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Feeling blue about my recovery


KathyLauren

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KathyLauren

I am five months post-op today.  The first month or two, I healed well.  I had no open wounds, no remaining sutures, no infection.  All looked good.  But in the last two or three months, nothing has improved.  I still swell up when I exercise.  I can walk short distances, but much more than one kilometre causes uncomfortable swelling.  Mowing the lawn is the worst.  I am swollen for three or four days after that.  With ice, the swelling gets better just in time to do it again.

 

My clitoris has been a constant source of pain and discomfort.  I haven't felt motivated to try it out for erotic purposes, because it mostly hurts.  I think the pain is related to the swelling, because it gets worse when I am swollen.  Even when not painful, it still feels like an erect penis to me, which is pretty darned dysphoric. I sure didn't expect that.  At times, it feels like it is being crushed, or like it is caught in a wire snare.  It is hard to localize the source of sensations, because, except for the little nub that is exposed as the neo-clitoris, the rest of it is all internal and inaccessible.

 

Dr. Brassard's office says that swelling is normal up to a year post-op.  My own doctor says she can't see any swelling: everything looks normal to her.  It takes 6 weeks to get in to see her, for a 15-minute appointment, so progress on that front will be slow.  She prescribed estrogen cream for the clitoral pain, but it hasn't helped.  I've got a phone appointment with her next week.  I am not optimistic about progress.

 

I am starting to feel like this is my new normal.  Like this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life.  I am getting fat because I can't exercise.  Is that how I'm going to be from now on? 

 

I am just whining, but it is so darned frustrating!  It makes me want to cry.  ?

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MaryMary

I was swollen in some ways for like 2 years before it really reached final appearance. It’s hard to see when you don’t know what it looks like at the end. I would believe dr brassard more then other doctors on that. For the pain I’m no expert far from it but from experience listening to other sisters that had the surgery it sounds like some that has to do with scaring. When scars form it’s important to massage the part that is scaring because it can « stick » to tissues and then it can hurt quite a lot if it happens. Maybe talk about this with dr brassard? They sell cream to do this at your local pharmacy to help this process. You have to do it really often and not miss any massage.

 

I had a complication too that lasted 2 years. Sometimes it can be a mess to do something about it because you quickly realize that health experts kind of conveniently forget things when they see a trans woman. I even had a doctor pretty much refuse to see me... don’t hesitate to ask questions here and force dr brassard to at least guide you trough this.

 

for the looks I had the surgery with dr brassard and it don’t look like a male part at all so I don’t know about that. For sure things were not healed enough for me after just 5 months to see a final look. You would think everyone look the same since it’s the same doctor doing the surgery but I’ve heard some wild difference from one person to the next. I will not go in graphic details to respect the forum’s policy but you ask questions in private if you want.  I know some people feel they have to adjust the looks After a couple of years. For me, it looks great right now and 0 dysphonie so I’m good. 5 months in my guess is you Are far from healed.

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MaryMary

I remember being at the asclepiade and walking all day in circle, being maniac with dilatation schedule and scarring treatment so my swelling was clearly less then you describe so maybe you will have to be even more patient then me. I will suggest trying to find a gynaecologist in your city that have either a lot of experience or already saw post surgery trans woman... it can be priceless. Mine has a lot of experience and you can be surprised how much post surgery care can be similar with diverse cis woman care when the doctor has seen enough. I love her because she really no bs the way she talk. A good gynéco is definitely priceless

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MaryMary

Also for the looks don’t forget that cis woman’s c part is just a small male part so maybe it’s similar to some cis woman on that front? Just trying to make you feel better ;) https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/adhesion-general-post-surgery

adhesion is the name I was searching. Maybe your pain is due to that? From description what you describe sounds like that

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VickySGV

I hear a couple of things going on here and hope I can help a little bit.  5 months (actually 4 to 7) is a critical time for many of us.  It is a period where surgeries in general can load on some depression issues that we were never told about up front.  The big exciting push we had to get GCS and the stress we went through which gave us a type of "high" has worn off, and we are looking at normal life as our new selves.  The problem is they are too much like our old lives had been in both the good and bad.  Mowing the lawn is a good example of how ordinary life becomes post surgery.  We do reach a point where we feel just good enough that we stop listening to our bodies and can overdo it more easily when we should be listening all the more closely. The depression does take time to ride out but it is more common that most people would think or even realize.

