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52 and Desire a Facial and Neck Perk Me Up - South Carolina, SC

I'm 52 and have just in the last couple of years...

I'm 52 and have just in the last couple of years noticed my face getting slight jowls, my cheeks hollowing and my neck wrinkling/getting crepey. Up until I turned 50, people always told me I looked young for my age and then that just kind of stopped happening. I know we all age, but I figure I can either go through my 50s with this jowling and wrinkles bothering me or I can do something about it. I'm opting for the latter.

The before photos I'm posting were taken about five minutes after I woke up, sans makeup, by the light coming through the leaded glass front door and following a night involving a concert and copious amounts of wine. :) I'm adding that disclaimer because they frightened me a bit. lol

I'm planning on having a lower face and neck lift, along with some Juvederm in the cheek area and pre-jowl sulcus. I'm told the incisions will be around my ear and extend into my hairline a bit behind my ear. I have no doubt my doctor will do his job well and the incisions won't be an issue once they heal.

As you can see from the photos, when I'm smiling the jowls and neck wrinkles don't show up so much. Luckily, I smile a lot. Unluckily, that gives me crow's feet also. :) Those are treated with Botox.

My surgery is scheduled for late February. I don't feel too nervous (yet!) about the actual surgery, but I'm plenty nervous about the recovery period. I am very claustrophobic and just reading some of the comments about the bandages and neck tightness makes my neck feel like it's constricting. lol I'll be sure to request Valium for the couple of weeks post surgery.

I will update as I go along. I'm excited! I look better with eyes and a forehead, by the way, but I didn't want to post photos of my entire head for anonymity's sake. I previously had a blepharoplasty, so my eyes are in good shape and my brow definitely doesn't need to be lifted. I have always had highly arched brows and those don't need to be up any higher than they are already.

Thought I'd include my upper blepharoplasty photos -- had it a few years ago.

Bleph photos for those of you who are getting an upper blepharoplasty along with your facelift. I did get the lower bleph

Correction

I don't know how to edit the above, but I meant to type I DID NOT get the lower bleph.

One week from today!

I'm heading to my pre-op appointment this afternoon. I haven't been too nervous yet because I have had so much going on. I did go through a little spell a couple of weeks ago when I was spending way too much time reading about complications and bad results. I stopped doing that. Since them I've had a lot going on with travel and a big event I attended. We're also doing a remodel beginning in April and planning a 200 mile hike in July/August. All of this, luckily, is keeping my mind preoccupied. :)

Oh -- and I had the dreaded "you've turned 50 colonoscopy" (two years late! ha) yesterday. That was a treat. People are right -- it's the prep that does you in. It wasn't awful really -- the only bad parts were not eating and I got teeth chattering chills every time I drank the Suprep. The solution tasted like salty Dimetapp. The actual "process" of clearing out my colon wasn't bad at all really. I've read some horror stories. The actual day of was a breeze. I didn't remember a thing other than telling the anesthesiologist about my grandbaby and then waking up. Voila! And just to let y'all know how weird I can be with the claustrophobia thing -- when the nurse draped all this clear tubing over my arm and got it wrapped around my arm (from the I.V.) I moved it because I didn't like it wrapped up around my arm. I will DEFINITELY be asking for some Valium when I go to the doctor today so I won't totally freak over the head dressing from my surgery. It's so strange to me I have such an easy claustrophobic reaction to things. I don't remember anything happening in my past to cause it. At least I can get on elevators and in airplanes. Thank goodness. I'm going to stop talking about it after today and start visualizing not being claustrophobic over the bandages by attaching positive thoughts to go along with them. LOL I'm a freak.

So, today I'm going to clean (scour) the house in preparation of my upcoming surgery and tomorrow is grocery shopping. Also tomorrow, my just turned one year old grandchild is heading here so I can baby sit her until the day before my surgery. That should help keep my mind in a good place. She's such a sweetie. I'll update after today's appointment. I feel excited/happy and slightly stressed about the down time.

One Week Out Pre-operative Visit

I went today and the doctor explained exactly what he is going to do again and also gave me prescriptions. I received an antibiotic, anti-nausea medication and some Xanax in case the bandages make me feel claustrophobic. Hopefully, that won't happen. He said there shouldn't be a lot of pain and if there is to call him. He said there will be a dull pain and some tightness under my chin and on my neck. He also gave me the option of a prescription pain medication, but those have always made me thrown up and I feel like my heart races so I told him I would use Extra Strength Tylenol.

I'm supposed to arrive for surgery at 7:00 a.m. on February 25th. That shouldn't give me too much time to worry. :)

Tomorrow is the day! :)

Wow, I have been so busy and this has kind of crept up on me. I'm still babysitting until this afternoon. Besides the fun colonoscopy I had this past week, I've been busy looking at apartments and a couple of days ago one of the upstairs toilets malfunctioned and is leaking down the kitchen wall. Why does that stuff always happen on weekends? lol :D Good times! We turned the water off to it and the plumber is heading over to fix it today.

Back to the upcoming surgery: I have noticed in the last couple of days I have been wired at night and not sleeping well. I have taken Simply Sleep, which is the same medication as Benadryl to help me along. Tonight I may take a Xanax if I'm extra wound up. Once my daughter arrives, I need to clean a bit, make sure all my ducks are in a row with supplies for my recovery and shower/straighten my hair tonight as I suppose I may not get to or want to do that for a few days.

I've been mulling over in my head where I want to sleep after. We have a recliner, but my husband said he would sleep in the guest bedroom if I want. That way I could pile up pillows and use the pillows I've ordered to aid me. I got a wedge pillow for behind my back, a roll pillow for under my knees and a donut pillow for behind my head. Any suggestions as to this? What did y'all do?

I'm wary of Bromelain since I read it could act as a blood thinner, so I will probably wait until post surgery to start it. I have been taking Arnica for a few days and will start the regimen of Sinecch tonight.

I haven't asked my doctor how long I should wait to start my regular skin care regimen again. I use Retin-A, a vitamin C serum, an under eye cream and a sunscreen/moisturizer. I will try to remember to ask him tomorrow or, at least, at one of the follow up visits if I'm too wound up to remember.

I also have a belly ring I need to remove right before. I don't want to end up electrocuted. :o I don't know how long it can stay out without growing together, so I'll wait until right before for that and entrust it to my husband and tell him to remind me to put it back in when I wake up if I'm up to it.

