Septoplasty - Rhinoplasty - my Journey Begins! - Charlotte, NC

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I have always disliked my face and never really...

I have always disliked my face and never really realized that what I actually hated was my nose until my late twenties. I have always hidden from cameras and covered my face with my hair or my hands, and like many of you, have some emotional scars from personal and social encounters that will stay with me forever.

The funny thing is, my nose doesn’t look like anyone else’s in my family, and if I didn’t have some of my dad’s other features I might be asking my mom a few questions, lol. So I actually want it to look more like my family’s (that's a new one, right?). My nose has a large hump and is over-projected, and worst of all has these 2 crazy knobs of cartilage at the tip which are crooked and from the side looks like the tip was chopped off. I have very thin skin and I guess that just accentuates all the hard edges and bumps I have. I look very witchy when I smile, so that keeps me from smiling very often. I never really took notice of those knobs on the tip until the day my mom came towards me saying “you have a huge blister on your nose,” and I was like, “no, mom, that’s my nose.” And she kept trying to get me to let her squeeze it. Omg, thanks, mom. So embarrasing. Now that’s all I can see when I look in the mirror. Recently a dear friend who illustrates children’s books asked me if I would model for one of his characters. I was so flattered, no one has ever asked me to model for anything before, and then he said, “It‘s for the witch.” Well, my heart just sank and I’m sure he had no idea at all the impact of that statement.

I never thought I would actually go through with a nose job because of my insane fear of surgery and the recovery, and the ‘what if I look worse?’ Not to mention the cost... Well, now I am almost 40 and my face is changing so quickly that I hardly recognize myself anymore, so the thought of changing it doesn’t seem so scary anymore. What really prompted me to do this is my recurring sinus issues and breathing problems that have been worsening over the last few years. So, since I need surgery anyway, I figured it’s now or never. I will do it and hopefully be happy while I still have a little youth left in me ;) And maybe I will finally let people get some pictures of me since are there are so few in existence (I have secretly and subtly photoshopped all of the ones I have been able to get my hands on!! Terrible, I know, but nobody has ever noticed. I usually get “wow, that’s a great pic of you!” lol).

So my goal is to have the tip de-projected and smoothed out and the hump taken down a bit, but I want a little of it left because I don’t want to change to character of my face and it is a family trait. I like noses with a little bit of character, just not *that* much character, lol. Mainly I want it to be more in proportion to my face. The front view I don’t mind as is, but I will need spreader grafts so I have a little fear of it looking too wide. But I suppose it will be worth it to be able to breath normally again. Overall, I think the change will be somewhat subtle and hopefully not too noticeable since I’m not telling anyone but my partner. It was reassuring that when I showed him a picture of my “after” profile (without letting him know), he looked at it and said, “Yeah, that’s a picture of you... What are you going to do with it?” (I think he was expecting me to show him my latest artistic creation) I just laughed and said, “That’s all I needed to know!” He never even noticed it was different until I showed him the before. =) So that eased his fears of my looking different as well, and he is now fully supportive of my decision. I know I couldn’t go through it alone.

So that’s my story. I have decided to go with Dr. Jonathan Kulbersh in Charlotte, NC and I will have to travel several hours from out of state which will make it a little more challenging. My surgery is scheduled for July 10 and my pre-op for June 26. It’s coming up so soon - I’m so excited!

Thank you all for sharing your stories - you have given me the courage to do this!

2 More Days!

I'm so excited and a little scared, but I have no doubts this is what I want and I just want this next week to be over already! I've assembled all of my goodies to get ready for the trip. Not looking forward to spending the night in a hotel. I think I'm going to take my blender so my bf can make me smoothies!! Right now I'm just trying to stay busy to distract myself. Good luck to everyone else who's going through this this week! Sending good energy your way!

Day 5

So I had every intention of updating daily, but after the surgery there was so much more pain than I thought, there was just no way! I was too drugged up! I'll go back and review my experience, though, for anyone that's interested, because I found reading other people's experiences so helpful. I think the combination septoplasty and fascia transplant were what made it difficult for me...

Day of Surgery
My surgery was a long one, about 4 1/2 hours, I think. Going in was a breeze - they had me drugged up before I even knew it and I don't even remember being wheeled out of the prep area, even though my bf says I was talking... Waking up was horrible. It wasn't the mouth breathing that was a problem. It was that I felt like I was drowning. My throat was still numb and I couldn't feel myself swallowing, and my lungs were full of bloody mucous (sorry, gross, I know) which I was able to cough out a few minutes later. No nausea, though, which was a great relief!! It was late in the day, and the nurses were clearly trying to get out of there, so I was rushed right out of that place barely even awake! We drove to the hotel and I had to stumble through the hotel to get to our room. Luckily the room had a recliner, as I didn't want to lay back because there was so much coming out of my nose and I didn't want it running down my throat which was already terribly sore. I sipped on slippery elm tea and coconut water and really didn't get any sleep at all that night. I had quite a bit of pain from the incisions inside my nose, all of my upper teeth ached, I couldn't move my jaw much to chew, and had throbbing head and sinus pain. So not really a fun night! But my bf stayed up all night with me changing drip pads, walking me to the bathroom, and getting whatever I needed. He was amazing!

