I have a neck and lower face lift scheduled for...
Since I live in another town, Dr Harley called me to discuss any issues or concern I had about the procedure. Both he and his staff have been very kind and more than helpful since I made the decision to have the procedure.
Each day, as the date gets closer, I look in the mirror at my wrinkly old neck and jowls and again- I get so very excited to have this done, finally, and terrified of what all the procedure and the aftermath might entail!
I've been reading my pre-op instructions over and over and going through reviews and pictures of similar procedures this evening. Rationally I know everything will be ok, but I still am experiencing a lot of anxiety right now.
I turn 45 next Thursday, and then have my surgery the following Tuesday. This is a good thing. I should be excited! Instead, I am second guessing myself and thinking of all the possible problems that could arise.
I'm just being silly... right? Every time I looked in the mirror while getting my hair cut, I just couldn't wait to be free of this jiggly wiggly neck and jowls.
These pics were taken 3 days before I had my Botox and Restalyne. You can see the banding and all the excessive skin. yuck.
Less than 2 weeks!
What else do I need?
I also am not sure when I should start taking the arnica, bromelain, and vitamin C and how much I should take? Anyone?
I have so much going on at work that I haven't had time to panic the last couple days. I have to prepare two weeks ahead since I will miss a full week of classes.
My mother is a retired Nurse Practitioner and she will be taking care of me for the first few days after surgery. On the 4th day my best friend is driving us to my beach condo. Her mother had a face lift and she took care of her after that, so she at least knows what she is getting into!
I feel like I'm forgetting something... anyone want to chime in with advice?
10 Days To Go
Feeling rather nostalgic today... if that makes sense. Took some no make-up pics this morning of my "old face." I guess for 45, it's not so bad. But I'm still eager to get rid of some of that neck.
Juanita, from Dr Harley's office, called today to get the location of my pharmacy to send in my meds scripts. Wow... it's really here; it's really happening! We overuse the world "surreal" these days, but the fact that I am finally having this done does indeed feel a bit surreal. I even moved the money for the procedure over from savings to my regular account this evening.
My procedure is on the 15th, which is a new moon and a blood moon and apparently that's a big deal and I refuse to look it up and freak myself out even more.... especially since my birthday is day after tomorrow! I don't need any help freaking myself out.
Happy Birthday to me!
My gift will be 5 days late- next Tuesday, at 6:30am.
And there's the pain.
The procedure itself was a breeze. I slept through most of it. I flt pain only twice- once during the shots to numb me, and then when I woke up towards the end. Something burned. Does he cauterize the area?
I was very woozy and wobbly and had to be helped into the car. Ate an egg mcmuffin! Then back to the room to pass out. When I woke up- OUCH. Waiting for the meds to kick back in. I just want to sleep.
Dr Harley and his nurse were WONDERFUL. So personable and kind. I cant wait to see what I look like under these bandages! Drain out tomorrow at 8:45. Until then? I'd just like this throbbing and burning pain to piss off.
I'll update more tomorrow.
Oh and thanks for all the kind words and encouragement! :)
Get this thing off my head!
The pain was reeeeally bad yesterday- more than I expected. It felt like I had swollen glands in my neck, and my ears ached and burned. Now everything aches and I have a headache. The headache could be a lack of caffeine though. I'm also starving! Going to eat some yogurt and have a little coffee.
Right now (and I hope it stays this way) the most irritating thing is this cap thing. The pressure is necessary- I think it's drain related?- but it is really uncomfortable, and it's itchy, and the velcro around the bottom is digging into my neck. I've got red rub spots on my neck.
I will have to drive up from Myrtle Beach and then turn around and drive back down next week to get my stitches out. Thought they'd stay in longer, but the sooner the better I guess! :)
No more head wrap!
Drain removal hurt a bit and massaging the fluid out was odd, but wow, even swollen, SO worth it!
Before and Afters
I am VERY swollen now, but momma has cleaned and dressed the sutures. I've tried to get the pen markings off, to no avail.
My concern right now is a "bubble" thing around one of the stitches in my hair line. I'm afraid it will turn out to be a dog's ear or leg or whatever the phrase is. And good lord.... my ear lobes are so swollen they are sticking straight out and look SO weird. My ears burn really badly and my neck aches. No bruises- yet.
I'm sure I'm being paranoid since it has only been one day, but.... yeah... so far, those are my fears. Everyone at the office was SO nice and supportive today. Dr Harley said the bubble thing was just fluid... but it hasn't changed at all. bluhhhh.... I'm just tired, I'm sure. I need to sleep and ice this face! Good night y'all!
Day 2 Post Op
I'm still in a decent amount of pain, but am trying to not take so many pain pills. I'm afraid I will run out. My pain is in my neck- achy and sore- and my poor ears. They are SO swollen and red and they just burn. I also can't shake this headache. I know I can take Tylenol now, but the thought of looking for it is just too much. I think I over-did it yesterday, because I am exhausted now... like down to the bone tired.
Still no bruising, but that "bubble" stitch in my hair is still there and still has me concerned. I tried to get a picture of it so y'all can tell me if I should be worried. Ok... falling asleep typing this.
