Well - I have suffered almost an entire year since...
Well - I have suffered almost an entire year since my first nose surgery. It has been the harshest year of my life - no exaggeration - and I really appreciate all of the supportive and awesome people on Realself who have given me support, hope and a place to vent. Thank you all so very much!
I have taken the leap - and booked my revision surgery with Dr. Pontell for March 4th. It is coming so close and as the day approaches I am filled with mixed emotions. I get surges of hope and excitement and then overwhelming flashbacks of the horrors from my initial surgery. It is definitely scary - but I want so badly to get back to my life and feel confident again - I want to put last year behind me and move forward and enjoy life! I've been such a recluse this past year.
I first met with Pontell in November. He seemed really nice and I liked the simulations we did. I then met with another doctor and also scheduled and cancelled consults with other doctors over the months - I was lucky to have friends here on realself also consulting and sharing their experiences with me about certain doctors and so was able to have even more insight and info. I met with one particular doctor several times and was leaning towards him - but I just had a nagging feeling that he would be too aggressive. He didn't really do simulations very well which I understand doesn't really mean anything as far as his actual surgical skills but the things he kept saying about what he would recommend doing didn't make sense to me. He was going to use rib for sure to rebuild my nose and that freaked me out a bit. But the main thing was - I just didn't feel he was the right fit. I felt I wanted to meet with Pontell again - I did like him when I first consulted with him and also I was impressed with the positive results that others have posted here on realself.
My second consult in January with Pontell went well. He was able to show me photos of people who had similar issues as mine and what he was able to accomplish was really amazing. He said he wouldn't use rib, but would likely use ear cartilage. (In fact he told me that using rib would have been crazy.)
I have a pre-op appointment on Feb 6th. I want to bring photos of noses I definitely don't like to show him just in case - and also want to just review again what I want and make sure we are on the same page. I only have this chance to make things right and that's a lot of pressure and stress! ugh!
I am mustering the courage to post a few pix - stay tuned. I will likely post them and not keep them up long. But, if my nose turns out really great I will definitely post tons of happy pix!
Only 33 days away now!!!! Yikes and yay!
Had my Pre-op appointment yesterday
So, I ended up not being able to bring in pix of noses I didn't like because we lost power in the big ice storm. I could have showed him on my phone but really we were talking about other stuff and signing papers and such I didn't even get my phone out. But no matter, he seems to really understand my issues and I feel like we are on the same page.
I am excited - almost euphoric at moments yet, also on edge. I know first hand how devastating it is when things don't go well and it makes the risk feel even more monumental. I have a good feeling about it this time though - something that was lacking last time so - I am taking comfort in that.
Anyway - this time I have a much better idea of what to expect after the surgery. I know I will likely be very nauseated and will want ginger ale and crackers once I can eat.
Here's my basic list of necessities immediately post op day one and two.
juice - probably something with pineapple in it
lip balm (my lips get so dry from mouth breathing)
stool softener (don't learn this the hard way - no pun intended hahaha)
pre-moistened facial cleansing cloths
big head rest pillow with arms and a contoured travel pillow for my neck
My next steps are getting my blood work done and PAYING. Gaaah!! So crazy to be spending such a huge chunk of change again but it must be done. Last time I had all the money upfront and this time I am having to finance it and pay off over time. I guess I am just grateful that my revision isn't as expensive as my first surgery (I am still processing and mourning the loss of all that hard earned money my first surgeon gouged me for.)
OK now I am rambling hahaha long story short: EXCITED SCARED HAPPY NERVOUS :)
thanks for all your support guys!!!!
Single Digits!!! Is this really happening? :)
This is so hard to believe!! I am down to single digits now - 8 days to go.. It doesn't feel real because I have spent this last year just trying to get by - pass the time - get through all of the life events and social obligations I couldn't avoid. Just survive. Just breathe. That's literally all I could do at certain times during the last year. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the belief that I had another chance - that my nose could and WOULD be fixed. Now that time is almost here - just around the corner. I have a second chance to set things right and I am so grateful for that - and also so torn because what if things don't work out? I know first hand the devastation and I wouldn't wish it on ANYONE. My second chance is so close at hand and so I don't know if I will end up with great results and be FINALLY able to move forward with my life in peace, or..not. It is certainly stressful.
I do have a good feeling about this and want to just stay positive - most times I am positive that things will be great. And so I try to focus on that. I believe Dr. Pontell will do a fabulous job!
