Monday, 19 May 2014

First perineal LASER session

***This post contains material that graphically details medical procedures involving the genitals. Please click away if you feel you are likely to be offended.***

Ok, I admit that the title is not witty or clever but I struggled to come up with something funny that wasn't crude. Today was the first perineal hair treatment in preparation for my future gender reassignment surgery (GRS).

Perhaps to explain a little more I should talk about what is going to happen down below when I have my GRS. I am basing the following on information that I have collected from multiple sources and because there are varying surgical procedures, I may be slightly inaccurate and wont know the full details until I speak to the surgeon myself.

The standard procedure is to remove the testicles and they are discarded. In fact, they are just about the only thing that is thrown away (and good riddance too!) Following this, the glans (head) of the penis is removed to be grafted into place as a clitoris, the intention being that this will have a similar sensitivity as birth clitoris. The foreskin and skin of the penis is then inverted and this forms the vaginal canal. Skin, typically from the scrotum, is used to form the labia. There can be issues when penile length is short and sometimes scrotal tissue is added to the penile tissue to form the canal. Length issues occur due to circumcision or atrophy due to lack of erections whilst going through hormone therapy. This hopefully should not be an issue for me because I have listened to advice and tried to keep the atrophy from happening. Before anyone starts smirking, this is actually harder (no pun intended!) than it seems and no longer gives me any pleasure so is a pretty mundane task. 

If you now understand how much existing tissue is used to form the new (neo)vagina, then you may realise that the hair that typically grows in various places on the penis, is going to grow inside the neovagina and labia. As far as I know, surgeons do remove some hair follicles by scraping them away during surgery but often perineal hair reduction needs to take place to reduce the sheer volume of hair. I have recently heard stories of ladies who have not had any reduction prior to GRS and have had to have LASER post op. Given how delicate the new tissue is post-op, this is quite a sore subject and hairs growing inside are very difficult to treat with worst cases leading to infection. In addition many ladies are being referred and then sent away by the surgeon to have LASER and this can lead to up to 6 months delay! I did not want any such delay and proactively pushed for my perineal prior to my referral.

Luckily I have had 6 facial LASER sessions prior to this and had some inclination of how it was going to feel. I also have formed a good relationship with Lynne, the lovely lady who does the treatments. This was something that Lynda (my therapist at the Laurel's) encouraged me to do several months ago and today was where I found this to have been very good advice.

I have found with the medical side of transitioning, you can kiss goodbye to any hangups you have about showing bodily parts to professionals. I had already shown my hair to Lynne a few months ago and today was knickers off, legs spread and everything on full display. My partner Mandy, being a bit of a sadist, accompanied me to "support me". This is of course rubbish, there was some evil streak to her that wanted to watch this intently!

I was asked if I wanted some anesthetic cream. I decided against, I wanted to do this hardcore just to see what it was like. In fact, I hadn't even taken any paracetamol for the same reason.

I was going to watch this as well - when having facial LASER, you have to wear goggles that completely block out everything. Today I got to wear just dark glasses so could observe all the action. Lynne fired up the machine and off she went.

Lynne started off around the base, the sensation wasn't too uncomfortable and not much different to the facial LASER. Then with my help holding the penis, she worked up the side and back of the shaft. This is most important to avoid coarse hairs forming inside the neovagina. After quite a number of pulses to the penis area, she finally worked on the scrotal area and there was a little more sensation to this more delicate part of the body. Once she had finished with that, she returned to the penis and worked some more on that, almost as if to be sure!

Someone had already warned me that the most uncomfortable part was the jet of cold air that blows over the site being treated. Whilst having facial LASER, I knew this was indeed cold but on my penis and testicles, it was extremely cold. In fact it was painful in it's own right and by the time we had finished everything had shrunk to miniscule size.

On reflection, I find myself thinking just how relaxed I was through the whole process. For virtually the whole time, we chatted about various things regarding GRS and the passing of time was not even noticed. Being exposed in such a way did not even faze me and is a tribute to how professional Lynne is and how relaxed she can make you feel.

I got off the bed, redressed and then spent some time chatting more about GRS. I told her how my thinking had changed recently, that it was now very important to me instead of just being there in the future somewhere. She remarked that perhaps I have now found where I am as a woman in my mind and this is why I am now concentrating on the physical aspect of my transitioning. She obviously talks to many trans-women with her work and perhaps has seen this before but it really does sum up where I am now.

My second session is booked for near the end of June and she is optimistic in getting it all ready for the provisional timeline I have been given by the Laurel's.

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