Facelift For my 50th Birthday!! - Paradise Valley, AZ

I have been reading Real Self for over a year now...

I have been reading Real Self for over a year now and I thank everyone that has contributed to this site. It has been very helpful and even though I have made up my mind and secured my surgery date, I am still reading about my procedure and related procedures. The more info, the better. I am especially interested in recovery info at this point.

Anyway, I have done Thermage, filler, botox, peels, you name it! If it is a service I have probably tried it. But age and gravity have taken their toll and I must be much more aggressive now. I looked pretty good up until about 2 years ago. Jowels, saggy neck and lots of volume lost in my face with lots of deep lines. The good news is they are smile lines, but still. I always knew I would get a facelift. When I was a teenager I vowed I would get one at 40 but I managed to hold out until 50! Haha!

I interviewed 4 doctors and was advised differently by each--which I find so amazing--and not amazing in a good way. I understand they each have a "technique" and a "look" they go for I suppose. One wanted to redo my entire face--something I didn't want. Another, I just didn't get a "fee" for. The third I ultimately decided didn't have enough experience based on lack of examples of his work to show. So I finally settled on Dr. Shapiro in Paradise Valley.

My surgery date is set so now I am just getting the money together and figuring out what I will need for recovery. One thing that Dr. Shapiro requires is that you stay the night at their "hospital hotel". This is an extra $700. While that might seem outrageous and/or unnecessary, the more I thought about it, the better of an idea I think it is. I live alone and while friends can check up on me, this really eases my mind. Plus I will just be there to get the drains out and have my hair washed before I leave for full recovery.

More later. If you have any specific questions about my process so far, please let me know.

Have an awesome day!

Faceliftfor my 50th Birthday

Well, I thought I updated this but I guess not. I am also having a hard time with the photos. I had my pre-op appointment last week and I go in for surgery on Wednesday. I have everything in order and am just counting the hours! I am so excited. I am getting a face life, neck lift (I guess those go hand in hand) a lateral brow lift and fat transfer. I will go back in the winter and probably get my skin resurfaced. I am so ready for this. My biggest concern is the recovery period of course--I just want it to go smoothly and quickly. I will figure out how to load some photos and get some before/after and in between going. :-)

Finally photos

I still can't add photos from my computer so downloaded the app. I'm all set and ready for tomorrow! Will update my recovery as I feel up to it. Thanks to all! ????

Technically challenged

Tried to crop my photos but it looks like I made them into sacked out close ups! Well now you really know the ugly truth!! Riding to surgery center now. I hope I did everything/got everything. My skin and hair feel pretty yucky having showered with antibacterial soap AND shampoo--can't even get a brush through my hair!

Day 1 post op

Well, made it home and am settling in. I am sooooo super swollen and my neck feels tight as everyone says. I will post some pictures later as I need to ice and ice and then ice some more. At this point I look like an alien but all of the medical staff seemed to think I was doing well. My worst was my head and nose--don't know if the wrap was too tight or what. Then my jaw and lips really hurt and they got fat injections so that makes sense. I ate yogurt and a cut up banana and applesauce just fine. A little messy until I got the ratio of stuff on spoon to what would fit in mouth correctly. And now 24 hours later my ears are hurting. I must go ice now so photos and more healing info later! XO

Day 2 post op looking like that cat lady

I just woke up after sleeping just fine--sitting up with no special pillow(s). Melting ice running down my face is what woke me up so maybe invest in a nice ice bag--I just used a regular plastic ziploc. I Turned TV off at about 10:30 and woke up at 8:30 so pretty good. Sleep is your friend so try to enjoy it! I know for some of us type "A"s this is rather hard but it will speed up your healing process.

