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Update

Just a little update, I am home and feeling great! The surgery went off without a hitch and now I recover for a while. P. S.  Jock straps are uncomfortable! 

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Still alive!  And with exciting news. 

Well here we are again,

 It’s always such a pleasure.

 Remember when I tried to

 Update more? 

I dropped the ball on that account and seem to have reverted to yearly update. No matter, i have some incredibly exciting news!  Tomorrow I am having my orchiectomy!  That’s right, no more spironolactone and no more pesky balls to drop. I have been incredibly lucky to have access to a wonderful team of doctors in Boston who have come together to provide care for transgender patients. Likewise in Massachusetts in most cases insurance is required to cover gender confirming surgeries. 

I am excited and nervous at the same time, which I think is to be expected. The fact that I am finally having one of the surgeries I’ve longed for is unbelievable. 
For anyone who doesn’t know what an orchiectomy is, it is the removal of the testicles. The benefits to this are that you no longer have to take testosterone blockers, they are no longer physically in the way, and the obvious psychological benefit of being closer to how you feel inside.
All in all I am doing pretty well. My mood has been mostly stable and I’ve been working full time, keeping myself busy. Tomorrow or this weekend I will be sure to post another update about how things went. Wish me luck!! 

-Abbey

Also.. 100th post, woo! 

A new face, A new life

Welcome! God bless everyone!

And as she began typing that overdue post, she looked up and it was no ordinary post she was writing…. It was….

MARLEY’S FACE!

Marley's Face

Can you tell I’ve been listening to and seeing musicals? I recently helped load in A Christmas Carol at the theater where I work and it really is a great show. The theater has been showing it every year in December since 1989 (the year I was born). It has the most set pieces, automation, theatrics, special effects, & Pyro than any other show each season. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyways, I have been spending most of my time working on myself and setting goals for the future. Since I am not taking classes I am going to start working and putting some money away to put towards surgeries. I am really not sure I can get insurance to cover anything, so I have decided to take things into my own hands. It won’t be too hard for me to save enough for a breast augmentation. That is one of the first things I am going to get.

My consultation with Dr. McGinn went well. I will just run through how the meeting went. We talked about FFS, GRS, and of course breast augmentation. Most of it was going over basics and expectations as well as the risks. I was impressed by how down to earth she was. I could easily see myself hanging out with her like any other person. She was impressed by how feminine I already look, which was pretty humbling. She also took photos of my various features as a reference for any surgeries I do get with her. The area her office is located in, New Hope, PA, is a beautiful quaint little town right on the border of PA and NJ, split by a river. I was really comfortable in the area and it reminded me of the area I live in New England.

Face

As for my face the only things she would suggest is rhinoplasty, trachea shave, some brow bone contouring, and possible a lip lift with Juviderm  injections. There really isn’t a whole lot I need, just a little bit here and there. The biggest thing I think will be my nose and brow. I already have a great natural hairline and she seemed to think it would be a mistake to mess with it. I already have a fair amount of tooth show already so a lip lift isn’t necessary, the Juviderm would give them more volume though. She does not do any jaw or chin surgery because it is a very risky area to be cutting into. Some surgeons will shave the angles down on your jaw/chin bones to lessen the sharp angles. I admit I do kind of want to have my chin rounded out a bit. I have a dimple in the middle and it is fairly wide; I am very self conscious about it. The main risks are A: damaging your jaw, and B: ending up with an uneven chin.

Breasts

We talked about the different options for breast augmentation. Over the muscle or under the muscle, silicone vs. saline, incision location, size, etc. Dr McGinn suggested that I get high profile silicone implants places above the muscle via an incision in the crease beneath the breast. She said I would need about 600cc in my left breast and 550cc in my right to account for the difference in size and the be roughly a C cup. Having had a breast reduction when I was younger I do not have as much breast tissue in my left breast which will make it difficult to have a perfectly symmetrical result. Her reason for choosing above the muscle is that when you place it below the muscle they sometimes get pushed up to an unnatural position on your chest. If you have limited tissue surgeons tend to put them below the muscle to give a more natural look.

Once I got home from my trip I did a little experiment (for science!) by making mock implants using dry rice and two balloons. I filled one with 600ml of rice and the other with 550ml. One cc equates to the same as one ml. The size isn’t exact due to the air gaps between the rice while measuring, but for all intensive purposes it did the job. I then proceeded to put them in my bra and walk around with huge boobs. They seem pretty large, perhaps a little too large. I am undecided though since they will obviously fit & flow with the contours of my body with actual implants. I intend to consult with at least one other surgeon in MA for augmentation to get a second opinion and perhaps have the surgery up here. It doesn’t make much sense driving to PA to get a boob job when there are dozens of them in every major city. The important thing is finding one with experience in treating transgendered clientele. The frame of a biological male body IS different than that of a biological female body, and experience will lead to the best result.

Dr. McGinn charges $6,000 for the procedure + $1,400 for the implants bringing the total to $7,400 for breast augmentation. A good BA seems to be running between 5k and 8k so I believe it is a reasonable price.

Now, onto the pictures!

Front

As you can see they are of moderate size and do look pretty good.

Left

They look a little big in profile.

Rice implants!

And finally the rice implants themselves (complete with nipples!)

I think the experiment was a success, it gave me right understanding of the potential size. Chances are I will end up somewhere between 450cc and 600cc.

Bottom Surgery (aka Vaginoplasty)
(Graphic surgical descriptions below)

This part of the consultation was the most in depth. We talked about the procedure itself as well as the risks, results, and preparation involved. It would be hard for me to describe it in my own words so I will transcribe the description she gave in the appointment summary the office gave me.

