No More Turkey Face for Me. Northbrook, IL

I'm scheduled to have a full face/neck lift, upper...

I'm scheduled to have a full face/neck lift, upper and lower eyes, a browplexy and fat grafting around my mouth.
I'm getting more scared as the time gets closer. Reviewing all the posts on real self is very helpful and supportive, but so overwhelming. I saw six different PS before deciding to go with dr. Epstein. I hope I made the right decision.

Pictures I usually don't post

This picture clearly shows my drooping neck and jowls and tired eyes. I sure hope my PS understands my concerns that I want help with.

One week from surgery!

I've been very anxious but trying to take care of myself. I'm wondering about the most effective way to start using Bromelein and Arnaci before and after surgery. I've read so many conflicting info, some that depends on what type of facial surgery you are having.

Only 6 days to go!

Reading other posts, I realize I was not alone with my experience in the decision making process. Before the holidays I was a wreck , consulting with 6 different PS and trying to make a decision on what to have done and which PS would do it. In my head I wanted it done immediately after New Years, so I was feeling I HAD to make a decision. After sharing my anxiousness with my counselor she said you don't HAVE to do this now, and suggested I wait until after the holidays. That helped so much (along with a little Valuim!) to relax and enjoy the holidays. But still so many decisions and info to process!

2 days from surgery

I'm finally decided to post selfie pictures in the raw(no makeup) it's quite obvious to understand my decision to have the facelift a/ neck lift and eyes done.
I'm mostly prepared. Getting hair done,l today, mani/pedi, foot massage and shopping for needed supplies and food for when I get home. I'm anxious, but I'm confident im making the right decision.

Its recovery time now!?

I had my surgery in Thursday and spent two nights in aftercare facility. Doc said I was looking Good! HA HA! He probably says that to all his patients! Its going to be a slow rough recovery, but stay focused on the end result!

Post op

I tried twice to post detailed post op and it failed to post. Frustrating!

I day post op

Doctor removed q-tip head dressing.

2-day post op

Great to be home and wash my hair. Exhausting

Eyes sutures removed today

4 Days post op- hanging in there. Good to see a little clearer. Dr put me on antibiotics because of swelling and pain around right ear. Those sutures will come out Friday. Ask me anything you want to know. Thanks again for your continued encouragement.

One week post-op

It feels like forever, so I was hoping to see even less bruising and swelling, but realistically I guess it's as well as to be expected. I'm definitely less stretched, and feeling a combo of scared and releaved to see some wrinkles returning around my eyes. I get the stitches around my ears and under my chin removed tomorrow. I hope it doesn't hurt as bad as when the doc removed my eye sutures. My eyes are still very uncomfortable and very teary when I try and focus. Especially my right eye, even though the left one still looks very bloody. Hard to ware my glasses because of how they feel around my ears. But I keep looking at my neck, and there will be no extra turkey this Thanksgiving!????

Sutures removed today, but some concerns.

Last week when I went to have my eye sutures removed, my doctor noticed an area in under my right ear that looked abnormal and red. He put me on oral antibiotics with the thought that it could be an infection. That side has been most tender since surgery. Today when I went to have the sutures around my ears removed, my PS became more concerned about the area below my right ear and mentioned that it looked like some possible Skin Necrosis. After hearing what that meant, it really scared me. He immediately told me to start using some Silvadene cream and mentioned the possibility of checking out an oxygen chamber. Not really sure where to start there, but I do know this can be serious if it does not begin to heal properly. He also told me not to wear the ace wrap any more. So that makes me worry about my neck not being properly supported.
Asking for prayers and documented advise

