Transmasculine Top Surgery COUNTDOWN
Today I received my marching orders and surgical body scrub for my upcoming transmasculine top surgery on August 24th.
It’s beginning to feel real now!!!
And what makes me most nervous?
The freakin’ COVID-19 test that I have to take two days before surgery!
I’ve heard so many different reports about the COVID test — from “a tickle all the way back to my brain” to “almost as bad as childbirth”– that I’m nervous about having someone slip Q-tips that far inside each nostril and then twirl them around for 15 seconds. THAT ‘s what has me on edge, because I’ll be awake for it! (I get to sleep through the surgery!)
My instructions say I have to buy a vest-like sleeveless binder for post-surgical compression, which I’ll wear for at least two weeks after surgery, maybe more.
Trying to decide which size to get in advance is dicey, so I bought two sizes after having Jackie measure my chest (underneath my breasts) to get an accurate reading of what to expect when they go bye-bye.
I know I’ll be wearing a compression vest or ace bandage when I leave the hospital on the 25th, with surgical tape and gauze beneath that, so I did my best to account for that, too. (If the nipple grafts aren’t behaving or the drainage tubes aren’t ready to be removed during the return follow-up visit on the 31st, I may have to retain some wrapping under the binder.)
So, I may end up wearing them both at different stages–one after a week and the other (smaller) one later on. We’ll see!
I’ve dealt with drains before, when I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago, so that’s old hat to me…
I’ll only be allowed to lift, push or pull up to ten pounds for four weeks after surgery, and I’ll need to keep my arms below my chest as much as possible (never over my head) for that long while the wounds are healing so the scarring will be minimal and so I don’t mess something up while I’m healing.
So I’ll just do my best to imitate a T Rex for four weeks, lifting my arms as little as possible…
No strenuous exercise for four weeks after surgery, so biking will be out, but walking is okay (as much of it as I can tolerate).
I already have a post-surgery t-shirt, but won’t be able to wear it for a couple months until I can lift my hands over my head again to put it on and take it off…
…so I’ve bought a few button-down shirts to wear in the interim. Here are links two of them:
To say I’m excited is an understatement!
Transmasculine top surgery will allow me to present myself to the world the way I see myself, and always have: as a guy. I haven’t been able to do that in sixty (count ’em, sixty!) years.
Image by Lisa Twining Taylor for my book