“We do a one stage inverted penile technique using the scrotum as a skin graft to make the back of the vagina. We reduce the glans penis to make a sensate clitoris. The nerves of the clitoris are in the Mons pubis. The labia are made from the penile foreskin. The urethra is shortened and wrapped around the clitoris to make a clitoral hood. The hood provides protection and lubrication to the clitoris. The areas that have the most sensation are the mins, clitoris, and the g-spot inside the vagina. The surgery takes about 3-4 hours.

Logistics: Vaginoplasties are generally done on Tuesdays. We operate out of Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, PA. We ask that you come into the area the day before surgery in order to complete informed consent and a bowel prep. You will be in the hospital from Tuesday through Friday. Please be prepared, you are on bed-rest for 48 hours. Friday you are discharged from the hospital to New Hope, PA. You will have a Foley catheter and vaginal packing in place. You will return to the office for two visits the following week prior to going home. You should plan on being in PA for 2 weeks total.

Hair removal: We recommend a full clearing for 5-6 months of genital electrolysis or laser hair removal. it is not required, but highly recommended.”

Dr. McGinn covered much more than just what is here, but the rest is more specific to the patient. You are required to stop taking estrogen/progesterone 2 weeks before surgery and remain off it for several days. I think that genital electrolysis will be a must for me because I am very particular. Having any sort of hair INSIDE would both annoy me and skeeve me out.

The cost of Vaginoplasty is $19,500 and covers all hospital fees, your hospital stay, surgery costs, anesthesiologist fee, as well as your new dilators!  That is another thing, dilating. Dr. McGinn has her patients dilate more often than other doctors because it is  crucial if you want to maximize your depth. Her average depth is around 5″-6″.

For most procedures they require a $2,500 deposit when you schedule a date.

It is quite a lot to take in isn’t it? I am pretty confident that Dr. McGinn would be a great surgeon for bottom surgery and at the moment she is at the top of my list. One of the most important things I feel next to skill is the level of comfort you have with your surgeon. That way you will be more comfortable asking questions and expressing concern. I tend to be more comfortable around women (it seems many transwomen are), and there happens to only be a handful of female GRS surgeons including Marci Bowers and Christine McGinn. There may be several others I haven’t hear about, but those are the two big names.

I have started rambling and I am running out of things to say, so this seems to be a good place to stop. I have pictures to update my breast timeline that I keep forgetting about, I promise to get to it soon. I also let my facial hair grow for a week to get an updated reference for electrolysis effect. I will be updating that soon as well.

In case I don’t post before the holiday,
I hope everyone has a wonderful wintersday and new years! 🙂

Abbey

Great news and not so great news

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Hey there, I bet y’all have been wondering what the hell Abbey’s been doing for the past 2 months; or maybe you didn’t. That’s fine, I won’t take it personally. At least I’ll try not to. Okay I lied, I am going to cry myself to sleep when I find out you don’t care about me. Okay that was a lie too, but lets move on to what has been happening in my life! (And yes that is me in a cage)

The not so good news is that I have been in a state of emotion meltdown for the past 2 months and my life has been crumbling down around me. It was partially triggered by my girlfriend’s emotional crisis in which lead her to temporarily relocate to Florida in order to get away from all of the negativity in her current environment. For a time I hadn’t heard from her and I’ve been a blob of raw emotion oozing through the days like clockwork at the same slow pace. Many feelings of fear, panic, pain, sadness, uncertainty, abandonment, shame, guilt, anger, rage, psychosis, delusions, and anxiety. It has also brought up a lot of issues I need to work on within myself. It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture does it? It is probably a dark swirling canvas of black and sharp colors like crimson blood red, or a deep magenta. Maybe I will paint my emotions. That could totally be a coping skill!!!

Moving on, this all sort of culminated two weeks ago when I cut myself and went to the hospital. From there I was sent to the lowell treatment center and put on the young adults unit. I spend a week there on 15 minute checks, asking to go to the bathroom, no pencils, rubbery pens you have to sign out, no belts, laces, necklaces, jewelry, or drawstrings of any kind, and basically constant supervision. It was the real deal. They at least got me to a point where I was stable. One of the Nights there was a code blue and someone had to be restrained. They put him in the quiet room right next to my room and he was banging on my wall. I start having a panic attack and run to the other side of the unit with my ginger cat buildabear and cowered in a corner. One of the staff was checking on me the best she could. In the end I scratched up my arm with a folded up teddy grahams wrapper.

The night prior to my discharge an even bigger code blue or green happened and a kid had a knife and was gonna stab someone. The police were called and while they were restraining him with sedatives and force, I was helping keep the other rowdy patients calm. I went into fight mode where I wanted to do anything I could to help.

But, I am out now, and on to the good news!
I am in New Jersey! (No that’s never good news) but what is right next to Jersey?? What’s that??? PA… Pennsylvania!!!! And who practices in new hope, PA? Dr. Christine McGinn!!!

Yay you figured it out 😀
Anyways if you don’t know who Dr. Christine McGinn is, she is a transgender surgeon who does srs, ffs, and other surgeries and is now one of the few surgeons here in the states who can perform these procedures!

So tomorrow at noon I have a consultation with the doctor (who?) to go over the various procedures I may get and possibly about insurance. My goal is to get insurance to cover some of the procedures I want like FFS and a boob job. But we will see once I get a request for pre-authorization in.

So anyways, wish me luck tomorrow and I hope you all have a wonderful day! I will post a more organized update later this week about my experience.

Bye!
– Abbey Kat

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