2 weeks post top surgeryPosted: June 15, 2016 Filed under: top surgery | Tags: emotions, gender, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbtq, non-binary, queer, surgery, therapy, top surgery, trans, transgender, vanity 17 Comments
Content Note: vanity.
When I first saw my chest, looking down while everything was being unwrapped, I was pretty happy. Everything looked good, except for the fact that the left side was larger than the right. I was assured it was due to swelling, and everything would even out.
Now that another week has passed though, I’m not feeling it. I am more and more skeptical that there is much, if any, swelling going on. My spouse agrees. Regardless, I’ve been taking arnica and bromelain… using ice packs a little bit.
Right now, there is not enough symmetry, in multiple regards. The areolas are different shapes, and they are too large (not “nickle sized,” like we discussed). The nipples are also too large, but it’s kinda hard to tell what’s going on there (they’re currently being smooshed flat, and will continue to be for another 2 weeks.) The biggest thing, though, is, I have different sizes going on, which contributes to the areolas/nipples being not in the same place, on each side. I don’t like that!
All these differences are fairly subtle, but definitely noticeable. I know it’s way too early to be coming to conclusions about how things look, but, so far, not so good.
I’ve been in a pretty negative space. I’ve felt so negative at times, in fact, that it was hard to feel motivated to do all the showering and “nipple care” stuff. This has gotten better over time. Everything could change a lot, as I heal; I do recognize that. It’s not all bad. Every time I have the sterile pads and binder off for a little while (to let things air out), and I put on a t-shirt (carefully!), I think, “This could work!” Excitement is there, somewhere. Sometimes I push down the good stuff, and remain guarded and reserved.
There is something here though: When picking a surgeon, I wasn’t going off of a whole lot. I mean, I pored through what was available on transbucket, for sure, and searched resources, youtube, and the like. But I didn’t really entertain all the possibilities very much, in my head. I had a gut feeling about one route, and kind of just stuck with that.
This isn’t the first time I’ve made huge, life-changing decisions in this manner. But I kind of hope it might be the last time. (I know it won’t be, haha.) There are better ways to go about narrowing down all the options!
There is one resource that I just learned about a couple of days ago, because a fellow blogger pointed the way. Gabriel wrote a post called Getting Started With Top Surgery. He mentioned “top surgery Facebook groups where people share their results and stories with their surgeon as well as the price quotes they’ve paid.” Oh yeah! Facebook. That had not even crossed my mind, unfortunately. So I just joined an FTM top surgery group, and wow, this is where all the good stuff is. Wish I had known about it 6 months ago.
Edit: My spouse suggested I stop looking at the FTM top surgery page for a while. That sounds like a good idea – I was starting to get obsessive about it. She said wordpress is good. Stop going on facebook. Haha. I agree.
I feel torn about whether I will post pictures or not, and if so, where. Before surgery, I was sure I would not post pictures on this blog, but I would post them on transbucket, when I feel ready. (They can be accessed if you create an account on transbucket). This still sounds like what I’m going to want to do. I do not plan on ever being shirtless in public. So, in regards to aesthetics, the most important thing is how everything looks while wearing a t-shirt. Other than people looking up pics as a resource, the only people who are going to see my chest are my spouse and me (and medical professionals, when necessary). So is it important what it looks like? Ultimately, yes. But for right now, as long as I can wear whatever I want, I will be happy enough…
During my most recent therapy appointment, right before surgery, I had said, “I’m worried my chest won’t look as good as it does now.” As opposed to saying, “I’m worried my chest won’t look as good as I envision.” That, to me, says a lot.
In other news, I had a great time in Philadelphia with my mom, after my follow-up. We went to a brewery and record store. We met up with friends at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and went to two workshops. Wish we could have stayed longer!
Also, my spouse and I went to a wedding this past weekend, and it was a lot of fun! Their ceremony reflected who they are, a lot, and everything was casual and laid back. After the ceremony, I was asked to sign the marriage certificate, as one of the witnesses. This was a total surprise! I felt honored. I asked the officiant if it had to be my legal name, and she said it didn’t matter. Awesome!
If u are indeed uneven your surgeon will do a revision. Should be in the price already paid. I needed two revisions in the end – one to make them balanced ( one side was definitely larger) and a final one for dog tails. Had I been more observant and not hyper focused on imbalance I may have been able to get it all done at once. I’m not really sure. Many folks I’ve spoken with needed at least one revision. Don’t be afraid to ask for what u want. And you shouldn’t be charged from my experience and talking to others!!
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Just a quick note about not being charged for revisions….usually if a top surgeon does charge it’s for anesthesia if they have to put you back under for a revision. Most revisions can be done under a local, though, so there shouldn’t be a fee for that.
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Thanks for this – good to know. I’m sure I’ll wait a few months before considering seriously whether I’ll need a revision…
It took me six months for the first and a year or so to do the second and last revision. Very happy with end results. I am going topless a lot these days and no one seems to notice the scars. The silicone tape worked wonders with healing. Hope u r getting and using that.
