Well, this is my second review for RealSelf, which...
Well, this is my second review for RealSelf, which I have found astoundingly helpful both before and after the Tummy Tuck Liposuction I underwent with Dr Michael Huntly at Coastal Empire Plastic Surgery in Savannah Georgia. My abdominoplasty/lipo went extremely well and I have recorded it in depth elsewhere on the site, with name MVPT. I feel like a new person since the removal of excess skin and fat in my belly and tightening of all abdominal muscles many years after 4 pregnancies. The multiple facial procedures will again be with Dr Huntly and his amazing team, scheduled currently for 8/21/14. They have repeatedly tried to move the date forward -- and I am still hopeful -- as I have had a recruiter call with an appealing new position for me, and of course I will not be able to begin until the facial surgeries are healed. I currently have no concerns or misgivings: the Percocet worked well with the extreme pain post-tummy tuck so I expect it will work again with all the swelling and incisions on my face and neck. Expect I'll be "out for the count" for 5-6 days, but I have a wonderful husband who is supportive in every way, and I still have all the assistive devices I bought for the abdominal surgery.
I know I will not be able to sleep in a bed for several days, possibly more than a week. I have recliners but the lever is very difficult, so I might again use the zero gravity chair (a patio chair) that I was able to operate by pushing with my feet. I have a bedside commode as our main floor does not have a bathroom! (The three bathrooms are either 12 steps up, 8 steps up, or 5 steps down. Very unusual house-- some steps needed to raise house above ground level as we live on an island where a hurricane could potential cause extreme tides.) I also have a shower chair (not sure I will need this, only needed it once with the TT/lipo. But balance may be affected and the worst possible thing would be to fall in the shower (or anywhere). I have multiple shirts that are button opening as no doubt I will not want to wear pullover tee shirts or PJs! Dr Huntly believes as I do (I am a physical therapist) that pain HINDERS healing and can even make a person less able to fight off infections, so he is responsible about providing sufficient Percocet. Additionally, my husband is a retired periodontist and understands pain meds, so I will be in safe hands. I only needed the Percocet at bedtime after the first 4 days after the TT. Who knows if this will be a longer recovery?
One concern after a chin implant and chin lift (tightening the platysma muscles in the neck) as WELL as the facelift and brow lift, eyelid surgeries is how well will I be able to eat?? So closer to the date I will be purchasing protein drinks to ensure hydration and nutrition, so important also for healing. I am looking forward to reading others' stories on RealSelf and learning other important details to prepare in advance. Meantime, best wishes to all who are undergoing these surgeries in next few days!
7 days and counting down!
Weirdly, (because I have never been afraid of surgery and have needed more than 7 major surgeries) I am feeling quite nervous about the upcoming multiple facial surgeries I am having done at Coastal Empire PS, under the skilled care of Dr Michael Huntly. It was just 7 weeks ago that Dr Huntly performed an abdominoplasty and liposuction for me, and I am THRILLED with my "new body". Even though all the swelling has not yet left my body (may take 6 months to a year) I feel incredible just to have a waist again!!! Now for the more complex surgery, although Dr Huntly's team tell me there is less pain following the facial surgery. I remain unconvinced, but thank goodness I was again given a Rx for Percocet which worked astonishingly well for the severe abdominoplastly/lipo pain. (just for the first few days). I had my pre-op appt with the wonderful team of Dr Huntly and Maria, RN (his right hand woman) on Monday. I'm not sure why but I seemed to have no Qs for them that day. But, since then I have been reading accounts on RealSelf of others' facial surgeries, and unfortunately I have reviewed TOO MANY that had very poor results, per the author. Now I have millions of Qs, and expect to receive a call from Dr Huntly, Maria, or Kathy to help me with my concerns. (I sent my Qs via FAX. They have surgery on TuTh so I didn't want to bother them. I haven't yet found anyone on RealSelf who's having or had the 7-8 procedures I am having at one time. But I am assured by Dr Huntly that he "does not get tired -- the hours go by like minutes". Amazing. Since my own daughter is a trauma and general surgeon, and often stands and works for 12 hours on a particularly difficult case, and says she is not even aware of fatigue until it's over, I have to believe that very special people choose surgery as their passion. My husband is a periodontist, which is a gum surgeon...he ALSO says it is the most adrenaline rush he's ever had whenever performing surgery. (He said sex is just fractionally better. I haven't asked my dgtr Dr Kate or Dr Huntly and do not INTEND to ask them if THAT'S how they feel about surgery!!!! )
Anyway, I am going to try to post before photos that are absolutely AWFUL, just as I did before the abdominoplasty. I surely hope no one except strangers sees these photos. The four of my face in various positions were selfies from June. That day I woke up particularly swollen and wretched, so I thought I'd take photos so my adult kids (who were and are not too thrilled about my going through the surgeries) could see why I felt it was imperative. My eldest dgtr (who is a PT, like me) has been won over to the tummy tuck -- she is as THRILLED as I am by my flattened tummy and can see why I did it now. My older son (the OT in research) saw me last weekend and didn't even comment until I asked and he said, "Yes, you look great". (No cheering.) My surgeon dgtr has not yet seen me since the surgery, and neither has my younger son, the artisan carpenter. My younger step son expressed that he could see the difference.
