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!

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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?

Drowning in the swamp

So I’ve been contemplating what to post here for about the last week as the dread keeps settling in as news articles clamor on top of one another on my feed.
It’s hard to put into words your anger and distress sometimes. I’ll try and not go on a full tirade as I’m sure a lot of you might feel the same way but I digress. This isn’t going to be easy for me.

As each day passes since the 1st of this year, I feel like I’m already drowning in this country. It’s not even the 20th yet and already I’m sick with anxiety, worry and thoughts of how to escape. Half baked plans of desperation, trying to find holes in the system so we can move before we’re completely stripped of our rights we’ve worked so hard to get.

The first strike: Health insurance in the state I’m in. We obviously had to sign up with the ACA again as none of our employers offer insurance. The issue with that is, our selection was cut in half and rates doubled. I couldn’t continue through United healthcare and had to find one that we could afford that had an obtainable deductible for us. We got stuck with Cigna for literally over double what we paid last year. Cigna doesn’t offer coverage for trans individuals. Plain and simple.
The exert from their 2017 exclusions: “Procedures, surgery or treatments to change characteristics of the body to those of the opposite sex including medical or psychological counseling and hormonal therapy in preparation for, or subsequent to, any such surgery. This also includes any medical, surgical or psychiatric treatment or study related to sex change.

I’m already fucked as far as my transition goes it seems. Feeling hopeless right off the bat this year, this wasn’t going to help my year off with a good note.
But then let’s add the syrup to the shit ice cream sundae and watch a Texas Federal judge block transperson’s rights the day before they’d fully take effect for the ACA!
Link: The BUZZ story

So that’s now 2 hits this first week. Oh and than you have Paul Ryan and the screwed assholes in congress who vow to repeal the whole damn ACA. Bam, 3 strikes we’re out.

What do you even do with this? I mean.. what can we do?

I sat and pondered this pretty much the last couple days. It’s only the 9th. 9 fucking days and I’ve watched my rights stripped and my health coverage go under fire.

Well, fuck it. I’m fighting. I’m not going down without a battle.
I happen to scroll past the Trans rights group on FB posting an article and I spoke up and commented. I’ve since then been in touch with a lady from PROMO and in the talks of trying to sort out the blatant discrimination in my healthcare.
I’ll be contacting Lambda Legal as well to see where and how far I can go.
Granted, I don’t have the funds at all to hire a lawyer. I’m living on a strict budget. So I suppose we’ll see. But if they find my case noteworthy enough to make waves, I’m gunning all the way. Court dates and all. I’m tired of sitting at home, watching as everything is set on fire around me, expecting others to make my and other’s ways in the world.

How can our legislation deny the AMA(American Medical Association), APA(American Psychological Association) and countless other accredited organizations? I know.. it’s a rhetorical question. These same people deny 98% of scientists on climate change. *Que eye roll x 1000*

As you can tell, I’ve hit my fuck this shit, mark and I’m fed up. Let’s cross fingers and hope I have some good news for once come soon.

2 years of changes and a new life.

You know when you’re sitting there and you take a moment to look back at what’s happened to get you to where you’re at right now and it all just leaves you kind of awe struck? That’s me currently.

It’ll be 2 years come February 11th since I started HRT. It’s now been 2 years since I came out to my husband and family. A lot has changed and not just appearance wise. My life has changed, my perspective has changed, my opinions and goals have changed. And change doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. I would say my changes have been for the better in most cases. Granted, the ability to be on the other side of the fence as far as being a minority leaves me bitter hearted and struggling. But the other changes have been for the better and I am thankful I took the steps needed to get to where I’m at today. I don’t regret my decision, I stand proud for it.

For those of you who are curious about the physical changes for a person on HRT for 2 years now, I’ll kind of do a run down but you can also check out my gallery to see the changes as well.
At the 2 year mark, my voice is still kinda going everywhere. It also didn’t help I was sick for a month straight with what had to be the worst head cold of my life. Lost my voice for a full week and a half, throat is still sore some days and my ears ache and it’s been going on 2 months now. But I will say my voice on average passes now most times over the phone and for sure in person. If you would of caught me last year that wouldn’t of been the case.
As far as things like muscle and body fat, everything seems to be in place. I still need to loose about 50lbs ideally but still not there.
Facial hair is alright. I wouldn’t say it’s where I want it to be by a long shot but I’m happy with what my genes gave me. I still have a baldish/thin spot under my chin but the middle of my chin is finally filling in. the sides are starting, very slowly, to grow up but around the rest of it, it’s still fairly thin. I tossed around the idea to use Rogaine and I have a bottle in my cabinet but I haven’t gotten to the point of using it daily.

As for everything else, such as top surgery plans and so forth go, I have none. We just don’t make enough to cover the Dr I want to see and getting to that point is going to take a long while. I want to save up, I do. But I have 2 children to take care of first. And their health and happiness will come before mine. I just have to keep avoiding the squealing happy men running rampant on my social media that get the chance to get it done instead. I get severely depressed and angry every single time I read a post about it.

So apart from all the physical changes at 2 years, the emotional ones I think are far greater. Daily I find my paranoia kicks in about my safety or I’ll see posts reminding me that my state doesn’t believe I’m a decent human being and that I’m some maniacal rapist who enjoys torturing people in public bathrooms and thus I don’t deserve even basic human rights. It’s stressful, it’s infuriating, it dumbfounds me.
The state of Missouri is so pretentious in their religious standing that I’m fearful of even getting a job. What’s the point? I could be fired and can’t do a damn thing about it.

I managed to finally secure health insurance over the market place this year and surprise surprise, none of them covered trans. Not a one. Oh their private insurance does, for a nice lump sum of $500+ a month, but forget it if you have to purchase publicly.
I’m actually pretty tempted for when I pay off our deductible, to start raising hell. I’ve spoken with a few people and I hope to get in contact soon with a LGBT lawyer who might have some insight into the process of fighting the company and the state. I’ll be damned if I don’t go down without a fight. I’m quite alright speaking my mind and I’ll do so if need be.

Aside from the blatant inequality I live in day to day, there isn’t much more to go on about. I know I don’t update very regularly and to be honest, I could if I wanted to turn this blog into a rally for rights informative thing. But I don’t. If you know a few LGBT people, especially T, you’ll already know the backwards and screwed up legislation. And if you don’t, a quick google search will inform you. Spamming here, what already countless blogs and news sites do, wouldn’t help. So for now I’ll keep it to strictly my life and how it all effects me.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. For giggles sake I’ll include my pre-T picture here and than one of me last week for fun comparison. Have a good one!