51 Year Old Wants Her Face to Match Her Sunny Outlook - Wayne, NJ

I'm generally a very positive, energetic person....

I'm generally a very positive, energetic person. I'm a retired makeup artist (head of training for a luxe cosmetic company), so I've personally seen thousands of women's faces and many of them shared their experiences of plastic surgery with me. I've never been opposed to that kind of thing. I wear my hair in a sort of GI Jane buzz cut and I've always been personally daring with fashion and makeup--it's just like decorating a Christmas tree in my mind. It should be fun and I really believe every woman should do what makes her feel joy in life (as long as it isn't hurting anyone else). When I was a makeup artist I would meet women at parties who would go into a self critical mode because they assumed I thought they should wear makeup. Or they'd say something like, "I should have waxed my eyebrows" and I never look at people's faces like that unless I'm hired to do it. I think lots of women look great au naturale--I'm just not one of those natural ladies. I once wore a giant pink tulle ball gown with a denim jacket on the subway (New Years Eve) When I hit 50, I felt great, but just one year later after menopause without taking hormones, I felt haggard looking. Many people thought I was insane to want to get my procedures because I generally have very good skin for my age but the turkey neck was really bad, I always had a tiny chin which made the turkey neck worse and my eyelids were really looking sleepy. I realized when I saw pics of myself, I had "resting bitchy face"! Lol! I warned my husband years ago that I came from a long line of vain women and that we needed to save money because I would probably be one of those women who had work done. After doing a lot of research and reading reviews (thank you thank you thank you RealSelf community!) I chose an awesome facial plastic surgeon. Because of my former career, I do have knowledge of the anatomy of the face and neck and the doctor confirmed my instincts when he suggested I get exactly what I was thinking in my head. We decided the neck and lower face lift and upper and lower eyes with a medium chin implant would be good. Then, only because I wear my hair extremely short, I figured I'd get a left ear Otoplasty--it always drive me a little nuts that I had one flat ear and the other ear stuck out.

Surgery Day Friday, April 8

I was a nervous wreck the few days before. But I focused on the fact that I did a TON of research (I'm secretly a big nerd), and I knew I chose an outstanding surgeon. My elderly parents came to take care of me (very sweet, non- judgemental people who know I've always been a bit brazen). Hubby is totally supportive (the usual guy thing "I don't think you need it but if it makes you feel happy") but hubby is on business trip so here I am with two senior citizen "nurses" that have more energy than I do! Everyone at Dr.'s office was as nice and genuine as in my previous visits, and they gave me my meds and I just fell asleep in the surgical chair. I was put under twilight anesthesia and that was what sealed the deal for me. I'm a chicken about flying and general anesthesia-I'm probably a control freak but we all have our fears so I was glad to have twilight sedation. I remember talking with the Dr. a little bit before. He's a great guy and then it seemed like 5 minutes and they were telling me I was finished!!! I have read that some people are terrified of twilight sedation but-I only felt a tiny, tiny pin prick when getting numbed as I was so relaxed from whatever they gave me--I felt wonderful! I mean, that's amazing to me that I had a lower face and neck lift, medium chin implant, upper and lower blepharoplasty, left ear Otoplasty and fat transfer. Go big or go home, I thought!

Day 3 Post-Surgery

Yes, yes, it's true what everyone says on here is that the first few days are the worst. The first night I slept very easily and well after the procedures. I remember I had to sleep elevated many years ago after a surgery and I could not sleep at all. I'm one of those fetal position side sleepers, so since I knew sleep is critical to one's recovery I went on Amazon and got this giant folding thing to sleep on. It was expensive but SO WORTH THE EXTRA $ for me. I've slept great every night and I am the most swollen now and also sleep in a compression garment (claustrophobic a bit). I looked up "surgery recovery pillows" and read reviews and that's how I found this genius foam recliner that lays right on top of my bed. It lifts my knees slightly just like a recliner chair and that position makes me so comfortable that I can sleep elevated on my back for the first time in my LIFE. On day 2 I had returned to the Dr. to have the drains removed and dressings changed. I've started posting a little late in this journey. I read a couple of comments that were so mean that it briefly made me not want to share my story, and then I thought, my GOD, I already lived through the mean girls in high school, and I really owe my courage to go through with this because of all of you incredible ladies on RealSelf. I think that's the best thing about aging. You get braver and are really true to yourself. As I mentioned before I am probably at my peak of swelling. The pics are funny because I genuinely look like a blowfish. All pain was managed with painkillers every six hours but now on day 3 I've only had a single pill.