Day 3 Post Op
My swelling was pretty alarming yesterday, but I look a little more human this morning. My ears were SO swollen and one side of my face was all lumpy. I have one single bruise on my neck which I'll post a picture of.
I am heading to the beach this afternoon, so I took my last pain pill at 1am. I'm going to try to stick with Tylenol and arnica, for now. I'd like to be able to converse coherently with my best friend on the drive down!
My mother, a retired nurse, has been cleaning my sutures and says they look really good. One is still puckered at my hairline, and is freaking me out, but she says it's just fluid. Most of my pain is in my earlobes and in my neck below my ears- my glands are swollen and sore. It feels like having the flu.
I sent a picture to my best friend yesterday and she flipped- couldn't believe how young and "skinny" I look! :) Looking forward to a week with her- not looking forward to 12 hours of driving on Tuesday to get my stitches out though!
Washed my hair and puckered stitch
Right now, my right ear and the gland under that ear hurt. I feel like my face has been packed with cotton or something. I understand the feeling others have described of feeling like there is a band tightened around my head. It isn't horrible, but it isn't pleasant. The pain in my right ear is a sharp pain though- around my earlobe. I think I'm going to have some more bruising on my neck, but right now it is totally hidden with makeup.
I got carded buying beer today.
4 Days and sutures
Another concern is my ear lobes. They are still swollen and stick out/up. Weird looking. Anyone have any insight on this?
Just took my last pain pill.... off to dreamland.
It's rainy and windy at the beach, so we are going to do some shopping today. Right this second I am sitting and trying to chill because I really don't feel well. We had an early night last night and I slept pretty well, but I did wake up in the middle of the night having rolled almost over on my side. Yikes! I don't know how long I was like that, and it's the first time it's happened. I'm swollen now, but I don't think it is any more than usual, or more so on one side than the other. My chin is sore today, which is also a first.
I'm having all sorts of worries today- am I doing too much? Have I taken good care of my stitches? Are they clean enough? And still on my mind- IS THIS PUCKERED STITCH GOING TO HEAL LIKE THIS??? If it does, you will be able to see it clearly because it's on the side I part my hair, so not even able to hide it with all my hair. It feels like the stitches behind my ears are a mess too. I tried to take pictures of them since I can't see them any other way, but I can't really tell. I can't tell what is a result of swelling and what just IS. I know on the left side there is a bit of random skin, but I think that is where the drain was. You'll never be able to see it since it is all in the crease of my ear, but... But.
I also noticed some horizontal lines on my left cheek- like stretch lines, if that makes sense? I'm half sure this is from swelling, but still scary to see. The swollen glands in my neck have gone down and aren't as sore. My chin still isn't numb at all, but the areas in front of my ears are completely numb- about two fingers wide on each side. This area also feels "hard". I suppose that is from swelling/fluid?
I know I could call Dr Harley with all these questions and concerns, but it's Easter Sunday and I'd feel like an ass calling him today- plus, I'll see him in two days when I get my stitches out. Speaking of stitches... if you look at the pics of the stitches I posted last night you can see that they look quite different- like the stitches on my left ear seem to be close together and there seems to be more of them than the stitches on the right ear. I wonder why that is?
Ok... I've got to venture back into shower-land. I dread taking showers now- so afraid I'll do something "wrong"!
Then BFF and I made a big yummy dinner but I think we seriously over-did it with the salt and garlic salt. I just went to the bathroom and when I looked at myself in the mirror it was a shock. My face is so swollen that it doesn't look like me. I've posted pictures from when I was looking "normal" and then another from just now. You can gauge how swollen I am from my lips. 2 months ago I had filler put in around my mouth. In the post-salt pic my lips are so stretched from my swollen face they look small and distorted! MY BAD. Lesson learned. I have my full face ice mask on now. Even my feet are swollen up! No more tuna steaks for me....
Stitches out in 2 days and I am soooo ready!
Ceiling fans, hair bleaching, and stitches
2. Hair bleaching- I've been using spray peroxide to clean my sutures and noticed yesterday that (duh) it's bleached my hair over my ears. At least I don't dye my hair and didn't ruin a pricey dye job.
3. Stitches- I left Myrtle Beach at 5am to get to Asheville by 10. The drive up was fine. Dr H's nurse took out my stitches and only one hurt- right at my ear lobe.
Dr Harley came and checked everything and even Juanita snuck in to get a peek. Such wonderful people
That's a basic run down of what got deleted. Too tired to retype it all. Pics tomorrow. Back to bed with me.
Anyway- here are the pics I took when I briefly woke up last night. I think it all looks pretty bad. The worst is my chin, which gave me the least trouble. It was also causing me the most pain last night- like an open wound. Awful. It also feels like I have two ear infections. I'm constantly trying to "open" them and they ache down deep. All new types of pain. All uncomfortable. I'm going to get my pain meds refilled and try to sleep a lot the next few days. We'll see if I still have a best friend when this spring break trip is over! :-/
Day 9 Pictures and Update
My chin still hurts some. It constantly feels like I might pull it open, so I'm being very stiff necked. As far as my ears go, they just feel stuffy deep down. RL suggested lymphatic massage, so I looked up a video on self lymphatic massage and tried it. I don't know that it helped all that much, but I'll keep trying it. I can pop them if I try. My throat feels tight, but that's normal due to the internal stitches. All noticeable swelling is gone. I know there is still some because my face isn't totally back to its normal shape, but nothing someone else would notice.
