My husband asked me what I wanted for my 35th...
My husband asked me what I wanted for my 35th anniversary present and I said (half jokingly and half dead serious) plastic surgery. To my surprise and delight he said "you got it". I am 63, active and fit, but for the last year I've really noticed the aging process progressing and making me feel self conscious . I've never had a problem with being photographed until recently when I now want more distance between me and the camera. Close ups don't lie! I am a medical professional and so is my husband. He recommended a board certified plastic surgeon with an excellent reputation who was a former President of the CT State Medical Society and President of the CT Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. His resume also included graduating first in his class at Penn State as well as a Chief Residencies in Surgery and Plastic Surgery at Yale. The icing on the cake is that he volunteers to travel to third word countries to operate on children with deformities. Yup, I guess he can handle some loose skin on my neck and lower face. LOL! The first obstacle was getting an appointment for a consult and that required a wait of several months. This doctor doesn't advertise and I've not seen anything about him on RS, but it intrigued me even more that he is so in demand.
The day of my consult finally arrived and I confidently informed the doctor that I was seeking a mini face lift. He examined my skin carefully and then explained that he would certainly be willing to perform that lift, but he felt that a mini or "weekend lift" would not adequately address the complaints that I have with my neck and that the results would not be as long lasting. He asked me to not make a decision right then, but to think about the difference in recovery and down time and his assistant would call me with the price differences between mini and full lift and the decision would be up to me. There was no attempt to sell me on additional procedures such as peels or laser treatments and I really appreciated that. 24 hours later I called the office and informed them of my decision to go with the full facelift. I am scheduled for June 29. I am very comfortable with the doctor and the procedure I chose.
I hesitated initially about the decision to document my journey on RS. I'm not ashamed that I've decided to proceed, but there is a part of me that feels guilty about spending so much money on self improvement. Like many others on RS have mentioned, I worry about being judged as overly vain and selfish. I have only told a couple of close friends and my darling daughter about my surgery. I know they will encourage and support me. I'll also be looking to the wonderful women that have paved the way on this website to provide excellent advise and support. I hope to pay it forward myself because I've found the experiences and the before and after photos of other RS women so invaluable and inspiring. And so the journey begins...
Moment of Panic
Today was my pre op visit. When I met with the PS I chose for the first time I had no idea that Realself.com even existed. I had done no research on the Internet and I couldn't have picked out a Platysmas in a police line up. Ha! What a newbie I was. Then I started perusing this site,and to be perfectly honest, I started spending my free time literally stalking complete strangers as they embarked on their plastic surgery journey. These gals were my new peeps even though they had no idea who I am or that I was fascinated by their posts. I arrived at my PS visit today armed with a full page of single spaced questions garnered from everything I learned from all of the amazing women who have gone before me. I am eternally grateful ladies!! If there is one thing I have learned so far it is that no two plastic surgeons are completely alike. Yes, there are standards of care that all good physicians adhere to, but when you are dealing with true artists, they each have their unique way of creating their canvas. For me the one non negotiable is that they must be board certified and have superior credentials and high marks on quality measuring sites such as Web MD. It is important to do that homework before you choose a surgeon and thankfully that I did do. So on to today's' pre op.... Shortly after I arrived in the waiting room I broke into a cold sweat and started second quessing my decision. Was I crazy? What was I getting myself into? Then I was given the consent forms and in no way did that lessen my anxiety. Seeing the worse case scenario on paper was scary even though the PS verbally explained all that to me at the first visit. All of the happiness and gleeful anticipation I'd been experiencing all last week dissipated. Fortunately the receptionist said that I wouldn't sign the forms until I met with the PS. He immediately calmed all my fears and answered every single one of my questions in the calmest, kindest manner. Whew! Game on. Here are a few of the answers to my questions, some of which surprised me:
He carefully individualizes every face lift because no 2 faces are alike.
He does a SMAS on every patient, and long scar or short scar depends on the patient, in my case he thought it would be a medium scar.
No staples, only sutures and they will be desolvable.
No chin incision. He can reach the neck without that incision and get the same result.
No tying the cords of the Platysmas, he moves them apart laterally and has a good result.
No to icing the face, it constricts blood vessels. It I were having my eyes done, which I am not, he would definitely want me to ice.
Yes to Arnica, tablets the week before surgery and cream after to bruised areas.
Again, every PS makes recommendations based on their preferences. There is no wrong or right, but I think it's important to follow what they want you to do during recovery.
I left the appointment today feeling positive and optimistic which is my nature. Now it's time to work on some pre photos. Oh, and he didn't say anything about not having any alcohol so I had a glass of wine with dinner. Cheers!
Where did the time go. I can't believe that Wednesday is the BIG DAY! I am madly trying to get everything ready for recovery. I purchased a wedge pillow, Arnica cream and tablets, a fresh pineapple and pure organic pineapple juice, soft foods like apple sauce and a soft toothbrush. I got my hair cut yesterday and have an apt. for color Tuesday night. Today I got a mani/pedi. I still feel like I am forgetting something. Any other suggestions?
Hurray! Surgery Complete, Feeling Great
29 Jun 2016
Day of treatment
My surgical day has gone flawlessly. Up and on the road by 5:30 for the 1 1/4 hour drive to the surgery center located at my PS's office. The whole process well flawlessly. The entire staff was wonderful. I was very happy to be the first case of the day. The surgery lasted 3 hours, but I was sound asleep (conscious sedation) so it seemed like 1 minute. The nurse anesthetist was a delight. I've had no pain or nausea so far. I've peeked under the head wrap at the neatly placed sutures. No staples, no neck incision. I felt great on the drive home. My husband made me scrambled eggs, a blueberry muffin and pineapple juice and I scarfed the food down without any problem. So far so good. I'm prepared that there may be some rough days, but all of the staff reintegrated what the PS said that I should not have any pain. I hope they are right. I do have a slight dull headache so I'm going to take a couple of Tylenol. Let the healing begin!
