I can't believe how fast the years go by. Just...
I can't believe how fast the years go by. Just yesterday I was having babies, raising 4 children by myself and working full-time. I didn't have the time or the money for pampering myself. I always looked young for my age, played in the sun when there was time for play. My mom had a facelift and eyelift when she was 55. Honestly I couldn't tell the difference because I always thought she looked great. I think I was so busy with my own life, I didn't notice her aging. My dad passed away when he was 51. So I never really knew what aging looked like in my family genes. At age 61, I do now! 16 months ago my sister who is 2 years younger than myself had a facelift, necklift and upper and lower blepharoplasty. I took 2 weeks off to care for her immediately after her surgery. It was 2 weeks of a lot of attention to her. Icing, changing gauze and attending to her wounds. She was a trooper and after a few months she looked like she was in her 40s. Since she has had her procedures done, I have been wanting to do the same. It was one thing to look like an older sister but now I look like my mother at age 83. A couple weeks ago I went to Costco to pick out some frames for glasses and I took some selfies so I could come home and take a little time to see which frames looked best. Mind you I didn't have makeup on, it was a quick run in for 5-10 minutes max and try on 10 pairs of frames. When I viewed the pics later that night to choose which frames to order, I was miserable looking at the photos. Who was that in those pictures?
I've never been one to obsess about my looks. I've never put value or self worth to physical beauty. But I can honestly say that suddenly when I looked at those selfies, I did not recognize the old woman I was seeing. I feel like I did when I was 40. I am active and healthy. I just don't like looking as old as my mom...and I do.
So this week I went for a consultation with Dr. Grant Stevens in Marina Del Rey, CA and scheduled surgery for July 14th. I will have a facelift, necklift, upper and lower blepharopasty and CO2 laser to my mouth area. As much as I am not looking forward to the recovery of the procedures, I am very much looking forward to recognizing the woman in my selfies.
Pre-surgery appt done
Yesterday I had my pre-surgery appt which included a medical grade facial, photos taken and then documents signed after a full explaination of what to expect the day of surgery and post op. I feel so fortunate to be in such good hands. The entire staff at Marina Plastic Surgery are extremely qualified and caring along with being a lot of fun!
I also had a pre-surgery physical with my internist and blood work, ekg and chest xray because I am over 60 and will be having general anethesia for my procedure.
My surgery date has been changed to the morning of July 16th. So excited to get this behind me along with the first couple weeks of healing. I have no concerns as I feel my surgeon is completely qualified and has been highly recommended. I also am in excellent health and am ready to do what is necessary for the best outcome.
One last thing, my surgeon talked to my fiance' and myself about the emotional feelings that occur during the healing process. I feel I will probably be like most and go through the ups and downs as the weeks go by. I think of it like childbirth...labor was a bitch but what a wonderful miracle once you get to hold your precious child! I'll try to post regularly as I go through the process.
My face and neck have aged so much in the past 8 years. I'm wanting the lackness removed and my eyelids to support themselves again so I can wear my contacts.
My mom has been visiting my sister and I the past 2 weeks. This week was my week to have her at the beach. I drove out to the desert to get her on Monday and packed her and her pup into my car. Got half way home and there was a stalled car 7 cars ahead of me in the far left lane and brake lights. I slowed and came to a complete stop. Three cars behind me, did not stop. Bam...into the back of my 2 month old car. Fortunately I was not pushed into the cars stopped in front of us. Unfortunately, Mom and I are having some whiplash issues. We will be fine but I was rearended 6 years ago which left me with a neck that doesn't stand much of a chance against whiplash. I've been icing all week. My facelift is still on for the morning of July 16th. I figure I can recover from whiplash the same time I am recovering from the facelift, necklift, eyelift and CO2 lazer. Ice, Ice Baby!
Yesterday I went to the dentist and had my yearly cleaning because from everything I've heard, dental work isn't very comfortable for several months after the facelift. All is good.
Getting my car back from the shop Wednesday. Everything is lining up for the big day on Thursday.
