50yo, Starting to Hate the Old Lady in the Mirror - Bangkok, Thailand

I'm so grateful to all the ladies who have shared...

I'm so grateful to all the ladies who have shared their experiences here. It helps so much to see what it's really like from the point of decision through to healing and final results.

So, I want to add to the collective experience, and given I've only told one person about this (a male friend who is supportive but doesn't really understand), I'm hoping for some support as well. I'm still trying to figure out how willing I am to share my photos on the internet. I do know how valuable they are.

Backstory:
I started going to the gym a few years ago after a lifetime of trusting good Dutch genes to take care of me. I'm 5'10 and was always slim (mostly of the skinny-fat just-because variety), and I'm probably stronger and fitter now than I've ever been. But as I got fitter and lost fat, my face started to drop in a way that I hadn't seen before. So then I had the combination of wrinkles, sun-damaged skin texture PLUS jowls and hooded eyes and loss of volume and sagginess: all those signs of aging. Ugh.

So: I've been researching facelifts for some 8 months. I saw two local surgeons on the Gold Coast, one of whom suggested lower face/neck lift and endoscopic brow lift along with fat transfer to cheeks & lips, and laser around the mouth. The other said I didn't need a facelift (yet), but would do well with botox and fillers: I asked him for his recommendations for a facelift anyway. He recommended pretty much the same procedures. Their prices: AUD$30,000 & AUD$35,000 respectively (USD $22,100 & USD $25,800). I'm actually astounded that the prices shown for similar in the US is SO low by comparison!

After those shockingly expensive quotes, I went the interim route.

I had a combination Erbium ablative/CO2 fractional laser in February, which was amazing in improving skin texture, wrinkles (esp around my eyes) and under eye circles (AUD$3600).

Then I went for Botox and cheek fillers, to see what sort of difference that made. The Botox was quite astounding (88 units!) in how it smoothed out lines and made me look much fresher and younger (AUD$888). The Voluma (1ml each cheek) that I thought might lift my face & make it less 'jowly bottom heavy' made hardly any difference: it's most noticeable as (unneeded) chubby cheeks when I smile (AUD$1100). Both are obviously temporary and pricey given they need to be repeated.

So, more research on facelifts.

I was terrified of overseas surgery, but started looking at Thailand for the obvious cost savings. My priority was to find an International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) certified surgeon to be sure they were qualified to international standards.

I found Dr Nond, ISAPS member, and craniofacial (reconstructive) surgery specialist. He operates out of Bumrumgrad and St Louis hospitals, both JCI accredited (i.e. certified to US standards) facilities.

After consultation emails with photos, he recommended lower face/neck lift, lower bleph and endoscopic brow lift also. He does do fat transfer, but we haven't discussed that yet. I don't think he does laser, so that wasn't part of his recommendation. Cost: AUD$13, 500 (about USD$9,900).

By the time I add in flights from Australia, 3 weeks accommodation (I want to go home looking 'normal' so staying a week longer than the recommended 2 weeks), local nursing care and food, I'm thinking it will be about AUD$15,000 (about USD$11,000).

So, I'm booked in for 31 August 2015. Consultation in the morning, surgery in the evening if there are no problems.

I have some days where I look in the mirror and think 'You're crazy, you look AMAZING!' and days where I look in the mirror and think 'Holy hell, who IS that old woman'. The mind is a funny thing. The only way to remove any and all doubt that this is the right thing to do is to sell myself on the idea that my face is decrepit and unacceptable, and I'm not willing to do that. So the little bit of doubt remains.

I'm not telling anyone about it because even well-meaning people can be really judgemental about it. I’m hoping that my 3 weeks away will let me get away with it.

I am also having Dr Nond do an assessment for a possible breast implant revision (20-ish year old implants) on the same trip. If I go ahead with that, I will post about it separately and will happily share those photos.

Phew long.

To tell or not to tell

As I mentioned, I've only told one person about my facelift: a friend who lives in another country. I had to tell *someone*. He's been okay about it (I had to 'convince' him, but he came around to understanding), but he doesn't really get it.

I'm now trying to decide whether to tell my best friend (he's my ex) or not. My decision is really based on the fact that lying (even by omission) makes me feel really guilty and the fact that I'm 99.9% sure he will notice and ask about it when I get back. My results will be relatively subtle, and I can easily avoid or explain it away to other people, but he's super observant (he noticed the cheek fillers, which even *I* can barely see), and he WILL ask about it.

When I see some people at 2-3 weeks, they look great: fine and normal, but of course I'm not actually familiar with their faces and photos only show so much. I'm under no illusion about how I will look at 3 weeks post: Realistically I'm thinking 'presentable to strangers, but not 'normal' to someone who knows me well'.

I expect he will be really shocked in a 'supportive' way ("Why?! You don't NEED a facelift!! You look great!" etc) with a silent side of judgemental "Wow, how vain *are* you anyway?! What a waste of money!", and for anyone who's planning a facelift, I'm sure you know full well that that kind of conversation is not at all supportive and doesn't feel good. It essentially leads to me having to specifically point out my own flaws and convince him how bad they are to 'justify' taking this course of action. Ugh. I'm mentally practising saying "I'm going to tell you this, I need you to be supportive, and I'm not going to justify my decision to you."

As an aside, the disconnect between 'walking around as a confident woman' and 'wanting a facelift' is tricky internally, but there is an external component to that also. Socially, I understand that it's hard for anyone to go from the sweet and sincere 'you look amazing' to 'yeah, I see why you'd want a facelift, good for you'. And people who love you ALWAYS think you look amazing: that's how love works :).

If anyone has any tips on having this conversation, I'd love to hear them.

Before photos

Uploading some photos makes me realise I really should have done a review of the CO2-erbium laser and botox. Both photos taken first thing in the morning, no make-up.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2014 (before I did anything) with the most unflattering lighting ever. On my bad days, this is exactly how I look.

The photo on the right was taken April 2015. I had CO2-erbium laser in February (lots of improvement), then botox (smoothed out a bunch of lines further (helped with 'resting bitch face') but was mostly about minimising dynamic wrinkles) and cheek filler (can't see any difference) in March. The botox was great (has worn off now), but the majority of the improvement is from the laser.

I will try to take some that show more clearly where I'm wanting to see improvements from this facelift (jowls, neck, hooded eyes, general 'droopy face') so that after photos are more useful.

All the stuff

I'm 8 days out from getting on the flight.

I think I've bought pretty much everything I need now, though I keep thinking of MOAR THINGS. Going overseas has the added complication that if you don't have it with you, then it's not going to be so simple to just pop out and get it.

Things I'm taking (note that NONE of these were specifically recommended by my doctor. In particular he doesn't believe the studies support the use of Arnica or Bromelain, but he also said it wouldn't hurt, so I'm taking them just in case (even if there's just a placebo effect, I'm good with it)):
* Arnica tablets 6C (for bruising): start 3 days before
* Arnica cream
* Bromelain 200mg (for swelling): start 3 days before
* Coloxyl & Senna (for constipation): for post if needed
* Sleeping tablets (I have different ones: sleeping on my back will be a challenge): for post if needed
* Panadol: for post if needed
* Vit C 2000mg & Zinc 50mg ( from my reading both promote healing and a lot of surgeons recommend them: I'm taking them now, will stop the day before & restart after)
* Multi vitamin

Other things relevant to the surgery:
* Wedge pillow (I bought this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NGKWKRC)
* Shower cap so I can have proper showers without soaking my incisions
* Cetaphil gentle cleanser
* Manicare face brush (it's super soft & will be gentler for washing my face than my hands or a wash cloth)
* Zip lock bags for ice packs
* Tea towel for icing buffer
* Tops & dresses that button up the front (so I don't have to pull them over my head (also have to have wide shoulders to hide a surgical bra (for if my breast revision goes ahead)). Bought a few cheapies at some OP shops
* Light scarf as a head cover for when I go out
* Sophia Loren sunglasses :)
* Protein powder (I suspect eating protein (or proper food in general!) in the days after will be difficult)
* Nexcare Micropore Gentle Paper Tape (helps reduce scar stretching after the skin has healed. I'm not sure if it will be usable for the facelift incisions (tape on the face is very obvious), but good for BA incision support
* Concealer & foundation (though honestly, does normal makeup EVER really hide anything significant?)

The opportunity to tell my ex has passed: we won't be spending any real time together before I go. So I'll keep my fingers crossed that at 3 weeks post I will look 'normal' enough that he won't ask and I won't feel guilty about lying by omission over it.

Clearer before photos

Vanity is a funny thing. I actively avoiding having photos taken at all, but especially hate any that make me look horrible and here I am trying different poses so I can look awful and go 'See, SEE?! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!"

I'm under no illusions that the eye-covering thing actually makes me unidentifiable btw, but it oddly makes me feel less exposed. Weird.

The 'straight on' photo shows the start of laxness in the jowls and a general 'bottom heaviness' of my face that I'm wanting to nip in the bud.

The side photo shows much more clearly what I'm dealing with (and wow don't I look cranky?) with the loss of definition along the jawline and the loose skin in the neck. I don't YET have that really wrinkly texture or platysma bands in the neck, but when I twist in the mirror a bit: voila, there they both are, so they aren't far off. This shot also shows how hooded my eyes are.

The smiling picture shows this weird 'extra skin' in front of my ears that never used to be there (circled to highlight what I mean): It makes my whole face look bloated. It also shows the under-eye wrinkles that I'm hoping the lower bleph will help with (though the lower bleph is mostly for hollowness).

You can also see how hooded my eyes are and how low my eyebrows are in the smiling shot: especially on the right, my eyebrow almost touches the top of my eyelid. It makes me look permanently scowly.

Oops: the smiling photo

Before/photoshopped-after smile

Because, apparently, I have nothing better to do than obsess over this and because it was easy enough to do a rough mock up in Photoshop: This is a comparison of my smile now vs how I'm hoping it will look after that extra skin is removed. It's not 'woah' obvious, but to me it takes a lot of that heaviness out of the bottom third of my face and looks *significantly* better.

Free floating anxiety

So yesterday (exactly a week pre-op), I had the first bout of freaking out about the surgery. It's now settled to a low level anxiety.

But brains being what they are, I wasn't focussed on the surgery, I was stressed about *other* things:

* I have to get a Father's day present before I go
* My Dad wanting me to stick around in his city for a day or two when I fly back from Bangkok so I can help him out with some stuff when I'm pretty much 100% sure I will just want to hide away on my own to lick my wounds (not literally: ew!)
* Dinner with my ex this week (I'd been relieved we wouldn't really be spending much time together before I left, but he's a sweetheart and wants to make me dinner before I go)
* Details of travel (currency exchange (how much?), worry about forgetting something important, what clothes to bring (comfy for recovery, decent to face the world), travel insurance (yea or nay), endless lists that never seem complete)
* So many schedules and appointments and pills and 'stuff'
* Different information on the surgeon's website vs what he told me... which one which one?!
* Property inspection this week (it's no big deal, really)
* I *need* to wash my car before I go

Free floating anxiety part 2 (no, realself, I wasn't done!)

I have no idea why it only posted HALF of my post (because I'm too verbose, probably :))...

* I *need* to wash my car before I go

Free floating anxiety part 2 again (oh come ON!)

Grrr... okay, I figured out that realself REALLY doesn't like some special characters... live and learn...

* I *need* to wash my car before I go (this is completely bizarre and ridiculous. WTF, me?!)
* If I get breast surgery AS WELL, how am I going to lift my bags|travel for 15 hours|drive|help my Dad|open the garage door|do any of the stuff I will have to do before I can take it easy?
* A vague worry that I will get to my accommodation and they won't have my booking (oh, come ON, brain?!)
* etc.

But really, of course, all that is a smokescreen and I'm anxious about SOME STRANGER IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY CUTTING OPEN MY FACE!

I'm forcing myself to do all my normal stuff, including going to the gym and pilates as usual. I'm also making sure I'm super organised so that there's no *practical* thing to actually get anxious about.

In short: I'm trying really hard to be 'normal', but the anxiety feels like a kind of low level buzzing. It's times like this I wish I did meditation.

Flying out in the morning

Getting on a flight to Bangkok at ungodly o'clock in the morning, arriving on Sunday afternoon.

Then meeting & orientation with the care rep at 7.30am on Monday morning, consultation with Dr Nond at 9am the same day. We'll also decide on the breast revision at that consultation, I'll be happy to know either way and have that settled.

All going well, I'll be at St Louis hospital around 3pm for pre-op stuff, surgery at 5pm. I will stay overnight at the hospital, heading back to my hotel the next day to start the hard slog of recovery.

The nerves have been okay: it would be nice if I'd hit the worst of them already but this seems unlikely, frankly.

Consultation done: into the fray

I met with Loverly, from Healthcare Hands this morning: she's the RN who will be doing my post-op care for the next 4 days. She is indeed lovely and has a quiet calming influence which is great.

