Wanted to Do It Before I Turned 30! - Auckland, New Zealand

It has been a year since my surgery exactly (3rd...

It has been a year since my surgery exactly (3rd July) but it only feels like I only has the operation only a few months ago – time has flown so so fast!

I had been unhappy with my nose for years. It didn’t really start to affect me until I hit puberty. That’s when it really started to change. I used to spend hours in my room, looking at my profile using two mirrors and using a sheet of paper to cover the hump and daydream what it would be like to be “normal”.

Photos were a no go. A big no go. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and I would always, always prefer to be the one taking the photo rather than being in it. Every time I was at a social gathering or friends wanted to take random photos together, my heart would drop and I would cringe, hoping that the blinding camera flashes would soon stop. I would wait anxiously for the photos to appear on Facebook the next day, so I could untag myself straight away. Sometimes, I would even try and Photoshop a photo, just to see for myself what I would look like if I had a smaller nose. But that was a dream. Money talks and in New Zealand getting plastic surgery isn’t cheap at all.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, I was made redundant at my job, due to massive restructuring of the company, late 2013. This left me jobless but I also received a substantial amount in the form of redundancy pay. Europe perhaps? Put it towards a deposit on a house? New car? All sorts of things were in my head at the time but a nose job was nowhere near the top of the list. I ignored the hefty bulge in my bank account and made myself busy by travelling a little and then looking for work.

The slight nudge I was looking for happened during a best friend’s engagement party. We had a ball of a time and needless to say, with free alcohol being supplied, I was hardly bothered by cameras being pointed in my direction as we posed for group photos. My usual fears however were validated the following day. The photos looked great, except I looked awful. I struggled to find one that I felt like I looked okay in. Some of the shots (as innocent as they were) were almost unbearable to look at. I was in tears at my keyboard, I felt awful. However, that was the moment that I needed to happen, as horrible as it was!

To make an epically long story short, I felt as though mentally I just couldn’t deal with it anymore but on the positive side of thing, I was in a situation where I was able to make things happen financially – so I did! Some of my friends and family were against the idea of me doing it and told me the same old story – “there is nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head, don’t waste all that money” but I knew that this was something that I wanted to do for myself and I didn’t want to regret not taking this opportunity. More to the point, I was the one having to look at myself in the mirror everyday, not them.

I did a massive amount of research and I ended up going with the first plastic surgeon that I saw. Leading up to the operation, I was pretty nervous and emotional as I had never had an operation before, the idea of being put to sleep under really freaked me out! Leading up to the operation, I was a total nervous and emotional wreck. It wasn’t until May that I got a confirmation date for my surgery – July 3rd 2014 at 2pm. It wasn’t until 2 weeks before the operation when I had to pay for my anaesthetist (it was a separate bill) for it to hit me and for me to calm myself down and for the tears to stop. It was really happening. I was freaking out slightly and even considered writing up a will – I was that scared.

The morning of my operation was a blur. I had hardly slept due to nerves and I was running on adrenaline due to lack of sleep, nerves and having an empty stomach from having to fast. My dad drove me to the surgery as I chewed on my nails in a nervous daze. Once I arrived, after having to fill in some last minute paperwork and to get changed into a gown and socks, I gave my dad a hug and walked into theatre. It felt like there were about 10 people in there, with all their eyes on me, the star of the show – yikes! The one thing I do remember vividly however was as soon as I walked into the room I just felt calm – I was ready!

I am a total wuss and I can’t stand needles, so my anaesthetist advised me that I could be put to sleep with gas – myself! After being made comfortable in the surgical bed, she grabbed my hand and told me when I was ready to place the mask over my face and take big breathes. All I remember was a strong smell, almost like paint and then I blacked out.

The first thing I remember was hearing female voices and I relaxed. I had made it through the operation. My eyes felt heavy but I managed to open them and I saw the time on a clock on the wall – 5pm. A nurse then stated to talk to me and I mumbled something back and asked for my dad, still half asleep.

Recovery was a mixed bag. The first couple of days were the hardest in terms of not having any energy. I found that just walking to the toilet was exhausting but this is totally normal. It does take a few days for all the drugs and medication from the operation itself to get out of your system, so you may feel like you have been hit by a bus – this feeling will pass!

What did surprise me was the amount of swelling and bruising that I got. I knew that I would get bruising under my eyes and a bit of facial swelling but I also got quite a bit of swelling and bruising around my jaw line. For me, I didn’t feel comfortable or even consider being out in public for about 10 days post op but even then I was making sure to wear a lot of good concealer.

There were a couple of things that I did notice that took a long time to totally go away. After my under eye bruising diminished, I noticed that I still had quite dark circles under my eyes for a good 6-8 weeks post op. This can occur due to internal bruising under the skin. It is a pain but it does go away!

