Neck and Lower Face Lift – Asheville, NC

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I have a neck and lower face lift scheduled for...

I have a neck and lower face lift scheduled for April 15th and I am just now starting to get both very excited and a bit scared. I've never had any sort of surgery.

Since I live in another town, Dr Harley called me to discuss any issues or concern I had about the procedure. Both he and his staff have been very kind and more than helpful since I made the decision to have the procedure.

Each day, as the date gets closer, I look in the mirror at my wrinkly old neck and jowls and again- I get so very excited to have this done, finally, and terrified of what all the procedure and the aftermath might entail!

April 1st

Two weeks out and I am VERY nervous today. I had my hair cut this afternoon and made sure she cut it so that it would fringe my face well so as to hide my scars. I have to return to work exactly 14 days after the procedure! I teach teenagers and they will gladly announce it if they notice the scars.

I've been reading my pre-op instructions over and over and going through reviews and pictures of similar procedures this evening. Rationally I know everything will be ok, but I still am experiencing a lot of anxiety right now.

I turn 45 next Thursday, and then have my surgery the following Tuesday. This is a good thing. I should be excited! Instead, I am second guessing myself and thinking of all the possible problems that could arise.
I'm just being silly... right? Every time I looked in the mirror while getting my hair cut, I just couldn't wait to be free of this jiggly wiggly neck and jowls.

These pics were taken 3 days before I had my Botox and Restalyne. You can see the banding and all the excessive skin. yuck.

Added photo

Less than 2 weeks!

I've started purchasing all the accoutrement I think I will need post-surgery. I ordered one of those full face masks from Nuvo Visage, Arnica, Bromelain, Neosporin with pain relief, Vitamin C, and I have Kel-Cote in my Amazon cart, but I know I won't be able to use that for awhile, so I'll hold off buying that for now. I have bendy straws and will stock up on water and soup. I also got a big floppy hat as I will be spending the week following my surgery at the beach. I have plenty of soft head bands to keep my hair away from my sutures (I have a lot of hair).

What else do I need?

I also am not sure when I should start taking the arnica, bromelain, and vitamin C and how much I should take? Anyone?

I have so much going on at work that I haven't had time to panic the last couple days. I have to prepare two weeks ahead since I will miss a full week of classes.

My mother is a retired Nurse Practitioner and she will be taking care of me for the first few days after surgery. On the 4th day my best friend is driving us to my beach condo. Her mother had a face lift and she took care of her after that, so she at least knows what she is getting into!

I feel like I'm forgetting something... anyone want to chime in with advice?

10 Days To Go

Going to pick up some more "supplies" and my new glasses today before I hit the gym.

Feeling rather nostalgic today... if that makes sense. Took some no make-up pics this morning of my "old face." I guess for 45, it's not so bad. But I'm still eager to get rid of some of that neck.

One week!

I had a "moment" last night... my mother hugged me and told me how pretty I am. Then she said how beautiful my skin is and how she wished she had it. I reminded her that she did, it was just slightly older than mine :) It did give me pause though. I like my face; it's a pretty good one. Do I really want to mess with it? And then I caught a glimpse of my saggy jowls in the mirror and all doubt flew away!

Juanita, from Dr Harley's office, called today to get the location of my pharmacy to send in my meds scripts. Wow... it's really here; it's really happening! We overuse the world "surreal" these days, but the fact that I am finally having this done does indeed feel a bit surreal. I even moved the money for the procedure over from savings to my regular account this evening.

My procedure is on the 15th, which is a new moon and a blood moon and apparently that's a big deal and I refuse to look it up and freak myself out even more.... especially since my birthday is day after tomorrow! I don't need any help freaking myself out.

Happy Birthday to me!

Today's my birthday :)
My gift will be 5 days late- next Tuesday, at 6:30am.


I'm so freaked out I'm talking to my ex! ;) Ready to do this though. I think. I didn't sleep well last night- or all weekend really. I'm packed and ready to make the drive up to Asheville once I get off work. In 24 hours, it will all be over (or close to it). WOW.

And there's the pain.

I'm in a lot of pain right now. My mom let me sleep through when I was supposed to take my next pain pill. It's pretty bad.
The procedure itself was a breeze. I slept through most of it. I flt pain only twice- once during the shots to numb me, and then when I woke up towards the end. Something burned. Does he cauterize the area?
I was very woozy and wobbly and had to be helped into the car. Ate an egg mcmuffin! Then back to the room to pass out. When I woke up- OUCH. Waiting for the meds to kick back in. I just want to sleep.
Dr Harley and his nurse were WONDERFUL. So personable and kind. I cant wait to see what I look like under these bandages! Drain out tomorrow at 8:45. Until then? I'd just like this throbbing and burning pain to piss off.
I'll update more tomorrow.
Oh and thanks for all the kind words and encouragement! :)

Update update!

While I was posting the above update, Dr Harley called to check on me! He told me to take another pain pill and the nausea pill. I am TOTALLY ok with that.

Get this thing off my head!

I slept well. I set an alarm for my antibiotics and took a pain pill as well.

The pain was reeeeally bad yesterday- more than I expected. It felt like I had swollen glands in my neck, and my ears ached and burned. Now everything aches and I have a headache. The headache could be a lack of caffeine though. I'm also starving! Going to eat some yogurt and have a little coffee.

Right now (and I hope it stays this way) the most irritating thing is this cap thing. The pressure is necessary- I think it's drain related?- but it is really uncomfortable, and it's itchy, and the velcro around the bottom is digging into my neck. I've got red rub spots on my neck.

I will have to drive up from Myrtle Beach and then turn around and drive back down next week to get my stitches out. Thought they'd stay in longer, but the sooner the better I guess! :)

No more head wrap!

I'm in shock... I almost cried when he gave me the mirror. As I told Dr. Harley, I look like I used. :)

Drain removal hurt a bit and massaging the fluid out was odd, but wow, even swollen, SO worth it!

Before and Afters

I'm home and have my laptop now, so I did a little cutting and pasting. Even with all the swelling, what a difference! The Befores were taken Monday morning.

I am VERY swollen now, but momma has cleaned and dressed the sutures. I've tried to get the pen markings off, to no avail.

My concern right now is a "bubble" thing around one of the stitches in my hair line. I'm afraid it will turn out to be a dog's ear or leg or whatever the phrase is. And good lord.... my ear lobes are so swollen they are sticking straight out and look SO weird. My ears burn really badly and my neck aches. No bruises- yet.

I'm sure I'm being paranoid since it has only been one day, but.... yeah... so far, those are my fears. Everyone at the office was SO nice and supportive today. Dr Harley said the bubble thing was just fluid... but it hasn't changed at all. bluhhhh.... I'm just tired, I'm sure. I need to sleep and ice this face! Good night y'all!

Day 2 Post Op

I slept ok last night. Nice being back in my own bed. I managed to stay sitting up without a problem and set my alarm for every 4 hours to take my meds.

I'm still in a decent amount of pain, but am trying to not take so many pain pills. I'm afraid I will run out. My pain is in my neck- achy and sore- and my poor ears. They are SO swollen and red and they just burn. I also can't shake this headache. I know I can take Tylenol now, but the thought of looking for it is just too much. I think I over-did it yesterday, because I am exhausted now... like down to the bone tired.

Still no bruising, but that "bubble" stitch in my hair is still there and still has me concerned. I tried to get a picture of it so y'all can tell me if I should be worried. Ok... falling asleep typing this.

Day 3 Post Op

I think I'm actually getting used to sleeping sitting up. The neck pillow and drugs help, of course.

My swelling was pretty alarming yesterday, but I look a little more human this morning. My ears were SO swollen and one side of my face was all lumpy. I have one single bruise on my neck which I'll post a picture of.

I am heading to the beach this afternoon, so I took my last pain pill at 1am. I'm going to try to stick with Tylenol and arnica, for now. I'd like to be able to converse coherently with my best friend on the drive down!

