Facelift with Dr. Arguello in Costa Rica -- 2/18/15

I’m 58 years old and have always taken good care...

I’m 58 years old and have always taken good care of myself with supplements, exercise and bio-identical hormones, which I started about 3 years after menopause. I feel like I’m in my twenties most of the time. The bod is 103 pounds of toned muscle.

When your mind tells you that you are still young and attractive, but the mirror tells you that you look like Mother Teresa..it’s time for a tuneup.

I’m not in a hurry for my overhaul. I plan on doing considerable research on the doctors I am interested in.
Last month, on the spur of the moment, I decided to make a 4 hr trek, alone… across Los Angeles and into the wild, wild west of Tijuana. By myself (mind you) to visit a facelift patient, Jenny (who I met on RealSelf) and her friend and to get a consultation from her surgeon, Dr. Alejandro Quiroz. At the time, Jenny was just 5 days out of surgery.

Tijuana is a scary place….chaos by design. Crumbling buildings mixed in with modern shops. Trash, graffiti, and street salesmen mixed with steaming street vents emitting a cacophony of sounds and smells. Even with car windows rolled up, the hawkers festoon your side view mirrors with gaudy wares, like bizarre Christmas ornaments.
Driving into Tijuana, you will take your life in your hands. No one bothers with lanes or signals, but your horn is essential. You merge into a roundabout while jockeying for position like a horse on the track. Here were my directions. Go past the “big scissors”. Go past the “big indian”. Go past “Abraham Lincoln”. Turn right at “the man on the horse”. (Actually, this all became quite obvious..but it would have helped to have someone riding shotgun to troubleshoot the traffic.) Street signs with actual names on them? Good luck. You will need it. By the time I arrived at Cosmed/Vida, I was needing a stiff drink.

Meeting Jenny and her friend was a wonderful experience. Jenny looks even better in person than in her photos on her RealSelf review. My first and immediate impression was that Dr. Quiroz did a wonderful job, even though these two very nice ladies were obviously attractive to begin with.

My consultation went well. Dr. Quiroz has a great bedside manner, which he has polished to perfection, and he is quite sweet and sincere. I liked him immediately. I was told I needed a neck and brow lift and mid-face, as well as some laser. I was not blessed with great skin and I have spent my life outdoors.
Back in again with Jenny- the recovery boutique is nice, with darkened rooms. I wanted to stay longer, and chat with my new friends, but my goal was to get back over the border before dark.

I ended up getting lost and not finding the “medical fast pass” lane, and was shunted into the regular traffic, forcing me to run the gauntlet of swarming hawkers to get back to the US., which took me 2 ½ hours. I do feel badly for these people and the poverty that is apparent. It must be an awfully hard, terrible way to make a living.

The border guard asked me, “what are you here for?” Me- a plastic surgery consultation. Guard- “what kind of surgery?” “facelift” “what will it cost?” Oh, about seven thousand dollars.” Guard- “is it worth it?”

Yes, I think so. I really think so.

"Before" photos

thoughts for a Saturday morning

Am now busy reading reviews. Or should I say, I’m addicted to reading reviews.

My approach is going to be to consult with a Doctor, to read reviews on that doctor (and to compile them, or at least develop an opinion based on reading multiple reviews), and to communicate with others who have had the same procedure by that doctor. I don’t know if I will have the time to be as comprehensive as I would like, but I will try.

Since I am a layperson, I really believe that it is unfair for me to pass judgement on a procedure. I don’t know what a correctly done procedure IS, at this point. So until I learn what a correctly done procedure is, I can only offer an opinion, or a visceral response. I am not sure how helpful that will be.

I am so thankful for this site, RealSelf. I had plastic surgery 20 years ago, have had breast implants and a rhinoplasty. I was danged lucky that I had good results. I don’t know if RealSelf was around then (was there even an internet?) It was difficult or near impossible to even get information. Plastic surgery back then (in the dark ages, when we wrote with quill pens and received information by carrier pigeon) seemed like so much more of a crapshoot.

I want to thank all the brave women on this site. We are all given only one body and one face during this lifetime. To entrust that body and that face, and sometimes even our LIVES to a surgeon (for an elective procedure) is not something to be taken lightly. I think all these courageous women who share so that others may benefit should be applauded and supported. No one should be discouraged, or be made to feel sorry they have offered. None of us profit from this, no one is paid for their stories.

I have read stories of hope, of excitement, of anticipation. Stories of preparation and study, and pain. Stories of joy and happiness, but also of anger, sadness, discouragement, disappointment, and finally resignation. And this is crushing. It breaks my heart.

All of it is a bit confusing to me right now. Trying hard to process it all.
Does this prove that plastic surgery is not an exact science, not entirely predictable?

I am finding stories of joy and happiness, and satisfaction.
I am finding things that distress me, but I am not sure that they should..like about the lady who woke up twice during surgery. She was not feeling pain, but this sounds like a twilight zone nightmare to me.

Finding out you can only get over the counter meds and Tylenol for pain reduction in Tijuana, so if you want something more, bring your own. Good to know.

Reading about women crying all night, throwing up. This is not a picnic, obviously.

“Barbaric” looking incisions. When one is having large amounts of flesh removed, would they not all look barbaric? I don’t know. I need education.

Surgeons need to realize this site, and sites like it, are a powerful and empowering resource for consumers. I think that those doctors who embrace it will benefit the most. With knowledge comes power. They need to understand that this is ALL we have to go on, other than word of mouth.

Patients who choose elective surgery should be realistic about their expectations and outcome.

Surgeons need to realize that they are not just there for the surgery. A surgeon should never leave a patient with a large degree of dis-satisfaction, in my opinion.

I don’t think any surgery of this type should ever be rushed, so as to fit as many surgeries into a day as possible, even if multiple surgeries make the most economic sense.

It is my deepest wish that all surgeons (and/or their people) should study this site like it was a medical text. Plastic surgery is about anatomy, cutting and sewing- but it is also about people, their emotions and their choices. I think the most successful surgeons will understand this. If every doctor took these comments to heart, the good doctors would become great doctors, and they would see their practices expand as a result.

Dr. Moelleken consultation

Have just finished my second consultation with a plastic surgeon, in my quest for the fountain of youth. Today’s visit was with the entirely charming and extraordinarily skilled Dr. Brent Moelleken in Beverly Hills.

First, let me say that I think Dr. Moelleken will make me look fabulous. I know that I will feel absolutely safe in his hands. The procedures he recommended seem extensive, but necessary to get the results that I want.

I know I would like the “live fill” fat transfer process, as I see that as my biggest issue. When I smile my entire lower face seems to disappear, and I just become kind of a “nose”. The wicked witch of the west. I hate that.

He would fix my hernia in the process, as he would take fat from that area of my body. Cool!

But there is, dear readers, a huge, huge issue. It has been a few years since I have worked at my profession, and I scrimp and scrape to get by, just waiting for the damn recession to leave me alone. Waiting for the “trickle down” from the one percent. Waiting for my rich prince to take me off to his castle - while I recycle my cans, eat leftovers, and try not to drive too much. Waiting for hell to freeze over.

The procedures I need are: facelift, necklace, cheeklift, upper blepharoplasty. Livefill to lips, temporal hollows, sublabial, and cheeks. CO2 laser full face. The cost for this with operating room and anesthesia is close to 40k, not counting the aftercare which runs about 900. day.

