Embarrassed and saddened at the young age of 66, I...
Embarrassed and saddened at the young age of 66, I have elected to get a face lift. Like many of you “real” wonderful women on this site, I have felt the guilt of pride, egotism and the fact that I will be spending a LOT of money for selfish reasons, but I just couldn’t quit obsessing over the way my face aged so quickly and how elderly I appeared – so, right or wrong - I had my initial consultation January 15 and set the date of my surgery – it is Monday, May 16th, 2016. My surgeon is Dr. Ivan Wayne; his office is in Oklahoma City and he affiliated with OU Physicians. I chose him because of his five star reviews, private phone calls I have had with one of his patience who had a composite face lift, his two board certifications, his status as a “teaching” doctor, and his proximity to where I live. The cost is astronomical – compared to similar procedures in Costa Rica. Really wish I could have gone that route, but I just can’t be away from duties around here for that long, and my husband wouldn’t be onboard with that either. The “composite” face lift Dr. Wayne performs includes the neck, lower and the mid-face and is supposedly a somewhat different technique – we shall see. Additionally, I will have a lower blepharoplasty and some minor fat transfer to the marionette folds I have most recently acquired! UGH! I have a bunch of very noticeable wrinkles, but I don’t want to risk ruining “brand new to the world” skin in the summer sun; so, I will likely have the recommended C02 laser resurfacing done in December. The support from so many incredibly kind and selfless, intelligent and bold women on this site has given me some relief from my selfish/guilty feelings. I appreciate this site so much and will eagerly share my journey and any knowledge I gain along the way with all! Here’s a big HIGH FIVE to amazing YOU!! And one more thing - I am going to attach one post-op picture for now. I found it too painful to choose the worst pictures of me, but I will post those dreadful things closer to my surgery date!
It's on my calendar! Dr. Harley in Asheville, NC - June 9, 2016!
Why the update before surgery?? After reading many reviews on Real Self and researching a variety of facelift procedures, I cancelled my original surgery date, which was May 16, and decided to have Dr. David Harley do my facelift. During my telephone consultation with him - as I sat in a friend's car outside of Starbucks - we talked about what bothered me most and what he thought he could accomplish. (He was looking at the five pictures I sent to him while we talked.) The final decision was for me to have a neck and lower face lift and possibly both a lower and upper blepharoplasty. I need a chemical peel to help diminish the MANY VERY NOTICEABLE wrinkles I have, but with summer almost here, I have chosen to put the peel off until December.
In case you are wondering? - I cancelled my original surgery date because the idea of being under a general anesthesia for 8 hours and getting a rather extensive surgery at a rather expensive price tag became less appealing and even overwhelming to me. When I kept reading the results some of the gals on this site were getting for less time spent under anesthetic and less money out of their pockets, I began second guessing my decision. Originally, I didn't think I could go out of state for my surgery, so I was happy to find a reputable doctor close to me, but I could only find two reviews regarding his composite facelifts - both excellent reviews, but I began to doubt my fairly hasty decision. Since I am 66, I wanted to have my reconstruction ASAP - before the summer of 2016; so, I probably rushed into my decision before really understanding or knowing everything there is to know about the many types of facelifts and what was best for me. I guess I should mention for you gals who may be battling the same thing I did - It was no easy task getting my husband on board with my decision to temporarily halt the scourge the great outdoors and genetics had done to my face! Yes, my husband is one of the biggest factors I initially looked for a fl surgeon strictly in Oklahoma. I honestly couldn't even tell him the total amount I would be spending!! Anyway, as the months went by (I scheduled the date of May 16th for my facelift on January 17th) I kept reading as much as I could and trying to convince myself I had made the right decision. Finally, I made the bold move of telling my husband what I was discovering on this site and that I was reconsidering my decision and wanted to find out what Dr. Harley could do. I have to tell you - he liked the idea of paying a lot less money for the surgery and he liked the idea of going to North Carolina! Lucky me!! So, I lost my $500 deposit when I cancelled my surgery, but by using Dr. Harley I will save enough money for my husband and I to drive the 14 hour drive to Asheville, stay in hotels and a vacation rental for 14 nights, eat, drink and be merry! LOL! Not only that, I will still have a couple of thousand more in my bank account than if I had my facelift in Oklahoma, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, Dr. Harley has so many wonderful reviews that I have few qualms about my decision to have an elective surgery that I know can be risky. I am not going to get the mid-face lift I would have gotten with Dr. Wayne, but I would rather not be worrying what 8 hours under general anesthesia might do to my brain down the road and the idea of the extensive recovery I was facing. By the way, A big part of the reason for the big savings is Dr. Harley does his procedure under local anesthetic in his office with no overnight stay in a facility. I really believe I have made the right decision this time! Yay!!! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to blog about their journey - the good and the gruesome! You helped me re-think my decision, and you have helped me better prepare mentally for the rather tough recovery I will endure. One other thing I have gained from reading so many excellent stories is that I will NOT think of myself as selfish or vain!! I am a woman who wants to be the best I can be - while I still have time!!
