48 hrs post-op: Feeling Great...hard to believe just had facial surgery 2 days ago!
Yesterday (one day post-op), I went in to the doctor's and they removed my dressing, cleaned the incisions, and the doctor checked for any hematoma (none, thankfully). He explained that swelling would likely go up over the next few days and not to worry as it will decrease over the next week. The entire process was relatively quick, painless, and went smoothly. Before I knew it, I was back at home, resting in bed. Because of some initial mild nausea during first day home from surgery, and because there was surprising little pain, I decided to switch from prescription pain med to extra strength Tylenol (also helps reduce issue with any constipation onset). Nausea dissipated rather quickly and I felt good enough to get lots of work done via my laptop in bed. Husband has been great about doing all the housework and taking care of kids, as well as tending to my needs. Not seeing the kids has probably been the hardest, they'be been knocking on the door wanting to see me, but with my head in a bandage, we didn't think it was a good idea.
Got to see my chin for the first time yesterday and wow- I can't believe the double chin is gone! My face did look "elf-like" in that my cheeks looked prominent compared to my jawline and chin...but thanks to realself.com (yes- I hopped right on and did a search of lower face lift recovery stories!), I was reassured that it is totally normal to have "chipmunk cheeks" at this point in the recovery process. I also have a little bit of lumpiness on one side, but again, will not worry for now as I was well-informed of this recovery process by Dr, Karam (and realself.com reviews).
Today (48 hrs post-op), I am feeling even better, alert, little pain, actually productively getting lots of work done via laptop at home. There is a little more swelling today, but that is expected and I assume more swelling over next few days or more. I'm keeping up with the doctor-ordered regimen: Arnica, Bromlein, morning and evening vitamins ("clinical support" vitamins in aid in healing process), antibiotics, and Tylenol. I keep a log on my cellular phone as it can get confusing as to when I've taken what.
Today, as approved my doctor, I got to take a shower, making sure to keep shampoo off the incisions. Cleaned the incisions (hydrogen peroxide then aquaphor), covered with gauze, then rewrapped with Ace bandage. Told to repeat 2-3 times per day.
So far, recovery has been smooth, easy, and relatively pain free. And you know what? Being "forced" to relax, not lift anything heavy or do housework, and rest...seems like a luxury day! Sleepwise, was told to sleep with head elevated (2-3 pillows) at night. Hasn't been difficult to do so.
So far, so good. Keep fingers crossed that it will continue as smoothly! (Knock on wood.) Again, really hard to believe that just a mere 48 hours ago, I had a facial lower lift and neck lift surgery...
P.S. Dr. Karam's office sent flowers and chocolates today with a sweet note-- such a thoughtful gesture! Not to mention...I was craving a piece of chocolate, so it hit the spot!
Before and After Pictures - Lower Face Lift & Neck Lift (3 days post-op)
3rd day after post-op. Recovery still going smoothly, easily. Taking Tylenol every 6 hours as preventative measure. Also taking antibiotics, Bromolein, Arnica, surgeon-recommended vitamins, and Colace stool softener (again, as preventative measure). Swelling still there but nothing unanticipated. Seems typical as compared to other realself postings. I've been taking it easy, hanging out in bed with my laptop and getting loads of work done via laptop.
Today, I am making sure to keep my sodium intake low. Drinking protein chocolate milk for breakfast, eating rice soup (mouth doesn't open wide so need a small spoon, ha!) for lunch, and drinking water for hydration. Keeping my head elevated by sitting up on pillows in bed, and avoiding looking down by having a laptop table.
Very little pain (if any), some feeling of swelling but it's not bad. Keeping my head bandaged so still keeping kids away from seeing me. 3x per day, I am removing the bandages to clean incisions and replace gauzes.
A little bit of lumpiness on one side of the face, but again, looks like that is normal and I'm hopeful that it will go away. Other side looks good. Overall, I am sooo happy with results and cannot wait to see final result!! Dr. Karam is amazin. I was worried about the lumpiness so emailed the picture to his office, and got his response by that morning. Very reassuring and so responsive.
Before and After Photo (3 day Post-Op)
Accidentally deleted my after "frontal" photo in the prior post. Posting here in case anyone finds it helpful. As today (day 3 post-op) has progressed, I got really swollen around early afternoon, so much that even my eyelids were swollen. Thankfully, in past 2 hours, it's continued to go down. Can't wait to see my final results! Crossing my fingers that the lumpiness on left side will go away before 2 weeks is up...
Day 4 Post-Op: Swelling "fun"
So, I learned a lesson from last night. When the surgeon tells you to sleep with your head elevated, flatly...well, do it! I've been really good about sleeping with my head elevated via 3-4 pillows. But last night, I shifted just a few degrees to the right, not even much, but it was enough to cause my right side to swell up, and particularly my right eyelid. So now it's a little hard to see out of that eye because it's so swollen. Underneath both eyes are yellowish and swollen. I'm doubling-down today and making sure I take in very low sodium, high protein, and hoping that the swelling will go down soon. On a brighter note, the area under the compress is looking better. And the incisions look like they're healing rather well. It's just this swelling in my eye area...grrrr...but I know, patience...
Day 5 Post-Op Photos
Swelling seems to have gone down...only ever so slightly. Having AC & fan on seems to help keep cool. Drinking high-protein chocolate milk, cottage cheese, oatmeal...trying to stay low sodium. Under eyes are yellowish and swollen. Lumpiness on the one side seems to have gone a little too. Starting to get cabin fever. Can't wait for this swelling to go down. I read somewhere else on realself.com that it's called "swell hell."
Day 7: Stitches out and no more wrapping
Truly amazing how the swelling seemed so bad and endless on Days 4 and 5, and then how quickly it went down on Days 6 and 7. I feel great, can actually return to my desk job. Seeing kids again, hair covers the bruising so I didn't even need to cover it up with concealer. Bought "breathable" make-up from doc's office for later this week when I go back to work to cover the scars by ears. I really can't believe that in just one week time, I am already recovered and feel great. This was all truly worth it. I'm so grateful to the doctor and for a totally smooth recovery. So happy with my "refreshed" new look!
Just passed 2 week mark! Day 17 and feeling fab.
Have been fully back at work and socializing, including going out to dinners and parties, starting last Friday (Day 12 post-op). Feeling great. Still sleeping in elevated position and that makes a big difference with reducing swelling morning after. Saw a small resurgence in swelling this week after eating some high-sodium meals, so am now going to make extra effort to keep diet low-sodium for next week or so. Attaching some photos here from Day 12. I continue to be so amazed at the quick recovery process, and what a big difference in how I look and feel. No more (ineffectively) hiding my double chin with my hair. And while I feel like I look so different, everyone keeps attributing my "refreshed" look to my new haircut!
I still have some lumpiness on left cheek, some swelling on lower left jawline and neck, but the bruising is almost entirely gone to the point of not even needing makeup to cover up. I can't wait to see final results in the weeks and months to come. The incision under the neck does need cover-up, but it's not noticeable. I did do 2 lymphatic drainage massages (great referral from PS office when I inquired for one...she's terrific) which noticeably helped the swelling go down, even before I left the massage room. Exercise is still limited and I'm being patient but looking forward to getting back to working out as soon as I get the go ahead. It's important to take it easy to avoid blood pressure going up and causing swelling or internal bleeding.