I wonder how many cans I will need to recycle to pay for that?

I just parked my broomstick at the closest Starbucks to think it all over, and here I am-
..depressed, confused, and really wishing I was married to Bill Gates.

Some more "before" photos for your viewing pleasure

Getting closer to decision time, possibly. Stay tuned for the next episode LOL

Why?

It’s 2:26 am. Another night of sitting bolt upright in bed, suddenly wide awake and beset with fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of flying on an airplane. (I’ve had that phobia since 9/11). Fear of surgery in some foreign country where you can’t speak the language. Listening to all those voices in my head, all of those “I told you so’s” , just spinning round and round. Fear of death and dying. No one around me has the least bit of understanding about why, in heaven’s name, I want to put myself through all of this, and I’m trying hard to understand it as well. My anxiety level is through the roof.
Since the written word has always served me as a catharsis during times of trouble and stress, I turn to my computer for a little solace- hoping that as I write these words, I can come to some understanding, and gain some peace as well.

As a child, I remember my grandfather picking me up like a sack of potatoes, and slinging me up over his shoulder, with my little arms and legs flailing, me screaming like a banshee. This is how I went to the doctor. Truthfully, nothing much changed when I grew up, except the screaming has become silent, and internalized. So funny how that happens when you grow up. I guess all that silent screaming, all that discontent- from dreams broken, from opportunities lost, from hope shattered. All that working and building and struggling, only to watch my efforts melt away. All of those tears. It has all ended up on my face, like a road map of sadness, each line and wrinkle as a testament for all to see.

Things got much worse for me after the depression in 2008. I work in an industry that values youth above all, and men above women, so it has always been very difficult. When my self- esteem and energy levels were high, I achieved my goals. “The powers that be” need to look at you first, before they will listen. That has gotten much harder, almost impossible, as I aged. I have become “over”, finished, washed up. The old gray mare. Working, (that thing we need in order to have money) has become a distant memory, something I refer to in the past tense. Something I muse about, curse about, and think about with nostalgia.

At times I feel like a ghost walking through my own life, just clanking chains about and trying to get the attention of the living . “Hey look at me, I can still work, I’m still beautiful, I’m still charming and witty, and smart too”! Just look at all these years of experience, of insight!

And yet, no one hears. I’m only fading into obscurity..passed over, overlooked, disregarded.

After all those good years, I have ended up on the discount shelf at the dollar store.
In facing my biggest fears, these things that I have run away from, both as a child and as an adult, I hope to be reborn.. clean, and new and ready to start over. Does it work that way? And why must it take a scalpel? Aside from what anyone else sees, why is this what I need to see? Why can’t I just accept me the way I am? Why?

If you want to talk me out of it, last chance.

I'm booking with Dr. Arguello in Costa Rica. Making flight plans now. Speak now, or forever hold your peace...piece..whatever.

decision made---facelift with Dr. Arguello in Costa Rica

I'm flying out this Saturday, for a facelift on Weds. Feb. 18th. Will write more on my decision later, as It will probably take me till Saturday to find something to pack that doesn't have dog hair on it.

Intro video

Intro video-
0:37

those damn doubts...(2/13/15)

Nagging fears and doubts creeping in…

Something that struck me today while packing. I have made this decision based almost entirely on faith and trust in the RealSelf Community. I have never met this doctor, and I have never spoken to him, even though I have researched as thoroughly as I could. I’m hoping I made the right decision. Wow, what a responsibility! Now I’m about to hop on a plane (deathly afraid of flying) and go to find out.

Am I totally nuts? Have I totally freakin’ lost it?

Mid Life crisis? If I was a man, I’d just buy a corvette and do a comb over on my bald spot, no painful surgery necessary.

My boyfriend (or should I say “old man friend- OMF” ) says they have spiders as big as Volkswagens over there. My relatives say I should just forget this idea and buy a new furnace for the house. The kids? Not telling them, unless God forbid, something happens. My eulogy:

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Epona, who was attacked by a spider as big as a Volkswagen, shortly after having plastic surgery”.

Besides, they don’t look at me for more than 1 ½ seconds anyway (the average attention span of a GenX’er). Unless I come home with a surgically implanted second head and a set of tiny hands that willingly pass out 100. bills, they will never even notice.

Now coloring my hair, that awesome fake shade of metallic red I like so much. Wondering if, it will be the last time I feel my scalp under my fingers?

Initially I wanted to take time to make this decision..but I thought more carefully about that. My summer has a full agenda, and I wanted to be healed in time to enjoy it, so the time frame was getting shorter. Plus, leaping into something will hopefully leave my chicken factor in the dust. This will be over and done before I chicken out. I hope.

The first thing to do upon arriving at Che Tica Ranch: apologize pre-emptively to the nurses for the huge, troublesome baby I am about to be.

How I made my decision (2/15/15)

Will touch briefly here on how I made my decision. It is human nature for some of us to see the glass as half empty, others as half full- but when it comes right down to it, reviews are important. If there were a large number of negative reviews it certainly swayed my opinion. After I had chosen a few doctors that were in my price range and piqued my interest, I arranged to speak to those that had been there. I would like to thank those of you who have donated time to me, in some cases many hours of their time, to give me a full and complete rundown of why I should or should not see this or that doctor. Your opinions were invaluable.

So now I sit here in a Costa Rican rainforest, and my hands are sticking to the computer keys. Pouring outside my window and the scenery is without equal- lush, rich and green. (An interesting phenomenon for me, as I live in a desert.) I chose Dr. Arguello for many reasons. His credentials and education seem impeccable. I could find no bad reviews at all, only praise from all who had seen him. His scheduling assistant, although busy, was easily reachable and spoke fairly good English. So these things all tempered my choice, as well as the fact that I needed to escalate my actions if I was to be healed in time for spring and summer activities, and there was an opening for me.

travel Day and Day 1

travel and first day
1:55
Travel Day and day 1 (2/14/15)

I have a serious flying phobia. Shortly after the horrors of 9/11, which I watched from a television in a Vegas casino and not believing what I was seeing, I hopped onboard a flight to Hawaii. Over the ocean at night we hit serious turbulence, and suddenly, I became what I most feared. It hit without warning- and I can tell you it took two flight assistants to hold me down. Since then I have had some therapy and got some relaxation techniques, but I still resist getting on a plane for any reason. So, yesterday was challenging. I had two connecting flights, the second one on a relatively small, ancient Boeing 737 that whiplashed around in the approaching storm like a bronco. I think we actually landed sideways. (So thank you Bridgette, for the Xanax. I am forever in your debt.)

I was picked up by a cab driver shortly after midnight, and he brought me to CheTica. A few things were not working correctly in the room, but Francis, the coordinator, got them fixed promptly the next morning.

A few things to note about CheTica..if your flight arrives after business hours you have to pay your own cab fare to the ranch. It does say so on their website- I just didn’t read it carefully. My bad. That runs 45-50 bucks. There is an extra fee for a post surgery kit with gauze, gloves, etc, that should be on the website, that is 45.00. An electric blanket or heating pad is a good idea as extra propane canisters for the heater run 25.00 each. If you use the propane every night it will last about a week. Electric current is the same as the states and plugs are the same.

