Revision Appointment

Next week I have an appointment with the top surgeon I went with in Decemeber – the first time I will have seem him since the actual surgery date. At the post-op (10 days after op) I just saw a nurse who took off the bandages and sent me on my way.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I am looking for a bit of revision done, a bit of fat out here, a bit of shrinkage there. Things, I feel, I would not have to do if I had gone with double incision instead. But I don’t regret going for peri-areola, I think the scars from DI would have caused me too much anxiety in the long run. I can’t really compare with many others who have gone peri, cause I think on a scale, I was probably one of the bigger moob sized people who has done it. So a different time scale of recovery to most.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what he says, how many surgeries, and when he can perform them. I am not worried about him saying no, from what I have heard he is happy with doing revisions, and expects it with peri because of caution when doing the first main surgery. Sounds a bit silly, but I might push any surgery dates back till mid/late August. Just cause I don’t want to be barred from the sea/lakes/rivers most of summer whilst recovering! I’m not living here for long, so I want to make the most of all the outdoor stuff round here.

I am back at my parents for most the week, and I am travelling from here to the appointment. Being back almost made me forget this blog! I have only just remembered now at almost 10pm after coming back from swimming, with a full on allergy demon-swarm-streaming-arggghh head (yes just check out the pic to notice!). Strange being out the bubble of the Uni town. It’s busier here, and just..odd! I’m so used to living further away now.

Also I see my GP tomorrow and want to make sure I will be self injecting my next Nebido shot. So I will have a few things to update on next week. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and the comments I get from time to time. It’s nice to hear from people across wordpress 🙂

Comparison Pic: day 35 vs day 504 (week 5 vs week 72) 1 year 5 months!

 

 

The mens changing rooms

Last weekend, early morning, I went lake swimming with a group. This was a shit scary concept by itself. I had to catch a bus, travel for an hour, then meet with a bunch of strangers, and then go swimming with them. Sat on the bus I tried to distract myself with music and watching the bus travel in every direction BUT where I wanted to go first. I can’t pinpoint the anxiety, but it’s connected to people meeting me, and some kind of judgement maybe? Or me doing something wrong or not realising the right social convention? Anyway, I arrived and was early, so walked and looked at the beautifal lake with the rising sun skimming it’s surface, and was tempted to say f*** it to group swimming and just dive in and swim myself. But it was my first time proper lake swimming, and I wanted to make sure I was doing things right.

Anyway, I got to the building, still early, and the door was wedged open a notch…but the lights were out. I skulked about outside for a bit – the took a deep breath – and opened the door. A little bell rang. It was dark, paddleboards and oars and wetsuits were everywhere. I heard voices. They sounded like they were coming from a back room. I did a little dilemma dance in my head

I think it’s intruding if I seek out the voices, since they are technically still closed, but can I go out if they heard the bell ring?..will that be strange?

After standing there like a lemon for about 30 seconds to see if they came out I “casually” sauntered back to the door and went out. -exhale-. So now, I just waited outside with my head like a disco panicking about everything and anything (Including dead bodies floating around the lake…I should not watch anymore crime drama).

Then suddenly, at the allocated time, everyone suddenly turned up in some anomaly of excellent punctuality and started walking in the doors (people randomly appeared from inside). Everyone seemed to know everyone else. So I walked back inside, and introduced myself to the guy running it…they were friendly actually (need to keep reminding myself these social situations are not always horrendous). I was a bit intimidated by the men though tbh, all of them either ultra triathelon guys in their prime or just tall well built middle aged men. Youngest was maybe 35?. So this was when it got hairy…

I said I wanted to rent a wetsuit, and they got one out for me, and directed me to their changing room area. The mens changing area was a room about the size of an average kitchen, maybe smaller, with a few plastic chairs, two showers with a thin flimsy pull across sheet and miniture toilet cubicle wedged in the size. Fuck…. fuck fuck fuck.

