Real Facelift Patient Recovery with Dr Jack Zoumaras

facelift patient

Gina* recently had a facelift and fat grafts with Dr Jack Zoumaras, Specialist Plastic Surgeon from Sydney. Gina is not her real name, and we’ve changed it because as successful businesswoman Gina would rather not everyone knew all her beauty secrets! However, we can tell you that Gina’s facelift looks completely natural, and you would never know she had it done, except that she looks as though she hasn’t aged a day past 35! Gina was kind enough to chat with us about her facelift experience and give us some insight as to what a facelift patient might expect. This is a must-read!!

Trish: So, you just recently had surgery with Dr Jack Zoumaras at our Artiste Medispa, or Artiste Plastic Surgery, in Sydney. Could you tell us what you had done?

Gina: So, I basically had a facelift and necklift and fat grafts.

Trish: Right. So, what made you decide that you needed to have that done and how did you pick Jack?

Gina: Well, it’s an interesting question. I have had a member of my family, who’s no longer alive very sadly, who was a plastic surgeon. I was always going to have a facelift when I turned 40. I turned 40 but unfortunately, this family member wasn’t around any longer so I wasn’t able to have it and it was always one of those things that you do. It was like if you’re not happy with your boobs, you get them done. I was always happy with my boobs, didn’t get my boobs done, but it was a case of we’re all going to get old and we’re all going to get wrinkly, if we’re fortunate enough to get old, and I decided that I was going to have a facelift at some stage because I just didn’t want to look old. So, I’d already thought about having it done for a long time but like most people, in the last two years, I started to get Botox. Had little result at first, then I started to need it more and more. Then I started getting no results and I thought, far out, I need to do something. And then I started noticing that the skin around my neck wasn’t as tight as I wanted it and I just thought I need to do something.

So, I started thinking about it, I started looking up plastic surgery tours to Thailand. So, that was the route I was going to go down and then a friend of mine, who is a bit of a social media star, said to me, she said, ‘I will never get Botox and I will have a facelift when I hit 35’, or 40 or however old she said she was going to be, and she said, ‘There’s only one person I go to and that’s Dr Jack Zoumaras.’ And I thought, okay. And she told me where he worked and I just followed him on Instagram and I used to see things pop up and I guess I got used to seeing him. I really liked his bedside manner and then I started looking around at people in the state that I live in, but no names came up, nothing was consistent, and I thought, well, why would I go and find someone new, even though they’re closer to home, when I actually like this man’s bedside manner.

So, I actually had a Skype call with Dr Jack and immediately realised that he wasn’t just someone that was in it for the sake of it or someone that was in it for the money, I just felt that there was a real heart and passion and skill level behind what he did and the great bedside manner and I thought, wow, that’s a great combination, because this family member of mine that was a plastic surgeon was a phenomenal plastic surgeon and had a similar way of working. So, it just felt like a match and I always go on my intuition and I just felt safe and we’d only had a Skype call. I only met him the day before the op, which was quite a gamble really, but I didn’t do any research, I didn’t phone anyone, I didn’t even go on websites, I just went with one person referring and the Instagram stuff and how I felt, which is probably a crazy way to choose someone but it just felt right.

Trish: No. No, I don’t think it’s crazy at all. I think it’s whatever works for you because someone can do research and go to six sessions and still pick the wrong one, do you know what I mean? So, whatever’s right for you. So, how long ago did you have your procedure?

Gina: I had it done just before Christmas, between the Christmas and New Year shutdown, so I think I was the second to last patient of the year or something like that.

Trish: Did you choose that time because it was going to be time when you could be off work, you could be at home relaxing at holidays?

Gina: Yeah, totally, because in my business, there’s a shutdown, a very distinctive shutdown. So, for me, it worked really, really well and I just decided that was just the best way to do it. Yeah, I was pretty happy with that.

Trish: That’s fantastic. So, tell me a little bit about your experience then. You went in, you met him the day … Do you mean just before surgery or the day before?