A tropical storm is raging….

day before surgery

Day 2- 2/16/15

Well, tomorrow is my surgery day. Completed all my lab work, etc . I’ll be getting a facelift, neck, upper eyelids, and juvederm to my lips. It’s a temporary (1 year) fill, so if I don’t like my new lips I don’t have to keep them. The doctor was not willing to do a browlift on me, he said that because I have had one before, my anatomy has been repositioned and I guess he won’t be able to find things where they are supposed to be. Makes sense.

Also I have no fat anywhere to borrow for fill (sigh). In spite of all that I am confident in this doctor, he will be conservative. Other than that I’m feeling very moody, sad, and afraid. Part of it due to impending surgery, part because I had to discontinue my hormones for the time being. So I am not my cheery self today.

Its a new day with a new face

I know y'all are dying to hear...so

I SURVIVED! YES, I SURVIVED. AS LONG AS I KNOW HOW TO LOVE I KNOW I'LL STAY ALIVE!
(this is a sing along...)

Surgery day- 12:01 am

I went to bed last night at 9 pm and decided to practice this “sleeping on my back in an upright position” thing I’m supposed to do. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Shit, shit, and double shit. Pardon my french, because I’m still goll durned awake. The only thing that matters now is that I am Dr. Arguello’s masterpiece, so I have to follow all of my directions if I am to have a good result. The hell with conservative. I came all this way to look beautiful again, so I’m going to tell the doctor to go all out.

My surgery was supposed to begin at 11 am, and I was told to be at the clinic at 9 am to fill out papers, get IV going and so on. I had the cutest little nurse named Carla, a twenty nine year old who reminded me of Shirley on “Laverne and Shirley”. She was so sweet and soon we were teaching each other english and spanish. Surgery in a small Costa Rican clinc is an interesting experience. The only way to sum it up is that the whole process becomes much more of an intimate experience. You feel like a part of the process rather than some meek little experiment who will ride the gurney through the stainless steel double doors with the port windows, into the high tech superspace unknown. Dr. Arguello was in the operating room which was just a few steps down the hall, doing a tummy tuck and boob job on another patient, which he did not finish on time, so he didn’t get me started until 3pm, so Carla and I amused ourselves by chatting about boys and doing a lot of giggling. A couple of times we slinked down the hall and poked our heads in the window to watch the surgery proceedings, like a couple of kids that had snuck into the circus. When the lady ahead of me was done they just wheeled her out and parked her next to my bed, about two feet away. She was moaning and asking for pain meds, and the nurse replied something I didn’t understand, and put something in her IV, and then attached some small blue bag to the IV. I didn’t know what that was for but I was sure to find out. The fact that I was able to witness all of this was so different than hospitals I am used to, where we are cortisoned off for privacy. I asked Carla if Dr. Arguello wanted to rest before doing my surgery. She said,” Dr Arguello will eat something, and then he will be ready for you. There is nothing Dr Arguello likes more than to be doing surgery.”

A few words about Dr Arguello. He is a commanding 6’7” with piercing blue eyes and a tanned physique, who looks kind of like John F. Kennedy. He doesn’t just enter a room, he strides into it and takes ownership of it, at the same time being sweet and charming and down to earth. The captain of the Starship Enterprise. On the previous day when I had consulted with him about my desires, I told him I didn’t like the feeling of something tight around my neck, so I asked him to not tighten it up all the way..I didn’t want to get claustrophobic. I thought I would feel constricted. He showed me a picture of a woman he had done lately, and it was a very nice job. Come to find out the man had done his own mother. Can you imagine? His own mother..And he was so proud of that, and she did look beautiful. In any case, when Carla picked up my IV bag and we set off down that short hallway (which suddenly became the long hallway in “Dead Man Walking”) I had decided to tell Dr. Arguello just to do his darndest, as long as I looked natural- and he could do his “signature” neck which he is also proud of. I hopped my naked little butt up on to the operating table, laid down and that is the last thing I remembered until:

This is a lesson in what can happen when you take drugs. LOL

FADE UP

Things are fuzzy, grey things, things spinning round, movement. Muffled noise. Can’t quite make it out. Something touches me on the shoulder.

“Epona?”, a muffled voice calls my name . “Epona, time to wake up.”

I opened my eyes but I couldn’t see anything. My eyes were stinging and they were covered with something. I took a quick inventory. Not much pain- no pain in my head except for the eyes. The arm with the IV in it was hurting some. But my legs? Horrors! They were in these air squeezing devices that were kind of painful. They would squeeze and relax and squeeze again. The left leg was tolerable but the right was just excruciating. In my drug crazed mind I was concerned I would lose my leg to gangrene, all sorts of horrible thoughts. I whispered weakly for Carla, but Carla had gone home, and there were only two people there. I will call them Manu the Ice Ball Breaker and Frau Farbissina (you’ll have to google it). Neither of them could speak much English. Now you will have to know that there is nothing worse than coming to consciousness in a foreign land surrounded by hostile forces. Suddenly I knew I was there to pay for the sins of my countrymen. I whispered in my horse little voice, “Please take this off, my leg hurts”! “No” said the Frau, in a harsh tone, chiding me. “You need to have these on”. Manu the Ice Ball Breaker was grumbling in a way that I knew he was unhappy with me. I was a complainer. Complainers have to be dealt with. Suddenly I found myself being picked up and strapped on to this board. “Why? Why? What have I done? I’m sorry, I’ll stop complaining about the medieval devices on my legs” but there was no one to listen and no one who spoke enough English to tell me what was going on, so my little mind was making up all sorts of things. I was pushed into an ambulance and away we went. “Where are we going? Where are you taking me? There were a couple of giggly girls in the back and one of them said “Bouganvilla”. Bouganvilla? What the hell is a Bouganvilla? Aushwitz? Treblinka? I had no idea. The two giggly girls chatted merrily away, as I lay there, strapped to a board like a psych ward looney toon. Paying for the sins of my countrymen. Suddenly the ambulance stopped and I was pulled out. I could see nether right nor left, but only straight up to the ceiling. And I saw a ceiling that had beautiful wooden beams and then a chandelier. I heard soft music playing. The place smelled of fresh paint. I was rolled down a corridor that also had a very nice ceiling. And then I was was moved onto a soft bed in the presence of two angels. I knew where I was. I was in heaven! Just like I read about in Sunday school. I asked the two angels to take off my torture boots. And they did!! And I was so happy I got up and started to dance the ballet. Fondu, demi point, coupe. Then suddenly I stopped so I didn’t screw up Dr. Arguello’s work.

and there it is, the very first day with my new face. That’s a true story. The moral of the story? When you have surgery in another country where you don’t speak the language, have someone there that does speak English when you wake up..or you’ll be left doing a whole lot of splainin’ with those 4 spanish words you learned in 3rd grade. Nuff said.

Post Op Photos day 1 and 2

a few post op photos.

