I'm ready! Tuesday marks the day I find myself...
I'm ready! Tuesday marks the day I find myself again! I want to thank everyone here on Real Self for being so brave and kind in sharing your journeys and pics. If thats not the portrait of strong, courageous women, then I don't know what one is! You have all answered my endless questions and addressed my fears one by one, whether you've known it or not, so thank you! All the tips, tears, trials and revisions I have read about have helped me infinitely. I'm nervous, of course, but in reading each personal adventure I feel more and more confident, and More importantly informed. So, I will try and return the favor.
I'm 61 and I'm having an endoscopic brow lift, SMAS lift and fat grafting under eyes and cheeks. Also a TCA 35% peel under my eyes. I worry most about the fat grafting under the eyes. Will it be lumpy, will there be enough fat grafted, and will it take? Will I have to do this again?! I am confident, this is only anxiety, but hey I'm human. Intellectualizing and feelings are sometimes quite separate. I'll be fine.
I am taking supplements like its my job. Arnica, bromelain, vitamins A, B6, C; Zinc, and Milk Thistle (for the anesthesia) and a fiber vitamin gummy. I will be having surgery in a hospital and spending the night. I would have liked to have forgone the hospital, but my doc does not do extensive surgeries in his office. I've had many oral surgeries under twilight and it was perfectly fine. But this is the way it will be and it will be easier to stay the night, as I am about 40 minutes away. Traffic in this area can be heavy and the drains can be removed before I come home.
I took some pics to send to my PS and he told me to stop taking and pics of myself lol! I am not photogenic at all. I think my personality makes my friends not see my turkey neck, hollowed cheeks and droopy eyes. But when you walk and feel your neck swaying in the wind, it's time! What am I waiting for? 70? Oh hell no! Let's go!
See you on the flip side! Wish me luck!
Tomorrow is the Day!
Have to be at the hospital at 6:00 am, surgery not until 7:30.
How did I prepare?
Bought some awesome soups, I'll make some refried black beans
Fruit Popsicles, no sugar added, the Outshine brand are delicious. Probably won't be hungry for a few days. Anything I need my husband will get for me. Any reason for him to take the motorcycle out!
Tons of ice compresses
Got the old WaterPik out, not flossing will be awful for me.
Some organic chocolate meal replacements with 20 grams protein, for breakfast. Yuck! Just tried it, not happening!
Hoodies and button downs
Aquaphor for the TCA peel under eyes only
Meds for after: Xanax, Percocet, Advil, antiobiotic, probiotic
Arnica 30c pills and arnica cream for bruising. Wish I had known about vitamin K sooner, sounds like a very good bruise banisher (if I don't need the pain meds I won't take them, I hate that feeling. Took a Xanax 2 days ago and still feel like a space cadet!
Vitamin and mineral line up for after: Milk Thistle, C, A, COQ10, B6, D, Bromelain, Probiotic. How am I going to swallow these if I can't eat lol! Oh well, ASAP.
Cute infinity scarves and yoga pants; sunglasses
Stuff for my green smoothies I make in my vitamix, kale, cucumbers, parsley, lemon, coconut water,chia and flax seeds, bananas and/or avocados.
One big, fat comfy Lazy boy parked in front of the big screen and next to the kitchen and not far from the bathroom. (I sound like I'm living my son's Dream lol!)
A bell to call my husband - NOT! I'll just Skype him from my iPad ;) (he works upstairs). I work downstairs. Downtown Abbeyish ;)
I'm sure I have forgotten so many things, but I'll just look it up here, on Real Self!
What a difference a week makes!
Well, 6 days actually. I didn't have the best experience with the anesthesia, but other than that I don't really have any complaints. The pain is minimal, I never took the pain meds. Just the ones in the hospital which I regret. I suffered from nausea and headaches, however the actual procedure was very easy, thanks to my wonderful PS Dr. Schuester.
