Hard to believe that one year ago today I was getting my first T shot. Since then, so much more has happened. I’ve come out, lived as a man, had top surgery, and failed at growing a beard. This month I was taken as a man wherever I went. There were no “ma’ams” and the “sirs” were profuse and confident.
This month has been this little blue circle of happiness:
But check out how that’s progressed over the last year:
Pretty steady to where I am now.
The combination of the changes from the testosterone and the top surgery have been incredibly satisfying. I had the experience of seeing my face in a shop mirror yesterday and not realizing right away that I was looking at myself and not some random guy.
Is it what I expected? Honestly, it’s hard to remember exactly what I expected. It’s been slow and steady progress, and I see a long road ahead if the changes continue at this pace. But I’m fine with that. I’m out of the in-between world of second adolescence (despite my teen facial hair.)
I’m so close to one year, yet I’m looking at the pictures and it’s hard to spot the change. I’ve gotten pudgier (gained almost 20 lbs!). My voice is deeper. I kinda can grow some facial hair (I shaved this morning, if I still look like a baby peach.) Yet I pass better most of the time (thanks to the voice?)
Next month should showcase more changes. First off, I’m not going to shave between now and my next update, so we may see a bit of facial hair. Second of all, I am hitting the gym 3x a week and eating way healthier. I hope to lose a few of those 18 lbs in the next month. But as for now, the pics and video below are all I have to show for myself.
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Two days before my top surgery, I looked down at my chest and questioned–for the first time in a year–whether I should keep my body the way it was. I felt my breasts, weighed them in my hands, coaxed myself to like them. I couldn’t muster any emotion about my breasts, but still I found myself wondering if I would regret the surgery.
This wasn’t the first time on the transition path that I’d encountered doubt. It cropped up every time I was on the cusp of a step in the transition that had a feeling of finality. Starting testosterone, changing my name, coming out publicly, surgery–all of these steps made me start the process from the very beginning.
So a few things are different about this monthly update . The main event this month was my top surgery. I was pretty much a recluse all month, so my 100% success rate in being “sirred” is due to the fact that I was addressed as anything a whopping one time. The other thing is that this month, my hormonal changes ground to a halt because I was off testosterone for three of the four weeks (surgeon’s orders). I only now feel like I’m getting back to normal.
But the good news is that all the tape on my chest incisions came off and this is the first month I can share totally topless progress photos. The bad news is that after several weeks of inactivity and stuffing my face, I got pretty fat. Three more weeks before I can hit the gym.
Yesterday was the day! First, I could finally take a T shot after over three weeks without. Then, I had my appointment to take off the huge stack of bandages I had wrapped around my chest and got to see my results for the first time. Here’s how my surgery and recovery went.
It is done. I has surgery today to remove my breasts. At the moment, I am completely wrapped up in bandages and will be for a week. I know the surgery was done–I went to the hospital, I met with the doctor and a huge team, I went under, and I woke up in recovery with my chest covered in bandages. But until I see the change when it is revealed in my one week follow up appointment, my brain can’t process it. So, it is like under the bandages I both have boobs and don’t have boobs.
This week, I hope to post a lot as I recover. I’d like to report out on the whole top surgery process so far and I’d really like to talk about doubt and certainty. So stay tuned. I’ll try to post pics, too.
God, what a god-awful week. The election result caught me off-guard and reminded me how fragile trans progress is. I don’t know what will come in the next four years, but it feels utterly bleak. Not just for LGBTQ people, but for immigrants, Muslims, and people of any color other than lily-white.
But I won’t miss my nine-month progress report. I had a week where I traveled abroad recently and where I was able to go semi-stealth. This was in Central America, and while I passed perfectly, I was called “joven” a lot, so I probably passed as a 12-year-old. That’s fine.
I noticed a small regression this month in how often I was called “sir” overall. Could be due to layering up as it gets colder. Could also be due to weight gain. I’ve been stress eating a lot this month.
This will be the last month with me having to wear a binder to pose! Top surgery happens in T-minus 10 days. I’ll post separately on that a few times and also on my experience traveling. Comparison pics and video after the jump.
As of yesterday, I’ve been on testosterone for eight months. My belly is getting very fuzzy. Of course that doesn’t show up in the pictures. I have to shave my face more frequently, and my stubble prickles my neck at night when I’m falling asleep. Aside from a little more hair, the changes I see from month-to-month now are so minute they don’t seem worth mentioning. But they must make a cumulative difference; almost everyone called me sir this month, if they chose to address me.
I’ve been bad about working out now that I don’t have easy access to a gym. I have a goal to be in decent shape before my surgery. I will be off T for three weeks around the surgery and want to minimize the dysphoria from that. I won’t be able to work out for eight weeks following surgery and don’t want to start off excessively soft. I also want to be able to look at myself post-surgery and see satisfying results. So looking at my body in my skivvies this month, I feel a bit self-critical. Pics and video after the jump.
I’ve been so negligent on the blog due to the crushing weight of real-life obligations. Oh well, I’ll try to do better, I promise! This month has felt pretty much the same as last month. Not much new is going on physically except that my belly is getting kind of furry.
I have on and off days for being gendered correctly. I wish I knew what makes the difference. But it’s still steady progress.
This month I’ve had so many med appointments for various reasons, all involving bloodwork. I’m starting to feel like a pin cushion. Next week I’ll get a readout on my current T levels. (Haha, one of the one times large numbers aren’t a bad sign on a blood test.) Last time they were still below the normal male range, so I’d like to see them a bit higher. I’ll also (hopefully) get a clearance from a hematologist that will let me schedule my top surgery.
Pre-T to seven months photos/video after the jump.
A few weeks ago I had a consult for top surgery. The consult itself went pretty much as expected–I learned only one new thing, which is that the reason for losing sensation in the nipples is due to the severing of a nerve in the chest, not necessarily to the detachment of the nipple itself.
In researching options, I chose Dr Bartlett in Brookline, MA for two reasons. First, the results are really nice. They have good contouring, nice, tight nipples, minimal scarring. Second, it’s close to my parents’ home. I’ve not been impressed with the results of the doctors practicing close to DC and wanted to look elsewhere. Doing it near my childhood home means I have a place for R&R and emotional support on hand in addition to my partner. This is really important because we have a small child who will need caretaking and occupation at the same time I will. The office staff was incredibly nice and well informed. Two transmasculine patients wandered through the office while I was waiting. Dr Bartlett himself had very kind and knowledgable bedside manner. I picked up on a little sensitivity around the billing questions–but I had to understand the structure. He described in detail what goes into the procedure and recovery and waited patiently as I reviewed the two notebook pages of handwritten questions I had prepared. I was impressed.