It’s On!

I called into my surgeon today and low and behold… we are on for my surgeries. As of June 12th, I will be getting my breast augmentation, lip feminization, and lower face feminization (extended facelift).

The COVID stay at home order has been good for a lot of things. We stay at home putting our money away instead of spending it. That means I have 3/4 of the money saved away for my portion of the surgery. The remaining 1/4 will take the rest of summer but by the end of summer this should be paid for (although we are still paying for last year’s FFS).

I am both incredibly excited, and honestly a little overwhelmed. I hadn’t realized that the whole COVID situation bothered me, but I suspect it has bothered me a lot more than I realized. As soon as my good news came, my defenses came down and now I am having an anxiety attack.

I am sure the other part is anxiety about the surgery. What if it doesn’t work? What if something bad happens and I come out worse? What if I eventually have to learn how to deal with myself with no surgery coming up to lay all my problems off on? I suspect that the last question is the one I will be dealing with.

However, for now I can put it off. This surgery will be June 12th, our pre-0p is May 29th and our postop visit is June 15th. I am scheduled off from work until mid-July and I plan on arranging a flight down to Arizona for electrolysis starting mid/late August and going every 8 weeks until my face is done (well also my groin, we have that too).

This doesn’t even count my June 5th visit to the urologist about the Peyronie’s Disease. Someday I won’t have surgeries and appointments like this. I think that will be both a fantastic and scary/stressful thing.

In the Middle – the Penis

This is a TMI warning to everyone. The following post is about my masculine junk that sits between my legs. No one talks about it, and I found some transitional things out the hard way, so I figure I would post about it to those who are curious about what really happens.

This is my viewpoint, only my experiences. Other trans/nonbinary people (MTF, FTM or nonbinary will have different experiences). You are warned from this point out. Also, this post is JUMBO, and I don’t apologize for it. It’s a complicated subject matter I haven’t really talked about before… but I am sure I will talk more in the future (also JUMBO is an inside joke you will get if you read this). Continue reading “In the Middle – the Penis”

In the Middle – Surgical Things.

I know it has been a little while since I last wrote. I swore I would have time to write more, but things have been a little anxious and nerve-wracking and I haven’t had the energy to sit down and write. The good news is that I have gotten to help copy edit the husband’s first book in his new urban fantasy. When we publish it I will tell you all about it.

I have noticed lately that I get the most anxious when I am stuck in the middle of something. Right now, that is EVERYTHING in my life. Work, hobbies, trying to figure out if we are going to buy a house someday in our future. The middle has never been a good place for me, and unlike all other times, I am kind of trapped and have to deal with it, instead of jetting everything and starting something new.

The biggest thing that bothers me being stuck in the middle is of course my transition. That is the elephant in the room, the one huge thing about me that is still in flux and not moving along fast enough for me.

Whether it’s surgical, looks, or financial it seems to all come back to not being able to wrap up anything definitively involving my expressing who I am in the way that feels like me. I do really horrible with that. I figured this post would be about most of my surgical in-between frustrations (I have other posts about being in the middle of my look/dysphoria, but that would make this way too long to read if combined here).

Surgical is the easiest to actually talk about. The stay at home order came right as I was supposed to get my breast augmentation. I agree with the governor, I believe the stay at home order is a good one, I just get frustrated that everything was put on hold. This is a selfish thing, and I don’t wish it to end the stay at home sooner than it is needed, but I do wish to whine about it here.

I think the worst part was knowing the surgery was probably going to be canceled. However the two weeks went by and I heard nothing, so I had some hope there. Of course it happened literally right when we were getting ready to climb in our car for my pre-op appointment. I saw their name on the phone and I knew what it was.

They were sweet about it, and when I asked if we could still come in and talk about additional options they didn’t even hesitate and we drove up anyways. I figured if my surgery was getting indefinitely postponed, maybe we could talk about additional options for when we could do it.

After a great discussion with our surgeon we did walk away with a good point about the postponement. The doctor was interested in our rearranging to get more stuff done at once (of course he was interested, that is a bigger paycheck for him). Both the hubby and I figured maybe we could save some money if we combined surgeries. You know, that whole economy of scale, or in this case not paying for a surgical room a second time, and not paying additional anesthesia, after all, I am already unconscious, why not just do more.

