Oh this has been a long 3 months…. part of it was the most painful of my life. I’m still quite sore down there but remembering what I went through – this is nothing. See my previous posts for details of the SRS operation, my recovery and painful complications I went through. For the most part the pain had to do with the complications – the UTI, not being able to urinate and extending my bladder. Without that complication this operation and recovery, especially in the first month would hardly rate as discomfort or low level pain. For that I am glad – glad that I didn’t have to deal with anything else over and above the complication.
Normally (with out complications) the first month is pretty easy. It’s the second and third months that are hardest. This is due to a number of factors. First Dr. Suporn’s technique is very ‘accurate’ and true to the female anatomy – his technique is the different from all the rest and results are as they say, the Cadillac of the business. This means there is a lot more surgery and construction underneath/inside and this takes longer to heal. It’s like scare tissue which becomes swollen and hard and progresses from one area to another as it heals. This is one reason we have to dilate, to keep the neo vagina open, soft, and to depth. One of the ‘sisters’ called it “beating the dragon” (I prefer to call it ‘training’ the dragon …). By the way, I call the other women that were there in Chonburi having SRS along with me – ‘sisters’ as we formed an international closeness and constantly keep in touch.
This becomes difficult during the 2nd and 3rd months where most of the healing takes place. It gradually gets easier and for some even pleasurable. For others this period is very hard – even extremely hard. I’ve heard of some that took hours to get to depth – which you have to do before you can start timing your dilation. I was lucky this way – the worst I had was maybe 1 min before I reached depth. It is recommended that we do 3 dilations a day – so you can imagine the pain and agony some have had. I had cut down to 2 a day because I was able to maintain my depth. I feel lucky that way. It was hard for a while and I had a hard time preparing mentally for them. But they gradual became easier, less painful and became routine. I will have to dilate the rest of my life – but the frequency tapers off to once a week after 1 year (3 times a day until month 4, 1 once a day after month 6, then once a week or so after a year – mostly to check depth).
Those are the major milestones as well. After the 3rd month things get easier and we can start doing just about everything (swimming, hiking, long trips, working, baths, some exercise, etc.). Then month 6 is another milestone and 1 year basically marks completion. Ya, one year …. Of course every ‘body’ is different and these are only approximate timings for the majority of people that go through this.
In this next section I’m going to tell it like it is – this could be TMI (too much information) for some, so be warned. However, for those who are going to have surgery, I think this is important to know – I wish I had known this beforehand – not that it would have changed anything – just so I could have been more prepared and aware. Of course this is ‘my’ experience and reading the private accounts of others tells me that I’m in the middle as far as my experience and pain/discomfort is concerned.
By the way: most surgeons or clinics have a private FaceBook page that is only for ‘post’ opts. These are very helpful for us to a) keep in touch b) ask questions c) see how others are doing d) peer into the future to see what to expect. Unfortunately they really do need to be kept only for those that are post-opt or immediately pre-opt. But this information is invaluable if you are going to have surgery. They recommend that once you are invited into their group, that you read back 1 year to get a full understanding of what to expect.
For me, right now, I’m going through multiple phases where ‘things get tight’ down there. First a very hard ball (size of a marble) formed just above everything (up by the pubic bone). I had to stay in bed for a couple of days with nothing on down there (as everything, even the weight of the bad sheet, hurt). This gradually ‘morphed’ down along both sides of the frenulum, basically tightening that entire area up (it was all swollen, so this is actually ok, just a bit painful). Now the same sort of thing is happening starting at the tops of the outer labia and working down. Which is also good because my outer labia is huge (swollen) making it difficult at times to close my legs, especially when I want to sleep on my side at night – I have to place a hard thick pillow between my legs.
I still can not sit without using the infamous seat cushion although it is getting better. I forgot it once and was able to carefully sit on a hard chair for about 10 mins. However, if I do too much, like a long car ride or sitting too long at work, or like one day I had to go up to the summit to work – the next day I wind up in bed, legs spread apart and nothing on to let it heal. Sometime I have to take pain meds – sometimes I’ll take a pain pill before I need to do something (like a long ride) where I know it’s going to be hard. At times, it feels like a bowling ball down there between my legs – and I walk like I’ve been riding a horse for hours. My panties feel like they are crushing me during those times and I can’t wait to get home and lay down in bed and allow my bottom to ease up. These times seem to coincide with the ‘tightening’ phases I mentioned above. So I’ll be ok, even ‘great’ for a few days and then another one of these ‘phases’ kicks in and I have to take it easy, stay home and sometime stay in bed. But these ‘seem’ to be getting less as time goes on – progress is being made (although soooo slowly it seems).
I saw my GP doctor today – another checkup. My UA came back ambiguous – but at least it didn’t have the bacteria (e-coli) that caused all the pain and agony before. I sent a question off to the clinic regarding this and they said (and my doctor agrees) that if none of the symptoms are present than all is ok. There are high levels of something I don’t remember what, but those can also be do to the SRS surgery. So we are leaving things alone unless symptoms come back. That is good news!
I’ve been having bleeding (very minor) about once a week, all coming from the same spot (at the bottom inside where the major and minor labia come together on the left side). The doctor examined that in more detail and found it was the equivalent of a ‘skin tag’ – an 8th in long growth protruding out. This can happen as internal ‘sacs’ sometimes comes out through the skin (the labia are created with many layers of internal stitching and sometimes as these heal one of these small sacs can pop out). So the middle of January I go back and will have it removed (plenty of local anesthesia ….!). I’m relieved to know that is all it is.
Other than that, everything looks and operates correctly now. There is sensation is all the correct places. Still sore so I’m very careful with my new parts. A number of the ‘sisters’ that had SRS the same time as me are now reporting they had their first umm, “The Big O’ …. For me, the surrounding areas down there are still too sore for me to even contemplate that …. Put it this way, I still cringe when I see another woman riding a bike or motorcycle. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do that but right now I have that automatic ‘pain’ – same as when someone talks about getting a flu shot – you automatically feel pain in your arm … or when someone talks about going to the dentist … ya … that kind of thing: my bottom immediately goes into panic mode!
So today is the 11th, my 3 month celebration as finally being the true authentic me. I can not tell you how absolutely wonderful it is. First you have to understand the shear disphoria that was before – I’m not sure I have words to describe that horror – the pain of my complications can not come close to the lifelong battle I have gone through attempting to live in the opposite gender. Now I am free to ‘be’, to express myself and to live as who I always was. It is a fantastic and welcome change.
It just struck me – theoretically I am finished with transition! I say theoretically because I could argue both sides of that. Some transsexuals go stealth now that they are fully a woman, truly marking this as the end of transition and simply blend into society as women. Even though this is a completion – on so many levels – I feel that it is important, especially today, to be visible to some degree. The more society sees that transsexuals are ‘normal’ people, involved in normal or credible vocations or even honored/esteemed positions, the better it is going to be for those that follow. The more professionals like myself that come out, the more that society will start seeing us as part and parcel of the human condition. Just like red hair or blue eyes, transsexuals are but one more variation of the human condition. There is a balance of course – this can be and has been deadly (we just honored those murdered on Nov 20th – TDOR – Transgender Day of Remembrance). I am cautious: I do not proclaim who/what I am to just anyone – but I am an advocate and will do what I can to help achieve parity for everyone.
With much Aloha,
PS: I’m hoping to swim in the ocean this weekend – I have missed that soooo much ….