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Her positive response to my questions sealed the deal.
A word of advice: if you are considering a face-lift, stay away from face-lift forums. I’d frightened myself into believing I would be left with huge blood clots, that my mouth would sink to one side and I’d have to sleep with my eyes taped closed for evermore.
The following day I returned home and rented a Hilotherapy machine to take with me to help with the healing.
The tightness in my throat was frightening at first, but when the bandages were removed after a couple of days the discomfort eased, and I was amazed at the huge difference when I looked in the mirror.
But I’d done my research thoroughly and it was difficult to find a derogatory comment about him.
Years of being overweight have led me to avoid full-length mirrors, but he stood me in front of one and we both studied my reflection.
As I was about to hand over my credit card in exchange for yet another ‘miracle’ firming cream, it dawned on me that only the removal of the loose skin – in other words, a full face-lift – would be the answer.
Losing such a significant amount of weight in just a year was drastic and I achieved it the simple (some would say hard) way, by cutting out the things I loved most, namely anything – food or drink – containing sugar. As the weight melted away, I harboured great expectations for life after obesity.
First, I investigated clinics offering budget packages abroad, in countries such as Poland and Thailand. The ones that did offered the world, but also suggested that at my age I might like to think about breast enhancement and an abdominoplasty (also known as a ‘tummy tuck’) as well.
To my astonishment, I was being hard-sold surgery, choosing procedures from a checklist with no personal consultation.
And I had the support – emotionally and financially – of my family, who saw me struggling with a face which, although slimmer, I could not learn to love.
I set about doing my research meticulously, and over several months met an army of cosmetic surgeons, some well-known and others less so.
Fresh faced: Although Karen explored the option of going abroad for cut-price surgery, she opted for a close-to-home clinic, using Mr Alex Karidis at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London I’m not a vain person, but no amount of smart clothes or hairdressing appointments could help.