My mind is definitely racing today. :) If y'all think about it and are so inclined, please say a prayer for me. Thank you!

Surgery all done!

I'm sitting at home now and feeling pretty good.

We arrived at the surgery center right before 7:00 a.m. and they had me sign a few things. I was called back within five minutes and remember thinking, "Already?!" :) Everyone was so friendly. I know a lady there and she wanted to see photos of my grand baby, so I showed her my little sweetie.

A couple of ladies came in and talked to me about what was going to happen and had me sign a few things. They took my blood pressure, gave me an I.V., put on some compression "stockings" for my lower legs, gave me some Zantac and some other liquid -- and I can't remember what else. The stockings were really just wraps -- they didn't go over my legs. They even gave me nice warm blankets.

Next the anesthesiologist came in and his nurse. Even though I had I.V. sedation, he said he preferred to put an oxygen tube in to be safe. I told him I was super claustrophobic and worried about the bandages after and he said he would give me something to help with that. I also told him I tended to get nauseated with anesthesia and he said he would take care of that too.

I know a lady who works at the surgery center and she was chatting me up a lot. I liked it because it kept my mind off of things. I'm still a bit sedated feeling, so hopefully all of this is coherent. Anyway, they asked me if I wanted to go to the bathroom before surgery and I did. The lady I know told me since my surgery was going to be three hours they like to put in a catheter and I told her that was fine. I actually had wondered about that last night right before I went to sleep. She also asked me if I would come visit once I'm healed because all they ever see is the bandaged up version. She added that she was so glad I chose the doctor I did because he is intelligent, kind and conservative in his work. She said they see so many people who look way overstretched.

The doctor came in also and talked to me and my husband for a while. I reminded him to take a mole off my neck while he was at it. lol He marked it so he would remember. It was dark and I just didn't care for seeing it on my neck too much.

The strange thing about this surgery is I have no recollection of going to the operating room or anything. Usually I at least remember that! Maybe once I told the anesthesiologist I was really claustrophobic, he slipped me a mickey. Ha! Anyway, I'm glad I haven't had any anxiety over the dressings or anything. Thank you Mr. Anesthesiologist. :)

The next thing I remember, I was waking up. It took three hours. They asked me in advance what I wanted afterwards so my choices were ginger ale and a grape popsicle. I felt slightly nauseated, but not bad and it went away pretty quickly. It took a little bit for my pulse ox to get back up and my blood pressure is naturally low so it took them a bit to come to terms with that and release me. :) I think the last check was 90/56. It's generally just a tad bit higher than that.

We headed home after that. My Golden Retriever has been highly concerned, but is starting to calm down. I turned my neck a bit too much when my daughter and grandbaby came home from being at the children's museum. After that, I put on my neck pillow and it is reminded me to keep my neck straight forward. Hubby is fixing me soup right now.

I opted out of prescription pain meds and am taking Tylenol and have taken anti-nausea meds. I'll save the Xanax for sleeping in the lazy boy. They told me to wait until tomorrow to start the antibiotics as they had given me some already.

That's all I have to report right now. I feel much better so far than I thought I would. My doctor used Artiss and I don't look extremely swollen (yet). I've also taking Sinecch, so here's hoping it helps.

I took one photo of me in the car on the way home all bandaged up and my husband took what I think is a slightly blurry photo of me in the surgery center. I will post those soon.

Yay! On the other side of surgery!

A few photos from Day 1

One of these is from the ride home, and the other two are from home. My husband took one at the surgery center, but it ended up being quite blurry. He can't see without his glasses. ;)

Day 2 -- First Post Op Visit

I'll tell y'all about my last night first. I slept in my husband's lazy boy and was only mildly comfortable. I've decided Xanax doesn't work so hot for me in the putting me to sleep department. I wasn't really feeling anxious, but I thought it might help to put me to sleep. Anyway, I'm crossing Xanax off my list for plane travel to Europe this summer. I'll just use wine to alleviate my "I hate to fly!" jitters. :) I had what I would consider to be a moderate amount of burning pain around my ears last night. It wasn't what I would call a walk in the park, but not totally unbearable. It was at that level where I thought if it got worse, I would ask for prescription pain meds. I was taking Extra Strength Tylenol every six hours as the bottle suggested, but upped that to every 4.5 to 5 hours and that seemed to do much better. The donut pillow was a life saver. I don't know if I'm allowed to post links here, but I used the "Comfy Basics Travel Neck Pillow" sold by Comfy Commuter Travel Products from Amazon and it is so comfortable. It has a flat area in the back so my neck isn't pushed forward and it will be my best friend for the next week or so.

Around 4:00 a.m. I woke up and moved to the sectional sofa and slept propped up on one of the arms. That was much more comfortable to me. Plus, my Golden who is used to sleeping with me much preferred being up there with me. That's where I'll sleep tonight.

I asked the doctor if I could take Simply Sleep starting tonight and he said that was fine.

I've had virtually zero nausea. The only very slight nausea I have felt is maybe the first 30 minutes post surgery, if it was that long. I took the Ondansetron HCL (may be generic) 4 mg tablets for nausea even though I didn't have any. I figured better safe than sorry. Overshare moment: I've taken Colace since the day before surgery and still no bowel movement. :) That's very unusual for me and I'll be glad when that happens.

My mouth is opening better today. Yesterday I didn't even want to eat saltines or anything, so I stuck with soup and a protein shake. My sweet daughter ordered me some spaghetti last night, so I may try it today for lunch as my mouth is feeling much better. I sneezed twice a few minutes ago and my sneezes can take a wall down, but no pain from that so that's good. I'm amazed at how much better I feel today. I'm almost energetic, but I will keep myself in check at least until I get my stitches out this coming Tuesday.

I know I'm long-winded. I apologize. It's been a lifelong curse. :)

At the doctor today, I walked in at 8:50 expecting to see a packed waiting room, but there was nobody there in the waiting room yet. Yay! lol I think the office hours begin around 9:00 or 9:30. The doctor came in and told me I looked good and apologized for the adhesive irritation. He said it's a hypoallergenic adhesive and he was surprised I turned red from it. I told him I had just started getting marks from bandaids in the last year. Weird. Anyway, he gave me a bottle of Obagi moisturizer and told me to just put that on it several times a day.

