Most 18 year olds barely think about plastic surgery, but by the time I was 18 I had already undergone two.
When I was 14, a month before my 15th birthday, I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. Graves’ is an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism, the overactivity of the butterfly shaped gland in your neck called the thyroid. This controls your hormones and many basic functions of your body. Needless to say, this was a pretty terrible time in my life. I was extremely ill and miserable. My resting heart rate was always between 99-138bpm, forcing me to take beta blockers just so I wouldn’t have a heart attack from just existing. My hormones were out of whack, putting me into a pretty depressed state. I had to leave all of my classes five minutes early because my doctor banned me from physical activity and getting from one side of my school to the other in 6 minutes wasn’t possible. I was constantly leaving school in the middle of the day because I physically felt like I was dying, and I probably spent more time at Texas Children’s Hospital with my endocrinologist than I did with my friends. It was pretty bad.
About two weeks after being diagnosed with Graves’, I went into treatment. I received the radioiodine ablation treatment. This would ablate my thyroid and turn my hyperthyroidism into hypothyroidism, underactivity of the thyroid, which is much easier to manage through methods as simple as taking thyroid hormone everyday. I was actually part of a study on the treatment in kids (I was paid $300 which is a lot of money for a 14 year old) and I like to believe that I was given a placebo and that my mind is so powerful that I actually destroyed my thyroid and treated myself. That probably didn’t happen, but I’ll never know for sure. ;) Either way, getting radiation sucks and involves a lot of vomiting. This also wasn’t fun.
Not only did Graves’ ruin my health, but it also ruined my appearance. Graves’ has a side effect disease called Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, also known as thyroid eye disease. This caused painful swelling in the back of my eyes and it made one of them protrude out. It wasn’t my best look, and my peers definitely agreed! I was being bullied both in person and online, and one of my teachers even asked me if I was on drugs because of how abnormal my eyes looked! It was a great time! I loved it! 15 year old Nadia was THRIVING!
She wasn’t thriving. I’d come home everyday bawling my eyes out, like I would at school as well. My mom grew so concerned and decided to get me an appointment with an opthamologist. After one visit, my doctor decided that he would perform an eyelid reduction so my eyes could be the same size. I got this surgery over winter break and was fully recovered by the time classes started again. No one besides my family and close friends knew I got this surgery and I wanted it that way. An eyelid reduction is not a surgery performed for health reasons, it’s a cosmetic surgery. My first one.
This surgery seemed to solve the problems for a little while. After a few months, I noticed my eyes going back to how they were, but my health was getting a lot better and I was finally feeling normal again, so I just lived with it for the next year and a half, until it got really bad again. The pain got much worse to where I’d blink and close my eyes with so much force because the pressure relieved some of the pain, and my mom started to notice how my eyes were protruding again. We were back at square one and decided to schedule an appointment with a different doctor.
Now that my eyes were worse, the doctor decided to do two procedures at once. I’d get my second eyelid reduction on my left eye and an orbital decompression on my right on June 20th, 2017, right before going into college. I had stitches in my eyes, was high on painkillers for about three days, and my eyes were black for a good week or so. This surgery worked though. I no longer had the swelling in the back of my eyes, I wasn’t in pain, and I finally started taking selfies again! I finally felt comfortable with my appearance. I was going to go into college feeling good about myself, thanks to my second cosmetic surgery. The decompression was more of a medical necessity than a cosmetic one, but I could’ve lived without it. I had been for a year and a half.
I wanted to talk about my surgeries because the stigma around cosmetic surgery is terrible. Cosmetic surgeries aren’t fun. They’re painful, inconvenient, and will leave you bedridden for a few days. However, people sometimes need them. Do you really think people like me should just live their lives being judged by something they can’t control? It got drastic enough to where I got surgery twice by the age of 18! People these days are so wrapped up with other people’s lives. Kylie Jenner is constantly getting ridiculed for the fact that she’s gotten work done. When you’re in the limelight as much as she is and her appearance is one of the main things making her money, she’s come to the point where her getting surgery to make sure she looks how she wants to look is a necessity. Kylie is a beautiful woman and would still look great without the procedures, but if she feels that it’s what she needs, let her be. Stop judging people for doing what they want with their lives. We all have our reasons, but honestly, they shouldn’t be anyone’s business unless we want it to be.