[Description: A monarch butterfly emerging from a chrysalis against a blue sky background. The monarch butterfly is still furled up and half emerged from the chrysalis which seems to be attached to a branch.
The biggest issue I’ve faced coming home was that my nurse practitioner, the trans healthcare specialist at my clinic, was away and I had no idea when she was going to be back. Because of this, I didn’t have the best healthcare I could have gotten. My family doctor, although aware of trans issues and was able to help in some ways, wasn’t a specialist when it comes to post op trans healthcare. It has led to my healing process taking longer than anticipated.
The trip back from Montreal was rough, but it could have been a lot worse. I thankfully bought a gel seat prior to getting surgery so I had more comfortable padding to sit on that wasn’t the cheap inflatable donut. I couldn’t walk quickly at all and it took a lot of energy just to travel from one place to another. I’m thankful for all the help I was given from my chosen fam and from the crew of the train.
The first few days home, I had my dad over to help look after me. The constant dilating, washing, douching, cleaning of the dilators, pills, and eating took so much energy out of me. My days blurred into each other more than they usual do. I hated how regimented my days were. Get up at 9am. Eat (so I have enough energy to dilate), dilate, shower, douche, wash dilators. Rinse and repeat 4 times a day. I have a lot of social capital so I had access to friends who could come over and help fetch me things and clean up after me while I couldn’t easily do it myself. The bulk of the care work still came from my chosen fam who did a lot of unpaid cooking, cleaning, and fetching things for me.
Dilation was painful. I didn’t cry while dilating anymore, but it was uncomfortable and took effort to do. I still dread dilating and it takes me time to psych myself up enough to do it. I’m also thankful for the communities I made on the app Kik. I complained to most everyone about dilating. I intimately learned about the wonders of the pelvic bone and the base of vulva that I was later told was called the V. I tried not to think too much about how my new vulva looked. It felt great to have one… When I wasn’t exhausted. But it still looked odd. It didn’t look like any vulva I’d ever seen before (admittedly, not many) and it was so weird having so many different parts. Pee and fluids come out of different holes? And the major erogenous zone all in different places? Weird!
The start of the second month was a relief. I was getting stronger and began taking short walks sometimes. It felt nice to leave the house again. Dilating only 3 times a day was still hectic, but survivable. Dilations at the beginning of the month were living hell though. While it felt like I had gained some progress in making my dilations easier, suddenly, I had to push through scar tissue that was forming. Dilation was exhausting beyond belief with the amount of effort I had to put into dilating. I had to use enough pressure to get through the scar tissue, but be careful not to tear the vaginal lining (much) and deal with the pain. It got better after the first couple weeks. I couldn’t have gotten through this period of time without chocolate, snacks, and my care team doing a lot of care work for me.
Towards the end of the second month, I gained a lot more energy back (even while dilating took a lot out of me). I also regained the ability to sit again and started writing again. I was able to travel and do things for longer than a couple hours with some support. I once walked about half an hour (because I got lost, whoops) and that was still a pretty big success.
With healing came also the huge boost to my sex drive. I’ve had an orgasm on most days of my life since I was 10 years old. My last orgasm was a couple hours right before surgery. It’s been two months without a release and it feels like I’m going to crawl up the walls of descend into madness. I tried to get myself off likely around the 1.5 month mark the way I thought made the most sense, and it felt good… But not good enough to get off. Every single trick I could think of pre-op didn’t work. I literally spent hours trying to find a way to get off. And I think I harmed my outer labia a little. But hey, I found where the clit was. It felt like a pointy little pike when I found it. The upper half of the vulva was swollen so I didn’t really feel much in the way of pleasure. I was lucky enough to feel something in the first place.
I received a call a couple days after trying to orgasm from my nurse practitioner. She was back! And saw me a couple days later. And then after that, I had my first gynecology appointment. It’s because of my NP and Gyno that I learned I had a UTI (which was a resistant strain likely from the hospital) and an infection at the V of my vulva.
Antibiotics were awful and messed up my sleep cycle. They tasted nasty and I tried my best not to get nauseous from them. Food helped. This takes me to the beginning of my third month post-op where I had to start working again. I wish that this had all been seen earlier, it might have made a difference in how long my healing process took.
By this point, I was pretty mobile with some soreness when I sat down, I could do more things (although bending over to reach things on/close to the ground was awful). I waddled more than walked and I definitely was read as pregnant a few times when I was out doing stuff.
I’ll be posting another surgery journal in another couple months. See you then.