55 Years Old, Want my Old Face Back! - Leawood, KS

Hello RealSelfers...I have been following many of...

Hello RealSelfers...I have been following many of you in your mini facelift journeys and you have given me the courage to follow through. Tomorrow morning is my procedure and I am so scared and just want to get it over with! I started noticing "pouches" around my nasolabial folds in my early forties, but it wasn't until the jawline and neck started to go, after I got off of hormone replacement, that I really became unhappy with my reflection in the mirror, which was about two years ago. I also have an adopted 7-year-old daughter and several strangers have asked me if I am her grandmother! Ugh! So I guess that's part of my motivation as well. I have decided to do the procedure under general anaesthesia, hence the higher cost. I have only told a few family members about the surgery and they all think I'm crazy for doing it, which doesn't help the resolve! I keep telling myself this is for me, not them! Anyway, wish me luck, and I'll try to follow up post-op.

Day 1 and 2 Post Op

Well, the surgery went well. I went with general anaesthesia so came home and slept and felt great until their painkillers wore off. Then I developed a severe headache that lasted from late afternoon to about 1am. I loaded up on my prescription pain killer and finally got a good period of sleep and woke up feeling better. I went back in and saw Dr. Hodge's nurse, Kimber (who is wonderful!) and she took off the bandage, cleaned me up and put on my new fashion accessory, the chinstrap, which I will wear full time this week, and part time the following week. My face is somewhat swollen so it's hard to see the improvements just yet. They told me this is normal. My ears are very sore and creating some emanating pain down my neck and to the back of my head. The chinstrap doesn't help. I've been told I can shower, so will try that tonight. I go back in tomorrow to see Dr. Hodge. I'll try to post some pics without the chinstrap soon.

Day 3

I had my follow up with Dr. Hodge today. He says I'm doing well and took these pics. I'm swollen but can already see the improvement in my jowls and neck. Yay! Ears and surrounding areas are numb and still have discomfort around the sutures, but better than yesterday. My goal is to be able to go on Father's day outing on Sunday!

Day 5

Went out to run an errand today and took these pics. Very happy with result so far! I look like me, without the sagging skin! Looking forward to doing makeup and hair once I'm off the full-time chinstrap!

Day 11

So I've decided on more anonymity and took down my full face pics and reloading everything here with partial face.

I had stitches removed yesterday (back of ear) and 3 days ago (front of ear). It's a relief to have them out. You really can't tell I've had anything done unless you are looking directly at my ears, which I hide with my hair, and they seem to be healing fast. I am comfortable going out now as long as I am careful to stay of the sun (99 degrees here yesterday). I am feeling pretty good, no pain with the exception of minor stinging around the incisions from time to time. I was on prescription pain medication for the first week, however. It helps tremendously with sleeping! My ears to my jaw are swollen giving my face a square look. I've been told to expect that to resolve within a few weeks. Also very numb in front of my ear, horizontally about an inch and a half, and vertically from the top of my ear to my jaw. It feels weird to the touch, like it's not my skin, but something sitting on top of my face. Numbness can take months to resolve, so will have to be patient. There is also general tightness like a large rubber band is around each ear. Of course tightening was the goal, so to be expected. None of these symptoms affect my day to day functioning, but are definitely there.

Other reflections thus far: you need at least a full week to recuperate. While you look Ok to go out or back to work after a week, it could be tiring to be back to work full-time. I work at a school and am off for the summer, but would not have loved going back to work full-time after only a week. Not a game changer, but just fyi. You've been through a pretty significant surgery and you'll feel it. Once I got off pain meds, I did feel much more lively, so that could be a factor.

If you are a side sleeper, purchase a travel neck rest, the kind you put around your neck. Once I was given clearance to discontinue sleeping elevated, I have been putting my head on the neck rest, ear in the opening, and can sleep fairly comfortably on my side. Not being lay the side of my head on a pillow was something I never thought of ahead of time.

For bruising, I used Arnica Montana pellets, taken orally, from the day before surgery until they ran out, middle of the first week post op, then used the gel topically, and my bruises are completely gone.

Overall, I feel my goal has been reached. I have other issues to address for mid-face which can be resolved with filler, but my jawline and neck are what they were a good 10 years ago, which was my goal. I think it will look even better when swelling goes down.

I can't say enough about the professionalism and individualized support I have received from Dr. Hodge, Kimber and all of the staff at Monarch. I chose them because I had heard nothing but good things and have been getting botox there for a few years, as well as BBL treatments on their skin care side. Each and every interaction with the staff at Monarch has been reaffirming. I didn't even get a 2nd opinion elsewhere on the facelift, I was that confident in Dr. Hodge and Monarch. So far, I am very pleased with the results of Dr. Hodge's artistry with suturing. I had heard stories here on RealSelf of ill-placed stitches and resulting scars, as well as ear lobe issues. While I realize I am still healing, I feel encouraged by what I see so far. I think my ears will heal beautifully. I would highly recommend Monarch to anyone in the Kansas City area. All of their doctors are top-notch.

That's it for now. Will check back in later :-).
Leawood Plastic Surgeon

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