Physically, I feel 100%, and I’ve felt that good for the past month – like in terms of lifting, stretching, and moving my body. Aesthetically, I’m still not happy, but I’m starting to get used to / feel OK (for now!) with how things look (I’m sure I’ll be looking at revisions down the road, but I’m not going to worry about that right now.) Sensation-wise, I’m a little worried, but I know it’s still early on. My nipples are still numb, and it feels numb/tender within about an inch radius around both nipples. I’m looking into making some gotu kola oil to massage into the tissue; apparently that’s supposed to help with nerve damage. Better late than never, right?
I have my 3 month follow-up appointment with the physician’s assistant on Tuesday, via Skype, and I’m not really looking forward to that…
It’ll be fine…
Otherwise, I’m super happy. I’m so happy to be wearing what I want to wear and also of walking around the house without a shirt on (which I did do, previously, but not as much, and not while my spouse was around.) A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to a friend, “I did not expect to feel much different other than a cerebral satisfaction regarding being able to wear anything from now on. But it’s more of a gut- level confidence: I feel like my posture is different; I walk differently, I carry myself differently. This is what makes it all worth it.” That pretty much sums it up.
Also, I’ve been using 2 pumps of Androgel, daily, for 6 weeks now, without any doctor supervision. I just had some extra bottles laying around, and I felt like starting again (after being off of it for… 6 months?) I contacted my local LGBTQ clinic via email (which is new for me – previously I’d been getting Androgel from a doctor who was reluctant to be a part of my trans-related health) but after more than a week, I haven’t gotten a response. So, I plan to call soon. I’m thinking about trying injections, short term. I think I’ve gotten about as far as the gel will bring me, and I STILL want to look and sound slightly more masculine. Like, enough so, so that people are confused, or at least they’re hesitant to actually say “ladies.” So sick of the “ladies.” It happened again today. Blah.
This is a series in which I highlight different shirts I am now able to wear un-self-consciously, because I had top surgery earlier this summer!
This one is a brand new t-shirt – it was designed by Erin Nations, a transgender comic artist living in Portland, OR. You can get one here: Transgender Trailblazers Tee. You might want to act now – they could go fast! (Looks like he’s already out of size M light-blue shirts, for example).
From the website: “50% of each sale will be donated to the TransWomen of Color Collective. TWOCC is a grass-roots funded global initiative created to offer opportunities for trans people of color, their families and their comrades to engage in healing, foster kinship, and build community. They strive to educate and empower each other through sharing skills, knowledge and resources as they build towards the liberation of all oppressed people.”
Ten trailblazers are illustrated. “They were/are advocates, activist, pioneers, community leaders, and historical figures in the transgender community. Through their actions and involvement, they paved the way for many trans people, allowing us to live our lives more openly, safely, and authentically.”
Here they are, with a brief description that I cobbled together from various websites:
Sylvia Rivera (top) – She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance. She attacked the HRC and Empire State Pride Agenda for not being trans-inclusive. A lasting quote: “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.” The Sylvia Rivera Law Project was founded in 2002, in her honor, and aims to ” guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence”.
Miss-Major Griffin-Gracy (2nd from top, L) – She’s the executive director of Trans Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project. She was a leader in theOne month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts 31 Stonewall Riots and then imprisoned for 5 years, which led to her also fighting the prison industrial complex.
Leslie Feinberg (2nd from top, R) – A self-identified trans, butch lesbian, communist. Wrote Stone Butch Blues in 1993. Also wrote Transgender Warriors and Trans Liberation. She did not care what pronoun was used in reference to her, as long as it was with respect.
Alexander John Goodrum (2nd from top, center) – An African American Trans, civil rights activist and the founder and director of TGNet Arizona. He took his own life while in a psychiatric ward in 2002; he was posthumously awarded the Godat Award for his service in the LGBTQ+ community.
Lou Sullivan (3rd from top, L) – He was possibly the first trans-man to openly identify as gay, and he was largely responsible for the understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity being separate facets. He also founded FTM International.
Kate Bornstein (3rd from top, center) – There’s no way to condense her accomplishments here. Just look her up! Read her books! Also she just posted on her twitter feed, today, about it! – “Tickled pink to be drawn on one of these T-shirts by Erin Nations.”
Louise Lawrence (3rd from top, R) – She worked with Alfred Kinsey and later, Harry Benjamin, and she counseled other trans-people just by having them drop by.
Marcelle Cook-Daniels (bottom, L) – He worked for the IRS and was working on his masters in computer science. He was a transmasculine African America activist and leader, presenting at many conferences and contributing to a handful of books. He took his own life in 2000.