Gina: Oh well, I actually was supposed to have the op on the Wednesday and they actually swapped me with some celebrity, which is quite funny, who lived locally in Sydney, and they moved me to Monday so I flew down on the Sunday. Dr Jack was amazing. He actually came in on a Sunday at lunchtime to meet me in his rooms. He spent a good hour and a half, maybe even two hours with me, and I felt a lot more comfortable then, and then he goes, ‘Right, you’re all ready to go.’ And just tried to spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the day, knowing that I was going to have my first operation ever in my life where I’d be under general anaesthetic, which is kind of a big deal.

facelift patient
Dr Jack Zoumaras

Trish: Wow. Was that your first operation ever?

Gina: Exactly and I’m the healthiest person you’ll ever meet. I never get sick, I’m super healthy, I’m very fit, I do a lot of gym, so for me, it was like a massive big deal. So, anyway, I just wanted it so badly. It was focusing on my life and it was like, yeah, I want to look younger. And I had stayed with a friend and she said to me, on the Saturday, ‘I don’t have a good feeling about you having this. You’re going to be in a lot of pain. I don’t think it’s a good idea.’

Trish: What you don’t want to hear.

Gina: Exactly. So, she came with me to the rooms and she was impressed with Dr Jack but she kept saying, ‘You don’t need it, you don’t need it.’ But anyway, what ended up happening was I obviously went ahead and had it because by this stage, I’d paid the deposit and I’d flown down and I was committed, and once I’ve set my mind to something, nothing turns it back. So, that was it, and I had the worst night’s sleep. I tossed and turned all night, had visions of me not waking up and all that stuff but look, at the end of the day, I think that always happens if you have an overactive imagination. And I was very focused on the actual procedure that I hadn’t thought about the recovery period at all. All I knew is that I needed a compression garment and that was to the extent of my only preparation. I had some pyjamas. I didn’t even have enough pyjamas with me. I didn’t realise I’d be in bed for so long. I literally thought I’d be out and about the next day and, for me, it wasn’t really the case. It’s a massive procedure. I was out for, I think, six hours or seven hours. It was huge.

Trish: Wow. Yeah, that’s a big procedure.

Gina: I had liposuction done on my stomach and on my thighs to harvest the fat and then it was put in around my eye area and down the jawline and other parts of my face. I think some of it was even used for lips. It was used wherever and if it was wasted … And, apparently, the problem was I didn’t have a lot of fat on me. I was running at about 15% body fat at this stage and I wish I’d been at a higher body fat because they probably would’ve only needed to do lipo in one spot but that was my own fault for being so lean and I wish I’d known. So, enjoy food before you have your op. If you can get your fat level up, it’s probably not a bad thing as long as it’s within a healthy range.

Trish: So, where did you stay? Did you stay with your friend? Because obviously … Or do you live nearby? Because you said you travelled.

Gina: No, I actually live interstate so I flew in on the Sunday, I stayed with my friend the night before, she drove me there in the morning, and then she went off to work. So, I literally arrived on the doorstep with a bag, went upstairs, checked into the hospital, the check in was a big long and lengthy. I was very, very cold. I don’t know why I was so cold, I just remember shivering and just having this uncontrollable coldness, that was probably just freaking out. I’ve never had it before. They put me in a room, they put me in, I guess, my gown, and that was it and I had the anaesthetic. I then had to walk down to the corridor to the theatre, which was weird, and the funniest thing of all, was a bit ironic, was I remember thinking, ‘I’m so glad I’m not having this procedure done in another country’, but ironically, the anaesthetist was from one of the countries that I could’ve gone to, to have the procedure done.

Gina: And I thought, ‘Oh, what’s the difference?’ And I remember thinking, ‘I could’ve got this done for probably a third of the price’, and then I thought, ‘But anyway, I’m in Australia and I bloody hope that every cent I’ve spent on this is going to be worth it.’ And that was literally my last thought. I walked into the theatre and I got greeted by this lovely lady and she said something, which was so sweet, and she said, ‘Welcome.’

