Constantly being told you’re tired when you’re not and knowing the precise reason people are telling you this, is tough on your confidence. I can still remember the days when I was young and felt good about the way I looked. Between then and now, I've raised two children and have had a long career. The stresses of life had really begun to show on my face. I disliked the way I looked so much that I would avoid looking in the mirror or having my picture snapped.
I had never been the type of person who was against cosmetic surgery. I always felt people should do what makes them happy. I wasn't happy with the way my eyes looked and began seriously researching procedures 6 months before I had surgery. The one procedure I did not want was a facelift, because outside of my eyes, I didn't have much loose skin. My neck and jawline still looked good for a woman of my age. Eyelid surgery seemed appropriate for me.
I consulted with 2 plastic surgeons before having surgery. Both told me I would need an upper and lower blepharoplasty, but the surgeon I ended up picking had a much better personality. The doctors also charged within $600 of each other. Price was not my main concern. I liked the surgeon I picked better because he had a warmer personality. A person's personality, especially a person I'm going to let cut me open, matter a lot to me.
My eyelid surgery was done as in-office procedure under local anesthesia. I was sedated with medications but was not asleep (that's called general anesthesia). I knew what was going on during the surgery. This did not bother me, but I have friends who have told me they would much rather be knocked out for a surgical procedure.
Before my surgery began, my doctor reminded me of the potential side effects with eyelid surgery: infection, ectropian (when your lower eyelid buckles outward, showing the inside portion of the eyelid), risk of injury to the eye, bleeding and a hematoma. He had mentioned these risks at a previous visit, so I had time to mull things over. I knew the likelihood of these risks happening was slim and I was confident my surgeon knew what he was doing. It was still scary thinking about them though. I just decided the benefits outweighed the risks.
Then came what I like to call the 'arts and crafts' step of my surgery. The doctor used a Sharpie pen to make ellipse shaped outlines on my lower and upper eyelids. He explained that he had to remove just the right amount of excess skin and fat to give me the results I wanted. If he removed too much eyelid skin, I wouldn't be able to close my eyes. If he removed too little, I would be left with poor results.
The next part of my surgery involved lots of injections of the local anesthetic. They were injected into my upper and lower eyelid skin. My vision blurred a little as the anesthetic caused my skin to blow up. This went away after a few minutes, as the fluid that made up the anesthetic was absorbed by my body.
The anesthetic was left in for a little while until I was nice and numb. This is where I started to feel a little more uncomfortable. A surgical dressing was placed over my face, leaving the eye my doctor was going to work on exposed through a hole. I remember seeing my doctor's surgical tools coming towards my eye, but since I was partially blinded by the light overhead, it was difficult to make out what he was doing.
During the surgery I could smell flesh burning occasionally when my surgeon was sealing my blood vessels and some tugging. Besides that, I didn't really have any bad sensations or pain during the surgery.
The surgery was uncomfortable because of how I had to be positioned for nearly 2 hours and I could not wait for it to be finished. When my doctor was all done, the nurse began applying ice packs to my eyes. She told me the quicker my eyes were iced, the more swelling it would prevent.
I remained at my doctor's office for over an hour after my surgery was completed before going home. On my way out, the doctor warned me not to scratch my eyes, not get my face wet (I could shower, but was not allowed to wet my face for 48 hours.), not to bend over and to ice my eyes for 30 minutes every hour (This would prove to be the toughest part of my recovery --a small price to pay for having elective plastic surgery.).
The 3 days after surgery were slightly uncomfortable but not miserable. The worst part of my day was waking up because I felt like there was something in my eyes. Putting some eye drops in helped with this feeling.
Applying antibiotic ointment regularly, keeping my head upright at all times and not being able to get my face wet was a nuisance. Not being able to wet my face was a real bummer. I felt like my face badly needed to be washed and it took some self-restraint not to wash it. Icing every 30 minutes each hour and falling asleep with an ice pack or cold bag of peas on my eyes was a real pain. Positioning the cold compresses just right so it cooled my eyelids and didn't irritate my incisions was difficult. I had never had any surgeries previously and I was probably being a bit of a baby. Even so, the pain killers I was taking were easily able to control what little pain I experienced.
For the entire first week I was very swollen. The swelling was worse than the bruising, which I would say was mild. Icing my eyes so regularly helped a lot with this. I took aspirin every day too and that was a good anti-inflammatory.
I was originally supposed to get my stitches removed 5 days post-op, but when I went to that appointment, my doctor told me my stitches weren't yet ready to be removed. I had to return 3 days later and then they were removed.
Over the next couple of months my scars began to fade dramatically, until they were hardly visible. I now have no eye bags, droopy eyelids and have been left with a youthful appearance. I do not regret getting eyelid surgery at all. Just the right amount of skin and fat was removed from my lids and I'm thankful that my surgeon did a great job on me. I would return to him for other procedure in the future, although I hope I can stay away from going under the knife for a very long time to come.