Next, he cut off my bandages and said I looked great. There's no bruising on my face and some mild bruising on my neck. I realize that may pick up some in the next day or two, but I'll hold out hope that won't happen too much. He said my cheek bone area was pretty swollen and the sides of my face, but that my jowl line and neck look just wonderful. My pre-jowl sulcus area is looking even better than he expected so I will need less juvederm there than initially thought. My neck made me smile. I hated my crepey neck and that is all gone. I also hated my jowls from the front view.

He told me to come back on Tuesday to have the stitches and staples behind my ears removed. My daughter took photos back there and said she could tell he had shaved my hair just a little bit in the staple area. I have a ton of hair, so I'm not too worried about incisions showing and I know they'll heal up well.

All in all, I feel remarkably well today despite my slightly distorted face. When I got home, took off my bandage (it's only a very light gauze wrap!) my daughter smiled and said, "Oh wow, mom!" I love my doctor. He's the sweetest man in the world and so level headed with zero flash.

Oh -- and he said he would do the juvederm and Botox for my eyes, forehead during the follow up visit on this coming Tuesday.

That's all for today. I'll post some photos.

I'm wanting spaghetti and it's 10:30 a.m. I had cheese grits for breakfast. I really wanted to be one of those people who lost five to seven pounds in this process. It's not looking good. lol

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Day 3

Morning y'all. Things are going well here. My ears are throbbing a bit at night and I had slight swelling and moderate itching under my chin near the submental incision last evening and during the night. I used a bag of frozen peas and that made it feel so much better. That's the only place I've used ice so far. My face is less swollen today and I just haven't felt the need. There are no bruises on my face and I love that. I think the Artiss has really helped with that.

During the day I'm feeling quite good. I feel like I have energy, but am spending my days watching The Today Show, American Idol and so on. I'm not a big during the day television watcher, so it's okay and mildly entertaining. I have several books to read also and feel like I can do that today with ease and comfort.

So far, I've been taking an antibiotic (cephalexin), Extra Strength Tylenol, Xanax (stuff is a dud for me -- not doing a thing, so I stopped taking it), Simply Sleep (started last night), Colace and Sinnech. I never started the Bromelain and just don't want to take anything else, so I don't think I will.

For my face, I've been cleaning it with Neutrogena face wipes/makeup remover stuff and I've been using Obagi moisturizer, Strivectin under eye ointment and Boiron Arnica gel. I think I will attempt washing my hair tomorrow. Maybe. I have thick and coarse hair, so it can go a bit before it gets oily.

I still haven't had a BM. Anytime would be greatly appreciated. :)

I've been eating yogurt, grits, soup, spaghetti and drinking protein shakes, diet cranberry and diet gingerale.

That's about it for today. I hope y'all have a lovely Thursday (I just had to check to see what day of the week it is. lol)

Forgot to add Day 3 photos.

Day 4

Morning! I felt uncomfortable last night sleeping and I have since I had this surgery, so I thought I'd toss that in first thing as I have a tendency to look at life through Little Mary Sunshine glasses. I don't want to give anyone the unrealistic expectation that this is a breeze or anything.

I can sleep on my back, but prefer my side. I think what is getting me is being propped up and perhaps I'm propped up too far as my lower back has been stiff and achy. The first night I woke up about four times and since then I've woken two to three times each night. The first night I was in the lazy boy. The next night I was in the lazy boy and couch. Then last night, I moved to our bed and it was the most comfortable but a little bit tricky getting my back comfortable. I'm not really having much problem with my ears as I sleep because I'm using the donut pillow and it's a huge help. They're achy, but I don't worry about them and I haven't bumped them or smashed them or anything. I'm taking a sleeping aid. I've been using a wedge pillow for my back, along with pillows around me, sometimes a pillow shoved under my back if it aches too much and a neck roll type pillow under my knees, which supposedly alleviates pressure on the lower back. Hmmmmm is all I have to say about that. I'll keep plugging along because I assume this gets better as I go along.

I'm going to take my first shower today, so I'll take photos after that. I plan to clean my incisions very well also as there is some dried blood on them and I haven't been willing to mess with them too much. The incisions around the ears are interesting. It's kind of feels like your ears are something you wish you could remove each night and set on the nightstand and then clamp them tightly back on the next day. They feel tightly suctioned to my head.

I started noticing yesterday a tighter feeling beneath my neck and across. It doesn't feel bad or constrictive -- I just notice it.

Other than that, while I'm listing the less than fun things going on -- I finally went to the bathroom yesterday. That was probably the worst bathroom experience of my life and that's all I'm going to say about that. lol I started Colace a couple of days in advance and kept taking them after. On day two, I started Citrucel to see if it would be more effective. All in all it ended up feeling like I was about as close to impacted as one could be without going to the hospital for removal. Not pleasant and I have nothing sunshiny to say about it. :) I apologize if that's an over share, but I think people who are wanting to learn about experiences should read the good, the bad and the ugly. That was the worst I've ever been from anesthesia, however, so perhaps it has something to do with the length of time under? I hydrate like crazy and have for the last 20 years as I love to exercise and understand the importance of hydration. Oh well. At least that experience is behind me. I ate Kashi Go Lean Crunch for breakfast today after it soaked for just a bit -- without any jaw pain or noticing my stitches -- so that's a good thing.

My big plans today are to shower and get clean. I'm actually excited about that. Other than that, I will watch television, maybe clean just a little (20 to 30 minutes light stuff tops), read and maybe sneak into the backyard with the dog once I'm showered. Fun times. :)

I hope y'all have a nice day.

Oh -- and I'm only taking Tylenol twice a day now so things are getting better. I don't notice much pain during the day at all. I'm taking Tylenol first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed to keep things at bay. Other than that, just the antibiotic and finishing up the Sinecch (Arnica).

Day 4 Photos

I finally took a shower and shampooed my hair today. It felt wonderful. I did use a blow dryer, but kept it away from the stitches. I constantly move the blowdryer in a fast back and forth motion when I'm drying my hair anyway and never keep it on one spot for long. The one maneuver I could not do is my usual hanging my head upside down when I first start drying to get/elevate the roots. Oh well. I wasn't about to try that! :)

Here's a bazillion more photos. Life is getting weird when all I'm doing is taking photos of my head. :) My iPhone seems to be taking smaller photos than the last one did and I can't for the life of me figure out why. Perhaps they'll look bigger when I upload them. A technology queen I am not.

