How can I say this and simultaneously convey my feelings of utter joy and gratefulness: I finally had surgery last week!!
I got rid of those horrid pesky things that grew on me like a cancer and have been there for years without me being able to do anything about it. They have been a great curse my whole life and not a day went by for the last couple of years that I didn’t wish them to be gone with ardent fervour. Being me was not possible with lumps on my chest that screamed out ‘girl’ and other, more filthy words.
THEY NEVER BELONGED TO ME!!
That is why I can justify that I have had surgery; surgery that every other Trans person is entitled to. I’ve gotton much closer to me in only a week. I have heightened my feelings of worth and happiness and confidence in a week. What it took was not a lot, compared to what it would take to have kept on living the lie of having been born ‘female’.
Surgery took place on Wed. 6th of June 2012 at the McLean Clinic (for more info go to http://www.mcleanclinic.com). I had been so nervous during the previous weeks and now I was finally there, I arrived at my destination. I couldn’t f… believe it at first, it was all so wonderful. People were respectful of me, they treated me with kindness. Of course they were earning lots of money through me, but still, it all felt very genuine.
I never in my life thought that one day I would have plastic surgery and basically go it alone. I travelled there on my own and went through the whole process alone, but with the knowledge that I am not the only one who decides to have surgery and actually goes through with it, and with the knowledge that my mother was supportive of my decision.
I met with the surgeon and staff on the day before surgery and time just went by so quickly from there. Before I knew it I found myself getting prepped for the big event, for surgery itself. I got talked through every step of the way and never once did I feel obliged to keep going. This only made me more determined to go ahead and also to try my best not to act too foolish after surgery due to the drugs I would be given. I was determined to do all I could to make the surgery and recovery afterwards a success.
While I am writing this I am still a bit dizzy. I am not taking medication anymore, since I have been taking meds continuously for the past week (almost). Surgery did not take long and the dr. was happy with the results. I did not even feel so bad afterwards, no nausea, just general tiredness and exhileration. I slept a lot and watched crappy Canadian TV a lot (yes crappy, because I only have four channels at home, and you Canadians have a lot more, and still there’s not much worth watching)….I didn’t have much energy for anything, especially during the first day of recovery. A nurse had to stay with me for the first 24 hours. A big Thank you goes out to her because she made the time go by so fast and engaged me in interesting conversation and also managed to make me laugh. So Thank you to Theora (‘Missy’). The clinic where I had the operation got me into contact with Theora and she, in turn, made sure I took medication (properly) and didn’t do anything stupid, which she did really well, which helped to make this a good experience.
The next day I could already go walking about and go to the mall (luckily it was really close-by). It was fun walking around in a completely unfamiliar place, knowing that one knows noone at all in this place and just had surgery and still being a bit weird due to the medication and the tiredness. It made the shopping experience so much more interesting.
Now I’m sitting at home and much of the excitement has gone and is now being replaced by slight nausea and general discomfort in the operated-on area. I actually feel weirder now than I did in the hotel directly after surgery, probably because my life is boring again, and I’m in recovery mode. I have large scars acrosse my chest area that are still taped up. The skin is a bit bruised in places, but nothing major. My left side feels almost normal, while on my right side I occasionally feel sharp stings and pain is stronger there. I also have to wear a compression binder for at least 2 weeks post-op, which is actually comfortable, considering that my chest feels like it is being stretched apart when I take the binder off for longer periods of time.
One has to be really careful not to do too much at once, because it’s easy to forget how vulnerable one still is after having had surgery. First one feels fine but when one moves too abruptly or doesn’t remind oneself that one is still ‘sick’, it’s not a good experience. After a whole week of not being able to go to the toilet properly my bowels are finally waking up and my system is trying to get back to normal. I guess after having to take pain tablets for this long, I am still getting this stuff out of my system. I’m going to try to not exert myself anymore and not go walking around in the heat and humidity too much, because it really has affected me today.
Surgery was easy in the sense that I didn’t have to do much. Recovery and living in this ‘new’ body are more difficult, because these take energy and determination. In fact, my surgery was easier than usual, because I decided early NOT to have nipple grafts and the complex chest reconstruction process. I had a full mastectomy without reconstruction. To anyone to whom this is not yet clear (enough): I have no chest anymore, I have no nipples.
I don’t think I will ever regret the decision to have surgery, not even this kind of extreme surgery (‘amputation’). I have seen my body like the way it is now for a long time. I could use my imagination to conjure up what I wanted my body to look like, after that, it was just a matter of finding a competent and willing surgeon to perform the necessary task of remodelling it (and finding the money to get this done, as well).
I am really scared of needles and I can’t stand doctor’s offices/clinics, but this felt right from beginning to end. The staff were really welcoming and helpful and the place itself was not really like a clinic at all, but felt much more comfortable than that. Nobody has seen or commented on my new chest and it still feels sore and numb at the same time. I have to sleep on my back for a while, which is a bit of a burden, but all this will soon disappear and I will feel increasingly more comfortable in my body, much more comfortable than before, that’s for sure!!
I can’t thank people enough that have supported me in those numerous ways that they have (either deliberately or not). My new chest might be weird to some people, but it’s no weirder than other things. People do things for all sorts of different reasons, and in the end, most of the time, they do it to feel good/better about themselves.
I am hoping other people will have the confidence and resources to also have surgery if they so wish, because IT’S SO WORTH IT.