30 Years Old - Successful septorhinoplasty with turbinate reduction
I'm turning 30 this year, recently moved to...
I have done a lot of research and scheduled 3 upcoming consultations with well-qualified surgeons in Pittsburgh. I'm nervous about telling my family and my fiance that I'm planning to do this this year. It sounds silly, but I've always been known as the one in my family who doesn't care much about appearances, not into fashion or make-up- I'm the hippy, nature-loving, yoga-practicing vegetarian of the family. I used to think plastic surgery was a shallow or insecure thing to do- now after finding the RealSelf community, I've come to realize that that's completely wrong, plastic surgery is for people just like me. It's not about being superficial, but correcting something that isn't how it's supposed to be which can change your life in so many positive and beneficial ways. I realize how silly it sounds that I was afraid that taking this step would ruin my 'image' of being 'someone who doesn't care about images'. This is not the nose nature intended and there's nothing wrong with taking steps to correct it.
Everyone has the right to feel confident and beautiful, especially on their wedding day. Now is the right time for me. I'm in a transition period as I approach my wedding and my 30s, I'm ready for a change and I'm hoping a new nose will help me go forward in my career and have the confidence to make new friends.
Of course I have plenty of reservations - what if things go wrong? What if the outcome is worse than the nose I have now? What if I permanently lose my smile that most people say is my best feature? Is this is an insane amount of money to spend on myself when I'm of very limited resources, my car is ancient and falling apart, and I have a wedding to pay for? I can scrape together the money for an initial septo-rhinoplasty, but a revision rhinoplasty would be beyond my means.
Despite these concerns, I'm eagerly awaiting my consultations and I know in my heart this is something I want and need and those close to me will understand once I break the news!
2 weeks till my first consult
He said that I can't change it because it's MY nose. I have a hard time understanding this logic because any nose that I would have in the future would still be MY nose, I'm not going to all of a sudden have someone else's nose, just an improved version of my own nose. Also, the nose I have now is probably not the nose I would have had had it not experienced all that trauma in my youth. If nothing had ever interfered with it, I would likely have inherited my dad's nose - large, but straight.
I am not deterred because I know he will come around, he's open-minded and supportive, it will just take him a little while to get used to the idea. Next time I bring it up I will be armed with computer generated images of my potentially new nose!
First consult down! So far so good
Also found out that my septum is not that deviated and isn't really causing most of the crookedness to my nose. That was pretty surprising and also means this is more of a cosmetic than functional rhinoplasty and therefore pursuing the insurance angle might not be a worthwhile option. The cost of the surgery is more than the budget I originally set, so for this to be feasible, I will need to finance it, probably for 12-24 months. I plan on applying for the Care Credit card once I've made my final decision.
My fiance is being really supportive. The only thing he's hesitant about (and with good reason) is the cost, since we have our wedding to pay for. He asked me if I just wanted to wait until after the wedding for the surgery but I told him there is just no way this nose will be joining us in matrimony. His reply, which was perfect: "It can be your something new!" Yep, he's pretty much the best fiance ever.
I still have my consults with the other two surgeons coming up in the next couple weeks, so until then I will do my best to not spend every waking moment obsessing about this. :)
First Consult, Round 2
He mentioned doing some kind of cartilage grafting in my nose to create more balance. I'd never really considered anything like that before since I was mainly focused on reduction, not adding to or repositioning the cartilage in my nose. But since this was a first consult, he didn't go into great detail about how that would work. He took photos and said he would do some imaging on them and call me back in a few days. Haven't heard from him since but I hope he'll call me this week to set up our 2nd meeting.
I canceled the first consult with Dr. Chiu. A few reasons - I read the negative review on here from someone who had a rhinoplasty with him, wasn't happy with the results and said he was unwilling to perform revision or listen to her concerns. It's a bad sign for me, I want a doctor who is willing to make me happy no matter what, especially since surgery with him is on the high end - $10,000+ and the initial consult is $150. Also I got a bad vibe from his office manager, there is only one girl working in the office who manages everything - taking calls, responding to inquiries, coordination, etc. I found her to be unprofessional, disorganized and unresponsive. She took 3 weeks to respond to an email, and I had to email twice to get answer, which doesn't bode well in case I were to have surgery with them and needed a response quickly. She also confused me with another patient and accidentally called and left me a voicemail which was not intended for me, then explained she gets so many inquiries every day it's hard to keep them all straight. I just wasn't getting a good feeling and I think it's important to trust your gut.
