Well, I just wrote a lengthy epistle here and then...
Well, I just wrote a lengthy epistle here and then accidentally closed the window, so this one is going to be brief. I've lost my mojo for writing about it.
8 years ago, upper and lower eyelids and endoscopic brow lift in Eugene OR with Dr. Mossaghavi (sp). Very happy with the results, even though one of my eyelids has drooped since then. I have an asymmetrical face in any case.
Lately, I have been horrified with the appearance of my lower face, neck, and lower belly.
I can afford to have them both done if I choose to go offshore.
My husband recently had major dental work in Mexico and it was very well done, basically a pleasant experience (for dental work!) and spectacularly affordable. I have friends who have been doing medical tourism for hip resurfacing, and cataract surgery, both in India, and both with great success. Ethically, I believe in medical tourism and I bristle over the inflated costs of all medical procedures in the US compared with other countries.
I am aware of the general risks of the surgeries I am considering, and the specific risks of having them done away from the US; among them the lack of malpractice insurance along with the geographical impossibility of the doctor taking care of any complications or failures after I return to my home. I am preparing myself for being worried and sad about being far away and by myself while undergoing a painful and emotionally trying experience. I am sure I would like to be in the comfort of my own home and bed for early recovery - on the other hand, my husband panics and is nerve wracking when I'm down, and as I live on a farm and train animals, it's hard for me to stay "down" when I'm there. So there ARE upsides to being away.
I have done much research here and elsewhere. I was impressed with Dr. Carmona's reviews and credentials, before and after pictures, and with my communication with his liaison, Danny. I am very happy with the quote I received and also about the fact that the Dr. offered to do a touch up on my upper lids at no extra charge.
I've been reading at length about experiences with the procedures (lower face / neck lift and tummy tuck) in general, as well as having them done overseas, and specifically the reviews of Dr. Carmona. I would love to communicate directly with any of his patients who are here, and also hear from others who have had cosmetic surgery overseas.
Re-thinking tummy tuck
I'm vascillating about tummy tuck now. I have a very active life on a farm and it's all physical work. I don't think I can manage the down time. I am now looking into having liposuction instead. Any input from folks with physical jobs and TT recovery is welcome; also lipo recovery and success / failure experiences.
I'm wishy washy
Now I am back to thinking I want to get the TT. Just a reminder to myself: this entire thing was originally just about my face. I am looking at all the other parts that could be fixed, or at least vastly improved, which were OK with me before. I'm almost 60 and don't expect to have a beautiful body anymore. I don't want to think it's ugly, either, though.
Well, just the face part. I am holding off on having anything done below the neck. After the following 2 months of intensive diet and exercise, I'll see what I think.
Actually, I had no intention of fixing my old body surgically until I started looking at this site a lot and seeing the amazing results of tummy tucks. I would like that result for myself! But the down time ...
Anyway, after spending some time consulting with local surgeons, my face and neck are scheduled to get rejuvenated under the skillfully wielded scalpel of Dr. Carmona on March 29. 22 days following my 60th birthday!
So, I am going to be traveling on my own. I have been referred to a recovery house in Cancun. Has anyone had experience with this? I am concerned about staying in a hotel by myself after surgery. When I had my eyes and brow done 7 years ago, I was very cavalier about it and didn't even line up anybody to help me. I asked my daughter to pick me up after and just drop me off at home. Ha. That was ridiculous. I was a mess for at least a few days. Anyway, I'm wondering how you all handled your after care in Cancun.
I'm leaving on 3/18; my surgery is 3/30. I have read here quite often that the pain medication allowed in Mexico is weak. Some members have said that they acquired pain meds here in the US to bring with them. Can someone provide me with details about how this was done? I don't think my doctor will agree to give me a script for a controlled substance to help with a procedure that they will have nothing to do with, and probably would not want to support.
And what about the Tramadol, have some of you had reasonable results with it after surgery in Mexico? I think I have a high threshold for pain, but I may be rethinking this when I'm writhing in agony. That's what happened with my childbirth experience anyway. Also my brow lift and eyelid repairs!
