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Linda Briggs in the press 1999.  Women's Journal
Pictures with Cindy Jackson. Also before and after pictures


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Written by Linda, it's an account of how she came to have cosmetic surgery, Inspired by Cindy Jackson.  A diary of the events before and after the procedure and how she felt about it.

Print this off and read it by yourself, because you will be able to relate to a lot of what happened to her.

Woman's Journal December 1999 Linda Briggs with Cindy Jackson

Published in Women’s Journal 'December 1999'


Photographs by EMMA BOAM


Below from the left: Linda, before surgery: ‘I am not a hard person but my face looked very stern’; recovering on the day of surgery; five weeks later, with a brand new face and blonde hair extensions:  ‘My husband’s jaw nearly hit the floor’

Linda Briggs four months before surgery.

Linda Briggs coming out of the aneasthetic

Linda Briggs 6 weeks after surgery

Linda Briggs before and after surgery 1999

"THE first grey hair appeared when I was 25, along with the first wrinkle. I was having too much of a good time to worry about it then, but at 27, it was quite a different matter I'm getting old — I'm nearly 30" I wailed.

The end of the world came with my 30th birthday, I didn't stop crying all day. I wanted to be an eco warrior and go as wrinkled and grey as nature Intended, but nature really screws things up when you're not paying attention.

I went for a new hairstyle and a new diet, and my shelves were full of Leslie Kenton's health and beauty books. Start going to more aerobics classes, I told myself, then at least you can keep your muscles toned.

I had always been fit and active, but as I approached 35 my metabolism changed.  Now I needed more exercise just to stay the same size. I hennaed my hair but it wasn't permanent enough.   Why did I have to look so old? Nature had no right to do this to me.

My head still said I was 25 and I had the energy of a 25-year old. I Just looked older.  I Ignored my 40th birthday. I wasn't going to have a party to celebrate the fact that I was getting old.  I accepted the presents but not he birthday.

Then, in June 1997 I read a newspaper story about Cindy Jackson's cosmetic surgery. She is one year two months younger than me — and she looks wonderful.  I felt nothing but admiration for her achievements.   She has done exactly what she wanted and made her­self beautiful Into the bargain.

by Cindy Jackson, I stepped up the fitness regime, cut out all the unhealthy food and bought a book called Facercise by Carole Maggio. Following the book’s instructions, I’d stand for hours distorting my face into all sorts of shapes and sizes. I even took a photograph before I started, so I could see if I was making any progress. I stuck to this for months and yes it did make a bit of difference but nature was fighting against me all the time. I needed something more drastic.

A friend recommended a course of electronic face-lifts. After about three sessions, I caught my husband looking at me intently. When I asked why, he just said, "I’m lucky to have you." So it seemed the treatments did work but I could still see the ravages of time trying to etch their way across my face. My crow’s-feet looked like a centipede curled around each eye and my hair was thinning quite rapidly.
I had my haircut fashionably short and wore classic clothes, so I looked like a smart businesswoman. People would occasionally compliment my style but the wolf whistles had stopped a long time ago

Linda Briggs looking at clothes
borrowed from the London Fashion Show for us to wear.

Linda Briggs tries on designer dresses with her idol Cindy Jackson
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I thought I was coping quite well with ageing until my younger sister’s wedding. As we were mingling with the other guests for the photographs, a friend of my sister’s asked if I was the bride’s Mum. It was so painful, I felt as if I’d been stabbed. I had just spent a fortune over the past three weeks trying to look beautiful. I’d had the full facial treatment; eyelashes permed and dyed, a couple of electronic facials. I’d had a haircut and applied anything else that happened to be left on the bathroom shelf.

I began to have doubts about how my lack of confidence in my appearance could affect my job. How could I teach other people to have confidence (I took a year off to counsel people with learning difficulties) if I didn’t like myself the way I was?

I began to scan the cosmetic surgery ads in the Yellow Pages, dismissing some instantly because they were vulgar or tacky. I saw three consultants but ended my search at …………………… because I was impressed by their manner and the way they handled my enquiries. We talked at length and they suggested upper and lower eyelid reduction and a lower face-lift to get rid of the saggy skin under my chin.

I didn’t tell my husband what I was doing until I’d made the decision to go ahead with the treatment and knew how much it was going to cost. He sulked for a couple of hours, forbade me to do it, wanted to know all the pitfalls and said he liked me as I was. "Isn’t it all a bit drastic?" he asked. "Of course it’s drastic, that’s the whole point" I replied. I didn’t have to put my foot down very firmly. I just said ‘It’s my face and I am doing it, so get used to the idea’.

We had
to make some changes to our budget because we’re building a new house and all of our money is being sucked into that. But we decided that my needs were greater. Compared to the cost of the new house £4,800 was a snip for a renovation job. I only told a few friends before the operation and responses ranged from "You vain thing" to "You’re very brave". My mother-in-law thought I should grow old gracefully and not waste the money.