So I know I'm rambling a lot but I've been doing so much reflecting this week. It's strange to finally be "out" with my big secret (even though I haven't told the fam yet). This insecurity that I've been hiding from the world for so long, I'm now openly calling attention to, I'm letting doctors touch and closely examine my nose, I'm not hiding behind my hair and pretending my nose isn't an issue. It's very strange - I feel exposed! I also want to make sure I'm doing this for the absolute right reasons. There have been periods of my life where I haven't obsessed about my nose (for instance when I was backpacking across Europe I wasn't thinking twice about it). Since moving to Pittsburgh, I've been isolated, I have this demoralizing, dead-end job and no friends despite my best efforts to make them, I am now wondering if my nose has become a scapegoat for all my problems! But when I start asking myself these questions, the truth is this issue is going to persist the rest of my life until I get it fixed and I'm not looking for surgery to give me self-esteem. I think some people do fall into that trap with plastic surgery. Ultimately a sense of self-worth comes from within! but it's just going to give me that extra boost I need. :) So bottom line, I think I would want this regardless of other circumstances in my life.
If I'm not 100 percent sure after the second consults in March, I'm either going to expand the search to Cleveland and Philadelphia, or put the whole thing on the backburner.
2nd Consults Down, Decision Made
2 months to go
Will post more pics of my hideous nose soon so we can all bid it a fond farewell. ;)
Chickened Out On Telling The Fam
some pics of my nose today
my time off was denied
rescheduled for june 19
Sometimes less is more...
Choosing a surgeon is such a subjective, deeply personal decision. And I also think it's about getting a good gut feeling about your doctor. I've read so many stories where people push past red flags and icky feelings and then are horrified with their results. Well yeah, your intuition is there for a reason. Then I've also read stories where people go to the most well-regarded top surgeon in their field, were so confident that they were going to get the best, and then they end up with botched results. I've toyed with the idea of getting my under-eye bags removed, then I read the horror stories (there are some on here) of people who went to the best ocular plastic surgeon in the country and he ruined their eyes. So you just never know. So much is out of your control, all you can do is make the most educated decision possible and full steam ahead.
pics coming down temporarily
I told my family!
I'm feeling really good with the family support behind me but am starting to get a lot of nerves about the actual surgery and recovery - anesthesia, pain, discomfort, what if I don't like the way it looks afterwards and miss my quirky Roman nose? And should I tell my coworkers the truth, or use some kind of 'cover story' ? Any one reading this who has been through the surgery or about to go through with it - what did you tell your work?
Surgery Recovery Survival Kit
-Vitamin C (started my dosage today, doc has me taking 1000mg twice daily for 2 weeks)
-Arnica tablets (will start taking the day before surgery)
-Bromelain (will start taking after surgery)
-Lots of ice packs (ordered some items from Therapearl)
-NeilMed sinus rinse recommended by doc
-Afrin nasal spray
-facial cleansing wipes, since I won't be able to wash my face
-dry shampoo since my hair is going to be NASTY after not washing it for a couple days
-bandanas for tying back said nasty hair
-my favorite sunscreen from Sephora for when I do have to go outside (MDSolarSciences broad spectrum SPF 50 - this stuff is amazing, feels like velvet on my skin)
Foods I plan to eat
-smoothies and fresh juice from my juicer
-lots of pineapple and other fruits
-popsicles and ice cream
-unsalted crackers for taking meds
-soup (planning on making a big batch of gazpacho ahead of time. yay for cold soup!)
Any other suggestions?
Surgery Paid for!
Dr. Gillman's office takes credit cards, cashier's checks, and cash, and just requires that you pay in full at some point before your surgery date. I didn't ask whether they accept CareCredit since I decided to just use my savings and work as many hours as possible the last few months. I am living proof that plastic surgery is within reach for someone living on a very tight budget and not making much money, if you're willing to be frugal and thrifty for as long as it takes. It's possible!
Had one little anxiety attack on Thursday, sitting in a doctor's office for my annual pap exam, it all of a sudden hit me that I was going to be in a hospital undergoing a serious medical procedure in a few days. Almost like it hadn't really sunk in before then? Then I couldn't sleep all night that night, tossing and turning. Spent the weekend deep cleaning and disinfecting my house and felt a lot better about things. Did a really intense workout and rubbed arnica gel on my muscles afterwards and dissolved 3 arnica tablets under my tongue - and the next day, I had none of the soreness that I normally get, so I'm totally convinced this stuff works!
Now going into this with a positive, peaceful frame of mind, visualizing a smooth recovery and complication-free healing.
