Thursday, September 22, 2011

6 Week Follow Up Appointment

My six week follow up appointment was pretty uneventful, which is good!  Dr. Haas felt the bone in my nose, asked if the odor went away (it did, thank God!), and told me everything looked good.  He asked if I liked the way it looks (I do!), the nurse took my picture again, and they told me to call for one more appointment at the 1-year mark.  Before I left though, we went through some of the pictures on his laptop... I swear it's like the paparazzi every time I go there.  First was my before picture, then there was a picture of the day I got the splint off, and then there was the picture they took of me when I went in to get the odor checked out.  And then... OMG.  A picture I hadn't seen before and didn't even know was taken.  It was a picture of the bone and cartilage that was removed from my nose, held up to a ruler.  It was slightly horrifying, yet interesting.  I can't remember the exact measurement, but I remember Dr. Haas saying, "You had a pretty big hump on your nose" as he scrolled to the next picture.

Should I call and ask them to email it to me?  Would that be a gross thing to post on my blog, or does it go with the territory?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 24 Update

Well, today is three weeks and three days post-op.  I haven't updated lately because I haven't really had anything new to say.  The biggest difference since my last entry is that it no longer smells like I am sitting inside a glass dumpster on a hot day.  I've been using my Neti pot almost everyday, and that foul smell is completely gone now.  That alone makes me more excited than Jessie Spano on pills.

I do still have some lingering tenderness on the bridge of my nose, but I only notice it when I put pressure on it.  I can't wait to be able to really wash my face good and hard, and then rub it dry with a towel.  I am sick of having to be so gentle.  I also am sick of not being able to wear sunglasses.  I have to drive 25 minutes to work at 2pm every day, and it almost kills me, but I am being very careful about the post-op instructions, which say no glasses for 4 weeks.

I had an altercation with my refrigerator door the other day, too.  I'm not sure who started it, but I lost.  Somehow it rammed me right in the nose while I was opening it, and I ended up in a ball on the floor with my eyes watering.  Even though it hurt a lot, I could tell my nose was probably fine.  It didn't bleed, the pain subsided, and it didn't look or feel broken, so I didn't call my surgeon or anything.

Hmm... what else.  Oh.  I have a couple wads of scar tissue or something inside my nose.  I'm not sure what they are actually, but it's basically a hard knot on my septum inside each nostril.  They've been there since the very first day, but have gotten a lot smaller over time.  I'm sure they will probably go away altogether at some point, but if not, whatever.  They're not bothersome or noticeable from the outside or anything.

I'm planning on taking another batch of pictures this weekend for my one month update, and then I'll continue to take pictures every month or two, since Dr. Haas said my nose will change slightly over the next year.  So far, I can tell it's changed a little bit since the Day 5 pictures I've posted.  Mainly, my nostrils have evened out and I think my nose looks the same from both sides now.  Notice in the Day 5 pictures it looks a little different from the facing left view and the facing right view, but now I can't see a difference.  Also, the tip has dropped a little.  When my splint first came off, I was afraid it looked too upturned, but now I like it.

The crazy thing is, my nose job isn't very noticeable to people.  I know that's hard to believe, because the people reading this blog are looking at the before and after pictures side-by-side, but not one person has asked me anything about it.  No one at work has said anything to me, and I was around my whole extended family and I had to tell the ones who didn't already know.  They were all supportive of my decision said it looked great, but the general consensus was they could see the difference now that I mentioned it, but wouldn't have noticed on their own.  Even my husband says he doesn't notice it when he looks at me.  This is exactly what I was going for, so I am very pleased!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 14: Flushing it out!

Anyone want to guess why my bathroom looks like this?

Things that don't belong on the counter include:  Saline spray, two disposable tupperware containers, measuring spoons, a measuring cup, table salt, a funnel, a digital meat thermometer, a spoon, and a towel.  Any guesses on what I was trying to accomplish?  Ok, two nights ago, I was trying to recreate a Neti pot.

I don't have one because they look scary, even though Dr. Haas has now advised me twice to use one.  And plus, the first time I ever heard of a Neti pot was back when Dr. Oz demonstrated it on Oprah.  First of all, I think Dr. Oz is a crazy man, because the first time I saw him, he said he doesn't use deodorant because it blocks his natural pheromones, and he hadn't used toilet paper in like 20 years (he prefers to spray off with water, in case you were wondering).  Anyway, he just seemed way too crunchy and weirded me out.  So the next time I see Dr. Oz, he had this thing he called the "nose bidet" and said he uses it every day to clean his sinuses.  I was immediately turned off by it because it looked awful, and based on my limited knowledge of Dr. Oz, if he used it and loved it, it was extreme and unnecessary.