Reed Erickson (bottom, center) – He became very wealthy over time through his professional life – he studied to be an engineer and later successfully ran two large companies and invested in oil-rich real estate. In 1964, he founded the Erickson Educational Foundation, which “helped to support, both through direct financial contributions and through contributions of human and material resources, almost every aspect of work being done in the 1960s and 1970s in the field of transsexualism in the US and, to a lesser degree, in other countries. The EEF funded many early research efforts, including the creation of the Harry Benjamin Foundation, the early work of the Johns Hopkins Clinic” as well as information, counseling, and a referral network.
Marsha P. Johnson (bottom, R) – A close friend of Sylvia Rivera, she was a leader in the Stonewall Riots and later a co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and an organizer with ACT-UP. She was also a member of Andy Warhol’s drag queen troupe, Hot Peaches. A lasting quote, whenever she was asked what the “P” stood for: “Pay it no mind!”
Others in this series include:
Yesterday, I wore a t-shirt to work for the first time! It was glorious. I have been back to work for two weeks now, after being out for 9 weeks recovering from top surgery. It has been going more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined! Physically, I’m back to 100%, and in terms of work dynamics, I’m right back where I left things, which is better than I could have hoped for. I pictured I might be the odd person out, after being away so long, but everyone genuinely seems happy to see me. Our supervisor even got muffins for the day I came back!
So, work uniform: We have four styles of shirts we can wear – all of them are navy blue with the school district’s seal embroidered in yellow. The choices are:
long sleeved button-down
short sleeved button-down
Every 2 years, we can order 5 more. I had been down to only 5 total, though, for years, because I continually ordered more and more size S short sleeved button-downs, and they kept being too big. I had 5 that my spouse had tailored and hemmed (thank you!!!), and that was it. I had 2 t-shirts and one polo shirt, which I had ordered at some point, but never wore. Until yesterday!
Why didn’t I just wear a t-shirt immediately upon returning? This might be mild paranoia, but I didn’t want to change things up immediately for fear of fanning whatever rumors might be going around about the type of surgery I had. I only told 2 people at work, and I didn’t really want to talk about it. The short sleeve button-downs have pockets with buttons that just happen to fall right where my nipples are! Haha. So, I looked pretty much the same before and after surgery, in those shirts. I wanted a little time to pass before I moved on to what I really wanted to do: Wear a t-shirt!
I gotta say though, t-shirts are not as conducive to this hot weather. (It is soooooo hot in the school.) They are 100% cotton, and they get wet with sweat. The short sleeved button-downs are cotton/poly blend, and they are billowy and wick away moisture.
Once it’s fall, winter, and spring, I am going to be loving it though. I just need more shirts though! I think this is one of the years we get more – I’m going to order 5 small t-shirts!
In other work related news, I added a new page to my blog. It is called, glossary of janitorial words and phrases. I’m sure I’ll be adding to it as I think of more. Check it out – it might make you laugh (or possibly gross you out)…
The title says it all, but here’s the details: Prior to surgery, I put a lot of effort into trying to figure out what I might be able to get reimbursed for. I was on the phone with customer service for a long time one day; I scoured my insurance’s webpage; I tried to figure out codes and what they mean; my therapist called multiple times on my behalf. I oscillated between feeling hopeful I might get partial coverage, and being convinced that there was no chance.
Ultimately it seemed like there was no chance. I found a promising document at one point called, “Gender Reassignment Surgery Medical Policy,” followed by criteria to prove it is medically necessary. Then I was told that that applies to some insurance policies with my insurance company, but my particular policy excludes this coverage, and that was the bottom line.
Still, people told me that it’s against the law to deny coverage, on a state by state basis, and my state should cover it. I paid out of pocket, first for the surgeon’s fees in advance, and then for the surgical center, the day of. After the fact, I asked my surgeon’s office to send me an itemized bill of what I’d paid for, and I submitted that to my insurance company, without much hope. I figured it’d get denied, then I’d appeal and take it as far as I could. Maybe I’d get some advice from my local gay alliance, etc.
About 2 weeks later, I got a piece of mail. I didn’t open it because I didn’t care to read the bad news. My spouse and I were leaving for vacation last Wednesday, and I figured I’d better open it before we left. In case there was some deadline for appealing it. I opened it up, and it was a check for $2,800.09!!!! I yelled at my partner about it, the excitement of it, which must have been jarring because I almost never yell. What an amazing way to start our trip!
That’s 47% of the surgeon’s fees (including 100% of the accommodations – staying at the surgeon’s guest room!) I really could not believe it – either the person on the receiving end wasn’t paying attention at all, or they knew exactly what it was and had some strong personal beliefs of what should get to be covered!!