Honesty is Painful
I guess it's time I put a few pictures up so we can all compare before and after restoration. I'm vain enough to think these bare naked pics don't really look like me - LOL It's AMAZING how a little makeup and a distant photo can make you feel okay about your face, but that's not reality. I just can't accept an old looking face when my inward spirit is so youthful. I'm thankful there is a remedy to that problem, and I have chosen it. I have come to realize through my consults and this site - much to my dismay- my wrinkles will not be all that diminished after my surgery, but if I'm able to be satisfied, I won't have anything else done. (That would make my husband extremely happy!) If I decide I have to get rid of more wrinkles, I'll likely go with some type of peel because the CO2 and fraxel laser scare me! In the meantime, I'm staying positive and hopeful that Dr. Harley can work a miracle on my neck, lower face and lower and possibly upper eyes! Love you RealSelf girlfriends! You're absolutely the best women in the world!!
Pre-op Picture of my Ears
Someone asked if I would post a picture of my ears before surgery...happy to oblige! :)
Two day trip and at last we are in North Carolina! It's rainy and cool but simply beautiful everywhere you look. Living in central Oklahoma, I don't see tall lush trees or beautiful mountainsides and flowers at every glance! Our grandsons are glad to finally be out of the car and have enjoyed the hot tub and ping pong at the vacation house we are in. Since I didn't know exactly what day we would arrive, I made the arrival date for our house Wednesday, May 8th. Well, we didn't stop at every Civil War site on the way like I thought we might so we arrived couple days earlier! Luckily, the owner of the house we are renting the vacation house from has a nice "cabin" we are staying in tonight and we are able to move to the more spacious house with a view tomorrow, Monday, June 6th...looking forward to that! My husband is looking forward to the hikes; my grandsons are excited about rafting, zip lining and waterfalls; I'm just excited! ;)
Since scheduling my surgery with Dr. Harley the first week in April, I have not felt the anxiety I had from mid January until the day in late March I decided to cancel my scheduled procedure in OKC! Things greatly contributing to my avoiding anxiety in the month of May: finishing up the two classes I teach at the community college, attending five school events for three of my grandsons between May 3rd and May 17th and watching over all four grandsons since school dismissed for the summer the past two weeks - AND My 88 year old mother arrived May 23rd and stayed until we dropped her off with my brother the day we left to come here, which was yesterday. - AND so that I could come home to a clean house, I made a pact with myself to deep clean my house before we took off on our two-week "vacation"- now that was a chore! LOL Finally, putting in my three miles five days a week helps keep me tired by bedtime and feeling like I'm staying in shape so I can live a healthy and active life. Preparing to be away from home - the dog, flowers, yard, mail, etc. for two weeks will make ya crazy if you let it. As I sit here on the sofa in the cabin with the sound of the rushing creek in the background, I seem to still be somewhat sane: AMAZING! THANKFUL! Riding in the car all day didn't use up much of my energy today, though, so I will have to go to bed at midnight to ensure I fall asleep quickly and avoid dwelling on useless negative thoughts. I know most of you who are reading this can relate to all of this in some manner. We want to remain young at heart, feel young and we want to LOOK as young as we feel, right?! I will try to post an update after my face to face pre-op consultation with Dr. Harley on Wednesday. I don't know if I'm having an upper blepharoplasty to go along with the neck and lower face lift or not - think I need it, but I'm waiting to see what he thinks. Thanks ya'll for following my journey! There are a few of us who have had and will be having procedures in June with Dr. Harley and elsewhere. You are all on my heart and in my prayers, and a big hug and prayers to those of you recuperating!! ~ j
Tomorrow is hours away!
It's late and I should be going to bed, but I wanted to post the outcome of my pre-op visit with Dr. Harley. My appointment was at 12:45 this afternoon, but I arrived 15 minutes early and one of his patience was late so he went ahead and saw me. I really wanted to let him do all the talking so I tried to muffle my mouth as much as possible! Basically, after he looked at my face and pulled around on it a little, he recommended upper and lower blephs and of course the neck and lower face lift. Those recommendations did not come as a surprise to me. What did come as a surprise was the suggestion he use two more incisions - back hairline - so he could get my entire long neck with "thin skin" to look as smooth as the rest of the neck was going to look. He said if he didn't do that he was afraid the transition from the smooth neck to the part of the lower neck he couldn't get smooth would be noticeable with just the behind the ear incisions . I have seen pictures of back hairline incisions and so I'm not unaware of that procedure, but having two more incisions - well, it's okay - just not what I expected to hear. Have you ever read Norah Ephron's book I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK AND OTHER THOUGHTS ON BEING A WOMAN? If not, you should. You will laugh all the way through it! I have felt bad about my neck for years, and I probably always will! My skin just isn't very smooth looking. Big deal - so much for my neck! Because of my wrinkled crepey skin he suggested I have a skin peel. He said the recovery time from the peel would equal about the same recovery time from the facelift. I think he wants to make sure I am happy with the results and he knows and I know a facelift does not resolve the issue of wrinkled skin. I'm probably going to wait for fall or December during Christmas break to do it though. I will use a local aesthetician. I just don't want another thing to be healing from.