I've been trying to be honest with myself about why I am having my face, eyes, lifted. I said earlier that I have never been one who put a lot of concern or work or importance on how I look and that is true...in the past! I guess I have just always liked the way I've looked. I sort of have always looked the way I feel inside. But as I have aged on the outside the past 8 years, I find myself being unhappy with the face I see. I wrestle with my vanity on this. Why should it matter how my aged face looks? It is the pattern of life. With age comes withering. Just like a plant. I guess I'm not ready to wither. I feel very fortunate to have options to do this or not. Many women I know will think it a waste of money and downtime. Fortunately at this time in my life, I care less about what others think and say. That was not the case, even 10 years ago. With age comes wisdom...the wisdom to live my life, my choices and my consequences for them. I go into Thursday knowing without a doubt, this surgery is for me, because I am not quite ready to see the withering in myself. I honor those who can just sit with the faces that the passing years deal out. And if I did not have the means to do the surgery, I would learn to be with mine. I am not ready to look like a grandmother when I am not yet one. I am not ready to have my groceries taken to my car for me because I look like I might need help! I'm going to save that for when I am my mom's age and I am looking forward to looking like my mom's daughter again instead of her twin. Happy Saturday!
Tomorrow's the day!
Goodness how time flies! I can hardly fathom that this time tomorrow night I will being watched over and cared for with my own private nurse. Serenity Care is where my PS has his patients go after surgery. A very nice woman called me from there today to tell me about my private suite and nurse that I will really appreciate. I joked with her and told her that I'm sure it will be just wonderful and that I'm pretty sure I won't remember much about it! We had a good laugh. It sounds like a place I'd like to stay on vacation!
I check in at 7 am at the surgery facility and surgery is scheduled for 8. I will be having a face and neck lift, upper and lower eye lift and CO2 laser around my orbital something or other! Can't remember the medical term. Dyslexic here! I will then be driven to Serenity Care after recovery. I'm sure I will feel like a princess even if I have no memory of it!
I have no fear. I'm very happy I will have general anesthesia as I can't imagine doing it the way many here have done with local anesthesia. I am not that brave. I had four 10 lb babies with no medication but that was not surgery! Pain is different than my own imagination with sound effects. So I will sleep while Dr Stevens gives me the gift of a more youthful face.
Thanks for all of the people who have shared their experiences here on RealSelf. It has given me more reassurance that I can handle what's ahead for me. Until later! Hugs!
In a fog
16 Jul 2015
Day of treatment
Can't recall much of the day but I do know I'm being kept comfortable and attended to. I'm so fortunate to be having this procedure and all the wonderful care of this facility. I'm going to try to get a good nights sleep. Doctors appt at 11 am. Good night.
Day 2 post op
I had a great night. Slept well with the help of a sleeping pill and a Percocet about 4 am. My PS did not have an order to keep icing through the night so I was not iced from 11 pm until I asked for it at 4am. I had quite a bit of swelling happen over those hours so I'm not sure if it was due to no ice or just the process. Ice feels wonderful!
My PS decided just before surgery to CO2 under my eyes as well as around my mouth. I was told today at my doctor's appt that the laser treatment under my eyes is more the reason for the swelling around my eyes. I did have upper and lower bleph done.
My lips are swollen, my face is swollen and my neck is swollen and bruising. All of this I expected. It's uncomfortable but not that painful. The tape stays on my face until it falls off which should be Sunday. Then I will be washing my face with cold water and coating it with Vaseline. I can wash my hair Sunday! Woo hoo!
I got to take a look in the mirror when the nurse changed my bandages today. Sutures are wonderfully hidden inside my ears and my skin is smooth! Of course I'm swollen and unrecognizable to myself but so far it's a thumbs up! Time for more ice now. Blurred vision is hard to know if I've many typos here! Hope to say, thanks for all the encouragement. It means a lot to me.
4 days post surgery
The past few days have been spent sleeping, eating, sipping water, taking antibiotics, ducolax, arnica and pain medications all in a recliner. I've spent most of my hours sleeping, which I'm so grateful for. I tried to not let myself get uncomfortable. What would be the point to that? I've done so much research about these procedures, what is normal healing and what to look for, watch out for and I have a fabulous staff at my PS' office that is there at all times for my reassurance. I have really had a lot of calm throughout this past week.
Today I went to the office and had a few sutures removed and the tape removed from the CO2 lasering.
