6 weeks and free to roam

Well, failed at the 2 week updates already. Seems life has a way of doing that now a days. Been busy getting back to work, kids getting out of school, being dead tired, you know the drill I’m sure.
At 6 weeks post-op now and feeling pretty alright. Notice that when I over do things I get a lot of side pains as of recent, where they did the lipo on. Not sure if that’s normal or just my muscles going, “Hey we’re useful again!” But it’s manageable.

Not a ton really has changed over the past 2 weeks at least. My body is one with the vampires. I’m blinding white in the sun and when you even just nudge, poke or go to scratch an itch, I come back looking like I was abused. So it’s no surprise that my scars are still fairly red and angry looking. Which eventually I know will dumb down too. So no worries there, it just looks more gnarly than it really is.

That being said, the freedom I’ve been feeling has been hard to describe past amazing. The fact that I can wake up, change shirts and just walk out of my house… is pure bliss to me. I no longer shy away from tank tops and I’ve been trying slowly to remember to stand up straight even if it makes my “beer gut” stick out.
Also something on the agenda this summer, loose the 20lbs I gained. Heck if I can make it 10lbs a month until August I’ll be in heaven.

Besides all of that, my husband was a bit shocked I didn’t want to go topless in any pool this summer (even indoor ones). Which I thought was odd he’d think fresh scars wasn’t a big ol red flag. I of course explained I didn’t really want to be a large blaring beacon for outing myself and that was that. Maybe next summer.

One big note though that I’ll be partaking in this weekend is PrideKC! I’ve gone a few times over the years since I started transition but I decided to kind of walk the plank this year and volunteer! I’ll be at the Trans Awareness Day booth this year on Saturday from 3:30-8. I’m pretty excited and can’t wait to see everyone this year.

Really though, that’s about it at this point. Goin to leave you with an updated picture! Hope everyone is doing well. Thank you to those who sent well wishes my way ‚̧

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Traversing New Waters

Thought I’d do a quick update on my experiences so far 3 weeks post-op DI.
I’ll probably update from here on out every 2 weeks or so. That way we’re not all stuck listening to me on repeat or reading about silly little things and seeing no real differences.

You know that feeling where your foot or hand is asleep and then all of a sudden you get goosebumps on top of that? That foreign, stinging sensation, borderlining on pain and just plain weird? That’s pretty much my chest right now.
It’s the most bizarre feeling.
Everytime I move from being stationary for longer than 10 minutes or something touches my chest like the wind (when I don’t have my binder on) I get this sensation.
I’ve tried finding other guy’s accounts maybe of this but I haven’t found too much on it. So I’m sharing it here. I would assume it’s my nerves firing off and healing/reconnecting. I get the occasional jolt of pain, especially in my nipples at least a dozen times a day if not more. It’s not a hindrance but it makes people around me kinda freak out cause I intake a sharp breath and grab my chest.

I have noticed though I have sensational touch feeling on my right side and my right nipple on about 90% of the whole area. My left side is a bit more behind with a more numbness feeling on the far side and nipple area so about 70%ish feeling is back.

Mobility is a little better. I can’t outstretch my arms for very long, I’m only able to lift up to 20lbs for the moment and reaching behind me isn’t great. But I’m now able to return to work and do light duty things such as putting up smaller items and pushing smaller carts, etc.

That’s about it though really. From what I’ve read the stabby soreness will probably be here with me for at least a couple months. Which is understandable.

Here is the update picture as promised. This was after a shower and not wearing the compression binder for most of the day. (I know.. naughty me. But it helps to get a breather in some days.) I do want to point out though the binder does a heck of a lot for swelling. Bearing through the discomfort is worth it. In this picture you can see I have slight swelling around the scars on my sides which looks like the typical dog ears going on. After wearing the binder though for say, over night, that goes away and they become flat again. So when your doctor says, wear the binder. Wear the binder.
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Have a great weekend!

Drains begone!

Today was my 1 week post-op appointment and I am feeling so much better and blown away at the same time!
You guys, gals and everyone in between, I finally feel like I’m standing on solid ground.

We all went in this morning, waited for about an hour before they got everything set up and everyone was ready, then got to peeling layers off me to get to my drains.
Once those were out, they unveiled my nips and I finally got to see everything. I am so freaking amazed right now. Still. Hours after and I’m sure weeks/months/years, I’m still going to be amazed. I absolutely love the work Dr Aylward has done. She’s both an artist and magician.
I highly  recommend her services to anyone looking.

