Warning: This article is meant for people who are very curious about getting a rhinoplasty done and want to know about all of the uncomfortable details of the recovery process. This post is not sugar coated in any way. I’m NOT going to be holding back any information. I’m going to be sharing intimate details about my recovery. You should also know that all of the photos I’m about to share were taken two days after my surgery. If you do not think you can handle viewing images of the recovery from a surgical procedure, please click away. This is the honest truth about what it’s like getting a rhinoplasty.
Hello again, and welcome back to the second blog post in my series all about me getting a rhinoplasty.
In my first blog post about my procedure, I shared with you all of the reasons why I was going under the knife and getting my nose done. If you haven’t read that one yet, check out “Announcement: I’m Getting a Nose Job + Why I’m Getting It Done & What’s to Come.”
This blog post is going to be all about what you’re most curious about: RECOVERY! In this post I’m going to share what it was like throughout each stage of my recovery including:
- Immediately after my surgery
- What supplements and pills I had to take
- How I had to clean my nose
- Daily updates for the initial 2 weeks
- Details about Post-Op visits with my surgeon
- Updates throughout each week of recovery up to 6 weeks
- What products helped me through my recovery
- Update about my nose 3 months and 4 months Post-Op
- My takeaways from the recovery process
The third post in this series will be all about my results, whether or not I’m happy with my new nose, and a review of my plastic surgeon – Dr. Dean Davis of Davis Facial Plastic Surgery. This post will be coming about approximately 6 months after getting my surgery done on September 9th.
Lastly, I would LOVE to do a rhinoplasty Q&A just like I did with your Microblading questions to cover anything that I might have missed in this post. So send me your questions through email or Instagram and I will answer all of them!
It’s Happening! Preparing for Surgery
It’s finally freaking happening. The week has been creeping up closer and closer to when I would get my surgery done, and it crept up on me way faster than I thought it would. When I first booked my surgery for Sept. 9, 2019, it seemed like a lifetime away. But each week when I would look at my calendar last August, I was shocked at how close the date had been sneaking up on me. Matt and I had been so preoccupied with house hunting, that I had forgotten that this day was just around the corner!
At this point, it’s less than a week away from my surgery and it’s time to get ready! It’s time to start taking the supplements the surgeon gave me, pick up my prescriptions, run errands to get everything the surgeon recommended, and stock up on a whole bunch of soft foods and protein shakes. Matt made sure to get the week off during my surgery, and we’re repeatedly going over the times we have to leave for the surgery, what pills I have to take (and when), what time my surgery ends, and what times my post-op appointments are. It’s as if we’re doing some sort of emergency evacuation drill, preparing for a hurricane, or trying to escape prison. Every day we frantically go over the dates, times, and plans with each other as if our lives depended on it.
We must have read the list of instructions that the surgeon gave me a dozen times. Recovery instructions include things like:
- “Discontinue any vitamins, herbal, or dietary supplements”
- “Discontinue use of aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, ibuprofen…If you need something for discomfort, you may take Tylenol”
- “Do not remove dressing over your nose after surgery”
- “Do not wear glasses for 6 weeks following surgery”
- “You are restricted from all exercising or any activity that elevates your heart rate for 6 weeks”
- “Brush your teeth with a small child-size toothbrush to minimize mouth movement”
Most Important Post-Op Care Instructions
- To prevent crusting or discomfort, apply saline nasal spray and polysporin to your nostrils 4-5 times a day to keep the area moist and comfortable. First, use 2-3 squirts of saline spray in each nostril. Then, apply the polysporin around the inside of your nostrils and across any external nasal incision lines using a Q-tip. Continue this process until advised otherwise.
- If you see any crusting or dried blood along the incision line, roll a Q-tip saturated with hydrogen peroxide over the incision line until clean, then roll a dry Q-tip over the incision line until dry. Apply polysporin after. You do not want a scab to form on the incision line which could widen the incision or scar line. You will probably only need to do this for a few days after surgery. (Dr. Davis instructed me to use the polysporin for as long as I can to prevent the scarring).
- Use an eye pack for the first 48 hours following surgery for 15-20 minutes every waking hour (Dr. Davis said I should be doing this as much as I can, even after the initial 48 hours).
- When sleeping keep at a 45-degree angle on at least 2-3 pillows for 6 weeks following the procedure.
- Do absolutely nothing but rest and recover during the first 2 weeks.
- No exercising, walking, or elevating heart rate for 6 weeks after surgery.
- Take your medications and supplements as directed on the bottle until finished unless otherwise instructed.
- Do not sneeze through your nose or blow your nose.
Pre-Op Shopping List
- VitaMedica Recovery Support purchased from surgeon’s office includes Morning and Evening Formula, Bromaline, Arnica, and Probiotic
- Prescription Medications: Valium, Hydrocodone, Antibiotic, Steroid
- Gel eye mask
- Saline nasal spray
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Q-tips & Tissue
- Child sized toothbrush
- Soft foods & protein shakes
- Neck pillow
Supplement & Medication Instructions
- Steroid pack – lasts 6 days and it has the instructions on it
- Hydrocodone and Valium – Take as needed
- Antibiotic – Morning, Noon, Night
- Bromelain – 2 pills 3 times a day
- Morning Formula Supplement – 3 pills once a day
- Evening Formula Supplement -3 pills once a day
- Arnica – 3 tablets 3 times a day, let dissolve under your tongue
Other than all of the errands I have to do to prepare for this surgery, one thing that I also have to do to prepare is go to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery to get a dermal infusion facial done. Apparently I’m also not able to get my face wet for 2 weeks after surgery! The facial is meant to make my skin super clean and cleared out before the surgery and also to limit the breakouts and blackheads the are going to appear during the recovery process with tape on my face for those 2 weeks. The thought of not washing my face for that long is giving me anxiety.
As you could probably imagine, I’m super nervous and terrified about recovery. One of the main reasons I’m so nervous is that I’m scared about getting botched! Which I know is an incredibly irrational fear because my surgeon has done so many thousands and thousands of nose jobs in his life he could do my nose in his sleep. But still, I can’t help but wonder, “What if I’m the one person whose face gets messed up? What if it turns out worse than it was before?”
I’m also nervous about how no one yet knows that I’m getting this procedure, including my family. If you read my blog post, “Put it in the Suggestion Box: I Need an Advice Detox,” I’m sure you understand why. I’ve only told a select few people who are very supportive of me and my decisions. I knew that if I told anyone who is against plastic surgery, I was going to be harassed with fantasies about all of the ways I’m going to die or get botched during the surgery. So I was very selective about who I share this decision with.
All week my mind has been wandering thinking about all of these crazy situations that could happen where my face gets screwed up, or I end up in the hospital from a complication, or I get disowned from my family. It’s been rather unpleasant. Matt has to keep reminding me every day that it’s going to be ok…
The Day Of
The morning of my surgery was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least. We spent about an hour in the waiting room until I was finally called back for pre-op. As you can imagine I had to get undressed, change into hospital gowns, put on an IV, fill out a bunch of forms, etc. I sat there the whole time filled with anxiety.
One of the nurses asked how I was doing and I shared how I felt with her and my fears of making the wrong decision and getting “botched.”
“Don’t be,” she said to me. “Dr. Davis is amazing at what he does. I’m getting my nose done by him next week.” And just like that I started to relax a bit.
