2018: goodbye, Gina; hello, Greg

As 2018 opened, I was settling into my new, finally completed self. In 2017, I had every transition surgery so that my body would be aligned with my brain, and that they would confirm my legal name, Gina Joy.

As 2018 closes, I am printing the same forms I filled out three years ago, for the purpose of getting my name changed back to Gregory John.

I contemplate how this might proceed in court. When I did it the first time, I had lots of info from other trans folks on how the process goes. Going to court on May 2 2015 I was properly equipped, including having a letter from my doctor verifying my transition.

I won’t have a doctor’s letter this time—at least, I don’t think I will. If the judge hesitates at approving my petition, it seems to me enough that I can say, “Look at me, your honor. Do you see a man or a woman? This is how I live. Do you need a doctor to tell you what your eyes confirm?”

While I am anxious to get my credit cards back to reading as Greg, there is one positive about having a drivers license for Gina, a female: I am one very careful driver, not wanting to get pulled over by the police. “Well, you see, officer, here’s the deal . . .”

Hopefully, by springtime I’ll have my court-approved name change. Then, I can do what I did three years ago—or rather undo all of it—and once again be Greg everywhere my name appears.

I’m still a numbskull

When I had facial feminization surgery in November 2017, I was told that the worst numbness would ease in a few weeks, and the rest would resolve in six to twelve months.

The numbness was bad. It was everywhere, from the top of my head, down my forehead to my eyebrows, along the sides of my face, around my lips, and across my neck.

Though I have seventy percent of my facial hair removed via electrolysis, I still need to shave every few days. My numb face made shaving a miserably uncomfortable chore. In three weeks, enough sensation returned to make shaving easier, but I am not back to full feeling. My neck still is perhaps ten percent numb, while the sides of my face are probably twenty percent numb.

Thankfully, numbness is not the equivalent of pain. Feeling across the top of my skull has barely returned. It’s perhaps fifty percent better than right after surgery. My forehead is barely better than that. It feels tight, which I especially feel when I raise my eyebrows.

Tightness is the bugaboo with my lips. They are the only area that truly annoys me. Most of the time, I can feel the outline of my lips, which were stitched all the way around. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just there, an almost constant sensation of tight, taut tension.

Because I have passed the one year mark since surgery, I fear that I’m done healing, that I will be living with this numbness and tightness for the rest of my days. Rats. Thankfully, it’s not painful. Thankfully, it’s mostly an annoyance—as are my too-large breasts, which gotta go.

Friends gained . . .

We have lived in Merrymoss, the house we bought in 2015, for 3½ years. In 2018, I met more neighbors than any previous year. And it was way easier to do so.

I hesitated to meet neighbors as Gina. I encounter folks when jogging, walking by their house, or when I’m working in my front yard garden. Dressed for running and yard work, I looked like a guy. I never came up with a smooth way to introduce myself as Gina.

Oh, I did it. I said something like, “Hi, I’m Gina. I know, I don’t look like a Gina. Here’s the thing: I’m transgender . . .” The conversation always felt clunky. Uncomfortable. Way too much for a casual introduction.

But, this year? I gladly introduced myself! And it seemed that as yet unmet neighbors came out of the woodwork and into my path. I love being able to say, “Hi, my name’s Greg. I’m the guy with the front yard garden.”

One man, whom I already knew, truly became a friend in 2018. Mac lives across the street. He’s married to Alice. They are a bit older than me. Mac’s lived in this house for decades, but he and Alice married only two months before we moved into Merrymoss.

I can’t say that Mac is more comfortable with me as Greg—he and I always waved and had done plenty of brief chatting—but this year we found ourselves having longer conversations. On Labor Day, I knew I was truly in with him when he was with another man, who was getting into his car to leave. I was in the garden. Mac hollered for me. Arriving in Mac’s driveway, he said, “I want you to meet my brother.” We gabbed for ten minutes. Walking home, I beamed.

