Jani423

The next step, surgery.

44 posts in this topic

I was going to wait to post this but today is as good a time as any.  I have a date for surgery!  

I've done a lot of reading and visiting physician's websites, and I had reached out for information a to few doctors that I thought would be a good match for me.  I've come to believe this is a seller's market because the response time was generally terrible ranging from a month to never.  My business experience has taught me that excellence in an organization is measured not just how the principal works but how you are responded to and treated at every step.  Enough said.

In mid March I had an appointment with Dr. Sherman Leis, in the Philadelphia suburb of Bala Cynwyd.  I left in the morning, driving down for a late afternoon meeting.  Afterwards I spent the night at a nearby hotel and drove home the next day after the morning rush hour traffic.  He has a nice office in an older home and there are a number of recovery suites on the second floor.  (I didn't see them as they were occupied.)  I was a little late in getting to see him since he was busy with another patient but I was assured I would have as much time as needed with the doctor.  I found him to be friendly and warm to speak with.  He started by asking a few general questions about me and my health history before getting into the specifics of what I was looking for.  He took the time to explain the procedure and he showed me photos to illustrate his work.  I was also interested in having my chin contoured (narrowed) to be more like my sisters.  I showed him recent photos of my sisters and I for comparison.  We discussed various other procedures but he did think that overall my facial structure was feminine looking.  He jotted down a few services and prices to consider.  I probably don't need my chin worked on as it doesn't hinder my being accepted in public as the person I present as, but it's something I desire.  I have a somewhat prominent chin but it is a family trait we all share.  Maintaining this congruence is important to me.  Our conversation lasted for over an hour.  

While not one of the current "must go to doctors" Dr. Leis is very experienced and he teaches at a nearby hospital.  In the end I decided to go with a vaginoplasty and chin contour as I had planned.  When I spoke with his office manager she was able to give me several dates.  The first was way too soon as I am still working on getting my letters.  (argh!)   Apparently the opening was due to a rescheduling but I had to pass.  I decided on the next date as it would give me enough time to fully prepare myself and be healed enough for a family wedding later this summer.  I will have the surgery and be able to stay in one of his recovery rooms since one will free up the morning I'm scheduled to leave the hospital.  There are big savings with this arrangement so I'm pleased it was available.  I leave need to arrive the day before to meet with him and start the prep.  I'll stay at a nearby hotel.  One of my sisters will come with me, and will be able to stay for most of my time there which is planned to be eleven days.  On the morning of June 14, I go to the office and the doctor will take me to Lower Buck's Hospital for the big event.  (Dr. Kathy Rumer also does surgery here.)  Afterwards he or one of his staff will pick me up and bring me to the recovery room.  No taxi's or Uber needed which is great.  Relative to my earlier statement, I couldn't be more satisfied with the response, information, and respect I've experienced with Dr. Leis and his staff.    

When I came out to my parents in 2015 my Mother had asked how far I was going to go, to which I replied all the way.  When I called to tell her I was going to the consultation she wanted to know if I was excited.  Admittedly I was more nervous about the drive there as the traffic can be horrendous through NY and NJ.  I didn't want to be late!  I'm not an outwardly excitable person which she noted was like my Dad.  But I am excited and when I take a moment to dwell upon it, I get swept up in emotion.  This is a long time coming and at one time I thought it would never happen.  Dreams can come true!   My wife is supporting me although she admits it will take a while to adjust to this reality.  She commented the other day that I'll be a busy girl getting ready for the trip.   

I've been given scripts for blood and urine labs that I need to have done within 30 days of the surgery.  I had an EKG, because I'm over 60 which I expected since Dr. Spiegel also required one last year when I had a trachea shave.  BTW, the scar is all but gone.  I have to really look close to see anything.   I have COPD so he wants clearance from my primary care doctor.  I had a physical scheduled at the end of the month so all that positive info was faxed to Dr. Leis's office the other day.  Oddly, I had to explain to my PCP what the surgery I'm having entailed as he hadn't heard of it (he's a pulmonary doctor).  He's been great ever since I came out to him.  I'm his first TS patient (that's he's aware of!) so he is curious and very supportive as is his office staff.  I'm fortunate to have him as my doctor.   