Matt was finally allowed to see me before I went under the knife. He spent the time staring at me, smiling (mostly out of nerves) and holding my hand. Dr. Davis eventually got to the surgery center and came to see me. He told me how confident he felt about the procedure and that everything was going to be fantastic. I also remember feeling so happy that Matt got to meet him beforehand, because at this point I had already seen Dr. Davis several different times, but wanted them to meet. I remember that it seemed weird that I was getting surgery from a doctor Matt hadn’t yet met, so their meeting helped ease my mind too.
The anesthesiologist then came over and talked to me for a while and told me stories about his life, before it was eventually time into the surgery room. I said goodbye to Matt and laid on the hospital bed as they rolled me back to the room. The next several minutes they spent some time getting me ready for the surgery by putting warm blankets on me and moving me onto another bed/table where I would get the surgery would be performed.
When it was time to begin, I hadn’t even seen Dr. Davis again. The anesthesiologist stood by me and said, “You know what happened to the last guy I did this too?” “What,” I said. “He fell asleep,” he said back to me. I faked a laugh and right as I did I turned my head to the side of the room where I saw a bunch of photos of my face taped to the wall. On one side were my before pictures, and on the other were the photos of what I would look like post recovery. In those 2.5 seconds I was out.
The Beginning of Recovery
I woke up from surgery in what felt exactly like one second later. The first thing I saw was Matt’s face. I hadn’t even realized that I had the surgery. I looked at him and muttered something along the lines of “How the hell did you get back here? You’re not supposed to be back here.” I then proceeded to only call him by his last name and kept telling the nurse that they had to watch out for him because he was “sneaky.” That’s what I remember, but apparently that’s not all that happened.
Apparently I had been awake for AWHILE. I was cranky, super mean and acting drunk as I normally am after waking up from surgery. (From now on I should start warning people about that.) Matt told me how I cursed a lot, was super angry, cranky and impatient, and apparently had a whole conversation with Dr. Davis that I don’t remember. Dr. Davis told me at most post-op appointments that he eventually just left because I was “being fussy.”
Also after waking up from surgery, I only wanted to touch the area that was operated on which meant the nurses and whoever I was with had to hold my arms down to stop me from accidentally hurting myself. That happened too. A lot happened that I don’t remember and I think that’s probably a good thing…
What I do remember is that afterward I was a giant pain for everyone there. The nurse taught Matt how to apply gauze to my face which I was supposed to use for about a week after surgery. The gauze should be applied under the nose because after surgery it’s normal for blood and snot to come out.
Eventually Matt had to help me get dressed and take me to the bathroom, and it was time to drive home.
Day 1 Notes:
- I took a Valium and passed out for an hour or two after we got home which is what the nurses and doctor told me to do. They said it was best that I just relax and fall asleep.
- I experienced no pain or discomfort until around 3 p.m. I started with having an awareness of the area for several hours before the discomfit started.
- I’m starting to notice bruising starting around eyes.
- My upper teeth are kind of aching.
- I’m experiencing lots of blood running out of my nose. (Dr. Davis told me before the surgery that he makes it so that any gunk or blood comes OUT the nostrils as opposed to going down your throat and into your stomach. That way the nose looks during recovery will then look better and you’ll feel better.)
- It’s like I’m experiencing a slight drip of blood all day long from my nose.
- I’m extremely nervous about my stitch and potential scarring.
- Matt has been cleaning it with peroxide and ointment each time to it to keep it clean and moist. We’re doing the peroxide, saline, and ointment at the same time to make it easy.
- Dr. Davis called at 4 p.m. to check on me – He shared with me that the same nerve from inside of nose also runs to the bridge of the mouth and near the teeth. It’s normal or have pain there. He said it’s similar to people who have a heart attack and continue to feel pain in the left arm. There’s nothing causing pain in that area, but the nerve is still there.
- At night time I didn’t sleep well at all. You have to breathe through the mouth so your mouth dries out very quickly and it would constantly wake me up every 20-30 minutes.
- I went through tons of water at night.
- I accidentally stabbed myself in the stitch with the metal straws I’m using to drink water. I can only drink through a straw.
- It constantly feels like my nose is running, even if nothing is coming out.
Day 2 Notes:
- Eye bruising is much worse than yesterday. It’s very purple.
- Starting steroid as directed.
- I’ve been taking pain meds before I absolutely need them to prevent the pain. I’m afraid if I wait until the pain starts I won’t be able to get out of it.
- I’m very nervous about Day 2. The nurse and surgeon warned me that days 2 & 3 would not be as easy as Day 1.
- Nose looks more swollen underneath bandages.
- Afternoon: Nose swelling has gone down a bit.
- Eyes are very swollen and can only open up slightly. I’ve been icing eyes constantly since I got home from surgery.
- The skin around my eyes is extremely red, especially in the areas I’ve been tearing up which has also caused it to get crusty.
- Matt has been super on top of cleaning my nose, even when I’m not in the mood to do it at all.
- My nose is throbbing a little bit.
- I took pain pills slightly early when I started to feel pain coming on.
- Nose is still dripping blood, so I started to keep Q-tips right next to bed so I can gently remove blood drips when I feel it.
- Evening: went to sleep and woke up with discomfort and nose throbbing. Slight pain, but not unbearable.
Day 3 Notes:
- This morning I’m especially nervous. I was told that day 3 could be the worst day of recovery.
- I have a slight throbbing in my nose once it gets closer to the time when I can take more medication.
- I spend most of the day napping ever since I came home from surgery.
- Ray came over to take pictures of me during recovery. It was super nice seeing him and being able to talk to someone in between this. Matt and Ray talk about how impressed they are by how well I’m doing.
- I don’t really need to have the gauze under nose anymore but I do prefer it just in case. I still have some drops of blood coming out of nose and I always have Q-tips nearby to gently get the drops off.
- My eyes are more open than they were yesterday.
- The tickle sensation in my nose is the worst part. It happened 3 times today where I had such an intense tickle in my nose and I felt like I had to sneeze but I couldn’t. You’re allowed to sneeze through mouth but I was so nervous to sneeze wrong that it prevented me from sneezing through my mouth and the tickle sensation kept happening.
- I’m eating much more today than other days which is good because I have to get as much food in my stomach as possible for all the pills I need to take.
- Eating is very hard without being able to breathe through your nose! Thank goodness for Ripple protein shakes. They taste absolutely amazing and I’ve been practically living off of them.
- I spoke with Dr. Davis again today and had a conversation about the pain medication. I was so terrified that it would feel like my face was run over by a car that I was taking my hydrocodone preventatively (which is apparently NOT what you’re supposed to do)!
- My bruising is going down around my eyes but my eyelids are still very red and sensitive.
- My eyes can now open all the way, but my eyelids are still very swollen. Icing my eyes is the only thing that makes them feel better.
- I decided to go to sleep without gauze under nose tonight to feel a little bit more normal.
- The past three days I keep saying that I can’t believe I got a nose job. Being in recovery feels surreal and I’m oddly proud of myself for making it through the first few days and having gotten the procedure I’ve been telling myself I wanted for years.
Day 4 Notes:
- This morning I woke up with a lot of discomfort and I’m trying to not take as many pain medications after talking with Dr. Davis. I didn’t sleep well at all because it’s very hard to feel comfortable with all of this going on.
- Luckily, I did wake up with less bruising around my eyes.
- I keep icing my eyes and resting in bed, but still felt horrible. I finally took a hydrocodone and Valium and feel better.
- There’s lots of dripping out of my nose, so much that I’m constantly reaching for a Q-tip. I mean constantly. It never lets up.
- I’m looking slightly more like myself today and less like I’ve been beat up.
