Top Surgery, in t minus 2 weeks
The main reason I started this blog right now, as opposed to postponing it indefinitely, is because I’m scheduled for top surgery in t minus 2 weeks (not that T, this t). Actually, “2 weeks to go” was when I gathered up enough inertia to start writing, but as of today it’s more like t minus 10, very close to 9, days. I wish to document the process before and after (and the before part is diminishing quickly) in order to give back to those who did the same for me. Had it not been for the uncountably infinite blogs, forums, videos, sites, other internet locations, and even conferences, that I indefatigably digested for over a year, I would not be taking the plunge right now. My curiosities were sparked, my doubts were answered, my questions were quelled, and my nerves nudged enough not by my own inner monologue, but by those on the outside, sharing their inner monologues.
My dilemma is that I can’t begin at the beginning – who knows if that even exists, and if it did it would be too long for one cup of coffee. So, let’s begin at the now.
What the heck is top surgery anyway?
Top surgery, as it is typically called, is a double mastectomy (removal of the what’s its). To clarify, it’s also called FTM Chest Masculinization / Contourization. In short, it’s what female-bodied individuals do to achieve a male looking chest (just gave myself away there). There are several types of procedures, depending on your appendages’ size, but the most common one is the double incision, although I’m getting the T-anchor incision, which is similar. If you are not familiar with it, you can read more about it here, here, and here, or just ask me.
And you’re getting this? How do you feel?
That’s right, in about 10 days I will be travelling halfway across the US to the snow-pocalyptic midwest to undergo my very first surgery, voluntarily, willingly, excitedly, nervously. This is something I have been actively planning for about 6 months, and the day is almost here, hence the excitement. The nervousness comes from the fact that I’m just a nervous person, I need something to get nervous about, and this seems like an appropriate subject. Not to mention that I’ve never been in a hospital except once or twice to visit. I’m scared about the results, the recovery process (which I’ve heard is not so bad), and spending a week abroad cramped in a tiny hotel room. Moreover, there are other non-medical-related complications in my situation which I am unsure of how to deal with yet.
Complications? What complications?
Ah, now we’re getting to the meat of the issue (or the tofu of the issue, if you’re vegetarian). There are several important points here.
First, my parents know that I am transgender. They don’t get it, but they know. My dad is completely supportive, and is even coming along the trip all the way from his faraway place of residence. My mom took it much harder. We’ve been through a lot in terms of dealing with gay and trans issues (much much more on that later). So while my mother said she still loves me, when asked if she could ever look at my chest she said she’d rather not, among other things that were said when I told her. Again, more on this later, but the gist is that she’s not yet on board with all of this. I’m still going through with the surgery, and I planned it before even telling her, but it’s a thorn on my side to feel her unease.
Second, and most important complication, and one which I’ve rarely seen discussed in other places (and I’d really really like to read more about it), is that I’m neutrois. I’m transgender, but I’m not FTM, I’m FTN. Meaning I don’t identify as male. Most people that get this surgery already do identify as male; although I’ve heard of some people that don’t yet present as male, at least they are planning to. I… don’t know yet. I don’t identify as male right now, in any way; we live in a social binary world; I live in this world; therefore -> I still socially identify as female to the outside world. The only person I’ve met who had top surgery while still identifying as female was the first person I saw in real life who had had chest surgery, and after seeing this person I was completely convinced that’s what I wanted. Problem is, I don’t know this person, I only saw them once, briefly. After that I haven’t known, seen, or even read about anyone having top surgery and not identifying as male. So if you’re one of those, tell me! If not, let this serve as one fine example.
You’re not male-identified, but you’re getting an FTM surgery. How?
This goes to show to all those non-believers and continuous questioners [get on soabpox] – YOU DO NOT NEED TO IDENTIFY AS MALE TO HAVE TOP SURGERY – [get off soapbox]. You just have to go to an informed consent doctor, who will evaluate your sanity and seriousness in a few minutes and deem you ready for this life-changing operation. That and you have to give them money too… (to pay for the surgery silly!)
There’s so much more I want to know
Yes, yes, me too. But patience my young apprentice, is often rewarded. That, and I have to go to sleep.