I have been contemplating a facelift about a year...
I have been contemplating a facelift about a year now. I took my time getting referrals and perusing RealSelf. Dr. Harley's reviews are consistently wonderful and I trust him completely. I am so fortunate that he is only a three hour drive from my home. I would have travelled much farther for his expertise! My surgery is July 7th. I have all the required accoutrements - arnica Montana, bromelain, neck pillow, steri-strips, peroxide, bacitracin, and lots of frozen blueberries and cherries for smoothies. I think I'm ready! I will head for Asheville Wednesday to pick up my pain medication and settle into the hotel. Susie at TLC will be helping me through the surgery. Everyone at Dr. Harley's office and Susie's office have been very kind and helpful. I know I am in good hands. Dr. Harley will do the Biltmore Lift on me and either a brow lift or an upper bleph., whichever he decides the morning of the surgery. I trust him completely. I am a bit nervous but very anxious to look younger than my 56 years. One lady said her face and neck needed to be ironed - that's a perfect description of what I need!
Arrived in Asheville
Susie with TLC gets a special rate at Fairfield Inn. $75 a night. With taxes it's closer to $100 per night. Still a bargain. It's fairly new and very clean, no problems with hotel at all. Someone asked if I plan to return to Asheville to have my stitches removed. I do. The drive is a pleasant one and takes a little less than three hours. Besides, I want him to have a peek at how things are healing. Thanks to all for the well wishes!
My surgery went very smoothly. No pain whatsoever. I'm a pretty cheap drunk, so I was groggy before they ever walked me back into the surgical room. I remember nothing about it. I can recall some sensations that had me envisioning Herman Munster screws being applied. But I didn't care! I woke up to find no screws in my neck, thank goodness! TLC took care of me through the night. I barely remember shift changes, but they were all very nice. I'm sure I talked their ears off between naps. They probably don't get paid enough for that! Oh well! Kelly removed the bandage this morning and Dr. Harley squeezed some excess blood from my neck. That was slightly uncomfortable, but was over quickly. I switched to Tylenol this morning in hopes of getting this grogginess to dissipate. The Tylenol handles the pain just fine. I feel like I have a headache. Not a bad one, just a little pain. That suits me over the grogginess. Everyone is different. I will update photos as my chipmunk cheeks and boxer loser eyes improve! Thanks for your prayers and concerns! I have been well cared for!
As the grogginess of the drugs has left, I have begun to feel better. Last night was difficult. Pain in and around my ears kept waking me. I took Tylenol. Twice. But still the pain persisted. I REALLY didn't want to resume the Rx pain medication. Finally, around 2 AM it occurred to me to ice - instant relief! So, today, that is all I'm doing for pain. It works better than the Tylenol. I still have quite a bit of swelling. I'm not sure why. I have done everything I knew to do - no salt, started arnica two days prior to surgery, just started bromelain - didn't start that before surgery as it can cause blood thinning. I had wondered if the antibiotics would 'get things moving' or the pain med' would 'stop things up'. For me, the antibiotics have things moving. Ha! Not a real problem. Actually, I had worried more about the other problem. So, I can deal with this. Mostly, I'm tired. Very tired. I didn't sleep much last night, so I think I would be tired even if I hadn't had surgery. I plan to rest all day. No Biltmore tour or shopping for me today! I really am surprised some people are able to go out the next day. That being said, I am planning to drive home tomorrow. The grogginess is gone and with total rest today, I'm sure I can do it. If I wake up tomorrow and decide I cannot, I will just hang out another day. My only issue with the hotel is there is no outdoor space. The pool is indoors. I long to sit outside! In the shade! So, I want to go home and sit on my porch! Thank you so much for your support! By the way, I have a small lump on my right cheek. I suspect it is an inside suture. Susie with TLC is coming by today and I will ask her about it. If I'm right, it will take weeks to dissipate. Hopefully, she can offer some advice on speeding that process!
I forgot to let you know what was done - perhaps all the drugs are not yet out of my system! Dr. Harley did the Biltmore Lift for $6400 and the upper bleph for $2600. He preferred to do the upper bleph instead of the brow lift. I went with his choice without question. My attitude is that I'm paying him for his expertise, so I should listen to it!
I slept well last night and so I knew I was ready to pack up and head for home. I'm not taking anything for pain now - don't have any. I'm still using bromelain and arnica, and taking my antibiotics. I have a little less swelling today and a little yellow under my eyes. I'm still a bit concerned about the raised area in my right cheek. I emailed Dr. Harley (Saturday evening) about it. He answered within minutes! He says it is normal swelling and not to worry. I will be glad when it's gone. I feel fine! I took the advice of a sweet lady on RealSelf who advised me to stop each hour of my drive and get out to walk around. It was great advice! Thank you! When I arrived home, my friend told me I look much better than the pictures! She's a GOOD friend! Ha! I will post as things progress. Thanks to all the ladies who make this site so very helpful! I'm posting a pic from this morning, after I had washed my hair for the first time since surgery. I think the bacitracin gives it a nice sheen, huh? Ha!
Wanted to post pics of my upper bleph. It is healing rapidly. Very little redness on my upper lids now. Some yellow bruising showed up yesterday below my eyes and remains today. Matches the little bit of yellow bruising on my neck. Barely noticeable, really. I think the bromelain and arnica help a great deal. My recovery from the surgery has been very easy. The only caution I have for those whose surgeries are upcoming, is the lack of energy! I sleep well at night and take at least one nap during the day! My goal for the day is to do two loads of laundry. That's it! Allow yourself lots of down time - as much as possible!
