FFS Surgery Consult

Back on December 4, 2018 the hubby and I went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for a Facial Feminization Surgery Consult. We have been through this type of thing two other times. The first for hubby’s top surgery then for his metoidioplasty, that last was with Dr. Ley and Meltzer so we were familiar with how it would go.

She was polite, and a good surgeon with the hubby. Her bedside manner was a bit abrupt (as it was also during his surgery as well). That being said we knew we would at least get a straight estimate. We had gone to a local Seattle doctor and he had quoted more then $60,000 for procedures that didn’t include as much bone work as I wanted (he is more of a specialist in soft FFS, such as muscles, not so much on the bone).

We went in having already done that 15 minute consult last August and assumed 20k minimum. After the quote from the Seattle doc I was expecting more like 50+k because Dr. Ley had mentioned doing a lot more invasive stuff, I was prepared to not be able to get enough credit to get it all.

We arrived and got the facial/cranial x-rays which was a lot easier than expected. The people at that dental office that did the x-rays evidently do it for a lot of transgender patients and they were completely professional and friendly enough.

Then we arrived at the appointment and only had to wait a little while, it was nice compared to last time.

Once we went back the first thing we noticed was that Dr. Ley was incredibly friendly with us. She was open and warmed up the room verbally before going into the questions. She had no problem interacting with me physically, touching my face and giving me a very intense look over and comparing what she saw, to what the x-rays showed.

The first thing I noticed is she said unless I absolutely wanted it, she wouldn’t recommend a rhinoplasty (nose job). She showed me the x-rays and evidently my nose is already at a feminine angle (angling up slightly). She was clear that for a face to be seen as feminine has a very broad spectrum and my nose was already comfortably in that place. This was a relief as my experience at other consults pushed a nose job. It meant she wasn’t in this just for money.

She went over the rest of me and it came out mostly like I expected. She is going to try and lower my hairline slightly. She was honest, she doesn’t think it will go more than half an inch (maybe a little bit more if she can push it). I have a good hairline, but contrary to what other docs say, she was clear it would help, but wouldn’t be as far forward as some try to quote.

The next part was raising my brows. She can do that easily at least half an inch, that will also help with the lower hairline because between the two my forehead will be at least an inch less than it is now.

Also dealing with my forehead is she will be doing some work on my brow ridge, basically sanding it down to be less masculine, while basically filling and shaping the forehead so it doesn’t just become flat. Her experience as a facial/cranial plastic surgeon with infants reassured me she has the skills.

In addition she will be adjust the orbital area of my eyes (I believe this is the facial cranialplasty level 3, intense but it should open my eyes up a lot. It will make them look bigger, and give me more real estate to use makeup on above my eye. She thinks this will also be a big help with feminizing my face.

We got down to my cheeks and recommended cheek implants. I wasn’t so sure on this, we hadn’t considered it but she was right. My 100lb+ of weight loss has gotten rid of any cheeks, they have sunken in a bit and implants wouldn’t go away, they would give a feminine cast. I talked with hubby and we decided that is good. So it is now going to be more surgery then expected so the cost went up.

Then she went to my jaw and surprisingly enough she recommended that she doesn’t shave it down. The angle is good, it isn’t super masculine or thick and unless I really wanted it she would leave it alone. I was surprised, and happy that once again she recommended against a procedure she could charge a lot of money for.

Then we got to my lips, I wanted a lip implant to lift my lip from its typically flat masculine look to a feminine look. She said that is easy and while she was there she could reduce the space between my lip and my nose giving it even more feminine look. The hours added on to the rest of the surgery (including chin below) was too much for one day so she recommended I do that as a second trip down. That would be an ‘in office’ procedure and I could go home the next day. We agreed, I am getting it, but probably not until three months after rest of surgery.

Finally we got down to my chin, and she fully agreed that it needs to be reduced (thinned/shaved down). She goes in through the mouth for that part so it won’t leave a scar on my neck. She was skeptical of plastic surgeons who would go up and under the neck, leaving a big scar since you didn’t need to do that. This is nice, considering when they due the brow ridge they will have to pull the skin back from my skull and do the bone work underneath, at least it won’t be pulling skin off my full face, just my upper half… ya that is a gross image.

