These words were innocently uttered by the plastic surgeon I went to see last Thursday. I’d asked him to look at my eyes and the problems I’m having, see what he recommended on that score. Plus, despite what I said a year or so ago, I am now considering more plastic surgery. I know: shallow.

But something terrible happened to me between then and now. The span between my chin and my neck unexpectedly gave way. The bottom just dropped out of it, like a bridge. One day it was all fine and young, the next day, bam: new things jiggling when I walk. It’s bad. So bad, I don’t dare show before pictures. You wouldn’t sleep again.

Don’t get me wrong. In every other way, the fifties are fabulous. Miraculously, the day after I turned 50, I stopped taking every little thing personally. My word is only my bond till I say it’s not. My family and I come first and that’s that. In exact order: my health and well-being first, my marriage next, then my kids, then everything else. Sacrifice and martyrdom is out. Life is too short to be on a downhill slide. I actually feel bad for people who don’t like me. Haha, if there were any of those people. There is a freedom being fifty I never expected and didn’t imagine.

The downside is that your body turns on you in ways you also never expected and couldn’t imagine. Like looking down and seeing my mother’s 50-year-old hands where my 20-year-old hands used to be. When did that happen???? Middle-aged spread and its staying power is not an imaginary thing invented to explain a little weight gain. And menopause. Whoa, there’s a cruel joke. But, hey, these are all facts of life. I can live with ’em. Good attitude.

The chin thing, that’s another story. Merriam Webster defines jowl as "the pendulous part of a double chin."
Gross. I’m not having anything on my body that can be thusly defined.
I can live with it if I must, but if there’s an option, I’m taking it. When I said "no more plastic surgery unless my jowls fall down around my knees," I never expected that to actually happen. Suddenly, I can see my future. Unless I do something, it will not be pretty.

So the lovely, otherwise-kind doctor, while he was taking photos of my face from every angle, photos none of us wants to see, asked – very matter-of-factly, sin opinión, without seeing any number on a scale – if this were my weight. I said I was working on ten pounds, would love to lose 20. He said if you are going to lose 20, have the surgery afterwards.

Then he said the surgery would be $2,500, the hospital stay would be $2,750. That’s a lotta dough. That’s Pilates three times a week for over a year. That’s 350 spa pedicures. A massage a week for almost two years. Before I spend $5,250 on the wattle, I’ll need to lose 20 pounds and gain an income. You know, I’ll bet if I lost 20 pounds, the wattle wouldn’t be nearly so cumbersome. Hal’s all for giving that a shot… Good idea.

El doctor was recommended by my friend Belinda from Key West, now living in Dominical. A couple of years ago, this doctor did her nose which is lovely. Two months ago, she had her upper eyelids done, a lower face lift and her "girls" slightly enhanced. She showed me everything, even the girls – all absolutely fabulous. I’d used this doctor, no problem.

About my eyes: he said he didn’t see any problems. Ok. As time goes by, the bumps are less and less noticeable, it’s true. But he’s in a tricky situation. If he says, "Wow, they really screwed this up" or even "Not a great job, there is a problem," and I go back to the first guys and share that in an effort to get my money back (forget them touching me again)… Well, the slander/libel laws here are pretty intense. You can go to jail for bad-mouthing someone. I can see where this doctor is not going to bad-mouth another doctor’s work, particularly the first day he meets me.

So are there really no problems? Is this all in my imagination? I’ll probably never know. Se la vie, life is too short. I’ll live with it.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll see another doctor for opinion and price. Then I plan to see a third. Doing my homework. But I’m thinking this is not going to happen, at least not this year. In 20 pounds, we’ll see. A lot can happen between now and then.

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