My mother, a retired nurse, has been cleaning my sutures and says they look really good. One is still puckered at my hairline, and is freaking me out, but she says it's just fluid. Most of my pain is in my earlobes and in my neck below my ears- my glands are swollen and sore. It feels like having the flu.

I sent a picture to my best friend yesterday and she flipped- couldn't believe how young and "skinny" I look! :) Looking forward to a week with her- not looking forward to 12 hours of driving on Tuesday to get my stitches out though!

Washed my hair and puckered stitch

Getting ready to leave and have managed to wash my hair finally (yay!), but it's still gooped with ointment (boo). With my hair down it is almost impossible to tell I've had anything done... aside from this puckered stitch. I'm starting to really worry about it since obviously my hair is not hiding it. You can see it in my semi-profile pic here. Anyone have any experience with this?? I am NOT ok with it healing like this. At all.


Right now, my right ear and the gland under that ear hurt. I feel like my face has been packed with cotton or something. I understand the feeling others have described of feeling like there is a band tightened around my head. It isn't horrible, but it isn't pleasant. The pain in my right ear is a sharp pain though- around my earlobe. I think I'm going to have some more bruising on my neck, but right now it is totally hidden with makeup.

I got carded buying beer today.


4 Days and sutures

Took some pics when I cleaned my stitches. You can see the puckered stitch clearly. Still concerned. The stitches are getting slightly itchy, which is apparently a good sign.

Another concern is my ear lobes. They are still swollen and stick out/up. Weird looking. Anyone have any insight on this?

Just took my last pain pill.... off to dreamland.

Happy Easter

Not feeling well today. I think I drank too much coffee maybe. Anyway, my tummy is sick and I am out of pain meds. BFF has some of the same meds and let me take one of hers and I took one of the nausea pills Dr H gave me. I think it is only the second time I've had to take one.

It's rainy and windy at the beach, so we are going to do some shopping today. Right this second I am sitting and trying to chill because I really don't feel well. We had an early night last night and I slept pretty well, but I did wake up in the middle of the night having rolled almost over on my side. Yikes! I don't know how long I was like that, and it's the first time it's happened. I'm swollen now, but I don't think it is any more than usual, or more so on one side than the other. My chin is sore today, which is also a first.

I'm having all sorts of worries today- am I doing too much? Have I taken good care of my stitches? Are they clean enough? And still on my mind- IS THIS PUCKERED STITCH GOING TO HEAL LIKE THIS??? If it does, you will be able to see it clearly because it's on the side I part my hair, so not even able to hide it with all my hair. It feels like the stitches behind my ears are a mess too. I tried to take pictures of them since I can't see them any other way, but I can't really tell. I can't tell what is a result of swelling and what just IS. I know on the left side there is a bit of random skin, but I think that is where the drain was. You'll never be able to see it since it is all in the crease of my ear, but... But.

I also noticed some horizontal lines on my left cheek- like stretch lines, if that makes sense? I'm half sure this is from swelling, but still scary to see. The swollen glands in my neck have gone down and aren't as sore. My chin still isn't numb at all, but the areas in front of my ears are completely numb- about two fingers wide on each side. This area also feels "hard". I suppose that is from swelling/fluid?

I know I could call Dr Harley with all these questions and concerns, but it's Easter Sunday and I'd feel like an ass calling him today- plus, I'll see him in two days when I get my stitches out. Speaking of stitches... if you look at the pics of the stitches I posted last night you can see that they look quite different- like the stitches on my left ear seem to be close together and there seems to be more of them than the stitches on the right ear. I wonder why that is?

Ok... I've got to venture back into shower-land. I dread taking showers now- so afraid I'll do something "wrong"!

Oh, salt...

After I felt better this morning, I got dressed and "ready" and took some pictures. I ventured out again without bothering to try to hide the sutures. No one seems to notice.

Then BFF and I made a big yummy dinner but I think we seriously over-did it with the salt and garlic salt. I just went to the bathroom and when I looked at myself in the mirror it was a shock. My face is so swollen that it doesn't look like me. I've posted pictures from when I was looking "normal" and then another from just now. You can gauge how swollen I am from my lips. 2 months ago I had filler put in around my mouth. In the post-salt pic my lips are so stretched from my swollen face they look small and distorted! MY BAD. Lesson learned. I have my full face ice mask on now. Even my feet are swollen up! No more tuna steaks for me....

Stitches out in 2 days and I am soooo ready!

Ceiling fans, hair bleaching, and stitches

1. Ceiling fan- I was standing on the bed hanging a new curtain yesterday. I turned around to jump down and the ceiling fan hit me in the head. Yeahhhh.... it was just above my ear and must've pulled the skin up because one of my stitches started bleeding. I also jerked my head back when the blade hit me and I felt something pull in my chin. Of course- the day before my stitches were coming out. I cried. I went back to bed and stayed there the entire rest of the day.

2. Hair bleaching- I've been using spray peroxide to clean my sutures and noticed yesterday that (duh) it's bleached my hair over my ears. At least I don't dye my hair and didn't ruin a pricey dye job.

3. Stitches- I left Myrtle Beach at 5am to get to Asheville by 10. The drive up was fine. Dr H's nurse took out my stitches and only one hurt- right at my ear lobe.
Dr Harley came and checked everything and even Juanita snuck in to get a peek. Such wonderful people


The above review didn't post everything I typed. 7 hours into my 10 hour drive today I got a speeding ticket. Got sick, never ate, lots of pain, lots of sleep.
That's a basic run down of what got deleted. Too tired to retype it all. Pics tomorrow. Back to bed with me.


Sorry for the mess I posted last night. Yesterday was a mess. I think I felt worse last evening and night than I have in several days. Just awful... and pretty bad pain. I don't know that it is 100% related to the stitches coming out, but more the entire day rolled together. I'm trying to take it easy today, but my friend is getting antsy, and I can't blame her, but it's making me reeeeeally grumpy. I don't want to do a lot and I can't think too long and hard about anything, which is frustrating her and making me more grumpy. Time to sit by the pool with a book, me thinks.

Anyway- here are the pics I took when I briefly woke up last night. I think it all looks pretty bad. The worst is my chin, which gave me the least trouble. It was also causing me the most pain last night- like an open wound. Awful. It also feels like I have two ear infections. I'm constantly trying to "open" them and they ache down deep. All new types of pain. All uncomfortable. I'm going to get my pain meds refilled and try to sleep a lot the next few days. We'll see if I still have a best friend when this spring break trip is over! :-/

Day 9 Pictures and Update

Feeling better today. I took it easy by the pool yesterday and stayed in last night with the BF. I took a pain pill when I went to bed last night mostly to help me sleep- and I did sleep well. I noticed a tiny smudge of blood on my pillow this morning and I can see some blood behind the tape on my left ear. That's the worst spot behind my ear since that's where the drain came out, so... yeah. Not really too concerned about it.
My chin still hurts some. It constantly feels like I might pull it open, so I'm being very stiff necked. As far as my ears go, they just feel stuffy deep down. RL suggested lymphatic massage, so I looked up a video on self lymphatic massage and tried it. I don't know that it helped all that much, but I'll keep trying it. I can pop them if I try. My throat feels tight, but that's normal due to the internal stitches. All noticeable swelling is gone. I know there is still some because my face isn't totally back to its normal shape, but nothing someone else would notice.
It's pretty clear the worst scars will be my chin and behind my ears. You can see the lump under my chin from the side since most of the swelling in my face is gone. I'm not too bothered by it. I bought some Medrma and when it's totally healed, I'll begin using it. Behind my ears is... scary. I took some pictures, but I'm not even going to post them and scare anyone! You can still clearly see where the drain came out. Ew. My ears lay pretty flat, so you can only see anything if I pull my ears back, and how often am I really going to do that? My ear lobes are still not shaped like they were before and Dr H said they may never be. I'm not bothered by that at all. Ear lobes hold ear rings, so meh.

Feeling better, taking it easy. Thanks for all the comments of concern and encouragement! :)

Tape off

Last night the tape on my left ear lobe came off, so I took it off the other ear as well. The left side is still sketchier than the right, but not too bad. I slept with band aids on them just to be careful.