The final result, about $39,000 quote. It is a good chunk more than I originally thought, but still more than $20,000 less than Seattle with more of the procedures I want. Here is the breakdown:

Procedure                                       Fee    
FSCP w/ Brow Burring (6.5 hours)
Genioplasty (2 hours)
Malar Aug with Implants (1.5 hours)
Lip Lift w/implants 7025 (in office)
2 Nights Hospital                                     
$19,878.00
8,319.00
6,038.00
3,500.00
1,248.00                                    
Total $38,983.00 (still 20k less than Seattle)

I am very fortunate, we cannot afford to pay this but my credit is good enough to cover this with Care Credit and regular Visa. It means we are deferring student loans as we can, and we are going to be “going to school” broke but we can make the payments if necessary.

I am even more fortunate that my husband loves me enough to do this. When I saw the bill, even at 20k less than the other doc my initial response was to not do it. I didn’t want to tank his finances. He made it very clear he wants this for me, it is something that is going to help me in the future. I don’t care about passing in theory, but it will be easier to get the level of jobs I have the education for if I am not stuck in the middle according to society. So we are going to do it. Surgery is April 26, 2019 and the lip portion will be probably by August of 2019 depending on how my face will heal.

I will have a lot of future posts about this going into a lot more detail of the procedures and what we are going to do. I just wanted to get this out there as the basic what happened and how much. I will post examples of the procedures later as well.

Centering Myself

I have been quiet because I needed to take some time away and center myself. I talked about being fired last week, and that it caught me completely off guard. I needed some quiet time to set up for the long wait of unemployment, and to see where the finances stood for the husband and I. Mostly I just needed to work through the feeling of being betrayed.

The finances are still ok. We got both our student loans deferred (I am unemployed and eligible, he still had optional deferment available) so we can make it on his income alone, even with our car payment. So financially we are doing ok without any income from me.

I have turned in all the required paperwork, I wasn’t let go for cause and there should be no issues on my work record. I should get unemployment. However, that can take some time, since the four quarters they count my income are when I worked for the feds. The feds don’t report wages to the state unless a person requests, so it could be weeks before I get any unemployment… We can get by, but it means I can’t put money aside for the FFS.

Of course this all happened the same week I flew down to Phoenix, got my FFS, and everything medically is going into fast gear. So a lot of anxiety has been occurring. That being said, a week later I find myself happier. I truly was despising that job. Mainly the way my management team I was on would target employees they didn’t like. That put me on the other side of my co-managing team several times when I couldn’t agree to punish my auditors for things that didn’t merit that level of punishment.

On top of all this there was a lot of disdain for my transition that had been building up. There were some people that were great, but several people I worked directly with would get that weird lip pull back when I talked about it, and obviously they were uncomfortable. Evidently uncomfortable enough that after I submitted an FMLA request for my FFS surgery I was walked out of the office 25 minutes later with no disciplinary actions, no warnings, it was just cashing in on the CBA and giving me “no cause” for my being released.

The frustrating part is the reason I came here was they are supposedly open to transgender employees, that wasn’t the case in the end. Even now I am really frustrated I took a 30k a year pay-cut, my commute when from 15-20 minutes to over an hour and all because a boss I used to work for and thought was a good person turned out to be a pretty shitty person. It all kind of hit me there and then. This job was taken purely because of my old boss, and it was nothing like I was told.

This means that I am now applying at jobs as much as possible. I would like to earn as much money as I can before surgery to help offset the cost, but the odds are that no one will pick me up before April. I don’t pass anymore, and I am ok with that. I suspect job interviews in the conservative business world will not go as planned. You never know though, maybe I will be surprised.

So this week I have been meditating a LOT. Trying to sleep enough and taking care of the husband since he has a stressful job and the money responsibility is on him. I think he is liking that I cook, clean, take care of him overall. I hope it is making it easier.