She explained the package in more detail, gave me an orientation around the area I'm staying in (so useful!) and I got a lot of useful little titbits that I hadn't thought to ask (lots of bananas and yoghurt in the post-op days: nutritious and soft).

She took me to my consultation with Dr Nond at Chulalongkorn hospital this morning (it's well worth the money to have this kind of help: it took the stress of navigating a strange city in a language you can't read or understand out of the equation).

The consultation went well. Dr Nond is quiet and confident and very patient. He tells it like it is, which I appreciate. He asked what I wanted to achieve, then explained the procedures, the incisions, a bit about technique, and asked my preference in relation to some incisions (behind the tragus please!).

Apparently I have very strong facial expression muscles (especially my smile), which you would think would be a good thing, but it's not. He told me to stop it *laugh*. Apparently, I (over?)flex all these muscles in my expressions that cause my face to show age (e.g. when I smile really big, I make my neck bands stick out, which will hasten their sticking-outedness (technical term) over time etc: you can see it a bit in my photos).

When we got back, I went shopping for supplies for the next week or so (water, bananas, yoghurt, veggies, oranges, eggs, milk...) so that I don't have to worry about it.

In 10 minutes, Loverly will take me to St Louis hospital. Pre-op 'stuff' first (no idea what really), but I'm pretty sure that the 'stuff' is not going to take 3 hours, so I expect there to be a lot of waiting around (which I HATE). I'm hoping they will give me something to relax early on, but I think that's wishful thinking.

On top of all that, we are going ahead with the breast revision (holy hell!). I'll update that review in the next few days. Or not. Depending how I'm feeling.

I'm nervous and stressed (keep finding that I'm inadvertently clenching my jaw), but not actually scared, so I'm considering that a fairly reasonable state of mind.

Day 1 & 2

Back at the hotel now, day 2.

6 hours of surgery, everything went well. I was surprised to be woken up in recovery and to be told it was 1am (went into surgery at 5pm).

Yesterday when I got back to my hospital room and was awake, I felt bad. Really bad: Nauseous and in pain (ears, headache). Threw up three times, kept asking for drugs. Feeling bad made me unable to sleep. It was much worse than I expected ( read a lot of reviews: 'uncomfortable' seemed to be the consensus). The bandage was really tight to curtail bleeding, which I think may have been the cause of the pain as much as any incisions.

So, yeah, really unpleasant. On the upside (?), I looked like a spring onion (green onion :)).

Spent the day in my hospital bed feeling horrible and trying to sleep. Dr Nond came by about 7pm to take the bandage off. The nurses washed my hair before I left, which was great. I got my first look at my face: it's unrecognisable, but I can certainly see big and positive differences (my eyebrows are right off my eyes, my jawline is well defined, the lower third of my face is much less heavy). Obviously super swollen & looks really uneven, but that's to be expected.

St Louis hospital is good: I had a large private room with bathroom, fridge, microwave (just in case I wanted to rustle up a little somethin'?!). The process was streamlines and they were very organised, much less waiting than I expected. Most of the nurses spoke enough English to easily get by and when I pressed the call button they were really quick to respond. I paid for Loverly to provide admission and discharge assistance, and that allowed me to relax and not worry about where I was supposed to be when (eg on discharge I had to pay 50 baht to 'someone somewhere' and I'd have struggled to figure that out on my own, especially since it was 8pm and the admin staff had mostly gone home). I'd recommend having someone knowledgeable with you for this.

I went home with a compression bandage for my face & a separate band for my forehead. Tight, but not super uncomfortable. Took pain and sleeping drugs, not feeling nearly as bad. My ears are still sore from the compression, there's not a lot I can do about that. Nausea is gone. My eyes are exhausted.

I have antibiotics & pain killers from the doctor. I have Bromelain & arnica that I brought myself. Loverly will be coming by for 30 minute checkups and to rinse the incisions for the next 4 days.

Had mashed banana and yoghurt this morning (no chewing!), then coffee. Going to go ice my swollen face now.

Day 3 - not much change

Biding my time, not expecting too much (and not getting much).

The right side is healing faster than the left, most evident in swelling around the eye. On the left the white of my eye is yellow and it's swollen and squishy.

Sleeping poorly, so taking some sleeping tablets and pain killer before bed, then again in the early hours when I wake up. Icing probably not as much as I should.

The cartilage of my ears against the compression bandage is the sorest part, which is annoying since it's really nothing to do with the surgery. My ears are swollen a lot today.

Pictures of the stitching around the ear attached. Tried to take a picture of what's going on behind my ear, but it's impossible. Bruising is surprisingly not bad (yet), I think it's still coming. I'm gently gently putting some arnica cream on my face and neck anyway. My skin is swollen and hard to the point of bursting, mostly numb.

Quite a big clump of hair in the sink this morning. Yeep!

Day 3 - back of ear

Showing incisions behind the ear.

Day 4 - Irritated left eye, all else healing well

Not a lot of change.

I'm scared of my face. I know that sounds weird, but it's like a foreign thing sitting on my body. I'm putting some arnica cream on my cheeks, neck and forehead (i.e. where there are no incisions) when I give my face a rest from the compression bandages and I'm soooo gentle even though it's all numb and I can't feel a thing.

My left eye is much more irritated and swollen than my right. It feels like something is scratching at the eyeball, and the delayed healing on that side implies that I'm not imagining it. Perhaps a tiny scratch or a thread on the inner lid there poking me. Loverly will check it today when she comes by.

I think (touch wood) that I have escaped the really bad bruising I have seen some other people suffer from. This is a surprise to me because I bruise like a delicate little petal from minor bumps and scrapes. I seem to be in the 'yellow bruise' mode already without the very dark bruising all down the sides and neck that usually comes first.

I've been using ice packs first thing in the morning and generally 2 or 3 other times during the day.
Taking Bromelain for swelling and arnica tablets for bruising. Also Vitamin C and Zinc. As a note, none of these were recommended by Dr Nond: he's found that no reliable studies proving that they work, but he said they can't hurt, so even if it's just to make me feel like I'm *doing* something, I'm good with it.

I really want to wash my hair today, but I have to work up the courage to go touching all around my head.

Practising my 'going out' look

I'm not really concerned about going out right now.

I know quite a few people who go o/s for surgery are all uber keen to be doing touristy things while they are here, but I'm mostly just concerned about recovery and what's coming next. I'm not going stir crazy just yet.

Loverly could see nothing in particular wrong with my irritated eye, but she will ask Dr Nond about it just in case there is something I need to be doing.

Probably the first time I will go out will be Monday for the first follow up appointment with my PS (hopefully stitches out) and for re-stocking my little studio for the next recovery phase after the breast revision on Tuesday.

In anticipation, I tested my 'going out' look today: I'm totally ready (I have two face compression garments on under there). I feel a bit like a celebrity trying to go incognito... :).

Nobody will notice my bruisey-frankenstein face :).

Day 5 - some feeling coming back

Not really much of an update, so I'm just going to ramble a bit :).

More feeling is coming back into my face, spreading out from the middle of my face. Still feels really unpleasant to touch. The yellow bruising is worse today: darker, and has spread a bit. My eyebrows are comically uneven (they were uneven before, but today I look like a supervillain arching one eyebrow). Best case: today will be my worst day.

My left eye is a little less swollen, but feels about the same. Feels like an eyelash constantly poking into my eyeball though it comes and goes, so I assume there's not anything actually there. The outer white of my eye still has a yellow gel-like substance covering it (I understand this is chemosis (thanks, Google!) and relatively common after a bleph) . I'm using some anti-allergy eye drops which don't seem to help much. It will apparently resolve over time, but I will ask my PS for steroid eye drops on Monday if it's still the same. The constant irritated feeling is exhausting. I'm going to ask my nurse about fashioning a gauze eye patch to help it rest and recover (also, I can pretend to be a pirate...).

The area behind my ears (around the incision at the top) had some 'raw' spots yesterday. I posted a 'raw skin' picture earlier from one side, but the other side was also a little dodgy yesterday. Nothing serious, but frustratingly, I can't see it or even get a picture of it myself to see how it's going. From my research, this area gets less blood flow, so heals slower but I've seen some ugly results of that area not healing properly (necrosis, scabs etc). I'm not really worried at this stage, but I'm really not liking that I can't keep an eye on it. I feel like the compression bandage doesn't help here since it presses my ear against my head.

I'm still taking sleeping tablets and some paracetamol at night: mostly because I'm a poor sleeper anyway and my lack of activity means I'm having trouble sleeping. The paracetamol is to alleviate the pain from the compression bandage constantly pressing on the cartilage of my ears. Yowtch. This is the only real pain I've had, which seems unfair since it's not directly related to the surgery. I'm hoping my PS will let me stop with the compression garments ('face bra' & forehead strap) after I see him on Monday - day 7.

Things I have learnt:

I'm still eating soft foods (no chewing!), and have discovered that some foods that I think don't really require chewing DO require chewing (like grapes, even when chopped up teeny tiny, they require chewing. Ditto chopped oranges, chopped boiled egg). Eating lots of yoghurt & mashed banana. Managing softly scrambled eggs now. Tried to mash some carrot & broccoli with a fork last night (yum :/). Without the tools of home (my kingdom for a blender!), I'm a lot more restricted in what I can eat.

My jaw is misaligned, my PS said it's because of the way he has tightened the muscles. I have an underbite and he said specifically not to pull at it so as soon as I have to chew and can feel myself realigning my jaw to do it (makes me feel like a snake, unhinging my jaw...), I'm spitting the food out (sorry, gross).

Along the same lines, it's still hard to open my mouth (I stop when I feel resistance). I can slip a teaspoon or a fork or a toothbrush in there, but I still can't really brush my teeth fully. Nor can I do more than a very slight smile right now.

My PS said that because of my strong facial muscles, he has concerns about how long my FL results will last. One of the things he said is that I should train my face muscles to operate at about 70% of what they do now (impossible, surely, after 50 years: my 100 megawatt smile is my smile!). He said this was especially important in the first couple of months while the internal scars are forming in the right way to hold my lifted face in the right position. I'm going to ask him if I it would be possible or beneficial to get some botox to keep the relevant muscles still in the next couple of months of healing.

The half hour post-op visits by the nurse plus the hospital admission & discharge help has been great. I went with Healthcare Hands. They recommend a much more comprehensive 7 day package for post-facelift care, but I took 5 days of their basic package and it's been just about right. Loverly comes to my hotel daily, cleans my incisions with sterile saline, we have a chat, talk about any concerns, the reassurance based on her experience has been helpful to alleviate any worries, and she's done. Her last visit will be today.

For my breast revision, I will only have admission and discharge help so that I don't have to think about it when I am feeling a bit anxious. No post-op care. I will be able to see and reach the incisions, so I'll be fine to take care of them myself.

Planning to go up to the little gym and go for a walk on the treadmill today. Not really feeling like getting dressed and scarved and facing crowds on the hot street (I'm in a very touristy, busy area & it's going to be over 30C out there). I was going to the gym or pilates 5 times a week before this, so while I don't miss it (at all!) because I'm lazy, I know it's no good for me not to be getting any exercise at all. On the upside, I guess, with serious restrictions on what I can eat, there's certainly not a bunch of junk being consumed here.

The one male friend I've told about the facelift is so funny. He's being a gem and really trying to be supportive, but he REALLY doesn't get it. Keeps asking me 'How IS Bangkok? Send pictures!' even though I've been perfectly clear that all I'm doing is sitting in my hotel room, eating mush, and obsessively trying to do the right things for my recovery.

I'm very thankful for the community here :).

I washed my hair!!

So funny when such a seemingly small thing can make such a difference. I am almost human under there! :)

Also, pretty much the entire front of my head is numb and washing my hair was kind of terrifying.

The first hint of 'me'

This is the only shot post-hair washing that actually looks like 'me' (if you know what I mean). The others still look like 'someone else'.

I did a 2 second Photoshop job to take out my black eyes to get a better idea of the end result. Still all swollen, obviously, but I'm pretty damn happy to see myself (younger and fresher!) under there :).

Day 6 - back to reality

After the 'OMG washed my hair!' excitement from looking human again yesterday, my (clean) hair is again all flattened to my head from the compression wraps, and I can feel myself being impatient at the small improvements in bruising and swelling. There ARE improvements though I can only see them when I put photos side by side.

My left eye chemosis feels marginally better and my surgeon confirmed that it's nothing to worry about. He suggested sterile saline drops to try and help it along.

No matter how hard I try, I can't get shots of the irritated skin behind my ears by myself. My nurse took these yesterday. Not overly worrying, but also not as clean as I'd like.

Tomorrow is my follow up, the non-dissolvable stitches will come out (front of ears, lower eyelids, not sure about the brow lift incisions).

Patience.

7 days: Follow up consultation

Stitches out from the front of my ears and my lower eyelids. The stitches behind my ears and above my hairline for the brow lift are dissolveable, so nothing to remove there.

Everything is good :).

