26 Year Old Cabaret Performer with a Storied Past. Toronto, ON

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I have lived one long road of a life in 26 years....

I have lived one long road of a life in 26 years. Everything from being horribly bullied for my appearance, to jumping from 125 to 250 pounds, to losing 100 pounds, to working 2 jobs and going to college to fund my performance art (and LOOKING like I do), to a million other things classified under the 'trauma' category, homelessness poverty abuse, you name it. Due to these things it's no surprise I have known for a very long time and at different stages of my life that I have wanted to make permanent changes to my appearance for my own happiness.

I originally went to see Dr. Cory Torgerson for a consultation for rhinoplasty - too much nose, not enough face - but decided to also talk to him about Juvederm injections for my lips. Really this was about making it REAL for me, as a recent graduate who's frugal, paying adult bills and rent, and paying for uncommon other things like costuming I have no realistic idea of when rhinoplasty will happen (though I will say after meeting with the Dr. it WILL be happening). I spend about 3-6 hours putting on intense makeup depending on if I'm going out or performing. I use a whole lot of contouring powder and lip liner on the regular for the last 2 years, so I have a good idea of what I want and what I would potentially look like.

Cory was kind, empathetic, and understanding. He really took the time to understand what I wanted, he played along with my sick humour, and didn't think I was insane when I pulled out my reference pictures of the woman I impersonate for a living. His ethics are strong - very clearly telling me where he would stop and go no further in regards to the rhinoplasty. This gave me confidence in him like you wouldn't believe. The 3D imaging had me holding back tears in the most ladylike way possible - he really nailed it and it was impeccable to see what I could look like after all these years of being truly unhappy with certain features of my body.

His entire office is lovely as well as the ladies on his staff. Again kind and understanding and empathetic. Himself and the ladies gave me ideas on what to expect with the injection procedure and also offered me advice on scheduling so that I could avoid showing up to work swollen and/or bruised.

After I left I spent a few days thinking about the injections I decided to email the office and book an appointment to go for it (bye bye savings!). They emailed me back quickly and did their best to accommodate the late hour I wanted the procedure done at. They even emailed me back when they had a reschedule for the same day to ask if I would like the later appointment that opened up - in my opinion that was above and beyond what was necessary.

Being at the two week mark until my appointment I have done a fantastic job of psyching myself out with the variables - everything from botched jobs to no results have been on my radar. Overall I can say I am still very excited if a little apprehensive (my own fault), and am looking forward to being able to come back and write about the experience and my thoughts going forward.

The experience, 24 hours, 48 hours

I had worked myself into an anxious frenzy all month waiting for this appointment. I had a girlfriend who was nice enough to pick me up from work, take me to Dr. Torgerson's office, and even hold my hand. There was absolutely no way I was going into this alone with my extreme fear of needles.

Just like last time, when we walked in the front staff was kind and professional, and the overall feel was comfortable and low key. Honestly I could sit in his chic little waiting room forever. Before I knew it his previous appointment was finished and I was being welcomed into the room I would be injected in - he even took my coat (it's the little things).

Pre-injection :
We revisited the shape of my lips and the idea that in theory my lips had good shape and support, but no volume or lift, for lack of better words. We talked about the product we would use and this is where Cory impressed me again. His initial stance was to use a softer product (of which I cannot remember the name) and he seemed rather set on it until I showed him my makeup from the night before's photoshoot. Once he saw how much I overdraw and I assured him he would not be able to shock me visually with an apparent change he switched to Teosyal Kiss. He went over the usual checklist of 'things to talk about' that you get before these things, I signed my life away and got comfortable.

He quite literally slathered the topical numbing on my lips - which I stand to say I was grateful for - but warned me prior that it may feel as though they are expanding. It did indeed feel like my lips had been stung and were ballooning to extreme sizes, but really they were just numb and maybe "chilled". While this was happening I was vaguely aware of him opening up a syringe and setting it all up in what I later learned was a mechanical syringe holder? something? - my guess to help with measuring and stability. He was fantastic about entertaining my request for "the smallest needle ever" (yes, verbatim).

Process :
I could describe the initial injection pricks as naught more than a pinch - after all that anxiety I really barely felt a thing. That topical is a thing of witchcraft. I can say I did feel some more discomfort in the tops of my cupid's bow, and most bloody definitely when that thing went through my entire bottom lip. You are NOT getting out of that one, however once the lidocaine creeps in it's pretty much fine again.

Cory was really thorough - I mean so very thorough that he would stop and step back and look at different angles between injections. He brought me a stress ball (again, little things), was light handed (as far as I could feel), and I did not get even a small sense of 'rush' from him. Seeing as I was his last appointment of the day this had the potential to be a really horrible experience but it actually exceeded my expectations.

We used the entire syringe mostly in my top lip as discussed in our initial consultation and as soon as I was done I was brought an ice pack and able to look in the mirror. Thank you's and goodnights were said, I paid at the front desk and was given a receipt and a post-care sheet, and was told I would get a call in a week to follow-up (BIG deal for me - as I would have thought something as simple as injections wouldn't require such attention during the two-week healing time).

Results and Healing :

Day Of :
I was a little underwhelmed the immediate moment after injection however by the four and a half hour later mark I was in love with them. Eating was difficult needing smaller bites, and I believe the numbing lasted longer on me than most people (like quite late into the night). Drinking? forget it, not even through a straw. Actually - especially not through a straw. By about 1030 that night I started to feel the pain. I gave up and went to bed about an hour later as I didn't want to take any painkillers.

The Next Morning:
I was ABSOLUTELY swollen. Like hello duck face, hello Turanga Leela, hello all your nightmares, but the soreness was gone. Of the 4 people that saw me that day everyone said I was crazy but they absolutely could not feel how swollen it was in my face. As expected it was mostly in the top lip and I did notice some unevenness between left and right side. I didn't panic about this because common sense basically told me that could be attributed to one side being done first (difference in timing, difference in swelling). Later on in the day I noticed some very minor bruising on the inside of my top lip. I mean very minor. It's still present as I type this, and yes it's blue, but they're small circles and nothing of consequence or even visible to anyone else. I did my best to use the ice pack every so often during the initial 24 hours, I don't know if this helped my bruising but it did help with discomfort.

48 Hours:
I am about 48 hours now and I would say most of my swelling is down. I'm still not quite able to put chapstick on (those mouth motions are not happening) but I can talk and eat and drink and smoke.

I like the way my lips look today and hope they stay at this level, though I have a feeling they will go down a bit more. If that is the case my preemptive plan is to go back to see Dr. Torgerson in about 4 months (affordability permitting) to have more product layered in. This is still up in the air as I wait for the 1 and 2 week marks.

One Week Later

I cannot believe how quickly I have healed and how many compliments I've gotten. Most people can't tell I've had anything done but those that can have been full of nothing but compliments and questions. The most common thing said is how natural it looks and that if they weren't familiar with my face prior it wouldn't be obvious I had an adjustment at all. Signs of good workmanship.

Bruising is all gone, swelling is all gone, and I've had more of the expected shrinkage. The swelling at injection sites was also a bit sore for maybe 4 days but it's no different than getting say a flu shot.

I would say my biggest challenge was trying to take another progress picture on the same angle as my before shot. Essentially impossible but the comparison is as good as it's getting. I don't think I'll see much more change over the final week, but I could be very wrong.

Overall at this stage still happy with how I'm healing and settling. Also very glad I did my research and understood well in advance that swelling, unevenness, little bumps, etc. are normal and to be expected during healing.
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

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