Who's taking care of me after surgery? TLC is taking care of me for the first 24 hours after surgery. Here's the scoop on that:
Susie said she has a room reserved in her name for me. My husband is to go by the Fairmont Suites and Hotel and pay for my room and drop off my bag with all my goodies in it. A TLC nurse or CNA or whoever ` will pick me up after my procedure and take me to my room that she will have already set up using my things - neck pillow, pineapple juice, Boost, beaded eye mask.( I am putting pineapple juice and Boost in my bag so they can put it in the refrigerator for me.) Susie said if I forget anything or need anything, they will go out and get it for me. I will be sleeping most of the time - I hope! So happy someone who knows what's going on will give me my meds on time and help me with my drinks and all important icing/cold compresses. Friday morning - day after surgery - I will be taken back to Dr. Harley's office to have the drain and head bandage removed and then I will be taken back to the hotel to rest until around 2:00. Susie arranged for an early check in and a late check out for me. I think it's going to work out much better than my husband trying to take care of me. Even though he will be concerned about what's going on, he will be able to contact the nurse if he wants to. Our grandsons will be with him at our vacation house in Maggie Valley - a 35 minute drive from Dr. Harley's office so he will have plenty to keep his mind pre-occupied. Speaking of my husband - he's ordering go to bed - now! Goodnight all! Talk to ya later!
Morning of 2nd after surgery
I wanted to at least say hello and I'm alive and humming along...will post more later!
A few pictures and a short story
Hey Everyone! Let's see if I can condense the last two days into a few meaningful paragraphs.
On Thursday, May 9, my husband and my two grandsons and I drove 35 minutes from Maggie Valley to Dr. Harley's office. We all went inside, but my two grandsons stayed in the outer waiting room and my husband and I waited in a smaller room for Doc Harley to come in. While I waited Juanita came in and discussed what was going to happen and gave me some papers to read that disclosed the risks of each of the procedures I was going to have: lower face and neck lift and upper and lower blephs with a little filler on either side of my mouth. I didn't read every single word on every paper, but I definitely got the message! Dr. Harley came in and reviewed with my husband the plan he had in mind for my "restoration." I walked in and out of the room a couple of times while they were talking taking care of giving the consent forms to Juanita and giving her my credit card to pay for the procedures. I was anxious to get the procedure started so instead of sitting there patiently, I went ahead and took care of business! Soon, Juanita came in and gave me the meds to put me in an alternate state of mind. I told Duane and my grandsons goodbye and went back to sit in the quiet room with the door closed listening to soothing music hoping to become groggy quickly. Well, 20 minutes or so later I cannot remember who came to get me, but I think it was Kelly. She took my flip flops off and put on the socks I had brought to keep my feet warm. That's about all I remember until I started waking up. I think Dr. Harley was finished with me, but if not I fell back to sleep until they started helping me sit up. I was surprised it was all over and felt great but woozy. I had to have help walking to the car. Melina with TLC was there to take me to the Fairmont Hotel and Suites, but I don't remember much about her. When we arrived at the hotel, she helped me into bed and gave me something to drink, but I was asleep most of the time. Betty relieved Melina around midnight - I think. She was a kind and caring lady and gave me my meds and made sure I was drinking water and the Boost my husband had dropped off at the room earlier. She also fed the yogurt to me on Friday morning. My appointment to have the drain removed was at 11:00 so Betty helped me to the car. She figured out quickly I wasn't going to be able to walk to the car very well so she had me sit in the rolling chair that was in the room and she pushed me down the hall, through the door and up to her car! I got safely into the car and off we went. I was able to walk into Dr. Harley's office, but I do not remember having the drain removed or much of anything other than trying to say thank you and being polite to everyone. Betty got me back into her car and off we went back to the hotel. She put me back into the chair and pushed me back into the room. OMG! What an ordeal for that poor lady! I would guess her to be in her late 60's but who knows. I haven't had to take meds that knock me out very many times, but when I have, I am very weak in the knees and collapse easily. I heard one of the gals at Dr. Harley's say since I was small, I couldn't handle the meds very well. I also tend to have low blood pressure so that probably added to the problem. My husband picked me up around 2:00 and he got me to the car and off we went to our house in Maggie Valley. It was nice to be sleeping so much - I was so relaxed and didn't worry about a thing. Unfortunately, there was a little confusion about what was to be done and when it was to be done so despite having the instructions Juanita had given me, some frustration set in. We got it all worked out, though - after making a call to Dr. Harley's cell phone and off to the drugstore my husband went to get bacitration (sp). I didn't ice at all during the night because of the confusion of what was supposed to take place and I think my eyes are more bruised because of it but I'm fine and everything is going as scheduled now. I was hungry when I woke up so hubby fixed scrambled eggs for everyone and I made toast and coffee. YUMMY!! The homemade jelly we bought at a local produce stand was scrumptious!! Makes me want some right now! I'm going to post a couple of pictures from yesterday and today. You can see in one of the pictures one side of my neck is pretty bruised. I guess because of the extra incision in my back hairline. I'm really hoping the bruising goes away quickly and my eyes start feeling better. They just hurt a little when I scrunch my eyes and there's a very small amount of burning now and then. I can open my completely or it seems I can and I think I am closing them all the way, too. Questions? Ask me! Thanks for all your support and and kindness along the way!!!....~jan
