Out of the Cage

Out of the Cage

More of my ramblings from my diaries over the time of Top Surgery October 2015

A week of not so quiet and restful healing later, life has a way of changing our plans at whim, and it did that with style as always, but I was back in Brighton for my post op. Had it worked? Everything is healing as it should. Staples out from the nipples; glad I had taken codeine beforehand, so it wasn’t that painful. No more itchy dressings and I only need to wear a binder if I go out to protect myself.

I looked in the mirror and I look a bit battered. But I can look at me and not hate what I see to the point of spiraling into dysphoria. For the first time ever I can do that. I still have a lot of healing to do but it is one huge step in the right direction.

For the last two weeks my emotions have been shot to hell. They are still shot to hell. I don’t have the words that sum up how I feel and yes that is frustrating me to bits – I am a writer and not knowing words that express the emotions is unheard of for me. Happy. No it is beyond that way beyond that. I am out of the cage now and it is awesome. That is the best I can do to sum it up.

My Thanks

It is only proper that I stop at this point and thank all those who have supported me this far. My deepest thanks go to Mr. Yelland and his team at Nuffield Health who made it possible. Also to Jenny, Misty and Lisa for getting me there and back for the operation and to Andy for being there for the post op. My boys for being my boys and keeping me going. Alf for being a real bro and staying with me until I woke up. Kayto for being the best friend a guy could have at 430am. Finally, to Caz for being my Caz and making me smile when I wanted to cry – I’m not easy to live with and you hung in there for me.

The Operation

The Operation

 

Taken from my incoherent rambling of a diary for Monday 28 September 2015

To be honest I don’t remember that much. It was still dark when my friend and I left for the hospital and the roads were peaceful. Just as well as we were both tired from the previous night.

 

On arrival I booked in and was taken to my room for the next 24 hours or so. A flurry of people came in and told me stuff, can I remember any of it – not a thing. I ordered food for later in the day, undoubtedly vegetarian as I don’t eat meat that much and probably a bucket of coffee. No coffee since the day before and I know me well enough to know I would have been as edgy as a cat on a hot roof. We were told, so my friend tells me, I was going to theatre for 9.30am but didn’t go until 12. I was back by 2:30pm judging by his post on Facebook.

 

I must have dozed off as they woke me up to give me the anaesthetic, after that the next thing I know was talking to my mate and it was all done. I felt like I had been hit by a wrecking ball but was too groggy to make much sense of anything. The night was one of interrupted sleep as the nurse had to do regular obs on my sugars as I am a diabetic and some painkillers when needed.

 

The procedure can be found here http://transurgery.com/chest-reconstruction/double-incision-technique

 

Mr Yelland, the surgeon, made the cool dude list on Tuesday morning when he came in to sign me out. His tie was superb. Anyone who knows me will know, that means I was back to my normal self even though I physically felt like I had been demolished. So it was home for a week of rest and healing before the post op appointment.

Omens and Eclipses

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Written at some point on the night of 27 September 2015

Travelling down to Hastings was event free, the conversation easy and nicely distracting from what was going to happen the next day. We stopped at Cobham Services for coffee and sinful donuts. Donuts are a very rare treat for me so they always taste awesome.

It was getting dark by the time we were driving through Kent to East Sussex with the aroma of hops teasing our noses. I had forgotten the utter deliciousness of that. I must have drifted into my memories a bit, as the next thing I know was a glorious reflection of the full moon shimmering on the English Channel and we were nearing the end of the journey.

My friend dropped me off with the friend I was staying with. Again easy conversation and a chilled out atmosphere and I am too calm, I know I am too calm. Tomorrow I am having surgery and I’m not even feeling a slight sense of nervousness, just an amazing sense of calm that life is beginning to go the way it should be.

We watched the lunar eclipse. Light pollution in Hastings is so much less than in Swindon. The darkness of the sky made so many more stars visible and the colour of the moon was a deep blood red. A truly blood moon and prophetic to a Pagan like me. Blood moons are omens of an end and a change in life. I wasn’t going to watch it as I knew it would set my mind into thinking.

Thinking, oh yes, the thoughts started coming thick and fast. Back in bed for another nap before leaving for the hospital – sleep wasn’t going to happen quickly. So I let the thoughts come. Not once was it ‘am I making a mistake’. I never have had that thinking really. I have known my male identity too long to think it is a mistake or doubt myself on it.

Omens are not all doom and gloom and, when you think about it, what does the end mean. It just means something stops. The pretence of being content in a female body has come to end. For a new beginning, something must end and for the man I know to exist that pretence must end and tomorrow it ends, there is no going back.
©JG Farmer 2015

Top Surgery: Pre-med

The sun was shining on a beautiful September morning as I left home yesterday. Other than thinking good it isn’t raining I didn’t notice. My guts were full of butterflies and I could think of a million and one other things I would be rather be doing. In April this day had seemed so far away now everything felt suddenly very real. Pre-med day.

The journey down to Brighton was uneventful and the trains quiet giving me thinking space. Mentally, I was geared for a negative outcome to the day as it always is regarding the medical side of transition. This is one thing I cannot build my hopes up for them to fail so I do the opposite. Sipping my water I was glad to be alone for a while. I was meeting up with a friend between the two appointments, and I would need the support then whatever happened.

Walking out of Brighton station I began to feel the nervous nausea but found a cab and within minutes was pulling up outside the Nuffield Hospital. I sucked hard on my sugar free mint but really a mint is no substitute for a nerves ripped to shreds cigarette. Oh well, no point in hanging about I went in to the snazzy reception area and tried to appear calm and no doubt failed.