I have a lot of swelling, bruising, and that means a lot of healing going on. What was done to my face effects the whole body. It effects my emotions. I can't judge my outcome of the surgery until I've had time to recover. I'm trying hard to be patient, knowing the healing process takes months.
I have loved reading the journals others have written here on RealSelf and take to heart the advice they have shared. To all of us in this process, stay positive and remember why you did this.
5 days post surgery and I woke up with my chin on my chest
About 3 I woke myself up scratching my neck. My neck is very swollen and I assume the itching has to do with that and the healing process. So I got up and took 2 Benadryl and got a cold compress to quiet the itching. It quieted it and knocked me out! I woke up at 6:30 this morning sitting in my recliner with my chin resting on my clavicle. Omg, I thought I had totally ruined my neck lift. I called my PS as soon as I thought was appropriate and had the nurse laughing and reassuring me that my neck will be fine and that I probably should only take 1 Benadryl at a time. Good advice.
I'm more swollen yet today and have such beautiful bruising on my neck and chest. My face is weeping under the coating of Vaseline...feels like something's crawling on my face. But it's all worth it when I see the pretty pink skin glistening where there used to be deep wrinkles. Our bodies truly are magnificent. My pain is felt where I have staples but it is minimal. Over all, I'm just in awe of the whole process.
I got some gorgeous flowers delivered today from my son and his sweetheart who live in Portland. She is a costume designer for Grimm. I told her that I was sure I could land a part today! My girls are coming over to make me dinner. Wishing you all a goodnight!
It's been a week
Time flies when you're having fun...heck, time just flies! A week ago about now they were attempting to wake up sleeping beauty. I don't think they succeeded because I woke up in the care facility instead of the surgery center! What a week. No matter how much research, how many people you've assisted through surgery, how many videos you watch to prepare yourself for this procedure, none of it, except going through it, is really how it is. All of us heal differently, all of our procedures vary one from the other but we share something that does bind us together...the desire to share a portion of our lives that is special to us, a desire to be heard, a desire to be helpful, a desire to recognize....what we have chosen to do, we've actually done. I am so grateful for this sight.
Today I'm going to post a few pictures. My swollen, raw face changes hour to hour. I do see the "me" under all the stuff you see in my photos. I'm more than happy that I did this. I feel reconnected to my idea of me. This process is so much more than just wanting not to look like my mother when I look in the mirror. For me it is connecting with a version of myself again...a version I have a strong identity to but when I looked like that version, I had much less knowledge of what is being true to myself. I was a very busy single mom of 4 kids, working from 4 am to midnight, 7 days a week. Always doing for everyone, rarely doing for myself. Being and doing what most women do most of their lives, nurturing the world, giving, barely breathing, always doing one thing knowing the next 2 things that would be done next. This gift I have now this week, is the ability to appreciate all the hard work, which I loved and have no regrets about. I get the gift of seeing my minds eye of myself, in the mirror. I have time to just be still and appreciate the amazing gift that my life is. My philosophy is that I am a soul living in a body. I guess my soul hasn't aged as much as my body had! It's just nice to feel familiar to the person I catch a glimpse of.
Have a wonderful day all you RealSelfers.
Day 8 Treated for Chemosis
My eyes have been bothering me the past couple days. The conjunctiva has been filling a bit with fluid, causing sort of a water-blister effect. I love that my PS is just a few minutes from my home. I called this morning, went right in, got a prescription for steroid/antibiotic drops and home again within an hour. I can't say enough great things about Marina Plastic Surgery, their staff and Dr Grant Stevens.
Even though I still am recovering from the CO2 laser and now the Chemosis in the eyes, I am blown away by the difference of my before pictures and today's photos. I am seeing "me" again. I feel closer every day to reuniting with my self. I don't know how else to describe how disconnected I felt with the older pictured self. Identity is a strange and powerful aspect of our being. How we see ourselves or don't see ourselves, plays a huge role in many of the roads we choose in life. When I was a younger woman, the limitations I had were few. As I looked older I took on more limitations than I even realized. No one put those limitations on me, no one labeled me (at least not to my face) but I certainly began to sink into an attitude of limits and I can tell you that is the same as giving away your power. Identity....how much it plays a part in having power or not realizing you even have power. Our society is filled with examples of how an identity of a people effects the choices they make, the limitations they unwittingly take on.
