Under the Knife, Under 16
As a teenage girl, there is always something making you feel insecure. For me, I grew up hating my nose. It was unfitting to my face and had a large bump. I never liked it, and with age my nose grew larger, along with my insecurity. Because my insecurity was in the middle of my face, I found it impossible to ignore. With my comedic personality, I tried to lighten the mood and make jokes. I even showed off my “party-trick.” (When I inhaled, only one nostril would move.) With my jokes, people would join in on the fun, giving me nicknames like Nosy and Owen Wilson. Although I brushed off the jokes, they just brought more attention to my giant schnoz.
One night, I showed my mom the trick and she dismissed it telling me it was probably congestion. A few weeks later, I went to my doctor for a checkup. While we were there, my mom mentioned that I may have congestion because my breathing was odd. The instant he took a look up my nose, he said that the issue was not congestion, rather a breathing problem caused by a structural deformity. He referred us to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor, and we booked an appointment.
The ENT took one look and said, “That’s not normal,” emphasizing that my airway was severely blocked. He explained that I had a deviated septum, giving me only ten percent breathing in my left nostril. He told us about a doctor who could correct the septum and also repair the deformity in the bone. After reading many positive reviews, my mother and I booked a consultation with Dr. Michael Carlisle, a certified ENT and plastic surgeon.
Dr. Carlisle explained that he could possibly perform a septoplasty surgery to fix my breathing issues, along with a rhinoplasty to repair the cosmetics at the same time. After, he examined my nose and asked me about my growth. He stated that he would be willing to operate on me once I turned 15. So, with what we had seen and heard, we put our trust in Dr. Carlisle and set a surgery date.
For months before the surgery I watched YouTube videos about rhinoplasty surgeries and what to expect. I also discovered the TV show Botched which highlighted plastic surgery errors. That definitely didn’t help with the nerves. The night before my surgery, I was restless. I kept having doubts and fears and didn’t get much sleep.
On May 9th at 5:00 AM, I headed to the surgery center. Of course, I was nervous considering my whole face was in the hands of Dr. Carlisle, but my family and I had prayed the weeks leading up to the surgery and I was able to find myself at peace knowing that the outcome was in God’s hands. Once we checked in, I was given my hospital gown and an I.V. I waited in the hospital bed with my family surrounding me. Although, they appeared anxious, I tried to calm their nerves by cracking jokes and kept them laughing. Finally, my plastic surgeon came in and greeted my family, along with my anesthesiologist, Dr. Purdy.
My nurse gave me a cap to wear and they wheeled me into the operating room as my family waved goodbye. The medical staff moved me to the operating table and put a warm blanket on me. That was the last thing I remember until I woke up in the post-op room three hours later. A nurse was attending to me when I joked “You better have made me Purdy!”
After a while, I was taken into a recovery room where I greeted my family and was given pudding to eat, along with painkillers. I didn’t feel any pain, I just felt pressure in my sinuses from where the doctor had put my splints. After an hour, they cleared me to go home. A nurse wheeled me out to the car and I was driven home to where I would spend the next week recovering.
By far, recovery was the worst part of the experience. I spent nine days laying around with a bulky cast on my face. I had splints and stitches up my nose so I was only able to breathe out of my mouth, which made it extremely dry. I also found it difficult to shower without getting the cast wet. Within the week, I developed black eyes because my nose was broken during surgery in order to reshape. With all of those annoyances taken into account, the pain was very minimal. With the painkillers, I was able to keep it at a manageable level.
Nine days after the surgery, I went back to Dr. Carlisle to see my new nose. He first took the big long splints out, which gave me the ability to breathe again. Unlike most would imagine, my breathing didn’t magically improve. With the trauma of the surgery, I was left with swelling which I was told about, but not quite prepared for. What I saw when the cast came off, scared me. I didn’t see the perfect nose I had dreamt of. I saw a bulbous nose that was even bigger than before. Although I had heard about swelling, I still went straight into panic mode. When I returned to work, one of my coworkers made a comment saying, “Oh no, you ruined your pretty face.” I was so insecure and scared of the outcome, but I had to develop patience and wait for the swelling to go down.
Now, it has been seven months from my surgery and I couldn’t be happier. The doctor was right, the swelling did go down. After about two months, I began looking normal again. Now, my nose fits my face perfectly and I am able to breathe so much better. The whole experience was pretty insane for a 15 year old to go through, but I am so happy I did. The results are even better than I had hoped and I am so blessed to have had such an amazing experience. Thank you, Dr. Carlisle.