I am 50 years old and now showing some signs of...
I am 50 years old and now showing some signs of facial aging but still with some skin elasticity. After much research on line, I have chosen to go with Dr Lev for a full facelift and bleph. Tying up loose ends for a flight out of the U.S. and into Costa Rica to meet with Dr. Lev in October. I also plan to have some dental work completed prior to my surgery. I will be staying at Verdeza post recovery for approximately 2 weeks and 6 nights at the Marriott Residence Inn for some sightseeing and cosmetic dental work.
I have been corresponding with Didi, Dr Lev's U.S. coordinator, who has been very helpful .I will update further as the surgery date nears.
I am in Costa Rica with some time to look around and get some dental work done
Vanity is a funny thing. My husband tells me he loves the way I look and there is no need to subject myself to some suffering. But when I look in the mirror, I think that improving my appearance will be so much more enriching and an empowering experience. This whole aging process of wrinkled skin, cheeks going south, eyelids looking sad is a concern.
I am ready to take the steps and have prepared obsessively to enhance my looks. So my journey begins. I will share to all those who are planning so that they maybe helped as I have been helped by the reviews and experience of those who bravely contributed their journeys on this site.
I have learned a lot from the reviews on Realself and their reviews have been invaluable.
I arrived Costa Rica on Oct 7th, a week earlier than scheduled, to site see and get some dental work done.
I was met by Dr Anglada's driver, Memo, at the airport and was taken to Hotel Alta in Escazu. The following day, Thursday, Memo was early to pick me up for my consultation. I have decided to receive dental implants and got Dr lev's okay to proceed with it. I am two days post up recovering from 2 implants and a tooth extraction. I felt no pain while in the dental chair including the administration of anesthesia. The hardest part was the bridge removal. 2 hours after, I was done. I went to bed with some pain and took Tramadol. The following morning I had no pain and saw Dr Castro for consult. I have 2 appointments next week for cleaning and crown pending status of mouth inflammation.
I have had some time to reflect and post my thoughts.
So far so good. I am very pleased with dr Anglada's infection control method while receiving the implants. I felt well taken care of and his entire team were wonderful. I will post pricing for my implants and dental work under another heading.
Note that Dr Anglada performs only implants. Dr Castro will make my crowns and complete other dental work
In talking with Dr Castro during my consult, I learned that he has had patients who have used Dr lev for facial surgeries and all have been very happy with their results. This little piece of information, cemented with great confidence my choice in going with Dr lev to perform my surgeries.
Alta las Palomas
Hotel Alta in Escazu, up in the hills, is a beautiful place. The views from the balcony is spectacular and the open cool air is relaxing. Downside is that there is little around as far restaurants to walk to and you really have to take a taxi to leave the hotel premises. I'm transferring to the Aloft hotel in Santa Ana so I can walk to the dental clinic of Castro and Anglada. There are plenty of eateries there and other establishments such as banks and shops that is walking distance.
Pre op requirements and medications
Prior to departing for Costa Rica and to avoid any surprises, I asked my personal MD to review my blood work for any underlying medical conditions that may cause postponement or cancel my surgery. She ordered a CBC and comprehensive medical panel as part of my annual yearly exam that knocked off a good part of Dr Lev's prep op blood test requirements. The rest I had Any Lab work complete. They do not require a doctors order. I sent my lab test copies to Didi, Dr lev's US coordinator. Verdeza, recovery facility will perform my EkG this week
Items I brought along with me are as follows:
Arnica tablets - for bruising/ swelling
Artificial tear lubricants eye drops - for upper/lower eye lift moisture
Auriderm - post op gel topical application for face bruising
Aquaphor ointment - lip moistener; moisture for dry itchy sutures/incision care
Tramadol for moderate to severe pain just in case
Hair pins/cotton swabs
Large smoothie straw
Ensure powder nutrition supplement/use with meals
Gel cold packs
Vitamin c, zinc, Citaphil soap
I am now 4 days post dental surgery and my face is still swollen specially around my cheeks and mouth area. There is also bruising located under both lower lids and side of mouth. Dr lev did not want for me to take any anti inflammatory medication so I've been taking only Tylenol, Arnica & antibiotic. I so hope this facial inflammatory process will not interfere with Dr Lev's work of art. Cross my finger it will all go away by the 20th. Glad I moved location to the Lindora, Santa Ana area. I can walk to restaurants. There is a supermarket nearby and there is a bank and a McDonald's across the street from the hotel. I can see the airplanes ascend and descend from my large window.
Time for some sightseeing
The inflammation that accompanied my dental implants/bone graft have calmed down quite a bit. Dentist put me on steroids and this helped bring the swelling down a lot. I have moved to the Peace Lodge Hotel at La Paz Waterfalls on Friday and this place is a haven for nature lovers who love being up in the mountains with lots of cool fresh air. I can walk to the bird sanctuary in 2 minutes from our room and have close encounters with toucans, hummingbirds, animals. The views from the balcony is glorious. We leave here in Monday to see Dr lev
Surgery done and recovering at Verdeza
There is so much I want to say about my experience but while at CIMA and now here at Verdeza, I have been feeling dizzy and light headed. My blood pressure has been high so one of the nurses contacted Dr lev last night and it was suggested that since i see him today for my first post op visit, we can wait to address it then. There is nothing I want at the moment than to remove these bandages off my head because it feels so tight around my ears and it hurts. Will write more when i can think clearly later.
