One Year Post Top Surgery

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a year since my top surgery but it has.  At first, I was posting updates every few weeks but then I stopped updating about my results.  Why?  Well, because I had a very serious complication and I got pretty sick for a while and I didn’t want to share what was going on.  After a few weeks it was pretty obvious that my right nipple was infected and wasn’t going to heal like the other one.  I sent my surgeon pictures nearly daily of what it looked like, she ordered more antibiotics, and finally she asked me to drive back down to her so she could see it in real life.  She ended up cutting the dead nipple out of my chest and I spent about six weeks hooked up to a wound vac which sucked the infection out of the wound where my nipple used to be.  I continued on a regiment of different antibiotics during that time period and suffered from sever diarrhea from the drugs.  Through all of this she also had to open up some of my incision for drainage so my scar is jagged where that was done.

At the time all of this was happening I got fairly depressed.  I wasn’t so upset that I had lost a nipple but I was worried about my health and the experience of being attached to a machine 24 hours a day for six weeks made me feel miserable mentally.  At times, I wondered if I would ever heal and get back to my old life.  Never, though, did I regret the surgery or the surgeon I chose.  She did a fairly new procedure on me and I knew going into it that it had its risks.  I feel like my surgeon did everything in her power to help me get through this and went above and beyond what most would have done in this situation so I don’t hold her responsible at all and just chalk it up to shit that happens sometimes.

I’ve decided to share that experience here finally at this stage of the game.  I’m completely healed now from the surgery and the wound.  Now, instead of a nipple on my right chest I have a slightly sunken pink scar that looks a little like a nipple.  There never was any pain.  I’m happy to report that my left nipple is healthy and has excellent sensation.  The sensation is different than it was before surgery but it’s quite alive and thriving nonetheless.  My scars are starting to fade pretty well now and all in all I think my chest looks pretty good.

In a few weeks I will be heading back down to see my surgeon and she will do a scar revision on the nipple so that I can get a tattoo later on and make it look like the other, healthy one.  It won’t have sensation and won’t react like a normal nipple, but it should make the overall appearance much better.  I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous about doing any more surgical work to this area after the experience I had, but I trust that it will go much better this time.

While I am overall pleased with the look of my chest surgery I want to talk about something that I am not happy about and that bothers me greatly in regards to my chest.  I’ve heard a few people talk about this phenomenon but I don’t know how prevalent it is.  Along my scar line, where she made the incision, I feel a tightness and pulling internally that I find to be extremely annoying and uncomfortable.  If I stretch my chest muscles and under my arms it seems to help to loosen it up.   Massage seems to help it.  Rubbing, and even tapping on the scar seems to help.  But it’s still there every day and seems to feel worse when I wear a jacket or heavier shirt where the fabric pushes down on my skin.

I’ve talked to my surgeon about it in the past and she thought it would loosen up with time.  Maybe it has loosened up some, but it’s still pretty aggravating.   I’m going to talk to her about it again when I see her in April.  I don’t know if this will ever go away but I sure hope it does because it’s very uncomfortable.  I don’t want to be aware of my chest at all and this is almost as uncomfortable to me as binding or wearing a bra was.

Other than the discomfort, which I may just have to learn to live with, I have thoroughly enjoyed not having breasts and seeing myself with a flat chest.  It’s an amazing feeling to be able to wear a shirt and not have those pesky things protruding and getting in the way.  I love not having to hide them and just being able to throw on a t shirt in the morning.  I very unceremoniously dumped my old bras in the trash shortly after surgery and donated my old binders.  I’m thrilled to never need any of that again.  I’m seriously considering getting a tattoo across my chest to hide my scars at some point down the road.  I’m not sure what the tattoo will be at this point but once I decide and get it done I’ll make sure and let all of you know.

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7 thoughts on “One Year Post Top Surgery

  1. I am unfamiliar with top surgery ins and outs. It sounds very scary and I’m happy to hear that you are okay. I can’t imagine how difficult it was being hooked up to a machine for 6 weeks and fighting infection. I’m still in a Facebook group for moms of trans sons but I don’t participate anymore. From my time in there, I know that there are complications that can occur with top surgery and I think it’s great that you are comfortable with sharing this now. I think it will be helpful to others who are considering surgery or have similar problems.

    I hope things continue along positively (and that discomfort goes away!!) I look forward to hearing about your future possible tattoo. I have a friend who has tattoos and each one has special meaning to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kat. I am sharing this in the hopes that it helps others. I don’t think nipple issues are all that rare, but since mine were not just a graft the infection went pretty deep into my chest area and that scared me.

      My hope is that the tattoo, if I do get one, is something that has a lot of meaning to me. I will definitely write about that if/when the time comes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to hear from you again, Shawn. Hope the tightness will resolve in time and that the revision will go well. Looking forward to hear what tattoo design you choose. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to hear from you again! Also, thank you for writing about this! I’m on the waiting list for surgery and it’s great to hear how others’ procedures have went. Helps with the mental preparation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear you’ll soon get your surgery and enjoy the feeling of having a flat chest. There’s nothing like it and totally worth the effort of surgery and recuperation time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Shawn, sorry you had to go through all that! Sounds scary- I’m glad you’ve bounced back, and yeah, I’m curious too what your tattoo will be!

    Like

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