Today is the first day I'm feeling excited about the results. I haven't freaked out or anything, but I feel like I'm seeing a difference in the before and after photos yet not seeing anything scary.

One of the hardest things for me is to be sedentary. I want to get out and walk my dog five miles. Boo.

Other than the shower. I got dressed, dried my hair, started a load of laundry, went out into the backyard with the dog and just doing those things made me feel like I should rest. It's a weird feeling like my blood pressure is going up so I figure I should sit once I get to that point.

Oh -- and I'm numb from about 3/4" down from my temporal incision and about an inch out in front of the incisions in front of my ear all the way down and around the bottom of my ear just a bit. Other than that, I have sensation.

Testing....

I think when I upload to gmail it's shrinking my iphone's photos on the transfer from there to iphoto. I'm going to try to upload a few of the same photos above -- this time I sent them to aol mail instead to see if they come out the right size. Just entertaining myself while stuck at home. :)

Day 5 -- Getting Better

The wedge pillow under the mattress felt so much better. My lower back still ached just a little, but not nearly as bad. I find myself able to turn to my side some on my donut pillow without it killing my ears also. That helps alleviate some of the pressure on my back.

I woke up a couple of times during the night and slept until 9:00! That's pretty late for me, but it's Saturday and felt good.

The bruises on my neck are a tad better today. I have a bit of swelling along my jawline -- more on the left than right. My stitches feel a bit tight, but that's normal for stitched areas on the repair.

No photos today. I'm tired of taking photos of my head for now. I'll do more before long. Have a great Saturday!

Day 6

Getting antsy already. :) I have to make it to at least Day 14 before I walk my dog. I've seen more news and movies than I can take, so I should probably start reading the books I bought to read while convalescing.

I don't really have any kind of pain any more. I have a tightness and numbness at the incision areas and just tightness under my chin up to my ears on each side. It feels like my head is wrapped whether I have it wrapped in gauze or not. I'm sure the numbness is here to stay for a while. I worked on my incisions around my ears (cleaning very gently) and can now see how thin they are. That's good to know. I think things are healing very nicely so far. I'm already getting little feels of zingers near my ears and feel like they are crawling down my face a little bit. It doesn't hurt at all. The first time it happened, I reached back to touch my cheek because I thought it was blood rolling down my face. It wasn't -- but that's what it kind of felt like.

My ears feel just slightly clogged, but I can hear just fine. I think it's the numbness making me feel that way.

The itching hasn't been horrible, but there as been some itching. I have to catch myself as my hand automatically wants to go up to scratch. Sometimes scratching the inside of my ear coming from behind has made me feel some relief. I don't know why as it isn't really what is itching. :) It's more the incision lines which are itching. I'm not scratching those.

I feel good. I've lost a few pounds and they were holiday pounds, so I'm back down to my fighting weight. I have no problem with that. My husband made me spaghetti last night. I still don't feel like chewing vigorously, so it was a good choice. I cut it up a lot and it took me a while to eat it, but I did and it was delicious.

I've also been having a lot of chocolate protein shakes with diet cranberry juice mixed in. Yum.

I'll post more photos once the incisions are out. Moving along here. Before I know it, I'll be a month out. I'll keep telling myself that.

Day 6 Photos

Changed my mind and will post a few. Bored silly. :) I took another shower and really shampooed my hair with gentle shampooing near stitched areas. Then I washed the dried blood off with very gentle motions and Cetaphil for sensitive skin. It was pretty effective and I was tired of the caked blood.

Day 7

Nothing much to report today. Waiting...... and feeling impatient. I'm so glad tomorrow is stitches/staples removal day! My bruises look about the same. There's a lot of yellow, but the purple spot on my neck is hanging tough. I keep taking Arnica, started Bromelain a couple of days ago and am using the Arnica gel. I think these things may be a placebo to placate me. :D Thank goodness we're having cool weather this week, so once he takes the staples out I can don a turtleneck if I do anything out and about.

Although I had a pretty good night's sleep last night, I'm definitely feeling more discomfort at night and upon first waking. It's not bad or painful -- just annoying.

I started reading "The Divinity of Dogs" last night. It's a collection of short stories which are heartwarming about how dogs have, often miraculously, effected the lives of their owners/often rescuers. It's real sweet. It's a nice way to comfort myself and raise my spirits as I am a big time dog (animals in generally really) lover.

Just playing the waiting game now and ready to get on the move. The things I will ask the doctor about tomorrow are:

a) slight clogged feeling in my right ear. I have read this can be due to swelling in the area. Luckily, my surgeon is also an ENT so he is well trained in that department.

b) slight swelling pocket behind my submental incision. Looks like a little pouch of fluid perhaps. I guess that's what swelling is. :) I'm sure it will resolve on its own, but I'll ask anyway.

c) If I can get Botox tomorrow. It's been a while and my crow's feet need it.

d) When we'll be able to do the planned Juvederm. We may have to wait until swelling goes down more. I don't know.

I think that's it. I'll resist the urge to ask him about physical activity because I already have. I think I will be walking my dog again between the two and three week marks. I'll probably start lifting weights again around six weeks. I remember after I had a cesarean (bikini cut) years ago, I thought it was a bright idea to start doing sit ups at the two week mark. WRONG! Dummy. :)

I can't wait to be able to blow my hair dry properly, put on some makeup and get out and about. :)

Happy Monday! I'll post photos once the stitches/staples are out.

Oh. And P.S.

I miss wine. :D

Day 8

Today is one week from surgery, so Day 8 is just beginning I suppose as I counted the day of surgery because that was a happening day. :)

I'm feeling really good now. I take a Tylenol first thing in the morning because sleeping makes my ears ache a bit. Tomorrow I think I will go without and see if it subsides on its own once I'm erect. At night I take two just because I want a good night's sleep. I'll stop that soon. I'm not taking any during the day now, but I may take two around 1:30 because I'm heading to the doctor for stitch removal. I'm not sure if he's taking the staples out today or not. I'll report back.

I also wake up feeling a tad stiff in the ears and neck, but that goes away pretty quickly. I can turn my head just fine -- I just don't except to test it just then :) -- so I think range of motion is back.

