Two Months After Top Surgery

As of November 6th, I was two months on top surgery (and 20 months on T as of November 1st). This update is fabulously late but in my defense, I have had a very busy time at work. I returned to work at the 6-week mark and I also started showering while facing the shower head at this point.

IMG_3120

A few nights ago, I pulled about four to five inches of a stitch out of my left incision. Before that, it was super irritated, a little painful, oozing and building up some pus. After pulling out the stitch, everything returned to normal.

The surgeon said I am doing good and nipple grafts look great. They are very light pink for the most part but starting to get a little darker, too. The scabs fell off shortly after my last post.

I am able to lift and move my upper body normally at this point. I still feel some minor irritation, but I guess that’s to be expected with being cut open and all.

Advertisements

Top Surgery: One Month Post-op

It’s hard to imagine it’s been a month now, huh?

One month ago,  I had double incision with free nipple grafts. I got my surgery in Timonium, Maryland and my surgeon was Dr. Beverly Fischer. I highly recommend Dr. Fischer to anyone looking to get top surgery done. Her bedside manner is excellent and her results are spectacular.

IMG_2823

Except for going back to work, I think most everything in my life is pretty much normal. I have been experiencing intense post-surgical depression, but that is something that happens to people sometimes. I also experienced that back when I had my appendix removed, too.

My scars seem to be healing well, and I have an appointment on Monday the 16th to get cleared to go back to work.

My nipple scabs haven’t fallen off yet. I am still getting warm sensations in my chest where the nerves are regrowing and I still have undissolved stitches coming out. But all in all I think everything is going great. It’s still unimaginably awesome to have a flat chest.

I have also started working out on the elliptical very lightly every day since the 4 week mark. It doesn’t hurt but I have to be careful.

Top Surgery: Three Weeks Post-op

Three weeks ago today,  I had double incision with free nipple grafts. I got my surgery in Timonium, Maryland and my surgeon was Dr. Beverly Fischer. I highly recommend Dr. Fischer to anyone looking to get top surgery done. Her bedside manner is excellent and her results are spectacular.

There’s not a whole lot to tell at this point.

My nipples are really scabby and I hope every day that these scabs are going to fall off so I don’t have to deal with them anymore. I still am not facing the showerhead when I am showering to help protect my nipples.

I am driving quite a bit but when I ride in a car (whether I’m driving it or someone else is) bumps, potholes, and speed bumps still really hurt. I am in a moderate amount of pain but dealing with it.

And the freaky part is I have stitches popping up out of my incisions. I guess that means these are the ones that did not dissolve. It freaks me out and makes me a little squeamish. But when they stick out far enough, we trim them.

I have officially abandoned wearing that vest, which left acne all over my chest, back, and shoulders. Wearing a shirt without a bra, binder, or vest on underneath feels a little foreign but I am thrilled at the same time.

I think I’m healing up fairly well, but it still hurts to lay on my side and do other things. We just got a German Shepherd so I’m trying not to hold the pup close to my chest, or other pets.

Top Surgery: Two Weeks Post-Op

Two weeks ago today,  I had double incision with free nipple grafts. I got my surgery in Timonium, Maryland and my surgeon was Dr. Beverly Fischer. I highly recommend Dr. Fischer to anyone looking to get top surgery done. Her bedside manner is excellent and her results are spectacular.

top with bed head

Even though the first week was not a breeze, this second week had a rough start. That rough start would be standing in the shower, dripping wet and sobbing while my wife was trying to help me wash my hair. But after that, the showers how gotten increasingly easier each time.

I still have to wear the compression vest until I am three weeks post-op and for the time being, I was advised to cover my nipples. I was also advised not to shower facing the shower head, as the water pressure could pose a real threat to my nipple grafts.

I am still in pain, but I am relying on over the counter painkillers to get me through.

To be clear, I have gone back to using DIM, rosemary oil on my face, and my injections of testosterone. And when I am cleared for exercise (probably around the six week mark) I want to return to the gym. I have started talking walks with my dog around the block everyday. But a lot of simple things still hurt, like trying to was and dry my own hair. I also attempted driving today for the first time since before surgery. It hurt a lot and I don’t think I’ll be trying it again for a few days.