I knew that having a facelift would make me enjoy my looks more. I had no idea the depth of the connection I would have with taking back my identity. I'm sort of overwhelmed with gratitude and a feeling of, gosh it's good to see you again! It's really quite remarkable what is happening inside my soul right now. I really had no idea how much I had let go of in such a short time.
Hope you all have a great weekend. Cheers!
Eye drops are helping the chemosis
24 hours of the drops have really helped with the swelling and eyesight. Will continue the whole 5 days prescribed. I continue to be amazed at the body's ability and speed of healing tissues. We are amazing creatures.
Eye drops effectively healed the Chemosis
I haven't posted since Saturday because the day by day routine was the same and the healing continues. I finished up this afternoon with the drops for Chemosis. My left eye hasn't quite caught up with the right but it will.
Most of the swelling in my face has subsided. The bruising is fading and moving and changing colors! My face is like an art project! The area around my mouth where the CO2 laser was used is healing but that just takes time. All sutures, staples have been removed and all areas of incisions are healing so well! Remarkably I have no numbness anywhere on my face! The only place that feels a bit strange is the back of my head buried deep into my scalp. I think that must be where they put the the part of my face that's been messing with my identity the last few years! ;)
All in all I feel great! When my left eye catches up to the right one in opening up, I'll be thrilled! The skin around my mouth still requires lots of moisturizing and no makeup so I'm kind of just hanging around my house or my daughters' home being patient. I'm retired so the pressure to heal fast isn't on me. But I am so looking forward to putting makeup on in the days ahead! How fun is that going to be?!!
I remain grateful to the RealSelf website for helping so many of us connect and share our experiences. Until next post, stay happy!
Call me crazy...
One of the wonderful things that Dr. Grant Stevens does for his facelift/eyelift patients is a program he refers to as "icing on the cake". After some healing time and with his evaluation, he offers for free some treatments that he feels will just top off the results of surgery. I had my appointment with him this past Monday and he said that although I had the CO2 treatment around my mouth area and lightly under my eyes during at the same time I had my surgery, he recommended that I have CO2 done again, this time over my entire face. It has been 2 weeks today since my surgery. The skin under my eyes has totally healed and the area around my mouth is still healing but getting close to being there. So I'm going with his recommendation and am scheduled to undergo the full face CO2 next Wednesday early a.m.
I could wait and live life a little and do this later in the year. The "icing on the cake" will be available for me to do as my face heals which takes a full year as we know. But I just want to get all of this behind me so I said, "let's go for it!". So next week I start another round of healing that will take about 2-3 weeks for the skin to do what the skin does after the CO2. I remember the healing process of the past 2 weeks and the CO2 is not particularly painful, in fact, after the first day not painful, but it is timely and a process that takes the patient caring for the skin to get the best results possible. Also you look quite hideous for I'd say the first 5-6 days. But goodness the results are worth it! It tightens the skins, promotes collagen production and does diminish some wrinkles and scarring and sun damage. I'd be crazy not to do this in my opinion.
So, I'll keep you posted. Do I have the greatest PS or what?!!! Have a great day RealSelfers! :)
Tomorrow morning CO2!
I'm feeling so great! I still have swelling in my face and my mouth area is still tight from my first round of CO2 so between the two I still am not smiling but not because I'm unhappy! I'm thrilled with the results of my facelift, neck lift, upper and lower eye lift and first round of CO2. The procedures have taken years off my face and Thursday will only be 3 weeks since surgery date! It blows me away how fast the body can heal itself! Other than the minor swelling and bruising and my incision scars healing as they do for months, I can say I feel nearly back to myself!
Tomorrow I go in at 8 am for full face CO2 Laser. I am ready again for the limitations of being a recluse, probably only going to the PS office for social contact outside of family, for the next 3 weeks or so. I've stalked my fridge again with things I can barely open my mouth to eat. Another plus of this procedure around the mouth...I'm losing weight! ;0)
So I'll see how I feel tomorrow and perhaps post a photo and comment. I'm also going to start a separate review under CO2 Treatment for those who only do that procedure. But I want to update here until I have a photo with my face wearing makeup and earrings and a smile...so that could be a month from now!
