Hi everyone! In this video I will be discussing my sex reassignment surgery. At the time this video is posted, August 19th, 2013, it would’ve been 24 weeks, or about 6 months since my SRS, so I still have a lot of healing to go. But, I will have a one year update video. [1 Year Post-op] This video is quite lengthy, but it is grouped into sections that are listed in the description. So be sure to go to those parts if needed. It blows my mind that there is a surgery to change a penis into a vagina, with good results.
I initially wasn’t going to have SRS due to many concerns I had. I was only going to have an orchiectomy, or removing the testicles. When I began living full-time, my opinion changed since I would look in the mirror and would see female, except for what was between my legs. I hated having a penis. So, I knew I had to have the right female anatomy. But, it was expensive, and I was unable to pay for it. But, my family was very supportive and we actually started looking into surgery.
I did tons of research prior, reading and watching people who have undergone surgery. A big thank you to anyone who documented their surgery day-by-day as it was incredibly helpful. I read about all the major surgeons, and decided upon Christine McGinn. She is also a male to female. Her office is the Papillon Center, which is located in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
On May 4th, 2012 I sent an intake form requesting surgery for the SRS and trachea shave, or removing the Adam’s apple since I felt that this was the only other male part I had that was making me very self-conscious. It wasn’t until October 2nd that I could get into the office to have the consultation, about five months. It then took about another five months to have the surgery on March 4th, 2013. So, about ten months total from when I initially set up something. It was $18,500 for the SRS and $4,300 for the trachea shave. So, it came to $22,800.
The consultation went well. We talked about the surgeries, as well as the risks and complications that can occur. While I was there she said she had to examine me first. The terror that came over my being…I was horrified out of my mind to expose myself since I hated that part of my body and no one had ever seen it. So, I was like errrrr. You know, because she had to actually examine the testicles and what not and take photos, plenty of those. And, before I left they gave me the photos to show where I would need electrolysis done. I was traumatized for like a week afterwards, just like OH MY GOSH! I felt so gross. But, it went away since I realized it was an examination and needed to be done.
They recommend, but it’s not required, having electrolysis done prior to surgery because they cannot removing all the hair follicles that will be part of the inside of the vagina, so you may have hair growing inside of you. But, I didn’t do this because it was expensive and I didn’t want anything else going on down there. Plus, I was actually using an at home laser hair remover and she was actually quite impressed by the results. Like, wow there’s very little hair down there.
Anyway, there are a lot of requirements prior to SRS that need to be done. You need two letters of recommendation from psychologists or therapists. An EKG (electrocardiogram), two chest X-rays, as well as a complete physical including prostate exam. So, I had to once again expose myself. This time to my primary care doctor. He did the prostate exam, you know rectally. Ehhhh. But, everything went fine.
You must stop estradiol prior to surgery, I was instructed two weeks before. This is due to blood clots that can form when on the medication. I lost my little bit of breast growth, but it came back when I went back on it. The androgen blockers could be taken ’till the day of the surgery. You need to stay in the area for approximately two weeks. So, they recommended staying at the Ramada Hotel in Levittown, Pennsylvania the night before surgery, since it is very close the hospital and you will need to be there very early in the morning. Then the Fox & Hound Bed & Breakfast when you are discharged, since it is close to the surgeon’s office. It is a very lovely place.
48 hours prior to surgery is when you must stop solid foods. So, for the first 48-24 hours before surgery you need to be on a liquid diet. I drank plenty of Ensure so I got plenty of calories. The 24 hours prior to surgery, you must be on a clear liquid diet. So, I didn’t get as much calories and was starving. When you go without food, you get a little loopy. You cannot drink anything after midnight the day before surgery.
So, my grandmother was the one that was there with me the whole time. We got to the Ramada the night before surgery. They had a really old system since you could play Nintendo 64 games on the TV. Anyway, here’s the part I hated, I had to drink magnesium citrate, which is a laxative. Since there is no food in the system, all that came out was liquid, which is not a good feeling. It kept me up all night having to rush to the bathroom and my butt was so sore. If that wasn’t enough, I had to do an enema at like 4am the day of surgery and that was ehhh.
