Trigger warning: meta and phallo complications, top surgery, dysphoria, pain, suicidal ideation
Home means sleeping uninterrupted. It also means all antibiotics are going into my stomach. It’s impacting my appetite and general feeling of nausea. I have to push through it seven more days. It would be awful to get an infection so late in the game.
I know it’s going to take weeks before the nerves start waking up so right now there’s no pain in – ok I didn’t think I’d be naming it but for the sake of eased communication lets do something conventional like “Buddy”. I’ve read quite a few other guys experiences and I am just now beginning to appreciate what they were saying about trying to become more aware of – and bond with their new buddy. Right now it’s just a chore – something I have to think about often. I can only see it. Is it propped up to reduce swelling? What if I turn over and lay on it and cut off blood flow? Is it turning blue or cold? The list of patrol questions go on and on.
I fight hard to not have all the negative stuff folks have written and said about phalloplasty run through my head now as my insensate phase – as I call it – is so vulnerable for me. And I have it easy because my surgeon could do everything in one phase. He did incredible work. I see a phallus with a glans. Some guys have multiple surgical phases to just get to the point I am now. They are amazingly resilient.
I mistakenly watched the Buck Angel documentary on Netflix the night before surgery. Please don’t get me wrong. He’s done great work for the FTM community and we each are entitled to form our own opinions and do what’s best for our unique mental and physical experience of dysphoria. But I have made a different choice and perhaps have a bit more faith in medicine. I need to remember that now and not get hung up on second guessing myself – especially as any complications come my way.
Perhaps some of my vulnerability is rooted in the fact that I “backed into” phallo – I had hoped meta with scrotoplasty and urethral lengthening would’ve been enough. I’ll never know. A failed fistula repair and retraction led me to this decision. If I hadn’t had those complications could I have been ok with meta? I’ll never know.
All I knew was I was still not comfortable in the locker room and stuck in line in bathrooms where urinals outnumber stalls. I still felt disconnected when I looked in the mirror. Yes I had balls and the v was gone. But I was still extremely dysphoric.
As large bits of dysphoria have resolved with each phase of my transition, for me the stuff that is left becomes sharper and I find I have less capacity to deal with it. I can barely remember what it was like before hysto and top surgery. All I know is I could never ever go back and live that way again. Why did I linger in such a disconnected fog for over 40 years of my life? How did I manage to stick around – and why do I still think of checking out as an emergency exit strategy when I hit unexpected turbulence?
Enough self reflection for today. I am going to go back to sleep and try to make these next few weeks of recovery pass by as quickly as possible. Yes I know I should try to stay present in the moment but sleep is a healthy escape for now.