I'm just turning 58 this May. Each time I've...
I'm trying not to get myself all worked up about the recovery time but I'm getting real anxious about returning to work in 14 days. I really don't have a choice in my position. I'm typically a good healer but this is out of the box on work. I am extremely confident in my PS and know I'm in good hands though.. so that's the upside.
I'm hearing people talk here about "electrode-like shock feelings in their face, and being in a tremendous amount of pain. That just wasn't my understanding of post op with this procedure... I get the numbness, bruising, tightness and swelling and expect that part. But am I being realistic?
Post OP Day 1
Everything went well. I had a 6 hour surgery and home by 7pm last night. My eyes are pretty red and swollen from the bleph but I actually have eyes now! I trotted off to the doctors with my hubby today and he took the drains out... thank goodness! I'm pretty swollen through my face but the doctor is very pleased with everything especially my neck area which he's telling me that he spent a lot of time on. I called him an artist! He's really been great as well as his staff through this all. Anyway, I have minimal bruising, but he's warned me that tomorrow it should get worse. All in all, I am following everything to the letter to try to avoid as much of the swelling and bruising as possible. Not too much pain either which is surprising to me, but my doc said I shouldn't have much... So I did one pain pill last night and just some Tylenol for the achy feeling of the stitches and the ears. Thanks for all of you r support once again. This site has been tremendously helpful to me!
Photos Before and After
I've updated my photos without the compression bandage. I look like a proverbial chipmumk with full and swollen cheeks! But I'm loving what I see so far with my chin and neck and my eyes although quite red are finally open again! I have pretty much the same thing everyone else is describing, ears pain and tightness and the incision sites are dull and achy too. Most of it seems manageable so far with Tylenol, so I'm going to keep doing that for now.
Day 4 Post Op: Yellow Is My Color!
I'm off to the doctor this afternoon to have my sutures out of my eyes. Very pleased with how I think they're going to look. My assessment of my PS' work is so far excellent. It's hard to get past the swelling jowls in my face, but at the same time, my neck is looking good. So far, I'm pleased. I am sure hoping that this yellow tones down by the day after Memorial Day when I'm scheduled to go back to work. Otherwise, I'm going to have to do a heck of a job with makeup cover! Will check in later.
Day 4 Pictures
Day 5 Post Op
For any one considering this I would highly encourage you to manage the downtime expectations because this, in my humblest of opinions, is the worst. And it's what can get us into trouble by doing to much too soon. You know, the mind is willing and the body says NO by swelling and bruising. So my most exciting thing today was texting my husband and telling him I walked around the house for 10 minutes and then later with the most exciting news!...I took a shower!! lol
Anyway, I have yellow all over my skin, and some new bruises on my lower jaw and neck area. I'll put that picture up. But I see the doctor tomorrow to take the stitches out around my ears and temple. I am really looking forward to that. They itch a bit but that's a good sign.
By the way, when I'm done, I'll post my doctor and my review who I think is just amazing. I'm so thankful he is the one that has done my work ; both elective and required as I've had other procedures with him. Cheers!
Post Op Day 7
Best of all, I am thoroughly pleased with everything and the way my eyes and face are settling post surgery! I'll post a few pictures in a bit. I have no idea how or even if people will react or not. I'm still getting used to this new me too. But I can tell you this was so worth it and an amazing experience.
I'll post some pictures in a bit.
Post Op Day 7 pictures
Day 8 postop sutures
Day 9 Getting out
Because I was desperate for coverup makeup, I ran to Sephora's. I did a little research and discovered that a lavender primer neutralizes the yellow bruising. Thank goodness for the young woman who helped me at Sephora's! She hooked me up with the primer, concurred on the lavender against my yellow skin color, and scrupulously read labels with me to make sure there were no retinols etc , which my PS does not want me to use at this point. (We are planning our own skin care system with the Obagi line after I'm fully healed but not yet) Anyway, I came home with a full bag of goodies. It was a great experiment.. the lavender primer worked pretty well, I just need to put on more of it in certain areas of my face. The rest of the items , foundation , powder worked well over it without looking like pancake stuff.
It was a day of being "normal" again... running to the mall...poked through a clothing store on my way out... It felt pretty good!
So having done the whole makeup thing, my husband suggested we go out for a late lunch early dinner and I thought; why not? So off I went with a scarf covering up my neck. It too went ok. I'm feeling a little self conscious about anything showing since I still have sutures and staples in plus the scars around the ears are still quite obvious.. but it too was ok. And a sign of everything getting back on track and life going on. All in all a good day. Now as long as I don't wake up more swollen tomorrow AM!
