If you hadn't already guessed by the obvious title, on the 27th April 2016, I made possibly one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision of my life so far and underwent an open rhinoplasty procedure - most commonly known as a nose job. An open rhinoplasty is where the surgeon makes a small incision along the columella [the soft tissue between the nostrils and underneath the tip of the nose], and peels back the skin to make the changes.
Before I go into detail about my experience, I just wanted to stress the fact that I didn't just wake up one morning and suddenly decide that I wanted to change a focal part of my face for the sake of it. This is something that took years of thought, months of research and weeks of weighing out the pros and cons to make sure I was doing the right thing. My nose has been something that I've been insecure about for as long as I can remember. I could go far as saying it started from the age of around 10 when I fell over in the school playground and face planted a huge rock of concrete which resulted in a nasty graze and a bump that I was desperate to change as I grew older. Alongside that, I felt I had too much excess skin around the tip of my nose which caused it to droop down in an unflattering manor when I smiled and I absolutely hated everything about my side profile too. When I got into my 20's, it became something that bothered me so much that I suffered from major confidence issues, but I tried so hard to convince myself to accept it as I never imagined putting myself through reconstructive surgery, lettalone being able to afford it.
It soon got to the point where I became obsessed with my nose and I'd constantly compare other people's to mine. It sounds ridiculous looking back, but when you despise something so much about yourself, it's always at the front of your mind. I'd booked consultations with different clinics previously, but I'd always cancel last minute as not only the thought of something going wrong terrified me, but the concept of changing something so prominent, slap bang in the middle of my face and not liking the result terrified me even more. I always knew that it was something I was so adamant that I wanted done at some point in my life, but at that point I just didn't feel ready. It was only a until a couple of months ago that I realised it was literally all I was thinking about and I became sick of feeling insecure and worrying about it whenever I left the house. It probably sounds over dramatic to an outsider, but I genuinely felt as though it was stopping me from doing so many things, especially if it involved being in social environments as I would constantly think people would notice it. I realised that if I was going to spend the rest of my life complaining about it, I would always be unhappy and if I wanted it done that bad, I should just bite the bullet and go for it - which is why I decided to start looking into it all over again with the mindset of being serious this time.
After spending evening after evening researching every surgery inside and outside of my area, I came across a company called Transform that instantly appealed to me. I hadn't actually heard of them before, but after spending some time on their website and reading some patient and blogger stories written by people that had gone through successful nose job procedures with amazing results, I was confident enough to go ahead and book my free consultation. I filled out a form online and was called within minutes. The lady on the phone was extremely bubbly and helpful and straight away, I felt that this particular place was completely different to others I'd booked with before.
The following week, I had an appointment booked in with a patient coordinator in the Reading clinic which was the closest one to me. This was purely just talking through the options that were available to me if I were to go ahead with the procedure, discussing what the surgery actually involved and my payment options. There was absolutely no pressure to book at that point which made me feel a lot better about the situation and resulted in me walking away feeling even more determined to book my next appointment which would be where I would meet my surgeon, Dr. Rochira.
Dr. Rochira had a very calming presence that instantly made me feel at ease. As you can imagine, I was a bag of nerves at this point and didn't know what to expect, but he reassured me and was extremely matter of fact about what he was able to achieve from the shape and size of my nose. I explained to him the parts that I disliked about it and he was realistic in telling me what he was able and unable to change. After spending around 20 minutes with him, I went back into the room next door where the patient coordinator ran through some final details and gave me the option to book an appointment for my surgery there and then, or go away and have a think about it. I decided to book the next date available which was just 3 weeks later as I was worried that if I didn't go through with it at that point, I'd never do it.
I booked my surgery for the 27th April and paid a deposit of £250. My next and final visit would be my pre-op appointment where I would pay the rest of my deposit (10%) and meet the nurse who would run some health checks on me and give me a list of everything that I had to do to prepare for the big day, as well as taking some before pictures. She was extremely friendly and answered any questions that I had as well as being truthful about the fact that it was going to be a very uncomfortable couple of weeks for me.