Went out to dinner tonight for our last night at the beach. I did full hair and make up and you'd be hard pressed to see anything out of the ordinary. My chin is still the most obvious, but it has stopped feeling "open" and I've started using the Mederma on it. I laid out at the pool again today and used SPF 30 AND band aids over the scars.

My neck muscle feels very tight and stiff- and I think that's a good thing! The area in front of my ears is totally numb and you can feel the internal stitches when you run you fingers over it. I put skin oil on that skin since it feels so tight. No pain now at all. Less than two weeks, and I'm healing well. The only swelling is now in my cheeks, next to my ears and that seems to be it. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday and got a little choked up... I look so young. It was... humbling.

My ex asked for some pics today and when I sent them he said, "You still look like the perfect beautiful southern girl." Some days he still knows exactly what to say :)

Pics are from last night and tonight.

Going back to work tomorrow.

I slept SO much today. I also took a couple pain pills- my left ear bled overnight. The area where the drain came out is still my only tricky area and that's what bled. I'm still working on sleeping comfortably, but safely. I've started putting my neck pillow flat on top of two bed pillows and sleeping on my side so that my ear is "dangling" in the round gap part of the pillow. It's not perfect, obviously, but now that I am heading back to work, I HAVE to sleep well. I can not make it all day battling with 100 teenagers with no sleep. This keeps my weight off my incision areas, but I'm still able to sleep on my side. I haven't noticed any extra swelling when I wake up- which of course is the kiss of death for me tomorrow! I'll wake up looking like a tomato head.

I haven't felt well today. I've gained weight and I'm uncomfortable not being able to go to the gym. I know I need to take it easy (ha), but I'll be going back sooner than later, maybe Wednesday. I ate like a champ at the beach, so back to my normal eating with going back to work.

No updated pics as everything looks pretty much the same. Lord... I'm tired. Goodnight!

Back to work and 2 weeks post

Today it has been 2 weeks since my surgery and I am back at work. Getting up was rough, and my neck actually seemed swollen, which was the first time I had noticed that. I did my lymphatic massages in the shower and hoped for the best. I'm still not sure how much that helps, but what the heck? It isn't hurting.

My left earlobe is still bleeding a bit. I'm thinking I may email the Dr just to make sure that is ok. I think it is ok? It's not BLEEDING bleeding, but just a bit of blood behind the lobe, mostly when I'm sleeping. In the pic I've posted, you can see just a dab dried on my ear I seem to have missed. I've since cleaned it off!

The few people who knew have wanted to "see" and I've gotten squeals all around. One woman rushed to hug me and it freaked me out! I was afraid she'd hurt me. I had a lovely note from my sub which choked me up and I find that I am overall a bit emotional.

Pain is at about a one. I'm aware of everything, but I think I'm more uncomfortable a bit than anything. My neck is still stiff and so my movements are pretty stiff as well. Doesn't hurt; I'm just conscious of it. I put some make up on the incisions/scars and I'm not too worried about anyone seeing them. I do teach teenagers though, and they will absolutely call me out if they notice anything. Jerks ;)

I'm most concerned about getting tired this afternoon and swelling and that overall unwell feeling. I don't have the ability to just up and leave work early and with state testing rapidly approaching, I don't want to leave early... so.

I took some pics when I got here just so I could see what others may be seeing. Not too shabby for only two weeks.

2 weeks update part 2

Not feeling so great now. By noon, my neck was super stiff. So is upper my back. I think I am clenching my entire body as a defense mode or something? For years I've gotten massages at least every other week, and haven't had one now for a month, so that could be a part of it. I wonder when I will be able to begin that again? I miss them, but I don't think I could lie face down in that little pillow thingie. And I would think I'm probably not supposed to, what with the not bending over directions.

I am just SO tired and very fuzzy-headed. The only meds I've taken are 3 Advil. I've got some pain in my cheeks, probably from having to talk so much at work. I'm having trouble focusing too, but the worst bit is just being so tired. I'm going to nap at lunch instead of eat. Not really hungry, but super sleepy. I feel like I have a very weak hangover. My tummy was even a little iffy this morning. Ears are stuffy. Three Advil have done nothing for the pain I am feeling- which is very little, but it's a bit disheartening that it had no affect at all. I was hoping I could put the rest of my pain meds away for good now, but I guess not.

I have to keep telling myself that it's ONLY been two weeks. I guess I thought two weeks was some magical date, and while I knew I wouldn't be miraculously "healed", I supposed I thought I'd be more healed than I am.

Ear buds are pretty impossible. Duhhh cem....

Did I mention how tired I am? Yeahhh...

Before Before After

Earrings return, maybe.

Just a quickie as there isn't a lot of change today. I do feel better this morning than yesterday, so hopefully the afternoon will be slightly better as well.

I woke up to a bit of blood on my left ear lobe again. It's definitely coming from the drain wound. I slept crappy last night, but I think it was night sweats as opposed to the surgery. Stupid hormones....

I put earrings in today, but I may take them out. My earlobes still look elongated and weird, but again, whatever. Just earlobes. Amazed at how well the incisions look on the right ear. Not quite as progressed on the left side.

In one of today's pics you can see where the peroxide bleached my hair. You can also see that shiny skin effect next to my ears. What's that all about? I've read others have it as well.

I have full sensation in my ears and chin and am getting back some next to my ears, but far from "normal." It doesn't bother me. At this point the only things that bother me are the stiff neck, bleeding left ear, general tiredness, and most of all the congestion in my ears. Of course allergy season has just started, so it could be a combination of god-awful pollen and the surgery. Tired of popping my ears constantly!

Stress and the body

I mentioned in the comments that I applied for a new passport 4 weeks ago for a trip to Italy I've waited for all my life. Last night I called the State Dept to check on my application status and found out my application was never submitted by the post office. I paid almost as much for this trip as I paid for my neck lift and now, 7 weeks out, I still don't have a passport! I didn't know if I should scream or cry. I did both.

I slept like total crap and woke up a lot and tossed and turned and had bad dreams.... and then this morning I woke up in a fair amount of pain and my face is more swollen than it has been in a week. Asshole post office people. I called in sick and took a pain pill. I'm going back to bed for an hour and then I will try to sort out this passport mess.

Trying to control my anger and temper takes every ounce of strength I have....

Happy Friday / At What Age?

Back at work today. Yesterday's bed rest was exactly what I needed. My face is swollen again today, but not like yesterday. The congestion in my ears/face (?) is also better. Not 100% yet, but with it being allergy season, I don't know how much of that I can blame on the surgery. The only pain I feel today is a vague ache in my jaws. Nothing bad, just something I'm aware of, sort of in the background. Does that make sense?

I've gone back to taping my left earlobe. I think it's pulled away from my face a bit (!!). That's what the blood was. I taped it yesterday and kept it taped over night, and no bleeding this morning. It doesn't really hurt, but when I realized what was happening, it freaked me out a little.

It's strange/interesting to watch this healing process. Nothing turns out like you imagine. The left side has been the "bad side", but now that the scabs are dropping off, there is almost no visible scar. The right side has given me zero trouble, but the scar is... like a ledge... in one spot. I don't know how else to describe it. It isn't raised in the typical scar sense and thank god, there are no signs of keloid (there, anyway), but there is a small place where it feels like the skin is higher on one side. I'm using mederma and hoping for the best. It doesn't look awful, but you can see it.

Now my chin... when I had my stitches, it gave me no trouble. Half the time I forgot I had stitches there and would have to go back and clean it after I'd put everything up from cleaning my ears. Then when the stitches came out, it was the worst spot. It constantly hurt and felt like it would open up. Then one day, it was just healed! Now... now I have a raised scar there that you can see from the side even. Again, using my Mederma and hoping for the best. It isn't red, like the keloids I've had in the past (not from PS, but other things), but it is pretty thick. I'm glad it is under my chin at least.