Day 4 Post Surgery

I awoke after a slightly restless sleep (cat kept laying in my stomach and he wanted attention) and I immediately removed the head compression band.......only to be disappointed. I look exactly the same. Crazy swollen, my thin lips are obliterated by the swelling. More, but not bad bruising. (I should have iced more often yesterday. I hate icing!) No appetite (okay, I should be happy about that because I could eat during the apocalypse) Anyway, I think I have the classic case of "OMG what have I done to myself?" So, I reminded myself of how I am feeling EXACTLY what everyone describes as the roller coaster of emotions, especially around day 4 when it's still pretty bad. I would normally panic but I just went into my RealSelf favorite stories and re-read them all. Reminded me that my experience is totally normal. Then I decided to go on YouTube and watch a couple of people talk about the first few days after a lot of procedures like me. Well, the first one I watched was so unintentionally funny, that I started laughing so hard (the woman was on day 1 and could barely speak and she's totally drugged up and it reminded me of how ridiculous we women can be about trying to look better) I watched the nine minute video three times because it made me laugh at myself. Face near ears and chin and jaw very tight now so laughing feels weird but not unbearable. Then I said "ok the pity party is over now", and I put on some eyebrows (everyone thinks I plucked them out but I've never had brows ) and I drew on a tiny mouth and I put on a scarf and said, for the love of God, I'm going to get out of this bed and go outside. Supposed to be warmer this afternoon.

Day 5-Bruising worse little change

I'm in a more positive frame of mind today even though some of my swelling and bruising is not dissipating. I had a lot (go big or go home) of work done at once, and I have that swelling to go along with it. Started increasing water and pineapple intake. Keeping sodium really low. Still not a big appetite. Smiling hurts due to swelling and tightness around jaw and earlobes. My mom keeps making me laugh at different things and it's good for my spirits but feels super tight. I found myself staring in a mirror too much and I thought, "for the love of God, do I think I'm actually going to watch the swelling dissipate?" It's like watching water take 2 weeks to boil. So I put a tiny bit of concealer on little bruises and drew on some brows and started to focus on fun stuff like my DVR, books and Pinterest boards.

Day 6-Post facelift, chin implant, left ear oto

Swelling seems to go down daily in small increments. Swelling worst on left side where Otoplasty also done on one ear only. Fat transfer swelling also down and chin swelling slightly down. Arnica and fresh pineapple both really helping to reduce bruising. Have no concealer on bruises today. I notice I have a little ringing in left ear where Otoplasty was done. It doesn't bother me-I'm sure its due to the swelling there. I'm super excited to go to Dr. & have first sutures out tomorrow! Have no pain, just tightness around jaw and neck but it doesn't bother me at all. Upper & lower blepharoplasty is weird to watch because I never had eyelids showing in my life-I always had a nearly invisible lid. This much lid is not flattering to my face but I know will relax and look normal soon enough. So far, I'm impressed with my surgeon's skill when I look at all the tiny details, sutures, neatness and healing. Truly amazing.

Day 9 Post Op

Two days ago I returned to Dr. and my stitches around eyes, under chin and in front of ears were removed. I was then delighted and surprised as the esthetician came in and gave me a relaxing treatment designed to promote faster healing. I reclined in a comfy spa-like chair and soothing music was played while red light therapy was suspended over my face. It felt like laying on a beach! Ahhhhh! Then my hands were massaged, a gel applied to my face and a little micro current wand was gently swept over my face. The esthetician said it was a lymphatic drainage treatment. I was still very swollen in chin, outer cheeks and jaw, and still numb but the gentle stimulation of the treatment was heavenly. I loved this complimentary surprise as I had assumed I was just going in to get stitches removed. There is a fee if I choose to do further treatments like this and I scheduled another one for when I return for last stitches (behind ears to be removed). Overall, I am still swollen enough to look a little freaky from head on. My chin implant is slightly swollen, including the right side of my face and neck. The left side is worse (giving my face some asymmetry for now) due to facelift AND Otoplasty on that side. Only noticeable bruising is where I am still tight and swollen on sides of face and just below neck where lymph nodes are. I still have two tiny "bubbles" under my eyes at the outer corners where there are dissolvable sutures still. My eye area is still slightly swollen. I put concealer (very small amount) on lids and under red lash line on as well as lipstick, brow pencil and mascara. It was a weird sensation applying a tiny amount of eyeliner to upper lids as I hadn't even realized they were numb. Since I was a makeup artist for many years, I could really go to town and make myself look "healed" but I want you all to be able to see the progress without a lot of concealment!