My chest looks way different at 2 months than it did at 2 weeks, so I would tell you to give it time. Probably 3-6 months to really be able to see what you’re final results are. Nipples can be resized fairly easily and I’m sure she can make them more symmetrical if that doesn’t even out with time. Try to stay calm and wait for it to heal up fully and go from there.
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I’ve heard people who were convinced their swelling wasn’t just swelling- and turns out it was. It’s just the nature of the tissue that makes it seem that way. The first few weeks after top can be really hard, and it could be a little while before you’re genuinely happy.
🙂 best of luck though
That’s good to know. Thanks for the encouragement.
I had a tough time with my results after surgery too. I promised to give myself at least 6 months before I made a final judgement, to try to focus on what I was happy about (especially with respect to clothes and physical activity), and to stay off the internet and try not to compare my chest to others.
It did take me longer than 6 months to feel steadier about it, but the 6 months was a good start. I think the most helpful thing was to cut myself off from looking at the top surgery tag on tumblr (etc.), where people with perfect beautiful results and perfect beautiful bodies are *way* more likely to post pictures of themselves.
It was also really helpful to go to a top surgery show and tell about a year after surgery. There were (are) some things I didn’t like about my chest (still had more tissue left than I wanted, and also a bit uneven—the unevenness is WAY more obvious looking down from the top and almost invisible otherwise), but I realized that my nipples and areolas were gorgeous and I wouldn’t trade them with anyone else.
You’re not alone. Be gentle with yourself. And remember that you can always make a decision about getting a revision later. I still haven’t decided whether I will seek one (now 2.5 years out), but it’s become a less pressing question over time.
Thanks for that feedback – just letting time do its thing, both with physical healing and emotional/mental shifts is a good way to approach it. And the thing about trying not to compare! Comparing never leads to anything good!
I have to agree with the whole Facebook think and I only found out about those top surgery pages recently as well. I’m gonna start to wean myself off of them because its been stressing me out personally. I’m gonna just let myself heal, reflect and learn to love myself again. I hope all is well
Thanks! Yeah, that facebook group could have been helpful beforehand, (and was somewhat helpful afterward – like for example, finding information about letting nipples air out for a while daily) but mostly, it has been stressful, like you said.
I also went for a revision – smaller areola and flatter nipples, and one dog ear repaired. I have a little more tissue on one side than the other, and I have one dog ear on one side, but it doesn’t show and no one else is paying attention to it. Now that we are into T-shirt season I’m really happy I got the revision.
Give your chest a few months to heal and settle in – your body needs to heal and your head needs to get used to it. I don’t know if you’ve ever had body dysmorphia issues – but I used to and it took me a long time to get used to actually seeing what my chest actually looked like post surgery.
Once you feel you’ve healed, then think about talking to your surgeon about revisions. My surgeon said that 10% of his clients wanted minor revisions – and that it wasn’t a big deal to ask for it. Don’t make do with it if you are still concerned after a couple of months.
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Hey! It’s a bummer you don’t feel satisfied with your surgery. My friend just had top surgery and she (still goes by ‘she’ pronouns) said the healing period was pretty rough. I think it’s great that you’re just letting it do its thing for now.
You mentioned that you didn’t do too much research into the surgeon– I can understand that because the information about that kind of stuff is all over the place. There’s no one place to see and compare reviews about surgeons. I bring that up because I’m currently working on an app that will allow lgbtq folks to post reviews and rate healthcare providers both on lgbtq competency and just general skill as a physician. I found your post while searching for other people’s experiences with the healthcare industry. We should have a beta version of the app rolled out by november, so if you’re interested in being one of the test users, you can sign up at qspacesapp.com. I’m gonna keep following you cause you seem like you have a lot of insightful content, esp about the healthcare industry! Best of luck!
Hey Nic, that app sounds awesome! Unfortunately, I don’t have a smart phone or tablet, but will there be a website version as well? Either way, I’d love to promote it through my blog – can anyone sign up for the beta version? like the more the better?… And yeah, I followed you back to keep in touch – if you were to click on my “medical treatment” or “doctors” links (the More Topics cloud on the right side of my blog page), you’d get a lot more about the healthcare industry! Look forward to keeping in touch…
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There will def be a website version! The website app will come first and you can sign up at qspacesapp.com. Def the more the merrier, bc once we’re beta testing we want to have as many reviews on there as possible–that’s what’s gonna make the app useful. And if you do want to promote it, that would be incredible. In the meantime, I’m gonna go check out those links in your sidebar!! Best, n
Ugh. I would love top surgery, but I wouldn’t, too. It would be great to be able to take my shirt off in public, but I don’t want scarring and I do like my boobs when I’m naked. So that’s really weird.
Yeah, I can relate with that. It was definitely a trade-off. I liked how my boobs looked and felt when naked. I do miss that…