My story probably isn't unique. I was bullied...
My story probably isn't unique. I was bullied badly all through high school by kids at school and my siblings. I always hated my nose and I remember when I told my dad about it (who has the same nose), instead of telling me something positive, told me he'd get it fixed when I turned 18. Well, life happened and he never was able to afford it, so I've been saving up for 2 years to get this done. I've had plenty of people act confused and not understand why I want to get this done, but I am not doing this for them. It breaks my husband's heart to hear me talk about how much I dislike my face because of my nose every single night when I look in the mirror. For me, this procedure will help me fully realize that the people who bullied me, called me birdbeak, and threw rocks at me were idiots because my nose isn't me, it's just a superficial part of me that I can change. I know they won't even know I did this, much less care I did, but this is about how I feel, not them.
I had concerns of BDD, so I spoke extensively about it with a psychologist for 4 months to make sure it wasn't the case. She gave me the green light that my issues are in fact with my nose, and not with an overarching image issue. Knowing this, I feel confident that I am making the right decision.
I've spent so much time pouring over before and afters on this site and imagining myself with a more fitting nose. I go in for my second consult in 2 weeks and I can't wait to set my surgery date.
Today is the day!
I woke up early because I had a nightmare I slept through my alarm. I'm up now! I leave for my appointment in 90 minutes so I'm going to take my last good shower until I get the cast off. I just wanted to drop a few more before photos in with simulated 3/4 results. My doctor didn't provide warps of my 3/4 which confuses me because that is supposed to be the angle the people usually see you from. These are more for me to see myself how I wanted to be.
But honestly, I'm not out for a perfect nose. As long as it fits on my face a little better, I'll be happy. This has been a really good thing for me to come to terms with because it has made me much more relaxed about the outcome.
6 hours Post-Op
I got out 6 hours ago and felt surprisingly great! I was a little nauseous and my throat was sore from being intubated during anesthesia. Other than that, I felt pretty good! I'm reveling on the immediate breathing improvements from my ethmoidectomy and antrostomy.
I tried to eat some berry applesauce when I got home, but it was too sweet and triggered vomiting. It was for the best, though. I had swallowed a lot of blood during the procedure which was why I had as nauseous. So after that, I felt great! I definitely recommend anyone who gets the procedure to make sure the soft foods they get aren't sweet. I had some Strawberrt Greek Yogurt afterwards that settled very well with me after vomiting.
Been sitting up for about an hour now and ate some mac-n-cheese my husband made for me and I feel pretty good! Done 2 sinus rinses since my doctor advised me to start sinus rinses right away (since I also had a total bilateral ethmoidectomy and antrostomy) and they really helped clear the build-up out of my nose.
14 Hours Post-Op
Sleep was an adventure. I was prescribed codene which makes me surprisingly energetic, so I wasn't very much in the mood to sleep with the exception of immediately after anesthesia.
I bought a bed wedge so I could sleep at an incline and that was DEFINITELY a good call. I also used 2 pillows and a neck pillow to help get that last bit of head tilt. Keeping my head as upright as possible was the difference between me replacing and me feeling like I had blood seeping down my throat.
I tried to get to sleep at about 11:30pm. I slept until 6:15am and woke up around 8-10 times during the night to cough up blood/mucus, dab my nose, and take a sip or two of water. I am still breathing through my nose amazingly (probably due to my total ethmoidectomy and antrostomy as I stated before), but my nose is feeling very sensitive to all of the air. Fortunately it is Summer here in Alaska, so my house is at a comfortable 68°F, and it is very warm outside (50 to 60°F and Sunny). I'd imagine this would be horrible to experience during the 0 to -10°F Winters here, so I'm glad I did it now, even if I am missing out on my favorite part of Summer weather for recreational activities.
I've spent a lot of time on the phone with family since I feel so well. This definitely isn't what I expected. People really meant it when they said it looked worse than it felt. The blood from my nose and throat is annoying, but not painful. The stitches are kind of uncomfortable when I try to do certain facial movements and in general has a constant "pinchy" stinging kind of pain. So far, I'd say the discomfort isn't worse than having a bad bruise on your body. It aches a little, but only actually hurts if you accidentally do something to it.
30 Hours Post-Op: Oh no. I cried. Not recommended.
Healing was going surprisingly well. By the 20 hour post-op mark: my breathing was good, I had very little pain aside from the stitches being uncomfortable, and the bleeding had mostly stopped. I was comfortable!
Then I had to make a call to my boss to check up on a project and apparently caught him on a bad day. He ended up snapping at me and I wasn't in a good state to handle it and started crying profusely as soon as I got off the phone.
