My jawline was sagging, my mouth drooped down and...
My jawline was sagging, my mouth drooped down and I had a turkey neck. I was tired of people asking me if I was OK, what's wrong, etc., when my face was at rest. If I was smiling it looked OK, but at rest, I just looked pissed off and tired. So after much reading and contemplating, I had a lower face/necklift.
I am 5 1/2 weeks in; the good news is I love my jawline and my turkey wattle is gone. But it's been a tough recovery. My right eyebrow doesn't move, I'm numb and stiff, my ears hurt, I have bright red marks on my neck, my face is hard, my smile is a bit rigid and uneven due to the facial hardness. Trying to be patient and hopeful through the discomfort and feelings of uncertainty.
I believe this will all end up OK in time and I would recommend my doctor heartily, both for expertise and for demeanor. My angst has nothing to do with him; I just didn't expect the recovery to be so complex and long. All that stuff I read about "the first two weeks are bad"? More like two months, at least, and more. My expectations of healing time weren't realistic -- perhaps I didn't research enough, but I figured it I read TOO much, I'd scare myself out of it!
I don't regret doing it, not for a second, but I do wish the healing would go a bit faster and I had a timeline of when my eyebrow/forehead nerves will come back. My doctor has assured me that he has never seen the nerves NOT regenerate, and I know this sort of thing is common and it heals, but it's still rattling me. It's hard because I don't have friends who have had facelifts, so I don't have anyone to talk to and compare notes with. Hoping to find some people here.
I hope I don't sound like a whiner. But it's ironic that, when you have a surgery to make yourself look better, you have to go through looking and feeling worse for a while! Really messes with your head.
Added a photo
Has anyone else had these kinds of red marks on their neck? How long did they take to go away?
Two months in
17 Dec 2014
2 months post
It will be two months tomorrow since I had my surgery, so I thought it was time for an update.
Overall, I seem to be progressing nicely. The swelling and hardness are greatly improved. The sides of my face are still rigid and numb, and my ears still have a lot of discomfort, but overall, I feel much better. It hurts to talk on the phone, since the phone pressing against my ear is painful; however, I don't like talking on the phone anyway, so it's not that much of an issue. My cheekbones have come back into view, and my smile is almost completely back; just very slightly off on the right due to the cheek hardness, but I think at this point, I'm the only one who sees it. My energy level is back to normal. Oh, and my libido has returned -- 'nuff said there. My hair stopped shedding, and now I am able to style and blow-dry it as usual; no more bandannas. My facial skin is smooth and people have asked me if I had a laser treatment as well as the facelift, but I did not. My jawline is perfect and my turkey neck is gone, gone, gone.
1. Right eyebrow is still paralyzed. My doctor told me that this is a rarity (lucky me!!), but also that he's never seen or heard of it not coming back, so all I can do it wait and hope. Fortunately, it's just the eyebrow, and not the eye itself. In the beginning, my eye was slightly frozen too, and the right one didn't blink the same as the left, so I looked like I was constantly winking. I have been told it's not obvious that one eyebrow doesn't move; I guess my bangs cover it.
2. Still have the bright red marks on my neck. Again, time will have to take care of those. Meanwhile, I am using BioCorneum scar gel on them and I can cover them up with makeup. Again, my hair covers up most of them.
I attached a couple of recent face selfies, one not smiling so you can see how my face looks at rest. No more angry face!
I will be seeing my doctor in mid-January, so until then, will continue to heal and progress. I now realize that full recovery takes longer than I'd thought, and I'm more relaxed about the process. I think I am ready to change my "not sure" into "worth it." :-)
23 Dec 2014
2 months post
After nearly nine weeks of paralysis, MY RIGHT EYEBROW MOVES! Finally! Not as fully as the left one -- I still can't raise it independently, like I can do with the left -- but it definitely goes up and down, it twitches, it has animation once again. My doctor assured me multiple times that it would come back, that nerves take time to regenerate, and I made up my mind to believe him... but it was still unnerving to look at every day. What a relief. Talk about a holiday present. :-) Never thought a mobile eyebrow could bring me so much joy!
Happy New Year
Well. I haven't been around much for the past couple of weeks, and my recovery took a back seat for a while. Two weeks ago, my stepfather passed away. And two days after that, my boyfriend's mother passed away also. In all the ensuring grief and stress, we both got sick -- first me, then him. He has it much worse than I did, poor guy. The holidays were a complete bust. Now, all I want is for us both to recover, to move on, and rediscover some balance (and a bit of fun, which has been sorely lacking).
But through all this? Hey, my face looks damn good!! Forgive the dark humor, but it's what I do in order to cope. I've been sick as hell, crying a lot, exhausted, with puffy eyes and a red nose and all the other lovely things that accompany illness and grief. My hair needs a cut and a dye. But damned if my jawline and neck don't look good. And my mouth, despite the sadness of late, doesn't turn down anymore. Hey, I live in Southern California. It doesn't matter how you feel, as long as you look good! (tongue firmly planted in cheek)
Today I was at my bf's, giving him some soup on a tray in his bed. He said to me, "You're taking such good care of me, thank you... and you look great!!" :-D
All kidding aside, I'm grateful that this all didn't happen a couple of months ago, when I was in the start of my healing process. That would have been unspeakably bad. But since I had over two months of recovery behind me, I was in a better place to be able to cope with things. And it really does help, when I'm feeling down, to look in the mirror and NOT see sags and bags.