At this point, I was luckily the first person to get changed, so boy, did I get changed – I got changed like there was a drowning baby in the lake that I could only save if I got into my wetsuit in 3 seconds flat. I had just got it up to my stomach when 3 guys came in. They said hello, and I grunted, probably a bit rudely, not wanting to talk. They started to strip off whilst I hastly finished changing and started to stuff my gear in my bag as more guys came in. With everyone’s gear, there was not much room to manoeuvre. Anyway, I shot out and went outside the building, and just sat and breathed and tried not to panic about after swimming. More people came out and started to mill about and talk. I could not handle it so walked to the lake and started to wade in a bit get a feel for it. I was very conscious of my lack of bulge too in this very tight suit, so being in the water helped.

Anyway, the swim was amazing, it was cold but I soon warmed up in the suit, the views were amazing, it was all just great. Then it finished.

People started to mill round the lake at the end and chat… I shot out and went up the building to get changed. I pulled off my suit in one move like I was god-damn batman. I towel dried frantically and put on some boxers. Feeling margianlly better and desperately needing the loo I went in the cubicle. As I was finishing I heard guys start to come in the room. Arghh. I concentrated all my energy, walked out and looked straight to my gear whilst holding my hands in a “I hope this is not obvious covering my private area” way. Had one cocky guy try start talking to me:

Guy: “Water weren’t cold was it mate?

Me: *fumbling with socks on a plastic chair whilst trying to ignore the side angle view of his penis * “Erm, Not too cold no, it was alright

Guy: “More than alright, that was, it was fucking amazing”

He was kinda hyped up and I was really not in the mood for conversing so I just said nothing more and started packing all my gear, surrounded by naked and semi naked men. Tbh, it made me very dysphoric. I was super aware of what I do not have, and it turned it from the whole thing being awesome, to just purely the swim being the awesome thing.

Problem was, I enjoyed the swim so much I want to go back. So I’m trying to figure in my head ways to go back without having to encounter the changing room situation. I think the only way really is if I have my own suit – I could just get changed outside behind some trees. Or if I mention i’m transgender they might have a seperate area I can get changed..i’m not sure how I feel about disclosing that to them though. Hum, I think on.

Anway, wow i’ve written loads. I could write a lot more. I’ve had a shit week in terms of my moods, and I think it might be me getting used to Nebido still. I can’t concentrate, I want to do everything at once, and therefore can’t do anything. I’m sleeping 10 hours at night and then about an hour in the day. I’m hungry more and sometimes have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it. I get fustrated and angry and i’m 100% all in or 100% all out with decisions. I really need it to calm down, i’m finding it hard to manage. It’s just getting through each day as it comes, each hour as it comes, and not kicking myself if about not getting everything done I think I should get done.

Comparison Pic: Day 14 vs day 497 (week 2 vs week 71)

 

Nebido changes

Life

Oh god, awkward barber moment. I had to get my hair cut this week, it was running out of control, so off I popped to the barbers on the other side of town because its quietest early in the morning. Except this morning there was an old man having his hair cut, and only one guy cutting. I sat on the bench in this small room next to who I assumed to be his wife who was waiting for him. And I did the “I’ll stare at my phone with a passion like no other” thing for 10 minutes whilst they nattered on. Then close together, someone else entered, and also he finished cutting the guys hair. I thought OK, it’s kinda crowded on this bench, but at least it’s my turn now – but then she shimmied over to sit in the chair (it’s a unisex place but there has never been a women getting a cut when i’ve been there before). I kind of took stock of the situation, could not take starting at my mobile for much longer, and randomly stood up, and walked out. Which oddly made me feel like i’d walked out of a shop without paying. Then ended up in another barbers with a grumpy person who attacks your head like its wild grown hedge they wanna prune down, but surprisingly ends up doing a good job. Least that’s that now for 5 weeks odd.

My parents have come to visit for a couple of days, which resulted in a trip to the beach yesterday. Shoved my wetsuit on, that actually fitted me despite it being from pre-transition days, and I actually went in the sea with my dad, despite it being pretty damn cold! For some brief periods drying off I was topless, which was a strange feeling out there. Good though, and so much easier getting changed on a windy beach with just trunks! Has felt like a re-fresh for my body getting in the salt water 🙂 .