2/21/15 4 days post op (well technically 3 and a half)

Well… We’ve had two solid days of rain in the rain forest. Very unusual weather for this time of year in Costa Rica, as it is technically the “dry” season. Costa Rica has two seasons, “wet” and “dry”. February is supposed to be the best time to visit, but not this year..I’m actually glad of it, or I would be tempted to overdo it by going ziplining or hang gliding or something else equally stupid. I had my worst night so far last night. I did not take a sleeping pill, so I mostly just laid there on my back staring at the ceiling, aching from all my incisions. I have a damp, dog eared copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that is helping to keep me entertained. The Tylenol with Codeine didn’t help much. Lots of swelling. My ears feel like decoupage flowers that were just pinned on for someone elses’ amusement. I am having that day that everyone calls the “what the hell did I just do” day. In addition to that, “Montezuma’s revenge” has paid me a little visit. It was somewhat helped by probiotics and digestive enzymes. These are definite “must haves” when having surgery abroad. The food is tasty and interesting but it is different, and my digestive tract is in angry rebellion. For breakfast we had rice with black beans, a kind of queso –(salty native cheese) and a fried egg, a small dish of fresh fruit, juice and coffee. I must have looked as shitty as I felt when I went down to breakfast, as I seemed to get a lot of sympathy from everyone.
On the plus side, even though I am swollen, it looks like my wrinkles are GONE! My neck is nice and tight and does not feel constricted at all. I have very little bruising. I have no trouble closing my eyes, and the upper lids look very good and evenly done. The pain, even at the worst as it was in the afternoon, is still just achy. Miserable but tolerable. My lips show more fullness but it is not exaggerated..just right. So yes, slowly I am coming to the conclusion that I made the right choice in doctors. Evening report. Pain is increasing around my ears, I guess it’s about a five out of ten, holding steady. So I’m walking around and crying everywhere I go. Francis gave me a pain pill, which seemed to help and I was distracted from focusing too much on it by having conversations with the other guests. So many fascinating people here, this place would make an awesome documentary. Francis has been checking my vitals and my incisions-she says all look normal and the pain is normal as well. No sign of necrosis. I am kind of freaked out about the whole necrosis thing (feel so sorry for poor Deb), so I ask Francis to keep checking me. I borrowed a lorazepam at night to sleep. Those things are da’bomb! Nighty night from the wild, wintery wet rain forest, in beautiful Costa Rica, land of Pura Vida.

2/22/15 day 5 post op (actually 4 1/2)

Feeling much better after a good night of sleep with the lorazepam, plenty of energy and very little pain. Nothing like yesterday. I spent the morning engaged in discussion and taking walks with the other residents. Everyone here has a story and I find it all fascinating.

A note on Francis, nurse and main manager at CheTica. Francis is a sweet, kind, and beautiful doe-eyed little creature who is not a human being at all. Francis is actually a Saint, the patron saint of healing and care for all that come to CheTica. She is the glue that holds this place together. I actually could not imagine things working as well as they do without her. There is not a mean or selfish bone in this woman’s body. At any time of the day or night, should you need anything, anything at all, you need only dial “0” (or “116“ at night) and she comes with what you need, should it be a pain pill, a hug, or a shoulder to cry on. And she does it all with such sincere and real concern for all that need her. A very, very special lady who deserves every good thing this world could possibly bring her!

Had a wonderful lunch of baked chicken, vegetables, rice, salad and ice cream. Should go home with some extra weight on me. Guess that’s ok. Had a great afternoon, more walking, tried to run a bit with my knees bent so I would not jar my face or neck. I feel sooo much better than yesterday!

Another interesting thing to note. I have sensation in every part of my face, nothing is numb except the tip of my left ear. Very little bruising, but I am looking really alien-esque with the swelling. I have an incision under my chin that looks to be about ½” long (unlike you, Evelyn). I have incisions running in front of my ear along the hairline and actually they look like they go directly over the tragus, and incisions also behind my ear. Also you will take note of where certain muscles are that you never noticed before, like the one that goes over your lower jaw and mandible. Weird. Getting ready to shower and wash my hair again. One of the highlights of my simple lifestyle here.

I am sure a lot of you have many questions about my experiences here, and I am more than happy to pay it forward, so you all can make informed decisions. It really helps to take as much of the unknown out of this as possible. I want to apologize for not making a personal reply to all of you who have been so kind as to comment or give advice. You must know it is all appreciated, I so appreciate each and every one of you! The internet connection here is off and on, I think it is affected by the weather..for whatever reason, I often can’t send an email response or even a post without carrying my computer to the main house and connecting in with a hard line, (and that puts too much stress on my incisions at this point) so often I can’t answer personal questions. A lot of times the system is down altogether. I have also discovered it is almost impossible to post pictures or video due to the slow speed of the connection. Just uploading one picture yesterday took over an hour! Please save your questions for me for after March 15th, when I am back home. I plan to then compile a “FAQ” page with all the questions so that everyone may get the benefit of the information. Any pictures and videos I can’t upload from here I will do when I return home. Thanks!
Did something this evening from the list of “things you should never do after a facelift”. I went out for a run. Tightened up the bandeau around my head and kept my knees bent to reduce any jiggling on my head and neck. By the time I returned my jaw was very sore. Francis gave me a pain pill and put me to bed, she said I didn’t do any damage, but not to do it again.

2/23/15 day 6 post op (actually 5 ½)

Storm still raging outside and strong winds. Will it ever stop? A bit of clearing and some of the fierce winds that had been raging all night suddenly lightened up by 10am.
For some reason that I just can’t explain, I can’t seem to remember I’m supposed to be recovering from major surgery. Must be early onset Alzheimer's. You are supposed to plunk yourself in the bed, get up, hobble around a little bit, eat chicken soup, lather, rinse, repeat.
I have a friend here who is quickly becoming my partner in crime. The Tom Sawyer to my Huck Finn. Let’s just call her Tom. As soon as the sun came out, Tom and I decided we would take a walk down to the creek. A creek usually causes my eyes to light up for boulder hopping, so away I went, dashing through the jungle like a freakin’ idiot, jumped up on a rock or two, and promptly fell right into the creek. Luckily I was not hurt. I hope my doctor is not reading this.
So, a little later on, Tom (who happens to be about 6 days ahead in her facelift recovery) decides she wants to go get her eyebrows tattooed on. No , you just can’t make this stuff up. Out of curiosity I decided to tag along. We hitched a ride with a massage therapist who works at CheTica, who happened to know an eyebrow tattoo artist person, and off we went into San Jose. (To get a feel for San Jose, just read my description of Tijuana). While Tom is lying there on the table getting her eyebrows tattooed on, the fact that I was still supposed to be in recovery hit me with a wallop and zings of pain. I swallowed a Tylenol with codeine that promptly made me dizzy and nauseated, so I was absolutely no more fun for the rest of the excursion. After the great eyebrow adventure, the therapist decides to take us somewhere to a view overlook of San Jose. Would not have mattered much to me, the world was spinning at that point. She pulls over to the right side of the road to let a car pass, steered a little too far, and the right side of the car ended up in a rather deep ditch. Slowly, the car starts to tip more to the right, kind of like the Titanic..and we all moved s-l-o-w-l-y to the left. A couple of other drivers stopped to help. At that point I and a few others bailed out. We were then directed in rather frantic Espanol to HOP INTO THE TRUNK on the right side of the car to counterbalance it, while the driver gunned it and the passers-by pushed on the front. You cannot make this stuff up. So, I took my dizzy, nauseous, recently facelifted little self and hopped into the trunk of a car. With a few other people. While someone else gunned it. In San Jose, Costa Rica. This could have ended bad, very bad, but fortunately it worked and we continued down the road. Whew. I’m going to my soft comfortable bed at CheTica, away from the city. No more adventures for a while.

