Not wanting to look old

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I am biting the bullet and having a mini-facelift....

I am biting the bullet and having a mini-facelift. I have been one of those people who has always had the genetic luck of looking younger than my age, but I have noticed in the last few years that my jowls have really become unattractive. I have tried the liquid face lift using Juvederm, but never achieved the tightening I wanted around the jowl area. I figure at 50, maybe it's time to go under the knife. My surgeon is Dr. Forsberg in Scottsdale and my surgery in Dec 22nd - Merry Christmas to me. In reading various posts about procedures, I always want to know about pain, swelling, healing issues, and even common things like when you are able to shower, wash your face or even color your gray hair! So these are things I am going to post about. I will start posting pictures shortly because I am a big believer in the before and after. This is my 3rd cosmetic procedure. I have had a breast lift (so worth it ladies) and liposuction (so not worth it! ask me about the sagging loose skin left over). I am hoping the mini-lift will be soooo worth it. There will be more posts to come - wish me luck - I'm hoping 2016 is the start of a newer, fresher looking me!

Mini-Facelift tomorrow!

I have posted some before pics. You can see what I call the "witch's jowls" in the first few pics with my hair pulled back. In the series of photos in the black shirt - my face looks unusually swollen because I had unplanned root canal over the weekend. I called the doc's office to ask if there was any concern in "skewing" my results due to the swelling. She didn't think so, but is planning to ask the doc when he gets out of surgery. I have been able to hide how bad my jowls look with my hair and makeup, but I can't wait to have this done. I also need to lose about 25 lbs so I am hoping this will be the incentive I need to get it going. Wish me luck!

An hour after surgery - IT's ALIVE

As you can see from the picture - I look like a wrapped-mummy pumpkin. My face is massively swollen and I have 2 lovely Christmas ornament drains hanging off my ears. The surgery took 3 hours. The hardest and most painful part was the insertion of the numbing meds - that hurt like a bitch. The rest of it wasn't so horrible, but long - about 3 hours total. I was awake (no anesthesia) and I'm glad because I have the groggy feeling afterwards. There was a number of re-dos on the numbing meds as I could feel certain parts of the procedure itself. I took 4 Valium, but that was like taking candy for me - very little. lasting effect. These drains look like bad earrings and I'm supposed to drain them before I go to bed. My whole face is numb - my right eye is droppy from the pain meds and I can't yet drink or swallow properly, but dammit I am hungry so I am trying. I haven't seen too many pics like mine posted literally right after surgery so this is as real as it gets. In other news - I can color my hair in 2 weeks (my gray grows like a weed) and can get back to exercising about the same time. I will post tomorrow after the drains come off and a new wrap is put on. Fun times ahead!

Day 2 - the big reveal

I slept last night, but with my Christmas "ornament" drains near my head, it wasn't the easiest, but since I was so physically exhausted I did sleep a bit. I went to the doctor's office this morning and the drains were removed - HOORAY!! I had minimal drainage so that was a really good sign. They showed me how to clean the wounds and use Vaseline several times a day. I asked about Arnica Montana and Doc said the pill tablets are better than gel/cream for keeping swelling down so I picked some up. He was pleased with how it looked - I looked quite scary with the matted, betadine hair, marker all over my face and swelling, but he assured me all was on track. I received a new face strap and I was on my way until next week. He said I could shower - OH GLORIOUS SHOWER! I did just that bringing my hair back from the caveman look and cleaning my wounds with Hydrogen Peroxide and vasoline. I styled my hair a bit nicer in the face strap so now I don't look like I just emerged from a car accident. The biggest surprise- the pain is minimal. It is there around my incisions on the ears and underneath my chin from the lipo, but I am managing on regular Tylenol alone! I hate narcotics anyway - between the nausea and loopy feeling, I would rather not. Chewing is a challenge (hurts the jaw) so sticking to soft foods (soups, yogurt) and sucking on Goldfish to make them soft LOL. Pics are attached pre-shower - SCARY - hide your pets and kids. But after the shower i posted a profile pic and even with the swelling you can see the difference already. I have read religiously about others who have had mini-lifts and they look so great on day 2 but talk about the pain. I'm not looking so supermodel-like, but the pain is bearable so I think it's a good trade-off. I am icing regularly (20 minutes almost every hour) - I concocted a sling of sorts to hold the ice bag on my face so I don't have to sit and hold it for 20 minute- I need to patent this LOL. Mostly my spirits are good - I'm in this face strap for another week and then I am hoping to be cut free. I have also done a good job of covering up my face with a hat, scarf and hoodie when I have to go out - so even though I live in AZ - I am bundled up like Randy - Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story" how apropos! I will check in tomorrow!

Ear Stitching up close

This is a good indication of the stitching technique doc uses in and behind the ear

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown - it's the great pumpkin! Post surgery day 2

Last night was brutal. I could not get comfortable, could not sleep and there was a ton of pain around my incisions. I was told to sleep upright, but the compression garment just made me uncomfortable and frustrated. Even the 1/2 Vicodin I took had no effect. Finally I took off the compression garment and wrapped my face in ace bandages (mummy like) I had from previous surgeries - same compression effect just more comfortable. I took a sleeping pill at 5am and finally crashed until about 10am. I am hoping last night was the worst because I need the rest.

