Hey Real Self community. I'm chronicling my...
28 Jul 2016
Day of treatment
Hey Real Self community. I'm chronicling my experience because this site has been invaluable to me and I am grateful for all the people who took time to post their accounts here. I want to contribute more experiential information.
DOCTOR: After consulting with four doctors I decided to go with Dr.Ben Talei for my chin/neck lipo. He was the most personable of the doctors I had consulted with and I found pictures of his results to be impressive. I was looking to get septo-rhinoplasty as well, though I wasn't ready to pull the trigger with him as his work is a little conservative for me. The pictures of his lipo, however, showed dramatic change. He says he approaches chin/neck lipo aggressively and that appealed to me. I felt entirely confident in his abilities.
BACKGROUND: I am a generally thin, fit woman who just turned thirty. The fat in my chin is genetic and makes me look heavier than I am. While I have found it cute, it visually congested my face and I was tired of seeing how it added weight in pictures - that was not so cute. In many pictures my jaw looks defined (a combo of intentional head positioning, makeup contouring, and not having a huge double chin), but there are many where the extra chin fat is apparent and unable to be hidden.
PROCEDURE: Dr.Talei injected my chin and neck area many, many times with a solution that had lidocaine and epinephrin (among other things I cannot recall.) I found the injections to be a high pitched kind of sharp pain that actually worsened with each one. He says it is usually the opposite. Let me add I am a highly sensitive person. My wonderful cousin was there and let me squeeze her hand for each one. This part was not the funnest thing I have ever experienced.
Dr.Talei was casual, not stiff at all. We were all making jokes. I told him the epinephrin was making my heart beat harder and it was making me irritable. (I don't even drink coffee - uppers affect me very intensely and make me uncomfortable.) He offered me a valium, which I accepted and then left for a while as the numbing set in. During this time I did a couple meditations - one of which was a self-hypnosis to relax the body and release any negativity. It was great.
Next, the lipo began. He went through three areas: under either ear and the chin. By this time the valium kicked in. The lipo process was extremely vigorous, but not painful. When entering under the right ear, however, it was sometimes a little painful, like I could feel pressure in my ear. I felt like he was very thorough. We were all talking throughout the whole thing, which I mention to express that it was pretty casual and I was more or less lucid. Afterwards my cousin and I asked a couple questions and Dr.Talei said that if I had any questions to call or text him any time, even at 5am. I told him he needs better boundaries, but truthfully I am comforted knowing I can reach out if I have any concerns. He also wrapped my head with this gauzy thing that will compress the area.
AFTER CARE: I will not be taking the prescribed antibiotics (God willing) - I am interested in holistic and alternative medicine. Dr.Talei preferred that I take antibiotics; noted. I have colloidal silver and oregano oil, which are natural antibiotics. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes. As detailed in the post-op instructions I have vitamin C, bromelain, methylprednisone, percoset, and arnica. I will also be taking several different probiotics and slowly begin my supplement regime again.
PRESENT: It's been four hours since the surgery. I feel good but my right ear is killing me, as if it's bent out of shape and smooshed against my head, but it isn't. My neck is already bruised. I am happy to be feeling generally good, though a little sleepy. After the surgery my cousin and I went to a couple of CVS's before being able to get the percoset prescription and while waiting for it I may have gone to Marshall's and went shopping. So I was feeling good enough to feel shopping, even though I was told to go home and relax all day. Now I'm at home and will do my best to take it easy and nap.
I've taken my time in writing this and I want to update that my right ear feels a little better. I am feeling more and more sleepy. Feeling generally sore but am not in a lot of pain. I took one percoset two hours ago.
PICTURES: Full disclosure, I edited the color and *only* the color of all of these pics because I want to maintain my privacy.
Day Two: So far pretty chill
Today was not bad. As far as pain goes I felt soreness, especially on the right side of my neck and also just under my chin. I took a percocet, and no complaints. I was able to take a walk to cvs to pick up some nitrile gloves, so I was feeling pretty active, though I managed to stay home otherwise. I tried to rest, but that can be boring. It's like, there's only so much I can do right now because the reality of this momentous thing I put my body through, but part of me feels good enough that I want to be busy and it's wrestling with the part of me that wants to continue watching Netflix.
