12 was probably the age I realized it would be best to stay away from fast-flying objects on controlled-course to my face. But the damage was already done and I had a nose that aged me and made me look like an MMA fighter; with a huge bump and asymmetry.
In my late teens I realized there were odd bumps in my nostrils. One nostril was partially blocked my septum, and the other nostril was concave in the middle, around the area where in the other nostril the septum bulged out. The septum was so crooked in there that I could feel the mangled tip of the septum poking out of my right nostril.
I would get backed up in the partially blocked nostril with mucus that was difficult to clear out. Not to mention whenever I wrinkled my nose there was a weird clicking I could feel and hear coming from my septum. Scary, to say the least. From internet research, I guessed it was a deviated septum.
Finally, when I was 19 and had a well-paying full time job, I decided to start looking up rhinoplasty surgeons, to figure out costs, including things like airplane tickets and hotel stays since I was more willing to pick a quality surgeon than just go with someone in my hometown. I was not going to risk looking like Michael Jackson.
At first I considered going with Dr. E. Kim in Beverly Hills since I've seen his Youtube videos and he has so many reviews here on Realself, but to my shock, the Canadian dollar was at 75 cents US, so he was out of my price range. I resigned myself to having to wait longer to make an extra 30% of savings, or wait until the Canadian dollar reached close to parity again.
I did some more research in Canadian cities, mostly Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto. Let me tell you, when I saw Dr. Denton's online gallery, I fell in love. He had an artistic and aesthetic eye for noses, and was able to make the largest, crookedest nose look dainty and beautiful. So many other galleries I'd seen were hit or miss with before-and-afters. Aside from the large bump and crook to the side deviated septum I had, I wanted my nose to be thinner at the base since it was wide. My nostrils were big enough to have been able to palpate the septum inside my nose, to give some reference, so I wanted my nose's width to be made thinner. Dr. Denton was the master of that, of making large nostrils smaller and making noses thinner at the base. Seriously, take a look at his website's gallery and see what I'm talking about.
In August 2015 I called the office and spoke to Trish, the secretary at the clinic. She answered all my questions about the recovery period and time I'd have to take off work, medication, fees, and was all around helpful. I set up my appointment for mid-September and felt so excited I was finally going to figure out what was wrong with my nose anatomically, and fix it.
I flew out to Vancouver mid-September and stayed with family so I didn't have to pay hotel for the two days I was there. Dr. Denton's clinic is part of a large medical clinic, and you have to go up the elevator to reach it. Inside, everything looked clean and pretty, kind of like a dentist's office. Trish greeted me there, I paid the $100 consultation fee (it's taken off the final cost of surgery if you go through with it), and then she led me in to a small room where she showed me a binder full of before-and-afters, and got me to pick which ones I liked to show the doctor once he came in. I was prepared and had my tablet loaded with before-and-afters from his website, but I didn't even need to show him my tablet photos since the binder had some great examples I hadn't seen on the website.
When Dr. Denton came in to the private consultation room, he asked me what I wanted fixed with my nose. I explained what I didn't like about its appearance, but also how it was crooked and broken from years of bumps. He put on a headlight, and felt my nose and looked inside the nostrils with a instrument. Unfortunately, I had a runny nose from some bug, so it was a bit embarrassing being sniffly, but Dr. Denton was understanding and didn't hold that against me!
He told me he couldn't even feel my septum by pressing the tip of my nose. It was sunken in. He confirmed my theory that it was a deviated septum, and told me that I would need an open nose septorhinoplasty to fix the carnage that was my septum. He recommended grafting some septum to put in the tip of my nose to increase the projection, since it was sunken in. I then showed him the before-and-afters I chose, he took photos of my front and profile, and Photoshopped my photos to demonstrate what he could approximately do for me.
I also asked if my insurance would cover the surgery since I had a deviated (unpalpable!) septum, but he said it's unlikely unless it's an ultra platinum plan. Oh well.
I left the consultation confident and knowing I would schedule the surgery as soon as I could.