Sleeping, icing, bathing, and no bake cookies
Thankfully, I have slept well every night since my surgery. I wake up occasionally but after rearranging my rear end, I fall back to sleep easily. I am posting a picture of my pillow arrangements. I am mostly a side sleeper so I was afraid I would be frustrated with staying on my back all night long, but so far it's all gong well. I have not iced during the evening hours because frankly, it was too much trouble. I haven't even iced as often during the daylight hours as I should have because my "nurse" (my husband) keeps forgetting to remind me - LOL...have to blame someone, right? My adorable 10 year old grandson checks up on me now and then and tries to keep accountable about as well as any nurse would do. He's an absolute LOVE! He told me I have a little more swelling on the right side than on the left side but my bruising seems to overall be diminishing. The skin around my eyes feels tight and my eyes are somewhat dry feeling. I have used Systane drops to help alleviate that issue but it really hasn't helped that much. It's not very bothersome, though. My facial skin feels pretty tight all over and I can relate to the comments about the neck feeling tight but it's not unbearable at all. I am cleaning my sutures with half peroxide half water - except for around the eyes - a few times a day and then applying bacitracin on the sutures. I have taken two showers - how lovely those are - using Aveeno baby shampoo/wash. I don't scrub my sutures with soap per instructions from doctor. After my shower, I dry off and apply moisturizer to everything below my neck and then blow dry my hair. I look in the magnifying mirror to check out all the sutures and bruises to make sure everything is looking good - no infection, etc. I then put my hand band on and apply the bacitracin, get dressed and head down to the kitchen to eat breakfast. Today I ate oatmeal with walnuts. My grandsons were wanting a snack so I made no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. They were so excited - and so was I!! I made coffee and helped myself to a couple of them. I sat on the swing out on one of the decks overlooking the beautiful mountains and sipped on my coffee and indulged in the delicious cookies. I have mostly been taking it easy which consists of talking to my kiddos back home, reading posts on my blog and figuring out the easiest way to post my pictures on here. I have taken so many that it's difficult to determine which are the best ones to upload! So, friends, I hope you are all having a most wonderful Sunday and feeling blessed by friends, family, your surroundings, and by reaching out to touch someone in a special way - like you have done for me!!
Love and Hugs!! ~jan
Don't let this scare you!
Here are the long incisions Dr Harley found necessary to make in order to give me a smooth neck as far down as possible and all because of my long neck with sun damaged crepey thin skin.
I woke up this morning!
It's been a long day and I'm looking forward to going to bed! I woke up feeling a little tighter than previous two mornings but that could be because I ate pizza last night? My diet is normally fairly sodium free but we took the easy way out last night and fixed a delicious Digiorno supreme pizza. I've only taken the time to ice one time today but plan to before I go to bed. We hung around the house until around 10:30 AM then went into Asheville to discover what it had to offer. We visited Grove Valley Museum and furniture and gift shop. It was all free and a nice cultural experience for our grandsons. Historical downtown was our next stop and Salsas Cafe had been recommended to us as a great eatery so Siri helped us find it and we finally found a parking meter a few blocks away. Luckily, we were visiting Asheville on a record hot day!! UGH! It was 97 degrees! Tried to walk in the shade as much as possible. Arrived at the cafe. It was small and some rather noisy Caribbean style music was playing. Funky or colorful or I guess just unusual art hung on the walls and the two waiters were welcoming. I could go on and on about this cafe - the menu, the lack of any type of ambience that appealed to me, but I guess you get the idea? However, the food!!! It was the best broken grilled chicken taco I have ever eaten! I've never eaten a broken taco but dang, it was delicious! My grandson rated his chicken quesadilla the best ever, too!
So, back to my facelift: I'm ready for stitches to come out and I'm ready for the bruising to go away, but who does want those discomforts? I keep cleaning my incisions with half water half hydrogen peroxide and I'm still taking the antibiotic. I manage to take a bromelaine every day, too. I'm aware that I need to consume lots of water and do a fairly good job with that. I did put some dermablend on this morning to cover some under eye bruising. I applied it very gently and did not come near incisions. I'm glad I have big sunglasses! My husband just looked at my face and pointed out my right side is puffier than left side. The hardness and numbness on both sides of my face are exactly what others have described. Glad I knew what to expect! I have quite a bit of energy but trying not to overdo. I usually only take a morning shower but I'm going to take an evening one tonight. The rain outside here in Maggie Valley is soothing but makes me feel a little homesick for my other two grandsons and my son and daughter. We will be on the road back to Oklahoma Thursday after my stitches come out so I'll be home soon. I'm going to post a picture I took when I first woke up this morning and maybe another I took later in the day. This chipmunk look is not my style!!! Goodnight, Friends! Hope your happy and sleep well!!