I say/analyze all this only to say I don't have any big concerns at this point, other than a slight worry about the left earlobe. I'm just going to keep it taped and if I need to go see Dr Harley in a couple weeks, I will. I am still so very happy with the results and my decision to have the surgery and to have the surgery with Dr Harley. It's been less than 3 weeks and I'm excited to see what develops over the next couple months. I've gotten my passport issues sorted out, so some of that development will take place in Italy :)

Why anyone would wait to do this for themselves is beyond me. My friends have been all, "Why would you do this at your age? You're too young! You didn't NEED it." And to that I say, why do we need to wait until a certain age, or even wait until we look "old" to have things done? I'm healing well, I feel good today, and I look freakin great! When your face says it's time, it's time- not when society or your friends say it's time. YOU decide, for you. I'm so glad I didn't wait.

Of pimples and face lifts...

I have very oily skin, and while I've kept up my skin cleaning regimen for most of my face, I naturally have had to stay away from the chin and ear areas. I noticed last night I have a ton of clogged pores around both ears and my chin, and I even have a pimple right next to the incision line on one ear- almost on TOP of it.

It may sound whiny, after what I just did to my face, but now it's grossing me out and all I can see. I naturally took pictures so I can spend hours obsessing, like I do. I can't scrub that skin, obviously, but I wonder what cleansing products are ok to use at this point?

And I confess.... yes, I squeezed the pimple :-/

Day 18

Passport all sorted. Having a personal contact at the state department helps things a lot! It also freaks me out a little that a US Senator's office and people at the State Dept were concerned enough about what happened to take it on personally and call me several times and pay for all this re-doing and rush job. But then again, if someone stole the application, they have my name, birth date, certified birth certificate, social security number, driver's license, parents' names and birth dates, my picture, and my signature. The feds are even paying for a year of credit monitoring for me. Watch me end up on a No-Fly list.... yikes.

Anyway! Good day. The woman was waiting for me and had everything ready to go at the application facility. I was there for all of 5 minutes. Then I wandered around outside for awhile and did some shopping and have just generally enjoyed my day. I feel good today too. One side of my face is slightly more swollen than the other side, but I am the only person who could notice. I even spent the whole day out and about with my hair pulled back. If you are looking at me close enough to see my scars, then we've got problems that have nothing to do with plastic surgery!

Wanted to post a pic of my "bad side" so you can see the scar development at 18 days. The other side looks even better, but it's the zitty, bad pore side, so this is all you get! I mushed up two pics I snapped quickly that are poor quality, but you can see a straight on and side'ish view of what 18 days looks like.


The second one didn't post. Let's try this again.

Brace yourself. Really.

I went ahead and tried to take some pics of behind the ears. The right side still has some slight scabbing. But the left... the left is gross. So if you want to look, be warned. You can see some Mederma at the bottom, but that is from where I put it on in the front. You can see the little place that opens up and still bleeds sometimes. It's gross. I'm going to wait awhile before I mess around back there.

I have a zit behind my right ear, because of course I do. Also... WHO KNEW MY EARS WERE SO FREAKIN HAIRY?! Ok, enough of my humiliating post.

Third Week

Going into my third week post-surgery. I've gained weight since this adventure started, so last night I strapped my fitbit back on and we begin our Italy diet in earnest. My trip is in 7 weeks and I am going to eat my face off throughout the entire country, so I want to shed a few before I get there! I also don't want to be the old lady who is fatigued from a day of traipsing through the Tuscan countryside. ugh... I haven't worked out in almost 3 weeks!

I slept with the silicone strips on, and I'm pleased even after only 2 days. I wish I could wear them throughout the day, but that's impossible with my job. I AM still wearing the band-aid on the left ear though, as you can see from the pics. The only problem with the strips is that you can't use them on the scars in your hair because obviously they won't stick, so I'll just continue with the Mederma there. These scars are very minor for me, and my hair will cover them anyway, so I'm not concerned with them like the ones that go down my face. I can still feel a bit of an "edge" on the right side, but those lines from the stitches that extend out from the incision scar are getting much better, on both sides.

Numbness is resolved everywhere except right next to my ears. It seems the area has gotten smaller though- closer in towards my ears, less than 2 fingers width. I know this bothers some people, but I don't really touch my face all that much, so it isn't a concern for me. I wonder why it is I never had numbness in my chin? I'm not complaining.

So as I'm starting week 3, I'm pleased over all. My neck looks different though... but I'm not going to obsess as it seems to change constantly! Ears are almost totally unstuffed now. Little swelling. Face is in order... time to obsess on the body again!

Happy Monday, y'all.

3 Weeks Today

I still can't believe I DID it, nevermind it's been three weeks. Worth every penny and every moment. I'm probably unbearable in real life because I've gotten my old cockiness back. ;)

And of course, here are the pictures. I'm so happy with my results. I've had such a rough few years and at least you can't tell by looking at me any more!
If you're on the fence at all, DO IT.

A few things... (ie: whines)

My earlobes are still really tender/sore. They aren't swollen anymore, so I don't understand this. I'm so afraid someone is going to hug me. They are not numb at all, but maybe it would be better if they were.

My cheeks are still numb next to my ear. The only time it bothers me is when I am putting on glasses or sunglasses and then it just feels WEIRD.

I was working at my desk today, and sat my chin down on my fist and it hurt. Won't do that again.

I've stopped wearing the bandage on my left earlobe finally. It seems to be healed now. I've worn earrings a couple of times, but I still take them out after a couple hours. I'm afraid they will "rupture" something or something!

I feel like there is still some extra skin on my neck. Nothing like it was, of course, but... I know I know... I'm obsessing, but that's my thought today.

My energy level sucks. I can NOT make myself workout, and I actually like working out. I got my travel documents from Virgin today, and I feel really fat and terrible and I don't want to feel that way on my trip this summer :-/
Is it a full moon?

The rumor is going around work that I had a facelift. Most people don't believe it because of my age, but ugh. I told the people I wanted to know, so why can't I just keep this for me? My thing? People can be jerks.

My refrigerator died overnight. I hate owning a house. I want to move back into a maintained apartment.

Screw it. I'm going to bed at 8pm.

I'm gonna whine some more....

I forgot to add that the last two days there has been a new tightness at my ears. It's a very small area, towards the bottom of my ears. Sometimes there is a tiny twinge of pain there, but mostly just a tightness. Is that scar tissue forming? The stitches dissolving? I've noticed that the right side of my face has a bit of swelling, while the left doesn't. I can see all the contours on the left side again- my temple curve, cheek bone, jawline... but that's all sort of mushy on the right side. And like AtoZ has noted, I can feel my face getting tighter towards the end of the workday, which is my cue that I am swelling and I need to go the hell home. 2 more weeks of work until summer vacation. I CAN DO THIS!

Massage and sleep issues and pink scars and creepy clowns

I had my first massage today since the surgery. I was a little scared, I admit. I've been seeing my massage therapist for almost two years now, so I trust her and I just had to keep telling myself that. I told her to stay away from my ears, but everything else was cool. She started me face down, but told me the second I felt uncomfortable to tell her and we'd adjust. I had booked 90 minutes, so I wasn't sure how long I'd be comfortable laying in the face pillow. It was totally comfortable- no problems with the pillow, or laying "on my face."
I was anxious initially when she was doing my upper back and her hand or arm would graze my ears, but it was fine and eventually I was able to relax. My back was a mess! I've been very stressed up and without my regular massage, it was worse than normal. She had a lot of knots to work out. She said it felt like I had little rocks under my shoulder blades. I thought not sleeping on my side AS MUCH would maybe have helped. Nope.
As soon as I rolled over and she began working on my neck I could feel my face and ears open up and allllll that congestion released! Thank you Jesus! I made another appointment for next weekend :) My face was slightly puffy after, but it usually is after a massage. I didn't feel tight and swollen though.
My therapist was actually really interested in the procedure and Dr Harley and finally admitted that was something she'd been wanting to do as well. She asked about what he did and the pain and recovery. She was impressed with the fact that I didn't look "done." I would bet with the spa where she works, she's quite a bit of plastic surgery.
I wonder how long before we can get facials? I'd like to have one before I go to Italy. Anyone know??
I had to do some shopping after the massage, and I got hit with a massive headache. I'm sure it is somehow related to surgery/massage combo, but not 100% sure how/why. I will say that as soon as you feel comfortable, I highly recommend getting a massage. She did some lymphatic work and rubbed the crap out of my head. That was the BEST.