I used the arnica on the skin, the tabs under the tongue, the peroxide antibiotic ointment on the stitches and took two showers everyday to clean and reapply. All my incisions were done in a very precise way.
I am still very swollen, for sure, but I can tell I will love the result. The hardest thing for me was finding something to eat! I could not really chew much and was trying to avoid salt, so I was drinking kefir, a yogurt drink, eating papaya, chia seed rice pudding, very bland things. I lost about three pounds I was so hungry, but everyday I add more food. I did suffer a small case of gerd from the anesthesia so eating mac and cheese didn't do this body any good. Too fat. Plus I have been leading a mostly vegetarian, dairy free diet beforehand so adding back in the dairy kind of backfired except for the kefir. Should have picked up some protein shakes, because I really didn't want to do much but watch HGTV marathons. Reading didn't go well with my headache from the anesthesia.
Got all stitches out today, Thursday the staples, then I guess it will be two more weeks of laying low to reduce the swelling and the waiting for the under eye TCA peel to slough off, then I'll venture out.
I work at home, so tomorrow I will be doing so major catching up. I'll post the pics as they happened. I didn't take too many, but at least one per day.
So far, so good!
Post Op Update days 7-11
Finally got the staples off my scalp from the browlift Thursday! My headache has definitely gotten much better. My difficulties had mainly been from light sensitivity and headaches which I believe are as a result of the anesthesia, which has all but worn off. In hindsight I would have never taken the pain meds while in the hospital. They did nothing other than exacerbate an already bad reaction to the general anesthesia, and I have not needed to take any of the meds prescribed. The doc told me to wait 6 weeks before putting anything on my head, and 4 weeks before exercising.
In my zeal to clean my hair after the removal of the staples I think I may have tugged to hard on the crusty hair and opened up a wound on my scalp! I promptly emailed the doc a picture and he replied immediately telling me while this is extremely rare there is nothing that can be done at this point and to keep Bactricin ointment on/in it and it will heal on its own in about 1-2 weeks. So bummed, it's like a step back in my mind :(. I keep thinking (and pushing back) ridiculous thoughts as to how this may affect my outcome. It should not change anything except my hair appointment!
I was almost ready to out in public, but with this exposed wound I feel bound to the house for at least another week. :(
The swelling has been slow to dissipate, one side better than the other. My
Right eyebrow is higher than the other one and it's really throwing off how I perceive myself, because right I'm not seeing myself. My left side is more swollen. Patience is obviously not my virtue; I really have to chill. The right brow seems to have a lot of power in its movement while the other one is quiet. The doc says this will all calm down and that he is quite happy with my healing.
I've been taking two showers a day to bask in the warm, moist heat. This feels so good and I feel revived afterward. The hospital gave me a bag of disposable toothbrushes which look like a sponge on a stick. These toothbrushes are the only thing I could get in my mouth for about 7 days. Food would get stuck in places I couldn't feel, or move my tongue to, so these I would recommend. I am able to floss now with a pre threaded floss (I have a bridge). Everyday brings more healing and surprises.
I've tried working at my computer, but it's hard to keep my neck from feeling stretched and fatigued. I can do about an hour at a time time. So glad I have no deadlines and work from home. Returning to work before 3 weeks if I were out in the world would be very difficult for me.
My husband has yet to weigh in about how I look. He was against this rejuvenation so is withholding his opinion other than that he thinks I look like I got hit by a train, which I don't btw! He is doing my grocery shopping and driving me to my appointments but it would be nice to have a little support. At this point I am now able to drive myself, if need be.
My almighty supplement regiment is picking up. I am able to digest more as my stomach repairs from the insults of the Advil thanks to drinking Kefir and taking probiotics. My friend made me some brown rice and chia seed pudding that was very soothing and delish and all I could eat for a few days.
I'll post a couple of pics, but I'm not seeing "me" so much.
First Day Out after 16 days!
