Twice I’ve been told by practitioners that they’ve been asked to do a nose amputation, and twice they’ve told me that they refused. Third time’s the charm, as I finally met “Witz Sinariz”, who managed to find a practitioner to go through with it. While he wears an artificial nose in his day to day life, he agreed to “out” himself here. Seeing it, it doesn’t even look real, and is quite difficult for my brain to even parse, but Witz swears that to him it looks completely natural.
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BME: Why did you want your nose removed?
WITZ: I don’t know, ever since I was a kid I imagined it. I don’t know if they have anything to do with it, because it’s the chicken and the egg, you know, but two things stand out. First, I remember watching Sesame Street episodes when I was very young, where Bert and Ernie would take their noses off, and it just really stuck with me, and I wished I could play that game… That, and my uncle always played “got your nose” with me and it was something I really remember fondly.
BME: What made you actually want to amputate it for real?
WITZ: There was never any question of wanting it for real. I just didn’t know if it was possible, and if it might wreck my life because of others’ reactions… But I read a lot of the interviews with digit and limb amputees on BME and other places, and the thing that struck me was that no one ever questioned them, because no one ever assumed it was on purpose. I realized that if I did this, I’d “get away with it”.
BME: What was the process of finding a practitioner willing to do it?
WITZ: I tried doctors and plastic surgeons — no luck. I thought about doing it myself with some sort of “accident”, but I thought I’d be left a terrible scar, or worse, doctors would try and rebuild it, leaving me with a deformed nose rather than a flat face. I contacted practitioner after practitioner, and eventually found one willing to do the procedure after asking him for it for almost two years.
BME: What was the procedure?
WITZ: After freezing the area, “H” made an incision down the middle of my nose, and peeled it open to each side. The cartilage was almost completely removed, and he chiseled away the bone in the bridge of my nose to reduce the bump. A hyfrecator was used to cauterize the bleeders, and the tissue was pulled back over the wound, excess was removed, and sutured.
[Note: I have a DVD from Witz coming tomorrow, so full photos of the procedure and more photos are in the next BME/extreme update in the “miscellaneous amputations” section, and the video of the procedure should be posted shortly on BMEvideo. - Shannon/Roo]
BME: How was healing?
WITZ: No problem at all. I’m very healthy. It took about two weeks for the initial healing, and a month more before it was totally healed.
BME: What did you tell your friends and family? Your doctor?
WITZ: I don’t have a doctor, and my immediate family is deceased. I am very work focussed, and most of the people I know are co-workers. I just told them I didn’t want to talk about it and left it at that. They didn’t push me. I suppose now that the cat’s out of the bag, they could find out. Maybe I’ll try and figure out how to tell them before you put this online, but more likely I’ll just deny it… Really, who’d believe it?
BME: I hope you don’t mind me asking, but did you seek counselling or therapy in advance to make sure that you weren’t “crazy”?
WITZ: Why would I do that? I understand that this might seem strange to others, but it doesn’t to me, and it feels very natural and normal. I don’t feel like I have to explain myself to anyone else. I’m happy and successful — so what if I’m different than you. Why would I want to put myself through having to explain myself to some therapist that’s not going to understand me anyway?
BME: What made you decide to close your nose completely? Is it a problem not having nostrils?
WITZ: I didn’t want it to look like I had a messed up nose — I wanted to have no nose. I wouldn’t have done it if I’d have been left with a hole. It’s not a problem — sort of like having a plugged up nose all the time. If I get a cold, I just spit it out and sort of “hork it up” instead of blowing my nose.
BME: Are you happy with how it turned out?
WITZ: I wish the scar was less visible — I really want to have a perfectly flat face that makes it look like I was born that way — but other than that I’m ecstatic. With time I expect the redness in the scar to go away.
BME: Do you have any other body modifications?
WITZ: I have a few tattoos, and stretched ear piercings, but nothing major other than this. But I don’t really see this as a “body modification” in the same way… I just felt like this was right.
BME: Do you mind me asking what you do for a living, and how this has affected your day to day life?
WITZ: I work as a graphic designer and make a good living from it. To be honest, this doesn’t affect me at all. I wear an artificial nose when I need to, and I love being able to take it on and off, and it lets me decide who I want to reveal it to. But even people who notice that I have no nose would never believe I chose to do it — like I said, in terms of how others treat me, it hasn’t changed anything.
BME: Thanks for talking to us. Any advice for others who want to make radical changes to their bodies?
WITZ: Don’t take life too seriously.