A Long Wait - St. Louis, MO

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I have been wanting to have a face lift to tighten...

I have been wanting to have a face lift to tighten my neck for about 8 years. I had consultations with two different plastic surgeons, but I did not connect with either one of them at all so kept putting it off. About 4 years ago I lost 38 pounds. That left me with a lot of loose skin on my neck that made a very bad turkey waddle that jiggled. My sister-in-law had a face lift to all of our surprise. She looked fantastic. We talked about her experience a lot. We live far apart so I could not realistically use her PS. I finally made an appointment with a PS in a larger city about 2 hours from our home. I instantly liked him. I was scheduled for July 17, 2013. Well, about 2 weeks before my surgical date, I contacted poison ivy!! Of course it was on my face and neck. Called my PS and he decided he wanted to postpone my date until it was cleared up. So, I have been treated and am now scheduled for July 25, 2013. If I had any second thoughts, having the surgery date postponed made it very clear to me that I really wanted to do this without hesitation. I'm ecstatic. Can't wait. I have all my necessary items purchased fro post-op care and have prepared my house for when I return so I'll be comfortable. Kinda long story.

64 years old before pictures

These pictures were taken on July 20th, just 5 days before my surgery. In my previous post I didn't mention all the procedures Dr. Nayak will be doing. I will have a necklift, facelift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, fat transfer to tear troughs, Juvederm in nasolabial folds and marionette lines, and all over facial lazer.

Just an update to my preparation for surgery.

Of course I have stopped taking all the supplements my doctor said to stop taking such as fish oil, multivitamins, etc. He gave me a long list. But I am also starting to take Dulcolax, the stool softener, with his permission. I know after my last procedure 4 years ago that I had big issues in this department. So I'm just doing a little preventative measure now.

Post-op pictures and review day of surgery

It always amazes me to awake from heavy sedation and think "Are they done already". And then realize you have been out for hours and oh my gosh what do I look like, but mostly let me sleep.

The surgical staff reassured me that my procedures all went well and I was doing fine. They were getting me ready to go back to our hotel. I barely remember my husband getting me out of the surgery center and into our room. Thank goodness I requested a first floor room so he could scurry me in quickly.

The pictures are just a few hours after surgery. I didn't feel to bad considering what I had been through. Of course I still had sedation drugs in my system so I was somewhat dreamy. I slept a lot leaving all the post-op care to my hubby. He put cold compresses on my eyes every 20 minutes - on and then off again. He made sure my face was slathered in Aquaphor due to the laser peel that was done. He kept track of my pain meds setting his phone to remind him. I just slept.

In the pictures, the drains are in and doing a good job draining the fluid away. There is bruising under my eyes, mostly the right eye. My neck felt stiff and I didn't want to turn my head. I could not sip through a straw. My dear husband somehow filled a straw with water and placed it in my mouth so I could drink. I don't think I ate anything that evening. Just slept

We were due to return to the surgery center in the morning to remove the lower drain.

First Day Post-Op face, neck lift, upper lower bleph, fat transfer, juvederm injected, full laser peel

I felt better than I expected to for just the first day after surgery. I got up and looked in the mirror and saw exactly what I expected to see. I thought I looked dreadful. The facial peel looks scary, but really, it was not that tender to the touch as I expected it to be. Keeping my face gooey with Aquaphor is a full time job. I ate a little smashed up scrambled egg that morning. My mouth would not work right and I couldn't open it much.

We proceeded to the surgery center for post-op exam and removal of lower drain. Dr. Nayak was pleased with how I looked. He said my jaw line looked really good, very defined. Yipee!! That was so good to hear. Then he said he was not going to remove either drain at this time. I still had too much accumulation of fluid draining. So, I got to take them both home with me. Lucky me!

So home we go drains and all. I was doing ok on the pain meds prescribed along with an antibiotic and antiviral that is for the facial peel. Once home we had to begin soaking and washing my face with a vinegar solution and then reapply the aquaphor. That Aquaphor is everywhere! Soap and water does not cut it. I think I will be picking up items for months that have Aquaphor residue on it. But it is necessary for healing without scars. First day post-op was pretty good. But between cleaning the eyelid sutures and taking care of my skin from the facial peel, I felt wore out. I didn't have much energy and I wasn't eating much so I felt weak. But I expected much of that. I kept ice on eyes and around chin and jaw line with the strap they gave me. I will be posting on a day to day basis. I get tired quickly.

Second day post-op

Just posting some pictures of this day. It is Saturday. The laser facial peel is rather gruesome looking. I think this might be the vampire face lift that has been in the tabloids. Aquaphor I mentioned is everywhere!! That neck rest will be trashed soon.

