my three lovely lady lumps

a few years ago, i got my nose repaired due to a massively deviated septum. when i was going through the process, individuals' experiences other than yelp reviews were few and far between. so i hope that my tale helps others out there.

i'm also posting this now because someone i hold very near and dear to me is going through a similar procedure next week--she bashed her nose cycling and now needs her septum repaired. so i'm killing two birds with one stone (only hypothetically. no animals were harmed in the creation of this post) and sharing my experience with her, too.

my story
noses. nobody likes theirs. at least not from what i've found out. crooked, hooked, pouty, pointy, pint-sized, tubular, squished, double-wide trailer sized. it's like hair. everyone wants what they don't have.

when i was in grade school, i had a decent nose. it did a little arch thing, but nothing too hideous. see? i promise you, i looked like this every day, whiskers and all.

then on my bike, i catapulted over the handlebars, imitating superman as i dove face-first over the speedbump and into the concrete. my nose then swerved a tad to the side.

in high school, i had constant sinus infections. i took sudafed and sampled an array of allergy meds (remember when claritin was an only-by-prescription drug???), and my physician recommended having my sinuses scraped at age 15. at the thought of that, i proceeded to feign good health for a short time, only to again and again be plagued by sinus headaches and repeated stuffiness.

in 2003, at the onset of the war in iraq, a friendly sfpd officer introduced his baton to my nose, leading to a bloody snout, swollen face, and an even more wiggly sniffer. my sinus headaches got worse, as did my total inability to breathe through the right side of my nose.

finally, in 2006, i'd had enough. it was time to take charge. common scents prevailed, and i saw a professional, leading to my *gasp* nose job.

i don't take plastic surgery lightly. i really wish we could all accept ourselves for who or what we are. but sometimes nature just doesn't work as intended. i openly admit that before my rhino/septoplasty, i had already had plastic surgery. back in high school, i had massive breasts.

if you think i just went into TMI-land, well, stop ready now. it's only going to get worse.

i'm sure that that song, "do your [blanks] hang low?", was written especially with my mammary glands in mind. i developed early, around age 9. girls sang that hideous song to me in the locker room and the boys tried to grab them any chance they could get. by the time i was 16, i danced 20+ hours a week, and my chest rarely fit into my tutus or unitards--i remember doubling up on special strapless bras and hoping (because i don't pray) that they'd stay in place until i could zip back into the wings and squish 'em back down.

i'm second from the right.

while i don't dance much today (minus the occasional hip hop or ballet class), i openly acknowledge that the breast reduction had a very positive impact on my high school and college years, and even now. my constant back pain went away shortly after my surgery and never reappeared. i could wear normal bras, bathing suits, and dresses. no worries of "should i ducktape the puppies?". i finally wore a two-piece bathing suit my junior year, at our class trip to club med sandpiper. today, i can use the elliptical without fear of whacking myself with my gozungas, and i don't need any special apparatus minus the regular over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder to keep everything solid.

so when i had the opportunity to have my nose repaired and in effect straightened, i jumped at the chance.

the procedure itself
i took great care in picking a specialist. i asked my then-primary care for a recommendation, then did research online looking at patient ratings. i set up a consultation with my top choice, the head of facial reconstruction/plastic surgery at ucsf. after a positive meeting, i did some more follow up, and went ahead with the procedure.

the procedure itself was the hard part. a week ahead, i took arnica montana supplements (provided by the doctor's office for a nominal fee) to ease the post-surgery bruising and swelling. then the morning of, i arrived at the hospital and checked in. after two knee surgeries, the breast reduction, and a gall bladder removal, you'd think that this would have been nothing, but i was freaked out. up until this point, i didn't want to think of if something went wrong. wonky breasts i could hide, but my nose? well, i figured, it was pretty screwed up already. anything HAD to be better.

a very kind nurse took my vitals, got me started on an IV, and then about an hour later, i was led down a hall to the OR where i was set up on table, legs in circulation pumps, and the anesthesiologist started me on a drip, soon after asking me what makes me happy. all i remember after that is dreaming of furry bunnies hopping over ice cream. really.

the aftermath, illustrated with self-taken, mostly horrible non-photoshopped images
then i woke up in recovery, totally burning up. i'm fairly certain that i dozed in and out of consciousness for about an hour. i had some reaction, and my heart rate jumped. a nurse coached me through some slow, regulated mouth breathing (as my nose was packed to help keep the shape and support the stitches), and i was soon discharged, ready to go home.

the first day was hell. well, the first week or two, really. but the first day, i had to wear a nose sling. and keep ice packs on my forehead. i was sleepy and sore, but i watched a lot of daytime soaps.

day 1: this is me trying to smile. i finally gave up and settled for a thumbs-up.

day 2 wasn't much better. i ditched the nose sling--meant to catch anything that might "fall" out of your nostrils, like dissolving stitches--but my face was all swollen and numb. but look, no bruising!

by day 5, i had the tape and stitches taken out, but i was still somewhat swollen.

day 7: i could almost smile. yippee! but why one side of my hair is two inches shorter than the other, i'll never know.

and here is day 12, where the nose packs finally came out (via tweezers). the packs hurt when pulled out, but man, it's all worth it. the nose is also a little dry from all of the trauma it's been through. i have a tad bit of coverup for the under-the-nose scar, but that's it.

today, my nose is great. i'm very, very glad that i had my septum repaired (along with a very minor bump shaving). now, i have maybe one sinus infection a year as opposed to twelve, and i breathe free and easily.

in closing
i didn't go all crazy and get a new nose or have the doctor perform miracles requiring human sacrifices. vanity isn't becoming on anyone. but good health and happiness are important, and for me, i mainly wanted to breathe through my nose and greatly lessen my chance of a lifelong z-pak dependency (and if doc could tone down the minor post-superman bump in the process, why not?). and if i had to do it all over again, i would.

so if you're contemplating something similar, i hope my story offers a little sane, non-real housewives-like perspective.


Anonymous said...

Becca, I just have to ask this question: how (or better yet, why) did a sfpd officer's baton manage to meet your face?

Becca said...

I was standing on the sidewalk, watching the protesters. One of the officers (all dressed in full-out riot gear) decided that the peaceful sidewalk people were too close to the curb. The street was closed off for the protesters, but he whacked a bunch of us anyway. I filed a complaint on file with the city, but the formerly police-run citizen's complaints office came up empty handed when trying to "investigate" my claim.

Brooke Edge said...

Thanks for sharing, Becca! I got some news this week that might entail a small surgery - it'll be my first if it's required - so it was really nice to read a friend's recounting of a medical procedure.