2/23/15 day 6 post op (actually 5 ½)

Storm still raging outside and fierce winds. Will it ever stop? A bit of clearing and some of the fierce winds that had been raging all night lightened up by 10am.
For some reason that I just can’t explain, I can’t seem to remember I’m supposed to be recovering from major surgery. Plunk yourself in the bed, get up, hobble around a little bit, eat chicken soup, lather, rinse, repeat.
I have a friend here who is quickly becoming my partner in crime. The Tom Sawyer to my Huck Finn. Let’s just call her Tom. As soon as the sun came out, Tom and I decided we would take a walk down to the creek. A creek usually causes my eyes to light up for boulder hopping, so away I went, dashing through the jungle like a freakin’ idiot, jumped up on a rock or two, and promptly fell right into the creek. Luckily I was not hurt. I hope my doctor is not reading this.
So, a little later on, Tom (who happens to be about 6 days ahead in her facelift recovery) decides she wants to go get her eyebrows tattooed on. No , you just can’t make this stuff up. Out of curiosity I decided to tag along. We hitched a ride with a massage therapist who works at CheTica, who happened to know an eyebrow tattoo artist person, and off we went into San Jose. (To get a feel for San Jose, just read my description of Tijuana- no, not entirely fair, San Jose has a more colorful, friendlier feel to it- it feels like a safer place to be ) While Tom is lying there on the table getting her eyebrows tattooed on, the fact that I was still supposed to be in recovery hit me with a wallop and zings of pain. I swallowed a Tylenol with codeine that promptly made me dizzy and nauseated, so I was no more fun for the rest of the excursion. After the great eyebrow adventure, the therapist decides to take us somewhere to a view overlook of San Jose. Would not have mattered much to me, the world was spinning at that point. She pulls over to the right side of the road to let a car pass, steered a little too far, and the right side of the car ended up in a rather deep ditch. Slowly, the car starts to tip more to the right, kind of like the Titanic..and we all moved s-l-o-w-l-y to the left. A couple of other drivers stopped to help. At that point I and a few others bailed out, we were then directed in rather frantic Espanol to HOP INTO THE TRUNK on the right side of the car to counterbalance it, while the driver gunned it and the passers-by pushed on the front. You cannot make this stuff up. So, I took my dizzy, nauseous, recently facelifted little self and hopped into the trunk of a car. With a few other people. While someone else gunned it. In San Jose, Costa Rica. This could have ended bad, very bad, but fortunately it worked and we continued down the road. Whew. I’m going to my soft comfortable bed at CheTica, away from the city. No more adventures for a while.

2/24/15 day 7 post op (actually 6 ½)

Just a quickie today. I saw my doctor at 2 to start removing stitches. I have NO complications, I look natural and everything is healing perfectly. And my neck is THE CLASSIC Arguello neck!! My lips have just enough fill. All is still swollen and bruised but that is expected. Maybe I didn’t need the fat transfers after all. I am gonna look great!!! I had Dr.Arguello almost rolling on the floor with laughter, telling him the story about what happened when I came out of the anesthesia. He loved that story!!

2/26/15 8 days post op

CheTica Ranch is a magical place, a place of healing and transformation. People come here to be healed, but the wounds of many are beyond the physical. There are those with emotional wounds, and there are people who arrive not knowing that they need healing at all. It is with these people that the most amazing transformations can be seen and felt, deep in the heart. I have had the privilege and have experienced the most wonderful joy in being associated with, and in being a party to, the healing of others. I have never seen myself as much of a giving person, and I am also quite self-centered, so this is a new experience for me.

I should start by saying that the best thing about my facelift was in the realization that I did not need a facelift after all. I am the same person on the inside. However, the rawness of the pain that is experienced forces one to lay open their heart, in much the same way that the body has been manipulated. It leaves one with nowhere to hide. Thus, we are forced into open-ness, and from that center, we arrive at a place where we can be of service not only to ourselves, but to others. It is a place of power. It is a place of gratefulness.

I am learning many new things every day. My sweet little friend “Tom” (a woman I’m calling Tom) is leaving this morning, with her husband who is in the end stages of pancreatic cancer. He has outlived his predicted lifespan, is taking drugs that affect his thinking, and he is not a peaceful man. He is angry at the card he has been dealt, and strikes out in the only way he can, by wounding those who love him the most. Tom is at wit’s end, having no idea how to handle him. I stayed up late into the night thinking about them, and finally I had a realization. There was really only one thing to do for them.

At dinner last night, Tom’s husband was lost and disoriented. I put my arm around him, looked him in the eyes, and stroked his hair, and saw him physically change-from an angry, tense, defensive man, to one who knew that he needed love.

I told him this morning at breakfast, “you are a lucky man”. He looked at me with surprise. I continued, “you have a woman who loves you. There are not many who are so lucky. Please allow her to love you.” Once again, I had the experience of seeing his demeanor change completely.

I knew I was taking an incredible risk by being so bold and forward in my approach, and it was so unlike me to say anything at all, especially when it was none of my business- but Tom thanked me after he left. She said my words had an effect- so there it is. To quote the Beatles “All you need is love” -and in the end, this is all us mere mortals can do. This is, by far, the best thing that having a facelift has done for me. By healing, myself, I have become a healer, and that is the nicest, most wonderful gift of all.

pictures 8 1/2 days post

healing nicely!

buh-bye old face

Buh-Bye Old Face
1:50
I might be silly but I try not to be boring...

no more cowbells

no more cowbells
3:06
after surgery it is important to rest, put your feet up and relax. no dancing and no more cowbells.

Apologies

My boyfriend says I need to tone it down a little bit. He’s probably right. After all, I’m not Kim Kardashian, and I certainly don’t want to end up having pictures of my butt taped to people’s coffee machines. So this will be a factual ordinary report to answer a few questions.

1) Yes, it is still raining. I guess that’s why they call it a “rain forest”.
2) My surgery took approx. 5 hours.
3) The Bouganvilla is a hotel that has recovery suites, this is where I spent the first night after surgery. That cost 400., I learned later. Angels have bills to pay as well.
4) My doctor offers a choice of surgery in the Hospital Clinica Biblica (about 3400.) or in a clinic, in this case the Clinica Unibe, which is a private clinic that has operating suites that are fully staffed and equipped. (about 2400.)
I got no fat transfers except a bit of juvederm to the lips, which I had the doctor do while I was under BECAUSE I HATE NEEDLES. He did just the right amount, as I do not think I look like a duck.
5) I seem to be recovering more rapidly than most people, but everyone will recover at different rates.
6) The 3 people in the recovery suite with me were 1 EMT and 2 nurse assistants. They were not real Angels or Scientology Minders, as some might believe.
7) MY DOCTOR IS AWESOME.
8) You should NOT be dancing after surgery. Do NOT follow my example. “Lord, I apologize, and I should be with the starvin' Pygmies down there in New Guinea. Amen”
9) I work in Hollywood. I guess that can excuse some of my bad behavior?
10) I think my first 4 days were tough. It actually felt like 4 weeks.

from CheTica, with love

from CheTica with love
2:00
just a visual piece on some views of the ranch, and my favorite place by the creek

3/4/15 moving day

This morning is different from other mornings. I am packing my bags and preparing to leave CheTica. I do so with a heavy heart. I have so come to love the people here- the peacefulness, the beauty, my new friends, the food, the around the clock care, and the complete, total, womb-like safety. The perfect place for making my transition to a younger self!