I actually thought "proof of life" when I first looked in the mirror this morning. The deep purple hickey type bruise on my neck turned into two where the mid-part of it dissipated a bit. The blackish bruise under my chin also broke up just a bit. That's a great sign. I figure by the two week mark I will be practically bruise free. Yay. :)

I took my last Arnica today pellet. I'm taking Bromelain. I've finished my antibiotics. I've slowed down on the Arnica gel because I noticed my skin was looking/feeling dry and the first ingredient listed is alcohol. Anyway, I'm not really sure it makes a difference and perhaps a good moisturizer is just as well.

I'm definitely going to start walking again at the two week mark. We'll see how I do, but I feel the need to be more mobile.

I'll ask the doctor today if it's fine to start my normal skincare regime again -- gentle cleanser, Retin-A, Vitamin C serum, moisturizer. The only thing I'm really concerned about is the Vitamin C serum as I'm sure that would burn like heck if I get it on the incisions.

Happy Tuesday!

Day 8 (cont.) Stitches out (mostly) and staples removed

I went to the doctor this afternoon and had most of the stitches and all of the staples removed. I think he left about three stitches because he said he wanted to let them heal just a bit more, so I'm going back Friday to have those removed. It didn't hurt. There was a little sting a couple of times with the staples, but nothing much. I think I was just anticipating some big ouch that never happened.

The doctor said I'm healing remarkably well (other than the neck bruising) and the incisions look fantastic. He also said I have minimal swelling compared to a lot of patients a week out.

He put tape on my under the chin incision and told me to leave it for two days. I'll take it off right before I go back to see him on Friday so he can take a look at it.

He did Botox today and I was glad because I was overdue and my crow's feet were coming back with a vengeance.

He said he would do the Juvederm in two weeks once things have settled a bit more.

Moving right along! Yay! :) I'll take photos of the incision areas again after he gets the rest of the stitches out and I'm able to clean the area.

It was kind of cool getting dressed today because I did feel I looked a little perkier, which goes along with my initial title of this journey. I wore a scarf in to cover the neck bruises and my hair easily covers the ear incisions.

The only other thing I asked the doctor is when I can start walking. He knows I exercise a lot, so he said I could walk outdoors without working up a sweat in a week :) and I could go at it in two weeks. I'll probably start real exercise a few days after my Juvederm injections.

I'm posting a couple of photos from fresh out of the shower this morning. I still had stitches/staples then. I tried to crop one of them minimally so y'all could see the often crow's feet I get when I smile. :) I'll try to capture an after later when the Botox kicks in.

Oh -- and one more thing ......

He said I didn't have to sleep at an incline anymore. I'll use two pillows, but I will be more than happy to get rid of that wedge pillow under my mattress!

Day 9

Good morning! I will keep doing daily updates through Day 14 and then switch to weekly up to two months and then monthly for a bit.

I slept fine without being inclined last night and noticed no further swelling. I used my donut pillow to sleep on my side and it worked wonderfully. I think I've mentioned, but it has a flat portion for behind the neck so my neck isn't jutted forward when I'm wearing it regularly. On my side, I positioned the flat portion at the side of my neck so my head wasn't jutted up into the air at an angle. My ear was suspended in the hole and no discomfort was felt. The pillow is soft enough that it is comfy like a pillow. I had a regular bed pillow under the donut pillow. All that worked out well.

I have a shadow of a bruise (very light) under my right cheek from the botox. I normally have no bruising from Botox, but I figure it's due to the state of the healing tissues beneath the skin. It makes me a bit wary of the upcoming Juvederm injections :-O , but onward I forge. Too bad there aren't any animated videos online to show us the healing process from within after a facelift. I'd be interested in the process. Maybe there are and I just haven't found them.

I feel mostly like my regular self, but am still finding being mostly sedentary annoying. I have a mild awareness of my ears and neck and under chin tightness, but nothing really annoying and it is certainly not painful at all. My ear stuffiness has dissipated, so that must have been the swelling. There are little red bumps from the staple removal, but I'm sure those will settle down over time. They have settled quite a bit overnight. I have a slightly irritated tragus on my left ear, but the doctor said to just keep putting Neosporin on it and didn't seem too alarmed by it.

I've stopped taking Tylenol. I'm still taking Bromelain, but that is it. I will probably re-start Arnica a few days before the Juvederm. The bruises on my neck seem to be getting just a tad lighter each day. If I go out in the yard with my pooch today, I'll wear a turtleneck and nobody would be the wiser.

That's about it for today. Rolling right along and pleased with the results! I don't feel like the change has been very dramatic, but my husband and sister seem to think the improvement shows a lot. I was reading something that said it's a bit harder for the patient to see because they are examining themselves with scrutiny each day. I may be guilty of that. lol All in all, I'm very pleased. I'm not usually one to want time to rush along, but I'll be happy to get to the one month mark in all of this.

Hope all of you are doing well!

Day 10

Good morning! Nothing much to report. I'm feeling good!

The so called "shadow of a bruise" I had from Botox yesterday turned out to be some black/gray fading from a hoodie I was wearing and fell to sleep in on the couch. hahaha Maybe the moisturizing lotion/hoodie combo caused it. Shows you shouldn't always believe what I say. Anyway, it washed off. :-D

Last evening I walked to our neighborhood pond with my husband and my dog. It's a total of about .75 miles there and back. I had to slow myself down a couple of times because I generally walk five miles each day at an average of 4.0 mph. I use a pedometer and have calculated it out of curiosity. I felt fine and even held the leash for about 3/4s of the trip. I let my dog go when we got there because he got excited over something. He always stops and waits for me when I drop the leash. I think he thinks he's taking me on walks. lol He's a good boy and listens well. I felt a tad more tender in the numb areas around my ears after the walk, but nothing bad.

I'm sleeping not propped up and haven't noticed any visible extra swelling from it or from taking the walk. My neck bruises are still holding on. :) Maybe by two weeks. I'll hold out hope. They cover up fairly well with a Dermablend cover stick. My pre jowl sulcus diminishes when the swelling goes down also as most of the swelling is on my jawline ( I can feel it! It feels very firm and ever so slightly tender) and the inch in of skin in front of my ears. I don't feel numb behind my ears any. I probably won't desire a lot of filler in my pre jowl sulcus, but I'm sure he'll do a little to make the jawline fluid. Filler has never been a big deal to me. It's an easy experience and the result is subtle, but very nice.

