63 Years Old, Just Retired, and I Cannot Stand Looking in the Mirror. - Bethesda, MD

I had a lap band placed in 2013 and lost 30...

I had a lap band placed in 2013 and lost 30 pounds, which was not enough - I was supposed to lose 70 pounds - but it was enough to cause an awful "turkey neck." I started interviewing Board-certified plastic surgeons, and got many different suggestions, at many price levels. Nothing seemed right to me until yesterday. I met with Dr. A. Dean Jabs, and in minutes I knew I had found my surgeon. He was so kind, and interested in addressing my concerns, as opposed to telling me what he thought I should get done. I scheduled my surgery and paid my deposit. I will post photos as soon as I can figure out how to crop them. I have been reading every post on Real Self for a year, and I want to be as helpful as so many others have been to me.

Before photos

I think these have been uploaded correctly.

Switched doctors

I decided that because of my high blood pressure and history of sleep apnea, I need to have surgery in a hospital, under general anesthesia. I have chosen a new surgeon, and I will even be staying one night in the hospital. I'm getting a lower facelift with a neck lift, as well as fat transfer to my marionette lines and down-turned lips. Yes, I will be spending more money, but I think it will be worth it.

Just had my pre-op and paid for my surgery

I am so scared. This is really going to happen.

My surgery is tomorrow morning! Please keep me in your thoughts,

My husband is dropping me off at the hospital at 6 a.m. tomorrow. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. and according to the paperwork, could last as long as 5 hours. I am having a lower face and neck lift with liposuction and fat grafting to marionette lines and lip corners. I will stay in a post surgical room for 23 hours, with nurses who care only for plastic surgery patients. On Friday I will be picked up by a certified nurse assistant who will drive me home and stay with me through the night. I have also arranged for a second and third nursing shift through Saturday evening. It may be overkill, but I don't want to depend on my husband or daughter for changing dressings or cleaning sutures. My sister will come this weekend to help. I still have to pack up my hospital bag and set up my sleep area in the family room (I will sleep on a recliner for a few days). I bought 3 books today, and I'm hoping that by the time I've finished them I will be able to leave the house. I am taking a button up shirt, change of underclothes, robe and slippers, and a charged up cellphone. Also my regular medications to take post surgery. Not sure if I should take the 3 meds my doctor prescribed for after surgery (antibiotics, oxycodone, and a blood thinner because of my risk for PE/DVTs. I assume they will have same at the hospital? Am I missing anything??

Photo from night of surgery and day after surgery

I am posting these photos with more to come. I have bruising all over my neck and face. I will send current photos to my PS tomorrow as I'm concerned with grafting sites.

Not so happy July 4th

Woke up very swollen under eyes and cheeks. Bruises from fat grafts seem almost blackish. Sent this picture to doctor. Slept on wedge pillow, iced, no salt, no bending, no lifting. Looks horrible. I hope I can see him tomorrow. Unable to post photo now

July 4th sideways

Having trouble uploading pix. This is what I sent to my PS this morning

Thoughts on the Fourth of July

I've been comparing my horrific photos with everyone else's, and now I am so embarrassed for posting them. TMI. I think I will stay off the site for awhile.

Me at 45

A picture of my DD when I was 45 years old. I wasn't always old and fat. ):

Really Swollen

I saw my surgeon this morning. I was even more swollen today, even though I slept sitting up. He said all is ok but t will take time. I am reacting to the fat transfer. He does not want to prescribe steroids yet. He removed all bandaging and said I could wash my hair. I see him again 7/8.

I think I have figured out my mistake

I started consulting surgeons almost 2 years ago. The first one, who had done a neck lift on a close friend, was very experienced, showing me many photos of patients and introducing me to an office assistant who was his patient. He told me that the deep nasolabial lines I had did not need fixing, and I just needed a neck lift. He scared me off because he was very aggressive in trying to get my business. The next consult was with a surgeon who had done a full FL on a friend. She looked great. He told me that he needed to look at my face "as a canvas," and he, as an artist would need to fill the nasolabial lines/marionette lines and lift my lips up as they were downturned. By the time I chose my PS I was convinced I had to get my lines and lips done, and my PS suggested fat transfer. Sounded good to me, and I placed my trust in him. I never really asked about how it would affect my recovery. Only today did I hear it could be weeks or even months for the swelling and bruising to resolve. Only this afternoon did I bother to look at Real Self reviews on facial fat grafting, and the reviews are clearly mixed and most recoveries are awful. I don't blame this on my surgeon. I presented as a well-informed consumer and I think he assumed I knew what I was getting into. I still believe ultimately all will be ok. But my eyes are swelling shut now. I thank g-d my sister will be driving me to his office on Friday to get the sutures around my ears out. I think I will need him to prescribe steroids then, because I am getting worse, not better. I have social and professional engagements beginning July 13th and I don't think I will be able to appear in public by then. I should have told my plastic surgeon of these expectations.