It's pretty clear the worst scars will be my chin and behind my ears. You can see the lump under my chin from the side since most of the swelling in my face is gone. I'm not too bothered by it. I bought some Medrma and when it's totally healed, I'll begin using it. Behind my ears is... scary. I took some pictures, but I'm not even going to post them and scare anyone! You can still clearly see where the drain came out. Ew. My ears lay pretty flat, so you can only see anything if I pull my ears back, and how often am I really going to do that? My ear lobes are still not shaped like they were before and Dr H said they may never be. I'm not bothered by that at all. Ear lobes hold ear rings, so meh.
Feeling better, taking it easy. Thanks for all the comments of concern and encouragement! :)
Went out to dinner tonight for our last night at the beach. I did full hair and make up and you'd be hard pressed to see anything out of the ordinary. My chin is still the most obvious, but it has stopped feeling "open" and I've started using the Mederma on it. I laid out at the pool again today and used SPF 30 AND band aids over the scars.
My neck muscle feels very tight and stiff- and I think that's a good thing! The area in front of my ears is totally numb and you can feel the internal stitches when you run you fingers over it. I put skin oil on that skin since it feels so tight. No pain now at all. Less than two weeks, and I'm healing well. The only swelling is now in my cheeks, next to my ears and that seems to be it. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday and got a little choked up... I look so young. It was... humbling.
My ex asked for some pics today and when I sent them he said, "You still look like the perfect beautiful southern girl." Some days he still knows exactly what to say :)
Pics are from last night and tonight.
Going back to work tomorrow.
I haven't felt well today. I've gained weight and I'm uncomfortable not being able to go to the gym. I know I need to take it easy (ha), but I'll be going back sooner than later, maybe Wednesday. I ate like a champ at the beach, so back to my normal eating with going back to work.
No updated pics as everything looks pretty much the same. Lord... I'm tired. Goodnight!
Back to work and 2 weeks post
My left earlobe is still bleeding a bit. I'm thinking I may email the Dr just to make sure that is ok. I think it is ok? It's not BLEEDING bleeding, but just a bit of blood behind the lobe, mostly when I'm sleeping. In the pic I've posted, you can see just a dab dried on my ear I seem to have missed. I've since cleaned it off!
The few people who knew have wanted to "see" and I've gotten squeals all around. One woman rushed to hug me and it freaked me out! I was afraid she'd hurt me. I had a lovely note from my sub which choked me up and I find that I am overall a bit emotional.
Pain is at about a one. I'm aware of everything, but I think I'm more uncomfortable a bit than anything. My neck is still stiff and so my movements are pretty stiff as well. Doesn't hurt; I'm just conscious of it. I put some make up on the incisions/scars and I'm not too worried about anyone seeing them. I do teach teenagers though, and they will absolutely call me out if they notice anything. Jerks ;)
I'm most concerned about getting tired this afternoon and swelling and that overall unwell feeling. I don't have the ability to just up and leave work early and with state testing rapidly approaching, I don't want to leave early... so.
I took some pics when I got here just so I could see what others may be seeing. Not too shabby for only two weeks.
2 weeks update part 2
I am just SO tired and very fuzzy-headed. The only meds I've taken are 3 Advil. I've got some pain in my cheeks, probably from having to talk so much at work. I'm having trouble focusing too, but the worst bit is just being so tired. I'm going to nap at lunch instead of eat. Not really hungry, but super sleepy. I feel like I have a very weak hangover. My tummy was even a little iffy this morning. Ears are stuffy. Three Advil have done nothing for the pain I am feeling- which is very little, but it's a bit disheartening that it had no affect at all. I was hoping I could put the rest of my pain meds away for good now, but I guess not.
I have to keep telling myself that it's ONLY been two weeks. I guess I thought two weeks was some magical date, and while I knew I wouldn't be miraculously "healed", I supposed I thought I'd be more healed than I am.
Ear buds are pretty impossible. Duhhh cem....
Did I mention how tired I am? Yeahhh...
Earrings return, maybe.
I woke up to a bit of blood on my left ear lobe again. It's definitely coming from the drain wound. I slept crappy last night, but I think it was night sweats as opposed to the surgery. Stupid hormones....
I put earrings in today, but I may take them out. My earlobes still look elongated and weird, but again, whatever. Just earlobes. Amazed at how well the incisions look on the right ear. Not quite as progressed on the left side.
In one of today's pics you can see where the peroxide bleached my hair. You can also see that shiny skin effect next to my ears. What's that all about? I've read others have it as well.
I have full sensation in my ears and chin and am getting back some next to my ears, but far from "normal." It doesn't bother me. At this point the only things that bother me are the stiff neck, bleeding left ear, general tiredness, and most of all the congestion in my ears. Of course allergy season has just started, so it could be a combination of god-awful pollen and the surgery. Tired of popping my ears constantly!
