When you decide you really are a female, you have so many details to worry about. Some must wait. But as soon as I made the transition to female, I knew I wanted my own pair of breasts inside me, at least big enough to be clearly feminine. It was hard enough to look down and still see a penis and testicles. But seeing a flat chest was worse. It was also something I could try to fix.
The wearable falsies worked surprisingly well. I got compliments. But they are limited. I always had to remember to put them on. I managed to forget to put them on a few times, which resulted in extreme embarrassment when I noticed. I always had to wear a special bra with pockets for the devices. I had to avoid getting in pools or baths because it might have damaged the devices.
First I had to save money for the operation. That took three to five years. I did not want to do the procedure only to have my breasts repossessed.
I started the process over a year ago. My hometown did not have any plastic surgeons with experience working on transgender females. I looked in various cities. I would have gone a long way to find the right person.
Fortunately, Atlanta had a few plastic surgeons with the necessary experience. Various recommendations pointed to Dr. Asaf Yalif at Y Plastic Surgery. So I booked an appointment and met him at his office in the northern suburbs of the sprawling metro area.
We talked about the process. He explained the pros and cons of different types of implants. I knew that I wanted saline implants despite their relative hardness. I had heard too many horror stories about people who had reacted badly to silicone implants. It was like the silicone poisoned their bodies. The silicone might have been softer but was not worth the risk. Dr. Alif also recommended the saline implants, which helped me decide to use him as opposed to one other surgeon with whom I talked.
I had to wait longer than I wanted because I have had issues with a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. The coronary doctors wanted me to get over that condition before they would clear me for the cosmetic surgery. I had a couple of different types of procedures to take care of the fibrillation. After the last procedure left me in normal rhythm, they finally agreed to let me have the surgery.
Dr. Alif’s office scheduled the surgery for the end of October on a Friday morning. I had to get a hotel room because I could never get there as early as they wanted me, and because I would need to rest for a couple of days before trying to return home after the surgery. I also needed a nurse to stay with me during that initial rest period. The practice recommended a local lady whose business works with people in my situation. It is not cheap, but you can think of it as part of the cost of the overall procedure. I booked her services and a room at a nearby hotel.
As the procedure date neared, I had to hold back on taking various medicines before the operation. Strangely enough, the doctor did not require that I stop taking my anticoagulant medicine. Some medical types raised their eyebrows at this, but someone else told me that some doctors do it and some do not. It meant that my blood was thinner than some younger people’s blood would be. On the other hand, it was always a risk to have breast implants at age 67 with heart problems.
Finally, the day arrived when I packed up and headed to Atlanta to prepare for the surgery. I found the hotel in the northern suburbs, no thanks to the maze of freeway exits caused by the road construction going on in that part of town. I had to find a pharmacy to fill a couple of prescriptions related to the surgery. Fortunately, a Publix supermarket was just on the other side of the Perimeter freeway and I was able to get them to fill the scripts.
I ate a small supper and went to sleep, knowing that I had to get up no later than 4:00 a.m. Friday morning to head to the surgical center near Northside Hospital. My nurse picked me up and got me there in good order.
I arrived at 5:30 a.m. for a procedure scheduled for 7:30 a.m. It takes that long to go through the various paperwork and medical questions. You always wonder if some trivial detail will cause the medical staff to refuse to do the work. I had to wait and wait some more. Finally, Dr. Yalif showed up and reassured me that all would be fine. The anesthesiologist showed up and explained his side of the deal. The staff eventually wheeled me into the surgical theater.
I did not notice the moment when I passed out. I have often wondered if a person notices the time passing while under anesthesia. It seemed to happen to me once or twice. In theory, you should not notice anything. I do not remember any dreams from that time. Maybe I sensed that I was out. But I am not even sure of that.
Thankfully, I woke up. To use an old joke, despite everyone’s best efforts, the patient lived. My chest clearly felt tight. I had bandages on the incisions. They did not hurt much. They got me off the cot pretty quickly and had me put on my clothes. My nurse showed up and took me back to my hotel to rest. I do not remember doing much else the rest of the day. I may have eaten a snack since I had not been allowed to have any food that morning. The nurse stayed with me until early evening. I seemed to feel weak but otherwise okay.
The next day was more of the same. The nurse showed up and stayed with me for a while. She was prepared to stay all day but I felt well enough that I did not need her. We agreed that she could leave around midday. Again, I did not do much but read and watch television the rest of the day. That afternoon, I felt well enough to go to the hotel restaurant to get a burger for supper.
The next morning was a Sunday. I was not supposed to use my arms much but had to get my suitcase from its rack onto the floor. Fortunately, it had wheels so I only had to leverage it down to the floor instead of lifting it. Then I could roll it all the way to the car. I somehow managed to push it up into the car trunk. I was still pretty weak but was able to drive back to Chattanooga, slide the suitcase out of the trunk to the ground, and roll it back into my condo.
The next few weeks turned into a blur. I did not do much since I could not lift much. But I noticed one problem. Both incisions continued to bleed occasionally. It was never a large amount of blood, but it would not stop. I had a few shirts get pretty bad blood stains on them. I wondered if I should stop taking the anticoagulant medicine for a few days, but decided to stay on it.
I finally figured out how to put tissues and gauze bandages over the incisions to catch the blood so it would not get on the shirts. I also got blood on my bed sheets and even once on my left shoe. This situation had turned into a fairly serious problem, even if not much liquid was coming out.
I could still be noticeably weak. A few days after I returned, I tried to go to the supermarket. I found that just walking around the market wore me out. I had to sit down on a seat in the front of the store and gasp for breath. Eventually a couple of employees asked me if I was all right. It looked like they were about to call an ambulance. I convinced them to ring up my order and load the groceries in the car. I managed to get up, though I did not want to, and head home.
Continued next week.
Category: Transgender Body & Soul