60 Years Old and Happily Lost a Decade - Northern Virginia

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I had a lower bleph, SMAS facelift and neck lift...

I had a lower bleph, SMAS facelift and neck lift on April 9, 2014. Always looked younger than my age, but around age 55, no one was surprised I was in my later 50s. Five years later, I looked every day of of my 60 years and probably more. Still, I was not really going to worry about any cosmetic surgery. I was happily retired and busy with things I enjoyed. BUT, my husband started in on wanting a facelift and hair transplant (We had talked about doing it over the years). I'm thinking about the pocket book....he never has, and really didn't want to spend the money. Finally, last fall, he said he was going to go ahead with it, and if I didn't want to get my face done, fine, but he was going to do it. OK...the idea grew on me (how can I pass up a gift like that!!...:-) and I actually ended up going before he did.

At this writing, I am almost exactly one month past my surgery. I think I look 10 years younger. My husband says I in no way look 60 anymore, but he is being rather conservative with his opinion until all my swelling and wonkiness settles down. Even with the swelling, I think I'm looking pretty good.

I want to submit my story because I found RealSelf invaluable in knowing what to expect and what everyone else has experienced. I'm not too worried about my lumps and ridges, scars, zingers and residual swelling as it all seems to be expected..now and in some months to come. The only thing that has freaked me out to some extent are some of the lower blepharoplasty stories and a LOT of the rather scary doctor responses. This has not left me feeling very confident at all. I am glad to get rid of my huge eyebags, but a little concerned that my eyes are rounder and I have a tiny bit of scleral show. My PS says it will improve and I am doing massaging and eye squeezes.

Anyway, I will submit this for now and try to go back and document my experience. Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories. It is soooooo helpful.

Having trouble at the moment uploading my after pics. Will do so as soon as I can.

Day of Surgery - Wednesday April 9

I didn't get much sleep the night before, but it wasn't because I was over anxious. Don't know what was the matter with me, but I was never very concerned over my upcoming surgery. Ignorance, I guess....:-) Anyway, early morning, I went to the surgical center, had great anesthesiologist, and off to la la land I went. The nurses were great, too, and reassured me that it would be over before I knew it. I woke up to a bit of nausea. It wasn't bad, but I wanted to tell them before it got any worse. They gave me a Phenergan suppository and then propped me up in a recovery chair. My most overwhelming sensation, after the nausea, was that I felt like I had a very tight noose around my neck. I was so sure they had done the dressing too tight but my doctor came in and assured me it was all the work they had done to my neck. She was right, but it sure felt like someone had gotten overzealous with the bandaging. And, of course, I was hideously parched. They let my husband come in and sit with me until they felt the nausea was improved and he could drive me home. Oh...the other thing, I had one heck of a headache. It was so bad that I called the doc when I got home, because I knew I could not take any Excedrin Migraine, which always knocks my headaches out very quickly. I was also afraid to take any of the Vicodin as that might make me nauseous again. She said headaches often happen to big coffee drinkers (yep, that's me)...it has to do with caffeine withdrawal. She advised me to drink coffee and take Tylenol. It worked. I laid back in my LaZy Boy recliner and don't remember much about the rest of the day. It was so good to get rid o the headache and nausea. I knew I could handle the rest of it from there on out. I didn't even risk taking any of the Vicodin until the next day. Oh, and my husband was great seeing to it that I had the cool gauze patches on my eyes and waiting on me.

6 Days Post Op

On my sixth day post op, went in to have my lower lid stitches out. Love how smooth my jowls, cheeks and neckline were, but some of that was thanks to the swelling. Still, I could tell I looked so much better than before, even with bruises. And yes, getting the stitches out was not the most painful thing I had ever been through, but it smarted quite a bit.

The days in between my surgery and to this point are a bit of a blur, but my only complaints were my dressing. Even though I had the large dressing removed 2 days after my surgery, and the less cumbersome one put on at that time, I nearly went stark raving mad over the itching around my neck and chin from the gauze and my left ear being pinned back against my head was absolutely unbearable. Nothing else really bothered me. It was such a relief on the sixth day to just get into the chin strap. The doc told me to cut a slit for my poor beleaguered left ear (I never could stand to have it pinned against my head....ear muffs would kill me after about an hour after wearing them) I was quite good. Just sore, swollen and numb in front of my ears and oddly, very numb and sore all the way up my temples to the very top of my head. I didn't have a brow lift, so I wasn't sure why that was so. More on that later.

Day 11 Post Op

Most of the bruising is gone. The ones around my mouth accentuate my marionette lines, which I knew I would still have. I meant to mention I have Juvederm in my marionette lines. Most of the bruising is in my neck and was turning yellow at this point. I look pretty rough as I was not given permission to shower or wash my hair!! I endured it OK, but I think it would have driven most people nuts! Have to wear my chin strap all the time and still take it very, very easy. My doc is pretty conservative and she plays it safe. I'm following her orders to a T, except for staying away from my cat. Kitty has been glued to me since I moved into the recliner.

