FINDING THE RIGHT DOCTOR
The first doctor I saw in New York City showed me a very limited number of before and after photos. But more importantly, I found no discernible difference between the before and after pictures. What I did see as he scrolled through his cases on the computer were lots and lots of breasts. I was to learn this was in fact his specialty. So my first lesson, find a doctor that specializes in the work you are having done. While he or she may be a fabulously skilled surgeon, they may be so in their specialty. Like anything else, the best person for the job, is one who has performed MANY cases where they have learned the intricacies of that part of the face/body and that procedure. The second doctor I saw was in New Jersey. Again, in the end, I was dissatisfied with the results I saw in the before and after photos. Additionally, I went to few more doctors for consultations in the New York area but was feeling a little disappointed so I began searching on the internet for other options.
FINDING DR. JOHN LEE
I found Dr. Lee’s website and really felt it was very thorough and educational. His before/after pictures were impressive (there was a noticeable difference between the pre and post photos and everyone’s results appeared natural). The site explained every procedure in depth and also had prices listed. I knew from my research that I wanted an oculoplastic surgeon- board certified ophthalmologists. Dr. Lee completed an additional fellowship exclusively performing eyelids and brow procedures. It was important to me to use an oculoplastic surgeon who would thoroughly understand the eyelids/brow/eye anatomy (the areas that I wanted treated) from their ophthalmology training. Since I was coming from out of town, I was offered an email consultation. I spoke with his surgical coordinator multiple times and discussed in great detail the procedures recommended for the results I wanted. Initial consult was based on the photos I had sent. I was provided expected cost, even before I opted to travel to Dr. Lee's office in Pennsylvania. The surgical coordinator could not have been more gracious. Every question was answered in a detailed and thoughtful way. I never felt I was bothering them, or that they had no time to address my concerns. I did not feel there was any gamesmanship involved. Now I was ready to drive the 2 hours for my initial consult.
THE INITIAL CONSULT WITH DR. JOHN LEE
Dr. Lee saw me soon after I arrived. He is a young, soft spoken (ok easy on the eyes, but ladies, he is taken), and confident. Dr. Lee listened to what I wanted to achieve and he recommended multiple procedures to get me there:1) upper blepharoplasty w/ crease fixation since I had multiple natural folds that needed to be cleaned up and were asymmetric; 2) lower fat removal with skin tightening; and, 3) his unique suture brow lift (which I did not initially intend to have but understood that the elegant arch I wanted to have would not be feasible with just the eyelids procedure). The brow lift entails 2-3 sutures that run from each brow to the front of the scalp -- far enough back to be hidden. I felt Dr. Lee was competent and honest. Most importantly, I felt I could close my eyes during the surgery, and put them in his capable hands.
I have no recollection of pain in the preparation period. I was just calm and relaxed and the staff made me feel comfortable. The only pain I felt during the procedure was when the fat was removed from the lower lids and this felt like an uncomfortable pulling more than pain. I took deep breaths slowly in and out to get through it. And of course here I am living to tell about it.
A TIME TO HEAL
In the next 2 weeks I would of course take my medications as instructed, put in my eye drops and gently put the antibiotic ointment on my lids as prescribed and instructed. Initially, the incisions in my scalp from the brow lift sutures was a little tender and sore to the touch, but no pain. There was something almost beautiful about the look on that very first day. But that would be short lived, and as each day moved forward the swelling and bruising (though I had very little bruising) would get worse, before it got better. Nine days after the surgery I returned to the doctor’s office by a great easy train ride to have the sutures removed on my eyelids, the small staples taken from my scalp and the tape pulled off from under my eyes. If you know that it will indeed get better, you can enjoy the interesting experience of suddenly looking 10 years older before the hoped for younger version of yourself surfaces. You can actually enjoy the sensation of watching yourself get older and then transforming the opposite way again, to a more youthful looking version. As the anesthesia began to drain down from my forehead and below the eyes, I saw my jowls get puffier and filling up at the base of my face. For myself, after about 2 or 3 weeks even this phenomenon would resolve and I would see my firm neck and chin line again. Still, it must be said, that everyone heals differently and at different rates. For me, it was probably a good 2 months before I saw all signs of puffiness and minimal bruising subside. Well worth the wait though.