A Different Kind of Lift: Reflections on My Recent “Experiment”

Author: Lynne C., Patient

I’ve always been the smart girl, not the pretty girl. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with my looks—I was blessed with a baby face and good genetics that left me with gorgeous skin and kept people thinking I was a good decade younger than I am—up until recently. In 2009, I had a blepharoplasty performed at Texas Oculoplastic Consultants that was completely covered by my medical insurance. In addition to my improved peripheral vision, I suddenly looked younger and more alert—and most importantly, happier. I had been through a difficult divorce that had left me feeling sad—and it showed. After the blepharoplasty, the light suddenly returned to my eyes.

Fast forward 6 years. My career has taken off and now I’m in high-tech marketing. 52 isn’t old… but we all know that as women age, they are often discounted in the workplace (and we won’t even talk about the dating scene). It occurred to me that if I want to work well into my 60s, I might need to think about plastic surgery at some point. So, I set up a consultation with Dr. Tanuj Nakra. I had heard about Dr. Nakra not only from the wonderful TOC surgeon who did my blepharoplasty in 2009, but from my friend Jennifer Jacobsen, RN who recently joined the staff at Toccáre. It was an enlightening experience, and I learned a lot about why my face was changing—losing volume and feeling the effects of gravity. Toward the end of my consultation, I asked the magic question, “If I have a facelift and then lose weight, is that problematic?” Dr. Nakra advised me that I should be within 15 pounds of my goal weight to get the best and longest-lasting results. He also mentioned that I might want to try Botox® before my upcoming high school reunion.

Then, I got a magical text. My friend Jennifer was working with the company representative on techniques for injecting Radiesse® Volumizing Filler and needed a subject. I quickly rearranged my schedule and popped over to the lovely Toccáre Medical Spa. A bit of numbing cream and an hour later, I had been poked and prodded by needles in my cheeks, around my nose and in my chin and lips. It was a bit uncomfortable and rather weird. But at the end, the results were remarkable! My cheeks filled out (which helped minimize my dark circles and the sallowness under my eyes) and my “marionette” lines were minimized. However, something was still not right. I had a furrowed brow (I come from a long line of worriers) and a few too many lines around my eyes. Plus, one eyebrow was sitting just a tad lower than the other. So, a few days later, I returned to try Botox. Although I know that it typically takes a couple of weeks to see the full effect, my results were almost instantaneous.* By bedtime, my eyebrows were even, the “11” between my eyes was diminished, and the wrinkles by my eyes starting to soften (not gone, just a bit of natural softening).

The past couple of weeks, I’ve seen even more positive effects around my eyes and eyebrows from the Botox injections. As my quite-wise college-age son says, “it’s subtle, Mom… people aren’t supposed to notice.” And it is. This weekend I had my first, “You look fabulous—you must tell me what you’ve been doing!” That was from a yoga classmate who is always observing changes in my hairstyles, so she is much more in tune with these things than the average person. But here’s what surprised me most—I’ve gotten a huge psychological lift out of this experience. It has been a decade since I felt comfortable about leaving the house without make-up on in the morning. Now, I wake up looking refreshed and ready to go rather than like I’m half dead. The face in the mirror once again matches my vibrant personality. Plus, having my face look more radiant is somehow getting me more motivated about exercising and eating right. And this experiment… well, I’m pretty sure it’s going to become a way of life and that it will help me to “age gracefully” and stay relevant in the workplace!

*Neurotoxins typically take 7-10 days to take effect; immediate results are rare.