Forgot to mention this:
One more thing...I haven't mentioned my eyes much because they haven't really bothered me. I have tape over my nose holding down suture thread and small suture tape on both sides of my eyes. It doesn't annoy me too much, but I will be happy to get that off so I can see what my eyes are going to look like. I have such beady little eyes that I won't really know until I can put mascara and eyeliner on! I was afraid I would have problems with dry eyes after the blephs, but thankfully, or so far, they are fine. Also, I have walked almost a mile everyday and walk up and down the stairs in this house we are staying in. If it was really hot here, I would not be walking but our walks are after 6:00 P.M. and we walk at Lake Junealuska where it is shady and cool - no fast walking, either. No risk taking - just trying to use up some energy and brighten my spirits! Also, as I have mentioned, I have slept very well at night upright on my 10 in one pillow with the u-shaped bead filled pillow around my neck. The wedge pillow goes under my knees and I just can't believe this has worked so well for me! Must be because I'm on vacation!? IDK - hope it works this well when I get home!
Suture removal day!
I woke up at 6 AM so ready to get out the door for my 11:00 appointment with Kelly to get stitches removed! I had quite a busy morning filled with showering, selfies LOL completing the packing process, checking every corner of the vacation house for things left behind, last minute tidying up kitchen and emptying fridge of things that were feasible for us to take with us 1000 miles! At 8:50 AM we closed and locked the door of our beautiful retreat of 10 nights and jumped in the car. I had been adamant about eating breakfast at a local cafe before the drive into Asheville and that was accomplished at the Buttered Biscuit in Waynesville. Good food but ambience wasn't as good as Joey's Pancake House had been 10 days ago. Joey's was closed so my youngest grandson chose the Buttered Biscuit. We left with satisfied tummies and headed for Doc Harley's! His office was a busy place this morning! I did have time and enjoyed reliving my "Prince Valium" moments with Juanita and Kelly but winced in pain while the stitches from my eyes were coming out! Kelly said my wounds were so well healed that it made it more difficult to pull out the threads. OUCH! I told her it was the most pain I had felt since before the surgery!!! She's very sweet, honest and informative! (I asked her a bunch of questions!) Dr. Harley walked in after all threads were out and raved over my results - of course- He was happy to see bruising and swelling was so minimal after 7 days for all the "work" I had done. He's so genuine and kind. So, I repeat and say ditto to everyone else who has reviewed Dr Harley and his staff: they are wonderful people and have perfected the art of peeling back the saggy, baggy, wrinkly, unsightly skin that some of us either inherited, maybe allowed too much sun to parch our skin or a combination of both.
So, here's a re-cap of what I had done: neck and lower facelift with added incisions to pull back more skin on my neck, upper and lower blepharoplasty and a syringe of juvaderm on marionette folds. I'm posting photos I took right out of shower this morning and on the way to doctor's office.
Upper and Lower Bleph progress
I'm not a very informed client when it comes to the blepharoplasty, but I know many lookers on RS like to see pics of results. I don't know if what type procedure Dr Harley uses for either of the procedures. If you are reading this and know what he does, please feel free to comment! The pics I'm going to post are only 8 day post op so I'm hoping the results of my upper bleph just hasn't revealed itself yet due to swelling? I've had little to no problems with wheeping or dry eyes so certainly happy with that. I'll post more pics of eyes in a week or so. These pictures are taken as I'm riding in our car so the natural light is either helpful or not? I'm holding out for better results than this and my eyes will certainly "show" better when I'm able to apply mascara and eyeliner. And I have to mention this: my 10 1/2 year old adorable grandson pointed out I still have wrinkles around my eyes. I knew those would still be there, but as his mother - my darling daughter remarked - I have laughed and smiled a lot in my 66 years. I wouldn't change or trade those lines for anything!!
Head Shot and Family Reaction
We arrived home yesterday, 8 days post-op, in time to spend time with our kids and other two grandsons. I actually floated around our pool in the shade with a hat and sunscreen on with everyone in pool so I could interact with the grandsons as well as my son and daughter simultaneously. I did not get my face wet nor did I exert myself! My three year old grandson got on my float to snuggle a couple of times- such a tender yet tough little boy. I adore all four of my grandsons immeasurably!
My bruising and incisions were probably a little of a distraction for both my son and daughter when they first saw me. My son didn't say that much but that's not a bad thing. My daughter finally said later something like, Mom your face looks really good. You got a great result. I think they were more interested in us finally being home to take over the care of everything at our house, including feeding our dog morning and night. My son was very supportive of my decision to get a facelift but didn't think I needed it. My daughter felt similarly but said she would probably get a facelift one day, too. It was her two boys we had with us on our "vacation" in the Blue Ridge Mountains so she was happy to see them! I'm glad I'm not the main focus and want the trip to be remembered as enjoying rafting, hiking, eating at some unique and delicious places and finding the perfect momentos to take home.
