March 20, 2013

EARH mer gersh. mer ear.

This post contains images of my ear that are, how do I say this. . . not cute. There is no blood, but it's still kind of gross. If you get nauseous easily, you may not want to continue reading.

I'll keep the photos nice and small.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. 


So, what happened to my ear is really ear-itating.

I was ear-nsecure about it.

You may think I'm being ear-rational, but what happened was sort of ear-regular.

(I can't take credit for the ear-itating word--grabbed that idea from Instagram.)


__
Here's what happened in a nutshell:

My right earring hole embarked on a journey. It was determined to make it's way to the bottom of my ear lobe.

I think it was trying to escape.

Maybe it attempted to whisper, "Kate. . .Kate . . . lighten up on the heavy earring usage, okay? Otherwise I'm outta here. . ."

I didn't listen. I kept right on wearing earrings, no matter how stretched out the original hole became.

Beauty is pain right? 

So, Monday I popped these little beauties in to shoot a few quick headshots and when I took them out I thought, "let me check my ear hole status. . ."

I walked to the bathroom, and pulled my ear a little bit to the right to see just how long/large the hole had become.

I gasped when I saw it was only connected at the bottom of my lobe by a tiny thread. 

here is what the earring hole looked like "normally":


and here it is stretched out:

*pardon my dry skin/ears. My psorasis spreads down to my ears sometimes.


ACK.

I'll give you a minute to regain your composure.

Okay, ready? 

Let's continue.


"OH MY GOSH. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP." I laughed at the ridiculous situation I had gotten myself into, and sat down at the computer to look into a few plastic surgeons.



That's when I wrote this status update.

After calling a few offices I was finding that a lot of surgeons were booked until mid-april. I didn't want to wait that long. I called a few dermatology offices as well, but couldn't find any that did earlobe repair.

I finally found an office that could take me next week, but I took a long shot and asked if they had anything available for the following day. Turns out that they did. 

So I set up a "consultation + optional procedure" appointment. The consultation is $75.00, and if I didn't feel comfortable going through with it, I could leave after paying that amount. But, if I wanted to go ahead and have the procedure done right away, I could simply stay for the appointment and that $75 would be applied to the procedure.

I arrived at the appointment about 30 minutes early. When I'm nervous, I'm early. And I was nervous.

I entered the office and sat for about 15 minutes. The doctor came to get me, and we went to her office and discussed my options. She took a peek at my ear and seemed unimpressed--as if that was completely normal. And that made me feel good.

She asked, "So, what happened?"

"Oh, I'm an idiot. My ear was slowly stretching out and I continued to wear really heavy earrings for, like, a year."

Oddly enough, only my right ear stretched out. My left ear is completely fine. 

We talked a little bit about the procedure and she drew me a little picture of what she was going to do.

Since the line/hole reached almost completely to the bottom of my ear lobe, she was going to have to cut a triangle out of my lobe, and then stitch it together. 

A lot of people asked if I could just have it stitched up, but the skin had already healed. It wanted to be that large hole. So the doctor had to provide fresh skin that can grow together. ::yack::

I decided to go through with it and asked her two things that I was worried about:
1. Is it going to hurt?
2. Are my ear lobes going to be uneven?

She assured me that it wont hurt, and she's fairly certain the lobes will be as even as possible when it's all said and done.

She took me back to the receptionist, I paid the mere $450.00. (please sense the sarcasm I'm trying to imply right here.)
When I handed my card to the receptionist I said, "most expensive ear lobe ever!" We laughed. I laughed in a I'm-desperate-just-take-my-money kind of way, and I'm sure she laughed in a you-poor-thing-why-did-you-keep-wearing-earrings sort of way.

I went back to the procedure room and a nurse talked me through the steps. My heart was racing at this point. I've never had any sort of procedure done (other than wisdom teeth) and while I don't mind needles, blood, etc; it's the idea of something about to happen that gets me worked up.

