I'm 43yrs old. I have had droopy eyes and a...
I'm 43yrs old. I have had droopy eyes and a double chin most of my life regardless of my weight, even got made fun of for it as a kid. The biggest I have ever been was at the beginning of this year at a size 12. I've lost 45lbs this year and now on top of the double chin/jowls, I have a turkey wattle and my neck has wrinkles from all the loose skin. I finally gathered the courage and funds, and I plan to bring in the new year with a new me! I am also a smoker, and just started taking Chantix to ease the pain of quitting. It's going to be hard, but I have too much on the line here to be taking chances, so I will finish the pack I have and that's it.
I'm so excited, but I'm also terrified my face will look unbalanced with my fat cheeks once the chins and jowls are gone.
I go back to the PS on Thursday but plan to go shopping this weekend for some supplies, what things did you find the most helpful in your recovery?
A week from now...
I will be recovering from surgery and I'm more nervous than ever. When I first saw the PS he said lower facelift and didn't describe exactly what that would entail. By the time I went for my pre-op appointment I was much more informed and asked specifically what he would be doing. Long story short, I'm getting a MACS lift. I have read those don't address the jowls/neck much and since that's what prompted me to go see him to begin with, I'm really worried I won't get the results I was led to expect. This doctor has a good reputation and I hope I'm just being paranoid!
Cried like a baby.
30 Dec 2013
Day of treatment
Surgery was this morning. Obviously way too soon to know what my results will be but I felt under my face and there was a distinction between by chin and neck I could feel even through all the gauze. I whipped out my phone to take a picture. And burst into tears. Not only do I have a jawline of some sort(hopefully a nice one but won't know that for awhile), I have eyelids! Words can't express what it was like to see my eyelids exposed and a promise of a chin that does not go straight into my neck.
I won't get to talk to the doctor until tomorrow but the clinical staff said he did another procedure and my neck hurts more than anywhere else plus I have marking on it that wasn't done prior so surgery so I suspect he got in there and realized it needed more work than he thought. I had told him before going in that if he needed to excise more than expected to do it, I can easily hide more stitched with my long hair.
Sorry so wordy, I'm just so happily surprised!
30 Dec 2013
Day of treatment
Realized I posted a pic with ice pack hiding my neck! Here is a better one. Note that is NOT a wrinkle on my neck, it is a marker line. I'm guessing it was originally at the base of my neck. Something I didn't notice earlier, all of the "circles" of wrinkles I had in my collarbone area are completely gone as as result of whatever he did. I never mentioned them and did not expect they would change at all, much less disappear but they have. I can't wait to see what's under this bandage tomorrow!
day after surgery
The drains were removed today, my hair washed, and the gauze replaced with a comsression garment. My PS had no idea what the girl in recovery was talking about, said he didn't do any additional procedure. Sadly, he also said swelling was probably why my neck circles are gone and that they will likely return.
I'm in more pain now, he wasn't exactly gentle pulling the drains out and the one behind my right ear pulled on the incision and my nerve endings were screaming. The hoodie I was wearing has blood on it :( he said I could stop with the ice packs if I want but since the pain meds aren't affecting me (pain meds never help me) the ice packs are my pain relief and I'm going to keep using them. My only real pain is on either side of my Jawbone. I asked if he had dislocated it during surgery and got a strange look!
I got to see my neck for a moment before he put the sling on. It looks awesome! If it stays this way I will be beyond happy. Little nervous that one side of my face is swollen so much more than the other but I know that's not uncommon. I do not have warm fuzzies about his bedside manner today, but it is NYE so that could be why. The important thing is the results.
Can't eat due to jaw pain. Best I can manage is mashed potato. You know when you feed a baby and have to wipe baby food off their lips? Thats what its like. Even jello requires more chewing than I can do right now. My neck has a little bruising but none on my face yet. I am a big bruiser so I assume the arnica must be helping. Thanks to the person who suggested pineapple juice. I normally don't like it much but it tastes like pure heaven right now. Eyes aren't hurting and for the first time since I can remember, aren't watery. It feels really strange to not have all that extra skin weighing them down. Cant picture what they will end up looking like at all. Cant picture what I will look like, but I am pretty sure it will be a dramatic change!
Still no bruising!
PS indicated today would be when I have the most swelling and bruising. Swelling hasn't gotten better or worse and I have zero bruising unless it's on my neck hidden under the compression sling. I am taking Arnica whenever I think about it, and drinking a ton of pineapple juice, but I'm normally such a bruiser! I am in more pain today but that could be from my dad and his wife stopping over to visit. Dad had been wanting his neck fixed too, but said one look.at me changed his mind!
They thought I had lost a ton of weight (i saw them just a week ago!) and seemed shocked by my size, but I'm no smaller than they last saw me...except in the face. I suspect I'm going to get that a lot now that the size of my face is more in line with the size of my body. Works for me, I'd rather claim its weight loss than admit I had a facelift and be judged.
