47 and Tired of my Sad Face - Houston, TX

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For the last few years I have been looking into...

For the last few years I have been looking into facelift procedures and trying to make up my mind about what to have done, and when. After talking to several doctors, I have finally decided to go through with my facelift one week before my 48th birthday. The doctor I have selected only works on faces, and I really latched onto his calm demeanor. Unlike other doctors I have spoken to, he did not try to upsell me on procedures I didn't want. I will only have a FL done - no neck lift and no eye work. This is not a short scar mini lift, either. I will be under general anesthesia, and spend the night in the hospital. The procedure will take about three hours. I'm excited but nervous: will the anesthesia make me throw up? What if it doesn't turn out right? Will I be able to hide for two weeks? What if the people at work find out? Thanks to all who have shared their stories here, I feel much more at ease than before, but like a normal person, I'm a little terrified. I've had 2 c-sections, so I can do this, right? I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a FL only. Fill me in! I'll post before pics as soon as I take some.

Before pics

Poll for those who have been there

My husband is, shall we say, less than thrilled about my upcoming procedure. I have talked about this for years and visited several doctors, so he knows it's not a snap decision, but nonetheless he is still not entirely supporive. He went to one consultation with me last year, but has declined to meet the doctor I'm actually using. He says he loves me the way I am, which is great and all, and he doesn't have a problem with my sagging face so he wants me not to care, either. He says he will drive me to and from the hospital and will stay during surgery but otherwise hasn't offered any real support. Has anyone else experienced this from a husband or partner? How did you handle it? Even my husband has admitted he will likely be happy with the results in the long run, but he just wishes I felt the same way he did. Looking forward to hearing responses. ...I'm a month and a half away from surgery day and need to get us both mentally ready for this!

One month to go

I realized today is my one month pre-surgery date and it's freaking me out a little. I have so many questions and irrational fears. What if I die on the operating table? What if my surgeon messes up? How do they get both sides of a face to look the same? What if I end up looking too "different "? What if I still look like a chipmunk when I have to go back to work? What if my husband hates it? Some of these sound crazier than others, but they have all crossed my mind at one time or another. I am just trying to keep reading the positive stories and reassuring myself that all will go well and I'll end up looking better. All you RS ladies look wonderful, and that's what is keeping me going. Even my own mother isn't worried about me so I shouldn't be, either.

All that said, does anyone have any recommendations for a wedge pillow? I am a dedicated side sleeper and I'm not looking forward to sleeping propped up on my back for a couple of weeks. I have a memory foam pillow that I will put on top of the wedge, so I'm not sure what a good height would be. Any other tips on what I need to consider getting my hands on before the big day?

Two Weeks To Go!

Ok, this will be brief because this site is so very unfriendly to my phone. My procedure is two weeks from today and I am somehow a little less anxious than I was a couple of weeks ago. I had my pre-op at the hospital on Tuesday...I'll have a pre-op with my PS three days before surgery. I have asked a lot of questions, but is there anything else I need to know or do or get before the big day? I'll need all the positive thoughts I can get because I know I'll be really, really nervous. I know a lot of you ladies who have gone before me

Pre-op today...and the countdown begins!

I had my pre-op with my awesome PS this morning. He clarified a couple of things for me. First, he refers to this as a short scar lift, but will be going under the SMAS to work with the muscles and ligaments underneath. I had thought short scar and deep plane were mutually exclusive, but I guess I was wrong about that. Also, the incision won't be in front of my ear, but will go behind the tragus instead. That was a bit if a relief. I'll be under general anesthesia (which I knew) with a breathing tube, but of course I won't be aware of that tube going in or coming out. The anesthesiologist is supposed to give me some happy juice in my IV before I go to sleep so I won't be aware of rolling back into the OR. Thank goodness for that. Post ops will be at 4 days and 8 days; on day 8 I get stitches out and start wearing the face bra. I'm supposed to be presentable enough to go back to work at 2 weeks.

All I need now is some pep talk from you RS ladies who have been there! I know I'll be really anxious on Thursday morning and hope I don't go into full freak out mode! I'm glad I'm doing this now but it's still pretty scary for me. How did you all get over the fear?


Ok, I have finally crossed over to the "other side. " I was a bit of a nervous wreck in pre-op and there were a few emotional tears, but once my PS showed up I was ok. I remember the trip to the OR and the mask they put on my face that made me cough, then nothing else until I woke up in recovery with a scratchy throat. I'm lucky enough to have no pain or nausea so far and got to indulge in a delicious lunch of green jello and apple juice. My face is wrapped up pretty tight, so I'm looking forward to a lighter wrap before I go home tomorrow. What a relief! Now on to the healing process! Thanks for all the tips and moral support! You all have been really helpful.

Am I supposed to look like I have been in a bar fight?

Two days post op and all is mostly well. No nausea, not too much pain, and I got a few hours of sleep last night. But my eyes! They are so swollen and watery and purple. I didn't even have any surgery done on those. I know this will go away in a few days, but it's a little annoying. Sometimes my ears itch too. Ugh.

I have my first post op on Monday, and contrary to what I thought, I'll get my face bra then and will get to take it off to wash my icky hair. I'm just trying to remind myself that I won't have a weird misshapen face forever. Patience may not be my strong point.