Went to the PS yesterday and he was able to stich up the open wound on my head from the browlift staples. Thank goodness, it was awful sitting around with neosporin on my head everyday. He said I can fix my hair now and even use product. This helps me feel normal. YAY! I put some makeup on for the pics today, but that is NOT an everyday occurrence.
I did have a small aha moment this morning. Not everyone will approve of what you decide to do, especially extended family. I can't believe I was so naive to think everyone would be supportive.
One evening I was feeling excited about my progress and had put together a before and after pic and sent it to my brother. Apparently he was shocked, and showed it to one of his daughters who said "I bet she spent 5k on that!" (as if!). He never responded to me about the pic, but mentioned my [folly?] to my mother, who told him, "oh, that was just for the hospital!" Lol! (Serves him right). No way I'm telling my husbands family. My daughter has been very supportive and so have my friends, which is really all that matters to me.
Anyway, Wow. No one likes to be judged, but now I am on alert. I want to own this, share this adventure, not to have to skulk and hide. It's not like I am going to tell everyone I see, but if they ask I am willing to go there. I'm not embarrassed, I'm 61! This decision was not hard for me. I always knew if it was broken, I would fix it, and I dare anyone to admit the wouldn't if they could!
I must say, I'm kinda surprised and disappointed. I suppose I should have donated the money to him to better fund his [follies].
I am they type of person that will talk to anyone,but as I got older I got weird looks for interjecting. Yesterday was my first day out in public, and of course I needed some food. I was looking for some tasty protein powder, and a clerk came up and started to talk to me about the different types then a younger man stood waiting to talk to me to tell me his opinion, then another guy came to give me his point of view. It was so much fun to get all that attention! I am not any different than I ever was, but apparently I am much more interesting Lol!
So ladies, get ready to be noticed again!
I still have a ways to go. My neck is very tight, my head and behind my ears are still sore and I am seeing some wrinkles, but I am kinda glad about that, I don't want to look like I'm 30! I'll take 45 in a heartbeat tho!
Just wanted to touch base with everyone, thank you all so much for all your comments, it feels great to be noticed! :)
Things are not always rosy!
This week I have tried to remain positive and not voice my mental hysterics here until I figured out if my fears were real or not. You learn a lot about yourself when you take on this challenge of changing how you look in this world. You wonder did I go too far, will I fit in, should I just announce it, or be like...wha? Will I be perceived as a vain person? Perhaps by some, but they are just jealous bitches Lol!
I have received so many positive comments from everyone here and believe me, it makes a huge difference in your self speak. Everyone's point of view matters so much, that's why I am doing this.
So, some of my myriad fears this week were: is there a huge dint in my neck? Is there a stitch trying to break through next to my eye? Did I even have stitches by my eye? Am I going to loose hair from the browlift staples? Is my left eyebrow too high (yes) Are my wounds healing properly behind my ears, they feel so thick?!! Is that clerk looking at me weird?
All of these comments run constantly through my mind, so if this happens to you you are not crazy. Just take a deep breath and stop it! There is nothing you can do except calm down and carry on. That's it, unless it's a real issue that needs to be addressed, then by all means call your doc! I have emailed Dr. Schuester a few times with worries, complete with pictures. If I didn't I would have just stewed and it would have escalated. He always answers within 15 minutes. So anyway, I just don't want you to think this is a piece of cake. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions. In my vast experience of almost 3.5 weeks, I can, in hindsight see that everything is going according to plan. Nothing is perfect, and that's ok, we all heal differently. As long as you choose the right doctor and educate yourself before taking this on, you are golden. The saying "Time heals all wounds" holds a completely different meaning to me now, and I have learned this through several sage Real Selfers! Don't compare yourself to others, just glean what you can, support the newbies and be happy you are brave and fortunate enough to take this on!
You guys rock!!
Here is a comparison pic of when I was (I think) 35 and today at 61!
Be who you are and say what you feel....Dr. Seuss
Just a quick update! It been exactly one month today that I under went facial plastic surgery and I am still very happy I did it.