Pushing the pause button means that when we start back up (hopefully this month) I will get my second part of FFS/Lip Feminization done at the same time as my breast augmentation. We also decided to swing for an extended face-lift. That will help feminize parts of my face, and the secondary effect of making me look younger is good too. After all, the hubby deserves to have an attractive bride on his arm…HAHAHAHAHA.The stay at some order has been good in other ways too. The hubby and I eat out a lot, and we tend to spend a good chunk of money on activities. In addition we have huge student loan payments (ok these aren’t fun, but they are required). The stay at home order cancelled all of that including postponing student loan payments. This combined with the fact that we can both still work from home has been useful. I have been able to put away more than half to the money for the surgery in cash, enough so that I can pull the second half from our line of credit and pay the surgeon 100% meaning we get a $750 or so discount on my lip feminization/FFS/facelift. So it was good. It will basically stall our paying back for my first surgery three months, but it won’t put us in any more debt. Even so, I am still frustrated by the wait, but in this case, it had a positive effect.

What you may find surprising though is the surgery wasn’t the worst thing for me.My electrolysis is by far the more frustrating surgical/procedure thing that is affecting me. My beard is the absolute worst thing on my body. I hate it with a passion of a thousand suns. I literally get anxiety attacks in the afternoon if I can see the five o’clock shadow building up. It is the absolute worst thing to impact my dysphoria and I would do almost anything to just snap my fingers and it be gone forever.

However, I do know this is temporary. We are going to be hitting up the electrolysis again when WA and AZ are both open (I fly down there for it), and that will happen eventually. Until then I will just shave twice a day and freak out quietly in my room. There isn’t anything I can do about it at all, I just have to wait it out. As all my long term friends can vouch for… I don’t do well at waiting for anything.

There is an additional surgical/medical thing even more frustrating and actually painful, but I will post separately about that. It is way too much TMI for most people (won’t stop me posting) but I will separate it as its own so people can skip the whole entry if they want. So stay tuned for that.

The only surgeries other than the TMI one I haven’t talked about is a possible tummy tuck in a year. My weight loss has been maintained at over 100lbs lost, which means I have excess skin around my belly and a bit on my thighs. It isn’t nearly as impacting as my face/electrolysis or even my groin, but it does bother me a lot. I never realized how crappy women’s clothing can make you feel if you have parts that don’t fit so well. Definitely a sobering experience going through it compared to what I “thought” it was when presenting as a guy. That being said, I am not too worried about the skin and it and can wait :).

That is my in-between for medical, more medical coming along with how I feel about being in the middle looks wise. Thanks for reading 

Workout Weirdness

In the last couple of weeks, I have started working out at Planet Fitness again. I have surgery coming up in 7 weeks and when the surgery is over I will have significantly larger breasts, meaning possible back concerns.

So I have started weight training (mostly focused on core, legs and back, just to handle the changes and to be a little healthier) plus bicycling. I want my 22-year-old bicycling butt again, in a girl’s body, it will be awesome.

So last week I went to the gym three times, A Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, all at 4am or earlier (might as well do something with my insomnia). The place was empty. Fast forward to today, I went in on my first Monday and it was packed with guys.

Me in the car
Here I am leaving the gym.

I was a little uncomfortable, I hadn’t shaved or put makeup on and my boobs are noticeable now. I figured what the hell though, my face looked dirtier then unshaven and why would they bother? By the end of the workout, I realized how much male privilege I had before my transition.

No one would look at me back then, no one cared. During my 45 minutes in the gym today, all four guys hovered around the machines I was using, instead of the same exact machines that were open.

I would catch them staring at my boobs in the mirror, and after a short while, they started trying to look at my face (my hair was in front of it a lot). I think they were all confused for a while, the boobs were obvious, but I don’t pass so the confusion was there. Also, my hips and butt are starting to feminize pretty nicely.

So I spent the workout uncomfortable, being stared at by 4 guys and trying to not have them notice that I noticed. I bailed on the bicycle today. I think I can’t go into the gym without makeup now, I realize it doesn’t really help but it does help me mentally put a barrier up. I also won’t be doing Mondays again.

I mean the whole point of working out at 4am is to not be looked at. If they are going to look at me I will probably just go in the afternoon. At least then I will already have makeup on and be shaven.

