I'm entering into "Phase 2" of some extensive...
I'm entering into "Phase 2" of some extensive surgeries needed to reclaim my body after having a gastric bypass and losing over 100 lbs. As you can imagine, I've been thrilled with how much slimmer and healthier I am, and look so much better in clothes.....but underneath, things are a hot mess! This past October, I had a tummy tuck and (mini) BBL in Dominican Republic. I've posted reviews of these procedures separately, if you're interested. So now I'm ready for the next (huge!) step. One of my biggest issues is my lower face. The loss of my double chin has left me with a turkey neck, and I now have jowls and heaviness around my mouth. I've never even had naso-labial folds before, and now they're awful! At 44, I'd expect to see a bit of sagginess, tired eyes, and that kind of thing, but this is WAY more than that, and makes me look considerably older than I am, let alone how I feel. The other issues are flabby, bat-wing upper arms, and the typical "rocks-in-socks" breasts...ugh!!!
My decision on where to go for these surgeries has been pretty easy. I have family doing missionary work with Penang Adventist Hospital in Malaysia. She works in administration, keeping the facility compliant with their JCI accreditation - so I know from her they are top notch and she's seen nothing but great work from the surgeon. He has been practicing over 20 years, graduated from Loma Linda (in California), and is a member of the American Board of PS. So I wouldn't be able to find a better surgeon or facility here, and of course the cost is a fraction by comparison! The only reason I didn't go there for the TT/BBL is that from what I've seen, BBL is a very specialized skill - as much art as science. The best work is from docs that do hundreds a year....and they just don't get that kind of experience in Asian countries.
Soooo....having been an obsessive stalker on RS for years, I know what you're all thinking - "What's the cost?" and "Let's see some pics!" HAHA! I promise I will post pics, but I've learned from experience that it's a lot harder to post the humiliating "before's" when it's your present day reality. Once you're post-op and can look back at what a train wreck you USED TO BE, it's not quite so embarrassing, LOL! As for the cost, my estimated quote (I guess the price my change a little if there are complicating factors) is in Malaysian Ringgits - The face/neck lift is RM11,200...the breastlift is RM8,900...the armlift is RM8,700...1 night in hospital is RM800 (I'm expecting 2, as my surgeries will be on 2 consecutive days)...and the consultation is RM120...totaling RM30,520. At today's exchange rate, that's $7,354! That's right - less than a facelift alone here! I may decide on some "add-ons" like lower bleph, endoscopic browlift, and implants with the breastlift that would of course increase the cost...but I need to get the doc's thoughts on all that. Additional costs are the $1,500 flight, possibly bloodwork & other testing, and I don't know if compression garments are included....but at least I won't have to worry about accommodation, as I'm staying with family. Depending on how helpless I feel afterwards, I'm thinking about maybe hiring a student nurse for a couple of days....it's kind enough for my family to host me when I won't be great company, but asking them to be caretakers as well would feel like taking advantage.
I guess that's enough of an introduction...sorry, my posts tend to be long and rambling, LOL! But if I've left anything out you'd like to know, feel free to reply here or send me a PM. Ta for now, lovelies!
I'm firming up my schedule, and as of now, here's how it looks: I fly out on March 1, and with 2 layovers and all that, it's 29 hours of travel! With the time difference, that means I arrive on March 3 (still getting my head around that, LOL!) I'm allowing myself several days prior to my surgery on Tuesday the 8th, so I can have a bit of a normal visit with my family, and hopefully get past the worst of the jet lag. I'll have a consultation on Monday, and I assume any bloodwork or other testing will be done then. The surgeries are on the 8th & 9th, then I'll have almost 2 weeks recovery and follow up visits before leaving on the 21st. With my previous surgery, I had to fly back with my drain in, and I'm really hoping that's not the case this time!
I have a few concerns that maybe you ladies that have been thru this can help me with. The biggest is that I have a tendency to get bad hypertrophic scars. In most places, I can handle that, but of course it would be a nightmare on my face! Did any of you (who usually scar badly) have this issue, and how did you deal with it? Of course, I'll bring this up in the consult and follow his advice, but I'm pretty worried about it. Also, with the swelling and bruising - I know about sleeping on an incline, wearing the chin strap thingy, drinking pineapple juice, and taking bromelain and arnica....are there any other tips?