Yesterday was my one week post op' and Kelly removed my sutures. Mostly pain free, but the left ear hurt a bit. I guess it just depends upon how things are healing. I expected the eye suture removal to hurt, but they were completely pain free. Maybe the left ear area was more involved because that's where the drain had been? I don't know, but it was over quickly. Everything feels better today. It's as if I have moved on to the next phase of healing. I'm still not wearing any makeup - just letting things heal. I really like the new shape of my eyes and look forward to some eye makeup to make them 'pop!' But, I don't want to risk infection, so that will have to wait. There are many options on treating the scars - mederma, vit e, bio oil, steri-strips. Kelly thinks the whole key is really not the product but the massage. Since I purchased all of the above prior to surgery (always prepared and usually over prepared!), I will decide over the next few days which I will use. For now, I am to just wash with soap and water twice a day and pat dry - that's all. I am still swollen a bit - am considering a high salt diet to maintain the swelling since it makes my face look fuller! Ha! Just kidding! I really have no pain or problems at all. Sometimes I feel I need to rest my neck - it's like it gets tired of holding my head up. I grab my neck pillow and rest a while when that happens. And I still can't yawn! Too tight! I don't see any bruising. I only had some light yellow bruising and it didn't last long. I have been very lucky. I have used my bromelain and arnica as I was told. That, coupled with my normally healthy diet, is why I think I've done so well. Absolutely nothing has bothered me except that second night after surgery when I refused to take pain med and it took a few hours for me to think about trying ice. So, that's my advice for upcoming patients - do what they say about diet and herbal remedies and remember ice is your best friend those first few days. Dr. Harley and his staff are wonderful, caring people. His skilled hands and their kindness make for a wonderful experience! I know I will go back to Dr. Harley if I need any additional procedures. Not if - when! I'm only 56! I'm so glad he's young! And hopefully he plans to have a long career!
I realize the lump doesn't show up in the pictures. But, it's still there. It's getting smaller. Dr Harley says it is basically a scab inside, where some bleeding occurred. My body will gradually heal it and the lump will go away on its own. I'm not at all worried. I don't think the ice, or the warm compresses, I tried made any difference. I think time is the trick - and it's working.
Lump picture as requested
I think my lump is a bit smaller than it was initially. It was present when the compression bandage was removed. It is soft. It is a whitish, raised area about 1/4" in diameter about 1 1/2" above my right jawline. Dr. Harley says it is blood that my body will dissolve, given time. I am not worried about it. I am posting about it because several people have asked about it, in order to compare it to their own lumps. Apparently, a common affliction post PS.
I had been doing so well - and I messed up! Two days ago I decided to stop taking the bromelain and arnica Montana. I believe the bromelaine is for bruising and my bruising is long gone. The arnica is for swelling and mine was nearly gone - until this morning. Just below my temples on both sides was very very swollen this morning. I have not eaten anything different and I am still sleeping on the wedge pillow and using the neck pillow. I'm actually hooked on my neck pillow - that's a keeper. So, the only thing I've done differently is that I stopped the herbal remedies. It took me a few hours to figure this out and I took the arnica after my lunch and after a snack. The swelling has gone down a bit since this morning, so the picture doesn't show what I faced in the mirror first thing today. In fact, my first thought was "no RS. update today, I look awful!" Then, when I realized why, I knew I needed to warn you all not to stop your arnica, or the bromelain if you're still bruised. I'm hoping things look even better tomorrow.
For those of you following, my lump is getting smaller very slowly, but definitely getting smaller. Since the surgical tape came off, I've been using bio-oil on my scars. I'm amazed how quickly the bulbous scars are smoothing out - with massage. Kelly told me that the scar product you choose is not as important as the massage. I've been working on those knotty scars several times each day. And each day they're a little smaller.
3 1/2 weeks
I am continuing to heal.... Slower than I would like, but I guess that makes me normal. After ten days of using Bio-oil on my scars, I was unimpressed. I tried mederma but don't like it. It's too sticky. I am currently using steri-strips at night and making more progress than I did with the oil. I just bought ScarAway and will start using it tonight. I saw a review on here that showed someone with similar scars after three weeks that looked far better than mine, and she was using ScarAway. If my scars stay exactly as they are now, it would still be worth it for the fewer wrinkles, but I'm hoping for tiny, white scars as opposed to the pink ones I now have. My crows feet have improved as more swelling has subsided. My eyelids are still numb but are less tight feeling than they were last week. I'm going to ask Dr. Harley when I can Botox my crows feet. They don't look too bad, but a little Botox never hurts! I went ahead and had Botox on my 11's two weeks after surgery, but that was too soon to do the crows feet. I will keep posting to let you know when I can have the crows feet done and how it looks. Also, I need to get an updated picture of my chin scar. I forgot to do it this morning and it has makeup on it now. Today, I took pic's to show my eye scars and the scars in front of my ears. I couldn't get a pic behind my ear. But, they're still lumpy. I still use the oil there to facilitate massaging them, hoping to get rid of the bulbous feeling scar tissue - but no one can see it. In fact, I'm sure they feel worse than they look. I know people fear the bleph surgery, and I did, too. I just want to say that I absolutely love the way it opened my eyes! They look very natural but so much better! I love my Biltmore lift, but I LOVE my upper bleph! Thank you, Dr. Harley!