I'm looking forward to having the rest of the stitches taken out tomorrow. Oh -- and there are still two (or three, I can't remember) staples behind my ears. He must have decided they needed to stay for a bit also. When some of the staples were first removed (well, mine anyway) there were little bumps left where they entered the skin. Those are settling down some and I'm sure will diminish over a short period of time. I'm just adding that because the irritation and bumps are a little shocking at first and sends one googling! :-D

I'm noticing positive differences each day! My face/jawline is getting more refined and I like it a lot. I'm sure by two to three months I'll be seeing closer to the final results.

Have a great Thursday!

Day 10 Ear Incisions

Photos of my ear incisions with half the stitches out. The lighting is bright because I'm right under teh bathroom mirror lights. I like what I'm seeing so far because the incision line already looks pretty darn good. One of my ears has a red sore spot on the tragus, but it looks better since yesterday. I think the Neosporin is helping. It isn't a raw place despite the redness. It's like the red is right under the skin. Anyway, I think it will go away. They don't hurt anymore. Yay. I slept on my side quite peacefully last night using my donut pillow. I am no longer waking up any during the night.

Day 11 -- Time keeps going on by.....

Good morning!

I drank wine last night. Two big fish bowl size glasses and I lived to regret it. :) I had a slight headache and felt a little yucky this morning. I think I'll wait on the wine drinking for a while longer.

This morning I had an appointment with the doctor. He took out all the remaining staples and stitches. Only one of them smarted a bit, but it was over quickly. He said my incisions are healing great and the little place on my ear is starting to clear up from using Neosporin. It feels good not to have any foreign objects attached to my head any longer. :) He said the area behind my ears will settle down before long -- that is was just a little bumpy from the staples, but it will go flat. I think so too. All the incisions look great. The incision under my chin is just ever so slightly raised and he said it will also go flat. It looks good already though. I still have two bruises on my neck and one under my chin. I think they'll be all gone within a week or so, so it's no biggie.

He told me to be very careful with my ears as they will be healing for a while. I told him I was sleeping on my side on a donut travel pillow and he said great. He said he's a side sleeper too and totally gets it.

He had his assistant take after photos and she showed me the front facing before and after. Wow. I'll stop saying I don't feel like much has changed. There was quite a difference. I have that inverted triangle shape to my face again. I've always considered myself to have kind of a heart shaped face as I have a high forehead and my cheeks were full and my chin came down to a point. That kind of went away some as I aged and my cheeks narrowed. It's nice to see it back. She had my side views on another computer and is going to show them to me on my next visit.

My next visit is scheduled for Wednesday of next week. I'll get Juvederm in my pre jowl sulcus and some in my cheek hollows. He said he will eliminate the hollows, but not overfill because I have beautiful high cheekbones and he doesn't want to obscure them.

That was it. It felt a piece of cake. I told him thank you and complimented his surgical skills. He told me to continue with good skin care -- Retin A, a Vitamin C serum and a good moisturizer. He likes Obagi moisturizer and I do also. I have another really good sunscreen with moisturizer, but the name escapes me right now. I also use an under eye cream. Currently I have Strivectin, but I also like Obagi Elastiderm a lot.

I'll post photos after my next shower when the incisions are clean and don't have Neosporin all over them. I still have numbness on my face in front of my ears, but not behind them. I'm sure remnants of swelling will be resolving for months.

Yay! Feeling great to be on the other side. I'll probably get bruises Wednesday and start hibernating again. lol

Day 12 and it feels like spring! Yay!

I'm doing really well today. I walked my Golden Retriever for a mile and a half and so enjoyed the beautiful weather. We're getting up to 70 today and even the upper 70s as the week goes along. It's sunny and beautiful. I put a workout tank on and just covered the bruises with a Dermablend stick as best I could. They're getting smaller and lighter each day.

I took a bunch of photos in different lighting -- some repetitive -- but I figure it helps to see how the healing process is coming along.

I feel great! The only thing I'm noticing any is the tightness and it doesn't really bother me. It feels like I would feel if I had done a heavy lifting shoulder day, but without the muscle soreness (just tightness) if any of you lift and can relate to that description. Another description would be how it feels if you have a bit of a stiff neck, but without the pain.

The photos were taken in the same bathroom I've been taking them in, then by the same window upstairs I've been using and finally I think there are a couple in the foyer again.

More Day 12 photos

I didn't know how many I could post at once.....

Day 13

Happy Sunday! All is well. Bruises are diminishing a bit more each day. :) I ended up walking my dog another 1.3 miles yesterday -- so 2.8 all together and I was fine. We've walked 1.5 today so far. I've also been able to carry my one year old grandbaby just fine.

Things feel like they are getting more back to normal here. I'll post photos post Juvederm.

Day 13 -- forgot something important

My daughter told me yesterday she thought people would guess me to be 40 years old -- and that was an unsolicited compliment. :) I'll take it! I told her it was kind of strange feeling looking in the mirror, but strange in a good sort of way. It's still definitely seems like me, but like me from some years ago.

Day 14 & 15

Yesterday I ran around a lot. I walked my dog 2.5 miles, went to two stores to look at spring clothes, went to see the doctor, went by the drugstore, went by the health store for more Arnica and did a small grocery run. Phew! I even picked up some fresh pineapple so I can gnosh down on it before my injections.

I felt perfectly normal looking and nobody looked at me with a shocked look. lol I even carried on an extended face to face conversation with our home remodeler and he seemed none the wiser. I saw a woman I know, but who I haven't seen in about a year and she told me I looked great. That was nice to hear.

I'll take photos after I shower tomorrow and before I head over for my Juvederm injections, so there will be before and after Juvederm photos. Anyway, all is going well here!

Day 16

I forgot to take the before photos this morning! Ooops. I just got back from getting my Juvederm. It looks great, albeit a little red from the injection sites and all the icing. I'll take photos again next time I shower and once that is settled down a bit. I don't see any bruises, but sometimes those show up on me later. Hopefully, not! It didn't hurt any -- just little sticks.

I feel like elated to be on the other end of all of this. Yay!