The hubby explained even if I pass I will get stared at like that, and I cannot apologize enough to the women of the world. It never dawned on me as a guy that everything is inspected. I have to admit I am sure I checked out every woman in the gym when I worked out as a boy. I don’t remember doing so, but it was natural as a guy, and I never considered how the women might have felt… agghh I hate learning I was doing asshole things after the fact.

Blood Bank Shit Show

I had wanted this week to write about the stresses of the passing of my parents. I also wanted to talk about music. Instead, I went to a blood bank drive put on by my work (through a third party) and instead had one of the worst at work experiences for my transition. Continue reading “Blood Bank Shit Show”

Breast Augmentation Consult

I have been at four consults with different surgeons trying to get a feeling for who I wanted to go with. Last night I saw Dr. Antonio Mangubat and I decided he is the guy. Funny enough, he is the guy who did the FTM top surgery for my husband back in 2016.

The surprise I have had overall is the wide variance between surgeons and how they handle things. They are all good surgeons, but I hesitated at each of the three previous surgeons because it just didn’t feel right for whatever the reason. Now however, I will be getting 800cc implants in April and I am excited. Another great part is the fact that my insurance is going to pay for it.

Wearing an 800cc sizer to see how my new breasts will sit.

I did want to talk about my consultations a little though. The four doctors all very qualified, but very different.

Dr. Javad Sajan – a great surgeon in Seattle did my original consult back in November of 2018. He is a very personable guy, but I wasn’t happy with what his before/after pictures are for trans ladies, and he seemed to want to go with a smaller size on me, which thinking about is probably what I was seeing in those trans ladies photos… implants that for me looked too small for their frames.

Also he was a little too much into self-promoting/instagram/etc. Made me uncomfortable. Also they didn’t like taking insurance (they refuse to contract with my insurance but agree to do it as out of network, meaning it can be turned down by my insurance if he tries and charge too high a price. This does not mean he is a bad surgeon, but that combined with a lot higher prices meant he wasn’t my number one pick (but still in the running until I sat with Dr. Mangubat)

This was from my testing at Dr. Sajan in November 2018, it isn’t bad, but the 800cc at Mangubat seems better feeling to me.

Dr. Ellie Zara Ley – a fantastic surgeon who did my FFS bone work, although the office interaction/after care could use a little touch up. The reason in the end I didn’t go with her was because first, it is in Scottsdale and I don’t really care to stay another two weeks in a hotel in Arizona if I don’t have to. The extra cost of the flight down, the hotel stay, food, etc makes this not my favorite.

On top of that she explained she would decide what looked right for my body frame once I was under and do it with an expander. She is a wonderfully artistic person, but I wasn’t to keen on waking up not knowing what to expect.

I wouldn’t ever change Dr. Ley having done my FFS although it hurt a lot (April 2019).

Dr. Christiane Ueno – a fantastic Kaiser surgeon. She actually walked me through all the questions I should ask, and she was very knowledgeable. The biggest reasons I didn’t go with her was the upper limit on size, she didn’t think she could go above 600cc (which was in the lower range of what I wanted) but especially her equipment only let her go through the bottom of the breast, not through the armpit. This means very visible scars, not the highest on my list, but she is still a great surgeon.

Dr. Antonio Mangubat – The surgeon I am going with and an overall great choice. First and foremost I was experienced with his office (only Dr. Ley scored for similar reasons) and I knew his office was responsive to concerns and were there 24/7 during recovery.

Also Dr. Mangubat is the one that liked the 800cc and explained how it would help camoflauge the center of my chest and give me a proportional shape. He didn’t have any prejudgments on what I was interested in. Also, his before/after photos blew everyone else’s out of the water, and when I look at my husband’s top surgery results I see that he is a good surgeon.

The hubby went through hell, but his results were really good (this is him post FTM top surgery)

Also it helps that he is the second closest surgeon to our home, meaning I will get the surgery done and come home to my apartment to heal. He also didn’t hesitate about FMLA paperwork or taking my insurance.

Dr. Mangubat’s office is going to contact our transgender case manager Raelean today and will arrange the insurance coverage. We talked about possible dates and when I asked about April they said that shouldn’t be a problem at all. This gives my hubby a chance to work a few audits, and me a chance to get ready physically and mentally. Also it is kind of funny that it will be approximately a year after my FFS that I get my breast augmentation (same month, one year later).

