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GRS (or SRS if your prefer)

Hi everyone,

I haven't been able to write for awhile - I started school again in September and that's kept me pretty busy.  I'm in the MSW (Masters in Social Work) program at NYU (New York University), which is a full-time program and includes a 21-hour/week internship on top of classes (mine is with a drop-in center for people who are homeless).

Anyway, I didn't come on to write about that, but since the semester is over, and internship is over until late January, I have a little time.

The big update is that my GRS is happening this coming Tuesday!  I leave for Philadelphia on Monday morning, then the surgery is at Hahneman University Hospital with Dr. Kathy Rumer.  I'll be staying in Philly for a week and coming back home after my one-week follow-up with her.

I've already started pre-surgery prep - including stopping hormones a few weeks ago (that one hurt), and today starting an Arnica protocol (it's to reduce or eliminate bruising from the surgery).  Then on Monday I'll be on a clear-liquid diet and have to do some bowel prep (the glamorous side of surgery!).  I have to be at the hospital at 10:30 a.m. And luckily this time my insurance company didn't give me a hard time, they approved the procedure (they also eventually agreed to cover top surgery, which they had rejected initially - it's really good that I work/worked in New York where the state requires these things to be covered.

Since July I've been seeing my therapist twice a week - she provided one of the letters that I needed, and requested the additional sessions - which I think is great (I'm actually going to miss going twice a week, but I can't afford to keep doing that).  So we've talked A LOT about the process - transitioning generally, the surgery specifically, and now the post-transition period.  I used to say that I'd probably be transitioning until I die, but lately I've decided (for myself, others may feel otherwise) that GRS essentially marks the end of my transition - at that point I'll have done as much physically as I'm going to.  Now I'm in a period of "evolution" - discovering who I am - both as a woman and just generally.  It's already begun, and it's been a great process.  I find myself moving away from LGBTQ-specific things - not as a rejection of the community, but as an acknowledgement that I'm straight (as a man I was gay, but not now), so I needed to know that I can function in "straight environments."

So now that I'm more comfortable with school (I was worried a lot about whether I could really do it - now I feel much more confident), I'm going to try to write more.  I bought myself a separate journal to keep notes about GRS - I plan to write that first entry on the train to Philly, and then keep track of what happens, how I feel physically, and how I feel emotionally - I'll try to share some of that here as I go along, in case it's helpful to anyone (recognizing that the experience is going to be different for everyone - but there are still going to be similarities).

I also want to write more about my "evolution" - that was something that I (understandably) didn't focus on until more recently.  The physical transition is one thing, but as I felt myself living a more authentic existence it also became important to know how I wanted to live my life.  The benefits are already huge - I find that the friendships that I had are stronger than ever, and the new people I'm meeting are really good people (mostly social work students) - and none of this would have happened without that recognition a few years ago that I am a woman, and I am transgender.

I'll wrap this up for now - I know my attention flags sometimes on longer entries, so I'll stop taxing people's attention span :-)

xoxo

Chrissy


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Posted

Best wishes on your upcoming transformation. In regards to GRS marks the end of your transition, from my experience this is just another step in the journey as post-op brings with it for lack of better words more changes that are for the most part fabulous.

If you never been to Philly, you might consider getting a cheese steak as they are the best in the world (I lived there for 40 years and know they are great).

 

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Karen,

As always thank you for your feedback!  I totally agree that the journey is ongoing, I'm just saying that as far as how I'm defining my own journey - my own experience - I no longer consider it transitioning after GRS is done (I realize my body will continue to change - but I won't be making affirmative decisions about making physical changes anymore).  I guess for me it's a matter of shifting focus from physical (transitioning) to mental, emotional and spiritual (evolution) (not that evolution hasn't been happening all along of course, it's just a matter of giving it more attention now).

I actually grew up with family (my favorite aunt and her family) in the Philly area, but almost never went into the city (just once when I was considering going to Temple University, my uncle worked there and brought me in to look around).  Unfortunately when I go down tomorrow I'll be on a "clear diet," I doubt that cheese steaks fit that :-(  But I will be staying for a week, perhaps at some point I'll feel up to ordering in :-)

xoxo

Chrissy

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Hi Chrissy,

I think it's wonderful that you are defining your path now, we are all different and unique so why should any of us approach life the same way.

