44 Years Old, Birthday Present To Me - Asheville, NC
After significant, medical related weight-loss...
Please, fpr anyone considering having this procedure done with Dr Harley and his awesome staff...DO IT! Please go on for your consultation and see what he had to say. He is a humble, quiet, enormously talented doctor. You won't regret it at all!
Day 5 (Tuesday)
more after pics
Night Before Stitches Come Out
11 days post surgery (sx 01/08/2016)
suture site pics. 2 days after stitches out. day 12 aftersx
Birthday Morning and I can't sleep!
Birthday Pics...13 days post
Day 14...early morning, no make up
sorry, forgot to add photos for my update...here they are
Under chin pic
More pics. Day 14. Some w makeup.
15 Days Post: Random Angle: car side view mirror!
Night 15...my Big Saturday Night
I am having to come to terms with what this surgery can and can not do for me, and I'm having to breathe in some acceptance. That's the reality of plastic surgery, and I'm grateful for the fact that I had such a great surgeon, such great results, and such real expectations going into it. I'm very satisfied this Saturday night, spending my big weekend in, and alone, in my pj's with my "new" face!
Day 16: Update Follow Up
The soreness under my neck is a bit better, but only a bit. I only really notice it, though, if I sneeze, yawn, or try to look in the mirror at my incision under my chin. I've yet to be able to tip my head back that far...but then again I have a really long chin! LOL! The bruise under my eye has diminished a lot but is still there. It sounds weird, but I wish it would stay a bit longer. There is still something "off" about my face, my eyes in particular. The story I'm going with, if I'm asked or if I can inject it into a conversation pre-emptively, is that I had a "sinus procedure" done. I feel like the bruise under my eye lends credence to that lie, and it satisfies people's eye. Without it, I feel like they will keep searching my face for the answer to "what's off about her " and be more likely to notice the incisions at the sides of my face or at my eyelids, which are obviously not caused by anything sinus related. I feel like that bruise is a good diversion, so I'm sorry to see it go just yet! Crazy.
Also, I am putting up a before /after comparison. I LOVE looking at these on other people's reviews, so it occurred to me I should do one!
Day 17: Running out on errands
Day 17: Thoughts on makeup & covering scars
Pics before bed on the morning of Day 19
the above pics are from today, Jan 27...which is day 19
Eyes Right After Waking Up : Day 19
Before Vs 20 Days After
I still have some some swelling in my lower eyelids and some soreness under my chin/at the top of my neck, but it's not worrisome. I am surprised at how much feeling I have in my face ...I have slight numbness in front of my ears and a tiny bit on the jaw line at my chin. Even if I never got any more feeling back this would be pretty close to normal. I've only had a few "lightening bolts" of shock as the nerves reconnect, though, so maybe there is a lot more to come. My dry eye issue is much, much better. Dr Harley called me last week (how is that for after care, folks? When's the last time you heard of a surgeon calling you on his private phone to give you some tips on dealing with DRY EYES?!)....and he advised me to do more self massage on the incision sites on my eyelids. That has helped the issue a great deal.
My bruising is totally gone. I had almost no bruising in my face and none on my neck from the lift, and what little I had resolved in about 2/3 days. Swelling lasted longer, but I avoided salt totally and was lucky with swelling. The only really graphic evidence I had , immediately procedure, was a burst vessel in my eye and a dark bruise just under the same eye. It is my understanding that was from the upper bleph. It is also my understanding that big were totally anecdotal...either can occur but I've seen lots of reviews where the patient didn't get either and if you are considering getting this procedure you do not need to expect this to happen to you. It was only ugly, not painful ! In my case, because I told a fib about having a "sinus procedure" done in order to keep my surgery a secret, the bruising in this area of my face actually played into my cover story! If you are going to keep your procedure a secret from some or all of the ppl in your own world, I highly recommend having a story of your own ready to explain away any incidental bruising or swelling in case anyone notices. That having been said, I wish I had not told such an elaborate lie to everyone about my sinus procedure and gone into hiding in hotels/houses out of state for almost 2 weeks. There is NO SHAME in doing something for yourself to maintain your appearance and to help you feel more confident about the face you present to the world. That's easy to say in hindsight, I realize, but I really mean it. I am saving to have a lower bleph with Dr Harley and when I have that procedure done I will not make up any excuses or lies to anyone. At the end of the day, I'm accountable only to me for the way I chose to care for myself.
