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  1. Hi again,
    I wanted to post some more now that I've actually had my surgery (YAY!!!!), especially for anyone thinking about or planning the surgery themselves - everyone's experience is different, but this might give some things to consider:
    Monday, Dec. 26 - I arrived in Philadelphia and checked-in to my hotel.  Went to a Target Express nearby to load up on food and beverages for the days after surgery when I'd be at the hotel, knowing that getting out for food would be tough.  Around noon I started bowel prep (Magnesium Citrate and Dulcolax, and a couple of other prescriptions).  That went on through the day, culminating in an enema at 4 a.m.  I unpacked and tried to set things up as much as I could to be ready for when I got back - then I packed my bag of stuff to go to the hospital (including Cinnamon, my new stuffed bear).
    Tuesday, Dec. 27 - I had to be at the hospital by 10:30 a.m., and it's only a few minutes away from here.  I was still up early - nerves no doubt.  My brother called to check-in and asked if someone could call him when the surgery was done.  Around 9:30 I got a call from the hospital asking if I could show up early, Dr. Rumer was running early.  So I left and got to the hospital before 10 a.m. (Hahnemann University Hospital - it's affiliated with Drexel University).
    I went through check-in - a bunch of questions standard for any surgery.  Got changed into the gowns they gave me.  Then the anesthesiologist came by and put in the tube (or whatever it is they put in). I saw Dr. Rumer and her PA quickly - people kept asking if I had any questions, but really I didn't.
    Got taken into the operating room at 11:09 a.m. (they call it when the patient is brought in), and got moved to the operating table.  Next thing I know I wake up in another room.  They had called my brother at 1:40, so I know it took about 2.5 hours in total.  I called him around 4:00 when I was more coherent
    I spent the next 2 days in a hospital bed, unable to get up or move much at all.  My only real complaint is that the bed had about a 2" mattress, which I think is way too small for being on bedrest for 2 days (I told the PA about that later).  The nurses were nice, but it took a long time to get almost anything.  I do know that I couldn't do their job, and they don't make enough money (I don't know how much they make, but it can't be enough).
    So my new vagina is still packed, and has 3 tubes coming out of it - 1 going to a Foley bag (urine) and 2 going to smaller containers collecting blood.  The nurses periodically emptied them.  I had no hunger, which was good because the food was truly awful (how do you make scrambled eggs not good!?!?).
    Thursday, Dec. 29 - I got discharged - yay!!!  It took forever, but it finally happened.  Before that I had to actually get up and start moving, which was so much harder than I expected - I did fine with it, but there was light-headedness and nausea.
    They sent me back to the hotel in a taxi - and I've been here since.  Pretty much staying in bed except to go to the bathroom (including emptying the bags) and getting food.
    I don't really feel any pain from the surgery - the biggest pain is my butt from the hospital bed, that's the main reason I've been taking the percocet since then.
    On Tuesday morning I got for my follow-up, which is when they'll remove the tubes and packing.  Then I stay one more night (to make sure everything is ok after they take the stuff out) and go home the next day.
    Emotionally - I won't lie, on Thursday I had moments when I thought I might be feeling regret, but it was entirely about how I was feeling and knowing that the surgery caused that - as I've started feeling more normal any such thoughts went away and I'm getting back to feeling thrilled about this :-)   (I think that will be complete when the packing comes out and I can actually see it)
    More later!
    xoxo
    Chrissy
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  2. 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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