48, Time to Heal the Face and Body :) - Atlanta, GA

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The first part of my life was very hard. My heart...

The first part of my life was very hard. My heart and mind were healed long ago from the rough start. Now it is time to see if my face and body can be healed.

I have tried to help my body with good exercise and eating habits since my early thirties, but the bad start from my teens is catching back up with me. I was a teenage run away from abuse, raped, and went through a pregnancy at 16 with almost no personal care. Food for the baby's development, not skin care, was my goal. The child was born healthy but my skin didn't fair well. At first during the pregnancy, i was starving and my body was tiny. Then i put on weight too quickly after finally gaining access to decent food. I have stretch marks and droopy skin on my tummy, upper thighs, and upper arms with additional and extensive stretch marks on my butt and breasts. (The child, if you are wondering, was given up for adoption because I had no resources as a runaway and had no self confidence after the rape to be caring for a child. My greatest gift of love was to give the child up to a good home and that is what I did.) And after the delivery, I went through a large bout of cycstic acne and, once again, had no health care. The scaring on my face was extensive and left me feeling very bad about myself until I sought help in my late twenties. Seeking and getting help healed my heart and mind, but I still didn't have finances to make any changes to my appearance back then.

A physician who learned about my story gave me a pro-bono hospitalized dermabrasion ten years ago, at age 38, for the facial scaring. That was very helpful. It didn't remove all of the scars but the improvements were wonderful to me. I went to college after that and earned a degree. I love to smile. The dermabrasion changed my world.

And all the skin damage on my body wasn't so noticeable when I was younger because I do love to exercise and my skin was much more elastic, but my skin has been changing over the last ten years. My face skin is drooping too now and it looks bad with the remaining scaring. My neutral facial position looks unhappy when I'm actually not. I can't wait to have a true neutral expression again!

And I find it all ironic because I'm probably in the best physical condition of my life now along with being sincerely happy and stronger than ive ever been, but the damage and aging leaves enough slack to have to hide the extra skin and look tired in the face. I want to be on the outside who I am on the inside. But I'm going to have to take these surgeries in stages over a period of years to afford them.

I am starting with my face; a lower face lift and lower blepharoplasty. It's scheduled for November 5th. Very few people know about my past and none that know me now would ever guess. It's not something I talk about much anymore, but shared it here because I appreciate the support this site allows all of us as we have each come to this place experienced after walking through our own individual trials to get to the point of needing surgery; if it be the genetics of aging, extensive weight loss, damage from thr past, or any number of other things that life has thrown our way.

I can't wait for my smile to show on the outside as much as I do on the inside!!!! Gosh I wish it were November already. Everyone at Dr Z's is so nice. I can't wait for my neutral facial expression to no longer look sad or tired!!!!! Peace be with you all!! :)

Pre photos that are really making me wish it was November.

These are without make-up and trying to share my worse. I'm suddenly grateful for hair and make-up and that I hopefully never look quite this bad in public. I can't wait to smile afterward!!!!!!! :)

Why I need a FL (LOL) and a photo from the past (Me at 38)

Why I need a FL....this week, we are going through a major restructuring at work. Tuesday was staffing reductions, Wednesday was office location reductions, and today was my closest peer coming back to work to be immediately terminated after 27 years of service, and Friday ends with an afternoon conference call of how we will be told to do amazing feats without enough staff. This is not the first time. We did a big reorganization in 2011 too. My organization has been struggling for several years now and I work tremendous hours holding more than one full-time position and not being paid very much. I've stuck with the organization for the last five years because I love my work, but I look at the photos from a few years back and the photos from today and, yes, there is aging and damage going on, but there is also stress going on. And no amount of exercise and eating right is going to be able to equalize the level of stress we are all under.

Many of my closest peers have been leaving over the last few months knowing that this next wave of change was coming and they've been encouraging me to leave too, but I've been holding on to achieve a couple of person goals first.

Well, the person goals have now been achieved and the only thing left is some medical stuff and the FL. I'm having vein closure done in each leg (for medical reasons, not cosmetic) and understand the process has very good outcomes. A dear friend is also getting it done ahead of me. Her second leg is done tomorrow. She is 20 years older than I, but I have more damage than she. My right leg will be done on October 3 and the left on Oct 17. Both surgeons said it wouldn't matter if the FL or legs were done first. So I opted to do the legs then the FL.