My irritated left eye is noticeably better today (got scared by the impending visit to the doctor no doubt, just like that noise in your car that stops as soon as you take it to a mechanic...): he wasn't concerned about it. And he said the area behind my ears that looked raw is just red, and not an actual 'wound' of any sort.

He said he did remove some 2mm of skin from my lower eyelid. Given there are no external stitches there, I have no idea how that magic was performed. He didn't reposition or remove any fat.

I have some big strong ridges of what feels like swollen muscle on both sides of my neck (starting just below and behind my ears): he said there's a bunch of internal stitching in there to lift the neck and reduce the platysma (those vertical neck bands) which weren't too bad, so no under-chin incision needed to deal with those.

I took one of the heavy duty pain killers before I left the hotel just in case taking the stitches out hurt, but there was only a pinch of pain with the ones being pulled out from under the left eyelid (apparently those stitches had tightened up due to the swelling). The rest were fine.

I have to wear the compression bandages full time for another week, then I will wear them for the next two months when I am at home (i.e. doesn't have to be full time). He said botox under the outer third of my eyes would help to make sure the internal scars from the brow lift heal properly, but I can't have that done until a month post op.

This is the first day I actually went out post-op. I felt light headed and dizzy, which I didn't expect. I think it was as much a lack of food as anything related to recovery (hard to eat a decent amount of calories when you can't chew any food).

I went to the supermarket after the consult and stocked up on MORE soft food (ugh) ahead of tomorrow's breast surgery (review here if you're interested: http://www.realself.com/review/bangkok-thailand-breast-implant-revision-sagging-uneven-c-cup-wanting-perkiness). I risked buying some noodles with soft tofu (probably loaded up with salt :(), had some coco pops (let them get mushy), and sucked on some chocolate this afternoon to try and give my body a hit of some decent calories.

Aaannnddd I just realised that I'm going to be in trouble trying to get my compression bandages on after my breast (lifting my arms that high just ain't gonna happen) :/.

How do I feel about it?

The lovely Perth4367 asked a great question:
"How do you feel when you look at yourself now? Are you super excited or trying to come to terms with the new look?"

So far I've really only talked about practical things, and this is such a great question.

It's a funny thing, self perception. I'm happy that I got that bathroom shot of me looking like 'me' because when I look in the mirror every morning, I look quite strange, and not like me. Part of it is the swelling (which I know is MUCH less apparent to strangers), and part of THAT is that it makes my entire head look a different shape (changed from oval to round). I look like a different alien person right now. I can't relate to myself, though I'm sure that to anyone looking at my pictures, the fundamental change I see is not apparent.

I know I will be happy with the result, so I feel... content and relieved rather than super excited about it, like I did the right thing. I did a lot of self talk beforehand, the 'I don't NEED it, I look 'fine', and sometimes I even look amazing' kind of self talk. This was countered by looking in the mirror in the mornings and wondering where that cranky old lady came from.

Right now, I feel like the 'me' that I will eventually see in the mirror will match up with what I think I *should* see, if you know what I mean. Whereas over the last few years I've looked in the mirror and thought 'who IS that old lady and why does she look so unhappy?!' The surgery was to address THAT disconnect (I think most people who have a facelift will know that feeling).

I was in 'pretty good' shape beforehand. That is, I didn't have 'really serious' jowls, or a 'really serious' turkey neck, or 'really serious' wrinkles or 'really serious' anything in particular, and part of not wanting to talk to anyone about it was that I know there was nothing I could point to and say 'but LOOK AT THIS!' and have them understand. I just had an overall general 'aging, sagging, old lady' thing going on. I think the result in the end will be 'I just look better' without being able to point to anything specific and say 'because X has been fixed'.

TL;DR I feel happy that I was right: that I will end up looking more like 'me' thanks to this surgery. I think I will become comfortable with the 'new me' very quickly when I am healed. I expect that I will look in the mirror and see the happy, fresh, young-hearted woman I am in my head rather than some sad old version of that woman.

Bruising suddenly better!

I'm not sure if it's the lighting, but most of the bruising down the sides of my face seems to have resolved overnight (maybe the trauma of my second surgery made my body go 'WTF?! Better take care of this shit right now and start working on the OTHER stuff!').

Front view starting to look more like me with the swelling starting to go down (also losing the super villain eyebrow arch, which is almost a shame :)).

Just a note: some of my Q&A replies deleted

I got a note from the community managers here that I'm not allowed to post external links, which is fair enough. It means that a couple of my responses to questions have been deleted (the questions also, I think, so you probably know if this relates to you).

Please feel free to send me a PM and ask again: I can't remember who asked what, but I'm really happy to share information if it helps you out.

Not much change

Tried to smile today for photos today. Nope, not happening: Too swollen & still numb.

Washed & conditioned my hair. Gentle blow drying. Feel pretty good.

It looks like there is some dark bruising/shadowing just under the skin of my cheeks (can see it in the side shot). Hoping it doesn't come through. Gently putting arnica cream on it.

Teeny tiny scabs on my ear incisions starting to fall off: looking forward to seeing how the scars look underneath. Redness on cartilage of my ear still from face compression bandage (no longer hurts, but still irritates my ear some).

Can see one of the scabs in my hairline from one of the brow lift incisions (there are four of incisions above my hairline, I have not gone out of my way to see where they are or what's going on with them).

Incision scars: wow

Not much to update. Bruises very pale now, swelling seems about the same.

The under-skin shadowing is still there on the sides. It's like bruising, but under the skin. I assume it's normal healing stuff since my dr hasn't said a word about it in my follow ups.

Yesterday was the first day that I ate whatever I wanted, including food with a bunch of salt in it. I suspect my cheeks are holding onto some extra chubbiness today with the sodium loading.

Left eye is still a bit irritated, but clearing. I think he might have overcorrected a tiny bit with the lower bleph (lower eyelid has some slight sagging on that side). I'm hoping it resolves, but if it doesn't, I'm okay with it. It's barely noticeable and it's not like I'm going to point it out to anyone. Well, except you good folk :).

The scabs are starting to come off my ear incisions. I'm 12 days post and I'm seriously amazed that the scars are genuinely almost invisible under there. I don't know how that's even possible, but I'm beyond impressed with Dr Nond's stitch work.

I'll see my surgeon this afternoon for a final check on both surgeries.

Final consult: all good

I met up with my surgeon for a final consult yesterday. He's really pleased with the healing progress, and told me I can stop 24/7 wearing of the compression bandages pretty much immediately (but still wear them when I'm at home for the next 2 months).

I'd gone out in them with a scarf over the top, and went home without them (hair attractively flattened to my head from wearing them :P).

I braved the public transport system here in Bangkok for the first time and took very opportunity to glance at myself in reflective surfaces on the way home like some obsessive narcissist, and I was disappointed (and surprised) to find that I thought I looked 'weird' (my face looked wind-tunnel stretched and roundly swollen).

Of course I'm used to seeing myself in a certain way, and that look has always evolved slowly whereas this is a sudden change. I have no doubt I look 'fine' to strangers but I've gone from thinking 'I'll get away with not telling anyone' to 'no way in hell is anyone I know going to think for one second that I look normal!' I suspect the objective truth is somewhere in between.

It was quite disconcerting because I 100% expected to see myself and react with an 'aw yeah!' level of pleased which is how I feel in the comfort of my little studio here when I look at myself and at the photos. It's a really strange disconnect which I imagine is just a normal part of the process.

I really do think that the salt I consumed has made a big difference to the swelling over the last 2 days, especially around the eyes. I need to cut that shit out if I want to get rid of this swelling before I go home in a week. That means more boring home-cooked blandness while there is fabulous Thai food available everywhere :(.

Dr Nond also warned me that my incision scars will get worse and then better. So right now, they are literally invisible and I thought that was going to be it going forward, but noooo. He said the body will react by making them red and raised over the next few months before they lighten and flatten, and that's just the way it is. Boo. For the best scar healing, he believes only in moistening (to keep them soft, doesn't really matter what you use) and compression (i.e. tape, which you can't really do on the face in any consistent manner).

Numbness:
No big deal and perfectly normal, but just to note it. My face is still numb all around the outer perimeter, which makes it unpleasant to touch (like touching a cadaver, seriously, it's a bit creepy). Ditto my ears, behind my ears, and pretty much the entire 2/3rds of my head going back from the forehead above the hairline (that would be from the brow lift).

I still can't smile and if I try, it looks like a half-grimace. I also still can't open my mouth all the way.

Dr Nond is pretty unhappy with how I move all round (which is pretty funny): I move too quickly and too much and I'm going to RUIN EVERYTHING! (no of course he didn't say that, but I do get the sense that he wishes I could be a kind of calm zen-like person so I don't spoil his hard work). I will try to be careful over the next couple of months, but 50 years of excitable bouncy enthusiasm in all things is not easily stifled :).

He DID confirm (can't remember if I mentioned earlier) that Botox under the outer third of my eyes will help to keep the results of my brow lift in a good position while it heals internally. I can't get that done until a month out (before that, my face is still fluid-filled and the Botox can't be accurately placed).

Two weeks

Doing a daily update anyway :).

Yellow bruising mostly gone, the persistent little bruises under my eyes still hanging about, but they are clearly reducing in size.

I woke up with dark circles under my eyes for the first time and a bit of new puffiness under my right eye (this is not the one that took ages to heal). No idea what that's from. No doubt it will go away.

Incision scabs around my ears continuing to fall off, the scars are looking good, though a tiny bit more visible. I'm putting bio-oil on them to keep them moist, but other than gentle washing when I wash my face, I'm not doing anything else with them.

One of the ladies asked me about the incision care that brought such a good result. My doctor's instructions were super simple: once a day rinse with clean water (here in Bangkok that means bottled water), pat dry. That's it. I had nursing care for 5 days post-op and she took care of it, wiping gently with a sterile saline solution on a cotton bud. That helped because I couldn't see what I was doing back there, plus I was scared to touch anything.

Outing = exhaustion

Went out for real for the first time today. I guess I'm carrying the weight of two pretty major surgeries in the last two weeks, so it shouldn't be too surprising that it was exhausting.

Going out is a bit of a project mainly because the face compression bandages plaster my hair to my head, so I really have to wash my hair before being able to go out. Given I have incisions above my hairline that I'm terrified of disturbing, and about 2/3 of my head is weirdly numb, it's not the relaxing pleasure it was prior to surgery.

My (fine, thin) hair is falling out like a mofo: a heap in the shower, more when combing, more while hair drying, and when I was out I kept finding my hair on my clothes :(. It goes through stages of this, so I wouldn't put it entirely down to the surgery, but I'm sure it hasn't helped.

Caught the monorail to one of the giant air conditioned shopping malls. I don't really like shopping, but wanted somewhere cool to just wander around. Spent some 3 hours there, bought nothing, but had some pad thai, for which I expect to pay the price in terms of salt consumption. Don't care: worth it :).

Planned to go out again for a foot massage just down the road, but it's now 5pm and I think I'm done for the day. I'll see if I get a second wind.

I put on some concealer and some foundation to cover the bruises under my eyes and to even out the 'shadow bruises' on my cheeks. I wasn't self conscious about looking strange, but I also didn't look at myself while out and about so have no further impressions of 'me out in the world'.

And on day 16, she had a revelation...

You know what?

I just (just now in the last few minutes) put some pictures I took of myself today side by side in my journal (I’m religiously documenting these surgeries and recovery and how I’m feeling and etc) and I was about to write a little dissection of how I felt about them to myself, with my normal self critical eye.

And I started and then stopped and took another really hard look and I had a revelation: I LOVE THEM. Even the one with bad plastered-down hair taken first thing this morning. I look at them and I feel happy. I wonder if this moment is common for a lot of folks who get a facelift.

Before this moment. I was too busy going ‘okay those bruises, that swelling, these incisions, that scar’ etc etc to feel much of anything.

I’m kind of shocked by the fact that I’m looking at photos of myself and smiling (on the inside since my actual smile is not working yet :)…) and feeling pretty fucking happy.

In the last ‘forever’, it only ever happened with 1 out of every 100 carefully posed or well lit photos (I know that many of you ladies can relate to this!), and now I have random, carelessly taken, stark face shots sitting in front of me and I LIKE THE ME I SEE IN ALL OF THEM!

I know there is still some way to go to see the final result, but OMG, I’m so happy! :)) Holy hell!

*skip bounce*

I keep thinking of one of my early commenters who very kindly said 'It's not obvious to me what you want to change' and I thought 'I know! There is no 'one thing' that stands out, it's just... all of it together no longer looks like 'me'' which is so very hard to articulate.

In celebration, I am posting side by side before/after photos that are fascinating (and by 'fascinating', I mean 'excruciating') to me. I tried to recreate the same shots as best I could, and I lined up my eyes and mouth in both shots to get a like-for-like comparison (despite this careful lining up, my entire head in the 'after' shots just looks smaller: it's (obviously!) not).