Now I’m just deciding if I should also get an itemized bill from the surgical center and try to get more money back… Maybe I don’t want to push my luck…
It really paid off to just try, even though I didn’t believe anything would come of it!
Here’s a post I wrote earlier on this topic:
In February, I wrote GID: exclusion for top surgery coverage
I got this gem at a thrift store in 2000 or 2001. Back when you could still get old t-shirts for $2. I remember especially liking it because I never really thought that Kodak was known for their batteries. As if this t-shirt was an announcement to remind people that they should buy the batteries too, while they’re at it. I haven’t worn this in years, but I wore it all the time in college. I actually had it in a box of shirts I wanted to keep but were no longer in rotation. It’s coming back into rotation now, full force! Although, there is a hole in it, and it is one of the delicate ones that are getting pretty threadbare. So, we’ll see.
Oh, I also wore it in the pride parade in 2006, because I was going for every rainbow color in my outfit, and this fit the bill. Now I’m noticing some colors are more prominent than others: I could have been marching for McDonalds! (And Kodak, of course. …In 2006, the company was giving it’s best shot in the production of digital cameras, but by 2012 it filed for bankruptcy and phased out of that market. It’s still hanging in there in the printing and imaging fields, and it does still produce certain types of specialty film. I couldn’t find anything on the Kodak wikipedia page about batteries though!)
I’m realizing that I need to change the way I fold my shirts. They all have a crease down the middle (see top photo) that I need to get rid of, by learning how to do it like a pro. There are a bunch of videos on how to accomplish this in 2 seconds, like this:
I tried it a few years ago, but never got the hang of it. I feel a lot more motivated now though. It’s going to be fun to learn.
(One note about the upcoming week starting tomorrow – my spouse and I will be on vacation in MA and NH – I’ll be away from the internet. I love not going on the internet for long spans of time, but I will miss staying up-to-date with blogs!)
This post is part of a series about my t-shirt collection – now that I’ve had top surgery, I can wear them all again, all the time!
For more posts in this series (so far), see:
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!
Going into surgery, I was in pretty rough shape. I felt sick (although I didn’t want to say so, specifically, to anyone other than my spouse… I kept saying “slight head cold”) and exhausted. Luckily, my cold symptoms were not too worrisome, medically: no fever, no chest congestion / trouble breathing. Other than the cold, I felt mentally prepared. In retrospect, I totally was. But, not so much prepared for the recovery process…
office/home/guest rooms mansion
Surgery Day: We arrived at 6:15am, surgery was from 7:30-9am, I was sleeping till about 10:30, and we were leaving by 11:30. At which point, I felt a lot better than I had for days – it even felt like my cold magically disappeared.
Everything went smoothly, except for the fact that the surgeon was about to do the wrong procedure. I was afraid this was the case because during the entire process including the consultation, the paperwork continually listed “double incision mastectomy with free nipple grafts.” Even after I called a month ago to verify we were on the same page with the peri-areolar procedure and was assured that we were. So when she came in and said, “Double incision.” I said no, and luckily wasn’t phased by the mix up. She said peri-areolar, I said yes, and she drew circles around my areolas. I talked to her about nipple size, saying I wanted them small. She said, “They’ll be smaller. Your nipples will be nipple-sized.” That was not very reassuring, but after she left, and before the anesthesiologist came back around, my spouse clarified that she had said, “your nipples will be nickle-sized.” That sounded better.
If you want to read a more detailed account of what it’s like, here’s a good one someone wrote just a few days ago: Surgery. It was a lot like that. Back at the guest room, we texted with some people, a Philly friend came and visited for a while, we watched Seinfeld, and we went to sleep early. I was up a lot that night, ravenously eating snacks and just not able to get comfortable. I was sleeping sitting up, at the foot of the bed, a lot.
Day after surgery – The next day, we were driving home. And I was in bed by 6pm. My cold symptoms were back, and I was not feeling so good anymore. I’ll bet that first day, I had a good mix of adrenaline and endorphins flowing, plus whatever they put in the IV. And then I crash.
2 days after surgery – I sat outside for a while. A friend came over, and we chatted for about 30 minutes before my spouse and they went thrift shopping. We listened to some podcasts. I read a book about subway art, written in 1984, a book I had found in the trash at school. We watched 2 episodes of Mad Men.
3 days – Podcasts, Mad Men. I stopped taking the pain meds (Percocet) because they were causing OIC (opioid induced constipation). The pain increased throughout the day, but it’s not like Percocet was all that effective anyway. We went to my spouse’s parents’ house, which did not go so well (I could not bear being social, especially once a family friend came by – I just went and sat outside.) We went to the grocery store on the way home – that was OK.