The Day Of Surgery
We arrived at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, Pennsylvania at 6am like suggested, and my surgery was at 7:30am. I was in the pre-surgical room and the nurses were getting me ready. They put some sticker behind my ear, I think it was to prevent nausea. Then shot this thing into my arm which felt like a lot of pressure. I believe it was a blood thinner to prevent blood clots, as well as these stupid vibrating leg compressors. Then one nurse was setting up my IV. They usually do it in the hand. So, she numbed the area with Novocain and put the IV in and said, “Oops, I missed the vein.” Normally I would freak out at this, but since I was out of it due to not eating the past few days I was ok, wasn’t even nervous. She kept the needle in my hand while putting a new one in my arm. My arm was upside down and the needle was hanging from my hand like this far, stretching my skin. And I was like, “Good thing I can’t feel that!” It ended up bruising me so badly over the next few weeks.
So lastly, they gave me some anti-anxiety drug through IV and instantly my vision got blurry and I sat up and was rubbing my eyes saying, “My vision’s blurry.” And they said, “Don’t touch your eyes.” I was out after that, not even from the anesthesia.
But, I woke up. I remember them transferring me to the metal operating table. It was like I was trying to help them get me on there. There were people surrounding me and I recognized this one woman on my right. Then this guy on my left said, “Whoa, hey,” as if I wasn’t supposed to be awake at that time. And then all I remember after that was waking up in the recovery room, kinda going in and out of sleep. I remember a woman behind the desk talking about me over the phone. The surgery was done at about 11:00am. So, it was very very quick, especially for two surgeries. I was in my room at about 1:00pm and wasn’t allowed to talk or move or nothing. Talking was very difficult actually. Though, I snuck it a little and a nurse came in and said, “Uh uh, no talking.” My grandmother was there during the day, and my grandfather came in to visit on the first day.
I had ice packs in the surgical areas and was only allowed a few bites of ice to eat. I was drugged up on morphine, which I had this button you press, but I hardly used it. The nurses were impressed. I pressed it maybe every hour, but wasn’t in any serious pain, just kinda an uncomfortable feeling. I was lying all the way back, and wasn’t allowed to sit up at all. There was all this packing inside me, as well as this surgical dressing in the whole area. There were drains connected somewhere down there, as well as a catheter. I was having some problems with the catheter at first since not much urine was coming out, so the nurses had to press on my bladder to try and get it out. So much pee just like quarts of this stuff the nurses had to empty. Also had to use this incentive spirometer breathing device which they said helps with fever. It was very difficult at first, but deep breaths are very good for your body.
It still felt like I had a penis. As the nerves were starting to reconnect, my legs would fly up in the air, uncontrollably, waking me up out of sleep. Did I mention how much I hate those stupid vibrating leg compressors? It is to prevent blood clots. They were very hot and uncomfortable, not to mention my legs hurt so badly and I really needed to stretch them, but I couldn’t move. The first day overall wasn’t bad. Now the second day is a different story.
The second day was the worst of all. I was awake more, not sleeping as much, but still couldn’t move, which I am a very fidgety person, so this was a big problem. My back and butt hurt so badly from not being able to move or sit up. I actually used all my strength to try and sit myself up, even though I wasn’t supposed to, but I was so weak and almost couldn’t even do it. The nurses put a heating pad under my back and gave me a super dose of morphine, which helped. Also, there were times that I would look at the time, and it said 8:00 for example, and I thought it was 8pm that day, when it was only am. I was just so upset. The second day was a crappy day.
The third day started to take a positive turn. They don’t want you to start eating until you are passing gas. Which let me tell ya, your butt is practically sewn together, not to mention the tape going all over it. I was concerned that if I started eating, I would have an accident since everything was all taped up. But, I was able to eat, and no problems. Crappy hospital food, I don’t know why it’s so crappy. Even name brand things like cereal just tasted stale.
Anyway, the third day was when they stopped the morphine and started me on Vicodin, which helped a lot more and actually relieved any pain and helped me sleep. But, let me tell ya, I had to take three medications, two antibiotics and the Vicodin and the pills were huge so they broke them in half which created these sharp edges that got stuck in my throat and made me choke. Especially when I had to lay on my back to swallow them. I had to force myself to sit up, which they said, “No, you shouldn’t do that,” just to swallow them.