Without further adieu,
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I’ll be posting up a 15 minute video once I get it to upload of the whole experience. For those that care to see it I guess lol

Dr said everything looked great and I honestly besides some soreness, feel amazing. I can’t wait to take a shower tomorrow.

Thank you again to Dr Aylward and her staff for being so amazing to me. ‚̧

T-Hex strikes back

So I’m sitting here on my couch using my daughter’s lap top. Sorry for any errors or typos. I am the embodiment of T-Hex arms right now.

I’m 2 days post-op and oddly enough, I’m not doing as bad as I thought I would. I’m sore, tired and bored but it’s not really that bad for me. I think I’m more angry I’ve got a tension headache because I’ve got to sleep sitting upright. I’m a side sleeper and this sleeping with my head only tilted is driving me nutty.

Dr Carol Aylward is an amazing surgeon. Her bedside manner is fantastic, her attention to details is great and I couldn’t be happier with whom I picked to do this.

I went in at 8am, paid for my binder, and got right into the back where they started prepping me. At around 9 I got my sleepy meds and not even half way down the hall I was passed out. I woke up almost 4 hours later back in my little room. I did wake up in a fair amount of pain. The foam they packed under my binder was pushing quite a bit into my sternum. Thankfully they sat there and adjusted a few things with me, made sure I could swallow and move around and then by 2:30 I was out the doors and heading home.

Got home and have discovered I really wished I had a recliner lol. I’ve been struggling to try and get comfy for the last 2 days pretty much.

As far as mobility goes, not the best. Finally feel like the anesthesia wore off yesterday. So not as wobbly now. But pulling up my pants proved to be a challenge for me up until today. Also getting on and off my make shift recliner couch area is a pain in the arse and I often can’t do it myself because of the ottoman I’m using as a footrest.

Thinking about the obvious, it really hasn’t quite kicked in yet. And maybe it will or won’t? I feel that they are gone. That I’m flat now. I understand that part. But I feel like since I can’t see it, my brain hasn’t quite made the connect. I know I’m super excited to finally have that feeling of being free. Of finally having this done with and I no longer have to worry about putting on that dreadful binder, feeling the weight against my ribs, feeling gross and ashamed.

Well my tired butt is going to back out for the day. I made it out alive and not quite in 1 piece but I’m ok ditching 2lbs to the side.

Want to thank my Dr and her staff for being the super awesome people they are! Here is a pic of me day 1 and home.

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Before the clouds break

This will be my last journal/update before I am no longer considered Pre-Op FtM.
Hold on though, it’s going to be a long one.

I was seen and given my post-op instructions last Friday. Spent the weekend buying the necessary things and getting my house ready and prepping people in my life about what to expect.
I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s as they say.
A few more things to do today, take my special shower tonight and hopefully get some sleep before I’m awake at 6:45am and getting ready to leave.¬†I’ve been instructed to be at the hospital at 8am. I’ll probably be classy and show up at 7:45.

I wanted to touch base real quick on what post op items I grabbed, lists I looked at and some things that my Dr and nurses have told me. That way if anyone is curious about their journey they can kind of backboard from me.

So with anything these days, I went straight to google and looked for other’s lists they had put together of items they might need post op.
Please consult your Dr before using(or buying)!
Wanted to toss that little disclaimer out there first before I started linking things.
These are the ones I found the most useful: http://www.topsurgery.net/resources/shopping-packing-checklist.htm

https://ftmmagazine.com/top-surgery/

Buzzfeed article from a transguy

These are pretty solid lists to go from. Mind you though, you don’t need to go out and buy every single thing on these lists. I looked at quite a lot and only grabbed what was good for my situation and what I needed.
Going into that, this is what I ended up needing:

