
I am going to see 4 of my 5 grandchildren tomorrow, I am so excited! Curious what my daughter-in-law will say (I have not mentioned my surgery....yet...to her or my older son).
This journey has been filled with the unexpected. RealSelf support/friends has been so valuable. Thank you! I hope I can support others as YOU have supported me.
One month post op!
My PS said she fixed my face, now wants to work on my skin. She gave me a good 55 sun block, and also wants me start 8% hydroquinone cream. I was not sure what it was when I purchased it. After doing the research, I have decided to wait until I am totally recovered from surgery before starting something else.
Thank you again, for ALL your positive comments. They have been so uplifting, especially when I am feeling slightly discouraged.
6 Weeks post surgery
My scars are "finally" healing nicely. My PS encouraged me to use ScarGuard twice a day. I returned to work Monday, which makes it difficult to use it when I am work as it is noticeable. So I have been using it mostly at night and weekends. It has made a difference. My right ear has finally healed! No more Silvadene! The scars on my right side are so much redder than left. The swelling is not equal, some areas more on right, some areas more on left, overall I am so pleased. My PS did a wonderful job! Unless I am home, I just wear my hair down so no one really can see them. The best news, I can breathe so much better from the turbinate reduction!!!
Not too many comments from people at work, although I have to admit I stayed mostly in my office (returned Monday of this week). A couple of people said I looked: "fit, good, nice". One of my closer co-workers knew I had something done within 30 seconds of seeing me. Other than that, no one has really said anything. It will be interesting to see what happens next week.
I told my husband this weekend; how lucky are we... 5 weeks together almost 24/7 and we still love each others company! I am so blessed to have him as my partner. I have seen all 5 of my grandchildren this week, fills up one's heart and soul!
Next visit with my PS this coming Friday (7 weeks post op)... what a journey.
Thank you my RealSelf friends. I could not have done this without all of your support. I hope I can, in turn, help others with their journey.
11 weeks today post surgery!
6 Months post op!
Dr Afifi is amazing, personable yet professional. Someone who takes the time to get the results both her and her patients want.