I haven't been sleeping that well the past 5 nights. I have never been able to fall asleep quickly and most of you can relate to the two weeks we are directed to lie on our backs with little to no moving the head around. The extra incisions on my neck have suture tape on them and I think it makes it feel more annoying - pulled and somewhat itchy. The back of my head gets to feeling a little sore so I move a little to relieve that. Since I'm still sleeping mostly upright, the sheet falls off my shoulders and I get cold so that wakes me up. Dealing with my legs and feet is a little challenging when I'm first falling asleep. I adjust and readjust. I have a bulging disc in my lower back so I have a little sciatica pain I've learned to manage quite well, but lying on my side is my best feeling position when I finally want to fall asleep. All of this is minor and nothing to really complain about, but I haven't met a person yet who doesn't enjoy undisturbed and restful sleep - so much for sleeping! My eyes are doing so much better than I thought they would. So thankful for that! I'm guessing I'll feel pulled from ear to ear for awhile and that's okay since it's normal after a neck and facelift. Speaking of my ears, I don't think they've ever been numb or very swollen. I've been wearing my small hoop earrings since two days after surgery. The incisions in front of my ears are healing nicely. The place under my left ear where drain was is like a sore but it doesn't hurt. After my sutures were removed 7 day post op, I ended up with a little more light colored bruising on my right cheek but nothing too alarming. The darker bruising under my eyes top of my cheeks is slowing diminishing. I used a wash cloth soaked in hot water on them this morning. I was out with my daughter shopping at a wonderful furniture consignment store today so I'm wearing some light weight UV 50 mineral oil base to protect my face from the sun. My doctor recommended using Merderma sunscreen for scars so I'll begin using it. I ordered the chicken poppyseed, blueberry salad when we went to Panera Bread restaurant for lunch. I began eating much healthier back in January, and I really want to keep that routine a part of my life forever! Thankfully, my husband is a healthy eater and he's glad I'm on board with healthy choices.
So, my friends, that's my update! I'm making the most out of each day and keeping the faith with all of you!
What you might like to know?
I have had a couple of questions about the added incisions for my neck lift. Apparently, I am the lucky one with a long neck that has lax, thin skin with a lot of skin damage, but Dr. Harley knew a way to give me a neck lift that would actually work best for me in my rather uncommon situation. Here is his detailed explanation: "Most plastic surgeons do make incisions all the way around the ear and into the posterior hairline, and most do it on every face lift patient. The extent to which those incisions proceed down the hairline depends on how much excess skin there is in the posterior neck. I have found after over 2000 facelifts that these incisions are not needed in most patients, but they are needed at times, especially in thin-skinned necks where these is posterior laxity. If the incisions are not needed, I can proceed with a short scar facelift where the incisions end behind the earlobe. In your case, I felt very confidently that we needed to clear out the posterior neck skin or else you would have had vertical pleating of the posterior neck skin (which I discovered only after meeting you in person and manually "lifting" the tissues). As far as incision location, if she is complaining about that, the only viable options are in front of the hairline (which I chose) and behind the hairline. If I were to go behind the hairline, yes the incision is not visible, but to do that the hairline is displaced backward because the tissue that would be removed in that case would be an ellipse of occipital scalp skin on each side. And we never want to alter the position of the hairline or remove scalp skin in these cases - it is a dead giveaway for a facelift."
I couldn't have said it better myself! LOL Hope this helps clear up any confusion or questions you may have had. I am going to post 14 post-op pictures and comments tomorrow so you can see my progress. We all like to see a little progress!!
Two Weeks Post Op - I Saw Her Standing There...
I was going to post several pictures today so anyone interested could see my progress with and without makeup, but, alas, it's almost 10 P.M. CST, and I'm just getting around to writing this update. I'm only going to post one picture, and it is with makeup. I still have some bruising under my eyes from the lower bleph. My eyes are feeling well, but of course are still pink on the eyelids. Is pink eye shadow still in style? ;) I have those little bumps common with upper bleph on the outside of each eye that I have begun gently massaging. I haven't been able to see the incisions on the back of my neck because I still have tape over them that is to remain one more week. Everything appears to be fine with all incisions - no hints of infection. I love the way everything is taking shape, but the juvederm is a little lumpy so I have massaged it some, but I guess I should remember to do it a couple times a day. I am massaging Mederma Cream into the incisions next to my ears as I was told to do! I try to follow directions, but sometimes I get busy!! I told Juanita the other day I felt fortunate to have feeling in my ears, and I had been wearing lightweight earrings. She promptly told me I shouldn't be and I should wait at least another week. I can follow those directions! Y'all, I am grateful I found Dr. Harley and his smart and adoring staff! I feel I will continue to reap the rewards as the weeks turn into months. I'm almost 67, with pretty lax skin, but I am very much hoping to keep my results looking good for at least 7 years!! I know my skin will continue to age, but I don't want to see that same face I had two weeks ago for a long time!! I was almost in tears yesterday when I looked in the mirror and saw the younger version of me standing there staring back at me. It was so nice to see "her" again!
Nice breeze by the pool tonight!
Finally got a relaxing moment outside this evening and after an above the neck dip in the pool with hubby and a quick shower this evening, I decided to take a few pictures without makeup. I hope everyone finds some ways to enjoy the weekend and all of you brave and extremely caring and thoughtful women are feeling great about yourselves - just because you're you!!
