Over the next few months I'll start to update periodically with progress about how I am recovering following my surgery. It is hard to believe that it was only 10 days ago that I was wheeled off to theatre and "sorted out". The recovery itself has been like the entire experience, amazing. I am sat here typing this and feel able to do anything. This is not the euphoria taking over, I feel so fit and able and the house arrest I am under seems silly. I am more than aware that I do need to rest at times and any kind of lifting is off limits, but I am not displaying any kind of fatigue and able to look after myself really well.
The finished article is healing super quick. I have had a few sutures pop out, particularly around the base of the vagina but none of the wounds have actually opened to any great degree. Mandy helps me wipe all the incisions lines down every morning and this can introduce a small amount of spotting with blood. Most staggering are some small lengths of the incision lines are completely healed. There is virtually no bruising and after speaking to someone yesterday, they likened their new vagina to a purple cabbage but mine is completely normal in this respect. There is some small amount of swelling in the labia on the right hand side but every day sees this dramatically reduce. The swelling that is there is now soft to the touch.
My pad on my knickers seems different every time I change it. Sometime there is pink blood, red blood, dark crimson blood and brown discharge of several colours. I am advised by the post-op notes to not be alarmed but sometimes all this discharge can be a little unsettling.
The clot covering my clitoris disappeared yesterday and it was visible for the first time. It is a piece of art to be honest, how that dainty little thing can be crafted from the glans of the penis is beyond me. Today has seen some bleeding from that area, it is still visible but not so easily. The issue here is that I still have that urinary catheter inserted and despite me taping it out of that way, it still bumps the clitoris. Oh yes, I can seriously feel this when it happens!
The whole vaginal area is a little sore and can feel tight after washing but it gets better all the time. I am in no major pain and I just take paracetamol to keep on top of everything. Sometimes I get stabbing pains, which is due to nerve endings regenerating. These are interesting sensations and have been dubbed tourettes by the local community as the side effect is often twitching and tendency to swear, literally. I am not sure I follow this usage of the term for this, but it does seem kind of apt.
Dilation at the moment is astonishingly easy. I have no issues with my pelvic floor muscle and this means insertion of the dilators is effortless. I was advised that an 82 gram tube of lube would be needed a day but I am using about 75% of that and reducing all the time. I often leave each one in for more than the 10 minutes too. I have embraced the dilation process as opposed to seeing it as a chore and look forward to my sessions doing this. Reading around, I have found some resources that suggest dilation is too under looked as a way of maintaining vaginal health. Although this article is a little old it feels very relevant and I am taking on board a great deal of what it is saying. Dilation is now a part of my life and although it shouldn't take over, it must factor in a major role. Even at this early stage, I have started exploring the possibility of bigger dilators in the future.
Douching after dilation is also very easy. I was given a new douche to trial by Liz Hills when I left Brighton due to the EZ Streem being discontinued. It has a slightly easier to handle bulb as well as a curved nozzle. It doesn't squirt out quite as good but overall first impressions are acceptable. I have also had to learn how to douche standing, as I was shown how to do it in the bath at Brighton. This was odd to begin with and requires a little feeling around to find the vagina as you can't see anything. Even more important in the shower is to squeeze and withdraw gently as you do so. I am adding Videne to the water at the moment and it makes a mess all over our shower curtains so I suspect we will be buying new ones.
One other physical issue no one really warned me about was the smell. Someone I know did mention it but nothing has prepared me for the sheer stink that emanates from down below. Once you get a whiff, it seems to cling in your nose and take forever to disappear. It is a uniquely horrible smell, impossible to describe and I would not even want to. I think of Lynyrd Skynyrds song, That Smell and this always makes me smile! Someone has suggested it is the videne that may be causing this because they figured it disappeared as soon as they stopped using it. This means another 18 days of it!
Hormonally, I am very good. the testosterone is very long gone but I am not desperate for the return of the oestrogen. I restart this in 11 days but it has not felt a trial yet. I am getting the very occasional hot flush and night sweats every night but that's it. I will be glad to restart, more so for the physical benefits and I am guessing the lack of desperation is perhaps the good feeling I am experiencing.
Finally emotionally, I am also very good. I feel in a fantastic place and life seems so good at the moment. This is not to say that I am not tearful, and I am constantly crying. Very little tips me over and when it happens, I just go with it and enjoy it. For once in my life I can be tearful, it has taken so much to get here and I am just loving being happy and free of the anxiety.