Today is a very exciting day, because I am starting a series that is going to do a deep dive into what it’s like to get a facelift.
Not my own, but my dear friend, Erin.
I always find it so incredibly inspiring and brave when a woman stands up and is willing to openly discuss something that is so often hidden.
When one woman stands, the rest of us feel that much more comfortable standing and sharing too, and then we all feel less alone.
But, let me back up a little bit to the beginning:
How Erin and I Met:
I met Erin years ago when I went to a local writer’s group for the first time. I was doing a lot of social media management at the time (I hadn’t started the blog yet) and she was a published author looking to find new ways to share her book, That’s Why You’re Here. We sat next to each other and ended up trading contact info.
She reached out to me after the meet-up to help her with her social media and now I am lucky to call her a friend.
So, when Erin reached out recently and said – hey, I’d like to collaborate on my upcoming facelift experience, I was all in.
I also had a ton of questions.
That’s why this first part is going to focus in on all those things we all want to know when someone decides to willingly go under the knife.
But, first, I want to point out that all of this occurred, including the surgery, weeks before the world went into quarantine.
While many people are postponing elective surgeries in favor of staying home, Erin’s was already complete and we share this as informational only. We are not doctors intending to diagnose or recommending a facelift during these strange times.
Even still, I don’t think I’m the only one just a little bit interested in cosmetic surgery stories and what it’s really like – and we all need a distraction from the anxiety ridden news updates.
You feel me?
Why Erin Wanted a Facelift:
When I sat down with Erin pre-surgery, the first thing I wanted to know was – why?
Her answer is something I think many women can understand, “When I look in the mirror, I don’t look the age I feel. I go to the gym, I’m very social and active, I am doing public speaking to promote my book and doing tarot card readings at festivals, but when I look in the mirror – I feel like my face looks like it’s melting. I want to look the way I feel.”
And, while Erin shares that she has never been particularly interested in things like makeup and cosmetic surgery, she felt herself more and more interested in doing something for herself.
She said, “You spend a lifetime being a wife and mom, putting others first and then you’re 60-years-young, and you want to do something for yourself, too.”
Even still, when she started looking into cosmetic surgeries, she wasn’t thinking of doing the full enchilada.
The more she researched and talked with doctors, the more she realized that the best thing to do would be to do the full facelift at once so everything could heal, rather than doing individual surgeries.
Finding a Cosmetic Surgeon:
As Erin began looking into doctors, she decided to interview at least 3 cosmetic surgeons.
When she met with the first one, he was a bit cold, talking about her skin and face in a detached way. He pulled on her neck skin and said, “Oh no, a neck lift just won’t do.”
The second appointment, she met with the doctor’s nurse practitioner only who wrote down her concerns and said she would share them with the doctor.
The third doctor was approachable and understanding. His waiting room showed pictures of his family on a TV screen and he showed many before and afters pictures in his office while they discussed her specific concerns.
Erin had found her cosmetic surgeon.
And, she had also learned what to recommend to anyone else looking to do an elective surgery:
- Look for someone with many years of experience and a good bedside manner.
- Look for lots of before and after pictures with people your age with similar surgeries.
- Look for a staff and office that is positive and inviting.
While these things may seem like a given, once you start interviewing doctors, you will start to notice who is the right one for you.
Erin’s Cosmetic Surgery Procedures:
Erin’s ultimate goal was to fix a few problem areas that no skin cream could solve. As she rattled off her list, I couldn’t help but be reminded that we are surely our own worst critic. Erin was just as beautiful and vibrant pre-surgery as she is after.
- Turkey neck
- Jowls around the mouth
- Wrinkles in the under eye area
- Brow lift
- Wrinkles between the eyebrows (the 11s)
After consulting with her surgeon and establishing a plan for her problem areas, it was decided that she would have the following procedures:
- Facelift/Necklift – Rhytidectomy with SMAS/Platysma
- Endoscopic Brow lift
- Blepharoplasty – Lower eyelids
With any type of surgery, there are always going to be fears. With an elective surgery such as this, those fears seem to sing in chorus.
Talking with Erin, we discussed the fears she had going into the surgery. Her fears mainly centered around surgical issues around the eyes, as they are the most difficult to get right, not looking like herself when it all healed and getting sick from anesthesia (something she has dealt with before).
And, of course, fear about the pain.
Prepping for a Facelift:
When I saw Erin, she was just days away from her surgery day and preparations were going full-steam ahead.
Since Erin lives alone, she needed to find help to transport her to and from the appointment, and someone to stay with her for the first 24 hours.
She was also preparing for life after surgery, including:
- A place to sleep elevated, such as propped up in bed or a chair
- Soft foods that are easy to make, eat and digest
- Fill pain meds to have on hand
- Prepare to be home for up to 2 weeks
- Clean and prep home in advance
- Do any necessary appointments in advance, such as getting hair cut, nails done, etc.
I also recommended she download food delivery apps in case they are needed and I list a lot of my favorite phone apps in this post.
How To Emotionally Prepare for Cosmetic Surgery:
While cleaning and filling prescriptions is pretty easy, one must also do the deeper work of preparing emotionally.
We do not bounce back immediately after a surgery, and this healing time can expand as we age, so Erin was being mindful of her doctor’s words to prepare emotionally as well.
Having a surgery like this can put the body into shock and cosmetic surgery often looks much worse before it gets better.
In fact, the healing process can cause many people to go into a depression – as the swelling and bruising can often lead you to wonder, “Did I do the right thing?”
Even though Erin seemed prepared for this when we met, her story quickly changed after the surgery.
Part 2: Facelift Surgery & Recovery
After Erin and I met, I didn’t see her again for several weeks after her surgery.
We kept in touch and emailed back and forth and the first few days post-op were brutal. Her emails didn’t sound like her normal upbeat prose.
But, that’s a story for another time.
Make sure to come back in a week to read part 2 of Erin’s facelift journey where we go into all of the details on surgery day and those first few tough days of recovery – with pictures!
If you’ve ever been curious what it’s like to get cosmetic surgery, like a facelift, or you have surgeries scheduled in the future, this series is a must-read.
- Read Part 2 here
- Read Part 3 here
- Read Part 4, her 12-week finale, here
- Read her two-year update here
There’s no reason to ever feel alone, whatever you are going through – someone else has already experienced it and can light the way.
If you have questions about Erin and her journey, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
If you want more info on Erin, here’s a little more about her:
Have a fabulous day,