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!

FFS Surgery

First I want to be clear about this. FFS Surgery was the most invasive surgical experience I have ever had in my life. I had read up all about it, felt I was prepared, and to be honest I was pretty prepared. That being said, I do hope I don’t have to deal with something on that level again.

I got up a very very early Friday morning (although not nearly as early as we did to go to the hubby’s surgery. We wandered in and it took awhile for them to process me. It was super busy, and unlike the almost dead waiting room for Wolsey’s surgery, this one was packed with a lot of people.

Didn’t feel right to take a photo of the people in the waiting room so you get an outside picture.

They got me back and started preparing me. I think I looked pretty comfortable, and they were incredibly nice, but I have to say there was a bit of terror in my heart.

That terror would creep out sometimes too.

The best thing about the surgery other than my wonderful husband, was were the nurses. There was a bear of a man that I cannot remember the name too, but he was the In Charge nurse (I am not sure of their titles). He and I talked politics (he is conservative, but the kind that I get along great with, even on points we disagree). He held me over until the star of the show came… Jeff the nurse.

Jeff was there for the hubby’s surgery, he was there for mine. He was the kindest, most warm-hearted man and I can’t thank him enough for everything. I truly truly truly think he is fabulous.

I don’t remember much about the surgery itself, I know I was under for more than 11 hours and that my recovery was rough.I puked for the first 24 hours almost non-stop in reaction to the general anesthetic. Although thankfully I remember almost nothing of my hospital stay due to the IV drugs I was on.

The hospital stay itself was fantastic though. All of the nurses were supportive, they didn’t blink about my transgender status and several of them remembered us from when the hubby was there 18 months earlier for surgery. They even noticed I had lost a bunch of weight.

For the two days I was stuck in that horrible headwrap you will see in the pictures. They couldn’t change dressings or do anything with my hair as they had cut my scalp like a baseball to go under for my bone work and then pulled my scalp forward a little bit.

By Sunday afternoon I was released by the nurse, the doctor wasn’t able to make it in. This made me uncomfortable, along with the whole eating solid food thing that I will eventually talk about.

I got home, and by Sunday night was able to sleep next to my husband, with the headwrap off, and about to have a sucky four or five day recovery before things got better.

That blue pen took days to get cleaned off

That is it, that is my surgical experience briefly and only in general, although I am sure I will post specific things when they come to me. Below is the gallery of all the photos suitable for posting. More posts about the rest of the week and specific details will be upcoming


Bilateral Orchiectomy Quick Update

I have been away from the site for awhile now. I had to work far enough ahead to take a week off for my surgery, and the surgery itself meant I wasn’t able to really post much. I got some upsetting test results right before my surgery and that also did some disrupting.

This is just to let you know though, that last Friday I got my bilateral inguinal orchiectomy, resulting in the removal of both of my testicles and the removal of the spermatic cord. I am alive and well now, although still healing five days later.

The post-surgery smile and crackers proving I live.

I will be back to posting soon, hopefully tomorrow, where I will pick back up with the rest of the trip for my FFS surgery back in April. Thank you for being patient, I appreciate it.

That was more than pointless.

*CW, there are references to unaccepting/narcissistic family

I went up Saturday to visit with my little brother and my parent’s grave. The drive is about 250 miles round trip and the husband and I just made a day for it.

I wanted to see my brother one last time before my FFS. I just wanted to check in on him and see how he was doing and to maybe talk a bit about my anxiety. He is the last blood member of my family that knew me as a child (my sister has been written off for some time now).

He was excited to meet up too, or so I thought. We arrived there after three hours of horrible traffic and found at the last minute he couldn’t go out to eat. So we sat with him, talked and he only wanted to talk about how his life was fucked up, he had a warrant and he wasn’t going to do anything about it because he was tired of jumping through hoops.

All valid enough I guess until my surgery came up. He didn’t do anything supportive. He didn’t ask how I was feeling, if I was nervous, or what my plans were. He didn’t even ask anything more than “which surgery” and I told him it was FFS.

We talked a little more about his warrants and about his on-off relationship until it got mentioned by the hubby I was puking all the time from the meds. He asked about that a little curious and I explained it was a side effect of Spiro, but that it would go away when I got an orchiectomy since I wouldn’t need to take Spiro anymore.

All he asked was why I had lied to him about getting GRS.

I tried to explain first that GRS and Orchiectomy aren’t the same thing. You get an orchie as the first step for GRS (and if I continue to have other side effects from the spiro it may happen, but that is a different post) but it isn’t GRS.

He was worried I was cutting off my dick. I told him at this moment that wasn’t the plan, for the moment I was going to try and keep the dick, but get rid of the testes so I can feminize easier. His exact words after that was “Why bother keeping the dick if you don’t have balls”.

I let the conversation drop off from there until we eventually went to his ex’s house to visit my niece and nephew. They were nice to see and the ex asked me about my surgery. I told her in about two sentences before somehow it switched to stuff about her boyfriend…

I am grateful for my spouse and for my chosen family, because there is no support from my blood family now that my parents are dead. I am truly glad I don’t have just my blood family to try and fall back on.

I came home with my feelings a little hurt, tired from trying to be supportive for them emotionally and no support in return. I don’t know if I will visit them much anymore.

