I hesitate to write this month’s column because people who know me, may now start looking a little more closely. However, in the interest of sharing ideas on retirement and aging, I submit the following:

First, let me preface this by saying I have had no cosmetic surgery, not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, one of my friends has, and she invited me to an informational seminar at her doctor’s office one evening. Our area seems to have a lot of plastic surgeons who sponsor events to give you an idea of how much better you could look.

There were about fifty other women who were also curious about what they could do to improve their appearance and the office manager gave us a brief overview of different options. There are many different things, from lasers to chemical peels that can reduce wrinkles.

As the evening progressed they had a raffle for different prizes. When we arrived we were given three tickets and we had a choice of putting them in different bowls for a drawing. I had my eye on a gift basket filled with expensive skin care products, so that is where my first ticket went. My second ticket went into the bowl for a facial and eyebrow waxing. And my last hope was tossed in a bowl for a photo-facial, a procedure that reduces wrinkles and sun damage. As the drawing started, there were elated screams as people won Botox injections. My hopes were dashed as a name, other than mine, was drawn for the gift basket.

A hush came over the crowd as the drawing for the most expensive gift, valued at nearly $2000.00 took place. Facial Fillers or injectables as they are called, held little interest for me. I had seen the demonstration earlier in one of the treatment rooms and the needles and pained expression on the recipient, had frankly scared me.

And then all of a sudden I heard my name. How can it be me I wondered? Apparently, I had put my ticket in the wrong bowl. My immediate reaction was to say, please draw another name because I have no interest in the prize. But I didn’t. I wondered if there had been a cosmic intervention. Was there a reason I had won this prize I wondered?

My friends congratulated me and my husband encouraged me to buy a lotto ticket to see if my good fortune held. But I agonized. I was scared. I didn’t know if I wanted this prize. I would look in the mirror and try to imagine how I would look without my prominent laugh lines. Certainly, I would look better, but did I really look that bad?

Apparently, I did, because everyone encouraged me to go ahead.

After many sleepless nights, I decided to call and make an appointment. Again, cosmic intervention: they had an opening that day and could do it that afternoon. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My husband took me to my appointment and bravely sat in the treatment room as I had my procedure. I sat in a semi-reclined position as a nurse rubbed numbing cream on my face. Then she came in with a syringe and began making small injections into my laugh lines. It hurt a little, but certainly not a lot. The whole procedure took about 45 minutes. I was told to go home and put ice on it and rest. Other than that, no restrictions.

I was done and it would take about three weeks to completely heal. Initially, I was bruised for a few days, but that was it. I don’t look that different to me, but when I look at the before picture that was taken, I can definitely tell a difference.

It is expensive and I can see how it could become addictive. To me, when some wrinkles are diminished it is almost like the others become emphasized. But the reason I am happy I did it is because I was afraid. And sometimes it is just feels good to do something that is scary.

I would encourage anyone that is not happy with their appearance to explore this option. Whether or not you decide to proceed, at least you will know what is available.

And believe me, there is a lot.

Alane CunninghamHealthanti-aging,seniorsI hesitate to write this month's column because people who know me, may now start looking a little more closely. However, in the interest of sharing ideas on retirement and aging, I submit the following:First, let me preface this by saying I have had no cosmetic surgery, not that...Parenting Advice and Family Fun Activities