It's quite difficult to pinpoint WHAT has changed exactly, though obviously everything is just 'lifted', but two very concrete things stand out: the completely different look of my eyebrows (they have not been plucked, shaped or altered in any way between the two dates, the difference is only in position) and in the second shot the position of the mole on my neck shows how much the skin has been lifted.

Phew. Revelations are exhausting :).

The project of going out

A proper update soon, but I'm in the process of getting ready to go out. And oh my goodness it's a project at the moment.

Before:
- Put on sunscreen
- Throw on a dress
- Leave the house.

Right now:
- Shower, wash (or at least wet) hair (because the compression bandage = hair plastered to my head. My head is numb & scary, so this is tedious
- Dry hair on low heat (ho hum)
- Put bio oil on ear scars
- Put arnica cream on face bruises
- Put zinc blockout on ear scars
- Pat sunscreen on face *pat pat pat*
- Pat on make up primer (so it doesn't slide off in the heat)
- Pat concealer over bruises under my eyes
- Pat on foundation to even out 'shadow bruising' & other bits
- Rub bio oil on my breasts (see my breast revision review)
- Put arnica cream on breast bruises
- Put on breast revision granny-bra
- Tentatively put on a dress so I don't hurt myself
- Leave the house.

Holy gods! I know it's only temporary, but geez.

Minor changes

The changes are coming slowly now and they tend to be fairly minor, so I'll probably start slowing down my updates.

A general 'what feels like what' roundup for now because even though I look fine, I'm not even close to 'normal' yet:

The bruises under my eyes are now really small, I'm hoping they might be fully gone tomorrow.

As the swelling has gone down, a little ridge has appeared under my right eye (your left). I thought it was just 'puffiness', but I realise now that it's a line of internal stitches (probably, I'm guessing, but it feels kind of hard and it's not going down). It's not sore or red: I assume it will probably hang around there until they dissolve. Not worried about it. There is also still some discolouration coming out from the corners of my eyes. Not quite sure what that is: some kind of bruising I guess.

There is still some 'shadow bruising' that makes my skin in general look unevenly coloured/blotchy from the sides. I don't know what else to call it. It looks like bruising under the skin, so doesn't *quite* look like normal bruising. It's easy enough to cover up and I assume it will clear soon enough.

The perimeter of my face is still numb (pretty much everything above my eyes, and if I drew lines down my face from the outside corners of my eyes, everything behind those lines is numb), which feels unpleasant to touch. It also makes me feel swollen, though the photos show little swelling left.

The entire front 2/3 of my head above the hairline is also still numb. Still feels creepy and I'm scared every time I wash it or give my hair a (really really gentle) comb with a wide tooth comb. Still not sure quite where all the brow lift incisions are (except for the visible one right in my part). Just leaving them all alone.

My temples feel tight in repose, and when I try to move my face, my entire face feels tight. I especially notice a pulling from the corners of my mouth to my ears which is where, I guess, the skin has been pulled tightest. It LOOKS surgery-pulled to me as soon as I try to move my face. I assume it will relax given time,

I can manage a bit of a less scary smile this afternoon (yesterday it looked very strange). It's still not *my* smile, but it looks like *a* smile at least and not just a strange grimace.

As the swelling goes down I am (finally!) seeing evidence of the cheek fillers I had 6 months ago. I guess they were hidden in the general 'rectangular bottom heaviness' of my face before, so now that that has all been tightened, there are some (filler-based) cheeks under there. So that's a nice surprise.

I actually feel like I look well enough now that I really want to do my hair, put on a bit of make up, wear something fabulous (dahling!), and see how it looks :). I didn't bring any of that of course, so it will have to wait.

Scars update

I said I was going to slow down with posting because not much is changing and yet, here I am :).

Dr Nond warned me that my scars would get red and raised even though they were completely invisible when I saw him a few days ago. That's how the body heals, he said, and there's nothing to be done about it.

I wish he was wrong, but he was right.

The completely invisible scars around my ears are now red. Bummer. I thought I was special, but noooo, I'm just human like everyone else. I'm hoping they don't get much worse before they start getting better, but I think that might be wishful thinking.

Also including the side of my face to show this 'shadow bruising' as I'm calling it. Not quite bruising, just a kind of random dark patches (look a bit like veins, actually).

On the upside, I'm sooooo close to the under eye bruising being clear. Didn't quite make it today, but so very close! :)

Long haul trip home sucks!

I already posted on my breast revision review about the trip home. My breast surgery was a much bigger deal than my facelift in practical terms because of having to handle my luggage when I'm not supposed to lift anything and I'm still in pain.

But, let me say that after 24+ hours with no compression plus 13+ hours of flights & travel (I had the 9 hour international long haul flight, plus 1.5 hours immigration and customs, plus transfer airport terminals, plus another hour or so domestic flight, plus 20m taxi, plus over an hour to drive home), the result was (unsurprisingly) extreme exhaustion and facial swelling and (especially) eye irritation (swollen and red). Not pretty.

For the record, I did not put on any makeup for the journey. I felt like I looked normal enough and that no-one would be looking at me closely enough for it to be noticeable. I was right, it was fine. Though I did find myself looking at fellow Bangkok travellers trying to tell if they had had some kind of surgery :).

After 15 hours (!) of compression-bandaged sleep in my own bed (bliss!) I feel almost human again. This is the first night since surgery that I have slept without drugs. I was so exhausted I knew it wouldn't be a problem despite still sleeping on my back and inclined.

I was supposed to stay overnight in Brisbane and pick up my dad and sister from the airport today (that would have been my first time facing anyone), but I was so very tired and cranky and anxious about my sister's scrutiny that I blew them off with an excuse about hurting my back, and I came straight home (about an hours drive away). I won't have to see her for a few months now (she lives overseas), and obviously by then I will be as normal as I will get, so it will be a different scenario.

I'm about to tell my ex that I'm back. He will want to see me asap, drop off my mail, have a chat etc. I will HAVE to tell him: my idea of 'getting away with not telling' was overly optimistic. My face mobility is still restricted and my moving face looks a lot more 'odd' than the photos here show (e.g. I still can't smile in a way that looks anything close to normal, but it's MORE than that and it's hard to describe. 'Not normal' is the best I can say).

Currently trying to decide whether to tell him pre-emptively (i.e. before he comes over so he is prepared) or wait until I open the door and he looks at me weirdly and asks 'wtf?!' The first option feels less stressful.

I want to try and take a photo to show *how* it looks strange when my face is mobile so you can see what I mean because I know it doesn't really show up at all in the photos I've been posting. Perhaps I need to do a short video.

Back home, heading out, 3 weeks post

I finally have access to my hair straightener!

My (fine, thin, still falling out by the handfuls eek!!) hair is still flatly plastered to my head after wearing my compression bandages all night, but at least with the straightener I can get some semblance of 'normal' without the rigmarole of washing and drying it.

Wearing sunscreen (of course!), foundation, no concealer (under eye bruises gone... yay!), a bit of blush, and a slick of nude lipstick. Given I normally go out with just the sunscreen, this is still quite a bit of effort, but I wanted to give myself a bit of a normalcy boost. My face is still a bit swollen from the trip home, but hardly noticeable.

First meeting with someone I know...

Until last night, I had only interacted with people who don't know me. I was not self conscious about my face or the scars or face mobility or swelling: I knew I looked and behaved perfectly normal to them and they wouldn't see a thing.

Anyway, I made up an injured back as an excuse for avoiding my family. Also continued that story for my ex because he’ll wonder why I can’t lift anything, why I’m turning down invitations to do active stuff (Swimming! Kayaking!), and why I’m not going to the gym for the next couple of months.

Sooo I had decided to tell him about the facelift before we met so he had time to mentally prepare for it because I’m not going to fool him for a second. BUT when we talked on the phone, he suggested in the last 2 minutes that he bring my mail over on his way out to somewhere. I really wanted my mail, so I said yes.

A few things to set the scene:

- I had gone out earlier, so I had made myself presentable (see previous post's picture)
- It was already night. I only ever have one light on in the kitchen at night, and we were in the living room, so it wasn’t very bright in my place
- I had already told him about the back injury, so I didn’t have to be chirpy-smiley-normal
- I was lying on the couch for most of our chat, so kind of side-on to him while we talked

He came over, we had a catch-up chat. I was super self conscious and a bit weird-acting, and all he said was that I looked like I was in pain (it’s SO unusual that I’m not smiley-animated that without full face mobility, the impression was either going to be ‘in pain’ or ‘cranky’, so it makes perfect sense).

Then he left. I tried not to freak out when he grabbed my head to give me a forehead kiss (not because he would hurt me, but because the incisions/scabs/stitches/I-don't-even-know-what in my hairline from the brow lift feel pointy).

And then he left.

So in short: I managed to hide it for this short visit. But I know it was circumstance, so I’m still going to have to tell him. I’d prefer to do it BEFORE the next time I see him so he can manage his reaction and I can tell him to be supportive (dammit!) rather than waiting for him to look at me funny and sincerely ask if something happened to my face and have to deal with the shock of telling him the news in the moment.

(Still) kind of stressed about it, which I know is really dumb, but there it is.

___

Recovery update (or 'things nobody tells you'):

- You know when you eat something really sour and you get that 'holy hell!' intensity right at the sides of your jaw? Apparently that's your salivary glands. I get a REALLY intense (painful) version of that with the first bite of pretty much anything. It only happens with that first bite, but each time it's a shocker.

- The 'shadow bruising' is still hanging around: It makes my skin look mottled and uneven.

- The incisions + dissolveable stitches behind my hairline from the brow lift feel like spiky thick scabs. I literally have no idea what's going on in there, but I DID pick a little at the one right in my part because I could see that the hair was holding the scab in place even though it was no longer attached to the skin (sorry, gross, I know). Most of the scab lifted right out.

- There are still some crunchy-feeling scabs right at the top behind my ears which is surprising given how quickly the bit in front of my ears healed.

- Some feeling is very slowly coming back to some areas of the perimeter of my face, but I plucked some eyebrow hairs this morning and didn't feel a thing :).

- I'm still wearing both compression bandages (face + forehead) at night for the next month at least. My surgeon recommended it and I suspect there is really low compliance on this because it's a hassle. But they are not uncomfortable (I cut out ear holes to avoid the only painful part which was compression against my ear cartilage) and I'm determined to be the most annoyingly good-girl patient ever.

- I bought some BioCerneum with SPF 30 which is a silicone gel/ointment supposed to minimise scars, including reducing redness. There are MANY of these on the market (more in the US than here), but this one has good reviews, is FDA approved, and was (allegedly) recommended to Angelina Jolie for her breast scars (yes, yes I AM influenced by this information... :P). It will take about 10 days to get here since I had to order it from the US.

For the record, my surgeon doesn't believe in silicone gel or sheets for scar management, he just recommended (any) moisturiser (I'm currently using bio-oil) to keep the scar soft. The silicone gel ALSO moisturises, so I'm good with it.

- I slept without an incline + no sleeping drugs for the first time last night. Went to bed past midnight, woke up at 4.30am, dozed a bit after that but it pretty much sucked :(.

- Still not sure how to capture 'how I'm not really looking normal' so you can see it. I do know that I look pretty damn normal in my photos :).

Obligatory update pictures attached (going to have to go all out with some make up when I can work up the energy for it!) :).

On telling (oh, the drama! :P)

I went over to my ex's place and told him in person today. This is the first time he's seen me in full daylight and walking around being normal.

Even as I arrived and when we were chit chatting before I told him, he was looking at me funny so I know I made the right decision: it would have been really stressful to deal with him looking at me like that all the time, waiting for him to say something.

It was SUCH a relief to get it off my chest, and he was really good about it. He had already noticed my flat hair (thanks compression garments!) and my constrained expressions, but hadn't quite put it together. He asked a lot of questions without a hint of judgement (I had pre-emptively warned him off it by saying it was a big deal to tell him and he was one of only two people I was going to tell, so being judgemental after that would have made him an arsehole, which he's not :)). Oddly, while I was talking to him, I had to check myself so that I didn't sound defensive.

He asked if I was happy with it (I said yes, though I'm still getting used to it) and he expressed NO opinion about how it looked (and I didn't ask him what he thought). I know he really doesn't get 'why', but he had the sense not to go there.

So phew. After all the mind space this has been taking up, it's a huge weight off my shoulders.

In celebration (or something), I put on some makeup and took some new photos (because this whole process makes me into a narcissistic self obsessed picture-taker :)).

It's interesting because before/after pictures don't really tell the truth unless it's like for like, and it's pretty hard to get the lighting, pose, angle exactly the same each time. I tried to do that for my update photos to do that so you could see the truth of it.

But it's EASY to do a grim 'before' shot with terrible unflattering lighting vs a made-up slightly overlit 'after' that makes you go 'woah!'. I'm always wary when PS' do that on their sites: it's a kind of false advertising.

But oh look, I JUST DID THAT! Really grim photo of me in Oct 2014 vs with make up today :)).

To clarify: I also had CO2 ablative/Erbium fractional combo laser and cheek fillers in Feb AFTER that 'before' shot.