Incision Pics

My ears are healing very well, I think. I will post a photo of behind my ear tomorrow. Under chin looks like a horror show. Not so unusual at this point, is it? :-( I don't have much tightness now in my neck from ear to ear, but its very tight running up through the middle of my neck. Even that is beginning to loosen up, but I woke up a few days ago and couldn't really lift my chin up enough to even look ahead. I stretched it very gently and it is much better today.

More Incision Pics

Couldn't upload these in the above update. Will try again.

Day 21 Post Op Photo

Day 30 Post Op

I'm pretty lumpy in the lower side of my face and pretty much puffed up from under my ears all the way across my neck and up through my jowls (or at least I HOPE its swelling and not just me!). Hoping like a lot of you it will go away before too long and I'll like what I see underneath.

5 and 1/2 Months After Surgery

I've been wanting to post forever, but lots of things going on PLUS, I am not so sure what I think about my results at the 5 and 1/2 month mark. I may have to do this in a couple of postings. I also have not posted any pictures because I can't seem to take a good picture to save my life or else that is just how I look. If that's the case, its a little depressing.
So here is where I am now.
- area in front of my ears and up into my sideburns, still numb. Less numb than before, but still numb.
- still have a very tight band running up the middle of my neck. It can be rather uncomfortable and still bothers me a bit. It has improved in the last month, but its still tight. I read someone's comment about the challenge of draining the last drop out of a water bottle. I fear if I lift my chin up too far, something is going to snap like a rubber band, but I'm sure I'm being silly.
- My eyes are good. Still a little tightness where the incision was, but I can't see the scar at all and my eyelids close perfectly flush, now. It took awhile before I could wash my face and not get water and soap in my eyes because my lids were so stiff and gappy.
- It is still very tender behind my ears where the neck lift incisions are. It is much better than it was, but this is still my most sensitive area. I finally got my hair highlighted 2 months ago the shampooing and combing back there was not pleasant. I haven't bothered looking at the scars, but they feel quite lumpy. However, I wear my hair up more often than not and no one has ever seemed to notice a thing.
- The scars in front of my ears have been almost invisible for months.
I have to say I'm not really bothered by how my face feels at this point, but there is never a day that I am not totally aware that my face and neck still feel strange. From all I've read, I don't think I'm in the minority.
Soooooo......how do I feel about it all now that my face and neck lift and lower lid bleph are nearly 6 months behind me? Hmmmmm. So many things that I'm not entirely sure. I look in the mirror and I actually am pretty happy with what I see. But.... in my photos, I still have much more jowl than I'd like, very deep marionette lines (even though I had Juvederm injected into them during my surgery), and, apparently, I have those damn submandibular glands that pooch out under my jaw line. And when I look at my photos, I feel like there is almost no difference in my jowls. My PS says, yes, the pooches are my submandibulars, nothing can be done about that, and she thinks I look marvelous everywhere else, so there will be no free or reduced cost revisions. My husband says I look better but he doesn't think I really look 10 years younger. He just doesn't think its that dramatic. My brother is the only one that has ever said I looked younger. The man has never been able to tell even the slightest white lie convincingly so I consider it a real positive coming from him. Of course, I let him in on the fact that I had my eye bags removed and "just a touch of lipo" under my neck. I on the other hand, can tell white lies like a pro.....:-)
I think the most dramatically improved areas are the bags under my eyes and my neck. I don't think I had any idea how bad my neck was. If I had my head held high, all was not so bad, but the slightest downward slant and, as my husband says "the spare tire appeared". I was shocked beyond words when I saw the picture taken of me in November (pic no 1). My neck is still a bit of a mess. Those stupid glands and that band up the middle of the neck and still some crepiness at the bottom when my neck is back a bit. Oh well. It is a VAST improvement from before. I'm glad to be done with the bags. I still have somewhat of the appearance of them...its like the gouge left after a glacier has passed over the landscape and melted....but it makes me look like me. I have had major bags since I was 28 (and I didn't really mind them so much until I was around 50), so I am OK with how it turned out. The rumples I developed on the side of my face are gone. And I think the jowls are better. They are STILL there, but they seem much more taut and I honestly don't think the PS could have pulled anymore without distorting my face. She did lipo under my chin and a bit at the jaw line, but I've read where you have to be very careful with lipo near your mouth area and that is where my biggest problem lies.
Overall, I feel I am much improved, but its not startling. Now I really notice the lines! Perhaps the payoff is later down the road when people won't think I really look my age. And I have to control myself from swatting my pharmacist on the arm when she keeps asking me for my medicare card (I'm not there, yet....I'm 60). OK...so she's like late 30s. All us ladies over 60 look like 80 to them. Still!
Pictures no 3 and no 4 are the best pics I have ever been able to take since my surgery. And, sometimes, this is the way I think I look in the mirror. So, to be fair, I've also uploaded the cold hard truth with different lighting (pics no 5 and 6). And even those pics are better than the majority I take. Perhaps I'm really in between.
I have a bit more to say, but I will post that later. I am also scheduled for an arm lift in less than 2 weeks. Yikes!!!!
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