The surgeon, the anesthesia doctor, and the hospital all need payment prior to surgery, but at different times (4 weeks, 2 weeks and the day of).  I am self funding so I don't need to interface with anyone (insurance) for payment.  Yes it's expensive but it makes it so easy not to rely on anyone else.  For those who are curious, the doctor's prices are posted on his website. 

I haven't decided but will probably fly home since it's a short hop to Boston or Manchester, NH from Philadelphia.  Even though I prefer to drive, this will be easier than sitting in the car for 6 hours just eleven days after surgery.  I will probably have my wife fly down the day before I am discharged so she can accompany me home.  I'll be on my own in the recovery room for the last couple days and expect I'll be fine based upon my experience at my last major surgery.  I want her to save her vacation time as we plan on taking a long vacation later on.  

So that's my big news.  In 73 days I'll be a new woman!  If you have any questions, you can send a PM or ask here.  I'll try my best to answer.  

Cheers,

Jani   

 

 

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That's wonderful, Jani! :applause:

It sounds like you're truly ready, especially with all the research and due diligence that you put in. You're blessed to have such good support from your family too!

Best of everything,
Julie

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Congratulations!  It's great to hear that things are going so smoothly for you.  

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Wonderful news, Dr. Leis was on my "short list" and I had spoken to him and liked what he offered, but the idea of being on my own coast won out. 

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Thank you all for your kind comments.

Dr. Leis was on my list because I wanted to stay within a days drive of home in the Northeast.

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Jani

You need 5 days of recovery time with someone nursing you and taking care of you.  At the end of 5days your doctor removes the packing.   This is the really weird part of Gender  Confirmation Surgery, the feeling of the packing coming out of you.  The learning how to dilate yourself.  This will be the first time you penetrate yourself and you will do this the rest of your life.  

I had my surgery in 2014 and I still dilate weekly.  I have a letter I wrote to my friends from Thailand that I think you will enjoy.  I've shared it on Laura's. A couple years ago.

From: Kathy Bacon <

Sent: 28 August 2014 17:05

To:

Subject: Having a Happy Transition

Hello my friends

4 days to go till I return to Missouri. I posted this online to a transgender support website that I have been supporting for many years to educate folks who are within a year or two of SRS surgery like I have just completed. This is my story told in a humorous way of my rapid transition and I decided to share my misadventures of stumbling into womanhood with all of you.

Most post op trans people have a great deal of experience compacted into 2 or 3 years that take most woman decades to experience. My transition happened over a span of three and a half years. Their is Beginning Gender Therapy and permanent hair removal. Then we jump into our second puberty with taking hormones, crying over the silliest things. Hair, makeup, shaving body hair, and living for a year as a women.

Their is the legal system with legal name change, DL change, new social security card and passport. You also have to change your name on all kinds of legal documents and titles.

Then the really big changes are on the way. First there's FFS (Feminine Facial Surgery) with possibly breast augmentation. And a year later, after living through (RLE) Real Life Experience mandated by the International Standards of Care , living as your chosen gender in order to have gender surgery, and then comes SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery). After SRS you wake up and think it's gone, I've done it. No more him. It's gone, then reality hits. You are packed to the eyeballs down there with as much packing and tape as they can find. and somewhere in the middle of it all, there is a Catheter stuck in your very swollen urethra. Sounds really fun doesn't it? Eyes rolling.