Now a week later there is a part of me to be fulfilling the traditional wife roles, I have always been motherly to people (it is joked about) but now it feels like I can be who I am. The meditation and supportive family I have chosen has made this experience so far better than I had hoped. Now that I am feeling centered, it is time to prepare for the surgeries (4 of them in 2019) and to get mentally in the groove.

So there I am, more centered now that I am not working for a shitty boss. Finances are tough, but aren’t they for almost everyone?

 

Fired!

I was going to write all about my consult itself, but it turns out something more exciting happened. I got fired after submitting my FMLA paperwork for my transition surgery.

To be honest, it is more of a laid off situation, I am currently in a probationary period and within the first six months they can let you go no matter the reason (and they never have to tell you why). I assume this means I will be able to collect unemployment, the problem being is my job during the “unemployment year” was with the department of defense and there is a slew of hoops I have to jump through.

I have never received any disciplinary comments, never had any issues that I know of. I even asked my boss last Thursday how things were and she was fine. She even talked to me on Tuesday, the day before I was “separated” and was all chatty with me on chat while I was in Phoenix.

I went into work yesterday morning, and while I dislike my job I was putting 100% into it. I sent an email in explaining I am going to need to file for FMLA, that I am getting the surgeries and will need LWOP. Within 25 minutes HR had called me in and issued me a letter saying I was being separated. 

All it quoted was the Union CBA that outlines the authority they have to release me, they don’t need cause and they don’t need to say why. The letter is dated the same day as my email too so that means they ran down to the director immediately and had her sign it.

Now, I am waiting on my unemployment decision (the hard part is I worked for the agency who handles unemployment, so this is awkward) before I make any final decisions on what to do. I may just walk away if I get my unemployment and look for a better job, or I may pursue this.

ok, there is something funny about this.

While the union agreement does cover their butts and allow them to do this, there is no way that my FMLA request for transgender services wasn’t involved since I have had no personnel issues. With that information it is actually against state law to lay out retribution for my FMLA request (and in WA state transgender care is covered under FMLA, or at least the state’s expansion of it).

That however will wait until I hear back. For now I will be anxious, begin my job searches and try and get unemployment. All the while arranging for my surgery in April. It just means more debt… However, the alternative is worse.

Consult Trip to Phoenix (event)

We did it, we finally went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for my FFS surgery. I will go into it’s own post on everything she is going to do, this rather is to just give a brief rundown of the trip itself.

We got to the airport later in the day. This is the first time we haven’t had pre-check in four years. Our first flights no longer working for the DoD. We were fortunate, the lines were really fast and not much wait… however then came the body scans.

The hubby went through without a problem. I stepped through and was scanned by the MRI machine. The hubby said he saw the light go off around my groin area. They immediately pulled me to the side and as he was about to pat me down I stopped him and warned him I am transgender and that I have boobs if he runs his hands up my chest.

That boy froze so hard. He looked like he was going to faint. He then touched me on the hip, on the side and walked off saying I was good. Absolutely no looking in the region that set off the alarm as well. So the hubby kept making fun of my groin after that until we got onto the plane.

The plane trip was easy, we just flew for a little over two hours, bored. The service both down and back sucked though. One passthrough with water and then both times the stewards disappeared into their little shack and we didn’t see them at all.

We landed, got our car and found our hotel room. Hubby wrestled with the air conditioner after we had some Red Robin then we went to bed and slept like crap. Waking up the next morning we went and got my jaw/face/head x-rays and went to the consult.

On the way back from the consult we had a great lunch at the “Old Mission” a really good, if a bit expensive mexican food place (upscale). The tacos were fantastic and the guacamole was decent, but a bit too expensive.

We then got to the airport and once again I got pulled by TSA, my groin lit up their MRI machine. I have no piercings down there, nothing in my pocket. This time I decided to not say anything about being trans and they guy did a pretty thorough background… EXCEPT HE NEVER CHECKED MY GROIN. He even swabbed me, but not my groin. I could see my groin lit up like a Christmas tree on the machine, but evidently he was scared enough of my dick that he didn’t go near it.

