Friday, 5 December 2014

Pre-surgery reflections

I felt it might be useful to write about a few of my thoughts and feelings about my upcoming GRS. It may be useful to me to offload them or useful to others in helping make an informed decision as to whether to have surgery.

It's just over 5 weeks to go now and this seems like no time at all. Sometimes it does feel it's approaching quickly and other times, it seems like an agonising wait! It's been a long path to get here and I still harbour anxieties that something will go wrong and then it wont happen. This I feel is quite understandable given that up to now, everything that could have gone wrong, actually has. This may sound very negative but the scars of the past still itch a little and I wont truly be "there" until I wake up post-op and be told that it has been done.

Dealing with this anxiety is not easy, it does not go away overnight although every day does seem a little better. Now that I have stopped taking my hormones, it does seem to feel like I have started on the path to my surgery. I am guessing that because of having to withdraw from medication in this manner, there are certain processes in place to ensure that this surgery can't now be cancelled unless there are extremely unusual circumstances. Perhaps I am being naive here and it could be cancelled on a whim, but I am trying to keep some hope going because my journey has felt pretty hopeless particularly with the medical side of things. So I am trying to be much more positive with regards the "it will happen" feeling!

I suppose I should move on to how I feel about the surgery itself. Interestingly, I have no worries at all in this regard. When it comes to being informed, I have to be right up there in the scheme of things. I have been given a great deal of information which I have read, re-read and absorbed. I have also researched this a great deal on the Internet and found some fascinating information. Some may turn to YouTube for their resources but by far one of the most interesting articles I found about the GRS procedure was actually a series of pencil drawn images that detailed the surgery step by step. I am unable to locate this site now but a search for "step by step gender reassignment surgery" will yield some other drawings. I have also read many blogs about this and met quite a number of post-op ladies who have passed on experience. 

I suppose probably the most useful information of all has been a close friend who had her surgery a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of taking her to the hospital and spent a few days with her recently while she rests and recuperates. I wont give any details because this is her journey and she is a very private person. What I can say is that I have learnt quite a few valuable tips, some on a practical level and some on an emotional one. I also now know the benefits of resting properly while still mobilising and taking pain relief when necessary.

The pain relief is probably one of the areas where I will need to be careful. I am someone who does not reach for painkillers quickly and this friend of mine is exactly the same. She has learnt in a difficult way the need for relief when it gets bad and I need to take this on board. Just a couple of days ago, I had probably my final hours of perineal electrolysis and again, I did not take any paracetamol. Because I have been cramming in a number of treatments down there, it has become very sensitive and this particular session was agony. 

There are of course a number of practical things that need preparing for, and this entails a long list of supplies that you need. I'll save this for another post as I have yet to see my GP about some of this and I have an appointment next week to see her.

Catch you soon, Lucy x

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