Day 16

I'll take one more set of update photos if I can get my iPhone camera to work again. :) It's still taking front facing photos (selfie mode), but they are very grainy. Well, I'll take them regardless after I shower, but they are grainy. It will at least give you an idea of the fullness the Juvederm provided. I like it a lot. I feel practically like myself again and have been walking my dog 2.5 miles a day or so. Sine I have hit the two week mark and am not having issues, I will go ahead and move on to 3 to 4 miles a day. I still plan to wait until at least six weeks (maybe 8) to get back to resistance training and four weeks to go back to higher intensity cardio.

My neck hickey/bruise is virtually gone -- at least enough where I'm not noticing it enough to feel the need to cover it. The bruise in the hollow of my neck between my clavicles is still casting a shadow, but I'm sure will be completely unnoticeable within a week.

Life is good and my mind is racing ahead to plan our 200 mile hike this summer. :)

I have another recheck with the doctor in a week -- this coming Wednesday.

Ooops -- ^^^^^^^ Day 17.

Typed the wrong day. lol I hate how this site won't let me edit posts. :-D Not enough coffee yet...... ;-)

Day 17 photos

Here's some photos one day after Juvederm and, again, in different lighting and fresh out of the shower with moisturizer slathered all over my face. :-) Only slight swelling and very light (almost imperceptible) bruising on one cheek from the Juvederm. I'm not even sure if it shows up in any of these photos. My neck is almost bruise free and the doozie of a submental bruise I have is getting lighter. All in all, everything has gone great and I am very happy. I'll post photos of the incisions at a month too, but I think they'll be practically invisible in front of the ear by then. The submental incision under my chin tends to photograph looking worse than it actually does in person. It's small.

Three weeks and One day

Had a checkup today and the doctor said all looks great. He showed me before and afters and I definitely saw a difference. The biggest difference beside no more jowls and neck wrinkles is no more tired looking me. Yay! No more checkups other than if I head in to get Botox or fillers. He said I could get on with what I do and train for my walk. I'm going to wait until the six week mark to lift weights again, but I plan to walk plenty.

I asked him if I should do anything with my scars and he said I should moisturize them and I could use vitamin E or silicone sheets, but that they are going to heal well either way.

This was all definitely worth it and I'm glad to be on the other side. Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and support!
Name not provided

I will add more later, but I have seen my doctor before for a rhinoplasty in my 20s and a blepharoplasty a few years ago. I love his personality, he's very detailed oriented, listens well and is conservative in what he does. He said he, obviously, does not want me looking like I've had work.

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Comments (163)