Stress and the body
I slept like total crap and woke up a lot and tossed and turned and had bad dreams.... and then this morning I woke up in a fair amount of pain and my face is more swollen than it has been in a week. Asshole post office people. I called in sick and took a pain pill. I'm going back to bed for an hour and then I will try to sort out this passport mess.
Trying to control my anger and temper takes every ounce of strength I have....
Happy Friday / At What Age?
I've gone back to taping my left earlobe. I think it's pulled away from my face a bit (!!). That's what the blood was. I taped it yesterday and kept it taped over night, and no bleeding this morning. It doesn't really hurt, but when I realized what was happening, it freaked me out a little.
It's strange/interesting to watch this healing process. Nothing turns out like you imagine. The left side has been the "bad side", but now that the scabs are dropping off, there is almost no visible scar. The right side has given me zero trouble, but the scar is... like a ledge... in one spot. I don't know how else to describe it. It isn't raised in the typical scar sense and thank god, there are no signs of keloid (there, anyway), but there is a small place where it feels like the skin is higher on one side. I'm using mederma and hoping for the best. It doesn't look awful, but you can see it.
Now my chin... when I had my stitches, it gave me no trouble. Half the time I forgot I had stitches there and would have to go back and clean it after I'd put everything up from cleaning my ears. Then when the stitches came out, it was the worst spot. It constantly hurt and felt like it would open up. Then one day, it was just healed! Now... now I have a raised scar there that you can see from the side even. Again, using my Mederma and hoping for the best. It isn't red, like the keloids I've had in the past (not from PS, but other things), but it is pretty thick. I'm glad it is under my chin at least.
I say/analyze all this only to say I don't have any big concerns at this point, other than a slight worry about the left earlobe. I'm just going to keep it taped and if I need to go see Dr Harley in a couple weeks, I will. I am still so very happy with the results and my decision to have the surgery and to have the surgery with Dr Harley. It's been less than 3 weeks and I'm excited to see what develops over the next couple months. I've gotten my passport issues sorted out, so some of that development will take place in Italy :)
Why anyone would wait to do this for themselves is beyond me. My friends have been all, "Why would you do this at your age? You're too young! You didn't NEED it." And to that I say, why do we need to wait until a certain age, or even wait until we look "old" to have things done? I'm healing well, I feel good today, and I look freakin great! When your face says it's time, it's time- not when society or your friends say it's time. YOU decide, for you. I'm so glad I didn't wait.
Of pimples and face lifts...
It may sound whiny, after what I just did to my face, but now it's grossing me out and all I can see. I naturally took pictures so I can spend hours obsessing, like I do. I can't scrub that skin, obviously, but I wonder what cleansing products are ok to use at this point?
And I confess.... yes, I squeezed the pimple :-/
Anyway! Good day. The woman was waiting for me and had everything ready to go at the application facility. I was there for all of 5 minutes. Then I wandered around outside for awhile and did some shopping and have just generally enjoyed my day. I feel good today too. One side of my face is slightly more swollen than the other side, but I am the only person who could notice. I even spent the whole day out and about with my hair pulled back. If you are looking at me close enough to see my scars, then we've got problems that have nothing to do with plastic surgery!
Wanted to post a pic of my "bad side" so you can see the scar development at 18 days. The other side looks even better, but it's the zitty, bad pore side, so this is all you get! I mushed up two pics I snapped quickly that are poor quality, but you can see a straight on and side'ish view of what 18 days looks like.
Brace yourself. Really.
I have a zit behind my right ear, because of course I do. Also... WHO KNEW MY EARS WERE SO FREAKIN HAIRY?! Ok, enough of my humiliating post.
I slept with the silicone strips on, and I'm pleased even after only 2 days. I wish I could wear them throughout the day, but that's impossible with my job. I AM still wearing the band-aid on the left ear though, as you can see from the pics. The only problem with the strips is that you can't use them on the scars in your hair because obviously they won't stick, so I'll just continue with the Mederma there. These scars are very minor for me, and my hair will cover them anyway, so I'm not concerned with them like the ones that go down my face. I can still feel a bit of an "edge" on the right side, but those lines from the stitches that extend out from the incision scar are getting much better, on both sides.
Numbness is resolved everywhere except right next to my ears. It seems the area has gotten smaller though- closer in towards my ears, less than 2 fingers width. I know this bothers some people, but I don't really touch my face all that much, so it isn't a concern for me. I wonder why it is I never had numbness in my chin? I'm not complaining.
So as I'm starting week 3, I'm pleased over all. My neck looks different though... but I'm not going to obsess as it seems to change constantly! Ears are almost totally unstuffed now. Little swelling. Face is in order... time to obsess on the body again!
Happy Monday, y'all.
3 Weeks Today
And of course, here are the pictures. I'm so happy with my results. I've had such a rough few years and at least you can't tell by looking at me any more!
If you're on the fence at all, DO IT.
A few things... (ie: whines)
My cheeks are still numb next to my ear. The only time it bothers me is when I am putting on glasses or sunglasses and then it just feels WEIRD.
I was working at my desk today, and sat my chin down on my fist and it hurt. Won't do that again.
