Travelling abroad. Rhinoplasty in Belgium, BE

It's 04.30 am and I am unable to sleep....

It's 04.30 am and I am unable to sleep. Combination of nerves, excitement and a tickly cough have woken me up ???? I hope this won't cause any complications.
Reading other peoples reviews are what have led me to choosing to have surgery in Belgium. I am writing this review in the hope that it may help someone else with their surgery journey.
My surgery is booked at 08.00 am in less than 4 hours. Eeeeek!!!!
Thankfully the hotel is just a 5 min walk away from the hospital- Sint-Jozef Bornem.
We arrived early yesterday evening and was pleasantly suprised by how easy the journey was.
Eurostar from London to Brussels.
Train from Brussels to Mechelen then change for train to Bornem.
Bornem is nice. Small but with enough little places to eat and relax.
Anyway, let me explain how this journey began...can't actually believe the day is here and what started out as an idea, a dream, is actually about to happen.
I have disliked my nose all my teenage and adult life. An early memory is being told I had a nose like concorde at the age of 10 by a boy school. Then again as a teenager someone said I had an elephant nose. As I have got older I have good days and bad days, days where it doesn't bother me. Then I will catch a glimpse of myself at the wrong angle or be caught off guard in a picture and be like errrrgh. I have recently become more aware of it in the last 2 years since having my son. Maybe pregnancy hormones made it grow or I just look more tired and it draws attention to it. Its long and uneven and from side angle it has a hump and is angular and pointy.
I am fed up of being insecure about it and have decided life is to short to make do and put up. I would have done it when I was younger had I the money. I am now in a good secure place, good relationship, stable job/career, wonderful son and comfortable enough to afford the Belgian prices ????
I decided on Belgium mainly for cost, half the price of London surgeons and also not too far for me to travel. I did enquire at a few places in Poland but was unsure by the fact that consultations would only take place just before surgery also didn't fancy flying. After weeks of scouring the Internet and reading reviews I came across Dr Oelbrandt. He does regular consultations in London and I will be able to see him after for check ups if need be. He has some very positive reviews in particular for rhinoplasty.
I have met with him twice now and feel confident with him doing the surgery. He has been very good in corresponding to my emails and queries.
its now 5 am and my alarm is set for 15 mins time. I'm going to shower and get my bits together and wake my partner who is here next to me snoring ???? I'm dying for a cup of tea or something stronger to calm me nerves. Every few minutes I realise what I am going to do and my belly does a somersault. I'm told that it is perfectly normal to feel this anxiety so I am just riding out. The desire to have a new nose is far stronger than any worry. I'm kind of on auto pilot, a woman on a mission!!!!
I hope to keep this review up to date and come back to upload some pictures.

3 days post op

I made it! I was so scared about the anaesthetic that when I finally came round, I wasn't concerned about my nose but relieved to be alive. An added bonus is that there does already look to be an improvement to my nose so it's all been worth it.
Overall my experience has been straight forward, Dr Oelbrandt and the care I received in the hospital from the nurses was very good. I found everything in Belgium to be very efficient from the train service to checking in at the reception of the hospital through to the recovery after care. Almost everybody who works in the hospital speaks a good level of english so I never once felt "lost in translation".
My surgery went well according to Dr Oelbrandt. I got to have a good chat with him prior to the op to confirm what we were aiming for. I had a very narrow nose and my septum was deviated so functionality was also an issue. I ended up having a septoplasty, turbinate reduction and rhinoplasty to bring down the bridge of my nose. Due to my nose being very narrow, he did not need to do osteotomy and closed the roof with grafts using cartilage from my septum.
I felt confident that he would make the right decisions and make me a nice nose that I would be happy with.
It's early days but I can see it is already taking shape nicely.
The first few days have been difficult, I won't lie. Not much sleep due to severe congestion and pressure. Swelling so
bad that I look like that puppet girl thing from the "Dark Crystal" film and mad itching in nostrils which is making me do a funny dance. Healing is happening quickly though. 3 days post op and I have minimal pain, much less swelling and hardly any bruising and already I am forgetting the discomfort of the first 2 nights. Despite the discomfort I have still been getting on with day to day stuff, my appetite is as good as ever and I find going out for walks is good distraction. It keeps me away from my phone and doing random Google searches checking every single symptom ????
I have managed mainly on paracetamol for pain relief which I bought with me. There was an option to get a prescription for something stronger but I thought I would manage and I did. The worst part was the packing/gauze which was like having a king sized duvet stuffed into your nostrils. Removing that was a nice relief. Right now my nose feels tight and itchy and dry. It is still oozing some pinkish mucus and I can only breathe through one nostril. Each day there is more relief and I am counting down the days till splint removal. ..which I will be doing myself either Sunday or Monday.
I will be back with some more pictures and an update when I take the splint off.

Splint off - Swollen and bunged up

Splint came off yesterday. I was advised to wear it for 6 to 7 days and as I had work yesterday, I felt it was a good time to remove it. By Saturday it was sliding off where the adhesive had got sweaty so it was no trouble to gently remove. I now know why it was soo itchy. I had loads of little yellow head spots (eeew) I am a spotty beast anyway!!
My first reaction was shock. I actually didn't want to look in the mirror too long. It's certainly a change. And as they say, a change is as good as a rest ????
It's a lot wider from the front view than it was previously. I was kind of expecting this as the surgeon told me that to maintain good breathing function (what nose is actually for) he would be placing spreader grafts. The side profile is nice. Smooth and lower to my face/cheeks. The tip projection has been decreased slightly, maybe a couple of mm, which I can see from underneath view as my nostrils which were long and stretched are now more relaxed and slightly rounder. My nose is still quite long and I am worried about the tip still being prominent. The tip feels very swollen and stiff. I hope when this lessens the skin will settle back and give me a bit more definition.
Gosh, I wish I wasn't such a perfectionista! I know that this is only the beginning of the healing and not what it will look like In a few days or even months. I read somewhere that if you are most happy the moment you see your nose after cast/splint removal then the chances are that further down the line you won't be. I hope this is true!
My breathing hasn't returned to normal yet either. I can breath perfect out of my left nostril but my right one which had the most deviation is still very bunged. I can get a small bit of air through it but it's so congested. Been using saline nasal spray to clean out which is helping ti relieve the dryness, crusting and scabs. Can also detect a faint strange smell from right nostril. It's prob because that one is most congested and i'm not able to clear it. Hope its not a blockage ????
Nobody at work said anything which I'm suprised by as my bruises are still clearly there. I did notice they were looking at me differently as if they could tell something had changed but hey couldn't tell what. Maybe they didn't want to ask why I looked like I had been in a punch up ????.
I'm looking forward to each day as I know that there will be small changes as the swelling subsides.
I have attached some pics and will be back to keep you updated on progress!
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