Monday, October 26, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Week 3

I'm feeling really good today, three weeks after my surgery. I'm still dealing with the ups and downs of swelling. Yesterday was an up, today is a down and I woke up swollen. However, that is all a part of the process and I took update photos anyway! I'm definitely still wearing the chin strap while sleeping and then again during the day if my chin is feeling "tired" and in need of some support. I've put on makeup several times and headed out to run errands or do some shopping. I can't turn my head very well, so I'm very careful when driving and using my mirrors a LOT, but I still feel very comfortable driving now. This was me on Saturday at Christopher & Banks ... the saleslady wanted a "twinning" picture for their Facebook page. I loved that I HAVE NO DOUBLE CHIN in this photo - woo-hoo!!!

Here are today's update photos:

I love that I have a neck in this photo!! I'm trying to decide what to do with my hair though - lol! I grew out my hair so that I could cover areas after surgery, but it doesn't have much style. I do love being able to put in in a ponytail to get it out of my face. I won't be able to do that if I cut it shorter. I'll figure it out eventually.

Left side still swollen and bruised, but getting better!

Right side, looking good but still some bruising

You can see the neck swelling in this photo. My scar is healing nicely.

Swelling under my chin has improved from last week!

Comparison photo: Pre-op vs 3 weeks po.
I'm looking so much better, refreshed and no saggy neck.
You can see the puffiness in my cheeks still.

Today vs last week. 
I can see that the left side puffiness has gone down under my chin.

Back next week for my 1 month update!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Face Lift - 17 days Post Op

I head to see Dr. Hall today for him to check out my incisions and the lumpiness on my neck. All is healing nicely so I think I'll get a good report. My neck actually improved tremendously in the last 24 hours ... the body is such an amazing thing! I have worn my neck sling during the day even if I don't have to because it just feels good when my chin/neck are swollen and tight. I can now move my neck more side to side and up, so that is good. I haven't driven yet because of the stiffness, but I'll be fine to drive Monday for a vet appointment.

Since I'm heading out with my husband to spend the afternoon together, I put on some makeup. So, of course, I decided to take some pictures, too! Here's that update for you ... back again on Monday for my 3 week report!

Right side, still bruised and you can see my chin scar location. I didn't cover up any of my incisions with makeup so that the doc can see them well.

Chin incision is healing nicely.

Left side of neck which is the worse side. More bruising and lumpiness, but it's really better today!

Side profile - no more double chin!! I thought I would also address my bumpy nose and why I chose NOT to have a nose job at the same time. I SERIOUSLY considered it, I truly, really did because I've always hated the bump on my nose. However, I also truly, really DID NOT want to change how I've seen myself for the last 51+ years with 35+ of those spent with my husband. My nose looks fine from the front when talking to people and when taking pictures, so I decided against the extra expense and am just embracing that little funny detail that makes me ME! Plus, now they have "liquid nosejobs" where they add filler into the space so that it is smooth from bump to top of nose ... maybe I'll look into that option someday! ... then again, maybe not, lol!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Face Lift - 2 weeks post-op

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I had surgery!! I am feeling really good. I still have lingering swelling, tightness and numbness, but that is all to be expected. My neck still has some deep bruising and a couple of lumpy areas (you can see that in pic below) which my doctor says will heal with time. I follow-up with him on Thursday so he can check my neck and the incisions behind my ears (they are still scabbed over). The numbness is pretty much from ear to ear, chin to Adam's apple in a BIG triangle shape. 

Let's get to the photos so you can see the difference two weeks can make! In the first picture, you can see the lingering swelling in my chin and neck (left side is the "after"). It'll be several months before most of the swelling goes down. At 4 months post-op, I'll get a good glimpse at my initial result with it talking a full YEAR for my final result to be apparent.

Bruising/swelling/lumpiness is still evident today.

This is the difference between last Monday and today. You can see that all of the bruising on my chest (from the drainage of blood due to gravity) has disappeared for the most part. There is still some bruising you can't see because my shirt is covering it.

Having a facelift has been much more of an emotional journey than my tummy tuck surgery. I think that is because I can't hide my face with a pair of jeans if the surgery went wrong - LOL! I am a person that wants to look my best when I'm out in public, so it's hard to be swollen, bruised and not able to turn my neck fully. Patience is not something I am good at (just ask my husband!) so this is a more difficult recovery for me psychologically. However, I have to say that I have turned a corner at the 2-week mark because I feel comfortable going out in public at this stage.

I'll definitely post in another week with updated photos and thoughts on my journey!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 11

I can't believe it's already been almost 2 weeks since I had my surgery. My neck is still very lumpy and bumpy, swollen and tender. My chin line is swollen. A lot of the scabbing on my incisions is coming off and the line in front of my ears is looking VERY good! I'm now putting SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel on my incisions twice daily. This will help with the healing process. I've also bought some medical grade silicone scar strips to put on my chin incision which is hard and lumpy. My incision sites often recover with a lot of hard scar tissue under the skin and the silicone strips helped with my tummy tuck incision so I'm doing it again. If the hard ridge doesn't go down in a reasonable amount of time like 6 months, then I'll talk to Dr. Hall about possible laser treatments that can help.

