FEATURE STORY – PART TWO
In part one, Libby Tice explained how she’d wanted a rhinoplasty since she was a young girl. Excited for the procedure, she arrived at St Hugh’s ready to see her consultant, Mr Muhammad Riaz, and ready for her new nose. Here, in the second and concluding part of Libby’s story, she tells us about recovery, and how things are for her now.
Libby came round from the anaesthetic with no pain whatsoever.
“I can remember it,” she said. “Everyone always talks about how you can potentially talk gibberish, but I was just so tired. I wanted to go straight back to sleep but was determined not to, so I’d have a good night.
“But then, that night I barely slept at all because my nostrils were so tightly packed with padding. It’s not like having a cold, because you can still breathe slightly through your nose with a cold – I literally couldn’t at all, and I kept waking myself up by unconsciously trying to breathe through my nose. It was just strange, not painful, and it was only for one night – totally worth it!”
The padding was removed the following morning and by lunchtime, Libby was home.
“My family was all like, ‘oh, look at you!” she laughed. “I climbed into bed and slept for the rest of the day – apart from waking to have a takeaway, a calzone, to be precise. What a treat!
“To be honest, I found sleeping over that next fortnight a little uncomfortable, but that was just because you have to position yourself upright for circulation, and I like sleeping completely flat.
“The only thing that made me nervous was a few days after the operation, when I had to go back to have my stitches removed. Sarah (Grantham, cosmetics sister at St Hugh’s) also removed the tape on the front of my nose, so even though I still had a bandage on I could see a little bit of skin
“Obviously, the swelling goes down over a few months, and it can take up to a year for the nose to settle properly, but because there was so much swelling, I just remember thinking that my nose was massive.
“So before I got the full pot off and I could see the whole thing, that was when I was anxious, with it running through my head that I might not like it – the only time, actually. Other than that, I honestly didn’t get nervous at all.”
Libby’s bandages stayed on for ten days, and she removed them at home following advice from St Hugh’s.
“I was counting down the days for it to all come off,” she said, “mostly because I couldn’t wash my hair! I couldn’t get it wet, and even when I went in the shower, I had to be careful. Even brushing my teeth and washing my face was delicate, in case I knocked it. Luckily that didn’t happen!
“Taking off the bandages, I knew that what I’d see in the mirror wasn’t really what it will finally look like. Mr Riaz explained that I probably won’t see the full results until a year has gone by.
“So when they came off, at first I didn’t notice much of a difference. But as time is going on now, I’m about five months post-op and honestly, I love it. I can see the change. I am definitely happy now.
“I took them off in my bedroom and went down to my mum and asked her what she thought. Straight away, she said she could see a difference.
“It’s when we look back at pictures from before I had the rhinoplasty that it’s really obvious.”
So, what message does Libby have for people reading this and considering surgery?
“Personally, because I was so certain about having a rhinoplasty, there was never any worry or doubt, but it is a normal part of the process,” she said.
“What I’d say to people considering any kind of cosmetic surgery is this – unless you are excited for it, and feel happy, take a step back and pause, talk to the people around you, and to somewhere like St Hugh’s. Your heart needs to be one hundred per cent in it.
“I was set on this for years and that’s why the process, for me, has been a breeze. If you are umm-ing and ahh-ing, or perhaps doing it for the wrong reasons, then I imagine it’d feel very stressful. I’d only recommend doing it unless you’re certain.
“Looking back, the tiny worries I had have all been wiped clean, massively. The one thing I didn’t really do my research on was the recovery. I thought I’d have the operation and the next day I’d have my perfect nose.
“Because it is such a delicate operation, it takes a while to see the proper results. Now I’m so happy with my nose, I wish I hadn’t worried about anything at all!
“It’s a relief to have finally had it done. It was my biggest life goal so far. I am a glasses wearer, and because I didn’t like my nose, I’d always wear glasses to hide it. Now I’m wearing my contact lenses a lot more – little things like that give such a confidence boost.
Libby is a fine example of positive thinking. By having the rhinoplasty, she has removed something she disliked about herself. But, more importantly, it’s about what she has gained.
“This is my body,” she said, “and I was lucky enough to have a choice. I never thought of myself as brave or courageous, even though people around me said so. I never saw it that way because I chose to go through with it.
“I’m a big believer in if you want plastic surgery, go for it. It’s not about feeling guilty that it’s a vain thing, or not essential – for me, this was essential, and it’s empowering that I’ve taken control of my image.
“In my parents’ day, for example, plastic surgery just wasn’t a thing, in fact, it was probably controversial, so I suppose they might view it in a completely different light. Now it’s accepted – and so it should be. No one should suffer. We live a long time and seeking help to be happy within ourselves is important.
“Self-care is not just about hair and make-up and things like that… it is more than skin-deep. Self-care is as much about how we feel, as how we look. How we feel has a massive, if not the biggest, impact on our lives.
“I’d never go back to before, to my old face. It’s new face all the way! If you’re not confident with something, why not change it?”