on the surface of things – things to consider before a laser peel

in the not always amusing soap-opera-tragicomedy that is my life, i get home last night, decide to be my own jewish mama and make myself some chicken soup to help get over this respiratory infection. i throw in whatever ingredients i can find, including a chili from which i’m careful to remove the seeds. 

then i decide to remove my contact lenses.

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! 

it was obviously not just my skin which got damaged this past week – my brain must have sustained some damage as well! this morning i eventually have to throw the lenses out after several attempts to clean them fail (which i of course only discover each time i try to put them in my eyes!)

i try to have an early night, but the moon is full and my dog, chai will not stop barking. in the early hours of the morning i finally get up and muzzle him so i can get some sleep.

anyway, it feels like i’m finally surfacing from 10 different layers of hell. 

it’s obvious to me that there’s a reason why shows like dr 90210 are edited the way they are. they show you a little before, during, immediately after and then 6 weeks or so later when the patient has had ample time to recover and forget about the painful aftermath of whatever procedure they’ve undergone.

one week later, it’s still way too soon for me to say whether this process was worth it. right now i definitely look worse than before. besides the very raw looking reddish-pink around my eyes, my normally fairly smooth skin-tone is blotchy, hyper-pigmented and criss-crossed with hash marks. my eye-lids are still swollen and my fore-head under the lights looks serrated and my profile looks curiously wide and flat. even though i normally don’t wear foundation unless for work, there is no way that i can walk around like this. most people at work have only seen me once my make-up’s been done and one of them said, “what’s the big deal?” this morning he sees me on my way into the make-up room and all he can do is say, “shit!”, shake his head and say it again, “SHIT!”.

for now, based on my experience, here’s what i can advise anyone else thinking of getting a micro-laser peel or periorbital laser resurfacing:

  • 1. be absolutely certain you know what you’re letting yourself in for.
  • 2. ask as many questions as you can think of.
  • 3. be prepared for anything.
  • 4. a laser peel is different from a tca peel. it’s deeper, and takes more recovery time.
  • 5. it’s going to hurt more than you think it will.
  • 6. you’ll get over it…
  • 7. … if you give yourself enough time to recover. i’d suggest at least a full week.
  • 8. if your job, as does mine, entails being under studio lights, know that every little irregularity will be magnified. give yourself twice as much recovery time.
  • 9. have someone who can drive you to and from the procedure, to post-op visits, pick up prescriptions and just generally take care of you.
  • 10. do not do this procedure unless you’re 100% healthy. the recovery places huge stress on your immune system, so make sure it’s entirely up to par.
  • 11. don’t pick! do not touch your face unless it’s absolutely necessary and then only as little as possible.
  • 12. did i mention it before? DO NOT PICK  AT YOUR FACE! if you do, you will regret it.
  • 2 MONTHS POST-PEEL, EDITED TO INCLUDE: 13.  if you’re bi-racial, or have an olive skin-tone, think seriously before doing this procedure and ask your doctor if it’s advisable. i’m beginning to think it’s not.
in make up 1 week after periorbital resurfacing

in make up 1 week after periorbital resurfacing

 

by next week when the swelling has gone down totally, when i’m over my respiratory infection and hopefully when my skin-tone evens out,  i might have a better idea about how i feel about this. 

for now i’ll hold off judgement on whether i think it was worth it.

what was that saying about beauty being skin-deep?

pity party

ok. at this point i’m feeling very sorry for myself.

before i went to bed last night, i gargled with warm salt-water, i cooked with as much garlic as i could stand, echinacea’ed as much as i could, went to bed by 9 and slept for at least 10 hours.

woke up feeling miserable. throat full of razor-blades, lungs on fire and full of gunk, lymph nodes painfully swollen, my face feeling as tight as that character from the movie “brazil”, though thankfully no longer raw.

no kidding - it feels like that.