So, I could finally start walking this day which was great. I got up and was so weak. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths so I wouldn’t pass out. I made two laps around the area and was actually relieved to go back to my bed and lie down. I walked several times that day which helped a lot. So, it was overall a decent day.
Day 4 (Discharged from Hospital)
The fourth day was when I was finally going to leave the hospital and go to the bed and breakfast. The drains were removed, as well as the catheter bag, not the catheter itself. So, I had the catheter in and I needed to get up and urinate into the toilet, and you have to stand because of how the catheter is positioned. And, when I was standing for any period of time without moving around, I would begin to get light headed and almost passed out every time when just trying to go to the bathroom. It was also impossible to tell when I had to go. I would just say, “Oh, I haven’t been in a while so I’m going to try.” Sometimes there was a lot, others none, but I wasn’t able to tell.
So anyway, we left the hospital in the afternoon of the fourth day and the ride was though since it was about 45 minutes and I had to sit on a sitting cushion which didn’t help. This is because there is a lot of swelling, not to mention the packing that protrudes several inches from your body. If you sit on that, you will be in a lot of pain. So, we set out for the Fox & Hound Bed & Breakfast, like they recommended. It was such a nice place. Our room was on the second floor. The innkeeper was amazed by how well I was walking and getting up the steps since she said many people have a much harder time. And let me tell you, it was very difficult and painful walking around anywhere. This is because of the packing, and the worst of all, the sutures that are attached to the outside of the packing and your lower butt cheeks. It hurts and itches badly because it tugs on your skin. Also, due to how thin I am, with not much body fat, it made it excruciating since it was pulling even more.
It wasn’t going to be until the ninth day that the packing and catheter were going to be out, so I was in for a rough time.
Eating wasn’t a problem for me, I forced myself since I knew that was a big step in recovery. It wasn’t until the sixth day that I finally was able to have a bowel movement. Which I was relieved since I was concerned after that long, but I was getting plenty of fiber just to be sure. I actually made it down to breakfast every morning and seemed to eat more as the days went on. They made some really awesome and unique things that I’ve never heard of before.
There was an incident that happened when I was swallowing one of my pills, it got stuck in my throat and I panicked and thought I was choking and you would not believe how fast I stood up. Because when you think your life is in danger, nothing else is important. It was so scary, but it finally went down. I was in intense pain with burning sensation after that.
Since I could not take a shower while the packing was in, my grandmother had to sponge bathe me. That was the only way to be somewhat clean. Plus, my hair was all knotted since I didn’t brushed it in days, but it didn’t look too bad.
So, let me tell you a story about the horrors of Vicodin. This only happened after leaving the hospital. It had a wide array of effects on me. Sometimes it made me very hot, so much so that I would wake up from a sleep covered in sweat. Other times, I would get the chills and be shaking uncontrollably. When I took it in the morning, like 6am or 7am, it started working well within a half hour. I mean no pain, I was up and walking around normally. I mean, you couldn’t tell I just had major surgery. Also, you know, you’re kinda out of it, saying and thinking things that don’t make any sense. I was talking to myself way more frequently. I was whispering to myself, speaking a foreign, made-up language. It was very weird. But, at the end of the day, the medication didn’t work at all. I mean, I would take it at midnight and try to sleep and would end up waking up at 1am or 2am in severe pain. It didn’t help me sleep or relieve the pain. I was up most nights because of the pain. One time it took a very dark turn. I awoke from a sleep at maybe 2:00am and my mind was totally back, not affected by medication at all. I mean, everything was back and it freaked me out. I started crying uncontrollably because also there was more pain than it had ever been. And, I just kept saying how much I wanted it all to be done and over with. I was so eager for the ninth day to have all this packing removed since I knew it would relieve a lot of pain.
Now the disturbing side of Vicodin. I would close my eyes and instantly would see images and video of incredibly disgusting, morbid things. I mean, blood and guts, skulls, evil evil things. It was like a massacre of dead bodies and babies in my mind. I was terrified. I was so glad I didn’t see them when my eyes were open since I have not had any strong visual hallucinations like that before. But, there was more, I had such terrifying, psychologically disturbing nightmares. The one that terrified me the most was my grandfather and I were at a barbeque with other people I didn’t know. My grandfather was operating the grill but he had no skin. It was all muscle, and since it was a hot day, it dried him out making him look very tight. He was wearing a hat, and some stylish shoes, holding a spatula in his hand. Someone commented on his shoes and then everyone at the same time looked at me and said, “How about you?” I looked down at myself and I was the same way, no skin. I was very tight and the smoke from the grill was burning me. I woke up terrified out of my mind. I cut the dose in half after that and it stopped happening.