Day 11-Last of stitches removed

Returned to Doc. They removed my biggest, strongest stitches from behind my ears. Then I relaxed in the recliner and received a second light therapy treatment followed by micro current massage to speed healing. It felt so fabulous! At this point, I have only slight bruising left and pronounced swelling near neck lymph nodes and jawline under ears. I have a tiny bit of swelling at temples. I won't post again until there is a discernible difference to see. My next Dr. checkup is one month from now.

3 Weeks + 1 day Post

Everything is healing extremely well and I've just started doing cardio on the treadmill at the gym again. Just simulating walking hikes with big inclines and making sure heart rate isn't too high. Swelling along jawline, chin and temples is minimal but obvious. I know it could take a few months to subside. Eyelids, temples and ears still quite numb but I can feel my neck and chin gaining some feeling. Haven't had any pain as some describe when feeling returns, just a subtle vibrating feeling of energy in those areas. I don't have any hair to hide the remaining swelling around my face and upper neck; however, people who have never met me have no idea I had a facelift 3 weeks ago. Most scars are COMPLETELY hidden in my ears or hairline. I have a tiny bit of lumpiness and discoloration where the worst swelling is but at a glance, it is minor. All in all, I am SO HAPPY!!! Will post again at one month post.

3.5 Weeks Post Op

I've noticed something that I felt I should mention, as people tend to be so happy with facelift results they don't mention this. Some days (less than half of the time) I feel really tired. I seem to feel fine but can't walk as fast on treadmill or I crash in energy around 5-6pm. I've ALWAYS needed more sleep than the average person. It is a huge hassle because it seems like wasted time, but I'm a big believer in listening carefully to what your body tells you. I am sensitive to stress of any kind in that I notice an increase in my need for sleep. When I think about it, elective surgery IS a stress on the body. So I figure my body is telling me to go to bed earlier and it is a huge hassle to have the discipline to do this. Like everyone, I'm busy and have plenty of things to do besides sleep. I didn't go to bed early last night after feeling extra tired, and I am exhausted today. So for those people out there whose bodies suddenly have really tired days, even a few weeks after surgery--listen to what it's telling you and sleep more. Unfortunately, my normal sleep requirement is 8-9 hours a night. I realize I'm going to have to try for 9-10 for a few days. I know I am the exception and few people my age need this much sleep. I've read that everyone has different sleep requirements. I wish I was one of those 5 hour people! Oh the things I could do with the extra time!!!

One Month Post

Finally able to cover gray hair. Decided to go blonde. You can see how scars are progressing a bit better because the blonde doesn't camouflage it as well. I'm wearing a Hawaiian dress for no particular reason-I think I'm trying to bring back the Mrs. Roper look! Lol.

Mrs. "Roper"

Here's my Mrs. R dress mentioned in previous post. My pics cropped it out.

6 Weeks Post

Feeling great. My energy is 100% back to normal. The numb areas are slowly starting to regain feeling. Some people describe it as a feeling of "pins and needles" but mine is like a subtle, warming or vibrating feeling that I barely notice. It comes and goes throughout the day. I think it's actually pretty interesting to watch the healing process. To think that only six weeks ago, I was swollen and stitched all over the place-that muscles were lifted, it's amazing to me how the body heals itself. I LOVE my neck! I didn't even have a neck this great when I was 35, so it's so neat to not see loose skin and sagging. My chin implant feels a hundred percent normal and there's no numbness. I can't believe there's an implant in there! Scars are all looking great and flattening out (especially on my eyelids). In a week or two I'll post more pics and detailed views of the scars in good light. It's kind of amazing the way my brain adjusted to my refreshed face and neck. I started to forget how big the improvement was until I had my six week Dr. check-up. They took " after photos" in the exact room and positions as the "before photos" and placed them side by side on the computer screen for me to see. It blew my mind-so amazing to me what the surgeon did.

