Sunday, December 4, 2011

A nose by any other name... still a nose. It just might look a little different.

About a year ago I visited my doctor because I was having issues with a raspy voice in the morning. He sent me to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor who said I most likely was dealing with a little symptomless gastric reflux (which resolved on its own), but also told me that when he looked in my nose with his itty bitty camera, that my septum was a little twisted. He mentioned surgery could fix this if it were bothering me and I said a big, fat "HECK NO!" to that idea because I could breathe just fine.

Six months later I was well into getting back into shape, doing lots of cardio/interval programs and just having a hard time catching my breath. It seemed ridiculous that I wasn't really feeling like I was getting that much better. I felt like I could only catch my breath if I bent over at the waist and stayed that way for awhile. At other times I remember laying in bed at night feeling like I wasn't getting enough air and so I would grab my left nostril and pull it out a little bit and it was like insta-relief! All of a sudden it was like I was surrounded by a rush of oxygen and it felt fantastic!

It was at this time that I decided to go back to the ENT doc and see what he could do for me. I got a referral to Dr. Pahlavan who is the Chief of Head and Neck Surgery at Kaiser in Sacramento from a co-worker who had glowing reviews for him. After a brief visit he confirmed the twisted septum and also that my internal nasal valves were quite narrow and got even more narrow with deep breaths in - that could explain the lack of air while exercising intensely!

In order for him to fix both issues, it would require what is called a functional septorhinoplasty and it would be an "open" procedure which means the flap of skin on my nose would be pulled back instead of just working from inside the nostrils. Oh, and because he would be grafting some cartilage from my septum into the internal valve area to help keep them open, my nose might be a little wider.


I assured him I didn't mind how my nose looked and to PLEASE try to keep it looking as same as possible.

Now, I don't know about you, but I can handle seeing just about any type of surgery - I've been in on full hip pinnings/replacements, femurs with external fixators, and have even seen a head cut open during an autopsy so the brain could be removed. But facial surgeries have always given me the heebie jeebies. I loved watching plastic surgery shows but anytime that little hammer/chisel came out to form the nose I would have to close my eyes and cover my ears. YUCK.

And now it was going to happen to me. Besides that, the thought of general anesthesia freaks me out. I've seen it done several times to other people and I just knew TOO much. But the date was set, the surgery was planned and I had high hopes I'd make it through just fine and be able to kick butt when I started my new workout program...

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