February 9, 2007 in Personal Interviews by Erica Hurtz | 32 Comments
Erin Hayter (member name: uniqueerin) undertook breast augmentation (on January 19, 1999), bilateral breast lift (December 26, 2005, and a mini face lift (January 11, 2007) to boot that led to a beautiful transformation. Although her face lift results are still taking shape, she already looks 10-15 years younger than her true age and no one guesses that 50-year old Erin had help from the scalpel. We learn from her story that it is not enough to choose the right doctor, but to go through a serious research process to be physically and emotionally prepared and the positive impact of being part of an online community in which you can exchange ideas and get additional support. Erin used Las Vegas, Nevada-based Dr. William Rifley (http://www.rifleymd.com) for all her procedures.
See Erin’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Album.
Make Me Heal: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?
Erin: My breast augmentation I had thought about for a few years (maybe 1996/1997) and living in Las Vegas you can’t help to not think about it! I started noticing my face in the last couple of years and decided at 50 that was what I was going to take care of.
Make Me Heal: What were your motivations (physical, emotional, social, etc.) behind your decision to have the procedure(s)?
Erin: Physically, I wanted change. I’m happy overall with my physical appearance. Never a weight problem, either too much or not enough and I’ve always taken care of myself. So, my breasts were the first to change from a B cup to a DD and I am very happy with this change. My face was a change to match up with how I feel physically and emotionally. There were no social motivations. These were changes for me and I have never really conformed to societal expectations. I am my own person and take pride in that quality.
Make Me Heal: How long did it take you to make a decision and was it an easy or difficult one to make? Please explain why it was easy or difficult.
Erin: My decisions were made easily because they were something I wanted. My research took longer than my decision and I have no regrets.
Make Me Heal: Did your family, friends, and any other people in your close circle give you support, opposition, or did you make this decision without considering them?
Erin: My partner, daughter and supervisor/friend were the only ones who knew of my decision and they were supportive to my decision regardless of their individual views of physical revisions. I only considered myself and hoped for their support.
Make Me Heal: How did you research the procedure(s) and come to decide on this particular procedure(s). Please discuss your research process and all research sources you used (online, books, recommendations, word of mouth).
Erin: For my breast augmentation I researched about 6 months after deciding to have the procedure. I talked to a lot of women/ friends who had implants and found out who their surgeon was. I also read and asked a lot about placement, incision, implant type, recovery, etc., et., at http://www.implantinfo.com/. I had 5 consultations, one out of state and finally made my decision to go with Dr. Rifley based on referrals from friends and co-workers. I went to Dr. Rifley for my breast lift based on my augmentation with him. My initial consult for a mini face lift was also with Dr. Rifley and there was no need to look further. He and his staff answered my questions and it was as simple as choosing a date.
Make Me Heal: Please discuss if you used any of Make Me Heal’s resources such as the message boards, pictures library, doctor directory and doctor reviews, and any recovery and preparation products that you used.
Erin: While looking for info. on mini face lifts, I came across the Make Me Heal site and a lot of my questions regarding post-op recovery and before and after pics helped relieve some of the anxieties about having my face worked on. I’ll probably continue to visit on a regular basis. The support from the women was so strong after I downloaded my pics; it was overwhelming.
Make Me Heal: How did you come to choose your doctor? Please mention how many consultations you had with different doctors before making your decision. Please discuss if you have any role in deciding the type of technique used for your surgery by the doctor, incision placements, implant brand, anesthesia type, etc.
Erin: Since I had done so much research on breast implants, I knew I wanted round, saline, under the muscle (which he did). I wasn’t too concerned with incision as long as it wasn’t through my belly-button. I trusted my doctor on the implant brand (Mentor) and anesthesia. He ended up doing a crease incision for my initial augmentation and my breast lift.
Make Me Heal: How did you prepare for the surgery? You can discuss everything from products you purchased, home preparations, and preparations involving your family and work. If you purchased any products featured on the Makemeheal.com site, please specify them.
Erin: I prepared for my breast augmentation physically by running and working out as much as I could since I knew I would be unable to for a while and I wanted to be in good shape both physically and emotionally and running has always been my outlet for both. It’s hard to remember how I prepared in 1999 for my implants. I know I told everyone and there was a huge recliner waiting for me and lots of soup! My breast lift surgery was minimally invasive and I pretty much did the same as far as being in good physical condition. And, the big recliner was there for me again!! I had no problem taking time off of work and my friends and family knew ahead of time so they were anxious to see me post-op. I did have a very bad reaction to the surgical tape used after surgery and had huge blisters where the tape has been and for a while, I thought I’d have scars for ever. But, I didn’t, Neosporin works wonders. For my mini face lift, I took a week off, which gave me a total of 11 days, started taking Arnica Montana about 10 days prior to surgery and once again hit the treadmill! My friends and co-workers didn’t know (something different about having your face worked on that keeps you from telling everyone), now everyone knows and even the non-believers are supportive!
