I was 10 years old when Andy...
It was the first time anyone had ever said anything like that about my nose; indeed it was the first time I'd ever even thought about that thing between my eyes. It was always just sort of...there, ya know, on my face. But every day since that fateful afternoon, my nose has been, well...there, ya know, ON MY MIND. Twenty five years later I FINALLY plucked up the courage to do something about it.
I should point out that my nose was never offensively large. I didn't have the usual bump or 'hook' at the end, it wasn't excessively long or crooked or possessing any particular irregularity. It was just a bit shapeless and ever so slightly too large for my face. And it drove me MENTAL. I felt like every photo was a bit of promo material for the story of my epic schnoz-ola, co-starring the rest of my face. I could never EVER leave the house without makeup on (and if you knew me, you'd know I'm not really that girl) and if I did (out of dire necessity), I basically felt like a walking olfactory system.
And of course everyone told me I was crazy. My boyfriend (though I think he secretly agreed with me, but he's Italian so can't really comment), my colleagues; anyone I spoke to told me I was nuts to put myself through a painful and expensive procedure to correct a problem that was largely in my head. Wrong, I said. It's on MY FACE. And it's going. Oh yes, it's GOING.
I remember that, in the run-up to my surgery, I used to look in the bathroom mirror each morning and glare at it. "Tick tock, ya b@stard. Tick tock...!"
Et voila. Enter Dr Lucian Ion. (I'll get to him in the next section but to summarise, I love him.)
The funny thing is that I'm writing this review 9 days post op, still deep in the throes of recovery and WAAAAY far away from a final result. I have had my bandages off (the greatest feeling in the entire world) a few days ago, I have no bruising and I feel totally fine (apart from a nagging low grade fever which seems to come and go), but my nose? My nose is angry. Like for REALZ angry. And it has chosen to express its extreme dissatisfaction with my life choices by trebling its size with fluid and...whatever else causes post-operative swelling. It's actually larger than before my op and I am so. not. kidding.
Yet I'm still thrilled.
I'm thrilled for loads of reasons. I have faith in my surgeon and I am convinced that - if he said it went well - it went well. I have read a few other posts (though not nearly enough, hence this possibly-too-soon review) where this has happened to others and all is generally fine in a couple of weeks. And if I stand in front of a mirror (which I've spent a LOT of time doing recently) and I stare deep into the centre of my face, and I strain my eyes to look past all the swelling and throbbing (much less these days but still the odd pulse) and yucky, dried, post-op skin (possibly the worst part of the whole d@mned experience), I can already tell he's done a BRILLIANT job. I can totally see the shape of the new nose, hiding 'neath all the fluid retention and thick skin (le sigh) and I am convinced it's going to be fine.
And I'm thrilled because I've finally taken charge of something which has plagued me for literally decades. I am aware of how shallow and narcissistic that sounds and I'm comfortable with that. In the last 25 years I've survived heartbreak, miscarriages, a move across an ocean where I didn't know a single soul to be with a man who would ultimately betray me, the start and failure of a business AND a marriage, three muggings, CANCER and a whole host of other issues, catastrophes and head/heart aches which don't need mentioning here. I really just wanted to stop thinking about my d@mned nose all the time and, maybe once, look at a photo of myself and think, "D@mn. I am HOT." And now I can. Or, I will shortly - once it goes back to being normal nose size. I'm thrilled that I said p*ss off to all the Judge-y McJudgersons out there ("But what about all of your feminist principles? What about 'living authentically'? We thought you hated falseness and pretence?") and did something to make ME happy for once. Just me. No further justification required.
So there's that.
And so now I thought I'd start my review today - before I can show anyone photos of any glamorous, delicate, post-operative facial magic. I thought 'd document progress from the AFTER cast bit, as the actual surgery and immediate aftermath is pretty doable (apart from this weird breakout I'm having all over my chest which is SUPER unsexy but which I'm told is a side-effect of the anaesthesia/drugs I've been on for a week), but the moment that cast comes off can present a whole other set of hurdles (mentally and physically). I thought I'd tell the real story of plastic surgery, from the moment you THINK it's all gonna be awesome and then...it isn't.