8 Weeks Post Surgery

I celebrated my 52nd birthday today, and I felt great. Was walking in the subway and a lady said, "you're really beautiful" when I walked past. I paused and looked around because I didn't realize she was talking to me. I told her it was my birthday and it made my day. She had a beautiful, radiant energy about her. She was just one of those kind, kind people you wish there were more of. She, herself, was pretty-but this lady's inner beauty was REALLY neat. She's the kind of person that probably could have just smiled as I walked by and it would have still made my day because she had that comforting spiritual beauty. Overall, I look like myself but refreshed and energized. I have always known that sometimes a change in appearance (even a new haircut or lipstick) can be the catalyst for inner change. I am SO glad I did this stuff for myself and that it has had MUCH GREATER affect on my inner self. I walk out of the house with a spring in my step and I feel FANTASTIC!!!

Three Months Post Surgery

Well, I just made my hair almost white for the summer. I'm working a 1980's look right now, but I love to change, always have. The only thing about the white hair is that one can see the pink scars better and some of the discoloration on my jaw near earlobes. It doesn't bother me if anyone notices scars or knows I had a face and neck lift. My only big adjustment to the new me is that I used to have very almond eyes with almost no lid showing and now they are much rounder with a lot of lid. I never discussed in detail with my surgeon nor did I ever tell him to retain the nearly lidless look I always had. Still, I think my old eye shape might have worked better with my weird brows and forehead. I didn't put on mascara in these pics, but when I have mascara on the new shape looks fine. I definitely look more "awake" as my old eye shape made me look tired. The scars on my eyelids and under my lower lashes are undetectable, even without makeup! Overall, I am still VERY happy about my results. I had fat transferred to face and I like how it has settled more now. I still love my neck. My scars are all flat and smooth and just a little pink-they were a gray-brown for a long time. I have Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer on in pics, but if I want to, the pink scars are very easy to cover with my cushion compact makeup that has SPF 50 in it. I am confident that the scars will be undetectable in six more months. The feeling around my ears and lower jaw near ears is returning so gradually that I barely notice it. I massage it often. My plastic surgeon didn't tell me to massage the scar areas--I just do because it's so instinctual that I assume Mother Nature is encouraging this-and my feeling has returned fast. I mean-ONLY THREE MONTHS? This healing process has been extremely fast. Have a great summer fellow RS community! Wishing you all the best.

Re-post of pics 3 months post

Hopefully these are better close-ups.

4 Months Post Face, Neck & Eye Surgery

Ok I just awoke and I'm looking like hell. Nevertheless, wanted to write an update-particularly on eyes. In a previous post I noted how it was weird to adjust to my new upper eyelid shape. I used to have nearly lidless looking almond eyes (even at age 18) and eyelids post surgery were quite pronounced and round in my mind. I was slightly alarmed because I'd read many posts about upper blepharoplasty where women felt their newly rounded eyelids "ruined" their eyes. Non of them went to my surgeon but I still let the other reviews worry me a bit. Well-now as you can see in a makeup free, unflattering pic--my eyelids are great! The lids are just perfect after 4 months. Obviously, undetectable swelling had to go down and my skin had to relax and settle in the area. So remember people......do......not.......panic. A good surgeon knows how your skin and tissues will relax and the goal is the FINAL result, not the result after 1 month or even 3. I still have tiny swelling no one can see but me just below temples near earlobes. I feel and see changes monthly. One lady complimented me in a store the other day and she thought I was her age-30!!!! (I dress young and funky) She flipped out when I said I was 52. It was very funny and it made my day. Who am I kidding? I think it made my YEAR.

5 Months Post Face / Neck Lift

I'm sorry for posting such lazy pictures, but I'm terrible at taking selfies. I also didn't sleep a wink last night and can see it in my tired eye area-but overall, I'm very happy with the work I had done. I have very little makeup on in pictures-tinted moisturizer, concealer, lipstick-eyeliner-no mascara. No makeup on scar under chin which is the only detectable one. Scars in and around ears are TOTALLY undetectable, even with my very short hair. My roots are long because I'm trying to grow a little bit of hair after 12 years with an almost shaved head. (Just bored I guess) I won't be lazy next month at 6 month posting, so I'll have hair color touched up and I'll have my husband take better pics. I use no filters in my pics because I want to help people see that this is one example of age 52. When I see people post pics with obvious filters I think, well, THAT'S not helping anyone! I still have very slight numbness near earlobes on each side of my face. My favorite thing is no more turkey neck whatsoever. I'm not self conscious if someone takes a profile pic of me and my neck has been loose and saggy since I was 35! If I had to describe the overall experience I would say that it was all much easier and less scary than I imagined it would be-BUT I was really picky about my surgeon and I felt very "safe" in his hands. The difference in my mental state before facelift and after is that I would look in the mirror intending to touch up lipstick or check for spinach in my teeth--and I would feel a little deflated. The turkey neck, the sagging eyelids-little things, but I hated feeling deflated. I just think-if something bothers me-I'm gonna do whatever I can to address it and stop any self-negativity immediately. I'm the kind of person that will try multiple solutions to any problem, big or small, as quickly as possible because God Almighty, I don't want to be one of those people always complaining about anything. Bull by the horns = forever.

