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PATIENT STORY: Deborah, Part Four: Looking back, four weeks after surgery

(Note from Dr. David Magilke:  In my practice I’ve noticed that prospective patients are very curious about the actual experience of any surgery or procedure they’re considering undergoing. My patient Deborah Sayler (that’s her real name) has agreed to share her experience on my blog.  We performed a facelift on Deborah in our surgical suite on June 7, 2010.  This series of five blog entries describes Deborah’s decision-making process, her surgical experience, and her recovery.  The pieces were written by journalist Margie Boule. This is the fourth of five entries.)

“If nobody notices, if they just think you look good and they don’t know why, then the surgeon has done his or her job…  I don’t want people coming up to me saying, ‘God, you’ve had a great facelift.’ ”

Four weeks after surgery, Deborah says, “the bruising is gone.

“There’s still a little bit of a taut feeling around my ears, which is, of course, where the major incisions were done.

“I still wear my compression dressing after a long day.”

Deborah can now wear earrings without discomfort.

“The left side actually healed faster, even though I guess there was more removed on the left side.  It’s just like a crap shoot, I guess.  You never know why one side might be more uncomfortable or slower to heal than the other.”

No one has mentioned to Deborah that they thought she’d had plastic surgery. “My friends see me and say, ‘Gee, that color is great on you.’ Or ‘I love that blouse.’ Or ‘You got your hair cut. You look great.’  What they’re not zeroing in on is that the Brahma Bull neck is gone.”

Already Deborah has noticed a return of her “feeling of self-confidence, that I have had for the majority of my life.  I’m feeling much better about myself.  It makes you project a more positive feeling and image.

“I have people now doing what they used to do when I went out; I have people smiling at me again.”

That’s not all.  “Men are looking at me again.  And that’s encouraging.  Even though I’m still not actually back to a size 10” – Deborah wants to lose another 30 pounds – “I’m getting these smiles from men.  It’s like, ‘Cool. I remember how that used to be.’”

Deborah feels better about her job hunt. “Because, quite frankly, I’m competing with a much younger market out there.

“But it’s not just the employability aspect.  It was knowing how the women in my family age, and looking at myself and saying, ‘I don’t want to look like this.  Even when I lose weight, I’ll still have this thing hanging there.’  I wanted back what I used to look like.

“When David Magilke asked me about my motivation, I told him, ‘I don’t expect to look like I’m 21.  I just want my neck back.’ He said, ‘Good. Because you won’t look like you’re 21.’  I said, ‘Good.’ ”

She’s been very happy with people’s reactions to her new appearance.  “If nobody notices, if they just think you look good and they don’t know why, then the surgeon has done his or her job, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t want people coming up to me saying, ‘You’ve had a great facelift.’”

Instead, they come and say, “You have a beautiful necklace.”

For the first time in three years, Deborah is again wearing her favorite piece of jewelry, the gold necklace with the slides.

“It sat in my jewelry chest for years, waiting to be resurrected.  And it was resurrected last week.  I’m not afraid now to draw attention to my neck.  I wore it with great pride.”

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