- This is the first day that Matt is at work since the surgery which means I’m all alone! But luckily I mostly rest and can handle cleaning my nose or getting up to grab some food or a gel eye mask. I am a bit nervous about being home alone though.
- My eyelids are very sensitive today, so much that even if I gently itch my eyelid it hurts a lot.
- I switched to extra strength Tylenol today instead of my prescription and was fine.
- I’m dying to see what my nose like but the only part of my nose that I can sort of tell what it looks like are my nostrils which look much smaller than before.
- I spend basically all of my time sleeping or eating so that I could take all these supplements and pills.
- I’ve been extremely constipated from the pain killer I was talking and started to use Miralax which has finally helped today. I was extremely stopped up and bloated and of course started entertaining how I was going to end up dying or in the hospital because of it.
- I slept so poorly over the last several days because of how uncomfortable I’ve been that I keep yawning which stretches out my nostrils and hurts my nose, especially around the stitch.
- I’m starting to have more blood dripping and getting even more snotty than I was before. I had to put gauze under nose again.
- The bruises under eyes are turning yellow, but eyelids are still red.
- I keep having that strong tickling feeling happening in my nose and ended up having sneezing fits which luckily didn’t hurt.
If there is one thing that I would tell anyone who’s going to get a rhinoplasty or is thinking about it, it’s to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when reaching for your face. It’s day four and I’ve accidentally tapped or bumped my nose at least 12 times already (very lightly, and not hard enough to mess up my nose, but still… that’s sh*t hurts) during recovering from a nose job it’s as if you have no spacial awareness of your face. You’ll scratch your lip and accidentally bump the tip of your nose. You’ll put a straw to your nose and stab your nose with it. You’ll wipe a tear from your eye and hit your nose. I have no idea why it’s happening or what’s going on, but it’s as if I’ve lost all sense of where my nose is located on my face. Part of me thinks it’s because most of my face is numb, especially after taking Valium and hydrocodone, but it happens even when I’m not taking those things.
If there’s one thing I have to remember it’s to move extremely slowly and carefully around my face to make sure that I go to whatever it is I’m … aiming for.
Day 5 Notes:
- I have been very restless and uncomfortable at night. I couldn’t sleep at all and when I did, I had bizarre dreams about saving six kittens and also going to my appointment the next day to find out that my surgeon made my nose BIGGER!
- The stitches inside the nose have been hurting. When they do hurt it feels like a sharp pain, not horribly painful but it definitely doesn’t feel good!
Post-Op Appointment Notes: I went to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery for my post-op appointment today so the doctor can check up on how I was doing, remove my bandage, and clean my nose. Dr. Davis was very happy with how I was recovering and how each part of my nose was healing.
He said it’s normal to have more swelling and sensitivity at the tip right after surgery, which is why a lot of people think they’re nose looks bigger than before, but he assured me that it will go down.
From what I can tell after he removed my bandages, my nose is finally smooth and straight and I don’t have those odd shadows casting on the cartilage in my nose. It’s straighter for sure!
Dr. Davis also cleaned out the inside of my nose with a machine that suctions out the snot and blood, trimmed the stitches that were sticking out, and removed the nasal stents (which I didn’t get to see because I was in pain). Apparently they were super big and gnarly. According to Matt they were several inches long, completely covered in snot and blood, and look like they were also filled with liquid. I will literally never forget the look of horror that I saw on his face when I opened my eyes. I wish I had a picture of him!
The only thing the doctor was kind of bummed about was the amount of bruising that I have. Apparently I have more bruising than most of his patients which he said is a point of pride for him that his patients have very minimal bruising. But look at me… I’m as white as a ghost, so I don’t think he should beat himself up about that.
After that, Dr. Davis cleaned the top of my nose, showed it to me in a mirror and then covered it with a neutral colored tape very strategically. The way he applies tape is meant to prevent swelling in the upper parts of the nose and instead direct any swelling to the tissue at the tip of the nose.
- My deviated septum has been corrected and is healing nicely.
- He let us know that we were doing everything right and Matt was doing a FABULOUS job cleaning my stitches for me (he has to do it because I couldn’t get up in there).
- I should come back in 6 days for another post-op appointment where the doctor will clean my nose out again.
- Now that I have the stents out and bandages removed, I will probably be getting extra snotty.
Day 5 Notes Continued:
- Recovery hasn’t been super comfortable up until now but I’m very surprised at how well it’s going. I’ve been able to get up and do more today. It’s nice to not be on bed rest anymore.
- Experiencing an extremely stuffy and runny nose, which sucks because I learned that I won’t be able to blow my nose for 3-4 weeks! Blowing my nose could mess up the cartilage and undo all of the work from surgery and cause asymmetry. This part is driving me crazy and feels super gross, especially because there’s usually blood mixed in with it. It’s such a gross feeling to have all of that going on and not be able to blow your nose and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling.
- Stitches are uncomfortable probably because Dr. Davis was pretty rough with them.
- Recovery is starting to feel more rough than previous days because I’m not spending all day sleeping.
- Experiencing constipation from pain pills.
- The stitches hurt and my face aches a bit.
- I really want to do to sleep but I’m having a hard time.
Day 6 Notes:
- Today, I woke up extremely early and haven’t been able to fall back asleep, just like all the other mornings since the surgery.
- I’m extremely stuffy and blood is still coming out. Finally I had to stuff pieces of tissues up my nostrils so I didn’t have to constantly wipe my nose.
- Still constipated from the pain pills.
- The redness around my eyes has started fading but underneath it, my eyes are still very yellow from the bruising.
- The bandges are gone and I only have tape on my nose. It’s very hard to tell what my nose will look like so that’s been frustrating me.
- Finally went to the bathroom, cue the confetti.
- My nose is running CONSTANTLY. It’s also super stuffy that I can’t breathe. It’s a really crappy feeling because it’s like having a sinus infection but being forbidden to blow your nose. Make it stop!!!
- Lucky for me even though I still feel gross and have tape on my face, I’m feeling more like myself again and had the energy to write all day.
- I took Tylenol in the morning but then never had to take it again. But at 3:30 pm, Matt made me laugh hard three separate times (which he knows he shouldn’t be doing). Whenever I smile or laugh I have to sort of hold my nostrils closer together to limit stretching of the stitches and it hurts pretty bad.
- I finally called Dr. Davis to ask about facial expressions. I’m a HUGE worrier and was afraid that having laughed and smiled I would somehow offset my nose and screw up my recovery. He assured me that I wouldn’t. Dr. Davis also told me that the tip of the nose where the stitches are will be sensitive for a while so it’s normal for it to be painful right now. He also told me that the tip of the nose will be harder for 3-4 months after the surgery while it’s still healing. Because of this, many patients say that smiling feels weird to them even months afterwards, and say that it feels like there’s something different going on with their upper lip.
- As far as my nose being crazy stuffy and runny, Dr. Davis told me that in surgery he makes it so that everything comes OUT of your nose as opposed to going down your throat. Unfortunately, it feels like I’m drowning in snot. I’ve been using Q-tips to wipe away whatever is coming out of my nostrils and clean inside a little bit (which I’m not actually supposed to do). I shouldn’t be putting anything up my nose, but I’m being careful to be super gentle. It’s the only thing I can do to make it feel somewhat clean and less gross.
Day 7 Notes:
- Last night, I woke up at least 6 times with an extremely dry throat from breathing through my mouth. In the morning, I accidentally woke up on my right side even though I was still elevated. I should be laying completely flat on my back so that one side doesn’t swell up more than the other and offset the cartilage and cause me to have a crooked nose. It’s extremely hard to do when I only sleep on my side or on my stomach.