I'm worried now about sleeping on my side, so the last two nights I've tried to sleep mostly on my back. I'm not 100%, but more than I was. I never sleep much more than 2 hours at a time, so I'm able to adjust pretty regularly. Will it ever get easier? Can you totally change your sleeping habits?

My scars seemed more pink this morning for some reason. I wonder what that's all about?

My earlobes are different now. My earrings used to point forward and now they point to the side. I don't know how the surgery changed that, but meh. I don't really care. It's just odd to see the sides of my earrings and not the front of them when I look in the mirror. I don't really care- just noting it.

I'm including a god-awful picture of myself simply because you can see how one side of my face is a little more swollen than the other side. It's just a really scary picture of me... I look like a creepy clown! And please don't think I left the house with my lip liner not blended. ;) You can actually see the curve of my chin scar in it. The others show how pink the scars were when I got up, and then with make up on.

I had a good day.

Swelling today

Happy Mother's Day!

I took my momma to lunch and gave her flowers and some presents and then we worked in the yard. We're southern... it's what we do. I think it's a law we have to dig in the dirt until we fall over.
I carried and spread 18 bags of mulch in the North Carolina heat and humidity. It was 82 today. Oy vey... I didn't feel weak at all, but by the 18th bag I was suddenly DONE. I could not have done one more. As soon as I got inside, I could feel the swelling. For the first time, I can even feel it in my chin. I look like a chipmunk right now. It's only 6pm, but I could crawl into bed. I guess it's a good thing I have a lot to do tonight.

Oh! I slept on my back almost all night! This morning I laid on my side a bit before I got up, but that was it.

Here's a picture I took of my mother and me before the swelling kicked in. That woman is 73 and never even had Botox. Bless her.

Before and After

Just a little updated Before/After shot.
The right is 3 weeks post. Worth it. Totally.

One Month!

Wow. I can't believe it's been a month since I started this journey. I've been very lucky with my recovery, so naturally today, my one month mark, I've been swollen all day. I didn't eat anything out of the ordinary last night or today, and I slept mostly on my back last night, so not sure why I've decided to swell up today.
I'm still very pleased with my results. One of the gossip/lookie-loos from work came to talk to me today and was allll up in my dance space. I know he was trying to see if he could see stitches or scabbing or something. I doubt people realize how quickly you can heal from this surgery. I know I was totally in the dark. I'm also positive he left without what he came for. Even swollen, no one can tell. And for that, I thank Dr Harley.
I'm emotional today- thinking back. I'm proud I had the guts to do something like this and the resolve to do something 100% selfish. My vanity and confidence have returned, and both had been missed. Getting a lift won't change your life, or make icky stuff go away (except for dangly droopy skin!), but it sure can enhance what you've already got going on. I'm grateful. I'm excited to see where I am in a year- hard to imagine things will continue to progress for that much longer.

And of course, here are pictures!

Throwback Thursday

I know I know... we aren't FB, but I found this snippet in another picture I took earlier today at work. My sister is on the left; I am on the right. This was 1989! I was only 20 (and still partially blonde. Don't ask). We were at her wedding rehearsal dinner.
The younger me doesn't have a thing on the old me! :D

Scar Cover

Just a quick note about hiding your scars.
I never bought the Dermablend make up that was recommended. Initially I was able to easily hide my incision sites with my hair, and my chin scar never was a concern to me. Now that the sites are fading, they are pinkish to light brown in color. I pat them with Clinique City Base compact foundation in Honeymilk- which I use under my eyes also. Then I dust them pretty heavily with Ben Nye Banana Powder. This stuff is UH-mazing. I bought a large bottle of it for around $20 last fall to help hide dark undereye circles. It's very yellow in the bottle, but doesn't appear so on my skin. It is smooth as silk, honestly. It's what drag queens use to contour their faces! I can't recommend it highly enough. It takes the red/pink/brown color out of the scars. I don't use any other powder over it because my tan skin doesn't require it, but you can use your normal color to blend it if it shows more on your skin. You can buy it from Amazon or ebay. I think Duane Reade sells it, but I'm in the south and we don't have those.


I've finally started poking around behind my ears. I've been scared of that area as both sides were still tender and I'd even had some bleeding behind the left ear. Both sides are fully healed now, so I've been rubbing them some and putting Mederma back there. Now they are itching and burning a little bit. It's not the Mederma because it happens even if I don't use it. Is it the scar tissue healing, or getting worse?? The scars in front of my ears were extra red today again.
I had another massage this afternoon and it's definitely helping the congestion in my ears. She massaged the crap out of my head too and ohhh it felt so yummy.

Another long day of yard work tomorrow, so I'm off to bed now.

5 weeks tomorrow

Did some comparison pics. Have I mentioned how happy I am with my results???
Yeahhhhh.... :)

Having said that- face swelled up yesterday while I was working in the yard. I think I overdid it (again) and I felt my cheeks start getting tight and didn't just stop and go inside. This seems to be a trend with me. We had a landscaper coming today to replant what was ripped out when we had a foundation crack fixed this winter and after the septic tank collapsed last fall. My poor yard.... so I felt like I HAD to get a lot done yesterday so things would be ready today (I had to work and couldn't be there). So yeah, I overdid it. 18 more bags of mulch loaded, unloaded, drug all over creation, then spread and lots of raking and moving pants around and all that good stuff I ordinarily like doing. Yesterday, and most of today, I've just been pretty grumpy, and I am constantly aware of the tightness in my cheeks and today it was coupled with more ear congestion. I think that's allergies as much as anything now though. I've had a dull sense of pain even the last 24 hours. Nothing like the surgical type of pain, more of an aching next to my ears. My scars seemed to have just stopped improving at this point. I know, I know... I've come SO far, SO fast, and I just need to be patient.

I just want work to wrap up so I can begin my fab-U-lous summer.

I wonder...

when talking on the phone won't be an ordeal? My ears are still tender and I HATE talking on the phone now.


I keep trying to rest my chin on my hand. NOPE.

Facials and Befores

I emailed Dr Harley to see if I could go ahead and get a facial and he just emailed me back and said I was all clear to get a facial. I wanted to get one a couple weeks before my trip in case I did the post-facial break-out thing. Now I can!

Right now I am broken out around my ear incisions. I think it's from the Mederma and the silicone sheets. I'm so oily, and it's getting warmer and I get SO hot at night, I suppose the pores are clogged all to crap in those areas. I'm not going to stop trying to improve the appearance of the scars, so I guess I have to be even more diligent than I have been with my face cleaning rituals.

I've stopped using the Olay scrubber, and I guess I'll invest in the Clarisonic. I WILL take the Olay scrubber on my trip just to use on my nose and chin since it is small and light and battery powered. Today I did the Ole Henriksen Power Peel 3-step deal. I've got a whole box of them from Sephora, but haven't done a peel since before surgery.

I've got a Botox appointment on Friday and I am excited for my Dermatologist to my results. He's been really encouraging since I told him I wanted this surgery 3 years ago. Should I get my lips touched up when I'm there? Not sure...

Tonight I was messing around on my tablet and found pictures I took the night before surgery, in the hotel room. I don't even remember taking them! I can see how excited I was- no fear at all! I can also see what a wonderful result I've had. When I start to worry it's not tight enough, or he didn't take enough skin... I can look at these and relax. It's perfect. Well... close enough :)

Started thinking about a post about what face products I can't live without. Since we're all obviously dedicated to fighting aging, I'm curious what others use/do. Maybe one day this week I'll get to it. Last week at work! Hope everyone is having a great long weekend.

New itchies

I had some itching and burning behind my ears last week, but I have been experiencing a new itching the last two days- and it's really irritating.

