2017: The culmination (1)

 

The microwave take

I had set my goal to be fully transitioned by the time I turned sixty. Over the course of four years, I had done everything to set up 2017 to complete the task in time, having the surgeries I desired.  My birthday is in April, after the eleventh.

  1. January 19: Vocal cord surgery
  2. April 11: Sex reassignment/gender confirming surgery
  3. November 22: Facial feminization surgery and breast implants

When I fudge my stated goal—to have all of my surgeries in the calendar year in which I turned sixty—I can claim to have achieved it.

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That was one crazy ladder.

The crock pot take

It was 2013. A few months after I began seeing a therapist that April, I had decided that I would need to attempt transitioning, to see if it would help me feel better. Actually, I was on about my tenth decision to transition, and my mind would remain on the I-will/I-won’t swivel for more than two years.

That January, I had crashed. As I reflect on things, I now see that I was in the process of crashing for a few years, since my very early fifties. My life was like watching a slow motion video of a football running back who is hurling through the air, stretching for the end zone, only to have the enormous linebacker awaiting.

It was five years ago that I finally made contact with that linebacker. I was crushed, crunched, and crashed.

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Yeah, that’s me—new look, same great taste, and still a dip!

Back to the therapist’s office, that summer I had once again decided I would need to give transitioning a try. Nothing else was working. I was getting worse. Meltdowns were my too-frequent visitors. I cried almost as much as I breathed. If I could have torn off my flesh, I would have.

Having announced my decision, I said to my therapist, “I have a goal. I want to be fully transitioned, with whatever surgeries I will decide to have, by my sixtieth birthday, in April of 2017.”

At the time, I had plenty of time. As I tore off calendar pages, it felt like sand seeping out of the hour glass and through my fingers. Before 2013 was out, I had begun hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and in 2014 I retired. Outside of retiring, everything else was a seesaw, including the HRT which I stopped and started four times. Up and down I went, and with every hard landing came the next crash, more jarring than the others.

While suicidal thoughts regularly came calling, I never was close to trying. What came close, and I truly thought was going to land and stick, was losing my mind, going insane, becoming a blithering idiot of a person who could do no more than sit around, eating and watching television.

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Nice, but I like my new packaging better.

That is where I found myself in June of 2015. On April 29, I had gone public online, that I had struggled all my life with my gender identity. I was so hoping that fighting my battle in public, openly writing about it, would strengthen me in my resolve to remain male. I found that while writing was therapeutic, being public about this was no cure. In June, I decided to begin to live full time as a female, to see if it would help. I set July 2 as the date to go all Gina, all of the time.

I was finding relief. Thus, in mid-August, I went public about it. I changed my online presence from Greg to Gina. While I continued to have seesaw-situations, each one was situational A pattern emerged. Every time I took the next step, I subconsciously rebelled against it.

And, every time, not only did I fight through the rebellion, taking the step proved beneficial. I succeeded at living as a female. I legally changed my name on May 2, 2016. I scheduled visits with surgeons. I kept going forward.

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Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!

In 2017, I had every surgery I planned to have. If surgeries did not take so long to accomplish, I would have made my goal of being fully transitioned by my sixtieth birthday. After I hit sixty, the lone thing I had to do was my face surgery and breast implants. At least, I can say that I got them done during the year that I turned sixty. Yeah, I’ll go with that, reaching my fudged goal.

Since my final surgery, I have been on a high. It is a combination thing. I am both tremendously happy with the surgery and riding the wave of being done. If I had a pizza for every time I have verbally proclaimed a huge, smile-accompanied “Whew!”—well, I’d be continually sauced.

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I’ll take four of these and leave the “33% more!!!”

The other thing I find myself saying is, “I am a completely transitioned transsexual.” This boggles my mind. From my middle-school years, when I first learned about transsexuals and was so intrigued by them, to the many years that my regular lament was, “All I want in life is to be a girl,” of all of the daydreams I had where I could not ponder actually transitioning, so foreign to my life was that notion.

And now here I am. I am one of them—a male who is a fully transitioned trans woman.

If I had been selected in high school to be part of some crazy send-a-teenager-to-the-moon program of NASA, and had been the youngest person to lope the lunar landscape, it would not have been any wilder in my imagination than the ground on which I am now walking.

It turns out the man in the moon is transgender.

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Ain’t that cheesy?

I also got breast implants

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Throughout my transition and, specifically, as I was to undergo surgery on November 22, I had not been public about one thing. It seemed that it might sound like I was doing something frivolous, getting breast implants, when I had my facial feminization surgery (FFS), so I simply ignored it.

I should not have ignored it. It was not frivolous.