here are the before and afters that failed to load
8th Sobriety Birthday Pics
Day 25: Eyes still healing
In terms of healing, my eyes continue to be a bit swollen when I wake up especially, even though I'm sleeping on 2 pillows still. Especially the eye I had the bruising with. The dry eyes issue, though, is IMMENSELY BETTER. I know my eyelids still don't close all the way, though, because even if I close then in the shower, water still gets in! So the seal isn't perfect yet, and that's OK. I feel like the scars are doing really well, and I find they are really soft if I use silicone strip on then all night, so I'm doing that and I think it's helping me.
I'm going to upload some pictures and hour I have more much than the last time I tried. I'm including a closeup of my "problem " eye, although it looks more red in the picture than it does in the mirror. Also, I have a Real Self friend who had her Biltmore Lift/upper bleph less than a week ago, and I mentioned to her that since she is up where it is winter time, and the heat is on and the air is dry as a result, she should use a humidifier in the room where she sleeps. I want to mention this to other women who may be about to do eyelid surgery as well. I was in very dry hotel rooms for the first 11 days after surgery, and having a humidifier going, 24/7, was a BIG HELP to my dry eye issues. Now I'm down here in S Fl, a couple blocks from the beach, and all the windows are open and there's a lovely ocean breeze, and I know that's helped my dry eye and I have no need of a humidifier because the air is, well, humid. But if you are up north, in the winter, having eye surgery, please consider getting a humidifier and keeping the air moist in your room at night. It helped me a lot. My boyfriend got a room humidifier at Walmart and we kept it on the nightstand. Those of you going to Tropical Paradises to get your surgery (Vee, I'm looking at you! ) shouldn't have to worry about it, because the air is nice and humid there, too. But if you have any sensitivity to the über dry air in all the forced -air heated environments during the winter like I do, and you are getting any work done that will effect your eyelids, please consider a humidifier. Just my 2 cents.
Also, I don't want to get all "Michael Jackson " here and start talking about all the other changes I see that is like to make to my face (i do need the lower bleph still, and how I'd love to change the tip of my nose!), But seriously, I need advice about evening skin tone and the large pores. I've done the Skin Medical peels in the past and the Vi peel, and I don't think the results are all that great on me. I've also done skin pen 2x. I use 50+ sunscreen religiously, and about half the time I use retina A. I also use SKII essence and the SKII Vitamin C serum...I cleanse with a Korean non foaming cleanser I LOVE, Acwell 5.5, which balances ph. Anyone who wants to toss in suggestions, please feel free. Just know I'm VERY LEERY of lasers. I know they do have value in certain applications and in the right hands, but it's the hands I worry about! Is love to hear feedback, though!
Thanks again to all of you for your support and encouragement! I am so grateful for this community!
One month Post Surgery!
Day 31 "PS."
One Month + after Surgery : No One Suspects!
I keep promising to go out in the natural light and take pics of my incision sites without makeup, and I swear I'll do it tomorrow. I forgot again and put the BB cream& powder on before I ran out for coffee. I did take some pics in the natural light (in the car ) though ...I'm also wearing mascara...this is only like, the 2nd or 3rd time I've tried mascara...before it was because my eyes watered, and then it was because my eyelashes are WEIRD! Has anyone else with an upper bleph noticed this? My eyelashes fit on my eyelid different...I'm not sure how to describe it. They aren't thinner or anything, they didn't fall out, but it's like they're coming out at a different angle than they used to or something...if anyone else has experienced this and can tell me I'm not crazy, I'll appreciate hearing your feedback! As always, thank you ALL for the amazing support! There are some amazing ladies (& men!) headed to Asheville (& Costa Rica) in the next couple months, and I hope they get the kind of really fabulous support that I have gotten and that they themselves have already offered to others on this site. And to those of you still healing (M2GaJ) hang in there! The results reveal themselves, more and more each day!
