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My surgery with Dr. Toby Meltzer in Scottsdale, Arizona
First a little background- I am 36, and had been living full time for about
18 months before I had my SRS in June 2003. I was in very good health going
I researched several surgeons in the U.S.(I didn't want to travel abroad for SRS) and had consultations with Dr. Meltzer and Dr. Schrang. In the end I chose Meltzer because I was more comfortable with his recovery plans (being up and walking within days, not a week) and his history of having little blood loss, so a transfusion was extremely unlikely. I was also much more comfortable with Dr. Meltzer's "bedside manner", it just fit well with how I wanted to work with my surgeon for something this important. The one thing that initially had me leaning towards Dr. Schrang was scheduling- my first surgery date for Dr. Meltzer was more than a year later than what Dr. Schrang could offer. I was so much more comfortable with Dr. Meltzer that I put my deposit down with him, thinking I might be waiting a year longer. But it turned out after moving up due to cancellations, my surgery with Dr. Meltzer happened a week before the 'early' date I could have had my SRS with Dr. Schrang!
My partner and I flew to Portland, Oregon for a consultation with Dr. Meltzer
in late September. This was before Dr. Meltzer had announced he was moving to
Scottsdale. His staff was very helpful and pleasant, and the consultation went
very well. I had several questions, which Dr. Meltzer answered in detail, and
then he did an exam to see if I would need any grafts (I didn't). Dr. Meltzer
let me know he was possibly moving his practice, although at that point they
weren't sure where. I put down my deposit to reserve a surgery date, and was
given a date in May 2004 (the earliest they had!).
August 2002 through April 2003
Knowing I was going to have SRS sometime in the next two years, I began genital
electrolysis in August 2002. I went Electrology 2000 in Dallas, Texas, every
6-8 weeks from August '02 to April '03, and highly recommend them. The staff
was very nice and professional, and the results were excellent. I can't imagine
doing genital electrolysis without the anesthetic shots. The shots did hurt,
and I have to say they were the most painful part of my SRS, but I'd never have
made it through the hours of electrolysis without them.
After months of worrying my surgery date was never going to move up and contacting
Dr. Meltzer's office every couple months to see if any earlier dates were available,
I resolved myself to the fact that I was just going to have to wait until May
2004. Then one night I got a call from Dr. Meltzer's office with word that they
had several dates in June and July 2003! I took the earliest date I could, and
suddenly went from having to wait 13 months for SRS to being only about 7 weeks
away. I don't think an 11 month shift in dates all at once is ordinary for Dr.
Meltzer, the movement of his practice from Portland to Scottsdale may have impacted
some of the scheduling. I also may have moved up suddenly after not hearing
anything for 5 months because I didn't get my second letter of recommendation
to Dr. Meltzer until March 2003.
3 weeks before surgery
I stopped taking hormones, including anti-androgens, according to Dr. Meltzer's
instructions. The next three weeks were a combination of PMS and menopause,
with mood swings and hot flashes. I definitely felt the testosterone returning,
and I'd forgotten much I hated those feelings. The only bright spot was knowing
that wouldn't be a problem anymore in 3 weeks.
Around this time I received the list of non-prescription medicines from Dr.
Meltzer's office that I needed to buy. They weren't too hard to find, a good
local health food store had the Arnica Montana and Acidophilus, and the Colace
and Bacitracin ointment were easy to get at a drugstore. Normally Dr. Meltzer's
nurse also sends prescriptions for some things you'll take the morning of the
surgery and post-operatively, but for some reason my state wouldn't accept out
of state prescriptions so they just gave me those at my pre-op appointment in
1 week before surgery
I finished packing for the trip this week, using the shopping list from TS
Roadmap as a guide. I definitely over-packed, but I decided I'd rather have
things I didn't need than forget something. And since we had nice rolling suitcases
and my partner was going with me to Scottsdale, I didn't have to worry about
lifting anything too heavy on the way home. The things I packed that I didn't
use were mostly books, a gameboy, etc- I thought I would have a lot of time
to fill during the recovery, but I spent most of my time sleeping, walking around
the hospital, or doing post-op care.