I remain in Costa Rica until March 10, but I have come to the end of my money. Since I am healed and don’t need to be looked after as much, I am moving to an Airbnb in the town of Erazu, which is a little closer to the airport, and I can save some money that way, hopefully.

I will need to buy and prepare my own food, get my own taxis, and look after myself- should be an interesting and challenging 2nd phase to my adventure.

Ruben dropped two of us off in the shopping district of town yesterday, and we had a ball exploring, finally ending up at a coffee shop for some wonderful Costa Rican coffee. We then had to find a way to contact Ruben so he could pick us up. My friend Mary, never the shy one, asked the girl next to us if she would make a local call for us. Ruben wanted to meet us at a spot next to a building that I don’t remember seeing. At that point, we had wandered far into the city and we were completely lost. Then, this lovely girl with the phone volunteered to take us to the meeting spot, which happened to be about 4 kilometers away. We were so grateful, we hugged her, gave her money (which she refused to take). When we told Ruben he said “that is the spirit of the Costa Rican people!” I have seen acts of kindness from random strangers many times since I have been here. Truly a most wonderful people.

At CheTica you are safe, sheltered. You can wander around alone in the rain forest and not worry about your safety. It is not like that everywhere, however.

Now I need to tell you a sadder story. Last week, two of my friends from here were in a park near the city of Erazu. (Quite a distance from CheTica) .They had found a secluded spot to do some filming on their documentary. While they were filming, they were approached by three men with weapons who demanded their valuables. They lost an expensive camera, ipads, iphones- and their entire body of work on their project. They felt very fortunate to come away with their lives, but they had the feeling the men were only after things, and did not want to harm them.

Erazu is said to be “The Beverly Hills of San Jose”. Upscale homes, shops and buildings. There is a great disparity between rich and poor here. I have been told, that to be safe you must not look conspicuously wealthy, or be waving valuables around. It is too easy to look like a target when you are a lost, confused gringa with an fancy handbag.

So, that said- guess where I am moving to today? You guessed it. Erazu.
Damn, and me without pepper spray. However I did buy myself a “dummy” handbag, which I was thinking of loading with dog poop. But instead, I will stick some money in it. Don’t want to piss the thieves off. Chatcha later, say a little prayer for me…as I worry myself into a dither.

moving on..down?

just wanted to let everyone know I'm settling in in the new digs. Internet service poor to non-existing, and my phone is not working so it is a bit isolating. Will probably not be able to report in much until I get home. Will try though. I'm ok just letting' y'all know.

3/6/15

All my worry for nothing, which is so like me. I tend to be a worrier. When I was younger I moved about like a restless vagabond, where the winds took me-Greece, Rome, Europe, the Middle East, with never a worry or care. Why is that harder as we age? Guess I better knock it off before I create more lines on my expensive new face. I have settled in nicely in Escazu. The homeowner, Christine, has been so gracious and helpful with all of my needs, even taking phone calls and messages for me as my phone doesn’t work well here. She found a softer mattress, as I sleep like the princess and the pea. If it ain’t soft, I don’t sleep at all. I have a million dollar view from this beautiful room. Windows on three sides and overlooking the city. The lights at night, skyline of San Jose, are spectacular. Watching planes lined up to land, seven or eight in a holding pattern and then they come in, one at a time, is really something to see. Christine turned me on to her families driver, Enrique..and he has really been a godsend. Yesterday he drove me around to get a feel for Escazu, and then dropped me off at Multiplaza, a very large mall in Escazu. It made me feel like home! I walked around, window shopped and felt completely safe. After this, Enrique took me to a local butterfly farm. Thousands of exotic butterflies, delicately dancing around to the music of Kenny G, inside a giant ampitheatre with plants and waterfalls. Heaven!! For 12.00 , got a private tour and as much picture taking time as I wished. My guide said to come back for free, so I went back today with better camera and took some more pics. Also visited my doctor for the last time on this trip. I am healing marvelously, no complications and a great result. He is very happy and so am I!! It is so interesting..I am falling in love with Costa Rica, and I have not even seen the most beautiful places yet. No ziplining. The Avenal volcano and hot springs. The Orosi Valley. Guanacaste. The beautiful beaches and many rain forest areas. There is so much more to do! The people here are so helpful and friendly. You need only to ask and they are so sweet and accommodating.
Uploading pics and videos..from here, not enough bandwidth..so will do this when I return home.
AND—after I leave here (and if the stars align correctly) I will have one more BIG surprise for My RealSelf Fans. Possibly within the next few months. So please stay tuned to my blog for updates. You never know..this may involve a few of you!!! And you will not want to miss out.

Almost ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille…

The face is really taking shape, every day a little more. Can hardly wait to see it with makeup. Think I will save that fun for when I get home, so I have something to look forward to. Then I am going to stand in a waterfall, naked, and have handsome hunks snap photographs of me. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Today is my last full day in Costa Rica, and tomorrow early I am leavin’ on a jet plane. Had a sweet coupla’ days. My driver and new friend Enrique took me to Orosi Valley, a beautiful rain forest where they grow and cultivate coffee and tourists. We had a coffee growers tour from a local, and sampled some in a cute little place called the Orosi Lodge, then took a drive around the whole valley. The earth here certainly loves the rain! Afterwards, Enrique introduced me to his massueuse and I got a massage, which probably should have been on that list of things you don’t do after a facelift. No, It definitely should have been on that list. Without a doubt. That is a long story and I’m short on time today, but if I remember will try to recount it later. Yesterday, we went to a festival in Erazu called “Dia Del Boyeros”.
Every year the village of Escazú celebrates the Day of the Cow Herders (Dia Del Boyeros), in grand style. Over 150 oxen and their owners participate in a parade which travels through the streets of San Antonio, Escazú.
The oxen and their owners come from many places all over Costa Rica, such as Cartago, Grecia, Coronado and Pacaya, to join the celebrations.

The community of San Antonio, Escazú has celebrated the ¨Dia Del Boyeros¨ for 22 years and according to the Association of the Revival of the Traditions of the Boyeros, this year’s celebration was the greatest success yet.

This celebration always takes place on the second Sunday of March and this year, attractions included awards for the most traditional carts and oxen. All of the awards were donated by people of the Municipal of Escazú which demonstrates the support this festival has within the community.

To make sure traditions are maintained the parade always follows the same route, through the Municipal of Escazú to the church of San Antonio. Once at the church men, women and children all join in and celebrate with the animals.

The farmers not only use the oxen in the parade but to sow the fields in the traditional manner. In the past the oxen and cart was also a useful method of transport that helped to maintain the every day life in many places in Costa Rica.
The mayor of Escazú, Marco Antonio Segura believes that the Department of Culture and the efforts and respect that the people of Escazú put into the up keep of the oxen and carts is fundamental in maintaining the identity of the village, as well as helping to up hold the traditional customs of the Costa Rican people. I want to thank my new RealSelf friend “Clnewlin” for contacting me about this and then meeting up with me and her husband so we could enjoy this together. I am so grateful and thankful!!
I got some amazing pictures and video, will put it together for you when I get home.

