My Journey to Becoming Me

February 9, 2016–3:15 P.M. Day 5 Post-Op

I feel better, but I’m having a really bad day. I just feel really tired so I’m going to sleep on my couch while KUWTK is on in the background.

For some reason, I can’t stop watching this, RHOBH, and the Lisa Van der Pump show on Bravo- I don’t remember the name of it.

Currently listening to Kim talk about how Lamar made a rap about Khloe or something that was very mean- doesn’t he play basketball?

Ok, I’m going to sleep.

February 8, 2016–11:56 A.M. Day 4 Post-Op

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky

Imagine if I would’ve missed this shot?

Normally on my birthday, I would be all dolled up by now, excited for my birthday and getting ready for the Ranger game tonight, but it’s day four of post-op and all I want to do is sit on my couch.

I knew that by scheduling the surgery four days before my birthday I would have to sacrifice A LOT. I gave up going out over the weekend to some overrated brunch place just to take a few Instagram pictures of a bottle of champagne with fire coming out of it, I gave up going to the Rangers game tonight, and I gave up buying myself a substantially nice gift (I’ll get my hands on those Loubs soon). I gave all of these things up because I know that I could go for brunch anytime I want, I know that I can go to a Rangers game any night I want (alread planning my return,) and I know that I can buy myself a pair of shoes everybody else in Brooklyn has when I recover.

A birthday to me was always about celebrating- but I have never had the opportunity to see it as a rebirth. I could have pushed my surgery back to a later date so I could celebrate in a two-piece outfit from Necessary Clothing with a fake spray tan at a club, but it didn’t feel right. This birthday- in fact, the first six months of 2016 are all about me making myself who I want to be. I have never been happy with how I looked for the past 23 birthdays, so 24 wouldn’t have been any different. Though, I have to say, with a bandaged face of bruises and intense swelling with blood dripping from my nose, this is the best I’ve looked in years.

I’ll get to celebrate soon, but I don’t want to celebrate it as my birthday, I want to celebrate it as a rebirth. Maybe we can drink champagne while we wear feather boas and throw darts at old pictures of me HAHA.

I can’t go to the Rangers game tonight, but I’ll be watching it as if I’m there. This game is a MUST WIN. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it.

Also- Screw you, Wayne Simmonds!

February 7, 2016–5:45 P.M. Day 3 Post-Op

I just have to share one update:

I wasn’t aware that I had stitches on the outside of my nose. I wasn’t aware of this until my bandage full of dry blood and dry mucus got stuck to my nose. I gently took it off as I was looking in the mirror and I almost fainted. I literally almost fainted. I wasn’t prepared to see stitches and had I known there were stitches in my nose before I found them there, I think I would’ve handled it better.

I’m going to just leave and go write my paper now on the legalization of drugs because that is the only way I can think to get my mind off of it.

Oh my god

Bye

February 7, 2016–12:49 P.M. Day 3 Post-Op

Today has been a bit weird. I was barely able to sleep during the night. I would doze off and then jump out of my sleep, it was just crazy, I’m cutting the dose of the medication in half for the rest of the day. Even though it helps me with the pain, it doesn’t make sleeping any better. I’d rather deal with a smaller amount of pain by taking half of the dose than be completely “pilled out” (for lack of a better term).

I woke up around 8 a.m. so my mom could change my (literally) bloody bandage and helped me go back to sleep after that for a few more hours. When I woke up for the last time, I was really surprised at an email I had waiting for me in my school email inbox. One of my professor's who is pretty strict offered to give me an extension on the deadline for a paper that was due tomorrow. I thought that was pretty cool considering how difficult two professors have made this recovery for me so far.

For the most part, four out of my six professors have been completely OK with me being out for recovery. They’ve all let me know that as long as my school work is handed in through email and that I make an effort to catch up when I get back, I’ll have no problem finishing out the semester. However, two professors have just been pretty upsetting to deal with. One professor for a core class is more concerned about me missing classes and my english professor refused to allow me pick up any copies of any handouts I would be missing before I left for surgery. She basically said there was nothing she could do about me missing class and that she wasn’t going out of her way for me. Ok, fair enough, but when you’re paying $30,000 a year for an education I think the least a professor could do is allow you to start catching up on work before you leave. I have a call with my schools Dean of Students tomorrow regarding my issue and I’ll also be contacting our disability department to protect myself.

