Surgery is all set for tomorrow and I'm starting...
Surgery is all set for tomorrow and I'm starting to get nervous! I'm having neck and jowl lipo as well as a platysmaplasty. I take after my mom when it comes to my neck, that is to say there isn't a good angle to it, it just slopes. My mom is now in her 70s and her chin just drops to her chest. She has aged amazingly well otherwise but the neck does age you so much. Mine isn't too bad right now (although a 10 pound weight gain this winter hasn't helped) but I thought if I took care of the muscles now I could hold off on a lift for a while longer. My doctor seemed to think my skin elasticity was good enough to go with this option over a half face/neck lift and I trust him.
I feel like my neck makes me look older and heavier than I am (I'm 5'6, 135 pounds). I work in the public eye and this year I have to do some on camera stuff. It was our pre-interviews that convinced me to finally do this.
I have loved reading and seeing everyone's reviews here. The community seems to helpful and great. If anyone has any tips for before and after I'd appreciate it. I've been taking Arnica pellets (200ch) since yesterday, and I have the Arnica gel and Bromelain for after. I've also bought a bunch of stuff to make smoothies in case I don't feel like chewing or opening my mouth too wide. My biggest concern is how tight my throat will feel once the muscles are tightened as well as nerve damage. I picked a more expensive doctor because his reputation is stellar, but I still worry!
Thank you guys for your kinds words, they mean a lot! Espcially because IRL I've only told one person so it's nice to talk to people about it. Thanks Elle for your tips and reassurance, given you've done this before and quite recently.
It went incredibly smoothly. The PS's surgical suites are gorgeous and even have facilities for people to stay over and recieve care. The only thing that really bothered me was how thirsty I was because i'm a HUGE water drinker (like, wake up in the middle of the night to drink it), but, as my doc said, soon enough you'll be asleep and when you wake up you can have water.
I opted for IV sedation because of the significant price differene and also because the recovery and risks are less. The nurses were lovely and put me on the IV drip while they prepped, slowly bringing me under. I had a few moments of awareness where I felt something tug and winced a bit, but other than that I recall nothing. I don't even remember how I got to my bed. The nurse came to check on me 5 minutes later and I was up wanting water. When she came back with my water I was reading my book. She said she'd never seen anyone bounce back so fast. (I bet she says that to all the girls!)
My friend came to pick me up around 10:30am (surgery was at 7:30) and the doctor came in to see e before we left. He pulled off the banages to check and my friend said it looked good.
I've been home now for about 6 hours and managed to eat a few bananas and some yogurt. I magivered the ice pack I have for my knee. It had two tabs on the same side that velcro to the fabric on the other side, but I cut one tab off and put it on the opposite side and now use it as a 'sling' ice pack and velcro the tabs to my wrap. I've been setting my timer to have it on for 20 minutes and off for two hours. I took a pain pill after taking it off and conked out. I woke to my alarm to put it back on again (2 hours!) but was so disoriented I thought it was the morning and I hadn't had surgery yet. It took me a minute to remember what was going on! Ah, drugs.
I just took off the wrap to put Arnica gel all over me and took these pictures. I am definitely bruising! It couldn't be helped, I'm a bruiser, but I'm doing as much as I can to minimize it. It looks good so far though! I'm quite pleased. I'll have to round up some better before photos for comparison sakes.
Hopefully this continues as smoothly as it has so far. I'm not pain free, it's definitely uncomfortable, especially the way you have to sleep, but it's only a few days of awful for the results to be optimal so I can suck it up. Plus, you know, drugs!
Up in the wee hours
Excellent suggestions Elle, thank you!! I put a nice soft sock under because I had noticed a lot of lines from the wrap. It's much more comfortable too. It is very difficult to sleep though. It's 4:45am and I've been awake since 1am. I managed about 3 hours (in and out) before that but I gave up for this time period and have been reading my book. I think I'm finally feeling sleepy enough to catch another hour. You definitely need time off work to deal with this crazy sleep pattern. I'm determined to sleep propped up though but don't know if I'll make it for a full week.
I did a side-by-side before and after to show improvement. Tomorrow - SHOWER!
Is this day 1? Not sure!
I'm not sure if I call this day one, or if yesterday was day 1 technically. I'm just going to call it day one from now on, like yesterday was ground zero.
I managed to get a few more hours sleep after my last post at 5am, but not much more than that. I'm just laying low for the next few days anyway so I can nap as needed. I'm still doing ice every 2 hours for 20 minutes. I took fewer pain pills today because I find they just make me so sleepy and I have no way to get comfortable when I'm tired.