Now that I am nearing two weeks since my surgery, I have found that this is important to discuss. Even more, I have held nothing back regarding my transition, and that has been important to me. I am a wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of person, one who strives to be open, always honest, and use situations—including the most delicate—to educate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The decision to have my breasts enhanced was one that I debated with myself and which Julie and I discussed for a long time. I never wanted to undergo anything which was unnecessary. I didn’t like the idea of adding the implants to my body.  I struggled with what size they should be, not wanting them too large, but achieving a proper size. I researched the physical concerns regarding them, just as I had researched the side effects of going on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and the dangers of sex reassignment surgery.

I contemplated myself, my appearance, and how much breast growth I had achieved the past few years on HRT. When one begins HRT so late in life, its impact is way less than when a person in the teens or twenties begins.

For my age, I experienced nice breast growth. Even as I was pleased about that, a problem remained. Because I am a large person, my new breasts did not match up with my frame.

As I pondered implants and how I wanted to look when I considered myself fully transitioned, here is the thing to which I always returned, the equivalent of the ultimate reason I had my face feminized: Neither thing was as much for me as for everyone who sees me, especially out in public with those who don’t know me.

I undertook face surgery for the purpose of better being recognized as a female. The same goes for having vocal cord surgery, so that I might be able to speak with a higher pitch. I opted for breast implants for the same reason. With all three—face, voice, breasts—my goal was to better function in the world as the person whom I want the world to see.

I am also grateful for all of the procedures for my own sake. The person I am seeing in the mirror—the person whom I now embody—reflects the person my mind has been visualizing all these years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It has been a remarkable adjustment, having larger breasts. The first days after surgery, I was terribly tentative with them, with their almost feeling that they were not under, but on top of my chest, and that if I moved wrong or too quickly they might fall off.

As I grew used to them, another adjustment awaited: running. Two years ago, I added the wearing of a sports bra when jogging. That was an easy fix and, because of my breast size, there was nothing unusual-looking about this person, who certainly appeared to be a guy out running the neighborhoods of northeast Indy.

On Friday, December 1, when I saw Dr. Eppley nine days after surgery and he removed stitches and clips from my lips and head, he gave me the okay to resume normal activity, with the regular cautions to take care. I quickly replied, “Wonderful! I’m going jogging this afternoon!”

Besides some remaining tenderness, I was mindful of how much I might jiggle. I wore the surgical bra, with which I was fitted in the hospital, and it’s plenty tight, so I hoped for no more bobbing than previously.

As I dressed, pulling my t-shirt over my head, I anticipated my new look. No doubt about it, I will no longer be stealthy in the breast department. Now, whom will folks see as I jog by, as I offer my smiling hellos and friendly small talk to those I pass on the street? A guy? A gal? A . . . ?

Thankfully, I am not a self-conscious person. I am able to tell myself, “They will see whom they will see. For the sake of everyone, no matter where I am, or how I am dressed, I will smile, I will be friendly, I will only give them a reason to be pleased they encountered me.”

I took off running.

My first steps were tentative. I noticed everything, from the twinge in what has been a sensitive spot in my right breast, to a teeny bit more jiggle, to the different feel of this bra from my sports bras.

Was I pushing it? Was it too soon to begin? If needed, would I have the sense to stop and walk?

Within two minutes, before I reached the first block’s corner, I was settling in. Then, when the voice on my running app called out the first five minutes, I rejoiced. I was up to my regular pace and running well. A wide smile burst from my face. I spoke a joy-filled prayer of thanks to the Lord.

I had been running six to seven miles this autumn, but I had not run for thirteen days. While I had only missed one week before resuming walking, even the five miles, which I had once again achieved on Thursday, is not as tiring or taxing. Though I felt good, I kept this first run to 3.7 miles.

The next day, Saturday, I bumped it up to 4.2. I felt good, but after I was done the muscles in my more sensitive right breast were calling out to me. I took some ibuprofen. As much as I want to run in the October-like weather we are having, I prescribed Sunday off.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Since I had FFS and the breast enhancement, I am happy to report that I have only been pleased. Even during the very difficult first week after surgery, when everything hurt, all but my nose was numb, eating was a miserable event, my activity was very limited for the sake of my healing breasts, and I looked just awful, I never asked, “What did you do to yourself, you dope?”

Thankfully, I have only had positive thoughts. I have been able to visualize the finished product and be excited about it. I have been on a high, having finally completed my surgeries and, for all intents and purposes, my transition.

Whew!  Yay!

I find nothing I have done to be frivolous. Quite the opposite, each procedure, every step of transitioning, has been a part of the whole of healing.

Finally, nearly five years after crashing under crushing gender dysphoria, I am feeling like a healthy person. I have pep in my step, a smile on my face, and a song in my heart.

Praise the Lord Jesus for all of His goodness to me!