Meeting Dr Lev
I met with Dr Lev the evening before my surgery so I needed the reassurance that I was going to be safe under his care and that the end result of my facelift would be a worthwhile endeavor. I wanted to be clear with him about my objectives in that I wanted to see dramatic changes to my neck with a very defined jaw line with nonexistent jowls. I also wanted to be sure that he will address my cheeks and mid face. I was reassured that the SMAS Facelift will not only address my fat neck and chubby jaw line but that my cheeks would also be lifted. So I got that out of my system and was happy to go forward with the surgery. Dr lev did not feel I needed a lower eye lift and I was okay with this recommendation so he wrote orders for CIMA for a N/L, F/L, and upper eye lift. Everything they say about Dr Lev has been true. I think he really cares for all his patients. He told me he has lunch with his wife everyday. So sweet.
I would never have surgery in another country outside of the U.S so CIMA hospital (JCI accredited) was the only way to go for me.
Time line 10/20th:
5:45 am picked up by Carlos at Residence Inn and taken to CIMA
6:00 am admission check in
6:30 am Met with nursing staff and questioned about medical history
7:15 am. Met with Dr Greenwood who examines me and explains the process. Finds my vein and starts an I.V. in my arm. He tells me I will have a breathing tube placed into my windpipe that will help keep me asleep. A little sore throat afterwards, maybe. Because my surgery will last longer than 2 hours, it will be important to insert a urinary catheter to keep me comfortable without having to get up for restrooms. while at the hospital, I learned that Dr Greenwood is part of a team of anesthesiologist (board certified) that participate in liver transplants so I knew Dr Greenwood has rehearsed his art for many years and knew I was in best of hands. . Such a comfort! He speaks fluent English with a bit of a German accent.
7:30 am Dr lev starts to draw on my face and we talk a bit
10 - minutes later, I am given an injection on my butt.
3:30pm I am in my private room
I had no memory of time after I was given the injection until I was in my room with my Family and Ms Didi (U.S coordinator) talking about how best to make me feel comfortable. I felt at peace knowing my family was there and Ms Didi giving me foot rubs and hummingbird sips of water. I was not allowed to drink anything until 9:00pm. If it were not for them giving me cold compresses and ice chips, I would have been a terrible patient for the nursing staff. I loose all graces when I don't feel well.
I am in the early phase of recovery tending to some discomfort around my ears and back of head. No longer lightheaded. I can chew a little bit and it gets better day by day. I take many little naps, eat great food brought up to my room and will have showered at least 3x today intent on getting my hair cleaned.
7:30 am Dr lev draws on my face and goes over what we talked about the evening before.
My eyes and face have been glued to the mirror today now that I can assess my entire face without the bandages. I can see remarkable improvements already and so far like what I see. But because I also know it will take months to see the final end results, I would like to defer my observation on this for the later. There are many photos posted on this site with the first month or two showing nice results which I think is great but best indication of a good facelift for me is how it looks a year or longer from now.
I would like to talk about Verdeza now that I have had a chance to observe and settle in. Following my discharge from CIMA, a group of folks were already outside waiting to receive me as Carlos Rojas stopped the Cab so I can get off and transferred to a wheel chair. I was wheeled in and met with Alejandra Zamora, a nursing staff, a manager who all welcomed me to a room on the 4th floor. My room was waiting for me and I was handed an electronic card key to access entry up to the elevators and access my room. It has a queen bed, a hospital automated bed, a leatheret electronic reclining chair, a mini kitchenette with a stove, microwave, fridge sink/faucet, a large bathroom. There are chairs and a dining table. There is a safety deposit box and a closet. My room has a big window with a nice view of the neighborhood. Avenida Escazu, Residence Inn, Starbucks is about 2 blocks away through a gated door. CIMA is walking distance as well. There are plenty of high end eateries in the area and high end shopping if you want to spend money. There are plenty of wellness and recovery centers in Costa Rica but I am so happy to have found Verdeza. I have very high standards when it comes to cleanliness and my room has met this expectation. My room is cleaned daily and someone brings up the restaurant menu 3x a day so I can choose my meals. I can't say enough about the food at Verdeza, it is healthy and presented beautifully. I must compliment the chef. Every meal I have had so far has been delicious. There is always fresh fruits, veggies and dessert if you want. I always ask for fresh fruit smoothies and it is delish. Another enriching experience here at Verdeza are the employees. I love each and everyone of the staff. They are all so helpful and polite and would go out of their way to accommodate a request. I think Verdeza is world class and the best recovery facility for me. I would hands down come back.
2 blocks from Verdeza is Avenida Escazu
Yesterday was the first day I decided to walk outside of Verdeza for some much needed exercise. Attached are photos of Avenida Escazu, a premier shopping district, quick access to CIMA Hospital and high end restaurants. This place is literally 2 blocks from Verdeza through a gate in between a glass building currently under construction and the Residence Inn
There is a Starbucks and food courts, ice cream shops, etc
Today I am feeling much better with some discomfort still around the staples located on my scalp and back of head. I see Dr Lev today for my 2nd post op visit and more stitch removal. My plan tomorrow, (a week from surgery) is to visit the Multiplaza Mall and window shop, my excuse for some exercise.
9 month post lower face and neck lift , upper eyelid lift
24 Jun 2016
8 months post
The worst of my fears have come to fruition. I am now 9 months status post face and neck lift and it looks like I will need another neck lift. I have had some dialog with Dr Lev over my double chin concerns and went back to Costa Rica in April so he can evaluate in person the outcome of my neck lift and make recommendations. To make a long story short, I will need a full blown neck lift revision. I am disappointed and very sad about my neck results. For now, I am looking at alternatives here in the states with the hope that maybe with time, I can just accept what I got and not have to go through another invasive procedure.