I'm going to find something less stressful that will still be passionate for me after the FL is done and healed enough. And maybe it will even be a better paying position if people don't think my face looks unhappy when it's neutral!!!! LOL So, I need an older photo posted tonight to balance out all the recent unflattering photos I posted. This photo was taken after my dermabrasion had healed. Makeup was covering the remaining scars and I was very happy and it showed. I want my happiness to show again. Anyway....the photo is between 8 and 10 years old. I think I was 38 - that would make it ten years old.

Leg Vein Closure Recovery while waiting for the big Face Day on November 5th

Someone asked me about my vein procedure in my leg. The easiest way to describe it...is that with some people's leg veins stop working as well with age and there is reflux. It seems to usually be common in people older than i, but it was happening to my legs and covered by my health insurance. It seemed like perfect timing before the face.
A very dear friend, twenty years my senior, also had it done in the weeks prior to mine. I went with her for each leg, done two weeks apart, and met with her doctor and anesthesiologist before and after each surgery. It was a great crew and helped me feel very prepared for my own. She was up and walking within a few hours each time with no complications.
My insurance did not cover doctor she used. My doctor did not use general anesthesia as her doctor did. I wasn't aware of that fact until two days before the procedure but i initially still liked the idea because my doctor sad that general anesthesia was overkill for such a procedure. I was given Valium, local anesthesia, and in we went. The doctor used the same exact equipment; a laser that was inserted through my vein and up to the damaged parts which were destroyed, but a nerve was hit in my procedure. In retrospect, I know exactly when the nerve was hit because the pain became so severe during the procedure that he had to stop several times and use more local anesthesia. I remember looking over at the heart rate and blood pressure machine and watching it skyrocket when it happened. My back started sweating too. It was quite intense. Still, I didn't realize that anything was going to be different about my recovery than my friends, because I just figured the pain was a sad result of having to be awake. But my recovery has been much different than my friend's recovery. I'm twenty years younger than she, in good shape, and can tolerate pain very well, but I have been limping and in pain every since; over two weeks now. The doctor assures me that this happens sometimes and that the pain will go away in time, but it has been quite intense. The limping has been very extreme at times, slowing me down at work, and there have been lots of muscle spasms and two actual leg "lock ups".
My daily relaxation after work has always been working out in the evenings and it is preventing me from being able to work out normally. I'm doing maybe 1/4 of a regular workout.
It will be fine in time, I'm sure, but this isn't what I expected. The second leg was not done and that procedure was postponed until December (if at all). I doubt I will go forward with the second leg until I am able to qualify to use a doctor that takes the same approach as my friend's doctor did. I'm not suggesting that my doctor did anything wrong. I don't think he did. Anyone could have hit a nerve...all of our bodies are unique. But I don't want to go through another procedure like that without better anesthesia.
So, I'm looking forward to the big Face Day and the leg is slowly making progress each day. :) I can't wait until November 5th!!!! And am glad that I certainly won't be awake for the face surgery. LOL Yeah!

One Month + Post-Op - Venous Closure in my right leg (Unrelated to the upcoming Face Lift)

"Venous Closure®: This procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for patients with a condition known as venous reflux. Closure is done as an outpatient procedure in our office. Local anesthesia is used to ensure comfort during treatment. Using a single needle stick, a thin catheter is inserted into the greater saphenous vein. Through the catheter, radiofrequency energy is delivered to the vein wall, causing it to heat and seal shut. Following the procedure, the patient is fitted with a compression stocking and asked to refrain from strenuous activity for a short period of time. Most patients resume normal activity within 24 hours."

A couple of you have inquired about what was done to my leg - so I thought I'd respond about that before posting about my face. Most people, including a friend who had both of her legs done the weeks prior to mine, walk away from this with minimal problems, but my Saphenous Nerve has "hit" or irritated or how ever one wants to say it.

Bottom line is that my recovery has been slow and painful. I limped around for several weeks at work and home, but it is slowly healing. I'm hardly limping at all now, but the nerve is making my leg still hurt alot and there are all sorts of out-of-the-blue weird sensations that occur each day (everything from burning to muscle spasms to my knee giving me problems (and it never did before the procedure), but I know my body (because I had a major spinal fusion many years ago) and believe that the nerve will slowly heal. It has been frustrating though and has slowed me down in things that I wanted to do before the face surgery.
The surgeon (NOT the same surgeon as for my upcoming facelift) said it may be 6 months to a year before I am fully recovered from the nerve stuff. :( The appearance of my leg just had the usually temporary swelling and bruising...all of that went away at about the same speed of my friend's legs...two weeks. It's just the nerve that I am dealing with now.
I did cancel the other leg and will not be having that done. The right leg needs to fully heal first. It would be impossible to walk like this if the same thing occurred in the other leg.