I can't believe this adventure is beginning in less than 2 weeks....I'm SO excited!!!!
This is it!
I had my consultation with Dr. Oh yesterday. It lasted over an hour and was very thorough; didn't feel at all rushed. Today I'll be getting the armlift and breastlift with implants, and tomorrow will be the facelift with lower bleph and fat graft to lips. These will be done in the clinic under sedation (not general), then I'll stay overnight in the hospital. They scheduled me for 3 nights, but said i may be discharged a day early if i feel up to it.
I'll update & post pics as soon as I'm able. Right now I'm just trying to keep my nerves in check! Send some good vibes my way, ladies!
I made it!
I haven't seen my breasts or arms unwrapped, but my face is pretty much what i expected. Feeling groggy from the pain meds, and my vision is blurry, but i don't feel awful...I'll give details when i'm more with it
Well it's 4 days since the facelift, 5 since the breast/arm lift and I'm feeling good. I got my hair washed the night before last and got unwrapped & had another shower this morning. So I feel human again! My bruising has been surprisingly minimal, but LOTS of swelling! Everything looks pretty good from what i can tell, except my boobs are bigger than i'd like, but at least they're even & much more symetric than before...once they drop & the swelling goes down, they should be fine. Right now I'm just taking it easy, & for a couple of days have only needed 1 pain med & my sleeping meds.
I spoke too soon about the pain easing up....last night was rough! Everything achy, including a headache, impossible to find a comfortable position, took 2 painkillers & still didn't sleep. I got rather weepy & had the "What have I done to myself" kind of thoughts that i've avoided thus far. Fortunately I had a follow up visit with Dr. Oh that was very reassuring. My face is healing fine; the swelling is normal (!) and boobs & arms look good. My only issue is my armpits. Because of excess skin at the braline, i asked him to extend the incisions to run vertically down my sides a bit. Now the contraction of the scar is seriously restricting my arm movement even tho he did a "V" incision to prevent that. So he scheduled me to do "Z" incisions on each side tomorrow....which he describes as a quick office procedure - in and out. I sure hope so! I'll post pics to show what I mean. Even with that, my mood is much better. I even went out to get some money exchanged....yes, i drew stares for all the wrong reasons, but i'm tired of hibernating & i'll never see these people again, LOL!
Pic of under-arm incision
Here's the really uncomfortable armpit area...and today's face pic. Literally just "put lipstick on a pig" today, haha! He took out my eye and lip stitches @ the office, and approved my own face sling that's way less cumbersome than the bandages. Also, i've been meaning to mention, my implants are 215cc high profile under-the-muscle.
Having a great day so far!
Everything went well with the underarm Zplasty...follow up was yesterday & looks good - much better movement of my arms already! This morning i was able to wash my hair for myself & shave my legs - funny how much of a difference that makes! I've got some energy, so i'm getting out to do a bit of shopping...the weather here is super hot, but clear & pretty. I enjoy getting out, despite the looks, lol. The swelling is going down some in my cheeks, but is worse in my eyes because of some revision work he did along with the Zplasty. My facial work inluded removal of the frowning muscles between the eyebrows (via incisions in the brows), but he wasn't happy with how much i was still able to furrow my brows, so he went in and did some more. I love that he's so thorough, and now i won't look like i'm mad all the time! Later, divas!
Progress & details....
I just realized i'd left out a couple of significant details....one is my age - i'm 44. Pretty young for a facelift, but you can see how that weight loss did a number on me! The other is that when i was 25, i had a breast reduction from DD to C, that looked good for several years...but no surgery can stand up to 20 years and 100 lbs coming & going! My hypertrophic scars look especially bad on the inner part of the anchor incisions (the middle of my chest), and he didn't need to cut that part at all this time, so they just stay the same. Scar treatment has come a long way in 20 years, so i'm praying for better healing this time around....especially on the highly visible arm incisions!
