Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Necessary Nose Job?

I thought my breathing difficulties were a result of allergies.  For a few years now I’ve been trying both traditional and unconventional methods to find relief.  I have seen general practitioners who have prescribed every allergy medicine there is, including those horrible up-the-nose sprays; I’ve done Chinese herbs, acupuncture and cupping (see Can Acupuncture Cure My Allergies), and have come to consider the use of the Neti pot a daily necessity. 

Come to find out, however, that my problem isn’t pollen but anatomy.  My nose is too big AND too small!

As a kid, you know when your entire body is transforming into its adult look, some parts progress differently than others?  Well, it took a while for my face to catch up with my nose.  For years I dreamed of changing my big, hooked nose, removing the prominent bump and sporting a more subtle one with a cute up-turned tip.  I hated having profile pictures taken and avoided them at all costs.

See!  Too big for my face!

Thank goodness I made it through those awkward years and came to embrace my look, which includes a nose that, in my opinion, fits just right on my face.  I’m glad I didn’t fix it as my youthful vanity yearned to do.  Now, it seems, it may need fixing after all.

After the umpteenth doctor visit resulted in a recommendation to see a specialist, I was informed I have a pronounced deviated septum.  The doctor asked if I’d ever broken my nose, which I have not.  It was all three of my brothers who have. 

A broken nose looks good on my brothers, Jim and Joe,
it wouldn't flatter me, though
However, I admit, with a nose my size and with my tendency to be clumsy (see My Own Worst Enemy) my nose has seen its share of solid objects such as doors and floors, so many of them I have “gotten my nose out of joint” a time or two.  The doctor also remarked that my nostrils are very narrow; I may have a large schnoz in length, but the width is what is causing me problems.  Whatever accumulates (my friend, Linda Lou will just hate this reference, she doesn’t like snot references) gets congested and has nowhere to go. 

The solution to this problem might have to be surgery.  Yuck!  When discussing this with the doctor I was asked if there was anything else on my nose I’d like to fix, “Many people take this opportunity to change their look,” he remarked.  I wasn’t sure if this was a trick question, trying to get me to admit my motivation was all a ploy to get insurance to pay for a new nose, but I said, “NO!”  I like my nose just the way it is.  I just wish it would allow me to breathe without having to use a finger – not UP it, but to the side of it, opening the nostril to allow air to get in.  My thoughtful husband actually took a picture (not posted here for obvious reasons of vanity) of my sleeping in this pose. 

I have a follow-up visit with a plastic surgeon that specializes in noses next week.  We’ll see what he has to say.  While I hate the idea of surgery, the thought of living several more decades with labored breathing thanks to the nose I inherited from my dad seems less desirable. 

That old saying, “Be careful what you wish for” really is true.  Maybe if I’d not wished for a nose job in my youth, this wouldn’t be happening to me now!


Sweet Tea said...

I certainly can identify with this post. I have a Greek nose and it took many years into adulthood to come to peace with it. I've never liked it but I have accepted it. If I had to have surgery on it any way I would still opt to change it, but it works perfectly and serves me well. You have a great attitude about yours. Sure hope you can get some much needed relief.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

I'm glad you found it is correctable. I would dread it too, but like you, the alternative is worse. I had an Uncle that had horrible sinus problems and rinsed them regularly with one of those pots. He said it did help. But your issue is different. I wish you well with it.