I am so fortunate and blessed - and I have learned and grown so much this past year. I have to believe it has all been a necessary "mistake" that has made me even stronger.
Anyway, my blood work is done. Everyone is paid. Now all I have to do is gather my supplies and pick up my meds and then surgery. :) only 8 more dayzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!! :)
Tomorrow is the day!!!!
I can't believe tomorrow is my surgery!!!! I have been using my nervous energy just cleaning and organizing and getting things ready for me to be recovering for a few days in bed. We are staying at a hotel the night before (tonight!!) and the night after my surgery. I learned my lesson from last time not to plan to take a long drive home when I am immediately post-op. I bought this super soft and heavenly blanket at Target the other day and I am calling it my "recovery" blanket (this is just an excuse to buy this blanket I've had my eye on for a while - it is sooo soft and perfect and warm!!) I am bringing it with me along with my headrest pillow and travel pillow which will help me to stay sitting up and keep my neck supported. I have all my meds and gingerale, straws and saltines. I am going to wear loose sweat pants, a tank top and a zippy hoody for my surgery.
Oh, here's something that happened on Friday. The surgery center called me and we were going over all the necessary details and then towards the end of the conversation the lady told me that I needed to have an EKG. That came as a surprise for several reasons (one being that I just had a surgery on my shoulder in December and didn't need a pre-op EKG) but either way they said it had to be done (I guess I am officially an old lady now that I just turned 40 - yikes!). Luckily they called me Friday instead of today to tell me this. Anyway so I rushed around and thankfully it went pretty smoothly and it is all taken care of now. Dr. Pontell's patient coordinator Kay was on the ball and really helped by getting the script for the EKG faxed over to the hospital very quickly.
Anyway, I am glad we didn't get as much snow as they were expecting today. That will make our drive less stressful.
I will post again soon.. thanks to you all for your well wishes and support!!!!
Hi everyone!! Sorry I was missing for a bit there. I have been really taking it easy and relaxing and processing my feelings. Anyway, drum rolllllllllllllll......
I LOVE my new nose!!!!! It is such a vast improvement and is soooo perfect for me. Dr Pontell did a fantastic job!! I knew it was going to be great as soon as I looked in the mirror after surgery - even with my cast on I could tell. Then the day he removed my cast and handed me the mirror I was so filled with relief and joy that I started crying. I even grabbed Dr P and hugged him. :) hahhaha
The whole experience this time was the absolute opposite of my first experience. The surgical center nurses took such amazing care of me and I had no nausea at all. They fed me ice chips and gave me a bit more pain med when I needed it. They covered me with warmed blankets which was really nice. They allowed me to stay until I felt ready to go and then my hotel room was literally steps away from the surgery center door. I had my bed all prepped with my new cozy blanket and I climbed in and relaxed the rest of the day and all night. If you read my review of my first rhino surgery you will understand how vastly different it all was for me. Dr. Pontell called that night to check up on me as did the surgery center nurses. Anyway I could go on and on about how amazing this experience was compared to my first horrific one - but needless to say, I finally feel like myself again.
I had no bruising at all around my eyes - I think because what was done was mainly cartilage as opposed to doing anything to my bridge. I do have a rash where my cast and tape was which I hope will fade soon. This morning my nose was really swollen but even swollen its so much better than it was. I can deal with swelling because I understand that its temporary and I can tell that it is going to turn out really cute. It looks nothing like the pointy, loooong, crooked mess that I woke up with last time.
Dr. Pontell used cartilage from my right ear. It wasn't as weird and traumatic as I thought it might be. I woke with a bandage on my ear which he removed two days later. When he first took the bandage off my whole ear was swollen and I still had muffled hearing. The swelling subsided by the end of the next day and my hearing came back in full. You can't tell anything from the front at this point other than some mild bruising that remains. In the back I still have stitches down the incision which will be removed next week. My ear is starting to get pretty itchy so I think that means its healing. Once the stitches are out you wont even be able to tell that he took cartilage which is amazing and cool.
I feel as though my life has been given back to me. I have basically been trapped in my house essentially for the last year and now I am free! I can walk into my bathroom and turn on all the lights and look in the mirror again. I am making plans for the summer and am looking forward to living my life again.
Thank you to everyone for your support and advice and guidance. Truly..