Face Lift Pre-Op Tomorrow and Surgery on Wednesday

I can't tell you all what a wonderful support it is to have this group!

Everything has been moving quickly these last few weeks for me. We've had a restructuring at work and it has been very busy. And I've been offered a new job outside of my organization. In fact, I spent Saturday (yesterday) with the Executive Director of the new organization at their facility- it is a wonderful smaller non-profit than where I am now and serves women/children in need. It is a good match for me. I'm praying about it all and going to make those decisions after the face lift.

I completed all the necessary paperwork with the hospital last week and am spending this entire weekend doing errands and chores around the house in preparation for coming home Thursday. Dr. Z is great and provided all sorts of before and after instructions at the beginning of this journey so I could prepare well in advance. I was able to get an amazing deal on a Backmax Body Wedge Cushion Set from JCPenney. It will allow me to sleep with my entire torso inclined after the surgery when I return home and will incline my legs too if so desired. (I'll let everyone know how it works out after the surgery.) And the house is stocked with food for myself and the animals. And we've loaded up on all the essentials because I won't be able to drive for a week.

Exercise is a passion of mine and release for stress, but it's been difficult to exercise as much as usual while healing from the leg procedures. I'm making progress though with the duration/intensity of my workouts. My reason for mentioning exercise is because I believe that proper exercise is a part of the preparing for the face lift surgery as well as any type of surgery. I've also been reducing all my salt intake. That's supposed to help with swelling. I'm mostly vegan, but Dr. Z wanted me to eat meat before/after the surgery - so I've been eating some meals with meat now too.

A friend has taken time off from work to stay with me from before the surgery to three days after the surgery. And is also staying at my house when I'm spending the night in the hospital. She has been busy this week-end researching ice-packs to use after the surgery if needed. And my boyfriend is going to come visit on Saturday after the surgery. He's read all the surgery paperwork too. I asked him not to come before then because each individual's recovery is so different and I don't know how bad this might initially look. I just want to rest afterward for a few days and take care of myself to the maximum. Work has been very busy lately with the restructuring and I'm looking forward to having this down time. I remain EXTREMELY excited about the surgery and know that Dr. Z is going to do an awesome job!!!!!

Gotta Run...I want to finish up my list of to-do's by this afternoon. Happy Sunday to everyone!!!!!!

i can't see well yet but all is wel.

pre op was great. surgery was great hospital was so helpful. I come home now. Have photos for later, canot do much visually now. So happy.

.2 day [po op;/ camt see lee[ yet

no pain, plentyof isc, 247 feind care. Here's a photo from ducotr return to day.

It's Saturday !!!!!

I can't see to type yet. This is my second attempt. And I'm an organic eating mostly vegan - so these pills are knocking me for a loop. But I wanted to keep everyone here in the loop because supporting each other is what this is all about.pre-op was amazing, as usual with Dr Z.and was totally comfortable the morning of the surgery and treated like a princess afterwards. The overnight hospital stay was the perfect decision for me.my friends have been amazing staying with me and it is been such a huge help. I am trying to follow the doctor's orders exactly and that was not to use my eyes much. There's so much. Mint in them anyway it's really hard to see I'm voice typing this and hopefully we'll be able to hit the right buttons to upload a couple of pictures that I just took please write your comment so I will answer back whenever I can see I know the stitches are scheduled to start coming out on Monday

Monday :) Some stitches out!

I couldnt sleep at all Saturday night. It was very difficult. It was the hardest so far with my stomach (constipated) and still not being able to focus/see because my eyes seem to be stuck in a dilated state. Also im adjusting to the feelings of tightness in my neck and feeling weird bouts of strong sad emotions.
My stomach finally found relief by Sunday afternoon and my boyfriend came over and kept me company through the day.
Today, Monday, was the second post op and all the stitches around my eyes and in front of my ears came out. The doc says I'm doing well and the removal of the nausea patch will end the dilated eye problems. Im already able to see somewhat better and can think clearer now. It feels good to have some of the stitches out and I was able to shower and wash my hair today!!!
I am weak but feel many times better tonight than I did on Sunday. I'm still very swollen, but adjusting to that. And i can smile at times. Here's after the hair washing.....
by the way...Dr Z. Continues to be amazing and the bed wedge from jcpenney is so helpful! !!!!

Things to share that might help you....