I didn’t have to wait long before a nurse fetched me and started the pre-med formalities of health history, blood tests, MRSA tests, ECG and blood and heart observations. For once my pulse was playing the game and she found it first go. She then looked at me and I thought “here we go she’s going to tell me something is wrong” but no all good to go.

My mate was outside waiting in the reception so he sat with me while we waited for the consultant. I can’t remember what we talked about; everything and nothing probably. Whatever, it worked, I felt calmer when I was called in to see the consultant.

He started talking about the surgery, the risks and things that could go wrong. Not sure what he thought when I said ‘so you going to do it then?’ He took pictures then drew a rough diagram (he’s no artist) of a breast and how he would remove it. Yes he said remove it at which point it all sank in – at last the chest is going to be a chest. I came out of his office on a cloud.

For so many years my breasts have made me feel nothing but the self-hate that has pushed me into the pits of dark depression – in ten days they are gone. A cloud, no I am walking on thin air. I am so grateful my mate took me back to the station. I am not sure I would have made it without him to keep me grounded.

The journey home was easy too, apart from a long wait at Reading. It gave me chance to grab a much needed coffee so not really complaining. Today, as I write, it is like I have had a rock lifted off me. The journey to me is real and is finally happening.

 

©JG Farmer 2015

FtM Terminology

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ftm_ftw_by_kissed_byarose-d33we4x

 

One of the most common questions I get asked is what all the terminology used by transguys means. So a quick A – Z as it were.

Binding

Binding is the process FtM use to flatten their chests to create a male-appearance.

Bottom or Lower Surgery

Gender reconstruction surgery.

Chest or Top Surgery

Chest reconstruction surgery is the most common surgical procedure sought by trans men. The aim of chest reconstruction is to create a male-contoured chest.

Double-Incision

The bilateral mastectomy method of chest reconstruction surgery that is effective for those individuals who have a medium to large amount of breast tissue.

Female-to-Male Transsexual (FtM, F2M, Trans guy, Transman)

An individual who was born in a female body but whose gender identity is male and who actively seek hormonal and/or surgical therapies to live in society as men.

Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS)

A positive term for the various surgical procedures for FtM including sex reassignment surgery (SRS), chest reconstruction surgery (CRS), genital reconstruction surgery (GRS), hysterectomy and oophorectomy.

Gender Dysphoria

A psychological term that refers to the state of discomfort and mental anguish felt by transsexual and transgender people resulting from the incongruity of their physical sex and their gender identity.

Gender Identity

An individual’s self-awareness of their gender being male, female or something in-between.

Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

A recognised psychological and medical condition where an individual has been assigned a birth-gender and identifies as belonging to another gender.

Genderqueer

An individual whose gender identity is non-binary and identifies as neither male or female but as something in-between, beyond gender or some combination of genders.

Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS)

The process of constructing a phallus/penis from an individuals own donor tissue, also known as phalloplasty or phallo, or metoidioplasty where the clitoris from its connective tissue to present in a more phallic manner.

Hysterectomy (Hysto)

The surgical removal of the uterus.

Intersex

A condition where an individual is born with either the genitalia or reproductive anatomy that is difficult to label as male or female.

Keyhole

One of the methods used for chest reconstruction that is effective for individuals with small amounts of breast tissue.

Metoidioplasty (Meta)

The surgical process of releasing the clitoris from its connective tissue so that it presents on the body in a more phallic manner. Scrotal implants may also be added.

Oophorectomy

The surgical removal of the ovaries.

Packer/Packing

Packing is the process for creating a more male-feeling or look to the crotch.

Passing

Being read as male by others.

Peri-areolar (Peri)

A method of chest reconstruction that is effective for individuals with small to medium amounts of breast tissue.

Phalloplasty (Phallo)

A surgical genital reconstruction method using the individual’s own donor tissue to create the phallus. Scrotal implants may or may not be added.

Real Life Experience (RLE)

The period of time a transsexual person is required to live full time in the role of the gender they identify as before the medical gender reassignment process can commence.

STP Device

A device that enables the user to stand to pee at a toilet or urinal.

Stealth

After transition an individual may choose to be stealth and not reveal their transsexual status.

Testosterone (T)

Testosterone is an androgenic hormone that is responsible for producing masculine characteristics such as facial hair growth, deepening voice, body hair growth and muscle development.

Transgender (Trans)

The umbrella term for individuals whose gender expression and/or identity differs from the conventional expectations of their birth gender.

Transition

The process of changing from one gender to the other.

Transsexual

An individual whose gender identity does not match their birth gender,

TransPagan

loki

When I reflect upon the Divine it is impossible for me to exclude gender. In the modern goddess movement within Neo-Paganism women have reclaimed their place and the feminine aspect of divinity. For me it is time to take that a step further and reclaim the non-binary of genders within the Divine.

Gender and gender identity is diverse and not binary. The gender binary system is ultimately flawed with so many individuals being born intersex and transgender. Therefore in my mind it is also impossible to believe that the Divine has no aspects that are transgender and do not fit the gender binary.

In fact I do not have to look far to validate my awareness here. Here is Loki, a Nordic god but also he is transgender. As I write my bro Mo has shared the following link

http://getrealcambridge.com/2015/03/07/an-examination-of-gender-in-viking-age-scandinavia/

so I will not expand any further on Loki as it has been done here.

As a Pagan transman living in the Pagan LGBT community has not been a pleasant experience and I no longer really take part in either. By following my own spiritual and gender specific path I have reclaimed my own space within the Divine. For me that has been a relatively easy thing to do but I am aware for others it will be anything but easy. Is it not about time the Pagan LGBT took a look at itself and the level of discrimination going on in its midst?

 

© JG Farmer 2015