On Tuesday I finally went through with my...
On Tuesday I finally went through with my functional rhinoplasty! There is a cosmetic change to the nose, making it smaller but keeping some of the bump and not turning up the tip any more. I chose Dr. Most for this especially because he seems to understand the importance of keeping the original ethnicity of the nose and was very candid that my nose structure would not allow too much change in size or tip shape. Id rather have a conservative Dr. than one who gives me a cookie cutter nose.
This was also a complicated functional surgery since I have a genetically malformed septum, my nose curved to the left, and I had broken the bridge twice. I couldn't breathe at all through the right side of the nose and 30 years of straining to get air in ended up changing the shape of my nose even more. This was combined rhinoplasty/ septoplasty/ osteotomy/ turbinate reduction. Phew.
Working with Dr. Most was very calming. He has a friendly, yet still professional manner that eased my nerves and allowed me to trust him. He's considered one of the best for functional rhinos and has the confidence and hundreds of patient photos to prove it. I read every bit of his website and papers before deciding on him. It was his intelligence and approach to fixing the nose both structurally and aesthetically that ended up convincing me. I also really liked his approach to aesthetics. Some doctors have you bring in lots of photos of the nose you want or describe it in detail. With Dr. Most, I told him what I generally wanted (preserve ethnicity, don't upturn tip, keep a little bump) and he then described what would aesthetically fit my face from a professional standpoint. I honestly think that sometimes we don't know what is best for our own faces due to seeing way too many photos of 'perfect' noses. It was a relief to have a professional describe what would work on *my* face with its unique features.
I'm still going to be waiting for a while for the final results, but I feel a lot more calm post-surgery than I thought I would. I trust that Dr. Most did the best he could and he was the best option for this surgery. While its impossible to see what the result will be aesthetically at this point because of the cast and swelling, I can already feel the results functionally. Despite the splints, I'm now able to drawn in air through my right nostril for the first time in 15 years. Its the weirdest feeling to feel air filling space that has been closed off for so long. I'm excited to get the splints out and see what its like to breathe fully again.
Telling friends about rhinoplasty
One of my big concerns when i first decided to do this was how to tell friends without being considered vain. A big part of this decision was the functional part, so I decided to focus on this. It helped that my dad and cousin both had a septoplasty in the last couple months, so I focused on the genetic septum deformity and previously broken nose as the primary cause. When asked if this was also for looks, I would say that I didn't expect the looks to change too much. Although not exactly telling the straight truth, this also isn't a lie since this is a conservative change to aesthetics.
It was a really good decision to tell friends openly that I was having surgery, even though I wasn't completely open with the reason. I ended up getting a lot of support from unexpected people and I don't have to hide these 2 weeks off or any long term healing like bruising or swelling.
I wish I had the chutzpah to declare to the whole world that i was getting a nose job because i wanted to look better, but this ended up being a good compromise with myself. Everyone knows I'm getting surgery and I'm sure some will talk about how it was probably for vanity, but I'm ok with that. Its worth being mostly open and having the support from friends that want me to finally be able to breathe normally.
Healing Process - Op Day, Days 1 - 3 post op
Day of Surgery - I was really worried about anesthesia, but ended up passing out about 1 second after it started flowing. Waking up was an effort and I was really nauseous and disoriented. I think the hardest part was that my blood pressure was so low so they couldn't release me right away, but also were trying to prevent me from resting. Having to stay awake and fighting the anesthesia while nauseous was the worst part by far of the day. The anesthesiologist ended up giving me some kind of stimulant, which make my legs and arms really itchy and tweaky. I felt like I was coming off of some street drug, but at least it increased my blood pressure enough that I could go home. I passed out immediately in the car and again at home, half waking up a few times with that tweaky feeling but mostly able to rest.
Surprisingly, I was able to eat lots of cashews, yogurt, and soup and didn't feel nauseous again. My upper lip was bruised so it made chewing a bit hard, but doable. I took one Vicodin in the middle of the night and slept till morning.
Really glad the nurse aid was with me through the night, it was nice not to have to get up to get supplies of any kind. That said, I'm happy she left when she did in the morning cause I really like being on my own and was tired of being asked how she could help every time I moved. Sometimes I just needed to readjust my position, but she would come over to check anyway which drove me a bit mad.