2 days before surgery
We flew into Phoenix the afternoon a couple days before my surgery date. I
remembered to bring my digital camera and we tried to take a lot of pictures.
I definitely recommend bringing a journal and a camera to record the experience.
The farther away you get from it the fuzzier memories get, and it's interesting
to look back and read about how things looked and felt at the time. The Phoenix
airport is about 30 minutes from Scottsdale, so we rented a car. My partner
would be staying in a hotel the length of my recovery and she wanted to be able
to get around town. We stayed at the Residence Inn recommended by Dr. Meltzer's
office- a very nice place, with a full kitchen in the room. It was only 5-10
minutes from the hospital and had a very inexpensive hospital rate (be sure
to ask for the Scottsdale Healthcare rate). For the liquid diet and bowel prep
medicine the day before surgery it was really nice to have a fridge and stove/microwave.
That evening we went out for a celebratory dinner with some friends from Phoenix.
I highly recommend eating a nice dinner that night, it's the last real food
you'll have for a couple days!
The last thing we did before heading back to the hotel was to go to a nearby
supermarket (there is an Albertson's not too far a drive from the Residence
Inn) to stock up on jello, broth, juice and bottled water for the next day.
1 day before surgery
My pre-surgical consultation with Dr. Meltzer was in the morning. After getting
slightly lost trying to find his office, we made it safely to our appointment.
The staff was still getting used to the new office (I think they'd only been
in it for a few months), but everything still went smoothly. The last few details
(paperwork, etc) were taken care of, and then I met with Janet, one of Dr. Meltzer's
nurses. She gave me my bowel prep materials and went over the instructions again.
She also gave me my prescriptions (the ones normally mailed with the packet),
which I had filled that afternoon. Then Dr. Meltzer came in, answered my last
minute questions about the surgery and told me in more detail what to expect
on the surgery day. He then gave me my final exam (hmm, sounds like I'm back
in school!) and said everything looked fine. I was worried going into the consultation
that I hadn't completed enough of the genital electrolysis, since my date moved
up so fast. In theory I should have had one or two more sessions, but Dr. Meltzer
said between the work I had done so far and the scraping he did during surgery
it would be OK. That was quite a relief!
At the supermarket we had bought some individual jello cups and a couple kinds
of broth (beef and chicken- the chicken tasted better for me), along with a
bunch of 8 oz bottles of water and apple juice. I was glad to have the fridge
in the room, since I could keep all of the water, juice, and magnesium citrate
The mini 8oz bottles of water made it easy to keep track of how much I drank,
plus I could line them up on the counter as I finished each one to see I was
making progress :) Obviously with all that water, you are going to want to spend
the day close to a bathroom. I just hung out with my partner in the hotel room,
and went to the bathroom about every 30 minutes! The water and broth got old
pretty fast, by dinner I didn't want anything more than a couple jello cups.
The magnesium citrate wasn't that bad, it tasted like slightly flat 7-UP, with
a bit of a metallic aftertaste. Between that, the bisacodyl, and suppository,
my system was completely purged. I'd guess it took about 3-4 hours, by midnight
I was ready to try to sleep and only got up a few times in the night to use
I actually slept fairly well the night before surgery, which surprised me.
I thought I might be too excited, scared, or nervous, but really the night two
days before surgery was my bad night (only a couple hours of sleep). By the
bowel prep day I felt more excited than anything else, was fairly calm by the
evening. Not having many calories that day also may have made me tired faster.
I woke up about 7 am and took a shower. It was a beautiful day outside, not
a cloud in the sky. I felt amazingly calm, knowing all the details were taken
care of and all I had to do was show up at the hospital. My surgery was scheduled
for 1 pm, so I had most of the morning free. It was hard not being able to eat
or drink anything, but I watched some TV and packed a few things to take to
the hospital to make the hours go by. We were supposed to get to the hospital
at 11 am, and we left about 10:30, leaving plenty of time to get there.