I am still numb in my cheeks, about two fingers width, from my ears out. I'd thought I was regaining some sensation there, but nope- totally dead still. It's the only place I have any numbness at all. The last two days I have felt itchy there though. Weird, right? I can't feel anything, but it itches. When I try to scratch it, I can't feel anything, of course, so it's really frustrating/irritating. AZ said the itching and burning before was probably nerves mending, so I assume that is the case here, but WOW how what a weird sensation. The numbness hasn't bothered me, but combine it with a deep itching and... well, yeah- bothersome (on a small scale).

The scars behind my ears feel like they are twisting up and getting tighter. I am rubbing them and using Mederma on them and am even sleeping with the silicone strips on them. I'm trying to decide if I should bother taking the strips with me to Italy. I hate to miss two weeks of scar "therapy", but the Mederma will probably have to be it.



Six weeks post op and I FINALLY had a great workout. I wasn't all busted feeling and my weights were back up to where they should be and I felt great afterwards. WOO!
I didn't do any cardio though and I need to work on that so all my sight-seeing won't wear me out when I'm in Italy. I mostly just weight train, so I have to break down and hit the elliptical from here on out.

I went in the tanning bed today also- with 70 sunscreen and my shirt over my face!

Two more days at work... :)

Botox Day

I drove down to Wilmington yesterday to see my dermatologist and get a Botox touch up. I was excited for my Dr to see my results. I have tons of respect for him and really just LIKE the guy. I've been getting Botox from him for 5 years and he's just a great guy and doctor. Even though I moved 4 hours away, almost 3 years ago, I still make the drive down because he's the only person I trust to stick a needle in my face. Well besides Dr Harley, of course!

He literally gave me two thumbs up on my surgery! He looked at the scars and turned my head all around and commented on what an "absolutely beautiful" result I've gotten. He said he liked that Dr H went all the way to the temple as it also had a good effect on my eyes- opening them up more. He said my scars were healing very well. Without telling him my routine, I asked him what he would recommend. He said Mederma during the day and silicone surgical bandages while I slept! So... exactly what I'm doing. He said that knowing my skin, he'd be surprised to see much of anything left of the scars in another 6 months. The nurse said she would not have realized I had scars if I hadn't pointed them out.
Before I left I asked him how old I looked. He stepped back, cocked his head, and said, "At the oldest, 32." I vowed my undying love to him! :) Also to Dr Harley for shaving 13 years off, apparently.

Get neck lift;

stop taking selfies from two feet above your head.

Stamina, Scars and 7 Weeks

I finally started having good workouts again last week (at 6 weeks) and haven't had any problems in the gym. Today I tried to work in the yard and I broke after only a couple hours. It's heavy duty work as we have a huge yard and I am still trying to clean up after all the trauma this place has had in the last few years. So strength and energy are ok, but I guess I still have to build my stamina back up.

My scars are changing. They are mostly brown now, not pink, and my right ear scar has a thin white line forming and its ridge is less. The left ear scar is totally flat. My chin scar is less bumpy, but still the bumpiest of the bunch. Behind my ears still feels like a twisty mess, but you can't really see anything much.

The numbness remains next to my ears, but that's it. I still have below the surface itching there, so just waiting for the feeling to return. I have tenderness in my cheeks a bit and my scars behind my ears are moderately tender. Sometimes my jawline feels tender to touch. My chin is moderately tender and I still can't rest my chin on my hand. Talking on the phone still feels "weird." Some days my face feels tight and still swells. I still have some congestion in my ears.

Some days I think I have a chin waddle again- and I just might. If I do, it is nothing like the gross sagging excess skin I had before. Jowls are 100% gone. My neck is lovely.

I still have daily adjustments due to the surgery, but I have not regretted my decision for a moment. I feel so lucky to have had the means to have this surgery and to have found such a fantastic doctor.

7 weeks pictures.

I know when I was searching for the right procedure and the right doctor here on RealSelf I was most interested at seeing progression pictures, so here are some more of what my scars look like at 7 weeks (and 2 days!).

Make Up- I forgot!

Forgot to show how well the scars can be hidden at this point, with the right make up. I've gone through several different combos to find what worked best for me. This is Hard Candy Glamoflauge tattoo cover in tan with Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder to set it. Works really well and blends in with my regular make up. And both are cheap! I ordered the Hard Candy from Amazon for under $10 and big bottle of Banana powder is less than $20 on ebay or Amazon.

Facial, Italy, and 8 Weeks Post

I got a facial on Friday and I was a little nervous about it. I needn't have been. It was wonderful! I fell asleep!

I had called and explained my situation and was told to bring my email from Dr Harley saying I was cleared for a facial. The girl I used to see has left the spa where I am a member, so I had to see someone new- she was fantastic. When I came in she told me I wasn't what she was expecting when she was told I'd recently plastic surgery. She said I looked a lot younger than she expected. I told her that was the point! :)
She was careful of my scars and just stayed away from them for the most part.
My skin and pores were a hot mess since my face-focus has been recovery and wound and scar care since April 15th. It felt nice to care for the rest of it! My pores are damn-skippy now and ready for Italy ;)

TEN MORE DAYS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I had my pedicure today and I've been cooking a few Tuscan recipes from the new Extra Virgin cookbook. Of course I'm on a diet until I get there, so I've only been tasting them and shoving the majority of them into my 20 year old nephew! Next week I head to the bank to convert some cash... and that's it. I'm ready to go. All on my own... what a fearless year I'm having.

The good news, the bad news, and the other bad news.

Good news- I'm regaining some feeling in my cheeks!

Bad news- It's still itching like a mo-fo.

Other bad news- Now that I am regaining some feeling, my scars are suddenly tender to touch. I feel odd sensations under the skin next to my ears too. Are the stitches still there?? Feels like it... and that feels weird. My chin is tender also, but it has been mostly all along since I never lost much sensation in my chin. Even my jawline is tender. And by tender, I mean sorta sore- ya know?

There's been a bit of discussion about scarring so I wanted to include some pics that have nothing to do with my surgery, but demonstrate my typical scarring. This is also one of the only worries I had pre-surgery. I scar dark. My skin is dark, and this is a natural result. I also have had a couple keloids. I still have one on my arm and a couple small ones on my legs. The biggest one was on my calf and years ago I had the scar tissue removed, but I still have a scar there. I've been using Mederma on the keloid on my arm, and while it hasn't gone down any, the center has gone from dark brown to pink. I have not used it on my leg. So those are the pics I included.

I have been lucky with the scars on my face as they haven't been raised much. My chin is a bit, and I feel like behind my ears is still a twisted mess, though photos say otherwise. Weirdness. The scars in front of my ears are still brown and some mornings they even look dark pink. I am not complaining! It's just typical for me and shows how different we all heal. Lilygirl had her surgery after I did, with the same Dr, and her scars are almost invisible, while mine remain. I know they will continue to fade over the next 6 months, and Dr Harley's precision means they are not bad scars to begin with, but there ya have it. I can cover them 100% with make up, and really... I'm not bothered by them all that much (yet).

If you are looking at me close enough to see my surgical scars, you better be kissing me.

"I wanna be sedated"

20 20 20 4 hours to gooooo....

I leave in the morning for Rome. Can't believe I get to type that. Feeling very emotional. This has been quite the year. I began with the loss of my grandmother on the same date I'd lost my father 5 years earlier and the loss of an important relationship. I've gained a little money- enough to feel "safe"- and some insight and regained my cockiness- which I say as a positive. I'd missed being just this side of jackass.

The surgery was my biggest purchase, but this trip to Italy was a close second. I'd been waiting for years for both. They required not just the money, but a lot of balls too. Life beat a lot of fearlessness out of me in recent years. I feel like I've just closed my eyes and took it back this year. I had major plastic surgery 2 months ago and tomorrow I'm going to another continent alone. Good for me.

I drove to Charlotte tonight to stay with my BFF because I fly from here to JFK and then to Rome tomorrow morning. I followed a rainbow the whole way.

Peace out, G's!