- The stitches are hurting.
- I tried to clean the snot out of my nose which only made my nose hurt even worse, so I’m taking Tylenol today.
- The bruising around eyes is getting better, especially the parts that were super red.
- I can’t get any air through my right nostril which is causing me to have constant unrealistic fears I won’t ever be able to breathe through it.
- I’m also having fears my nose is still big, which Dr. Davis warned me I would worry about because the swelling makes the nose look so much bigger. Right now, I’m mostly concerned about profile, and whether that’s still too big. I constantly find myself going to the bathroom to examine my nose and try to make out the size under the tape.
- I much prefer the day right after the surgery when I was just drugged up and sleeping to this stage of the recovery when I’m up and about, feeling gross all day, and panicking about the outcome.
- There’s been less dripping and grossness compared to yesterday and the stitches don’t hurt AS bad.
- The biggest problem right now to me is how much I just want to move my freaking body. I’ve been on bed rest all week and it’s getting SO old. There’s really nothing I can do but stay home and rest. I wish so badly to just stretch or go for a walk. But stretching would cause blood to rush to my face (which could ruin my results) and walking would raise my heart rate (which could also ruin the results).
- I also can’t breathe through my nose when I’m eating so I always have to catch my breath after swallowing something. Whenever I eat I feel like Mac on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” when he’s wheezing and eating at the same time.
- The dissolvable stitches on the tip of my nose seem to be sticking out more.
I also wanted to share that this week I’ve been having lots of feelings of being so ugly and so hideous from recovery that I spent all week thinking of every possible way I could make myself feel pretty after surgery. Looking like a zombie has me thinking that I need to shop for clothes, get botox injections, get a personal trainer, get fillers, do a boudoir shoot, etc.. This recovery has escalated all of my insecurities this week and made them so much worse. I’m finding that I’m more critical of my body than I ever have been and hyper focused on how to look better.
This is something that my friend who had a rhinoplasty also warned me about. Unfortunately, at the time of the recovery, I completely forgot about what she told me. But I think this is something that’s so important to share, because if you’re thinking about getting plastic surgery, then you’re probably more critical of your body too and have insecurities that you’re struggling with. Please know that right after surgery, it’s going to feel worse than before. You won’t feel like yourself and you’ll look like a zombie on “The Walking Dead.” It’s just part of the recovery and it’s not permanent!
Day 8 Notes:
- Today I woke up super uncomfortable and my nose was hurting, but once I took Tylenol it was fine. The left side still felt sore and achy though even after I took Tylenol. Once it wears off, the left side of nose hurts much more and I’ll occasionally feel pain in one specific spot.
- The tape on my face is getting grosser each day. It’s getting sticky and is disintegrating from the oil on my face.
- The bruising is still yellow and I still have some red spots around eyes. The stitches on the tip of my nose also seem to be sticking out more now that the little wound is healing.
- Something interesting that happened was that today is the first time since post-op that the Face ID on my phone worked.
- My nose isn’t as stuffy anymore today and I don’t need to constantly keep tissue or Q-tips right next to me like I was before.
- I’m feeling better too. This is actually the first day that I felt well enough to sit at the kitchen counter and write all day and not have to lay in bed or on the couch! I can also laugh a little bit more without being in pain.
- I generally feel better, but I still look gross and I can’t help but be bothered that the tape is peeling and getting much worse all day long. It doesn’t help that it’s so itchy underneath the tape too. I actually have to use a bobby pin to itch under the tape at the spot where it’s bothering me and have had to keep it next to me all day so I can keep scratching that’s driving me crazy.
- At the end of the day, Matt helped with washing my hair in the shower this time instead of the sink, works out MUCH BETTER. My face and tape might be gross, but thank goodness for the clean hair.
- I’ve experienced horrible heartburn every night for the last 3 nights probably because of all the pills and the limited, salty diet. It’s keeping me up and making me even more restless. It ended up keeping me up again tonight too.
Day 9 Notes:
- Today I had to put extra tape over the tape that Dr. Davis put on at the post-op appointment. It was sort of disintegrating and getting really sticky from the oil on my face because I can’t wash it, which caused it to peel significantly around my cheeks closer to my mouth whenever I smiled.
- It’s still itching under the tape on the right side of my face a lot, so that bobby pin stays by my side all day long. The itching has actually gotten worse since yesterday.
- Some of the stitches look like they’re sticking out a little bit more than yesterday. I don’t know if they’re coming apart or starting to deteriorate or something as I’m healing more. Maybe my body and skin are pushing them out as I’m healing? I don’t know, is that a thing?
- I can tell that the swelling has gone down significantly since the previous week. My nose looks smaller than it did yesterday and it’s starting to look cuter.
- The bruises (especially the yellow ones) are still there but they’re getting closer to fading away. There’s no signs of any black or blue bruising left, just a few red spots around my eyes. My pores are starting to get clogged and lots of blackheads are popping up.
- The tip of my nose feels almost entirely numb. I haven’t really touched the tip of my nose and really felt it until today and I was surprised by what little feeling I have in that spot. I can hardly feel any sensations there at all.
- The left side still hurts a bit more, but only if I tap on it or touch it (even lightly) but it’s getting better. You might be thinking, “Why the fuck are you touching your nose when you’re still healing, Heather?” I can’t help it! I’m just so curious!
Today is the first day where I actually can say I feel good and feel normal, which means that this is the part that my doctor and nurses kept warning me about. I feel pretty normal now, BUT that doesn’t mean I’m ok do things as normal. I’m still technically on Dr. Davis’s “Princess Time,” where I’m not supposed to be doing ANYTHING for two weeks. It’s just difficult to remember things like don’t bend down or don’t lean forward. But, I’m not really in pain or anything, so that’s what’s important. At this point, the recovery feels more inconvenient and annoying, so I would say to anyone wanting a rhinoplasty you can handle it.
I am still of course staying home and mostly sitting down and resting, but I do get things for myself now without struggling. I’m still just taking it as easy as possible by not cleaning the apartment, for example. But I am sitting up and working on my laptop during the day. I’m feeling well enough to where Matt and I were able to invite one of our best friends over tonight to hang out. Even though I still have tape on my nose, we knew he didn’t care and wouldn’t judge me. I didn’t care either, it felt so nice to talk and have human interaction again!! I’ve been trapped inside all alone for days now!
So far, only a handful of people have seen me (Matt, Pat, Ray, Dr. Davis, and the nurses) they all have said how blown away they are by how normal I look and that I look “great.” I personally think great is a strong word, BUT I see their point. They all said that they were expecting me to look more bruised and bandaged and basically like a zombie for weeks so it’s impressive how quickly I’m recovering.
In other good news, I was able to give Matt a kiss for the first time in nine days! AND, I’m now able to laugh, smile, and yawn without the stitches hurting and needing to take Tylenol.
Day 10 Notes:
- The yellow bruises faded significantly and I only have two very small red spots still on my face from bruising.
- My nose is much more cleared up, although I still am breathing through my mouth. I haven’t had to keep Q-tips by me at all, just one tissue that I use occasionally.
- A few spots are still a bit tender, but so much better than before. Now if I feel uncomfortable at all, I only have to take one Tylenol.
- The tape is now super gross and I can’t freaking wait to get it off tomorrow. The oil on my face is causing the top of the tape to disintegrate leaving only the underneath, sticky part of it. I tried to put more tape over it several times so it would look less gross and be less sticky, but it’s not working. I seriously cannot wait to get this tape of and to wash my face!!!!