The healing continued

My last post expressed my concern for the area of my face that showed some skin necrosis (dying skin) and my dismay as to how it was being handled. I was able to get into a oxygen chamber on Sat (I documented that experience somewhere on this sight) which is suppose to help re saturate the skin with health blood flow to ad hands healing. Skin needs oxygenated blood circulation to repair itself. I had an appointment Mondsy with my PS nurse, and she was very caring and empathetic as to how I felt I was treated on Friday. Meanwhile I was also able to make an appointment with a wound care specialist who agreed that the oxygen treatments were needed. Sshe also gave me medicinal bed honey that she said was more effective than silverdene cream. Then i learned a whole lot about the differences on oxyegrn saturation and most effective oxyegen treatment facilities. Apparently, the treatment I had was better than nothing, but only a fraction of what was out there. The problem became finding an oxygen chamber that was open and available to receive another treatment that day. It was the day after the big snow, and even my little oxygen center had canceled my appointment that I had made in Saturday. After about 45min of phone calls my wound care DR was able to get me into a facility in Lake Forest. That process was s fiasco, but I don't want to regress...
I was looked at by yet another wound care specialist and was able to be "dunked" into the chamber. What a difference experience. Much better that bring zipped into a bag for an hour, but it was a 2 1/2 experience, that was repeated again today, and scheduled again for tomorrow. The tech says it's looking better, but hard for me to tell. I was also told these treatments are very good for anti aging, and reducing wrinkles. Well...if I knew that before FL surgery.......!???? so the saga continues. I see the PS nurse again on Saturday, and then my PS in Monday. Thank you everyone for your continued encouragement and prayers.

2 weeks post-op

Just a quick update on my healing process regarding the skin narcosis in the right side of my face.
I'm under the care of a wound specialist, I feel supported by my PS nurse, and have had 3+ HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY treatments. I have not seen my PS since last Friday after this all came to a head, but am hoping to gain his support and help in doing everything to work with me in rectifying and easing the extra burden this has placed on me and my family, emotionally and financially.
But, all in all outside of that, I am encouraged by my new neck line and am being patient as I await the rest of the bruising and. swelling to reside.

More updates 2 weeks + 1 day post -op

I had my 5th oxygen chamber dunk today, and finally go to see my plastic surgeon on Monday. I also had the stitches around my ears removed yesterday. I still have a lot of bruising around my mouth, chin and under my eyes. Wondering why it's taking so long to go away. I've bern using Arnica faithfully and Bromilain. Thankfully, I got the go ahead to use some makeup and concealer seems to cover it pretty well from a distance. I still have lots of tightness and can't manage to get my full smile.

The journey continues...

Sorry for not updating sooner, but the last two weeks had been a while ins of treatments and wound care, PS and eye doctor appointments. Thank you for your posts of concern, prayers and good wishes during that time. Each one was little bits of encouragement that got me through to the next day.
I feel like I have two separate stories in my healing process. The first is the normal concern about all the bruising, swelling, tightness, dry eye causing strain and tearing when trying to read, tightness that still prohibits me from smiling, trying to use makeup to best cover my scars and bruising, numbness, and mostly being self concious about what others will think. All normal healing stuff from all the other informative posts and reviews I've read. It's been 3 1/2 weeks and I just had some of my kids and grandkids see me for the first time yesterday.
Chapter two is the complications I've had resulting in skin necrosis on the right side of my face. For those reading this for the first time, you can go back to my previous posts that talk about the details of that starting.
I found a wonderful wound care specialist who referred me over to Lake Forest hospital wound care division where I have received 9 "dunks" in a state of the arts hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I have my last scheduled one tomorrow. When this all started my PS had just left town, and I was left to handle finding my own treatment this very much on my own. My PS nurse was keeping in touch with my PS knowing I felt he was responsible for not noticing the start of any compromised blood flow and then not taking the proper action soon enough that could have prevented this from turning into full necrosis.
When my PS returned I was called in quickly, on a Sunday, when no other patients were around to see or hear the concerns of an obvious bad complication from one of his surgeries. I was prepared for him to take zero responsibility, since doing so would admit fault and could result in a malpractice suit. I knew he felt horrible that this happened, and an waiting to see how he continues to handle the continued aftercare including picking up the cost of these treatments and sny ither procedures that may be necessary to fix any scarring that is left from this.
There has been a lot of improvement, but there are three areas of concern that we need to wait and see how the areas under the net crisis continue to heal, to know if the scarring will be superficial (surface skin that can be scraped off leaving little scaring) or deeper that might need different procedures to resolve.
Right now those areas can be hidden if I need to go out in public with surgical tape.
I fight depression, anger and regret, and have to find ways to stay positive and hopeful. I will post more pictures later, but this one shows progress as of yesterday.

