The huge day…. surgery consult….

Last week, during my vacation away from work and accomplishing full transition, I made the trek to the scenic little town of New Hope, Pennsylvania. I drove down the evening beforehand, which proved to be so very wise, and spent the evening in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, about 20 miles southeast of New Hope. It was an enjoyable evening actually, I discovered the Market Fair Mall in Princeton and had dinner for the first time at P.F. Changs… awesome good, especially the delicately flavored shrimp dumplings.

I say it was a prescient decision to drive down the day before – my appointment was at 11am the following morning – because that night we got snow and freezing rain, and it would have been all but impossible to have made the trip from the island in the morning. So, I awoke early, got all my things packed, packed the car and defrosted it, and made ready to head towards New Hope in the on-again/off-again freezing rain. The drive, in a nutshell, was horrendous, but Navigon saved the day once again.

Just across the Delaware lies the town of New Hope. I crossed over Bridge Street into the town, intent on the matter at hand; finding a Dunkin Donuts for some much needed coffee and perhaps a small bite. I was rewarded immediately upon entering the town, finding one just sitting right there, awaiting my arrival. Yay… caffeine…. one of my essential food groups. That and a reduced-fat blueberry muffin, and I was all set to go. I got back in the car and continued to head for the Logan Square Shopping Center and Village Row addresses. My destination was 18 Village Row.

I arrived in the Logan Square lot at about 10:28am, pulled in and ate my muffin with my coffee. There’s nothing like DD coffee on a cold, wet, dreary day. But although the day was dreary outside, it would prove to be nothing but for me, yet another milestone on the road that has become my life, and the beginning of one more countdown. I got out and walked over to the nestle of buildings, looking for the correct suite, and finally found it: Papillon Center, the offices of Christine McGinn, MD, plastic surgeon specializing in gender corrective surgeries. I say “corrective” because that is what I truly believe; at least for myself.

I entered the office to find a muted, calm waiting area with reception desk behind a sliding pane of translucent glass. The partition slid open and I was greeted by Sara, “you must be Keri, I have some papers for you to fill out.” More papers.. I had already submitted five sheets worth of Intake prior to even getting my consult appointment, but seriously, I am not complaining… I would’ve filled out 20 pages more to get this meeting, this appointment with destiny. Then Sara had me stand in front of the window and she took the first of what would be many, digital images of me that morning. I then took a seat and anxiously awaited being taken back to an exam room. After about a twenty minute wait, my time had arrived.

I was led to the exam room just down the short hall from the waiting area. It too was nicely appointed in a muted brown color, very calming and reassuring. One thing that struck me immediately upon sitting on the exam chair; the one stirrup that was raised. Portents of things to come at a future date. And here my nervousness built ever so slightly more, as I waited for Dr. McGinn to see me… while I waited, I checked myself in the mirror to make sure all looked ok, played with my recently styled hair and just tried to pass the time uneventfully. And after a brief wait, she entered the room. She was carrying a laptop, which she uses to enter all of the information presented during the consult.

We made the introductions, and immediately I was impressed with her, just something about her personally that connected, resonated, with me. She had an intern/resident/student in tow, and I replied of course she could stay. This person could eventually go on to treat many of our community one day. And the consult began. Questions…. lots and lots of questions, some so very personal, more than one that I hesitated before answering. First the typical medical history, feeding off of my Intake questionnaire. Then we got to the personal stuff… “how many sex partners have you had, male, female and trans; how would you describe your sex drive prior to HRT and now; how many times a week did you have any sort of sex, masturbation or otherwise, and before and after HRT; when was the last time you had sex; what was the firs experience/age you recall of knowing you were trans; how would you describe your sexuality, now and before HRT..” I’m certain there were others, but I cannot recall them right now. Then Dr. McGinn began to discuss the procedures.

