I have never, ever written a review of a doctor or well, anything except maybe something on Amazon. But here I am, telling my story. All surgery is risk and a huge risk to leave the country to have something elective done. Needless to say, it was not an easy decision. But it was the best decision of my life, and believe me, I have not made many good decisions. This has been a very, very rough few years for me and it showed in my face. It was like the sadness was actually pulling my face down. So I took a deep breath and, facing my 60th birthday I decided I could no longer look at the sad me. After doing a lot of research choosing Dr. Lev was the easy part. I will tell you he is a professional, but more than that he is a kind human being that knows we are all scared and all in need of reassurance. So off to Costa Rica I went, by myself. I stayed at Che Tica Recovery Ranch, which was another wonderful decision. Up in the mountains, it is quiet and comfortable.

The staff is so loving and concerned. I had my own little cottage with all the amenities. There are 80 acres to wander with sheep, wild horses, and two golden retrievers. Some will complain about traffic noise. I came prepared with a white noise machine but truthfully I never needed it. I didn't hear anything. There is a 20 minute drive into the heart of San Jose which turned out to be one of my favorite things, riding with the staff and having great conversations. And trust me, you do not want to be in the heart of San Jose while recovering. It is not peaceful.

Ellen's Before and After Pictures

So I met Dr. Lev and we discussed everything about the procedure. He asked/told me exactly where each cut would be and what to expect. He asked me over and over if I had any questions. A bunch of his patients came with me from the ranch and they were like my cheerleading team. The morning of the surgery, Ruben, the owner of the ranch took me to Cima hospital, which is gorgeous, btw. He held my hand and walked me in, introduced me to the reception staff. There was no 'drop and run'. Eventually I met my anesthesiologist, Dr. Greenwood, who explains everything he is doing as he does it and makes you laugh all the way through.

Then Dr. Lev came in and marked up my face. We went into the operating room where Dr. Lev introduced all the people in the operating room to me. All little magic juice and I woke 5 hours later. I had paid for a private nurse, which is a very good idea. I spent the night wrapped in a cocoon of cotton and ace bandages. It’s interesting how some people don’t like the ‘helmut’. It didn’t bother me at all, it was like wearing a warm fuzzy hat. The next morning the ranch nurse, Francis came and picked me up and home I went. The following day I had to go to Dr. Lev's office where he changed my bandages and removed the stitches from my eyes. He said he didn't leave them in more than one day so there was no scaring or cysts. I was very embarrassed to go to his office because it is upstairs of a big modern mall. So two of the patients from the ranch and Ruben came with me. One man on each arm we paraded through the mall.

The mummy and her men! It was hysterical. Over the next two weeks or so I healed very quickly. I am home now. My face is still very swollen and I still have some raccoon eyes but the change is amazing. I got a little scared because my neck stopped swelling but under my chin is still hard as a rock, making it look a little strange. I emailed Didi, Dr. Lev's liaison and within a few hours Dr. Lev emailed me, reassuring me about swelling and what to do. I felt so much better. In February I am going back to do body work (I lost 150lbs) and I will only work with Dr. Lev. Btw, Didi has my email address and I am happy to talk to anyone that has any questions or concerns.

Ellen's Costa Rican Experience

Ellen's Experience