The most profound meeting of 2018 came late in the year. A man contacted me, who is battling gender dysphoria. He’s a young guy, married, children, and a Christian in my former church body, the LCMS. He is a good example of someone who, if he were to transition to female, would freak out a lot of people.

While he’s not a pastor, much of our lives match up. We have found in each other a natural kinship. We’ve talked several times, always long, emotion-filled conversations. He is hurting badly, aching to be female, striving to live as a male, having a difficult time seeing himself long term as a guy. Right where I was in 2013, when I was trying to figure out how I was going to survive.

I ache for him. I commiserate with him. More than anything, I make sure to end every phone call with the assurance that the Lord Jesus loves him with all His heart. Always.

. . . and lost

In 2015, when I announced online that I suffered gender dysphoria, even though I was striving to remain male some friends and fellow Christians unfriended me on Facebook, without saying a word. One of them was one of my oldest, closest friends. Man, that hurt.

That August, when I revealed that I was living as a female to see if it helped me, I lost even more. Only two people let me know they were unfriending me, because I was an offense to them.

In 2018, resuming living as a male, what should I have looked for in the friend/unfriend venue?

I am pleased to report that a nice number of folks have friended me, including some which I would not have expected when I was online as Gina.

I am sad to report that several transgender folks have unfriended me. And not one of them told me why. I’ve had to discover it when wondering why I had not seen them for awhile.

They just left.

Why?

Did I offend them by detransitioning?

A common theme among trans folks, as it long has been with gays and lesbians, is to be accepted. “Acceptance! Tolerance!” is the cry across the globe. At many a meeting of the local trans group, one hears a newcomer declare, “You people understand me. I love you because you are totally accepting.”

Accepting . . . except when they are not.

I learned long ago there is no group of people in which the persons of that group—be it a religion, a political persuasion, a nationality, you name it—are one hundred percent like-minded.

When I transitioned, I could not be the online friend of some because I was transgender. Having detransitioned, I can’t be the online friend with some because I am no longer transgender.

From trans persons, who long to be accepted—who harshly criticize those who do not accept them—I am especially hurt for their rejecting me. I am sad they felt they no longer could be connected to me.

I bet, if the roles were reversed, they would long to continue to be accepted.

Publish it!

I’ve been writing my life story for five years. In 2018, completing it has been my biggest project. I finished the first draft in September. Since then, it’s been edit, edit, edit.

As the year ends, Julie is busy reading it, providing me important improvements. Most don’t know that Julie holds her bachelor’s degree in journalism, wrote for newspapers for a number of years, and is an excellent writer. Her expert eye on my text is giving it real polish.

I asked my son, Alex, to create a cover. He took my ideas and wowed me. I presented it on Facebook, seeking feedback. Many folks provided excellent insights. Julie, Alex, and I discussed them and implemented a few of them. We’ve arrived at the final cover.

Here the cover. Below it is the original version. Look for the book to be published soon!

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August 19, one last time

It was on this date, in 2015, when I went public that I was six weeks into the Real Life Test of living as a female to see whether it calmed the fire in my brain and if I could succeed in the world as a woman.

On both the first and second anniversaries, I posted photos to show the progress I was making, the evolution of myself.  With the biggest change of all occuring in me this year, it seems a final post is in order.

Before I get to that, I have a fun quiz for you.

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Trivia Time:

What do Clark Kent and Superman, and Gina and Greg have in common?  Two clues are tucked between the photos.  The answer is revealed at the end of the post.

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November, 2011: before I crashed with gender dysphoria:

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CLUE #1: Clark/Superman and Greg/Gina each have their parting ways.

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August 19, 2015: the transition begins:

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August 19, 2016: do you see a difference from 2015?

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August 19, 2017: the final one before my face surgery in November.

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CLUE #2: when Superman and Greg make a spectacle of themselves, they cease making a spectacle upon themselves.

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November 22, 2017: facial feminization surgery day.

Christmas, 2017: healing from surgery, this is the new me.  Gina is ready for 2018 . . . she thinks.