I sent that before/after to my ex just now to show him what I know he couldn't see (because he loves me and thinks I was perfectly fine just the way I was :)).

Got a smile back :)

Not quite my full smile yet, but I think it looks pretty convincing :).

Smiling feels strained (and strange) because the movement pushes up against all that numb hardness in my cheeks.

Nothing much has changed. I think this is the stage where any improvements/settling go really slowly and aren't really visible (numbness going away, internal stitches dissolving, mottled skin getting more even etc).

My ear scars have not (yet) gone red as I was expecting, so yay :). Waiting for the BioCerneum to arrive so I can start using it. In the meantime, I'm just putting bio-oil on the scars to keep them moisturised & soft.

My neck has 'dropped' a little bit, the angle isn't as sharp as it was at 2 weeks. There's no loose skin there, and I don't think I ever had a very 'sharp' neckline even in my youth, so I think it's settling back into a more natural line.

I've not been doing my usual skin care routine and I've missed it: I've been putting bio-oil and arnica on it instead of Retin A, Vit C, glycolic acid. When I send a 1 month update to Dr Nond next week I'll check that I'm okay to go back to it.

How old?

There's a website that will guess your age from your photo (google 'how old do I look').

If you've had a facelift, oh my it's fun to see how old it thinks you are before and after :P. It's wildly inaccurate (and will sometimes give different ages for the same photo), but I DON'T EVEN CARE!

Why yes, yes I DO have way too much time on my hands...

(note that in all of my before shots, IT THINKS I'M A MAN! I don't know how I feel about that *adjusts crotch*... :))

1 month check-in with my surgeon

I'm really happy with the progress and I'm not super worried about anything, but I did have quite a few questions, so other than letting him know that everything was going well and forwarding photos, I sent him the following questions:

1. The incisions above my hairline from the brow lift feel hard and pointy. I have no idea if those are scabs or stitches or what they are because I can’t see them. Can I just leave them alone to do whatever they need to do (they are not itchy or sore, they just feel like they are hard and rough)?

2. There is a raised area that runs under my right eye (like a worm shape). It is not red or sore. I thought it was just swelling, but it’s quite firm and has been there since the swelling went down (over 2.5 weeks) without much change. I assume this is a line of internal stitches? Is there anything I can do to make it less puffy?

3. The area at the outside corners of both of my eyes is still discoloured a kind of brown colour. I’m not sure what it is, but it doesn’t seem to be bruising: Is that normal? Can I do anything to help it resolve?

4. My neckline has started to ‘drop’ some compared to where it was sitting 2 weeks post, so the line from the chin to the neck isn’t as defined. Will wearing my face compression bandage MORE help prevent it from dropping further?

5. I have some bruising under the skin in various places. It’s not like ‘normal’ bruising: it never quite seems to come to the surface, just sits under the skin as slight dark patches that make my skin look mottled. Can I do anything about this or do I just need to be patient?

6. A very small section of the incision (stitches?) directly above both ears still look like very dark, rough scabs a month on. I assume I can just leave them alone and they will sort themselves out?

7. I have a small bald patch above my left ear incision. I know that’s not uncommon after surgery, so I don’t really have a question about it. I just wanted to let you know early in case it started getting worse and I need some advice about it.

8. Can I restart my normal skin care regime (Vit C serum, 10% glycolic acid, Retin A)?

Phew. I expect mostly that I can't do anything about any of it and I just have to be patient.

***

Little nerve spikes have started (I've not had them before now), especially around my eyes and temples. They feel like a pinpoint electric shock under the skin. I assume that will happen more over the next few weeks. They aren't strong enough to be painful.

Jessica.R asked me on my previous post "did u always have this beautiful features or did Dr.Nond give you some during the procedure ?"

Interesting question (and thank you for the compliment :)), so I went and looked for old photos to try and answer it. I flicked through a bunch and found ONE picture that looks almost exactly like a younger version of my post-surgery face. The others, frankly, do not (or I can't see it).

The other thing I did find were a few photos showing that I NEVER had a very well defined neckline, so the way my neck is settling is 'back to normal' vs 'the lift is dropping' which is rather reassuring.

So, the pictures are a trip down memory lane :)

Responses to 1 month questions

I keep thinking that I might be seeing my best results now and as my face settles I will see some of the sagging and laxity come back. I'm trying not to dwell on it, but I'm quite aware of reading about that in people's reviews and ALSO I notice that a lot of people update for a month or so with all the super happiness and then disappear, so we never see their long term results.

My surgeon said that he always over-corrects to try and account for this post-surgery settling, but obviously it's difficult for him to know how my skin and muscles will respond (compared to someone else). It makes sense and it's not an exact science and everyone is different (etc etc), so relying on my surgeon to make that judgement is a much bigger deal than I realised.

And I think all of the above is a bit of self-bolstering talk to say "You've become complacent already when you KNOW you are still healing internally: CUT THAT SHIT OUT!"

Having said all that, I don't think I'm changing much at all at the moment (phew :)). Update photo showing 'oh look, here I am doing things out in the world looking much the same' attached because I know how much photos help in these reviews :).

So, to the Q&A (I sent him photos of all the things, which he refers to below):

1. The incisions above my hairline from the brow lift feel hard and pointy. I have no idea if those are scabs or stitches or what they are because I can’t see them. Can I just leave them alone to do whatever they need to do (they are not itchy or sore, they just feel like they are hard and rough)?

I prefer you to leave it like that. There are resorbable stitches which might trap the scab. I see no sign of inflammation. So this should be ok.

2. There is a raised area that runs under my right eye (like a worm shape). It is not red or sore. I thought it was just swelling, but it’s quite firm and has been there since the swelling went down (over 2.5 weeks) without much change. I assume this is a line of internal stitches? Is there anything I can do to make it less puffy?

That is your own muscle (orbicularis oculi muscle). Let’s wait and see. Firstly internal scarring makes that area thicker. Secondly I did muscle tightening below that area. They make the muscle band become more obvious.

[Yeep! Okay that was unexpected. Aesthetically this was my biggest concern. It's pretty minor in the scheme of things: it looks like natural puffiness and can be hidden some with makeup, but if it doesn't go away, I will be disappointed so fingers crossed. Included a photo to show you]

3. The area at the outside corners of both of my eyes is still discoloured a kind of brown colour. I’m not sure what it is, but it doesn’t seem to be bruising: Is that normal? Can I do anything to help it resolve?

Brown or dark color is routine in wound healing. With scar maturation over the next 6-12 months, the color will spontaneously get better.

[You can see a hint of this in the close up, but it looks more obvious in real life]

4. My neckline has started to ‘drop’ some compared to where it was sitting 2 weeks post, so the line from the chin to the neck isn’t as defined. Will wearing my face compression bandage MORE help prevent it from dropping further?

The skin/muscle elasticity is something out of our control. This is why overcorrection is always necessary. We pull it tight, but it can stretch further. And this is why you should not do any activity/exercise that turns the head a lot. Compression garment is helpful only for 2 months from the surgery. And it is more useful during the daytime when there is gravity effect and head movement.

[So I'm going to start wearing the compression garments during the day for the next month to try and keep everything in place while it heals (my PS HAD said to wear them 'while at home' for 2 months, but since I got back from Bangkok I was only wearing them at night even though I work from home :/)]

5. I have some bruising under the skin in various places. It’s not like ‘normal’ bruising: it never quite seems to come to the surface, just sits under the skin as slight dark patches that make my skin look mottled. Can I do anything about this or do I just need to be patient?

In thin and white skin like yours, discoloration is very common. You cannot do anything except for makeup, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

[I Googled this and it does seem relatively common. Since it's 'fresh', it might still be 'just bruising' and will clear (I'm hoping for this. The faint 'shadow bruise' that I see most easily on the apple of my left cheek seems to be slowly going yellow under the skin), or it might be 'hemosiderin staining' which should also clear but will take ages]

6. A very small section of the incision (stitches?) directly above both ears still look like very dark, rough scabs a month on. I assume I can just leave them alone and they will sort themselves out?

The stitch is resorbable. I cannot see it well from the photo. If it is white or yellow, it is resorbable. I always put a retention, resorbable stitch above the ear to hold the tension for the incision in front of the ear.

7. I have a small bald patch above my left ear incision. I know that’s not uncommon after surgery, so I don’t really have a question about it. I just wanted to let you know early in case it started getting worse and I need some advice about it.

Your photos do not show it. I guess it is the hair shock as a response to surgical dissection. If so, using 5-10% minoxidil solution to the area (twice a day) will be helpful.

[I'm a bit scared to use this. I did a bit of research on it because I've been losing my hair at an alarming rate over the last 6-12 months, and the possible side effects aren't great. Plus you actually shed MORE hair before it starts growing back which scares me stupid, but if the little spot (only about a pinkie-nail size) is already bald, obviously that's irrelevant]

8. Can I restart my normal skin care regime (Vit C serum, 10% glycolic acid, Retin A)?

Yes, you can start them. Only moisturizer can be put on the scar.

Reality bites: scars & hair

My scars are looking worse. My surgeon warned me this would happen, and I know it's healthy and a normal part of healing, but I'm still hating it.

So this stage of the healing is internal and apparently "new collagen continues to form and blood supply increases, causing the scar to become raised, lumpy and red" :(.

But but... I DON'T WANNA!!

*sigh*

So this is how my scars look today (5 weeks post). They aren't bad at all from a 'had surgery not long ago' perspective, but they are certainly standing out more now than a couple of weeks ago. Boo.

I have BioCerneum now which is a silicon gel + keeps moisture in + has sunscreen. You are supposed to apply a thin layer twice a day and it dries over the scars and you can apply more sunscreen, makeup etc over it. It's quite tricky to apply because I can't SEE behind my ears to place it correctly, but I'm doing my best with it.

I'm wearing the compression bandages pretty much all the time now except for a few short breaks. I'm getting more nerve-sparks, especially around my eyes and in the forehead and temples. I'm still numb, but LESS numb than before. I'm being super gentle with my skin just in case it slides off my face :P.

I'm starting some hair loss treatments (minoxidil and Nizoral shampoo) to combat general shedding as well as the little bald spot. Just to note: I had general hair loss issues for ages before this surgery. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't worry about the surgery-shock shedding and the tiny bald batch and I'd just wait for it all to come good. BUT since I've been worried about hair loss for a while, I'm attacking this aggressively.

Visually nothing has changed with my face (obligatory morning face pic attached (I take the photos first thing after washing my face, so they include weird lines & creases from the compression garments :))). I'm starting to see my face 'settle down' which means there is a bit of laxity returning and I expect some of my forehead wrinkles to come back in the not too distant future. I'm hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst :).

I've restarted my normal skin care routine (Vit C serum, 10% glycolic acid, retin A 0.1%), but I was using a Clarisonic face brush and I'm certainly not doing that. I'm still using a really gentle Manicare face brush and Cetaphil to wash my face.

Bleeding and irritation :(

This morning I was patting the incisions behind my right ear dry after washing and found a small spot of blood (yikes!), and the tragus of my right ear is also irritated.

There is a dark spot of unhappy incision behind my ear where the bleeding came from. I thought that the spot might have been in a spot that I didn't see previously, so I didn't know that it wasn't healing properly, but when I compare photos, it seems it has routinely been in my scar photos, and it was FINE yesterday and is NOT fine today :(.

It's tiny but of course the worrier in my head sees the horrible pictures of people's wounds opening up weeks after surgery and getting infected, so it feels scary even though I *know* that's ridiculous (my sensible inner voice is going "Oh FFS, stop being an idiot, it's nothing! Geez!").

I've changed nothing in my care routine except for the BioCerneum which I've only used for 2 days.

I sent a note to Dr Nond asking if I need to do anything about either the bleeding spot or the tragus irritation (topical antiseptic to prevent infection being my first thought), and obviously I'm stopping use of the BioCerneum.

Looking better + my first random compliment :)

Both the tragus irritation and the spot behind my ear look better today, so phew. I couldn't get another in-focus shot of them to post, but there's not much to see.

Yesterday I bought a straw trilby-style hat because 'popping out' has become a pain due to my compression-bandage-plastered-down hair (I DO have a sun hat and caps, but if I'm popping out to the shops or in the evening that doesn't quite work).

So I was wearing the hat, feeling a bit like a (self conscious) pretentious wanker in it if I'm honest. I stopped for petrol and a cute man maybe 10 years younger than me literally stopped what he was doing to look at me ( you know: to *look* at me). I was all 'What're YOU lookin' at?!' De Niro in my head. He gave me big smile, "Love the hat, babe!"

Not a big fan of the 'babe' thing, but I DON'T CARE! I nearly fell over. I seriously cannot recall the last time some (non-drunk :)) stranger did that double-take thing at me and gave me a random compliment.

Made my day :).

(I took this photo when I got home: I'd gone to NO trouble before going out, no make up, no covering scars, did nothing to my hair (well, other than cover it with my hat), was just wearing jeans :))

My skin care regime

This is not surgery related, but someone asked me about my skin care regime privately and I went on (and on and on) about it, so I thought I'd share it here also in case it's useful to anyone.