POST-OP CARE: Post op instructions for day 2 say to take the bandage off, cleanse the area and apply bacitracin to the wounds. I wasn't sure what 'cleanse' meant - cetaphil and water? just water? hydrogen peroxide? maybe a colloidal silver compress? - so I called the office (twice) and waited about 3 minutes each time - no answer. I will say, that has largely been my experience with trying to reach his office and it is annoying. I texted Dr.Talei. About an hour later I tried the office again and reached someone. I asked her if she could clarify what "cleanse the area" means and she said flatly, "It means clean the area." I wish I had an emoji to adequately express my bewilderment. Thank you Oxford, if only the words were more closely related I could have guessed that 'cleanse' means 'to clean.' I asked her specifically how to do it and she said 'clean it like you clean your face and don't use the hydrogen peroxide.' A side note, on the instructions they give the patient it says 'Do Not Google your questions, always call the office!' Frankly, google has been a better resource so far. Dr.Talei did text back not too long after.
Cleaning the wound, applying bacitracin and reapplying the bandage was fine. I did this 3 times today. However, I cannot tell if I have wrapped the bandage too tight. It's really uncomfortable. Is that because of the nature of the swelling or because I wrapped too tight? And what is the consequence of wrapping too tightly? I think I wouldn't be experiencing some of this pain right now if I hadn't wrapped it this tightly-- real time update I just rewrapped it and am more comfortable. I am still experiencing pain (or a good amount of discomfort) though and I may take a percocet if the pain keeps me from sleeping; if I do, it will be the second one I have taken today.
The chin area is largely numb to the touch. And the area has begun to itch. The incision site under the chin is looking fine though and I hope it will continue to heal up swiftly with this bacitracin.
I have continued taking the medrol, liposomal vitamin C, arnica, bromelain, and colloidal silver. I ice it every now and then. I've eaten vegetable soup with fat from bone marrow that I made last night, green juice, and this coconut oil peanut butter fat bomb that is insanely yummy but a little hard to eat because I keep it in the freezer and chewing hurts. Yeah, chewing hurts! I don't know why my teeth feel like this, perhaps with this bandage compressing my head it is making me clench my teeth and I am unaware of it until I go to chew something.
Well, day 2 down and I am very grateful that this experience so far has been both smooth and interesting. I pray I will continue to heal swiftly. And if you have any good vibes you want to send my way, leave 'em in the comments. Good night, all.
Day 3: Still Chill
Today I was more tired than yesterday. (I did not end up taking that percocet last night, btw.) It was a very relaxed day, no complaints. I keep going to bed past midnight, which I know doesn't help the healing. I'm a night owl and it's frustrating how hard it is to get myself to bed at a good hour. It's 11:53pm now. Oh well, I can try again tomorrow haha.
The chin and neck area look better today than yesterday. I am surprised because I usually bruise like a mofo but the bruising has been minimal, maybe because of the medrol, arnica and bromelain. Probably largely because of the medrol. Also I have been applying something called Inflamyar to the neck a couple times a day too (not to the incision sites.) I believe it has helped with the tenderness. Icing has been great too. I read you are only supposed to ice an area for up to 72 hours. Is this true? Does this mean I can't keep icing it for 20 minutes like every 5 or 6 hours? I feel like I've been doing it pretty sparingly enough that it wouldn't be detrimental to continue.
CLEANING: The bandage has had some blood on it every time I have cleaned it, particularly from the chin site. And there was a little yellow there too. I'm going to reserve freaking out for when it seems more dire. So far this seems like it's par for the course.
I took a shower tonight (finally.) I had been worried about the water hitting the incisions and the tender area of my neck so I'd been avoiding it. Turns out it was fine and very nice. I then let the area dry completely, applied the bacitracin and rewrapped the bandage.
PAIN: Today the pain was minimal, more like discomfort. I did not take any percocet. My right neck and shoulder hurts every now and then and when it does I ice it and it improves.
PICS: You can see the area looks a little 'baggy.' This doesn't concern me. I feel like I'll give it at least 3 months before I have an opinion on the outcome due to the swelling and the healing process.