So, I laid down on the table, they cleaned and prepped me, and then the doctor talked me through every step. I was very grateful for that.

She said the numbing was the worst part and that didn't hurt one bit. Once I was completely numb, she did her thing. She mentioned I may be able to hear things, but I shouldn't feel anything at all. And that was true--although the noises weren't bad. Frankly, if you compare it to going to the dentist, this was a breeze! 

Once she was finished cutting, she stitched me up. I could hear the thread, but again--I couldn't feel a single thing.

It was over in about 8 minutes. Totally and completely painless.

They told me how to care for it, and set up an appointment in about a week for the stitch removal.

She snapped a quick picture at the end to show me what it looked like, and my ear just looks like it has two small spiders crawling up it.



No big deal.

::GAH::


Black stitches. C'mon. Don't I get a color choice? (I'm completely kidding)


They handed me some ointment to put over the wound this week, and sent me on my way.

So, overall? It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

The rest of the day I felt like I had a inner ear ache, but it wasn't very painful.

I woke up the next morning to a slight blood bath, which was awesome. The doctor warned me that may happen. I may apply a steri-strip at night now to keep from bumping it.

I'll get my stitches removed next week, and begin the healing process--which involves the prevention of scar tissue. I have to give myself tiny ear massages daily and wait 12 weeks before I have the hold re-pierced.

On a completely vain note, I'm bummed it will be 12 weeks. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. And my ear needs a break for crying out loud.

And I Do NOT. Do not want to do this again.

So, there you have it. My ear-ntresting story about my ear surgery.

If you are putting off this procedure, just go do it. It's quick, painless, and you'll be glad your ear doesn't look mangled any longer.

Also? If there is a "before and after" book in the waiting area of the plastic surgeons office--don't look at it. 

Wowza.

70 comments:

  1. Next time I save up $450, I'll get it done then, I guess! Totally know what you mean about the before and after book... I made the mistake of looking through one while my Mom was in her reconstruction appointment. Yikes.

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  2. Oh you poor girl! I am so glad everything went well after all.
    I hope your ear will recover soon and you will be able to wear those gorgeous Stella & Dot earrings again.

    BTW: Do you use any special treatment for your psoriasis that you can recommend? My Mr C is suffering from it as well.

    Annette
    Lady of Style

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  3. Holy moly! Apparently beauty is pain. I'm so glad that this went well for you and you are on the mend!

    Chelsea
    Haute Child in the City

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  4. Ohhh my gosh I am so glad you posted this... my right ear is on its way to doing the exact same thing (it's about 3/4 of the way I suppose) but I didn't even know I could do anything about it! I live in Raleigh, do you think you could tell me where you went? I'm terrified of my hole just ripping out one day... eeeeeshhh gives me the heebie jeebies.

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  5. Wow. Thanks to my dangling earlobes, I have never worn heavy earrings (as they make my earlobes hang down to my chin)....now, I am thankful. Not because the pictures grossed me out, but because I have a phobia of spiders. ;-) Anyway, so happy you are on the mend! In the future, you might want to consider lightening the load on those poor ears! And BTW, I have a customer that makes soap and lotion that would totally help that psoriasis!

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  6. Glad it went well, and you're on the mend! My sister has a similar problem with her ear holes - I will have to mention this to her!!

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  7. I've had this done, too! Wear a stud in your "good" ear during the healing process (around the house or at night) so that the hole won't close up during the period of time your fixed ear is healing and before you get it re-pierced. That would be the only thing I would have done differently.

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  8. I'm so sorry!

    My right earlobe has been like that since I was a little kid. I insisted on wearing my mom's big heavy earrings when my new pierced ears weren't totally healed yet. So, I've always had a big slit in that ear and can only wear studs. I had no idea you could have surgery to fix it! That would be fantastic as I've always yearned to wear bigger/heavier earrings.

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  9. Ok...I am so sorry you had to go through this but... the sense of humor you infused into this post has made me laugh so hard!!