I also hadn't noticed that i've posted no profile pics - oops! Now i know why tho...they're hard to take yourself! But i did my best, lol....and tried to get some of the ear incisions too.
My hosts had guests over for lunch today, and i thought going without my face sling would make me less conspicuous - EPIC FAIL, HAHA!!! My surguries wound up being the first topic of conversation....which doesn't bother me too much, but does make me rather dread my long trip home in a couple of days. Drawing so many stares in such a negative way is starting to wear on me! I know i need to just put my big girl panties on and deal with it, but it's not doing anything for my confidence. But enough boo-hooing.....i'll post pics separate cuz i know RS won't be having it with this long update! Ta for now, sweeties!!!
Today's glamour shots....
10 days out from facelift, 11 since arm & breast lift. In these pics, i kinda feel like maybe my boobs are in proportion to my frame. ??? And i know it won't last, but man i'm lovin that sharp neck angle! I also like how behind the ears, he goes really far up before cutting over, then down within the hair, not along the edge....should make for less obvious scars :)
RS is NOT wanting to load these! Will try separating them....
On the left side, he made an additional incision back above my temple to try to even out my brows.
Sorry for the delay in updating, but it's been an eventful week. My return trip of 3 flights (about 30 hrs with layovers) was Monday. Find out that the first flight (to Hong Kong) was delayed, which threw off my connections. After some serious panic, i'm told they'll put me up in a hotel in HK for the night, including cab fare & meals, then take the same connections on Tuesday. It was an ordeal - i was steady praying i wasn't in a dump - then i got checked in to the nicest luxury hotel i've ever stayed in! I got my ground transport (home after the flights) rescheduled, so it wasn't really an inconvenience, more like a lovely extension of my trip....i tell y'all GOD IS GOOD!!!
The flight from HK to Dallas was LONG, and i didn't wear my face sling because i was chatting a bit with a cutie sitting next to me, and apparently my vanity knows no bounds, haha! So i did get a bit more swollen, but not awful. Then on the short flight to Nashville, ANOTHER hottie chatted the whole flight & even bought me a drink once we'd landed! Didn't ask to exchange contact info or anything, he was just being nice.....ok, God, now you're just playin!
So now the swelling's down some, but i def still have the "windtunnel" look. My hair covers the temple/cheekbone incisions, but my mouth & eyes look pretty distorted. I'm trying to be patient, & in the meantime going well out of the way for errands....can't risk running into someone i know in this small town!
Only posting face pics (in a sepatate post so RS doesn't have a fit) - no changes in the arms or boobs......XOXO dolls!
Update and total costs....
Now that the dust has settled & I've had a chance to review all of the charges, I thought I'd get into the nitty-gritty of how much each procedure cost, since my original quote was an estimate, and I ended up adding a few things. They charged me the full price for the most expensive procedure (breast lift with augmentation), then gave a multi-procedure discount for all the others. I've converted everything into US dollars at the exchange rate while I was there, but that is subject to fluctuation.
The breast lift with implants was $3743, arm lift $1967, face & neck lift (including a bit of lipo under the chin and muscle repair) $2547, lower blepharoplasty (& eye coldpack) $646, removal of muscle between eyebrows $393, he kindly included the small fat grafting to lips at no charge, 3 nights in hospital $600. When I later needed the Zplasty under my arms and he revised the brow muscle removal, it cost $125. He waived the surgeon fee, but there are still costs for sedation meds, sutures, etc. I also had 3-4 follow up visits that came to $37. So altogether $10,058...amazing! The airfare from the US isn't cheap - roundtrip from Nashville was about $1500....and it is a beastly long journey! I can see why most of those travelling to Malaysia or Thailand for surgery are Australian. Of course I didn't have to pay for accommodation like most people would, but even if I had, it's a fraction of what I'd have paid here! I know, I know, I know - NOBODY needs to be choosing where to go for surgery based on price....but I also don't know anyone for whom it's not a factor. Hopefully this is helpful.