Dr. Meltzer performs his surgery at the Greenbaum Surgery Center at the Scottsdale
Healthcare Osborne campus. It's a surgery/recovery center, separate from the
main hospital building, and was quite impressive. It just opened in early 2003,
and everything was state of the art. Dr. Meltzer talked about the surgical facilities
in glowing terms, he sounded very happy with how it was all working out. The
recovery center was incredible as well- all private rooms from what I could
tell, and a good patient to nurse ratio. The food was first rate, nothing like
normal hospital food, and you could order from a fairly varied menu at each
meal. The best part of the Greenbaum center was the staff- the nurses were very
nice to me, and I didn't have any of the normal hospital horror stories you
hear about not being able to get a nurse when I needed one or having a nurse
with a nasty attitude. The nursing staff had adapted to Dr. Meltzer's patients
so well I would have thought they'd been seeing SRS patients for years, not
Back to the surgery day- After we showed up (my partner who would be there
the length of my recovery and my sister who came down for the first few days),
I filled out some minor paperwork to be admitted. A nurse took me back to a
small prep room where I was given one of the lovely open-in-the-back hospital
gowns and had some vital signs recorded. They bagged and marked my clothes and
personal effects, which were taken to my room after surgery (when I first looked
for them a few days after the surgery, I couldn't find the bag and panicked.
Not to worry, they had been stowed in the bottom drawer of the dresser by my
bed). After getting my gown on, I was given a nice hot blanket and walked over
to the pre-surgical waiting area (basically an open area with several hospital
beds divided up by privacy curtains). Once I was in the bed, they let my partner
and sister come back to be with me. We chatted for a while, and then the nurse
came by and hooked up my I.V.. The anesthesiologist stopped by and explained
that I'd have a general anesthetic, and wouldn't remember anything about the
surgery (which was fine with me). He came back shortly and gave me a shot in
my I.V. to calm me down a bit. I was getting a bit more nervous as it came down
to the last 30 minutes before surgery, so it was probably a good thing to get
the shot :)
Dr. Meltzer stopped by for a quick chat while I was in the pre-surgical area,
and then a little after 1 pm the anesthesiologist came back. I gave my partner's
hand a squeeze and told her I loved her, then they started some meds in my I.V..
This was supposed to put me out of it fairly quickly, and sure enough, the last
memory I had was seeing the doors to the O.R. open as they wheeled me into surgery...
The surgery took about three and a half hours, and after I was stable and coming
out of the anesthetic in the recovery area, Dr. Meltzer went out to the waiting
room to tell my partner & sister how things went. He told them the operation
was textbook, and that I was fine. He also told them to thank me for losing
weight (I had lost about 75 pounds in the 18 months before SRS) - since it had
been lost fairly recently, the skin was loose and gave him plenty to work with.
... The first memory I have from coming out of the surgery was being wheeled
into my room upstairs. My partner and sister were right there in the hall, it
was very comforting to see them when I woke up. The nurses settled me into my
room, and then let my visitors come in. I was kind of in and out of it most
of the evening, feeling pretty loopy. I noticed my voice sounded funny, at an
odd pitch, but that went away after a few hours. I was hooked up to pain meds
in my I.V., so I could press my 'happy button' every ten minutes to get a shot
of something that felt pretty nice :) I don't remember much pain, but with the
I.V. pain meds I could have been in a lot of pain and not cared much. I was
really too groggy to pay much attention to the surgical site, all I remember
was ice bags the nurses changed pretty regularly, and lots of tubes coming out
of that area. The nurses checked on me very regularly through the night, taking
my pulse, blood pressure, and temperature.