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In January of 2018, I had cataract surgery.  It went so well, I no longer needed glasses, making the Christmas photo all the more appropriate, when I had Julie take some pics of me without my glasses.

At the time of the eye procedure, I was in the early days of my identity shift, of which you now know the story.

August 15, 2018: three months into living full time as Greg.

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Trivia Time Answer:

Since all online photos of Clark Kent and Superman are copyrighted, I can’t copy them to post here.  You can easily find them, or you likely recall the parting ways and spectacle of the two clues.

Clark Kent and Superman part their hair on opposite sides.  So do Greg and Gina.  Did you ever catch that?

Clark Kent wears glasses, while Superman . . . well, he wouldn’t be super with glasses!  Gina wore glasses and, now feeling like a super man—and with the aid of cataract surgery—Greg does not.  Now, to acquire that Xray vision thing . . .

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A final side-by-side look nicely closes this monumental chapter of my life:

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?

My new face: all of me!

Dr. Barry Eppley had finished removing the stitches and staples from my lips and scalp. We were chatting about how I now looked, and whether I might be content with where I am or possibly want him to do more.

We talked about each aspect of my face. As we were dissecting my features, he asked if I knew the word, “gestalt.” Before explaining that, consider this.

Picture your favorite hamburger, with all the fixin’s you like. Mmm, all the flavors together taste so good.

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What if you were to eat that same burger, one part at a time. First, the patty. Then, the bun. Now, the ketchup, then the mustard. Chomp on the pickles, and finish up with the onions.

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How do you like that hamburger, now? It’s the same burger, and yet it is not.

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Here is what “gestalt” means: “A configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.”

To be enjoyed, a hamburger must be a unified whole. How much more the human face, and the entire human body?

As I used three posts to roll out my face surgery, showing you my brow, then my lips, and finally my neck—especially placing together before and after shots—was okay, but not nearly as satisfying as showing my entire face. Even more, in my transitioning, my face could not alone be addressed, but also my chest and bottom, along with my hormones—even my legal name. I needed to be a unified whole.

Gestalt, baby!  Here we go!  I’ve arrived, the completed Gina Joy Eilers!

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We got home from church on December 17 and I put Julie to work with the camera.

Before I had my face surgery, I told folks that I will still look like me, and I will look differently. I do believe that idea has worked perfectly.

So, here I am. And, not only my face, because, as I said, my entire person was part of this transition.

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Because I get asked all the time, yes, I wear heels.  These are three inches.  I love wearing them!

A favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  The Lord strengthens me spiritually, and He gives me earthly gifts to do the same. My greatest earthly gift is Julie.  With Julie, I have been able to do all that I have needed to get healthy!

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Where I love to be—next to Julie.

 

Referring to the two photos, below, I still love the Detroit Tigers and hot dogs with mustard and onions, and shows like The Simpsons.  I am dazzled that I have done everything a person can do in transitioning, and in every important way—my Christian faith, everyone and everything I love and value, my personality and sense of humor, and how I live my daily life—did not change a bit.

And even got better, deeper, and enriched, including my faith in Jesus Christ growing much stronger.

Finally, after a nearly lifelong struggle, and closing in on four years since I became suicidal because I was in such mental and emotional anguish, I am healthy.  Indeed, I find myself the most healthy in mind, body, and soul as I have ever been.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all of your goodness to me, both now and forever!  Thank you, Julie, for living your marriage vow to me as thoroughly as a person can!

 

 

My new face: neck

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Left: now you see my jowls.  Right: now you don’t!

I continue the move down my face, from my brow to my lips, now arriving at my neck.

That I had this work on my neck is not specific to facial feminization. I had a standard face lift, something which any person—I’m trying to refrain from saying, “Something for any older woman or man, who has been afflicted with the nasty affects of aging!”—might desire so as to enjoy a nicer, more youthful look.

By the time I hit my late fifties, my neck had sagged quite badly and I had formed some nasty jowls. I especially noticed my neck when I shaved, the flappy, floppy skin right below my chin flipping and flupping as I ran my razor over it. The other giveaway was a side view of my face, which had me greeting myself, “Hello, turkey!”