Try Fillers First!

This morning I noticed in my surgery folder a "fact sheet" on fat grafting, warning of the additional bruising and swelling. I signed that I had received these warnings. The notice suggested sharing it with friends or family, and that the surgeon was available for further discussion. Again, my fault for failing to read this. If I could turn back time I would not have had fat grafting. At a minimum, I should have tried fillers first, to see if I liked the "look." I'm so sad now that I realize that all I wanted was to shorten my lines and upturn my lips. Now I have no lines. I was born with these lines. It is what made me look like my dad and my brother.. It was what made me look like I was always happy (even when not). I pray that the fat will eventually dissipate.

Two steps forward...

Oops. My sister in coming in tonight. I just cleaned the guest bathroom. What was I thinking? I am wiped! out!

Photos

If you are interested in seeing photos of a 63 year old's facelift with fat grafting, please send me a private message. My photos have been deleted for privacy purposes but I am happy to share with other Real Self members.

Stitches In Front of My Ears Are Out!- One Week Post Surgery

Saw my Plastic Surgeon this morning and both he and his nurse exclaimed how much better I looked since Tuesday (3 days ago). Wish I felt so much better, but apparently I slid off my wedge pillow last night and woke up flat on my bed and ate salty food yesterday. My checks were so numb and smooth I felt like someone could ice-skate on them! The plus-side was removal of stitches did not hurt (though hours later they do so, I took a tylenol). Surgeon also moved up my appointment by a week to remove stitches behind ears to next Tuesday. I am ecstatic! His nurse advised that I no longer needed a scarf to cover my face and another assistant said I should not bother with derma blend to cover my bruises but I think I will at least try some YSL concealer to see if it covers if I next time I go out in public. Now I am going to REST, as I have been doing entirely way too much! I spoke to an old friend last night who told me that when she had her full face lift about 3 years ago, her doctor said she could not leave the house for ten days and she was told not to talk or smile for 10 days. My doctor restricted me like the for three days I am exhausted from hosting my sister for the last 2 days, so I sort of understand I over-did it. How many days of total restriction did my RS friends have post facelift?

Northwest Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

Had my surgery under general anesthesia in the OR at Northwest Hospital in Baltimore, then was kept for "23 hours" (i.e., not overnight) in a surgical recovery ward. The care I got there was excellent. The nurses were all knowledgeable, patient, and kind. The hospital was spotlessly clean. Many local surgeons have privileges there, and if you are considering it, I highly recommend it.

Fat transfer/grafting

Someone asked me in a private message whether I was pleased with the results of my fat transfer. I thought I should post my response:
It's too soon for me to know - my surgery was only on 6/30. Having said that, I think I should have tried a non-permanent filler first. My lips seem too elongated, and while they no longer go down, I think I look like The Joker now. The fat to shorten my marionette lines right now seems to be 2 lumps on my face. The pain, bruising, and swelling I experienced seems to be mostly, if not entirely, from the fat grafting. Finally, as much as I love my plastic surgeon, I would have consulted with a Board-certified FACIAL plastic surgeon who could show me MANY PHOTOS of satisfied FACIAL fat transfer patients. Fortunately, there is still plenty of time before my face settles, and I think some minor tweaks 6 months from now will be all that is needed, if anything, to plump up my lips and cheeks. Again, with fillers, first.

All of my stitches are out

Just got home and no more follow up 'til 8/23. I just took a bunch of selfies and was surprised (and saddened) to see that my left profile is still the same, my right profile is improved but not perfect, from the front my neck looks saggy and lumpy, my ears are weird, my lips are now like The Joker's. I also seem to have some major rashes on my neck. Most of my bruises are gone but my face around my ears is numb. I know it will be months for the numbness and swelling to wear away, but this will not likely improve my looks. We will see. ): I am reposting my before pix and some from today for comparison.