4 weeks+ After Biltmore Lift: Facing an Old Enemy
I forgot to say...THANK YOU DR DAVID HARLEY FOR YOUR BILTMORE LIFT!!!!
5 weeks: before & after: no more bags
week 6 : Florida & a ridiculous bedtime story...
Anyway, these are some week 6 pics from tonight, getting ready to go bed with the little dog, So glad to be back in FL and so thankful for all my Real Self friends! Who ends could I gloat to?? LOL! I'm kidding. All jokes and immature, mental fist-pumping aside... i am very , very grateful for all of you... without you this whole process would be so lonely and would be no where near as rewarding!
One of these shots I am posting, btw, is me wearing the new, temporary orthotic I have to wear to bed. It's hilarious!
Still Week 6 : Florida, Fresh Fruit and the Botox Question
Week 7 (?) Sx Date 1/08
Week 7-ish (I'm bad at Math.)
This is a big week coming up! This is a big month coming up! lots of our friends going to have their procedures done up in Asheville and Costa Rica and everywhere else it seems! we need to all have our positive energy antenna set on high! Anyone who wants to private message me should feel free to do so...I would be happy to share any aspect of my personal experience with this these procedures with any one of you (Biltmore lift/ upper bleph.) I think I've made it clear by now that I love to "share"!!! Lol! Let's all have a great week!
thank you each of you for being a part of this time in my life. I have said it before, but it bears repeating: without you, this would be a very lonely road.
week 7 :update pics
Week 7 : Every bowl of cherries has pits.
Still Week 7...But it FEELS different.
2 month update day : Dental Appointment
Wish me luck, guys, I'm probably going to need it. My BFF has no clue that I've had sx, and if she finds out it could get...weird. I'm trying not to feel anxious or like a fraud, but it's hard. They're a crazy bunch, my friends there, and I don't know what I'm in for exactly.
I've posted some pics of me today, running all the non- errands I ran instead of doing all the other chores I really needed to do to be able to leave. Let's hope I can bust a $$ in the next several hours and get everything done! Thanks to you all and a shout out to all the girls and "hubby" recovering from their lifts! Healing energy, white light and positive thoughts to you all!
PS. I'm going to try to upload a pic of me, in a wig, 20 lbs skinnier, from 4 years ago. I had completely lost my boobs and had to fill my bra with wads of duct tape and then arrange the skin of my deflated boobs over then to simulate breasts (I'm not kidding. I did that for over 4 years. Thank GOD my breasts came back when I was able to gain the weight back!)
3+ Mos and a Trip Down Memory Lane Later...
Thank you, to Red (of course ) and to all of you who encouraged me to go on the trip and to be proud and to hold my head high. I did! My brother is now out of rehab and starting his own new, sober life. I'm so blessed to have been able to help facilitate that! I also want to apologize to some of you who I was following before I left on my trip. I found it very difficult to try to log into Real self at my friends house, my connectivity on my phone there was horrible, and it was a crazy busy time. I know many of you had surgeries and were recovering during these past 3+ weeks and i was not able to follow you and to support you as i would have liked to...i trust our awesome community was there for you the way they were for me! I'm trying to get caught up on everyone's progress now! I hope you all are being kind to yourselves and being patient with your recovery! Remember that it takes some time for your full results to emerge! In the meantime, heal well!
3+ Months Post Surgery : No Need For Perfect
I'm really very happy with my jawline...and I'm thrilled that I decided to go ahead and do the upper bleph, I think I was so focused on my neck flap that I had totally missed how much my upper eyelids were ageing my face. While the upper bleph was by far the toughest part of my recovery and while it was the most obvious sign that I'd had "work done ", I realize now that without it my results would be no where as satisfactory to me if I hadn't had the eyes done. If you're considering the upper bleph procedure in conjunction with the lower face /neck lift, consider it SERIOUSLY.
