Blanket Content Warning: This blog may include mentions, descriptions, or other media with information involving menstruation, pregnancy, sexuality, breast care, abortion, and anything else generally considered relevant to inhabiting an assigned-female body, but centering a genderqueer trans male experience.

In addition, please make sure you read the disclaimer at the top of the site policies page which has important information about how health information on this site should be used.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

One Week Post-Op Results

What could be beneath these bandages?
It is after the jump!
So I was going to write about things as they happened, but then I went and lost my computer cable so you get an after-the-fact update instead of a during-the-fact update.  Anyway, I had my top surgery on November 26th.  This is that story.

I had a pre-op appointment two weeks before the 26th in which I locked in a nipple-sparing surgery (also known as pedicle-sparing, pedicle graft, etc.).  I was warned there would be more tissue left over because of the breast tissue on the pedicle, to which I responded that I'm fat and so some extra tissue will just look proportional.  I was also warned there would be a vertical scar; basically, I was supposed to get what trans men usually call a "T-anchor" or "inverted T" procedure.  When I was still trying to go to a top ten doctor, this is the procedure I wanted, so I said "let's rock and roll" and we locked it in.

The week of Thanksgiving my roommate got sick and I had a little freak-out because I had been told I would need to postpone surgery if I got sick.  So I wound up cutting off my deer hunting early (I went three days instead of the six I expected) and basically hid in my room the whole week, desperately trying to avoid every sneeze I could.  This mostly worked and that Monday I was at St. Liz's getting prepped for surgery, with my girlfriend (who would be caring for me that week) and later my roommates (well, they showed up while I was under).

Everybody at the hospital was super nice, and the nurses were enthusiastic about having a trans patient because to paraphrase one of them they are so used to having to work with people who are there for some horrible reason and it's nice to work with somebody who wants to be there.

There's a jump here because there is a picture of my before breasts; click on it to read the rest of the story.

The doctor marks my chest up with marks that looked absolutely nothing like any other pre-surgery markup I've ever seen on a trans man.  I was slightly nervous, because I've looked at a lot of markups and didn't expect to see mine and think "I have no idea what the fuck this means."  But I was in quite deep at that point, and I just rolled with it.  He explains--since this doctor is very concerned about nipple death--that if it looks like the nipple is going to die, he is going to switch to a double-incision without nipples, but that this doesn't really happen.  He also says he tries not to use drains, but that he will use them if he thinks I need them.

So I go under and wake up, and the very first thing I ask is if my nipples survive.  The nurses are annoyed because the leg pumps they put on me to prevent blood clots made my legs hurt terribly and I was tossing around trying to remedy this (my roommates and girlfriend were told jokingly that I "wasn't behaving").  They tell me, confusedly, that they did survive.  I'm rolled to the little waiting room.  I find out that I didn't get an inverted-T surgery, but a buttonhole surgery... this is almost exactly the same thing but without the extra vertical scar (basically, the same thing but slightly better).  My guess is that while I was under he realized that I didn't have the need for extra skin removal due to elasticity.  I also wound up with drains because I was "oozing" more than expected.

I drink Sprite and eat a cup of ice cream, then am kept there for observation for a couple hours.  I go home and eat a dinner of granola bars and sleep reclined on the couch.

My first post-op appointment was the next day.  The doctor took my bandage off but told me to look at the door hinge or gaze into my girlfriend's eyes... then he said it all looked good and bandaged me back up.  So my girlfriend got to see the result a full day before me.

The next day my girlfriend gives me a shower; she makes me close my eyes, she unbandages me, and films me seeing the result for the first time.  I had mixed feelings for a few minutes because things weren't arranged the way I expected, but mentally correcting for the healing I need to go through I figured it would look great when the swelling went down and my nipples unfolded themselves (this sounds like I was really upset but when we get to the result photo I'll post below, I'm very happy with the results, but seeing yourself for the first time after your whole damn chest changes is weird!).

My pain level was pretty low and I only took Percocet for three days before switching to only acetaminophen, which I kept forgetting to take because the pain level was low.  It took a few days to have a bowel movement with the help of the Squatty Potty, a cup of coffee, and half a container of prunes (this sounds like TMI but this was a huge concern of mine).  Over the few days after that first look, everything started really growing on me, and I became impressed with the results... most of the things I was worried about turned out not to be a problem at all, and the stuff I was apprehensive about was mostly temporary stuff (like swelling, nipple fold-up, and my personal favorite, bad lighting in my roommate's bathroom).

So, let's get into pictures.  First, as a reminder, this is what my chest looked like before:
One day pre-op
This was the first photo of my chest post-op, which is an over-lit horror show:
The first post-op photo.
Seeing that, of course I had a little apprehension, because fresh surgeries are terribly nasty and swollen and gross.  After that initial terror jump, I reminded myself that a lot of this is temporary... notably, I am swollen as fuck, and the nipples are folded together and weird from being resituated and wrapped in tight bandages.

I know that if some transphobe ass is harvesting this blog for photos they'll probably use that as a cautionary tale against top surgery, but rest assured... it does not look like that anymore.

Right now, a mere week later, my surgery results look like this:

One week post-op.
Day by day I like the result more, and as things heal I think it's unlikely I'll even need a revision (my first look I thought I was going to get a dog ear, which you can kind of see in my photo, but now I believe it's also just swelling and will probably just heal on its own).  There's definitely more breast tissue than a lot of people get with top surgery, but it's proportional to my body and generally speaking looks fantastic; in fact, posting pictures on the top surgery group I'm in there are a lot of people who are now interested in this doctor because so many doctors will not work on fat trans men and my results look damn good.

Anyway, that's my story so far.  If I have updates I'll obviously give them.

Happy trails,
-- Jackson