Testimonial of Suzanne – 2005

For the last three or four years every time I passed
a mirror, stood in an elevator alone or caught my reflection on
the oven door, I couldn’t help but pull my cheeks up and
back, watching all those tell-tale lines disappear. Well-meaning
friends and family would ask, “A facelift? You don’t
need it!” My defense: “Good. I’d
certainly hate to look like I needed a facelift. Guess I’ve
caught it just in time.”

Researching facelifts online one day, I
discovered and Pat Marino
, the U.S. agent who developed the company.
I decided to call Pat. Friendly and knowledgeable, she answered
all of my questions, following up with additional information
by email and snail mail. I put together a large file
that included correspondence and phone conversations with prior
facelift patients, Dr. Carlos’ curriculum vitae, board certification
and credentials, info on the hospital, before and after photos,

I was intrigued with the high-tech SMAS (Superficial
Musculoaponeurotic System) procedure Dr. Carlos performed, which
produced an amazing natural, nonoperated-on look. Initially
lured by the low cost and images of relaxing in a hammock with
a margarita and a new face, I realized I had so much confidence
in Dr. Carlos’ expertise and years of experience, that I
really couldn’t imagine going to anyone else.

Pat arranged for a shuttle service to pick us up
at the airport in Leon. As we exited the airport, there
was a man holding a large sign with our name on it; we felt like
celebrities. He greeted us in fluent English, grabbed our
bags and led the way to his large white van, where we and the
only other five Americans on our flight drove in to San Miguel

Throughout our visit we were constantly
amazed at the beauty of the town
; cobblestone streets
lined with trees, bougainvillea and flower-filled courtyards,
all immaculately kept. The climate was near perfect at 6400 feet
with wonderful clean air and sparkling starlit nights. San
Miguel has a reputation for having the best small town dining
in all of Mexico; this is an understatement in our opinion.
The restaurant menus are incredible, everything from giant vegetarian
masterpieces to luscious steaks big enough for two, all reasonably
priced. Enjoying a sunset margarita on the rooftop terrace
of Pueblo Viejo was one of our hangouts.

The morning of surgery, Dr. Carlos’ personal
driver, Juan Miguel, arrived promptly at 10:00 a.m. to pick us
up for the drive to the hospital in Celaya. The 45-minute
was pleasant, as Juan Miguel told us interesting details of each
small town we passed through. Arriving at the hospital,
Dr. Carlos was there to greet us. Waving goodbye to Juan
Miguel, we followed the doctor inside, sat and chatted for a few
minutes until a lab technician signaled that he was ready to begin
the blood work and EKG.

We found the hospital to be clean, modern
and extremely well run
. The nurses and staff were
friendly and punctual. Everything happened in quick succession;
no time to get nervous here. Tests complete, Dr. Carlos
escorted us to his private office where he took several head shots
for my before pictures and described (in perfect English) the
SMAS procedure in more detail. Dr. Carlos showed us to Room 18
and explained dinner would arrive in about an hour, but if we’d
like to get out, there was a nice restaurant across the street
(Robinson’s). The hospital room was comfortably large,
had cable TV with English channels, and hardwood floors.
Dr. Carlos returned promptly at 7:00 p.m. We asked a few
more questions about the Big Day and told him about our dinner
experience. He gave me a light sleeping pill, explaining many
people are a bit nervous the night before and a good night’s
sleep is conducive to a speedy recovery.

The Big Day. Two smiling
nurses arrived about 8:00 a.m. to prep me, while Dr. Carlos personally
put my hair up in several little ponytails. They added a
sedative to the IV line, I was lifted onto the gurney and off
we went to the operating room. I vaguely remember wheeling
down the hallway, an elevator ride…then waking up in recovery.

Day 2, the morning after surgery,
I felt incredibly good; there was very little, if any, pain.
People are always amazed when I tell them this, but honestly the
most pain I had was getting my wedding ring off before surgery.
I was given a pain pill and antibiotic twice a day, but discontinued
the pain pills on the fourth day. The hospital food was
quite impressive: freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh papaya,
melons and yogurt with live acidophilus were main staples with
every meal. The nutritionist, Ana, visited one day inquiring
as to what I could and could not eat.

A cleaning lady arrived each day and not only mopped
the floor and changed my sheets, but wiped down all of the walls,
windowsills and hanging blinds as well. The nurses were
always cheerful and Dr. Carlos visited a.m. and p.m. to check
things and change my head bandage.

Day 3 finally arrived, my bandages
were removed and Dr. Carlos said, “You can shower this morning
and wash your hair.” After showering, carefully washing
and blow-drying my hair and applying a bit of cover-up and putting
on my Grace Kelly disguise (hat and sunglasses), no one would
have known I’d just had a facelift. I sent digital
pictures home of myself standing in front of the hospital bed
and everyone thought it must be my “before pics” because
I looked so good!

Arriving back at our hotel in San Miguel de Allende,
Pat Marino called to see if all was well. I told her
I was feeling almost fantastic! She said to take it easy
and think about venturing out tomorrow, depending on how I felt.
After a wonderful siesta, we were both so tired of being cooped
up we decided to walk to dinner that first night, anxious to explore
one of the great restaurants on Pat’s “favorites”
list. Wearing my large celebrity sunglasses and a pretty
white scarf I found at a boutique along the way, I really did
look the part of Grace Kelly!

The week ended much too quickly.
We could have explored for another week easily. We rode
back to the airport with a talkative couple from New York who
told us about all their favorite restaurants, none of which we’d
discovered. They also raved about the highlight of their
trip being La Gruta, the natural hot springs nearby.

Home again, my daughter said I still look like her
mother (she was worried she wouldn’t recognize me), and
three weeks later I’m back to jogging the hills behind my

The results are beautiful and graceful,
without that wind tunnel look
. My cheeks are back
up where they’re supposed to be, and I’ve lost that
urge to pull my cheeks back whenever I pass a mirror. The beauty
and tranquility San Miguel will beckon us back soon. Most
of all, I miss those wonderful lazy afternoon siestas.

Suzanne Stringfellow