A woman penned a heartbreaking, horrifying piece detailing the terror she experienced after getting injectable fillers.
Carol Bryan, who works in the aesthetic medical industry, wrote the piece for Women’s Health — explaining that she began getting Botox injections in her late 30s.
“I was very happy I did that. You don’t want to take drastic measures, and this was very subtle,” she wrote of her initial injections.
She went on to explain that, at age 47, she was told she should get new fillers.
“Ones that would fill in the volume lost in my forehead and cheekbones. I knew it was safe, but what I didn’t know is that certain fillers are meant only for certain areas,” she wrote.
During my procedure, two different fillers—one of which was silicone—were combined in the same syringe and injected into areas they shouldn’t have been.
I had the typical side effects, like bruising and swelling. You expect that, so you don’t get alarmed. But three months after the procedure, I was terrified of what I looked like. There was no sugarcoating it. I was told I’d need to have some corrective procedures, which I did, but those procedures just worsened the damage.
I never wanted to look at myself. I washed my face without looking. I brushed my hair without looking. I lived with a hat, a scarf, and glasses on.
I stopped all social interactions with my friends and family. I pushed most of the people in my life away. I just disappeared. I stopped answering calls and emails. I hid myself for over three years. I didn’t leave my house. I would just lock myself in my room. That’s when I began a lot of research and soul-searching and getting on my knees and praying. I wanted to believe everything was going to be OK, and I just had to be patient and trust God and trust that the corrective procedures would solve my circumstances.
Bryan said that her daughter convinced her to seek help at various hospitals. They sent photos of her condition all over the country, but only UCLA responded.
Reza Jarrahy, M.D., the co-director of the UCLA Craniofacial Clinic, was willing to see me. He had tears in his eyes when he asked me to tell him what happened. He said he would help me, even though he didn’t know how he was going to help me. He presented my case to a group of doctors, and one finally offered to help. That was Brian Boyd, M.D., a professor of surgery with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. There were risks with the surgeries they were planning, but I had no choice. My only other option was to tell my family to institutionalize me, anesthetize me, and come say hi to me once in a while. I knew I could not go out in that world with that face.
What had been done to me was so unprecedented that most doctors couldn’t just open a book to find out their options.
Jarrahy started in April 2013 by de-bulking my forehead. The foreign material—the fillers from 2009—had hardened and started pulling on tissues, causing the deformities. That first surgery left me blind in one eye, because part of the product had dislodged, pressed against the optic nerve, and [caused] loss of blood flow.
The next surgery was in October 2013, when Boyd said he was going to remove my forehead completely, down to the bone. “There’s nothing else we can do,” he told me. “We will find a place on your body to give us a sufficient amount of tissue that’s a close match to your skin color.” He didn’t want me to look like a patchwork. That surgery took 17 hours, using skin and tissue from my back, and was a huge success. But my forehead still protruded out.
The next surgery was in December 2013, to bring my forehead down to the level of my bone structure. Some areas of my upper forehead turned black—there was necrotic scarring—but it's near my hairline, so it doesn’t show. I had two more surgeries in 2014 and another in July 2015.
As of April 2016, Bryan’s face is back to a normal figure, though her doctors have recommended one more corrective procedure. She said, however, that she feels comfortable with where she is now.
“I used to be one of those people who would look at people who were disfigured, then look away. It was never in a disgusted way, but it would hurt my heart, so I’d look away. Losing my own beauty and having to face the world this way, and having people look at me and find me offensive, makes me want to work tirelessly to make sure this never happens to anyone again,” she wrote.
“When I look back at all the pictures from before and after, I remember who I was and who I am now. I feel better now than I ever did before. I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations anymore.”
Bryan is now the West Coast director of Face2Face Healing, where she educates the public about the dangers of aesthetic medicine.
In a similar incident, a real life Ken doll who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to look like a plastic doll was rushed to the hospital after his body rejected a new nose he had done.
Rodrigo Alves ultimately recovered but faced a near-death experience as a result of his extreme plastic surgery habits, Daily Mail reported.