They then pulled my bag and my bag also had set off the scanners, this time it was the trail mix in it… Good job TSA, way to protect our borders… from my terrorist trail mix.

We then got there and waited SIX HOURS!!!! We had to turn the car in so we were stuck. We had only been away from the airport itself 14 hours total… There we sat (and hubby slept) until the plane came. We flew home, but that wasn’t all, we spent almost an hour on the tarmac in Seattle waiting because an Alaska Air plane had problems and couldn’t leave the gate.

Overall, I loved being with my husband, I loved getting my FFS consult, but the trip itself was too exhausting with no real stories to tell… other than my groin is disliked by the MRI machine. Hopefully details of my FFS consult after I have slept some.

 

Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo (date)

DATE DAY:
Where: Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo
Links: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) https://www.pdza.org/
Date: November 10, 2018.

We have really been wanting to go see the zoo since we moved here in July, but with my jobs switching around and just the stress of transition we haven’t gotten out. Finally we decided to go anyways.

The zoo was sadly smaller than anticipated, but I loved the jellyfish and Dari the tiger the most. However, pretty much everything came over to check us out. According to the worker, Musk Ox had never gotten that close or walked towards people that she saw before.

The arctic foxes were cool enough, but their area was full of plastic garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure they were there for a purpose, to entertain them. I also realize that they don’t have the budget of the Woodland Park Zoo. That being said it still was uncomfortable to watch (same with penguins).

The jellyfish photos came out better than I expected. The rest of my fish pictures sucked (and got tossed), except for the “disapproving fish”. I need to learn better techniques and get additional equipment for aquarium photos.

Dari the tiger however was my favorite. She is a gorgeous animal and was intently interested in a toddler and then me… is that saying something about me? If I wasn’t color blind I would have played with the color levels to get the picture even better, but that is the last thing anyone needs me to do.

She noticed a toddler across from her
She noticed me

I don’t think we will visit in the short term again. If we get money up (I am now going to be unemployed) I want to hit the other sites around first. Still, we had a great time and some of the animals were awesome.

DATE GALLERY!!!
(video clips below that)

 

First Time

Well it happened for the first time today, something was said about my transition in front of me in a negative way and it was at work.

I was stepping into an elevator and with four other guys who work somewhere on my floor but not in any of my areas. I noticed as I stepped in that they were all sort of staring at me, not a big deal, I know I am hot. I turned around facing the door and the words, “What the fuck is that” were uttered. 

It was pretty clear what was being said and why. I looked over and they were all looking away. I am sure whoever said it didn’t mean to say it aloud in my hearing but it didn’t matter. I had heard it.

The weird thing is I shut down immediately and just wanted to go home. This is not my normal reaction. Normally I will get mouthy, in people’s faces. Hell I have cornered other people in their van (while I was on foot) when they made a shooting gesture at my husband and got in their face. The just shutting down thing is not a reaction I would expect from me.

Problem is, I can’t prove which one said it and there is the off chance it is because of the clothing I am wearing (I definitely don’t worry standard business casual) but I know exactly why and I just wanted to go home.

I didn’t like that feeling at all. The rest of the day at work was great, but I didn’t feel great. The only other time that day was when I walked into the bathroom in front of someone and they immediately veered away, that was awkward but that has happened a couple of times.

I know this is the least I will have to put up with, and now that the initial shock to my system happen I think I will be fine in my reaction. However this has me totally reassessing what I want to do for a living. Working in close quarters in an office is going to be like this and that is fine.

I am just frustrated this shit was why I left the DoD, and funny enough I think this wouldn’t have happened in my actual office at this time because everyone knows me (it definitely would have happened at a minimum if I changed offices or went to training, let alone no work protections, so no regrets leaving anyways).

The funny thing out of all of this is I had one other occurrence happen a week or two ago. I was at the urinal and a guy stepped up using the one beside me and turned towards my chest. His eyes were at my boob level (and they are starting to be obvious) he stared at them for a few seconds. Then he went back to peeing and I never saw him again. I thought that was hilarious… but yesterday not so much.