My face is REALLY swollen today. I texted a pic to doc and he says it looks better than normal. I laughed because doc inadvertently told me I look better swollen than normal LOL.

I have been taking Keflex 4x a day (antibiotic) and just sticking to regular Tylenol. I've been told to clean my wounds with hydrogen peroxide a few times a day and to use Vasoline to keep the wounds moist. If you look at the pictures, the incisions are healing really nicely! I use Essential Oxygen Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide (see pic) - go on Amazon and read up on it - this stuff is the BOMB! I am pretty sure this is why my healing is going so well vs. picking up the regular brown bottle at the pharmacy.

I'm also continuing the Arnica Montana and if you look at my pictures the bruising is minimal. I'm pretty sure it's because of the Arnica because I bruise incredibly easy - even after Juvederm injections! I've been popping Arnica a few times a day and will continue to do so throughout the healing process. My face is VERY swollen - still more so on the side I had dental surgery so I am really hoping the swelling starts to go down soon. I'm continuing to ice. Doc said today is the last day icing really has any good effect.

You will see what looks like a small tube of skin behind my ear - I am sure that's where the drainage tube was inserted but it definitely sticks out so have to ask doc what's going to happen with that piece of skin because it feels weird being there. What will happen to it? Does it get snipped off or is that future the portal for being hooked into "the Matrix" at some point HA! You gotta have a sense of humor.

As for anyone mentioning that this is "minor" surgery, I am sure in the scheme of things it can be considered minor, but having had major surgery in the past, this still ranks up there with recovery and healing. Talk to me in a week - I might have a different opinion. Merry Christmas everyone!

That's my update for today.

Merry Christmas - post-op day 3 - pain dissipating

Quick update - pictures tomorrow. A little more bruising, but not too bad - mostly around where the drain line was in my cheek area. Still pretty swollen - I know because the headband that goes over my head to wash my face struggles to go over my head! I wore a baseball cap and a hoodie and went through the McDonald's drive-thru this morning because I needed to get the heck out of the house! The good thing about being house-ridden is I got to clean out my office something I had been putting off for months. Eating is also getting a bit easier.

I didn't have to take any Tylenol today -- that means the pain is dissipating! My voice is a bit hoarse/raspy today - I wonder if it's due to the swelling around my neck. I'm taking Keflex so I should be fighting off any infection that's in my system, but I will watch it. I had my throat almost close up from swelling from mono many years ago so don't want to experience that again!

It's also really dry in AZ so I have the humidifier going tonight. I slept fitfully again last night- waking up every 3 hours - I'm hoping since the pain has gone down, I can get a decent sleep tonight.

The stitches are healing nicely - still have that funky drain tube opening behind my ear - doc says it's an easy fix, but it feels like a piece of skin that should not be there. Still cleaning wounds with peroxide and vasoline. I also am still taking Arnica and starting putting some cream on my face (and my bad knee to boot). I have prescription water pills I may take tomorrow to help with the swelling - we'll see how it looks.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Day 4-6 pics combined - getting out of house - check out the makeup!

The last few days I have come down with a head cold. I traveled right before my surgery (I travel a ton) so i'm not surprised I caught something. Still sleeping in fits - having a head cold does not help. My face is still swollen, but not nearly as bad as last week. The left side of my face is more swollen than the right. Still taking Arnica Montana orally and putting some of the cream on my face - I think it's working. The bruising now is contained to the left side of my face and that's what I have covered up with makeup -pretty darn well if I might say so - look at the last pic - ALMOST NORMAL.

Stitches come out on Wed - Can't wait - these things are starting to bug me. Some are already dissolving, but can't wait for them all to come out. It's funny because your head feels exactly like someone has lifted the skin up off your face and it's trying to get used to the feeling of it. So I make it a point to massage my head a few times a day. Still using peroxide and Vasoline to clean the stitching area. Almost done with anti-biotics.

I need to venture out to get some cold medicine and puffs plus. For the first time in a week I am NOT wearing a baseball cap but big oversized sunglasses. The makeup I use is Dermablend - that's what people with disfiguring scars wear and you can see how good the coverage is. I don't usually like wearing so much makeup, but I don't want strange stares today either.

Lastly, I am feeling like a big marshmellow - I need to get back to the gym. Staying at home and watching TV you pretty much just eat so I'm hoping doc clears me for exercise this weekend - just in time for all the new years resolution people!

Pain is minimal - mostly when I am cleaning my stitches. Touching my face it feels swollen but keeping my hair down keeps it looking less so.

Day 10 Before and After - Happy New year!

Hard to tell - I think the bruising and swelling makes it hard to see the difference just yet. It looks subtle to me. I am sure as time goes on and the swelling decreases I will see a more of a difference in the jawline.

