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Caroline, an elementary school teacher, recalls being in her classroom one morning when “all of a sudden it felt like a truck hit me in the head.” Caroline knew something was horribly wrong and that she needed to see a doctor immediately.
Once in the emergency room, she had a CT scan and an MRI. The tests revealed she had two brain aneurysms, a condition in which the wall of a blood vessel in the brain balloons and threatens to rupture, which can lead to brain damage or death.
“The level of concern for a patient like this is off the charts,” says Dr. Jeffrey Thomas, a neurological surgeon at Washington Hospital in Fremont, California. “This is a death dealer of a condition.”
Caroline had four surgeries to remove the aneurysms and address resulting complications. Her brain began to swell, so she had to be put in a coma for 11 days.
Dr. Thomas explains that brain surgery and swelling can disrupt the soft tissue of the face to a significant degree.
Five years later, Caroline has recovered enough to return to teaching, but she still doesn’t feel like herself.
“I am 56 years old, but when I look in the mirror, I feel like I look like I’m 70,” she says.
Caroline sought to reduce the signs of stress and aging and visited plastic surgeon Dr. Carolyn Chang, who consulted with her neurologist and neurosurgeon before performing an eyelid lift and a face-lift.
Caroline's daughter, Maeve, sees her mother for the first time since her surgery and makeover.
Web exclusive: Watch the behind-the-scenes footage of celebrity makeup artist Scott Barnes and hair extension specialist Tera Rae Stephens as they complete Caroline's dream makeover.