Ok, so it's gotten a little better, but the stench is still there.  And I'm getting desperate.  So I looked up Neti pots online, and educated myself.  What I learned is that as long as your saline solution is the same salinity (0.9%) and the same temperature as your own body, it won't burn and it won't feel like there's water in your nose.  Then I turned to YouTube and watched a few demonstrations of it, and what sold me was a video of a two year old using one.  I decided I could totally do it and resigned to buy one, but it was 2:00 AM, so I couldn't run up to CVS right then.  So instead of going to bed like a normal human, I decided to get to work and rig up my own nasal irrigation system.

I looked up the recipe and it called for 3/4 teaspoons of non-iodized pure salt and 16 ounces of distilled water.  My recipe: 3/4 tsp Morton's table salt and 16 oz warm water from the bathroom sink.  Whatever.  Anyway, I measured it and tested the temperature with that meat fork thing, because I can't find my regular thermometer.  Then I stuck the funnel in my nose, tilted my head, and poured it in with the measuring cup.  It worked!  The saline solution went in one nostril, filled up my sinus cavities, and then was forced by gravity out my other nostril, and I swear, it never felt like there was water in my nose.  It felt the same as pouring water over your arm or something.  The only difference was, because of my method, I didn't look like this girl. 

I did, however, look like this cat.

The funnel thing worked enough to show me that irrigating my sinuses with a Neti pot isn't scary, but not enough to make a seal in my nostril and not get homemade saline solution all over me.  Nevertheless, when I saw mucus come out with the water, I was sold on the concept.  So yesterday I went to the drugstore and bought my very own little Neti pot.  This is the model I bought for $14.99 at Rite Aid.

Yes, it looks like a little blue phallus, but that thing is microwavable and dishwasher safe, plus it comes with 50 packets of saline rinse stuff, so I don't have to measure anything.  I've already used it twice and guess what?  The smell has diminished drastically.  I am kicking myself for not getting one of these things sooner, and I love that I'm flushing and cleaning out all that stuff in a completely safe and effective way.  And to be honest, I kind of like the way it feels.  It's soothing and relaxing.  I can see myself having a lifelong relationship with this thing, especially because I have a ton of seasonal allergies and Neti pots are supposed to really help with that.  I know this is going to do the trick for me and get rid of that smell once and for all.  I should have just listened to Dr. Haas, because once again, he proved he knew what he was talking about.

I still think Dr. Oz is a crazypants though.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 12: Surgery Stinks.

No, really.  That's the official diagnosis.

Two days ago I was cool as a cucumber when I wrote that post, because I saw one doctor somewhere on the internet say that the odor was normal.  But clearly, I spend too much time online, because I wouldn't give it a rest and yesterday, I found THIS.  That there is a link to a forum where someone with my same problem (very inarticulately) asked a panel of plastic surgeons about it, and all of them recommended that the person with the post-rhinoplasty stanknose see their surgeon ASAP, because it could be normal, or it could be an infection or some other things that sounded really gross.

So I went in yesterday.  And Dr. Haas took a peek and tapped around and then told me, "You had an operation.  You're smelling blood and boogers."

Well, color me an embarrassed hypochondriac.  But he was nice about it, and told me to keep on with the saline spray, possibly look into getting a water pick or Neti pot, and it will go away.  And then he called me today to check on me and said to let him know if it's still there in a week or so, which was also very nice.  But OMG, y'all.  It smells like a dead animal crawled up there and then died again, and if I want to breathe, I have to either smell it or taste it.

My best friend at the moment is a Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom fragrance roll-on, which I'm rolling on my upper lip in between saline flushes.  Luckily, it has gotten a little better in the last couple days, although it does tend to come in waves.  Also, since the smell is coming from within my own nasal cavities, other people around me can't smell it.  I just hope I get past this soon, because this BY FAR has been the worst part of my recovery.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 10: Something I wish I had known.

I haven't updated recently, mainly because Thursday morning I woke up sick.  Very sick.  It had nothing to do with my recovery; it was just a bug.  But I camped out on the bathroom floor and threw up for 12 hours straight, and ended up losing 7 pounds of fluid that day.  Friday, I stayed in bed all day trying to drink ginger ale and recuperate, and I only got up twice to eat some chicken soup and saltine crackers.  Thursday hit me so hard that all day on Friday I could still taste and smell bile, no matter how many times I brushed my teeth and mouthwashed, but I was relieved that throwing up didn't seem to do anything to hurt my nose.

Then yesterday, Saturday, when I was finally up and about and feeling OK, I noticed I have um... an odor... coming from my nose.  And it's foul.  At first I thought it was still residual something-or-other from being sick, so I went to CVS and bought some new saline nasal spray and flushed out my nose several times.  Well, the smell never went away and I was convinced I had an infection, so of course I turned to Dr. Google.