The itching, oh the itching is maddening already and I'm sure it's only going to get worse. Fingers crossed I don't scratch in my sleep and pop a suture. My throat is also still raw. It feels like the anesthesiologist used a razor blade to intubate me.
Eyes feel great, just swollen and tight. I still marvel over seeing eyelashes, very eager to see them in makeup.
Anyone remember the short lived reality show called The Swan? I feel like one of the contestants, except I only had 2 things done instead of 10. Happy New Year!
First good look
Showered this morning, that was not fun. Blind without my contacts, afraid to turn my neck, and trying to wash my hair. I'm sore from the effortless. I got my first good look at Dr. Hummel's handiwork and wow, just wow. Can't see well enough to comment on the stitches or my ears, but here's some pictures.
I hope my posts are helpful to someone, it feels a little strange sharing such intimate details...I bought stool softener just in case. Apparently mom picked it up and took it home. Enter the worst pain I have ever experienced. It was so bad that I felt back there to see if my insides were coming out, cuz stool sure wasnt! I didn't even care if the straining busted stitches, it was like a huge knife was slicing me open. Be sure to have stool softener, not laxatives, on hand!
On a happier note, showering was easier today and I think I'm looking great! My face is still lopsided but I assume that's just swelling. Other than in the shower I'm wearing the sling 24/7. It makes me feel safer. I can eat crackers now and really want real food but terrified what normal food might do to my intestine!
scary sutures day 6 update
Another post that hopefully might help someone else as i could not find a good pic of sutures on day 6 to reassure me I didn't need to be worried about mine. Left side stitches not looking great and giving random sharp pain. Googled for a few hours before I gave in and contacted the doc. As a former smoker (22 days smoke free now and zero desire to pick one up) necrosis is a big fear of mine! I texted him a pic of the stitches and he said it looks like delayed healing and nothing to be too concerned about at this point. My compression sling seems stretched out a bit so I wonder if its been cutting off the circulation or if its swelling going down, or the 5lbs I've lost from not being able to eat? In any case, it's kept getting looser so I kept adjusting it tighter. He had me take it off and within a few hours I felt better, but started bruising on that side of my face so I put it back on, but as loosely as I could.
Tomorrow I'm supposed to start working from home but I'm not sure if I'm ready. Sitting at a computer all day programming sounds a bit much still with these stitches in my lids and having glasses pressed up against the painful sutures since I don't have the ok to wear my contacts yet. I'm assuming when those sutures come out day after tomorrow I'll be ok.to wear them again. My eyes have swollen back up a bit from crying. It was a dramatic weekend. Do NOT cry when healing from blepharoplasty if you can possibly help it!!
Most sutures have been removed
Most of my sutures were removed yesterday and I learned my compression garment was too large. It should rest on either side of your ears but not cover any part. Between the suture removal and the change to a proper fitting sling, I am pretty much pain free at this point! I was given the okay to start wearing my contacts again, tweeze my eyebrows, and while I was advised to try to not sleep on one side all night, I don't have to sleep on my back raised to a 30 degree angle anymore either!
Here is a before picture taken in December. Like all pictures of me prior to last week, I have my eyebrows raised and an excessive amount of eye makeup on but you'd never know it.
10 days in and I'm finally suture free! My left side continues to be behind on healing both the incision and the swelling. Seeing one side of my nose and mouth look pulled down is a very scary thing, I can see why it's common for people to get depressed at this stage! Trying to stay positive. PS says my eyes and neck are still pretty swollen as well. Tried to put on some eyeliner and it looks very strange. I look like Droopy Dog the cartoon character might after having a stroke.
My chin and my neck are no longer one continuous body part. I have a line where my chin meets neck from the pressure of the compression garment, and another on my neck where the garment stopped. Because of this I'll only be wearing the chin strap a few hours a day, the PS shares my fear that they'll become permanent wrinkles.
12 Days Post Op
I got bored and decided to cut bangs into my hair. Wasn't sure I wanted to, and not sure if I like it, but I can use it as the excuse for looking different.
My paranoia about the lopsided face continues to grow. Say a prayer for me please.
The left side of my face remains a little swollen. The left cheek either has a knot or has been lifted higher than my right. Basically if you drew a line down the middle of my forehead to my chin and compared the two sides, they are off. From the eye showing more lid on one side, the different wrinkle by the mouth, and even a bit of a jawline difference, my face is asymmetrical. I keep thinking of all the various things I felt pull on the right side of my face when the PS removed the drain and wonder if some important nerve was severed, or an important stitch from the lift itself?
Well this is a scary development
2 1/2 weeks post op. My chin suddenly becomes lumpy and wrinkled??
3 weeks post op
No real changes in appearance but the incision line on the left side did get cleaned up a bit today. I'm not sure if it looks better or worse, the scabs are gone but there are some raw holes in their place. On the upside, the difference in my profile is night and day already. I mentioned my asymmetry to the PS and he still believes it's swelling, especially with the one side having healing issues, so we shall wait and see.