Do you recommend getting blood work done before traveling? I am confident that mine will be fine, but what a nightmare if one were to go all the way across the continent and to another land, only to find out that they were not going to be cleared for surgery?
Lastly (for now). Dr. Carmona takes stitches out 2 weeks post surgery. Danny (liaison) told me that if I had someone to remove them for me here in the States, I could come home earlier. I have read here that many of you have done that; on the other hand, I've also read that many times US doctors won't do anything related to overseas cosmetic surgeries (maybe other surgeries as well, I don't know), due to malpractice concerns. Or maybe they are just taking a stand against the whole concept, I don't know. In any case, I don't have a relationship with my primary care physician (just got her since getting new insurance and don't have my first appointment with her until May!!). I would appreciate input, thoughts and experiences with this as well.
Thank you. I am looking forward to my "refresher."
I'm leaving on Monday, my surgery is 3/30. I'm not really nervous, but I have a feeling of minor dread. Like, what on Earth am I doing. It's like a dangerous pilgrimage in honor of my lost youth.
I am getting a face/ neck lift and my eyes touched up. No tummy tuck for me. Since I posted these pictures back in January, I have lost 30 pounds and suddenly I really hate my arms. Maybe I will have them repaired? Or lipo. Or maybe have my newly deflated boobs refurbished. Any suggestions?
Here I am
in Cancun, at the home of Jorge and Ange Portilla. When I got off the plane and was in line for customs, I had a surge of very uncomfortable feeling. The line was full of families and couples, all geared up for vacation fun. And then there was me ... by myself. Not going to have any fun, either.
Fortunately, once I got through and met Jorge, who picked me up at the airport, I started to feel fine about everything and even be a little excited.
We went to see Dr. Carmona. Sheesh, he looks about 26. I'll take what he's having!
Minor panic ensued when my credit card was declined, despite the fact that I had called them and even told them what amount I would be charging, before I left. Which was at 3:00 this morning, so I'm bushed.
At the moment my biggest problem is that I want to go to the beach and have adventures now that I'm in beautiful sunny Cancun - rather than go get my face chopped tomorrow!! At the same time I know how fortunate I am to be able to have this opportunity.
Thank you sll
What a supportive group. I am barely awake so update later.
It feels like this part will go on forever
Tight face, neck, prickly eyeballs, hard to brush my teeth, etc. I believe that today the bandages are coming off and I will wash my hair, which is kind of a scary proposition.
Surgery was done in the AmeriMed hospital, which was quite nice. I had a big private room. When they put me in there post op, for some reason they had the heater blasting. When I became aware of it I was stifling and feeling claustrophobic and panicked. My eyes were bandaged shut and I couldn't find the call button, so I was reduced to hollering for the nurse. Oh well, it worked.
It was actually funny, once the heater was turned off!
The nurses were kind and knew what they were doing.
I got bored, so I put on lipstick and took a selfie.
There are little hairlike threads crisscrossing over the bridge of my nose. I just noticed them in my interminable selfies. I actually had the unnerving thought that somebody's hairs are actually stuck there. They seem to be anchored underneath the steri-strips that are still on my sutures. Any ideas? I might have to go find a better lit mirror and investigate.
Beyond that, my swelling is really diminishing, and bruising around my eyes increasing. I haven't had a look at my neck yet. It feels tight. I have very minor discomfort from itchy sutures, prickly eyelids and a tight neck but no pain at all today.
I poked around on this site a bit several years ago, but never really got into it.
What I've learned here that has really surprised me is that there's this particular, uniform experience that so many women in my age range and I have had.
Honestly, I got over being self conscious about my looks when I was about 17. I was not traditionally pretty, I carried myself well and had a dancer's body, and people said I was "striking." I came to be fine with that.
