Diary of a facelift and tummy tuck
Finding Adrian Richards (Aurora Clinics):
I had never thought I should want a facelift as I have always looked youthful, but in my late 50s I developed jowls and a lopsided hanging effect to my neck! I found these particularly ugly as everything else was ageing nicely!
My daughter had experienced some unsatisfactory cosmetic work elsewhere and was seeking some remedial work. She had found Adrian Richards through a rather wonderful-looking mother at her son’s school. We visited him together, and he suggested that we try Botox at first, to see if that gave me the effect I wanted. It did look far better, but for me, I prefer a fix without maintenance.
Currently spending money on restoring a Victorian rectory in Yorkshire, and now 61, I decided this was the time to spend some money on myself, and returned to Mr Richards for my facelift.
Having also carried a pad of unshiftable fat on my tummy all my life, and having collected a few abdominal scars over the years, I proposed to him that I had a tummy tuck at the same time. Not only would it be sensible financially to kill two birds with one stone, but with serious commitment to rest and recuperation once only instead of twice, I felt it was going to be like emerging as a butterfly from a chrysallis!
I confess that I was never for a moment nervous, and I do believe that a positive approach is a good influence on healing. With Mr Richards, I never felt any cause for worry or doubt. His manner was delightful and of course, his knowledge formidable!
I take care of myself – I don’t sit in the sun, don’t smoke, hardly drink, and eat and exercise well, so Mr Richards felt that I was a very good candidate.
Attention at his clinic was caring and personal, as was the welcome at the hospital, and I had the feeling that everyone who worked for Mr Richards was special, kind and caring. The anaesthetic was administered in a very gentle and relaxing way, and I drifted off very happily.
The first viewing:
When I came round I had no pain and really, I have to say, very little swelling and very, very little bruising.
After Mr Richards had been to visit me, I asked to look in a mirror, and apart from bandages round my jaw, neck and up over my head, there was not much to see – my face didn’t look at all as I had imagined – no purples, greens or yellows!
When I looked at my tummy there was nothing to see there either – but that was because in effect, my tummy had gone!!!!! I was flat as a pancake and extremely neat. Most unfamiliar!
The first meal:
Within an hour of coming round I was tucking into my post-op meal with gusto. I sent a nurse off to try and find a camera to record it, but she couldn’t lay her hands on one. Probably a good thing, as eating was not that pretty a sight since I had to make very small morsels and push them into my mouth. A bit of a challenge opening wide that first day!
The next day:
The second day I was gently washed down by one of the nurses who also washed my hair. It felt very refreshing and luxurious, and Mr Richards visited again. I spent the day relaxing, snoozing and eating.
My appetite was good, and although sometimes there were amusing little difficulties like the spoon being too large so that I’d have to use the teaspoon, eating was never painful. The nurses were really nice, and were always happy to make cups of tea, and replenish my drinking water. I was very thirsty, flushing the anaesthetic out of my system.
I went home on the third day, to recuperate at my daughter’s nearby, with her dog on my bed, and my grandchildren coming and going after school.
Lots to keep me occupied between sleeps, but blissfully no responsibilities – and all this family dedicated to my comfort! I pottered round, gradually more and more, walked the dog up and down the road after a few more days, and round the block after a few more.
I was driven to the hospital for suture removal at one week – no problems. However, when two weeks came around and I experimented to see if I could drive to the clinic to have my post-op check with Mr Richards, I found I could only drive forwards, as I couldn’t turn my neck sufficiently for safe reversing (normal, but something to bear in mind!). So, again I chose to take the safer option and got a lift so that I didn’t have to negotiate parking spaces in the car park!
My first drive was to Thame, to have a manicure and pedicure. Well, I knew that would get me out! And I took the opportunity to show my face (but not always my tummy) as promised, to those who had told me earlier that they would be curious.
Back home to Yorkshire:
At three weeks I did the three hour drive to my own home, and settled in quite quickly to the pottering in the morning, resting in the afternoon routine that feels right for me.
I slept sitting up for two weeks, and still am only showering – no bathing – at five weeks. I’m doing some of the dog walks, but not yet all of them – I’m not ready yet to tramp on the moors with our pack of five.
A couple of sessions in the supermarket; a bit of light gardening; keep life simple and easy for now. I’m normally very busy and active, forever wielding a paintbrush or something! Time enough for that later.
It is true that I have a high pain threshold, but I must say that I have had no pain whatsoever at any time from the surgery, which I think is remarkable and must surely reflect a surgeon’s skill.
I am not totally insensate though, as demonstrated by the fact that I coughed twice quite fiercely one night after about 5 days, and I could definitely feel the pain of that. In case it happened again, I kept cough sweets beside me afterwards.
The new look:
My friends are fascinated by the results of my surgery, and so am I! It is all too easy to forget how I looked before, as I look sort of right for me now.
Somehow, Mr Richards has blended my old and new, and I just look better. I don’t know how my eyes are different, for example, but I know they are, as the old way I wore my eye-makeup doesn’t look good any more. In fact, I look best with none!! Miracle!!
I can see the difference with my tummy though, as I am now a beautiful shape which I have never before been able to achieve through exercise or careful eating. All my life, it stuck out and made a horrible profile, particularly as I got older. It’s just so beautiful now – I can hardly believe it.
The next task is to phase out the baggy clothes and bring in a new way of dressing……..
Angela: before Angela:after