Gender Euphoria is Real

So… a lot of my blog posts have talked about gender dysphoria. Where gender dysphoria is a state of unease, sadness, or distress that’s directly linked to someone’s gender identity.

Well, gender euphoria is a thing too. And it’s basically the opposite. So gender euphoria occurs when you finally feel that your inside is matching your outside and let me tell you, it’s pretty great. It’s like planets finally coming into alignment after a million years of circling around and not quite coinciding.

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Today I had one of those moments. I’m only 3 weeks and 3 days post top surgery. And my surgeon said I should wait 4 weeks before starting to run again. But I’m a terrible patient, and I think I’ve bounced back faster than most and everything is healing up just fine. So today, I put on my running kit and left the house with the intention of half walking/half jogging for half an hour or so.

But once I started running, I didn’t want to stop. I’m a big believer in the whole ‘listen to your body’ thing. And my body was saying:
Dude, seriously. This is fucking awesome. You’re awesome. Don’t stop. Run like the wind!

So I ran (like a slightly sluggish breeze, but whatever) for about twenty minutes, and it was BRILLIANT. Running, with a vest top on and no sports bra. This is the stuff that pre-transition trans men’s dreams are made of. Seriously. I fantasised about this for months as my surgery date approached. Any time I felt nervous, or had doubts that I was making the right decision, all I had to do was put a sports bra on and remind myself that top surgery would mean I never needed to wear one again.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know that most cis women hate sports bras too. Who wouldn’t? They’re designed by Satan and are awful… and boobs are a pain in the arse when you’re running blah blah. But presumably you like your boobs most of the time, even if you hate sports bras. And if you really hate your boobs in every possible way, then I can give you the number of an excellent gender therapist to discuss this with.

 

 

 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.