Thus, there was no question that a face lift would be part of the work I would have Dr. Barry Eppley perform on me. That, however, created a situation: I had thought I would have him sculpt my jaw as part of the feminizing of my face. but I couldn’t have both during the same surgery.

Why my jaw? As with brows/foreheads, male jaws jut more than females’. As Dr. Eppley smoothed out my brow line, I wanted him to do the same with my jaw. He informed me that he could not work on the jaw and do the face lift in the same operation; it simply was too much for one area, in one operation.

I definitely wanted the face lift, so the jaw was out. Now that I am post-op, I am finding my jaw to be in the same neighborhood as my nose, that is, not terribly male-looking.  And, with my jowls gone, my jaw—which had become more square because of the jowls—was nicely round (see the photo at the top).  When Dr. Eppley removed my stitches and staples, I told him that, so far, I am pleased with how I look and don’t anticipate having him shape my jaw.

If you have pondered having a face lift, consider me to be encouraging you. I am very pleased with the result. Yes, the early days of recovery are significant, but, thankfully, they go by fast.

My neck grew very black and blue, and sensitive. I have a lot of stitches in front of both ears and up each lobe to the antitragus—you know, the hard thingy that sticks up near the ear opening.  See the chart.

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The sides of my face became totally numb and, even at three weeks post-op, are only now regaining feeling.

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This picture was taken the day after surgery.  After scabs formed, the stitch lines became more obvious.

My jaws were stiff for about two weeks. This, along with my very sore lips, impeded eating the first few days. If my lips had not hurt, my jaws, while stiff, would not have kept me from eating just about anything but the toughest foods. Now, at three weeks, my jaws are fine.

For you guys, shaving was very unpleasant until I got to the three week mark post-op. I am not done with electrolysis, and very few whiskers have been removed from my neck. It was a touchy chore to run my razor on my neck, and in front of my ears was very challenging because I was totally numb.

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This was five days post-op.  The camera did not capture how bad this was.  Thankfully, as with all of it, it cleared up quickly.

But, again, and with every aspect of these negatives of recovery, they don’t last and, truly, the time passes quickly enough. My philosophy is not to let a few weeks of discomfort overrule many years of enjoying the results.

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No more sagging neck!

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This is the best closeup I have to show both my neck and jowls.  I am delighted to see no more jowls!

That’s it—three posts to cover my face: brow, lips, and neck.  Now, to reveal the entire image.  In preparation for that, learn this word: gestalt.  As you do, ponder your favorite hamburger, and what it would be like to eat it one ingredient at a time.

On Friday, December 15, I get my hair done.  So I will see you again on Monday, the 18th, and you will see the entire from-the-neck-up new me.

My new face: lips

Every bit as clear as the contrast between the brows of males and females is the difference in our lips. In most cases, especially with Caucasians, females are lavished with larger lips and males sport smaller ones. (If this is not true for you, always remember that, as with a car’s miles-per-gallon, your genetics may vary.)

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That’s me, before surgery and right after the stitches were removed.

As Dr. Eppley put it when assessing my face, “Your lips are pencil thin.” He was right, and so my lips were in play as an important aspect of my facial feminization.

While there are several ways to enhance one’s lips, Dr. Eppley quickly dismissed fillers and injections for me as they would leave me not with top-to-bottom larger lips, but with them puffed up and perhaps unnatural looking.

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Leading into the method he had in mind, Dr. Eppley said, “Vermilion is stretchy.” While this did not sound particularly surprising, who thinks about how stretchy are the lips? Even more, at what was he getting? He was interested in removing a small amount of skin from around the vermilion border, then reattaching my lips, making good use of their stretchiness and achieving the desired goal: I would have larger, feminine-looking lips.

Two things immediately presented themselves to me. First, how would we decide how far to go? Second—and for a short time of greater concern—how much would this hurt? I could easily imagine that the early days of recovery would be no-fun nasty.

