For the past 10 years, I’ve wanted a face and neck lift. I had my upper and lower eyes done about six years ago but didn’t have the money at the time to have the face and neck lift. My doctor’s prices kept going up and my confidence in my appearance kept going down. Last year I wanted to change jobs. I’m a fundraiser, a position where I need to be ‘out there’ and looking great. I had 25 interviews, but no job offers. I was both discouraged and angry, but the reality is that I’m competing against 40 year olds!

So I started to research medical tourism. Did I want to go to Costa Rica? Or Mexico? I did a lot of research and finally decided that Dr. Alejandro Lev was my physician of choice. He had an impeccable reputation and a lot of experience. Didi was also part of the reason why I chose Dr. Lev. She returned my many emails usually within 24 hours, answered my many questions and allayed my fears. She was funny, charming and so kind.

But finances were still a concern. I wanted this surgery so much I took out a loan to pay for it. My husband initially was not in favor of the surgery – you look great to me – but after some time he understood why I was so persistent about the surgery. I booked the date for my surgery, my flight and my 12-day stay at Verdeza. I was so excited and really never felt nervous the entire time.

I arrived in San Jose during a thunderstorm and traffic was horrendous. But when we got to Verdeza it was like a ray of sunshine coming out of the dark rain clouds. Warm greetings awaited me. I was upgraded to a larger room, but it wasn’t ready so I slept in a smaller room for one night. The staff at Verdeza were amazing from day one. They couldn’t do enough for me yet were not intrusive. Food was outstanding – I only ate jello and toast for the first few days but then I gravitated to delicious ice coffee, bacon and fresh fruit.

Carlos, my driver, took me to see Dr. Lev on Wednesday afternoon – I arrived on Tuesday. I spent Wednesday morning with Dr. Telma Rubinstein, dentist extraordinaire, getting some work done. When I finally got to Dr. Lev’s office, I was so excited they could peel me off of the wall! I knew the minute I met that Dr. Lev that I had made the right decision. Kind, patient and skillful, he agreed that I needed a face, neck and brow lift and suggested a chin implant and thoroughly explained why he believed I would look better with a chin implant. After spending this amount of money and having extensive work done, what’s another procedure???

Day of surgery finally arrived. Carlos took me to the hospital, which was beautiful with an efficient admitting team. I met the anesthesiologist who made jokes while explaining everything to me. Dr. Lev stopped by to say hi and next thing I knew, surgery was over! No pain, just a lot of tightness. My private duty nurse – a requirement of Dr. Lev’s – had me drinking water and walking around just a few hours post surgery. I really felt good – relieved it was over and glad that I felt so well.

Throughout my recovery, I never had real pain. Discomfort yes, but mostly from the tightness and numbness. I had bruising on the sides of my mouth and some swelling. Dr. Lev prescribed gel for the bruising and it quickly subsided. When I went home 12 days after surgery, I definitely was still swollen, but I wore a big hat and sun glasses and didn’t feel like people were staring at me.

To make a long story short, today it’s been three months since surgery. I think I look great – very natural, no deer in headlights look! My husband loves the results and I feel better about my appearance every day. My confidence has returned. I’m sure that I’m still swollen and I definitely have numbness in the neck and chin. But I’m waiting until I hit the six month mark. And if I have to live with the numbness, it certainly is tolerable in exchange for the big transformation of my appearance. And the best part? I had two job interviews since my surgery – one of them 13 days after surgery – and got a job offer, which I accepted! Didi and I still email and I send her pictures all the time. I hope that she uses some of them with this posting because you can definitely see a progression in my appearance.

Thank you to Dr. Lev, Didi, Carlos and the Verdeza staff. I came home feeling empowered and proud of myself for going forward with the surgery in a foreign country and trusting a doctor who I hadn’t met. But I never looked back and am thrilled with the results after three months.