Day 1 - I slept almost the entire day. Ate a TON of food whenever awake and took one Vicodin in the morning and one in the afternoon. My nose didn't exactly hurt, but I was uncomfortable and couldn't sleep otherwise. My face was really swollen, especially my upper lip and under my eyes. My nose was really leaky as well and I needed to change the gauze every few hours. I'm used to not being able to breathe through my nose, so it mostly felt like it was stuffed up a strong cold or allergies with some added pressure from the splint and cast.
Day 2 - I feel much better in the morning and decided to go for a walk. Baaaad decision. Although its awesome to be outside, I underestimated how much worse it would make the swelling. My face is like a balloon after I get back, huge puffy sacks under my eyes and my jowls are super swollen and bruised as well. I look disfigured and feel worse. Again, the nose doesn't hurt at all, just a lot of pressure. I take another Vicodin just to get to sleep and spend most of the day napping on and off. When not napping, I'm able to get a few hours of work done mostly to prevent boredom. There is only so much bad TV i can watch!
I ate some cottage cheese today which has added sodium and can really tell the difference with swelling. It definitely made my face feel way tighter and my nose tip swelled a bit too. Going to lay off any added sodium food for a couple days.
Sleep is on and off all night and take a Vicodin to get a few solid hours. I wish I knew to have a sleeping aid so I didn't have to take painkillers as well, since pain is not an issue at all.
Day 3 - I have to leave my first airbnb today. Take my sweet time packing up, lifting a few bags doesn't really affect my nose at all. I'm stronger and feel more peppy than expected. Get about 3 hours of work done in the morning, but eventually my eyes hurt from the screen. Once I get in the car and start driving, I get REALLY tired, but just need to make it to my next spot which is about an hour away.
Swelling is still an issue and I expected it to be worse today, but its actually starting to get a little better. Heat, physical activity, and salty food make it SO much worse. The swelling is moving down my face, so my eyes aren't as puffy anymore but my lips are still huge and I can't smile or talk much. Thankfully my eyes don't swell shut as I heard they can, that would have really made me upset.
I pass out as soon as I get to my next airbnb, waking up in early evening. Its cooler here in the woods and it really helps with the swelling. My nose is runnier than ever and i clean it twice before getting to bed. Its my first day without painkillers and I try to sleep through the night, but end up napping for 15 - 20 minutes at time. Its exhausting, but i'm committed not to take anything today and get back on schedule. I don't end up getting more than one full hour through the night, but feel fine when I get up in the morning.
Healing Process - Day 4
I'm starting to look and feel like myself again! I have plenty of energy all day, getting in a solid 6 hours of work, cooking, cleaning, and doing some really light stretching (while sitting, still no bending over). My face is still pretty swollen, especially the jowl area, but nothing like the last few days. I can smile a little bit and talk without a problem. I'm able to take a long shower today and wash my hair which feels absolutely AMAZING.
Since i finally look a little bit like myself after some of this swelling has gone down, I can start comparing my nose to pictures before the surgery. TBH, I can't really tell much of a difference, but I know thats due to the swelling. Its possible the doctor was also too conservative and i'll never be able to tell the difference, but I think i'm ok with that. Functionally I can already tell that my breathing has improved since I was able to sleep with my mouth closed last night for the first time in years! Its worth it just for that, but of course I'd like *some* aesthetic change too.
I'm also noticing that the right nostril is smaller than the left. There was a lot more work done on the right since that was where most of the structural damage was and the airway was completely obstructed, so hopefully thats due to swelling?
Either way, I'm accepting it for what it is. I'm happy I got the surgery but there is no way I want to get a revision. I'm mostly relieved that I don't have to wonder anymore whether its a good idea to get the surgery or not. Its so nice not to have that question always hanging over me.
Feeling SO much better today. Swelling in my face is down to about 15%. Honestly wish i could keep it this way cause i like the fuller cheeks ;)
My nose has finally stopped running constantly. My eyes still water every once in a while, I sneeze a bit here and there, and have to wipe my nose every few hours, bit its not the torrential downpour that was happening for the last few days.
The bruising is REALLY bad today. Most of my face is green and yellow, with really dark patches under my eyes. I'm guessing its gonna be at least another 10 days till the darkest spots fade.
Had really bad insomnia last night and only got 3 hours of sleep. Maybe its still a reaction to the Vicodin? Or maybe it was because I was sleeping 20 hours a day for the last week and i've had enough. Either way, feeling totally fine and energized today.
Felt so good i started singing along with some music today and my voice is so different! I don't have that nasally quality and can hear when i hit the notes (or don't) in a totally new way. I'm excited to hear what its like after the splints come out!