I hope this is helpful and informative. At the very least, know that you aren't alone in your experience. Good night, all. <3
Day 4 & 5: Got to admit it's getting better, it's getting better all the time
Greetings RealSelfers. Heads up this is a long entry as it covers day 4 and day 5.
DAY 4: I did not experience pain yesterday, just discomfort. I stayed in my apartment and felt active. I have enjoyed this alone time, which is surprising to this major extrovert.
CLEANING: Every time I removed the bandage to clean it there was still a spot of blood with a little yellow and the last part of the bandage to come off would be the part stuck to the chin incision. This, however, was not painful.
DIET AND HEALING AIDS: I had been basically eating bone broth, bone marrow, vegetable soups, green juice, and this peanut butter coconut oil fat bomb for the first 3 days. Yesterday I was able to eat solid food without my teeth hurting. I had some intense cravings because my period was coming so I ate (gluten free) fish sticks and made a gluten-free dairy-free refined sugar-free twix bar. It's made of coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and almond butter and it's insanely delicious, but I digress. I speculate the cravings could also be because I may be killing off a good amount of bacteria and in their final attempts at life they are trying to get me to feed them sugar. So yesterday wasn't the healthiest eating day but I'm not bothered. Tomorrow is the new moon and I'll be fasting with lemon water.
I took an epsom salt bath and also showered and washed my hair. I want to be thorough so I should add that day 1, 2 and 3 I also used a machine called the eng3. (Look it up if you want, it's hard for me to explain what exactly it does.) I was told that when you have surgery it ups the amount of parasites, amoeba and fungus in your body. As I had stopped my supplements as directed to before the surgery and declined to use the prescribed antibiotics I wanted to make sure I was still killing off unwanted microbes (thus the eng3, colloidal silver) and pulling toxins from my body (hence epsom salt). (Note on colloidal silver: do not use a metal spoon to administer it. I didn't know this until yesterday; I don't know how big of a deal that is but now you know.) Also, in the interest of being thorough, on the night of day 3 I took a senna- it's like the big lebowski of laxatives, laid back and all natural- and I had very satisfactory bm's on the fourth day. I took it because I don't think I had a bm on day 3 because of the percocet and I wanted to make sure that that elimination channel was open for all the die off that I mentioned above to leave so I can heal faster. I haven't had use for the senna again.
DAY 5: Dr.Talei removed the stitches today. There were only 4 and it was very easy. He made time to answer all my questions. I asked when I could start hiking again and he said, "Now." That's encouraging because originally he had estimated longer. Right now the chin incision still looks gnarly to me but he said you will not be able to see the scar once it heals. I asked what products to use to minimize scarring and he said to just keep using the bacitracin for another week and keep the area moist with it. I asked if I could begin taking advil (I had really bad cramps last night and took a percocet because I wasn't sure if I could use advil yet) and he said yes. He also said to continue with the vitamin C at 3,000, the bromelain and the arnica for a total of 10 days. He asked if the platysma muscle had gotten tight yet, to which I replied no. He said I could begin to massage the neck area. He showed me the kind of pressure to use and it hurt. That area is still feels very tender so I may ease into massaging it. I have begun stretching it.
DAY 5 = FIRST DAY WITH BANDAGE OFF: Dr.Talei said I only needed to wear it for 2 full days, but advised to wear it as much as possible for the first week. I like wearing it. I've read people saying it makes them feel secure and I'd agree. I decided to try going without it today because I was in public the whole day. I had the bandage off for probably 10 hours. I did a lot of walking around and I lifting of heavy objects. Also, I ate complete garbage - the home made twin bar, In and Out (protein style and dairy free) and this 'healthy' vegan froyo that actually could qualify as healthy if there wasn't a ton of sugar happening there- It. Was. Awesome. So today I pretty much broke every 'rule.' But this is good because I know where the boundaries are now. And I remembered why I haven't eaten fast food in over a year, because of how it sits like a lump in my tummy, making it into a crochety old miser, shaking his fist at me and groaning, "whyeeeeeeeeeeh, whyeeeee." Again, I digress.