I've uploaded a photo of me before the op, just after, a few days after that and, of course, the day the cast came off (try not to laugh, please). And I will continue to update as the days and weeks progress. I'll also let you know what the recovery process was like for me, because I've enjoyed reading other people's experiences and have felt much more normal as a result.
But for today, just a hello, a wee bit of background and a few photos. BAck with you over the weekend.
A few words about recovery.
-Pain. Everyone says that there's no pain at all, but I fail to see how that's physically possible. Whether you've had an open or a closed procedure, let's not forget that this is pretty major surgery, so a bit of pain/discomfort is to be expected. Or I certainly expected it anyway, so I took the pain medication they gave me consistently for the first 48 hours. I took them, not because I had any particularly acute pain (though the swelling under the cast thingy is pretty uncomfortable), but because I didn't want to wait until I NEEDED it. I've done that before and that sucks. Furthermore, let's be honest - it's one of the few times in your life when you're legally allowed to consume narcotics so really, waste not want not, people! (Ahem.) I actually only stopped taking pain meds on the third day because a) I'm not *actually a regular user of class A narcotics, so I like to watch my consumption of such things and b) I realised at about 4pm - when I felt some slight aching in the bridge - that I had forgotten to take them since the night prior and I figured that was a pretty good sign that they were no longer necessary. Oh, and I'm pretty sure my pain meds (co-dydramol) contain caffeine because I was awake most nights until 4 or 5 in the morning and I have NO idea why else this would be (and I always too one before bed). Despite this, my advice is - take the d@mned medication for the first day or so, even just to set your mind at ease that you won't be hit by a major waive of anything horrible in the early stages of recovery. They were prescribed for a reason so even if you don't take all of them, I'd advise not to get caught with your pants down in this regard. Or in any regard, really. Could be awkward.
- Sleep. Let me put it this way. Today is my eleventh day post-op and I am hoping that mmmmaybe tonight I can get a full night's rest. First - it's recommended that you sleep sitting up. WTF?? Who does this? Who, in their right mind, and without the help of copious amounts of alcohol and/or prescription sleep aids can *actually* sleep sitting up?? Not me, kids. And probably not you. The things - swelling will happen whatever you do and however you sleep. And everyone knows that the body does most of its repair work whilst it's asleep. So if you can' sleep AT ALL (like me for the first four days at least) you're not doing the healing process any favours. On the fourth night, I finally gave up on the little airplane pillow thing (bought on recommendation from another ps site) that I'd stacked on top of 4 other pillows in an effort to achieve the perfect 45 degree angle of incline, and went back to my normal sleeping position, but with an extra pillow for slightly more elevation. And okay, my nose *may* have been the size of a London bus when the cast came off, and sleeping in my usual position *may* have made it worse (though my surgeon said it probably didn't affect it all that much - if you're going to swell, you're going to swell, no matter what), but I tell you, I thought I was going lose my sodding MIND if I couldn't get some sleep. And when I finally went back to semi-normal position, I woke up on day 5 feeling like a new woman. My advice? Forget the weird crescent pillow thing or sleeping in a chair or any other awkward, 45 degree angled rubbish (unless you're the one freak of nature who can actually sleep vertically) and get some REST. I would try at least one extra pillow for some extra elevation at night and try to stay sitting up during the day but for goodness sake, do what you must to get some sleep. Your dry mouth will make that one tough enough...