Transition

Nebido is great for my ability to bulk up. I mean its the same stuff as testogel in the end fo the day, but my levels must be at an increased level on the injection. I’m able to lift more, and feel more “powerful” in the gym. Facial hair is coming in more and more, although this could also be helped my the minoxidil i’m taking. I am eating more, and drinking more fluids. The main problems I am having at the moment are moods. I am more irritable and get fustrated quick. I have a feel more low moods then really energetic moods. I’m just trying to ride the waves until it calms down, but it is hard, and it’s something I hoped I would not get really changing over. Basically all this above confirms I am 100% in teenage boy mode. Oh, and i’m continuing to use minodixil because I THINK, maybe, just MAYBE it might be helping with facial hair. maybe…

Top surgery

I’m still amazed at how much my chest is still changing, 5 months after surgery. I think peri-areola surgery is a totally different ball park to double insicion when it comes to healing, and there are far fewer of people’s accounts of it. Rather than the swelling and scar fading being the main aspects, its more about skin elasticity and reshaping happening over months and months. I see the top surgeon in under a month now, and want to get a few revisions, which i’m sure he will be cool with. Yes, I go swimming and show off my chest (it takes confidence and a f*** you attitude) but I really would like the nipples reduced and the size of areolas. I think it would go a hell of a lot of a way to alleviate my dysphoria about my chest still seeming to me like slightly “female looking”.

Weeks seem to be ticking by quick at the moment, soon it’s only 3 months left at Uni before I move on. I need to get cracking on my dissertation and keep up with module work. Yet I also want to make sure I’m making the most of what there is to offer round here and getting out and about! I’m starting to see a support worker (as well as my CPN) next week, who is going to do more outdoor stuff with me – get me interacting with people as well. Feel I am ready for the challenge..I think!

Comparison Pic: day 1 vs day 483 (week 0 vs week 69)

 

 

Neck hair

Oh yes, the neck hair is mounting it’s attack! I was just washing my hands looking into the mirror when my eyes popped out their sockets a bit –  I spotted long, fair, thin threads poking out my neck! Like they had just sprung up over night! Either that or you can only spot them in an upstairs bathroom, on a Thursday, whilst slightly stooped over washing hands, leaning neck to the right slighty, stood in the suns rays coming through the window at a 70 degree angle. Regardless, they are there. Which is cool cause I was starting to think whether I should try slapping on a bit of Minoxidil (can make your hair grow on your face, but mysteriously not on your head, where all it can do is help stop it dropping off)

I am getting prepared for my first Nebido shot next week, it seems to have come around fast. I have heard good and bad things about this form of preperation of testosterone. One thing some people say is that transfering from testogel to nebido can cause some of the more intense side-effects rear up again, things like mood-swings, hot flushes, acne and sweats. So i’m prepared for that (as much as you can be). I think the whole idea of staying on slowly decreasing levels of testogel whilst on the loading phase of nebido is a good thing. So i don’t drop off the scale whilst Nebido gets settled in.

Learning to self-inject is going to be a fun situation. Not only am I going to squeezing 3 months worth of Nebido into my backside, I am also going to be shooting up with 3 months worth of Prostap (blocker) – also learning to self inject in my arm. My awesome GP has sorted out the whole thing, so it will be a nurse who knows what they are talking about, not one who wants me to push the thick Nebido solution into my left calf in about 5 seconds or something like that. So i’ve heard Nebido can hurt. Like a bruise? or something. Well, I have to take a 5 hour, 3 change train journey back straight after the jabs (yep, I am travelling back to home county for these jabs) with all my luggage to haul around, then a 25 min walk across town to my house. Ahh to be trans.

Top surgery talk

I’m starting to get more sensation in the left side of my chest. I can feel my nipple, and around it, although the feel is..strange. Like touching it over a barrier of thick bubble wrapping paper. Right side has less feeling. Healing is going well, and currently the scars round the areola seem quite thin, although I know that can change as months go by. The skin is very slowly tauntening (is that a word?) up. It’s been 4 and a bit months, so in the grand scale of things its not been long. I get the feeling my meeting with the top surgeon in June re: revisions will come round very fast.