22 days post-op: Feeling a lot more like me!
I spent an hour writing an update yesterday, but when I selected and dropped a picture that is on my laptop desktop, the update disappeared. My subconscious told me to copy and save the lengthy update I had written, but I didn't listen to her!! When will I ever learn!? I guess I wasn't supposed to post such a long drawn out update, so here's the short version of it. I feel great and thankful I've suffered no setbacks - unless you call the extended incisions down my hairline in back as a setback - I see it as a blessing because Dr Harley found a way to make my long thin-skinned neck with no elasticity left look natural! Energy level is still sub par but I'm feeling more energetic everyday. My face feels like a box when I wash it ever so gently with a warm wash cloth, but I know the numbness will eventually go away. I still have some tightness under my chin - thank goodness! My incisions are healing slowly but surely - right side looks better than left side. The bruise under my right eye from blepharoplasty is practically unnoticeable, but the bruise under my left eye is still looking like a bruise - but way better. I think another week and it will barely be distinguishable. I am taking care of my incisions per Dr. Harley's advice. Massage with Mederma and cover with ScarAway silicone tape. (I only cover the incisions on back of my my neck) I use the Mederma nighttime cream at night and the one with the SPF 30 during the day. I gently massage my eyelids and the little bumps on either side of my eyelids. My eyelids are still a little numb, but the pinkness is getting lighter. My eyes are more sensitive to light than they were and I think they are a little dry. I felt like they were borderline dry before the surgery. I don't think my vision was affected...? I am still sleeping in the recliner in our bedroom - it's just the most comfortable sleep for me. I'm not at a 45 degree angle, but I'm upright more than I would be in my own bed. I don't think I need to be upright anymore, but my lower back feels so much better when I get up in the mornings as opposed to when I sleep in our nearly new memory foam mattress! I don't like having to make two "beds" every morning, though. I use a sheet over the recliner and one to cover up with so that's unacceptable added work - or it's getting that way, anyway! I'm back in the pool running around and flailing my arms to stay in shape and attempting to keep the flabby arms from getting any worse! The sun is my enemy so I only get in the pool when the sun is almost set. Staying well hydrated is my goal, but I admit I forget to drink water as much as I know I should. I believe drinking lots of water (25 - 30oz) a day and being on my feet staying busy has been helpful in keeping the swelling down, and I imagine the almost no salt food we eat has helped a bunch, too! My expectations with my facelift have definitely been met, but I do have fears of losing the face I am coming to recognize again - and missed dearly! I have to quit judging my results with others - especially those 10 or more years younger than I!
Best wishes to all who are healing and to those who are excited but nervous about your upcoming procedure!
40 days Post op and it's my birthday!
I was going to post pictures along with this update, but my day is only now slowed down, but because I'm 40 days post op AND it is my birthday, I'm going to update without pics. I'll start with the progress of my upper and lower blepharoplasty's: the bruising under my eyes was gone by the fifth week. I used warm compresses to help disperse the blood more quickly. I only did that twice a day for 7 days about the third week post op. My eyes began feeling a little dry a few weeks ago. I'm disappointed, but I knew that could be a side effect. I'm hoping when my upper eyelids aren't numb anymore my eyes will get back to normal. I sometimes put Systane drops in my eyes, but it's a temporary fix. My eyes also seem more sensitive to light, especially when I'm driving. I probably need darker lenses in my prescription sunglasses. I still have little bumps on either sides of my upper lids. I massage those and my upper eyelids several times a day. My eye lids are still a little pink, but nothing that would appear out of the ordinary to anyone. The incisions along the outside of my ears are blending in very well with my skin. The incisions along my hairline in my temples aren't noticeable, but they are taking longer to blend in. My hair hides them so I'm not bothered by that. The incisions along the hairline on my neck are healing nicely, but they will take the longest to become "one" with my skin. I use night time and daytime Mederma cream on them and I put silicone strips on them at night - in fact I have to remember to do that when I finish writing this! I am still sleeping in the very comfy recliner in our bedroom. It not only keeps me upright, it prevents my lower back from hurting. I bought a new neck pillow at Bed Bath and Beyond a couple of weeks ago. It isn't as confining as the travel type neck pillow but it still helps keep me from sleeping on the side of my face. My neck: I hate my neck. - LOL. I don't mean I hate the results I got, I just mean the skin on my neck is somewhat bumpy and I have those lines that go around the neck and those things aren't very attractive - even after a neck lift. I do think I may need some more laxness removed - hate to even think that way, but it seems to me I still have skin that is loose and it looks unsightly to me. In a couple of weeks I'm going to ask Dr Harley what he thinks. My wrinkled jowls are non existent! How happy does that make me!?! Very!! Also, the deep wrinkles on my face are still stretched - I can't believe how much better my skin looks! I love it!! I feel great, and I do not have significant, if any swelling. I began a new night and day beauty routine Monday. It includes Retin A most nights before bedtime. I'm excited about finding products that have the proven ingredients that help prevent and turn back some of the aging skin, yet it isn't very expensive and I can purchase it at the local discount store- Ah! Ha! I was careful not to say which store! I need to use it all over my body! You can watch hot and flashy on YouTube if you are interested in knowing more about the three year experiments a 50 year old woman who is now 53 has been doing in search for the right combination of researched ingredients. I'm not trying to advertise for this woman or any products. It's a little like listening to a scientific experiment, though! It's something I would like to do, but I never would've had the patience to do or taken the time to do. Goodnight Y'all. Hope you're sleeping well and doing great out there!