A week ago today I was at work in my Atlanta office getting all the last minute things done. It seems like both a million years ago and just a blink in time away. I am sitting here much more comfortable this day than the last few days and my eyes and mind are starting to work again. A vegan friend (as I am almost vegan) told me to be prepared for the medication reactions, but I still wasn't. My reactions were very strong...it had been years since I'd taken any medication and I struggled with both the nausea patch that kept my eyes dilated for five days and played with my thinking and the steroids that seemed to make me very sad. The pain pills and sleeping pills kept me foggy and I truly don't remember parts of some days. I've finished all the required medications now, yes!, and stopped the pain pills and sleep medication after the third day.

Hmmmm.....things i can share that might help someone else....Let's see...
(1) Emotional / mental struggle for a few days: The chin looked really good to me as soon as I saw it, but I especially struggled mentally after first washing my hair and letting it down against the rest of my face. I found my own reaction to be strange. I couldn't bring myself to come out of the bathroom with my hair down against my face. Don't ask me why....it seemed quite irrational, but the only way that I could come out was to wrap it back up in a towel. So I wrapped my hair back up into the towel yesterday and the fear, whatever is was, has went away this morning.
Also, I would cry and/or become scared for no reason. I would also as easily laugh. Everything seemed to be intensified. I think that might have been all the medications mixed with some of the fears in the back of my mind.
(2) Swelling and Motion: At this point in recovery, I find movement brings unusual sensations to the swollen areas of my face/neck. Like the trip yesterday into Atlanta to have the eye stitches out.... There were a couple of times when traffic came to a quick stop and there was more pressure in the areas of swelling as we stopped quickly. Same thing when I lean forward. And it has taken me awhile to adjust to the tightness in my neck. It initially frightened me the first night I spent alone. But it just takes getting used to.
(3) Feeling and no feeling: I have varying amounts of sensation in my cheeks, chin, and one ear. And this too is a process of getting used to these new sensations. It takes time to heal.
(4) Mouth Movement: I can smile to some extent depending on the amount of swelling at the time, but can't open my mouth very much yet. This has made me aware of how quickly I had been eating before the surgery. It is good to slow down and chew more slowly.
(5) My smart phone usage: My friend Ann stayed with me for the first three days after I came home from the night in the hospital. I guess I was quite a hoot with some of my texts and messaging. Some of them were gibberish. And I had no concept of time...texting at 1 a.m. was no different than 1 p.m. I couldn't focus my mind or eyes. The whole thing is quite comical in retrospect. Thank goodness that I didn't text any more than I did. I even text my boss at one point telling her my Christmas cactus had bloomed. That is actually one of the few texts that I remember sending. I have a vague recollection of standing in front of the cactus crying because it had bloomed first time in five years...LOLOL I guess I was wandering around the house with my phone at times. Thank goodness Ann was here...there is no way I was capable of taking care of myself at that point.
(6) Following the dr's recommendations: We adhered to all the icing down instructions from the doctor and I believe this has really helped. I'm trying to make sure to follow everything he says to the "t". He had me switch to warm heat yesterday and, again, it is definitely helping. Making sure my salt intake stays low and am trying to regain my strength. He says I won't be able to return to a normal exercise workout ( because I work out quite hard) for six weeks or more, but I can regain my strength by walking and movement. I've set a timer today and tried to take a very small walk (sometimes just for a minute) every two hours today. It seems to be helping.
(7) Holiday planning: I had been in the process of redoing my dining room chairs and needed them done by thanksgiving because people are coming here. I did the hardest part before the surgery (cutting out the new wooden seats) and now realize that it was a wise move because I don't think I would have been able to tolerate the vibration of the saw until this swelling goes away. I still have to put the new upholstery on the wooden seats. That requires hammering in upholstery tacks and is something I'm not planning to attempt until this swelling subsides. I may be directing a friend or two as they do it for me.
(8) Below my left eye and my eyes in general: I think I've been a bit cross eyed (for real) these last few days and that seems to be dissipating. And my left eye seems to be recovering more slowly than the right one. This surgery really shifted some of the scaring around on my face and I think that one of my scars is now up under my left eye which is probably playing into some of this too.
(9) The bottom line for me, at this point, is that I'm not going to worry about the left eye or sensations, or not being able to open my mouth much, and whatever. God made our bodies so amazing and there is a major healing process going on in my body right now. I will trust the outcome to be whatever it is and I am so excited. I believe it is going to be wonderful. I'm walking slowly on the other side now!

I had surgery a week ago today and today I did.....