WELL. I think there will be NO DOUBT after the facial surgeries that all will note a difference!! I am just praying that I will not lose hair (because my curly hair is my best feature I believe, and it thinned out dramatically after my brain surgery 7 years ago. I would hate to lose more now!! Dr Huntly is going to raise my brows that have slipped under the orbits of my eyes, reduce fat in the upper and lower lids of both eyes to "freshen" the look which has unfortunately sagged into a rather droopy and sleepy look. He intends to remove fat that has slipped down to form jowls and is stored in my neck and place it appropriately in my upper cheeks. I will have a facelift where the doctor will cut the skin from the side of the face in front of the ears and gently lift it closer to the ears, removing the excess saggy skin. The distance from my nasolabial fold has increased, so he will decrease that and slightly roll my upper lip upwards so more of the upper lip is in evidence. You will not from the side view photos the complete lack of a chin and the very unattractive way the flesh of my neck descends in a diagonal line down to a low point, leaving no outline of my too small chin at all. I remember hating this when I was only about 10 or 12 -- 52 years of this embarrassment is MORE than enough!
Dr Huntly hopes he can tighten the flat, wide platysma muscles on the surface of the neck so that there WILL be some shape to my jawline. Additionally, he is going to place a small chin implant to provide a bit more prominence to my dimininutive chin. So, pretty well everywhere on my face will be pulled and tugged which is why I think it will be more painful than the TT. (However, the TT initial pain was so severe I almost fell down the first time I tried to stand! YEOWTCH!!) But the blessing of Percocet made that completely manageable. I wonder if I will be able to open my mouth to eat...??? I suspect it will not be a pleasant experience. I bought about 20 bottles of that yukky bottled protein drinks because I cannot heal without nutrition. Well, this has been far too long for one day. So I'll quit and write again when I get the needed reassurance from Coastal Empire tomorrow. I have a photo I took of Dr Huntly's brochure....I don't know why his photo isn't on RealSelf.
Already contacted and reassured..
Kathy, Dr Huntly's patient coordinator was on the phone reassuring me at 9 am this morning, as I felt fairly certain she would. Of course, NOW I have no fears whatsoever, which is generally my usual outlook. Once I make a decision, it's made and "let's get going!" Kathy had me laughing in about 2 minutes: we hit it off (or perhaps she is this wonderful with EVERYONE!) immediately when I called to have a consultation with Dr Huntly a few months ago, and have not stopped laughing YET! Part of my anxiety yesterday were some of the not-so-nice outcomes of others who posted on this site. And yet, the VAST majority are positive. Thank you all for sharing. That one (ugly) photo above turned itself upside-down against my wishes but perhaps it was ashamed. Somehow I cannot right it, so I'll try one more time and see if it pops up correctly. The reason I posted photos of me with my daughters and granddaughter (one: I have TWO now!) was to show that I could look nice enough head-on...I don't think I'm a freak. But OH I hate that side view and I find it rather funny that my eyebrows "are sinking slowly in the west" like the sun!!!
