My Experience with CO2 Laser and Fat Transplants in the Face

I am a 57 year old female on the outside, but am only 25 on the inside. I exercise and eat all of the right foods. I have energy galore and have a good outlook on life. One thing that I wanted to change is to have my outside match the way that I feel. So after much prayer and research, I decided to do what I could to make this happen.

After a free consultation with Dr. Marvel, he and I discussed the problem areas that I had. I have been out in the sun all my life. I am a runner and am outside for about 45 minutes a day, I also spent another 30 minutes a day outside when I was a school teacher and would take my class outside for play time. I can’t express how much I love the outdoors, but my skin would tell you differently. I am ready to do whatever I have to to keep my skin young looking and supple and told Dr. Marvel so.

Dr. Marvel carefully examined my skin and told me that a CO2 laser would get rid of the fine lines and wrinkles on my face. He also suggested that fat transplants under my eyes and around the nasal labial folds would help fill out my face and make it look younger. In case you don’t know, the fat comes from your own body and has been proven to do a good job in filling in lines and wrinkles in the cheeks and nasal labial folds. Dr. Marvel took ample time with me and made me feel comfortable that this would be the best procedure for me.

CO2 laser and fat transplants

The office nurse gave me a date that the doctor would be available to do these procedures. I had to think about it for about a week before I came to the conclusion that I was ready to take the plunge.

When I arrived at the doctors’ office on the assigned date, I was scared to death. I think petrified would be more like it. Several of the nurses had already had the laser treatment and talked me through it and told me what to expect. They said the burning only lasted a little while. They gave me some medicine that made me go to sleep. I don’t even remember the ride home in the car, and when I got home, I dived onto the couch and slept until 5:00. I did wake up for a bit, went back to sleep, woke up at 8:00 and ate some cereal. I was woozy the entire night. But hey, I had NO trouble sleeping that night. I went to sleep in the recliner so I would have my head elevated like they said, but I found myself in bed the following morning.

DAY 2:
I woke up this morning, and my face felt pretty tight. I washed my face for the first time. There were little splotches of blood and I tried to get them off. I was afraid to rub too hard, so they didn’t come off. I put on the products that the doctor’s office gave me. Hey girls and guys, I have checked with other doctors about this procedure, and they have you BUY some products BEFORE you have this laser done. Dr. Marvel’s office GIVES it to you. So there is a plus right there.

My face feels very tight this morning, and is pretty red and swollen. But there is no pain whatsoever, so that is a blessing. I don’t feel bad at all, so I will probably tackle some things that need to be done around the house, plus, I am lucky enough to be able to do some work at home. I was talking to one of the nurses yesterday who had this same procedure. I remember how she looked when I was in the nurse’s office. She just looked like maybe she had been a smoker and had lots of sun damage. She peeked in on me yesterday, and she looked SO much younger! She said that she was able to go out in public after about 5 days. I hope this will be the same for me. However, if I were to go and see some of the children that I work with today, they would run screaming. So, I’m kind of looking forward to being at home and just hanging out. I’ll let you know how things are going this afternoon.

Day 2 afternoon:
I think I am still feeling the effects of the medications that I took yesterday. I have been dozing off and on all day. That is not like me! I think my eyes are so swollen that it feels like I need to close them, so I have. Not a bad way to spend a cold winter’s day. Once again, I want to emphasize that I am in no pain whatsoever. I do have a binder around my stomach where they took the fat from my stomach. I have not taken it off, as I am kind of afraid to look at it. I am sure that I will take a shower tonight and will look at it then.

My face is still swollen, and I have heard that the third day (tomorrow) is the worst day. I will take more pictures tomorrow and will let you know. I am so proud of my husband, he has not looked at me with disgust or has said anything derogatory. It just goes to show that our families love and accept us no matter if we look old or if we look burned from a laser treatment! Thank God for families!

Day 3:
This morning when I woke up, it felt like my eyes were more swollen than usual. They do seem to be, and I immediately put my cold compresses on them. It feels really weird that I can see the sides of my face out of the corner of my eyes. One thing that I have noticed is that the brown color ( I guess where the old skin is going to peel off) does not seem so noticeable. I have not really experienced any itching, and it doesn’t seem as if there is skin peeling off yet. Maybe that is later.

