My (Mis)Adventures with Plastic Surgery Part Four

PART FOUR: The Third Surgery

I researched for hours online. I scoured forums. I made phone calls and wrote emails.

I ended up deciding that Australia would be the place.

It was a developed country and the biggest, most populated area of Oceania which is the area of the world we happened to be in.

And I couldn’t stand waiting any longer. Having a collapsed nose was affecting my quality of life too much. Australia it would be. And Sydney was where we were living.

DSC02650_thumb2_thumb_thumbI visited one doctor recommended online. Dr Evans had a pleasant South African accent. His practice was about an hour south of downtown by train, and despite having been working for decades his prices were a bit more reasonable than others. Most rhinoplasty surgeons in Sydney charge $300 just for a consultation, even if you don’t choose to work with them. So I didn’t want to just visit every doctor at whim. His was $190 for the consultation.

He examined me, and basically told me my nose was too great of a risk. That it was too difficult to fix while still maintaining a cosmetically pleasing nose. He said, laughing, “I have people who tell me they don’t care how their noses look!”

I said, “If you’ve suffered enough, you start to think you don’t care any more if it looks bad, just so long as you can breathe again.”

He said, “I recommend waiting a few years. There is a new surgery being done in Switzerland, a metal implant breathe rite strip. This is the technology of the future. But it’s going to be a few years before it really catches on.”

I walked out of there discouraged. A few years?

I started looking up doctors who implanted this special device. It was only in Europe—illegal everywhere else.

I was ready to meet Dr Pincock, the most highly rated Sydney surgeon online.

I rode my bike to his office.  I was carrying questions for the appointment in my bike basket. The wind blew it out of the basket and whisked it down the street the opposite direction.

I began chasing it. I watched it whisk around cars and blow to the other side of the road. After a good chase, I was finally able to catch up to it and continue on my journey. I wasn’t about to not have my questions ready in the most important doctor’s appointment I’d ever had.

I met Dr Pincock, who oddly has a very crooked, misshapen nose.

An hour later I walked out of Dr Pincock’s office in love.

He told me everything I wanted to hear. That he could fix it, that he was capable, that he has performed at least 2000 surgeries similar to mine, that he was the best doctor in Australia. He pointed to the exact part of my nose that was driving me crazy without me even needing to show him. I scheduled my surgery for the next month.IMG_2121_thumb5_thumb_thumb

One month before the surgery in Sydney

The fee for the surgery: $12,000. Fortunately it was covered by health insurance—Bupa. I have since made a claim with them and it was very easy. I’m really impressed with the company.

I wrote the doctor in Utah asking him for the notes from my surgeries, thinking any information that might help Dr Pincock would be beneficial.

In the note he sent, he said the right side of my nose, not the left, was collapsed.

This man had already operated twice on my nose! I’d had at least four consultations with him, and every single time he had talked about the right side, not the left, having problems.

Had he operated on the wrong side of my nose? I called our lawyer to see if it was medical malpractice. She said it was very difficult to win that kind of suit and that bad surgeries happen every day.

I was completely convinced by that point that never walking into Dr B’s office again would be too soon.

Anyway. Day of the surgery in Bondi Junction Private Hospital, I arrived with Ryder and Jacob. It was to be an open rhinoplasty, meaning a slit is made between the nostrils and the entire skin of the nose is peeled back. The mental image is awful—but it’s supposed to be easier for the surgeon that way, so I didn’t want thinking of how gross it was to keep me from getting the best care.

I had my own room and bathroom. Jacob took Ryder the whole day. I was just praying it would work. Jacob had told me, “I don’t care if we have to go into debt, this is that important to get fixed.” He got me flowers the night before, which I wasn’t expecting.

DSC01983_thumb1_thumb_thumb

I went into the operating table and it seemed like everyone was in a hurry and a bit stressed. The doctor, too, seemed amped. He said, “Let’s get this fixed for you, all right?” The anesthesiologist promised to tell me when he was going to put me out, but he didn’t. When I woke up hours later, already my right side could breathe a million times better (he opened the right side even more, not just the left.) My left was still blocked.

I took a taxi home that night with a cast on my nose.

The cast and splints came off about 10 days later. Dr Pincock told me the surgery was extremely difficult, I had a lot of scar tissue, and he was sweating, but he managed to do it, and do it keeping the cosmetic appearance, without using ear cartilage.

I do not do not recommend having nose surgery when you have a one year old if possible. Ryder head butted me so many times in the nose post-surgery and I was so terrified every time that he had ruined my results, yet there was nothing I could do to prevent it.

I had to leave Australia without getting the check up care I really ought to have had. It’s now four months later and my breathing is so, so, so much better and my quality of life has improved a lot.

However, I’m coming to accept that I may always feel a little congested and claustrophobic (still so much better than collapsed) and that my nose is certainly not at all the way it used to be, which is why I wanted to get it done in the first place.

My nose before the surgery #3 versus my nose much more open five months post surgery:

collapsednose2_thumb1_thumb_thumb5DSC04539

It takes a year for the final result and I’m not even half way there yet. But right now, despite it being so much better, I can only sleep comfortably on one side. My sense of smell is almost completely gone. Yet my nose is no longer like tissue paper blowing in the wind, and for that I’m grateful. I’m not 100% sure I won’t have another surgery in the future, but for now I can finally think about other things besides breathing.

So my final thought is this….I’m not going to say never get plastic surgery. I’m just now sold on listening to instinct when it comes to your healthcare provider, and that the doctor really does matter. And getting multiple surgeries while a permanent nomad is not a desirable solution. Try and get things taken care of before hitting the road.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 366 awesome articles for us.

Previous post:

Next post: