Having had FFS about three weeks ago, she's healing up well, and when we talked on Skype last night, I saw that the swelling had mostly gone away.

"Do I Look that different" she asked.

Trying not to laugh, I said, "You're going to have a lot of trouble with men."

"It's already started." she said. "Today, I was at a coffee shop, and this guy sat down beside me and asked me what I was reading. The Persistant Desire, a butch/femme LESBIAN reader, I said - And then the light went out of his eyes."
I cover my eyes and jerk them away. Holy shit - it's changed!
    And then I eagerly put them back again, enjoying the shift with every digit.

FFS doesn't so much feel as "a good idea," so much as Oh, I did that? You mean my skull has changed? This is new, isn't it? Well it's right, so I'm damn glad I went through with it. Proud even.

There will be progress photos, but I want to be able to get a good survey over time. Probably going to be a few months

Some people see me and, in surprise exclaim "Wow. You look really different." or even "Yeah - you look good."

Others say "You had surgery? I can't see any difference."

I am getting more reactions from strangers that indicate that they see me as female

All this is fine and welcome, but what is important is that I can see a difference. Moreover, I can feel it.

I look in the mirror and see a subtly different face, but, as I hoped, my mind quickly integrates the image as "that's me." I'd even go so far as to say that there's less surprise than before.

Only when I think about it - that this is not the same reflection that I am used to, do I get a moment of weird.
I'm not sure what to blame for this fatigue. Or credit it. You see, I don't mind this state of exhaustion.

It could be going back on hormones. Or rather androgen-blockers: upping their dose made me tired before, and now I'm going from zero to full in the matter of a week.

It could be jet lag.

It might be a delayed reaction to anesthesia.

It almost certainly has something to do with recovering from surgery. There are wound cavities in my head, measurable in square inches that are now knitting themselves back together.
Or it could be an end to my work. I walked into my old office and saw someone at my desk. It wasn't until a couple hours after that that I felt truly spent. I don't think this the main cause, so much as the trigger: I have the feeling that I was holding back on resting until I felt my job was done, which it now is.

It is good to take a break.
And I'm back. It's all done. The sutures are out, leaving little blood-dotted tracks across my forehead like a map to I don't know where. Flakes of hair shed around the suture line. Hope that stops soon. A shallow grove runs under my nose. In my mouth, tangles of dissolvable/edible sutures slowly recede across two streak-like lesions.

This knocked me on my ass. I can walk, and run short distances, but I get tired easily. No heavy exertion for one month. No contact sports (or other roughhousing?) for four. The restrictions are not due to fatique, but rather due to the potential fragility of the sutures.

I clean the sutures once a day with hydrogen peroxide, trying to break up any scabs or flakes. I give them neosporin twice per day. I sleep on my back, with my head elevated. I bind my jaw with an ace bandage, Jack and Jill style. Anesthetic mouthwash.

I'm healing quickly. My cheeks are less swollen each day. Thisis good. First it relieves the surprising strain my neck bore by carrying them around. Second it makes it easier, or just possible, to eat. Third, it makes me look less like a guy - my swollen jowls gave me a kind of "sleazy landlord" look. My skin is still tight and sneezing on coughing pulls across it to draw on sharp sutures. But I can see that there has been a change for the better.

My jaw, or at least the bone, feels in place now. I touch it and think, yeah, that's about right. Ocular ridge lines up. The distances are right. The bone is right.

This also means that I no longer have to take special measures in bright light, or have to manage my hair to avoid the bald streaks.

This is good.

Yes, I am glad I did this.

FFS +5 Days

May. 5th, 2008 10:02 pm

Small children stare at me. Men offer me their seats.

Today (Monday), I can now eat my food, rather than mushing it. I still can't chew much, so  bread has to be soaked in soup. My lower face has de-swollen enough that I can use my voice - the one that sounds like me: it could be female or unisex or maybe like a T-Boi who just shot a little T, depending on who you ask, but it sounds right. I didn't realize how good it would be to have that back, or how hard it would be to use it.

The nerves in my scalp and lower lip are re-connecting.
It's hard to tell right now what the final results will be. I can feel that the bone has changed, but trying to find my face amidst the swelling is not easy.
The swelling is going down now. I can close my lips now, which makes eating not just easier, but possible. Everything looks like it's healing fine. Just under the swelling, there is a visible difference.

Yeah. Good choice.

Looking forward to being on the other side of this.

I open my eyes and the world comes back on me with a rush. Busy people. Flourescant lights. A gurney's edge.

"Where am I?"