More pics as promised!

Various profiles to show progress

4 weeks post op

I tried posting a detail review with pictures twice and it didn't go through. Very frustrating. All but right side of my face is status quo for 4 weeks. Can cover bruising with makeup. Still can't get a full smile. ????
The right side of my face is a little better, but not sure how scarring will be handled.
Going back into circulation this weekend. First time with people I know, but don't know I've had FL. Self-conscious. Thank you to all my RS friends who have encouraged me and kept me going.

So how am I doing today...

Many of you have been following my progress and shown concern about how I am doing. Thank you for that. I am sharing part of an email I wrote to a peer today asking the same question. Thanks for checking in with me regarding my recovery process.
"To say the least, it's been a physical and emotional challenge. I chose to respond via email now, since the dam that keeps my emotions at bay will just spill over into a slobbering non- coherent dialog if I verbally called you back to share what's been going on. Hope you understand. ????
"I am still left with a couple of deep open wounds on the side of my face, and even though it's covered, makes me feel like a freak, that still needs a course of action to deal with the scaring that will remain after.
During this time, hibernating from my real world, on top of the normal self consciousness of waiting for the expected swelling and bruising that follows this type of surgery to recede, I am left fighting daily the regrets, fear of the long term prognosis, loneliness, depression and feelings of defeat.
I have been up and down knowing that I have a choice to make everyday. To let this take control of me, or let God give me the strength and insight to surrender this to Him, trusting that He is leading me through this, and allowing me the opportunity to grow even closer to Him as I stay open to see what He wants me to continue to learn about His grace, unconditional love and sovereignty in my life, that without going through this crisis, I would might never fully know.
With all that said, after being away from church, my bible study and ministry peer groups for over a month, after learning how to best apply makeup, and bandage the affected area to disguise the gross distortion that in my head I think everyone is noticing, I did return to my Monday morning Bible study yesterday and survived! ????
I was planning on coming to One2 one tonight, and hope I follow through. As much as I know my One2 one peers are a "safe haven", the vulnerability that comes after now sharing my situation with you, and the raw emotions that follow that transparency, are very difficult to bring under control in a timely manner.

Out in the real world!

Amazing what makeup can do! I still have a ways to go, but I have half my smile back. It's been nice to be back out in my world. First public picture! Not too bad!

Now I can say it was worth it

It took six weeks , but Other than the issues with the necrosis, I can say it was worth it. I'm feeling good about the compliments I'm getting and how I'm looking, and I'm getting my smile back. Just went to CA to visit my daughter who looks very much like me when I was her age. She didn't know I had any surgery, and when my son in law saw me, he did a double take, and said I look so young that he thought it was my daughter who walked in! It doesn't get much better then that. And I posted a picture that I was in on Facebook today, and the facial recognition tagged me as my daughter ! Still numb , but getting used to not being able to feel my face when I'm putting makeup on. Also, my eyes are still sensitive because of dry eye. All normal stuff that takes time! Still have a road ahead of me dealing with the scars but I'm feeling hopeful and more confident!

Some current pictures

My pictures didnt load with my update, so I'm trying again.

More pictures as promised.

Hoping to post some pictures that go sling Ruth my update.