I took a bath today and washed my hair. It felt SO GOOD. I am finally to the point where i wasn't afraid of passing out from the water temperature change! And then I dried my hair and styled it without anxiety. I tried on several shirts to find one that would clash with my current blue, green, and red skin tones. And then my boyfriend came ovet and took me to the doctor's, the grocery store, and to a restaurant. I still have a lot of stitches that will be in until next Monday and still am discolored under the eyes and on the neck, and very swollen on my cheeks and neck, but I wasn't about to put any makeup on yet was tired of hiding under my big hay and glasses. So I Just wore my regular glasses and a scarf if I felt embarrassed.
I don't have stamina yet. This was all like a major outing for me. I'm trying to eat all I can but have now lost 5 pounds. The doc explained that I'm burning a lot of calories to heal. And, yes, I'm eating meat too. I could open my mouth more today and that will help more too.
So my major accomplishments of today were fixing my hair and going out discolored and laughing a lot.

Friday, Nov 14, turned into an emergency eye appointment for my eyeball

I have been talking about my vision for the entire time after surgery. At first it was dilated from the Transderm Sc?p® patch that was applied right before the surgery to help me from being sick afterward. My patch stayed on for 5 days and along with taking the other medications to begin with and it seemed acceptable to feel confused and not see well. I also was going through strange periods of fear and having alot of memory loss. It was very confusing and sometimes difficult.
My eyes finally were no longer fully dilated two days after the patch came off, but they still would not focus and the dilation between them was not equal. It took a full five days for the memory problems and confusion to dissipate. Then on Thursday night, my left eye started hurting alot and on Friday morning the white below my left pupil looked bubbly and was turning brown. I called my health carrier who screened me via phone with the nurse and got me in right away to see an eye doctor. It was a long and challenging day, but the doctor was great. Yup, my eyeball was swollen and my eyes were both too dry.
I was started on a regimen of different eye lubricants and scheduled for a follow up Monday, Nov 17th. The exact cause of why the eyeball swelled up on Thursday night was not determined, but there is alot of evidence that I seemed to be having a reaction from the patch. I certainly had alot of side effects. And the confusion and vision problems were very hard to deal with and scary.

Sunday, November 16th, Can't see well, but going to church

Some, but not all of the eyeball swelling was going down by Sunday, but I could still not see well at all and that was even with wearing my glasses. There was no way I could drive or even see to find my way around the church. It took a long time for me to get ready, but I did and someone picked me up for church and led me by the hand into the building and to my seat. I love God with all my heart, and it was so wonderful to be there! It was not my own church, but a sister church that was nearer my house and the home church of my ride. So here's what I look like on day 10. This isn't meant to be a glamour shot. I can't see very well it it at all and under my eyes are greasy from the eye lubricant, but you can see how good my skin is coming around now, the jaw, and etc. There was a small blue/green area under the scarf but not much.

Monday, November 17th, Stitches coming out and follow up eye appointment!!!!!

Today was a busy morning. The rain was heavy in Atlanta and we had to leave very early to make it to the follow up eye doctor appointment. The swelling is less than Friday, but they are monitoring of this closely. I have to use eye drops every 1 - 2 hours all the time I'm awake and then use an ointment at night which makes things totally blurry. My right eye continues to not be able to focus. The left eye, that was swollen, is the one carrying all the vision. The eyes will be a healing process and the moisture in them will improve as I am better able to shut my eyelids. They still aren't closing at this point, but there is continued improvement....I was able to blink independently (one eye at a time) over the weekend for the first time since the surgery. I am very pleased with that! It takes time for one's body to heal and I still feel I'm making very good progress.
THEN.......It was time for the appointment with Dr. Z. He took all my remaining stitches out and says everything looks good! There is no feeling to describe how great it was to have the rest of the stitches come out. Some of them were long too! - I was surprised. We talked about everything and how to massage under my eyes at this point. I'm very pleased at everything. And here's a photo as I type this. Yes, lol, I have on the same shirt I wore to church yesterday. I will worry about fashion when I can see better again. I just want to continue making good progress in my recovery at this point. And....I'm so looking forward to washing my hair tonight now that the stitches are out. Yes! This makes day 11 and I am starting to feel so much better over all! There is still allot of swelling in my lower face/neck, but the coloration is much better.

