Surgery Countdown

Posted: October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
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So tomorrow is exactly one month until my top surgery.

There’s a lot of stuff happened I could have talked about this week: mental health, what it’s like to not fit in to a community that likes to brag about how much it includes the LGBT, having a sense of humour about who you are, and so on and so forth. But they’re all pretty thorny issues, I’ve had a bad day, so I’m not going to talk about anything that’s going to piss me off or upset me.

So, surgery!

On 19th November, I will having top surgery. In layman’s terms, a surgeon is going to remove my breasts, put my nipples back where they would be if I were biologically male, sew me up, and send me on my way. Several pounds lighter, given that I have a massive rack.

I will be posting quite a bit around surgery day itself to keep you guys posted with a real blow-by-blow of what it’s like to undergo that procedure, but let’s start here with some background.

1) I am having to undergo this privately. For those of you in the US, that’s like ‘duhhhh.’ But in the UK, typically medical care is via the NHS, which is free at the point of use. The problem is that the NHS has serious financial problems right now and, even if it didn’t, frankly doesn’t much care about transgender patients and tailoring their treatment to the individual. In short, the NHS will pretty much refuse to give anyone any surgery before hormone treatment. As that isn’t what I needed, I went private.

2) So basically, I’ve been saving up £6,000 for this surgery. My bank balance is going to be a paralysed heap on the floor next month.

3) On 10th November, I will be heading to hospital for my pre-operative consultation. This is basically the bit in the medical dramas where the doctor draws on you with a sharpie. See, top surgery is done a whole bunch of ways, depending on the size of the breasts and the aims of the patient. Some people really want to keep as much sensation in the nipples as possible, so the surgeon will have to find a way of doing it to avoid as much as of the nipple resize and regrafting as possible. Others, like me, have looking naturally male top of the list and to hell with nipple sensation. So for me, the surgeon can use techniques that would render my nipples literally senseless and it wouldn’t bother me at all, as long as I can go topless at the beach and nobody looks twice.

4) On the same day, the hospital want to run a whole bunch of tests. Basically to make sure I’m fit to undergo surgery. I have to fill in a questionnaire the size of a stottie cake to bring to them, then they get to make me look like a heroin junkie with all the blood samples they’re going to take.

5) If all is well, I come back on the 19th. It’s nil by mouth for the evening and night of the 18th, then I have to show up first thing in the morning and get checked in. At some point, an anaesthetist will attack me with a mask, and then I will (ideally) wake up some time later sans boobs.

6) I will leave the following morning (20th). I know some American surgeons are all ‘you have to demonstrate you can eat and put a t-shirt on over your shirt’ but this surgeon hasn’t specified anything I have to do in order to be signed out.

7) I lounge around generally feeling knackered for a week.

8) On the 26th, I return to hospital for a post-operative check-up. By this point, swelling should have gone down and the early results should be obvious.

After that, I can get on with my normal life, albeit given that I currently wear 30F or 28G bras, my equilibrium will be a bit off for a couple of days, the car seatbelts are going to be shady as fuck for weeks, especially going over speedbumps where currently it’s like “Ma’am, please remain in your assigned seat,” in my shirt, and I will probably be mega confused the first few times I shower and reach to put on a bra again afterwards that I no longer need.

A few things will be different for a while, such as:

1) No driving for a week or three. It’s difficult to lift the arms afterwards, and nobody’s power steering is that good.

2) I’ll be taking pain medication and arnica to counteract bruising and swelling for a while.

3) I’ll have to wear a binder for a while afterwards too, to help healing and minimise scarring.

4) No swimming or working out for ages. Which is going to be a bummer, as I’ve worked super hard bulking out for this surgery to give the guy something to work with.

But that’s the boiled down version of what’s happening in like…four weeks. I’m also moving house in that time, so I’m going to have to pack a hospital bag super early, move, hope I lose nothing, arrange the new house in time to be useable when I’m released, and — of course — take entertainment.

Because lying around unable to work out, go to my day job, or roam is going to be fucking dull.

  1. Yay! So excited for you! I had to laugh at your comment about the American surgeons. My top procedure was a little different than yours. Because I’m genderfluid I wanted to keep some breast tissue and had them reduce me from massive down to an A. Anyway, they sent me homehome after a matter of hours. Basically keeping me long enough to make sure I was awake and not bleeding to death. It’s gotten so no one wants to keep patients overnight any more. I’ve had nine surgeries and for my last one they had me in and out in under 4 hours. It’s kind of scary.


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