As a young girl, I got an acorn stuck up my nose. How exactly this happened, I am unsure. I must have stuck it up there. My 4 year old self only remembers titling my head extremely back and looking up at a tree in our Virginian yard. I always thought it just "fell" in my nose. I have no idea. My mom will remember the details better (or maybe she has forgotten)? I do remember going to the doctor's office and having him remove it with some long, thin, metal tweezer/plyer things.
Whether or not this is what started the hole in my septum, I don't know. Like most kids, my hands were always exploring the inside of my nose, or picking at toenails, playing with my belly button, pulling at my earlobes...just general body exploration.
The thing is, anytime I'd blow my nose, it was always somewhat bloody. For years it felt like there was a huge blockage in my nose so I was always picking at it...which then made it bleed more. I think the hole was trying to fix itself, but as it did so, it felt to me like there was a giant booger that was dying to get out so I could breathe better. I had no idea I was making the problem worse. I always chalked my bloody noses up to the dry Idaho air once we moved there around Jr. High.
It wasn't until my first consultation with a surgeon in Park City that I learned I had the hole in my septum the size of someone who had been sniffing serious drugs for 15 years. I was shocked! This particular surgeon was snooty and expensive, with a horrible bedside manner, and informed me there was nothing he could do to fix the hole. Not to mention, he didn't believe me when I told him I'd never done drugs! (If it is small enough, they can stitch it closed...mine was too large). "Why are you getting a nose job in your 30's?" "Most of my patients get them in their late teens or early 20's." 'Thirties is usually a boob job." "40's a tummy tuck and eyes." "And 50's a face lift". WELL...I'm sorry I'm off schedule! Do you want my business or not? Not impressed.
Luckily, a good friend of mine recently had rhinoplasty done (such an unfortunate name for nose surgery...I mean...)and had spent an extensive amount of time researching surgeons and paying hundreds of dollars for consultations--all the way from California to Idaho and Utah. She basically did the research for me and referred me to the best of the best! Dr. Ronald Swenson. He's an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor and a plastic surgeon. He's been practicing for over 30 years and he's wonderful! Terrific bedside manner (this is important to me. I had a HORRIBLE experience with a doctor at Primary Children's when Lucy choked), he's extremely professional, thorough, and all the nurses and staff at IMC raved about him.
Again, let me go back to my point about not knowing how this was actually going to happen. I didn't know how Vic felt about it. I had no idea if my insurance would cover any of it. I didn't know how we'd pay for our portion of it. But I knew that if I was scheduling consultations, talking to friends, researching on the internet, and dreaming and scheming, that it was something I really wanted in my heart of hearts. And it turns out, Vic was extremely supportive. Not because he didn't/doesn't think I'm beautiful as is...but because he knows this is something I've wanted for a long time...and he has a hard time saying no to me. I love that about him.
Once my friend referred me to Dr. Swenson, it all kind of clicked. I had my first consultation with him back in November--and that's when he told me he could "fix" the hole in my septum. He would be putting in a plastic "button", or divider between the top and bottom of my septum (to act as a normal, complete septum would). With the hole in there, mucus was getting caught and crusting over. Then I would pick at it and the process would start again. It also became a place for bacteria to live and grow since it wasn't sluffing off and exiting like most mucus normally would.
I wanted to schedule the surgery right away but was cast in Les Mis and had to wait a few more months. Luckily, all the money I made from the show is going to pay for a large portion of the procedure! It pays to be a whore! (My mom won't think that's funny...sorry). Insurance will cover 80% of the medical portion.
After doing a cat scan on my nose, it was not only determined that there was a large hole in there, but that the remaining portion of my septum that I DID have was crooked. They also discovered I have an extra sinus. About 10% of the population are born with an extra sinus. Interesting. It's not necessarily a good or bad thing..but it can get in the way of your turbinates--the airways that filter and humidify the air you breathe.
Along with the hole was a small "spur" in the delicate bone of my inner nose. It was time to get to work.
Here's the thing--I could elect to not have this surgery and just hope that my nose wouldn't collapse as I got older. Without the entire septum in place, there is a risk of that happening. Also, let's talk cosmetics here..there is the issue of my "butt nose"--a nickname my brothers gave me ages ago.
As you can see here, there is a definitive line down the middle of my nose. I don't think most people notice it unless they are extremely close to me. If you were to feel it, it's quite pronounced. At times it is purple in color. The butt was one thing...but there is another component to the butt.
The one sided saggy butt syndrome. If you look at the tip of my nose, you'll see that one side of the "butt" hangs down lower than the other. Dr. Swenson informed me that as I age, this will continue to droop more and more.
SO. I can fix the hole in my septum so that mucus runs off naturally and doesn't get stuck, so it won't create crustiness and bacteria--which also insures no collapsing of the nose (forming a dipping look from the outside) as I age. He can fix the spur that sticks out from the perforated septum. And he can collapse the extra sinus, allowing me better breathing. (Truthfully, I've never had a problem with breathing. The hole in my nose let in a lot of air! I have an excellent sense of smell as well). But if I'm breathing just fine before surgery, imagine how I'm going to breathe once everything is healed. Wonderfully, I hope.
It just felt like the right thing to do. And since he's going in anyway, might as well get rid of the butt while he's at it. Aesthetically, there was more than just the butt that "needed" to be corrected (the bump on the top of my nose, noticeable in my profile, and the rotation of my nose--as it is quite pointy and rotated downward).
The surgery itself really snuck up on us with our trip to Costa Rica, Zoë and Lucy's birthdays, and the general busyness of life--but despite feeling a little unprepared (mostly Vic), the entire process went so smoothly and felt so effortless that I knew it was the right choice for me. Never did my gut tell me not to do it. I got a little anxious the evening before (My sister and friend Rachael each talked me through it and let me vent) but woke up the morning of my surgery feeling very excited.
Here are a few last thoughts before I end. (I'll blog more about the actual surgery...being put under, what they did while I was out, the kind of care I got at the hospital, photos of the damage, etc.--later next week). These are the things I talked about with Amy and Rachael:
-Augh! What am I doing? This is going to cost a lot of money. We could be paying down our mortgage or really helping someone in need.
-What if I die in surgery?
-Am I just so selfish and vain?
-What if I miss my prominent Jewish nose?
The thing I was most hung up on was the money. I am on the cusp of doing some more work with "A Good Grief" to really get it off the ground once and for all, as a full-fledged non-profit with a huge increase in donations. In the process of working with an agency to make this happen, they showed me some video clips of other organizations that they help fund. (The Red Cross is a huge client of theirs). One of the clips was an organization that helps prevent child sex slavery. Did you know that every year, ONE MILLION children are taken from their homes to be sex slaves? ONE. MILLION. I watched this promo/fundraising video the evening before my surgery and thought, "These children and parents are living an unimaginable nightmare. To me, it is much worse than death. And here I am, getting a new nose even though mine functions just fine."
I stopped everything and prayed my heart out for those kids. It sickens me to no end.
Am I the only one who can go from plastic surgery to child sex slavery in one post? I think you get my point. I was conflicted. I can't tell you any wise words of how I justified this decision, to spend thousands of dollars to make myself feel better. But it's what I decided to do. Not just for the present Molly, but for the future Molly. My nose problems are only going to get worse as I age.
The other thing that might surprise you, is discovering how many of my friends have had a nose job. So many more than you'd think.
Also, it has not escaped me, the irony, in that I was just posting pictures of me in a bikini in Costa Rica declaring self-love, self-acceptance, a healthy lifestyle, and celebrating all that our bodies are capable of. Hmmm...I'll have to think through that some more.
Such is the life of a woman.