Sleeping through the night requires sleep pills my surgeon prescribed and laying down still hurts. But I am much more independant with taking care of myself than I was in the first week.

My nipples look kind of funky, but I don’t think it’s anything alarming. My insicions seem to be healing up nicely. And I’m very happy to have those pesky drains out!

Top Surgery: One Week Post-Op

One week ago today,  I had double incision with free nipple grafts. I got my surgery in Timonium, Maryland and my surgeon was Dr. Beverly Fischer. I highly recommend Dr. Fischer to anyone looking to get top surgery done. Her bedside manner is excellent and her results are spectacular.

MYNEWCHEST

When I first woke up, the first thing I noticed was how much pain I was in. I actually started crying quite a bit in the recovery room and my wife had to give me a pain pill before we even got on the road.

The pain was pretty bad.

For several days, I relied heavily on my wife to help me out with everything. I couldn’t reach things, getting up was difficult at times, and I couldn’t even pull my own shorts down when I had to go to the bathroom.

I slept the days away on opiate painkillers and found myself depressed at times. A few times, I begged my wife to take me out of the house for small things. However, even short car rides made me very sick at first. I remember going back to the surgeons the day after my surgery, I had to wrap my face in a blanket to block out the nauseating sun.

My wife also assisted me in emptying my drains each day and documenting how much fluid was in them. I was unable to see my chest over the course of the first seven days, as I was bound tight in a compression vest filled with gauze pads.

The past two or three days, however,  I have become much more independent. My pain is still bad, but I’m going to take it with over the counter painkillers once I run out of my prescription ones.

However, today has been one week!

I returned to the surgeon’s office to have my drains taken out. It didn’t hurt, it just felt kind of weird. My wife and mom were with me and we all got to see my new chest for the first time. I’m really satisfied with the results! However now that my chest is flat, I can really see I need to shed some pounds in my belly.

Even though I like my chest, I am a little worried I am still going to screw something up somehow. But I am very anxious so it may just be worries. . .

Being able to take a shower for the first time in a week felt incredible. I still have to wear the compression vest for the next two weeks and put band-aides over my nipples, but I am so satisfied with how my chest looks. And for the first time ever, I am completely flat underneath my shirt.

And that is worth all the pain, let me tell ya.

Tomorrow, I Get Top Surgery

On Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, I am going to receive top surgery as a transgender male. It was not an easy road to get to this place, but it was certainly worth it. I am also now officially eighteen months (a year and a half) on testosterone as of September 1st but didn’t make a post about it.

Originally, I wanted to get the inverted T surgery. But I realized quickly on that it would take so much money and time to travel out of the state by plane to get the surgery done out of the region. At the time, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of decent surgeons who do inverted T within driving distance of where I live.

Plus, after getting with the woman who is now my wife, I discovered I’m not crazy about my nipple sensation anyway.

First, I made an appointment with a surgeon for a consult in March. I won’t say who it is, but they are located in Philadelphia. Then, I heard more and more negative reviews from people who had multiple types of surgeries with him. So after some more research, I decided to get my surgery done with Beverley Fischer in Timonium, Maryland.

I got my consult done in May and originally had my surgery scheduled for August 16th. However, with my closing date for my house getting pushed to the end of July, I had to push my surgery off. I couldn’t afford to get any new debt while I was in escrow.

I had to pay $8,000 upfront to get my surgery done. And I will be making payments on this debt for a while.

My wife has taken off for about a week to be with me through the initial recovery days, and I will be off of work for about six weeks.

This is not my first surgery. I had my wisdom teeth out when I was eighteen but at fifteen? I had an emergency surgery for an appendectomy. At that time, I also had drains, which I will have after top surgery. I knew I was going to get my appendectomy done a few minutes beforehand. I’m not sure if it’s easier or not, knowing for months and weeks about having major surgery, and thinking about it, and being anxious about it. To be honest, I’m getting nervous. I woke up next to my wife this morning and realized that at that time tomorrow? I will be getting cut into.