All of that breathing and amazing recovery? Out the window. It was replaced with massive swelling, my sinuses were completely overwhelmed with mucus, and my nose started throbbing and aching. The bruising became much more uncomfortable after this.
I couldn't blow my nose, so I just tried to do my sinus rinses until I cleared out most of the mucus. But I make a prolific amount of mucus when I cry. I always have. I've always been that girl with the runny, stuffy nose when I'm crying. So it continued to do so.
It's been 6 hours since I cried and I am still not able to get my nose breathing back and am still congested. My tip is drastically more swollen than it was yesterday and even from just this morning. Bruising has migrated into my under-eyes, but still isn't bad at all.
I've got my husband doting on me, bringing me tea, food, and ice packs. So hopefully he can nurse me back to a reasonable state. I was hoping to have it cleared back up by the time I went to bed, but it's 1am now and I haven't had much luck. Oh well. Here's to hoping tomorrow is better!
Day 3 Post-Op
I slept pretty well last night. I got a lot more sleep than the previous night! I woke up once to take my painkillers and went back to sleep. Even with my trusty humidifier by my side, I was still waking up in desperate need of water, though.
Today, I'm back to being able to breathe through my nostrils. Nothing like the first day, since I've got a lot more mucous going on since my crying episode yesterday, but it's better than nothing!
Swelling is worse today. I've got a lot more discomfort going on than previous days. My surgeon's assistant called to check up on me today and she let me know I could put some Vaseline on the stitches to keep them from being as uncomfortable and dry. That's been a huge help for me.
I had some bouts with nausea today. Most likely because I hadn't been very good about making sure I was getting a lot of food yesterday night since I was so distracted by the congestion and sudden swelling from crying. My husband made me a nice meal of potatoes and eggs, but it ended up being too rich. Some finely chopped apple pieces ended up being the ticket to getting me feeling better.
Day 5 Post-Op
I had heard that Day 3 or 4 was the worst for most people. It was Day 4 for me.
It also happened to be the one morning my husband's work called him in for an emergency that he needed to handle. I decided to tough it out and just sleep until he got home. That threw me off from my usual morning routine that had been working so well. By the time my husband got home, 4 hours past when I had usually gotten up, had breakfast, rinsed my nose, ect. I was incredibly nauseous. He made me some oatmeal because it sounded good. 20/20 Hindsight, don't eat oatmeal when you're nauseous. It was really unpleasant coming back up because it was so thick and caused some serious irritation in my sinuses.
So if you can manage it, always stick to whatever routine you have found that works. Don't change it unless you absolutely have to.
By the night of Day 4, I felt drastically better than I had all day or on day 3. I slept very soundly, despite my humidifier dying on me when I moved it to my bed. Fortunately it was supposed to be a rainy night with 79% humidity, so it worked out perfectly for me to open the window above my bed.
The itching under my cast is horrible. It isn't persistent, or else I'd have lost my mind. But I can't help but wish I could rip off this cast and go to town itching my nose. I'm sure I'd completely regret that decision if I even started to try it, but the thought is nice when you're losing your mind from the itches.
I know I have splints in my nose and I am starting to wonder if I can feel them. Not with my fingers, but just feel them up in my sinuses. I have this constant strange sensation of something pushing out against my bridge from inside my sinuses. Or maybe I'm losing my mind! Who knows at this point!
I'm adding some photos of the before & current state of my nose. I'll be honest, I'm already excited. Even if it is swollen as all get-out, I can tell it is subtly changed in just all the right ways (at least the parts I can see).
It's funny seeing how asymmetrical my nostrils were before. It never really bothered me, so if they go back to being asymmetrical after the swelling subsides, I'm not really worried about it.
One of the oddest things is that my surgeon appears to have nicked my left nostril (your right, my left in the images) and that has honestly been one of the most uncomfortable parts of recovery. I'm sure accidents happen, but it has left me a little concerned. Everything looks good elsewhere, though. Especially compared to some other photos of the healing process that I've seen for others. I mean, I barely had ANY swelling, and I had 2 sinus surgeries on top of the rhinoplasty.
I'm also including a photo of my furry recovery companion because he deserves a shout-out for how gentle he has been since I came home from my surgery.
Day 6 Post Op
I'm still confused if the day if surgery is day 1 or day 0. I'm counting it as day 1, even though I got out of surgery around 5pm.
Anyways, I can now confirm that day 5 was where everything turned around! Day 4 was an absolute nightmare and then by the time I woke up in day Day 5, everything had been gradually getting better.
I had a bit of pain in my upper jaw last night from the swelling slowly traveling down my face, but it was rather minor. Yesterday I stopped taking my painkillers regularly and saved them for emergencies.