Turns out, it's completely normal, and there are about a jillion people all over the internet looking for answers about the unpleasant odor in their nose after rhinoplasty.  Here's a good explanation I found on the website of CA rhinoplasty surgeon Rollin K. Daniel:

It is caused by the accumulation of mucus in the nose due to a reduced mobility of the “mucus blanket” within the nose. A healthy nose secretes around a cup of mucus a day, which is propelled into the back of the throat by the nasal lining cells. After surgery, the physiology of the nose takes four to six weeks to come back to normal, but in the interim you can clear the mucosal blanket with intranasal saline sprays. 

That's gross, but also a relief.  Although now that I think about it, I would be surprised if I had an infection because my stubborn self finished the whole course of antibiotics even though they gave me hives.  But the bad news is, according to all these people online, this gross mucusy smell lasts for a really long time.  Do you know how awful it is to have a bad smell in your nose?  You can't get away from it!  You smell it with every breath you take and you can taste it.  And apparently, I'll have to live with it for at least another month, and some (hopefully melodramatic) people claim they had it last for years!

It's not like I wouldn't have gotten a nose job if I had known about this unpleasant side effect.  I just wish I had known in advance that it was normal because it did alarm me.  It's a good thing that there's no such thing as too much saline spray, because I am pretty much dumping the stuff in my nose right now.  It gives me a temporary relief from the odor, and hopefully, it will help move this healing process and mucus blanket along.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Before and After Pictures: Day 5

Here are some side-by-side before and after pictures that I finally was able to make using the collage feature on Sorry the zooms aren't equal, but you get the gist. I have both smiling and non-smiling pictures from all three angles.

Head On

Facing Left

Facing Right

Dr. Haas is clearly an artist.  I am just in awe that he was able to turn my old nose into my new nose at all, especially without me having incredible amounts of pain, swelling, and bruising afterward.  And the whole surgery only took him 45 minutes. Also, remember how I was obsessing over whether or not to tell him I wanted more done than just removing the hump?  No need... the man knows what he is doing.  Needless to say, I'm pleased!

The splint is gone!

Ok, I'm redoing this blog entry now that I have time to say more.  I put those fancy collages I worked so hard on in my most recent entry, so I'm replacing the pictures I put here before with pictures of me without makeup after the splint came off today.

As you can see, I still have those darn-resilient yellow bruises under my eyes, but they are a little lighter today.  The purple bruises on my eyelids have gotten slightly lighter as well, but they're still there.  One nostril is bigger than the other at the moment because of how the splint was stuck on there crooked and caused uneven swelling.

But anyway, about my appointment today.  When I got there, I was bouncing off the walls internally, but trying to remain all cool and collected on the outside.  I just couldn't wait to get that splint off and see my nose.  When he took it off, I really didn't expect the dramatic difference and I was kind of stunned for a minute.  With the splint on, I couldn't see the beautiful curvature Dr. Haas created.  I have always loved those little ski slope noses, but I seriously never thought my nose could look like that even with a nose job.  I couldn't be happier with the results and with my entire experience.

That said, I'm not done yet.  Dr. Haas told me to expect more swelling and bruising now that the splint is removed.  Something about compression from the splint and water in my face or something.  I was too busy staring in the mirror to listen to him.  Well, that's already happening.  The swelling at the bridge of my nose especially has increased all day, and I have had more pain tonight than I've had in a couple of days.  The area around my nose feels bruised, and it is tender when I raise my eyebrows or smile.  My nose is also too sensitive to exfoliate away all of the lovely tiny whiteheads that were waiting for me under the splint- I guess from the adhesive.  And I really wish I hadn't gotten all excited and put on makeup this afternoon, because it is not going to be fun to wash it off tonight.  But I felt like the anklet had been removed, and I couldn't wait to just go somewhere.  (My big outing celebrating my release from my 5 day home incarceration consisted going to HoneyBaked Ham, Borders, and the airport to pick up my dad's truck.  Such an exciting life I have!)

Dr. Haas also told me that the residual swelling can take up to a year to go away completely and to see the final results, which I had read online already, but it seems so hard to believe considering what little swelling I have now.  We made a follow-up appointment in six weeks for him to take another look at me.  Before I left today, I asked him when I can go back to work and back to the gym.  I was surprised yet happy when he said it would be hard to injure my nose at this point so I can do both, as long as I don't get hit in the face.  His exact words were, "No kickboxing, no rugby," so I should be safe.  Fitness 19 doesn't have either, and I've gotten good at dodging my dementia patients' swings at work!  (Just kidding, they don't hit me.  They usually stick with hair-pulling.)