My first Before and After
29 Jun 2016
Day of treatment
I know it's very early, to put it mildly, but I couldn't help but take a selfie comparison from the other day and today just a couple of hours post op while resting at home. The photos were both taken with the same expression on my face . As someone else stated, "a resting bitch face (RBF)." I'm feeling really well. My neck feels tight tonight, but not uncomfortable or painful. Tight is good, right? My big reveal will be on Saturday morning when the head-/neck wrap comes off.
I managed to get a fairly decent nights sleep despite sleeping upright. I'm happy to report that I still have no pain. Today my neck feels tight when I swallow and I've got impressive bruising on my neck, the only area I can see because of the wrap dressing. I'm not surprised that I'm bruised because my PS told my husband that I had one neck vein that he had to work on to stop the bleeding. I also didn't realize that the vitamin C supplement I take daily would contribute to bruising. I should have stopped it a week ago. I applied a layer of Arnica cream and am hoping that will help. All in all I feel really good. Absolutely no regrets.
Day 3 Post Op
I had my first post op visit with my PS this morning. He graciously agreed to meet me on a Saturday so that my husband didn't have to take a day off from work yesterday. I got an excellent report card. He thinks everything is healing well. He wasn't surprised by my bruising because he said he spent a lot of time working on my neck getting it as tight as possible without it looking too taunt and unnatural. I was given the lovely (sarcasm) face bra to wear. I actually think it feels really good on my chin although something tells me I will come to loath the device. I am allowed to take it off for sleeping if it is uncomfortable. The best news is that I can now wash my hair. He said regular shampoo and conditioner are fine, yipeeeeee! I was instructed to not use anything on the suture lines. I'm happy about that after seeing all of the complaints on RS about trying to get ointment out of hair. I'm still taking Arnica and using Arnica cream on the bruising and consuming pineapple via smoothies and juicing. Yesterday I felt pretty blaaaah all day. I managed to convince myself that the surgery was a complete and utter failure. I think it should be required that all mirrors be removed from the home for the first week after surgery. I don't know about anybody else, but I kept looking in the mirror (yes, obsessively) for the facial rejuvenation I was seeking and only saw a bruised, battered looking mess. Fortunately today is a better day and getting out of the house for the 2 hour + r/t drive to the surgeons office lightened my mood.
So here I sit, a pineapple spritzer in hand, squeaky clean hair and a satisfied smile. I am posting a vegetable "water retention" juice recipe that I tried yesterday that really seemed to help me with swelling.
Day 4 and I'm Astounded
I decided to reenact a photo pose today to see if I noticed a significant difference. I'm hoping the after photo isn't swelling that will disappear. The bruising on my neck is rapidly progressing to pretty shades of yellow and green and swelling has gone down, although there are a couple of pockets in my neck that wax and wane. Overall I now see much evidence of the clock turning back. Before this surgery I would have been horrified to have pictures on public display without make up, but now it seems perfectly normal. I am looking forward to dressing up this new look with cosmetics when the sutures come out.
Happy July 4th
I'm still in hiding ,but rockin' the Independence Day Look! I hope everyone had a healthy, healing holiday.
Day 6, Sutures Out, Dinner Out
I was very happy to get front of ears sutures out, but the back of my ears are dissolvable so they will take another week or two. I was instructed to use Bacitracin 2x a day. Darn! I thought I could avoid that mess. The PS's aesthetician recommended Neocutis Bio.Serum for the scars. She said it does an amazing job. I said I'd take some and then my jaw dropped when she told me the price. I later found it on line $46 cheaper...errrgh! I am able to hide my facial bruises with my hair and a scarf is working fine to cover the pretty (ugly) colors on my neck and chest. I had my first public outing, dinner at a yummy tapas restaurant. It felt great to do something fun. I didn't run into anyone I know...yay! My PS said I don't have to sleep with my head elevated anymore. I guess I'll try it and see if swelling is worse tomorrow. Still sporting the face bra at home. It felt good to put it on tonight after an active day. Tomorrow will definitely be a chill day,
S is for Swelling and Sucks and Stupid
I made a couple of questionable, ok stupid, decisions. First I decided to try and sleep flat, second I ate guacamole and chips (sodium city) last night at the tapas restaurant and third I donned a big floppy hat today and went out to my garden to pick some flowers and do a little watering in the 90 degree heat. Oh silly me, even my dogs refused to go outside and join me. I guess they have more sense! Oh well, this too shall pass, right? Well on the bright side, I did pick some pretty flowers to cheer me up. As Oprah would say " when you know better, you do better". I now know better.
Hopefully my new cut will divert attention at work from my new face. Wink Wink. I still have 11 days until I have to go back.
Day 11 Progress Report
I've turned a corner with my neck recovery. The lumps are smaller today and with concealer the bruising is barely noticeable. The warm compresses and gentle massage has helped tremendously. I am starting to get a picture of what the final result might look like. My chest bruising is going to take some time, but that area can be easily hidden. Hip Hip Hooray for progress.
14 Days and Very Happy
The past 2 weeks have flown by! I decided to perform the ultimate test last night and hosted a dinner party that included 3 couples that I work and socialize with. Nobody seemed to notice that I turned the clock back a few years in just a few weeks. I am continuing to heal, and 90% of the bruising is gone. I still have a few lumps and bumps in my neck. One will resolve, then another one appears in a different place. I know they will eventually resolve. Here are a few pictures from the last 2 days.