Now that I can smile again, here's how that's looking compared to a couple of pics taken on this trip prior to surgery....granted, we always look better smiling than with the "resting bitch face", but it's still pretty rough! Glad that old hag's gone, haha! Also, a pic of a dark spot the doc was keeping an eye on...it's gotten smaller, and he's not worried about it; says it may fall off or continue to shrink. The hair on that side has fallen out, while the other side has not, but it's not like I normally wear my hair up except around the house. Underarms are looking good, considering how badly I usually scar. I think that's it for now...later divas!!!
4 week update
Things continue to go well. The changes are pretty subtle, but I've noticed that as the swelling goes down, I'm seeing the area around my mouth isn't looking as smoothed out. I didn't get any fat transfer, so I've assumed a good bit of the hollowness I had before will return. I had a fat face for so long, I actually like being able to see my cheekbones, lol....I just hope that the end result looks contoured, and not saggy. I'm not worried about that so much on my neck and jawline, but the mouth area seems to be somewhat difficult for a facelift to correct. It's kind of strange to find myself looking in the mirror and thinking "I wonder what I'll look like in several months?"....just have to wait and see. The incisions on the right side still look better than the left, but the fronts of my ears on both sides look great! He had told me that because there was more excess skin on the left, he had to bring the incisions up higher (and I assume pull a little tighter) on that side. Overall, I'm VERY happy with how I look to only be 4 weeks out!
I took the steri-strips off my arms so I can start using silicone tape on them, and they look really good. There is a little puckering and lumpiness, but it's already better than it was in the beginning. Still nothing going on with my boobs. Although from day 1 post op, I've had normal sensation in my left nipple, and none on my right. I know this is a risk, but I'm hoping it's temporary.
I'm still more or less in hiding, haha!...but I did see one of my sisters last week. She was SO sweet, telling me how great I look, and that she's happy for me that I was able to do something like this for myself. And she assured me she wouldn't tell the rest of the family about it....I'm just not ready for an "unveiling" yet. I'm so blessed to have such support! I'll probably wait til the 6 week mark to update again...as I said, the changes have slowed down a lot. But feel free to ask questions, as I'm on here pretty often....til next time, dolls! XOXO
6 week update
Hi ladies, just checking in at the 6 week mark....hard to believe it's been that long! The biggest changes have been with the spot of skin necrosis near my left ear. More hair has fallen out and revealed a larger area. I can tell by the way the scabs feel that they've been there from the beginning; it's not that it's spreading, it was just hidden. It's been a strange progression, and I've had a couple of panicked moments, but I've been in constant contact with Dr. Oh, and it's doing exactly what he said it would. One of those things that tend to look worse before they look better....I just need to be patient. The bad thing is, there's no way to predict how much of the hair will grow back....ugh! (At least it's stopped falling out!) I'm just hoping for the best and will cross that bridge when I come to it. I hate to scare anyone - this is apparently pretty rare, and seems to be due to how extended the incisions had to be on that side. It's not an infection and has never been painful....there are certainly worse complications to have.
Not much to report on my arms and breasts. I tend to get hypertrophic scars, and I've felt some thickening and lumpiness on the arm incisions....but I massage them at least once a day and I can tell it helps. I'm also keeping silicone tape on all of the incisions constantly. Which is why I don't have pics - I'll take some the next time I change the tape. I leave it on as long as possible to make it last, and with the new bolero style compression garment I got, it stays put a long time. I think my breasts are softening a bit (still massaging them often), but they haven't really dropped. Also, I'm able to handle more in the way of housework and reaching overhead. Not that I'll be doing push-ups anytime soon, but I feel closer to being "back to normal". So that's all for now, dolls....stay gorgeous!!!