I was correct.

Before I get to that, how does one decide how much increase would work well? I drew on my face. I began with a red lip pencil. After a couple of attempts, I had drawn on a respectable outline. I then filled in with lipstick.

My lips looked pretty good. I measured them. I had added about 1/8″ all around. I showed Julie. We were in agreement that this is what I would tell Dr. Eppley, and see what his idea would be.

He agreed, though he translated it to three millimeters, which is a hair under my measurement.

You can bet your tube of Chapstick that I asked how painful this would be, and whether it would affect my eating as I recovered. I don’t fault Dr. Eppley for giving me a pretty brief and simple answer, as I am now a veteran of four significant surgeries and I have found all of my surgeons not to have gone into depth as to the troubles of recovery.

Besides, how would they do that? Patient: “Doctor, how bad will I hurt?” Doctor: “Let me put it this way: I hope I never have done to me what I’m going to do to you.” Yikes.

I always go into surgery the way that I try exotic foods for the first time. With food, I figure that folks of other cultures wouldn’t eat it if it tasted terrible. (The lone exception so far? Vegemite. You Australians must have some wacky taste buds.) So I reckon with surgery; they wouldn’t do the surgery—especially elective surgery, as my three 2017 ones have been—if it had in store a near-impossible-to-endure recovery period.

Where my brow made the early days of recovery problematic because of the new hole in my head (see yesterday’s post), the first week after surgery on my lips made eating and drinking nightmarish chores.

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This photo is not staged. For five days, I really did sip my morning coffee through a straw, allowing each cup to cool significantly before having at it.

My lips were numb. The stitch line hurt. On Black Friday, two days after surgery, with Julie back at work, in the mid-morning I was hungry and could not think of anything to eat that I would be able to eat. I couldn’t feel a fork on my lips, and moving them was painful.

An idea struck. I headed to the kitchen. I took out the milk, eggs, and sugar. I have now made homemade eggnog enough to recall the portions of each ingredient. I didn’t have heavy cream, so this would not be as tasty as usual, but it would do the job that I needed. It would be easy to drink through a straw, taste yummy, and provide me with the calories I needed.

It worked. I am now preparing a marketing plan for the Post-op Eggnog Diet. (Don’t be so quick to dismiss my genius!)

The day after surgery, Dr. Eppley revealed a bit of news which I sure did not want to hear. He had not used dissolving stitches in my lips. The stitches would have to come out. One day, during one of the two times a day I applied antibiotic cream to them, I counted the stitches. Their were more than forty. Ugh.

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Two days post-op.  Despite keeping the stitches moist with antibiotic cream, for a few days they were very crusty and uncomfortable.

 

I had somehow made it to age sixty without ever having experienced stitch removal. As I asked folks, everyone said, “It feels like a tug, but it doesn’t really hurt.” Then, some added, “But I don’t know about around your lips.”

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I’m never in so much pain that I cannot take a selfie.

They sure didn’t know about around the lips. Many of them qualified as the tug, very similar to the zap of the more-than-one-hundred-hours of electrolysis I’ve had done on my facial hair. The rest? They hurt. A lot. A few left me out of breath and Dr. Eppley feeling badly for causing me so much pain.

I survived.

Before completing the first week post-op, I could again feel a fork on my lips and drink from a cup. As I write this nearing the three week mark post-op, the stitch line feels tight. While I have full movement, when I laugh or smile widely the tightness is very evident. Dr. Eppley said it helps the healing to stretch my lips, so have at the laughing and smiling.

There is a red line where my lips were reattached. It makes my lips look a bit odd for now. It will take awhile to fade away.

GE Lip Advancements result oblique view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis

Dr. Eppley has blogged about my lip procedure.  Sorry, to you who like surgery pictures; unlike with my brow there are no during-surgery photos this time.

http://exploreplasticsurgery.com/case-study-transgender-vermilion-advancements-lips/

Thankfully, I can envision the finished product. Especially when I smile, I find my lips to be what I had wanted. However, only looking at my lips does not provide context. For that—to see how my brow and lips look together—I stick my neck out asking for one more day of your patience. Before I reveal my entire face, I have a face lift to display and discuss.