And being the good patient, you stopped estrogen the week prior. Take a deep breath, the first day post op, you think this isn't so bad. It's day 2 that really sucks because the pain hits at the same time your body discovers NO Hormones. NO estrogen and NO testosterone because your former source is now in a specimen bucket. And you stopped taking estrogen because you didn't want to risk a stroke. Remember that when you're laying in the Frying Pan. You turn as hot as the center of the sun. You are so miserable you start to whimper, then to heck with it, you just break down crying. Your nurse walks in and asks why you crying Ms. Kathy. Blub, Blub, I,m burning up from no hormones and I really hurt. Bad pain Ms Kathy? The worst, Help me!!!

If you have ever been in the military, you would agree, Ms Tak can bark orders sending the troops in a frenzy. One nurse brought a big fan. Another moved my bed In front of the AC unit while another cranked the AC to Polar Bear temperature and another nurse turned the fan on directing the cold air over me. My Thai nurses were keeling over from hypothermia while it felt darn near perfect to me.

I didn't forget the pain, another nurse rushed in with a hypo of Demerol and relief was soon restored. 10 minutes later another nurse brought a syringe of estrogen and I darn near kissed her. I once again had hormones. Jerked out of premature menopause.

Ah but the fun never stops. Eventually, you lose the tape and packing. And you face a new challenges called peeing. That first time is a memorable experience for all the years of excellent aim. Peeing your name in the snow. For the first time, you very ladylike take a seat, a stream begins and before you know it, you peed yourself and it's everywhere and mostly it's all over your bottom. I just said to heck with it and grabed a hand towel to clean up this mess. Over several days you relearn urination 101F, F is for female urination. You wonder if you are going to need Depends the rest of your life. The ever wise Ms. Tak lets me in on the secret to successful female urination. You got to pee forcefully and lift foot to change Pee direction. The first time I got off the toilet seat with a dry bottom, I almost danced around my hotel room, beating my breasts and announcing, I am Woman, YES!!
If I only knew what I would soon experience. My inner Goddess is female with a wicked sense of humor. A few days later, Dr Pichet introduced me to my very first female pelvic exam. The ladies in the audience are smirking and nodding their heads now. They know all about that first Pelvic exam. More eyes roll and theirs laughter and giggles in the audience.
You are a lamb being led to the sacrifice. You eagerly and naively climb up on the table after you have disrobed completely, underpants Ms. Kathy, take them off to. Then you stand one way then another while the nurse is taking pictures of your new VaJ J. Up on the table Ms Kathryn, put your feet here and here. Here is sheet to cover you because you are showing your all.
Everything is okay until he slides a speculum inside you. A cold speculum and then expands it. A scream is caught in your throat as you fear you will split in two if you breath. It's a 21st Century torture device. I would spill my guts to anyone using such a device on me. Then the vacuum tube is inserted and you almost eat your hand to the wrist. You also are introduced to your first douche of iodine and saline to leave you fresh, clean, and oh so feminine, and you can stuff that bit of malarkey to.
You finally manage to crawl off that table with a fresh sanitary pad and legs shaking so bad you know letting go of the table might have disastrous results, but you have survived, the infamous first female pelvic exam. You walk out with no dignity left at all, looking completely shell shocked. The nurse hands you an appointment for Friday for some mammography thing. You stagger outside and are put in the car and it clicks. You've been requested to appear at 2:30 pm Friday for a mammogram. You look down at your cleavage, can't be. You look at the slip, Ms Kathryn is scheduled for her first mammogram courtesy of your surgeon and you know what, they send you home with a copy of your X-rays for your doctor and that's a whole new experience I'll wright about later. I'm busy shopping for a bra with bra cups that are square to match the new shape my boobs have been squished into..
SRS is an adventure. It's a learning adventure. You will know for sure that you are a woman now, because no man would survive the perils of transitioning. They would be shoveling dirt on his coffin. You womaned up and now you know you can survive almost anything now.
Having a happy transition in Thailand.

Kathy Bacon

 

A good friend is like a good bra. Uplifting, comfortable to be around, supportive, would never hurt you, and always close to your heart.

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Kathryn, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm 3 months from my surgery date. I'm not sure if your post made me more excited, more nervous, or both.