    I'm so glad you are on the mend and that soon you ear will be back to normal!!

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  10. My mom had to have something similar done a long time ago. When she was in her 20s, a baby pulled on her earrings too hard and sort of began the stretching out process. At some point, the earring hole completely split on her (both sides, but at different times.) She actually had to go so long without a new piercing that she cut the posts off a bunch of her earrings and glued clip-ons to them so she could wear matching earrings with one pierced and one not. (it was the 80s/early 90s. jewelry was a must - and the bigger the better!)

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  11. OH my goodness! This same thing is happening! My left ear is stretching, but not my right! Crazy. My husband (who is a doctor) and his brother who is an ENT surgeon were just lecturing me, "stop wearing heavy earrings." But after it's stretched it just stays that way, right? It doesn't repair itself, so I am doomed to need these spiders stitches as well! Im so glad you shared this story Kate, I thought I was the only one!

    Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins

    Gigglosophy Giveaway!

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  12. I was laughing the whole time I read this, NOT because of what happened to you, but because you are so funny when you tell the story! I hope it heals well and you will have to let us know when you get that baby repierced!

    Allie
    Bellasandra

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  13. I have some heavy-ish earrings that I"m almost scared to wear because I'm soooo afraid of this happening. But hey, good to know there are fixer-upper options out there! I hope your ear heals back nicely!

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  14. I was one of those super-cool teenagers that stretched their ears on purpose like they do in Africa. I had stretched the holes in my ear to the size of a bottle cap. So gross, I know.

    And then I grew up. And I realized that those big gaping holes in my ears were not cool. People would stare at them. Little kids would ask what happened to my ears. I couldn't wear any earrings except for hoops, and even those looked pretty dumb.

    So I had a friend that worked at a plastic surgeon's office and I got both my holes sewn up for $20! They were definitely pretty gnarley looking. But now they are all healed and I can wear any kind of earring I want!

    (OH and when we were little, my youngest brother ripped my mom's earring right through! YUCK!)

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  15. I got my ears pierced in the early 90's at the height of huge, heavy hoops. Because of this, the girl at Claire's recommended very high holes. It bothered me for years because when I wore studs, they were just really high on my lobe, so I got a second hole pierced just millimeters below the original. Now, I'm grateful for both - I wear my studs in the lower hole and heavier hoops in the top - takes some of the "wear and tear" off of both (and nope, the top and bottom holes are nowhere near tearing into each other, thank God!). Unless you're right up close to my ear - you can't even tell I have two on top of each other.

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  16. Haha this was so great. You crack me up. (:

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  17. I truly believe big dangly earrings make you have a better day, always! Luckily I've never experienced this, yikes, I'm sorry! Pics were not' that' bad. Can I send you a free doterra essential oil sample to speed the healing process? My hubby had 40+ stitches down his nose getting cancer removed in November, can't tell a thing now. Contact me thru oils2love. com if so. Kisses & hugs for the owie cuz mom's do that! :D

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  18. So glad they could fix it for you and relatively easily too! A thought: are you on the phone a lot? Do you hold it up to your right ear? That's what did it for me - years in a job of being on the phone and the pressure of the earpiece on my ear. (For me it's my left ear.) It's not as pronounced for me as yours was but I'm sure that's why it's different than the right. I usually only wear studs now and have for many years.

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  19. I truly believe big dangly earrings make you have a better day, always! Luckily I've never experienced this, yikes, I'm sorry! Pics were not' that' bad. Can I send you a free doterra essential oil sample to speed the healing process? My hubby had 40+ stitches down his nose getting cancer removed in November, can't tell a thing now. Contact me thru oils2love. com if so. Kisses & hugs for the owie cuz mom's do that! :D

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  20. Oh yeowch!! I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I, too, went through an "I'm a total Bad-A" phase and gauged my ears out. Not as much as the previous poster, but still... My left lobe healed right up after I ditched the guages but my right one never did and when I wear heavier earrings, you can tell one is lower. I have a 6.5 month old and I live in fear of him ripping it clean apart, so I hardly wear earrings anymore. I miss them. Now that I know you can get that mess fixed, though, I may just take the risk. lol

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  21. Ouch!! Glad you got it fixed/stitched up because you wear the most beautiful earrings!! Also you mentioned psoriasis, I have never seen you talk about this before?? Do you have it on the scalp? My mom has this and has an awful time dealing with it. Any products you recommend for it?