March 2016 passport photo vs. July 18 passport photo

Pre and post surgery (20 days)

let me try again

July 22nd, 3 weeks +1 day post facelift/neck lift/fat transfer to lip corners & laugh lines

I saw my PS today as I've been very unhappy with my lips - which seem thinner and longer than they were before surgery ("The Joker"). I decided to try a filler and see if that helped. He put 1 vial of Restylane Silk in. I think it is better. Swollen but not bruised (yet). $460 - He gave me 20% off. I asked him about the remaining laxity in my neck and he said he couldn't remove my glands, but that it will improve when swelling dissipates. I asked him about scar ointment for under my chin & around my ears and he recommended La Mer moisturizer! He does not sell it. He and his nurse both swear by it for scars, so I'm not arguing. I will go to Nordstrom later. Will post photo over weekend.

SMILING HELPS!

The more I smile, the more I see the natural lines I've had since childhood. They are just shorter. I think between the swelling going down and/or fat moving, it is better. Today I tried Restylane silk in my lips. I'm sure glad it is temporary. I look more than a little strange.

It is time to get back into light exercise and losing weight for me. I cannot obsess over my face.

La Mer

As I mentioned yesterday my doctor recommend La Mer moisturizing cream for scar therapy. I had a sample in the house that I started using immediately (I had tried it and previously thought it was as thick as hydrocortisone or zinc oxide ointment but found out online last night you are supposed to warm a bit in your hands before application). Ordered as little as I could from Nordstrom and it was hundreds of dollars. Ouch. Hope this stuff really works.

7/23 Photos: Surgery 6/30 facelift/neck lift/fat transfer to lines & lips/lip filler on 7/22

I took some photos this afternoon, with some makeup on. Rash on neck is getting better though now it is below my collar, too. It may be from the awful heat out there. My lips are still swollen with one big bruise, but I' starting to like them. Not sure I will maintain them once they are gone - I am retired.My husband says I look like a different person. Not sure if that is a good thing. Did not ask for clarification. I bought Maderma at CVS in the hope it will lessen my scars before the La Mer arrives tomorrow. I really do not want to spend another $500 on scar therapy. BTW I am really sad over my neck/chin. It is so much better, but it is not what I'd hoped for. I don't think time will make a difference I am going to turn my focus to losing 40 lbs. Maybe that will help?

First big social engagement post 6/30/2016 face and neck lift (7 weeks!!)

Saw a number of my former colleagues at dinner last night. All of them remarked on how happy and "rested" I looked since retirement. No one directly said anything about my face, though a couple of the women knew about my surgery. I explained to them that I think I will be needing a revision surgery and they did not disagree. Not sure if they were just being polite. I go back to my PS next week and I am going to tell him that I am not fully happy with my outcome. I still have a double chin. Though 90% of my gobbler is gone, I want it all gone after all this pain and suffering and money spent! I guess it could be my age, obesity, and/or anatomy that precluded a 90 degree angle, but I want him to try again. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I will try to post profile pictures later this evening.

Photos post surgery 7 weeks - not perfect

per my last post

Other side

Sorry. I am computer illiterate.

Follow up with plastic surgeon

I saw my plastic surgeon for follow up today. I asked about the remaining laxity and whether I could get revision, and he said I would need to wait a year to heal before assessment. However, he again noted he could not pull my skin tighter because of my salivary glands. He said after we wait a full year there may be nonsurgical options such as Kybella that could help.
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

He is so kind and compassionate. He listened to me and my concerns, and he did not suggest unwanted procedures. He and his office are very responsive. He has answered my emails, even at night, and he has called me to discuss my concerns. I couldn't ask for more. I feel safe in his hands. Post-surgery, I stayed in the hospital overnight. I started to have a panic attack because of the "helmet" around my head. Intuitively, Dr. Schreiber had prescribed ativan (IV) just in case, and it helped greatly. He called and texted me that first night to see how I was doing, and I told him I was miserable. He was scheduled to see me at noon the next day but instead made me his first patient. He removed the offending bandages and assured me everything went well in surgery. The next 3 days were over a holiday weekend, and I was still unhappy. He responded within minutes of each text, always assuring and suggesting ways to make me more comfortable. On Tuesday morning, at 7:30 a.m., he called me to see how I was. I advised I was very swollen and bruised. Without hesitation, he said "come on in." When I asked, when, he said, "now." He saw me at 8:30 a.m. and removed all my bandages, assuring me all well going well. Dr. Schreiber could not have been more responsive, caring, and assuring. He truly is a remarkable physician and a remarkable person.

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