Firstly I'd say that I don't have great skin of the super-smooth peachy kind: the photos I've shared have mostly not been close-up enough to see my skin clearly. I have large pores (especially on my cheeks), my skin tends to get oily-shiny, and it leans towards redness (especially my nose, which is embarrassing in a 'no, I'm really NOT an alcoholic' kind of way).

Having said all that, I changed from 'eh whatever' into some rabid skincare freak post-laser because I wanted to look after my new skin :). I did an extraordinary amount of research: if it wasn't widely recommended by dermatologists with no commercial interests, and/or had no supporting clinical results, I wasn't interested. Then I researched what combination and order to apply them in and then looked for the cheapest (did I mention rabid?! :)).

1. Sunscreen every time I go out. The dermatologist who did my laser work had a go at me for walking from my car into the clinic without a hat when I tried to claim that I was being really good about avoiding the sun. He brought it home that if you are 'just walking around' for 15 minutes a day in the sun, that's nearly 2 hours of sun exposure in a week (you'd never sit in the sun for that long without sunscreen). The best I've found (non greasy, non sticky which is my main thing with sunscreen) is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face 50+. Works on it's own or under makeup etc.

Skin care routine In order of application:
1. Wash with Cetaphil morning and night + Clarisonic face brush only at night. Cetaphil is super gentle, the Clarisonic essentially vibrates the dirt & crap out of your skin. The Clarisonic is expensive, I'm not sure it's worth the investment. I actually tried a $14 Manicare face brush (really soft) before committing to the Clarisonic and holy shock, my skin felt AMAZING after using that. It was so weird because why?! I made my sister try the Manicare brush and she had the same 'holy what?!' reaction to how it made her skin feel. Super strange. I'm using that brush again now post-surgery because it's really gentle.

2. Vit C serum morning and night (anti oxidant, helps protect against sun damage, helps build collagen). There is a VERY specific formula that has been clinically tested (most beauty brand's Vit C serums are rubbish). The cheapest 'real' one I've found (even with postage to Aus) is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. It degrades with light, so I keep it in the box in the fridge and put a small amount in an amber bottle with a dropper (which I also keep in the fridge) for daily use.

3. Glycolic Acid 10% morning and night (exfoliant, smooths, evens out colour). Sounds scary, but it's very light (doesn't burn or peel or do anything that you can see). There are loads around, so I shopped around for price, and ended up with Paula's Choice Resist Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA (active ingredients the same as the one for face, but heaps cheaper).

4. Retin A (tretinoin) applied only at night (a form of Vit A that is proven to reduce wrinkles). This is the gold standard in anti wrinkle skin care. Again, the beauty brands that claim to include it are rubbish. The real deal is prescription-only in Australia, costs about $40 I think, but you can get it online. Comes in different strengths. I use the 0.1% gel, but that's quite strong and can cause irritation (and actually stronger is not really proven to work better). Also comes in .05% and .025% strengths. My last online supplier no longer exists (boo), but you can get it from alldaychemist.

5. Moisturiser (just because). I'm a bit hit & miss about moisturiser after all of the above (which I think of as the 'real' skin care), but I have quite oily skin, so often don't feel like I need it really. I have Oil of Olay Total Effects (been using it for ages for no particular reason), some Oil of Olay Regenerist serum (feels silky, not sure what it does exactly), Clean & Clear (really light cheap non greasy one). I randomly pick which one to use.

2 & 4 make your skin sun-sensitive so the sunscreen becomes even MORE important.

It sounds like a lot (mostly because I'm so verbose :P), but once it's routine it probably takes less than 5 minutes.

I hope someone finds it useful.

___

Surgery-related: It's really (really!) frustrating to not to be able to easily see what's going on behind my ears. I took about a gazillion photos to get these results. They show that the bit that bled is going okay, they show my thinning grey hair (oh yay! :)), and they show how starkly outstanding my scars are becoming.

I KNOW this is normal (the scars going from practically invisible at 2 weeks to red & noticeable at 6 weeks), but how come no-one talks about this? Or DO they talk about it and I've just missed it? It's quite disheartening :(.

I also know that they will get better again and hopefully how they looked in the early days was a preview of the end result, but right now they look like Frankenstein's monster scars (I also know that I am exaggerating the impact of this, especially since the problem is BEHIND my ears and easily covered with my hair (I'm touching all the wood that the front-of-ear scars are not going to get worse (they are more prominent than a few weeks ago, but nothing like the ones behind my ears)).

It will be fine (self talk: I do know it's true), it just feels like going backwards is all. It's probably just as well it's a complete pain to try and see them: once I'm confident everything is back on track, I will just ignore them and they'll go away :).

Having whined about all that: LOOK AT THE (INVISIBLE) SCARS DIRECTLY IN MY EAR CREASE! Phew. That's some amazing work :).

In general my face is 'settling' some, so my skin is relaxing a bit more. I'm seeing the bits that looked stretched to me before (in particular the area between my mouth and ears) looking more normal, and the bits that looked normal to me before looking a bit more lax (esp around the eyes and mouth).

The scars above my hairline from the brow lift are still crusty-pointy. Occasionally a scab will lift off, but in general I think my hair is holding even the ones that are ready to come off in place. I'm not fucking about with them at all. Well, except I snipped off a really long dissolvable(!) suture that was sticking out of the one right at the front :).

Some parts of my face are a bit sensitive to touch ('sore' sounds a little too strong for it). Eg the outer corners of my eyes, parts of my forehead, under my jaw. Numbness is persisting, but the area is very slowly reducing.

All in all, going well.

6 weeks post

I know RS says 2 months post, but it increments in month-units (i.e. it will show 1 month and 1 day as '2 months'). That being as it may, this is more of an update on mindset.

I've been really lucky with my healing (touch wood) with no real issues (the nausea and vomiting on my first day post-op is already forgotten :)). I healed evenly and on schedule, I had no lumpy weirdness, my incisions have been clear and pretty well behaved, my bruising and swelling improvement was pretty linear.

All the things I have talked (complained?) about in my review have been REALLY minor. I talk about them because I think it's important to see it, but even more importantly to see how they occupy my mind.

Now at 6 weeks post, with healing going great (seriously I literally touch ALL THE WOOD whenever I say things like this), I have the luxury of worry: I have a low level anxiety about how my face will 'settle' over the coming couple of months.

I've come to understand that there is a 'sweet spot' in healing where you look amazing, where you are healed enough to no longer have bruises, where the residual swelling gives you facial volume and smooths out wrinkles, where the numbness acts a bit like Botox. And from there, you go backwards, and 'how far backwards' is a bit of a crap shoot (well, not really: a bunch of factors including, but not limited to, the skill of your surgeon contribute: skin elasticity, muscle tone, bone structure, fat volume etc etc).

As the swelling really subsides, you may find lumpiness underneath, unevenness, incisions may suddenly bleed, get irritated, open, you get some new random bruises, a few wrinkles start to reappear, itchiness, some hair falls out. So, a new round of worries.

And then, as you come to terms with that, it starts to improve and you stop worrying about the healing part, you have the luxury of mindspace to worry about how your face will 'settle'

So at 6 weeks, my headspace is now taken up with a low level worry about how much my face will 'drop' and how much of the goodness I will lose in the next couple of months. And there's really no way to know. And being worried (scared/terrified) about it doesn't help AT ALL. But it's still there.

My neck has dropped some over the last few weeks (see pics). It's really no big deal and I'm not actually concerned about my neck (I posted a photo of me at 25 that shows that my neck was never well defined), but I'm scared about what my neck dropping means for the rest of my face.

Someone left a comment saying that a PS they consulted said most patients need a tweak after a facelift, at 6 months or so, and I thought 'what?! I've NEVER heard that! Surely that means the PS did a crap job?!', but I do wonder if it's true, and is just one of those things that no-one talks about. I really hope not.

And on the (rare) occasions that I see on RS where someone really isn't happy with their result, they pretty much ALWAYS seem delighted at first, and then... not.

So while I'm not all Chicken Little "The sky is falling!!" about it (despite all my 'blah blah blah' above), I AM sharing it because it's there taking up wayyyyy too much mental space.

I'm closely examining my face every morning and noting small changes (really trying not to be obsessive!) and working hard to be realistic. I know that most of the internal healing is done by 2 months (2 weeks to go), but I also know that that doesn't at all mean that I'm seeing the end result.

So far I've noticed that there are some forehead lines coming back as I get more mobility up there, and my jawline is softening as the muscles underneath relax. Nothing that anyone else would see, but things that I'm make a mental note of so that I can adjust my expectations accordingly.

In the meantime, as well as the neck progression shots, I'm also sharing a very ordinary update picture because despite all of that 'first world problem' whining up there, it's still a really big (fucking huge!) deal to me that I can just take a random 'no make up, no effort, fuck the lighting, who cares about the angle, bad hair' picture and still look at it and go 'yup, I'm good with that' :). I KNOW you all know what I mean! (side note: my (grey) roots desperately need to be coloured, but I'm too scared to go and get it done until all of my brow lift scabs are completely gone :/).

Visiting my dad...

Going up to visit my dad today. He will only be the second person who is close to me who will see my post-surgery face.

I 100% guarantee that he won't notice a thing.

Will be interesting to see if I'm right :).

7 weeks post-op

If you don't want to read all the small stuff, my overall update is that my healing is going fine and pretty much as expected. I'm very happy about it (touch wood). All the stuff below is the nitty gritty detail beyond 'everything is going fine' :).

I wanted to show the amazing progress of my scars since I whined about them getting redder earlier in the month, but when I put photos side by side, I really don't see much change. I'm sure there IS some, but it's so damn slow :(! So here are some 'I can't see any change, boo :(' photos. I'm using Biocerneum on them twice a day, I've no idea if it helps.

In doing those shots, I did manage to take a photo of some freakish indent behind my right earlobe that wasn't there before and which I am going to studiously ignore. No pic: I'm busy wishing it away.

I started 5% minoxidil twice a day + nizoral shampoo twice a week to try and arrest the hair loss. To be clear (if anyone is worried), some general hair loss and sometimes bald patches are not uncommon due to surgery shock and for most people it's temporary and you don't have to do anything about it. It will grow back over the next few months.

I'm taking action ONLY because I had thinning hair for ages before surgery, so previous loss + post-surgery loss = being scared it's going to continue until my scalp is visible and being terrified that it won't grow back. The only reason I didn't try minoxidil BEFORE surgery was because you shed in the beginning stages of use and I couldn't bear to face that. After this surgery, I was already shedding so much I figured it surely couldn't get worse.

So far so good. Posted pictures of post-shower hair from the drain 29 Sep (4 weeks post) vs yesterday (7 weeks post) which obviously doesn't include the loss from brushing/walking-around/breathing. I haven't (yet!) had the extra shedding that is a 'feature' of the start of minoxidil use, hoping my hair sacrifices so far will have been enough. Aw yeah, I'm all over the sexy pictures with this update :P. HERE'S MY DRAIN HAIR, YOU'RE WELCOME!

I'm still wearing my face and forehead garments full time. Not long to go now (2 months... ugh nearly there :(). Starting to wonder if sleeping without them is going to make it feel like my face is going to fall off. REALLY looking forward to my default hairstyle being something other than 'flat and plastered to my head'.

Numbness is fading as expected: the most numbness is on the top of my head. Some parts of my face are still sensitive when I touch them (my eyebrows, my forehead, parts of my ears, and I still can't put my ipod earphones in or hold my phone to my ear for more than a few minutes).

The muscular bulge under my right eye isn't going away. I've read up on it and some botox might help but I'm not doing anything for at least another month (again, this raises a complication of not having a local PS: if he was local, he could just do small things like this for me :/).

I still have scabs above my hairline from the brow lift incisions. I occasionally pull out some bits that are clearly loose and only being held there by my hair. The hair always comes out with them :/. I'm DYING to get my regrowth covered, but I'm not game to do it until they are completely cleared up (pretty sure whatever my hairdresser uses is full of harsh badness :/).

I thought swelling had all gone down but I wore a shower cap to bed the other night (shut up! I was figuring out how to deal with the minoxidil :(!), and the indent on my forehead from the elastic edge lasted ALL DAY. That's not a normal skin reaction, so I'm guessing there is still some swelling there.

I haven't noticed any further dropping yet. Someone kindly explained in my inbox that once the internal scars heal (about 3 months), they are firm and hold everything in place. Then over time (5-8 months) they will soften and as they relax, there might be some change. This makes sense to me given they say you don't see your full results until a year has gone by. So any settling this early is really only going to be from swelling going down and the internal stitches dissolving without the scars being fully formed. I'm doing the best I can to look after his work, so all I can do after this 2 months of specific care is hope for the best.