As I got older, I guess I remained in a kind of denial about the fact of aging. I always thought it sounded kind of lame when women would say, "I wanted to look as young on the outside as I felt on the inside," Until I really GOT what was meant.
All my life people have not been able to guess how old I am. It's not that I look young; in fact, I probably looked about 35 from the time I was 18 through about 45. After that, things started to noticeably go in a direction I wasn't happy about - but I was mostly fine with it. Even though I got some veneers and my eyes and forehead done at about 52, I still hadn't really been hit with the harsh reality of my aging face. And life. It really hit me at about 56. Things really took a turn.
The experience I have had that I've learned is shared by many others on this site is that of literally being faced with a visage that just cannot really be me. I mean ... it must be a bad picture, right? Except all the pictures make me look like that unless I put a bunch of filters on them. Because, in fact, I actually DO look like that.
Also, that it seems to really fall apart all of a sudden after a point for many of us. Why? Is it hormones? Is it really falling apart a whole lot at once, or have we just come to a point where we can no longer deny that it's happening?
Whatever it is, it is hard to accept.
This is about vanity, but it goes deeper. It's not that much about how I look to other people, either. I want to like looking at myself in the mirror. I don't want to see myself as "matronly" or a "crone," even though we are supposed to be imbued with amazing wisdom by this phase of our lives.
I don't know why it's so hard to say goodbye to our faces and bodies as we like to remember them, but it sure is.
What a privileged bunch we are, to be able to do something to make ourselves feel so much better, in such a big way.
I left my room
Had surgery last Wednesday and today (Sunday) I finally went out of my room for the first time. I suddenly couldn't sit around anymore. My hosts took me on a drive around Cancun. I haven't been here in nearly 40 years! It is a completely different place than it used to be back then. We visited the Mayan museum in the hotel zone, it's really a beautiful and impressive one. I was walking around feeling great until suddenly I wasn't, but I still had to go back to the car. I'm perfectly fine though.
Healing seems to be going very well, swelling is to the point where I could pass for a normal person, but then there are the extremely bruised eyes and bizarre looking eyelids, facial incisions and the weird neck plaster. Stitches and that thing get removed tomorrow at my first post op visit with the doctor.
I'm getting my stitches out this afternoon, and this morning peeled off the plaster from my neck.
I think the results are going to be good. I'm not crazy about my neck because it looks like "weird ballet teacher neck," but that's due to my anatomy. I had no fat on my neck or under my chin, really, just loose skin and wrinkles. So when it's tight, my tendons and musculature are pretty visible. It's more noticeable on the right. I think it's because I'm right handed and have more muscle built up on that side. So, I'd love to end up with a beautiful smooth neck but the way it's looking is a vast improvement to the way it was before.
My lower face and jawline look good and are very numb and creepy to touch.
My eyes are still bruised and beat up looking. Incisions still red.
Overall, judging by what I've read on this site, I'm doing okay for day 5.
I think the ones in front of my ears are far redder and more angry looking than others at my stage.
Day 6 pictures
I'm feeling good and things look much better for the most part. It's interesting how bruising disappears one place and shows up in another on a daily basis.
Today is not one of my best. Nothing big, just more swelling, tightness, bruising, bad sleep last night, feeling generally poor. I experimented with full makeup today and got so exhausted I couldn't even finish, so now I look alarmingly like Christopher Walken. Except tighter.
It's hard for me to relax anymore as well. I have an extremely active life on a farm where I am often physical from the time I get up in the morning until dinner. Even though I'm feeling tired and low, I also feel quite wound up. Oh well.
Day 9 update
8 Apr 2016
Day of treatment
I think I had the best night of sleep so far last night, and it did me a world of good. I took a walk to the nearby mall by myself and just tooled around there for quite a while without getting exhausted.
I still have quite a lot of bruising, especially on the right side, and the incisions around my ears don't look pretty. My ears themselves don't look pretty. They are really huge, like an old grandpa's.
My eyes are much better, the left is more swollen and has a kind of bruise that I am not sure will go completely away.