I still have the red marks on my neck, but I've learned how to cover them up. Still numb around the sides of my face and my ears, but it's slowly improving, and my eyebrow continues to regain mobility. I will be seeing my doc on January 15.
Hope everyone had a good holiday, and here's to better days for us all.
15 Jan 2015
3 months post
So here I am, nearly three months later. Just had a checkup with my doc yesterday. The good news: eyebrow is fully mobile, face and jawline look lovely and smooth, and my smile, although still very slightly rigid on the right side, seems to be completely restored. Not-so-good news: the incision scars behind my ears and on my neck are still quite red. It's a good thing I wear my hair down, so at least I don't have to care about what's going on behind my ears. I don't like it, though. I guess I just have to be patient, and keep using the scar gel. He told me that it will all fade and resolve. He also told me that my eyebrow would come back, and it did, so I believe him.
Still dealing with a lot of personal issues and haven't had a chance to really enjoy my new face. But I guess it will keep until I do.
Adding a new selfie from yesterday. I know I look sad, but at least you can see how smooth my neck and jawline are, and how my mouth doesn't droop down anymore. He showed me my series of "before" pictures he'd taken -- ACK! What a reality check! When I see him again in a month, he will be taking my official "after" pictures. I'll have him send everything to me so that I can put some of them up here.
At last, a smiling photo
26 Jan 2015
3 months post
Figured it was about time I posted something with a smile. This was taken about a week after three months.
It's amazing how different so many angles and expressions are now. I had to laugh at the member (I think it was MeJustMe?) who posted about the unflattering "looking down" angle. I was reminded of an episode of "Golden Girls," where Dorothy and Blanche were debating which sexual position was most flattering to a woman.
Dorothy said it was when the woman is on her back, because then her face looks really smooth. Blanche countered with, "Yeah, but your boobs fall into your armpits."
Then Blanche insisted that woman on top was more flattering, breast-wise. Dorothy quipped, "Ever see what happens to your face when you're on top, looking down?" Blanche said no, Dorothy handed her a mirror, and said, "See for yourself."
So Blanche put the mirror on the table and then leaned down to look into it. And screeched, "OH, MAH LORRRRRRRRRRRRD!"
Curious, I tried the same thing, and damn near had a heart attack. Everything collapsed forward, and my cheeks looked like two floppy pancakes that had been slapped onto either side of my face. UGH!! So y'all will be happy to know that I tried this again just last week. Still not the most flattering of angles, but I'm glad to report that my face now looks like a human face in that position, rather than a suspended Shar-pei head.
So anyway. Mid-February, the doctor will be taking "after" pictures. And at the end of February, the BF and I are headed to a weekend gathering with about 100 friends, most of whom will be seeing me for the first time post-surgery. Should be interesting! Meanwhile, the sides of my face are still hard, which impacts my smile slightly, but I think I may be the only one who notices that. As things continue to smooth out and soften, I believe that will all be fine.
Four months, and the "debut"
I just passed the four-month mark for my facelift. At this time, still have numbness and some pain around my ears, but I now know that can take up to a year to resolve, so I'm fine with it. Still treating and massaging the scars on my neck twice a day, although I may have to have a shot of cortisone in one of them, because it's a thick lump, and the doc said the shot will help flatten it out.
But the rest? No complaints! This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to a big party with about 100 of our friends. I was a bit nervous about it, as this was the first time I was really showing off my "new face." I had made no secret of the fact that I'd had surgery. Oh my, the compliments. People were so supportive and sweet, and so effusive!
I've posted a shot of my bf and me -- sorry I had to block him out, but I thought it was a good representation of my face as it is now. When he saw it, he said, "You look like my daughter!" EW! I told him I most certainly do not. :-)
Seeing my doc next week and he will be taking his own after pictures. This healing process wasn't easy, but I don't regret any of it. Those of you still dealing with the hard parts, take heart. It gets better!
One more picture!
A fun shot -- not bad for 57, eh?
Eight months later...
12 Jun 2015
8 months post
Just had a checkup from my surgeon. Overall, things are great. The only glitch is that I have formed a thick, puffy keloid scar beneath my left earlobe. I have been treating my incisions with BioCorneum and most of them healed well, but this spot was where I had a "spitting stitch" and bleeding, and I guess it got aggravated. My doc is recommending I wait until I'm one year past, and if it hasn't settled down by then, he'll do an in-office fix where he cuts out the scar and sews the edges together into a neat line. So I will wait to see how things go.
Meanwhile, I got access to my official before and after pictures (the ones my surgeon took and uploaded) on the TouchMD site. There are before pictures, and after pictures taken at five months. These pics are no frills, no makeup, no smiling, and I swear, I haven't retouched anything. Also, I just took an after picture of my neck; if you look at my older pictures, you'll see one where I had ugly red streaks and ligature marks. Gone!! :-D
I am still numb all around my ears, but who cares? I feel so much better about my face and have zero regrets about my cosmetic surgery experience.