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Congrats Jani on getting everything lined up, it's exciting for sure. 

Best wishes as the magic date approaches, it's amazing. 

C -

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This is so wonderful Jani. I also had that lost hope of it ever happening. The money possibility came on April fifteenth. I could not act until the money came in. By June I was fully funded and it was a hectic race to get everything done. I was on the table by August sixth. It will fly by like a blur! Letters, transportation, medical appointments, peace and calm then the excitement and stress. Some emotional rollercoaster however much you show it. In summary the best time of your life! Hug. JodyAnn

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Thanks everyone!   I can honestly say you have all bolstered my spirits.

Jani

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Congratulations Jani

I am glad you are getting there!

Tracy x

 

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Congratulations!!

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I met with my therapist today.  She had been ill so it's been quite some time.  I told her what had transpired in the time since we last spoke and she was thrilled.  She mentioned she had some time this afternoon so she would prepare a letter of recommendation for me.  I just received the draft and we're good.  It's going in the mail to the doctor tomorrow.  One down, one to go.  I meet with a therapist at Fenway Health in Boston later this month to obtain my second letter.   I was there yesterday for a follow up with my doctor and he showed me the letter he would send as medical support for me.  My primary care doctor has already sent his recommendation and the results of my EKG.  It seems like it's coming together way too easily!

I've spoken with two of my sisters and they can support me for the first part of my recovery but they have standing family commitments that preclude them for staying the whole time.  They said they'll make sure I am all set up with what I need.  I recently sent my oldest sister an email to check in and tell her the news.  She was happy for me and offered to come and assist me also.  She's a nurse so I'll be all set!   With this my wife will be able to save her vacation time for next year.  She told me the other day she wants us to go to Alaska in 2018.  I'll ask her to pick me up at the airport.  

Originally I wasn't necessarily excited, just happy, but now it is really setting it and I feel the emotion of it wrapping around me.  I was sitting on the sofa on Sunday reading and the thought of what's to happen just washed over me and I started crying.  This trip will be unlike any I've taken.  Thank you all for the love and support you've given since I've been at Laura's.  I wouldn't be here without you all. 

Jani 

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Jani

I know how waiting for surgery is anxiety producing.  Been there, done that.  Have you considered Thailand.  Those doctors over there are cutting edge and do twice the number of surgeries per year that U.S. Surgeons do.  And the cost was $14,500.00 including airfare , hotel expenses and all meals in 2014.  And Everything was tax deductible, so get receipts.  I put all meals on my hotel bill and had them itemized in English.  

Congratulations on planning  your Gender Confirmation Surgery.  Oh and if I can help any , pm me and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Thailand was a trip. My doctor and his staff took good care of me.

Kathryn

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Hey Lady

I wrote that tome when I was three sheets to the wind on pain Med's.  One of these days it's going to show up in my book.  I've got a bunch of similar stories written just like that one.  I enjoy interjecting  humor into my  stories.  So don't sweat my story.  Just laugh at it.

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On 4/6/2017 at 1:58 PM, Jani423 said:

 

Originally I wasn't necessarily excited, just happy, but now it is really setting it and I feel the emotion of it wrapping around me.  I was sitting on the sofa on Sunday reading and the thought of what's to happen just washed over me and I started crying.  This trip will be unlike any I've taken.  

This was wonderful to read your update Jani and getting your support lined up. I can feel emotions in your words, and yes It is the trip of lifetime. I recall crying mostly tears of joy and relief when it was over, all the running around, all the preparations, and then you get to simply relax and heal up. The little things that matter so much these days, like that noise in my head that is gone, such a beautiful quiet. I can admire myself when getting dressed, I simply love how my panties fit, and how it feels when I go out exercising, just rockin' those leggings :D

If you blink three times, it'll be here before ya know it. 

Hugs

C -

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An amazing part of you journey for you, thank you sharing your fears and hopes !

