34 Yrs, Septorhinoplasty, Single Mom - Northbrook, IL

I first saw my nose in profile in a three-way...

I first saw my nose in profile in a three-way mirror, in a dressing room, when I was in 6th grade. I was *horrified.* I couldn't believe that was what I looked like, that my nose was that huge, as it wasn't apparent from the front.

Throughout junior high and high school, I was teased for having a big nose. As I grew into adulthood, I realized it was worse than I thought. I don't just look like the product of some unholy union between Adrien Brody and Barbara Streisand; my nose is crooked and asymmetrical. It crooks to my right. I only ever wanted to be photographed from the front, and even then, I had to tilt my head just so in order to obscure the curve of my nose.

I like my other features. I'm tall and slender, I have beautiful eyes, naturally dark pink lips, and my (dyed) red hair looks gorgeous. The only thing that detracts from my appearance is my nose, and boy, does it ever detract.

As a Christian, I have struggled for years with wanting to have my nose done. A lot of evangelical Christians would say that we shouldn't tamper with how God created us... and yet, that logic never seems to apply to braces now, does it? Tampering with God's creation is apparently perfectly fine if you're fixing crooked teeth, but not fixing a crooked nose. I've come to the conclusion that the real reason for this inconsistency is misogyny. Braces are something that both men and women need in approximately equal numbers; cosmetic surgery is something that predominantly women do. Men can also get away with greater quirks in their appearance than women can (see: Adrien Brody's nose). If men did cosmetic surgery in equivalent numbers to women, there'd be far less stigma about it in the Christian community, as with braces.

In January I visited an ENT to discuss the fact that my septum is badly deviated and I can barely breathe through my nose. He said I'm a shoe-in for a septoplasty, which my insurance will cover, but that won't change the outward appearance of my nose. This led to a consultation with a plastic surgeon this month. His name is Jeremy Warner and he specializes in noses. He has nothing but good reviews online.

The other reason I never had my nose done was money. I came from a poor family that never could have afforded to get me cosmetic surgery as a teenager or young adult. Then I married a man with terrible career ambitions, had a disabled kid, and had to stay home to take care of her. We made lots of mistakes with our credit in our 20s and were poor, poor, poor. I've spent the last 7 years clawing my way from a credit rating in the 400s to a credit rating in the 700s/800s and the last 2.5+ years re-entering the workforce and beginning a career in human resources. I had another baby in 2013, then got divorced 1.5 years ago and have been rebuilding my life to what I want it to be. Finally getting this nose job is just one more dream box ticked off.

My surgery with Dr. Warner will cost $7785 for a "class II rhinoplasty." I'll also have to pay a $250 copay for my septoplasty, but that can come out of my flexible spending account, so I won't feel it. We've scheduled the procedure for March 16th, the day after my thesis is due. I should be good-to-go for my thesis defense on April 15th and all healed up for commencement on May 13th. (I'm finishing an MA degree and also working on a professional HR certificate.) I applied for CareCredit with a 720 credit rating and was approved for $8400 in credit.

Looking forward to this journey, hoping to blog about it and vlog about it. Thanks for reading.

Pre-ops scheduled

I have my pre-op exam with my PCP on February 22nd and my pre-op exam with Dr. Warner on March 1st. The surgery is officially set for the morning of March 16th and I have notified my supervisors of it.

I've tried telling a few people about the upcoming surgery, and decided it's a big mistake to tell anyone. The main response I get is, "What are you doing that for?! You don't need it!" I suppose that if someone agrees that it's a good idea, it could be akin to calling me ugly, but seriously; is it really not clear that my nose is crooked? Other people think it's a waste of money, like my father and stepmother. (Do you know how much money my father wasted on guns and boats and jukeboxes when I was a kid?? I could have had 4 childhood rhinoplasties with the money he's spent on that stuff.) I could buy a new $35,000 vehicle and no one would question me losing ~$4,000 in depreciation as I drove it off the lot. But I drive a trusty used car and get a rhinoplasty and I'm "wasting money."

Anyhow, here are some more photos of my nose from all angles. I'm nursing the end of a cold right now, so there's a little redness under my nostrils. But I think these pictures show the curve and crookedness of my nose well.

Did my pre-op with my PCP today

Had my pre-op with my PCP today. They did a swab of my nose for staph infection. I hope that doesn't affect my surgery date if it comes back positive.

While she was examining my septum today, my doctor remarked, "Oh wow, that is crooked! Very crooked!" I feel special.

Uploading some more "before" pictures. My pre-op with Dr. Warner is March 1st, next Wednesday.

Final Pre-op Today

Had my pre-op with Dr. Warner today. It was mostly paperwork and going over what we discussed in the consultation (again). He said fixing a crooked nose is one of the biggest challenges in a rhinoplasty, and he's good at it, but while my nose will be improved, it may not be perfectly straight once healing is done. I think the crookedness of my nose is what bothers me the most, so I really hope it's significantly improved, if not effectively gone.