The total cost of my procedure was £4,300 which realistically I wasn't able to afford in one go, so I opted for the finance plan which would mean paying a sum of £135 a month over the course of 3 years. You can choose the duration of time that you'd like to pay over and I think it even goes up to 5 years, which is really convenient for someone like me who is awful at saving large sums of money.
(ABOVE: 1 HOUR AFTER SURGERY & 3 DAYS LATER)
My surgery day came around before I knew it and after a tough couple of weeks full of anxiety and anticipation, I finally felt a sense of relief as it was all going to be over and done with in a matter of hours. At around 8AM, I checked in to Transform's very own private hospital in Riverside, London and was taken through to my own room where I would be staying over night. I was asked to change into some rather attractive clothing - a see through gown, paper underwear and knee high socks and given a menu to choose my dinner and breakfast for the following morning.
Unfortunately, we had arrived a few minutes later than expected due to the London traffic which meant someone else was taken through to theatre before me and I was told I had to wait 5-6 hours. As you can imagine, those were possibly the longest hours of my life, especially as I hadn't eaten or even had a drink since before bed the night before, so I was feeling rather weak and restless. By the time Dr. Rochira came into my room to say he was ready for me in 10 minutes, my nerves had died down and I just wanted it to be over with. He took some final pictures and I was lead down to theatre by one of the nurses. By this point, the realisation hit me and I was in floods of tears as I really didn't know what to expect or whether I'd even like the results.
Approaching the theatre room was one of the most surreal moments of my life. It was a feeling I can't even describe. It looked exactly how I'd seen it in films, painted white with a bed plonked right in the middle of the room, surrounded by machines. Before I knew it, I was asked to lay on the bed and both of my arms were taken, one by the nurse who was checking my blood pressure, and the other by the anaesthetist who was inserting the cannula - the needle that goes into your hand. From that point, all I can recall is the nurses chatting to me to make me feel at ease and then I remember saying "I'm going to sleep now" which really makes me laugh as I didn't realise I'd be fully aware that I was falling asleep.
1 hour and 45 minutes later, I woke up feeling extremely confused and disorientated and my throat and lips were really dry from the tubes being inserted, so the first thing I asked for was a drink of water. The nurses took my blood pressure every 5 minutes and kept asking to make sure I was feeling ok. My memory from this point is very vague, but I do remember how considerate everyone was to me in that time after waking up from surgery. After around 30 minutes in the recovery room, I was taken back to my own private room. My body felt fuzzy and I struggled to stand, but the first thing I wanted to do was get into some comfy pyjamas. At this point, there was no pain whatosever on my face. Maybe a slight uncomfortable sensation around my nose and mouth as the packing was preventing me from breathing properly and my lips felt numb, but I was too tired to even care about it. My dinner came at 7 which was a jacket potato with tuna and coleslaw along with a strawberry yoghurt. Transform have their own in house chef which meant the food was absolutely delicious! Although drinking through a straw and having to eat mouthfuls fit for a door mouse isn't fun when you're that hungry.
The first night was very uncomfortable. I found it difficult to sleep as I had a huge cast on and packing up my nose which I can only describe as tampons for the nostrils that are there to soak up the blood. My throat felt as though I'd been swallowing razor blades and because I couldn't breathe through my nostrils, it meant sleeping with my mouth open which resulted in horribly dry lips. (Elizabeth Arden's 8 hour cream was my life saver through my procedure). Every time I'd manage to get to sleep, I was either woken by the nurse taking my blood pressure every hour or because I desperately needed a drink. The nurses were absolutely amazing though and so accommodating throughout the night - I couldn't have felt more looked after.