My doctor's office called first thing this morning to check on me. She said I could shower today so I did. It was nice to have the band off for a little while, but also made me nervous because there are places on my neck that still feel numbish or jelly-like (I can't decide which one, it's weird). I think a lot of it is swelling, which is a bit worse today, as are my bruises. The nurse said to expect this, and it could even get worse into tomorrow, but then it should lessen. When I got out of the shower I went to take a pain pill and managed to pop the top off in the most uncoordinated manner which made half my pills fly into the toilet. Genius! I think I'll be okay with the 17.5 that are left, but I called my doctor to prescribe 15 more just in case considering it's the weekend and I won't be able to ask again until Monday. I'd rather have the prescription there if I need it.
I managed to eat a bit today but it's still hard to open my mouth fully. I shoved in some banana and yogurt for breakfast, then turkey, avocado and cheese for lunch (no bread, it's too hard). I'm snacking on grapes and M&Ms with peanuts (for protein, you know!). Tons of water too.
This afternoon I conked out for about 1.5 hours which was lovely, unfortunately I woke up lying on the side of my face (which is my preferred position to sleep). I gotta baby roll myself so I don't flip over - just shove a bunch of pillows on either side of me so I can't mush up my face.
I've added a few more photos from this morning where the bruising really shows.
Day 2 Post Op
I am terribly bored. I guess I should have planned for this a bit better. I had a few movies to watch and a book to read, but I finished those the first day. I'm not quite comfortable enough to go outside, I think I'll save that for tomorrow. It just seems prudent to lay low and keep all the bands on for three full days.
I had a better sleep last night. It may be beause I laid off the drugs yesterday. They just made me so groggy during the day. I took tylenol this morning instead of a vicodan and so far so good. The vidocan makes me so 'bunged up' to use a lovely term, which adds to my crankiness. The doctor gave me some stool softerner for just such a thing but it has weird rules about when you can take it and I could never find the right window.
Today I expected to wake up with swelling but it looks pretty good. The only issue is still my left side jawline, it's still a bit puffy there. My chin today had marks from the bandage. I take everything off for about 10 minutes a day, twice a day, to let it all breath and give my head some relief (and a good scratch!). Then I slather the arnica gel on and put it on again. I'm still icing every two hours and the bruising is looking better. I'm also still taking the arnica tablets and bromelain.
Eating is still a challenge just becuase I can't fully open my mouth. Luckily I did plan for that and have lots of little things (smoothies and soups) to eat. It's hard for me to think I have to wait until Thursday to get my stitches out. I'm a very active person so this sitting around is driving me cuckoo. Gotta find an outlet!
Another before and after
I meant to post this earlier, oops.
Day 3, or 4, yup, it's day 4 now
I'm inclined to change this to day 4 since surgery was Thursday, and only because day 4 sounds better. So, as it is my prerogative I am now switching this to day 4. Sorry for the confusion.
Yesterday was so so boring. After a lovely email exchange with Elle she encouraged me to visit the outside world. I put a cute scarf around my neck because there is only bruising on my neck (yes, in 30 degree weather, but it was a light flouncy pink scarf) along with a white tank, jean shorts and cute shoes to match my scarf. Voila! I was presentable, if not self-conscious. I was worried about running into someone I know because I still don't feel myself - I know I hold my neck weird (stiff) because I don't like sudden moves plus I can't open my mouth up as wide as normal, etc. Luckily that didn't happen and I managed to walk the dog, pick up some groceries and take my bike out for a quick 10 minute ride which lifted my spirits. Thank you Elle for the idea, it really helped!
The rest of the day went pretty much the same - ice, clean, eat, rest, read. I had a bit of fun later in the afternoon with a free eye make up kit I got from Sephora a few weeks back. I did up my eyes with tons of make up, something I don't usually do (just mascara normally) because I have deep set eyes. It's always fun when you're feeling hideous to play around with the parts of you that are still normal!
My left side still feels 'jiggly' and numb. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it normal at this stage? I'm almost afraid to take off my compression bandage for fear it will just melt off me like I'm some sort of Looney Tune character (cue the trombone music).
Otherwise I think my healing is going very well. The one big bruise has finally lost it's black centre and all of my blue brusing is beginning to turn yellow, all good signs that they'll soon be a distant memory. I'm adding one picture here - the before was taken by my eight year old from his perspective a few weeks ago (I was pretty mortified when I saw it and almost deleted it, but then thought it would be good to use for just such an occasion) and the after is last night in my bathroom. This one makes me very happy :)
Later that day (4)
I had a shower this afternoon and felt like putting on some make up. I also took some photos after. My jowls still feels loose but I'm sure that will resolve over the next little while. I'm extremely happy with my neck!
I had a rough night last night. I had a terrible nightmare around 2am and couldn't get back to sleep until 6am. I ended up watching Scandal and eating pineapple.
My bruising is continuing to yellow more and more. I am hoping it looks decent by Friday because I have an important meeting.
I'm still taking pictures every day but the changes have kind of plateaued right now so there is no point in posting them (unless you really want to see yellow bruises!). Instead I'm including some before pictures. These are screengrabs from the pre-interview I did a few months ago. Seeing myself on camera cinched it for me, especially when one of my co-workers said "you look great!" I thought - shit, is that what 'great' for me looks like now? Cause that looks like all sorts of not great to me.