I've stopped wearing the bandage on my left earlobe finally. It seems to be healed now. I've worn earrings a couple of times, but I still take them out after a couple hours. I'm afraid they will "rupture" something or something!
I feel like there is still some extra skin on my neck. Nothing like it was, of course, but... I know I know... I'm obsessing, but that's my thought today.
My energy level sucks. I can NOT make myself workout, and I actually like working out. I got my travel documents from Virgin today, and I feel really fat and terrible and I don't want to feel that way on my trip this summer :-/
Is it a full moon?
The rumor is going around work that I had a facelift. Most people don't believe it because of my age, but ugh. I told the people I wanted to know, so why can't I just keep this for me? My thing? People can be jerks.
My refrigerator died overnight. I hate owning a house. I want to move back into a maintained apartment.
Screw it. I'm going to bed at 8pm.
I'm gonna whine some more....
Massage and sleep issues and pink scars and creepy clowns
I was anxious initially when she was doing my upper back and her hand or arm would graze my ears, but it was fine and eventually I was able to relax. My back was a mess! I've been very stressed up and without my regular massage, it was worse than normal. She had a lot of knots to work out. She said it felt like I had little rocks under my shoulder blades. I thought not sleeping on my side AS MUCH would maybe have helped. Nope.
As soon as I rolled over and she began working on my neck I could feel my face and ears open up and allllll that congestion released! Thank you Jesus! I made another appointment for next weekend :) My face was slightly puffy after, but it usually is after a massage. I didn't feel tight and swollen though.
My therapist was actually really interested in the procedure and Dr Harley and finally admitted that was something she'd been wanting to do as well. She asked about what he did and the pain and recovery. She was impressed with the fact that I didn't look "done." I would bet with the spa where she works, she's quite a bit of plastic surgery.
I wonder how long before we can get facials? I'd like to have one before I go to Italy. Anyone know??
I had to do some shopping after the massage, and I got hit with a massive headache. I'm sure it is somehow related to surgery/massage combo, but not 100% sure how/why. I will say that as soon as you feel comfortable, I highly recommend getting a massage. She did some lymphatic work and rubbed the crap out of my head. That was the BEST.
I'm worried now about sleeping on my side, so the last two nights I've tried to sleep mostly on my back. I'm not 100%, but more than I was. I never sleep much more than 2 hours at a time, so I'm able to adjust pretty regularly. Will it ever get easier? Can you totally change your sleeping habits?
My scars seemed more pink this morning for some reason. I wonder what that's all about?
My earlobes are different now. My earrings used to point forward and now they point to the side. I don't know how the surgery changed that, but meh. I don't really care. It's just odd to see the sides of my earrings and not the front of them when I look in the mirror. I don't really care- just noting it.
I'm including a god-awful picture of myself simply because you can see how one side of my face is a little more swollen than the other side. It's just a really scary picture of me... I look like a creepy clown! And please don't think I left the house with my lip liner not blended. ;) You can actually see the curve of my chin scar in it. The others show how pink the scars were when I got up, and then with make up on.
I had a good day.
I took my momma to lunch and gave her flowers and some presents and then we worked in the yard. We're southern... it's what we do. I think it's a law we have to dig in the dirt until we fall over.
I carried and spread 18 bags of mulch in the North Carolina heat and humidity. It was 82 today. Oy vey... I didn't feel weak at all, but by the 18th bag I was suddenly DONE. I could not have done one more. As soon as I got inside, I could feel the swelling. For the first time, I can even feel it in my chin. I look like a chipmunk right now. It's only 6pm, but I could crawl into bed. I guess it's a good thing I have a lot to do tonight.
Oh! I slept on my back almost all night! This morning I laid on my side a bit before I got up, but that was it.
Here's a picture I took of my mother and me before the swelling kicked in. That woman is 73 and never even had Botox. Bless her.
Before and After
The right is 3 weeks post. Worth it. Totally.
I'm still very pleased with my results. One of the gossip/lookie-loos from work came to talk to me today and was allll up in my dance space. I know he was trying to see if he could see stitches or scabbing or something. I doubt people realize how quickly you can heal from this surgery. I know I was totally in the dark. I'm also positive he left without what he came for. Even swollen, no one can tell. And for that, I thank Dr Harley.
I'm emotional today- thinking back. I'm proud I had the guts to do something like this and the resolve to do something 100% selfish. My vanity and confidence have returned, and both had been missed. Getting a lift won't change your life, or make icky stuff go away (except for dangly droopy skin!), but it sure can enhance what you've already got going on. I'm grateful. I'm excited to see where I am in a year- hard to imagine things will continue to progress for that much longer.
And of course, here are pictures!
The younger me doesn't have a thing on the old me! :D
I never bought the Dermablend make up that was recommended. Initially I was able to easily hide my incision sites with my hair, and my chin scar never was a concern to me. Now that the sites are fading, they are pinkish to light brown in color. I pat them with Clinique City Base compact foundation in Honeymilk- which I use under my eyes also. Then I dust them pretty heavily with Ben Nye Banana Powder. This stuff is UH-mazing. I bought a large bottle of it for around $20 last fall to help hide dark undereye circles. It's very yellow in the bottle, but doesn't appear so on my skin. It is smooth as silk, honestly. It's what drag queens use to contour their faces! I can't recommend it highly enough. It takes the red/pink/brown color out of the scars. I don't use any other powder over it because my tan skin doesn't require it, but you can use your normal color to blend it if it shows more on your skin. You can buy it from Amazon or ebay. I think Duane Reade sells it, but I'm in the south and we don't have those.