    Thanks

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  22. Oh no! That is horrible. I'm glad you are able to get it fixed.

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  23. at least you can get it repierced! that's a good thing. i can't imagine never wearing earrings again. that happened to my aunt and she still wears earrings, but has an adapter to put on them to make them clip ons. you could maybe try that until you can wear other earrings again.

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  24. I thought this sort of thing only happened in third world countries and in people who wear those giant rings to open their ear hole! Yikes! Thanks for the cautionary tale. I knew there was a reason I only wear tiny little earring!

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  25. I had the same procedure years ago for the same price, so I couldn't believe that $500 was still the going rate. I only remember the ripping sound when they were cutting out the triangle; still makes me shudder.

    You say you have psoriasis which sucks! My outbreak is on my upper lip, but I found an amazing product through a med spa office called epionce. It has been semi-miraculous. I could send pics of the products if you're interested, and would love to know what helps you. Always having had great skin has makes having psoriasis on my face even more frustrating.

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  26. I had the same procedure years ago for the same price, so I couldn't believe that $500 was still the going rate. I only remember the ripping sound when they were cutting out the triangle; still makes me shudder.

    You say you have psoriasis which sucks! My outbreak is on my upper lip, but I found an amazing product through a med spa office called epionce. It has been semi-miraculous. I could send pics of the products if you're interested, and would love to know what helps you. Always having had great skin has makes having psoriasis on my face even more frustrating.

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  27. Wow. I'm actually terrified that this might happen to my ears, however reading your story on how easy this procedure seems I think I will be ok. However, I'm still trying to avoid heavy earring on a daily basis and try to only wear them every once in a while (they are just so pretty, I can't not wear them).

    Glad everything went well. Keep us posted on the healing process. Would love to see an "after its healed" photo. Is it weird that I just asked for another picture of your ear? Haha.

    Love reading your blog :)

    www.makingitsparkle.blogspot.com

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  28. Maybe you could wear stick on earrings for the next 12 weeks :)

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  29. Ah! I'm so intrigued and yet so "blech" about your lobe story that I have to say I'm a little paranoid about it happening to me now! But I'm so thankful you wrote about this because a) I feel like I have a partner in crime and b) I know what to do :) Question: do you think it was just your right ear because of a possible combo of heavy earrings and dominate phone use ear?

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  30. Happy thoughts for a quick recovery! I too had this same procedure a few years ago. I ended up calling around and finding an ENT that was able to do it and billed it through my medical insurance. I was a poor broke college student at the time and thankfully only ended up having to pay a co-pay! Be sure to put sunscreen on that area for at least a year after the stitches come out because scars like that have a tendency to burn with very little sun exposure.

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  31. Oh girl, you've got to get some of the ear lobe stickers that I use- I think the brand is called Ear Lift? It used to be an as seen on TV thing, but now they sell them at stores like Claire's and Icing in malls. They are basically a little sticker you put on the back of your ear and you stick your earring through it, so that way the sticker holds the weight of your earring, not your ear lobe! I swear by them. :)

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  32. I worked for an ENT and she performed these types of procedures. I want to say it might be cheaper by an ENT if anyone is looking into doing this! But apparently it is in fact pretty common!

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  33. I clearly am a big baby because just looking at those two (not even remotely graphic) pictures, my knees got all week and shaky. Ugh. So glad you were able to get stitched up quick! :)

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  34. ouch! my grandma has had that happen all the time since she has thin earlobes. feel better! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  35. Haha, you're so punny :P

    On a more serious note, whoa! I'm glad you could get it taken care of so quickly.