A nurse came and explained medications to take before and after surgery, the recovery process, etc. They gave me a little goodie bag with some of the medications and recovery stuff, including bruise-covering make-up. And . . . I charged the $7785 to my CareCredit card. If I turn back now, I lose, like, $1K of that. If I go forward, I have 1 year to pay it off or I'll be charged 26.99% interest on that balance. My only complaint so far is that I wish the Dr. Warner's office had an 18-month or 24-month financing plan; the 1-year plan will be a tight squeeze, but I can do it.

Anyhow, probably won't update again until the night before surgery. My thesis is coming along well and I plan on turning it in on my way to the hospital on the morning of the 16th. See ya in two weeks!

Surgery Eve

Here I am on the eve of my surgery, with a nasty storm rolling into Chicago! But I don't think it will have an effect on the surgery.

I have my master's thesis done (enough) and ready to turn in. Dropping it off on the way to the hospital tomorrow.

I can't believe I am actually doing this. It doesn't even feel real. I've never been under general, but right now I'm so tired I can't wait to be put to sleep.

Anyhow, here goes. I'll update tomorrow after the surgery.

Post-op / Day 1, feeling fabulous

Surgery was this morning at Highland Park Hospital at 8:30 AM. We arrived at 7:00 AM and I was checked into a room (not a private room, it was designed for two and a roommate later showed up). They had me strip down to underwear and put on socks and a gown. General pre-surgery stuff, Dr. Warner dropped by to say hello, then wheeled in for surgery just after 8:30 AM. The last thing I remembered before the general anesthesia kicked in was them telling me to think of something joyful. I thought of this amazing universe we live in and how it testifies of God's hand and how cool it's going to be to get to see the farthest limits of it after I die---maybe because I was worried that the next thing I'd see would be God saying, "Sorry, they screwed up your GA, welcome to death! Death by nose job, sucks to be you!" The logical side of my brain knew that was infinitesimally unlikely; the worry-wart side of my brain always imagines the worst!

Anyhow, I had no dreams under general, of the universe or otherwise, though when I woke up just before 12:05 (I think) PM, I did know time had passed. A nurse was attending to me in recovery and my throat and mouth were very, very dry. I asked for water, but all she would give me was blocky ice chips. After 30-40 minutes in recovery, she returned me to my room.

One of the things I noticed when they were returning me to my room: my socks were missing! Why would they take off my socks in surgery? Ha-ha. I have a weird habit where I like to sleep with my feet uncovered. They kept trying to cover up my feet as they wheeled me over and I kept kicking them out.

Back in my room, I now had a roommate (behind a curtain, I never saw her) and they gave me jello, a popsicle, water, and a (mostly frozen) apple juice, and said I could go home when I was eating, drinking, and peeing. I rested, ate the jell-o, ignored the popsicle, did the best I could with the apple juice, and drank the water. There was rather a lot of blood. I kept on changing the mustache pads myself because they were bleeding through, until a nurse put my bed back to drop the elevation of my head a bit and told me she needed to change my pad. Dropping the elevation of my head slowed the bleeding considerably. I peed around 2:30 PM and we were out of there at 3 PM.

The other funny thing: they untied the back of my gown while I was under general. I noticed when I got up to go to the bathroom. LOL, why? Oh well, maybe I don't need to know.

So, I have been home since about 3:40. Haven't been able to sleep. I popped a few narcos, but I've barely felt any pain and will probably discontinue them tomorrow. The most uncomfortable thing is that I have a lot of dried blood in my nostrils (Dr. Warner doesn't pack, he says it doesn't do anything) and I don't want to mess with it and try to clean it out. The slow trickle of blood is unpleasant but will probably go away.

In good news: I can already tell that my breathing has improved, and I so far I like what I see. I've attached some entirely unglamorous post-op pics from 5 minutes ago.

Recovery Day #2

Another good day of recovery.

Last night, I was changing the mustache bandage when my brother got a good look at me. And he said, "Wow, that really is different!" And then the following dialogue ensued:

Me: Thanks! I think so, too!
Him: I never wanted to tell you this because I knew you couldn't change it and I didn't want to hurt your feelings, but I always thought your nose looked like a witch's nose. If you'd said, "I'LL GET YOU MY PRETTY," it would have really creeped me out.
Me: That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

Went for a couple of walks today, feeling well enough to go out for coffee with a friend tomorrow morning. I'll just rock the mustache bandage to Starbucks.

Recovery Day #3

Another good recovery day.

I forgot to mention that I got my kids back yesterday. My 2 year-old fussed and pointed a little bit when he saw my nose. I let him touch the splint gently and told him it was an "owie," and he seemed to accept that and has only occasionally wanted to touch it. My (mildly disabled) 9 year-old daughter has been more difficult. She can barely stand to look at me and tries to stay away from me. I've tried to just give her space. She did come into my room this evening and excitedly woke me up from a nap to show me her hamster was up, so maybe she's getting more used to it.