My cuddle-bug of a dog ended up bopping my nose with his out of curiosity when I wasn't paying attention. Luckily, it just made my nose run (not bleed) from the intensity of the sensation. The pain wasn't terrible, but it definitely felt bad.
I'm pretty much completely done with the drip pad now. I haven't truly needed it since Day 4, but I was putting it on after my sinus rinses so I didn't have to worry about anything dripping afterwards. Now I'm at the point where I can tilt my head around and just drain out 99% of the sinus rinse from my sinuses after I'm done and call it good.
I've continued to apply the Vaseline to my stitches as directed and it has been very helpful. I still occasionally will snag a stitch when dabbing my nose and, honestly, I think that is the worst part of recovery at this point.
Yesterday I was well enough to sit around and play video games all day (as opposed to my TV binging I've been doing). Theoretically I could probably start working again, since I am a web developer who can work from home at my computer, but I am not taking risks with crying again because of something stressful. Anything raising my blood pressure directly results in my nose throbbing and swelling. Crying? After the first time I did it, there's no way in hell I'll let it happen again. It was extra painful and uncomfortable for about 12 hours afterwards and made recovery astronomically harder than it would have been otherwise.
I've hit the point where I don't even notice the cast anymore, except when the itching starts. Fortunately, itching doesn't last too long. There is literally nothing I can do about it. Flaring my nostrils hurts, though I instinctively do it still. Wiggling the cast would be a terrible idea as it would probably cause damage and would definitely hurt. Point is, you just have to ride through the itching episodes and grit your teeth.
Other than those things, not much has changed. Swelling is still going downward, so my under-eye circles are returning to their usual dark selves (it's genetic, not bruising) and are now a lovely highlighter yellow/green from bruising recovery.
My upper lip is still very swollen, making it hard to smile and my facial expressions a bit weird looking and the distance between my nose and upper lip look extra long. I definitely have some swelling in my cheeks. Laying down in photos probably isn't helping that look any better. But this isn't a beauty contest, right? :)
As a side note, my husband helped me wash my hair in our tub yesterday and I felt like a new woman! If you can keep your cast dry, I highly recommend it. It made me feel 100x better to be clean.
Cast off in 2 hours!
Thought I'd drop a few photos here of right before the cast came off. I'm a little worried that my tip might still be too low and still give me a "dragged down" nose appearance from 3/4 views. This is mostly because I keep seeing people say that the nose should look a lot more upturned while it heals, but mine is already just about where I'd like it to be, if not a little too low still. Oh well. It's not a deal-breaker, just not perfect. Fortunately I knew this was a procedure that would never come out perfectly, so I'm not too worried.
Biggest concern was the dorsal hump, which is clearly gone, even with the cast on!
Cast is off! Was told to apply pressure around the bridge 10-12 times a day to help refine it. The tip seems almost more projected than it was before, but I'm hoping that it goes down when the swelling recedes.
I'm keeping it short because I have an appointment, but I am very excited! I started crying in the office after they showed me my new nose. The staff was so nice and I am so happy right now. I'm on Cloud 9 :) Please excuse the acne and flaky skin. I have some skincare to catch up on!
Before & 1 Week Post-Op
I found a better photo to compare before and after :)
6 Hours After Cast Removal - 7 Days Post-Op
Starting to feel more concerned about how low my tip is still. Too early to say anything, but I've never heard of anyone's nose getting higher as they healed, so it is hard not to feel a little sad. Trying to say focused on the hump being gone and wait patiently for swelling to go down for the next 6-12months.
Day 8 - 1 Day After Cast Removal
Feeling a little better today. Hoping that when the top swelling goes down, it won't seem as projected or down-turned. Either way, still no regrets here! LOVING my side profile. I know the swelling is supposed to peak a few days after cast removal, but I'm already to happy. Got dressed up and going out to dinner tonight. Seemed like a good time to compare to other photos I have of me done up :)
My nose is still a bit crooked to my left, but I'm applying uneven pressure to help with that, as suggested by my doctor.
Day 9 - Bad day. Tears galore.
I've been in tears this morning since I found an image of another user that had a similar before to be, but her surgeon did her tip EXACTLY how I wanted mine. She is close in the healing process, so I know it isn't swelling having gone down. I can't stand my tip pointing down in my 3/4 view. It makes my nose look really long when it isn't. Attaching photos of what I expected my tip angle to look like. Contacting my surgeon to find out if there is anything I can do to encourage it to go higher... The tip I want is so much higher than what I have that I already know it is impossible. I didn't expect it to be perfect, but I specifically pointed out this issue to him, so I wish he could have improved it even a little. It looks almost identical to before my surgery (the tip angle, not the hump).