4 days – Glad to be off Percocet – realized that there are other pain meds (D’uh!) so I took an Alieve. I feel like 95% of the pain now is due to this fucking surgical wrap I have to wear for 7 days. I can only take shallow breaths; I can’t laugh or yawn or cough; it’s digging into my ribs and underarms; it’s way too tight; it just fucking sucks*. There’s a reason I didn’t bind! We went to the movies – nice to get out of the house. Also, one of our cats got suddenly freaked out by my Frankenstein walk (even though I’ve been doing it for days), and she bolted off the table, knocking a bunch of my records onto the floor. It was loud. Also, I had a mini melt down about hating asking for things that are so basic, telling my spouse that I keep doing things because I would rather do them than ask – open and close doors, get ice trays out of the freezer, pour water from our britta, reach up high for a Q-tip, carry my laptop… I gotta stop so I don’t mess up my healing process! She was on it and strategized a bunch of new ways to make things easier!
5 days – My spouse went back to work. Our refrigerator was making a loud noise this morning and stopped working. That was stressful! I called a repair person, then changed my mind because we should just buy a new one because this thing is super old. My spouse’s mom came over to save our freezer items for us, store them at her house. Then the fridge started working again, so it feels like less pressure – we’ll still get a new one, but it doesn’t have to be today. A friend brought over lunch – I liked that! My mom stopped by after work. I felt anxious and lightheaded for a lot of the day. I was feeling really confined/claustrophobic, as if this binding thing were made of plaster of paris, or steel. I had a serious melt down (I got an all-too-real glimpse of what it could feel like, if I lost it right now – I felt in danger of becoming more and more triggered), and told my spouse we need more people around us, helping. She called her parents to make that happen. We talked and I felt a lot better.
6 days – That’s today! I only managed to sleep 3 hrs. I’ll be spending more time with people today. I’m just going to try to relax. I also gotta start preparing for going back down there tomorrow, to get this fucking binding off. Oh, and the drains. I’m going with my mom.
Overall, I’m in more pain than I thought. And I’m way less out of it than I thought (like, I didn’t get to be in a fun pain-killer induced haze, haha). And I don’t like TV that much and I’ve been up and about a lot. I hate not doing things because it reminds me of being depressed.
* Note: this may be the only time I’ve used swear words on this blog (in reference to the surgical binding). It’s that bad. Also, though, I appreciate this thing because it reminds me of where the limits are and also it’s preventing me from coughing stitches open or anything like that.
My spouse and I are leaving shortly, to drive down and arrive by mid-afternoon, to then get ready for surgery in the morning. I hope. I’m saying, “I hope,” because I came down with a cold 3 days ago, and I still feel stuffed up. I’ve searched the internet for, “Can I get surgery if I have a cold?” and there really is no consensus. It’s a good sign that I don’t have a fever, and I don’t have a cough. But ultimately, it’s up to the surgeon. It feels like I have a 50/50 shot here.
And I haven’t been able to get in touch with their office any earlier because of the holiday weekend (I did email a heads up though), so I’m going to have to call while on the road, once their office is open… When I call, I am going to act as though everything is proceeding like normal, just want to let them know about this development. Because I really really really just want this to happen. Tomorrow. And I don’t know what I’m going to feel if I’m told, “Don’t bother coming. …We can schedule you for the last week of June.” Or something like that.
Between this and shingles, it feels like my body is trying to say, “this is not happening.” I’m angry with my body. I was so super careful – eating well, sleeping well, I don’t recall being around anyone who was sick… I wasn’t even feeling stressed or anxious. And this is super strange for me too – I don’t generally get sick often. I used to, but not anymore. I don’t get headaches. I don’t get queezy. I don’t throw up easily. So what’s with the shingles (which have thankfully cleared up in time) and the cold?!?
I currently don’t feel stressed about the surgery. I feel ready. I feel stressed about the cold, but not about the surgery.
So, I guess I’ll know what’s happening within a few hours. Let’s hope next time I write, it’ll be good news!!!
One week feels about right – it neither feels like it’s approaching too quickly nor like it cannot come soon enough. I already have everything that the surgeon’s office needs turned in; my to-do list now consists of things I’m trying to think I want to get done before I won’t be able to do stuff for a while: cut my hair, cut my spouse’s hair, cut the grass, purchase extra cat litter because I won’t be able to lift that, do laundry, install the air conditioning unit in our bedroom window… I know my spouse can do a lot of this stuff as it needs to get done, but I guess it feels good to be getting as much out of the way now, while I can. I do not look forward to not being able to do things. I’m going to have to accept it.