Two Month Post-Op
Hey, Friends! I'm finally posting another update - I hope I get it uploaded before midnight! I have spent way too much time taking pictures and working to get a few collages that show the before and after truths! I love the smooth face and jawline I have now and my more youthful looking eyes. My neck looks so much better but still has some laxness that I wish weren't there. My bruising has been gone since the one month post-op. I still have numbness on the sides of my face and under my chin. It feels like I'm washing a skin-covered box - LOL. There is some tenderness in places along my face, but nothing severe. The incisions along my ears are quite unnoticeable. The extra incisions on my neck are very pink but looking much better and lying flatter all the time. The bump (dissolvable suture) I mentioned in my last update near my left earlobe is nearly gone now. Unlike the incisions along my ears, the incision under my chin is noticeable to me, but no one looks under my chin - not even my dental hygienist! I have a small lump on one side that you may be able to see in one of the pictures I post, and I don't know what will eventually happen to it, but for now, it doesn't effect how I feel about my face. I haven't had real problems with swelling since about the third week post-op. My diet hasn't been heavy on the salt side for several years and although I don't drink the recommended ounces of water, I attempt to drink water off and on all day. I think exercise and staying active in general is important to our well-being whether recuperating from surgery or not so I exercise and stay busy. In the summer I work out in our pool five days a week and stay busy with staying busy! Everyone who knows I had a facelift and even those on RS want to know - are you happy with your results? How and why did you choose Dr. Harley? First, I am very happy with the more youthful face, eyes and neck Dr. Harley was able to give me. I feel as though I have been given the gift of time - even though time marches on, I feel like several years were rolled back on my face, which makes me FEEL so much younger! I went about dreading the looks I would get when someone would come close enough to see the aging I face I had developed. Despite the fact I am in excellent health and have kept a trim and relatively fit body, my face gave away my real age. Really, I KNEW I looked older than my age and I was sick and tired of mourning the death of my youth! The person who has had the most dramatic reaction to my facelift is a friend who lives across the street from me. Because she has two friends who had facelifts with poor results - and those women have lots of money - she was afraid I wouldn't get a natural look and would regret having it done. I didn't see her for a month after I got home from North Carolina. (She is very busy with her job!) One evening I was pulling out of my driveway and saw her getting ready to get on her bicycle. Instead, she started walking to my car and as I started going forward, I rolled down the window. I had just taken a shower and I had no makeup on - just clean hair and maybe some moisturizer on my face. She stood at the window and started smiling and started telling me what a natural and wonderful result I had gotten. She literally went on and on complimenting me on how great I looked and how she couldn't believe how I looked the same but better. I knew I would know immediately if she thought I looked good because she cannot cover up her honesty. It was such a huge relief to get her reaction to my new face! If no one said another thing about it, I knew from her reaction I had done the right thing! There have been other compliments, including my dentist who had a facelift several years ago. (Her results are not extremely natural looking, especially her eyes.) She told me she may need to know how to get in touch with my doctor. At 67, I have the confidence back I had lost when I was around my friends, acquaintances and strangers. Yahoooooo!!
Why did I choose Dr. Harley? I wrote a little about this in my initial reviews, but I want to reiterate the two most important reasons I thought and now believe Dr. Harley was the best choice for ME. #1- I absolutely did not want to go under general anesthesia. In my research, I had read that elective surgery under a general anesthesia would not be a good choice for me. There is research that indicates an early onset of dementia can be brought on by general anesthesia. At 66, I knew I didn't need to add a risk to my elective surgery by going under anesthesia for a lengthy amount of time. My first doctor told me I would be under for up to 8 hours. He was going to do a composite lift and a lower bleph. That really worried me!! #2 - I did not want a lengthy recovery. When I chose to have a composite lift, I was told I would be back to normal in two weeks. Further research and a private message from a gal on RS told me differently. The time I spend with my grandsons in the summer is invaluable and again, at my age, I value all the good times I can get! I am also needed by my family to be available and a lengthy recovery just felt a little selfish - for me. So, you can see how personal a decision this was for me, and I know it is for everyone. I wanted to choose what was best for me and my family. (Isn't it nice there are so many choices out there in the PS world?) When I got on RS, I chose to view face and neck lifts within a certain age group, Dr. Harely's reviews kept coming up in my newsfeed. I got very excited about the prospect of using a highly successful surgeon who used a less invasive procedure using valium and not general anesthesia. It all came togethe, and I am satisfied I chose the best surgeon for me. Night all...hope your days and nights are filled with hope, peace and love. ~jan