Facial Feminization Surgery

Things Fall Apart

Wow, just coming off one of the scariest post-surgical energy crashes I’ve had here.

I was having an extremely late lunch, due to the surgeon’s visit today, when all of a sudden I felt the overwhelming need to go to sleep right now. Fortunately I was close to the apartment, and was able to make it home safely and crash. But it really took all my concentration to make it those four blocks.

Probably all the walking I did in Palermo Soho yesterday caught up to me. The hot weather (it’s 90 and humid again) I’m sure that didn’t help either.

Still feeling weak, even after sleeping, although I’m gradually feeling better. But definitely a reminder not to push too hard.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 25

Day 14 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 25 since the first round of surgery.

All the remaining stitches were removed today!

Removing them wasn’t much fun, because the scalp stitches were long ones, OTOH, the doctor said that was a good thing, since most of his patients still can’t feel anything at this point (nerves are temporarily cut during the procedures, so scalp is numb until they grow back).

Brusing under the eyes will take a couple weeks to go away, but at least concealer can hide most of it.

The scars themselves are going to turn red and ugly during the coming weeks, before eventually fading to gray. Just have to remember it’s part of the process (and yes I’ll be using scar-prevention gel). Unfortunately, hairline incisions never heal that well since it’s under tension and the forehead moves a lot, neither of which is conducive to good healing.

Doctor says about two-thirds of the swelling will be gone in three months, but it’ll take year before it’s all gone (the nose in particular takes a long time to rid itself of swelling).

However I can definitely see and feel the changes. You can’t really see them in the photo, but I can definitely feel my (newly-augmented) cheekbones. Hopefully they’ll be more visible as the swelling recedes.

But even it it’s incomplete state, it’s nice to finally look in the mirror and see a face that looks like “me.”

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 23

Day 12 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 23 since the first round of surgery.

Put on eyeliner and mascara, with a little bit of blush for the first time post-surgery (I have done lipstick and brow gel). Just have to be careful none of the make-up gets into the incisions while they’re healing. I’d love to start using some concealer under my eyes, but it’s still puffy and sensitive, so that’s not a good idea at the moment.

The funny thing is that the eyelid bruising makes it look like I’m wearing eye shadow, even though I’m not. Longer-term, I’m gonna have to figure out how to redo my eye shadow now that my brows are much higher. They’ll “settle” downwards in the coming weeks, but since part of the surgery was to “open” the orbitals, they’ll still remain higher than they were pre-surgery. Hopefully the puffiness of the eyelids themselves will go away soon.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 22

Day 11 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 22 since the first round of surgery.

Just waiting for the last of the bruising to go away, although it this point it looks like it may hang on until I get back. Was able to wash the blood off most of the stitches of the incision that runs from one side of my forehead to another.

It’s not obvious in the photo, but there’s still swelling and stiffness toward the back of my lower face. Still can’t feel a bit chunk of my scalp near my left ear. It’s a really odd sensation when I sleep on my left side.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 21

Day 10 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 21 since the first round of surgery. Without and with wig.

Doctor came by and removed almost all the stitches from the first surgery. The remaining stitches and the stitches from the second surgery will be removed on Monday. I’ll be really glad to get the stitches under my nose removed — with the black eyes fading, I’m almost looking normal again, except for the stitches.

I’ve finally have been sleeping better the last couple nights, and I’m definitely feeling stronger and more energetic as a result — although I still need to be really careful about not overdoing things. But it’s so nice to finally be able to get out of the apartment during the day to walk around and see things.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 20

Day 9 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 20 since the first round of surgery.

Day-to-day changes are less apparent now, but I’m starting to look relatively normal, especially when wearing my wig, aside from the rather obvious stitches at the base of my nose. Still have a weird dark bruise on my left check (which you can’t really see in the photos) that developed after the second round of surgery. Definitely feels like the bruise is over one of the muscles that remains pretty swollen and tight on both sides.

I haven’t worn my wig much post-surgery. It’s been really hot here, plus during the day I need to wear a broad-brimmed hat to avoid sun-induced post-surgical bruising (and the hat barely fits my big ol’ head even without a wig). But it’s cool enough I may wear the wig when I go out for dinner tonight, because it does make a big difference in how well as blend in as apparently cisgendered.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 19

Day 8 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 19 since the first round of surgery.

Additional photo with wig, which my surgeon requested (so that he can compare this photo to the pre-surgery photos, where I was wearing it). I definitely look forward to wearing my own hear one day, once it grows out more, but in the interim I definitely look beter with it. Unfortunately, while my hair is swavy, it’s also really fine, so I won’t ever be able to get the some volume as the wig.

I’m Still Alive And Well, I Think

The second surgery was a lot easier physically, but it’s taking longer to recover.

Partly I used up a lot of reserves before the second surgery, so the well’s been a bit dry.

Partly I’ve had trouble sleeping. Some of that is just inherent from having a nose job — the swelling in your nasal passages makes it tough to breathe through your nose, so most people don’t sleep well for several days post-surgery. Worse in my case, since I have sleep apnea, although I’m able to use the mask for my CPAP machine now, which helps me breathe during the night.

One of the doctors did a follow-up exam on Sunday morning and said I was healing really well, with comparatively little swelling. But I’ve been pretty tired, so I’ve spent the last week napping a lot during the day.

Lower-face swelling is mostly going away, as well as the remaining bruising. Still got some very noticeable black eyes, although they’re healing faster than after the first surgery. My nose is still quite swollen, which will take at least another week or two to not be noticeable to the casual observer (and which won’t photograph well for about three months). But there’s still swelling in the lower half of my face, and under the jawline, and my new cheekbones will probably become more prominent when that goes away. Brows are a bit too high at the moment, because they’ll “settle” downward in the coming weeks.

It is really a pretty radical change, but still looks like me. I’m extremely happy with the results.

Stitches will come out before I leave on the 31st. I’m flying to Panama that day, and since I need to change planes there anyway, I’m staying there one day for a layover and flying to SFO on the 2nd. I’d like to do a little sightseeing if I can, but the layover is mainly so I can rest if I need to, and to also break up the flights, which is safely from a blood clot risk POV. Also each flight is about 7 hours, and doing it in one day on the way down left me pretty wiped out.

Facial Feminization Surgery – Day 18

Day 7 after round 2 of surgery: (lowering the hairline, brow reduction (which includes “opening” eyes by reducing the orbital bones). Day 18 since the first round of surgery.

Bruising near the corners of my mouth is finally going away, yay! and the right eye is getting closer to normal day by day. Around/under the jaw still has some puffiness, particularly toward the back of the jaw. But I think we’re starting to get a pretty good idea what the final jawline will look like.

Still really tired and low-energy this morning. What I wouldn’t do for a big American-style breakfast. My body is really craving protein.