I am not going to bore you with details of the Mohs surgery or the plastic surgery or how I had a coughing fit while on the operating table under anesthesia. And I won’t describe my bruised and battered face which looked like I had a browlift and a facelift—or else had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. Not to mention that I could barely see or breathe and even if I had felt better which I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere because of how I looked so I didn’t leave the house for days— and all that from a tiny little skin cancer.
No– I’ll spare you the details and cut right to the chase: I miss my nose.
4 weeks after surgery, if you walked into this room right now, you would pretend that my nose looks fine, which is what people say to make me feel better. But you would really be seeing that my nose is lopsided and out of shape and has bumps and lumps it never had before, besides a big, bright pink jagged scar.
If you talked to me, you would try to look in my eyes but really you would be looking at my nose and thinking, what the hell happened here?
And if I talked to you, I would try to look in your eyes but really I would be looking at YOUR nose and thinking, You don’t know how lucky you are.
If you ask me, Cyrano de Bergerac had it easy.
Maybe I should back up a little. The surgery is over. My nose doesn’t have cancer anymore. I know with all my heart how fortunate I am, that this was such a minor brush with cancer this time and that in the great scheme of life a nose is …just a nose. I know all that. But I still want my nose back.
You know how when you are thinking of buying a new car and have a certain brand in mind, suddenly you see that brand of car everywhere you look? That’s how I am with noses now. I never noticed them much before—but now—suddenly, they’re everywhere.
I didn’t see this coming. Although I might be whining like a 4-year old, I actually have a high level of sophistication and experience dealing with the medical world. I know about consultations and opinions and second opinions. I have specialists up the wazoo. I have battled cancer and my own doctors and the medical system and even a medical school.
And after all that, how is it possible that a basal cell cancer—which by the way could not even kill me if it wanted to—could get to me like this?
Did I mention that the chunk they took out of my nose was about the size of a pea? Do you notice the parallel to the fable where the tiny little pea drives the princess crazy even through the huge stack of mattresses? (Although I really don’t like describing myself as a princess.)
The absolutely worst part is that I will never ever be able to get my nose back.
And get this. Months from now, after the swelling goes down completely, if I still feel the same as I do right now about my nose…..then guess what? I am right back where I started–a few weeks ago–deciding if how I look is more important than accepting myself the way I am.
In other words, “Integrity vs. Vanity”.
By the way, please let me know if you have a great plastic surgeon.