I'm happy already with the results. Even if I stayed like this, bruising and all, I look better than I did pre-surgery.
Today was my final appointment with Dr. Carmona. I had the stitches around my ears and above them removed and he was pleased with the results.
There is still quite a bit of healing to go but I am quite sure I'm happy and satisfied with my whole experience. It's been quite epic, actually, and I'm feeling a little bit of let - down now that it's coming to a close. I'll post more pictures and some observations soon.
Headed home tomorrow!
I traveled yesterday and today jumped back into my strenuous everyday life full force, so now I'm too tired to write anything more than my husband seems to think I look nice, and FOUR of my clients (who haven't seen me for over 2 weeks) went on about how much weight I'm losing. I have lost quite a bit starting in January, but since the last time they saw me I gained 2 pounds. They just can't figure out what's different. I'll post a few pictures from yesterday (day ll).
15 days post
I still have a shiner on the right, and generally weird swelling on that side. My eyes are puffy, on and off through the day. My neck and jaw look great, IMO.
I'm never getting any sun on my face, neck or chest again. Or my hands. Or arms either, I guess.
3 weeks ago
I was in Cancun going through a dramatic and frightening experience. Now I'm back to everyday life. I still have a bit of a shiner on the right. My incision scars still show and I am a little concerned that some sutures evidently are still there.
I decided to get a fringe - first time in my life that I've had actual "front bangs." I like it!
Hello, Real Friends
Yesterday was my 4 month anniversary of a lower face / neck lift with Dr. Marco Carmona in Cancun, Mexico.
I don't have new pictures today; will get some soon. The "newness" is wearing off and so is the desire to take plenty of selfies.
I am definitely happy with my decision and results. Everything is not perfect.
Yesterday I had a little scare due to some very mild spotting from the incisions behind my ears. It was negligible, but still a bit alarming, since I had the impression that these were well healed already. 8 hours later, all fine,
I still have swelling on the right side of my face. Nobody notices it except me. I have a bag under my right eye and a bit of swelling on my cheek that makes my nasal-labial line on that side more obvious than the other. I have very defined lines there anyway. I can see this in pictures but don't even really see it in the mirror. I am sure it will resolve, but even if it stayed like this I would still be happy with the results.
My neck feels weird and quite creepy, especially at the corners of my jaw near my ears. I hate to touch it. Again, this will probably get much better and, in fact, as time goes on I am getting used to it. Every time I wash my face or apply moisturizer or makeup, though, it's cringeworthy.
The worst thing at this time is that I don't really have a feel for what is too much for me to do. As I've said, I have an active life on the farm. Sometimes I just get a really tight and full feeling in my neck. I can't really look straight up comfortably and if I yell a lot (I actually do, unfortunately, because I am training and working sheepdogs from a great distance. Usually I whistle but sometimes they need to hear my voice) my neck gets uncomfortable. It's not a big deal at all, but I don't want to mess it up. I like the way my neck and jaw look a lot!
I also had a touchup on my eyes, which is perfect.
On the upside - which constitutes 90% of my opinion about this - I am so much happier when I look in the mirror. People keep going on and on about the way I look. I tell the truth to those who are close to me, especially if I think they will feel encouraged to go ahead and explore something like this for themselves by knowing my experience.
I don't look 35 years old, and I don't look 60 either. I think I look kind of "ageless." I like it!
5 weeks after surgery
I am very happy with the results. Still have some swelling, mostly on the right side. The dissolvable stitches are evidently not finished coming out, since I find little knots here and there. I'm thinking that must be just about finished.
People are making a big deal about how good I look! I like it! I think I've written before that I lost a substantial amount of weight and most are attributing it to that, but I wonder if they all think I had plastic surgery. I really do look a lot better. I don't give a crap whether they know or not, frankly. Having this procedure definitely has given me some motivation to keep the weight off.
Checking in ...
