Surgery Diary 3 – The Journey Back to Body Autonomy

autonomy

[Source: https://uswlawethicsandpolitics.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/is-there-such-a-thing-as-patient-autonomy/

Description: a white humanoid figurine in joyously raising their arms as chains fall away from their body]

Day 5 of post-op, the vaginal mold aka the crusty bandages were removed. They were sewn on and saturated in a ton of fluids I’d rather not think about. There were only four stitches holding it in place and so it pinched a little each time a stitch was cut. Then the pieces were picked off and tossed into the garbage like pieces of grisly eggshell. Afterwards, I had to shower, wash, and look at my crotch. This terrified me.

Touching my crotch for the first time almost sent me into a panic. There’s still a catheter still in my bladder and a condom filled with cotton (called a stent) sewn into the vaginal cavity. And there’s a tuft of gauze where the clitoris is probably to protect it from infection. It doesn’t feel like me, it feels like one of Frankenstein’s experiments and I have to touch the prickly, squishy, swollen flesh. After showering, I had to apply polysporin to the twin scars, the only thing I could find cute about my genitals. It took a bunch of people calming me down to be able to accept my genitals in their current state.

As the day went by, I reveled in the increased freedom I had, but I also learned that the leak in my catheter is now free to just dribble all down my thighs when I have to pee. My catheter also kept on making this gurgling sound all the time and the sensation was getting to me. And the stitches holding the stent in were pulling more often especially whenever I had to find ways to use the bathroom.

This day was characterized by how done I was with the things inside me. I needed the catheter and the stent removed yesterday. I wanted to be free of all that nonsense and start dilating already.

Day 6 was an emotional roller coaster. I was reminded that I have a lot of body trauma that hasn’t been dealt with. The stent was being removed which was very exciting for me. And I’d learn how to dilate and douche as well. The body trauma reared its head while the stent was being removed. Up to this point, I’ve had a lot of difficulty letting anyone touch my genitals. Even with my explicit consent, I couldn’t let my doctor touch it for examination purposes. This was only marginally easier. I had to be reminded a number of times to spread my legs out so the stitches could be removed. Then the stent was removed and there was some gauze was present that needed to be removed. That sounds moderately easy, but it wasn’t for me. I kept on squirming away, talking too much, howling, and generally being difficult.

I was reminded that I’m a survivor.

The first and second dilations weren’t too bad. I was hesitant to engage in penetration (because that’s what dilation really is…) but I did it. I tried to think of it as erotic, but it just felt strange. But it was the third dilation that something different happened. I started crying.

I was reminded that I’m a survivor.

I mourned myself, the one who was coerced into sex at the hands of an older trans woman. I mourned the death of my innocence. I mourned my shitty family growing up. I mourned my failure to succeed life as a gay boy. I mourned the years I never got to explore my sexuality. I mourned the agony that my inner romantic has endured being untouched by the warmth of romantic love.

While and after dilating, I cycled through crying, vacant stares, and trying to call for my spiritual guides but only echoing into the void. I’m pretty sure this was meant to be a trial of sorts to help me grow as a person. I was forced to grieve for the things I talk about, but not feel in my bones. But at the heart of all this was the reminder that I am loved and cared for. That a lot of people have sent me well-wishes and sincerely hope for my recovery. And I got the distinct impression that a certain spirit was embracing me when I came to this realization.

Day 7 was pretty freeing and things looked up. I talked with people about how I felt and went through the day before. We came up with a small plan to ask the nurses to let a second person in to help hold my hand and ground me while the catheter is being removed. And thankfully, the nurses listened to my request. I mentioned that I was a survivor and they were okay with it.

The catheter had one stitch that needed to be removed. Then the balloon in my bladder needed to be collapsed before the catheter could be removed. I was glad that they brought in a second staff person to help me through the procedure. I was able to endure it with minimal squirming. Once the catheter was removed, I was completely free of all the tubes!

Learning to pee with my new genitals was interesting. t was a little difficult to feel where my urethra was due to swellin. It still feels like I’m about to drip pee and that my urethra and/or clitoris (I can’t even tell the difference between them yet…) feels like it’s submerged in water. I’ve learned that my urethra is still inflamed and also needs to heal.

It’s been so freeing to have my own body back, but there are changes I need to process. The biggest one is that my genitals are different from what they once were. It’s great in so many ways. I’m a lot more comfortable with my body and my sexuality feels more aligned. But it’s still major body trauma that I need to work through. While I hated my genitals intensely, I only learned to hate it because of social pressures. (People sexualizing it in ways I don’t want, people giving it meaning that I don’t agree with). I have to learn how to live with how swollen they will be for the next few months. My crotch feels like it’s swollen to the size of a large orange. And it looks more like a gash sewn together in the semblance of genitals. On top of it, I get random shocks as my nerves re-attach themselves to each other, have to deal with phantom genitals and the pain of an inflamed urethra. But at least I can sit (in some positions for some time) and have 95% of my mobility back.

While surgery hasn’t been too painful (getting the medusa tattoo was worse) it was quite the emotional journey. I feel like I’ve grown and matured in some respects since I began preparing to leave for Montreal. It’s been a long journey, but it leads to better things for me.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s