About 15 years ago I got my first lobe ear piercing on the left hand side. About a year after that, I got the right side pierced and then over the course of 5 years or so, I wore an ever changing, ever larger set of ear furniture.
The picture of the left is of me about six years ago – I was 25. As you can see, I'd embraced the piercing community completely, sporting multiple labrets, nostril and a septum piercing (which is hidden in that shot). I'd even worked – albeit briefly – as a piercer.
I look back on that period of my life fondly. No responsibilities, going out with friends all the time, having a laugh, doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. It was great. I'd even found work in IT which allowed me to look how I wanted to. Lucky. My life could have turned out very differently if that wasn't the case.
But time marches on and I got to the point in my career where I had to make a decision: What's more important to me, the piercings or the work? Work won out and in September 2006 I removed all my facial jewelery for good.
I remember the feeling of relief when they came out; the labrets no longer pressed into my lower lip, my nose was no longer itchy from the base of the studs tickling it and my ears just felt wonderful. That night I slept soundly for the first time in many years. It seems that having something pressing against your neck when you sleep causes disturbances, who knew?
I started a new job the following month.
Over time my lobes started closing up, but at the point they were down to about 7mm they stopped closing up any more. I was at the limit of what my body could do to repair itself. I decided then that I would have surgery to close them up at some point in the future.
Four years and two jobs down the line, I still hadn't gotten around to having the operation. While they weren't as noticeable as before, people did still see and comment about my ears frequently enough for me to know they were still an issue.
Earlier this month I got it into my head that I wanted the lobes closed up by Christmas. A quick shout-out on Facebook got me a recommendation for a surgeon, Mr Cyrus Kerawala, and I booked a consultation with him which took place last Wednesday – my birthday.
The consultation was straight forward – I'd sent pictures of my ears already – and it was decided that a more natural shape would be achieved if part of the lobe was removed with the remainder stitched together. Oh, and excitingly, I could be booked in for the following Saturday – three days later!
Saturday came. I drove up to Spire Clare Park Hospital in Farnham where the operation was to be carried out under local anesthetic. After signing in and signing my life away, I met with Cyrus who was keen to get some 'before' pictures and who kindly obliged to take some 'before' pictures with my own camera too.
Once in the operating theatre I was disappointed to find out there were no mirrors available – not even on the ceiling – for me to watch what was being done. The theatre staff were fantastic though because they offered to take procedural pictures with my camera!
Having numbed me up, Cyrus started work. I felt no pain but I could feel the pulling and prodding of the ear, a somewhat surreal experience.
Talking throughout about everything from most difficult surgeries, to life, to career choices, to children, the time passed quickly and before I knew it, he was done. The picture on the right was taken while I was still on the table – the lobe looks perfect!
It's now been three days since the operation and the ears are healing nicely. The first night I barely slept for fear of turning my head and rolling on them, but last night I slept soundly with my arm bent around my ear shielding it from the pillow – unconscious self-preservation at its finest.
I am still riding a high from having it done. I look in the mirror regularly, still amazed to see normal sized lobes winking back at me.
The inner stitches take months to dissolve, so while the outer ones will be removed next weekend, the healing won't be complete for another three or four months. If they heal well and continue to look as good as they do today, I can't see anyone giving me the, 'what the hell have you done to your ears,' look again.
I can't thank Cyrus or his team enough for the work they've done and for making the whole experience – from the initial phone call enquiring about the procedure until I walked out of the theatre and drove home – as easy and painless as possible. If you're considering similar treatment, choose Mr Cyrus Kerawala, you will not regret your choice.
Warning: some photos are graphic, involving blood and open wounds.
Photos of the complete experience can be seen at http://p.jkt.im/Other/Ear-Surgery-November-2010/14736080_8mdny.