19 days post

photos

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Ah, no place like home, where the microwave smells like 3 week old spaghetti, and the fridge contains nothing but beer and moldy vegetables. Where every clock in the house is set to a different time, and none of them are right.
Away from the world of mildew (rain forest), which I was unfamiliar with. Back to the world of dust (desert), which I am familiar with.
The house is still standing. At least from what I could see in the dark. So that is positive. The dog has been allowed to roll in horseshit, and he has fleas, (the gift that keeps on giving), which means he has been allowed to go to the horse yard and do whatever he pleases. The bathtub looks like an archeological dig. I guess I could not expect everything to be perfect, especially when leaving a man in charge.
My trip home was not uneventful. I made the first leg from San Jose to Mexico City just fine. Flying out of Mexico City we hit some huge cumulus clouds, and that kept up for the first hour of my flight. Even loaded up on horse tranquilizers, I had a panic attack. So for the second time in my life, I had to waste the time of two flight attendants for handholding. The good news is, this time I did not get the attention of the entire airplane. Only the first three rows, so I guess that is progress. I was more than a bit embarrassed by the “high fives” as I left the airplane. Stiff upper lip, cheerio..
Unfortunately, by the time I met up with OMF (Old Man Friend) at the airport, he was unable to see my wonderful new face that took all this time, money and effort, because it was all swollen up from crying. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think.
Now I’m up at 2:30 am because my schedule is messed up and I probably need to detox from the drugs in my system, so it’s a good time to unpack. In addition to some sort of passive aggressive desire to turn the lights on as payback to OMF for the bathtub which I can’t crawl into, out of fear of coming down with leprosy. And let us not even mention the toilet. Hello. Can they not get it IN the toilet?
In spite of all that, he is REALLY the most wonderful, helpful and handsome guy on the planet, and I would not trade him in for ANYTHING. (reading this, honey?)
Now here is something interesting. Did you know when you travel to another country, your Yahoo home page will be in that language? And you cannot change it..so now my home page is back in English. News I can use.
A good tip for those of you traveling out of the country for plastic surgery. Do not throw out your bandages, bandeaus, etc. as you can wear them when flying home. Get priority treatment at the airport. Have porters help you lift those heavy suitcases, all the while giving you a sympathetic expression instead of a surly one. This is the one time you can say “yes” to the help. On second thought, just take them with you everytime you need to fly anywhere.
Costa Rica has “2 slot” electric outlets instead of “3 slot”- so you will need to bring adapters to use your electrical appliances, if they have a ground.
That’s all for now!!!

pic 18 days post

at Dia Del Boyero Festival in Costa Rica

Just say “no” (to everything) unless there is no choice

This post is a little depressing, so you might not want to read it.
Here I am at 24 days (well 23 ½) post op. Home and trying hard to say no to everything. Clean the stalls? No. Ride the horse? No. Even driving has proved to be difficult, as you will, by habit, turn your head quickly to look over your shoulder for oncoming traffic. That hurts.
I am so proud of myself, because I did it. I was invited on a six mile vertical rock climb for tomorrow. I wanted to, so bad, but in the end, I said no. That was hard.
I found a few things I can do. Short hikes are ok. I can run slowly (with my bandeau). My stationary bike doesn’t put stress on my head and neck at all.
I have also found coming back to real life was a mistake. I should have spent another month there. I should have stayed in Costa Rica until I was ready to take on the challenges in my own life. Some parts of my life really suck. And I was about ready to face the suckiest of the big sucks on my suck list.
I was getting good at saying “no”..that is until one of my daughters had another meltdown. I am one of those unlucky mothers who has a grown daughter that has made every wrong choice it is possible to make. It’s heartbreaking. Every other month, it is the hospital, car crashes, another DUI, the police station or the jail. The stress on me is unbelievable. She is owned by bad friends and badder drugs. People tell me there is nothing I can do, but I have to keep trying, because..she is my daughter, and I can’t just watch her destroy herself. That is the short story, there is a much longer version.
Yesterday, her boyfriend broke up with her. In the morning I had but one cryptic phone message. A lot of wailing, followed by “I’m going to kill myself”. And then the phone went dead, and I was unable to call her back. I tried a hundred times. Can you imagine what this does to the inside of a mother- and the outside of a facelift, which was suddenly the furthest thing on my mind. I was pretty much lost without a way to find her, so I did the only thing I could think of..run around in circles like a chicken with my head cut off, doing work around the house and barn so I didn’t have to think..or I really would have ended up in the psych ward myself. I was so panicked I could not sit still, and of course I was doing everything on my “not to do” list. Oh, if only I would have stayed in Costa Rica! After a day of that all my neck muscles felt strained and hurting, and I was loading up on pain pills again. I had no choice.
Finally, late at night, my middle daughter and I managed to locate her and we met at the house where she rents a room. She looked a sight- smeared mascara, half lidded eyes, irrationality, angry outbursts, slurred speech. I don’t know what she took, but it wasn’t good. She was not the least bit interested in any of our good advice. Rational thought is not possible with someone on drugs. I don’t think either of us got anywhere. The suicide threats continued.
(I think a good part of this is manipulation, but how to be sure?) The last thing she said before I left was “ see that semi parked over there? You don’t know how many times I want to ram my car right into the back of it.”
That is how I had to leave her. Looking small and afraid, crying and chain smoking on the steps of her house. I don’t know what I will find tomorrow. So I looked up a few numbers, Suicide Prevention Hotline and our local psych eval. Team. I wish I had help with this. I don’t want to bury my daughter. I’m scared, and I hope I make it through without screwing up the facelift. Even though that sounds selfish right now.

thankful for all your support

Dear readers- situation here (with daughter) is much worse than I could have ever imagined in my wildest nightmares. So much I cannot even write. Taking it minute by minute. thanks

Dancing with the Devil

The face is healing fine..I can sleep on my sides again. I’m now about 1 month post. Gradually getting my conditioning back. For those of you needing a pic of my face, so you can make your decisions, the pic is coming. Unfortunately, there happens to be a journey attached to this face..and right now the road is not a smooth one.

My daughter is home. For the first time since she was a child, I can feed her, hold her, and stroke her hair, and tell her I love her. She is actually listening to (some of) the things I tell her. OMF and I made her and her boyfriend a nice dinner, and we talked and had a few laughs. This to me is nothing short of miraculous, as she has been alienated for many years. That is the good news.

The bad news is that she is an addict with a very serious drug addiction. It took a few days just for me to come to grips with that. Now I am facing the fact that I have taken on a very difficult battle that I am determined to win, or die trying. My life, as I know it, has been put on hold. I have no support, only anger from other family members. I am up again at 2 am and formulating a strategy. Traditional inpatient and detox for right now is not an option, as she has 2 months more of court obligations to fulfill or she will go to jail..so this is a delicate balancing act. The question- can she “dance with the devil” for a few more months? Believe me, this was not my first instinct and it still is not. Everything in me screeches- quell all thoughts.. except “detox- now if not sooner”. Sooner or later, she will have to face some pain. She needs to understand that. The devil never gives up easily..it is a hard road to travel, and I can’t let her do it alone, like one of those sad little big-eyed ASPCA poster dogs, abandoned and forgotten in a back alley. But she HAS to do it. So, we had one day of being kind of a normal family again..and now, it is time to fight. The devil, he is big and strong. I wish I did not feel so alone. As for me..”please leave a message at the beep, or call me back in two or three months…”

ok.. you are going to like these!