 

@MaryMaryhas made a good point up in her answer, and that it that full healing can take up to two years or in individuals even longer.  My Clitoral structures took 11 months to get to where I experienced pleasure from the site.  Along the way I went from knowing general pain, then pressure, hot and cold and other feelings.  Sometimes the feelings on the Clitoris did not feel they were coming from that point in my brain, and that took even longer than the 11 months.  Some of what you are feeling in one area is coming from a different part of your body, which is why your doctors may not see swelling where you are experiencing the sensation.  Talk about a pain in the rear end for that!!!!!.  (The pain was coming from your front end and you didn't know it.)  Again, that does take time to resolve itself but it will happen. 

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Jackie C.

Hey @KathyLauren!

 

So here I am at about six months. I've still got swelling. Especially around the clitoral hood. There are some spots that have limited or no sensation. I can't even SEE my labia/clitoris yet. She's buried under there somewhere. I'm a but lopsided overall... But, like everyone else says, this is not a quick recovery for all of us. Also, revisions are a thing.

 

I wish there was a magic wand and a doctor could just wave it over my nethers and say, "Abracavagina!" (and maybe "Boobies-pocus." I could definitely use a hit of "Boobies-pocus." As long as I'm dreaming, how about a course of "Backside-roundicus!") Then all would be well. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in. You've got to be patient. Just like your feminine characteristics don't come in overnight, your body can't magically heal perfectly with the snap of your fingers. Even if things don't come out perfectly, revision surgery exists.

 

You just have to give it time. Relax. Do what your surgeons tell you and maybe talk to a gynecologist who has experience with MtFs. They can give it a look-over and help it heal right.

 

Hugs!

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I remember that I had the feeling of things being very "tight" in the surgery area for quite some time.  I figured it was from the scar tissue and stretching.  The good news is it eventually normalized.  As Mary said, I would primarily listen to Dr. Brassard's advice and counsel.  I am sorry to hear of your travails and hope you can successfully heal soon.

 

Hugs, Jani 

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KathyLauren

Thanks, ladies!  I hadn’t heard anyone else talking about these problems, so I was feeling a bit alone and freaky.  But it sounds like I am not the only one after all.

 

 Interesting suggestion that my clitoral pain might be from scar tissue.  Of course, I am familiar with the long scars at the sides of the surgical area, but I hadn’t really thought about scars in that area.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  But it totally makes sense that there must be dozens of scars in there, considering how it is sliced and diced to form the structures around the clitoris.  I’ll try massaging that area.  Who knows, it might be fun.

 

The area is still sore and swollen, but I am feeling better about it today.  I just have to be patient.  (Reminds me if a cartoon.  Two buzzards on a tree.  One says to the other: “To heck with patience.  I’m going to go and kill something.”)

 

Thanks!

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The area around the scars contracts and needs to be re-stretched into pliable skin again.  It takes time.  I know you are trying to be patient so don't let the buzzards get to you!  

 

Hugs, Jani

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Alexxiss

Quite an interesting read, ladies. Thank you for sharing your experiences for those of us approaching the surgery. I'm glad you are feeling better about it @KathyLauren

 

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Hey Ladies Like Alexxiss said quite an interesting read. Which brings me to point where i ask,

"Did anyone have second thoughts before surgery".

Cause if all goes to plan i am under knife next yr around this time, But i keep reading about the heal process, time process and to be honest i don't know if i can make it.

Not saying i can't do it. I mean i don't  know if i have the resources to actually make it

I don't have any very good  friends that would help during this process like Kylie has.

I don't have the best IPO like  a lot of you have. I am on Medical and i have to take what they give me or pay for it myself.

I don't have  a war chest of savings . Thus i wouldn't be able to take that much time off   from work which consists of 100% manual labor

So as i read these updates and stories I am beginning to get scared that i will not be able  to cross the finish line. 

So what the point then...