My mouth reconstruction continues, and it continues to be more painful, heart wrenching and expensive than the Biltmore Lift even began to be! I was "back in the chair" again this week after a week of dealing with an allergic reaction IN MY MOUTH to the new temporary crowns. Nasty. Everything is back on track now, though, thank goodness! I continue, everyday, to be reminded in little ways that I have a "new face and neck "...whether it be taking a selfie to send to a boyfriend or waking up in the morning and stumbling to the bathroom and catching a glimpse in the mirror...Don't get me wrong, I still see a dozen things in my reflection that I'd love to change...but I honestly still feel a sense of genuine gratitude and relief when I see the "new me. " Still. It hasn't gotten old. I'm still a little surprised to look in the mirror and mostly like the face looking back! She's no beauty queen, but that's OK! The bags and sags and flappy bits I found so shameful are gone. That was my deepest hope, that I could just get rid of them, and they're gone! I still feel like "nothing I want that bad every turns out this good "...but I'm almost to the place where I accept that it HAS, in fact, turned out like I had dreamed it might. It's still a wonderful feeling. And it's still worth every single penny I scraped together. There is absolutely nothing that I went without in that year of scrimping and saving that could have ever made me feel as good as the Biltmore Lift has. I'm very pleased, also, with how my my scars are healing. I don't use anything "extra" at all on them at this point, other than what I use on the rest of my face. Anyone who is shying away from having the Biltmore lift because they are worried about scars should know that, in my experience at least, by almost month 4 post-procedure, scars are a non-issue.
My aesthetician has offered to put filler under my eyes... she's VERY good at what she does and I've seen tons of her "afters" for under eyes. She is an artist and get results are great... I've decided, however, not to risk it. Klauderb has been a huge inspiration to me, her posts have helped me immensely, and she recently had the filler under her eyes dissolved...we have such similar facial types that I'm going to use RealSelf the way it was intended, benefit from her experience, and skip the under eye filler. I've found that I'm pretty happy with my face with just the Biltmore Lift, the upper bleph and some Botox. I say "just ", which is ironic, because that's definitely not the recipe for natural beauty...what I mean, though, is that I realize now that I'm not chasing perfection. I'm OK with some hollowness under my eyes. That is a relief to me, since right after my procedure I went through a period of time when I was positive that the top of my nose HAD TO BE refined and my lower eyes MUST be addressed...I was afraid maybe I'd never be happy. But that was just a phase and probably the result of too many selfies scrutinized during the early stages of healing! I'm in no rush to jump back into plastic surgery again any time soon. I think I'm pretty OK with the situating under my eyes for now. (But don't hold me to it! Lol!)
I'm posting some new pics and a side my side before and after, having finally figured out how to make one on my phone. Anyone who doubts I needed a facelift at 43/44 need only check out that "before & after" to see that I made the right decision!
To all of my sisters healing right now, I'm sending you white light, good energy, and the words of wisdom from Adirondackmimi's Dr: "healing is measured in months, not days "... And to all of you contemplating a procedure or waiting for your procedure date to arrive, I hope with all my heart that your decision, whatever it may be, brings you as much joy and satisfaction as mine has brought me. Be well.
6+ mos post surgery
Those of you who have followed my crazy journey know that I have also been doing a total mouth reconstruction in parallel to all this, and I completed my final appointment for that last week. So, new teeth, new jawline, new neck, new eyelids! New me? Well, no. Same old me. And that's OK. I find that I still struggle with some of the same insecurities. But I do so with a bit more confidence now, and a bit more optimism. The future is still uncertain and I'm still an unmarried, 44 year old recovering alcoholic facing it with some doubts and fears. The difference is that I'm doing it with a renewed sense that I have far more personal power to shape what's to come than I thought I had before this surgery. I conquered my neck flap, what can't I conquer, right? LOL! I hope everyone out there that has had their procedure is healing well and I wish everyone out there still waiting on their surgeries or contemplating what to do to take charge of their own destinies all the best luck along the way.
Dr Harley, his nurse Kelly and Juanita were all truly wonderful. They are consummate professionals who were able to answer all my questions, to arrange all 3 of my consultation/visits to the office (on top of fielding several anxious phone calls} and to provide me very realistic expectations of what my outcome would be. I felt no pain at all during the procedure, and Dr Harley has made himself available to answer all my questions and concerns. This is a clean, calm, beautifully appointed office. The procedure was quick and painless. The Doctor and staff are genuine and talented and so far I am THRILLED with my results. if you want to make permanent changes for a more refreshed and youthful face, please consider this doctor and this procedure YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.