- Speaking of which, another enormous barrier to sleep which I'm sure you've all read about everywhere is the dry mouth dilemma. Holy desert face, does that SUCK. And I'm afraid there really is nothing you can do about it. Your nose is full of blood and gunk and splints and, I dunno, some kind of heavy lifting equipment (or so it feels) and you simply cannot squeeze even the tiniest stream of air through it, no matter what you do. Which means? Mouth breathing, baby. Oh yea, the sexiness just doesn't QUIT! My best advice on this front is just to expect it, understand why it's happening, and don't even THINK about going to sleep without at least one bottle of water beside the bed. But I'd recommend two, to save middle-of-the-night refills. Also, it's a good idea to warn friends and family that because you can't breathe through your nose, you can't actually eat with your mouth closed (or not without a series of complicated and furstrating breath-holding exercises), so to forgive your shocking manners for a week or two. Oh and lip gloss! Lip gloss applied before bed is a LIFE SAVER on the dry mouth front.
- Itchy face. Not one I can across in my prep work, but seriously - an unreachable itch is akin to water boarding in my humble opinion. (Which is obviously a total exaggeration. I'm sure water boarding is a little worse. *cough*) But rather than try sticking anything up or under the cast, or trying to wiggle your nose (ouch), or - as I wanted to do - ripping off the bandages and forcibly removing several layers of skin with a wood sander, I discovered a trick: slowly and gently, with just one finger, try pulling the skin between your eyebrows up toward your hairline and then releasing as soon as you feel it shift under the cast. You can vary this from side to side (eyebrow to eyebrow?), depending on where the itch is, but I mean VERY gently. I have no idea what causes the itching, but for me, just to move the skin a little was usually enough to stop it. Heaven.
- Chest spots. Possibly the worst part of the whole thing. Picture this: You've just finished spending 8 days looking at the inside of your flat, and mostly just one room. You are advised not to shower so you have tried taking baths (awkward, I've never been a bath girl), but not hot ones because that may loosen the cast, so you've basically felt disgusting and swollen and thoroughly unshaggable for a full week. BUT, you're FINALLY finished with your meds and got your cast off, so...happy days! Sunshine! Hot shower! Makeup! You and your GINORMOUS nose are venturing out with your girlfriends for brunch for the first time in what feels like six lifetimes. And - as it's summertime in London (the BEST time of year in this city) - you don your loveliest, floatiest summer dress and some kickin' new high heeled sandals you bought yourself as a cheer-up gift on cast removal day (because obviously). And then, upon final, pre-taxi inspection, you discover that your chest, neck and shoulders are COVERED in tiny little pimples. What. The...???!! This is, I understand, not something everyone goes through, but it's also not uncommon after a major surgery. I'm still not clear on what causes it - whether the body is reacting to the cocktail of drugs it's been on for a week, or fighting off infection is putting strain on other bits of the immune system, but I tell you it does NOTHING for helping swollen-face morale. The breakout started around day 8 or 9 and I got the last new spot last night. It's still very much there today, but there are no new spots this morning, so I think by tomorrow/Monday it *should* clear up. Apparently there is nothing that can be done to prevent this, so my advice is just to have the exfoliator handy, and ideally some organic, chemical free lotion to soothe any angry skin that may pop up in the week following cast removal. And prepare to laugh it off with your girlfriends over the first (or third) glass of bubbles. Honestly, they'll probably be too busy staring at your super-sized schozz to notice anything else. Le sigh.
- Numb bum. Yea, so...basically my @ss was numb for the WHOLE of the week. If you're not trying to sleep sitting up, you actually ARE sitting up - reading, watching films, questioning your life decisions with your girlfriends on the phone, whatever - and the constant balancing on the upper half of the old bum bum is just RUBBISH. My advice - butt crunches in bed. They helped me to get blood flowing back to the area (and hopefully did a bit of toning as well?) (positive thinking!) and made me feel a little bit less like a lazy waste of space, whilst 'Orange is the New Black' streamed for three days almost without pause from my Netflix account...
