52 and Didn't Care for the Strange Old Lady in the Mirror! London, GB

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I think I always knew that one day I would...

I think I always knew that one day I would probably need a facelift. I was a sun worshiper from an early age and even at age 10, remember slathering on the oil and lemon juice and frying myself in the midday sun, all in the name of 'beauty'! In my 20’s I lived in France and Africa, and when I occasionally resorted to some protection, it was generally factor 2 or 4, and I took the appointed hours to avoid the sun, as a bright green light for maximum tanning! Coupled with this and a fondness for drinking, smoking and generally partying my way through to my mid 40's, shortly after my 50th the day of reckoning finally arrived, and all those misguided, reckless chickens of the past came home to roost!

Obviously the ageing process didn't happen overnight, and I suppose I began to notice changes to my behaviour on family holidays when photos were being taken, I either hid behind someone else or deleted the results because I looked so old and awful. Like many others, I really noticed things speeding up with the menopause and decided, I was going to have to take action and my search for a surgeon began.

I went on-line and read everything I could about cosmetic surgery, good, bad and horrific and even downloaded operations to see what I was letting myself in for. Whilst I would not wish to comment on or discredit any surgeon without first hand experience, I would certainly recommend doing your research as thoroughly as you can and DO NOT assume celebrity surgeons are the ultimate simply by virtue of their association. They may or may not be, but I can only speak from my own opinion and experience.

In the course of my research, I found the stories from people brave and generous enough to share their experiences on RS to be incredibly helpful and informative, and for that I am so grateful as it undoubtably led me to best decision I could have made with my choice of surgeon.

Initially, I made appointments with 2 well known (London) surgeons, assuming that would be a good place to start, and felt reasonably confident with my decision. As time went on and I continued researching, one name kept cropping up with rave reviews and it was starting to bug me. That name was Dominic Bray. I kept trying to find favourable reviews on my chosen surgeons in an attempt to justify my decision, but could only find a handful of good ones and actually uncovered 2 bad ones from a 'celebrity' one I had booked with and that was enough for me to cancel.

I was beginning to suspect some kind of mass conspiracy. I mean how could one individual keep receiving 10/10 reviews? By now it was rattling me to the point that I could no longer ignore it and telephoned his office to make an appointment. I'd heard of Lucy his PA via RS patient reviews and like everyone else found her to be every bit as lovely as they said.

When I saw Dominic I knew instantly it would be pointless to go elsewhere. I took my husband along as it was important to me that he was on board and I value his opinion. He is absolutely nobody's fool and refuses to waste money, (unlike me who loves to)! so when we left the consultation and said 'He's your man' the deal was sealed.

52 and didn't care for the strange old lady in the mirror

I have spent quite some time agonising whether to include some pretty awful before photos and equally gruesome after ones(!) but decided that without those kind of images from other ladies, who probably felt the same, I may not have had the courage to go through with it. Having any kind of elective surgery is always a big decision and I think especially so with your face. As my aim was to have a subtle but better version of myself, without doubt, the before and after shots on Dominic's Gallery dispelled any qualms I may have had, and made choosing him as the man to trust, a very easy decision indeed. So thank you ladies! Xx

Would you ask for your ball back from this lady....!

Road to recovery...

Recovery was no picnic, at least for me, maybe I was just a wimp! I took paracetamol every four hours and initially was counting the hours till the next one. I also felt quite sick and shivery for the first 24 hours, not helped by the constant, but necessary, icing, so I used a hot water bottle for my feet, which really helped.

Small set back

Just when I thought I was turning a corner, returning from London, i came down with a horrid flu-like bug and so it was back to bed for another 4 days & nights and more mindless trash tv washing over me!

Getting better by the day!

Definitely on the mend. Been out and about shopping, and haven't noticed anyone gasping in horror. I have to keep reminding myself that passers by aren't necessarily expecting to see someone who's just had surgery coming towards them, even though I still feel a little numb along my jaw line and especially in the corners under my ears.

Scar pics as requested

Here are some pics of the scars look away now if a bit squeamish!

4 months later

Hi lovely ladies! I thought it was time for an update. It has now been 4 months since my face, neck and lateral brow lift and I am feeling happy because I'm feeling really normal! It sounds strange to say because up until about 2 weeks ago I still felt some numbness around my ears and jaw and when I smiled I was conscious of that (sensation), and wondered if I looked different or as if I'd had something done. I still have some numbness, and some days the area around my ears and jaw feel warmer than say my cheeks, but I'm assuming that's all part if the healing process. These however are small triflings compared with the old, very old, me! I think as the swelling subsides and your face settles down to it's new normality, it is very easy to forget the old version of yourself. A quick flick through the Before photos soon reminds me of how far I have come and I just feel so happy. So if you are reading this and contemplating surgery with Dominic (as he is the only one I can vouch for), I would say without any hesitation, just do it. You will be so pleased you did!