My only "complaint" is that I can't actually watch TV because I am icing with my head/neck at a back angle which helps keep all of Dr. Shapiro's work in place, so I can't see anything! Haha. I cleaned my incisions last night (need coffee first before I can do this this morning) and everything was fine except for one area behind my ear. From what I /can see it actually looks like a cut on my ear and not actually an incision so I am fine with that. There wasn't much nasty goo or anything so that seems to be all good. I brushed my teeth just fine with my regular electric toothbrush. I can't remember if I posted this or not but the nursing center was expecting me to have a toothbrush and I didn't (!) it wasn't something that was really on my mind. I have had major surgery for other things before (4+ days in hospital) and the whole brushing of the teeth was never something that came up. Who knew? So bring a toothbrush so that you look like you have manners. :-)

So, to the craziness that is now my face. My eyes are still super swollen and I have one of those blood clot thingies in my right eye. I'm hoping it corrects in the next two weeks. If not, I guess I will have run into an open kitchen cabinet or something--I can be such a klutz!! It is rather shocking to look in the mirror and I am really trying to avoid it and avoid looking at "this pucker here" and "this dent here" and "this side is a little more swollen" ,etc. I am only day 2 out after all and the body is an amazing ever changing miracle. Just try to skip over the freak out phase if possible--easier said than done--but use your energy to heal. I was looking forward to and Orange is the new black marathon but I think that will be on hold until next week. I would still say that my neck is the most uncomfortable but moving anything (raising eyebrows, smiling, laughing--super ouch--is either impossible at this time or hurts a lot.

As a recap I had a face/neck lift (neck is very bruised and I'm not sure that icing helps with that but that areas is super easy to cover with make up or a scarf); temporal brow lift which looks odd right now because it just hasn't settled into place--it doesn't look bad, just odd, and the biggest deal of all--da, da, da...............the fat transfer--that is what all of my swelling and from. My eyes are more open today but I definitely will have Dr. Shapiro's lovely full cheek look. Fat at temples and some in my forehead. That doesn't looked "bruised" but it is quite sore to the touch. My lips were done as well and they are swollen but not super painful. I have had filler in my lips before and I don't believe the fat transfer is as painful--I'm swollen, yes, but not as bad as I was with the filler. Under my eyes by far is the worst of my experience but I anticipate I will love lovely!! Lastly my jaw, he put a bunch of fat there and while it isn't bruised it is quite sore. Sneezing and coughing hurt--I was just recovering from a nice summer cold when I had the surgery.

So is the surgery painful--depends on what you have done and how aggressively but if you have experience with any other major surgery--C-section, boob lift (not just augmentation) or your spleen removed or something you won't be in any kind of a shock--other than this is your FACE! After I can and ice I will post my holy hell super swollen before they removed my bandages photo. Love, peace and joy. If you have a specific question I haven't answered please let me know. Some may be PM if I can figure that out! :-) Thanks so much ladies--and any gents going through this as well--I wish more would, huh?

Fat Harvesting

Hello I forgot to address the fat harvesting. We couldn't take from my stomach because my skin is too lax from having babies. Taking fat from there would have been really bad. So Dr. Shapiro took from my muffin top--I think that is the "flanks" but I'm not sure and don't want people to think it came from my legs. Anyway, the right side is bruised much more than the left (something odd going on between my left/right side through my entire body). Anyway very small incision in my mid back--may even be covered by a swim suit depending on how modest your bottoms are but it isn't noticeable at all. There is bruising as I said and I have read it takes upwards of 3 weeks to dissipate. The area is sore but certainly not unbearable. Mostly hurts when I am getting into or out of my lounging, icing pillow/couch cubby. At my follow up I will ask how many cc's were removed and inserted but I do not know at this time. In the great scope of things--that pain/bruising is nothing--as if you feel off of a bike or something--klutzy me!

Little time line

I was feeling icky from the drugs so took my photos down. Back up with a new one

I think I'm coming to the other side. Over did it a but last night because the Percocet gave me some energy. Trying the arnica cream but that doesn't seem to be aiding--doing areas so I can compare but not worth it. Maybe when the bruises are more subtle it speeds the end along?
Still cleaning the incision and no real goo or blood to report. Will get my neighbor to take close ups of those later today but I can see why there is little to none scaring. Might shower/wash my hair today but really it isn't bothering me at all.

I do recommend keeping a photo journal even if you don't share because progress is subtle but it is happening. I've been bad with food intake but have been drinking coconut water with pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, green tea and coffee.

Happy healing to those in the process and tank you all for the well wishes and. Good. Vibes. Xo

Today is the *shiz* day

Well, I passed out (which I guess is good) and missed all of my p.m. meds last night, humidifier ran dry of water, no ice for eyes, some crazy, blaring infomercial about never needed makeup again (!ha!) and came to just generally feeling like a walking bucket of dirt. I drank some water and took meds about 2 hours ago and am finally having some coffee and documenting all of my misery. I do keep a med log--day, time, dosage so I can keep track otherwise I would have no clue. I'm on five things plus supplements.