I won't write at length (as I usually do!) because I really do not feel well at all, and the tight, swollen skin around my eyes, forehead, mouth, nose, ears, makes doing just about anything impossible. Most folks say that Day 3 is the worst and I can say that Days 1, 2, and 3 have all been "the worst". Of course it's the day for self-recrimination. How could one literally CHOOSE to do this?? I am quite worried that I am going to hurt my corneas bc the lids feel so shortened that I'm worried they'll dry out. Hopefully I'll feel much better in the coming few days. I've taken plenty of Horror Show photos but would go CRAZY trying to upload without being able to see through the oil on my eyes. I don't look any worse than anyone else, just as awful and hopefully when the swelling goes down I'll resemble myself some way. Prayers are always appreciated!!! Thank you for "being here" for me!
10 Days Post-Op Major Face and Neck surgery
Hello, everyone, I am so sorry bc I know we worry and pray for each other, so it is not okay to post an unhappy review and then leave you hanging for another 7 days. It's been a very rough time, basically unable to do ANYTHING (and I am not one for just "hanging around". But I have been advised repeatedly by my PS that THAT is exactly what I must do, plus cold packs 15 min AT MINIMUM 4 times per day.) I have had 3 post-op visits and finally 2 days ago the PS removed all the staples and removable stitches. Unfortunately, the stitches behind my ears and a few on my lower lids just aren't dissolving fast enough for me, so it still feels like a painful bird's next behind each ear. Minor, but if we're being honest, this is true. Happily the pain can finally be managed with just Tylenol...I took last Percoct on 9th day at bed time. Soooo tired of the dragged out feeling from the narcotic. The positive things so far: my skin looks fresh and much younger. My lips are fuller but not too full. My eyes no longer itch with pain and dryness. I can eat normal food although I cannot sound "P" and "B" due to some lack of motor and sensory control of the middle of my upper lip. My lips a dry but not painful. The area under my nostrils where the doctor shortened the distance betw nose and upper lip in order to expose more of the vermillion to allow for a slightly more noticeable upper lip no longer hurts. (It was AWFUL having those stitches removed!!) My cheeks are fuller. The "dent" from brain surgery above my R eyebrow is filled in--no one would notice it now. Now, the not-so-good: my eyelids are still swollen and red, and my minimal eyelashes are virtually invisible right now. I can "bring them back" with mascara but still thinner than they were. They have given me a free pack of Latisse (not sure I think it's safe yet) but cannot use until after 4 weeks post op. Very kind, nonetheless. My skin is STILL yellow from the fading bruises-- and quite a few minimal red/purple spots remain, also. But nothing as bad as before and we all heal at our own pace. I cannot whistle or suck properly from a straw (only from the sides of my mouth, not the center as per usual. My smile is a caricature and dreadfully embarrassing. This is not good news bc the one thing EVERYONE always commented on was my beautiful smile. You can see on "before" pics w/ my kids who share that smile. My face still looks so frozen -- will be awful if I turn out like Kenny Rogers or others who have had terrible facial surgery. It LOOKS like there is going to be a slit-like scar going from the far right of my R eye about 1 cm long. But possibly too early to tell. The ears are so painful I am still unhappily sleeping on elevated pillows plus a huge foam wedge, cannot lie on ears at all. My eyes seem tired (I think it is weakness -- the nerves were somewhat damaged so opening eyes fully takes concentration -- but I do not believe this is permanent.) I don't believe the lip problems are permanent either - just nerves bruised or "insulted" and will regain normalcy in a week or two. Face feels tight and unnatural, so does my very tight scalp. My smile is grossly abnormal. For 10 days I have been nowhere except to the PS office with my husband driving. I have shown recent photos to my 2 daughters but no one else. My husband has been an angel. If I had to look at this face all day I would not be as sweet and kind as he has been throughout. Of course, I look so unnatural it is impossible to foresee the outcome. The staff and the PS keep encouraging me...said 2 weeks before even approaching normal, and at 3-4 weeks would start to look "fabulous". I will post pictures later today. Transferring from phone to email to download to download to this site is cumbersome for me. Somehow I cannot download 20 pictures -- for some reason it will only permit all 1300 photos to be sent to laptop!!! Takes forever and frustrating because I know there must be a better way than that!!!! LOL Anyway, I HAVE taken the daily photos so you can see my progression. Hard to know what I will feel when the healing is completed, but as of today I DEFINITELY would not have done the FL, brow lift, blepharoplasty and lip augmentations. I WOULD do the chin lift and neck lipo, although the neck is still problematic with ONE strand of taut muscle in the center that is painful and still sticks out. The patient care coordinator advised using an ace wrap under my chin and over my head. I have done so, and it DOES lengthen that one strand, but it comes back "too tight" a few hours later. So, that's where I am--not in a happy place but at least not in much pain. My tummy tuck/lipo (now 8.5 weeks post-op) has progressed well -- no pain, and ongoing gradual wt loss. I can definitely wear a bathing suit in public now, so that is really great! Too bad I can't go out wearing my face!!!!) As always, thanks for your prayers and your wonderful support!!! Maggie
Still Day 10 With New POV Thanks to my RealSelf friends! God Bless You!