Day 9 (Packing & Catheter Removal)
So, I had been looking forward to the 9th day when I would get the packing and catheter out. You go into the room and they tell you to take off your clothes and sit on the chair. Let me tell ya, that is not an easy task. Bending over is difficult and sitting down is impossible. I was like half off the chair with my legs up in the air.
So anyway, I was having the packing taken out and didn’t even really feel anything. When the catheter was being taken out it created an intense burning sensation that lasted for several minutes. I was able to see how everything turned out and oh my gosh, it scared me. It was so bloody, swollen, all stitched up on the sides going down. The right side was a lot more swollen than the left. The first thing that went through my head was, “I cannot stick a dilator in there.” Because it literally looked like if there was any kind of movement that everything would just tear open and fall apart. But, you have to dilate to keep depth and width, which I was at 5in. It has been torture dilating the past six months. I’ll have a completely separate video on dilation. [Dilation]
You would not believe how relieved I was after all that was out. I actually stopped using the pain meds and was actually able to lay on my back since I was unable to before. I was able to sit up on the sitting cushion and eat without lying down which caused me heartburn. It was so amazing to be done with all that.
When I got back to the bed and breakfast, I got in the shower and it was great to finally clean myself. It was so amazing to look down and not see a penis. There was so much blood and discharge that within ten minutes after showering the pad was gross and I felt like I needed to take another shower. Urination the first time caused an intense burning sensation, like I experienced when they took out the catheter. But, it didn’t happen after that. Also, I finally got decent sleep, and no pain meds either.
Day 11 (Going Home)
On the 11th day we were ready to go home after my second post-op appointment. Things were healing up very well, they were impressed by how well I was walking and how much swelling had gone down already. We went home after that and what a relief. The first thing I did was sleep in my bed that felt so comfortable after sleeping on those uncomfortable mattresses at the bed and breakfast.
First 8 Weeks (2 Months)
As the nerve endings were reconnecting, I would get these very annoying sensations. It took several months to finally not be so intense. But, even at six months now, I continue to get them, but they are no longer annoying. Also, very early on, it still felt like I had a penis. I hate when I get itchy and know exactly where it would be on my old parts, but don’t have a clue now. Even at the six-month mark, it annoys me greatly when I have an itch and don’t know where it is. I began taking the estradiol again two weeks after surgery. My body was very hot and had red splotches all over it for several days from starting it back up. It felt like I always had a fever for a few days.
About two weeks in, a lot of the glue over the sutures was coming off. The sutures started to follow after a few more weeks. Was still having a lot of bleeding and discharge. Due to swelling, I had to urinate much more frequently, waking me up in the middle of the night to go. It took almost three weeks to finally come back to reality.
I would begin to get these arousing sensations, but couldn’t do anything about it since that early on I didn’t want to mess anything up. I am just shocked when I hear about people who can have an orgasm or even have sex within the first month. First, you are supposed to wait at least six weeks. But, for me, there was so much swelling, whenever I would get the slightest bit aroused it would be very painful. And, it was like this for many months. Plus, why would anyone want to have sex when you have all that discharge coming out of there and can really mess things up by moving the area too much. Gosh, that just amazes me. Whenever I would attempt masturbation, I would be in pain, bleeding would occur. I didn’t do it until about three months and it hurt and I didn’t like it at all, and still don’t, so I really don’t even do it anymore. But, I’ll have a completely separate video on the sexual function post-op. [Sexual Function]
So anyway, for the first two months I was mostly in bed since I was exhausted, plus the dilation schedule. There was an incident that happened about one month in that freaked me out. It was right before I was about to dilate that I noticed blood coming from the urethra area. It scared me since it didn’t stop. I stayed perfectly still in my bed for a while and it finally stopped. This was probably when a tear in my urethra was formed. When I would urinate, it would come up at me. And, it almost got in my eye once, it just kinda flew by. At the four month mark was when it finally healed. But, the direction the urine comes out now, I could almost use a urinal. They said I will need a revision surgery to fix that.