1 day post-op
I felt pretty good when I woke up the morning after surgery, but got tired
pretty fast. I was on solid food for breakfast, but didn't feel very adventurous
so I just ordered some toast and yogurt. I ate one piece of toast and that was
all- I was a little queasy and had no appetite. Lunch was the same problem-
I just didn't feel like eating. I did have a wonderful chocolate chip cookie
with lunch that I kept for a snack in the afternoon, when I felt hungry again.
I received flowers from my church and the company I work for, which were a
nice surprise. They smelled great, and really brightened up the room.
2 days post-op
Last night was a very hard one- I just couldn't get to sleep, either from feeling
hot, not being able to get comfortable laying on my back, or from pain. The
pain wasn't overwhelming, just nagging enough to keep me awake. Even with the
pain meds and sleeping pills I didn't drift off until about 5am, and was woken
up when breakfast came a few hours later.
The worst pain of the surgery happened later in the morning. My catheter was
hooked up to a bag that hung down on the side of the bed. When everything worked
right, the cath drained into the bag as needed. But somehow my cath line got
twisted and wasn't draining into the bag. I didn't realize this at first, and
just thought the pain was soreness from the surgery. After getting a pain pill
and having it still get worse, I called a nurse who noticed the problem with
the cath bag. Once she fixed that and I was empty I felt a hundred times better.
After lunch a nurse stopped by to show me how to plug the catheter so I could
unplug it from the bag and move around. I was supposed to go no more than 2
hours with it plugged. I was starting 'bladder training', which basically meant
plugging it for as long as I could stand (up to 2 hours), then emptying my bladder
and re-plugging the cath. This was to get my bladder used to being full again,
and not just draining constantly. At first I could only hold it for about 30
minutes before I just had to go, but after a few days I was up to an hour and
a half to two hours.
Once I was shown how to plug the cath I got to get out of bed and take my first
steps. I took it very slowly, and walked across the room, then felt good enough
to go down the hall to the nurses station and back (about 50 feet). By the time
I made it back to my bed I'd felt like I had run 10 miles. It definitely got
my heart rate up, and sapped all my energy. I spent the next hour in bed just
trying to recover.
After I recovered I finally got to take a shower! It felt so good to wash my
hair and just get clean again. More flowers showed up while I was in the shower,
from friends back home. I really didn't expect to get flowers from anyone, so
it was really nice to get so many.
3 days post-op
A better night of sleep last night, but I woke up every two hours feeling like
I had to pee and had to jiggle the catheter line to get it to drain (you stay
hooked up to the bag while you are asleep). I just figured this is the way it
worked, but when I told a nurse later she showed me that by putting the bag
down lower, the line was straight enough to always drain, so I didn't wake up
all the time needing to go. That was definitely nice to know :)
When I woke up I got out of bed and went and brushed my teeth- it felt like
so much freedom to just be able to do that! And then I took a walk down to the
nurses station, since Dr. Meltzer wants you to get up and walk around as much
as reasonably possible. It wasn't as hard as the first time, so I was gaining
I wasn't quite prepared for the amount of swelling around the surgical area-
reading "there will be swelling' in the pre-surgical packet doesn't prepare
you for what it feels and looks like. It was starting to get better by the third
day though. I was also getting pretty stiff from being in bed much of the day,
although the more I was up and walking the better that got. There really wasn't
any comfortable way to lay in bed other than on my back, and I'm used to sleeping
on my side, so that probably contributed to being stiff.
Dr. Meltzer stopped by to remove the drains from the surgical site in the afternoon.
They look like the little squeeze bulb on a manual blood pressure cuff, and
basically suck blood and extra fluid out of the surgery site. I was glad to
get rid of them, they were uncomfortable and tended to get in the way when you
were up and walking. It hurt some as he pulled the drains out, but the pain
was over quickly. I felt a lot better not having the drains in, I didn't seem
quite as sore with them out.
4 days post-op
A much better night last night. I slept pretty much through the night, now
that my cath bag was arranged right. I showered and actually got up the energy
to put on a little makeup, which made me feel good.
I should mention some of the amenities of the rooms at the Greenbaum Center.