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  36. This happened to me, same ear and also I was living in Raleigh at the time. It healed, we re pierced and I never wear heavy earrings. All is well but it was truly a gross experience!

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  37. i USED to wear giant earrings...until someone went to give me an energetic hug, and their thumb and my earring decided to take a holiday together. it didn't rip it ALL the way out, but it basically looked like yours did pre-op. it was raw at first, so i immediately took the earring out and didn't wear any earrings until it was healed...however it never really went back to normal, so i've been wearing small studs ever since (anything with even a little weight pulls on the hole and just grosses me out). i've been wanting to have this procedure done forever. i should just do it. ugh.

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  38. Oh no! Are those particular Stella and Dot earrings heavy/how heavy? I really wanted to ask for those exact ones for my birthday, but I don`t really do "heavy" earrings so I`m not sure if I could handle them!

    Some Snapshots Blog
    Jess

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  39. We are the same person - I have the exact same problem on my right ear and I love Mad Men. Now when you re-join the world of earrings, you should try wearing Lobe Wonders on your ears when you wear heavy earrings - they prevent the tugging on your earlobe and stretching. You can buy them on Amazon - I wear them all the time on my right ear. You cannot see them at all as they go on the back side of your lobe and they are clear.

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  40. I have never heard of such a thing. But from the comments, this is fairly common.

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  41. USE EAR lIFTS! Both my earholes have always been really stretched out since I was 5 years old. I am obsessed with wearing earrings (the bigger, the better), and just never feel as pretty without them. So, to err on the side of caution with my already-stretched lobes, and never have to discriminate against wearing big earrings because of my weak earlobes, I use EAR lIFTS religiously. Did you ever see that infomercial for them that used to be on all the time, oh, 8 or so years ago? They are these little super adhesive stickers you stick on the back of your earlobes when wearing heavy earrings; that way, the earring post goes through the STICKER, and not your EAR! I love them. Google them - they are super cheap on Amazon. Make sure to get the "Ear lift" brand, though, as I cannot vouch for the quality of knockoffs. Oh, P.S. They are totally imperceptible!

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  42. Yikes! That definitely doesn't sound like much fun. Beauty really is pain. I am glad that you got it taken care of quickly though!
    http://thegrassskirtblog.com

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  43. I watched this procedure on the Racheal Ray show just last week!

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  44. Girl, you are so funny you had me in stitches! IN STITCHES! I slay me.

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  45. Wow. That is crazy. Glad they were able to fix it! :-)

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  46. One of my worst fears. Glad you are all fixed up and will be able to wear earrings again. :)

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  47. I wonder if there was some way that insurance would pay for this?

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  48. Eeeeek that's scary! I don't have my ears pierced. Thought about it and this post pretty much creeped me out! Not sure if I want to do this anymore...lol Glad you're fine again though! :)

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  49. I also suffer from a mild case of psoriasis. The winter it's presented itself in my hairline (I get it behind the ears as well). Just wondering if you've found a shampoo product that helps at all...

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  50. My daughter had the same procedure last summer & she is only 14 but one time wearing heavy earrings & rip. Thankfully here in Memphis the plastic surgeons rate was "only" $325; wouldn't accept insurance & I couldn't even use our flex spending account. Ear is just fine now with a pretty new hole. :)

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  51. I wear ear love lifts too!! They are the best thing to use if you don't want to pay $450. You can find them at Claire's.

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  53. I'm not squeamish either but I think I held my breath reading this entire post!

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  54. Oh my gosh!! I feel your pain. BOTH of my ears are like that. They have been that way for years and years. I can't wear dangled earrings. :'( I wish I could get mine done...

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  55. Haha! You are so funny..
    And it thnk your brave for sharing this story with us, thank you :)
    ... I have a terrible psoriasis! Don´t know what to do or witch
    products to use to get it better. Any succestions...?