Trish: Oh, bless.

Gina: And it was just weird as if I’d walked into someone’s lounge room. It was bizarre and they had this lovely warm blanket they put on me and then I honestly do not remember anything else. All I remember is, ‘Welcome’, lay on the bed, boom, gone. And then I woke up six hours later in the worst frigging pain ever because they had my arms out and I don’t know what happened but I had muscle spasms in my arm that could’ve been from having a very heavy gym session the night before.

Trish: Oh no!

Gina: But having a depletion of magnesium or whatever it was, I don’t know, but I work up with the worst cramp. The cramp was so bad that I actually was crying in pain and Dr Jack was very concerned. He said, ‘Are you okay? Can you feel your face?’ And I said, ‘I can’t feel anything, all I feel are my arms.’ So, I couldn’t straighten my arms for probably about three weeks, which is weird. They were just so sore. So, that was the only real hazard I had from the surgery, which was just bizarre. I’d actually forgotten about that, but anyway, you get over it. It’s just a bit of muscular pain and tenderness and having your arms outstretched in that position for so long, it’s a long time.

Trish: And so you were under for six hours and you were in a lot of pain when you woke up. Was that around the face or was that around the belly, where the lipo was done?

Gina: No, I was in no pain when I woke up, just from my silly arms. But that was it. No, there was no pain from around the face at all. They injected me beautifully and I had no pain. I didn’t have any pain at all until about four in the morning, or three in the morning, of the next morning, and I even remember walking up and down the passageway to prove a point that I was fit and healthy and I’d recovered well and I remember they weren’t very keen on me doing it but I still did it. So, I remember getting some really odd looks and I got really cross and I got stared at by a visitor of the patients and I said, ‘Please don’t look at me.’ Because I was quite angry because I felt it was a bit invasive and I didn’t like being … No one wants to be stared at and I could feel my face swelling by the minute and I had a look at myself and I was kind of happy with what I saw immediately after but then, of course, I just blew up like a balloon. I had black eyes. Well, they gradually became more and more black by the day. My face was raw around the mouth because they also did like a dermabrasion as well.

Trish: Oh, wow, fantastic.

Gina: So, I had it all done. Anyway, I ended up feeling really rough early in the morning. I asked for a painkiller. They hadn’t read what they should’ve given me and she said, ‘Oh, you can have some Panadol.’ And I was very upset because I said, ‘Look, I don’t want Panadol. I’m sure I’ve been given something stronger.’ But I was a bit hazy and then she said, ‘Yes, yes.’ And then about an hour later, she said, ‘Yes, yes. You’ve been prescribed endone.’ So, I was pretty cross with the hospital that they stuffed that up so badly. They were very apologetic about it. They were very apologetic that they’d done that but apart from that, everything in the hospital was fine. The only thing was, I probably had the wrong food. I had food that was too tough. I should have had softer food on the jaw and I kind of wish that I’d paid more attention to that. I probably should’ve had a smoothie or something like that.

Trish: What’d you have?

Gina: I ended up ordering in scrambled eggs and mushrooms or something, which is probably maybe just not the right sort of food. I should have … They gave me food in the hospital like yoghurt and stuff, but I’m on about 2000 calories a day so I’m used to eating a lot. So, for me, it was just not cutting it and I remember being quite hungry and thinking, ‘You can’t give me a yoghurt.’ My metabolism hasn’t slowed down overnight, my body wants food. So, I ordered in food from across the road and they were a bit shocked and I ate it. I actually chewed it and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my jaw, my jaw.’ So, I probably shouldn’t have done that. On the second or third day to just go a bit easy on some foods and not eat any that needed any chewing.

Trish: Yeah, that makes sense.

Gina: And then I checked out-

Trish: I would’ve never thought of that. Hey, I would never have thought it was food that was an issue but of course!