Goodbye Ghost

I had a bunch of posts I wanted to do, I have been traveling for work, hanging with husband. Sadly though Ghost had taken a turn for the worst. Yesterday he wouldn’t really get out of his blanket area except to go check out the outside when we opened the kitchen deck door (he hated outside before this apartment).

So yesterday we contacted The Good Life, the same vet that helped him a few weeks ago to have her visit today and help us say goodbye. However, Ghost will do what he wants and he passed away after we went to bed last night.

The hubby has been sweet, he tried to keep me from having to see it or deal with it. I have helped with all our other animals and while it is a lot harder to not cry right now and I appreciated his effort, it was my duty to help.

Goodbye old man cat, Mr. Pinchy, Ghost… We love you very much and I really do hope something like the rainbow bridge exists. Take care.

Prepare to be bombarded with cat pictures. We will get back to my regular thoughts after I can get back to it.

Memory: Camp Horizon (1988)

Camp Horizon is located in Birch Bay Washington (the site of an old Air Force Station) that provides recreational facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. I was fortunate enough for two, one week sessions, to be an assistant counselor. It is something that has stayed with me for my life, or at least the last 30 years since I did it (1988). I ended up going up to Birch Bay in summer of 2017, and while I was there I decided to go back to the camp and take some photos. In addition I do have a couple of photos from that time.

The sign!

Funny enough, I had lived in Birch Bay in the fall/winter of 1987 at the age of 15/16 and I never knew this place existed. Then we moved to Bellingham that spring. There I attended Bellingham High School. When I was at the high school, I somehow got in contact with a nice young man named Russ Nelson. He was the stage/videographer for the high school. To this day I can’t remember how he got me interested, but he talked about Camp Horizon and I should volunteer as an assistant counselor.

This was a new thing for me. I had just gotten done being homeless for a year+ and then living in Birch Bay (once again I didn’t know this place existed). I thought this wouldn’t be bad to start with on my resume. I believe it paid $50 for the first week and if I went the second week it went up to $75 (although I could be off a bit). So I agreed to it. Russ was kind enough to drive me to the camp (which was about 30 miles from my home).

I got to the camp, met several other assistant counselors (and a couple of college aged counselors) and began my short lived career as a camp counselor. We were there for five days each session I believe and our days consisted of bunking in the dorms, getting up, running classes, movies, gym activities, and most importantly just being there for the campers.

It was the first time I worked with people more disadvantaged than me and I loved it completely. I will be honest though, it probably helped that I had regular meals, recreational activities and no drunk parents (they were in a bad place at this time). To this day I still remember Dayleen (I am sure I did not spell that right). A young girl who was deaf, with some developmental disabilities and I believe cerebral palsy. It is because of her that I learned my numbers and letters in American Sign Language, along with the way to say “Cookie Monster” and a couple of other phrases.

My three strongest memories were waking up and hearing “I wanna dance with someone” by Whitney Houston, going downstairs and meeting up with Dayleen. I don’t remember exactly what we were working on, I just remember her being so excited about us playing and her signing “Lucky” or some variation of it when she saw me. Sadly I had a picture of her but once we started moving a lot as an older teen, it disappeared in one of our many homeless moments.

My second strongest memory was wrapping up my first session and feeling incredibly sad that it was over. It was followed up with getting home and my parents were on a run. There was loud arguments, loud music and much drinking by several people. I just remember wishing I was still at camp.

My third memory was Melody (I think her name was Melody, not Meloney, but I could be wrong). She was one of my many unrequited loves. I was very quiet as a teenager at this time, and I never figured out how to ask her out, or do pretty much anything. However, my favorite memory with her was laying under a tree, next to her and talking for a long time (probably longer than I should have since I was after all a counselor).

The two sessions went by very quickly and before I knew it I went home and collected my check for the two weeks. I believe I bought my parents an anniversary present and my brother a birthday present with it, never spent a dime on myself (I think the remaining went to house bills). I never was able to go back the following year. This was because by that time I was working full time and supporting my family.

Damn I look young.

