I was becoming more and more unhappy with my aging...
I was becoming more and more unhappy with my aging face. Everything was pointing downward, especially my mouth. I had an unattractive jawline, neck, and marionette lines. My formerly beautiful eyes looked sad. I wanted a lift but it wasn't until I found Realself, that I had direction. I researched surgeons and procedures and interviewed local cosmetic surgeons. I knew I wanted someone who specialized in the face. Finally, I just knew with certainty that Dr. David Hartley was the surgeon for me. Taking my before pix to send to him for the phone consult was painful. I wish I knew why photos are so much worse than what you see in the mirror. My date was set for April 28, and I followed the advice of my Realself sisters to prepare.
Preop and Procedure
I arrived the day before my procedure for my Preop visit. It was so nice to meet Dr. Harley and Juanita in person. Dr. Harley answered all my questions and together we determined to do a face and neck lift, upper and lower blepheroplasty, and filler to address whatever of the marionette lines remained after the lift. I also asked to fill out my naturally thin lips a little bit. I left feeling confident that I was going to have a good outcome.
Even though my sister-in-law accompanied me for moral support, I hired TLC For You to care for me, because I wanted experienced health professionals for the recovery. I am so glad I did. Susie, the owner, gave me advice on what to bring, and she made the hotel arrangements. The Fairfield Inn is used to working with her, and the hotel was spotless, and the staff friendly and helpful. The included breakfast is extensive, and the beds were great. TLC also got us a discounted rate that was excellent. My sis-in-law stayed in her own room the first 2 nights, because TLC staff stay with you overnight after the procedure.
Susie came to meet me the night before. The next morning, Laura arrived at 6 a.m. to take me to the office. I took the "cocktail" of meds and I really don't remember much after that until Laura helped me crawl into bed back at the hospital. I did wake up near the end of the procedure when I was getting the filler, but nothing really hurt. I have to get photos from my sister-in-law and then I will post a photo of me with the bandage and drain. I was out of it, but Susie came with a blender and put a straw through my swollen lips and that first taste of mango smoothie was incredible!
Recovery was easy -I needed no prescribed pain killers after the second day, and no tylenol after the third day. I could already see the results through the swelling. I think I bent over inadvertantly while in a haze the first day, because blood pooled in one of my eyes, but that resolved into bruising that kind of looks like eyeshadow. I love my shapely lips. One day, at the elevator, I ran into BabyGirl, who was a couple of days ahead of me, and she looked gorgeous! She told me I looked 45, which was 20 years off. My sister-in-law and I explored many interesting areas of Asheville, including the welcome area of the Biltmore Estate. A greeter apologized that the only discount ticket was for those 65 and older. When I told her I qualified, her mouth actually fell open!
TLC checked in with me, and were incredibly kind. I ran into Malina
after my stitches were removed, and she drove me back to the hotel. I also need to mention Melanie, who stayed with me overnight and made sure I was comfortable and kept my head up.
Dr. Hartley was very warm and seemed thrilled for me. Both he and Juanita hugged me, and sent me off home with a smile.
More on the post-operative journey
I need to recognize the above-and-beyond kindness of Susie and Laura of TLC on my last day in Asheville. I returned my rental car 2 days previously, and I was planning to taxi to the airport and try to get hotel staff to bring down my suitcase (you can't lift anything heavier than 25 lbs) and have the taxi driver bring my suitcase to the check-in. Susie insisted on coming to help me with the bags and drive me to the airport. My flight was at 7pm and late check-out at the hotel was 2 pm. I was going to hang out in the lobby and at the airport. Susie brought me to her home and had me stretch out on the couch in her home office. She even bought me a sandwich! She refused to take any payment for anything that day. Laura sat with me and chatted - they are both interesting women. What a good experience! The attached photos are from the day I left (1 week post).
Two weeks later
Things are continuing to settle. Much of the swelling is down. Alas, I am a failure at sleeping upright on my back. I have had some interesting encounters with people I know. Some say I love your hair! Haha! One woman said Are you getting younger? Um, yes. But one truth-teller guy at a party asked did you have work done. I said no, I was sick. I had sinus surgery, and I slept a lot and lost a little weight. TEE hee. Don't know who bought what part of it. I have to go back to work tomorrow. That should be interesting.
I am a little bit unhappy with one aspect of my face. I have hollows under my eyes that I never had before, and I don't know if this is something that is going to improve. Evidently, this can happen if too much fat is removed during a lower bleph. Look at the photo, and tell me what you think.
Another view of under eye hollows
Am I worrying prematurely?
Back at Work
Changes every day. It's kind of fun to see people looking at me sideways, trying to figure it out without being too obvious. Swelling and hardness still in evidence but I feel good and much more confident.
4 weeks and some worries
I am concerned about some issues. Please give me your thoughts, so I will know if I am being realistic or not. Do you think my face is asymmetrical? Is my mouth centered properly under my nose? Are my jowls returning? Is the skin at the base of my neck loose? Are there hollows under my eyes?
I know I look better than my before pix, but is it realistic to rhink I will still have improvement from things settling?
I ask my husband, and he tells me that it looks good and is improving but I wonder if he just doesn't want me to get upset. Thanks, RS ladies.
Side views as requested, day 32
My neck still feels like there is a tight band under the chin, where the elastic of a child's party hat would be, and I can feel some hard tissue there, so maybe there is still some swelling that will resolve, but here are the side views for now.
This photo is taken in very flattering light, but still, it's nice to have. Much of the swelling has departed at last. I still look in the mirror first thing each morning to look for new developments. I still have some numbness in a sort of circle around my face, encompassing all my incised areas -- eyes, sides of face and front of ears, and under my chin -- but in a funny way, I like it. The feeling is not unpleasant, and It reminds me that I had this work done and now I am different. I can feel the tiny tingles as my nerves reconnect. Even the hard areas on th sides of my face and under my chin have begun to soften. The scars from my upper blepharoplasty are still somewhat tender and red. The left one points downward. I can easily cover them with foundation.
I am very happy with my results. My profession entails finding the things that are wrong and correcting them, so I have an overdeveloped eye for what could be improved. Right now, I would tighten the skin at the base of my neck, lift the outer corners of my eyebrows a bit, get rid of some residual swelling (like little festoons) under my eyes, and tighten my jaw line a bit, but these would all be very small adjustments. I look like myself many years ago, and I feel pretty and confident. I am happy I did this, and I am grateful that I was able to have the services of Dr. Harley.
27 Jun 2016
2 months post
I put off renewing my passport as long as possible because I wanted to be happy with my new photo, which stays with you a long time. This is how I looked the day I went to get photographed. As you can see, the swelling has gone down a good bit since the 5-week post, but sadly so has some of the smoothness. My jowls are back somewhat, which makes me sad, and I have a few uneven spaces. I am not getting the compliments I was a few weeks back. I am still looking better and younger than I was, but I am going to ask about smoothing the jawline when I have my check up and filling the hollows under my eyes.
I hope you all don't think I am nuts or ungrateful, but I want my results to be as good as possible, so I am going to see if I can still get some improvement. I am considering some way of improving my hair, which is thin, also.
Feeling at the sides of my face, earlobes, and under my chin is returning a lot.
before and after
28 Jul 2016
3 months post
The after on the left is from today, at 3 months
29 Sep 2016
5 months post
Another happy monthiversary.