One thing I haven’t addressed yet is the place where they took the fat out of my abdomen. It really hasn’t bothered me at all until yesterday. I peeked under the bandage and it looks quite bruised. I am scared to take that bandage off, so (this is gross) I haven’t had a bath or shower since the procedure. I will HAVE to take one today, so I guess I will have to look at it. Isn’t it funny how things sometimes don’t hurt until you see that yes indeed, you do have a boo boo? I have a binder on and the nurse told me that I will have to wear that for about 6 weeks. But the funny thing is, it is up above the place where the incision is. I don’t understand why, but I will definitely follow the doctor’s orders.

Another thing I want to emphasize is that I have been drinking TONS of water. I have a
water container that is 74.4 ounces. I drank one and a half of these yesterday. Water flushes out the toxins and also keeps the skin moist. I also started taking high doses of Vitamin C two weeks before the laser procedure. I am still taking it, and this is supposed to keep the bruising and swelling to a minimum. I don’t have any bruising, but the swelling…well it doesn’t seem to have helped this at all.

I think I am going to have to go for a ride today, just to get out of the house. Thankfully, I have a job where I can do work at home if I want to. I am working on our church’s Vacation Bible School so that has kept me quite busy. It has also been quite cloudy, so I got to go and sit out on our covered porch yesterday. I certainly wouldn’t want for anyone to see me like this! Women and children would run screaming!

DAY 4
I am a Children’s Minister at First Methodist Church in Manchester, and of course, I could not go to church today. I really don’t know how people exist without going to church. I have not been depressed at all about how I look, but I feel sort of depressed that I could not go to church today.

I really can’t tell any difference in my face today from yesterday, only that perhaps it looks a little more red. My eyes are still swollen and my cheeks feel extremely full. I have been faithful about cleaning my face five times a day. It kind of reminds me of the Muslims who face the east and pray five times a day. But each time that I wash my face, I say a little prayer for someone (and I also pray for my face, that it will heal and look nice). I had a pad over my stomach where they took the fat, and I took that off yesterday. It is really blue and looks pretty bad. I saw in my folder that I was supposed to be massaging this area for 30 minutes a day. Somehow I missed this, but I will begin today to start taking better care of it. It hurts a little if I have to cough or sneeze.

It is a cloudy day today and not too cold, so I think I may go and sit on my covered porch (and YES I am wearing sunscreen, I think I will put this on before I put on my underwear from now on!) I would love to go out and eat today, but I would probably put the other patrons in shock and they would not be hungry if I walked in, so I guess I will just eat what we have here at the house. It really seems strange not to just jump in the car and go whenever I feel like it.

Yesterday I got on my treadmill (I am a runner) and walked at 3.5 mph for 30 minutes, then I worked on my Vacation Bible School stuff, then I got on my ellipse for 30 minutes. Neither time did I work up a sweat. I am just so used to being active, I felt like I had to do some sort of exercise.

I have kept my cold compresses on my face at various times of the day. I don’t know if this helps or not, it doesn’t seem to affect the swelling, but it feels good. I bought a hot/cold pad at Wal-Mart for about $2.00. They send you home with some contraption that ties around you, but it drips water every time that I use it. So I have been using the Wal-Mart brand compress.

Once again, I want to emphasize that there is NO PAIN. Thank the Lord, I thought there would be burning and such, because they all said in the doctor’s office that it would feel like a bad sunburn. They said this like this would make me feel OK, but hey, I think a bad sunburn hurts like h***.

DAY 5
Today I had my follow up with Dr. Marvel. I wore my big sunglasses and a scarf so I wouldn’t offend anyone. I must say, it was pretty nice to get in the car and go somewhere. There was some ice and snow this morning and I called Dr. Marvel’s office to make sure they would be there. They were, so we bundled up in the car and went to Tullahoma.

When I arrived, I was wrapped up in my garb so no one would have to see the condition that I was in. I went to the window, and the ladies made sure that I went right in. That was a blessing because my face still looks like someone ran over it with a tractor. There is still a lot of redness and the marks from the laser are still there.

I went in to the examination room, and Melinda, the office nurse/manager, talked to me for a few minutes. She said that I was healing very well, and it was to be expected to look rough for a few days longer. Dr. Marvel came in and made sure that all my questions were answered and also reassured me that I was healing normally. He said that probably by the end of the week (today is Monday) I should be able to go out in public. He wants me to come back in a week to make sure that everything is OK.