I knew I wouldn't be fully healed a month after surgery, but...
I knew I would possibly have nerve damage and numbness, but I didn't expect to feel the way I do right now at 4 weeks post op, and the things I'm worried about.. are not things I even considered as being worth concern.
TIghtness/Numbness: The best way I can describe it is how it might feel if someone were to have sewed a thread around my head fairly tight. One earlobe is numb and on both sides it's numb from ears to about halfway up the side of my cheek. Neither eyelid would seem to be numb, but when I put eyeliner on the upper lids I can tell I don't have full feeling.
Swelling: I spent the last month looking in the mirror thinking "Why have I never noticed how huge and ugly my nose is?!" I'm happy say in the last week it's returned to normal. I feel like all of my swelling is mostly gone at this point.
Pain: I have the small area of necrosis on my left side which is sometimes a tiny bit painful, but otherwise I have no real pain. Underneath my chin is very tender and I have some tenderness of the jawbone
Appearance: I continue to have what is, to me, an unacceptable amount of disparity between the left and right sides of my face. My left side looks to have had more correction, from the bleph down to the facelift. I have more eyelid showing, a slightly higher cheekbone, and less jowl on that side. While I'm not unhappy with the right side, the fact it does not match the left continues to be a pain point for me. If this does not resolve itself, I will be seeking revision surgery.
Almost 6 weeks post op
I had a follow up appointment yesterday.
I'm finally healed enough to not put antibiotic ointment on daily, and I get to dye my hair. Gray roots, be gone!
I've had lots of confirmation from friends and family that my face is off kilter and I'm happy to say my PS did not brush me off when I again brought those concerns to him. He is hopeful (as am I!) that it's just swelling but gave me reasons why this could happen and will do revision surgery if it's still like this @ 3 months. I can't say how relieved I am after reading some of the stories here! I am hating that I'll have to walk around another 6 weeks like this, but knowing he'll make it right goes a long long way and if he can make the right side of my face look like the left...I'll sing his praises all over the internet, lol. I am very very happy with the left side of my face!
Swelling: One of the 2 coworkers who knows what I had done saw me today after seeing me 2 weeks ago (we work from home normally) and literally the first thing he said to me was "You are less swollen".
TIghtness/Numbness: TIghtness has decreased quite a bit this week. No change on the numb side, but nerves heal slowly!
Pain: Under my chin is still tender but not as bad as it was. The tenderness in my jaw is better but the right side still hurts a lot if I yawn. Sleeping on either side is not comfortable for too long, but no real pain.
Random: I have a lump under either side of my jaw. I'm assuming it has to do with liposuction of my jowls. PS isn't worried, said it will go away. It's messing up the "after" profile pics I keep trying to take of myself, but I'm not too worried at this point.
Almost 8 weeks post op
21 Feb 2014
2 months post
I'm really surprised at how much change I've seen over the last 2 weeks! My cheekbones are starting to look a little more defined as well as my jawline so it makes the lopsided face a little bit easier to look at in the mirror but my wattle seems to be returning as well, so I'm torn on how I feel about these latest changes.
Nerves are healing faster than I expected. Still some numbness, but it's gotten much better over the last 2 weeks as well.
Revision done - while awake
24 May 2014
5 months post
Yesterday my revision surgery was done to correct the asymmetry. My PS had indicated it would only take about an hour so rather than pay for anesthesiologist and facility fee at hospital again, it was done in office. Knowing the anesthesia would be extremely painful there, I asked about a topical numbing ointment being a possibility. There is apparently only one pharmacy in the area that is willing to make this compound, it cost $52 and they would not take insurance, but I went ahead and got it prescribed. I applied it to the side of my face every 15 minutes for 2hrs prior to the surgery. It only numbs the skin not the muscles of course, so I still had extreme pain during the numbing and consider it wasted money. That was, however, the only pain I felt during the surgery. It was more than a little creepy to hear my skin being cut, and when he was suturing the muscle it sounded like a plastic zipper. The smell of skin being cauterized is another thing to be aware of, but that I was prepared for so it wasn't a surprise.
If you're not scared off by those things, I think I would recommend being awake for surgery rather than under general. I could tell by the tug of the suture what area was being taken care of and know that my jowl was indeed pulled back tightly, I could feel the remaining waddle under my chin being tugged on. It was oddly gratifying. I was able to get up and leave immediately after surgery, and though when the local wore off a few hours later I was in crazy amount of pain, I was able to drive myself to the pharmacy to have my pain script filled.
Now of course the right side of my face looks nothing like the left due to the swelling, but my only concern is will I have the opposite problem as before, and now the right side be nice and tight and the left side be relaxed in comparison? Time will tell, but at this point I have enough trust him my PS that I think he'll make it right if that's the case - though I of course hope to never have to go through any of this again.
1 week after revision
30 May 2014
5 months post
I'm still swollen, but very glad I had the revision. It has been a much much easier recovery than the original surgery. Looking forward to getting the stitches removed this morning!