I had another massage this afternoon and it's definitely helping the congestion in my ears. She massaged the crap out of my head too and ohhh it felt so yummy.
Another long day of yard work tomorrow, so I'm off to bed now.
5 weeks tomorrow
Having said that- face swelled up yesterday while I was working in the yard. I think I overdid it (again) and I felt my cheeks start getting tight and didn't just stop and go inside. This seems to be a trend with me. We had a landscaper coming today to replant what was ripped out when we had a foundation crack fixed this winter and after the septic tank collapsed last fall. My poor yard.... so I felt like I HAD to get a lot done yesterday so things would be ready today (I had to work and couldn't be there). So yeah, I overdid it. 18 more bags of mulch loaded, unloaded, drug all over creation, then spread and lots of raking and moving pants around and all that good stuff I ordinarily like doing. Yesterday, and most of today, I've just been pretty grumpy, and I am constantly aware of the tightness in my cheeks and today it was coupled with more ear congestion. I think that's allergies as much as anything now though. I've had a dull sense of pain even the last 24 hours. Nothing like the surgical type of pain, more of an aching next to my ears. My scars seemed to have just stopped improving at this point. I know, I know... I've come SO far, SO fast, and I just need to be patient.
I just want work to wrap up so I can begin my fab-U-lous summer.
Facials and Befores
Right now I am broken out around my ear incisions. I think it's from the Mederma and the silicone sheets. I'm so oily, and it's getting warmer and I get SO hot at night, I suppose the pores are clogged all to crap in those areas. I'm not going to stop trying to improve the appearance of the scars, so I guess I have to be even more diligent than I have been with my face cleaning rituals.
I've stopped using the Olay scrubber, and I guess I'll invest in the Clarisonic. I WILL take the Olay scrubber on my trip just to use on my nose and chin since it is small and light and battery powered. Today I did the Ole Henriksen Power Peel 3-step deal. I've got a whole box of them from Sephora, but haven't done a peel since before surgery.
I've got a Botox appointment on Friday and I am excited for my Dermatologist to my results. He's been really encouraging since I told him I wanted this surgery 3 years ago. Should I get my lips touched up when I'm there? Not sure...
Tonight I was messing around on my tablet and found pictures I took the night before surgery, in the hotel room. I don't even remember taking them! I can see how excited I was- no fear at all! I can also see what a wonderful result I've had. When I start to worry it's not tight enough, or he didn't take enough skin... I can look at these and relax. It's perfect. Well... close enough :)
Started thinking about a post about what face products I can't live without. Since we're all obviously dedicated to fighting aging, I'm curious what others use/do. Maybe one day this week I'll get to it. Last week at work! Hope everyone is having a great long weekend.
I am still numb in my cheeks, about two fingers width, from my ears out. I'd thought I was regaining some sensation there, but nope- totally dead still. It's the only place I have any numbness at all. The last two days I have felt itchy there though. Weird, right? I can't feel anything, but it itches. When I try to scratch it, I can't feel anything, of course, so it's really frustrating/irritating. AZ said the itching and burning before was probably nerves mending, so I assume that is the case here, but WOW how what a weird sensation. The numbness hasn't bothered me, but combine it with a deep itching and... well, yeah- bothersome (on a small scale).
The scars behind my ears feel like they are twisting up and getting tighter. I am rubbing them and using Mederma on them and am even sleeping with the silicone strips on them. I'm trying to decide if I should bother taking the strips with me to Italy. I hate to miss two weeks of scar "therapy", but the Mederma will probably have to be it.
I didn't do any cardio though and I need to work on that so all my sight-seeing won't wear me out when I'm in Italy. I mostly just weight train, so I have to break down and hit the elliptical from here on out.
I went in the tanning bed today also- with 70 sunscreen and my shirt over my face!
Two more days at work... :)
He literally gave me two thumbs up on my surgery! He looked at the scars and turned my head all around and commented on what an "absolutely beautiful" result I've gotten. He said he liked that Dr H went all the way to the temple as it also had a good effect on my eyes- opening them up more. He said my scars were healing very well. Without telling him my routine, I asked him what he would recommend. He said Mederma during the day and silicone surgical bandages while I slept! So... exactly what I'm doing. He said that knowing my skin, he'd be surprised to see much of anything left of the scars in another 6 months. The nurse said she would not have realized I had scars if I hadn't pointed them out.
Before I left I asked him how old I looked. He stepped back, cocked his head, and said, "At the oldest, 32." I vowed my undying love to him! :) Also to Dr Harley for shaving 13 years off, apparently.
Stamina, Scars and 7 Weeks
My scars are changing. They are mostly brown now, not pink, and my right ear scar has a thin white line forming and its ridge is less. The left ear scar is totally flat. My chin scar is less bumpy, but still the bumpiest of the bunch. Behind my ears still feels like a twisty mess, but you can't really see anything much.