Unexpected Changes

Before I go any further I need to put a disclaimer. This post is about genital stuff, mostly about changes, some of which are unexpected. I feel the need to write about it because that is the purpose of me blogging about my transition, all the details of it. However, if you are squeamish or don’t want to know about medical aspects of my genital transition then don’t read any further, I will even put a cut here for you.

Continue reading “Unexpected Changes”

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.

 

Money and Job Worries

I woke up this morning terrified from a dream I can’t remember, anxiety about things coming up, and obviously some self dislike at the least.

As I talked about earlier I am hoping this week to give notice to my current employer. If things work out I might just mic drop and walk out of the job since it will never appear on any sort of linked in, resume, etc. I have only been here 8-10 weeks in the end, so it isn’t something I am going to use for future job growth.

That being said, we can absolutely afford me taking a couple of weeks off before starting my new job, but I woke up anxious about my pay from the new job. I woke up terrified I was screwing us. It isn’t necessarily the wage I am making more than an adequate job to live, but a large drop in what I make now, about $20,000 a year less then my current job. To be honest even with almost $140k in student loans we can make the payments and have a really good life, even if we would rather go back to working at a coffee shop/book store.

The cost of my FFS is what is freaking me out. A very rough estimate is in itself $20,000 for the surgeries I want, plus up to two weeks in a hotel, two flights down to Arizona and back and anything sundry. I am worried I am making my husband work at a job he is not fond of to be our primary support. We both make about the same, but there are multiple other surgeries coming up that makes my work erratic (orchiectomy, breast implants, probably a tummy tuck from my extreme weight loss and even a thing on my neck/chin – close to a face lift). All of these combined is more than my student loan.

Let’s not even combine the fact that I am on the higher end of 40s. Not like I have 40 years to pay this shit off… well hopefully I do but that means retirement sucks.

I logically know we are doing a good thing. The funny thing is, if this was for the hubby I wouldn’t even blink. I would be down for it and insisting he do all the surgeries he needs to be who he was and never feel bad for a single moment. It is because it is for me that I feel that way. Even knowing this logically it makes my stomach hurt and me terrified I am fucking up things for us. Especially that I might be fucking him over.

I realize I am going to have to get over it, there are other more real issues such as dealing with the public now that I am almost to the point I will be public. I just can’t get over shackling my husband with “golden chains” for my needs. He deserves so much more than that. That is what I woke up terrified about, that I was going to hurt my husband.

Gender Odyssey Convention and Traveling

Friday, the day after we met up with Dr. Meltzer and Dr. Ley, we headed into the one panel I was interested in. It dealt with surgery options for Facial Feminization Surgery, Breast Augmentation and Body Contouring. I realized I would probably know most of the stuff they would say, but I wanted to double check.

The commute into Seattle from Tacoma wasn’t the worst, but I slept poorly from my anxiety of meeting the docs the day before. I am really excited to do this, but it does make me anxious to think about them cutting open my brow and front of my sinus, cutting it into pieces and rearranging it, along with grinding my brow and jaw down and moving my scalp forward.

The hotel we saw the docs at

We arrived at the convention and I will admit I was intimidated. I am very fortunate to know some very awesome trans people, but I had never been around that many. That brought up a whole slew of anxiety that maybe I will talk about later, but this isn’t the time.

When we got there, just a few minutes before the panel, we found our case manager Raeylean… she is fantastic. I had brought her a flower to thank her, and she seemed overjoyed. She is incredibly huggy as a person and we got to talk for a little bit until it was time to go in to the panel.

The panel itself was very informative actually. Some of what I thought was no longer the case for surgical techniques, and even more importantly I found out that before coming to Meltzer’s office, Dr. Ley had been a pediatric craniologist who specialist in working on the skulls of small children… I have a huge head so that means I should be easy for her. Way more reassured I am going to be ok. The panel was worth it just for that.

We left and visited a little more with R, then headed out to pick up our friend straybits. He is as close as any family and we have been friends for decades. He just got back from Southeast Asia/India for the last year and will be going back for a few months. He was heading back up to Bellingham, so we told him we would take him up.

 

Hubby and straybits

On the drive up we got caught up on everything and just enjoyed being with around each other. It was a nice drive with me, hubby and straybits. We got some food in Everett and 3 hours later were in Bellingham. During this time I came out to him and he just gave me a hug. I am not sure what I was worried about.

Straybits and myself

In Bellingham we dropped him off. We are really hoping we can see him before he leaves again, but if we don’t we know we will always be there with each other.

straybits

We then got to go see my brother. He is doing really well, sober and thinking straight. He seems to be accepting my transition and was very positive. We stayed with him for awhile before we moved on.

By now it was about 7pm, but we wanted to stop by my parents grave (both of them are together) and pay our respects. That only took a few minutes, but I realized we need to clean it up when we come back up in a few weeks.

Hubby at mom and dad’s grave.

We then drove the 120 miles home and went to bed. It was a really good day, but a really exhausting day. We are still recovering now, a week later from the trip. It was worth it to see family and get reassurances about my surgery.

Phoenix Surgery Trip #1

In May 2017 we went down to Phoenix Arizona for the hubby’s first portion of his bottom surgery. he did really well and I am very proud of him and who he has become. So this is many of those photos/videos that we took down there.