Here are two pictures from today when Jim and I went to early voting. The bottom picture shows a bit more of the swelling still in my neck. My neck is also still bruised so I had to cover it with make up today. So glad my hair is also long enough to cover most of it - lol! However, I am extremely happy with how I look today and it is only going to get better!

I'll post more pics on Monday at my 2-week mark. I am pretty sure the swelling continues to go down each day and there will be even more of a difference to share with you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 8

I wasn't going to post for another week, but I had a breakthrough in my swelling and thought it was interesting enough to share today! Overnight, a LOT of swelling went away leaving me with a more defined chin line and less puffy cheeks - woo-hoo!

I am going to place a call to Dr. Hall this morning because when I wear the chin sling, it is causing "ridges" in my skin. They do work themselves out after not wearing the sling for a while. I just don't want them to become permanent. I also have a couple of lumpy spots on the left side of my neck that I do NOT have on the right side. So, I want to discuss that with him as well. 

This shows my chin up waking and you can see all of the lines caused by the sling. That yellow bruise on the right side is one of the lumpy areas I am concerned about. The photo below was taken about an hour later and you can see that it is smoothed out some.

I am happy that the swelling is working its way out. My chin felt "funny" all day yesterday, sorta tingly and whatever, so maybe it was working its magic!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Face Lift - One Week

One week has flown by and I actually feel fairly normal today. I'm still swollen and I have to wear the chin sling for one more week all day long. I'm not sure it's helping anything at this point, but I will follow my doctor's orders! My bruising is still EVERYWHERE, but improving. No pain or discomfort at all, just tenderness where my bruising is. My incisions are healing nicely and I start using SkinMedica scar gel today on the ones in front of my ears and chin. 

I think this photo shows that I look more refreshed and less "tired." I'm pretty sure things won't change much when the swelling goes down a bit more. I am REALLY happy with this comparison photo!

These photos compare post op Days 4 and 7. I'm still swollen and bruised, but it is all lessening. I'm not going to take any photos again until next week so I can compare a week's worth of healing. 

So, that's where I am today. I can't wait until I can move my neck more. It is really tight and stiff because everything has been pulled so much. I have a short neck anyway - lol! I'll update again in a week unless anything happens of note that I feel is worth journaling!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 6

It's kinda hard to believe that it's been almost a week since my surgery! Jim finally shared these photos of me in pre-op where Dr. Hall had marked up my face with his plan for me.

My double chin is GONE, so now I just need to continue to heal .... my incisions are looking good for the most part. The areas behind my ears are still weeping a bit while I sleep so we are taking great care to keep them covered with gauze pads that absorb any fluid so that I don't get any skin breakdown.

I had an emotional day yesterday and the "What the crap did I do?" question reared its ugly head. All of the info out there says the swelling should start declining around post op day 4/5 and I haven't had much swelling disappear yet. Of course, everyone heals differently and I am on my own journey so I've gotta remember not to compare myself to others. While I would love to be one of the people who can put on some makeup two weeks after surgery and head out, I don't think that is going to be the case. 

Someone in a Facelift Facebook group I joined shared that it really takes about six MONTHS before I will get a preview of my final result. So, I'm setting that as my new goal because I believe it is more in line with what I am experiencing. However, I do hope that I will be able to head out at some point in another week or so once I don't have to wear the compression sling 24/7. Fall is my favorite season and I do want to get back to walking so will probably pick that back up at the 2-week post op mark.

I'm looking forward to getting this next week behind me so that I don't have to wear the sling all the time. Other than that, I feel pretty normal today. The constant throbbing in my cheeks is gone and I'm happy about that!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 5

I had all of my stitches taken out yesterday and only had one small area behind my ear where the skin wasn't healed together. So, Jim will be taking care of that area and I go back in 2 weeks for Dr. Hall to check things out to make sure all is healed up. My swelling should start to go down this weekend and continue to improve each day. I'm already tired of the compression sling and I have about 10 more days of wearing it 24/7. I've decided to give myself a small break from it each morning so that I can enjoy drinking my coffee!

Sleeping on my back while elevating my head is annoying the crap out of me. I snore if I'm on my back so I'm awake a lot because I am conscious that I am snoring! I can try to sleep on my side while elevated sometime next week, but I already tested that and it is NOT comfortable AT ALL. Hopefully, the days will go by quickly and I'll be sleeping in my normal side position before I know it. 

I've started to feel a shock/twinge here and there in my chin which means the nerves are coming back. I have no idea how much of my neck will remain numb. I still have a large section of my abdomen numb from my tummy tuck 3 years ago, so I do expect to have areas of my face with no feeling to them. Those areas feel so heavy, like there is a block of concrete attached to my face. Dr. Hall describes the feeling like that heaviness you feel in your mouth when it gets numbed to fix a cavity and that is EXACTLY how it feels!

As of yesterday, I am not feeling any pain. I just feel pressure where the muscles have been pulled tight. Jim has been the BEST through all of this. He has taken over all that I usually do during the week and will continue to do so until I can go out without my compression sling on. He goes back to work next week, but the boys are home and can help take dogs out. I'm trying to avoid the neighbors seeing me in my sling if I can! LOL! 