Had coffee with a friend at Starbucks today, then we went for a stroll through a nearby park and chatted. I noticed the tape from the drip pad was irritating my skin almost to the point of causing a scab, so I ditched it and have just gotten by with dabbing my nose with a tissue occasionally today. Have been otherwise vegging out around the house, watching Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix.

Dr. Warner called me today. He said, after surgery, he had been entirely pleased with the results and that it's been one of the most dramatic rhinoplasties he has done. He said that is totally not what he says to every patient. He wanted to let me know that, though we had planned to add some extra cartilage around my nostrils to make them smaller, at the end he had made a judgment call to not do it because he thought they looked fine as they are and it would bring them down too far. I was curious about that because they didn't look like they changed. While I doubt I'll do a revision, I'm not sure how I feel about them yet; I'll have to wait and see how it comes out after it heals.

Anyhow, he wanted to let me know that he will be out of town next week, but I can still call him if I need anything. Normally he'd want to see me sometime next week, but I'll just be seeing nurses instead. I see him again on March 31st.

Tomorrow I have a theology conference to go to. I signed up for it months ago, before I knew I'd be doing this surgery. Splint and bruises or not, think I'm gonna go tomorrow.

Recovery Day #4

Today was exhausting. I did the theology conference, but wound up leaving 70 minutes early (after the last speaker had finished) because I could just feel my body crashing and really needed to nap. I think I've been pushing myself too hard. It's the way I am. I think that's my cue to get as much rest as possible tomorrow before returning to work on Monday.

Starting to feel really annoyed with the stitches and splint. I have an appointment on Monday, but I don't think they're taking either out until Thursday. Ugh. 4.5 more days of this.

My cheeks are still swollen and my eyes are still bruised, but I think I've seen the worst of it. My nose feels very tender and the tip is swollen. I got a little bit of dried blood out today, but am afraid to touch anything in there as it's hard to tell where dried blood ends and stitches begin.

Recovery Day #6

Today the external stitches were taken out of my columella. It was the most painful part of the process for me. I asked the nurse before we got started, "How much is this going to hurt?" She said, "Oh, it doesn't really hurt, it's more like tugging and pressure." That was a LIE OF SATAN. It was very painful. My eyes kept on squeezing out tears involuntarily, ruining my bruise cover-up make-up.

Other people have said it wasn't that bad, so I may just have a sensitive columella. (I never tweeze nosehairs, either, it hurts too bad and makes my eyes water; I own and use a nose hair trimmer if I need it.)

My nose is still very swollen and tender, especially the tip. The bruises under my eyes now yellow and reddish-purple. They look like the marks under a football player's eyes. I went back to work today for the first time. Feel really tired.

Cast / internal stitches / splint all out on Thursday. I'll update again then.

Day #9 -- Cast off!

Dr. Warner's office sent flowers on Day #8. When I saw them on my doorstep, I had no idea who they could be from and was like, "What the hell? Oh, please let these not be from my ex-boyfriend or ex-husband! Not today, Satan!" When I saw they were from Dr. Warner's office, it was such a huge relief. It's a nice bouquet. I don't think anyone's given me flowers since 2003 (yes, I was married for 11 years to a total loser). If I'd known I had to pay a man $8k and let him operate on me to get flowers . . . hey, actually, yeah, that probably explains why I never get them.

The cast came off today and I'm just going to post one shot from profile. The front is still really swollen but the profile looks amazing! I'm so happy with it! I can live with looking like Mayim Balik while the swelling in the front goes down.

Splint, cast, and internal stitches removal was not bad at all. Dr. Warner's nurses were very sweet about watching my two-year-old for me and letting my nine-year-old remain in the waiting room while we did it. That's great because, as a single mom, I get pretty irritated when I'm at a doctor's office for a procedure and I had to bring my kids because I couldn't get anyone to watch them, and they're all like, "We're not babysitters!"

Will post more pictures tomorrow, when I've done my hair and make-up for work.

More pics from cast off day

Just a few more pics from cast-off day on 3/24/16, then I'll do my update for today.

Two weeks + 1 day post-op

Today is 2 weeks + 1 day post-op. Saw Dr. Warner today. Updates:

-- He says my swelling is at about "50%." Still a long way to go on swelling, but it's at a level that no longer bothers me. I think it looks normal enough
-- I continue to be amazed at the improvement in my profile
-- My nose still feels tender, I still have internal stitches dissolving. Today one washed out the back of my nose and came out my mouth with phlegm. Gross. Felt like a fish bone!
-- My nose is straight! I can detect no crookedness. There is slight asymmetry between my right and left nostrils, but probably not enough that anyone else will ever notice.

So far I am entirely pleased. Even at the current level of swelling, had this been the nose I was born with, I would not have had rhinoplasty.

Don't know when I'll update again, probably in 1-4 weeks.
Jeremy Warner, MD

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