“When I was young, I remember walking through the cosmetics section of a department store, where there were so many mirrors, and thinking ‘Jeez, I look pretty good,’” says Kathy H., an FOF from Indiana. “As I got older, and the bags under my eyes started getting worse, I didn’t want to go near those same mirrors.”
Now 65, Kathy decided to finally do something about her bothersome bags 10 years ago. Impressed after her initial consult with Dr. Gus Galante, she booked her procedure on the spot. A month later, he performed his magic.
So pleased with the results, Kathy returned to Dr. Galante three years later for a lower facelift. Today, she sees him for Botox injections.
“It changed my life,” says Kathy, who once thought only “movie stars and important people” got plastic surgery. “I’m happy to look in the mirror again.” Here, she chats with FOF:
Eye surgery performed by Dr. Galante.
What bothered you about your eyes?
I had bags and my upper lids were droopy. I had no crease. It always bothered me but got worse as I got older. I tried everything on the market–nothing would take them away.
How important are your looks to you?
Very–I used to be in real estate and worked with the public. Now, I work at the local humane society but still want to look good, for myself.
How did you find Dr. Galante?
A couple of people I knew had been to him. I live in Indiana, near Chicago, and there are a lot of surgeons in the city. Turns out Dr Galante was in my own backyard (Schererville, Indiana). I called and spoke to his receptionist, Marcie. When I told her what I wanted done, she made it sound so simple and told me she had it done herself. So, I went for a complimentary consultation.
Were you nervous?
Yes. I grew up in a blue collar town. I thought of plastic surgery as something only wealthy people do. Not anymore. When I went to Dr. Galante’s office, I expected to see all these beautiful, 30-year-old women. But, there were normal people like myself. And, after I spoke with Dr. Galante, my apprehensions completely went away. I knew it was going to work out well. I ended up booking a treatment for the following month.
What did you like about Dr. Galante?
He is very trustworthy and would never talk you into doing something you don’t need.
Tell us about the eye bag removal procedure.
I went in at 6:30 in the morning on a Friday and was out by noon. I had twilight anesthesia so I wasn’t completely out. My stitches were removed on Monday. I iced my eyes the way I was told. They were very swollen. Marcie told me this was normal and, in fact, I looked better than most people. Within a week, I was back at work with just slight bruising near my cheekbone. I could see the full effect after about a month, and was very happy.
What did your friends and family think?
They all loved it and thought I looked younger. I didn’t necessarily do it to look younger, I just didn’t want to look tired anymore.
Are you married? Was your husband supportive?
My husband died three years ago, but he was supportive at the time.
Do you date?
I’m dating someone now. He’s older than I am. We met in high school and his wife died a couple years before my husband died.
Do you want to get married again?
No. I like being independent.
Why did you decide to have a lower facelift, three years later?
My jowls started bothering me. I put my makeup on in front of a magnifying mirror and I thought, ‘This has got to go!’
Describe the treatment.
I went into surgery about 6:30 a.m and was home at about 2 p.m. I was out completely, under general anesthesia. I had to return the following day to have a drain removed. Healing is slower than for the eye surgery. It took about five to six months before I could see the full results.
What did you and your friends and family think?
They thought it wasn’t as noticeable as my eyes, but that it looked great. It was certainly noticeable to me.
Did you have anything else done since the lower facelift?
I go to Dr. Galante for Botox about two to three times a year.
You are pretty open about your procedures. Did you ever think about hiding the fact that you had plastic surgery?
No. It’s just the personality I have. There’s no reason to hide it.
How do you think it has changed your life?
It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself and I wish I had done it earlier. Women over 50 have done things for others all their lives. Now, they should do something for themselves. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you can’t feel good about anything or for anyone.
A note from Dr. Galante:
I think Kathy’s statement about wanting to look less tired, not necessarily younger, represents the typical expectation of the patient who seeks facial rejuvenation. Her “after” photos demonstrate just that…a clean, refreshed look. Kathy initially presented with concerns about baggy upper eyelids and puffy lower lids. The upper lid problem is excessive skin which can mask the lid and sometimes even block the peripheral field of vision. My treatment for this was the removal of the skin and a slim strip of muscle to better define the crease. The lower lid problem is the bulging outward of fat which normally sits in the eye socket to cushion the globe. I made a small incision just under the lashes to gain access to the protruding fat, and then removed it. A small amount of skin was also taken to keep the area smooth.
Kathy went on to have a facelift and most recently a few Botox injections to keep her appearance fresh. Again, the end result in these patients is to look better, not necessarily look younger. Looking good makes one feel good, and feeling good after fifty should be an attainable goal for anyone who wishes for it. The recipe to this feeling includes a healthy diet, exercise, engaging social relationships, optimizing emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being, using the most favorable cosmetic, hair, and clothing styles, and a plastic surgery procedure, if desired.