The first few weeks I tried to upbeat and optimistic, but somedays I did get a little blue. Ungraceful aging really changed my personality. I became more withdrawn, more of an old bitty, was losing my voice. Well, I found it now! Besides a overwhelming transformation on a physical level, the change in my attitude is awonderful side benefit!
Stress raised its ugly head in my face. I have come to the conclusion that it's much simpler to live your truth to save your life. YOLO! So, armed and dangerous with my new found self, and quite aware that this is a long game, I finally feel part of society again, not apart from it. Yay me!
By week 4 All areas have improved, although I have a long way to go.
1. The incisions behind my ears are slow to heal, and I think it's going to take up to 9 months before its off my mind.
2. I still have a lot of swelling on my face and neck, the numbness is very slowly fading from the sides of my face.
3. My brow-lift staples/sutures have been my biggest problem. I have always had low blood pressure and blood circulation issues, and the trauma from the surgery, along with the general anesthesia (I was under for about 6 hours) and the re-opening of a 1 inch wound that had to be restitched has caused hair loss, (I have one big bald patch and 2 smaller ones) and with my very short hair it's getting harder and harder to cover them. I may just get a clip on hair piece, but for now I bought a fedora, which is stylish and cute. Wait..I'm hip...lol!
I have had so many people ask about fat transfer. My doctor said basically no matter how well you put it in, everyone's healing rates are different and you simply can't predict it. However, he told me has only had a couple incidences when he had to add more. It takes a skilled doctor with aesthetics you share to perform this procedure. Never go for the overfill option. Fat, once injected is permanent.
The fat cells take about a week to attach, you could actually lose some fat at first and then if viable it can regenerate. So that is why they tell you not to freak out right away, your body is going through amazing transformations. It's a wait and see kind of thing, (layman's terms). I know this is very simplified, but it's how I understood it.
Not much change in my face, I'll put up a couple fedora pics!
Have a great weekend! Looks like a beautiful one for the fall leaves here on the east coast!
I have reached the 6 week mark! Yay! Everything has been pretty good, just a little hyperventilating, but I've got you and a brown paper bag for that!
Met some friends last week for dinner that I confided my surgery too, and of course they were ooing and ahhing...Like good friends would do. So I didn't get a good read as to if I really look that different until...
My neighbor stopped over to borrow some sugar. I see her about every 6 weeks. We've been neighbors for over 25 years. She was all stressed out about something and I could tell she didn't see a change! YAY! The next day she came back to return the sugar and we had a longer conversation, and I am going to go to yoga with her tomorrow. I was really looking at her and saw absolutely no hint that she thought anything about me was different, so I am very pleased about that!
Although I have had more than my share of compliments from RealSelfers! I realized why you all see such extraordinary evolution from pre to post op in my pics! It's because when you look at a two dimensional photograph, you don't see the energy, the essence and animation of the persons soul and I think that makes all the difference in the world. The energy you bring into the world is how you are judged, not necessarily just your looks! It's a package deal!
So, while I think I had an extreme makeover, I do look like me, and my personality has not changed a bit. I'm pretty energetic and try to be positive. But I have my days...;)
So what's up with me? My hair! I'm losing it. I went to my hair dresser and had her cut it tres short, all combed forward to cover the bald spots. She couldn't really put color on my scalp due to the mostly healed incisions, so she just put low lights and a few highlights throughout in foils. It's kind of dark for me. Although it does the job, and there was really no other way to fix it, if the wind blows, I'm gonna go all Donald Trump, and that is not happening!! Plus I don't really like that style on me.
So I went to my local wig shop within the county hospital and got a consult with an amazing wig stylist, Bonnie Grauer, and left with a beautiful clip on hair piece! So excited, no more bad hair days! It real human hair and looks fab and quite comfortable. I can justify the price because I don't have to pay for any more hair processing until I want to, or until my hair grows out, which will be at least a year. (Although I can justify about anything ;)). Just hair cuts. Yay!
