Give Me a Head With Hair, Long Beautiful Hair

Down in Beverly Hills, getting ready to do a third round of hair transplants. Unlike the first two, they’re not reshaping my hairline (it was changed to have a classically female upside down-U shape). Today it’s just filling two areas on the sides of my forehead that look really thin when I part my hair.

They’re going to use a different procedure this time. Instead of cutting out a strip of scalp as the donor for he transplanted follicles, this time they’ll be using the robotic method, where the robot exacts follicles individually.

The good news is that there won’t be an incision at the back of my head this time, and things should heal much faster.

The bad news is that they’ll need to shave at least two stripes 2cm wide in the back of my head, where the robot will be taking out follicles. Thankfully, the bare stripes aren’t visible afterwards because they’re covered by your other hair. However given how long it’s taken to grow out my hair, I’m still ready to cry whenever I think about it.

But as far as my transition, sacrifices must be made, and this is one of them.

Ask Me Anything — But Maybe Not Right Now

Damn, this article — “Why being trans in a cis world can be exhausting” — is resonating hard.

I’ve intentionally been open about being trans, and about my transition, and I mostly respond with an “ask me anything” attitude. As Rachel, who is far, far more cool-as-fuck than I, aptly puts it:

“It’s mostly cool and okay when I answer questions about my life. I’m glad that I can be the first trans person that people meet (mostly). Because I’m cool as fuck and I’m willing to be patient and kind (mostly).”

But yeah… being constantly on call to do Trans 101 — usually not at times and places not of my own choosing — can be wearing.

As the fabulous Mx. Justin Vivian Bond put it: “it still feels like I can really only be myself when no one’s looking.” Mostly.

One Small Step, One Big Step

Got my official “referral for sexual reassignment surgery” letter from my physican today. It was a much more emotional moment than I would thought be.
Let me explain… This letter is simply to try to get insurance to cover the surgery.*
The letter that actually matters is the “gatekeeping” letter** I’ll be getting from my therapist shortly, saying that SRS is appropriate treatment for my gender dysphoria, that I’m not mentally ill or mentally impaired, and that I’m able to give informed consent. I can’t get surgery without it.
But still, even if it’s just “insurance paperwork,” this is a definite milestone. Shit’s getting real, real fast.
*Technically, California law requires insurers to cover SRS. But I’ll be having mine done in Thailand, which means paying upfront and then trying to get reimbursed your insurance company. Who usually do their best to avoid paying if you go overseas (which is ironic because the surgeons there are often better, and usually are less expensive).
I’m not that optimistic, but I’ve heard that the odds improve slightly if you get an referral from an in-network doctor, and seek pre-authorization. We’ll see…
**Surgeons typically require two therapists/psychologists to sign off your SRS, however, my surgeon has his own psychologist do the second evaluation, so I only need to get one letter myself.
I understand why surgeon’s want that sort of CYA, given that it’s an irreversible surgery. And certainly you’d be foolish to do without having done The Work about why you want it. (Which is true of any other plastic surgery). But yeah, it definitely poses issues around patients’ having autonomy over their bodies.

Size Is Only a Label

The irony in discovering that the Macy’s at Westfield has a huge plus size department is that the reason I came here was to confirm that I’ve lost enough weight — almost 30 pounds* — that I can fit into straight (i.e. “misses”) sizes.

It turns out I do, depending on the brand. Having lots of feelings around body image at the moment. Will post more about them later when I get a chance to process them.

*While I’m a firm believer that people can be healthy at any size, my eating habits previously weren’t healthy and were starting to cause serious problems for my diabetes. I also need to meet a weight limit for the upcoming genital assignment surgery in July.

So I needed to make some serious changes in diet and lifestyle. Fortunately, for me, switching to a minimal carb diet (not keto, but close) has been quite effective over the past 9 months.

The most important changes have been in my blood tests, regardless of my weight. If you feel the need to congratulate me, congratulate for that. Because I’m not a better person these days, just a healthier one (who also happens to be thinner).

Boobs! Post-surgery, Day 6

First follow-up appointment, not to mention my first shower post-surgery (so good!).

As expected, my boobs don’t look quite right yet — too high, too far apart, not the right shape yet because of that. But over the coming weeks, the muscles will slowly relax and the implants will drop into their proper position.

Wearing the binder (full-time for the next week, and 12-hours a day for several weeks more) will help move the implants to where they belong. In the meantime, it’s still uncomfortable AF. <sigh> Massage exercises will help too — although it’s a bit of a misnomer. In reality it’s pushing the breasts, hard, down and then inward, to encourage them to move into the proper spot. Not fun….

Turns out the prohibition on underwire bras is less about having a compression bra, and more that the pressure from the underwire can close up the bottom of the “pocket” the surgeon creates for the implant. So all the current bras need to be moved into storage for the next six months, and in a month or so I can look for nicer no-wire bras.

But even with the girls not looking quite right yet, from day one it’s felt right finally having them.

Boobs! Post-surgery, Day 4

The pain from the breast augmentation surgery itself is gone, but now things are just tight, sore and uncomfortable.

Most of that is due to wearing a sports bra plus binder, so things are squished down. Did I mention squished? (They’re reducing swelling and keeping the implants in place until the (good) scar tissue forms around them.) Doesn’t help that I did also did some underarm liposuction, which left some bad bruising on one side — right where the bra strap and binder are, so they’re pinching that area. Ouch.

At least in another week-and-a-half I can take them off part of the day. Not sure how long I’ll need to wear the binder, although it sounds like it’ll be at least several more weeks, and I’ll be wearing sports bras (or at least no underwire bras) for six months.

But despite everything, I can’t stop smiling.

Boobs! Post-surgery, Day 1

Definite progress overnight. I’m nowhere near as sore as a I was yesterday — albeit I’m still on the prescription painkillers.

Feel good enough to walk about 10 minutes to the local shopping center to get lunch. It’ll be nice to get out of the house for a bit, and a bit of light movement will be good for me.

Also figured out a betterway to hold the ice packs where they’re most needed, so hopefully that’ll help reduce some of the swelling.