Gina: Yeah, all those things that you don’t think of. So, I kind of did a little blog, which I wrote and I actually gave to Dr Jack and helpful things that should help you through these little things like the right sort of foods, etc. The big thing for me was that I stayed at the Quest Hotel across the road and they were really good but it’s not a hospital, it’s a hotel, and I wanted to spend another night in the hospital but then I heard how much it cost and I said, ‘I’m not spending $1200 in a frigging hospital.’

Trish: Were you by yourself?

Gina: Yeah, I was by myself. All by myself.

Trish: What a shame you didn’t know about our concierge services, we would’ve come and stayed with you.

Gina: Oh, I wish I’d known. I had no idea.

Trish: That’s a good idea, isn’t it? Yeah, we’ve only just put it out there because we normally do it for people privately but we’ve just put it out there.

Gina: Oh, okay.

Trish: Is that the same thing? You’re vulnerable, your by yourself. Even if it’s just someone … There hasn’t been one patient that we’ve stayed with that hasn’t in the middle of the night yelled out, ‘Trish’, where they’ve just needed someone to come in, reassure them, get them a glass of water, hold their hand, whatever, you know. It’s got to be perfect for that. But okay. So, tell me, do you know exactly what you had done? Did you have SMAS lift or anything like that or do you know a name-

Gina: Oh, gosh, I should know but-

Trish: Don’t worry. I’ll ask them anyway.

Gina: I think it was a something plane…?

Trish: Oh, yeah, deep plane facelift?

Gina: That was the one and the truth is, I just wanted to put it behind me and not think about it. I haven’t even thought about this for a while. But I stayed at The Quest, The Quest were great in that they left me alone. I Ubered in my food. My friend came to visit, my sister came to visit. They were horrified when they saw me. The nurse from Dr Jack’s came to visit and she was great and she was very, very kind and she said, ‘You need to ice, you need to ice.’ But I didn’t have any ice. Little things like that, I didn’t have enough ice. I wish I’d had an icepack, I wish I’d done that, I wish I’d have iced my face more, I didn’t. I just really needed someone to look after me, it would’ve made a world of difference.

Trish: Even if it’s like an aftercare pack like, this is what you’re going to need. Because we actually do sell them on our website. We sell recovery packs and we got one for facelift, which would’ve been perfect for you.

Gina: I know, it would’ve been. What a shame.

Trish: With those disposable ice packs, yeah.

Gina: Yeah, you live and learn and hopefully someone will learn from this, that’s the main thing.

Trish: Yeah.

Gina: I ended up having three days there. I think I extended it to four days and then I went to stay with my sister in Sydney. She lives in the eastern suburbs.

Trish: By that time, were you still bruised? Did you still have your headband on?

Gina: Oh, it was horrific. I went for a walk once to buy a hat so I could hide my face, and then I got to the stage where I was actually wearing a headscarf and basically, a face covering style because it was pretty much all I could do with sunglasses on and I went to … And then I remembered I wanted my hair washed and they suggested at Dr Jacks somewhere around the corner and they’d done a lot of patients of Dr Jack’s but I got there and I just actually ended up in tears. I said, ‘I can’t have my hair washed. I don’t want you to touch my face. I don’t want you to even go near my face. I’m not ready.’ And all I wanted was to have my hair washed but I just wasn’t fit to put myself through that pain. I just felt very vulnerable. I felt like I just wanted to go back into my hole in the hotel so I stayed there.

Then I went down to my sister’s place and she’s been married to this lovely man for about three years, with four boys that are all teenagers and they were so lovely and so sweet but clearly, my sister was horrified when she saw me and it was quite uncomfortable to stay there, even though they were nice and kind, I could see that it was uncomfortable and, funnily enough, the teenagers were okay with it, but my sister and her husband were very uncomfortable with it and couldn’t believe I’d done it.

Trish: Isn’t it funny?