Each room had a nice big bathroom, with a walk-in shower. The room had plenty
of light from outside (if you are on the west side of the building, it does
get hot in the afternoon with the sun coming in- pull the blinds all the way
or bake!). I didn't realize until towards the end of my stay I had a thermostat
behind the bed- that would have been nice to know when I felt really hot or
freezing. The TV was a very snazzy flat panel LCD mounted on the wall opposite
the bed. AND, for any geeks out there (like me), it had a wireless keyboard
that let you surf the web through the TV. It was a nice way to pass the time
when I got bored. In theory you can check your email on it too, but I never
got that working right. The only downside is it cost a few dollars a day to
activate the Internet access, but you also got about 3 times as many cable channels
as part of the deal. I decided as much as I spent on the surgery, I could afford
the $30 or so it cost during my stay. I definitely recommend it, it was faster
than modem speeds (which I would have had to use if I brought my laptop).
I had my first trip outside the surgery center today. My partner and I went
across the street to the Oregano's for lunch. It was very hot (109!), so we
took bottled water even though it was only about 1/2 a block away. I'm glad
we did, it was still a pretty long walk for the shape I was in. Sitting at the
table in the restaurant was interesting, I'm glad I took my invalid ring to
sit on. The food was great, and it was nice to be outside for a while.
The pain was very manageable today, I only needed pain meds once or twice the
entire day, and then only the smaller dose.
5 days post-op
The main stitches holding my labia together were coming out today, and I couldn't
wait, they were getting very sore by now. I don't think I've described quite
what the surgical site looks like yet- the best I can say is I looked a lot
like Barbie, with stitches running in a vertical line down the middle :) Everything
was sewn shut, with just the catheter tube coming out the top.
Cheryl, Dr. Meltzer's nurse, came by about 11 am to take out the stitches and
packing. The stitches hurt coming out, but she did it pretty quickly so it was
over soon. Then she pulled out the packing. It reminded me of a magician's trick
where they continuously pull a longer and longer scarf out of their sleeve,
it just went on forever! It wasn't to uncomfortable, just a bit of a weird feeling.
Cheryl gave me a mirror to see what the end result looked like, and even though
it was very red and sore, it was a beautiful sight! It just felt amazing to
have things finally be right.
Cheryl then did my first dilation. The stents provide by Dr. Meltzer are very
nice, clear lucite with a slight bend in them. There were four sizes, plus a
tapered one between the smallest(#1) and next largest (#2). She used the smallest
one, and it went in pretty easily (I suppose I was still fairly open from the
packing). I had about 5 1/2 to 6 inches of depth. After we removed the stent
she had me try dilating by myself. It wasn't too difficult, and the sensation
was hard to describe. You could feel things shifting around a bit as you pushed,
put it wasn't really painful this time.
After Cheryl left, I was tired after all the excitement and just laid back
down and closed my eyes. Before I drifted off to sleep I just concentrated on
the feelings from all over my body, from my head to my toes. It was one of the
most amazing moments of my life, for the first time every part of my body felt
in place, and connected. There weren't any parts I wanted to ignore, or pretend
weren't there. It was the first time I felt physically whole in my life.
I woke up a couple hours later and had a major mood-swing meltdown. I'm not
sure if was just too many emotions from before, restarting my hormones, or a
combination of several things. I heard some things were going wrong back home,
and all of a sudden I just burst into tears and couldn't stop crying. I got
so shaky it was hard for me to do the second dilation that day. A few hours
later I was OK, but it was a scary experience. I've heard most post-ops have
some kind of meltdown during the recovery, just from relief and letting go of
a lifetime of stress. Maybe that was it.
That first day after the packing was out I had to dilate 5 times! The second
one was the hardest, and for a while I wasn't sure I could do it, it was painful.
But I just kept trying and eventually got through it. It did get easier with
each dilation after that.
6 days post-op
The soreness and swelling continued to get better, and I really didn't have
too bad of bruising (some around the crease between my upper thing and tummy).