I'm home.

Time of my life, ladies.
I don't have the words.... :)


Sorry for the drive by yesterday! I'm exhausted and doing laundry and still unpacking, and going through thousands of digital pictures. I'm happy about it all! But yes... short on time and patience at the moment. I'll settle down soon and post a legit update.
I will say that I had some puffy/swollen days in my travels, as to be expected, but the worst of it were my eyes and ankles. The ankles actually scared me a couple days.

Once I was in NYC for my two days of "transition", my neck was lumpy and weird looking. I also ended up with a sick tummy in Brooklyn, of all the places on my journey!

And now I shall make like this gondolier I caught in Venice.... ;)

Assisi Selfie

Just found this one... I like it :)

(in front of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

Updates. How long has it been??

I can't keep up with how far out I am now! I guess I am coming up on 3 months.
I haven't seen any change in my scars at all lately. The worst is my chin. It looks a bit Frankenstein still. It is totally covered with make up, so it doesn't bother me, I just thought it would be further healed at this point. As for my ears, half the time I don't even bother with make up. No one would ever notice. But again, no change for weeks now.

The bad- my face swelled a lot on my trip, what with all the flying, the physicality of all the walking and touring, and the very warm/humid weather on the Mediterranean. I think my eyes were actually the worst, and of course that had nothing to do with the surgery.

Now that I'm home and the swelling has mostly resolved, I can feel a stitch under the skin and it kind of bothers me only because I'm afraid it might push through the skin. I can't "feel" it- I mean when I run my fingers over it, I can feel it. Also, the scars behind my ears have become tender again, and I feel like my ear lobes still aren't laying flat due to those scars. Everyone tells me they will resolve eventually... so I'm going to trust in that.
I also have seen some wrinkly skin under my chin :'(
Is it coming back already??? Or am I still just seeing changes and that will resolve too? I'll post a picture- maybe. It makes me too upset to see it.
I need to schedule my 3 month visit with Dr H, but I'm heading back out of town tomorrow, so I don't know when I'll be able to get back up to Asheville.

I've attached a picture of me from Venice. It's a terrible picture. It's in a gilded mirror in my hotel room. I had just gotten in from 9 hours of wandering around Venice. My hair is a mess. My face is swollen and shiny. I don't have a smudge of make up left on my face. It is my favorite picture from the whole trip. I was so so happy :)

Ciao bellas!

And just like that....

the wrinkly skin I glimpsed under my chin is gone. I think it was.... who the hell knows. I knew if I gave it time and rest it would resolve. YAY!
I'll be sure to post the next freak out I have ;)

OOO! I forgot!

I randomly found this "Before" that I don't even remember taking. It make me a little sad that I my poor face/neck looked like that at only 45.

3 months pictures

Since I don't know when I am getting back to Asheville for my follow up, I'll just post some of my own pictures for now. You can see that the wrinkly under-chin I was worried about disappeared (I really think it was due to all the travel and then staying in bed for about 24 hours).

I'm still thrilled. I would like the scars behind my ears to heal more; I can feel them. And I am not in love with my ear lobes. The right lobe has changed position and my earring hole is no longer in the center of my lobe. Do these things make me regret my surgery? HELL NO. Would I do it again with these issues? HELL YES.

No make up selfie Sunday

I took this when I was getting ready to go to the pool today. The only make up I have on is left-over from last night. My hair is dirty. My eyes are bloodshot. All I can see is forehead!

And yet I'm 45 and I like this up close and messy self-portrait. I like that now I'm comfortable taking and posting a picture like this.

Thanks Dr H. :)

Puffy and swollen (old pics)

Newme posted that she thought her face looked "fat" now. I felt the same way after I had fillers in February. For a couple weeks my face looked "unreal" and like women on tv with too much filler! It was just a matter of letting the puffiness settle and now it looks much more natural, I think.
These pics were taken a week after the fillers and I don't think they look like my face- too fat! Soon after, it settled though.


I knew I had gained weight since my surgery- it was obvious. I've been eating like a cow and my workouts were spotty. But while I was going through my trip pics, I came upon one that nearly made me cry. I was HUGE! I tried to dismiss it as a bad shot, but then I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror at the beach and was again reduced to tears. So I recommitted myself to the healthy lifestyle I've been accustomed to for so many years... and today I finally weighed myself.

I HAVE GAINED 21 POUNDS SINCE MARCH. ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?! That is like a toddler. And I am 5'4", so 21 pounds looks like 30+ on my already squat body. I'm horrified, but at least I know. Feeling glad I didn't see my ex afterall when I was in NYC. oy vey...

Of course my first thought was, "Get it together, CEM, this is fixed with time and all the things you know how to do. No drastic quick fixes- stop the emotional eating and stop walking through your workouts. Bye-bye reduced fat Cheez Its. Stop with the frozen meals and GO back to eating clean."

But my second thought... oh lord my surgery. What will happen to my results when I get this weight back off?? WHAT HAVE I DONE?? But... everyone has talked about how thin my face looks since the surgery, so it hasn't "fattened" up with the weight gain. Right??? Right. yes.... that's right.

Yikes, y'all.


Ok that has nothing to do with plastic surgery, but I'm shouting it everywhere else, so y'all are no exception! An old friend from high school and I re-connected recently, and during a conversation about "the old days" and many glasses of wine later, we decided we should go to Italy for New Year's Eve. Instead of waking up the next day and deciding it was a silly wine-induced idea, I went to Gate 1 (who I went with in June) to see what packages they have, if any, and there it was- 6 days in Rome! My friend said she was still on board, and so we booked it. We're staying a block from the Colosseum, where the fireworks (and hordes of people) will be.

And to focus on RS subject matter... I'm finally getting my After pictures. I'm in a wedding in Asheville August 16th, so they are letting me come in on Friday the 15th. I'm spending the price of eyelid surgery on this trip to Rome, so that will be off the table!

I've spent the last 3 days at the beach, in the rain, listening to Pimsleur's Italian language tape.
Here's a rando I took of this no-sun vacation.

Before/After Day

Had my After's taken today. I could just cry they are so perfect. Gave Dr H a big hug. I have lots more to say, but I'm currently drinking on the terrace of The Grove Park Inn, so.... :D


I never did come back and update more after my pics! I did want to post current pics of my scars. They're pretty well healed, but at 4.5 months, definitely still there. I don't use any special make up on them now and don't have a problem going out in public without any makeup. They DO change color from day to day. Some days there is no color at all, and some days they are especially pink. I have no idea why this is.

I have some feeling back next to my ears, but still not 100%. Often at the end of the day, I can feel tightness in the incision areas, which indicates my face is swelling. As I noted on lilygirl's post, I think I always had some swelling; I just didn't notice it as much before. Whatever swelling I have now is minimal and I don't know that it has anything to do with the surgery at this point.

The under-the-skin itchies have stopped. The extreme tightness in my neck has loosened a LOT. I can still feel it some if I throw my head back, and don't have full range in that regard, but I am totally cool with that.

My visit with Dr Harley was great. We talked about my eyes- I have been thinking about having my upper lids done at some point. He told me not to. Something about the fact that they are almond shaped and I shouldn't start messing with them. He told me for now to just keep using the Botox for the lift. I'm totally satisfied with that! I also asked him if he'd do my Botox next time so I don't have to drive all the way back down to Wilmington each time (2 hours versus 4 hours). We talked about the fact that since he removed the fat from my neck (by cutting it out!) that it would never return to that area in the same way. I'm still concerned about all this weight I've gained (and still not entirely lost :( ).
He's such a great guy as well as a great surgeon. He remembered that I went to Italy and even commented that what I was wearing looked like it came from there, and it did! He also shared some great personal news with me and I was touched. SO lucky to have found RealSelf and Dr Harley as a result.

8 months!