6 week update of arms & breasts
As promised, I took some pics with the silicone tape off. The incisions all look great...except that the armpit areas look like they'll probably have thick scarring (I can't get any compression there). But if I can avoid that on the more visible parts, I can live with it. Now that the swelling's going down, my boobs are looking pretty oddly shaped. I know they have plenty more settling to do, and that will take care of most of the issues....hopefully, that indentation under my left breast will fill out. The only thing that may not change is the positioning of the implant on that side. It sits very close to the center (causing the nipple to go a different direction). You can see it best in the pic of the underside. It shifts over easily when pushed - I push them all directions and massage them daily - but then just goes right back. Maybe when they drop it won't be as noticeable??? No point getting worked up about it....they'll look way different in a couple of months, and in the meantime, they look fine in a bra & clothes, which is the only way anyone sees me, lol! Thanks for all the encouragement ladies....hope all y'all foxy mamas have a great Mother's Day! XOXO
29 May 2016
2 months post
Hello dolls! I haven't posted recently because now that most of the swelling is down and I'm back to normal activity, the changes are much slower and more subtle. So I thought I'd check in to let you know all is well. I'll do a detailed update at the 3 month mark with more pics, but the biggest change is in the area where I had hair loss and some necrosis. The sores are gone, and a bit of fine hair is coming back. It's still not growing where the actual sores were, but if that area fills in enough, it'll be easier to disguise. Just have to wait and see, but it's encouraging.
I came across an old pic, taken when I was 30...and took a one today for comparison. Gotta say, it's not too far off for a 14 year difference! I know this isn't the final result - they say that's anywhere from 6 months to a year - but so far, I'm SUPER HAPPY!!! Hope y'all are enjoying Memorial Day weekend...let's get these bodies summer ready! ;) xoxo
3 month update with pics
Hello lovelies!!! I'm feeling great at this point - normal and even strenuous activity is no problem. I feel like I look "like myself" and have gotten loads of compliments from family. I'm very happy with the contours of my face and arms...my breasts are ok, but still pretty wonky, so I'm not completely in love with them. But they're undeniably way better than before, so I'm not going to obsess about them. My lips are looking a bit thinner, but still fuller than before, and subtle is what I'd wanted. Overall, my scars are healing beautifully. That's been a big concern because I often get hypertrophic scarring, and would hate to have that in a conspicuous place. I've been vigilant about massaging the incisions and using the silicone gel and tape as instructed. So far, they don't feel too thick, and just have the normal discoloration. The worst scarring is on my left sideburn area where there had been necrosis. It's looking MUCH better now that I'm getting some hair regrowth, so I'm hopeful that it'll eventually be easy to conceal. I tried to get as many pics as I could of all the scars, since that's my main focus now that the swelling's down. Being summertime, I'm going around with the tape on my arms showing, but whatever, haha!
Another weird thing that's been affected by scarring is my underarm hygiene. Sorry if it's TMI, but if you get incisions thru your armpits like I did, I can promise you no one else is gonna tell you about this. Removing skin in this area has had some benefits - I sweat WAY less, and have much less hair. However, the hair I do have is in little narrow strips along the incisions. Because the scars are a bit raised, I can't shave...and I'm afraid a depilatory would irritate them....soooo this leaves me no choice but to clip them with scissors. Eeeeeew!!! And I've only recently started wearing deodorant again because I was worried about that being irritating too....but as I said, it hasn't really been necessary. Apologies for the bizarre sidetrack, but maybe it'll help someone be prepared, LOL!
That's all for now, beautiful dolls...til next time...XOXO
6 month photos
17 Oct 2016
7 months post
Wow, I got so busy, I totally forgot to post my 6 month update last month, lol....but I did take pics then, so these are from several weeks ago. I'm happy with how things are going, even though the area around my mouth has settled a bit more, and a LITTLE bit of laxity has returned. It is still a HUGE improvement, and I think it looks natural. Seems like it's easy for the mid-face to look over-worked and distort the mouth....so I'm good with it. The hair continues to grow back in the sideburn area, but not enough that I can wear my hair up. Hopefully that will keep getting better. My arms look great....a couple of areas of the scars feel a little thick, but not too bad. I was kind of expecting that anyway. The boobs are ok...I'll probably eventually get a bit of revision to improve the shape, but I've gotten used to the size and feel of them. I'm still wearing silicone tape on the arm and breast scars, though I'm not sure how long I'm supposed to do that. Now that it's long sleeve weather, I don't feel as self-conscious about it :)
Hope y'all are well.....I pray daily for everyone's safety during and after their procedures, healthy recoveries, and of course beautiful results! Take care, dolls!