First the vaginoplasty, explaining that all of her patients are sensate and orgasmic. I asked the typical, if I needed to do “things” regularly to maintain adequate skin, and she explained to me how that was such a myth, that the larger concern was maintaining a psychological connection to what orgasm is… and encouraged me to do it as much as possible so that I don’t mentally forget. We talked a bit about one versus two-step or stage, and she maintained that she does not advertise herself as either, but she has performed labiaplasties on only two of her patients, but on many more that were not hers originally. She spoke of how she is one of the very few who use what’s left of the urethral tube to fashion part of the vaginal lining, as it is very mucosal, which is a good thing to have, and that it also adds coloration, being more pinkish and thusly more realistic. She then explained this is why she insists that her patients remain immobile for the first three days following surgery, as the urethral part is highly vascular and she wants things to settle and “gel.” We spoke of expectations, she saying that I should not expect perfection, like the “Playboy edition” vagina; I said that I simply wished for something that of course looked good and performed well, but did not have any grandiose designs. I will need to arrive down by Lower Bucks County Hospital on the Sunday before my procedure, staying there for the evening. She asked if I had anyone taking me, and I explained that I had already asked a friend to drive me both ways, which she liked. She explained that I will spend the better part of the first week in the hospital, then move to a hotel located near her offices for another week, making my total stay in PA two weeks. Her recommendation is a total of six weeks off for surgery and recovery, stressing just how so very important dilatation will be post-surgery. We also spoke a bit about post-surgery depression, and all of the things leading up to it, such as being off hormones for two weeks, then being compounded by anesthesia.

She then spoke about my breast augmentation. And this was done right around the time that she did her physical exam; talk about embarrassing. I had to basically just stand there and drop drawer – I had a one-piece briefer on – and with the student it made it all the more uncomfortable. She checked out the old junk, and then proceeded to take oh, about 10 digital images of “it.” Then some pics of my face and profile. Then it was time to examine topside. Which was all the more embarrassing, as I use “artificial enhancements” for the time being. Pulling everything down and placing my “chest” on the chair, she administered my very first breast exam, taking time to show me how to do it. Then she picks up one of my “breasts,” and asks, “do you like this size? We’ll go a little larger.” She measured my chest, saying that I was a little broad and big, and that she would need to go with a larger size, something like 550cc and a medium shape. Prior to this, she was explaining breast implantation on natal males, and this was where she really impressed me. First off, she said earlier that she would recommend four surgeons: herself, Marci Bowers, Toby Meltzer, or Brassard. But… she would not recommend Bowers for chest implants, saying that she is Gyn by training and not a plastic surgeon. Dr. McGinn then began to explain what she would recommend for me; insertion through a slit under the breast line so that she could see the muscle wall, because the implant should be inserted underneath the muscle – this provides for a better looking breast and one that feels more realistic, soft, and not rigid. She spoke about sizes and the differences between male and female rib cages ans such, and also how the male nipples typically are smaller and will remain so and also tend to point more outward. How sub-muscular insertion was the best option. I was very impressed with her technical acumen and recommendations for me for my BA procedure. She also advised to go with silicone, which I am planning to do. And again, another 10 or more digital images of my chest from all varying angles. Shortly after this, the consult was finished.

I returned to Sara and we talked about dates, and I immediately picked one and put down my deposit, and received more papers to read. And now I am also on calcium, vitamin D, and baby aspirin daily, in addition to everything else. And I need to engage with a new GP to fulfill pre-surgical testing requirements like chest x-rays, an EKG and a physical. So the fun begins… and we reset the countdown clock again…. and…. I just so cannot understand what it will be like, getting out of bed for the very first time, and everything is what and where it’s supposed to be…. it’s a dream I’ve had. I simply cannot wait for that day. I really can’t….

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. AnnaRosa
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 20:40:48

    Wow!

    Reply

  2. Diana_W
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 22:37:30

    Thanks for sharing such intimate details. It’s really informative.

    Though this part… “the larger concern was maintaining a psychological connection to what orgasm is… and encouraged to me do it as much as possible so that I don’t mentally forget.”

    *sigh*

    Reply

  3. Grace
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 16:55:20

    Congratulations on the consultation!!! Just a suggestion as food for thought. If you decide to go with Dr. McGinn for your surgery she does like to have quite an extensive area cleared of hair “down under”. Starting sooner rather than later is a good idea, 9-12 months before surgery is not too soon. I have never come across anyone who says they spent too much time on hair removal from the nether regions. One the other hand…

    Reply

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