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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.


people found Kimberly's experience helpful.

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When I was about 10 years old, I discovered that my peers associated a huge, crooked nose with the quintessential wicked witch. I happened to have a nose that looked like a miniature Olympic ski slope or a big, hilly, amusement park slide.

My classmates' creativity amazed me, but not in a good way. Some of my nicknames included "Squanto Big Nose," "Pinocchio," "Eagle Beak" and "The Vacuum." In addition to my large, hooked nose, I also had to wear braces, which was like adding fuel to the fire.

I survived school by laughing along with everybody to show that I didn't care, but I silently vowed to one day have my nose "redone" with a rhinoplasty. After many years of soul-searching and wondering if I was simply being vain about my appearance, I finally decided to take myself and my nose to a cosmetic surgeon. I wanted a normal nose.

The Rhinoplasty Procedure — Phase One

The surgeon examined my nose like he was studying an abstract sculpture.. Then he looked inside my nose and palpated it like when Mr. Whipple used to squeeze the Charmin.

He must have noticed the quizzical look on my face because he said, "I'm just determining if there are any internal issues that need to be addressed during surgery. Some people have noses with structural problems that require surgical attention. Does your nose ever bleed suddenly for no reason?"

I said no, and it was on to the next stage.

Phase Two

About three weeks before surgery, I underwent bloodwork and a physical,and answered questionnaires about my health. Fortunately, I have a superhuman immune system and blood that isn't overly syrupy. Except for needing to lose 15 pounds (don't we all) and periodically suffering mold/pollen allergies, I was good to go.

After talking to a cosmetic surgeon intern, I had a rudimentary understanding of the rhinoplasty procedure. I wouldn't be completely asleep during the surgery. Instead, I would be given a hypnotic sedative through an IV that would put me in a "conscious coma." Additionally, they would inject strong, numbing medication into the area around my nose so I wouldn't feel any pain whatsoever.

Phase Three

The idea that I would be sorta/kinda awake during the procedure gave me insomnia and fueled my imagination with images of opening my eyes and seeing blood all over my white sheet. But I was firmly committed to having this beast of a nose transformed into — what did my surgeon promise? A nose that looked like Angelina Jolie's. So I didn't back out.

I figured it was worth taking a chance on possibly waking up in the middle of an operation to see buckets of my own blood splashed all over the operating room to have a nose that looked like Angelina Jolie's. So I showed up on the day of the operation and tried not to think about the pop, candy, and snack machines I passed on my way to the outpatient center. You aren't supposed to eat anything the night before any scheduled surgery, and my stomach was growling like a mad and hungry Tazmanian devil.

Phase Four

I was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room, and I laid there for a few minutes staring at the ceiling, wondering if I was going to have one of those out-of-body experiences you hear about on Oprah. Unfortunately, what happened next hurt.

After closing my eyes, somebody injected numbing medication into my face using a needle. I think I counted four jabs, but after the second painful jab, I couldn't feel my face anymore. A pitbull could have started chewing my face off, and I probably wouldn't have felt a thing. The surgeon said I would soon start to feel sleepy since they had just infused my IV with the hypnotic sedative. He was right.

Phase Five

I don't remember much about the operation except that I had the sensation that the surgeon was forcefully hitting my nose with something hard. I found out later that your nose cartilage (which is almost as hard as bone) needs to be "broken" before the surgeon can manipulate it. What happened while I was in my semi-coma involved the skin of my nose being peeled back (they make incisions inside the nostrils so no visible scarring occurs) to reveal the cartilage and tissue the surgeon reshapes and removes. When I "awoke" about two hours later, I found my nose stuffed with cotton and a big bandage covering the middle of my face.


I was discharged the next day after spending an uncomfortable, sleepless night feeling nauseous from swallowing blood and being awakened by nurses every 10 minutes to take my blood pressure. I never felt any pain, even after the numbness left my face and bruises emerged under my eyes like I had just lost a boxing match.

After the swelling diminished, my nose looked great. The hook was gone, my nose was definitely shorter, and it no longer jutted from my face. Was it worth it? Yes!

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