So today, day 4 PO, I totally understand about the day 3/4 blues--for me it isn't the looking so awful it is just the not being able to get back to life like doing something as simple as getting the mail and actually doing something with the mail--or email--not just throwing it in a pile. I will take a photo here in a bit but basically I look the same. My right side has much more swelling and is way more numb all around. My lips also don't look symmetrical but this is not the time to be freaking out about everything. I'm sure I will have some sort of a revision and am planning for a resurfacing in December anyway. BTW, I am SO glad I didn't do that at this time too. I'm a pretty tough check but I don't think I could have handled that as well

I can't say that any one thing did or did not work for me in the recovery. I made a cubby on my couch and haven't strayed from that, keep the humidifier running 24/7 sitting there or not, the TV is usually on--I would change to music but that seems like work, I've eaten some food but am relying mostly on protein drinks, veggie drinks, collagen drinks, coconut water, pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, COFFEE, and just plain old water--which I love. Today I also added fresh lemon juice to the humidifier so I'm hoping that will help--or at least make the place smell "fresh".

I'm AMAZED at how bruised and swollen I am compared to many of you other ladies but the fat transfer has been the culprit in that--I believe anyway. Originally I was totally against the whole fat thing but after spending many an hour (days!!) looking at before/after with fat I decided I must do it. I am rather thin and it really does show in my face. (sorry for repeats of stories, etc) Another thing I noticed is that I got a cold about 1 week before surgery--no fever, not in my chest, but holy bananas coughing and sneezing when your face can't move is really not fun--it never is but, *sigh*.

I don't know what else to add. The fat donor sites hurt more and more every day so I hope I have reached the peak for that. Can't EVEN attempt to put pants on now so don't know if I got an extra benefit from that or not. Let's hope so!

Okay, I have done nothing to my face today--I haven't even cleaned the incisions yet. I really think I should take a shower but I just have no will!

Anyway, I'm sleeping fine--mostly in 1-2 hour clips during the day but usually through the night. Everything else is moving along as they say.

If you have specific questions I will do my best to answer but all surgeons have different ideas/techniques, all of us patients are different--healing, bone structure, pain tolerance, and we all have different hopes and dreams for or outcomes. But I love this forum and every little bit helps!

All for not. I hope to have a better update later today XO

I hope these photos help. I'm taking them my byself

I knew this day would come

and I really should have been much more proactive. I just took a mess of magnesium but I should have taken it last night. Course I was afraid I would crap my P.J.s in the midst of my great sitting up straight slumber so I decided "na, I'll be fine". Well, I'm not fine--I did eat that mess of magnesium but I need to give it an hour or so. That all being said, I think I overdid it yesterday and did stupid stuff like organize my pantry and clean out my whatever the hell taking note of all of the cute little cubbies that I must purchase to make my kitchen one that all of my friends and neighbors will envy--because they all come over and look through my shit. Today, after I manage to extract this "great ball 'a waste" I have somehow accumulated, it is ice, humidifier and TV (whether I can see it or not) for me!! I'm also wondering if I had mistakenly shown my PS photos of Quasimodo or perhaps a gargoyle from a church I fell in love with on my many trips to Eastern Europe. Okay let me work through this and I will get a photo posted. Blechk!

New photo today

Still look like shit. I just watched a lymphatic massage video so will try that and see if I look better tomorrow. My post op is in 2 days and I don't feel ready--taking stitches out?! Won't my face fall off? Oh dear. To my American friends, Happy Fourth of July! I feel a tad blue not sunning and swimming and cooking up various food items but I will look smashing at next year's festivities!