Until mañana RealSelfers!
I liked it better when I was under general
As you know who have followed my journey here on RS, I had CO2 done oround my mouth area the same time I had my facelift, etc and that was don under general anesthesia. This time I was given a cocktail of oral medication and lidocaine was put all over my face and left for an hour to works it's magic. I was also given a nerve block around my mouth area. The process itself felt like small needle pricks. Not intolerable but I liked being under general anesthesia and not feeling any pain. I was happy when it was done but my face did feel like it was stinging/slightly burning and I had a hose of blowing cool air on my face for about a half hour. The a protective tape and netting was place over my face/head.
I was driven home and went asleep within minutes in my recliner. 4 hours later I woke up.
My face is oozing a serous fluid now and a small amount of blood. My face is swollen. About to go for some frozen peas to calm things down. This is a more serious treatment than the one I had with the facelift. Time to check out and rest with ice. Hugs.
It's a waiting game
It's been a few days of lots of vinegar water soaks and lots of applications of Aquaphor. I have learned that the CO2 laser treatments are as varied as facelifts. The depth of the laser set and the amount of passes that the skin is gone over, has a lot to do with the results the PS is trying to achieve with the procedure. The pain one feels during the procedure I'm sure has much to do with those factors as does the drugs administered for pain relief and just one's individual pain threshold. What I mean to say, is that CO2 laser should not be judged by one persons experience because there are too many variables. I have read reviews that are encouraging and some that are like horror movies. I really think that what downtime, pain and results, a person has is totally dependent on clear communication with one's physician. If you have COMPLETE confidence in your physician and his/her experience doing Laser treatments then there really shouldn't be too many surprises. I do realize that our bodies are all as different as they are alike and issues and complications do develop. That is where having an experienced and reliable team that is overseeing your procedures and recovery is so very important.
I'm a 61 year old woman who has not pampered my skin at all. I love being outdoors, haven't used sunscreen because I tan easily. My skin has aged greatly because of that. Since menopause 8 years ago, I have seen the results of sun exposure and a drop of hormone support, and what that meant to my appearance. So I had the facelift, necklift, upper and lower eyelift, and CO2 on my mouth area on July 16th, just over 3 weeks ago. 5 days ago I had CO2 laser done again, this time on my entire face. Because I had done my mouth area 3 weeks earlier, my mouth area was lightly lasered this time...just to hit the lip lines I have that are so deep. My PS has said I will need fillers to rid myself of them. I'm not so sure I will do that. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.
So I have been soaking 2x2 inch gauze in a vinegar water solution of 2 cups water to 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar that I keep in the fridge. I put the gauze squares on my face for 15-20 minutes every two hours. It feels good, except the dripping of vinegar water all over myself! After soaking my face I carefully pat dry and reapply a layer of Aquaphor all over my face. Twice a day I wash my face with Cetaphil cleanser followed with Aquaphor.
I have no pain, I just look like a burn victim and everyday the old skin is rolling off and the new pink skin is there. (I promise not to abuse the new skin and use sunscreen). I have read about the itching people experience with the laser treatments. I did not have that last time nor this time, thank heavens! I also have been sleeping in a recliner for 3 1/2 weeks now. I sleep great in it and the swelling I have in my face is requiring it. The swelling is under my jaw and lower face area. Tomorrow if it isn't down substantially I will call my PS. The last thing I want is my nice neckline stretched out! ;)
Until next time! Hugs!
What a difference a week makes...
I started icing under my jaw area for 20 minutes a few times a day because the swelling was very uncomfortable. And I have kept up the cold vinegar water rinses 20 minutes, 6 times a day and the never ending slathering my face with Aquaphor after each rinse. This regiment is smelly and greasy but if you do it, the payoff seems to be a lack of itching that so many have with CO2 laser procedure healing. Today I've noticed a lot of reduction in swelling though I still have a ways to go. I have switched to Cetaphil lotion instead of the Aquaphor tonight after my vinegar rinse. I'll see. If my skin feels tight after an hour, I'll go back to the greasy stuff. I'm praying I don't have to!