Day 15 Post Op
So where am I at?... I have same numbness and hardness that everyone else has in front of the ears. It extends down into the jowl/jaw area and down the sides of my neck. Oddly enough , I've never had that choking sensation that a lot of people experienced and have full feeling again under my chin. That may have to do with having no lipo?
I still have some major scabs which he's advised me to gently massage to loosen and help them remove. That more than anything drives me crazy because it itches, I forget and then feel them. Thank goodness for longer hair! Which, btw... is ultra long and growing fast! It will be a while before I can get it cut. My PS is extremely cautious about compromising the skin with any kind of hair dryer or curling iron. And at this point so am I! So I just picked up some kind of product that helps put the waves and curls IN my hair to give it a little more styling. I got the pre-requisite sunscreen to layer under the primer and the foundation... sometimes it seems like so much stuff on my skin!
So last night was the very first since surgery I have slept almost laying down AND in my own bed! What a relief! I could even turn slightly on my side although laying flat on my cheek area wasn't to great and I just didn't want to.. but my goodness I had a full night of uninterrupted sleep in my own bed!
So things are good. I am going out with my husband and another couple for my inaugural public outing tomorrow night! This is my one friend who knew I was doing this... so it won't be as big a deal and I don't have to skirt around the issue of what did I do. In the end my anxiety for returning to work with the xtra time off I took will resolve the issue...I've lost about 6 lbs or so since I've been gone ( In know.. I don't get it either) my hair is significantly longer since almost 3 weeks ago and they know I've been doing nothing but relaxing for a post surgical complication. So.... it will be interesting. :)
I am very pleased overall with my results. I think it did exactly what I was looking for in all this; less tired and sad looking. 100%+ thrilled that I chose my Doctor for this. It is a huge leap of faith and trust to hand one's face over to someone and let them have at it. If I have any piece of advice for anyone contemplating this; it's to find the right PS.
If I can throw some makeup on later, I'll try to post a new picture! Have a wonderful day all!
Post Op Day 15 pictures
Day 15 xtra update
One thing I mentioned below was that I was catching my son and everyone looking at my face. That was the weirdest feeling!
The upside was for as hot as it is in the Northeast today, I didn't seem to have a problem when I got home with any additional swelling.. I'm hoping it stays that way!
Day 18 Update/ Back To Work
I cannot believe how nervous I was to go back to work today. It's silly really but perhaps some of you reading this will recognize the feeling that with all we've invested emotionally and physically into this procedure it was, its own way, a life changing event. I believe I can approach people with more confidence and I'm more approachable in turn.
Thank goodness my hair grew fast while I was out recovering! I was also glad that I left it naturally wavy today. So that and some additional weight loss had people looking at me a little differently and I don't think they could figure it out. :) A couple of people asked me if I had cut my hair. Some people knew I was out unexpectedly with my hematoma and so asked me if I was alright and wanted to know what happened. Others who knew nothing said nothing, or asked me if I had a great vacation and what did I do and was it fun. If they only knew! :)
So the hair questions were easier enough to divert. The people who asked me about my health and what happened, I decided to tell them I had some work on the old scarring on my skin and had a complication with a hematoma. I told them while the story of what I did was too long to go into right now, the hematoma occurred and I was ordered to stay elevated and off my feet and out of work. That ended all of that. lol I had one woman asking my a lot of questions (and it seemed to me staring at my face intently) about whether I had gone away and whether I played golf etc. Thank goodness the phone finally rang!
So the first day of "school" is over and out of the way and life will get back to a more normal pace. I admit I am tired. I was mostly having difficulty staring at my computer screen and my eyes were blurring but also my neck is very bruised and sore where the hematoma was and it's difficult to turn my neck between that and the tightness from the lift. But I have survived it. My suspicion is that there will be many more 'firsts' for all of us with people we haven't seen for a while, Maybe client's who are frequent drop ins and perhaps events at work with co workers who will ask what's different. We've gone this far through all of this , so this stuff should get easier and easier.
I am thrilled I had this done. I'm delighted with my doctor's work. So all in all... a success!
Day 21 Post Op
I had a guy come up to me at work and said, 'c'mon , tell the truth you went to some spa out in California, you look way too good!'
"Nope", I told him..." It must be the new makeup I got".
So for me, this is good. I'm really not looking for the proverbial fountain of youth. This process was worth every cent I paid and accomplished exactly what I wanted. I am one happy camper! Now if I can just get clearance to exercise and golf with my husband again! Have a great day all. :)
Incision Lines at 3 weeks
Post Op 31 Days- Back To Normal
So how do I physically feel? I have some minor tenderness in the suture lines in my scalp. Still some swelling and numbness in my jaw and in the front of my ears, however, I can literally feeling it 'softening' up and not being as flat and hard as before. My upper eyelids are tender from the bleph. And my neck on the right side which had the most swelling and lumpiness has improved 90%.