Day 1
Visited the surgeon bright and early at 7am. He cleaned out my nose and went over everything again. Apparently my tip was a mess and needed tons of work, so it will be pretty swollen for a while. He didn't break my bone, just cartilage work, septum repair, spreader graft, and fascia transplant (I have very thin skin).
So we headed out for our 3.5 hour drive home. It was really hard, I was still in a lot of pain and just couldn't wait to get home. My head incision started bleeding and made a huge mess of matted blood and hair and ointment. Sooo gross! The doc said I shouldn't wash it for 48 hrs! So we made it home and I got comfortable on my ready spot on the sofa and feasted on watermelon and fresh green juice and coconut water.

Day 2
Finally slept a little the night before, and was definitely feeling a little more normal. Still some pain, but it was mostly taken care of with percocet. My face swelled a bit, as I was warned it would, but went back down very quickly by that evening. Really no bruising to speak of, just the tiniest bit of yellow. I was told that Dr. K's patients rarely have bruising - I think that is a testament to how careful and meticulous he is.
Took a bath to try to soak out some of the dried blood in my hair. What an impossible task! Worked some of it out, but it will take more work...

Days 3-5
Feeling better and better every day! I still can't believe how little bruising and swelling there is, apart from my tip (which is humongous!) I took another bath and shampooed the rest of the yuckiness out of my hair. Feels sooo much better! My nose is still bleeding a bit occasionally. I'm trying to go without the drip pad today - I don't think my sensitive skin can take any more of getting torn up by that tape! I get my cast off in 2 days. I can't wait for these splints to come out - I feel a lot of pressure from them. I just hope my tip swelling goes down more before I have to go back to work on Thursday! I look like a caricature!

Almost 3 weeks

So I'm back from vacation - I'm sorry for anyone who's been waiting for an update! No internet access...

I got my cast off, splints removed, and stitches out 2 weeks ago. I can't believe it's been so long already! Those of you getting ready to do this, the first week will drag on forever, but after that, time flies! So the cast removal wasn't too bad, just a little soreness, but I'm telling you, getting those internal splints removed was the greatest sense of relief I have ever felt!! They created so much pressure in my face the whole week and gave me headaches. The removal of those was not painful at all - so don't fear that part. A couple of pinches with the stitch removal in the more sensitive areas. But taking that first deep breath through my nose was wonderful. And being able to smell again!!

Dr. K had taped me up right after and told me not to remove it for a week, so I only got to see my nose very briefly, and not at all from the profile. My first impression from the front was "it's so straight!", and then, "it's so swollen!" It looked really wide. But I was prepared for that. It's just strange to see. I freaked out a little when I got home and looked at my profile. The tape completely obscured the shape and it looked to me exactly like it did before. Wearing it for a whole week was torture!!!

So now the tape is off! Yay! I have a lot of swelling, and will have for a long time because of the temporalis fascia graft. Especially at the tip, where he had to do a lot of work, because in his words, it was "gnarly". But, even with the swelling, the shape of the tip is amazing!! No more crooked bumps! It makes me smile every time I see it. My profile looks really great as well, except that it seems a little over-projected still, and I'm really hoping that is just swelling and it will come in a little. But I have to say, I gave Dr. K a photo that I created of what I wanted my profile to look like, and he matched it to a tee! I can tell that his is meticulous with his work. So besides the swelling, the only thing I don't really like is my 3/4 view - I still have a large lump from that angle. I'm not sure if that is swelling or not, but it looks so similar to how it did before... I guess I just have to wait it out. But no more parrot-y nose!! =)

My nose is still a little tender and the tip is hard as a rock. The swelling makes my nose feel heavy when I move my head and when I lay down. It's a weird sensation. I get a few occasional twinges of pain in the tip, but other than that I feel great. I get a little itchy sometimes around the incisions. I'm still getting pieces of the dissolvable stitching coming out - every once in while I see a piece of brown string sticking out of my nostril, so i pull on it gently and if it doesn't come out I just trim it off.

I've been pretty good emotionally through all of this. I had a moment of doubt right after the surgery, thinking "why did I do this to myself?" But that passed quickly once I felt a little better. Again when my nose was taped, and I couldn't really see the shape, but was imagining the worst. And then I had a total break down the other night, because I saw a new picture someone posted and my nose looked absolutely huge. I was smiling, and that really seems to add to the apparent size - I think it's just the way my face moves, so I will have to learn to deal with that. But after taking some pictures and comparing them to the before, I feel so much better. So far, I'm pretty happy. Can't wait for the swelling to go down...
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon

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