Today we went out for lunch again, to a little Mexican restaurant. It was still
hot, and a bit farther walk than Oregano's, but a nice trip. My appetite was
back fully, I think I ate more in that meal than I had for several days!
Dr. Meltzer stopped by in the afternoon. I was very impressed that Dr. Meltzer
and one his nurses stopped to see me separately every day of my recovery. I
wasn't sure I'd be seeing them, even briefly, every day. My abs were getting
very sore, so I asked him about that- he said the abdominal sutures were probably
the culprit- my ab muscles were sore from pulling against the sutures.
I met a couple other of Dr. Meltzer's patients today, both had surgery a few
days after me, so they were a few days behind me in recovery. They were both
very nice, and we chatted for a while.
For the second or third day in a row, I spiked a temperature in the afternoon.
The nurse said a lot of Dr. Meltzer's patients seem to do that after restarting
their hormones. It might have been that, or maybe the sun coming in through
the blinds in the afternoon and heating my room up. This was when I wished I
had noticed the thermostat!
The big event of the day happened that evening, when I finally had a bowel
movement. It seems like a strange thing to get exicted about, but given that
I hadn't gone for about 7 days, it was kind of freaking me out. The nurses kept
reassuring me it was OK, and would work again some time, but I was glad to get
everything going again! It was weird to be eating three meals a day for a week
and never have any output!
7 days post-op
I had some bleeding when I woke up this morning, a suture in the perineal area
came loose. It wasn't a massive amount of blood, but enough to scare me for
a minute. Holding a compress on it stopped it pretty quickly, and Dr. Meltzer
had said it was a pretty common experience, so not to worry if it happened.
It would all heal back eventually.
More excitement later in the morning. When I took a shower, I forgot to turn
on the fan in the bathroom (something the nurses were very careful to point
out). There were still a few kinks to be worked out at the new building, and
one of them was the fire alarms being a little too sensitive. The steam from
the shower set off the fire alarm, and the nurses had to shut all the doors
and make sure everyone was stayed in their rooms. I think they might have even
had a firetruck come by, although when the alarm went off the nurses knew right
away what was going on. I felt really bad about until they told me it was happening
a couple times a week, and I wasn't the first to do it. They were going to get
the sensors adjusted in the bathrooms in the future, but to be safe, turn on
the fan :)
I went out to lunch by myself today, which seemed like quite an adventure.
There was a great fast-food Japanese place called Tokyo Express a block or so
away, and I made it there safely and had a tasty lunch.
8 days post-op
The nurse came in after breakfast and finally took out the abdominal sutures!
It felt great to get rid of those. She also removed the catheter, which burned
on the way out, but felt good to be done with (little did I know...). I tried
to pee several times after the cath was out, but no luck. Things were just too
swollen around the urethra. I took a shower, and then tried again, still no
luck. Dr. Meltzer came by after lunch and decided to try just using a straight
cath to make sure everything was clear, to see if that would help. Over the
next hour or two I tried a few more times, but it just wouldn't work. At the
end, I felt like I had to go so bad I was in incredible pain, and the nurses
called Dr. Meltzer to see if they should put the foley catheter back in. They
did, and it was a huge relief. But I was also very disappointed and shaky- I
thought I would have the last of the tubes out of my body today, and hated the
thought of having to go home with the cath still in.
9 days post-op
Today was my discharge day! The whole recovery went faster than I thought it
would, I couldn't believe it was already time to leave. We packed up my belongings,
gave the flowers to some of the other patients and to the nurses' station, and
checked out. I was a little sad to say goodbye, they had taken such good are
of me. But it was nice to know I was going home tomorrow.
10 days post-op
The flight home was quite an ordeal, even though it was only about 2 and a
half hours. I took two pain pills before I got on the plane, but even with my
invalid ring the seats were hard as a rock. Being cramped in a small space and
not able to move around much was pure torture. I was very glad to get off the
plane when we landed! It felt wonderful to be back in my own bed that night.