Tomorrow is my oldest daughter's 34th birthday and I'm making dinner for my family. Still not allowed makeup for another week or two but I think non-greasy face and hair will make this momma happy for now!
I've been so great full for everyone's comments to me on this journey. It isn't easy but it's worth it. And it's wonderful knowing there are those of us that know exactly how each of us feels and how much support we receive on this website. Thank you RealSelfers! I'll be back in a couple days! Hugs! (Oh, and I will get to replying to your sweet messages to me)
6 weeks since my Surgery
Sorry I haven't been updating here on RealSelf but I've had some family issues that have been keeping me quite busy. Yesterday was my 6 weeks since surgery date so I have posted this photo. The pic on the left was taken a month before surgery. The one on the right was taken yesterday both with no makeup but the one on the right has tinted sunscreen as I never go without it now when the sun is up!
I'm more than thrilled with my results. I can wear my contacts again with no trouble...before my eyelids drooped so much I had given up wearing them because it distorted my vision so bad. I'm so glad I did the CO2 laser as my skin has never looked better. Dr. Grant Stevens and his staff are amazingly gifted and caring people who really try to give you what you ask for. I didn't want to look different after my facelift, just no sagging. I recognize myself now when I see my reflection and it has given me a new lease on life! I'll post photos soon with makeup and hair done!
I need to get on with my day but wanted to check in! Keep it real, RealSelfers! Hugs!
It's been a year (minus 2 weeks)
I haven't posted anything to my review for about 10 months, not because I'm not interested in encouraging others considering a facelift or those who have had surgery, but because I felt I needed to give time a chance to show me the results and then share them with you.
I have posted photos today that I just took of myself, side by side photos I took previous to my surgery and CO2 laser (both before and after photos are without any makeup or photo retouch). I am still very happy that I had my procedures. I love identifying with the reflection in my mirror and continue to not have conflict with how I appear and how I feel inside. As shallow as some find plastic surgery to be, well...call me shallow! I didn't have my surgery for anyone but myself. I feel it's no different than putting on makeup, doing your hair or keeping fit. There are some people who feel no need to revise/embellish the image of self. And to those I say fantastic. And to me who has, I say fantastic!
I had a facelift, necklift and upper and lower bleph and CO2 laser. I would have all but the lower bleph done if I had it to do over again. I haven't seen a difference to the appearance of my lower eye region but everything else I feel has given me back the face I had nearly 12 years ago. I also will need a revision done around my earlobe where the earlobes have elongated since surgery. I have what is termed Pixie ears but my surgeon can fix that with little recovery time. That being said, my face has changed since I had the CO2 laser. I love how the laser removed much of my sun damaged skin and changed the pore size of my skin. And it removed wrinkles also. But what I learned is that wrinkles are not JUST caused by the breakdown of collagen but also by the consistent movement of our facial expressions. I had no evidence of lip lines after my laser treatment. But in order to keep from getting them back I would have needed to have had Botox so my muscles in my face would not bring them back. You can see in my photos that I have more lines on one side of my face than the other. I have had 2 cases of Bell's Palsy in my adult lifetime where half of my face was completely paralyzed for about 6 weeks each time. The last time I had it was when I was 40. That time left one side of my face more lax (a bit of permanent paralysis) than the other side of my face which was not affected. The result is that the side that had Bell's palsy is not as wrinkled as the side that did not have the palsy.
The other area of my CO2 where wrinkles have reappeared is around the eyes and the area between the eyebrows. They are there because I did not have Botox.
My goal in having my procedures was to look like I feel, to recognize me again. But it was not to avoid aging or to look like my grown daughters. And if I had wanted to achieve those things with my face, I could have done the Botox and fillers. I just didn't feel for me that was what I wanted or needed.
I added a picture that was taken June 18th of this year in a photo booth with my daughters at my son's wedding. I had full makeup and hair done. In one of the photos you can see my hand. It is the hand of a 62 year old woman who has used her whole self in this life time. It is a strong hand, it is a weathered hand and it is recognized by me. I'm so appreciative of my strong and healthy body. And I am very grateful for my surgeon for giving me my face that for me is what I also recognize.
To all who have followed my journey here, thank you. I would do it over in a heartbeat!