I am super excited about this!

Finishing Off 2019

This last month was supposed to be mostly vacation and medical appointments. With Christmas coming and this being the first Christmas where I am not so depressed that I was numb, I knew it might be a little rough emotionally.

It was a lot worse than expected. On Christmas Eve I got a call from my sibling. They had a broken leg, had decided to run off to Vegas to marry someone and within three days of being there it was broken off. I get a call saying they are stuck there with no money, no flight and no place to stay. They literally only went to Vegas wearing pajamas (although they did get some clothing when they got there).

I spent the next three days on the phone with them, other hotels and airlines trying to arrange a way for them back. To make it worse, the sibling wasn’t behaving very rationally and was having some issues of their own. They wouldn’t just take the next flight home and had to wait a day and a half (meaning I had to pay for an extra hotel night). They yelled at me (but stopped when I hung up and I think they knew I was going to leave them if they didn’t cut that shit out), and finally they got home.

They are doing better, which relaxes me. However, I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night until last night since this whole event. It has set off my own mental health issues, but fortunately my hubby and my therapist have been really good (more about my therapy in the future).

The end result is a lot of extra money on a credit card, mental health flare and a continual worry that my sibling is going to hurt themselves as they are currently homeless back in Bellingham. It wracks me with guilt because I can’t afford any more money, and they have been nice about it not asking, but I still end up feeling like a failure.

None of this even counts the emotional grief I am not able to process because of this for the death of my parents and my missing them.

That is ok, this is a new year, new outlook and a new girl who is establishing boundaries. So don’t pity me too much, I will be fine. I just needed to write down a very abbreviated version here.

Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 2 and 3

Another late post, but life is going at a million miles an hour. Then again Day 2 and 3 were remarkably quiet.

The biggest thing of course was a combined 10 hours of electrolysis I got. I sat as two wonderful people worked on my face at the same time for five hours. They got a large chunk of my face done. This included all around my mouth, almost to my chin and all the way up the left side of my face. Even now, two weeks later, I have a lot of smooth skin, especially above the lips (the important spot).

I had planned on going out later that night, but you can see from the pictures that I was feeling rough, I definitely wasn’t feeling feminine and we hid out for the entire day eating grocery store food and door dash Mexican food. It wasn’t a bad night.

The next day was a little better. I woke up feeling ugly duckling, but decided fuck it and I would dress up anyways. I got some looks from the locals, but no one had the cajones to say anything so we remained where we were, ate La Quinta breakfast and then turned in our room key (btw the Tempe LQ SUCKS, it was dirty, loud and at no time did we feel safe).

We then went and saw Charlie’s Angels. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, albeit I admit it wasn’t “good cinema”. After that we went to Del Agave in Scottsdale and had a wonderful meal. The server/bartender Daniel was a great guy, I felt safe (probably the safest place I had felt in Arizona) and told us what to order that was the best, and he was right (and it wasn’t the most expensive dish).

 

Hubby was happy for real food

We had an encounter after the meal though, walking to our car a guy was walking his two kids. He spotted us and loudly proclaimed the following:

Dad: So kids, who are we voting for in 2020?
Kids: Donald Trump!!!

Yep, the asshole said it as an intimidation factor because he saw I was transgender. I thought momentarily about going over there and handling it verbally, but he had kids and I was feeling fairly vulnerable after the electrolysis, but I decided not to. I thought the hubby was going to kill him though, that is why I love the man.

I was surprised when we boarded the plane that a very conservative lady (with a church group) told her husband to let “her” through so “she” can get her stuff and she smiled at me. I cannot even explain how nice it was to have someone validate me, especially someone who looked fairly conservative, after the Trump asshole. It put me in a better mood.

We then got back to the airport, waiting around for a few hours and flew home. I always forget how much I miss it here until I land in the Pacific Northwest

Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 1

This post is a little late, but last weekend we went down to Phoenix for 10 hours of electrolysis. The overall judgment is that it is always worth it, but it was really rough. I will break this up so you don’t get a wall of text, so lets cover the first night, Friday November 15, 2019.

The first thing that happened the week before was growing out my facial hair. I haven’t done it since August and it really set my dysphoria off. It was enough that I don’t think I could do it just for 90 minutes of electrolysis, the 10 hours is something I would go through this for though. I just can’t do short visits because I would have to keep my beard long indefinitely, and I can’t do this week after week.