*About 8 new button up shirts.¬†Since I’m going back to work only after 2 weeks or so, I needed button ups to work in. Also make sure as the lists state, buy 1-2 sizes larger. Your arms aren’t going to want to move too far from your body in the first couple weeks. You’ll need them to be similar to a coat.
*2 pairs of athletic pants. (Well, 1 pants and 1 shorts) These are easy to pull up, a little large on you and you want comfort over appearance.
*Armchair pillow.¬†I got this because I’m going to be needing to sleep/lay at about a 45 degree angle for about a week or more. This should hopefully help.
*U shaped travel pillow. Same thing. The armchair pillow I got only comes up to the middle of my back. So to help support my head, I got one of these.
*Grabbing tool. This I feel is going to help me more than I think it might. I got mine at Target but a lot of hardware stores carry them too. When you have T-Rex arms, having an extension to that is a good thing.
*Bendy straws, stool softener and cough drops.¬†Recommended by the lists and my RN. Heavy painkillers stop you up a lot. That stool softener is going to be a blessing when you’re not straining to go. Also, bending forward to drink.. doesn’t sound as pleasant when your chest is swollen and bruised. Lastly, the tube they put down your throat is going to piss off your throat like no other. Going home sucking on something to soothe that irritation will help loads. I chose Natural Honey cough drops with no menthol.

The next little bit I’m going to ramble about is bathing. This really needs to be tailored to you, your situation and comfort. Being clean is important, how you want to get that way is too.
*Bathing wipes/Dry Shampoo/plastic poncho/Long handled loofah. From what I’m seeing, you’ve got about 2 major options that you can tailor to your needs.
1 being the wipes. These you don’t need water, no showers, no funky weird trying to dodge water aerobics etc. You and or another person can help wipe you down, you’ll feel clean enough to carry on and avoid the mess of water all together.
2 being the shower/poncho style. If you really want to get in the shower or bath, you’re going to need someone to put that poncho on you so you don’t get everything wet. Then you can use the long handle loofah to get at least your lower half clean.
At the early weeks, you won’t be able to reach your head. You’re going to need someone to wash your hair in a sink or you can use the dry shampoo.
I personally chose the wipes. I’ve got the necessary persons to help me wipe away the funk and I chose to avoid water as much as I can. Thankfully febreeze is a thing lol.

Things you’ll need to talk to your Dr about, that will probably be important to get after the 1st week post-op.

*Scar gel/strips. Your Dr will go over what they recommend and here you can ask what brands/type etc. Mine suggested silicon or steri strips. Both can work well.
*Gauze pads/medical supplies for redressings.¬†Your Dr might hand you some of these but most likely they’ll tell you what to grab.

Last footnote about an item I saw on one of the lists: Polysporin. I asked about this for nipple healing and was told that this, especially used longer term(over a week) can cause rashes, yeast growth and be really unpleasant all around. Follow your Dr’s orders for any and all post-op care!

Ok, that just about covers it all. I grabbed a few other things but none that I feel would weigh in on this list as important.
Just imagine you bound up in a compression binder, in varying degrees of pain/soreness, without being able to extend your arms very far from your body. Now walk around your house with T-Rex arms XD You’ll quickly get the idea of what needs to change, be arranged, brought to hand level and so on.

I do want to point out, that while I thought I would only be wearing that compression binder for the 1st week post-op, I have been since told that it’s more like 3-6 weeks of wearing it. So while I’ll be having a binder burning party in my backyard at some point, it’s not going to be a week post-op.
Which btw, is OK! I would rather preserve my results, make sure they heal up correctly, not stretch to oblivion and look great so if I have to wear another type of binder for a little while longer to achieve a better outcome, so be it.

With all of that out of the way. I am super excited and nervous. I’m a bound up ball of crazy feelings right now. I know what’s to come (my husband has had a few surgeries since I’ve been with him) and I know how it should go. I’ve done everything I can these last handful of months to ensure that everything should go ok.
I’m not so much worried about being denied anymore so much that now I’m just scared something else will go wrong. But. I know that’s just my anxiety talking. I’ll be ok.

I’m so excited seeing this finally come to fruition. 4 years waiting. The fits of anger and jealousy. The self loathing and depression. Watching my kids play at the park and I can’t even swing on the monkey bars without the damn binder riding up to become a push up bra. Not being able to lift my arms to grab something off the top shelves without it doing that either.
No more. Not after tomorrow. I’ll finally be one piece closer. As much as I see Target changing lately, I’m glad they chose to be on the better side of change and I get this opportunity to do this.

With that, I’m going to go relax, get a few more things cleaned and ready for this evening/tomorrow and I will catch up with you all as soon as I can!