Life

I have shirts now for my suit, all I need is to start finding excuses to wear it! Things are pretty slow at Uni currently. My CPN wants to meet more regulaly to start tackling my anxiety more head on, actually going out and doing stuff etc. Bit unnerved by it, but I know it will be a good think. I think the practical stuff works the best when it comes to battling back anxiety. No number of booklets and talking therapy can make up for going out putting yourself in the gut-wrenching situations again and again until you become numb to them and just relax. The problem is having the mental energy to put yourself through that without breaking down. Let’s hope my energy stays OK.

Comparison Pic: Day 35 vs day 462 (week 5 vs week 66 )

 

 

Should I have a more active role in the trans community?

This question comes into my mind quite often. I feel strongly that transgendered individuals need more support, there needs to be more networking to build these support networks, especially for transmen who tend to be under-represented in trans groups, and that the wider general public need help to understand what it means to be transgender. So I feel strongly…but what am I doing about it?

I write this blog, which never really started to be about my transition journey, but now it’s the main focus 80% of the time. It reaches a few people, not many, but some. But I feel like I could do more.

With one of my old CPN’s I talked about starting a trans-group. And actually, regardless of how terrifing that would be, I was actually interested. The trouble is I move home so damn often. I don’t have a core base, a solid permenent patch that I can call my home town where I can establish and build up a group. Maybe in the future, but not now, and not for a while until I get a job sorted.

What else is there I can do? Well i’m not a “speech” type person, and I am not in any random groups where I can be open about being trans and try educate a bit. I know that I don’t really need to be proactive about it, its just when your part of a pretty small community and you see and hear things that other members are going through, it makes you feel you want to stand up and fight for “your” community. It’s fustrating seeing the same patterns of problems again and again and seeing despite some amazing representatives and volunteers it’s still not enough to tackle everything.

This week has been slow, i’m working on and off, and relaxing a bit inbetween. I’m been doing loads of Japanese studying which has been keeping me happy. My 2 year “coming out” day passed quietly, had a beer and pizza and watched a movie. Starting to casually look at job openings and schemes etc, just getting myself in the frame of mind. I want to buy a suit this weekend in the Easter sales. My first suit!. It’s something I have wanted to do since coming out as transgender, and wanted to wait till after top surgery. I want to find the right one though, one that makes me feel f***ing awesome :-D.

Comparison Pic: day 14 vs day 448 (week 2 vs week 64)

2 years open about being transgender!

Volunteering

I’m (hopfully) going to be starting to volunteer with kids soon, which meant the dreaded DBS check. Basically a check to make sure your not going to run off with the kids, whack them, teach them how to carry out a burglery etc. It’s pretty fast..IF..IF you have not moved house several times in the past five years. The guy at the SU (student union) was helping fill out the form and he looked ready to collapse when I showed him the list of addresses. There was seven in the end. It took him a good 20 minutes double checking all the dates and postcodes etc.

Added on to that I had had to call the DBS service and set up a special case that basically just means that I can choose if I want to tell people I am transgender, rather than them finding out because it is printed all over the form with my old name for them all to see. Getting to start volunteering is hard these days! I’m pretty damn excited though, as i’ve never worked with kids before. Going to have to wait 2/3 weeks for the forms to come back now.

Transitiony stuff

Good news this week, my “telephone pole” i.e. an areola stitch that was poking out for about a week, finally came out! Pretty random that it appeared almost 4 months after surgery. It was like a transparent plastic fishing reel material. Maybe new ones will pop out?  Also I am getting more sensation in my nipples and the surrounding area. It’s patchy and sometimes a bit “jolty” but it’s a development. I’ve been swimming a couple more times, and still finding it hard to get the courage to go out there with my trunks on, but im doing it. I just feel like a stage light it following me the whole distance to the pool edge.

Oh, also, I am noticing fluffy hair growing on my cheeks! I think it’s jumping ship from my head hair and sailing down to my cheeks.

Life

Mentally I had a downer this week, just for one day/evening really. I just suddenly lost it, let go of the rope I was clinging to and seemed to be freefalling down into a dark hole. It was really shitty and apathy just took hold, about anything and everything. Thankfully I have been doing better and it must have just been a short sharp dip. Strange how that kinda think takes hold, just seems to come out nowhere like a sudden wind change.