Gina: Yeah.

Trish: I know.

Gina: And then, that was it. And then I stayed there until Christmas Eve and I flew back. Of course, by this stage, I’m wearing my sunnies, my dermabrasion looks raw and nasty, I’m having to put Vaseline around my mouth, I’m still weak, I’m still recovering from the anaesthetic because a six-hour operation takes it out of you if you’re not used to it. Worst of all, was I had the worst constipation ever when I stayed with my sister. She went out for dinner-

Trish: The Endone.

Gina: Yeah, the endone was awful. Because I didn’t get enough endone in hospital, I became paranoid about being in pain so I ended up taking probably more than I should have, in terms of relying on it too much.

Trish: Yeah, sounds like me.

Gina: And I should’ve had… or something but it was hell. It was absolute hell. I ended up in agony, ended up having to be taken to casualty and spending six hours there and having to have an enema, which was the most humiliating experience of my life. That was just awful so really, I suppose I would’ve been better having been looked after. I think it would’ve made a huge difference.

Trish: Yes…

Gina: It’s not day surgery, it’s like a big procedure and that’s how it went.

Trish: So, you were in the hospital for one night, then you went to Quest for three, then you went to your sister’s and then you were there for how many days at your sister’s?

Gina: I think it was a long time, was it a week? It was a long time and I just remembered … I remember telling her that I wanted certain foods and she wasn’t very compassionate and she got irritated with me and I ended up in tears and feeling very depressed and very down and I’m not someone that suffers from that. So, I suppose, for me, I’m a business owner. I own two businesses, I’m very much in control, and so I felt very vulnerable. I had a headscarf on, I was treated like some outcast from the middle east, and I became very conscious about how we see certain population groups in Australia and I felt this extraordinary compassion for women that are forced to wear scarves, with no voice, and so it kind of went down this whole little introspective journey, which was weird. And then I got back and then I remember flying in, having to stand … It was Christmas Eve at the airport. You don’t even want to know what it was like standing with my huge bruising on my legs, for two hours in a queue. It was hell.

I got home and my mother came to stay and she’s actually a nurse and I just said to my husband, ‘I do not want to talk to Mom. I just can’t. I don’t have the mental energy.’ I got home, my dog ran up to me, I hugged the dog and I just burst into tears. I was like, Oh. It was very emotional coming home because I’d been away for 10 or 12 days. Before I flew home that day, Dr Jack had left to go on holiday. I went to his rooms and his nurse removed all the stitches and that was kind of like a big deal too. So, it was kind of a big deal flying home, standing in the queue and having all the stitches out, it was a massive day for me. Going under the lights was a huge help.

Trish: Yes.

Gina: I wish I’d been able to do that more. That was very healing. It was just a process. Now, because I’m fitter than most people, my blood flow’s really good and because I’m so healthy, my healing rate was definitely slower, okay? I took a lot longer to heal than probably your average person.

Trish: Yeah, right.

Gina: So, my experience probably wasn’t a great one and Dr Jack even said, if you’d been unhealthy, you’d had a higher body fat … Because even with scarring, the healthier you are, the more likely you are to have scarring. Because your body puts up a better reaction so I kind of didn’t recover anywhere near as quickly as I would’ve wanted to but I also walked straight back into heat in Queensland, which was hard. I had about three or four weeks, or six weeks, of nearly every day over 30 and that really made it hard. So, I went back to work around the middle to end of January. I really thought I would’ve been back at work in three weeks but, for me, no, and I think it could’ve been just my body was exhausted, I run myself … I work crazy hours in business, and I think my body just went, that’s it, you’re going to rest. And I just literally lay in my bed, had the air con on, had the cats and watched Netflix and it’s the first time I’ve probably ever done that in my life.

Trish: Yep and how long were you out of action like that for?

