This story kinda begins when I was like 8 or 9.
My cousins and I were playing a dumb game, I fell on my face and my nose bled a lot. The only part I honestly remember about this is falling, my sister only remembers the blood lol but you know, it stopped and my mom (like most parents back in the 80’s) thought “Aw, she’ll be fine!” and we all moved on. A lot of people have a deviated septum, with or without falling on their faces as kids.
On the other hand, I’ve always had respiratory allergies. I had asthma as a kid, and my whole family has nasal allergies (or what is really called allergic rhinitis). And over the years I learned to manage them and to live my life sort of okay. I went from one medication to another, not always having the best of time but doing fine. Looking back, I also figure that when you’re a young kid, nothing holds you back. I did 8 hours of dance every day when I had to and didn’t blink. I settled on Allegra when I was about 18, I think. It relieved my symptoms like no other medication and it was covered by my insurance so my life kinda changed.
About 3 years ago though, I made a decision to stop taking allergy medication. Essentially because I was living my life on Allegra daily and sometimes twice a day and I wanted to cut back on that much medication. I was approaching 30 and I wanted to learn to manage my allergies in a different way. Also Allegra stopped being covered by insurance and truth is that when you make your own money you think about it differently lol. So I did cut way back, I stopped taking it daily, I started to manage the things that I knew triggered my allergies better and ultimately, this turned out to be a good idea because my allergies started bothering me less frequently and I started needing way, way less medication.
Now, what didn’t improve however, was my breathing.
I started noticing that my breathing was incredibly poor even when I was not having allergic episodes and I started to think my deviated septum was probably worse than I ever really cared to find out. I’m under no delusions though: this was also related to the fact that I’m not 18 anymore lol! Like I said, when you’re young nothing holds you back. But as I closed in on 30, I also started to notice that working out wasn’t as easy, that long walks and running really put me out of breath despite the fact that nothing else in my body bothered me.
So I knew I had to reach out and do this. But I was terrified!
I was scared, I freaked out about the idea of a surgeon going off on my face, about pain, about money. I have amazing insurance but, it’s kinda always there.
And well, last year I went through a really bad PCOS crisis that I’ll address in a different post but as 2016 got better and better for me, I wanted to make the effort, I wanted to put in the work and respect my body in all the ways I knew I had to. And so one day in mid July, I called and made an appointment for an ENT doctor that some coworkers recommended.
I was honest with him, I told him all my story and he looked into my nose with his endoscopic camera. And my left nostril had some misplaced cartilage, some mild blockage… but my right one was a damn mess. I could clearly see my own nose on the screen and how the space I had to breathe was about 25% of what normal people have. And so he read me my sentence lol “you need surgery, this cannot be corrected any other way.”
And I was okay with that, I was emotionally prepared for this to happen.
In all fairness, he was also really honest with me. He said if I live another 50 years but don’t fix my defective breathing, I’ll reach 40 with hypertension and pre-diabetes because my body keeps trying to compensate for my lack of oxygen. I’m literally not here for that.
He gave me some medication to hold me back in the meantime even though he warned me they wouldn’t make a big difference. He told me if I could make arrangements to work from home, that I’d feel mostly fine in a couple of days. He said technology is so good now that you can feel better almost immediately and that there’d be nearly no swelling or bruising.
And so, we set a date.
I was excited for the weeks leading up to it, I knew my quality of life was going to change and I was going to feel insanely better. My boss was great about it, my mom and sister were going to help me recover, my insurance would cover 90% of the cost.
I ended up freaking out a little the days leading up to it and I honestly found awful accounts of the process online. Youtubers were pretty chill about it, but other blogs were hella upset and suffered an awful couple of weeks. But I pushed through and headed on to the hospital last Friday.
Coming up on Part 2: My surgery and post-op.