Ending on a high…. this Friday 7th marks my “2 year “coming out” day“!!! When I first told anyone (my parents) that I was transgender :-). Can’t believe it – how much has changed since then! I thank my two-year-ago-me for being brave enough to actually say what was on my mind and be open about who I was/am. From Friday I can officially apply for a GRC – a Gender Recognition Certificate to change my gender on my birth certificate too. But I will talk more about that in another blog.  I have no one to celebrate with on Friday but I will be having a beer or two and a nice takeaway, and celebrating with people next week.

Comparison Pic: Day 7 vs day 441 (week 1 vs week 63)

Top Surgery chat

It’s now 15 weeks since I had top surgery. Almost 4 months. No regrets about it at all. This is just a small blog chatting about what I thought of it, my tips and general stuff really.

It’s hard to picture in your head pre-top surgery how you will look afterwards, how it will feel, etc. I used to look down at what I had and just try shift it and pretend it was not there, or squish it down thinking “maybe this is how it would be?”, “would I like this?” “will I miss these?”. And you can never know 100%, cause let’s face it, nothing is 100%. Which is also why it’s silly when people want you to say “yes this is what I will want permanently for the rest of my life”. Who an earth knows that about anything? It’s more a long term feeling that this is who you are.

Pre-op

Building up to it the procedure grows in significance and seriousness. You really have to be head strong and know what I mentioned above. But the process is managable, and to any transmen or non-binary people thinking about it, I would say don’t be put off by it seeming too scary or big to handle. Take your time thinking what type of top surgery you want and ask yourself the difficult questions direct “can I cope with scars across my chest?” “can I cope with a drawstring look?” (both of course will fade to an extent), “is it impossible for me to think about loosing nipple sensation?”, or simply “is this the right time in my life to do this? Should I wait?”.

I found the pre-op process on the NHS really good, pretty speedy, and staff were aware of and sensitive to trans stuff. Compared to waiting to go on testosterone this was a breeze.

During

Get swept up in the process and let yourself go to the flow. I found being busy with doing stuff, signing things, dressing in stuff and answering questions helped to stop anxiety building too much. I have not heard of anyone who has gone the NHS route and not had a private room with ensuite. Found it quite surreal how many people are all concentrating on YOU before/during surgery. It’s strange, even if you know your just another person on the conveyor belt! I had that last moment i’m sure loads of transguys/NB people have just before, looking and feeling moobs one last time and trying to let your body know whats going to happen. Although of course your body is all chill and thinking, “eh? nothing is happening now, i’m fine, loosing body part?? haha, right”. Decision has been made, now all the hard work is down to the surgeon (that amazing being).

Post op

Healing is a long process, and as it goes on and the excitment wears off, you can become bored and fustrated with it. It feels like a never ending repeat of  “just a little bit longer until I can…”. Results can looks raw and lines everywhere and stitches and it’s not what you want to see. And at 4 weeks its not, and at 8 weeks its not, and at 12… and you might have to face the fact you need revisions, or to live with your new chest not quite how you envisaged it.

But eventually you should see improvements (most likely the older you are the slower this is) and things start looking up. And then you have to build a new relationship with your chest (the stage I am at now). It feels natual and great, yet still hard to remember that its flat now.

  • I have to remind myself I can stand up straight now without risking moobs showing.
  • All my T-shirts and tops are high neck, so its going to take a while to slowly buy in some new gear that is not gripping my neck.
  • Swimming will take a while to get comfortable with.
  • I still feel scared to brush hard against my nipples, just generally or washing etc. because I feel like they might rip off – again, time.

I have learnt to let go and not worry about the pace of healing. It just is what it is, i’m content with that.

Life

Handed in my assignment! So having a few days respite before tackling next module and dissertation. At my parents place for a few days, nice to get away from the tension of my house share. Had one of my wisdom teeth out yesterday, was damn quick. Literally booked an emergency appointment (it hurt) at the dentist, went in, and came out 20 mins later minus a tooth. Just had to put up with the dentist cranking at my tooth like he was trying to change a flat tyre. No transition news this week. See you in April 🙂

Comparison Pic: Day 28 vs day 434 (week 4 vs week 62)