Tuesday, November 18th...tomorrow will make two weeks

My right eye came into focus last night and has done so again this afternoon!! The eye drops seem to be helping, but my eyes lids still aren't near shutting yet. I even keep my glasses on even in my sleep to protect my eyes from anything floating down on them since I'm using the awesome Backman Body Wedge set to sleep on and my head stays straight ahead and my torso is upright. If you need a wedge I strongly recommend this one. I bought mine at JC Penney. It lists for $215, but I gave just over $100 and have slept on it comfortably every night since coming home from the hospital. It is amazing.
This afternoon was driving practice as I am scheduled to return to work Thursday. I can turn my head somewhat at this point, but not alot. It makes driving very challenging. I made a beeline for auto zone and bought those little round blind spot mirrors that stick to your side mirrors. That did help, but I'm not looking forward to Atlanta traffic with limited neck mobility. If I could change anything.....it would be the amount of leave I took. I'd take 3 weeks, not 2.
The doc says I have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to highlight my hair...so I'll be returning with the same hairdo I left with and postpone the usual Thanksgiving highlights until Christmas. When I do, I'm going for a new style after the swelling goes away and I can see how much my old scaring looks now. I know my face will keep changing as all this progresses for the next few months. What an amazing journey to be on! Each day, after prayers, I run into the mirror and look to see what this day reveals. It's like being a teen again. Lol
And now that I'm feeling more like myself, my goofiness seems to be returning. I was doing silly selfies today. And, I swear, i would wear my hair in a ponytail back to work if I could hide the scars behind my ears. I've always loved ponytails and the new neck makes it possible to return to wearing them! Here's some silly shots from after the driving practice. Nothing special. It's just so wonderful to have my hair pulled back again and to be able to have more neckline choices. I love turtle necks and kept mine, but they didn't look good on me last year. They look better on me now!!! :)

i was in surgery two weeks ago right now!!!!!!

I just took these pictures of my incisions at two weeks today! I'm by myself today and it took forever to get the cell phone tilted right....lolol. Davy, my beloved cat, faithfully watches as he does each morning, but won't help. :D The incisions are: right at the edges of my hair line on both sides, all the way up the back of my ears, all the way up the front of my ears but nicely hidden at where the ear meets the head, above and below my ears, and big semi circle incisions around my sideburns. There is no incision under my chin.

Day 17, left eyelid movement and boyfriend says I'm pretty :)

So I went back to work on Thursday and Friday...or I should say I tried. My eyes would not focus long-range on Thursday, so I worked virtual until lunch and then went in when it became safe to drive. My boss knew about my surgery and I was well received about my appearance. My boss was very happy for me and it was a wonderful return. Im still swollen and it was all very affieming.
Friday morning I shifted my hours to later in the day because, once again, my long range vision would not focus in for several hours in the morning.
I decided to practice slow deep blinking at one eye at a time while I was stuck in traffic both ways. This is in addition the the 4 tines a day massages that the surgeon has my doing to my lower eyelid incisions. I did my blinking and the second day there was some twitching in the lower eyelid muscles under the left eye.
This morning, Sarurday, I am able to almost close my left eye with slow deliberate attempts. This is a major step in the right direction as I still can't fully close either eye. The right lower eyelid continues to be frozen and is no where near closing and my right eye is taking a beating from it even though I'm religiously following the new eye lubrication regimen.
Along with the lower left muscle "waking up" I am now sore all the way from my scalp to my chest. Major sore with a all day headache that almost feels like a migrane.
The muscles under my right eye and on the right side of my neck are also slightly beginning to twitch tonight and are definitely showing signs of the same wake up process that the left eye is experiencing as well. Even my chest muscles are having muscle spasms tonight from thr neck twitches.

I found trying to work exhausting. Today my boyfriend drove me to the neighboring town where we walked around the mall and then went to my health food store to pick up the organic turkey order. It feels wonderful to come home afterward and just get in the bed. I'm eating a lot as to not loose any more weight and looking forward to being able to work out again and have more energy, but right now body is busy using it's energy to heal so my focus needs to remain on resting and eating. There will be time enough to resume my high energy lifestyle in the future and when I do my face will match my body. I'm so excited about that.
I'm so grateful for this surgery. Here's a picture from today. My boyfriend said I looked preety. ?
Oh...and I'm finally to the point where the swelling is retreating faster in some places than others...so I've personally felt a bit lumpy today. I also have a lump on the right cheek and right side of my neck. Things still seem to be rising and falling. Throughout the day. And I've consistently had a lump on my right cheek and another on the right side of my neck for several days now. I also noticed I have new brushing at the bottom of one of the incisions on my neck...A slender long green bruise running down the back side of my neck.
I'm not xomplaining....just trying to share different things as they happen to me in my recovery. :)

So excited!!!!

My eyelids are starting to work and close again. Two days now of sleeping with my eyes shut....wonderful!!!! I did a video for the three week mark but haven't posted it yet.
Tonight I'm having my hair highlighted. Can't wait. Here's a shot from last week after I cut some layers into my hair.