Obagi Nu Derm plus sunscreens.

I forgot to mention that I began using the Obagi Nu Derm skin programme, 5 months ago, which I highly recommend. It is quite a commitment both time wise and financially, but i figured if I was going to have a nice new face I wanted my skin to be in the best condition it could be. Wow, what a change of attitude from my sun worshiping days! In my case the first 2 weeks were the worst with redness (ironically looking like sunburn)! and lots of unsightly flaking of skin. But after that, things started improving bit by bit and I could really see a difference, both in the quality and tone. You have to factor in getting up a little earlier as I apply no fewer than 8 different potions in the morning, and it's a bit of a bind if you nod off on the sofa at night and suddenly remember - oh no the dreaded lotions! But if you can stick with it it's a fantastic product and I would never use anything else. Having said that my replacement products have been ZO Medical (By Zein Obagi, MD), which is even nicer. In a month's time, I will begin the maintenance programme and cut out some of the lotions, but will be using a factor 50 sunscreen and big floppy sunhat on holidays! Incidentally, I would say the only thing I didn't like was the Obagi Sun Shield factor 50. I found it made my foundation rub off along with some skin (not pretty) and I found myself having to start the whole skin care ritual again, so I gave up with that. Since then I have used Heliocare advanced Gel SPF 50 and Ultrasun tinted anti ageing for very sensitive skin SPF 30 which I wear instead of foundation, both are lovely to use. It's quite liberating to not wear any foundation now, I only use the tinted sunscreen, plus Boots No7 Instant Radiance Concealer (40), which is brilliant (and I have tried all the expensive brands)! Plus a little Bobbi Brown sheer finish pressed powder in pale yellow, to reduce any excessive shine, and a final dusting of Bobbi Browns illuminating bronzing powder in Antigua. This is obviously only useful information if you have similar colouring to me! but if you want a natural look but like to feel a little 'made up' they are very light products but give you the security of some coverage, if that makes sense!


Here are the products ...

I've been putting off the moment when I would write my review of Dominic because I wanted to think of something original to say, but it seems all the glowing superlatives have been used up, so five months post op, I'll just have to join the other thrilled Bray Babes in my praise and just say a huge thank you to the man who has made every day infinitely better for me. Choosing to have a facelift is not something you do on a whim. I did as much research as I could before going ahead and my objective was to find a surgeon who could reverse some of the life style damage caused by sun worship/smoking and alcohol. I wasn't wanting to look 25 or even 35, just the best example of me I could be, but initially wasn't sure how feasible that was. Like many people, I was nervous of making an irreversibly bad decision, fuelled by images of celebrities who had spoiled their looks in an attempt to restore their former beauty, I worried that if this was what happened to those with millions at their disposal what hope was there for me? But I continued my search and soon came across the RealSelf forum which led me to the person who really improved the way I feel about myself. Dominic is one of the most genuinely kind and charming people I've had the pleasure to meet, quite apart from being a superbly skilled and intuitive surgeon. From the first meeting, I knew there was no reason to continue my search and had absolutely no qualms about the impending surgery, such was my level of trust in him and his team. This proved to be well founded, and I sailed through the procedure, which didn't feel like surgery at all, more like a pleasant day dream! The twilight sedation was one of the things that most appealed to me as I did not want to risk any unnecessary general anaesthesia, and the fact that he could produce a more natural result, by asking me to smile, move my brows etc., during sedation, was key. I really cannot add anything more complimentary to say about Dominic, and his extremely professional team that hasn't already been said by so many and will continue to do so, other than he is unquestionably THE BEST! Lucy, his PA, and right hand woman deserves a special mention too as she is a walking angel, kind, patient, beautiful and super efficient to boot! Andy, my anaesthetist on the day, was also wonderful, and made me feel so safe and calm, I simply couldn't have wished for a better experience. In short, if you are considering surgery, and want a naturally beautiful result with fantastic before and aftercare, look no further. One of Dominic's previous patients aptly described hers as a 'life lift' which is exactly what it is and for me, continues to be, beyond price. A million thanks Dominic - you deserve all your stars! X

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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