I really want to put some make up on and take a fabulous (dahling!) 'after' shot like all the cool kids do, but I really can't be bothered (I'm not a makeup wearer, so it's a bit of a project to do it). Maybe at 2 months I will :). In the meantime, I've included a(nother) standard morning shot: Same same (as an observation, my 'resting bitch face' is now less 'bitch face' and more 'eh whatever face', so yay :)) :).

Under eye worm :)

gabi100 asked me about the lumpy bit under my right eye (I feel like I should name it: maybe Eric the under eye worm...).

For anyone who missed it, it's "orbicularis oculi muscle hypertrophy": a bulging eye muscle. My surgeon said this about it at my 1 month update:
"Firstly internal scarring makes that area thicker. Secondly I did muscle tightening below that area. They make the muscle band become more obvious."

Of course then he said the PS favourite: Let’s wait and see.

I try not to obsess about the 'wait and see' things because there's nothing I can do about them, so other than 'yes it's still there' and thinking it probably HAD gone down some, I wasn't really keeping track.

But I took an update picture today to really look at it compared to my last pic 3.5 weeks ago. Happy to say it HAS definitely gone down, so I'm really happy about that.

Hoping for more progress in the weeks to come.

(as a note, the little wrinkle under my OTHER eye was there pre-surgery, though it was a bit lower, just like everything else on my face :)).

Before & after

Because before & afters are awesome :)!

The 'before' with makeup on, so doing my best to look pretty swish (my previous 'before' photos were all stark, unmade-up shots). The 'after' is a no makeup morning shot a couple of days ago.

Looking at these, I think it would be quite difficult for a 'non-facelift-savvy' person to pinpoint what was different, they might just notice that 'something' is different :).

I have some vague worries about pixie ears. Feel like one of my earlobes is starting to slip down. I blame whoever said that they develop some time after surgery *waves fist impotently*.

My research told me lots about WHY it happens, but not how long after surgery it's still a possibility. I'm REALLY hoping I'm past that possibility now, but would love it if someone has looked into it and found an answer (preferably an answer that says 'oh no, it will happen in the first month if it's going to happen...').

2 months post!

2 months post! You know what that means, right? NO MORE COMPRESSION GARMENTS! I've been hanging out for this level of normalcy for... well, TWO MONTHS!

2 months roundup for those who want more than 'it's going well!':

- The areas down the sides of my face are still numb, as is the top of my head

- Some parts of my face are still sensitive to pressure, as if there's bruising underneath, though there is no visible bruising. Cheek apples, around my eyes, eyebrows, some parts of my ears

- The shadow bruising that hung around for ages is very close to all gone

- There are still some small scabs hanging around various incision sites both above my hairline from the brow lift and behind one of my ears. I'm not sure if it's just slow healing or if the dissolvable stitches cause it.

- I am various levels of itchy above my hairline at different times. A little on the face, but mostly on top of my head where it's numb, so scratching is no help. I've taken anti histamine once when it got unbearable, but mostly if I can stop thinking about it, it goes away

- I get occasional nerve zingers

- The scars behind my ears are still an obvious red, especially on the right. It looks to me like that one is widening a bit rather than staying a thin clean line, but there's nothing I can do about it if it is :/. Putting biocerneum on them twice a day, hoping it helps.

- The scars in front of my ears are visible and also red, but thin so not too obnoxious. Just like the scars behind my ears, the one on the right is worse than the one on the left

- Eric the eye worm under my right eye sometimes looks obvious, other times is hardly visible. It seems like he's getting smaller overall, but I assume something causes him to swell up at times (salt maybe? No idea).

- My neck has dropped since a few weeks post-op. My profile doesn't look all that much different from pre-op. I'd have loved to have a more defined neckline so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but it looked pretty much like that when I was younger also so 'meh'. There's certainly no lax skin there.

- My hair loss is up and down (using Minoxidil & Nizoral shampoo to try and manage the shedding). After a reduction in shedding over the past few weeks, yesterday I again got a good handful in the drain after washing :/. I also have some dandruffy head flaking (apparently it's common with Minoxidil) which I'm hoping will pass

Overall, I look in the mirror every morning and I'm pleased with what I see, even on a bad day. When I take random photos, I'm happy with most of them. That's a huge and positive change for me.

I'm pretty damn delighted with the result (touch ALL THE WOOD!) :)).

Hmmm... photos didn't want to load...

Let's try again.

Baby did a bad bad thing...

So I did a dumb thing and sent a face picture to a lovely man I met on an online dating site. Which is no big deal. In fact it was the first post-FL photo I sent to anyone, and I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then I realised that I sent him THE SAME PICTURE THAT I POSTED IN MY LAST UPDATE HERE!

Not sure how internet-savvy y'all are, but Google image search allows you to put an image into the search engine and IT WILL FIND THAT PHOTO IF IT'S POSTED ON THE INTERNET! When you're internet dating, it's pretty common to do that search because people on the internet lie (?!! I know right, who woulda thunk it!! :P).

When I realised what I'd done, I came back here and deleted those photos so fast that I think I broke my fingers... delete deleteDELETEDELETE!!!111!!!! :D

I checked and Google image search did NOT find that photo here (I think Google can take a while to add new content to it's search engines). So phew. Lesson learnt.

So anyway, if you're late to the party, the lovely comments above were mostly aimed at *those* 'oh I'm a normal person going out into the world' photos vs my dead-eyed morning update photos :D.

---

A bit of update stuff now, like a proper review, though there's not much to tell.

No visible changes to speak of which is good and bad :). Good because nothing has gone skewiff, bad because scars, Eric, itchiness, numbness etc are much the same.

I REALLY want to be able to say 'my scars are fading so fast!!!' but noooo... They ARE fading and I have no doubt they are going to be great, I'm just impatient (aren't we all?!). I feel really quite self conscious about them in a way that I know is largely unwarranted. Like when the wind blows my hair back, I'm kind of grabbing at it to pull it forward again. I really don't want that to become some kind of nervous tic.

The scars in front of my ears are much better than those behind, but still look pretty obvious to me as 'skin irregularities'. I'm relying on my hair to cover them and haven't really gone to a lot of trouble to try makeup cover, though I'm sure that would work fine.

My head has been a lot more itchy since I've not been wearing the compression garment & forehead band any more. I actually think that the gentle pressure on the head might have helped alleviate it.

I'm back at the gym doing some light workouts. Keeping my hair down, which is uncomfortably hot, but I'm too self conscious to put my hair up. Exercise is no problem, but I am hilariously trying really hard not to make a grunty 'gym-face', keeping in mind what Dr Nond said about my strong & overactive facial muscles. Trying to cultivate a zen 'gym-face' instead.

My hair shedding with Minoxidol & Nixoral is a bit up and down. The shedding seemed to be under control, then I added biotin & iodine back into my supplement regime (vs just zinc) and woah: super shed! Too many variables to know if it was *caused* by them, but I've stopped them again now. On the plus side, I DO definitely see new fine hair growing at the front where I've been concentrating the product (because I see the thinning most there). Thing with all this is that it might have all happened ANYWAY: no way to know. But I'm continuing with it and keeping my fingers crossed that it's doing good things.

Uploading some photos that I have no intention of sending anyone EVER :).

11 weeks post

Sooo close to 3 months, which feels like a milestone. There's not been much visible change, which is good since I guess I'm just about at the stage where my face starts to 'settle'.

I had two big new-face-out-in-the-world tests recently: a lunch date with a younger man (the dude from an online site who I sent the photo to and then freaked out about per my previous update :P), and a day with a friend who I haven't seen since April.

The biggest thing: I didn't feel at all self-conscious about my scars in either situation even though I do think they are quite noticeable. I made no special effort to cover them with make up: I just figured my hair would cover them well enough and didn't give them a second thought. I had feared I'd be all weird about it (touching my hair all the time to check where it was, avoiding turning certain ways, being paranoid if there was a breeze etc), but I genuinely forgot about them.

Also I learnt that kissing still feels as it should (the edges of my face are still somewhat numb, so I thought it might feel strange). Also: yay, kissing :)!

I have a second date with the online-guy soon, so yes, as well as my face passing the test, the date went well :).

The second guy did not at all seem to notice any difference between April-me and post surgery-me. However, he had cause to ask me how old I was when we were talking about age-related things: I thought he knew already, but his shocked face when I told him I was 50 was almost worth the cost of surgery :P. Much fun indeed and very satisfying.

Onto practical things:
My head above my hairline is itchy a lot. I can forget for long periods, but as soon as I think about it, or touch it, I want to scratch at it. Not the incision sites, just my scalp in general.

Hair colouring at about 10 weeks was fine: I had to tell my hairdresser and hair washer about the incision lines behind my ears so that they would be careful. They accommodated me and didn't ask what they were from and I didn't volunteer: very professional. Also that head massage they do while washing your hair was absolute bliss. I felt like one of those dogs whose leg twitches when you scratch their belly.

I'm still using 5% Minoxidil and Nizoral shampoo for the hair loss (I guess it's been about 6 weeks now). I can see small new hairs growing in my front hairline where I am concentrating application, but I'm still losing a LOT of hair (it's up and down) and I can't really say if it's better overall (so hard to tell). On the downside I noticed some 'peach fuzz' level of hair growth in front of my ears today that I KNOW wasn't there before, so it's certainly doing 'something'! Facial hair growth is a known side effect and a reason why they recommend a 2% concentration for women. I might have to reduce the application from twice a day to once.

My face is still somewhat numb around the sides towards my ears and a bit on my cheeks. It makes my face feel 'too firm' in those areas even though it's not. Not really a big deal.

My scars look much the same, though I like to imagine they are getting slowly better. I'm still putting biocerneum silicone gel on them twice a day. The right side behind my ear is more visible than the left and it looks strangely 'fuzzy' (i.e. instead of being a clear line, the edges are indistinct), which implies to me that it's going to settle into a wider final scar. No idea if that's true but I'm not worrying about it since there's nothing I can do about it.

My pixie ear fear has been allayed (thank you to those who gave their input, especially Makeitup who specifically asked her surgeon about it: they CAN develop up to 3 or 4 months after surgery). I asked Dr Nond about it and sent photos. He put my pre-op and current pics side by side and drew lines through the main ear structures to show that those structures were actually in the same position pre and post op. I had made the mistake of using a 2week post op pic as the 'before': my ear lobe was swollen then, so it was hanging down. As the swelling reduced, it looked like the attachment point was getting lower, when it fact the lobe had literally become smaller and lifted up :/ (i.e. I am a worry wart and a bit of an idiot).

Eric the under eye worm is still there. Sometimes quite noticeable, sometimes not. I've no idea what impacts how swollen he is, but he's persevering either way.

I got some botox to get rid of the forehead wrinkles that were *just* starting to come back as my mobility up there came back. I thought it might help with the brow lift healing to keep it immobile a little longer, but I also wanted to nip those lines in the bud because I wasn't quite ready to let go of that lovely unwrinkled brow just yet (oh, vanity, is there no end to you?!).

I had my botox with an RN who has worked in theatre and post-op care for local PS'. She was impressed with my scars and my healing progress. I was really pleased to hear that: seems to me it's a great recommendation for my surgeon more than it's anything much to do with me.

3 month update!

Three months: phew.

Firstly an update on the dating situation: second date went great, but the chemistry wasn't quite firing so we called it a day.

Relevant to surgery: When doing that sweet thing where you sit close and do some leisurely kissing, I DID tense up when he got close to my ears. Not because of pain or anything, but I was very aware of the obvious scars BEHIND my ears even though logically, the chances of him seeing them (even if he kissed behind my ear) would be low. I mean nobody actually LOOKS back there when being romantic, right?

I was also self conscious about my breasts feeling 'too firm' still when hugging: they felt uncomfortable to ME when pressed against him, so I imagine they felt strange to him also (unsurprisingly, I did not ask him if this was the case :P).

So yeah, probably not quite ready to seriously date just yet.

Overall, I'm (still) completely delighted with my results. A chance peek at my reflection makes me smile. When I think I look good, and I take a photo, I'm rockin' it. Even when I look at myself bleary-eyed first thing in the morning (and my update shots are pretty much that: I wash my face, I take pics) I'm pretty bloody happy with myself.

I do think there is a little bit of a 'coming back to earth' after the shock of it all and the high of the 'sweet spot' (I think I've seen others hit their sweet spot at about 4 weeks, mine was at about 2 months I think).

For me the 'coming down' is a combination of getting used to seeing my new face (no longer 'new and shiny'!), the post-surgery settling that happens (and I guess will continue to happen over the next many months), and any 'wow' reactions (from my own brain and from others) being over and done with. Life goes on.

Point form update of things that are lingering still at 3 months:

* Eric the under eye worm overall is smaller and sometimes in good light he is hardly visible, but he still has days when he's all 'HEELLLOOOO!!!' and I have no idea why (salt? activity? lack of activity? booze? dunno). I'm a little more confident that he will continue to improve given that he doesn't yet appear to be solidly fixed in shape and appearance.

* My head is still itchy on and off above the hairline, front third of my head. I try really hard not to scratch it (I expect mad scratching doesn't help with my hair shedding!), but once I start it's hard to stop.