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  56. Thank you for sharing this, my left earring hole is hurting(literally)just reading this! My earring hole is expanding and I can't wear any heavy earrings. I have called around and it is a lot more expensive in Portland, Oregon! I will keep trying, you have encouraged me to. Did they say you can wear heavy or dangling earrings again?

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  57. My grandma had to get this done when I was a teenager about 15 years ago and she said it wasnt bad at all. But her story is alittle different. she was watching a little toddler and she like my grandma earring and without warning she ripped it off of her ear. lets just say it wasnt pleasant. well my grandma ear looks great you can barely tell she had it done. she just likes telling her story to people to freak them out.LOL! Got to love Grandmas!

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  58. As strange as it sounds, I was excited to see you mention psoriasis creeping down behind your ears sometimes. I am dealing with scalp psoriasis myself. I wonder if you can share your story about dealing with it and what you do...

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  59. Although horrible, I think the funny part of all of this is the recommended pages beneath this post! All traumatic experiences: "how to wear knit earwarmers" (okay maybe but not traumatic, but cold), "the one that's hard to write", "it's not a waste", and "why you should try TRIATHALON"...that's the one that got me! Your ear rip was likened to a grueling running experience! Hope it's better :)

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  60. You know it's going to be a good story when you hear, "let me check on my ear hole status." So glad you were able to fix it. Never even knew there was a procedure for that. I wear studs, mainly because I'm terrified my baby will grab a fistful and rip the earring right out. Very glad that it was only one ear. Hope you heal quickly!

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  61. When I was about 6 my ear did the same thing. It didn't get nearly as bad as yours but its still ugly and I have always wanted it repaired. Good to know it actually does happen and that its able to be fixed relatively easily

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  62. ok--so now where do you go to get it re-pierce? I'm totally freaked out by places like Claire's and Piercing Pagoda!!!!

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  63. I'm so glad I never have to worry about this. I'm already doing it deliberately :P

    But anyway, that's insane how much your ear split. My mum's are going the same way as apparently us kids always used to pull on her earrings >.>

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  64. Holy moly (baha...terrible, terrible pun). I feel like it's smart to get yourself kind of worked up before a procedure. Before I had a lip biopsy done, I did NOT allow myself an ounce of anxiety. I should have. It was not easy, breezy Cover Girl. I was wholly unprepared for the experience. Anyway, I'm glad your procedure was quick and painless. Sorry your healing process is NOT quick! Boo :(

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  65. Not gonna lie, you're story made me crack up. You are hilarious!! But seriously, I'm a wuss when it comes to the doctor, so I do genuinely gain strength from your story, so thank you. :)

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  66. I hope it keeps!!
    My bff has had to do it 3 times so far...no matter how tiny an earring she wears it still happens :(
    she's moved on to clips and they are not so cute, lol.
    good job on being SO brave :)

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  67. I just came across this... I'm a little late, I realize, but this is a great entry!

    I had both my ears reconstructed in September of last year, after stretching them intentionally. I have been in no huge hurry to get them re-pierced, but am thinking of taking care of that in a few weeks.

    While I loved big dangly earrings before I ever stretched them, I'm looking forward to mostly wearing pretty little post earrings once I get them done again. My mom actually got me a big box of the same stick-on earrings I used to wear as a kid, and I've been wearing those. They're surprisingly cute, if a little funny.

    If you're like me, you probably have some scar tissue going on right now, in that healing ear lobe. I kept a blog of my healing process here: http://gettingmyearsfixed.tumblr.com/ The scarring stayed longer than I thought it would, but has faded pretty well!

    Have you gotten re-pierced yet?

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  68. Best med spa / Best med spa Lexington KY offers an all inclusive environment that caters to all our client's personal needs.

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  69. I am glad you got your ear fixed. It was a good and entertaining read. My stepdaughter is one of those who is purposely stretching out her ears. I think that is just stupid, just call me old fashioned or that I don't want big gaping holes in my earlobes! :D

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