If anyone reading this is wondering if your nose can and will ever be fixed, know that it IS possible. Very possible. There ARE great surgeons out there that DO care.
Please feel free to PM me if you have questions about anything..
Swelling..ahhhh I remember this!
So its day 10 and my nose is swollen and semi-sausage like. I have done all this before so I knew what to expect, but I kind of forgot what things were like in what I call the "sausage phase." heheehehe oh wellz. Its much easier this time knowing that once swelling subsides I am going to have a good result.
So far so good + ear pic
Things seem to be going well thus far. I still have a lot of snot pouring out of my nose most of the day and some pain but nothing too bad.
My ear is still pretty sore though. The stitches came out on Monday and I snapped a shot of them right before they came out to show you guys. Note that there is some ointment on it so it looks pretty goopy.
Anyway, I was very stressed and scared to get my stitches out because of my horrifically painful experience the first time - however, it was basically a breeze this time. Dr. Pontell is super gentle and has such a steady hand. I was thoroughly impressed.
Just a quick update: am feeling great and am LIVING again!!!!! I have decided to post some photos although I only have the before's ready to go. I'm experiencing a kind of psychological block in taking pix of my new nose - I think because of the trauma from last time - I took a ton of photos, perhaps trying to come to terms with what I was left with and trying to find some rhyme or reason as to why it looked the way it did. There is a big irrational part of me that is scared of taking pix of myself now. But, when I look in the mirror I am soooo happy and relieved. I am planning to get my hair cut soon and jazz myself up a bit for spring. I actually went out this past weekend and felt so confident and had such a nice time.
I still think everyday about all of the people I have corresponded with who remain devastated and who are going through the kind of trauma that I went through and worse. I understand on such a visceral level the grief and anguish. I want to help them all and take away their pain and suffering. I am so blessed to have found my way through all this and I realize how fortunate I really am.
Anyway - sending love and support to you all!! I'll keep you updated and post pix when I can..
Physical and emotional healing
16 Sep 2014
6 months post
I have been meaning to update for a while now but just didn't have the words or clarity to do it. I now feel ready to explain how things are going for me. :)
Prior to my revision, I had prepared myself for the physical side of the healing process: I was prepared to be in pain and have lots of swelling - after all, this was my second surgery and much more complex in nature than my first. And sure enough, I had some pain and some swelling; but not nearly as much as I had with my first botched surgery. It was literally the complete opposite of my first surgery. It truly is amazing if you really think about it.
I figured that once my nose was "fixed" - I would become who I used to be once again. I thought that things would just fall back into place right away and I could and would move on. I was so focused on what had to be done - the surgery, the money, and the healing. I just wanted a second chance, a redo. I wanted to fix my mistake.
You see, I had placed a gigantic amount of blame on myself for actually choosing the monster who botched my nose in the first place. Sure, he is an incompetent, irresponsible, greedy, bad BAD person - and THAT isn't my fault. But, I was the one who CHOSE him. I trusted him with my body - put myself willingly into a completely vulnerable position. I had convinced my loved ones that I was safe and was making a sound decision. I was spending a HUGE chunk of money as well. And I did all of this - essentially, blindly. The fact that it turned out to be the worst decision of my life - devastated me. It crippled me, really. I was forced to mourn not only my face and the loss of my self-confidence, but the loss of my belief that I was safe and able to gauge and determine dangerous situations. I felt that I had failed myself.
Now that I have been restored physically I am so very grateful. It does make a HUGE difference to my quality of life that my nose is no longer crooked, dented, bizarre- looking and pointy. I no longer have the physical reminder of my mistake sitting in the middle of my face.
I am still moving through aspects of emotional healing that I can now see are going to take some time to work through. I still occasionally have flashes of post traumatic stress. When I was going through the worst of it last year, the way I would describe it to people who didn't understand was that it felt like what I would imagine it would feel like to wake up one morning, and realize that you were drunk driving the night before and you hit and killed an entire family. I know that sounds dramatic, and perhaps not in direct correlation with the reality of my situation at the time – it certainly didn't make logical sense. But that is honestly the level of regret and anxiety that I was living with. It was harsh and dark to say the least. I am happy to report that I no longer have that anxiety – I can sleep in peace again. I can look in the mirror again with the lights on. I can laugh and smile and live. It truly is a second chance.
Is my nose perfect now? No. Is my life perfect now? No. But I am ok with that. :)