The numbness remains next to my ears, but that's it. I still have below the surface itching there, so just waiting for the feeling to return. I have tenderness in my cheeks a bit and my scars behind my ears are moderately tender. Sometimes my jawline feels tender to touch. My chin is moderately tender and I still can't rest my chin on my hand. Talking on the phone still feels "weird." Some days my face feels tight and still swells. I still have some congestion in my ears.
Some days I think I have a chin waddle again- and I just might. If I do, it is nothing like the gross sagging excess skin I had before. Jowls are 100% gone. My neck is lovely.
I still have daily adjustments due to the surgery, but I have not regretted my decision for a moment. I feel so lucky to have had the means to have this surgery and to have found such a fantastic doctor.
7 weeks pictures.
Make Up- I forgot!
Facial, Italy, and 8 Weeks Post
I had called and explained my situation and was told to bring my email from Dr Harley saying I was cleared for a facial. The girl I used to see has left the spa where I am a member, so I had to see someone new- she was fantastic. When I came in she told me I wasn't what she was expecting when she was told I'd recently plastic surgery. She said I looked a lot younger than she expected. I told her that was the point! :)
She was careful of my scars and just stayed away from them for the most part.
My skin and pores were a hot mess since my face-focus has been recovery and wound and scar care since April 15th. It felt nice to care for the rest of it! My pores are damn-skippy now and ready for Italy ;)
TEN MORE DAYS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I had my pedicure today and I've been cooking a few Tuscan recipes from the new Extra Virgin cookbook. Of course I'm on a diet until I get there, so I've only been tasting them and shoving the majority of them into my 20 year old nephew! Next week I head to the bank to convert some cash... and that's it. I'm ready to go. All on my own... what a fearless year I'm having.
The good news, the bad news, and the other bad news.
Bad news- It's still itching like a mo-fo.
Other bad news- Now that I am regaining some feeling, my scars are suddenly tender to touch. I feel odd sensations under the skin next to my ears too. Are the stitches still there?? Feels like it... and that feels weird. My chin is tender also, but it has been mostly all along since I never lost much sensation in my chin. Even my jawline is tender. And by tender, I mean sorta sore- ya know?
There's been a bit of discussion about scarring so I wanted to include some pics that have nothing to do with my surgery, but demonstrate my typical scarring. This is also one of the only worries I had pre-surgery. I scar dark. My skin is dark, and this is a natural result. I also have had a couple keloids. I still have one on my arm and a couple small ones on my legs. The biggest one was on my calf and years ago I had the scar tissue removed, but I still have a scar there. I've been using Mederma on the keloid on my arm, and while it hasn't gone down any, the center has gone from dark brown to pink. I have not used it on my leg. So those are the pics I included.
I have been lucky with the scars on my face as they haven't been raised much. My chin is a bit, and I feel like behind my ears is still a twisted mess, though photos say otherwise. Weirdness. The scars in front of my ears are still brown and some mornings they even look dark pink. I am not complaining! It's just typical for me and shows how different we all heal. Lilygirl had her surgery after I did, with the same Dr, and her scars are almost invisible, while mine remain. I know they will continue to fade over the next 6 months, and Dr Harley's precision means they are not bad scars to begin with, but there ya have it. I can cover them 100% with make up, and really... I'm not bothered by them all that much (yet).
If you are looking at me close enough to see my surgical scars, you better be kissing me.
"I wanna be sedated"
I leave in the morning for Rome. Can't believe I get to type that. Feeling very emotional. This has been quite the year. I began with the loss of my grandmother on the same date I'd lost my father 5 years earlier and the loss of an important relationship. I've gained a little money- enough to feel "safe"- and some insight and regained my cockiness- which I say as a positive. I'd missed being just this side of jackass.
The surgery was my biggest purchase, but this trip to Italy was a close second. I'd been waiting for years for both. They required not just the money, but a lot of balls too. Life beat a lot of fearlessness out of me in recent years. I feel like I've just closed my eyes and took it back this year. I had major plastic surgery 2 months ago and tomorrow I'm going to another continent alone. Good for me.
I drove to Charlotte tonight to stay with my BFF because I fly from here to JFK and then to Rome tomorrow morning. I followed a rainbow the whole way.
Peace out, G's!
I will say that I had some puffy/swollen days in my travels, as to be expected, but the worst of it were my eyes and ankles. The ankles actually scared me a couple days.
Once I was in NYC for my two days of "transition", my neck was lumpy and weird looking. I also ended up with a sick tummy in Brooklyn, of all the places on my journey!
And now I shall make like this gondolier I caught in Venice.... ;)
Updates. How long has it been??
I haven't seen any change in my scars at all lately. The worst is my chin. It looks a bit Frankenstein still. It is totally covered with make up, so it doesn't bother me, I just thought it would be further healed at this point. As for my ears, half the time I don't even bother with make up. No one would ever notice. But again, no change for weeks now.