3 weeks, 5 days - Hair done

So excited. ...I got a conservative hair cut and a bit more striking hughlight/lowlight contrast from a new-to-me salon because my stylist and I have a hard time hooking up because of the distance I live from her now.
I sat the new stylist down and told her about my surgery, what I wanted, and showed her all my incisions. She was very careful and I'm happy with the results. This salon is also a makeup studio and spa - and she was dying for me to get made up, but it's too soon for me. So we compromised by her applying a little lipstick. During the highlighting she said "you have such beautiful skin." I about fell out of the chair. No one has made a comment like that to me since before I was raped at sixteen. It's hard to believe that less than four weeks ago I had saggy scarred skin that the shadow so made look all the worse.
I still have swelling and the scars will eventually resurface. I do not know to what amount, but I do know that I continue to be very pleased with this entire process. It is a miracle to me.
I also bought some makeup and may try to use it next week along with some hairspray.
Here's my new hair look.....

Four weeks ago today

Four weeks ago today I was having surgery. I've had quite a bit of swelling these last few days and work still tires me out, but the eyes are starting to work better and I'm very happy overall.

aren't any words

I'm sitting here very tired after a long week and some failed attempts at recording an important video because my mouth is so uneven at this point when i try to talk or smile. Im getting ready for bed with the hot compresses around my neck when I noticed myself. Oh my gosh. ..I have a jaw and neck again and feel so pretty even with all the remaining swelling, vision problems, and other situations. This is the new me with my hair messed up. It fells great!!!

5 weeks today!

This was the first Wednesday since the surgery that I wasn't acutely aware that another week had rolled by during the hours of surgery (10 - 2).
My eyes are starting to shut, am regaining some stamina, and my mouth opens further. The swelling has been all over the place the last few days. There was one day when I felt almost normal and the next day I felt like a marshmallow again. I've finally started sleeping on my side a bit which is heavenly after being propped up for weeks. Oh, and I've worn eye liner twice.
I've still got all the other stuff going on...uneven amile, no feeling in many places, neck weirdness, problems with viaion, etc., but continue to see alow improvements each week.

5 week, 2 day incisions and update :)

I thought this might help others.
(1) eyelids: My one eye is fully closing now. My other eye is almost there. I practice closing my eyes each day now just like I was exercising.
(2) I still can't smile even yet, but that's getting closer. My muscles are still too tight to open my mouth as much as pre surgery. But I can yawn a little now and get most foods into my mouth easier.
(3) swelling: my chin is still swelling the worst followed by my cheeks and eye areas. I keep my salt low. It doesn't help. He asked me to eat meat (I am a almost vegan) before and after the surgery. I did and am. I'm wondering if my meat consumption is contributing to the swelling because all the junk in meat causes a variety of problems in the body including inflammation. I'm getting ready to cut out most all meat again and see if that helps. It's been ethically difficult to do this too. It goes against my beliefs.
(3) ears: they have healed up wonderfully. I have feeling in one and not the other at this point.
(4) chin and neck: limited feeling there. And what I can feel in my neck is soreness . It still feels incredible tight. Lots of chin swelling.
(5) hairline: incisions there are doing well too. They go through stages of being itchy. My hair is growing back in around them.
(6) under eye incisions: I do prescribed scar massages 4 times a day and they are softening. They look good under the eye. They part on the outside corners is the problematic area and taking more time to heal. It is sunken in and very noticeable to me.
(7) eye problems from medication reaction: eye Dr said my ability to focus is improving. Tears still not working. And oil glanda are over working. He changed the prescribed list of To Dos yesterday and we will continue to wait for progress.
Conclusion: I am very happy with the surgery recovery. I think my body is doing great. :)

5 weeks, 4 days

My doctor said I could start working out with my old routine again 5 - 6 weeks post. I lift alot so he wanted me to wait longer than normal. It's been challenging to wait because the gym is and always has been my release but I did and have been just doing light stuff like the elliptical and push ups at home. Nothing close to my regular gym work outs.
Decided to try a trial run today. It's 5.5 weeks. Didn't know what to expect, so took all the weights down to 10 pounds and wanted to see what the movements felt like. I also love doing pull ups and wanted to be at the gym to try then because they have an assisted pull up machine (which means you can counter balance it with weights as much as you want.)
I had talked to Dr. Z for a long time pre-surgery because I had a lot of concerns about what moving my neck muscles around would do to my ability to do all that I do in the gym. He is a mountain climber and understood my concerns. Exercise is extremely important in my life.
Anyway, I tried a light hour of cardiovascular followed by an hour of extremely light lifting, followed by the sauna.
The assisted pull ups were fine. Everything was fine. And when I was done I actually felt like myself!!!!! It felt so amazing. I just blew dry my hair after the shower and took this quick pic right in the locker room....no make up, no hair style and I felt like myself again. I am so happy right now. Can't wait to go back again tomorrow. Bet I sleep good tonight !!!