- I’m pretty much feeling normal today and was able to do work at the kitchen counter all day. If it weren’t for having to breathe through my mouth and the numbness at the tip of my nose, I probably would feel the same as I always do.
- I did forget to mention that whenever I lean forward or start to bend over even a little bit, there’s a very odd sensation in the tip of my nose. It’s similar to like a pounding feeling where I can feel my heartbeat, but also like I can feel the blood rush to the area. Even just a slight leaning forward makes it happen. But I think it’s a good thing because it reminds me to be careful and not bend over.
- By the end of the day my nose is feeling incredibly weird. As if there’s this pressure. It’s like a combination of tingling, numbness, and pressure. I have no idea how to describe it other than that. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m very aware of my nose and feel it constantly. I also accidentally bumped my nose at night, which didn’t feel great or help at all!
- Little milestone of the day: I’m now finally able to drink things without using a straw!
Day 11 Notes:
I had crippling anxiety since last night at 7:30 and laid awake in a horrible state of panic until 7:30 a.m.! I was literally wide awake all night. Finally I fell sleep at 7:30 a.m., but then woke up at noon with the same anxiety! That has never happened to me in my life. I think it’s from not being able to do things, being stuck inside, and major life changes that are causing anxiety. Plus I’m trying to land an opportunity which is causing me additional stress. Normally when I feel like this though I run, but I can’t exercise for 6 weeks after surgery!
- Because I have to breathe through my mouth even while I’m eating, I’ve been constantly burping from air in my stomach. As of today, I’m officially sick of it.
Post- Op Appointment Notes:
At the beginning of my appointment, I opened up to them about the anxiety which they said is incredibly normal and is experienced by most cosmetic surgery patients, ESPECIALLY those who get a nose job. Apparently, it’s from the steroids.
What happens is the steroids have you feeling really good at first when you just got the surgery done so you’re excited about this change. You get to take care of the nose and have a little routine. All of this means that you feel normal and pretty good. Then around day 11 or 12, you come down from the steroids and have a crash which causes a major mood change. On top of that you’re stuck inside and unable to do anything or move AND unable to see the final result so it’s a lot to go through. All of those factors cause you to have a very high highs and then a very strong crash and mood swings.
My nurse tells me that they hear this same complaint from everyone. She also shares with me that they had my “nose brother” in that day (which is what they call the people who get the same surgery as you on the same day as you) and he was going through ALL of the same things I was.
- Today is my next appointment where I get the tape off – thank goodness. It’s all I can think about. Once the tape came off, Dr. Davis said that everything was absolutely 100% perfect.
- This means that I’m officially seeing my new nose for the first time! It looks SO good and for the first time I can see that all of the flaws that I talked about in my first rhinoplasty blog are all corrected (including the cartilage that used to stick out when I smiled) bumps, and the width. The only problem is that the tip is very round at the moment. It’s such a relief to finally see it and know that all of those worries I had about getting botched or it turned out bad are gone for good!
- I was also told that I can finally wash my face and hair again normally and most importantly, get out of the house!
- I also admitted that I had woken up on my side, used Q-tips when I was told to not attempt to clean the inside of my own nose, and accidentally bumped it. I thought Dr. Davis would be shocked or upset with me but he was not surprised by this at all. Apparently I’m not the first patient he’s had who wasn’t PERFECT. Who knew? And here I was beating myself up about it.
Dr. Davis once again explained why I should absolutely NOT exercise or elevate my heart rate at all. Apparently it could completely damage the results by off-setting the nose, causing swelling that would screw up results, and even deviate the septum again. I keep saying that I completely understand that I can’t work out, but it seems he and the nurse are the most worried about patients exercising during recovery. Even if I just go for a walk it could entirely screw up the work they did. However, after 6 weeks, everything is settled so even if it swells from exercise, it will go back to normal and not cause any long term damage. Swelling and bloating in my face and nose will still happen when I exercise after the 6 week mark, but it will go away rather quickly and not cause any long term damage because the nose is already set then.
- Dr. Davis also talked to me about how it’s important that I avoid sun and absolutely stay elevated while sleeping.
- He shared that my nose will continue to get smaller in the next 3 months and after that it will “refine” for up to a year.
- Lastly, Dr. Davis said to come back for another appointment in 10-12 days.
Day 11 Notes Continued:
- It’s cool because Matt’s work is directly across from Davis Facial Plastic Surgery so as I’m writing notes from today I’m waiting for him to come out and check out the nose for the first time! Update: He likes it!
- Surprisingly, I have no acne even though I just had my face covered for over 10 days. I also only have two small blue bruises on the tops of cheeks when the tape came off which I was able to cover up with 2 dots of concealer. So lucky for me, I’m finally able to get out of the house and run an errand today!
- My nose still has that odd tingling and numbing sensation all the time that makes it feel like I have a Frankenstein nose. It doesn’t hurt, but it just feels bizarre.
- I’m finally getting close to the end of taking the countless pills I have to take everyday. It’s crazy having to take a handful of pills every 6 hours for 11 days. I’m looking forward to not having to remember it and seeing that I’m getting closer to the end of the bottles.
- In the evening I feel similar to when I have a cold – like I’m stuffy, low on energy, and like my nose is swollen and big as if I’ve been blowing my nose all day.
- One thing I’m really happy about is that I was able to wash my face and my nose for the first time! It feels so good to have a clean nose again! I did have to be super gentle around my nose though and barely touch my skin. When I did, the skin on nose felt super rough.
- Physically, my entire body is not feeling good. I even have this horrible knot that’s been growing in my calf from laying down and not doing anything for the last 11 days. I had to spend the rest of the night using a hot compress on my calves to try to loosen it up.
Day 12 Notes:
- I took Z-quil last night and was able to actually go to sleep AND wake up at 8 a.m., so I finally am feeling like I’m more normal and on schedule again.
- Brusises are still lingering, but definitely fading.
- Nose still very much swollen and probably will be for many weeks/months.
- Experiencing hot flashes throughout the day.
- I’m a little congested but I was finally about to move the tissue boxes to their normal places in the apartment and not need them by me at all times. I was able to move our bathroom trashcan back into the bathroom and not have it next to the bed. Until now I constantly had a tissue box and a trash can with me at all times because my nose was constantly dripping. I’m finally at the point where my day isn’t consumed with caring for my nose. I was even able to clean up the apartment and go about my day the way I normally would.
This morning I woke up with anxiety, just as I did yesterday, but it was much more subtle. It wasn’t as crippling and I could push through and go about my day. But then I noticed something odd happening – the anxiety slowly built up until it eventually turned into an anxiety attack that literally made me feel like I was dying. The only way I could break the anxiety attack was by taking the medication that was prescribed to me. Even that only helped a little bit. I can only hope that this anxiety will pass in the next few days.
I do want to mention that having anxiety to this extent makes you feel for people with anxiety disorders. Because this anxiety is a side effect of taking steroids, it’s something internal that I can’t control. No amount of deep breathing or meditation can overcome the anxiety throughout my body. I can imagine this is exactly how people with anxiety disorders feel and I’m sure it’s incredibly frustrating when people would say things like, “Oh, you should just meditate!” There’s no way that something like that could make this consuming anxiety in every cell of my body go away. This anxiety isn’t fed by my thoughts or fears, it’s just there. It just comes out of nowhere and fills my entire body with a feeling so terrible that I can’t even put it into words. There’s nothing I can do to stop it from coming or getting worse. I just have to let it run its course.