Gina: Oh, between from Christmas Eve all the way through to New Year, all the way through to first week of January, second week of January. Second week of January towards the third week, I went into the office and I remember wearing a cap, wearing sunnies, and lots of hiding, getting a few odd looks from people and avoiding people, and I went back into the public eye, actually, for my son’s birthday and I got some very odd looks from my brother. He and his wife just kept looking at me all night with a confused look on their face. One side of the face was more swollen than the other and I just remember feeling very down and I didn’t really want to see anyone. I saw my trainer. She actually came to visit me and she looked horrified when she saw me but she was too nice to say anything and I put my sunnies on and I’d literally go for walks.

I’d go for half hour walks every day because I really didn’t want to lose my fitness but I couldn’t lift, and for someone that lifts five to six times a week, it was really hard for me to not go to gym and watch my muscle, my strength, go down. When you can do eight pull-ups and suddenly, you go to the park and you think, ‘I’m going to try one. I know I shouldn’t but I’m going to try one.’ You couldn’t even do one properly. It’s quite hard to see that so I’ve only just recovered my strength and actually now, I’m stronger than I was before the op but it’s taken me … What are we? We’re in May. Yeah, I would say it took me about three months to get my strength back up.

Trish: Wow, that’s amazing.

Gina: Even now, when I push my weights in the gym, even now, I’m swollen from this morning because if I do bench press or I do upper body stuff and I go hard, I feel my face swell up still, especially on the right-hand side.

Trish: Wow. It’s amazing just how, like you said, how intense it is.

Gina: But you see, I’m not the normal person. The normal person would not be going to the gym and training like I train. They wouldn’t go down on the floor and do 20 push ups, they wouldn’t do that. So, my recovery and everyone else’s is going to be completely different. So, I would say, unless you live like me, work like me, train like me, eat like me, you’re not going to get the same result. You know it’s like when people have babies and they’re really fit and healthy and they pop the baby out in two hours and other people have every procedure known to mankind and still have a rough time and end up having a caesarean, right? It’s a little bit like that with surgery. It’s just not predictable. The body is not predictable. How you’re going to behave, how you’re going to react.

But I do remember, at one stage when my face was uneven, I remember Dr Jack was so good, he used to respond to my messages. He was awesome. He didn’t get annoyed or irritated with me, he just said, ‘That’s quite normal, one side of the face can swell more than the other. You won’t look like a stroke victim forever.’ It was a case of trust the process, I know what I’ve done and he sent me a photo of after the operation, just to reassure me that the amount of fat he put in both sides was the same and things like that and then, gradually, bit by bit, the old myself came back and that was great and then I started to see … I actually kept a photo diary, literally, for about, at least two months, and after about two months, … Well, I ended up actually going over to the states at the beginning of March and honestly, by then, I was looking 15 years younger so it was awesome and then my husband said to me, ‘When the swelling goes down and you start looking great, confidence comes back, you start doing your little Instagram stories, you’re not using the filter, and then all of a sudden, I’m like, oh my gosh.

Yes, I spent all that money and had pain and uncomfort and all the horrible things that you always get whenever you have any kind of surgery, it doesn’t matter what you have done, but I went, ‘Oh my gosh, wow.’ I was gobsmacked and it was like I turned back the clock 15 years, at least, to the point where I’d say to people now, I’ve got two boys and I don’t even tell them what age my boys are now because I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve got a 19 year old and 21 year old because they’ll go, ‘No, you don’t.’ And they just argue with me. I had a bikini shoot done the other day and the photographer said to me, ‘How old are you?’ I said, ‘I’m 47.’ He goes, ‘You’re not 47.’ He said, ‘I’ve never shot a 47-year-old woman in a bikini.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s always a first.’ And he said to me, ‘I don’t believe that.’ And then he started to question me and what year were you born in, and work it out and it was just so funny.