Today is hard

Someone please confirm that this has posted. I changed my email address and now I'm getting "I don't have access" messages and similar. Today is 6 days PO and honestly I thought I would look so much better by moe. I tried to take some photos that show the extent of the very deep, very bad bruising. I have already gone through an entire bottle of arnica cream and I have been taking the tabs for well over a month. I just opened a new bottle so maybe this one will be different/work better?! ????I feel like I have beady little eyes now with a heavy brow/forehead worthy of Fred Flintstone. ???? and my lips are crooked but I still put on lipgloss because it is the only glimmer of hope that I have. Washing, cleaning, lubing incisions no trouble at all and that seems to be going smashingly well which is super important of course. Some photos. I tried to make it so there are no shadows

Close ups of stitching

Thought y'all might be interested in seeing. Best photos I can get right now. Maybe at follow u p I can get some better ones.

First post op

Dr Shapiro is on vacation so I won't see him today or Friday. Anne removed stitches in front of ear, inside ear and under chin. A few little tender spots but overall it was uneventful. She gave me a prescription for the broken blood vessel in my right eye but I haven't started that yet. Feel like today has gone by so quickly and I haven't done enough to promote healing! Slept just fine and needed an alarm to be sure to be at my appointment. Of course skim feels really tight but am going to try to target areas of healing now. More lymphatic massage. Explained what I'm not liking right now and it is all because of swelling. I will take some photos ????

First brushing of the hair

Day what now post op?

OMG! I just deleted everything I wrote. I'm gonna get cleaned up and post some photos. GRRRRRRRR.

All the gory pictures I know you all wanna see

8 days post I believe. Tiki a shower, put on LOTION and clean-ish clothes. Feeling good. Took photos myself so they kinda suck and my eye w burst blood vessel is bugging me. If Dr would have spent a moment with me perhaps he would have noticed, I would have started antibiotics and it would be cleared up by now. Face is feeling a lot better from the massage--you don't even need technique just light stimulation. I think it makes everything feel less tight. I will explain the photos and just ask if you want more info,etc

I need to sleep --I can't remember how to add a caption to a photo!

What I said there

Set backs today and yesterday

I got all of my stitches removed today so that feels good. I wasn't able to take pain meds so it hurt a bit. Will take a shower and add photos later. Nurse was surprised I am still so. Swollen and Deeply bruised. Following all directions etc but have broken out in hives foe 2 days now so focused an getting that cleared up. Sure hope I can make lots of progress in a few days. More later ????

Finally feeling a bit better

Thank you all for the well wishes and for asking about me/caring for me. I need to update myself as to what is going on with everyone else and will do that after I write my daily novel. Today was a complete waste of a day because I have been having to take meds for the hives and they completely knock me on my ass. I planned to spend today icing and massaging to really work out the last bad spots on my face. I am surprised I even made it to my appointment today to have stiches removed. I came home at 10:30 am and slept the ENTIRE DAY!!

Side Note: Please, please, please ladies (and gents) number one thing in wound care and not having any scars (at least for me) is NO GUNK on or around the incision. NO BLOOD or anything scabby or anything like that. I was advised clean 2x/day but I did more than that and if I got any blood or gunk I kept (gently) cleaning until q-tip came up clean. Keeping the wound moist at all times is very important too!! Again, I did more than 2x/day. If you get an itch in your ear onr on an incision, use a q-tip to gently make it go away. (I can only imagine what the inside of my earls look like!) Like I said I couldn't take my pain meds before suture removal so I was scared sh*tless because the lateral lift mo-fos were coming out and those incisions have hurt the worst for me. I probably had 40 sutures removed in all and only about 4 REALLY HURT. Anne was so gentle and did a bang up job. (as I was just cleaning the incisions areas I noticed that one is still intact above my right ear so I will have that removed on Tuesday when I finally get to actually see Dr. S.) I have questions for my dear PS: how much fat was transferred, did you freeze any, what about touch up, etc? You know, the usual p in the a questions that us crazy people that just had our faces cut off ask.