Indeed I know about the clear diet, was thinking you could try cheese steaks the second week post surgery. I was back to my regular eating habits on week two. For week one I was eating solid food four days after surgery but not much of an appetite prior to that.

In regards to after surgery the journey is how one changes overall with society and not physical. I've noticed many changes in my mannerism without even trying at this point and that also goes for emotions and slightly different thinking patterns.

Thinking about moving more towards cisgender community, that is me at this point the majority of the time but have not disassociated myself completely from the LGBT community either. Where I work I'm seen as a cisgender female, the majority of friends are cisgender. Now with relationships I favor woman and the best place to meet them is in LGBT clubs. During the past year or so I've been very fortunate with dating females while have dated a few men they don't really give me pleasure or feelings like woman do. 

 

 

   

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I'll make every effort :-)  My surgery is Tuesday and I'm in Philly until the following Wednesday morning - hopefully I'll have the appetite by then!

If I can ask, did you have to stay in the hospital for any period of time after surgery?  I'll be in for 3 days which is probably the thing that makes me the most nervous as I've never had to stay in a hospital (past surgeries were all outpatient).  Just wondering what your experience was like?

It is sometimes an awkward fit - the "T" in the "LGBTQ" - particularly if you're transgender and straight (I have some bisexual inclinations, but in terms of an actual relationship I could only see that happening with a man).  For lesbian, gay and bi individuals (cis or trans) the community represents political, social, and relationship connections.  Being straight and trans I feel the political connection, but I know that if I want a relationship (and I do), I need to be outside of that.  I'm certainly not cutting all ties - right now I'm probably focusing more on straight things, but that's to compensate for years of being away from that.

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In regards to stay in the hospital, surgery was on a Tuesday, 6 AM in the morning, I left the hospital on Friday afternoon of the same week. Went in for post op appointment the following Monday morning. Macri Bowers suggest staying close by for one week so I did and made sure I got the best hotel possible which included a full kitchen, living room and bedroom. I spent time on the computer and television between Friday and Sunday then started venturing out after my Monday appointment, went shopping, got my nails done and socialized with a member from this site and a old friend from 30 years ago.

They week stay is optional but felt if was a good idea too yet there were no problems other than me sleeping more than usual.

I was very happy that I purchased a good donut seat which was very handy on the flight back to Oregon.

BTW not sure what you were told but it's good to have plenty of wet wipes and sanitary pads for the first few weeks and KY jelly.

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Thanks for that information!  The timing matches up pretty well with mine - surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning, I was told to be at the hospital at 10:30 (originally 6 a.m., but it got moved).  Then I should be out on Friday, with a follow-up appointment with Dr. Rumer next Tuesday, then home on Wednesday.  They suggested staying overnight after the visit to make sure there are no issues with dilation.

I'll be staying at Homes2 Suite (or Home 2 Suites) tomorrow night and then after the surgery - the rooms all have kitchen facilities and it's pretty close to the hospital (an 8 minute walk - obviously I won't be walking back, but I can walk to the hospital on Tuesday).

I got some unscented feminine wipes, but they didn't mention the KY - that is something I should probably get, and the donut pillow is a great idea!  I'll try to get one in Philly when I get down there tomorrow.  My train ride back next week is about 2 hours, that's probably comparable to what you had in terms of your return flight?

I don't know if I ever mentioned that I saw Marci Bowers speak when I went to the Transgender Health Conference last year?  It was a full room and a good presentation!  The fullness of the room was partly because they only gave her 1 time slot this year, not the usual 2, so she had to cover M2F and F2M in the same session.

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Thinking about dilation, most surgeons will provide three dilators, in my case the first two sizes were a breeze while the third as extremely painful. So when at the larger size I would first use the medium size  one for the first five minutes then move to the larger size, still was painful for the first several days but much more manageable then not starting with the medium size one. 

What I really like is Trojan lubricants H2O lube, more expensive then KY but well worth it and less messy.

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