And then the other funny thing was, was when I went over to the states, I was in an awards night and I was getting an award and these Asians kept coming up to me and they wanted their photo with me and they thought I was a celebrity, which was so funny. They thought I was a famous person and every time I went up to get my award, there was a table of guys and every time I went up, because I think I got three awards, they kept cheering me and it was like, oh my goodness. It was just bizarre because that wouldn’t have happened before the facelift, no way. I would’ve looked attractive, pretty, whatever, but I wouldn’t have had that kind of attention. So, that was pretty cool. I did have a great makeup artist as well and I had my hair done, I had a great outfit, so that all helps, of course, but definitely just feeling the confidence and, wow, this is great, this is amazing. It’s like, literally, I’ve turned back the clock.

Trish: Wow. And you reckon you look about 15 years younger?

Gina: Well, I’ve got photos of myself 15 years ago. I would actually say, maybe even a little bit better. Yeah, maybe even a little bit better because I’ve got more fat around my eye area and yeah. So, I’ve got the fatness around my eye area that I would’ve had in my mid-20s.

Trish: That’s fantastic.

Gina: Looking at wedding pictures and I’ve got a great jawline like I actually did a sideways selfie on myself and I went, oh, my gosh, look at my jawline, this is amazing. And I actually did that on about probably day 10 or day 15 and then after that, I kind of stopped feeling the pain and the swelling and I thought, ‘No, that’s my why.’ And every time I’d look in the mirror or look at my profile, I’d go, ‘That’s the why.’ So, I think you’ve just got to focus on the why and when you get the results, and the result’s a stunning result, which it will be if you go to Dr Jack, you’ll think, ‘Hey, I’m so glad I did that.’ I know it made a dent in my bank account, because it does. I’m still recovering but thank God I did it. I’m so grateful. I’m so glad I had the guts to do it. I’m so glad I didn’t analyse. I’m so glad I didn’t go onto lots of websites because I think if you do that, overthink it, you’ll never get it done. And if you listen to friends, you won’t get it done.

My husband wasn’t overly keen but I said, ‘Look, it’s my body, it’s my face. I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for me.’ And the other thing is, and this family member of mine that was a plastic surgeon, he used to say he would never do an operation if a husband wanted a wife to have it done. He’d say no. He said that was very wrong. He said, ‘You’ve got to do it for yourself because you want to have it done and if you want to have something done, it’s your business.’ And I think that’s very important. For me, that was the big thing.Be glad that I made that decision and stick with it.

Trish: Yep. And tell me, from start to finish, how long do you reckon your recovery was until you started to feel like you again? A couple of months?

Gina: Well, when I was over in Vegas, I felt pretty good. The weather was so much cooler there. Oh, my gosh, it was snowing when I went over. It was just amazing to walk out and feel this cold.

Trish: Oh, so that was probably a winter procedure.

Gina: Definitely. If you can get it done in winter, do it. I wouldn’t honestly recommend, if you are a Queenslander, in summer. Especially not the summers we’ve been having and also, I would go into my car, my car is a dark colour, it was parked in the sun, and I’d get in my car and literally, my face would swell like a balloon. It was horrible. So, that wasn’t a very nice experience at all.

Trish: Yeah, right. That makes so much sense too.

Gina: So, definitely, if you can get it done at a different time of the year, I think it’ll be highly beneficial.

Trish: So, after all the stuff you went through, you’d be like … Because was there ever any time where you thought, ‘I wish I hadn’t of frigging done this’?

Gina: Yeah, there was, definitely. Definitely, definitely, definitely. The time that I felt that was probably when I got back home and the swelling was … My face was lopsided and I remember actually crying and actually praying and saying, ‘I’m so sorry, God, that I’ve done this to my face. I actually should’ve accepted the ageing process. I shouldn’t be so vain, please forgive me.’ I went into this whole little weird phase and I thought, ‘What have I done?’ And that feeling that was just one day that I felt like that, but luckily I sent this email to Dr Jack and he actually answered it straight away and I took a picture of my face and he reassured me that everything would basically come out in the wash, so to speak, and that was just the one day that I felt like that. That was the only one day and I think it was because-

Trish: Was that about day five, post-op?