Sorry i don't mean to Hijack this tread . I apologies to  KathyLauren

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Jackie C.
6 hours ago, Lexi C said:

Hey Ladies Like Alexxiss said quite an interesting read. Which brings me to point where i ask,

"Did anyone have second thoughts before surgery".

Cause if all goes to plan i am under knife next yr around this time, But i keep reading about the heal process, time process and to be honest i don't know if i can make it.

Not saying i can't do it. I mean i don't  know if i have the resources to actually make it

I don't have any very good  friends that would help during this process like Kylie has.

I don't have the best IPO like  a lot of you have. I am on Medical and i have to take what they give me or pay for it myself.

I don't have  a war chest of savings . Thus i wouldn't be able to take that much time off   from work which consists of 100% manual labor

So as i read these updates and stories I am beginning to get scared that i will not be able  to cross the finish line. 

So what the point then...

Sorry i don't mean to Hijack this tread . I apologies to  KathyLauren

 

If you're paying for everything out of pocket (like I did, stupid insurance) you'll want to start saving ASAP. I had had to pay everything a month in advance. Everything was surgeon and hospital fees. It was about as much as a new car.

Look for grants and assistance programs if you can. Maybe even a GoFundMe (Hey, it can't hurt). 

 

You will not be allowed to lift jack-all for six to eight weeks. Seriously, I had a five pound limit. You will be pretty immobile for a lot of that time (well, probably). I could walk, slowly, but that was about it. You can mitigate this by being in the best shape you can possibly poke yourself into before you go under the knife. That's actually a good idea regardless. Be in the best shape of your life.

I mean I wasn't, but I was in much better shape than I was when I started planning for surgery.

Anyway, extended medical absence. See if your place of employment allows for that. I don't know what the labor laws are like where you're at. I'm in an at-will state. They'd fire my ass as soon as look at me.

 

So yeah, that's the reality. Be ready for it and make it work for you.

 

Hugs!

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I couldn’t imagine how frustrating that is to feel like once you get a foot in the right direction you get pushed back more steps. I am sure at some point in my healing I too, will know this unfortunate pain. 
 

I will say in response to @Lexi C , others have responded to your concerns and I hear them and am sorry. Like others have mentioned, there are organizations out there that will help with cost of/related to surgery. I wish I knew of options to help you along this journey. But the wonderful thing is so many people have found themselves in situations much similar to yours and they have found this place to obtain the resources and reach their goals. 
❤️

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I agree with @Kylie and I am one of those. The surgeons I had on the top of my list don't take Medicare. But I googled and found several who do of course II have to get Medicare approval. If you Google help to pay for grs you will find several foundations and organizations willing to help based on your needs and please check them out. I have seen kick start and indigogo sites you can raise money but that's a lot harder. Check out the organizations that give grants. And best wishes to you. You and I will somehow get it done...there are not enough roadblocks to stop strong willed women.

Heather Shay

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Thank you ladies...Just don't want to end Homeless again. Cause i got to tell it suck. Esp in NYC in early March until late April.

Shay I will def check on the sites. But i have no problem with the coast of the surgeries , cause Medical with cover most it. 

It's the coast after....The time off from my business, The coast of recovery..the little things which eventually be come one big thing.

Ty again for your support. Totally cool

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Sorry .Thanks Jackie for the info. 

 

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@Lexi C I will look into some foundations I was looking at for help and I think you would qualify for help much more so then I so I will look unto them and report back with links.

Mental hug

Shay

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Thanks Shay your a wonderful soul. And i still have a yr before all this goes down or in lol.

I have my 1st consul with Dr. Garica on sept 28..So those links will come in handy.

Much lv

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here are a few I found - I can't remember where I looked for the others that seemed really promising - but at least this is a start. good luck - you're a lot farther then I am. Keep up the good work and it will work out.

 

https://jimcollinsfoundation.org/

http://www.loftgaycenter.org/transmission

https://pointofpride.org/annual-transgender-surgery-fund/

http://rizitimane.com/trans-surgery-scholarship-application/

https://thehappytransgendercenter.org/apply-for-surgery-grant

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Thank You Shay

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