Your posts have always helped me move forward:)

Love Cerise

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Thanks all!  I am excited about my clothes fitting well.  It's so unlike me but I do want to get a bathing suit! 

I just want to be as honest as I can about this as it is such a big step.  I think our personal stories can assist others in understanding what they'll go through and to help them maybe make good choices of their own.  There is so much to consider that you just don't realize until you're making those decisions.  I'm sure my head will be in a completely new space once this is complete.  While I think I get it, somehow I know I don't.  I'm ready!

Jani

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On 4/2/2017 at 0:30 PM, Jani423 said:

I was going to wait to post this but today is as good a time as any.  I have a date for surgery!  

 

 

Wow, congratulation! That's wonderful :) 

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So I had a video meeting with my surgeon this morning as I have 60 days to go.  We talked for close to 90 minutes.  He had letters and medical files so he asked a number of questions, even about when I first realized I was transgender.   He discussed the risks in detail and the variables in physical make up and aftercare that are beyond his control.  I've had major surgery before so parts of this were understood.  He went over what I needed to do the day before and the morning of surgery.   I've booked airfare to Philadelphia with one of my sisters who will fly with me and the other will drive there.  I'll have plenty of company for a while.  I have a room booked for the first night.  After that I'll be in the hospital and then in the recovery suite.   It's getting closer. 

Jani

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I'm sooooo excited for you........ :) 

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Wow Janie   I just love it when a sister puts all the pieces together to go for surgery.  It's the biggest hurtle we have to climb.  Then when you wake,you reach down, you know you are, we all did to just to know he is gone forever.  It's a long 5 days waiting to get all the crap  out you got packed in there.  It's the weirdest feeling.when they do that.  And getting rid of the dam catheter, what relief.  But you finally feel complete.for the first time in your life. 

Can't wait to hear of your adventure into womanhood.  

Hugs

Kathryn Julia

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Kathryn Julia, thank you for your wonderful post.  I was speaking with my therapist about the upcoming event and mentioned that I was mostly anxious about the actual surgery.  I've had major surgery before where I was under anesthesia for several hours.  I find this to be difficult to think about.  The end result not so much as I've been waiting so long for it.  I wasn't sure how much more I was going to write as it was hard to gauge interest in it.  I'll try to do my best. 

Jani

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Jani

I had so many friends at the University of Missouri pulling for me for my surgery , I published Bacon Bits and wrote amusing stories about my trip to Thailand.  I've written 4 and a half chapters when my stroke hit of a book I want to finish.  I also had eye surgery from a torn retina to go through in Thailand..

 Get up and walk after every  thing is over to get your strength back.  I was a lot older than you are, so the surgery took a lot out of me.  Stock up on the softest toilet paper you can find.  Cause you will use a lot when you return home and.  you will be pretty sensitive down there for a while.  You will need a rubber bulb syringe. I still use mine because unlike cis woman we lack .natural fluids to clean internally.  I learned from my friend Melissa because she had her surgery 6 months ahead of mine.  They medicate you from the surgery.  When you wake up  you are so numb from the waist down to your knees.   My doctor had me stop   estrogen 10 days  before my surgery.  My body on day 2 after my surgery discovered no hormones.No estrogen and no testosterone.   Whew hot doesn't describe the hot flashes I started having.  

I had my nails done today, and the lady who did my nails is from Thailand.  She has heard several of my adventure in Thailand.   I also had my eyebrows waxed and plucked today,  Looking good in St Louis.

Hugs Jani

Kathryn

.  .

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I need to stop my estrogen a week before but because I'm on patches it will be ten days for me.  I was surprised by that thinking it would be much earlier.  Also I can stay on Spiro until surgery.  I was worried about having to stop and maybe experiencing some relapse of sorts. 

I finally had my brows waxed when I had my hair done last week.  It wasn't bad at all and they look good now.  I found plucking to be worse than electrolysis on my face.  

Jani

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