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Hey, DB Wondering at the 3 month mark how things like swelling and numbness are going? Everything feel back to normal? checking in, grace
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Hi Grace. Everything is going great. If I'm just hanging out and haven't done anything physically -- like at night before I go to bed -- I feel hardly any numbness. I can touch right in front of my tragus and the rest of my ear area and feel sensation fine. I'm walking 5 to 8 miles daily to train for an upcoming hike and after I do that I still feel the numbness about an inch out in front of my ear area. Other than that, everything definitely feels back to normal. All still looks great. I think the smoothness of my neck and sharpness of my jawline have made the biggest difference.
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Hi - I remember a few months ago reading your question re your hike and the Dr answers. Thank you - It was reassuring as I have a week long cycle ride in France coming up in July (about 4 months post surgery). Now that it's getting closer I'm a bit concerned because I haven't been back on my bike yet - too hard to turn my neck quickly so I'm nervous about cycling in traffic. So I'm building fitness by walking and still getting a bit of tightness when I exercise. Any tips? Hope you enjoy your trip!
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Hey there....I was just looking back to refresh my memory on your incision placement and your pictures are off the site. Did you change your mind? Winky
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Hi Winky. I just didn't want to leave them out there forever. If you'd like me to send you photos of my incisions, I'd be happy to do that.
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Super! Would you pm a picture or two showing the incisions in front and behind the ear? Winky
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I am really impressed with your neck. Wow!!!! And your scars (lack of) are amazing. Your early photo with stitches around your ears looked scary, but now.....fantastic. With regards to your pre jowl succulus, what exact area are you referring to? What was the issue and how do you intend to resolve it? I had a PS mention this to me also, but I am uncertain how I should deal with it. Congrats on looking 15 years better:))))))
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Thank you so much! I know -- I went back to look at my photos and definitely thought there was a Frankenstein moment (with the stitches) at first! I never felt stressed, however, because I had seen befores and afters around the ears and know Dr. Brill is an excellent surgeon. If you copy and paste this url into you address line: https://www.dorsetstreetdermatology.com/images/radiesse_pre_jowl_sulcus.jpg There's an arrow which points to the pre jowl sulcus area. It's an area in which, on some people, there's a reduction of fat connected with aging. When it occurs, it gives an impression of jowling even when, at times, jowling isn't occurring yet. The woman in the link had Radiesse injected into hers and it obscured it. I had Juvederm Ultra Plus put there and had the same result. I'm very happy with it! I really notice the difference in photographs.
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Oh -- and I'm really happy with my neck also! A smooth neck makes an amazing difference! I've been slapping tons of sunscreen and moisturizer on it each day to try to preserve the effect as long as possible!
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I am so glad you are happy, your review has really helped & guided me. I will & must start my review! Deenerbug, your walk will be wonderful, that part of England is stunning, & also very picture book with pretty villages, tiny cottages etc! I want to do it too!. The people are so friendly up there, different from Southerners,...the forecast so far is for a hot summer...so maybe you won't need the brolly & gaiters after all!. ....& now I want to see SC, so many places to visit, so little time ( & not enough cash!). Funnily enough there was a film on tv last night 'The New Daughter' with Kevin Kostner set in SC, & I thought ' that's where Deenerbug lives!'. I live in a suburb of Athens & 2 miles either way from the mountain or the sea, so like you, I am walking dogs ( I don't have my own, but my business is boarding dogs while the owners are away. We always had Labs when I was growing up) on the mountain in winter/ spring....& swimming in the summer. We are moving back to London next year...I will miss this life. Sorry, not much writing about face/ neck lifts! Just wanted to say the other things. Have a lovely weekend.
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Morning Sally. No problem at all as far as not writing about my face. :-) I definitely enjoy hearing info about the area where we will be hiking this summer. We get so hot here in July and August (above 100 heat indices at times -- we've seen 110 to 115 before) and have a ton of humidity, so I would be surprised if England handed us anything worse than that! I googled "The New Daughter" as I haven't seen it -- yes, our summer home is on an island near Charleston and my daughter attended The College of Charleston. It's a beautiful area. I hope you get to see it one day! I just finished watching a BBC special about Wainwright's C2C walk. Looks quite hilly! ha! Your business sounds nice. I love animals and especially dogs. I'm sure I've mentioned it (ha!), but my Golden Retriever is my soulmate. :-D He loves to swim in the ocean and our pool. I hope you have a lovely weekend!
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Wow, sounds like you are about done with the "major" part of the process! I am glad to see it, both happy for you and hoping my own recovery will go as well... I have planned for 2 weeks off work and really trying hard to keep that 3rd week clear of anything significant just in case.
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Thank you Ato Z! That should work for you. I felt totally myself again at the three week mark, other than the tightness I feel behind my ears -- but I think that will be there for a bit. I'm also still numb in front of my ears, but it doesn't bother me much. I've resumed my 4 to 5 mile a day walking schedule so I'm good enough to do that and I'm certainly not strolling. I bought a couple of UV buffs for our upcoming hiking trip as that way I can pull my hair up in a ponytail while training for it and still keep the scars protected from the sun. Oh -- and I'm now able to sleep on my side on my ears on my regular pillow. Yay!
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Whoo hoo, side sleeping! (I know I am going to miss that...)
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Deenerbug. When you get a minute, can you tell me what you use on your skin? You seem to be outdoors quite a bit. However your skin is gorgeous. Please tell all sister. :)
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Thank you, FSRB! Nothing too special. I wash my face with Cetaphil for sensitive skin. For the day I use a Vitamin C serum on my face, chest and tops of my hands (Vivier, but I want to move up to 15 and I don't think they sell one of that strength) and I always use sunscreen even on rainy days (Anthelios 15SPF in winter, but I move up to a regular store brand 30 to 50 SPF for spring and summer), a facial/neck moisturizer (Obagi hydrate works well), something more ordinary for the rest of my body like Eucerin or Lubriderm, and at night I always use a Retin A cream of .05%. I also use Strivectin eye cream or Obagi Elastiderm (I go back and forth -- love both.)
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Thank you, FSRB! I use: Cetaphil for sensitive skin to wash my face, and also Almay and Neutrogena makeup removers A vitamin C serum each morning (Vivier, but I'll need to go to another brand to move up to 15. I'm currently using 10 and Vivier doesn't make a 15, I don't believe.) I use this on my face, neck, chest and tops of my hands. I love Vivier. I wish they made 15. I always use sunscreen everywhere the sun can hit -- even put it on for rainy days -- Anthelios 15 SPF in the winter and just a general store brand in spring and summer of at least 30SPF and sometimes even 50SPF. Moisturizer -- The Anthelios is a moisturizer and if I'm switching to higher SPF I use Obagi Hydrate Undereye cream -- either Strivectin or Obaji Elastiderm At night I use a Retin A cream of .05% I think that's about it.
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Sorry -- I had those listed out vertically and I forget I can't use such fancy spacing on this site as all is shoved together into a giant paragraph. Hope this isn't confusing. :)
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There should be a period after Obagi Hydrate. That's a facial moisturizer. Then I list the under eye creams.....
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Hmmmm. And you got it twice! :D lol I'm hopeless posting on this site.
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Got it!! Thanks!! Do you use the European version of Anthelios? I'm assuming you wear a hat often Lastly do you use Retin A in the summer?
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Oh... one more... Is you skin slightly sensitive? I'm working up my tolerance of Retin A. I have sensitive skin.
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It says La-Roche-Posay Anthelios SC Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen -- I bought it at DermStore.com. I do wear a hat when I'm out in the sun to walk the dog or swim the dog, etc. I don't lay out in the sun at all, but we have a pool in the backyard and a house at Kiawah Island so there's a lot of sun in my life. I use Retin A year around. Yes, my skin is very sensitive. I've used the Retin A long enough where it's no longer irritating my skin. I've been using it for a couple of years. I slather it on now. lol I was going to move up to .1%, but my doctor said not to do that right now. I guess he figures my face/skin has been through enough here recently. :-)
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...just re read what I have written,,..seen plenty of mistakes....but when I said people...in Westchester... I meant they were just so friendly.... Which reminds me...when I landed @ JFK they take your photo as pass through passport control ....& the guy said 'thank you ma am...we're gonna send that one to Hollywood!'...it made me laugh!
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Hi Sally, I understood everything you wrote. I hate not being able to edit my posts because I used to be a legal secretary and am insane about my own typos. :-D We'll be flying into Manchester, England for our walk. We've never been there and our Coast to Coast guide said it's much easier to get to St. Bees from there than from London. He said the second best option is Glasgow, but we're going to head to Manchester. I'm heading to the doctor for a checkup today. I guess he's just going to take a look see to make sure everything is going fine. I feel great, am walking my dog 5 miles a day and am about to up the mileage to train for our walk. I've been googling places to stay in Manchester. I'm glad my focus has left my face now (haha) and I'm more focused on our remodel and our walk for my personal focus points. Worldwide, I'm currently most concerned regarding the Ukraine/Crimea and the missing airplane. I can be quite obsessed with airplanes as I hate flying, but have this weird fascination with it also. I feel for the families in this situation. How awful! I love South Carolina -- I'm in the midlands so I can go two hours (or less) towards coastal areas or two hours in the other direction to the mountains to hike. It's very nice and the weather is generally beautiful. You made me laugh about your current focus. I think it's normal to focus on surgery you're allowing someone to operate on your face! When I did my fitness contests, I often had the same thoughts -- "Isn't there something more important for me to think about than my workouts and nutrition?!" Some things require temporary and most 100% focus. :-) You'll get over it within a couple of weeks post facelift. I think you're thinking about wine so much because it helps one to relax and the days before a facelift you're probably anything but relaxed! Count me as a lover of New York also. I miss my son being at New York University because I loved visiting him there often. I'll have to go back soon regardless of the fact my son is no longer there. He's heading to New York to see friends in the next couple of weeks. LOL about the airport guy! How sweet! :-D If you ever come back to the states and are looking for beautiful places to visit, choose Charleston, S.C. -- It's on the coast and a lovely historical city with lots of nice restaurants and shopping. If you're more a mountain person, go to Asheville, N.C. Also very lovely and lots of scenic hiking! Okay, I'm done rambling back and forth and need to get ready to go to the doctor. Take care!
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