angi puts on my make-up and my skin feels thick, my face a bit more swollen than yesterday. it feels like she’s applying my make up through cardboard. i see some hyper-pigmentation forming along my jawline. i have a lot more thoughts about his micro-laser-peel, but more about that at another time.

i rush back over to the work doctor before my first scene and she diagnoses me with pharyngitis – an upper respiratory infection. my system seems to be in shock. i get another script for antibiotics. i foresee more gymnastics for my credit card, but at this point i’ll do anything to feel better. 

oh, and i have a magazine photo shoot this afternoon as soon as i finish shooting my scenes for the day. yeah. right.

oh woe is me.

laser peel recovery – day II & III

friday mid-morning, after my micro-laser peel the night before, i head back over to the CENSORED for a check-up with doctor CENSORED.

i am not feeling good. i think i’m taken by surprise by the amount of pain i’m experiencing. i look terrible. i attempt to wear a hat, but it chafes my fore-head and the vaseline i’ve been told to slather on my face sticks to everything. i opt for a scarf loosely tossed over my head.

the doctor says it’s looking good, so this must be normal (and i do recall 2 rather scary-looking patients the night before). he puts some yellow powder around my eyes which he says will absorb some of the moisture. i look even scarier. halloween has come early and my gruesome burn victim mask takes first prize. as i pay my not-insubstantial bill, i start to feel a little light-headed (not just because of the feats required by my credit card) and have to go take a seat in the waiting room. CENSORED, the very sweet receptionist, gets me some powerade. dr. CENSORED asks if i want to lie down, but i opt to stay where i am (i’m sure i’m not being a very good advertisement right now for the other clients in the waiting room). they very kindly order me a sandwich as i think my wooziness might be as a result of skipping breakfast, combined with the flu and the stress on my system.

i can feel that all the blood has drained from my face. my body seems to be in shock. another client very kindly offers to drive me home, but i gratefully decline and slowly make my way back. i spend the rest of the day on the couch, my face simultaneously shiny and crusty, watching the opening of the olympics which is pretty awe-inspiring and provides at least a little bit of distraction, though i am in pain.

during the course of saturday morning, after i’ve washed off the crusty yellow powder with the (not inexpensive product i bought from the doctor), the pain and swelling begin to subside. i’m beginning to feel better.

however, i still have to prepare for the fire-gig i’ve agreed to. i spend the day getting my costume and tools together and choosing music for the performance. putting on make-up, though, is far more interesting than i’d like. i’m still very crusty and it’s hard to cover that. i also feel like my face is cracking under the make-up. i end up covering my eye area in a huge ring of black cream-based kryolan and end up looking like the corpse bride.

we get to the venue (which is breathtakingly beautiful – stone buildings nestled up against the koppies) and set up. i’ve been ignoring the fact that i have the flu, but by now i’m beginning to lose my voice, my lungs hurt and my face, now that i’ve got make-up on, feels like it’s splitting open. i get through the 2 sets, dismally it seems to me, for the level i’m used to performing at, but it goes over well. only problem is that i have to wear goggles for the fire set, just to protect my eyes, but instead it winds up chafing off the skin around my eyes. i wash off the make-up in the ladies room immediately after and have very interesting conversations with women coming in and out to use the facilities (especially the ones disappearing into the stalls in pairs – not necessarily to relieve themselves, though definitely to powder their noses).

it’s a strange experience. i get home feeling like i’m done being the entertainment. i used to love fire performing, but on this night, when i’ve performed mainly to honor my word, seeing that i have the flu and my face is on fire, it is interesting to see how my highly distinctive make-up and costume, make me invisible. to the people who don’t know me, i am the hired help, somehow beneath them. it is not a feeling i enjoy. it interesting to see the change in response when i take my make-up off and they actually talk to me and some realize that they’ve seen me on tv. the irony is that apparently there’s a lot of interest in booking me, but i don’t know whether i’m any longer interested in spinning for anything but fun.

(to be continued)