Hi, my name is Heather and I was born with a nasal cleft on the right side of my nose.
I realized very early on that I looked different and I did NOT like it. It made me feel self-conscious and stand out when all I wanted to do was stay quiet and blend in. Before the start of sixth grade and my freshman year, I had surgeries to try and correct this difference. The wonderful creator of this website once told me that you could choose the scent of the knockout gas they used for surgery, like grape or bubblegum. The gas I was given smelled like manure. Suffice it to say, I was grateful to be knocked out if it meant escaping that horrid smell.
After the bandages came off and the swelling subsided, I thought I would look like a completely different person. I would look normal and maybe even prettier too. Neither surgery turned out as successful as I had hoped. People still stared at me, asked questions, made comments. My favorite question that people have asked me is, “What happened?” I once made the mistake of responding to this question with a solemn, “I was born…” The girl who asked me looked completely mortified. I felt like a complete jerk. None of my previous answers seemed satisfactory to people in the past. What did they expect me to say? “Well I was careening off a cliff when suddenly a condor swooped down and cut my nose up!” Unfortunately there is no extraordinary cause for this malformation.
Fortunately, I’ve just received my master’s degree, got a job that I love and adopted a big lovable bear of a dog. There is so much more to life than what I look like!
Heather, 24, is a teacher of the deaf from St. Louis. She was born with a nasal cleft.