There was a lot of grey, dead skin that started to come off after the first month. There was also this really nasty white globby thing that extended from the urethra to the clitoris. I sent a picture to the office and they said it was excess tissue and that I should start using Hydrocortisone on the areas, and on granulation tissue I had. I was told the Hydrocortisone was an anti-inflammatory that helped aid in the recovery of granulation tissue. After using this, the excess tissue began to come off little by little. Also, letting everything air out, was extremely beneficial. It helped heal up some open wounds very quickly where the sutures prematurely dissolved.
An interesting thing that happened in the first two months was, and I noticed this during the very first time I showered, that whenever I would wash my feet, I would get an intense arousing sensation. I initially thought it was due to how the water was hitting me down there, but I tried touching the bottom of my feet outside the shower and it happen. It subsided over the first few months and no longer happens. It was just weird, especially since it was not like that prior to surgery.
After the first two months, I stopped using the ice packs. I also had a follow-up at the surgeon’s office. The interesting thing is I hardly saw the surgeon throughout all this. It was mostly her assistant I saw most of the time. But anyway, at my two month post-op appointment I did see the surgeon and one of the first things she asked was, “Did you have an orgasm yet?” I of course answered no. So, her assistant examined me and she said I had a slit in my urethra, which was causing the weird urination stream. But as I said before, it healed after several months and now it just has a weird direction that it comes out that I need to have a revision to fix.
I had granulation tissue all the way in the back of the vagina that was treated with silver nitrate. As well as cauterizing a part near the opening. She suggested using Estrace vaginal cream to help thicken the skin to prevent tearing as well as aiding in the recovery of granulation tissue.
When I got home to dilate after that, it hurt very bad and there was blood. The silver nitrate made it very messy too and had this grey nasty discharge coming from there for about a week. Also, dilation became so much more difficult when using the cream because it thickened the skin. Because of this I created two large tears near the opening of the vagina that are still there four months after they were created. This made it ten times more difficult to dilate and hurts very very badly.
Weeks 9-24 (Months 3-6)
After the first two months the healing becomes less noticeable. There was less discharge, but still quite a bit. I was able to switch to liners instead of pads. Sensations were starting to return, though most of the area was still numb.
By this point, all the white, nasty, excess tissue I had by the clitoris and inside the vagina was mostly gone which made it not look infected anymore. There was still some though. Also, this was around the time I started noticing hair inside the vagina. Yes, inside, about an inch or so deep. It was gross. That is why they suggest getting electrolysis done prior. But, you know what I did. I stuck some tweezers up there and plucked them out. Yes, I did that and I could feel it too. It kinda hurt, and those were some really long hairs. But, I haven’t noticed them grow back at all.
I had a follow up at the surgeon’s office at the four-month mark. She treated the granulation tissue again that was in the back of the vagina, as well as the tearing I had. And, the dilation wasn’t bad like it was last time she treated it. But, the tearing got worse, so I cannot use the largest dilator until it heals up, which will probably be quite some time. Once the tearing began to heal up a little is when I had very little if any discharge. So, very soon I am looking forward to not using any panty liners.
Conclusion (6 Months)
So, in conclusion, the surgery didn’t seem to change much in my life. And, really it shouldn’t since the biggest change in my opinion is starting to live full-time. But, the surgery didn’t make me any happier like I thought it might’ve. I certainly feel a lot more comfortable now. Being able to properly wear clothing and underwear without worrying about tucking anything, or readjusting down there. Things are so much more comfortable now too. What I mean is, when you have a penis, rather when you have testicles, they are always in the way and everything is uncomfortable. Sitting, walking, lying down was all uncomfortable. Sit on them, get in the way, just a nuisance. The penis is much more manageable, beside the erections of course. Now, sitting, lying down is so much more comfortable. Everything just feels and looks right now, and that is what makes me happy. I don’t remember even having a penis now.
Regarding my trachea shave surgery, I still have a scar right under here [chin], but I could talk in my normal voice after the first few weeks after the swelling went down.
