I'm back alive and well

by JG

We arrived back home Thursday night [7 August 2003]. We had to rough it for most of the trip. We slept in the car while in San Francisco so we could save the motel money for after the surgery. I am still tired and sore, but that is just on the outside... :-)

The orchiectomy was considerably more painful than I anticipated. I came up off of the table more than once! This was because there was severe scarring and inflammation from a spermatocele that I had removed back in 1993. This had been causing me a lot of pain ever since then, which increased significantly after starting on hormones in 2001.

The pain is completely gone now, though. And I feel wonderful. It is like for the first time, deep inside, something is finally starting to become right. Plus, it is like starting HRT all over again, too! The colors are brighter again! And no more anti-androgens!!! ("psst, hey buddy, wanna buy a bucket of Spiro???")

2004 update [15 January 2004]

Yesterday Dr. Barham had to go back in and remove more of the cord that had adhered itself inside the inguinal canal. It was causing a lot of pain ever since the initial procedure in August, and multiple cortizone shots were not making things any better.

The procedure was emotionally more distressing than it was physically painful. When he gave me the local injections, the pain that I experienced made it feel like "they" were suddenly back down there again.

I had a very sudden and very intense "body dysphoria" episode. I started crying incessantly. The flood of memories and sudden distress was almost unbearable. At one point Elane said that I was begging him to stop. The pain was too much of a reminder of what I once had.

When the orchiectomy was performed in August, Elane was there, too. She said I showed no dysphoric reaction. I remember crying then, too, but they were tears of relief and an overwhelming sense of peace when I saw the "evidence" there in a shot glass on the instrument tray. Of course, it did hurt a lot physically then, too. But there was no dysphoria.

Thank goodness my precious Elane was there again to comfort me during the procedure. When w were leaving, Dr. Barham almost tearfully thanked her for being there! She later told me that the terrified look in my eyes emphasized to her the importance of what I needed to do.

I feel that this is something that others who are going to have this procedure may want to know about and be prepared for in case they have to go back for follow-up work. Dr. Barham has only had one "re-do" in the past other than me, and Elane said that he had not seen this reaction before. He is also concerned that, with a total of three incisions to date (1993, 2003 and 2004) that any future work there might complicate the vaginoplasty, so we all hope that this is the last time.

Afterwards, Dr. Barham wrote me a letter stating that he had performed "irreversible genital surgery for Julian, which under the standard of care for gender reassignment, allows Julian to change her gender to that of female. This entitles her to the appropriate gender credentialing"

Wow. WOW!

Memo: be sure to tell people to ask him for the letter! And BTW, I fully intend to challenge that new SSA ruling on the requirement of completion of the process before they change the GM. I worked at HCFA (a branch of SSA) as a contractor in the early 1990s, which may or may not be of help. But I will not stop until not only I get my F, but until I find out who and what was respsonsible for this arbitraty (and ultimately discriminatory) ruling. And I will publicize it. Because I can't imagine it was anything but a purposeful decision by someone in the know with an axe to grind. If either of you have any suggestions, please let me know.