I understand that when it comes to the classroom all professors have their own guidelines, but I think there is a thin line between being an asshole and being reasonable. For instance, my english professor doesn’t allow us to eat, drink, or talk in the class. She also doesn’t allow us to leave for the rest room either. I’m shocked we’re even allowed to breathe. She is also the same professor that said white people need to be put to an end, but that’s a different story.

I’m feeling a lot better today in terms of pain- the swelling is still intense, though. With that being said, I’m going to do some schoolwork today because I can feel my brain literally turning to mush from watching Bob’s Burgers and eating smashed bananas.

February 6, 2016–5:54 P.M. Day 2 Post-Op

I’m back

and I’m bored.

I’ve slept on and off, ok, well mostly I hallucinated on and off since my last update. I tried to watch some Bob’s Burgers and even though I started, I just couldn’t finish. I put on some Mob Wives and fell asleep as soon as that started. Then Matt, ESPN, and my Rangers app kept updating me on the Rangers/Philly game that I completely forgot was on so I decided to put that on with like 6 seconds left right after Yandle scored. I watched that until they won in a shootout (thank God) sorry I just take Rangers losses really bad, especially up against a team I really can’t stand.

My dad came by to see me and brought me a plain fruit shake and it really hit the spot (shoutout to Fuel!!! can’t wait to get my hands on a BBQ black bean burger with guac & rice when I can eat). Too bad it’s going to take me like six hours to finish it!! I had my bandage changed again because after I drank a little bit less than half the shake my bandage was all red and it was getting uncomfortable.

Nothing else interesting happened today other than my credit score going up and getting a new credit card that I’m not going to use.

I also did come to the realization that by getting a new nose I’ve let go of a lot of things in my past and I feel like I’ve gotten a new start- a rebirth if you will. I’ve decided to get a new tattoo as well in honor of all of this soon. This is the perfect time to add on two more tattoos- one that symbolizes a rebirth and one with a quote I’ve loved for about six years, but never really believed.

Time to go, I hear my niece coming down!

February 6, 2016–11:44 A.M. Day 2 Post-Op

I got the couch back!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m continuing my Bob’s Burgers Netflix binge underneath my Rangers blanket (thanks, dad!) and using my Rangers beer mug for water (thanks again, dad)! I started my morning with my mom checking up on me and changing my bandage at 7 a.m. I slept really bad throughout the night. Matt stayed here until around 2:30 a.m. and I’m glad he did because every time I dozed off I woke up feeling like I was choking and it was the worst, it was such a bad experience. I don’t think anything bad would’ve happened to me, but the fear of choking in my sleep made it really hard to be comfortable through the night. I slept after we changed my bandages until about 10:30 and took a body shower and cleaned up all of the dry blood and dry saliva from my face and chest. I can’t wear contacts today because my right eye is completely swollen and I’m worried about it getting stuck. My face is soooooo oily, I’ve been cleaning all around it with a damp rag but I just can’t wait until I can fully clean my face!!!!!!!!! It’s gross. Like, really gross.

After last night's update, one of my best friends, Amanda, came by with some balloons (I seem to be building a small balloon collection, my mom and Mike got me some as well) and chocolate covered strawberries for me- which was pretty badass because I wasn’t expecting any more goodies from anybody! Thank you sooo much again, I can’t wait to tear that box open, I already hid them in my freezer.

I had finally fallen asleep right after Amanda came by and as soon as I did, my surgeon had called me to check up on me. I really wanted to sleep but, after all that Dr. Ovchinsky has done for me so far, I couldn’t ignore his call. I know it’s standard procedure for doctors to check up on their patients after a major surgery like that, but I still thought it was really nice.

Eating for me is still a struggle. I am literally going to turn into a container of Isopure by the time I heal. My mom mashed up two potato croquettes for me when Matt came over to hang out with me because we’re Italian and well, that’s just what Italians do. Fever? Potato croquettes. Wedding? Potato croquettes. Three people coming over for dinner? Whip up some (by some I mean 900) potato croquettes. Can’t eat solid food? It’s ok, make some potato croquettes and mash them up. Matt had to spoon feed me because I need to keep my head at a certain angle and I kept missing my mouth. Then we just decided to put them in a platic cup so I could kind of drink them, but that really didn’t work. It was just a mess. I don’t reccomend eating anything after this sort of a procedure because #1, it’s kind of uncomfortable, #2, I feel like the bandage just kept moving around, and #3, I have this huge imaginary fear that my nose is going to sort of droop and fall off in the middle of eating. I think it’s best to just avoid food at all costs and drink water and meal replacement shakes.