I also unfortunately suffered from a sinus infection which was annoying but was partially down to me overusing saline spray, trying to exercise too soon and just Winter weather but after a course of antibiotics, I was good as gold!
Anyway, here is a list of things I bought to help me during recovery and to make me feel a bit better…..

• Saline Spray – most likely your surgeon will recommend this to you. It helps to clean the nose out…it will be full of dried blood and mucus, gross I know but you want that stuff to come out, rather than stay in.

• Arnica tablets – these help with bruising. I started to take mine a couple of days before the operation and I carried on taking them for about a month afterwards. I still bruised quite badly but I hate to think how much worse it could have been, if I didn’t take these. Everyone is different with regards to healing; you might be lucky and not get any bruising at all!

• Arnica cream – similar to the tablets but in a cream version. I applied this 2-3 times a day on my under eye and eyelid bruising. Watch out though…if the smallest amount gets in your eye…it stings…so bad!

• Lip balm/chap stick – I used paw paw cream on my lips but trust me; you will definitely need something on your lips! As your nose is blocked, you will be breathing out of your mouth and this will make your mouth and lips incredibly dry. Night time is the worst, so make sure you have it within reach on your bedside table.

• Cotton buds/q tips – these will help clean your nose, after the saline spray. Just make sure you do this ever so slowly and gently, after a few days. You don’t want to prod around too much as it may provoke bleeding.

• Throat lozenges – I had these for 2 reasons. Firstly, I did read and was told that after surgery, your throat may hurt due to the breathing tubes they used (scary I know) and also as you are going to be doing a lot of breathing out of your mouth, your throat is going to get very dry. These can help with any irritation.

• Vitamins – this is more of a personal level for me but I made sure I had some iron and vitamin B tablets to take. For the first 3-5 days, you will be not only feeling tired but eating will be tricky. I just made sure I was getting a bit of extra energy along the way.

• Dry shampoo – arhhh I have always loved dry shampoo but after not being able to wash my hair for a week, that love was taken to a whole new level. I had my hair tied up from about day 4 as it felt so gross but the dry shampoo helped a lot!

• Frozen peas – I got a lot of swelling and mild bruising around my jaw line, which I didn’t expect to happen but having something to ice the area helped a lot. I wrapped the peas in a kitchen towel and would hold it on jaw for about 5 mins at a time, before alternating sides. Felt amazing!

• Lollies/candy – Sounds a little random but with a dry mouth and not being able to taste much, I needed something sweet to suck on to help produce salvia and a little bit of a sugar hit when you feel like crap also helped me a little.

• Soup – I went crazy in the supermarket a couple of days ahead of the operation and bought a bunch of different flavoured soups in the chilled food section. Soups are the way to go for the first few days (or so what I discovered) chewing wasn’t painful but it did feel a bit weird and uncomfortable I was scared of moving my nose and worried about the stitches and bleeding.

• Zip up hoodies/singlets/leggings – as I had my operation during the middle of winter in New Zealand, I had to make sure I was going to be warm enough and made sure I had a couple of zip up hoodies and singlets on hand, which made getting dressed easy. Leggings are not only insanely comfy to wear but easy to take on and off as you aren’t allowed to move your head too much or bend down.

• Shoulder/neck pillow – this was a last minute purchase and out of all the things I bought ahead to help prepare me, this was the best thing I got. You aren’t really allowed to lie down flat to sleep and it’s recommended that you sit up as much as possible. I am a “side sleeper” and I never sleep on my back, so I knew sleeping was going to be tough. Having this extra support made things a lot easier and I felt a lot more supported.

• Straws – for the first 2-3 days you will have the drip pad still on your face, so drinking out of a glass like normal will be tricky to say the least. Straws just make it so much easier.

• Concealer – I already had a concealer but I needed something with a bit more coverage. It took about 2 weeks for my under eye circles to totally go away but I had strong dark circles under my eyes for at least 6 weeks after my operation, which apparently happens to some people. I ended up purchasing a concealer from Dermablend and it’s awesome.

• Periods – One thing I made sure of when booking my operation, was to make sure my period wasn’t going to arrive during that week. When you’re recovering, its one less thing to worry about and one less thing that might make you feel ever worse!

I am in by no means, telling you that you HAVE to get these things. These are just what helped me along my recovery, so they make work for you or they may not but this forum is about sharing experiences and helping each other ?

Overall, I didn’t feel totally recovered for about 2.5-3 months post op. I tried to take photos of myself every few weeks to see the progress unfold myself and it was crazy to see how much my nose changed. If I had to do it all over again I would!

Sometimes randomly when I run my finger down the bridge of my nose, I still can’t believe that it actually happened. I feel more confident within myself, less self conscious and scared and overall more determined to try achieving other goals that I have in my life.

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Post Op
The New Zealand Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Awesome team, friendly staff. Everything was explained in detail and all questions answered.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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