At the Peak

It’s been a handful of days almost since my last journal and since I’m here for the ride, I thought I’d take you all along as well.

After the last journal, I spoke with a few people and hashed out a few things. Made myself a list. And I’m starting to finally feel like my hands are back on the wheel. At least one hand.
I’ve still got that sinking feeling but now it’s mainly because the final approval comes tomorrow from my surgeon and she’s the most important voice of all. I’ve been struggling for 2 months to get this acne I have on my chest under control. Daily creams, washes etc. I’m even on oral antibiotics with mild results. I’m trying. And I think I’m just going to tell her, I’ll risk it. She may not enjoy that but I’ve already taken the time off work. I can’t sacrifice more. Let’s just hope I’ve done enough.

As far as financial goes, I’m mostly ok. The only money I have to pay upfront is for my compression binder. I’m a bit shaky on additional costs of post op items at this point, that and missing a whole paycheck period. But as things often go, financially there was no way for us to completely prepare due to a lot of factors, mainly 2 out of 3 persons in the house not getting enough hours. But I can’t keep pushing this back anymore either. I mentally can’t keep going farther. I’m so hindered by these damn binders it breaks me not being able to do as much as I used to. I have to take this opportunity while it’s there and just scrape up what’s left and keep pushing forward.

From what I’ve gathered from information online, my post-op list looks ok. I’ll be preparing my house this weekend for when I am left alone at home. Most everyone knows that I’ll be T-Rex arms for 2 weeks or more and that I will need help.
I know that I could be an emotional wreck for quite a while after surgery. Which would be a nice turn around seeing as I tend to be an emotional brick wall. I’m sure the people around me won’t like it though, but I’ll try my best not to be a pain in the arse.

I’m oddly not too worried about results. From the work I’ve seen done by her, she’s an artist with a knife. Her work is wonderful and I can see the attention to detail from her. I just hope my stubborn body is an ok canvas for her.
And as far as pain goes, bring it. I’m not bragging but I seem to have a high threshold for pain so I’m not terribly worried. And no, I’m not a masochist. Just in case you were wondering lol.

Oh! If anyone is curious though about which procedure I’m having, it’ll be the¬†Double Incision / Bilateral Mastectomy with floating nipple grafts. I’m naturally a C. So way too big for a peri procedure. I’m curious how the drains are going to be. I hear they can be a pain in the ass because they tug the skin. If anything, that part will probably bother me the most.

So I notice I’m starting to ramble.. I guess MOST of my entries are rambling but this one has started to just bounce around a lot more than I’d like. I’ll wrap it up here for now.

Timeline:
Last Pre-op app tomorrow 4/13@9:30
Surgery date: 4/17 Time: 8am
Last day of work before leave: 4/12

I’ll be updating this again sometime this weekend I’m sure, probably again Monday and then when I am able and willing, I’ll do a post-op update as well with pictures as time passes because why not look at my swollen bruised chest?

Opening the bottle

I’m writing my thoughts down here today to try and mediate the bottled up emotional storm I’ve been holding onto since January.

I have less than 2 weeks before my scheduled surgery date and I’m sweating bullets. I feel like I am just sitting in for the ride at this point and unable to control the wheel that’s in front of me. Which in turn has caused my anxiety and stress levels to peak well above what they normally are.

After I quit cold turkey from nicotine and smoking, I started rapidly gaining weight. In 4 months I’ve gained almost 20lbs. I’ve never been one to stress eat but the feeling like my chest is going to explode with emotion and I’m going to burst into tears any moment has become so powerful that nothing but food and or drink can calm it.

The feeling of not having some sort of control in which the way things are going to come out at the end, is the most damning feeling. I often feel like I’m bracing for a punch in the face and every day is another flinch thinking that it’s coming. That I’m going to either be fired or denied surgery again.
In reality I know that as long as I get a few things left done, everything should be ok. But I also know that as soon as I relinquish that worry, fear and paranoia, I’m going to be disappointed and break if something does go wrong.

I’m so tired right now. I know it’s depression setting in. The PTSD from being denied so many times in my life. I want this so badly, I NEED this so badly to work out. To be waking up after surgery, going home, recovering and moving on, in a better state of mind. I need this. But good almighty, does it feel like life is telling me otherwise.

I can’t wait for this struggle to be done with.