Almost two months

Today is the first time I've gone out ( to a women's retreat no less) without covering up my scars with any bandages. Just a lot of well placed makeup. With my hair in place no one would be able to tell there was much different about the right side. The wounds are 98% closed, and after appointment with PS yesterday, he said we can begin scar reduction starting with silicon scar away strips worn 12 hrs a day.
Feeling more confident. Wore my contacts again today, even though my eyes are still a little dry, and it feels like I'm tearing my eyes apart trying to get them out. But my PS said I'm not hurting anything. I still feel very tight or numb or something on my sides and under my neck. Almost the feeling of wearing a tight swim cap all the time. But each day I feel twinges of sensation in those areas do I know something's still alive under there. Thanks again to all my RS friends who keep me focused on the good but understanding the difficult healing process. But it will be eorth it in the end.

Now this is what 60 looks like!

Very happy that I don't have to feel self conscious with pics of me anymore. Feeling great about showing this off!

12 weeks post op Before and after.

I can honestly say that for the reason I put my face in the hands of a surgeon, I'm pretty happy with the results. I am still numb around the sides of my face, and still have some swelling in the left side that I think makes my face look a little lopsided. I Am frustrated I have to work so hard to deal with the complications, and work to cover the scars as good as possible. , but continue to be hopeful Dr Epstein will do everything he can to make the final outcome acceptable with any revisions or treatments that may be necessary.

3 months post-op today !

It's been a journey. I am so thankful for all of my RS friends who have given me encouragement and advise through my healing process.
I am very happy that my turkey neck, jowls and baggy eyes are long gone! It's so nice to look in the mirror and not be pulling up my neck, as I did for years, wondering if I would have the gumption to actually have a facelift. The thought of it was horrifying, but I guess the thoughts that I looked so much older than I felt, were even more disgusting! I love all the comments about how much younger I look, and that there's no way I can be a senior! I still have a feeling of numbness, tightness and weird sensations ( all normal still) on the sides of my face and under my chin. My eyes are still somewhat sensitive, and wearing my contacts irritates my eyes for a day or two after, so I find myself wearing my glasses more than I would like.
Outside of the scarring from the necrosis,( part two of my journey),I have some issues that I need to talk to my PS about. I don't know if "things will still improve over time" or if revisions are possible to get more of the results I hoped for my eyes (they do not look symmetrical ) and my browplexy didn't quite lift as much as I anticipated. I also want to ask about some fillers.
Part 2-the scaring from the necrosis continues to bring mixed feelings of regret, anger and humbleness. My PS just says I need to be patient and am currently using silicon scar strips and gentle massage to try and smooth out the area. Makeup and fixing my hair the right way covers it barely enough to not be obviously noticeable, but without anything it's downright ugly! I will continue to post updates and answer questions to help others understand the FL journey, and encourage you as best I can. I enjoyed meeting one "real" RealSelf friends in person, and she's just as spunky and funny as her posts! And even though she won't post pictures, her results are simply amazing! She looks a good 15-20 years younger than she is! ????
I'm posting a couple current selfies, but hope to have more soon. Blessings to you all!

Looking to young to be his mom!

Recently posted a picture of me and my son, and getting lots of comments about looking too young to be his mom, and others that say I look like his sister. Love it! And only my Real Self Friends know for sure!

6 months post op today!

Will update progress detail later, but the recent pictures I'm posting says a lot.

Pictures 6 months post op

Will update detail I my progress soon, but the pictures say a lot.
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

So far my consults with him has been very informative. He has given me all the time I need to ask questions. I am now 2 months post op, and for those who have followed my journey, you know because of the complications I had, it has been hard to post an non emotional review of Dr Epstein. Outside of the complications with necrotic tissue on one side of my face, I sm happy with the results. No more turkey neck or bags under my eyes! I believe Dr Epstein is a competent skilled surgeon, and he is doing everything he can to help me through this emotional healing process, and know he truly feels bad that this complication happened, so I am not going to elaborated on if or how this could have been prevented. I will update my review as I continue to feel satisfied with how the added costs of needed treatments and continued aftercare are addressed.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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