Third and fourth day post-op

Third day post-op, Sunday, I felt awful and looked even worse. It was a baaaaad day. I woke up nauseated and it didn't take long before I started throwing up. I have a low tolerance for drugs in my belly and I had a boat load on board. Throwing up is about the worst thing I can do because I get the dry heaves. And to make matters worse we had an appointment with the PS about 1:00 pm. to take the drains out. Yes, this man went to his office on a Sunday to see me!! Going to St. Louis meant a 2 hour drive. Not what I want to do with a sick tummy, but I wanted those blankety, blank drains out. We made it there without having to stop for me to puke, thank goodness. He told me to stop taking heavy duty pain meds and just use Tylenol extra strength, and to stop the antiviral and antibiotics until my stomach settled down. Well I was ok with that because I hate to take any kind of drugs. I was not a very good hippie in the 60's!
But what really got me down was that he removed only one drain. Still too much fluid collection in the upper one. I just zoned out on the trip home glad for little things, like not heaving my socks up.

Fourth day post-op, Monday, nausea much better, but I was aware of a lot of discomfort because the Tylenol didn't have the same punch as the heavy duty pain meds. But for me the trade off was worth not throwing up. The picture is showing the full laser facial peel and how grotesque it gets. And of course, my buddy, the upper drain.

Fifth day post op

Monday night I decided it was time for the mountain to move. I was cramping because I had not had a bowel movement since the day before surgery. That is not like me. I had been using stool softeners, laxatives, and suppositories for days. Finally made an executive decision and sent dear hubby to the store for an enema, the last resort. I won't go into details here, but the mountain finally moved - uncontrollably and in a not so good place. Poor hubby had a mess to clean up. I guess that man really does love me because I don't know if I could have taken care of that. But my cramps stopped and I felt better over the course of 2 hours.

Ok, on to Tuesday. Drove to see PS. Drain came out. Hooray!! That instantly made me feel like I wasn't convalescing any more. I felt like I had a new freedom. Sounds silly. PS is pleased with my healing and facial contours. I was having a problem with the laser peel and the very dilute vinegar wash. It set me on fire. He said to just use water. When we got home I tried it and that did help. He texted my hubby this morning and said to switch from the Aquaphor to just Vaseline. Just tried it after my shower and - voila - no burning. Dr. Nayak is the best. We talked about removing the tape on Friday - another milestone in this process. That would be one week and a day post op. His office and surgical suite include an onsite day spa. So on Friday, this is so exciting, *drumroll please* the girls are going to apply makeup. I feel like I'm a teenager and my mother has allowed me to wear makeup for the first time. I didn't think I would be this excited about the make-up part, but I haven't worn real make-up for years because I felt it made me look worse. So I will post pictures of me with the make-up applied. This is so exciting to feel good about your appearance. I'm so glad I decided to not spend the rest of my life just accepting the way I looked and not being happy.

Pictures for Tuesday fifth day post op

I uploaded the wrong pictures to above post. I will now upload the correct ones.

Thursday One Week Post Op Picutures

I wanted to post some pictures of my skin one week after the full facial laser peel. Still very red, but calming down. I have to keep it covered with Vaseline so it looks greasy and it is. So is my hair.

Friday One Week and One Day Post Op

The tape and sutures were removed today. Some sutures would not come out on left ear because it is very tender and swollen. Dr. Nayak said there was no infection and to leave it alone and let the swelling go down. The sutures would dissolve with time. Then I went to the fun side, the Avani Day Spa to see the Medical Esthetician. She applied Jane Iredale products. She used a concealer, a pressed powder base that has SPF 20, and blush. That was it. It really covered the redness from the laser. I did not need the correction kit because fortunately I only had one little bruise. She only applied it to the center third of my face since the outer thirds still had some peeling to do and the PS's marker still stubbornly clinging to my face. I think she did a great job. I also purchased Elta moisturizing sunscreen so I can now go outside. I have missed my daily walks and tending my gardens.

I'm very happy with the results of the laser peel even though I still have a few weeks of healing. I'm still puffy around mouth, neck, ears, and eyes from surgical procedures. In a month or so I am going to have the esthetician do a facial plainning. I think that is what it is called. It will remove the little fine peach fuzz on my face and neck and also boost up the finish of the laser. This is not an invasive procedure at all. Glad of that.

Pictures One week and one day post op

Forgot to upload pictures to go with post above. Here goes.

Nine days post op

That awful tape my PS used to cover the sutures is off, most of the sutures have been removed, but honestly, I still fell like they are still there. Same thing with my neck. Sometimes, most of the time, it feels as though that neck band is still around my face and neck. I wake thinking, "Oh, I need to take that band off for a while" and then reach up and it is not on at all. I have almost total numbness under my chin and on neck up about half way on my ears. In front of my ears in totally numb. I do get little sensations, tingling, even real zappers at times. So hope that is a sign of numbness slowly disappearing. I was naively expecting once the tape and sutures were removed to feel quite normal. Guess not!! More time and patience.

2 weeks post op - What is that?

I'm exactly 2 weeks out from my surgery. I looked at my profile in the mirror after my shower yesterday, (imagine that!) and gasped. I took a closer look at my left cheek, then my right, both had a strange depression in front and below my ear. I gently felt it and, yep, it was a small depression that was not there before. I talked myself out of a panic attack and decided to give it 24 hours.

