This topic is one of my most requested and I apologize it has taken me so long to address it. But before I get started, let me tell you right now that plastic surgery is a sensitive topic for some. And if you are here to criticize, not to support, the community that has requested to read about my experience with blepharoplasty, then I suggest you leave immediately. I am sharing my experience because I know I can be a valuable resource to those who are interested in the procedure.
Furthermore, I want to make it clear that I’ve only had blepharoplasty done. I’ve been blessed with my grandfather’s large, high-bridged nose [and his heavy monolid eyes], which he gets from his mother. I will post a photo of my grandparents as “proof” later tonight, which I know some self-absorbed, entitled folks will inevitably demand. Generally, I would not [and will not] fulfill such requests but my grandparents are beautiful and highly intelligent people so I will take up this opportunity to show them. [Unfortunately, my grandmother requests that I do not post the picture. Maybe one day!]
Plastic surgery can change lives for the better, as long as you use caution! It’s all about MODERATION. I wish I had a larger cup size, more chiseled cheeks, a plump top lip… Who the heck doesn't? But the only cosmetic procedure I have ever considered is blepharoplasty. And no, I don’t have pictures of my eyes pre-op or post-op. I never thought to take pictures of the healing process at the time.
Now, be prepared. This is a long entry!
I wanted to have the surgery after my high school graduation, which is when most girls tend to have the surgery done. My grandmother, however, threw a fit and said that I had my grandfather’s eyes [and his nose] and refused to allow me to have the surgery done. So for one year, I saved up the funds to have the surgery done, $2200. But in that one year, the surgery went up to $2700. I, however, had received a quote earlier that year for $2200, so my doctor decided to charge me $2400 instead. Many may find that to be quite high number for blepharoplasty but believe me, you do not want any issues with your eyes post-op. My aunt, who went to a reputable Korean surgeon in LA, had to re-operate on one of her eyes.
Moral of the story: you get what you pay for. Don’t take risks with your eyes! Furthermore, I do not believe it is worth the funds to visit Korea or Japan to have your eyes done. I’ve seen more shoddy results than not from those overseas trips. Save the plane ticket money and visit a talented, reputable surgeon here in CA.
Check out my doctor, Peter Newen, here: His website!
Back to the story, though. Let’s see… It was the end of my freshman year in college. I spoke to my grandmother about it one more time and instead of disagreeing, she offered to help me with the few hundred I was short. We went to see my surgeon together and I scheduled my appointment for two weeks later. I was jumping up and down with joy. My grandmother, bless her dear soul, cried.
On that hot June summer day, I stepped into the waiting room and was escorted by a very friendly, gentle nurse. I went to the bathroom, took off all my clothes and donned a white gown as well as those funny-looking shoe-cover booties, which are like hairnets for your shoes. This was when I started to get a bit nervous. Why? Because I am deathly afraid of needles. I never even get flu shots because I’m so paranoid. But the nurse was incredibly skilled and I barely felt the needle puncture my skin. Then I waited patiently for 15 minutes, sitting next to my IV, before I was escorted into the Operating Room. The next thing I knew, I was looking up at the bright lights and I could hear my doctor’s voice in the background saying, “Rae, I am injecting Happy Juice into your IV. You won’t be asleep but you’ll feel very relaxed and happy.” Hence, Happy Juice! To this day, I’m not quite sure what Happy Juice is but that liquid is AMAZING, a GOD-SEND. I numbly recall feeling the local anesthesia, one shot per eye, as well as the first suture and the thread pull through, but it was not painful at all. And the rest of the surgery? I did not feel a single thing. I could hear a bit of chatter between my surgeon and his nurses but I didn’t even bother trying to listen to their conversation because I was in such a blissful state of mind. My doctor asked me repeatedly if I was awake to keep me from falling asleep. Periodically, he requested that I look up, to the right, and to the left to ensure that the sutures were aligned. I remember smiling the entire length of the operation LOL The procedure lasted approximately 40 minutes. That’s a long time to be smiling, don’t you think? My poor chipmunk cheeks were crying out in pain, but my brain refused to acknowledge it.
After I was wheeled out of the OR, I was helped into a wheelchair and driven home. Yes, I was still smiling. Once I had enough energy to get my numb body off the couch, I went to the bathroom and took a good look at myself. I surveyed my eyes first. They were massively swollen and blood was beginning to coagulate around the sutures. It sounds awful but it really wasn’t bad. I was expected a bloody mess, which was my aunt’s experience. The blood was very, very minimal – just at the sutures. My doctor told me the bleeding would stop after a couple days, which it did. He told me the swelling would take about a month but I healed extraordinarily quickly, in just two weeks! I can’t guarantee everyone will have the same experience with the swelling that I did, though. You know what they say, “Hope for sunshine, prepare for rain!” It really just depends on your skin sensitivity and other natural factors that we can’t control.
And if any of you are curious, my eyes are naturally uneven, as is 99% of the world's. My left eye is bigger than my right, and when I asked my doctor to correct this curse, he refused. Why? Because the muscles behind your eyes should not be altered during surgery. It could cause complications later on and more importantly, your surgery may not turn out well. In short, it’s not worth the risk. Another component I think should address is that I requested medium-sized lids. Avoid too-subtle, tiny lids. They will just get swallowed up as you age. Oh, the joys of gravity!
My doctor, one of the most reputable surgeons here in Southern California, recommends that patients be at least 18 at the time of the procedure. Why? Because your face is still growing and changing. I’ve seen girls who had the procedure done when they were too young and now, their sutured lids stop before their eyes naturally end. Any doctor who says otherwise is trying to take your money and not considering your well-being. So when is the best time to get the surgery? The summer before you head off to college. You can always have it done later, too.
Now, why did I want the surgery? I consider that one of those silly questions because the answer is so simple. I wanted larger eyes. Even if I did tell you that I had a legitimate medical reason, detractors would rip it apart so I'd rather leave the matter up to speculation and allow them to make whatever judgments they like. For those of you asking how I dealt with the negative feedback I received in real life.. my mother told me, "They're just jealous because you could afford it and they can't." And I hate to be in the position where I have to be frank about it, but she was right. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but many of the girls who did say petty things about my procedure were the ones who wanted it [secretly or otherwise] but could not afford it. So if you're scared people will judge you, just ignore them and live your own life, doing what you want to do! I know is easier said than done, but it's an experience that will toughen you up for the real world.
I’ll conclude with this: I wish I were 5’9 and model thin instead of being 5’1 and “pleasantly plump.” I wish I could dance like Beyonce and sing like Feist. I also wish I could lay naked in a bed of Tahitian pearls, tanning all day long with an Appletini in my hand and of course, not have to work. [That’s a show of my sarcastic ability, if any of you didn’t pick that up ;)]
The point is, everyone, we all want what we can’t have. Work with what you’ve got, whether that be your resources or your natural face, and do what makes you happy. And if you still have a problem with my surgery, maybe it's because you haven't encountered the real world yet because being narrowly-minded and immature about plastic surgery is a thing of the past. Let's just all do what makes us happy. And to keep things in perspective, some women spend more on transforming themselves into blondes every few months than people like me spend on one surgery that usually lasts a lifetime. Who's to say that one is not more 'true' to themselves than another? It is easy to judge and criticize when you're behind the glass wall but no one has the right to determine what being 'true' to yourself is. Be confident in your decisions and I repeat, do what makes you happy. If you don't know what that entails, you will find the answer one day.
Wishing you all the best,