Make Me Heal: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself? Please discuss thoughts, fears, emotions, and prayers.
Erin: On all three of my surgeries I was a nervous wreck, you always hear a story about how something went wrong with someone’s procedure and visions fly! I dreamt I went in for my face lift and came out looking the same! I called my doc the next day and talked about the dream. The staff was very patient and helpful for every call I made. I cried prior to all three. don’t ask why, I just did. Nerves, lack of food, fears of the unknown, or maybe we’ll call it tradition for me! I asked my partner to pray for me and she did, she would’ve even if I hadn’t asked.
Make Me Heal: How was the recovery process? Please discuss what side effects you experienced? What were the worse parts of the recovery? Did anyone help you during the recovery?
Erin: Recovery for my augmentation was the most painful. Due to my allergic reaction to the surgical tape the blisters it caused were the worst. Other than that, I was back at work about 10 days later. I was a blackjack dealer at the time and I was a little sore reaching across the table but nothing intolerable. The recovery from the breast lift was also minimally painful (yes, they used surgical tape, even after I told them!) The tape came off right away and I went to work about 7 days later. I’d have to say the worse part of recovery for any surgery is being bored for me. After my mini face lift I felt so good I did hit the treadmill about day 6 and caused a hematoma where he had liposuctioned under my chin. I learned my lesson and will not do anything until I get the thumbs up. No side effects from the anesthesia and outside of a little swelling and bruising on the face, I’d do it again in a heartbeat and recommend twice as fast. My partner has been extremely helpful, although recovery was easy, it was nice to have her there for support and to keep my blanket on me and help me to the bathroom in case I did get light-headed.
Make Me Heal: Please discuss the pain or discomfort you experienced during the recovery?
Erin: The pain for my augmentation was probably the worse, but I come from a line of pain tolerant women so it was still minimal for me. I’m still recovering from my face lift and although there are some tender spots, nothing to complain about.
Make Me Heal: How well prepared were you for the recovery from physical, emotional, and mental respects? Did you do any research (i.e. online, books, message boards, etc.) to make your recovery smoother?
Erin: As far as post-op recovery, being familiar from my previous recoveries, I was prepared. I continued to go to http://www.implantinfo.com/ for post-op on my augmentation and that was helpful because they were experiencing the same that I was. I didn’t do much for my breast lift, as this was minimally invasive (he just raised the crease and no nipple adjustment). For my face, my doctor and his staff were very helpful in preparing me for recovery. They encouraged me to call if I have any questions. I have also found it helpful to visit Make Me Heal on a regular basis, just to make sure I’m on the same page as most.
Make Me Heal: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?
Erin: I swear by Arnica Montana for bruising and swelling (check with your doctor first). Ask questions either to your doctor or Make Me Heal message board. When they say take it easy and don’t do anything. Listen!
Make Me Heal: How long did you take off from work? What did you tell your co-workers about taking this time off? Did anyone notice your cosmetic procedures at work and what did you tell them if they asked about it?
Erin: The most I took off for any of the procedures was a total of 11 days and that’s counting my off days (I work 4 day weeks). My co-workers knew of breast augmentation but not the breast lift of mini face lift until afterwards. Everyone noticed my new breasts, but only a few have noticed my face (actually they have noticed bruising and/ or stitches). When they do say something, I pull out the before and after pics and they are surprised and very supportive. I have no shame in what I do to better myself. I work hard at life and I as well as all of us deserve to be proud of who we are and the means it takes us to be a better or happier individual.
Make Me Heal: How happy are you with the results?
Erin: Very, I hope the face doesn’t change much during recovery. I will continue to stay on top of new procedures and if it’s something for me, it’s done. Not over the edge, I do want to continue life gracefully and not make a fool of myself.
Make Me Heal: How has your makeover impacted your life from personal, social, career, and other respects?
Erin: I have always been the optimist and positive self-esteem always present. This has only confirmed who I am and helped me remain where I want to be personally.
Make Me Heal: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?
Erin: Maybe me eyes, but it’s too soon to say.
Make Me Heal: What is your final word of advice to other people considering the procedure(s) you had?
Erin: Do your homework, feel good about your doctor, and sign the waivers. Enjoy your life!
Make Me Heal: Was Make Me Heal beneficial to you along your journey?
Erin: Absolutely, I’m not sure if this site was around in 1999 but as long as I know it’s there for me now. The questions and answers, before and after pics, products available, etc., etc.. The support and encouragement are awesome.