Night before surgery
Yesterday the hospital called to take a detailed medical history, then today Dr. Gillman called to check in and see how I was feeling, if I had any more questions. I pretty much just wanted to know if I'd have packing or splints that I could breathe through, and he said I'd have the hollow splints so I should be able to breathe afterwards, other than the stuffy congested feeling. Yay. I was really worried about that. I also asked some dumb questions, like after I wash my face in the morning, can I put on moisturizer? I'm religious with moisturizing! He's so kind though, he didn't make me like any of my questions were dumb.
Around noon the ambulatory surgery center called to let me know my surgery time. It's at 9 am and they want me there at 7 am. Fantastic! Just eating a light dinner now and then relaxing until it's time for a good night's rest.
Pics not uploading with review?
yep something screwy going on with real self
Ok, so I made it! I got to the hospital at 7, went through the full intake, answered a lot of questions, changed into a gown, took a pregnancy test (though I got my period on Wednesday), met with the anesthesiologist and Dr. Gillman to go over the surgery plan. They wheeled me back, started taping monitors to my chest and that's the last thing I remember.
I woke up in recovery in a lot of pain and discomfort. They pumped me full of pain meds which made me woozy. I was talking a little crazy and I had to pee but couldn't walk, so I had to pee in a bed pan. Honestly when you're in that situation, you don't even feel any sense of shame or embarrassment! I also threw up a little blood. I stayed in recovery a couple hours until I felt well enough to be transported to the car. I'm glad I live so close to the hospital because I just wanted to be in my home.
The swelling started immediately, much worse on the left side. The nurse told me not to ice...which was surprising...? I am taking arnica, bromelien and putting the arnica gel on. Not sure if it's working. My eyes are almost completely swollen shut. Basically I've just been sleeping about an hour at a time, then getting up, trying to drink some fluids, and clean my stitches and do the nasal rinse, take meds. But what I can see of my nose, it looks straight and the tip is cute. So all of this is definitely worth it!
well this is no picnic
Just rolling with the punches
Taped my glasses to my forehead so I could at least write an update. Thanks everyone for your tips and advice.
Feel like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decides to only sleep in half-hour increments around the clock. Except it really sucks. Wish I could get a few hours of deep rest in. My day has consisted of icing, applying arnica gel, cleaning the weeping from my eyes, cleaning stitches, and popping pills. I haven't had much of an appetite but have enjoyed some ice cream, popsicles and smoothie today. I'm really really looking forward to the part where the swelling moves down. Come on, gravity!
3rd night after surgery
The only good news is the bruising is turning yellowish under my eyes. Just kinda looks like sad clown make-up now. My fiance said my surgery was 4 hours long and it just seems like it was too much for my body. I'm a petite girl and this has been a lot to go through.
I've taken stool softeners but still no luck in that department...
Raccoon to Chipmunk: An Evolution in Bruising
There were a lot of aspects of my recovery which turned out to be worse than I was expecting, but then, there were a few things I'd thought would really bother me and they didn't, such as not being able to wash my face or hair. Just don't care! Those items are really far from my 'things i give a s--t about right now' list. Very liberating!
And I like my new nose. I pretty much promised myself though no matter what it looks like when the cast comes off, I never want to go through this again, so I'm keeping it.
Just a quick request please to be nice on my blog
Constructive comments, tips and words of encouragement from people who are in the process of rhinoplasty and/or septoplasty are welcome, but please don't use my blog as a forum or platform for debate about plastic surgery. So far everyone who has posted on my blog has respected this, but that's not the case for all the blogs I follow, and that is unfortunate. Let's try to uplift and support each other. When you have a choice between being "right" and being kind, always choose to be kind. Doing otherwise just puts more negative, ego-driven energy into the universe, and hurts you to boot.
Really, at the end of the day, is it worth it? As Randall said in the movie, Clerks, "I hope it feels so good to be right. there is nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?"
Those of us in the thick of recovery don't need to deal with the internet trolling and overly opinionated commenters. Just kindness and kid gloves, please. :)
The only way out is through
Anyhow, I was thinking back to this intense and grueling backpacking trip I took. It was a week of walking, the trail was almost a hundred miles, it was brutal and after day 3, blistered and bruised, I wanted to give up and turn back. BUT I didn't. I'd made a commitment and I had a destination to reach. I pushed on because sometimes, the only way out of something is through it. Of course, on that hike, I could have quit and taken the easy route back to civilization, whereas plastic surgery you can't just undo... But my point today is about perseverance. I'm tougher than I think and I can do this! No matter what, no regrets, everything is a learning experience. Everything can be transmuted into personal evolution. So, sorry for the philosophical diatribes. Writing this is a lot like journalling for myself, so if my little lessons and breakthroughs are boring for you, I apologize. Here's a picture of me eating chocolate ice cream, which is my bliss for the day.
