Surgical Tools Credit: Praisaeng/

When a facelift fails

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I feel very bad for my friend, I don’t know what to do for her.

When we were in our late thirties, as terrible as this sounds, we used to laugh at older women who got facelifts, swearing we’d accept aging gracefully. Well, as these things go, we are now those older women. I managed to keep laughing but my friend got more and more critical of her appearance, especially after her husband walked out on her.

She talked about getting a facelift for years and while I didn’t agree with her, I promised I would support her decision.

She finally got it done two months ago. Her recovery was miserable and here’s the worst part, she looks awful. She’s had every complication imaginable and now has to have corrective surgery, from a different surgeon, who isn’t making any promises about the final outcome.

She’s been forced to take an extended leave from her job. She’s so sad and because of how she looks, she usually refuses to leave the house.She rarely lets people come visit. Besides being very low, she’s lonely, can’t sleep, and feels hopeless. I’m also worried about the weight she’s dropped. Her savings are dwindling fast. It’s a nightmare and she blames herself every single day.

Her two children try to help her but there’s not really much they can do from so far away. I just want to make her feel better but nothing I say or do seems to help.

Loyal Friend

Dear Reader,

Sadly,I have to agree with you. Your friend is living a real nightmare. Unfortunately, cosmetic surgery can, and does go wrong. When it does, it often results in a whole host of other problems, many of which you have described. What a sad situation your friend finds herself in.

While you may feel helpless, continuing to be a good friend is quite valuable. Don’t under estimate the importance of your emotional support and understanding. Talking and listening to your friend throughout this ordeal is of utmost importance.

However, you have also described many of the symptoms of depression – sadness, isolation, insomnia, hopelessness, and weight loss. One of the most critical things you can do as a caring friend is to talk with her about getting some counseling.

Reassure your friend that it’s perfectly understandable she is depressed. Who wouldn’t be? Let her know that you’re worried about her. Be very clear that her emotional state is not her fault, nor is it a character weakness. Gently explain what behaviors you see in her that concern you. Finally, suggest that she see a counselor to help her sort through all of these feelings.

I’m not sure how she will react. She may be angry with you or feel you are judging her. It’s also common to be afraid of the counseling process. (Sadly, due to ignorance and misinformation, this helpful and effective process has taken a bad rap over the years.) Be patient and stay calm. Suggest that she read up on depression, since good, solid information is helpful. (Go to for reliable information.)

But your friend may also be quite relieved to think that there is a solution for improving how she feels emotionally. Sometimes having a trusted friend brooch a difficult subject makes all the difference in the world.

However she reacts, continue to do what you have been doing. I’m sure she’s grateful for your friendship during this hardship. She is lucky to have you.

photo credit: Praisaeng/

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