So a quick little background to help explain why the hell I am having a bad day and don't expect the same for yourself!! I don't want to scare anyone. I have some autoimmune problems--we know I have RA and we are searching and testing for other things as well because that does not explain all of my issues/symptoms. And of course, everything is getting much worse as I age--but, still, I will look good, right?. So as far as the hives go we know nothing about why I get them, etc:there is no pattern, known "triggers", etc. What generally happens is that my hands and feet usually start itching like a mother and then it will go any number of ways from there. It might just stay like that:just hands/feet itching, or..................(I keep Sudafed on hand at all times because I have had the hives in my mouth/throat and that can actually kill you. I would look great, tho, right?!) Anyway, out of nowhere last night my hands started itching profusely so I immediately took the Sudafed and I was okay. I passed out and then woke myself up at about 3:00AM scratching the hell out of my hands. I got up to take a look and my body was just covered in hives--which is unusual. I know I said there isn't really a pattern, but there kind of is. Usually as I said it starts with hands/feet itching--no hives on then (usually) just crazy itching. That is what I call day 1. Sometimes is just stops there and I only have "day 1" and one day of discomfort. Or it might go like this (more common): Day 1:hands/fee itcht; day 2:arms or torso or legs develop hives and itch; day 3:arms, or torso or leg, whatever didn't have hives the day before now have hives and itch. And so on until it has pretty much made its round through my body. This usually lasts for 5-7 days. The last episode (besides this current one) was 3 years ago and it was the first time that I got hives/itching on my face, eyes, mouth, throat. I should have gone to the ER immediately but wasn't educated enough at the time because I have nothing to offer/explain to the Drs. regarding this "thing". This has been happening since I was 17 and it has gotten progressively worse. So I can't say if the surgery triggered the outbreak or if I was exposed to something or what? Well, since I have not hives/itching on my face I just took more Sudafed and passed out. Went to Dr. wrote a quite update, took some photos--oh God are they horrible!--took another Sudafed and passed out again. And now here I am.

So, okay, don't be scared about that lovely peeps--that is my body and it certainly shouldn't be a side effect that anyone else should have.

I feel like the massage that I have managed to do myself has helped a lot. I feel it has given me a much greater range of motion and I don't feel as tight. My neck still feels really tight. If I don't feel that I have done enough for myself by Monday then I will schedule an appointment with a professional!! :-)

I never did take a shower and don't have any nice photos but will post the ones I took today anyway. At some point I will post a full face "before" as I know some of you have been asking. I'm still super swollen but I can tell that the texture of my face has improved, but not to the extent that I would like. I definitely had the "orange peel" texture thing going on and that drove me crazy. That has been 75% resolved? The aggressive peel I have planned for the winter should take care of that and my skin should look beautiful. I think I won't "hide" that procedure tho and let everyone thing, wow, resurfacing does SO MUCH! Plus if I get my nose done I won't hid that either and no-one (except for all of you) will be the wiser. For the tell/don't tell: I don't feel like everyone needs to know what I am doing to my body, how I am living my life, etc. I'm not breaking any laws and no one is getting hurt (except for me) so I don't feel the need to share. I mean I don't tell everyone how much money I make or that I'm not married or whatever when I meet them. I don't feel like I'm keeping a secret and I don't understand how it would benefit anyone to know this particular thing about me. (I'm all over the place tonight). I haven't decided what I will do if someone flat out asks, but I think that is pretty rude anyway, so I will probably think of a way to say that--ever so kindly--and put the ball back in their court. Like, "wow, what a personal question. Would you like to know my credit score as well?" or, "Is this about my professional performance or are you just prying into my personal life?" (don't worry I will come up with better stuff that that.) I'm just so worried that Thursday will be here before I know it and I will still be as green as Shrek but with a pumpkin shaped head. *sigh*. I feel so much better now. Do you? I will post my photos on a different update because they are on my ipad and I didn't want to type on that tonight. And, my computer still won't let me "select files" to load to the site.

Good night all of you beautiful people!!! I will caption my photos--I think I remember how to do that still/again! XO

Not the best photos

Yuck

I always was a bit concerned about posting photos

I never thought I would actually post any full face photos but I appreciated what those before me have done so I did the same. I did however just remove all full face photos. You can still reach me via PM and I am happy to share that way. Of course RS isn't the only folks that "own" your photos and/or post--facebook, instagram, snapchat, all of that. This forum, in particular, is a little more personal. Thank you so much for understanding.

more blessed than I deserve

I'm so thankful for the supportive family I have found on RS and just in life in general. I'm still healing and I understand it will be a few months before I look "authentic" I am blessed to have had this opportunity and to have nothing more to complain about but really boring stuff. May you find your happiness through your face, your boobs, your teeth, your weight or whatever it is that will enhance your life story, your joy, and bless those around you!! Peace

Just the usual update--with some venting!