Wow, can't believe it's been that long.
It's been a rough few months, but my neck is still good! I have noticed some relaxing in the last month. Nothing drastic, but there is a tiny amount of skin under my chin. It's probably what a 30 year old would have, so at 45, I'm totally happy with that. My face shape has changed, and with a recent weight gain, it's pretty noticeable. It's more square'ish. You can see my cheek bones a lot more, but it's hard to explain the rest of the change. I think it may be like Dr H said at my follow up- I'm not ever going to get the fat cells back in my neck since they were cut out, so fat will go elsewhere. It doesn't look bad, but it is different.

My earlobes are still slightly twisted. My earrings still sit oddly, but I am sure I am the only person on earth who notices it! I have very slight numbness next to my ears and my ears are slightly tender sometimes (most notably when I talk on the phone for a long time). My chin scar is still very visible, but the others are almost gone. I often go without make up now without a second thought. I can still feel tightness in my neck when I look up. This is perfectly fine with me as it means those stitches are holding tight.

The fillers I had in Feb have started going away and I barely have any lips left. They've lasted a good 10 months though, and I'll get my mouth (but not NL folds) redone in Feb. I had a Botox touch up last month and my Dr bragged on Dr H's work again, put his name in his phone, and wants to talk to him if they meet at some conference thing! Dr H may be getting some referrals from Wilmington. :)

Now the bad- momma has been getting slightly worse and they will probably take her license away by next summer. She's been very combative and I've been waaaay stressed. New boss at work has been.... "an adjustment" also. My hair has started seriously falling out again and I have a bald spot right in front. It's just so thin now I could cry. I'm going to get it chopped off in 2 weeks and hope taking some of the weight off of it will help disguise it.
I've also ballooned. My weight is insane. I won't even post it. I'm ashamed. I've taken a lot of comfort in food lately, as I haven't had a lot of other outlets. I think I have reigned it in now, but why would someone spend all this money on their face, only to let their body go to total pot? Such a shame. I've started spending my weekends taking pictures so I don't just sit around and eat. I pick different attractions within 30 miles of home and then spend many hours playing with settings and lenses and techniques. I've gotten quite good! I've had a few people ask to buy some even. These skills will come in handy in 18 days.... WHEN I GO BACK TO ROME FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE! YES! I'm so excited I am about to pop. One more week of work and then I am free. How lucky am I to get to go to Italy twice in one year and then see the new year from Rome? Our hotel is less than a block from the Colosseum. I booked a big trip to Greece for next July also. Anyone want to help me lose 70lbs by July?! Seriously... ugh.

I attached a bunch of random pics. I'm too tired to make decisions on which ones to edit out!

I hope all of you are well and have fabulous holidays. Buone vacanze!

Happy New Year!

Rome was fantastic, of course! What a way to ring in a new year. The best ever, in 45 years.
Things are crazy at work, and all I can think about is my next trip- Greece in July!
Face/neck is holding up well, 9 months later. Next month I'll touch up my fillers, but otherwise I'm pleased. I cut 8 inches of my hair off, and that "lightened up" my face as well, I think. Now for that 50 pounds.... oy.

9 months on and things are still changing

I almost emailed Dr Harley in a panic over wrinkling in front of my right ear. I thought something had dropped or fallen and I'd ended up with almost a dog ear looking thing. I took pictures on Sunday and was sure I was going to have to have a revision on the right side. I'd even convinced myself my neck was flabby on the right side again.
I took new pictures this morning to send to Dr H and when I looked at them, the wrinkling was gone! WHAT?! Really weird, but who knows what caused that on Sunday, and who cares so long as it is gone now? I included a comparison picture for you to see I'm not nuts (well, not for this anyway!). I tried moving my head/face to try to recreate the wrinkling, but nothing.
Crisis averted.

It's been a YEAR?!

What a year it's been.

I'm still so thrilled with my surgery results, though a year out, my neck and jaw have relaxed some. It is still 1000x better than it was, so no complaints. I do constantly fear the day I wake up and see the old sag.

I turned 46 last week. I'm doing pretty darn good for 46 I'd say. I haven't had any Botox since the end of November and it's been well over a year since I had my fillers. Eventually I'll redo the fillers, but I'm not in any hurry. I thought I'd go at the one year mark, but really don't see the need yet. It IS getting time for a Botox touch up, I just haven't had the time to make the 8 hour trip.

Speaking of trips- I'm heading to Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos at the end of June! Italy twice last year and Greece this year... I am a lucky, lucky girl. Who knows where I'll end up next :)

Mazel ladies. Thanks for all the support and encouragement this last year.

New Lips and Observations

I had my fillers "re-filled" on Friday and currently am doing my best duck impression. I'll post some new pics soon, but I wanted to take a moment to make note of something I've noticed in the last month or so. Why is it that there seems to be a sudden rash of nasty commenters on RS? Only a year ago we were all supporting each other and serving as genuine cheerleaders. Now I keep reading beyond snarky comments on almost everyone's reviews. It strikes me as odd, and sad. They vary from passive-aggressive to calling people liars, to straight up telling people they look bad after their procedures. I'm so vain and self-centered it doesn't phase me when posted on my own reviews, but I know that certainly isn't the case for a lot of folks who've had work done. And that brings out my attack-mode.
Am I wrong that this is new around here? What would prompt people to behave in such a way? There is one woman who has gone around to a bunch of reviews and shamed the women for having surgery! What must have happened to a grown woman that she would resort to that?
I do wish the mods would suspend those accounts, but nothing is ever done.
Ok end rant!

Greetings from Greece

15 months and my neck looks fabulous on Mykonos (and Santorini and Athens...)! :)

Two years

I can't believe it's been TWO YEARS!

In brief, I am still very happy with my results and my decision to have the procedure with Dr Harley. I couldn't have asked for better.

In more detail- I have had some loosening under my chin, but nothing noticeable and still no where close to what is "average" for my age. Cheeks/jowls don't seem to have drooped or slacked at all.

Scars- under chin is noticeable IF I point it out. It falls in a natural crease, so again, I have to point out it is there and that it is a scar. Next to my ears- very slight, white lines remain close to where my earlobes attach. Not noticeable at all. I don't even remember to put sunblock on them anymore.

My ear lobes still sit a bit to the side as opposed to forward (if that makes sense). Could not care less.

Sensitivity- all has return except for exactly on top of the incision sites, where I would guess it is about 90% returned. Does not ever bother me, and I had to test the areas to even know that!

Neck tightness- I still feel a pull or tightness when I throw my head back. Nothing painful or bad, just noticeable since Dr H stitched those muscles up tight.

The future- If I ever feel I need another tightening, I will immediately call Dr Harley again. Here's hoping that is a long way off and I can spend that $$ on travel for now. Heading out to Spain this summer!

Y'all behave out there.

Comparisons Photo

I put a little montage together- before, a week after, a year after, and then two years after.

Hola from Spain!

Two and a half years out, and I'm still happy with my results.

I visited the gang at Dr H's office for a Botox touch up before I went to Spain. It was wonderful to see him and his staff again, and they were all as warm and welcoming as always. Very pleased with my Botox and not sure why I haven't been coming to Dr H for my Botox since the surgery!

I hope everyone is doing well and having as positive an experience as I did. Adios!
Asheville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Every moment of my experience with Dr Harley and his staff has been positive. While I was in the office I had 100% of everyone's attention and had all questions and concerns addressed easily and in a manner I could understand. I just can't say enough positive things about my experience. Any anxiety I had evaporated as soon as I walked through the front door of his office. I was even able to walk out of the office after my procedure- with help! but I was still walking and talking and really felt fine. Dr Harley called me later that afternoon to check on me. The next day when I had my drain removed, he addressed the single concern I had and I felt reassured immediately. It's amazing to look in the mirror, only 1 day after my procedure, and see the face I haven't seen in at least 10 years. Fantastic doctor, nurse, and receptionist. So pleased I took my time, did my research, and found Dr. Harley! Update- 6 months out and I am still so pleased and impressed with Dr Harley. My follow ups have been fabulous and my results continue to only get better. I can not recommend Dr Harley and his staff enough, no matter where you are located. I had such a positive experience all around. I will certainly return to Dr Harley in the future when I need a little more nipping and tucking!

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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