Day 4...Someone please tell me this gets better

I'm on day 4 of recovery from my deep plane FL and so far everything about this feels weird. I saw my PS yesterday to have him check everything and get my face bra. He says everything looks good, but if this is a good looking recovery I can't imagine what a bad one looks like. My face still looks like an inverted triangle from the swelling. The suture areas are leathery and numb, which I'm told is normal but feels bizarre. Bruising is getting better but I still have odd looking yellow areas on the mist swollen part of my cheeks. I finally washed my hair today, which is nice, but I'm still a little freaked when I look in the mirror. I know it's early but it's hard for me to imagine that I'm supposed to look presentable two weeks after surgery, ten days from now, which is what my PS has been telling me. Can anyone who has been through a deep plane FL weigh in on this? Is it typical to feel like an alien at this point after surgery?

Day 11 and there might be a light at the end of the tunnel

It has been about a week and a half and I am finally starting to look and feel slightly more normal. I won't lie...recovery has been slower and more frustrating than I expected, but maybe my expectations were a little high. I still have very noticeable swelling high up in my face, and it pulls the lower face up so I almost look like I have had part of my jaw removed. Most of the bruising is gone. I have a rather yucky looking scabby area in front of each ear that I think my PS referred to as de-epitheliation. He said it may have been the result of the initial post surgical dressing, which makes sense because for the first couple of days after surgery the itching around my ears drove me crazy and I tried to poke them as gently as I could to relieve it. So the scabs may be my own fault. I posted a before pic of my right side, which was worse than my left, and a couple of pics taken today. I had to make a run to Target and wore a scarf - kind of unusual for someone to wear a scarf in Houston in August - and didn't notice any funny looks.

I think the past several days have been hard for me for a number of reasons. I didn't really know what I would look like at this stage, and my face still looks alien and weird to me. The scab areas are hard to cover. I need to go back in the office on Thursday if possible, and I'm getting a little stressed out trying to think of excuses for not going in if I don't think I look "ready". My kids are still fairly young (13 and 10 ) and need to go places, and my poor patient husband has had to do all of that. I don't want to be out and about at this point, but the isolation has been difficult. I was probably a very good candidate for this surgery, medically speaking, but as someone who likes to have control over things, I am not very well suited psychologically for this recovery process. I have been looking at my face in the mirror and thinking "you have until Thursday! " but I know bodies are very individual and unpredictable and there is not much I can do to make that happen .

I'm very sure I'll be happy in the long run. I have a very good doctor with a caring staff. It's just that I can't see the long run just yet. I don't mean to whine - I realize how privileged I am to be able to even consider an expensive procedure that isn't medically necessary. I just wanted others in the same situation that are a few days out and having a tough time that this has been getting better, and it takes patience, which I am working on myself. Good luck to all of you!

Day 16 and I finally look pretty normal

Saw my doc yesterday and he said I was healing up nicely. I still have some upper cheek swelling that lakes me look as though I had cheekbone implants instead of a facelift, and the bottom of my face is still a bit narrow as a result of the swelling pulling everything up, but my doc assures me that in a week or so, I won't really see that anymore and my face will have a more natural shape. I saw a couple of friends last night who knew what I had done but hadn't seen me since the surgery, and they said I looked good, so I will choose to believe them! It was nice to finally do something social after two weeks of being a hermit.

New pics are from yesterday (white shirt) and Thursday (navy shirt). I am very happy with how my jawline is turning out, especially when compared with the before picture!

Thoughts on the one month mark

I'm one month post surgery today! I saw my PS on Friday and he assured me everything is healing well. He gave me a steroid shot on the left side to settle down a little "ridge" that won't go away. I still have a yucky scab on my right tragus, but it's almost gone now. Overall I'm very happy with the way my face is turning out. Yesterday my husband, who really didn't want me to have anything done, looked at me and said that I looked good and that "you look like yourself". That meant the world to me because we were both a little scared I would end up looking too "different".

Here are some thoughts on healing from my deep plane facelift.

WORK: I went back to work at the two and a half week mark. Visually, it was too soon. There is NO way nobody noticed something was off, but my co-workers are generally very polite and would never say anything like "what's the deal with your face?" I had two group lunches and a happy hour the first week, and i wasn't really up for up close socializing but couldn't realistically get out of it. I've been back two weeks now and am mostly over the self conscious thing. Oddly enough, just last Friday, a woman who works on my floor asked me about my hair, asked me if I'd lost weight, and said, "are you sure that's all? Because you look...different." Well, thanks, sweetheart. I actually had lost a few pounds and told her that , and we changed the subject. (Hardest diet ever, btw.)

SLEEP: It's still hard to sleep. I'm sleeping on my back, not because my dr says I have to, but because my face is still too hard underneath to sleep on the side of my face. Ambien is my friend.

MY FACE: I still have "cheek bumps" that look like little cheekbone implants, but they are getting better, and the bottom of my face is filling out and not so pulled looking. My jawline is awesome. See my car selfie? It's still weird to feel hardness under the skin, but it is getting better...very, very slowly. I still have a wicked bruise on my left side. I don't know why it won't go away. It lioves me, apparently.

SCARS: When do they go away? My left side still looks like Freddy Kruger got me. I use scar gel twice a day like I'm supposed to and do my best to hide them. I bought some concealer at Sephora before surgery and didn't feel like explaining to the twentysomething hipster saleslady what it was for, but she assured me that "it covers tattoos." Well, alright then.

Here are a couple of pictures. Gotta go make dinner now.

Totally worth it

It's been a while since my last update. I'm now at the 3 month mark and am so happy with my results! I saw a lot of old friends over the weekend and I got a lot of "you look great!" comments but I really don't think anyone can tell I had anything done. The scars are still visible but fading, and it will be a little while before I'm comfortable wearing my hair back in public, but I'm getting there.
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