- Toward the end of the day Matt and I decided to start cleaning out our closest which is overflowing with things we never wear. I put everything on the bed Marie Kondo style and started purging, putting on clothes to see if they even fit, and organizing them into sell/donate/keep. Eventually I realized that I was moving a lot and my heart rate was up and I was getting warm. I could tell I was doing too much and over extending myself. If Dr. Davis saw me he would be telling me to sit the f*ck down because I’m still on “princess time.” I had Matt move the rest of my massive pile into the living room to work on tomorrow. I was so happy that we did that though, it felt good to clean and organize because decluttering is something I love to do whenever I’m having a bunch of anxiety (also because I watched all of “Tiny House Nation,” “How to Live Mortgage Free,” and the “Minimalism” documentary during my recovery time).
- Thank goodness for Z-quil, because without it I would have been up all night again.
Day 13 Notes:
- It’s my last day of antibiotics!
- I feel basically back to normal, so I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not normal yet.
- Mother Nature decided to give me a little surprise this morning on top of everything else, which I’m not happy about.
- I also was able to put a full face of make-up on! So I look much better, however it’s odd because putting my makeup on actually accented my nose and made me notice how much bigger it looks. I think it was because I thought putting my make-up on had me expecting that I look “normal” and like myself again, but when your nose is swollen and big, it doesn’t quite work.
- What is left of the bruises on my face are very, very, very stubborn. I keep going to sleep thinking, “Ok, tomorrow they’ll be gone.” And then they aren’t! Today, I noticed that they’re turning darker and more blue and are showing through my makeup. It probably doesn’t help that I have super light skin.
- I spent the whole morning out and about doing things like light walking or standing around, but I was still worried that I shouldn’t be doing “anything at all.” Even if I walk a little bit, I get paranoid that I’m going to screw up my nose and cause damage that could only be fixed by MORE surgery. It’s so stressful.
Luckily for me, the anxiety hasn’t hit me today. It probably helps because Matt’s home today and we’re staying busy by doing things we’ve been meaning to do like cleaning and errands. We ended up being busy from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
As I’m writing these notes, we have A LOT going on in our lives right now. I can finally mention it now that my announcement was posted, but we closed on our first house, three days after my surgery! So we ended up spending the entire day running errands, cleaning up, and doing little odd projects because immediately when my 6 week recovery is finished, our lease ends on our apartment and we have to be moved into our home. In the meantime we need TONS of things for the house AND we’re in the process of getting the bathroom remodeled. So we’re constantly making trips to home improvement stores and picking out every little detail we want in our bathroom. If it’s not done by the day we move in, I don’t know what we’ll do!
Anyways, I noticed that this morning when we were doings things like getting breakfast and doing some errands, I felt very normal. But slowly, by the time evening came around I was beginning to feel crappy. My entire body started to ache more and more and I was becoming more exhausted by the hour.
What I’m experiencing now with my recovery is basically the same feeling you would experience when you’re catching a cold. Plus, I’m still congested and my nose feels big and swollen. I don’t believe I’m coming down with anything, because if I was I would have tons of sinus issues and a cough already. I bet I was just not a recovered as I felt today when I woke up and started over extending myself. Even though I didn’t do tons of physical activity, I was still up and about, going from store to store, and getting a bunch of things done at home, without getting to rest at all. Even if I’m not doing a lot of physical activity, spending all day on my feet is a bad idea. It just goes to show that surgery is a big deal and takes a toll on your body, even if it’s a quick, easy, and low risk surgery. I probably shouldn’t have kept as busy as I did all day. But, it’s hard to not do anything when you’re in the process of moving!
- Today I found myself constantly bending over to grab something or doing something I probably shouldn’t have, thinking to myself, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” Which in reality I know is 100% not fine.
- Another thing that I have to remind myself is to not touch my face or nose. Whenever I feel really crappy, my body naturally wants to massage the top of my nose between my eyes with my finger tips, or put my head into my hands, or press on my sinuses if I feel sick or exhausted, but I can’t do any of those things. The things that I normally do to comfort myself only makes me feel worse right now.
- I still have to just barely touch my nose with my fingertips when I wash my face. So much that it just feels like I’m just tickling my skin. Any pressure on my nose AT ALL would feel terrible.
- By the end of today at 9 p.m. I ended up taking one of my extra strength Tylenol again because my nose was a bit uncomfortable, especially if I yawned.
- The main takeaway from today is that I’m at the point where I’m very much on the verge of being normal and I’m getting annoyed with having to baby myself. Knowing that I’m not physically able to go for a long walk, or clean up, or lift things is hard to wrap my head around. The good news is that tomorrow I’ll have finally reached the first two weeks and will start feeling better and better.
Day 14 Notes:
- Woke up feeling very good and normal.
- I ended up spending the whole day out with Matt again. As the day went on I kept feeling worse and worse, just like yesterday. My nose kept feeling more stuffy, my nose was running constantly, I kept sniffing, and I felt dripping in the back of my throat. Finally we realized that Matt and I might actually be coming down with a cold!! It’s the absolute WORST time to get sick, since I can’t blow my nose another one or TWO weeks! I’m so bummed out that I’m starting to get sick right as I was getting better from the surgery. Also because I get chronic sinus infections, which sometimes end up lasting up to 2 or 3 months at a time (not kidding).
- Still experiencing anxiety. I’ll occasionally end up on the verge of an anxiety attack that happens without any warning or trigger. Although the anxiety is slowly getting better, it still happens. The anxiety is so strong and overwhelming that I started carrying Alazropam in case it happens while I’m in public or gets so bad that I can’t get control of it.
- Physically my nose hasn’t hurt or bothered me once today.
- Tip of nose appears to be less swollen today.
- Bruising is still hanging on for dear life.
Day 15 Notes:
I was only planning on doing daily notes until the two week mark, but since I had to call the office today and talk to the nurse, I thought I should pass on information that they shared…
- I explained to the nurse that I caught a cold, and since I was a child my colds turn into chronic sinus infections that can last up to two or three months at a time. I was worried about what to do if I had to blow my nose and I was afraid that this would impact my results if I ended up sneezing or needing to blow my nose. She said that I should try to hold out as long as possible because Dr. Davis gives people the go ahead to blow their nose around 3.5 weeks. BUT if I absolutely need too, I should only blow my nose in the shower and without manipulating the outside of my nose. I have to let the stream loosen up the mucus naturally and make the inside of my nose moist so I won’t need to use a lot of pressure to blow my nose. She said I also should make sure that I’m using my saline 24/7 to keep the inside of my nose from drying out and to help the mucus come out .
- Another thing that she also warned me about is that in the next week I might have scabbing on the inside of my nose start to come out. It could either fall out of the front of my nose along with the ends of the stitches or down the back of my throat along with mucus. She warned me that it’s absolutely disgusting, but she didn’t want me to be surprised when it happened.
- Other than that I still have bruises.
- Now that it’s no longer the weekend I don’t have to be out running errands with Matt today, I plan on spending the day in bed working on the blog and getting some rest.
Week 3 Notes:
- Some yellow bruises STILL hanging around.
- I’m getting really, really tired of sleeping elevated and find myself cheating a bit by slightly turning over on my side to get comfortable.
Post- Op Appointment Notes: The nurse and Dr. Davis both said everything looked like it was healing perfectly, which is wonderful news! Dr. Davis describes a rhinoplasty as a moving target. You have to constantly check in on it to make sure that the recovery is moving in the right direction.
