Tag Archives: Surgery

One Year Post-Op – Was It Worth It?

 

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[Description: a drowsy looking mixed race transfemme aka me is looking at the camera with an arm above their head and the other on their chest. They’re wearing a blue gown and have a blue sheet covering them while laying on a hospital bed. This is a photo that was clearly taken right after surgery.

Taken from: my personal collection of photos]

It’s been a year since I had vaginoplasty so I’m calling it my vagiversary. There’s going to be a party tonight, but none of you will be invited to it.

It’s been quite a journey to get here. A lot of sweat, blood, tears from not just myself, but from my kyn and my network of friends.

And was it worth everything I sacrificed? Yes. Do I regret getting a vag? Hell no. Am I happy with everything? No. But such is life and such is the risk of surgery itself.

Continue reading One Year Post-Op – Was It Worth It?

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Post Op Months 5-8

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[Description: Fireworks on a black background. There are four bursts of colour in the image. Two reddish gold fireworks in the foreground that overlap and are located close to the center. There’s another gold firework above it and a green one to the right of the gold.

Taken from: http://www.hormonesmatter.com/female-orgasm/ ]

I started my fifth month post with silver nitrate applied to my vag which was less-than-fun. The application didn’t take long fortunately. My gynecologist took what looked like a matchstick with a silver tip and gently brushed it against my labia. And then came the burning sensation as the silver nitrate did its work.

For those who aren’t aware, silver nitrate is used to treat hypergranulated tissue – when your body heals up too much and there’s what looks like a red, shiny scab left behind. It needs to be burned off in order for your body to heal properly, hence the silver nitrate.

The whole procedure took a couple minutes and the burning sensation lasted a few minutes more. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. The pain was nowhere near as bad as getting a tattoo. Or even getting a needle. It stings, but it’s over within a few minutes. It’s akin to getting a cut disinfected.

After the silver nitrate is applied, your body has to heal. And part of that healing involves bleeding and old skin that looks like grey goo coming out of the vulva. I joked with my kin that this was the period that I’d never get. My cloth pads were finally getting used for what they were designed for. I felt sore and sensitive for a few days as my body healed. And I had to continue douching and bathing to wash out the gunk. The whole process was messy and made dilating less pleasant, but by this point, I was getting used to cleaning blood out of my sheets and the sight of weird gunk coming out of my vag.

Continue reading Post Op Months 5-8

Months 3-4 Post Op

gesundheit-gesundbleiben-geistige-gesundheit-burn-out-therapie

[Description: a human figure with breasts and long hair wearing a red long sleeve and navy blue pants, has grey skin, a wind up key in their back, and they’re flopping forward with their arms hanging down. Above them is a battery icon with only a small amount filled in all in red. This is supposed to signify “low on power”.

Taken from: https://www.liebenswert-magazin.de/burn-out-dann-hilft-eine-therapie-mit-vitaminen-499.html ]

The third month post-op was exhausting. I wasn’t informed how exhausting it was going to be. After two months at home with the occasional exertion outside, I was expected to be healed enough to start working again. And still be dilating three times a day. While I was overjoyed to be finally out of the house doing stuff and back to work, I would often come home and collapse into bed or on the couch and veg because I was so exhausted. And it was a struggle to get 3 dilations in a day.

Continue reading Months 3-4 Post Op

First Couple Months Post-Op

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[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.

Taken from: http://ewebarticle.info/xtenbinfo-butterfly-emerging-chrysalis.html ]

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.

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Surgery Diary 3 – The Journey Back to Body Autonomy

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[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.

 

 

Being Fat Post-Op

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[Taken from: https://trainingbytarabrunet.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/health-at-every-size/

Description: A graphic with a title that says, “Body size is not an accurate indication of health” Below the title shows four silhouettes of people presumed to be women of various sizes and shapes. The only thing in common is that each one had their left hand on their hip and they’re all wearing what is presumably a suit and heeled boots. The silhouette is filled in with various fruits, vegetables, grains, and other food items.]

Going into surgery, I was terrified. Intellectually, I know that thousands of trans women have come before these doors and had their surgeries done. This is an exacted art. But I was still plagued with fears of bad results, death, dismemberment, and the gravity of what I was about to undergo. The message I got was that because I was fat, it was going to go badly. But still go and get surgery! Everyone is super nice and supportive!

Continue reading Being Fat Post-Op

That Time Before Bottom Surgery? Yeah, it Sucks!

So I’m going to do the thing that a lot of trans folks do and document my process through surgery/transition. I didn’t really do much for when I started taking hormones, but I’m going to do it for my experience with surgery.

To kick this off, I’m going to talk about that time before surgery when I had to go off hormones. Yep, go off hormones. Before undergoing bottom surgery so I can get a vulva, I had to be off hormones for 3 weeks. I endured 4 weeks because my hormones ran out and I couldn’t be bothered to buy a single week’s worth of hormones.

One thing that people don’t talk about enough is how bad this time is without hormones can be. Going in, I was terrified. There have been times when I haven’t been off hormones. I think my record was a week. (Due to scheduling issues and spoons). By the time I reach about day 4 of being without hormones, I start experiencing mood swings and become lethargic. The prospect of going for a whole month without hormones was terrifying if after a week without hormones, I felt like going mad!

Obviously, I’ve survived it since I’m writing this blog post in the first place.

Continue reading That Time Before Bottom Surgery? Yeah, it Sucks!