Coming Home: Post-op Musings

Warning:

There is a pic of my 10 day post-op chest at the bottom of this post. If visible stitches aren’t your cup of tea, you might not want to scroll that far. 

beach-2178900_640

Today I had the post-op appointment for my recent chest reconstruction surgery. Throughout the process of planning this surgery I tried to keep my expectations very low.

I knew I needed to do it, but I was anxious about going through with it. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be satisfied with the results; or that even though I desperately wanted a flat, masculine chest, it would take me time to adjust to the reality of such a huge change.

So today, when the dressings came off I was braced for disappointment. I was ready to look down and feel shock, disconnect, or even grief. I was prepared to deal with the need to mentally recalibrate in order for my new chest to feel like part of me.

But as the dressings fell away and I saw how my chest looks now, I felt an amazing sense of peace. It felt so right.

It felt like coming home.

I can still remember how it felt when I was a child running around on the beach or in the garden without a shirt on, and now, thirty-five years later, I finally feel reconnected to my body. This is how I was always supposed to look.

This is me.

19511116_1240123456098506_7703633926317379590_n

 

Advertisements

Update: Chest Reconstruction Surgery

Greetings, blog followers!

Trigger warning: contains some references to surgical things, but the gory details are mostly in external links rather than in my post. 

So, as many of you already know (if you follow me on social media type places) I had chest reconstruction surgery on Monday 19th of June with Mr Andrew Yelland in Brighton. The goal of chest reconstruction (or ‘top surgery’) is to create a natural male-looking chest.

19274778_1232229620221223_6237193282293884247_n

I’m on day 4 post op now, and recovery is going pretty well as far as I can tell. My chest is currently covered in bomb proof dressings and I have to wear a tight compression binder over the top of that. It’s a little disconcerting having no clue what’s going on under there (stitches and staples apparently). But I have very little pain and everything feels okay, so I’m working on the assumption that all is well. I get the big reveal at my post op appointment on Thursday next week.

cross-stitch-467581_640

I didn’t really know what to expect from recovery, so have been going with the flow. Happily, it’s been much less painful than I was expecting. I’m more uncomfortable because of the binder than the actual incisions. The heat wave during my first two days of recovery didn’t help with that either. Sleeping is tough, because I’m trying to stay propped up so I don’t accidentally roll onto my side. But all in all I feel mostly okay. Just tired, and bored of sitting around.

stapler-24456_640

For those of you who are interested in the details of the procedure I had (double incision with nipple grafts), you can read more about it on my surgeon’s website here. I didn’t have drains, because he no longer advocates their use. The compression binder should take care of fluid build up, and he will drain any that’s accumulated when I see him for my post op appointment next week. Other than that detail, though, this is pretty accurate.

If you’re interested in the truly gory details, I found a video on YouTube of the same surgery performed by a surgeon in the US. The basic procedure is similar, although the exact details might be different – I don’t think I had any liposuction.

I’m very glad I didn’t watch it before I had my surgery. It’s not for the fainthearted and I definitely don’t recommend you watch it while eating. But it’s utterly fascinating. What with the nipple resizing cookie cutter, and the staple gun they used on his nipples, I now feel rather like a cross between the Great British Bake Off and a primary school art project.