I have some school work to do and I really thought I could get to it today, but I think it’s going to just have to wait until tomorrow because I just can’t even deal. I don’t mind doing any of it, I can (obviously) totally type away on my laptop, but it’s just focusing that will be the problem- I mean look at how this whole update turned out lol. It’s a mish mosh of words.

My second dosage of the meds are kicking in and there’s just so much noise going on in here- it’s time for me to get back to Tina, Louise, and Jean (Gene?) not sure how you spell the brothers name on the show.

February 5, 2016 —4:44 P.M. Day 1 Post-Op

I took a bit of a break after my last post. I watched a few episodes of Bob’s Burgers on Netflix and then my dad came to visit me. He brought me some protein because I really can’t eat solid food and the protein will help to keep me a bit full, especially because I have to take Azithromycin and it can’t be taken on an empty stomach. He made me a shake and also brought me a toddler toothbrush with a Disney Princess on it because I’m also having a very hard time brushing my teeth. That’s another thing that I really didn’t take into account- brushing my teeth. It isn’t painful but being that I can’t put my head down, it’s pretty difficult. I have to brush my teeth very lightly and drink water out of a cup and spit it into another cup and repeat until I get all of the toothpaste out.

This is exactly what I looked like yesterday as soon as I woke up:

This is what I look like today: (are those brows on fleek or what?)

Like I’ve said in previous posts, my eyebrows have always been horribly asymmetrical, but it seems like right now they’re pretty even and I really hope that they stay even.

I’m definitely in a lot of pain today. Despite taking the Tylenol and Codeine and Azithromycin, I feel the pain coming back. I also have to use a saline spray to keep the inside of my nose clean and also because I’ve been bleeding a lot. I bled a lot throughout the night and each time my mom changes my bandage some blood oozes out. My throat still hurts from the tube, but I’ve taken ZPack plenty of times before for strep throat so I know that in another day or two my throat should be back to normal. It kind of feels like I have the beginning of a cold and it’s super annoying.

I can’t believe I’m able to describe the pain on my nose and surrounding areas. I’ve never been punched in the face before, but I would imagine that this is what it feels like to get a nice, clean punch with nothing but a fist. I’m also able to wear my contacts, even though I didn’t think I would be able to, but there hasn’t been any discomfort. I know that I definitely can’t wear my glasses, so I’m not even going to risk it.

February 5, 2016–2:21 P.M. — Day 1 Post-Op

Well, I made it through the surgery. Yesterday was quite a day.

Once I got to the hospital at 9:45 a.m. I signed some papers and then I was brought up to my room. I saw my nurse and found out that all of my piercings had to come out and I had 3 very stubborn piercings- one in my belly button and two in my cartilage. I literally needed a medical clamp and medical tweezer to get them all out because they just wouldn’t budge.

Most of the morning I spent waiting in my hospital room, but around 12:30 or 1 p.m. things started moving and I was brought down to the OR.

I was in the room for like 30 seconds before the anesthesia hit me and it was surgery time. I woke up in a daze later on, but thankfully my mom was there so I wasn’t alone. It was all a blur really, being in the recovery room and being brought back to my room. I slept most of the time when I was back in my room, but I did wake up to have some apple juice which I really, really, love. For some reason, when I’m very thirsty I love apple juice or chocolate milk. Around 5:30 the nurse came into my room and helped me walk around the hall and I was cleared to change and go home. We talked about the Rangers and the X-Files when we went on our walk.

I was feeling really nauseous so the nurse gave me ice chips to have on the way home and they weren’t too bad. My step-dad Mike wheeled me out of the hospital with a wheelchair and him and my mom helped me into the truck. I was so worried about being outside because it’s New York City and we all know, we do it too, we don’t stop for anything. I swear, I closed my eyes because this guy literally almost walked into us and I was like this is it, my dream for the past 23 years is going to come to an end right outside of The Ear and Eye Infirmary of Mount Sinai, what a way to have your dreams crushed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the way home I was feeling OK…except for when we hit Park Slope and I felt the apple juice come up. I was on the phone with my boyfriend when I immediately dropped the phone and just let it all go. I closed my eyes and all I could hear Mike say was “this isn’t the first time someone has thrown up on me, and it won’t be the last.” We all laughed it off, but it was pretty worse when I got home. I opted to not watch the Rangers game, but instead watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (shoutout to my girl Kyle!!!!) because my mom was hanging out with me and I watch hockey way too much I swear, old games, new games, NHL or MSG is always on my tv.