I’ve got to admit, even though it has been kind of hard to not be able to go anywhere because of how I look, it has really been relaxing to not have a schedule to follow. For 30 years, I have lived by the clock, gone to work, come home and done housework, and now it is just like time has stopped. It is funny, because just today, I was counting the days to see how many that I had left to just recuperate!

DAY 6
Today my face looks better! It does not look like a tractor has run over it. The red marks from the laser are much better and not as noticeable. One thing that I am not happy with is that I have a fever blister. When I went for a consultation, the doctor asked me if I had ever had any fever blisters before. Of course, I said yes, but it had been years. I guess that there is something about this procedure that makes fever blisters reappear. I also have some of the little white bumps that are possible after laser. This is called millia but is not anything to be worried about.

My fat transplants in my cheeks feel very hard and my cheeks are still pretty swollen. I know this is normal, but I sure hope this goes down before I go back to work. I just don’t want to look like I have had some work done. But hey, I really think it is all going to be worth it after it is all said and done.

Last night I slept on more pillows and my head was more elevated than it has been. Maybe that is why the swelling seems to be better today. I guess I should have been doing this all along.

I still am not ready to go out in public yet. I am back on my exercise routine, and I will take a shower and maybe try to put on a little make up and just see what happens. I’m thinking that by Friday I may be able to go out and eat with my friends and just see if they notice anything.

DAY 7
My face continues to improve, but I have developed a fever blister. There are a couple of lesions on my lip and a blister above my lip. I called Dr. Marvel’s office and they gave me a prescription for this. I’m doing everything that I can to heal as quickly as possible. I am taking tons of vitamin C and a multi -vitamin which I think both will aid in the healing process.

I have put makeup on today and have been out in public. My skin looks good, but there is a lot of peeling going on today. If you look close, you can see the dead skin peeling off. I really feel it is better to stay in and wash your skin the five times a day as recommended if you can for the first week.

I have one more day off before I have to go back to work. I have found it fun/boring/relaxing to be at home for so many days. I don’t know if I am ready to go back to the daily grind or not. It has certainly been a time of self reflexion. Today I have been a little depressed that I spent all this money on such a selfish venture. But this has been on my bucket list for many years, and I’m hoping that it will be worth it. If you feel better about yourself and happier, how can that not be good for you?

DAY 8
Today is my last day to be at home and recuperate. I have enjoyed the time…in one way it seems like it has been so short, and another it seems as if it has been forever. My face is looking much better. I had some precancerous spots on my nose that I have had frozen off before. They had come back, and I knew that they needed to be looked at. Dr. Marvel said that the laser would take care of them. They are gone! The skin on my nose feels silky soft. I also had an “age spot” on my jaw that bothered me and it is gone as well. It was a really pretty day today, and it was really hard to realize that I will need to stay out of the sun for a month. I don’t sit out and tan or anything, but I absolutely LOVE being outside. This is going to be hard for me, but if it means that I have lovely skin and am cancer free, I am all for it.

I put on make up and went to the movies tonight. I am peeling intensely, but with the products that Dr. Marvel’s office gave me, it takes care of it.

DAY 9
There’s lots of peeling going on today! Massive peeling! I just want to pick it off so bad! But I know that is not what you are supposed to do.

It is a beautiful day today, and I want to go outside and just sit in the sun! But you are supposed to stay out of the sun for a month after you have this done. I have read that your skin is super sensitive after the laser, and I guess it would be much easier to burn now. I have looked at my skin everytime that I go by a mirror. Much of the time I think, “Was this really worth it? Are there really any changes?” But then again, I have been looking at some “selfies” that I have taken before all this was done. I can see the hollowness of my eyes and the deep, deep folds around my mouth and I see that it really was worth it.

DAY 10
Well, it is just as everyone has said. It really does take 10 days to completely heal from the trama that your skin goes through. I only have a little peeling left, and my skin is really smooth and young looking.

I have wavered between intense happiness and guilt at having this procedure done. I have beat myself up and told myself that my family could have gone on a REALLY nice vacation for the cost of this procedure. But when I look in the mirror and see the person who has sacrificed for her family for many years, working two jobs many times, I am glad that I did it. Sometimes you just have to thank yourself for taking care of a family for all those years and sacrificing as all women do. Am I worth it? Yes, I think so!

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