This morning my headband and I are having a little time out. It feels good to have it off for a bit longer than normal. I'll put it back on in a bit, but I'm giving it a few hours. I was getting such a pain around my ears from it. Yesterday I only took one pain pill in the morning, but it was for a migraine, not neck pain. I think the bandage is contributing to my headache which is why I'm giving myself a break for the morning too.
Yesterday was just another day. I had work to do, lots of reading, which was a good activity for the day. Today will be more of the same. I have a friend coming over for dinner tomorrow night, a much needed human interaction for me! (Sorry dog, you just don't cut it as far as conversation goes.) I get my stiches out in two days, which will be an outing for me. My bruises are lessening and yellowing more, but still quite significant. I don't know that make up will cut it right now, but it's still two days away so it could be better by then. I'm continuing with the bromelain and arnica, but added vitamin c today, which I can't believe I didn't think about sooner. I was looking over a text I sent my friend who picked me up after surgery and it's hilarious - I was pretty dopey I guess because normally I'm a stickler for spelling and grammar (which is one of the things that bugs me about this site - no way to fix once you put it up). My sentence was "A nurse just told me I'm the fastess she's ever seene. Got my book and phone a some paper work to read, but I might just Clouseau my eyes." Haha, I think I'm going to use that from now on "Clouseau my eyes." And, my poor friend must have been wondering what I meant by the 'fastess she's ever seene'. Ah, drugs.
Adding a few more comparisons, I love the comparisons! The second one is me lying flat on my back. To me it almost looks like I'm purposely squishing my chin into my neck in the before, but I wasn't, that's just the way it was. Looking at photos like that make me so happy I could do this surgery.
I apologize for not updating for the past few days. I've had a bit of a hard time of it. I went to get my stiches out on Thursday. My PS was happy with my progress. I felt like I was taking some steps back but he said it was just swelling at this point and to begin light massage, and next week to start stretching my neck/head upwards a little at a time (not to the point of pain, just to begin stretching the muscle).
It's still slightly numb under my chin and some lumps are beginning to form so I've started to rub them. I bought Cicaplast by La Roche-Posay to put on my chin scar twice and day and it seems to be helping. I'm including a photo of my scar right when the stiches were out and today (3 days later).
I feel like my swelling is at an all-time high right now. Perhaps I have overdone it the last few days, but it's depressing to look at before and afters right now. I forgot to pack my bandage when staying over night at my mom's the other night so that didn't help, and then yesterday I got hit with a stomach bug. I'm going to keep the bandage on for the day today and see if that makes a difference. I suppose it's just time, but it's hard after spending all that money to see it 'revert'. I'm including photos that show before (taken by my PS), day 1 and today (day 10). You can see how it was at it's best day 1. I have read that your results will most likely end up at this point after all the swelling goes down, so hopefully this is true.
My bruising is almost completely gone though, so that's great news. Now I can wear whatever I want when I go out. I had a dream I was out on a date with a cute guy and realized part way through that I had been wearing my head bandage and he hadn't said anything! The horror!!
I've been crazy busy and unable to update. Everytime I've thought about it I've been totally exhausted and sleep sounded much better! The swelling is still present enough that I don't like taking pictures because my results are depressing right now. I know it's temporary but that doesn't mean I have to look at them in detail! I also know my profile is better, it's just not where it was day 1/2 when it looked the best. I'm pleased to note that if I tip my chin down to my neck there is no longer a big fatty roll that I can feel touching my chin, so that makes me happy. It's really just the angle right under my chin that I reserve judgment on. My scar is looking better, or so I'm told. It's hard for me to see it properly or take a good picture of it. Just to make myself feel better I've been wearing my bandage as much as possible when I'm home and I've been taking it easy as much as possible. I think I'll try and take some photos later on today and post them.
Day 15 pics
After spending the day with my bandage on and taking it easy, I'm feeling better about the way everything is looking this evening. I appreciate everyone's encouragement and words saying this is normal. I realize looking at the pictures I'm talking about minor changes, but they matter to me at this point, small as they may be. In some ways I feel like I'm being too picky, but it is what it is at this point and I'm positive I'll get to where I want to be in due time. In the meantime, I want to document this process for myself, and also for other people who go through it in future so they can feel comfortable when they reach this point. This is in the hope that weeks from now it will be all good! I am a worrier but I'm also an optimist!
6 weeks out
I can't believe it's been six weeks already! It's been a bit mucky for me personally lately, but otherwise all is good. I go for my 6 week post-op appointment on Monday. Hopefully he can tell me if this 'stringy' apperance under my chin will go away. I'm hoping so, considering what I've read. For the most part I'm happy. I'm happy to turn my chin down to my neck and not have them smush together! My jowls definitely look better too. It's all very subtle, which I think is the benefit of doing something before it gets super droopsy. We do what we can do, right?