My friend last night is reconsidering her decision to just do some fillers and considering her own facelift too based on my experience!. :) It was a nice feeling to have the guys take a picture of us together and feel like I didn't hate myself in it! Mentally, this has given me such a boost in my confidence as well. So all in all, what I was seeking in results mentally and physically have been achieved. I am thankful for my PS, my husband throughout this process and my health.
I know I've mentioned this in prior posts, I'll be doing what I've started to refer to as "finishing" work with my PS....I am scheduled for a filler for vertical lip lines and maybe the NL folds as they are reappearing as my FL swelling has decreased. We talked briefly about a non ablative Fraxel treatment ; at least I think that's what it is...but I can't afford more downtime like I just had. So we'll see. Obviously, I am all in favor of plastic surgery and doing what one thinks is important for themselves. But to be clear, I really don't mind being 58 years old. I'm not really seeing myself doing a long term maintenance thing. So I'll give it a go at least this once and see what it does. I have to believe that taking more care of my skin will be a better approach for my lifestyle and pocketbook. To that end, I am religiously using an SPF 50 medical grade sunscreen under my moisturizer. I wear a great SPF 60 hat I found pre FL last night at the concert. It is so wide brimmed it covers my neck as well. And so of course, I will be the most pale individual out on the golf course this year! lol In the end this was too much to go through not to take care of the work. :) Hope everyone is well and either well on their way through their own recovery as you read this and for those pre FL or in Recovery... hang in there. The other side of recovery is around the corner!
Bruising From Fillers
Three & 1/2 months out...But Who's Counting!
As for the fillers, I think it has enhanced most everything. The bruising was tough to take around the mouth. I did not like having to do the whole cover up thing for work! Nothing would work on those bruises but the heavy dermablend; not even my 'favored' Makeup Forever! So it was layered like a cake around my mouth until they faded away. The Botox, on the other hand was a breeze with no bruising whatsoever. The one caveat with the Botox, it did seem to give me a slightly heavier brow on my left side. My PS did say that could happen and it did. It will resolve and I actually do see some improvement. That's really a minor disappointment for me because I don't have very large eyes to begin with. The upper bleph was such a dramatic change only to look a bit heavy lidded post Botox. Yet, as you'll see , no horizontal lines on the forehead any more! In my work industry it's all about the risk and reward. So there's a little trade off here in this process which is about the risk and reward too. THAT was a little learning process that I went through in having more work done to my face. I'll remember those little trade-offs to manage expectations of the results I'm looking for in the future. I guess that means I'm still growing up if I can still learn. lol So I'll post a few pictures to give you the current look. I'm happy and life is good! I want to say it's been wonderful to communicate with everyone publicly and privately and I appreciate the kind words you've all said as I've gone through this process. Like so many others have expressed, it's been a great support group and it has enhanced my experience tremendously! To all of you out there a very heartfelt thanks!
Weird Moments Post Facelift
I wanted to update my review post op because I am truly astounded at the ease of my recovery and so happy with my outcome. Further, I am more and more impressed with the artistry and skills of Dr. O'Connell as my healing continues. I have had virtually none of the pain and issues that other people have described. Although I realize that some of this is dependent on my own health, I also have to attribute this to Dr. O'Connell's approach to handling the surgery itself. He said himself, he is very gentle. In addition, I know that he takes whatever time is necessary to create the optimum outcome for his patients. There is no doubt that this is an anxiety producing procedure; it is after all our face! So, in that regard, I would not hand my face over to anyone else. I also have to say that I've had both required and elective procedure's done by him. Each time he was forthright and assisted me in managing my expectations about the outcome. He allowed me as the patient take the lead on what I wanted to accomplish yet was open to suggesting options and providing his medical opinion. There's no high pressure sales here. His priority is always is on the best outcome for the most natural look and for that he has an artistic eye. It was always my feeling that my surgery was a team effort between myself, Dr. O'Connell and his staff. That alone took this experience to a new level of trust. It was helpful through each phase of the process, once my decision was made to have a facelift, to know that everyone was readily available to me for pre and post op for questions and concerns or to see Dr. O'Connell if necessary. Picking a PS wisely is so critical for one's outcome and experience. I am so pleased with my results and my recovery that I would highly recommend Dr. O'Connell if you are considering plastic surgery.