Fast forward to summer of 2017 and we went up to Birch bay and stopped by the camp. Surprisingly there were people readying the camp for this summer and we talked with them. They are up to 6 or 7 weeks a year of sessions and they have been constantly updating the place. They were kind enough to let me take some pictures. So below is our gallery and it includes photos from my adventure and last weekend. I know we had other photos, if I find them I will add them.

THE GALLERY

My First Week

I have been very quiet for awhile now. Mostly because I started my new job, and with the much longer commute I have been tired and overly anxious. Well now I can give some feedback on it.

It’s Great!!!

The money thing hasn’t hit me yet (or reduction of), but my boss and coworkers have all been really cool. I am slowly presenting more feminine, and since my two supervisors I work with (as the third supervisor) they are incredibly kind about it. My boss is totally supportive and constantly tells me to wear what I want, and not care about anyone else.

I am still not ready to do that yet. I start up my laser hair removal again next Saturday, then some electrolysis for the hard to get rid of hairs after that. Once I don’t have to worry that within three hours of arriving having so much whisker that it would destroy any ability to not get dysphoric.

I have a ton of subjects to talk about, but once again I am fairly exhausted and even this was a lot of effort, so I will get back to you all as soon as I can. Thanks for everything.

Bad bosses dream

Dreams Road SignI am starting a new job today (one that knows I am trans and seems to accept it) so last night was filled with hard dreams.

I woke up from a dream this morning, around 2am. It involved me starting a brand new job in an office. It was incredibly regimented, and people were always freaking out. A coworker who sat next to me at another desk was a large black man who reminded me of my previous boss I just left (except she was a she).

He looked over at me and told me that I would have to take breaks at 1130am every day, no exceptions and it is required. I laughed my ass off at him at first and told him that isn’t true. He continued to demand it and I told him I am not “working at fucking mcdonalds” and you aren’t going to regiment me on every little thing I do.

At some point I stood up, told him to fuck himself he wasn’t my boss and we would be stepping up to the next person line of authority. That is where I woke up.

manager

I can tell that relates back to two different people. The first was my previous boss. She wasn’t flexible on my start/end times. It was a silly rule because I couldn’t cover anyone else’s position (I am the only auditor in a group of accountants) and they couldn’t cover mine.

It was the ONLY white collar job I have had since graduating going on 11 years ago that isn’t flexible on start/stop times. The advantage of auditing is there is no customer service, and as long as you are in at a core set of hours (many times 9-2, or 9-3) they don’t care if you come in earlier or stay later then that to make your full day.

She also wouldn’t let me work extra hours on some days to make up for medical appointments on the other. There was a whole ton of other small things, but those are the big one (and I agree not the worst in the world), but my Oppositional Defiance personality has a hard time.

The other boss is from the DoD. He told me to do things that were not what I considered ethical in testing on a DoD Contractor. He didn’t want to deal with the problems I was finding. I told him no, I am pursuing it and he really didn’t have the authority to stop me since that was my actual job.

He kept pushing and pushing and griping. Eventually I told him we could go talk to the station chief to clarify it if he wants. He talked big about we don’t need to bother him, I just needed to listen to the doofus supervisor (himself). I stood up, told him to fuck himself eventually, said we are going into the manager’s office and he could decide.

fuck you

The shocked look on that person’s face was priceless. We eventually went in (stormed is probably a pretty good word) and I laid out what I had found. The supervisor all of a sudden started backing down in front of our big boss. Big boss agreed with me and that was that.

Now I realize it seems weird I can tell my supervisor no, but that is because I am an auditor. As an auditor I am responsible as a professional to not veer my audit on outside pressure, that includes my supervisor if I feel we are not following “due diligence”. That was what was happening, he didn’t want to find more problems and I told him you can’t just stop looking when you find problems.

There are a lot of other small things like this, but that is why I like auditing. I can pursue problems I see and have upper management usually back me (now, whether they support it because the contractor has lobbyists is a different story, but above my paygrade and not something that was my issue).

There you have it, an anxiety dream taking two different incidents from my last two jobs to make me anxious for my new one.