I read all your wonderful caring posts, and then re-read MORE caring and helpful posts following my whining early today. Now I feel hopeful again and seem to see my face more clearly. Attitude is everything and I let myself down this morning and regret posting so much unhappiness. I hope folks see that I have improved and not listen to whining from an older lady being impatient! (me!) I'm going to try to post some photos of the past 10 days. Seeing them myself has certainly impacted my self image, for the better! I have 3 or 4 from each day but somehow I am only able to email them to my laptop and THEN open each one and place in a file, THEN download them here. I think this gives you an idea for the past 10 days. Lots of progress I couldn't seem to see this morning. (I needed makeup, for one thing.) Thought you'd howl at the one in the safari hat I had to wear on a brilliantly sunny day en route to MD. God help us. I'm glad THAT stage is over at least.
Still Day 10, sorry.
Here are the two worst pictures again. ALL the photos were correctly aligned but were rotated. I used the "edit" and it blacked out the first photo completely. So I am not going to try to correct the others...seriously unable to spend more than four hours on RealSelf, even though you all saved me today! Anyway, these two were taken in recovery --- surgery day or early next morning.
Because I had a TT/Lipo July 2 & tons of facial surgery Aug 21, I am simply thrilled with my new shapely body, and was able to cash in on the 75% off sales at SteinMart the past couple of days, buying inexpensive (but they fit right!!!) clothing for my new job later this month. My surgery is generally not (apparently) noticed now that I can wear makeup, so I am going out when needed. Now trying to empty closet of my sz 14s for my new sz 10s. Happy and fun. I'll keep in touch, hoping you all are as fortunate as I am.
Life altering -- among the best things I ever did for myself. The happiness from having face & belly changed is immeasurable.
Exactly MY reasoning! My eldest dgtr really gets it, now. She saw me in a dress for the first time in many years, with a tiny waist (which I had until 4 babies later!)...my facelift + chin, eyes, brows is only 19 days post but already looks sooo nice....one look at me and she said "You SO did the right thing." I cooked dinner for a large group (have not enjoyed cooking for years) and my happiness bubbled over into pleasure even cooking!! I feel like my life is beginning all over and my husband is so thrilled for me...not because of my appearance (he is one of those dears who loves me for all good reasons) but because he can see I am happy IN MYSELF again. I cannot recommend dealing with mild deficits and genetic fat placement enough. Everyone knows to correct serious birth defects. But the recessed chin, overbite and low brows...that's just YOU. Well, no. These are from my dad's genetic background (he gave me a TON of wonderful genes, too.) He suffered with a "weak chin" probably more than I did. The saddlebag thighs, flanks, and bulging abdomen are from my mom's side: she suffered anguish for life -- at 115 lbs she still "looked fat". I weigh 150 lbs now and am only 5'1". I look fit and curvaceous. Because the deficits have been corrected. I am going to quote Writerwish: "All women should look on the outside what they feel like on the inside." You are so VERY right, Writerwish. It has changed my life at almost 65 yrs. If I only live five more years with this new body and face, it will have been worth it to have brought back my self-confidence, self-esteem, and changed my life. So many thanks to Dr Huntly at Coastal Empire PS in Savannah. He is an artist and his team could not be improved upon!!!!