The next morning, the nurse came into my room at around 6AM to remove the cannula and packing. This was the part that I was dreading as I'd heard from so many people that the packing being taken out was the worst stage of the whole procedure, and they were definitely right. I'm not gonna lie, it was a horrendous feeling that is hard to even describe. Not so much a feeling of pain, but a weird sensation that I'd never felt before. Because the packing is so high up inside your nose, it felt as though my eyeballs were being pulled out and it burns a lot too. But that only lasts for a minute or so and when they're out, they're out for good and you never have to go through it again. Plus the fact that I could finally breathe through my nostrils which was one of the best feelings in the world.
I was discharged from the hospital at around 9AM and my mum drove me home. For the first few days, I was pretty much sofa bound and constantly feeling drowsy as the pain-killers were very strong, but the only discomfort I had was the fact that I still had the cast and dressing on and had to sleep up right for a week. I struggled more at night as I usually sleep on my side, so I'd get up early most mornings and take my bedcovers downstairs to the sofa where I could go back to sleep if I really needed to.
(ABOVE: CAST REMOVAL DAY & 1 WEEK LATER)
During that week, I can honestly say that I felt no pain whatsoever. It was uncomfortable, yes - there is a constant pressure on your face and the cast was itchy, but by day 5 I didn't even feel the need to carry on with the pain-killers. I couldn't get my head around the fact that my nose had literally been cut open and broken, but I felt absolutely fine. Everything was still covered up so I couldn't see much other than the tip of my nose which already looked different and I just wanted the week to end so I could get my cast and stitches removed and see the final results. As far as bruising goes, I was actually really lucky. I had quite a hefty black eye on the left side, but the right side had barely any bruising at all. Although, as the days went by, the bruising moved onto different areas of my face resulting in a swollen throat and hamster cheeks for a good few days - which my friends and family found hilarious.
Cast removal day was an exciting one for me. I was finally going to see my new nose - a moment that I'd been waiting for, for what seemed like forever! This part of the procedure was a little uncomfortable as the nurse has to pull the cast away from the broken nose and remove the stitches which stung and made my eyes water a bit, but my body was so full with adrenaline that I really didn't care. I think I had around 5-6 stitches around the tip of my nose which were out before I knew it. I also have dissolvable stitches inside my nose that I was told will probably stay for around 4 months.
Finally, everything was removed and the nurse picked up the mirror to reveal my new nose. I was in shock at first as my face looked completely different, but my nose was absolutely perfect. I was told not to expect miracles on the day of cast removal as there isn't usually a huge amount of difference after just 1 week, but I noticed a huge difference straight away. The bump had been removed, the tip was lifted and my nose was a shape that I had always wanted it to be. It was honestly one of the best feelings of my life and the whole way home was spent staring at myself in the mirror as I couldn't quite get my head around it all. It felt as though someone had stuck a fake nose onto my face with cellotape.
The next few days were a bit strange for me, I had times where I'd look in the mirror and absolutely love my new nose, but also days when I thought I looked like a pig and wondered why I'd put myself through it. But that's completely normal and the piggy-ness goes within a couple of weeks when everything settles. The bruising however, didn't seem to want to leave my face for a good 3-4 weeks.
Overall, I couldn't be happier and more proud of myself for going through the procedure. It has completely changed the way I feel about my appearance and sparked a confidence in myself that I never knew I had. As much as some people may not agree with 'plastic surgery' - which is a term that I don't like to use as I wouldn't categorise myself as being fake or plastic in any way from doing this, I think it's up to the individual to make these decisions for themselves. I've been extremely lucky as everyone around me has been so supportive, but I know there will be others that may judge me for having it done. Which honestly, I couldn't care less about. Everyone has their own insecurities that I'm sure they'd love to change given the opportunity, and I took my opportunity to do something about it, which I hope people can respect.
Going through surgery is something that I'll never regret. It sounds cliché, but it really has changed my life. I don't think I could've picked a better company to go with, or surgeon for that matter as Dr. Rochira has worked wonders on my nose. I feel he deserves all the credit in the world for doing such an amazing job. It will take a year for my nose to fully heal and go back to its normal state, but after just 6 weeks, I couldn't be more pleased with the results!