And on a more practical note - Oh my god, the lowly Q-tip has become my best friend. I've easily used more Q-tips in the last 5 days than I typically use in a whole year. Q-tips, along with hydrogen peroxide and nerosporin are absolutely indispensable.
Looking forward to getting the cast off tomorrow as it drives me nuts when my nose starts itching underneath and I can't scratch it. But then also nervous - what if the grafts in my nose look all swollen and weird? And once the cast comes off, is my nose going to throb more? Time will tell. I've kept my stitches really clean so hopefully it won't hurt when those come out.
Dr. Gillman has been great about calling and checking up on me. I took the high dosage of antibiotics last night. I think I slept a little better but woke up with a really sore throat and dry mouth, even worse than what has become normal. I really love the minty dry mouth spray I got at CVS. I can actually taste the mint flavor a bit so that's a good sign. Still having the sweats and chills at night.
I've been taking cat baths in front of my sink, I just haven't felt up to a real shower or bath, but I do have a hot date tonight with my fiance for my first hair washing. He's been amazing this whole time, I have relied on him for a lot of help. What can I do to make this up to him?
Day 6 - cast off day!
I keep getting shooting pains in the sides of my nose :(
Going to take some extra strength tylenol before going.
It was the best night's sleep I had so far in that I had the least amount of sweats/chills and probably only got up about 4-5 times. Glad I'm on taking the stronger antibiotics, I'm starting to feel more like myself.
Cast off! Over the Moon!
The stitches coming out was not painful at all and he was very slow and gentle with taking the cast off, it was just a little tender.
And voila! Here is the big reveal. I am so happy. Sure, it's puffy, swollen and a little strange looking, but it has a level of symmetry and normalcy that my nose has never had! I can't even describe how good it feels to like what I see in the mirror. I LOVE my profile now! And I'm only 6 days out, it's just going to keep getting better.
The only issue is there is this tiny little piece of skin hanging down from where one of the stitches was, I don't know if it's going to turn into a scar, it might have to be cut off down the road. I think it might be the only giveaway that I had an operation, but it's so tiny maybe only I can notice it.
I go back in a month for another follow up so we'll see then.
One week post
Took my first shower since surgery and it was amazing. Still some lingering bruising but I'm not in the mood to put on any makeup.
Day 9 - Feel like a million bucks
So I put on makeup for the first time, got a haircut, and my fiance and I went out for dinner and a movie, which we really needed. Some of the hardest parts of this recovery are that we've had to sleep separately since I get up so many times in the night, we can't snuggle up with each other freely like we used to do for fear of bumping my nose, and I still can't pucker my lips enough to even kiss him properly. Another really difficult part has been trying not to smile too big or laugh because it pulls the muscles/tissues in my nose and really hurts! I love comedy, I love to laugh, and my fiance makes me laugh every day without even trying. I can't even look at his face without smiling (I know, it's sickening how in love with are). So anyway I haven't been able to keep myself from laughing though I try to restrain it. From what I read though, this shouldn't damage my end results. I'm just going to try to keep it at a minimum.
Still tender and swollen but really happy with the way it's looking so far. It's exactly what I wanted and always dreamed of, a nose that just looks normal, not deformed or out of the ordinary, and not a tiny little pinched up Kiera Knightley nose (that was like my worst nightmare). I finally feel like now when people look at me, they won't be staring at my nose, wondering what happened to it...they'll just be looking at me and hearing what I have to say. That's an amazing feeling.
I could not be happier with my choice of doctor. Dr. Gillman is a skilled and experienced surgeon who I could trust completely with my face. He is meticulous, thorough and took the time to listen to me and understand exactly what I wanted. And then he delivered! My nose was asymmetrical, with curved and concave portions which he managed to even out flawlessly. His communication was above and beyond. If I had to leave a message at the office, he called me back immediately that day. He also followed up the evening after surgery and throughout my recovery period. He truly cares about his patients and this shines through in all of my interactions with him. Heather, the surgery scheduler, is amazingly helpful, patient and kind, and made the whole process that much smoother. All the girls in the office are nice, friendly and remember you when you call or come in. You're not just anonymous here, they really care and there is no snobby plastic surgery spa center vibe which some offices have. I would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Gillman to anyone considering this surgery.