But despite my nerves? I am thrilled.

I will be able to wear any of my shirts. Some of them I never wear because my binder straps show. Or even worse, my chest looks really weird under some of my favorite shirts, so I never wear them. I wear a lot of baggy clothes I don’t like to hide my chest. When I’m not wearing a binder? I’m severely anxious and hold my hands over my chest the entire time.

Binding also hurts my chest a lot. My ribs hurt even when I’m not wearing one.

Swimming and going to the beach is going to be incredible because I will be able to go topless! In fact, there’s a lot of places I’ll be able to go outside of my house while topless, too. And maybe I’ll be able to have sex with my shirt off more often.

I am going to feel safer changing clothes in the men’s changing room. And the best feeling is going to be looking down and seeing the chest I feel I should always have had. I am going to be free.

There are endless reasons that I am thrilled to get top surgery. Wish me luck, everyone, because I am hoping that tomorrow will be life changing for me.

Seventeen Months On Testosterone

As of August 1st, 2017 (yes I know it’s late, I’m lazy as shit), I am seventeen months on testosterone! That is one year and five months. I have been keeping a little blog of my changes and updates here.

As you may recall from some previous posts, I was in the process of moving out. When I would have to stay with my parents, my dad insisted that I shave my face or I would be kicked out. (“You can’t do that here” but that is what I am). Now, I am really getting to grow out what facial hair I have for the first time. I have plenty of sideburns and throat hair, and sparse hair on other places on my face. Seeing as how I’m only seventeen months on testosterone, I have quite a way to go before possibly growing a full beard. After all, some guys grow a full beard in the first year, but that is by far not typical for most.

I am also currently using Rosemary oil on my face in substitution of Minoxidil, seeing as how some studies show that Rosemary oil may stimulate hair growth.

I seem to be growing a lot more hair on my chest, but my belly is completely covered.

However, my top surgery is on September 6th. As a result, I will have to stop using testosterone for a few weeks, and can’t use my next dose until a few days after my surgery. I really hate the effects of low T and I hope I won’t have to suffer too much while waiting for my surgery to be done.

I also cannot take any more DIM right now while waiting for my surgery. I also currently discontinued use of progesterone cream, which I use for a variety of reasons.

To close out this post, I will also link to a video of my speaking voice comparison between one month on testosterone and seventeen months.

 

A Parent’s Love and False Hope

In the trans community, a lot of us worry about how our parents will react when we come out. Will we be accepted, rejected, or even subjected to violence? And unfortunately, a lot of people tend to offer this advice: Don’t worry — if they love you, they will see you are happy and accept you! It will all work out!

Except very often. . . it doesn’t work out. Not even close.

What’s even worse is that often times if we are rejected by our parents, we are told they will “come around eventually”. This is giving false hope in a lot of cases. And I can personally attest to having one of these parents.

I will first give credit where credit is due. . .

Years and years ago if you would have told me I’d have a great relationship with my mother, she’d accept me soon marrying a woman, and introducing me as her son? I would’ve thought you were hallucinating. But she is now all of those things. I am beyond fortunate to have even one parent who is in my corner. Sadly, a lot of trans people have two parents that are like my father (or worse than him).

When I came out to my father as being transgender, he turned his face to me. “You can’t do that here,” he said. But “that” is what I AM. We have barely spoken for months. He leaves the room when I enter. During the subsequent time I have stayed with my parents, he has forced me to shave my face or I will be kicked out of the home. Thankfully, I now as of this week have a place to move to with my fiancee.

But he completely pushed me aside.

It hurt. It stung. It burned like a fire that my father no longer wanted me. He no longer wants me. He will never see me as his son. Hell, I don’t even feel like he sees me as his child anymore. So many times spent in the same room with him silent, turning a cold shoulder to me. And so many times when he got up and left the room, just because I entered it.

It hurts. But I knew this would happen.

My father is not only a “my way or the highway” kind of guy, he’s a diehard, right-wing conservative. Politics are his religion. He spends hours of everyday consuming right-wing media, whether it be FOX news, listening to AM broadcasts, reading Glenn Beck’s latest book, or surfing Republican blogs. I just don’t fit into his red way of life. He sees me as a disgrace. And he has always been like this. I have always assumed that if he knew the truth, he’d one day just push me aside.