- Compression socks/stockings. Wear these. For at least 48 hours, but ideally for as long as you can. They are neither sexy nor at all comfy, but blood clots are bad, mmm kayyyy? Also, if they ask you to give yourself anticoagulant shots, don't worry. They really don't hurt. You feel a teeny little prick when you insert the teeny little needle, and it's a bit sore for a few minutes after you inject the medicine into your skin, but it's NO BIG DEAL. I wasn't sure I could do it, if I'm honest (not the greatest fan of needles and never have trusted myself around one), but it was surprisingly simple and so SO important to do this.
- The state of your nose when you get the cast off. Yea. Not great. Bunch of clogged pores, oily (and yet dry somehow) skin, a few black and/or white heads. But not as bad as I expected and I have super oily skin. I did some light exfoliation the night I got my cast off (it has to be light as it hurts too much to be heavy), kept the skin clean, applied my lovely organic face moisturisers and it's already cleared almost completely, not even 4 days later.
And I think that's all I've got for now on the recovery front. Very happy to answer any questions, though, so please do leave any in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them honestly and give any advice I have.
Oh, and as for swelling, I'm pleased to announce that this morning was the first morning that I could actually see my new nose taking shape. It's now officially back to normal human nose size, and - though still v swollen - I'm already feeling much happier about the whole thing. I would post pics, except it's like a BILLION degrees today and I'm slobbing around my flat, not feeling particularly photogenic (read can't be bothered to put on any makeup) and I'm slightly wary of all the shocking photos of me floating about the internet already, courtesy of this little adventure of mine... Will post more pics tomorrow, when I'm hopefully even LESS swollen (and when I've been forced, due to social engagements, to slap a bit of mascara on the face.
So for now...a very happy weekend to all.
I couldn't shut up last time, so today just piccies.
On feminism and nose jobs.
So today just a word or two on the biggest stumbling block of my entire PS experience thus far. You see, my lovely pre- and post- oppers, I am a feminist. Through and through. I say it loud and I say it proud, I am a feminist. Which, of course, means one thing and one thing only - I believe in gender equality. There is no other definition and there is no hidden or secondary meaning of the word, despite the irritatingly negative connotation the word seems to carry these days. Yes, it's true, there ARE man-hating, angry feminists who take issue with having a door held for them and refuse to shave or wear bras. But there are *also* feminists who love their high heels and their makeup and are perfectly happy to let a man pay for a meal...so long as they pay for the next one and aren't expected to put out at the end of an evening. And, well, anything and everything in between. Feminism can lead to many other thoughts and feelings, or it can lead to none, but in its simplest, purest form it means a belief in equal rights and a level playing field for men and women. SImples.
And yet, despite this fact, I couldn't shake the feeling that - because I'd had plastic surgery - I was somehow negating all of my feminist beliefs. That I had, by changing the shape of my face, somehow betrayed the ideals by which I try to live my life and was therefore living inauthentically (which I hate). After all, isn't it the mantra of most feminists that women shouldn't be judged by men's and/or the media's unrealistic ideas of female perfection? Don't I shake my head and sigh (sometimes not that quietly) every time I see a fake-tanned, fake-eye lashed, fake-haired, bodycon-clad young woman, teetering in sky-high stilettos and posing for the boys outside the club/restaurant/Ascot horserace? And yet here I was, going under the knife for some perceived 'imperfection', to meet some unattainable standard of beauty, imposed upon me by a society which values a woman's looks over all else?
Well, in short, yes I was. And, honestly, I've been struggling with this conundrum all week. Until I realised...how full of cr@p I was being. The thing is, I *do* lament young girls who think that they must falsify their entire bodies (and then put most of them on display) in order to attract a mate. Not because I think they should ignore all reflective surfaces and strive to braid their underarm hair. But because I worry that girls who spend so much time focusing on and falsifying the outside, are almost inevitably allowing the inside to suffer. I am enraged by a society that tells out little girls that the MOST important thing is being beautiful (I highly recommend the documentary "Miss Representation" which beautifully highlights this issue in American society - Netflix it and I DARE you not to be furious), but I don't suggest that women should completely ignore the outside, or the messages that our outsides can send.
