The emotional road map through cosmetic surgery usually begins somewhere around dissatisfaction and follows a route through uncertainty, fear, courage, and hope, eventually winding up at happiness. Natasha describes her personal facelift journey.
“I grew up realizing I am not conventionally beautiful or even particularly pretty, but I’d be cheered by friends and family saying I had a mobile, sympathetic face that did me well enough. But when I turned fifty, I spent time in front of the mirror with my fingertips, lifting my face back into a younger, less saggy position, wistfully wishing I looked better than I did.
I talked a lot with Suzanne, a trusted friend, and, reassured, I decided on a facelift. She encouraged me to allow myself one cosmetic procedure and one alone, so I wouldn’t become addicted to wanting more and more. It was very wise advice. My biggest fear was suffering nerve damage from the operation. I even feared it might happen as a kind of Godly judgment on my vanity.
I was glad to have avoided television programs on the procedure, which I have subsequently watched and know would certainly have put me off.
The ideas that helped me were that it isn’t so different from having crowns on my teeth or dying the grey from my hair, and that I wouldn’t look different—just “refreshed.” This helped me feel I wasn’t going to abnormal lengths to preserve my youth or avoid the inevitability of old age. I just wanted to go on looking like I was enjoying life.
After more reassurance, I got the operation.
The staff was endlessly cheerful and kind, and made the whole project feel normal. They respected my need for staying in the closet about the facelift, except for a very few close friends. The nurse who was with me the first night was a saint. I can’t imagine anyone more sympathetic or helpful.
The first postoperative night was tough, but every day from then on was better. I sat up in bed for the first days and nights at home with a bed rest contraption to keep my head elevated and the swelling down. The stitches all round my head made lying on my side too sore. My best friend brought me goodies as I listened to taped books and music— not a bad way to spend four or five days.
Three weeks after the operation, I was back at work with a spectacular new hairstyle to draw people’s attention away from my new face. Amazingly, few people noticed anything, though I had a lot of comments about looking less tired.
So I look the same as I did before the operation, to myself and to others, except people now think I’m in my early forties. Strangely, I find I have more energy. What a bonus! I see myself a decade younger and behave as though I am.
I have no regrets at all—and, as yet, there has been no heavenly punishment.”