COSMETIC SURGERY. When is enough, enough? When it comes to cosmetic surgery, when does one stop looking “refreshed and natural” and looks more like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” or the “woman with that cute little dimple on her chin” that was formerly her naval? At what point does one stop chasing youth and settle on the facts of life: we all age and 75 should not look like 28.
I’ve been around the block a few times with cosmetic surgery, each time using the services of Dr. Dean Kane. He had done his magic on several friends with lovely results. Each time I’ve visited his office, I have felt confident that he and his staff were more than competent and very engaged with each patient. I was very satisfied that my procedures were given the utmost attention before and after. When I had a question, Dr. Kane was always available in person to explain his techniques. From the “before” photographs, the encouragement of the team of 3 operating room nurses, the explanation of the anesthesia process from the anesthesiologist , to the pre-op forehead message in the operating room given by Dr. Kane himself, I never questioned the professionalism or the efficiency of this office.
I started with a custom “blue peel” when I was in my late 40’s. The process removed several layers of dermis to reveal fresh, new skin and the promise of a dewy, younger complexion. By the time I was 62, I opted for liposuction to remove fat and cellulite in my thighs that had enlarged my skirt size to a 10 when my shirt size was a 6. While I was under anesthesia, “why not have my upper and lower eyelids done?” I thought. Since I had a benign tumor in my right lid, why not take the opportunity to look “refreshed and natural”. And then at age 67, with my jawline hanging over my turtleneck sweaters, I decided on a full face lift. My rational was that this surgery would be my last and would get me though my dotage. You’d think all of that surgery would be enough, but when is enough, enough??
On Thursday, April 13, 2017 I went under the knife again for a mini-facelift. Opening the 1st facelift’s scars in front of my ears, my lower face would be lifted and pulled toward the ear in order to tighten the jawline and remove my dewlaps. Dewlaps, you ask? Those 2 fat pads on either side below your lower lip and eventually slip closer to your chin. If you can’t find yours, be grateful. On that day, I was 76 ½ years old, a grandmother of 3 and a woman who looked damn good, period. So why do more? I asked myself that question all the way to the operating room and stopped when I fell into an anesthetic torpor. My rational was that my family on both sides didn’t wrinkle. They just drooped. The handwriting was on the wall. No wrinkles for me, but for a person who did not believe in gravity, it was apparent that Sir Isaac Newton knew more about my face than I did.
I had very little recall about my previous surgeries. I remembered the ice packs with dread, the homeopathic arnica for pain, and having my passport picture taken 2 weeks after the facelift. I guess a facelift is like childbirth. If you remember the pain vividly, you become a generous supporter of Planned Parenthood, but most women don’t remember everything, and they are back in the delivery room bringing baby # 2, 3 or 5 into the world. Back to my surgery. I was amazingly calm the weeks prior to April 13. I knew I would be house-bound, bruised and sore for a while. Whether that would be 2 or 4 weeks, I could not envision. Mary Lou, the surgical nurse who deftly guided me through the pre-op preparations, encouraged me to eat lots of fresh pineapple to prevent severe bruising and personal hygiene to prevent infection. I became Miss Aloha of 1912 for all of the pineapple I consumed. As a result, the bruises were not terrible and faded noticeably each day. I was delighted that ice packs were no longer part of the recovery regimen. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they interrupt one’s sleep on a critical day. In addition, I had very little real pain, but took advantage of the pain killer every night before bed so that nothing would interfere with my rest. I am a firm believer that sleep is Mother Nature’s most reliable cure. Yes, I was swollen. Actually, more swollen than I had anticipated. As a result, I couldn’t open my mouth too wide and was constantly scraping food off of my gums, but at last I had found a diet plan that I could stick with!! I am recording my experience 6 days after surgery, and I am confident that I am on a roll. Every day I feel better, look better and have no doubts that Dr. Kane has worked his magic again. Do I believe in gravity? Don’t have to anymore. I’m fixed!!