I don't think women should be judged JUST by the way that they look, but that doesn't mean the we must ignore our looks either. All women want to feel beautiful - however they define the word. And as firmly as I believe in self-improvement, there is no book you can read, no hobby you can pick up, no exercise regime you can follow to change the shame and size of your schnoz. You can work on all aspects of the inside and outside, apart from the structural ones. And IF that structure undermines your confidence or makes you unhappy, and IF you can afford to do something about it, then I say go for it, sister. And more f*cking power to you.
So I just thought I'd share that with you, in case there were any other feminists among the readership of this site (or, more specifically, this review), struggling with their own internal turmoil over their (very personal and not really anyone else's business anyway) decision. To all of my sisters (and brothers, because as our definition suggests, men can be feminists as well) (in fact, they're probably the most important kind) in equality, I say - sod the naysayers. Life is short. Go and be as fabulous as you're able...even if it means you occasionally get a bit of help from the medical community. Yay science.
Thick skin sucks.
The swelling seems to have just decided it's quite happy where it is. Those d@mned face fluids are still firmly in place, surrounding (and consequently hiding) what I'm sure is a super GAWGEOUS schnozzola, but which at the moment, frankly, isn't a huge amount different from what I started with.
Okay not entirely fair. It's way different to what I started with (particularly from the side), but it's just still so d@mned WIDE from the front. I can still see what the doctor has done. I can see the shape is under there. I just can't actually *SEE* the shape. Le sigh.
Other things currently annoying me about this process as follows:
- It's still super tender. Not like worryingly, 'do I have an infection'/'has something been knocked out of place'/'are there perhaps flesh eating bacteria c*cking up things in there' kinda tender, but just...sore to the touch. Not sure if this is normal 1 month post-op, but it certainly does suck. Even washing my face is something of a chore.
- I am straight up DONE with these stitches. Now come on...you KNOW you all have done/will do it. As soon as it no longer feels like you're being stabbed in the brain by a pitchfork tine to feel the inside of your nose, you know you have a good snoop around in there to see what went down whilst you were under. I have a whole. new. relationship with my nostrils. Anyway, the d@mned stitches (of which there are still several on both sides) are not only itchy (not cool when it hurts to rub your nose), they're NOISY. Suspect Darling Boy has wondered more than once whether some exotic bird landed has the flat overnight, my face is screetching so loudly at him in my sleep (nothin' sexy about that). And I STILL can't breathe through my nose because of the swelling of the skin and the damned stitches (and whatever may collect around them in the night) (yes, I KNOW it's gross, but this is the REAL DEAL here kids) causing a blockage. So I'm still waking up two to three times a night (at least) absolutely PARCHED, as it is a physical impossibility to consume enough water in the day to keep your entire body from drying out, Sahara Desert stylee, when you have to sleep with your mouth open. Also? Not my best look. Darling Boy had the b@lls to photograph me attempting to sleep the other night - open mouthed and whistling from the face. He thought it was hilarious. I nearly moved out.
- I'm paranoid. Seriously, I have had a low grade, off and on fever (which is probably entirely psycho-sematic) since the op, which is causing serious flesh-eating bacteria esque worries to crop up in my head at least three or four times a week. Because even though I am aware that the fevers are either a) not happening, b) happening, but for entirely different reasons or c) happening because of the surgery but totally no big deal so stop panicking, FFS, I'm starting to, well...panic.
Anyway, I have another appt with Dr Ion next week, at which time I'll probably at least get a steroid shot to help with swelling. But I've read mixed reviews about these shots...some say they're not necessary/dont help, some say they can even be dangerous. I trust my doctor implicitly (uhh, I let him operate on MY FACE whilst uder general anaesthesia), but I really didn't enjoy the whole post-op narcotics cocktail and am not overly keen on injecting MORE poison into myself if it's not actually gonna help. Anyone have any thoughts/experience with those shots??
So in short - will upload another photo as soon as I have one that looks ANY DIFFERENT AT ALL.