Hello everybody! Here I am in La Paz, Mexico, in the exact same place where I took all my first "before" pictures and made my decision to do this. (We are here again to complete my husband's dental work.)
It's going on 7 weeks since my lower face / neck lift and eye touchup and I am so happy with the results.
The host was all agog about how good I look (new hair and 20 lb weight loss happened, and that accounts for it, for most people).
One friend, though, looked right at me and asked, "did you get your eyes done?" (interesting because my "touch up" is the least obvious of my surgical improvements.) Of course I told her the truth, since she is my age and like many of us has toyed with the idea of cosmetic surgery. I'm glad I talked to her. She has been wanting to do something but is hesitant; the ladies at her gym all have the perpetually amazed, shocked and/ or surprised look from overzealous brow lifts or eyebrow relocation. She did not want, but now that she sees there can be a different outcome she is considering.
I still have weird numbness in various places and once in a while my neck feels a bit alarmingly tight. I don't like to stretch it too much - it feels like I might do something to mess it up.
I don't have swelling anymore and actually my face looked a little better when I did - on the days when it was even, anyway! I am 60 and of course don't have "the fullness of youth"! I am thinking about getting a bit of filler for my nasal - labial lines. In any case, it is all good and I enjoy looking in the mirror, which I never thought would be the case again, pre "work"!
Soon I'll take some pics in the bathroom (I meat at the vanity, not on the toilet or in the tub or anything!!) where I took the first "before" ones, for comparison. There is some pretty harsh direct light in there that shows everything.
In the meanwhile, off to the dentist!
Wait. Something is not right. (7 weeks post)
Well, after all my happiness and positivity, I have to face the reality that there is something not quite right about my neck.
I've mentioned before how much I have hated touching below my right ear, where the ear, jaw corner and neck kind of converge. I even referred to it as "weird aging ballet teacher neck," or something like that. It was just creepy and numb and didn't feel right, so I avoided touching it altogether.
Yesterday I was taking some selfies (the interminable hobby of adolescents and Real Selfers) with the intention of posting them here - and I saw it.
At first I thought it was just caused by the way the light was hitting my face when I took the pictures, but, no. I have a super ugly bulging cord on the right side of my neck. It's hard to the touch; not always visible but if I strain my neck at all, including by making some facial expressions like a big smile, it sticks out A LOT. Totally noticeable if my hair is not down. Hair down pretty much hides it.
I also noticed in the selfies that my dark circle (formerly black eye) on the right is very much still there. I thought it was gone. I don't really spend very much time at a mirror in general and when the shock and newness of my procedures wore off a bit I stopped paying attention.
Even with the bulging and horrible looking neck cord and eternal black eye, overall my appearance is still improved since I had this stuff done and I do not regret it. But I'm bummed.
Two Month Update
Hello. I've had a good recovery so far, in general. A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a freakout because of that tight corded muscle in my neck. Per Dr. Carmona's advice I have been massaging it, and my whole neck. It's helping a lot, not only on that area but to relieve tightness and make it feel easier to move.
I have quite a bit of numbness in various places and that itch that's hard to scratch that others have mentioned.
Most of my swelling seems to be gone and, unbelievably, I miss it in some ways! When it was pretty even, my face looked fuller - a feature that many of us lose as we age. When the swelling was not even, however, I mostly looked like a person who'd had a real rough night, if not worse.
The healing is clearly not done and I notice changes from day to day.
I am very happy with the results and would do it over again any time.
3 month update
Just a quick one: I came to completely accept all the little discomforts and concerns like tightness, numbness, random swellings, intermittent visible cord in my neck. Overall I knew it was still a vast improvement and success, and I stopped thinking about it so much.
Yesterday I was driving and glanced n the mirror - and I noticed that I LOVED the look of my neck and jaw. So I snapped a couple of pics.
I had cataract surgery 2 weeks ago (I'm becoming bionic) and the doctor cut a blood vessel in my eye. Cosmetically it's horrid and certainly not confidence inspiring, still alls fine, but hence the shades.