The bad- my face swelled a lot on my trip, what with all the flying, the physicality of all the walking and touring, and the very warm/humid weather on the Mediterranean. I think my eyes were actually the worst, and of course that had nothing to do with the surgery.
Now that I'm home and the swelling has mostly resolved, I can feel a stitch under the skin and it kind of bothers me only because I'm afraid it might push through the skin. I can't "feel" it- I mean when I run my fingers over it, I can feel it. Also, the scars behind my ears have become tender again, and I feel like my ear lobes still aren't laying flat due to those scars. Everyone tells me they will resolve eventually... so I'm going to trust in that.
I also have seen some wrinkly skin under my chin :'(
Is it coming back already??? Or am I still just seeing changes and that will resolve too? I'll post a picture- maybe. It makes me too upset to see it.
I need to schedule my 3 month visit with Dr H, but I'm heading back out of town tomorrow, so I don't know when I'll be able to get back up to Asheville.
I've attached a picture of me from Venice. It's a terrible picture. It's in a gilded mirror in my hotel room. I had just gotten in from 9 hours of wandering around Venice. My hair is a mess. My face is swollen and shiny. I don't have a smudge of make up left on my face. It is my favorite picture from the whole trip. I was so so happy :)
And just like that....
I'll be sure to post the next freak out I have ;)
OOO! I forgot!
3 months pictures
I'm still thrilled. I would like the scars behind my ears to heal more; I can feel them. And I am not in love with my ear lobes. The right lobe has changed position and my earring hole is no longer in the center of my lobe. Do these things make me regret my surgery? HELL NO. Would I do it again with these issues? HELL YES.
No make up selfie Sunday
And yet I'm 45 and I like this up close and messy self-portrait. I like that now I'm comfortable taking and posting a picture like this.
Thanks Dr H. :)
Puffy and swollen (old pics)
These pics were taken a week after the fillers and I don't think they look like my face- too fat! Soon after, it settled though.
OHMYGOD! 21 POUNDS!!
I HAVE GAINED 21 POUNDS SINCE MARCH. ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?! That is like a toddler. And I am 5'4", so 21 pounds looks like 30+ on my already squat body. I'm horrified, but at least I know. Feeling glad I didn't see my ex afterall when I was in NYC. oy vey...
Of course my first thought was, "Get it together, CEM, this is fixed with time and all the things you know how to do. No drastic quick fixes- stop the emotional eating and stop walking through your workouts. Bye-bye reduced fat Cheez Its. Stop with the frozen meals and GO back to eating clean."
But my second thought... oh lord my surgery. What will happen to my results when I get this weight back off?? WHAT HAVE I DONE?? But... everyone has talked about how thin my face looks since the surgery, so it hasn't "fattened" up with the weight gain. Right??? Right. yes.... that's right.
I'M GOING BACK TO ITALY!
And to focus on RS subject matter... I'm finally getting my After pictures. I'm in a wedding in Asheville August 16th, so they are letting me come in on Friday the 15th. I'm spending the price of eyelid surgery on this trip to Rome, so that will be off the table!
OMG I'M SO EXICITED Y'ALL!! :)
I've spent the last 3 days at the beach, in the rain, listening to Pimsleur's Italian language tape.
Here's a rando I took of this no-sun vacation.
I have some feeling back next to my ears, but still not 100%. Often at the end of the day, I can feel tightness in the incision areas, which indicates my face is swelling. As I noted on lilygirl's post, I think I always had some swelling; I just didn't notice it as much before. Whatever swelling I have now is minimal and I don't know that it has anything to do with the surgery at this point.
The under-the-skin itchies have stopped. The extreme tightness in my neck has loosened a LOT. I can still feel it some if I throw my head back, and don't have full range in that regard, but I am totally cool with that.
My visit with Dr Harley was great. We talked about my eyes- I have been thinking about having my upper lids done at some point. He told me not to. Something about the fact that they are almond shaped and I shouldn't start messing with them. He told me for now to just keep using the Botox for the lift. I'm totally satisfied with that! I also asked him if he'd do my Botox next time so I don't have to drive all the way back down to Wilmington each time (2 hours versus 4 hours). We talked about the fact that since he removed the fat from my neck (by cutting it out!) that it would never return to that area in the same way. I'm still concerned about all this weight I've gained (and still not entirely lost :( ).
He's such a great guy as well as a great surgeon. He remembered that I went to Italy and even commented that what I was wearing looked like it came from there, and it did! He also shared some great personal news with me and I was touched. SO lucky to have found RealSelf and Dr Harley as a result.
Every moment of my experience with Dr Harley and his staff has been positive. While I was in the office I had 100% of everyone's attention and had all questions and concerns addressed easily and in a manner I could understand. I just can't say enough positive things about my experience. Any anxiety I had evaporated as soon as I walked through the front door of his office. I was even able to walk out of the office after my procedure- with help! but I was still walking and talking and really felt fine. Dr Harley called me later that afternoon to check on me. The next day when I had my drain removed, he addressed the single concern I had and I felt reassured immediately. It's amazing to look in the mirror, only 1 day after my procedure, and see the face I haven't seen in at least 10 years. Fantastic doctor, nurse, and receptionist. So pleased I took my time, did my research, and found Dr. Harley!