This morning while I was pouring myself coffee, hubby was looking at me oddly from the side, then said, turn and look at me. I obliged not saying a word, but I knew what he was looking at. "Hmmm", he says. I finally acknowledged the spots. Well after a little discussion, hubby suggested we take a picture of my new spot and send it to the PS, even though he is on vacation. I did not want to bother him on vacation, but my man knows me and he knew I would imagine all kinds of horrible things, like my face lift is sagging for one. We took the picture and sent it. Within minutes PS called back. We described the spot, he asked some questions. Much to my relief, he said it was an anchor point and the tissue around it was swelled. It will not show as the swelling continues to go down. I feel so much better knowing it is not permanent and it makes sense. If we had not called, I would have been looking and touching it continually until I knew what it was or it went away.

I posted photos on here. I know in the photo it looks small and barely there. But in person it is very noticeable.

Everyday is a new day and brings a new set of changes during this healing process. My right ear has almost total feeling back but my left ear feels like a rock is wired on where my ear used to be. The incisions behind my ears are sore and itchy and it feels as though he used wire to close the incisions instead of what ever that suture material is.

Photos of spot

I saved the post before I added the photos.

Two week two days post op

Nothing new to report as far as healing, swelling, numbness progressing. I'm sure it continues behind the scenes, as West53 wrote about. If you have not read that post, you should. Great insight.

Concerns: Yesterday my energy level was flat lined. I slept nearly all day on and off, mostly on. Not sure why this happened because the day before that I felt like my energy level was returning, I barey took a nap all day. Today I do feel better, more like my normal self. Anyone else have these swings of fatique/energy?

Two weeks 5 days

No makeup. Just took a shower and somewhat styled my hair with styling products. I felt pretty good so I took some pictures of myself. I'm in bad need of a hair color so I'm looking forward to when I can safely have that done. My hair is so brassy right now. So far I'm very happy with my result even though I'm not finished healing yet. I would feel so much better if the lumps on both sides of my face would flatten down. Hopefully with less swelling they will go down. I'm still red and swollen from the laser on my face, especially around my mouth. But everyday it fades more and more. One nice benefit I see already is that it has left my skin with a nice texture. I still have sutures in some areas and am ready for those buggers to dissolve already. I am beginning to have more energy everyday and actually cooked dinner yesterday, even if it was a crockpot meal. It felt good to resume some normal activities. I still have trouble sleeping most nights, so I'm up and down. That's it for now.

Four Weeks and One Day Post Op

I received a message from Real Self that it was time to update my review. I was going to wait until I had my hair colored, but that won't be until next week. So I decided to go ahead and post some pictures anyway. I applied my sunscreen, then the Jane Iredale mineral base that the esthetician chose for me, and a little concealer under my chin because that incision is still scabbed and ugly. Now that I see the pictures, I can see I still need concealer around my mouth and chin area because of the laser treatment. I also see some bluing around my eyes that I will have to use concealer on next time. I hope that fades as I continue to heal. The sutures around my ears are still noticeable and red, but getting lighter with each day. Happy, happy, happy when I look in the mirror. Feeling good most of the time and sleeping most of the night in the bed now, just not in my preferred position, my side. It still scares me to sleep on my side just yet. I still wake up with a swell up neck in the morning.

Oh, the lump on the side of my face that I was almost driven to obsession about is almost flat. Hooray! I just had to be patient. You can see the lump a few posts back, and this set of profile pictures shows the same side.

First Compliment!!

I had my first compliment from a stranger today. What a boost that was. I was checking out at a store and the clerk said, "You're not a senior are you?" I hesitated and said, "Yes, yes I am." She said, "You are? You sure don't look like it. You look really good." Well, that little exchange has made it all worthwhile in a few brief seconds. I'm including a picture I took today. I still have not been able to get my hair dyed because I still have scabs. I think by the end of the week they will finally all be gone.

"I'm Famous" Almost. HaHa My Fifteen Minutes!!!!

I'm about 3 months and 2 weeks out. I'm over joyed with my results. I still can't believe the reflection looking back at me in the mirror is me. I have slight swelling behind my left ear from the sutures that are still dissolving. That is feeling better everyday. My left ear is not nearly as numb as it was and is also resolving. It all take time. I have no other issues. My neck feels slightly tight now as compared to weeks ago, but I kind of like the tightness. It reminds me that my neck looks good now.

I did want to let everyone know here on Real Self that I was featured in a local St. Louis magazine called Town and Style St. Louis, the November 6th issue. I will attempt to post a link here. I'm not sure it will work. If you are able to open the link It takes a while for the page to load. It is a one page article about my face lift. The magazine was doing a special section on rejuvenation procedures of all kinds. They contacted Dr. Nayak to ask him if he had a recent face lift patient that would be willing to do an interview with the magazine, with pictures. He contacted me and I agreed.

OK, here is the link, I hope.

Aw, Shucks

I just tried the link in my recent review. I guess the link I posted in the previous post is not active. If you are interested in seeing the article, maybe you could copy and paste into your browser.
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Nayak is exceptional. I knew after talking with him for a few minutes that this was the doctor for me. He listened and asked me questions about what bothers me. He is realistic and honest. He suggested procedures I had not thought about and explained why some procedures I asked him about would not have a good result for me. I asked a LOT of questions and he took so much time with me on the initial visit. His staff is wonderful. They call frequently and were never too busy to take my phone calls.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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