All in all, it's not even been a full week and I'm feeling good and am not regretting my decision to have the surgery. I'm very anxious to see my face without all of the swelling and the waiting is killing me. I am not a very patient person!!  

Friday, October 9, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 4

Dr. Hall will take out my stitches later this morning. I ended up taking a narcotic pain med last night to try and help me get a good night's sleep and I feel well-rested this morning. Also, nothing like a shower and dressing in regular clothes to help one feel more normal!

Here are my update pics for today. My face is still really swollen, but my husband assures me that I still look like myself without the compression bandage on. My right side (left in the pics below) is more swollen than the left side.

You can see the puffiness in my cheeks when I smile.

Still have lots of bruising that is healing on my neck

My neck is VERY wide due to the swelling. It looks weird in the mirror.

The placement of my stitches - down and around the ear and into my hairline. My ears are even swollen - ha!

I love my new chin line even when it is this swollen! If it stayed this way, I'd still be happy. However, there is a lot of swelling still to go down so I am feeling VERY confident that I'm not going to have my double chin anymore. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Face Lift - Post Op Day 3

 (October 8) – Today has been a bit of a rough day. I'm not comfortable but pain meds aren't helping much. Everything is swollen and throbbing. I can't sleep well and several days of bad sleep is beginning to wear on me.

It is weird to look at myself in the mirror. I can see myself, but I am soooo swollen that I don’t look like myself at all. I have this antsy feeling, like I want to get up and move, but I'm still groggy and have no attention span. I usually feel like this when I'm getting rid of the anesthesia in my system.

I was up for over 3 hours last night as my bowels woke up and I had to go to the bathroom a lot. I plan to ice my cheeks today to try and decrease the swelling. I also need to drink lots of water to flush out my system. The bruising is starting to go away a bit. You can see it dissipating into my skin in the photo below. 

This photo shows where I was stitched up after the liposuction of my chin was finished. All of my stitches come out tomorrow. I'm really anxious for the swelling to go down so that I can see my new chin!

Face Lift - Post Op Day 2

(October 7) – I had my drain taken out today by Dr. Halland it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Everything feels very swollen and enlarged, like my chin and neck are too big for my head! I have to wear the compression bandage all day for 2 weeks now. When I looked in the mirror, I can see that my chin is gone. However, all I see is a swollen face and neck. I found this "what to expect as you heal ..." link (this is NOT from my surgeon's website, but it's the best info I have found!). It is following how I feel really well. My face doesn't quite look like my face - it is a bit alien. So, it’s going to take some getting used to. I’m discontinuing the narcotic pain meds as I hate feeling so groggy. I’ll shower tonight and then try to find a comfortable sleeping position. Hard to do when I’m a side sleeper!

In my new compression bandage. I feel like I look like myself in this photo, but you should see how big my cheeks are when this is removed - LOL!

Lower Face & Neck Lift - Surgery Day

I have always disliked my double chin and all of the skin on my neck. I don't like to wear turtlenecks. It is an area that swells depending upon what I've eaten. Here are some pictures to show you what I don't like - my neck and lower face are very full!


In a previous post here on the blog, I talked about the Coolsculpting that I had done to the area under my chin. It did help initially, but after 2 years, all of the skin was sagging. The only difference is that the fat under the skin was gone. When I consulted with my plastic surgeon about having a facelift, he told me that I also had a fat pad under the muscle and that he would lipo that area to help with the heaviness and get rid of the fat that was pushing the skin down. 

I was going to wait until I was in my 60s to have any surgery, but I decided that there is no better time than the present to just get it done! I spoke with three surgeons before settling on the one I liked the best. Both his bedside manner and skills to give me the result I am looking for gave me the confidence to move ahead with my surgery.

I thought I would keep a bit of a daily journal and chronicle my journey through the healing process. It should take about 3-4 months before I get the first big glimpse of what my final face will look like. However, a lot of my swelling will be gone in the first 4 weeks.

My surgeon is Dr. Jason Hall of Trillium Plastic Surgery. Here are my "before" pictures taken at his office. 

DAY 1 (October 5) – Surgery went for 5 hours, an hour longer than planned. No complications. Spent the afternoon and evening dozing off and on. Ate a banana and drank some juice. The nausea was a bit worse for me this time around and I did vomit after taking a few sips of chicken broth for dinner. Kept eating crackers and applesauce and was ok. Having to take pain meds every 3 hours, alternating ibuprofen and Lortab was a pain in the butt. My neck feels soooo tight and that is normal, but it’s still weird. Dr. Hallaccording to my husband, said that he expects a nice result with a more defined jawline and my double chin gone! I’m having a difficult time getting comfortable to sleep and can’t wait until I can sleep on my side again. Not too much drainage into the drain, but it’s going to feel weird coming out as it’s in the front of my neck and coming out over my right ear. Bleh!

Home, but feeling dazed and groggy

I have a big patch of bleeding on the left side of my neck.

Another view of the left-side bruising