So happy I got "work" done. Still bruised--I tried to cover it with makeup today but I didn't do a very good job, or I don't know how to do it, or both. I had to interact quite closely with someone today for about an hour so I kept my glasses on the whole time (which I usually don't), kept my "bad" side as far from sight as possible, and just tried to act "normal". hahahaha. Actually, I probably could have reduced the "exposure" time but it happened. I'm sure she is wondering why I look so weird or whatever and I could see the "wtf" look in her eyes, but, wattaya gonna do. Hopefully next week I will look so much better and she will think it was all in her head! I think the dissolvable sutures from my brow lift (I have NO idea if I have dissolving sutures not, I'm just guessing here) are giving me a hard time. Something is giving me a hard time. A "wound" has already opened on one side and I have pulled, um, stuff, out of it. The lateral lift area on both sides is quite swollen and painful (so lateral lift, not a "traditional" brow lift). Just part of the process I guess. And, although my neck has been tight since day one, it really is true what everyone else has said--that it gets even tighter--hard to believe. I think my neck is more uncomfortable now than it was to begin with. I know I will be so happy in a month or two and I will be so glad that I went through this and it is all over. If I were to do it again--and I would!!!--I do believe I would do it in stages. I really did a lot at one time, and that is great--it will be done and I will be healed, but DAMN. I would do the face/neck lift--heal. Then I would do the fat transfer--heal. Then I would do CO2--heal. And then maybe after all that and healing (that would probably take 18 months) I would adjust my nose a little or then do the brow lift. But I would definitely take it more slowly and give myself time to heal. It also wouldn't be such a drastic change for others to witness. Truth be told, I'm just impatient and want to be done being swollen, bruised, in pain and looking weird. Today's vent. On a happier note, I am blessed that I was able to do this at all and I know that I will enjoy the fruits of this journey for years to come--I better!!

19 days post

Just giving an update so others can learn what they might expect--of course everyone is different--this is just what is happening to me. The right side of my face was much more bruised and swollen and I still have quite a few deep, black bruises on the right side. My right side is still really quite numb and is also the side that I had an internal stitch pop on. I still have some very slight bruising on the left side but everything on that side feels normal except for my neck--which just feels tight as expected. Not as tight as a day or two ago but still tight. I am back to regular life and the hardest part is trying to cover the bruises (I think the most tell tale sign on me) and keep this all under wraps. I did change my hair before surgery and most people are commenting on that--so I think that worked! (Not necessarily "your hair looks great"! but more like, "Did you do something to your hair?" LOL) My skin is peeling but otherwise looks great. All of the deep lines/wrinkles are gone but I do still need some CO2 around my mouth. My forehead and eyebrows don't move AT ALL even though I didn't have any work done there. So maybe no more botox? Or maybe once I heal it will all come back? I'm just still healing and I expect a wonderful outcome once that happens, but life goes on and I must be in it. Oh, the scars around my ears are minimal and won't even be noticeable once my "sideburns" grow back. Actually, that is really all of the scaring that I can see. A little bit around the lobs but not much really and I'm sure over time I won't even be able to see them!

week 5 post op

Hi RL friends! I'm so sorry that I haven't updated. Once you get back to reality and aren't sitting around the house all day, you forget how much healing you are still doing and you forget to update. Today is week 5 and I feel healthy and good. All of my incisions are healing nicely but I am still swollen and some areas of my face/neck still feel really tight--like a mask. I turned a corner at exactly 4 weeks when some major swelling finally resolved. I am through the hardest part and now the stiffness and swelling is more uncomfortable than anything. No one seems to notice--or at least no one has directly said anything/asked, so I am pleased with that. I am very happy with my results and it was well worth the time and the money!

6 weeks post

Just a quick update: my face is still numb around the "edges" and under my jaw and my neck. Still feels like I have a donut under my jaw. My neck is still really red and my checks/sides of my face are feeling new pain as my nerves meet/greet each other again. The pain isn't bad--just noticeable when I put lotion/make up on. I will feel totally myself again once it doesn't feel like I have a latex mask over my face--I figure another week or two? Otherwise healing is great, incisions are fading and I like my look. I think I pretty much look the same just not as much sagging skin!! :-)
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

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