My nose is leaning left today though. This could happen because the nose could heal slightly differently on each side or because a certain side could be more swollen for various reasons like if I slept on one side more. That’s why some days my nose looks perfectly straight, some days it leans to the left, and some days it leans to the right. Dr. Davis also told me that in the future (around week 4 or 5) I might have to do nose “exercises” which he calls them. This is just when I gently hold the tip of my nose over to the opposite side it’s leaning and hold it there (with no pressure) for 30 seconds to one minute. This helps train the nose so that it heals perfectly straight.
Dr. Davis also said that he could tell I was being good by not exercising or elevating my heart rate. If I had, my nose would have been much more swollen today. But my swelling has gone down a good amount since my surgery. The other good news that I got is that I can FINALLY blow my nose (in the shower) as long as I don’t move or manipulate the outside of my nose. There’s not as much of a risk now of me displacing the cartilage as long as I’m super gentle about it and do it the way the nurse described. He also reminded me that although the tip of my nose is very hard and stiff, it will shrink and relax over time.
Then at the end of my appointment, Dr. Davis did something crazy where he put on glasses with a flashlight on them, got out some medical tools, and went up into my nose to remove the boogers. I can’t even tell you how horrifying and bizarre that was to see what’s really hiding up inside your nose! But he had to do that because your nose gets so congested from a rhinoplasty, and otherwise, what’s stuck up there wouldn’t come out for weeks!
Week 4 Notes:
- My bruises are gone !!!!!! FINALLY!
- I’m still super congested.
- I’m now beyond annoyed with having to sleep at a 45 degree angle still. I haven’t slept normally and comfortably in so long.
- It’s still very difficult to remind myself that I’m not healed and still in recovery. Things that I could normally do without a problem I have to be very cautious to not go overboard.
- I’m having tons of sneezing and allergies! And this fun thing keeps happening all day, where whenever I sneeze (even though it’s through my mouth) it loosens everything up and there goes the next 10 minutes that I have to spend blowing my nose and attempting to clean it out.
- My stitches are still hanging around on the inside of the nose.
- I feel basically normal again, so much that this week I got to go to Cincinnati for a long weekend and be a tourist! That problem is no longer happening where I slowly feel worse throughout the day. I was able to walk around a bit, see different stores and museums, and go to the Blink Festival without feeling bad at the end of the day.
Week 5 Notes:
- It’s the end of week 5 and I’m an OVER sleeping elevated. At this point I cheat constantly. For as long as I can remember, I have only ever been able to sleep on my sides or on my stomach, so 5+ weeks of not sleeping well has really caught up to me and affected my mood.
- Another development in the recovery is that the inside of my nose is extremely itchy all the time.
Post-Op Appointment Notes: I’m not exactly at week 6 right now, because I’m at the end of week five, but today is my 6-week post op appointment to check in with my recovery again.
Dr. Davis was mostly checking to see how the bones feel and how the light trail looked on my nose. He said everything is perfect. I’m especially excited about noticing my “light trail” on my nose today since I can see that it’s perfectly straight! Because I used to model so much, I was familiar with how my light trail was screwed up before. It would always look crooked and there were bumps and imperfections in my bones and cartilage that would cause the light trail to be choppy and have a bunch of shadows. It’s the little things like that which make a huge difference in people’s appearance. Also because my nose is so straight today, he told me that I didn’t have to do the exercises that we talked about during our last appointment.
Dr. Davis also informed me that I can now go back to being normal again and working out again. He just wanted me to understand that it is still not entirely healed. According to him, my nose is 80% healed so if he punched me and broke my nose it would require 20% less pressure.
He also shared that it’s normal for my nose to feel very itchy and have symptoms like allergies. My nose will still be extremely stiff for up to 6 months and maybe even a year or a year and a half. Dr. Davis says that the length of recovery is the worst part of a rhinoplasty because the healing process is so dragged out. It takes a VERY long time for the tip of the nose to relax.
The one thing that is a bit concerning about my healing is that my nose is much more shallow in the center while the top of my nose closer to my brows is wider. It’s more shallow than normal so Dr. Davis said he’s going to keep an eye on that. He shared with me that during the surgery he did cartilage grafting on that part of my nose. To do this, he basically took little broken pieces of cartilage and placed them along that part of my nose so it would blend together. However this shouldn’t be a problem with the healing and can actually be a good thing.
Dr. Davis informed me that when the tip of the nose starts to relax, some of the volume is pushed back up the nose along the cartilage and creates a more even look. (This always happens, it’s just the way it heals). For that reason, if my cartilage was thicker in the center of my nose and matched the bridge of my nose now, it could actually become a problem later because that will only get bigger when the tip of the nose relaxes.
Moving forward, he informed me that there’s tons of “tricks” they can do to correct any issues in healing like mine to ensure the nose recovers with the look we’re going for. For example, he could do a steroid injection on the tip of my nose at 6 months if it’s super tight and still not relaxing or shrinking. This will speed that process up. Then if the center is still shallow, he can do an injection that he described to me as a “bone paste.” It’s essentially a permanent filler that will harden along the cartilage to even it out so it’s perfectly smooth.
When I asked him about why I still had stitches inside of my nose that weren’t disintegrating, he said that he uses 2 types of stitches – one of them dissolves like what he used on my septum and those are gone. The other kind he uses are semi-permanent and will stay in my nose for close to a year to keep it in place so it heels properly. However, many other surgeons use permanent stitches inside the nose that never come out. For that reason, when he does revision rhinoplastys he tends to come across small pieces of blue and purple stitches.
Two rules that he gave me were to avoid the sun and NOT wear glasses unless they are completely pushed up to the top of my nose and not sliding down. If I wore glasses any lower if could mess up the cartilage or create indents in my skin because my face and nose still are slightly swollen.
Dr. Davis also said I could work out again now because I work out “like a normal person.” The only problems he has with people working out past the 6-week mark is when it comes to athletes. It’s ok to go back to the gym at 6 weeks, however an athlete’s idea of “going back to the gym” is problematic and can still ruin the results. The key is exercise in MODERATION. Training for triathlons, running marathons or half marathons, double or triple exercises a day, or doing obstacle courses is not considered to be a moderate exercise. The average workout with some weights, jogging, and conditioning is ok.
When it comes to working out, he also warned me that it may make my nose appear swollen and bigger again. Even more interesting than that, so could my diet and lifestyle! He said that if I went out one night ate a bunch of greasy and salty fast food and drank more, then I would see swelling too. I thought that was odd, but I guess it makes sense.
During this appointment, I asked him LOTS of questions repeatedly like, “Is it ok if I work out?” It was like I was afraid the answer would change and I had to be absolutely sure. Over and over he told me I was completely able to go back to my normal life after week six. But I’m not the only patient that gets paranoid like this during their post-op appointments. Dr. Davis told me, “the problem is that I create sort of emotionally handicapped people when it comes to their nose.” He wants people to take recovery seriously so he overwhelms them with guidelines and rules of what to do and what not to do because he knows that people will be relaxed, and cheat, and get sloppy or slack off here and there. He has to create a bit of a panic so people are careful and he can protect his work. Unfortunately, by the end of the six weeks people are so scared about ruining their results that it takes them a few weeks to calm down and relax again.
Week 6 Notes:
- I finally made it through week 6 and thank goodness! It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time either because we’re moving and the next 48 hours is going to be chaotic.
- The itching went away for the most part.
- I finally feel like I’m more normal now.
- The only time my nose hurts is if I touch the tip of it, it’s tender and I can feel the stitches a bit. The tip of the nose is still very hard, but the swelling has gone down a ton.