Gina: Oh no, this is way after day five. This would probably be about two weeks. I was very lopsided. But there’s … Who knows why? The body’s an amazing thing and because I do my bodybuilding and I understand that one of the things they look at is your symmetry, right? And the body’s very seldom symmetrical. Even your face can have different symmetry. I have a very symmetrical face but even so, there’s still differences, and how you’re going to heal is completely different. One side behind my ears, there’s a little bit of a ridged scar, and the other side is flatter. Why? That’s just the body. It’s how it heals, it’s how it reacts, how it responds. It just works like that. You just have to go with it and say, okay, that’s just how it is. Even now, one side of my face, the right-hand side, swells up more than the other side. I don’t know why. The right side has been much slower to recover because it’s the side of your body, if you’re right-handed, that you use most. So, that’s just an interesting thing to take into account. I kinda wish I’d known that. I wouldn’t have panicked so much. They did tell me that though, which was at least reassuring.

Trish: Yep. Okay. That’s really good to know. So, from start to finish, a good solid three months before you felt normal. Is that what we were saying?

Gina: Well, I started going back to work at the end of January, but I felt quite self-conscious and I remember actually … And I never tell lies, but I remember saying to them, ‘I’ve just had a reaction to something. That’s why my face is swollen.’ Which is kind of not really the truth but it kind of was partially true because I had a big reaction to something but I kind of made out like it was a mosquito bite and not a facelift, right? So, I would say, honestly the truth, I’d say around the middle to the end of February. Middle of Feb towards the end of Feb, I started getting people gossiping and I hate that and that’s why I’ve chosen to go anonymous because I’m a successful business person, people will always have something to say, they’ll always judge you. You look better than them and they can’t afford something, they’ll have something nasty to say.

So, I haven’t gone and blurted it to the world. Those that have to know or needed to know, like people in my business that were quite high up that we trust … One of the people that work with us came up to me and he was busy asking, are there close friends of mine that knew? And I kind of just wanted to cut that so I called them, about three or four of them, and told them and I said, ‘Now I don’t want to talk about it anymore, thank you very much.’ I’m a very private person. So, that’s another whole area, of who do you tell? We talk about Botox, we talk about highlights, but 30-40 years ago, you wouldn’t have spoken about those things. The particular guy that said, ‘Oh, I knew straight away you’d had something done’, he openly talks about his wife’s boobs all the time. Actually, it’s very disrespectful.

Trish: Yeah, I agree with you actually.

Gina: I just feel it’s a private matter and if you want to have something done, you shouldn’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve and all that stuff. So, it’s just me and maybe I’m old fashioned but I just don’t really … It’s not that I have a problem disclosing it, it’s more a fact that it’s the judgement that comes with it and the comments. It’s more the judgement and the whole tall poppy thing. If I was in America, I’d have no problem. I’d probably have openly told everyone, but just the Aussie culture and having procedures done doesn’t go well, even though half the ladies in the gym have had their boobs done and I’m probably one of the only ones that hasn’t, that seems to be acceptable, but having your face done, I don’t know how many people even have it done because if they have it done, they don’t talk about it. Everyone has Botox.

Trish: Nobody wants to talk about it.

Gina: Yes. So, that’s pretty much how it is. And that’s okay. I’d much rather be a lot more open but somebody said to me the other day, ‘You look so young, please tell me what your secret is.’ And I wanted to tell her and then I thought, no, I don’t think I want to tell her because she’s a bloody gossip and she’ll tell six people.

Trish: They always say, sometimes the best words that you could say are the ones that don’t come out of your mouth, you know. Nobody needs to know, except me.

Gina: Exactly.

Trish: Oh, this has been so good, thank you so much for sharing. It’s been so insightful into what it’s like as a facelift patient.

If you’d like more information on Dr Jack Zoumaras check out his listing here, or his website here.

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