Transition

Reflections On Gratitude

This time last year, I was a bit of an emotional wreck as I felt my masculine self slipping away. Obviously, it’s something that I desired, but at the same time there was a tangible and acute sense of loss and grieving that’s incredibly hard to describe. I could not be who I am today without his decades of self-sacrifice, and willingness to step aside for me. So I offer my gratitude once again:

Thank you for the gift of my life. I love you so very much. I will always cherish and protect your memory, and this soul you’ve given me. As I delight in this increasingly feminine body, I think warmly of you. You may not have ever fathered a child, but you were a loving brother and father-figure to your sister who is now taking her place in the world.

You have done so, so much for me. You will always be a part of me, and I will always honor your life and respect your journey. Now your journey’s end is in sight. As the days count down, I sense you fading into me, subsuming yourself, growing fainter. Sweet surrender… well, more like bittersweet surrender. But more sweet than bitter.

Enjoy your soon-to-come retirement. You did an exceedingly hard job, you did it well, you did it until you couldn’t any more. You deserve peace, rest and comfort.

I’d like to think he’s off enjoying his retirement, drink in his hand, toes in the sand, on some beach somewhere. Gone, but definitely not forgotten.

And Sometimes It’s Easy

Thanks to health problems during the first half the year, I’ve procrastinated getting all my name changes done. Today was one of the easier ones… Called the water company, they just asked me to verify last four digits of my social security number and my date of birth. Done! Wish they could all be this easy.

The Last Big Hurdle

Got another reminder from Facebook’s “On This Day” about a major milestone last year.

At the time I couldn’t say anything publicly, but I’d just gotten out of a meeting with my immediate managers to tell them that I was transitioning. (Part of the early notification was that it was going to take about 3 months to find a suitable contractor to fill in when I was out post-surgery.)

I was still extremely nervous about the reaction my co-workers would have when I came out in December — nervousness that proved to be utterly unwarranted — but knowing management was wholeheartedly behind my transition was a relief. I’m extremely lucky, too often that’s not the case

And, damn, I have gone through a lot during the past year.

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.