Reviews are an important part of deciding what doctor to trust your body with. A doctor should have a good amount of reviews on different sites, and ones in his favour. Inevitably, all doctors who've worked long enough and have enough reviews get scathing reviews. Look at Dr. E. Kim's videos and see the amazing breast augmentation work he does. Then, look at his reviews and you'll get 15+ women saying they got capsular contraction, that Dr. Kim is rude, their boobs became deformed, what have you.
There was one very, very long negative review for Dr. Denton I have to address by a guy called EUNorth on Realself. Reading that gave me a scare, especially considering this guy put so much detail in to his negative review. But, it was the only bad review of that intensity, and it was shadowed my a lot of good reviews. The before-and-afters I'd seen were so much better than anything I'd seen on other surgeon's websites, that I decided to take the risk.
Fast forward to October and I paid by phone using Visa for the deposit, and a couple days before surgery for the full cost. I got 6 weeks off work, and flew out the day before surgery.
After midnight the day of surgery, you can't eat or drink anything, which was easier than I thought it would be. My surgery was at 10AM, so I was driven by family to the clinic, I filled out consent forms, and was led to the surgical area where I saw a rhinoplasty patient resting post-op. I had to take my shirt and bra off, to put on the cloth robe, but got to keep my pants. I was given two pills to calm me down before the surgery, and got my blood pressure taken. The pills didn't seem to make me less nervous, but I wasn't too nervous to begin with.
I lied down on the surgical table, and had a blanket put over me for warmth. The nurses were kind and caring. I had a needle put in to my arm, which hurt, but the pain didn't last long before I started to relax. I fall asleep every time I go to the dentist, even for root canals, so I don't know if it was my tendency to nap or the twilight anesthesia, but I stayed in a relaxed half-asleep state the entire surgery.
I heard the shaving down of bone, and especially the tapping where they break the bones with an icepick like device. No pain whatsoever, and no nervousness thanks to the anesthesia. I heard Dr. Denton say he was finished, and was wheeled somewhere. I had some extra bleeding and had to be given an extra stitch in one nostril, which hurt big time, but my eyes were so swollen and teary I couldn't see what was going on.
I rested for about 30 minutes, put my shirt back on, and was put in a wheelchair to see my family in the lobby of the clinic. The staff went down to the pharmacy downstairs and bought my medication for me, which was really convenient, gave it to my family, and I left for home.
The first week I had my nasal cast and gauze under my nostrils to catch drips under my nose. Time flew by fast. The first two days I had frozen popcorn kernels in ziploc bags to place against my eyes 30 minutes every 2 hours, and the remaining five days I finished off the pain meds and antibiotics I was given. Eating and brushing my teeth was difficult, and I didn't bother taking a bath or washing my hair for the entire week post-op since I was worried I would hurt myself. The first week I was really sleepy and could easily sleep 11 hours a day. I also had to change my gauze daily and put polysporin on my stitches 3 times a day. It also took about 1 week for the bruising around my eyes to leave. Smiling or laughing for the first month hurt, so I couldn't joke around with the family I was visiting in Vancouver.
One week post-op I got my cast taken off and found out why my left nostril post-op was always congested. Dr. Denton had put some sponge up there to help the bleeding where he'd given me an extra stitch. He then did the dirty work of cleaning out my nostrils, and removing the stitches, which hurt a little. My nose looked great even though it was only one week post-op.
Dr. Denton told me that during surgery he realized my septum was "severely deviated", to the point where the government from the province I lived in was able to chip in the extra $300 it would have cost to fix the mangled septum.
I visited a second time for a checkup two weeks post op before I flew home.
I had a full 6 weeks off work, but quit my job to work from home, so I had the privilege of healing at my own pace. I didn't want to squander the money, pain, and time I'd put in to all this by going to work and having someone hit my nose while it was still vulnerable.
I'm at 6 months post-op now, and feel so confident with my appearance. It's night and day. I never thought I was ugly, but had a curiosity and yearning for what my nose would have looked like if I hadn't been so reckless in my childhood, not wearing seatbelts and not trying to emulate rugby players on the field. Now, people don't confuse me for being in my 30s, and correctly guess my age for the first time in my entire life. I actually look like my family members who all have pretty noses.
And I no longer worry that my nose is the cause of my nasal voice or postnasal drip, or that something is going undiagnosed, and am feeling more beautiful than I have in years!