Questions come back at me. Name. Birthdate. Etcetera.

This must be the post-OR room ("the post-operating room room"). I'd not seen it yet, only heard one of its occupants moaning.
Swelling has narrowed my vision to a tear-streaked La-Forge-esque strip.

Indeed.It feels like I have taken a small muppet, stretched it and shoved my head up its ass until it fits like a belaclava.

Fortunately, I'm not having trouble sleeping on my back. I am having trouble with stress/narcotic-induced repetitive dreams that gradually turn sour and more baffling over the course of the night. I've been up for a coule hours, hoping to shake them.

Also, slight tinglings in numb places herald diminished swelling and the return of nervous sensation. Good.

Wow. It feels like I am wearing a mask

Imagine if you took this actor,

...and cast him as Nute Gunray from the Star Wars prequels.

...And added this guy's neck wrap (except mine is filled with ice)

It still wouldn't look like me. But it would be close.

So I get to be done surgery (or at least this round of it) and there's some sort of substantial bodily improvement thrown in for free? Wow! That would explain why I agreed to this in the first place.

My only concern now is that they will do a good job.

- less than 36 hours to go -
Anxious about surgery.

Concentrate on the good parts, not the bad. Or at least remember the good parts.
In cognitive behavioural therapy, this is called "modifying self-talk"

What if something goes wrong while I'm out.
          I'm not getting heart surgery; they're not going to crack my ribcage.
          They're barely opening me up. This isn't actually that invasive.
          If screwups happened a lot, surgeons would be poor. They aren't.
         Would I rather be conscious and powerless? AKA "a passenger in a car."

                   Other than sleep, I've never been unconscious before. This could be interesting.
                   I fixed the CFS thing, so if I do die, the timing is good. Maybe we can claim I was assassinated?
                   I should try to remember everything so I can write it down later.

Plane leaves tomorrow.
In a week, I will be waking up with some pretty scary-looking bruises, cuts, and stitches, but happier for it. I hope.

But until then, I need to do something with all this tension. So  I write.

In July of 2006, I had not yet sorted out my issues, but was thinking of taking female hormones (as in hormones: "yes;" transition: "huh? wuzzat?"). Skimming through whatever I could find on the topic took me throguh transgender webpages and eventually I wound up here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_feminization_surgery, or maybe it was another page that's no longer online.

And my eyebrows go up.

So it's possible to change the shape of your face?

I filed this in the back of my head.
Coming back from the Fed conference (which not only keep getting easier, but strangely always give me some sort of sociological insight and gendery resolution) and the surgical consultation, I feel that, when it comes to transition, I've hit the halfway mark.

Now, if I were to describe my body as a chart, most would now have reached a dim blue, like the "good" colour in headache commercials. It is in-line; well. I am pleased. Most of it. Most of my face and all of my genitals remain an uncomfortably bright white space. Some parts of the white fade into a light blue: they're near where they should be; others glow an angry red.

They are blank. Not present.
They are bright, glaring. Too present.

I am looking at mending these discontinuities. In my last entry, when I said I spoke to a surgeon, I was not talking about genital surgery, but facial surgery. This is something that I've been thinking about for a awhile but on which I have kept uncharacteristically quiet.

Well, I'm back.

Travel and I have an interesting relationship. I always get there, but it's often by quick changes of plan and a fair amount of determination. The more important it is to me, the harder it gets.

Overnight in Toronto. Got in last night about at about 20h.

Good to be home.
To zap facial hairs with L.A.S.E.R. pulses, you have to grow out your stubble for one to three days first. As you can imagine, this is just fucking wonderful if you're transitioning and presenting as female.

I took advantage of this bearded opportunity, and decided to have a "Sasha is a boy" day - and failed.

My attempts to be in a male role left me feeling like a drag king with a poor work ethic

Did you put that costume together by reaching into your wardrobe? Why not add a tie, and some nice pants?
What's wrong with your facial hair?
What is this, the early 80's in Kinging - where the Kings just went up on stage and slouched  in front of an audience?
And what's that in your pants? It doesn't feel like a packer.

I need a drag king name.

In other news, Estrogen is not supposed to change the shape of the bones in your face, but something is going on with my cheekbones - they're way more prominent than they before, and I'm pretty sure it's not just the changes in body-fat.

It does often change your perception of bodily odors though, and I seem to be smelling other people and myself differently than before.

It's been too long without a gender update.
Before I begin, I would like to say that I hope I can someday put "changed sex" on my resume. It's a job in itself; one involving a lot of research.

Ah, yes. This is where some of you may come in.



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