- I’m now sleeping on my side again which feels so amazing, I can’t even tell you. I still avoid sleeping on my stomach though, because it would hurt anyways and I really don’t want to push it.
- I’m so happy to get back to normal life, my blog has lost a lot of steam during my recovery and I haven’t been in the mindset to create during the last 6 weeks. I felt terrible, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I had tons of bruises that make me not want to leave the house. It feels so good to be out and just be a normal human being again, not a patient.
3 Months Post Surgery Notes:
- The tip of my nose is still very hard but it has shrunk.
- My nose doesn’t hurt at all anymore, but the inside of my nostrils is still incredibly itchy.
- The semi-permanent stitches are still in and are just as thick and pointing as they were 3 months ago and I’m worried that they will never go away.
- I’m still avoiding wearing regular glasses or sunglasses so there aren’t indents on my nose but I don’t care all that much because it feels uncomfortable and hurts when I wear glasses anyways.
3 Month Post-Op Appointment Notes: My nose is healing just fine, but today it is turning left a little bit. Dr. Davis wants me to be hyper aware of my nose and whether it’s straight or leaning each day. If it is leaning, I should do the exercise he taught me to help stretch out the side that’s shortened. He also told me that at the 6 month appointment, he may do a few things to it like injections if he finds that my nose needs it. For now we just have to let the tip loosen up and wait for some of the volume to disperse around my cartilage.
4 Months Post Surgery Notes:
- The tip of my nose feels much more normal again. It seemed to happen all at once. One day I just touched my nose and it didn’t feel hard and stiff anymore. I’m also able to move my nose back and forth if I have tickle or anything like that.
- My stitches inside my nose have been disintegrating more and more in the last month which makes me really happy to see. As these little things correct themselves, it’s nice to have my nose slowly take up less energy and space in my mind. For years (and especially during the recovery) my nose and how I felt about it was always at the front of my mind.
- My nose is still slightly swollen and round at the tip which you mostly see from the profile now, but not straight on.
- I am now finally exercising regularly now that I’m not scared of ruining my nose and now that life has finally calmed now. It feels SO good!
- The one thing that still irritates me is how itchy the inside of my nostrils are. That part still never went away!
Takeaways From My Rhinoplasty Recovery
There you have it. That was my full recovery experience. And trust me, I know that was a lot. But I wrote this post specifically for the women that I’ve talked to who also want to get a rhinoplasty done. It’s written so you can understand exactly how my day to day went, how I felt mentally and physically throughout the entire experience, and what I learned along the way. The whole point was to create this post to help people understand what they can expect from this procedure ahead of time. That way, if you’re about to go under the knife, it would be less scary because you’ll be mentally prepared for the next 6 weeks.
That being said, I know that was a lot of information, so I want to leave you with a few takeaways that I feel are the most important lessons from my recovery.
Takeaway 1: The physical part of recovery is easy.
It may surprise you when I say this, but recovery went much better than I thought it would in many ways, BUT it also was much worse than I thought it would be at the same time. When I went into this I was expecting so much physical pain and thought that I would even experience regret for putting myself through this. But it turns out that the recovery was MUCH harder mentally and emotionally than it was physically.
For 6 weeks, I felt like a zombie and wasn’t myself. I felt extremeley emotional and depressed during recovery and started to get upset with myself because I wasn’t getting a lot done professionally. I was cooped up and not doing much of anything because I couldn’t risk ruining my results. During that time I took notes on mainly physical things because that’s what I set out to capture, but I was shocked that the hardest part of this all was my mentality. Going through 6 weeks of recovery, seeing yourself bruised and swollen, not being able to go outside, not being able to move or behave normally, or even sleep normally made those 6 weeks feel like 12. To anyone interested in getting a rhinoplasty, be very aware that this process is challenging mentally and emotionally too. Make sure that you have TONS of support and are in a good headspace going into this procedure.
Takeaway 2: You’ll need someone’s help!
I can honestly say that I would have never ever ever been able to do this surgery alone. Matt took care of me every moment of every day for virtually 2 weeks straight. He washed my hair, he gave me my pills, he fed me, he helped me get comfortable, he cleaned my stitches, and he ran errands for me. If it wasn’t for Matt, I would have been screwed. I wouldn’t have been able to take care of myself if I had lived alone.
I know that many women are very adamant that they don’t need help after cosmetic surgery and even make the decision to be alone all week after a rhinoplasty. I have no idea how they would do that, and I don’t recommend that to anyone. But I will say that one of the best things that came out of this experience is that it brought Matt and I even closer together. We both felt that it helped us grow as a couple since one of us had to take care of the other. I remember that Matt seemed oddly happy at random times when he would be cleaning my stitches or helping me get comfortable and would express to me that he liked how intimate the experience was. It reminded me of what it was like moving in together for the first time and us being brought even closer together and knowing each other on a deeper level.
Takeaway 3: The hardest part is not doing anything
The next takeaway that I want to stress is when recovering from this type of surgery, you have to be very committed to your healing by being super low-key. Which means you can’t do anything that could risk causing damage like putting a tight shirt over your head, going for a walk, leaning down to pick something out – but the biggest one… you can’t work out!
NEVER has my body ever felt more stiff and terrible in my life. I had knots so big that my calves would sometimes have a spasm. It was amazing just how quickly your body can go downhill in a few weeks of being bedridden. So to any ATHLETES out there wanting to get a nose job, listen up! There will be no CrossFit, no marathons, no races, no triathlons, no obstacle course, no bike rides, no hiking, not even walking. And even then, once you get through the initial 6 weeks, you still have to take it easy and not work out the way that you’re used to. I’ll admit, I’m a pretty lazy person and a natural home body, and I struggled with this the most. This part of the recovery is not something that you can slack on unless you want to have to get a revision rhinoplasty.
Takeaway 4: Don’t close on a house 3 days after your surgery
In fact, don’t make any other big life changes that could distract you from your healing. Moving and getting surgery are stressful enough on their own, but to do them at the same time is a whole other beast. I wasn’t able to help out in lifting, moving, house projects, etc. Yet, all of that still had to get done, which meant that the things I could do I had to do very slowly and very carefully. The rest of it Matt had to take care of with the help of his dad and his best friend.
We also had an instance where someone (who shall remain nameless) took photos of him closing on the house without me being in them. I had so much anger and rage inside of me that I can’t even describe it to you. There also was the matter of dealing with a bathroom renovation and having to go pick out every detail in the store while still healing. That’s why I had so many days with Matt where I came home feeling sick and exhausted. I still had to be out on my feet all day making difficult decisions and going from store to store so that out bathroom could be completed on the weekend my recovery was coming to an end and we were moving into our new home.
I personally think that any additional stress you put on yourself at this time makes the recovery so much more difficult. So if you’re also getting a rhinoplasty, don’t schedule it before a big trip, before a big move or any other deadline. Avoid anything that will make you feel tense and anxious, including certain people or activities. Give yourself the freedom to heal in peace. You will be so happy that you did.
Thank you for coming to Lost Online!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and took something away from it that will either help you going into surgery or help you understand what people go through when recovering from a cosmetic procedure like this one. I want to talk about this experience as openly and honestly as possible so that cosmetic procedures don’t have to feel so taboo or secretive any more.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the next blogs in this series including my RESULTS and a Q&A from all of my readers, followers, and friends. If you have any questions yourself please reach out to me over email or Instagram @heather.ione and I will respond to you as fast as I can!
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Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.