Despite knowing him and having a pretty good idea of what he’d do, numerous people assured me it would “be okay” if I came out to him.

Including my mom.

People assumed because my dad loved me, that love would just solve everything. (However, it begs the question if you can so easily abandon your child, do you in fact really love them? I don’t think you can, but that’s a subject for another day). I mean, I am his child. This man made me and has been around my whole love. He just has to love and accept me, or “eventually come around.” That is what countless people assured me of. But I knew in my heart they were wrong. And creating false hope only made my situation worse.

I can still recall working my third shift job after my dad rejected me. Sitting up all night, I sobbed and it felt like it would be without end. In the months that followed, I contemplated suicide several dozen times, more seriously than I ever had in my entire life. I watched this man I had become close to devolve to a stranger, and treat me like I was an enemy. Of course, why wouldn’t he? I was a threat to his “way of life”, and these brain-washed FOX zombies? Well, love doesn’t overcome if they are taught that love is a weak and useless emotion in the first place.

To this day, I still cry about the father I lost.

And my situation could’ve been much worse, too. News headlines are filled by gay and trans kids being tortured, abused, or killed by their parents for coming out. This is why it makes it all the more dangerous to just tell kids they will be accepted “because their parents love them”. As much as we want it to, as a society, love truley doesn’t conquer all.

It stings, burns, and aches that my gather will never accept me. Hell, he won’t even ever truley love me and I’m not sure he ever did. But don’t sugarcoat it to me. Don’t tell me it will be fine when I knew all along it wouldn’t. I would rather know the painful truth than hold onto one little false hope that maybe he would actually care.

I think that’s much, much worse.

Dear L and G: Please Don’t Forget the Other Letters, Okay?

Apparently, a message of love and acceptance doesn’t always include everyone.

When I was only fourteen, I realized I liked girls. Naturally, I came out as a lesbian. I kept a more minor attraction to boys inside and to myself. After all, every young lesbian I met told me they’d never date someone who “played for both teams”.

Anyway, still in my teens, I remember a thread started on one of the lesbian-specific Facebook groups I was a part of: “Would you accept your child if they came out to you as transgender?” I was shocked to see hundreds of comments come in as a resounding “no”. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. All of these lesbians posted messages preaching acceptance and open-mindedness on the daily.

Huh?

It didn’t make sense to me then. So when I started to realize I was and had always been transgender, I kept it to myself for the longest time.

Lesbian friends had one of two reactions. “That’s wrong” or “Eh, I’d still do you anyway!” Nonetheless, I certainly wasn’t going to come out to anyone as pansexual at that point. At least, not until I started socially transitioning. Lesbian friends of mine started telling me I looked just fine and didn’t need to change a thing. Some called me “tranny”. I flat out lost a lot of friends, and not one of them was heterosexual and cisgender.

My own experiences aside, there are many people who don’t fit neatly into the boxes that cisgender gays and lesbians create for us. Some people are asexual, demisexual, bisexual, pansexual, aromantic, etc. or some of us just flat out aren’t cisgender. The very existence of trans people has caused an outcry from the lesbian and gay communities, some calling us homophobic by nature and others calling for the “T” to be dropped from LGBT.

And let’s not forget the issue of racism running rampant in the lesbian and gay communities, too. No, being lesbian or gay doesn’t automatically make you not racist. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

Ever heard of Stonewall? It wasn’t some white, cis, gay man that threw the first brick. It was a black transgender woman, Marsha P. Johnson. Because of the Stonewall Riots, white lesbian and gay people are free to walk the streets and live openly as their true selves today. That is, with very little acknowledgment to the people who fought for that freedom. It included a lot of trans people, bisexual individuals, and people of color.

So why is transphobia, biphobia, and racism ever prevalent in the LGBT community?

I don’t know. And that is a sad fact that I really don’t have the answer. A lot of us don’t. I have never understood why people hold so tight to discrimination and hatred of other people. Especially when their own personal lives are not affected by it.