I had been reapplying the bacitracin throughout the day. I did not wear a band-aid, Dr.Talei didn't advise it either. When I got home I cleansed the area with cetaphil and reapplied the bacitracin. I noticed this yellowy looking substance, which you can see in the pictures. When I have taken off the bandage, there has been some yellow residue along with blood on the chin incision. I was not concerned. Tonight, however, because I introduced so many different new things today and cannot account for all the variables, I found this yellowy development unsettling. I've texted Dr.Talei to ask what it is. It looks like it's of an oozing viscosity but it isn't. I can't wipe it away and I admit I may have tried to pick at it ever so slightly (I'm the kind of person who passionately enjoys popping pimples if that gives you an idea) and it seems more solid than what I had imagined just by looking at it. These are the mysteries. When Dr.Talei responds I'll let you know. Send some good vibes my way if you would please. Sometimes it's the unknown itself that causes worry; I feel like once I know what that is I can move forward in whatever way it calls for.
The neck is more swollen today. Dr.Talei cautioned this may happen with a lot of activity. Also, I'm on my last day of medrol and the doses decrease each day. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
And with that I am signing off, sending love to all you realselfers out there, may our healing be swift.
Day 6: Enjoying Healing
I received a text from Dr.Talei this morning saying that the yellowy thing I was concerned about is "just some skin peeling off at the incision from being rubbed." Yeay. It already looks different today. There is still yellow residue when I remove the bandage and I'd like to know what that's about. Are they dead cells, are they toxins in lymph? I'm not concerned, I'd like to be more educated.
Today I wore the bandage for several hours midday and now that it is night I am wearing it again. My lemon water fast today has been good, and I still took the arnica, bromelain, colloidal silver, and vitamin C. I also took a couple adrenal supplements. The area is still tender and you can see in the pictures that the bruising is more apparent now than before but it's in that yellow stage so it's looking good. I dislike massaging the area - it straight up hurts, so I am stretching it more so. Aside from feeling tender, the chin and neck also feel numb in some places and also lumpy. Sounds like this is to be expected.
Today I got multiple compliments that I looked pretty or radiant, etc. I think people are seeing the difference but they aren't computing that anything has changed, they can't put their finger on what it is. I told a couple close friends and they said they couldn't even tell I had had surgery in that they didn't see the scarring. It is pretty amazing- I had the surgery done less than a week ago and I'm able to be out and about and look rather normal, and though still swollen, the jawline and under the chin are already markedly improved.
For the pics, I finally discovered that flash will produce a much better pic than what I've been doing. The flash is definitely less forgiving, but I'm glad because it gives you a clearer, unromanticized view. You're welcome haha.
And that's alllllll folks! Good night Realselfers, may our healing be swift <3
Day 7: Happy Healing Continues
Last night I had the opportunity to sleep in and I ended up getting 9 hours of sleep - I must have needed the rest. I woke up wanting to sleep more but had to get up. I began the day with a cold shower. This entails dry brushing, then applying almond oil to the skin and introducing parts of the body to the cold water and massaging or tapping on parts of the body in a certain order. It's highly beneficial because it helps move your lymph (one of the body's toxic eliminatory systems), it cleans the capillaries, and flushes the blood in the organs.
I went on a hike today and did Not experience dramatic swelling afterwards. Hallelujah! It did swell and is may be more swollen today than previous days - take a look at the pics and you be the judge. In any case, it is not dramatic and still looks better than pre-surgery. Two friends told me they could really see the difference, and they both said it unprompted and multiple times. I think they found it surprising that a 'minor' change like this can affect someone's appearance so dramatically. It's not like I had a massive double chin before, but I had enough that now without it, I look like I've lost weight (or, 'gone on a long cleanse' as one friend put it haha.) I'm excited about it; it makes me feel more confident and more pretty without having to do anything. It's a similar feeling to when you get lash extensions and you wake up and just feel beautiful. A little thing can make a big difference.