I figured out how to put a before and after into one frame, so y'all can see for yourselves. These are "no makeup" before and afters. I'm coming along, still a bit swollen and red in places..but no more bruising, and I haven't worn makeup yet, but tomorrow I have a job interview so am going to put some on for the first time!!

Dia Del Boyero festival

Dia Del Boyero festival
3:18
3 min long approx., and from the Dia Del Boyero festival I described in an earlier post.

Orosi Valley Adventure

Orosi Valley Adventure
3:43
On a little road trip just 18 days after the facelift!

Not quite moving like Jagger at 7 weeks post op (but almost)

Slowly and surely, I’m getting my physicality back up to speed. It no longer hurts to run or to ride a stationary bike. I have slowly started to move my own body weight on a pilates type machine, and do situps. I’ve sweated my way through two spinning classes with Mario, the Trainer From Hell, and actually felt good afterwards.

My face is not something I have had time to think about, except that I have remembered the sunscreen, glasses and hat when I have gone out. Thank God.

4 of the dissolvable stitches behind my ears have come out, and I think I have two more and they will all be gone. The crease behind my ears is still a bit sore when I touch it, but I am otherwise pain free. My stitches are all but invisible. Dr. Arguello is a genius when it comes to hiding the stitch line.

My daughter’s roller coaster ride seems to be on an uphill bent for now, but there is always an asterisk for me, and this one says *- “as far as I know”. There is only so much I can do, in spite of my best intentions.

I am heading to Vegas next week for a convention in my industry, where I will renew old contacts, check out the latest equipment, and give myself a renewed sense of purpose. I may put on a dress and some makeup for a party or two, and will bring the camera.
So now if anyone has any questions it is the time to ask, as I will try to address all unanswered questions. I feel that I chose my doctor well, and am very happy with the result!

kissing boys is more fun after your facelift

after your facelift.... you will get to kiss more boys!!!

recent photos May 2. 2015

a few photos from a local restaurant with some friends. Healing well!! love to all!!

Almost 4 months post

A logline is a one or two sentence summary that conveys the premise of a film, and it is designed to give the reader emotional insight into a story as a whole. So, if I was writing a logline to describe my life right now it might be "like a hamster on a wheel, things are hummin' along". That is to say, I move about frantically, but there is not much forward motion. Just keeping the status quo. It takes all my effort just to keep my head above water.

Magically, and without much work, my facelift is still healing. The hardest and last part of the healing process has been being able to lift and carry. Since I have a small horse ranch, there are heavy bags of manure and hay bales to be moved around. I have finally gotten to the point where this was no longer painful (around mid May). I am now updating this post the beginning of June...am now back to doing power lifting for an hour at the gym, so back up to full speed.

Reading back over my original posts, I can see that one has to be really TOTALLY fed up and tired with looking old before making that huge leap of faith into the unknown, facing the fear and trepidation with an open mind and open heart. I have taken action on things that were really and truly frightening for me. Has it changed my life in the way I wanted? Did I really complete an arc in my life journey? Well, not quite yet. I am still on the path. I have not suddenly become rich and famous. I don't think I am noticed any more than I was before. Most of the people I know have not mentioned any difference in my appearance- which is good, I guess.

Only my son noticed. It was quite funny really. I had only been home a few days (back in March 2015) when I went to his apartment to deliver something to him. I knocked on the door, and when he opened it, he just stood there with this horrified look on his face. I swear, I could hear his heart pounding. He just said, " Mom, what happened to your lips?" I just replied, "oh, nothing... I'm just not feeling well'. (Coughing into my hand to choke back a laugh). Well, that worked- he's never brought it up again. LOL.

--The frenzied and exhausting doctor search. Man, I'm tired just thinking about it. Did I make the right choice? Yes, I did, for me. I think I had the best experience it was possible to have, I had a good outcome, and I have some wonderful new friends in a place I never, ever thought of traveling to before. My horizons have been broadened, and I am a much more enlightened human being because of it.

--The fat transfers I thought I needed so badly? I think I look fine without them. I have always been a thin, athletic and angular type of female, so maybe with fat transfers I might not have looked as much like myself. What I have learned about fat transfer is that there are very, very, few doctors who do this well. The ones in the states (Martin and Moelleken) do an excellent job but they are pricy. I have seen very good results from Dr. Lieberman in Costa Rica- I believe it was Rosenstock/Lieberman's office.

Also, a good percentage of reviews I have read on fat transfer have been negative. Too much fat, " I look like a chipmunk", "the fat moved around", "complications", "the fat dissolved and I was left with nothing ", etc. So my conclusion is that I am glad I didn't go that route.

That's my update for now, I am still working on my special announcement, so stay tuned!!!

Love to all. Me.

Latest update

In idiomatic American slang, a "wild hair" denotes a sudden, impetuous act.

In order to undergo an elective surgery, there must be that one final step. This is the definitive moment when one takes a deep breath, and takes that final leap into the unknown.

In this heart -pounding interval, this act of absolute faith and trust, there comes a point of sheer exhilaration, that adrenaline rush not unlike the last seconds before a cliff dive in the Andes. You will take that short and yet excruciatingly long walk to the stainless steel table and voluntarily lay yourself down.

After the months and months of obsession, fixation, research, deliberation, careful planning, and sleepless nights- this is it...the culmination, the moment of truth.

Now, there is no turning back. At this time, there is also a great feeling of freedom and a sense of relief. You will watch as your lights flicker.. and grow dim.

What started as a whim, "a wild hair", becomes reality. And, like a Phoenix, you will rise and be reborn.. ?

So peeps, here is the big surprise. "Provided all goes as planned" I (and my crew) hope to soon be following 2 or 3 lucky adventurers around with a camera to chronicle their journey in the form of a documentary.

I am not hired by , nor do I work for, or volunteer for, any particular parties in regards to this project..it is entirely my own.

If any of you RealSelfers have an interest in this, or would like to help with our funding, please PM me as I can't post links here. As the project is still in preliminary stages, I'm fairly busy and probably can't answer questions in depth, but I'm trying to periodically post updates on the funding site.

Love and kisses! Epona

no makeup gym selfie

It's no makeup selfie time..!! Not anytime..just sometime. Taken today on 10/4/15.

no makeup selfie take 2

no makeup selfie from today. thanks to my docs, Dr. Arguello and Dr. Galitzer!

Happy Halloween photo

off to a party as a bavarian bar girl! Happy Halloween and best to all my Real Self friends !

Well, well, well....a year and a month gone by....

Just a few pics..here I am at an Oscars party with my OMF, and another pic of me in a "handsome actor" sandwich at the same party. Yum, Tasty!!! Still like my face, and adore my wonderful and talented doc!!
Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon

After many hours of research and study, I chose Dr. Alberto Arguello in San Jose, Costa Rica, as the surgeon to perform my facelift procedure. His credentials are impeccable and his reviews were all very good. I am extremely happy with the work that was done and the experience was wonderful. He is really the best surgeon in Costa Rica, and if you choose him, you will not be sorry!

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
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful