Monday marks two weeks since top surgery. After showering yesterday I changed the medical tape on the incisions, and managed to snap some pictures of the real deal. Additionally as of today I don’t have to wear the ace bandage wrap 24/7, just when I’m active, which means I’ll need to get used to wearing, for the first time in over 10 years, absolutely nothing underneath my shirt.
Pain is minimal, it’s mostly strange and ongoing discomfort. I’m guessing that as the nerves start reconnecting, the numbness is subsiding, giving way to overall hypersensitivity and tingling sensations all over and inside my chest. It’s like when your arm falls asleep and goes numb, then starts waking up again, and it seems as if tiny ants are crawling all over it. If you’ve ever had anesthesia, most likely at the dentist, you know there’s a period where it starts wearing off, and you start regaining sensation on that body part, but it’s not quite there yet, and instead you are left with an inner tingling feeling. That’s how it feels on my chest, and it’s quite disconcerting. Numbness on my skin decreases each day, with the size of the numb patches going down at a noticeable rate. Now the area right on the scars and a tiny section next to the right drain site are the only areas that are totally numb. As the swelling and bruising go down, I feel some soreness on the inside, as understandably there is still bruising underneath.
Movement is good, mobility is better than I expected. Lifting my arms entirely is out of the question, but today I held an umbrella for a while as we walked home, and on Friday I carried my backpack with my laptop in it. Typing is more comfortable on the couch than on the table, as my arms stay down below my chest. Mostly I try to be overly cautious rather than pushing the limits to see what my actual capabilities are. (Although sometimes I pretend I’m worse off just to get the extra pampering.)
The immediate post-op depression and anxiety has certain waned. I feel much more at ease in regard to the actual surgery, and extremely pleased with the results so far. The contour is exactly what I was looking for, and one of the main reasons for choosing this surgeon. In terms of the actual scars, my feelings were a bit mixed today, but I’d say overall positive. From the beginning I knew there would be huge scars, and I had already come to terms with this idea. It doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would; in fact it bothers me just ever so slightly. Actually, I kind of like them – they’re there to frame my chest, give it shape and character, and also serve as a reminder of what was once there, leaving a mark instead of emptiness on the space once occupied by a thing with clear boundaries.
More often than not I look in the mirror and get a slight thrill. This is exactly how I’ve always felt inside, and finally I see what I want to see. Damn, I’m hot! I’ve never really felt “hot” until now. Finally it’s the real me smiling back.
I don’t know which one is my real skin color – flash or no flash? Also, the tiny bulge on my right side (left on the picture) is the swollen area of the drain site, it’s actually flat on the other side, and it’s not a dog ear or excess skin or anything.
And most importantly, with a plain white shirt
14 thoughts on “Two Week Notice”
Have I mentioned recently how jealous I am of your chest? Seriously, it looks amazing. It gives me hope that maybe one day, if I truly know it’s necessary, I’ll have the courage to do what you’ve done. I get so concerned that, since I’m not “really” a transperson/transguy, I don’t have any reason for top surgery. You make me optimistic that maybe I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror some day and also say, “Damn, I’m hot!”.
Funny, I didn’t see that trans-o-meter in the doctor’s office. In my view, if you feel gender-variant, you are gender-variant. There are no hard requirements saying you have to pass a certain amount of trans threshold before getting top surgery.
That said, top surgery is not a spur of the moment decision. I know what you mean by not feeling trans enough, but my desire for surgery far outweighed any of the other concerns. However, it took a long time, a lot of research and self exploration, to get to that conclusion. Only you will know when it’s right for you. Plus, it’s free to think about it.
I agree with Meike 100%
Congrats on the surgery! Glad to read that the healing process is going well and that you are feeling good about it all : )
You look great! I’m glad that you’re healing up and not in too much pain. I hope everything continues to go well for you.
Seeing someone else not on the binary get this surgery makes the future idea of me getting it myself seem more “real,” as well. Which is an interesting feeling.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support. It really means a lot to me.
I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and it’s exciting to see how you’ve been healing, and how pleased you seem! You’ve also been very helpful with your description and research into post-operative depression; I hadn’t even thought of bracing myself for that.
In this post, you described perfectly the feeling that I also have about scars: “[they] serve as a reminder of what was once there, leaving a mark instead of emptiness on the space once occupied by a thing with clear boundaries”. I had many reservations about getting peri for myself and this was one of them.
Thanks! Yes, post-op depression hit me hard and by surprise – it may or may not happen to you, but it’s best to be prepared.
I would’ve preferred peri, but was a little too big to risk it. But once I internalized the idea of having scars with my sense of self, my hesitation for top surgery was drastically reduced.
Thanks for the descriptions of the physical sensations while your chest heals. This is the kind of information that I wish there were much more of, (as well as talking honestly about the period of depression you experienced). People who are considering it need to know what to expect, as they are usually past the stage of examining philosophical arguments surrounding transness and surgery. (Not that those are wrong to have, but it seems like that kind of information makes up the majority of what is out there.) Thanks again for sharing your pictures.
(This comment is very very belated, but I still wanted to post it.) So jealous of your chest! You look great. 🙂 Thanks for talking about the physical sensations and the post-op depression (which, like genderkid, I hadn’t even thought to brace myself for). Hope the rest of your recovery went well.
It’s never too late to comment, especially when it’s a compliment!
I promise to post a 5-month update soon (5?! already?!), as there is some stuff I need to discuss. And feel free to ask any questions in the meantime, or browse the archives.