My new face: brow

GE Brow Bone Reduction result side view Dr Barry Eppley Inddianapolis

Until 2013, I was not aware of the significant differences in the structures of male and female faces. Thus, since my surgery, I should not be surprised how many times I have heard, “I never noticed this!”

Because of the difference, it is not as simple as a genetic male, who is transitioning to female, to grow hair, and to trim eyebrows and apply makeup, so as to completely achieve a female appearance. This is why, on November 22, I underwent facial feminization surgery, which is commonly known as FFS.

In this post, I unfurrow my brow. In the coming days I will pucker my lips, then stick out my neck, and then finally reveal my entire face.

Thanks to Dr. Eppley for taking all of the appropriate photographs. In the process, I learned that he is an active blogger. If you would like to read the expert’s rendition of his surgery on my brow, click the following link. Be prepared for several pictures of my actual surgery, with my forehead exposed. To me, they are pretty gruesome photos, so be forewarned if that kind of thing creeps you out.

http://exploreplasticsurgery.com/case-study-microplate-fixation-flap-setback-brow-bone-reduction/

I present my lay-person’s version of what Dr. Eppley professionally wrote. As he refers to it, my male brow provided a Neanderthal Man look. Though male brows of today are not quite so jutting as the Neanderthals, that is a handy reference as everyone immediately has an image to conjure.

Neanderthal-Face-Paint
Ahhhh, now I get why my aunt always referred to her cousin Harry as a Neanderthal!

I had viewed loads of photos in anticipation of my surgery. I am pleased to report that these photos show exactly what I was hoping would be achieved.

Female brows are smooth, and don’t jut out.  See the difference in the photo at the opening of this post, the side view providing the most vivid angle to see the difference.

ge ffs front result1.jpg

Female eyebrows are set higher on the face. If you had not known these two things—the jut versus smooth, and the lower-set versus higher-set—pay attention. Look—but don’t stare!—at men and women. Now that you know the difference, you will see the difference. This quickly explains why we have such things as masculine and feminine appearances.  We’re simply built differently.

GE Brow Bone Reduction result oblique view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis

These pictures fascinate me.  I see the same person, yet I see a dramatic difference.  With age, my brows were sagging.  Now lifted, my eyes look more alive.  And a bit more youthful?  Perhaps.

Dr. Eppley used a reciprocating saw to reduce my brow bone. He then performed a brow lift. Combine this with a scalp advancement—he was hoping to move my scalp forward about a centimeter, close to 4/10″—the other gain for me was both a less-prominent forehead and the removal of the wrinkles of aging.

electric-reciprocating-saw-s2-orthopedic-surgery-1407304715-4
A surgical reciprocating saw.

Shaving the bone created a hole in my head.  (As if I need another hole in my head.) When he visited Julie and me the day after surgery, he warned me not to blow my nose for the next couple of weeks as the surgery healed, and if I were to sneeze to place the palm of one hand firmly over my forehead. If I were not to do that, I would feel a rush of air, and it would be very uncomfortable.

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Worry not, I sneezed. And I blew my nose a few times, forgetting to palm my forehead. I learned the hard way: I was officially an airhead.

What is the feeling of air rushing into one’s forehead? It didn’t so much hurt as it was just plain weird. The air seemed to rattle about for several seconds, like a pinball bouncing around the machine.

Two weeks after surgery, I was finally able to trust blowing my nose, palming my forehead, so that I didn’t experience the big rush. It got to where I felt about a dime-sized spot, between and just above my eyebrows, giving just a bit of a harmless puff with each blow.

As I am nearing the three week mark post-op, I am still palming my head, but I am no longer feeling even the dime-sized spot. Soon, I will have confidence to go all out, trusting that what Dr. Eppley had pulled back in order to shave my bone has now re-adhered itself.

My brow now completed, next time I will give you some lip.