An interesting thing was that due to the fact that my body is no longer producing testosterone, I have so many new hairs growing on my head. Some people may need to be on testosterone post-op if the levels are too low. Also, I seem to have lost my appetite. I use to eat over 3,000 calories a day and not gain a pound. Now, I don’t really have that appetite and am loosing a lot of weight. During the surgery, I lost maybe ten pounds, but I put it back on, then I lost it again and am very underweight apparently.
It has been 6 months since my surgery. But, I still have a lot of swelling, scars, numb areas, and spots that are very slow to heal. Scarring is very bad, still very red and various scar therapies I have tried don’t work. So, I will make another update at the one-year mark to see how things are then. [1 Year Post-op] So, thank you very much for watching and listening to my story!
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! If you’re like me, one of the burning questions on your mind is whether you’re having a boy or a girl. No need to wait until that 20-week ultrasound; these 10 wives tales for determining the baby’s sex can predict whether to boy pink or blue!
I spent the morning with the WCCB Rising family making dessert hummus! I wish I could claim ownership to this awesome recipe, but there are so many different versions of it floating around the internet. However,the version I make can be found here. Or, watch Tera publicly acknowledge the growing baby bump live
Ok, speaking of baby bump, after your encouragement (or calling me crazy- wink) for waiting to open the envelope yesterday, I am ready to rip into it! David and I have a special date planned for the weekend to finally find out whether our newest Baby D will be a he or a she!
I’ve been having a ridiculously good time consulting the old wives tales and for fun, thought I’d list them all out here then get you to weigh in… here we go!
1. Heart Rate. If the baby’s heart rate is above 140, it’s a girl. Below and it’s a boy.
This one confuses me because when should you take the measurement? Hailey was 129 at 7 weeks, 169 at 11 weeks, 144 at 15 weeks and 157 at 18 week. So far, baby’s heartbeat has been 165 at 10 weeks, 176 at 13 weeks and 138-141 at 15 weeks.
Predictor says: SPLIT boy/girl
2. How You Carry: If you are carrying big, round and high, it’s a girl. Low and all in front is a boy.
Well, I’m 5’1”. I carry wherever it can fit, so I feel like it’s all over. I feel my sides have expanded, so…
Predictor says: GIRL
3. Acne: If your skin gets worse, it’s a girl. If your skin is clear, it’s a boy.
My skin had been rough for me. I usually have clear skin, but I’ve had several big, deep zits show up and stick around. Ugh.
Predictor says: GIRL
4. Cravings: Sweet cravings means it’s a girl, salty cravings points to boy.
Olives, potato chips, soups… GIVE ME SALT.
Predictor says: BOY
5. Morning Sickness: If you’re sick as can be, it’s a girl. Feeling fine? It’s a boy.
It’s been more intense and lasting longer than it did with Hailey.
Predictor says: GIRL
6. Skin Test: Dry, rough skin means it’s a boy. Soft skin means it’s a girl.
…or could it just be winter? Either way, my skin is dry.
Predictor says: BOY
7. Chinese Gender Chart: Click here to go to Chinese gender calculator
This ‘method’ told me Hailey was a boy, FYI.
Predictor says: BOY
8. Leg Hair: If your leg hair grows faster, it’s a boy. If not, it’s a girl.
I haven’t noticed a big difference, but I’m in jeans all the time!
Predictor says: GIRL
9. Mood: If you’re moodier than usual, it’s a girl. If you’re chill, it’s a boy.
Oh man, have my emotions been all over the place this time! I can cry on cue.
Predictor says: GIRL
10. Mother’s Instinct
I feel like every real (ok, mythical) sign points to girl. However, my gut just tells me boy. It’s important to note that I was also convinced Hailey was a boy! I’m so ready to find out if my motherly instinct has failed me twice in a row or if I’ll be batting .500.
Predictor says: BOY
Unlike with Hailey, we WILL be sharing the baby’s sex with friends, family and of course, y’all! We will tell our families at Thanksgiving, then, if I can possibly wait that long, I’ll fill y’all in right after.
If you are as impatient as I am, I have a lot of friends say the Intelligender test was right for them!
Were gender myths or your gut feeling correct for you?
Please join in on my fun and tell me whether you think I’m having a boy or girl. And most fun of all, why?!
Have a great weekend!
Filed Under: Motherhood, PregnancyTagged With: first trimester, gender myths, pregnancy, pregnancy #2