I don’t know why I’m keeping count of the days other than the fact that every thing to do with surgeries is counted in weeks and I’m coming up on two weeks in a few days. After two weeks I might start to get a reprise from my very uncomfortable post-surgical binder that I have to wear 24 hours a day. I might be allowed to take it off altogether and forever or I might just get to take it off at night. I guess I’ll know soon.
As far as healing is concerned, I’d say the stitches are starting to look more like scars more every day. The glue they put on me in surgery is almost all gone now and I think the majority of the swelling has subsided. Every day it looks a little bit better and feels better. My left side looks dramatically better than my right side. Even the nipples look very different. The right nipple is very dark, purple-blackish and the left is reddish-pink. The scar on the right is lumpy and bumpy, while the one on the left is much smoother and thinner. I have no idea if this is normal. I look at my nipples in the mirror for the two minutes I get to see them every day and can’t believe that they are actually going to look like normal nipples again soon. It’s truly hard to believe, especially the right one which looks like it’s dead. Yet, I get sharp pains in them once in a while which I take as signs of life.
It’s been a very significant couple of weeks for me. I came out fully to some close, local friends and to my staff at work. All of the important people in my life know about my transition and that I’m transgender. I also asked people to start working on switching pronouns for me as well. I told them that my preferred pronouns are they/them/their but he/him/his are fine as well. I also gave them the option to just use my name instead of a pronoun if all else failed. I expect it to be a long and arduous task to get the pronouns switched over. And, on top of all that, one of my diplomas came in the mail today with my new name on it. That’s a very cool thing indeed! I am looking forward to putting it in the frame over top the old one tomorrow at work. I had all but forgotten about my diplomas so it was a big surprise when it showed up in the mail today.
The only thing left to do, besides continue to heal, is to change my gender marker on my driver’s license. I’ve decided that I need to do that to feel like I’m complete. After that, I will consider my transition complete. Of course, transition is never completely complete. We’re never completely done coming out. There’s always someone who doesn’t know about us transitioning. There’s the pronoun challenge that will be on-going for quite some time. And of course, testosterone will continue to works it way through my system and change my appearance even more than it already has.
The beautiful ladies at Dr. Sherie’s office told me the last day I saw them that I looked good and that I was never anything but a man to them. They’re such angels for saying that. I told Dr. Sherie that I felt like I looked like The Incredible Hulk because I have muscular pecs now but that I guessed that would change after the swelling went down. She just looked at me very kindly and said that she thought it might not change that much because I have very good musculature. Wow! I used to lift weights a lot. Maybe it paid off in the end? Now that the swelling is going down I still see my pecs in the mirror, so maybe she was right. Just have to work on my beer belly now!
The only disappointing thing that has happened with my Top Surgery experience is that my brother informed me that he’s angry that I took my transition this far. He’s angry with me. I’m actually incredulous that he thinks he has the right to be angry at me for doing something I have always wanted to do to my own body. I told him that the only person who has any right to be upset at all is Candace. It does effect her. How exactly does this effect him any more than changing my name and telling him that I want him to consider me his brother now. Maybe he thought I was joking. He probably didn’t take me seriously about that stuff. I joked and told him I have a penis now too and that really freaked him out. He asked me several times if it was true. I could tell it was really upsetting him (for some reason) to think that I had a penis so I finally told him the truth and he was very relieved. Why did he care so much? Candace seems to think I would care if he wanted to be a woman and have a vagina. Nope, I really wouldn’t. In fact, I would think that it’s natural for him to want that.
On another note, I’ve gotten asked some interesting questions since surgery. Candace’s mom asked me if I felt self-conscious when they took topless pictures of me after surgery. No, why would I? I don’t have breasts anymore.
I’ve been asked if it hurt. Yeah, it hurt but pain meds work wonders. Duh! I was asked if they tried to talk me out of it. No. Why would they? I was asked if I missed them. NO! But, I am concerned with how I’ll feel if my nipples don’t survive. I was asked how it feels to be a man now. That one really gets me. I’m no more a man now than I was before surgery. I just said that I feel like myself, but lighter. I’ll admit that most of these questions came from kids, but still I found it kind of humorous and interesting the things they think of.
I saw my new chest for the first time the day after surgery. It wasn’t an emotional moment for me like I had thought it might be. Maybe it’s because I was still on pain meds, but it was just kind of an anti-climatic moment for me. I think I might have hurt my surgeon’s feelings that I wasn’t more excited about it. Normally I wouldn’t have been asked to come back the next day but they were really concerned about me because I had such a hard time waking up from the anesthesia the night before. They called Candace twice that night to check on me and again in the morning to ask if she’d bring me in for a once over and some massage. The massage was simply pushing on my chest to help remove some fluid. There was no new age music and candles or scented oils involved. I still haven’t had a big emotional reaction to my chest. I think I’m still in a wait and see mode with a little bit of I can’t believe I actually did this thrown in for good measure. Up until the night before I was still second guessing myself and thinking about backing out. Eventually I decided that I was past the point of no return and I needed to make peace with that. And I did. The morning of surgery I wasn’t nervous at all or hesitant. I had made my decision in the 11th hour and was putting my life in the hands of Dr. Sherie and her team. I’ve told them from the beginning that they are the boss and I will do whatever they tell me to do. And I meant that. I’ve been following her orders to the T (whatever that means). I just hope it pays off.