The day before my operation, I arrived at the ……………. Clinic at about 3.30pm. Any doubts I had disappeared after one look in the mirror – the saggy skin had to go. The staff did everything possible to reassure me and make me feel comfortable but I sent my husband away because he was worrying and looked as if he was about to have a coronary. He kept saying he didn’t like the idea of me being cut up and that he loved me the way I was. He went home, only to ring me later in the evening to say he missed me.
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My consultant visited me early to discuss what I didn’t like about my face. Peering over his glasses, he scrutinised me intently, pulled my face this way and that and took some photographs. When he walked into the room, I must confess to feeling apprehensive about what sort of job he would do. But I watched his actions and the way he completed his forms with meticulous, neat handwriting. No need to worry, I thought, if a doctor writes like that, then his stitches will be tidy. I no longer felt nervous. I just wanted to get on with it.

The lady from theatre collected me at 1pm. We went over the forms and checked my ID bracelet to make sure I wouldn’t come back with breast implants instead of raised eyelids .I woke up in my room at 2.45pm with the nurse telling me it was all over. She had already put pads on my eyes, so I just lay still. The first thing I noticed was that my head felt tight; I had a crepe bandage around it with bits of hair sticking up as if I had put on too much mousse. I tried a drink of water but couldn’t manage the straw. The right side of my face felt as if I had just come home from the dentist and I couldn’t get my mouth around the glass without dribbling.

The tingling in my head wasn’t painful; it was just different. It reminded me of when my mother put rags in my hair when I was a child to make ringlets. When Journal’s photographer arrived, I remember thinking that I must look like I’d been run over by a train. I had to keep putting cold pads on the eyes to keep the swelling and bruising to a minimum. Shortly afterwards, my husband walked in with the largest basket of flowers I have ever seen. He does everything to extremes.
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My appetite was back to normal and after a good night’s sleep; I was ready to go home after lunch.

Linda Briggs waiting in the clinic for her surgery

Linda Briggs after surgery

A nurse cut off the bandages and helped to wash the blood out of my hair, so that it would look more presentable as I walked out of the hospital.
In the bathroom mirror I could see the left side of my face and neck was swollen but the right side had escaped too much bruising. There were lots of stitches around my eyes so steri strips were put on the top and bottom eyelids to stop the ends of the stitches dangling across my eyes and irritating me. My hair was full of staples just above and behind the ears but somehow I managed to hide them with some careful drying. I put on my dark glasses and ventured from the room, hoping that I wouldn’t see anyone. The surgeon, bless his heart, always gives his ladies a big bouquet of flowers to take home and I was very touched by the gesture.

When I looked in the mirror at home – peering through the maze of stitches and steri strips – I was completely shocked by the smoothness of my skin. After years of watching the wrinkles creeping across my face and my skin sagging, it took some getting used to. The next thing I noticed was that my hairstyle was completely wrong for the shape of my new face.  Previously, my face was long and saggy, now it was more rounded.

The bricklayer who was working on our house came to have a look at the state of my face. He is a well-tattooed chap and by no means a wimp but he was horrified by the extent of the bruising and stitches. He thought I was stark raving mad.
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I find that sleeping at home is a bit more difficult than sleeping in a propped-up hospital bed. I can only lie on my back, as it is too uncomfortable to lie on my ears. They feel quite numb and on close inspection I can see there are stitches all the way down the front of them – I hadn’t thought about that. There is still a lot of bruising and dried blood around my face – I look as if I have been hit with a plank of wood across the left side of it. Still no pain; just that tender feeling that goes with severe bruising.

I have to shower and wash my hair every day in order to keep the incisions clean until they heal. I can’t exfoliate my skin and I’m not allowed to use soap until the stitches come out on Friday, so my face has started to resemble a wall that had just been stripped of wallpaper and not wiped clean.

A friend wanted to visit to have a look, so I sneaked down to the gate and left a key in the lock so I wouldn’t see any neighbours. When she came up the drive, I was playing in the garden with the dogs. She said, "it doesn’t look like you, it’s so different." We went inside and she sat and stared at me for about 10 minutes, occasionally saying, "I just can’t believe it."

The staples in my head are still very tight and it makes movement a bit restricted. I feel tired, partly because I can’t get comfortable in bed and because my body is trying to heal itself, so I am taking it very easy this week and have told everyone that I am away on holiday. I am ignoring the phone. Because of all the hair washing, my colour has faded to a dark blonde instead of a light brown and I can see the roots showing through. But I will have to wait until all the cuts are healed before I dare put any colour on it.

On Friday
, I drove myself back to the clinic to have the staples and the stitches removed. My surgeon looked very pleased with his handiwork. The nurse took about 40 minutes to remove all the staples and it scarcely hurt at all. She had a special little tool that made the job easier. Removing the stitches around the corners of the eyes made me shout a bit, though and my eyes watered but that has been the only pain. I’d compare it to having my legs waxed or my eyebrows plucked. When my husband saw me that evening, he said I looked much better now that the stitches had been removed.

People’s reactions have been really interesting this week; I was talking to a young girl I know for several minutes before she realised it was me, while many male acquaintances stare me in the eyes and make far more conversation than they used to.

Continued on Page 2
More pictures of Linda with Cindy Jackson


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