So that's about it, my neck is still swollen in places, I keep Aquaphor on my incisions which has really accelerated the healing and prevented the scabbing, the fat is still in place, my eyebrows are becoming even exactly like Dr. Schuester said they would. Believe me I had a few anxiety attacks but I would just breathe and they would pass, because I really am pleased with my outcome!
And the hair, having this hair piece is the icing on the cake. I just got it today, we will see how well I do clipping it on myself, but it should be fine! Tomorrow it goes to yoga. Maybe I should name it. Harry? Lol!
Happy Halloween everyone! My birthday is Sunday so I will officially be 61! My husbands is actually on Halloween he will be 58! Yes, I was a cradle robber :) and proud of it!
Happy New Yearr! 3 months update
Just a short post, just wanted to give you a quick update.
Everything is settling. My ear scars still need attention, I am using some hyper pigmentation cream with retinal by prescription,which is pretty rough because my skin is so sensitive. One side has a small raised portion, but I keep pressing it against the skull bone and I think it helps to flatten it. I may pick up some scar tape from Amazon.
I've gained about 7 pounds so my face is a little rounder, I always gain weight in my face first, but I am back to eating healthily! That's the one thing of the holidays that I don't like!
My hair is starting to grow back, but the spot where I had the open wound looks iffy at best. I really like the hair piece, especially on windy days. My doc says the next three months should be telling. So far he has been right in everything I have questioned or worried about, so I am less anxious than in the beginning.
I am still very happy with everything! I may need some filler tweeks, but will wait a bit. My skin is dryer than it used to be, so I picked up some kiehls products, hope they work. I also have some spider veins and one weird little spot that popped up that I thought was a pimple, but clearasil made it get very angry and red. My doc said its some type of vein thing that can be taken care of with a laser. He gave me a card of someone,but I have yet to research.
I am so busy with trying to pick up all the loose ends from the holidays and embark on some business requirements, so sorry for the boring post. I'll get back to you at the 4 month mark, things should be back to normal then!
I do have a few funny stories about people not thinking I'm remotely close to my age, however, I do think now I look like I'm in my forties, which is fine with me!
Here's a side by side
The first pic was taken before surgery, sept. 15. The second one is Dec. 31 at 3.5 months!
6 1/2 Month Update
10 Apr 2016
7 months post
Finally made it to my almost 7th month review with Dr. Schuester. He addressed all my concerns. I am using a prescription for the hyper pigmentation for my ears for 8 weeks, 2 times a day. The hair loss on the biggest area may have to have hair transplants, which we will address in 8 weeks after addressing this with a hair transplant surgeon. I think I need them in the other areas as well, from a styling perspective.
I have some concerns of hollowness in some areas. I initially thought I would do fillers, but now I am thinking fat grafting, because there is an unlimited supply. He advised I would be very bruised for a few weeks, so I am still mulling it over. Fillers are expensive!
There is a little place under my chin that has extra fat and I don't think we talked about that as far as a solution. I will revisit with him in 8 weeks. I'm afraid as time goes no it will get worse. Right now it's not too noticeable.
All in all I am very happy with my outcome! Thrilled actually. I am not going to Botox my crows feet or the crinkles in my nose, I just want to look like a healthy woman aging nicely.
I think my eyes look a little hollow, but it is how they have always been. So I probably won't do anything there. The doc says my eyes look good. Just some little adjustments and the hair, I have to fix that! I can work around it, but it's a time sucker. I'm not a primper by nature.
Hope this finds everyone doing well! I'll update end of June, when I hear it's supposed to stop snowing!
Hair time Line
10 Apr 2016
7 months post
My hair has grown back quite a bit, thankfully. Right now we are discussing a hair transplant rather than surgical closure of the site, which would take a long time and could possible fail due to the large bald spot. It's basically like a big scar. I am hopeful the transplant will work!