* My ears have some minor sensitivity. I haven't put earrings back in since surgery because they aren't quite back to normal. If I massage the lobes and outer edges, it's not sore, but it doesn't feel normal either.

* The area around the outside of my eyes and around my eye socket still feels tight at times. Feels a bit like there is some cellotape over the area. Not bothersome, but feels strange. If I apply a bit of pressure to those areas, it feels like it's slightly bruised.

* Sometimes in the evening, I have very dark bruise-like colouration from the inside corner of my eye and into my under-eye circles. The first time I thought I must have rubbed them too hard or something, but nope. No idea what from. It clears by morning.

* There is still some numbness across my upper cheeks that runs down in front of my ears. My upper cheek area still feels firm because of this, but I don't think it actually is.

* I still occasionally get tiny scabs in the incision sites behind my ears, which seems weird this far along. Maybe dissolvable sutures doing something. Not sure.

* I'm still using Minoxidil 5% once a day and Nizoral shampoo a couple of times a week for thinning hair (for those who haven't read above: my hair was thinning before surgery, but the surgery exacerbated the hair loss). It's really hard to tell if it's working, but I'm persevering. The new peach fuzz on my face is still there (I cut down dosage from twice to once a day when I noticed it), but it doesn't seem to be getting any worse.

* The scars in front of my ears are disappearing nicely. When fully healed they will be almost invisible

* The scar behind my left ear is slowly lightening. The one behind my right is stubbornly remaining red. Boo.

* I'm still using biocerneum twice a day on those scars

This next bit is a bit hard to write about because it feels churlish and petty, but since I'm sharing, I'm sharing.

I almost think I know too much about the process and this causes me to worry too much and imagine what can (still) go wrong. If I didn't know things, I'd be happy and done right now. I mean 3 months is a magic number, right?!

Right now I'm worried my face is going to drop when it settles. I'm mentioned that a few times, but it's not based on mindless fear. By all accounts in the next couple of months the internal scars will firm up, then from months 5-8 they will soften and when they soften they will relax. Month 9-12 I will see my final result.

My neck has dropped already (this happened early on: immediately post op, it was a sharp angle, now it's close to where it started), so I think that has spooked me a little in terms of expectations.

I am seeing some laxity in my jawline now. You, dear reader, wouldn't notice unless I told you and I could easily hide it. But it's there on the right side in my photos when the angle puts it in the frame.

I also looked in the mirror the other morning and my hooded eyes were back. That is, the area under my brow was sitting right on my eyelid, that coveted sliver of eyelid that showed because
my brow had been lifted out of the way was not visible at all.

I felt my heart sink when I noticed the latter because when it's that obvious, you KNOW you aren't just imagining things.

The next day, it was almost back to 'new-normal' where it has stayed, so I'm happy to assume it was some kind of swelling that either hadn't happened before or that I hadn't noticed before and not a preview of what's going to happen in the next few months. I'm fervently ignoring the impression that there is some laxity on the right that shouldn't be there: I might be imagining it.

I'm very aware that this kind of surgery is not an exact science, that correcting and over correcting to get the best result are things that require excellent judgement and that every individual's face, skin, and muscle will respond differently and can't really be predicted.

I'm trying to be cool about it, but the niggling fear that I'm going to lose a certain percentage (how much?!) of the gains is hard to let go of.

Either way, I know worrying about it isn't going to do me a bit of good, so I have to let it go, and I'm trying. But when I (think I) see something slipping, I get that sinking feeling. It's not some high level panic, more like a constant background hum, but from a mental head-space perspective, it's taking up way too much room that could be spend swanning about feeling fabulous.

So enough of that: here, have a bunch of pictures now :).

+Photos...

That was a really long update.

No wonder the photos wouldn't load as well...

Just over 4.5 months

Happy new year to all of the lovely RSers. I hope 2016 brings you much joy and goodness.

So the big test over Christmas was whether my sister noticed anything (she and my ex were the only two people who are both observant enough to notice and blunt enough to ask about it).

My sister DID notice ‘something’ was up, and she did say that I looked good, so yay :). She WAS peering at me quite intensely. I could almost hear her brain going ‘How? What? I don’t get it!’

Seriously, she notices EVERYTHING, she even mentioned enviously that my eyelashes look thicker/longer which even I hadn’t noticed, but she’s right (this is from the minoxidil which is a nice side effect). But, despite that level of detailed scrutiny, she didn’t notice *enough* of a change to be able to call out that I had ‘something’ done.

Funnily, she came out of the bathroom at one point holding her face skin up and back (like you do) and saying “THIS is what I need…” I know that if I did that now, I’d look exactly the same :).

So overall she absolutely thought I looked great and definitely noticed ‘something’, but she couldn’t quite figure out why I looked so good. I was very happy about that.

I commented to someone recently that it seems from before/afters that people must be BLIND not to notice, but the truth is that before/afters are always what I refer to as dead-eyed photos: expressionless, lifeless photos. Nobody walks around in the world looking like that, so while they are 'real and true', they don't at all reflect how we present to others.

Update:

My scars are so close to invisible now it's quite shocking. In particular, the one on the right behind my ear (the problem child I pointed out in my last update) which was the last to fade is now (literally) invisible. Amazing. So to all intents and purposes, my facelift is now undetectable to others at 4.5 months. A good feeling :).

Eric the under eye worm has reduced to the point where I can't get a decent shot of him, so yay :). He's definitely still there and I don't think he is going to go all the way down but he is not really noticeable as anything untoward to others: I'm perfectly fine living with him.

I am still numb in front of my ears, in a crescent shape down to under my ears. I'd have expected all that to be back to normal by now, but it's not bothersome.

My scalp is still itchy sometimes, but it has to be triggered (e.g. if I idly scratch the top of my head, it suddenly feels itchy *everywhere* and I could scratch forever).

There has been some settling, but not enough to be noticeable to anyone except me (plus it depends on the light, how much sleep I've had, what I've been eating etc).

What I mean by 'settling':
* My jawline is softer, especially on my right. I'm hoping this is 'it' for settling there.
* My brow has dropped a little: the result is less upper eyelid showing. I fell a little in love with the kind of lazy-eyed look all of that upper lid gave me.
* My neckline dropped early post-op: My surgeon obviously thought that pulling the muscle laterally would be good (it was) and that it would hold (it didn't). I'm considering if it's worth an under-chin incision to tighten it up. Did a quick mock-up in my photos to see. Thoughts?

Overall, I'm absolutely delighted with my results. I'm still harbouring some slight worry that parts of my face will drop further as the internal scars start to relax, but really working hard to put that aside.

FINALLY feel confident to change my review to 'worth it' (touching ALL THE WOOD) :).

5 months post op: Focus on eyes

The prompt for this update was a revelation about my eyes.

I know anyone following along has seen me whine about my fears that my face will 'drop' as everything settles. I mentioned my brow dropping a little in my previous, and that I had lost a lot of that visible eyelid that I loved.

I discovered yesterday that at 5 months post-op, I am apparently STILL waking up with swelling. It's not at all noticeable to me in any meaningful way: I take morning update shots for myself, I move on.

But yesterday I happened to take a morning and then an afternoon shot and hallelujah! In the afternoon shot, THERE WERE MY EYELIDS! I know it sounds like a minor thing, but if you look at my pics, you can see why I was getting pretty sad about what looked like minimal results in the end.

So yeah: apparently I still having morning swelling around my eyes and when it goes down, they look amazing. Who would have thunk it?

Related: Eric the under eye worm is still a bit visible in the morning, but is pretty much gone by the afternoon, so he is also subject to morning swelling. So he might still disappear altogether.

My scars behind my ears and around my lobes are *only just* visible if you know where to look, but I'm confident putting my hair up without a second thought now. The ones in front are gone.

The rest is 'business as usual' and I'm very used to my new face now (the danger of this complacency is that I then start to get self-critical again: gotta stop that!!).

I am getting some lovely ego boosting with my face pictures on a dating site. Younger men with an upper age range some ten years below my age are contacting me with compliments. Which is very nice indeed. Also a whole bunch of 20-somethings(?!) who articulately write 'Hey :)' and are, I imagine, fishing the 'older women' pool,which is less about me and more about us oldies all being desperate to get off with the hot young things, AMIRITE, LADIES :P?!

6 month update :)

I'm still really happy with my results and I think I'm getting pretty close to 'final' now. I think 8-9 months is really FINAL final.

I really cannot stress the value of stark, clear photos enough.

Befores that are alarmingly awful: taken with great lighting and from different angles.

Afters that show regular progress so that you can compare them to the befores AND to each other.

They are so valuable because I realise that I absolutely cannot see myself objectively, no matter how I try, and I'm 100% sure I'm not some special snowflake in this.

I think my face has settled a little and I can get obsessive about that, but I tried to recreate what I think of as my *best* photo at the peak of my results at 2 months, and it's pretty damn close to that now. Even if it doesn't FEEL like it because my brain hates me. I uploaded then/now so you can see.

The scars are so close to invisible I can't even get a photo of them (I honestly didn't believe that was possible and was prepared to live with some scarring, but my surgeon has done a stellar job).

The area in front of my ears still doesn't feel normal. It's not numb exactly, it just feels a little weird when I touch it. I don't feel anything odd unless I'm actually touching it, so it's not really noticeable day to day.

Eric the under eye worm hasn't completely disappeared, but he's barely noticeable.

I'm not thrilled with my neck: my surgeon tightened the muscle and skin laterally without any work directly under the chin (because I really didn't have a turkey neck or platysmal bands there). The result is that the skin is certainly smoother and tighter, but I still have an obtuse angle there (this is how my natural neckline was, so it's not solely due to aging, but I still would have loved to see a sharp angle there). I will ask him about whether anything can be done about it (I know some minor neck procedures can be done under local in a surgery), but I doubt that I'll take any action. In the scheme of things, it's minor and probably not worth the cost or the under-chin scarring.

I occasionally still get weird little scabs in my incision sites that I can't explain, but they aren't a worry.

I'm still on a dating site (I know, how is it possible that I haven't met the man of my dreams yet??!). I have to say that having face shots on there is GREAT for my ego. I asked a 31yo outright why he was contacting a woman 20 years his senior and he responded with "I really liked your pictures": I'll totally take it :).

9 months-ish update

I consider this my final result. I'm (still) really delighted with it.

The scars are literally imperceptible (I still can't believe that!), and my face hasn't dropped back like I feared it might (it really was an irrational fear, but I still had it...).

Longer term after effects (other than looking fab, I mean :)) below:

There is still a tiny bit of a kind of 'not feeling normal' in front of my ears. Not numb, just not 100% normal when I touch it.

Eric the under-eye worm is still around and comes and goes depending on his whims and where the light is coming from, but he's not really visible to anyone except me. I met with someone off this site and she said she couldn't see it either.

I STILL wake up with 'lowered eyelids/brow' in the morning as if my brow lift has dropped. I'm not sure if it's a muscle thing or a swelling thing, but I've learnt that it clears as the day goes on (phew! the first time I noticed it I freaked out). For all I know, it did that before also and has nothing to do with the surgery (brow lift, lower bleph), but I've included a photo so you can see what I mean.

As for my personal life, I felt confident enough to hit on a beautiful 36yo hottie on a dating site and he's really the first to get up super close and personal to all those almost-invisible scars, AND to see me at my worst post-facelift (and by 'worst', I mean puffy-faced and hungover first thing in the morning :/). He thinks I'm beautiful which is beyond lovely (and he didn't even qualify it with a 'for your age', so good for him!).

I'm now well past feeling self-conscious about anyone being able to tell that I've had the surgery, which is great. It's just the new normal :).

Photos

I know how immensely helpful (and fascinating) photos are in reviews, but I no longer felt comfortable having identifying pictures up.

I'm more than happy to share privately if you message me.

12 month update

Given a few comments on my last entry, I figured I'd show the scars (what scars?! truly) at 12 months post.

In general, my face has settled nicely.

My jawline is a little softer than it was earlier on, so it's not *quite* the sharp clean line it was, but I know nobody notices it except me. Eric the under eye worm is still (just) visible, but also unnoticeable to anyone but me.

I really don't think about my facelift any more, but I AM much happier with what I see in the mirror and with photos. If I ever have an 'off' day (and yes, I still (again) have some), I just drag up a 'before/after' picture and immediately feel better :).

I'm still dating and don't at all feel as if they would have any inkling that I've had a facelift.

As a note, men my age don't contact me on dating sites, so I figured they were filtering out anyone over 40 or something. As an experiment, I changed my age to 40, used the same photos, and voila: HELLO, THERE YOU ARE 50-ish YEAR OLD GENTLEMEN! So yeah, apparently I've aged out of the dating world for my peers :/. Still, with my age at 50, I get a lot of messages from men much younger than me. I'm okay with it :).

Again, if anyone wants to see pictures, I'm happy to share privately, just message me :).
Dr Nond Rojvachiranonda

Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful