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“This Is So Hard:” Coping with Complications from Gender Affirmation Surgery

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This is something that is almost never talked about even here on The Playground, but IRL, our decisions to have GCS do have risks, and sometimes the risks do not turn in our favor. Even the best surgeon and patient team meet a facet of life that neither desires or prepares for but must live with.  If you are facing GCS or think you will, use this as a springboard for discussion with your GT to see if you are mentally ready.  I do not mean to scare anyone or counsel you against GCS per se, but as happy and uneventful as my surgical recovery has been, I have still experienced the "might happens" in my own little ways.  This is written by a top notch Trans* Journalist.


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Carolyn Marie

Interesting article.  Thanks for posting it, Vicky.

Carolyn Marie

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Excellent article Vicky.  I have suffered complications from my transition.   

1.  I had an serious infection in my left Breast following breast augmentation.  It was a serious strep infection  Think toxic shock.  Strep kills people.

2.  I suffered a Trans ischemic stroke and didn't know it.  Than in July and August 2015 I has back to back ischemic strokes that I feel I was lucky to survive.  My doctors believe the strokes were due to the estrogen I was on.  When we tell folks that HRT can be dangerous.  I was monitored by an endocrinologist and a Primary care doctor and still almost died while on hormones.

A chuckle today.  I've worn an insulin pump for over 20 years.  When I started wearing a pump, I used a 43 inch tubing from the pump to the cannula in my side to my pocket.  Back then I. Carried my pump in my pants pocket as I was male then.  And if you dropped  your pants, it nearly ripped the port out of my side.

My endocrinologist   Questioned my desire to wear a 23 inch tubing.  23 inch is what little kids wear.  I now  wear a bra 24/ 7 and it's more convenient to clip my insulin pump inside my bra.  When I started wearing an insulin pump, I didn't Have any boobs.  Now it's convenient to wear it between my breasts and a short body tubing works well for me.

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    • Carolyn Marie
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/us/transgender-ban-military.html   The Defense Secretary might as well tell Trump to forget it, because the ban will never go into effect.  Count on it.   Carolyn Marie
    • Carolyn Marie
      https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/11/21/564817975/health-care-system-fails-many-transgender-americans   Carolyn Marie
    • Carolyn Marie
        Wow, that sounds so much like what I went through, Clara Bell.  I, too, thought maybe I was just pretending, and my GT talked to me a lot about it.  Please do be honest with your therapist about how you feel, and they will help you work through it, if they are any good at all.   Your therapist should let you do most of the talking, hon.  Be sure they have some experience with trans issues, and have some resources at hand to help you if and when you need them, such as endos and trans-friendly service providers such as electrologist and surgeons.   Carolyn Marie
    • Charlize
      My therapist offered me a place where i could open up and explain feelings, actions, fears and eventually hopes without being judged.  From my experience the doubts you feel are not unusual.  I know i had them and despite years of being out as myself i still can get hit by doubts on occasion.  It's rare now but perhaps can be felt by many of us.  Finding a level of comfort was certainly helped by my therapist but as much as anything that was because i was as honest and open as possible for the first time in my life.  It was certainly emotional, filled with elation and sadness.   Hugs,   Charlize
    • Rowan
      Make sure you tell your therapist about these doubts and thoughts of being a "pretender". That's exactly what they are there for. To help you understand yourself, and those thoughts. I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't for my therapist.
    • Jani423
      Well, they should mention Gender or Transgender in their list of services provided.  Marcie is spot on with her assessment.  Mine guided me on my journey.   Jani
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      My criteria: One that helps you figure things out for yourself and not one that tells you what you are.
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      Extraction of the internal, see what comes out. I do have a sense of "ridiculousness" about seeing a GT, as if this couldn't be my reality, and I am going to laugh or frown at that time I saw a Gender therapist. There is this fear that I am a pretender that is just trying to avoid something, though if that is true and it could be revealed, well then good. What is to remember is that I am doing the best I can at learning, weighing doubts, and accepting myself no matter what lies ahead. I dont have anybody to talk to about this stuff(an old thought, if i talk about it, it becomes real, so i must not talk about it), so it is good this forum exists, and that I have a therapist now(hopefully a competent one). It gets emotional, and i dont understand why, i dont understand the elation, and the sadness. Does anybody have ways of qualifying a potential Gender Therapist?
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       So I know for myself separating at 7 1/2 years, that yes some VA centers provide some basic care and treatment. But for those who made the long stretch to 20+ I was under the impression ya'll get Tricare still correct? I'm not sure how the VA's basic services are compared to still remaining on Tricare. As for current service treatment, still Tricare but obviously on post, I've not stopped receiving care up to this point. The army still continues to refine, but March is still slated to be the termination for surgeries covered, but I don't believe that affects HRT or BHH. Assuming Tricare's on post and retirement plans or similar perhaps expect something along those lines? But of course your best bet is to probably start calling and asking about it now.   ~Sara J  
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