- Sulky McSulkerson
Evil, b@stard steroid shots - a lesson learned.
So now, where to begin...
If you'll recall when last I updated I was due a session with 'il medico' wherein I was hoping for/fretting over getting a steroid shot to help with swelling. Well in the end I went with hope (it rises, after all), and got the shot. Two of them, actually, either side of il schnozzola.
Now, I have read LOADS about these shots. Some say they don't feel them at all, some say it's just a 'sharp scratch', one girl even said they kind of tickled (crazy b*tch), but let me tell you here that they were BY FAR, hands down, THE most painful part of this entire experience. I mean squirming, watery eyes, OhMyBloodyHELLIPromiseToBeAGoodGirlAndNotDrink(somuch)WineOrEat(somuch)CheeseIfYou'llJustMakeItSTOP kinda pain. And yes I know everyone is different and has different pain thresholds (I USED to think mine was pretty high) but sweet spaghetti monster, did they suck. And that's not all.
I then made a rather special mistake. The kind of mistake that I think only I could have made... I didn't take the antibiotics that he gave me. WHY didn't I take them, you ask? Because my local chemists thoroughly SUCK, that's why. (Oh, and also I'm kind of an idiot. But mostly it was the chemist thing.) Despite the fact that my doctor said that 'any chemist' should have the antibiotics, not a single one in my local bit of London (that's FIVE chemists) actually did. So I couldnt' get the prescription filled the night I got it. So I figured I'd get it filled the next day, someplace near my office (central London, at least 20 chemists around, though I only tried four on my lunch break), and again, nada. So I eventually ordered them into my local chemist, to be picked up on my way to the airport. Which I'm able to do (hooray for small victories), but I hadn't eaten anything at this point, and you're supposed to take them with food, so I figured I'd wait till we landed and got some dinner. But by the time we got to Italy (after a 3 hour flight delay and a nightmare train journey from Pisa to Sienna), I was so knackered, I just literally grabbed a sandwich and passed out, without even thinking about the pills. So that's three days post injection. By the next morning, I figured - as I was feeling fine and rather dislike what antibiotics do to my system anyway (you'll recall the super sexy post-op chest and neck spots) - I'd just skip them.
Two days later? Sinus infection. Big style. of course, I didn't realise that's what it was until I literally couldn't get out of bed, due to fever, body aches and generally wishing for death. By which point, the 5, low-grade antibiotics he gave me didn't make a dent (first week of holiday totally screwed), so I eventually went to see an Italian GP, who prescribed me another 7 days of a different antibiotic which seems to be working, through I'm still not finished with the course yet. So, in short, I have just snotted my way through what was supposed to be a romantic two week holiday to Italy, feverish, spotty and generally not very happy with life, all because of this stupid plan of mine to be more beautiful. And because I'm a d*ckhead who cannot follow simple instructions.
Moral of story? If you get the stupid shot and he prescribes you antibiotics, take the d@mned things.
As for whether or not the shot helped with swelling, it's hard to say. I remember thinking that the swelling had gone down some on the morning that we left for Italy, but honestly, since then I've been so puffy and snotty and swollen (only this time, my WHOLE FACE!) that I really can't see much of a difference. I mean, this infection even moved into my EYES, people. I am a disgusting, oozy mess. A disgusting oozy mess without a TAN because I was even too ill to sunbathe.
Its also still tender to the touch, and I STILL can't breathe quite right, so snoring like a champion and eating like a freak. WHY did I think this was a good idea again???
Love and reduced swelling to all,
- Snotty Mc SneezeandCough
Dr Lucian Ion is a lovely man. He was kind, thorough, answered all my questions honestly and took my panicky "is this normal/do I have an infection/what's happening" phone calls personally. He even stayed late on a Friday to check that I didn't have an infection, as I had a slight fever and felt rubbish a few days after the procedure and thought I might be dying. (I was fine, by the way.) Five stars all 'round for both him and his team.