I’m also thinking about what, specifically, I will miss. I’m going to take some pictures, but, what’s impossible to capture is how that part of my body feels – both the shape and the sensations. I’m resigned to the fact that I will most likely lose sensitivity in this area, and I wish I could remember it how it is, somehow…
Last Saturday night, my spouse and I went with friends to see The Man Who Fell to Earth. Without giving any spoilers, there was a scene in which David Bowie’s character is undergoing surgery while conscious. Doctors are cutting into his areola with a scalpel, and he is yelling for help. This was like whoa. Unexpected. Hitting a little too close to home. Not making sense, story arc wise (the story arc was less of an arc and more of a jagged pattern-less wave anyway).
I don’t really feel anxious or excited, at least not yet. I’d be into the idea of getting through this without either or those emotions – we’ll see. It helps to read other accounts of impending surgery thoughts and feelings. Such as this post: Last Minute Concerns, from over 5 years ago. And recountings of the process, such as this post, from yesterday: It’s Never Too Late.
I only have 3 more days of work. Then I won’t be back till probably August. That’ll be weird. I wonder what my days will look like, once I’m recovered enough. Will I feel like being creative and getting stuff done, or will I end up just hanging out? We’ll see – I’m not going to make it be anything in particular.
Other stuff has been going on too. My spouse and I visited some extended family on my dad’s side last weekend, most of whom she had not yet met. I sent an email to as many people as I could in advance just mentioning my name change and that I go by male pronouns. I received only one reply, and my expectations were pretty low. Surprisingly though, everyone who said my name used my new name, and there were zero slip ups. It was awesome. I think this’ll help my dad get on board! (He is getting there, slowly… … very slowly…)
About 10 days ago, my breast tissue started to feel inflamed and tender. It wasn’t in line with my menstrual cycle, and it hurt way more than that would, anyway. As it got worse and not better, I wondered if it was some strange manifestation of a psychological reaction to my upcoming surgery. I wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious about it, but was this psychosomatic? Then a patch of skin below my left armpit started to really burn and sting, as well as the skin around my shoulder blade.
Then 3 days ago, I broke out into a rash in those areas… and my boooobs still hurt a lot. I was able to get in to see my doctor yesterday, and… it’s shingles. She said that would also be causing the breast tenderness, because of where it is. Shingles flare up along a line of nerves starting at your spinal cord, and wrapping around to the front of your body – so that you only get it on one side, within a range of area. It’s like chicken pox, redux. Everyone I’ve mentioned this to says, “You’re too young to get shingles!” All I know about it really is that Carrie Brownstein got shingles while on tour (from reading her memoir, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl,) so I guess I’m in good company.
I got 2 prescriptions to help with the pain and the duration. We’ll see – it should start clearing up within a week… I’ll be going back in 2 weeks for my doctor to take a look. If this had happened close enough to my surgery, it would have had to have been postponed. That would have made me really upset! According to this timeline, I should be OK. It’s just so mind bogglingly coincidental that this suuuper painful inflamation occurred right in the area I’ll be having surgery. I’ll let you know which ends up being more painful – this or surgery!
Other than that, I feel relatively prepared. I just had my pre-op appointment via phone call a week ago, and that has put things into motion for getting everything ready. I got a huge packet in the mail of things to sign (informed consent), directions for when to do what, etc. I made a checklist to make it easier.
Pay surgeon – I still have to do this. I exhausted all info about my insurance plan, and there is no way insurance would pay for any of it. I expected as much all along, so, no big blow there…
Get parking permit – In process. My spouse and I will be in Ardmore, PA for close to 48 hours, and we need a temporary parking permit to park in the municipal lots.
Get therapist letter – In process. My therapist just sent me her draft last night, and it looked good to me, so she should be faxing it at some point today.
Get prescriptions filled – Done. This could be done well in advance, so your meds are ready for you when you need them. I needed to get a pain med and an antibiotic.
Get lab work – Done. I did it yesterday morning.
Go through a pre-op appt. with primary care physician – Done. I did it yesterday morning. I killed 2 birds with one stone – this plus shingles diagnosis all in one. She will be filling out a form to clear me, despite the shingles, and faxing it in.
Send in consent forms and everything else that needs a signature by me – I gotta get this together. I think I need to re-print certain pages and figure out what I still need to read through.
Take photos of chest – I did this for the surgeon already, but I might want to re-do it. Not while I have these shingles though!
I feel ready for surgery, mentally. Emotionally, I’m wondering if something is going on (shingles are brought on by stress, which I’m not actually feeling). I set up an appointment to see my therapist (who I haven’t been seeing lately), just to cover all my bases. It can’t hurt!