The only thing about the procedure that was painful was the fact that they couldn’t get a good vein for the IV. A nurse and the anesthesiologist poked me four times before they got the drip going. Gotta love teamwork. Naturally, when it comes to anything regarding medical procedures, needles are at the bottom of my list but this time, I handled it. Why? Because I wanted it. I paid these people to poke me. I also paid them to slit my throat.
I’ve never had much of a jawline. If you look carefully at the B&W your host photo on the right, it appears that I have a rather pronounced chin. I don’t. I took the picture (at an angle, pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth to tighten my neck).
When I was young and skinny, it wasn’t that noticeable. Over time, as I got older, it really started to bother me. In my mid thirties, there was a short period where I gained a lot of weight discovering the first place fat accumulates on my person is right under my chin (accentuating my already blobby neck). Even though I lost the weight, my jawline stayed the same.
One of my predominant “Nordic” features is a long face and a rather large head. (My motorcycle helmet is XXL. I look like The Great Gazoo when I wear it.) Imagine the combo of a long, large head with a chin that just slides down into your chest. Now imagine being a neurotic, mildly insecure, recovering actor. Welcome to my world.
Now, this is the part where most people say, “Oh it’s not that bad.” or “So what? You should love yourself the way you are.” I tried all that bullshit and it doesn’t work. My blobby neck was a glaring imperfection that revealed itself every time someone snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook.
Oh sure, we all have our imperfections — try wearing yours on your face. Try having love handles on your face or misshapen boobs — or even moobs! On. Your. Face.
I lost weight. I ran and lifted weights. I did those exercises where you make funny faces and go EE EE EE OH OH OH AH AH AH. I tried really, really hard to ignore it. For years…I ignored it.
A couple of months ago, a fifty-year-old female colleague of mine told me she was going to get breast implants. She’s pretty and has a great body. (She does that P90X® WORKOUT). She said with all the work she had done on her body, she was tired of the way her breasts looked and decided at her age it was not too late to do something about it.
That got me thinking. Last December, my dad passed away. He worked very hard in life and left his estate to his children. Was it a lot? No, but it was enough. My birthday was right around the corner and I had some inheritance funds left over so…why not give the gift that keeps on giving?
Here is my before and after photo. The latter was taken three days post surgery. Tomorrow makes it three weeks. I told my surgeon I wanted “The Hollywood” and she gave it to me (and no, I did not have a chin implant).
I have a defined chin and an actual neck! They meet in the middle all tucked up tight! No more 45 degree skin slope turkey gobble blobby neck! So how do you think I feel?
I feel like shit.
For now at least. I was unprepared for the psychological component of this experience.
I had my throat cut! Part of my neck muscle was cut out, leaving the remaining parts stretched together and sewn shut. Same with my skin. Part of my skin was removed, pulled tight and sewn back together. All the fat under my skin and under the muscle was violently sucked out. I spent the next two weeks wondering what I had done to myself. Why would I want to hurt myself like that? Such vanity! I became depressed and kinda angry. The person looking back from the mirror wasn’t me anymore. It took a few weeks to get used to it.
Then there was the whole physical component.
I didn’t even consider what recovery would be like. Oh sure, I knew my neck would be sore and puffy for a few weeks. I knew that I would have limited mobility for about a month. What I didn’t know was that my entire body would react to the trauma from my neck. Oh my GOD! All that cutting and pulling and sucking and sewing has sent my back, spine, arms and legs into a tizzy. My whole system is out of whack but that’s OK because, A) It is actually healing just fine. It will get better, and B) Didja see the after photo?? Holy shit! I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Why did I wait so long? Sure I’m not quite 100% but it’s only been three weeks.
So…I’m glad I did it. Call me crazy, vain, weird, stupid — I don’t care. Besides, it’s done. I can’t change it back. Three days after the procedure, I turned forty-five. I celebrated the day by purchasing a turtleneck — something I could never wear. By the end of the month, I can start working out and running again. I’m very motivated to reach my training goals now. The funny thing is the fact that no one noticed. They noticed once they saw the before and after photo. I didn’t expect anything big but I did expect people to say, “Something looks different. I can’t quite figure it out.”
Not one person.
The key thing is that I notice. I did this for myself and now that little thing that used to bug the shit out of me will never ever bug me again. I’ll post photos when it heals a little more.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father’s death. As evidenced by my minimal blog posts through this period, I kinda checked out. Well, the year is over, it’s time to move on. I have a new look (as well as a new outlook) and a new year ahead. Cheers to the act of moving on. I promise to attend to my blog again with more frequency.