I've been keeping the area moist with bacitracin. The yellow residue on the bandage continues. The chin incision looks a little irritated in the picture. But all's good in the hood, generally speaking. I don't know if I ever mentioned so I will state now that there are three incisions, one at the chin and one behind either ear. I have not taken any pictures of the ear ones because - have you ever tried to take a picture of behind your ear? Me either but it seems like a lot of work.
Anyway, I am exhausted so I'm signing off. If there is anything I haven't mentioned that you are curious about, feel free to ask. Good night Realselfers, and may our healing continue swiftly and with many blessings.
Day 8: Continued Improvement
The yellow residue continues; it appears on the bandage whenever it is removed. I don't love it. The swelling and tenderness in the neck continues to improve. I can massage it with more pressure now and do not experience pain. Crazy what a difference a week makes. The areas that were numb are less so, they tingle a little when touched now for the most part. The bruising has lessened too.
The skin seems less baggy around where the chin meets the neck but the definition is not sharp. As you can see in the profile pic attached to this update it looks like there's this extra skin, like an old lady's waddle. Even in the front view pic it looks like it could be more defined or have sharper lines; I hope there is still swelling there and it continues to take shape. I stated in an earlier review that I'm not going to be hasty in making any judgement until three months so I'll do my best to withhold any emotion about it. Let's leave it at: my chin/jaw line/neck is more improved now than before the surgery but I really hope that it continues to improve and God please help me to be patient. My tone sounds a little more negative or critical today, but I should also note that I have continued to enjoy higher self-confidence, I have continued to feel more beautiful and *comfortable* in my own skin today so don't let my nit picking at the pictures betray my multi-dimensional feelings about the whole thing.
I have continued with the bacitracin and the colloidal silver, vitamin c, bromelain and arnica. Tomorrow I am going to stop the colloidal silver. I will begin my supplement regime up again and get stricter about my diet again. Today I had sushi, so rice and then I had vegan froyo, so cane sugar. I feel better when I don't have grains and cane sugar and it's also better for my healing. So by writing this down I am committing to get back to a more alkaline/ healing diet.
Lastly, I do not know if I will continue to update daily or include pics daily after this. There's been nothing dramatic to report (Thankfully). If you have questions or want to comment and share your experiences, feel free to do so. Sending love to all you Realselfers, may we be healed in all the ways we need it. Good night.
Greetings RealSelfers, tis day 11 and the healing continues. I think I must stretch my chin a lot because the area around the incision is often red and irritated looking. I continue to apply bacitracin two or three times a day. I wear the bandage at night. I was sleeping with my head elevated for the first 8 nights and have begun to sleep normally again. This has not produced a noticeable difference.
The neck is less and less tender. The bruise is gone. Under the chin remains numb. There is still some bagginess and the sides of the chin seem swollen still, the area of the lymph nodes. I am still pleased I got the surgery but, as in my last update, there are things I am trying to withhold being critical about - the bagginess around the chin and lack of strong definition - these things I pray with time will continue to sort themselves out. Have any of you been through something similar? I feel impatience about the incision area too, like, heal already.
Note about the pics followed by tangent: I went to this Halloween convention today, that's what the earrings are about. Also, it's funny how I will share the most unappealing unattractive photos on here that I would never post or want people to see elsewhere. Like, my life wouldn't be over if people I know saw them (and honestly the cropping I do barely offers anonymity - if you know me in real life I'd be easily recognizable by my writing if not by these pictures.) But I feel less critical and attached to my standards of beauty and self presentation because these pictures are helping people by providing more raw, objective information. That's what other peoples' pics have done for me and that's my intention with these pictures anyway. And when peoples' pictures are instagrammified with low light and precise angles it can make surgery seem like it's always going to turn out perfect and you will be a smooth polished airbrushed person in real life. I'm learning that this isn't how it is. My skin is still oily and I get acne and I still have these creases in my neck. I think writing these reviews and including these 'exposing' photos are kind of helping me accept my own reality a little more. This journey has, surprisingly, become one of beginning to accept myself more - and not because I have less fat in my chin, although that is thrilling. It's that I am coming into constant contact with myself in a way that I don't when I'm not documenting for the purpose of objectively recording this experience for other people... Alright, that's enough musing for one night.
Good night RealSelfers, may our healing be swift and bring many gifts.