February 19, 2007 in Personal Interviews by Erica Hurtz | 41 Comments
Indiana, 42 (member name: indiana) went through five eye-related procedures in two years, including an upper/lower blepharoplasty and ptosis repair to the right eye on December 2004, a canthopexy in July 2005, a Y-V Endo Brow Lift, psotis repair, and bilateral eyelid reconstruction on December 2005, lower eyelid reconstruction, upper ptosis repair, and Coleman fat transfer on June 2006, and most recently a Coleman fat transfer to the upper & lower, left lower eye hard palate graft, and ptosis repair on December 2006. Still emerging from a difficult recovery journey, Indiana’s story underscores the importance of not only finding a good plastic surgeon but a specialist in the procedures you are seeking and the critical importance of conducting thorough research, and seeing various doctors before making a final decision.
See Indiana’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Album.
MMH: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?
Indiana: Mid to late 2004 just around about my 40th birthday. For a while people at work had been commenting that I looked tired all the time, and I grew tiresome of the remarks and decided to have a bleph. My ptosis in the right eye was also bothering me and I thought I’d do both things at the same time ie have ptosis repair and have upper and lower bleph.
MMH: What were your motivations (physical, emotional, social, etc.) behind your decision to have the procedure(s)?
Indiana: As mentioned above, people at work kept saying how tired I looked and I grew tired of hearing it; plus my right eye ptosis was getting worst and the right eye was much smaller than the left.
MMH: 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.
Indiana: It was probably an easy one as I thought it would be straight forward, just like all the other operations I had had; and I never even thought that there would be any complications. Little did I know.
MMH: 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?
Indiana: I made the decision without my friends and family as I knew they wouldn’t give me much support and would say I looked fine as I am.
MMH: 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).
Indiana: I researched bleph and ptosis repair a fair amount on the internet and is how I ended up finding Make Me Heal. I posted on the message boards and read up on the old messages and asked lots of questions to those that had already had blephs and this was very invaluable to me and provided a source of comfort as well as support.
MMH: 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.
Indiana: Yes, I used the MMH message boards to discuss with others whom had already had surgery for advice. It was very valuable to me.
MMH: How did you come to choose your doctor? Please mention how many consultations you had with different doctors before making your decision.
Indiana: Unfortunately I decided to use the same hospital I had had surgeries with over the past 10 years and chose one out of the two plastic surgeons there to do my bleph and ptosis repair. I only had one consult and I basically had done my homework before I saw him – which meant he had an easy job and didn’t need to persuade me. I never consulted with anyone else nor did I consult with an eye specialist.
MMH: 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.
Indiana: No, the surgeon didn’t discuss any of this with me.
MMH: 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.
Indiana: For my first surgery I was fairly unprepared though I believe I did get the eye packs and cool cloths to help my eyes heal afterwards; and I got some arnica. I did get some bed wedges as well which helped. I got some face and eye packs as well from the internet. For my second, third, fourth and fifth surgeries, I was a little more prepared down to the minute details and knew what to expect.
MMH: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself? Please discuss thoughts, fears, emotions, and prayers.
Indiana: My first blog will detail much ie http://indianaeyesheal.blogspot.com as to how I felt before and after my surgery including pictures.
MMH: 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?
Indiana: Again my blog shares in more detail my first and second surgery ie http://indianaeyesheal.blogspot.com and my third and fourth surgery are detailed in http://indianabrowhealing.blogspot.com. My fifth surgery is blogged in a private blog as I felt more comfortable being able to share without my surgeon reading my blog as I felt it affected our consults together.
MMH: Please discuss the pain or discomfort you experienced during the recovery?
Indiana: Each surgery was different; and is recorded daily in my blogs above.
MMH: 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?
Indiana: Talking and sharing with others at MMH message boards helped a lot to understand what others had gone through.
MMH: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?
Indiana: Take time off work to recover. For bleph recovery, purchase your face and eye packs, bed wedges, cloths for your eyes, lots of ice at home, eye pads, natural eye drops, lacrilube, arnica.
MMH: How long did you take off from work? 3 weeks each surgery (I’ve now had 5, with a 6th one upcoming later this year). What did you tell your co-workers about taking this time off?
Indiana: They knew about the first 3 though not the last 2 as I took the last 2 as annual leave. I was tired of people whispering behind my back that I’d had plastic surgery whereas they thought (cos I told them) that I was having eye surgery ie for the vision and not plastic surgery.
MMH: Did anyone notice your cosmetic procedures at work and what did you tell them if they asked about it?
Indiana: Yes people asked – I just evaded the subject and stuck to my original story ie that I’d had surgery cos of my Holmes Adie Symdrome.
MMH: How happy are you with the results?
Indiana: It varies with each surgery – I definitely was not happy with the first two surgeries which were done by a plastic surgeon at my local hospital. The last 3 were carried out by an ophthalmologist and an oculoplastic surgeon and I’m fairly happy with her work, albeit it still needs tweaking.
MMH: How has your makeover impacted your life from personal, social, career, and other respects?
Indiana: Having had 5 reconstructive surgeries so far has taken away 2 years of my life. When I embarked on this journey I thought it would just be 3 weeks out of my life and I’d get rid of the eye bags and ptosis and live life feeling happy and looking refreshed. Little did I know of the horror of the next 2 years would bring me with having to wear a wig cos the Y-V endo brow lift left scars on my scalp and hair loss, the humiliation of wearing a wig, the stares that people both at work and strangers in the street/shops would have at me when I wore my wig and cos of the deformity of my eyes. It’s been such a traumatic time in my life though I’m slowly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as my fifth surgery has helped a lot and my self esteem is back and my hair has grown and I’m able to smile a little more now; though I’m not quite there yet. I must say it’s also put me off surgeries for life. I think I’ll age gracefully from now on as I’ve missed out on the last 2 years of my life because of recovering from the surgeries I’ve had.
MMH: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?
Indiana: I would have used an oculoplastic surgeon in the first place; and I would have had a few consultations to find the one most suitable to my needs instead of the first person I had a consult with. That little extra money to pay for a couple of different consults makes all the difference. Bedside manner is important and it’s important to feel confident in your surgeon’s hands and to know that he is capable of doing the very best for you. Reading other people’s reviews of those surgeons’ work is also really invaluable.
MMH: What is your final word of advice to other people considering the procedure(s) you had?
Indiana: Seek a specialist in the surgery you intend to take and don’t just go to any old plastic surgeon. Research, research, and research more. Ask questions on the MMH message board, ask for advice, ask people if they’ve used that particular doctor before.
MMH: Was Make Me Heal beneficial to you along your journey?
Indiana: Yes, definitely. it put me in touch with many others out there who had taken the journey before me and their support has been invaluable to me online at any time of the day 24/7 when my family and friends were not there or able to understand or support me. I hope I’ve also helped others out there who’ve been reading my blog the past 2 years.