In the summer of 2017, the rainbow flag in Philadelphia added a brown and black stripe for people of color the LGBT+ community. Despite the positive message of inclusion they were striving for, many white lesbians and gays took it as some sort of attack on the rainbow flag.

A lot of TERFS — Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists — happen to be lesbians. They argue that trans women are “men invading women’s spaces” and that trans men are anti-lesbian; both by fact of mere existence. In fact, quite a few lesbians have taken to creating blogs that not only lash out against transgender individuals and their rights, but target trans youth and publicly out them.

Publicly outing a trans person can be dangerous to them, in an unlimited number of ways.

Bisexual and pansexual people face a large amount of backlash from gays and lesbians, frequently being called derogatory names and being berated at pride events. Asexuals, along with plenty of other sexualities, are simply often not even given acknowledgement of their existence. Let me give you a hint: the “A” in LGBTQIA doesn’t stand for “ally”. . .

Under a sky of rainbow flags held up by transgender, bisexual people of color and even more exists a large parade of white, cisgender lesbians and gays who claim those colors solely for themselves. That isn’t right. Our contributions to this movement are either ignored, mocked, or outright stolen and taken credit for by others. While you preach a message of love and tolerance, hundreds step on the feet of thousands working to make that message a reality.

Listen up L and G: none of the other letters have stopped fighting the good fight. Why have you so hastily cast us out?

Where I’m At: Sixteen Months On T

So, I’m going to post some info about my own journey on hormone replacement therapy and what not. I’m doing so in the hopes that maybe talking about it may help some other AFAB people who are on testosterone as well, or who are hoping to get on testosterone in the future.

I started testosterone on March 1, 2016. I started on gel and moved to shots after that. I have been on different doses. March 1st – July 1st means sixteen months on T for me so far, yay!

It’s important to note I have also been on lower doses of T since my journey began.

Since starting testosterone, here’s just a few of the things I have experienced:

-Increase in body hair growth, including more hair in places where I had hair before, and new hair in places where I never had it.

-Lots of different places on my face where I am now growing hair. However, sadly, while still living with my conservative father, I am forced to shave on a regular basis. Sometimes I let it go for a few days if I’m working a lot and know I won’t cross paths with him. But if he saw it, I’d be kicked out. I was temporarily banned from living here for a few months earlier this year, but have been staying here a little in the summer until my girlfriend and I can move in together.

-A LOT of increased muscle mass; especially in my upper body.

-Increased libido and growth “down there”.

-My hair line has receded at least a little, but it is noticeable.

-I have gained more weight around my mid-section, but I hope to start getting back to the gym soon so I can work it off.

-My voice has dropped but is continuing to drop. Other people notice it much more than I do and I notice it more when I compare it to old videos of me speaking and singing. The drop in my singing voice is actually much more noticeable than the drop in my speaking voice, too. I can especially tell my voice is different, however, when I sneeze or cry. Really. My sneeze is much different. So is my voice when I’m crying!

-I can see changes in my face.

-My period stopped for about three months and then started up again. Recently, though, it has been super light so I hope it will stop again.

-I sweat WAY more. Like seriously. What the heck?

-My eyebrows grow together faster. I don’t know why. . .

And much, much more. . .

At my last endo appointment, I was told my testosterone levels are in the 500’s, which is good. However, my estrogen levels are high. I know that a lot of the FtM community frowns upon using supplements and such, but I have started using DIM (diindolymethane) in order to help balance out my estrogen levels. I’m not sure if this will help, but I guess we will see.

I will point out that in doing research for supplements that help decrease estrogen, I found a lot that decrease estrogen in folks assigned male at birth, but most of the same ones INCREASED estrogen in folks assigned female at birth. However, with DIM, I feel the research points toward decreasing estrogen levels in both. That is part of why I decided to give it a try.

My next appointment with the endocrinologist is on Halloween. And hopefully at that point, I will have had top surgery done and changed my legal gender marker, both of which I’m working on. I have my name changed and my gender changed on my driver’s license (working on having it changed on my birth certificate).

Thanks for reading!