I've also attached a pic of the stitching around the ear up close. And a close-up of the bruising. It's pretty easily hidden with makeup. I'm hoping to see even more reduction before I go back to work on Monday.

I'm attempting to go back to the gym tomorrow. I will wear a large sweatband around my hairline to cover up my scars. Hopefully that will work.

Feeling good for the 1st of 2016 - I am looking forward to even more improvements over the next few weeks!

17 days post-op - went to office to get stitches removed

Hi everyone. It's been a busy first week back to work for me. I've had a bit of bruising that I still need to cover up with makeup. Only one comment came my way in the form of "did you change your makeup?" so someone noticed something LOL.

The bruising hangs on - as you can see in pic. I went back to the doctor's office today because after 17 days some of the stitches weren't dissolving on their own. There is still some scabbing around the ears so doc said to keep using Vaseline otherwise I'm moving onto Mederma.

I have quite a bit of swelling still and there are lumps under my skin from the sutures. Doc says it will take about 3 months to get 90% resolved and then the rest of the year for my face to settle.

Overall I am happy. It's still a bit too soon to see the final result, but the improvement is there. I've posted a side by side (not sure why my photo skills have dropped LOL.

I went back to the gym and have been covering up my ears with headbands. Now that the stitches are out I'll probably be doing less covering. I look in the mirror and I look less tired and drawn. I see a more youthful profile which is what I was going for.

I will post again at 1 month post-op but all in all things are moving in the right direction!

Big Thanks to Dr. Forsberg and Staff in Scottsdale, AZ!

I wanted to take a moment to thank Dr. Forsberg and staff for the entire procedure experience. Everyone has been great - no question is too trivial or insignificant for them to answer. Your care and patient experience their is top priority and I have to say that makes all the difference in the world. Dr. Forsberg and I were texting right before and right after the procedure. I had a concern about my stitches and they literally saw me twice the SAME DAY to take care of it. That's what I call an excellent patient experience! Everyone is friendly from Ali - Dr. Forsberg's assistant to his entire nursing staff. He has been voted a Top Doc and I can see first-hand why. I will be moving to San Diego but definitely seeing myself look to Dr. Forsberg for any needed procedures down the road. Dr. Forsberg is a young, skilled, talented aesthetic plastic surgeon you should talk to for any of your cosmetic needs in the PHX area!

For everytime I have looked bad on here...

Here is one picture where I think I look pretty damn good. 50 who?

Almost 6 weeks post-op

Sorry I haven't been updating regularly. I'm in the midst of a move from AZ to CA and just closed on my house a week and a half ago. I'm still having swelling issues on the side of my face where I have had extensive dental procedures. In fact when I went to take my face shots today I realized my face is still swollen on my left. I am going back to the dentist to see what is going on.

The latest developments I've had is the appearance of the sutures under my skin. My doctor tells me they are not permanent as they will dissolve, but it could take up to 2-3 months. As you can see from the pictures, they look like lumps under my skin. I have been massaging it and hiding with makeup, but have to say I am not satisfied with how it looks. I will see the doc again in a week and try to get reassurance because I didn't anticipate having to deal with bumps under my skin.

I will post a straight-on shot when the swelling from the dental procedure is gone. It definitely skews my results. More to follow.

Nearly 3 months post-op - still not all the way there.

I haven't been able to post because I've been busy the last several weeks moving - what a pain moving is! A mini-facelift is easier!

Couple of things regarding healing:
1) When I went to see Dr Forsberg in Feb before I moved, he zapped the scars along my ears with the laser - there was definite keloid formation. He told me it would take 2 treatments to see a difference so I am going back the first week of April for a follow-up
2) The raised sutures under the skin are STILL there. I have been massaging like crazy. It's hard to tell but I do think it has gone down some, but now that I am 3-months post-op, I'm not quite sure if this is ever going to go away on its own. This is something that definitely bothers me and something I'll be speaking to the doctor about next month. I have been reading about suture granuloma (look it up) and think this is something that may be going on with my sutures. Treatment includes steroid injection at site or having to remove the suture. More to come.
3) There is raised scar tissue behind my ear that wasn't there before - Dr. Forsberg noticed it last time and thought it was related to something else, but it's not. Something else to discuss.
4) There is still numbness around the edges of my face and ears - I wonder if that ever goes away?

Lastly, I was at a work convention in Feb and a colleague said to me "What have you done to your face? I noticed and you look 10 years younger - are you doing botox?" I said yes and laser (around the ears so that is true) and she asked if it hurt and I said Yes - which is very true!

I have the doc's before and after pics that I will post later this weekend!

Here are the March Before and Afters

You can see the biggest difference in the neck and jowl area - the before pictures made my face look fatty and loose. The after pictures show a youthful uplift and tightening. The redness is from Juvederm I had injected while I was there and you can clearly see the raised, red suture near my chin. I hope to have April updated pics next week.

I just want to say that I appreciate all the support and compliments, but mostly I am posting so others can know what to expect in their procedures. I'm not here to collect accolades (I work my own confidence, don't need others for that). Education, awareness, and choosing the right doctor is so important.
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

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