I can't remember a time when I liked my nose or willingly posed for a photo. In recent years, my displeasure with this feature constantly crossed my mind while dating or attending social events. I always wondered if people noticed how big my nose was, the size of the bump at the top, or whether the tip descended too far down my face and basically obscured my upper lip.
Despite the clear impact my nose was having on my self-esteem, it took me years to become comfortable with the thought of actually taking action. I cancelled a consult with another surgeon approximately three years ago because of a work conflict, and never mustered up the courage to reschedule.
What really held me back was my discomfort admitting that I disliked a part of my body to the degree that the only option was to fix it. I thought that I needed to simply accept my nose and finally learn to love it. As a society we tell people to take ownership of their self-labeled "flaws" and proudly flaunt their uniqueness.
I finally realized that all the time I spent worrying about my nose was a waste of time and energy. Once I overcame the shame of admitting that I was never going to accept my nose, the journey became much easier.
I was excited on the drive to the surgery center, knowing that my decision felt right. I no longer had any reservations. When I saw Dr. Kotler before I was walked to the operating room, I knew I was in good hands. I was worried that the insertion of the anesthesia IV would be painful, but the doctor was very skilled and kind.
I don't remember anything beyond laying on the operating table and seeing the "before" and projected "after" picture of me taped to the wall. I was able to dress myself and walk out the door of the surgery center (with my parents) without any assistance.
The most uncomfortable part of the procedure was the packing and breathing tubes (Dr. Kotler invented them!) placed in my nose. They both were removed the next day in his office, so the inconvenience was hardly prolonged. The second and third days I felt some pain, which was readily controlled with the prescribed codeine.
My post-surgery needs illustrate the importance of choosing a doctor that genuinely cares for patients and maintains a staff that feels the same way. I required suctioning three times in the first three weeks to improve my breathing, and the staff always gave me the most immediate appointment.
I'm now more than a month past surgery. You would never know by looking at me that anything was done to my face. While my nose has only begun to decrease its swelling, the difference is obvious.
Friends have told me my new nose matches my face and is so natural, that my face looks smaller, and that my profile is much softer, among many other things.
I can't adequately describe how much better I feel knowing that my nose no longer haunts me. I happily posed for a picture with friends last weekend without any hesitation. It's such a relief to look in the mirror and be happy, especially so early in the recovery process. I'm already more confident, and I know that I'll like my nose even more once I see it fully healed.
Surgery is a commitment of your resources (financial, time, etc.) and a decision to completely put your well-being in someone else's hands. The uncertainty and lack of control is scary, but the decision to proceed with surgery was natural once I met Dr. Kotler. My only regret is that I waited so long to admit that my dislike of my nose was never going to disappear unless I fixed it.