I'd always had heavy eyelids but over the years they'd started to droop to the point where I'd often find them resting on my eyelashes. It seemed to happen overnight. One day they were fine and the next, well...
Eye-shadow became a waste of time (you couldn't see it) and my eyes seemed to be slowly disappearing. I didn't like it.
After my consultation I'd decided against the surgery. Did I really need it? Was I just being vain? What if I ended up looking weird? I had two choices at this point - live with it or throw caution, sense and logic to the wind and go for it.
After much soul searching I began telling people I was getting an eyelift. I hadn't actually made the decision but I was testing the water to see how people would react.
I was surprised to discover that almost everyone I told had either had the procedure, knew someone who had, or was contemplating it themselves. I'm not sure at what point I actually made the decision to go ahead with the surgery but once I had there was no turning back.
On the day of the operation (called a blepharoplasty) Dr Greg Taylor removed almost 9mm of excess skin from my upper lids.
There was no pain just two small pinpricks from the local anesthetic. I chatted with the surgeon and his nurse throughout the procedure which lasted a little over an hour.
It was honestly easier than having a tooth filled. The hardest part was learning how to pronounce and spell blepharoplasty.
The recovery time was equally drama free, although the hardest part of the whole process was looking like I'd gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson and had come off second best.
It was really hard to see myself looking like that and still believe I'd done the right thing. I had a few days where to avoid any self-interrogation I just didn't look in the mirror at all.
The swelling made my face and nose distorted and I didn't look or feel like myself anymore. If there was ever a time I felt like a fool it was now.
Within a week I felt happy enough to go out in public and within six weeks there were no obvious signs of surgery just a fresher, more wide-eyed looking me.
There are many people who believe that plastic surgery is an unnecessary and indulgent thing to do - that ageing gracefully excludes any kind of plastic surgery. I get that. I was that person. But this experience has taught me to never say never.
The surgery has not only changed how I look, but how I feel when I look at my reflection.
If I'm remembered for anything in life, I hope it'll be for being a decent person and not for being the poster girl for plastic surgery.
But for me the eyes really are the windows to the soul and it feels good having the blinds open again.
Check out the video of Leonie's journey here.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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