7 weeks today :)

The swelling is starting to diminish!!!!! It's been less consistently for the last few days. I still puff up sometimes though even if it less in the morning, but it's definitely slowly decreasing now.
I also bought a hand held vibrator to assist with the massaging under my eyes because the doc said I wasn't being aggressive enough with the finger massages even though I'm doing it as prescribed. (the bottom lids continue to be problematic with bad scaring on one.) The vibratory seems to be helping with the fight with these scars. My bottom eye lids stay very sore and painful and the vibrator is bringing small windows of relief from this. (And, yes, I asked permission from the doc before beginning to use it.)
The doc has me working on my neck now, lifting, stretching, etc as it seems to be coming back alive.

Two monthish

I returned to my mostly vegan lifestyle right before New Years. For me, it feels much better this way and, I personally, believe it is helping with the incision healing. My weight is still the same. I did not want to loose any weight. Size 6ish is small enough for me.
The swelling continues to diminish from my cheeks and my cheek bones are appearing more and more! This is exciting to me because I always had nice cheek bones. The swelling continues under my chin, but it varies by day.
My eyes are starting to work better. I still am under the care of two doctora foe my eyes, have to massage several times a day, and use special ointment in my eyes at night and artificial tears in the daytime.
Dr. Z offered to make a small fix to the left lower lid last time I visited, but my eyeballs were in too bad a shape then to make any decisions. Time will tell.
I continue to be happy overall with the prpgress.

4 monthish

The face has started feeling a lot better this last month. The eye lids are still healing...a bit softer now. And I bit the bullet and cut my hair short. Then I went to a stylist and had then fix it up a little.
Being able to work out again combined with the reduction of swelling (although I still swell at times), has left me feelING really good about the overall results.
I've also realized that straight our of the gym or straight out of the shower photos look the best for me. Here's one from last week.

One more from 3 monthish :)

New hair cut, eyes matching more, smile not so crooked. :)

Checking In :) a little over four months

Well I did it. I cut off my hair And had to go to a stylist to have them straighten it out.
My face continues to heal. My lower lids continue to progress. I can feel more of my cheeks and some of my neck now, but the right ear is still out to lunch and I keep accidently hanging up on people when I forget and hold my cell on top of my shoulder. Lol
My neck and cheeks are still swelling up, but I've happily put on five pounds and the swelling isn't that bad.
My chin still gets lumpy at times but then it all lays back down. I'm very happy with all of this. :)

It's been almost two years now!!!!!

It will be 2 years on Nov 2016. It's so hard to believe that so much time has passed already. I wanted to share because my experience, like everyone's, is very unique.
I never regained complete feeling in my right ear and still have spots I can not feel on my neck and under my chin. I I still habe swelling under my chin when I eat certain foods with sugar or salt. It's become like some sort of built in warning system of what food really contain. I've grown to rely on it.
The scar under my left eye will probably never lay as flat as the right one and I had to do many months of lid exercises before my eyelids would close together all the way. And the scars in my hair line are visible to some extent.
I'm 50 now and, of course, my body keeps aging. The last couple of years have been especially hard on my eyes, hair, and nails, but I remain happy with the surgery outcome.
My deep acne scars remained filled in from the swelling for the entire first year before slowly returning. That was an amazing time. :) I've not had anything more done and doubt I will, but I'm sure some sort of filler could be used if I wanted all of that.
So I've just pulled my hair back tonight and snapped a few shots without makeup so you could see the real deal again.
I was never big on facial products but started using two things this summer: Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Day Serum and Eve Hanson's Retinol 2.0% Serum at night. I like how they make my face and neck feel and it takes just a tiny bit of each. I do have some small lines returning under my eyes, but not bad. And I've realized that the way one holds their head (I.e. more forward) probably plays into how their neck skin stretches over time. So I make a conscious effort to have different posture than in the past.
My face looks even better with makeup. Hope this helps. Comments and questions are welcome.
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Dr Z. and all of his staff answered all my questions, spent a lot of time with me, and made me feel totally at ease. I had already been to see another surgeon, but kept reading great reviews about Dr. Z on realself and decided to go see him Dr. Z. too. I’m so glad I did. After seeing him, there is no doubt in my mind..He will be doing my surgery. Not only does he have a great track record and manner and the staff is fantastic, but the after care is also better. I will stay on the hospital overnight compared to the other surgeon who would have just sent me straight home. I want my face to heal right and that means having the best care possible.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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