13 days post-op
After being home for 4 days and still having to cap the catheter and use the
cath bag at night, I got the OK from Dr. Meltzer's nurse to try removing the
cath. They had shown me how to do it in the hospital, and gave me an extra foley
cath in case I still couldn't pee and had to re-insert it. Luckily everything
worked this time! Finally no more tubes, I could go like normal. The stream
came out pretty much straight, and I didn't have much trouble with spray.
16 days post-op
Recovery at home continued. I was dilating four times a day, and just moved
up to the #2 size stent. It wasn't easy but didn't hurt too much. There was
still some swelling on the labia and mons, but it was gradually going away.
The stitches that were left were dissolving, although not as fast as I'd like!
They tended to poke into your clothes and rub just the wrong way :(
24 days post-op
Most of the stitches are gone, just a couple hanging around to bug me. Dilating
is easier and easier, and I'm up to #3 (#4 is optional, and I don't think I'm
going to ever want to try it!). Even though it's only been a little over three
weeks, it's hard to remember what my body looked like before surgery. It just
seems totally normal and natural now, the way it was always supposed to be.
I can finally look in the mirror after getting out of the shower and not flinch
or ignore parts of myself.
6 weeks post-op
Everything is almost completely healed. No more stitches, the swelling is gone,
and the scars are starting to be less visible. I'm down to twice a day dilating,
which is nice. Four times a day really eats into your schedule :)
Even before the labiaplasty, the results look amazing. My partner says she'd
never know it wasn't a natal vagina, and being an original owner herself she
ought to know :)
About this time (ok maybe a little before now :) ), I had my first orgasm.
The electricity was definitely flowing. The clitoris and area just above it
are very sensitive, and it did take a bit more foreplay, but was quite satisfying.
I'm heading back to work in about a week. I'm glad I took a full six weeks off, the recovery really did take that long. The hardest part of recovery was just not overdoing it- I would feel great in the morning, like I could do anything. But after being up and around for a few hours, I would get really tired and have to go back to bed for a few hours. The time I could stay up gradually got longer, and the need to lie down got less. But it was at least 6 weeks before I felt close to normal again energy-wise.
6 months post-op
In the months after my surgery my life returned to its normal pace. I went
to work, got back into running, and just lived life. Dilating continued to get
easier and easier, and I actually got curious enough to try the #4 size dilator.
It didnt seem nearly as scary as it did at the beginning J It definitely
wasnt as easy as #3, but with some extra K-Y it went in fine. I still
do my normal dilating with #3, but use the #4 every once in a while. At six
months I could stop dilating every day, and have started just trying to do it
3 times a week. Dr. Meltzers instructions are to gradually increase the
time between when you dilate, until you find a good schedule that keeps the
depth without too much work. He recommends dilating once a week at minimum.
I had two urinary tract infections in the first six months of being post-op.
Between the shorter urethra and my body getting used to new bacteria down there,
this wasnt too unusual. Both times a quick round of antibiotics cleared
it up. Ive tried to be more careful keeping clean, and taking some cranberry
supplements to avoid these in the future. A UTI is definitely not fun- the first
one got so painful (and peaked on a Sunday night) that I ended up going to the
ER to get some relief.
Its amazing to see the results of the surgery now- the scars are virtually
invisible. I think you would be hard pressed to guess I hadnt been born
this way. Im scheduled for my Labiaplasty in about 6 weeks. I can see
some things that could look a little more natural, like more hooding on the
clitoris, and thinner labia. It will be good to have everything finished, although
Im so happy with the results already sometimes I wonder why I need one
I went into my surgery with a typical "this doesn't make me a woman, I already am" attitude, thinking it was just a minor cosmetic detail to be taken care of. I was surprised how much more it really meant to me when it was over. It didn't make everything in my life perfect, but it really did make me feel different, and I never realized how much energy I used just dealing with having part of my body constantly feel wrong. To let go of that and have such a great sense of wholeness and freedom is pure joy.