Duh! The pics.

Nearly 7 months after facelift

Still feeling great. I cut my hair razor short again. I just always have fun with changing my look. I change my clothing style according to my mood and I have everything from average to crazy in my closet. Every time I read guidelines in women's magazine for "how to dress your age", I laugh. I think it is absolutely ridiculous to get into the mentality of "I'm too old for that". The only people who expend energy criticizing women's clothes or looks are unhappy people. I choose joy. I choose happiness. And when life gets hard, I'm gonna criticize truly awful things, like dictators and poverty and violence.

7 1/2 Months Post Procedures

I'm feeling wonderful and enjoying the holiday season. Fell off the exercise wagon a couple of months ago--so trying to get back on track. For the last 2 weeks, so far, so good. I have only noticed a really challenging struggle to stay flexible, toned and fit since I passed menopause a year ago. Then, things started to kind of go downhill fast. I don't take hormone replacement therapy at all. So, now that my youth hormones have taken a giant nosedive, I am realizing that I should have worshipped at the alter of my "monthly visit" when I was younger. I should have seen it as evidence of youth, vitality, smooth skin and easy fitness. For the first time in my life, I see "bat wings" forming as floppy skin hanging off my longtime slender arms. Thankfully-there is A LOT I can do all by myself and for little to no money to look and feel youthful below my neck. Yeeha!!! So I'm cross training. Long 3-6 mile walks, yoga, free weights and a little high intensity cardio a few days a week. Here's the sad part. I'm so out of shape (though luckily not overweight) that after stair climbing in my building for only 15 minutes on my phone timer-I noticed that my heart rate was very high. I told myself this is what my sluggish, out of shape heart muscle needs. Well, the next day I COULD NOT WALK. Excruciating calf muscle pain. Advil didn't help. So I got my wake up call. I figure my cardio and strength are more like a 75 year old. My husband occasionally plays with my flabby thighs like they are fun, while singing the old Jello gelatin song. So I'm entering phase 2 of the facelift-going to work hard so the body looks as youthful as the new face and neck. As you will see in photos, scars are all nearly invisible! I have no foundation or concealer on my skin in the pics. Everything feels normal, except there is a small bit of numbness behind my left ear where otoplasty on only that ear was performed. I also realized there is subtle numbness where chin implant scar is. When the weather gets extra cold and I'm on a long walk-it feels colder under my chin near the incision mark. It's a weird but very subtle feeling. That scar is only detectable if I lift my chin way up--and even then, it is now completely smooth with the faintly red scar fading away! Amazing!

7 1/2 months Post Picture Re-post

Site doesn't allow me to edit pics once posted, so I'll try to better anticipate where they'll be cropped.
Wayne Facial Plastic Surgeon

I was impressed by Dr. Wise's professional credentials. They are impeccable. When I read the positive reviews in RealSelf that's when I went for a consultation. Everyone in his office is truly lovely--it says a lot about the doctor when every person he employs is warm, intelligent, kind and compassionate. I'm a very decisive person and I always want a doctor who will explain things in detail if I inquire and most importantly, I want a surgeon who is passionate about what they do. With Dr. Wise I felt like there was a real partnership between doctor and patient. I felt so comfortable with him I decided to get multiple procedures and just get it all taken care of. I'm a "grab the bull by the horns" kind of girl. I am a big chicken about general anesthesia, even though I'd had it before with no problem. So I was thrilled when Dr. Wise said he used twilight sedation. That made me feel much more relieved to have the procedures. I should also add that Dr. Wise and the super sweet patient coordinator Diane never suggested anything I had not already considered or wanted myself. I went there asking about a neck lift and as I became more impressed with Dr.Wise and Diane--I inquired about more. I would be running for the hills if a plastic surgeon started to suggest stuff I hadn't introduced first.

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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