Fashion & Beauty

Diary of a Decision

January 25, 2022

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Photo above and on the front, iStock.

Photo here and on the front, iStock.

By Janet Kelly

IS THERE a certain age when vanity is no longer a concern—when you can look at yourself in the mirror and be happy—or at least satisfied—with the image reflected? Anyone out there so secure? Not I,  although I applaud Valerie Monroe, who writes in Substack’s “How Not to F*ck Up Your Face” that we don’t need to fix our faces, we just need to learn how to accept them.

Then there’s SJP’s alter ego Carrie Bradshaw in And Just Like That, who has an accidental consultation with a plastic surgeon and decides afterwards that she doesn’t want to erase the lines of the past 15 years, even though, as my colleague comments, her face is quite drawn. Maybe a little fat transfer?

Like Carrie, my face is thin, but mine is kind of pruning in. Fillers have filled it in in the past, but my DC doctor told me that at a certain point, Voluma, Restylane, et al., no longer do the job; in fact, they can make your face look weirdly over-plumped. Take a look at Kristin Davis aka Charlotte in the Sex and the City reboot.

Last month I decided to do some local legwork on plastic surgery. I made two appointments—one with a plastic surgeon and another with an oculoplastic surgeon to discuss a facelift and an eyelift (blepharoplasty), respectively. I had some confidence in both doctors thanks to my good friend, a retired nurse anesthetist, who had worked with both during many surgeries and admired them—a lot. (She had an eyelift 10 years ago with one doc and has scheduled her own facelift with the other in July. )

After examining my face and saying something about how he didn’t advise a brow lift, Dr. M., the plastic surgeon, recommended a fat transfer for my face hollows, along with a cheek and neck lift for sagging muscles. Oy. He took lots of photos, explained the operation (cost: approximately $15k) and how long it would take to heal. He wants me to return so he can map out the procedure looking at those pictures. Wonder if he has a fancy machine like Carrie’s doctor?

What gave me pause was he didn’t seem keen on doing much to my eyes, specifically my upper lids. Every dermatologist in DC whom I saw advised me to have an upper eyelift.

A couple of weeks later, I saw Dr. B., the oculoplastic surgeon. He, too, took photos but had an entirely different, er, view, of my eyes. He was confident my droopy eyelids were not only impairing my vision but also that insurance would pay for the surgery ($6,000 to $7,000; for both lids it would be $10,000+). He told me I was unknowingly opening my eyes wider to compensate for my vision. When I tentatively told him I had seen Dr. M., who was not as enthusiastic about an eye fix, he assured me that he and Dr. M. were good friends, and Dr. M. preferred facelifts to blepharoplasty. Dr. B. also advised me to get an eyelift before a facelift. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t need the latter after you have your eyes done, he said. I had heard that advice before—from another friend , who had an eyelift from Dr. B. a couple of years ago. To date, she’s not considering any further surgery.

Just a couple of days ago, a woman in Dr. M.’s office called me to ask if I had any questions and,  I presume, to make another appointment to review the photos. I told her I’d get back to her. In the meantime, I did make an appointment with Dr. B. for an upper eyelift at the end of April. I’m debating whether to keep it.

My predicament: I know it’s my only life, but it’s also my only face. If only I could learn to accept it or reach the age where I no longer give a damn.









14 thoughts on “Diary of a Decision

  1. Jane says:

    When I was in my 50s (20 years ago) and newly divorced, I realized that neither my annoying double-D’s nor my heavy eyelids were ever going to get me mistaken for Ava Gardner, and so I had both (or all four) hugely modified. Recently, looking at a photo of my 50-year old son I noticed his nice heavily lidded eyes and was surprised to recognize my old eyes — and my mother’s. A short wave of nostalgia about what had been passed by, then gratitude that I had been cheeky enough to do it.

  2. Jodie Klein says:

    I say, if insurance covers it, it’s a no brainer!

  3. Diana Bulger says:

    Go for it. It will make you feel good, and the eye lift heals fairly quickly. You can do in in the doctor’s office without having to go in for surgery.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      And not having to go to a hospital is a good thing in these Covid times!

  4. stephanie Cavanaugh says:

    Pruning in, eh? Sounds familiar. Just get fat.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      If only the fat would go to the right places …

  5. Ellen Lebow says:

    You will look like you’ve lost a prize fight for about 1 week, but who’s going out anyway??

  6. caren sniderman says:

    What so many of us ol’ ladies ponder. A friend of mine, just 65, confided that she recently had a face lift. “I would not recommend it,” she said. And this is a tough gal who has had hip replacement, rotator cuff surgery, plasma injections – with no complaints. Lots of bruising and pain. And a possible scarring above her eye.

  7. Carol says:

    Wow… I look in my magnifying mirror (before make up) and see my mom. She never wore any make up except lipstick but that’s who she was. I’m ok right now as long as I can use makeup… wish I had taken better care of my skin over the years.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Don’t we all wish that, Carol? Reflectors and baby oil, what were we thinking?

  8. cynthia tilson says:

    These decisions are so intensely personal, although the very act of considering plastic surgery invites public opinion, scrutiny, and judgment.

    I did my eyes 15 years ago to please my (ex) husband. This time, I want to please only me. I feel so much younger and more vibrant than my sagging neck would suggest. I’m fortunate to be able to afford such a luxury, and healthy enough that statistically, I’ll breeze through elective surgery of this type.

    I think the wisdom that comes with age needn’t be reflected in our appearance, but rather an open-minded respect for each to her own decisions about nipping and tucking – or not! And anyone who disagrees can talk to my wrinkly, weathered hand or kiss my sagging…
    Well, you get the idea!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I left myself open to comments on the subject …

      But appreciate your support that it’s an individual decision and the thought that wisdom doesn’t have to be reflected in one’s appearance!

  9. Christine Ledbetter says:

    I want a lower face and neck lift but have been putting it off. I did do my eyes last year, and haven’t regretted it.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      And, you look terrific!

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