My nephew who is seven months old came down so my mom could watch him and then my two-year-old niece came to see me with a little balloon and bow with some candy. I was so happy seeing them with the gift they brought me, it made me melt. I’m also very surprised, but also very happy at the amount of people that have reached out to me since last night. I didn’t know how many people had been texting and calling my mom either to see how I was doing, but it felt pretty cool.

I’ll cover the gory parts and talk more about my first day of post-op in another piece next!

February 4, 2016–12:06 A.M.

It is officially surgery day!!! I just had my last sip of water for the next like, 36 hours or so and now I’m figuring out what I should wear- I know it needs to be super comfortable and easy. Definitely wearing Uggs for this one!

I didn’t mention this before, but, now that it’s getting closer and closer I’m really starting to think about it. There was a time when- wait, actually, plastic surgery may still be considered one of those things that is a complete “no, no” to speak about and admit to. But, the reason I’ve decided to be so open and to document it as much as I can because when I was in elementary school being made fun of, I had nowhere to turn to. Sure, I had tabloids that documented, examined, and questioned every celebrities body part, but there wasn’t anything that looked at it in a positive light. I had nobody to turn to as a pre-teen and a teen. I had nobody to turn to until I really hit my 20’s. There is one person in my life who I have gone to about this because I know she gets it, and she has done nothing but encourage me and look out for me throughout the entire process- you know who you are and I love you for that. In 2006, granted I was only 14, there were no blogs that I was aware of covering this, there were no rhinoplasty diary Instagram accounts, and there sure as hell wasn’t a book or a magazine that looked at it in a good light. Plastic surgery has always brought about the comments that somebody was fake if they went under the knife- but isn’t being untrue to yourself and not being able to make peace with your appearance being just as fake? Truthfully, I’d rather have some plastic and some fillers in my face and be happy every day, instead of knowing I absolutely hate my appearance and allowing it to hold me back. Everybody is different, though, and while some can accept their appearance, I just can’t.

With all of this being said, I don’t think that I have anything to be embarrassed about by being open about it. I don’t have anything to hide. I do not feel insecure at all about having this surgery and I do not feel insecure at all for being so open. I feel liberated.

February 3, 2016–6 P.M.

This is as personal as personal gets, well, for me at least anyway. Through this, I will be documenting my rhinoplasty surgery- including personal photos, inspiration, and other potential cosmetic procedures I may go through with. Yes, some of these photos may be pretty gory, but I promise that I have a story worth telling.

What began as an idea that I thought would never come to fruition became a reality on January 7, 2016. While it is true that I was bullied relentlessly in elementary school for my nose and while I always considered getting a nose job, I always decided it wasn’t for me- or at least, that’s what I showed on the outside. On the inside, I was fighting with myself and society. One side of society tells us to be ourselves while the other wants us to embrace perfect vanity and look a certain way. I fought with myself internally for the longest time about how I didn’t need any cosmetic modifications- until my mom once snapped a candid picture of me and I examined it to the point where I almost didn’t go to my class that morning because of how terrible I felt about myself. The truth is, I’m all for cosmetic modifications if I don’t feel like myself and if I don’t look how I think I’m supposed to, then am I really being myself? I made a promise to myself that day that I would start taking any and every step I needed to take to achieve the look I wanted, on the inside and the outside. From then on, I lost close to 20 pounds, I started researching different facial plastic surgeons to do rhinoplasty and correct my asymmetric eyebrows, and I went back to my dentist to consult about making my teeth straighter than we had attempted to back in 2011. I couldn’t go through with the surgeon I had my sights set on that I met in October, but I’m glad that I didn’t.

Fast forward to January 7, 2016, when I found myself in the emergency room at the Infirmary at Mount Sinai thanks to my boyfriend's mom who is the cardiology manager right across the street. I was having the worst time breathing out of my nose. I was waking up every night from my sleep because I couldn’t breathe and I even had to change my hours at work to go in earlier and leave earlier than 4 a.m. because my breathing was at its worst in the middle of the night. I could barely even get through a kickboxing class without having to stop to take a sip of water because breathing out of my mouth was making it dry and breathing out of my nose affected my ears. I was making so many changes in my lifestyle, but I wasn’t seeing any improvement. Once I met with the doctor, he knew right off the bat that I had a pretty bad deviated septum. BINGO! It felt like- what it felt like is actually indescribable. I almost cried. The doctor explained the procedure and asked if I wanted to go the cosmetic route. DING, DING, DING. I had won again. Yes, of course, I wanted to go the cosmetic route- I already knew what I wanted to do with my nose and I couldn’t wait.

Now, here we are, the night before my surgery. T-minus 15 hours till my check-in time!