2 days before electrolysis

The morning of the trip was awesome and stressful at the same time. I fell asleep around 10pm and was promptly awake by 1am, but I didn’t feel too tired because I knew we had to be up at 3:30 anyways, so I stayed up and played some video games (Judgment) and headed out very early when my hubby woke up.

Hubby is not happy.

 

Arrival at SEA-TAC with Pre-Check was worth the money for five years of coverage. We got through the system in a record time, and I didn’t even get wanded by the guard, although my bag got “randomly selected”… so no wand for me, but the poor bag wasn’t so Lucky.

Waiting at the airport was a little stressful though. It was the first time I had to grow a beard in three months and I just wanted to hide. Eventually I had to visit the boys bathroom for the first time in 7 months since I was way too masculine looking for the women’s without risking assholes, so the hubby and I both went in to the boys bathroom together, where I took a picture of how I looked.

I didn’t get looked at much, which was great with me, but surprisingly the boys bathroom was a lot more alien to me then I remembered. Not sure what the difference was, except it was quiet even though there were several guys in there. I never imagined missing warm bathrooms with voices. Weird isn’t it.

We arrived in Phoenix with little problems, although the steward was nice and gave me a hard time for “being in a band”. However when we talked (he was obviously flaming) and I told him I am trans, I showed him before and after  and he was floored (as was the other steward). He had a lot of questions, he thought it was funny a lot of people ask him about transgender people, and he would always explain “How the fuck do I know?”

We then landed in Phoenix, dirty, browns and browns, it is not something I would like to live at for the beauty of the landscape. We sat in first class as this other man in first class started taking everyone’s pillows and blankets and stuffing them inside his suitcase… WTF… We then got ourselves a fancy rental car… even had its own AC/heater temperature for each side…

We then checked in to a different then normal La Quinta… and that was its own brand of hell, but at least on Friday night it just seemed a little bit dirty and worn down. From there we got sandwiches at AZ Sandwich CO and hid out all night waiting for my 8am appointment. We watched videos, trying to use Hulu to stream, but that was limited results. Eventually we logged into Youtube and watched videos until we both passed out for our first day.

2 encounters in one day – Main Street Gas and Grocery

It turns out that my day didn’t end with my Safeway Encounter, but rather was a long continuation as I stopped at People’s Park to eat a yogurt and then went to the Main Street Gas and Grocery to get some lotto tickets for my husband (it is right across the street from People’s Park).

Sitting at People’s Park and taking a picture

I have been to the store a few times, and there is a gentleman who is always there. He is always polite to me, but I can’t tell if its in a weird way (almost an “interested” look, but I am too new to this to know for sure). However it was the closest place to Safeway to get a lotto ticket (Safeway couldn’t sell any).

I went in there, pulled cash from the machine and walked up to the counter behind an old and very drunk hispanic man who kept telling everyone that he didn’t want Trump to send him away.

I am waiting there and he turns and notices me and says “wow you are tall beautiful”… obviously super drunk. Don’t get me wrong, flattering and all but I still don’t pass and I knew he was drunk. He obviously caught up to that a few moments later.

His face screws up in a question… “are you a man or woman?” He has that drunk voice, as he sways a bit. I smile but was a bit more uncomfortable and was all of a sudden a little more wary. The man is half my size so he isn’t a threat, but I was still a little wary.

I say “I am a woman, it cost a lot of money to become one.” The gentleman who works/owns the store smiles when I say that and nods, and is already starting to tell the drunk to leave me alone.

The drunk seemed confused and started talking when the store guy starts yelling for him to leave the woman alone. The fact he referenced me as a woman without blinking made me feel good. Meanwhile the drunk takes a few moments as he takes my hand. He leans forward and drunkenly says

“Don’t let anyone say you aren’t beautiful.”

I have seen that kind of shifting in opinions of drunks, and it wasn’t unexpected. I was partially happy to get the compliment but I wanted to get out of there before things went awry. As I left the store guy walked up to the homeless guy yelling at him to leave the woman alone and buzzing a taser threateningly. The old guy left, I left.

I talked with my hubby I found out a man had been stabbed in the parking lot and died there at 1pm the previous Thursday (one week exactly before).

https://www-1.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article234797627.html