Don’t read this if you don’t like medical stuff and descriptions of surgical procedures, healing situations, etc. You’ve been warned.
First a bit of a redux since at this point I’m about seven weeks shy of a year. I had my reassignment surgery and breast augmentation done by Dr. Sherman Leis in Philadelphia. My results have been excellent and I have found him and his office staff very nice to work with. He has been very responsive to questions. He clearly cares about each of his patients very much.
The only warning I’ll give is that he’s fairly critical about weight. That said, I surely have to do something about mine. I am very frustrated, but it is nobody’s fault but my own. In any case you should understand that it comes from a good place.
He has amazing energy for someone his age and running on the kind of schedule he keeps. It astonished me then and it still does.
I had my surgery on November 9th at the Lower Bucks hospital. I was taken good care of there. There was one poor guy delivering food who seemed a little freaked out, otherwise the staff was nothing but wonderful.
I had all the pain control meds I could wish for but only really used them for two things. One was the migraines I was getting from being off estrogen and the other was to make it easier to sleep at night. Otherwise the IV ibuprofen related pain killer was great and I really felt very little pain.
I was moved on the third day. My sister and brother in law came and I went in their car. Walking wasn’t a problem aside from being a little unsteady and concerned that things were just stitched together down there. Sitting in the car was agony. We made it to Dr. Leis’s office where he did a quick exam and then we went to the hotel where I was very relieved to lay down.
I was allowed to go back on hormones fairly quickly so the migraines stopped. I had the Foley catheter in for a good week or so. It came out when he removed the packing. I still wasn’t in much pain and was using the percocet primarily to knock the pain down to where I could sleep. Otherwise I could ignore it.
I spent my two weeks in Philly and muddled through. I traveled home with wheelchair assistance. I found it remarkable that I had to walk through the TSA line anyway. Kind of insane. At my end a friend picked me up and he and my wife got me back into my apartment.
I had almost nothing, which isn’t bad at my age. I had a minor amount of prolapse – I don’t know if that even counts as a complication. I think the “fissure” I had started as a pulled stitch. That might count. Really I think I had nothing.
I did develop bacterial vaginosis, but that was more likely how I was cleaning the dilators (use hot soapy water, no shortcuts) rather than anything from the surgery.
Recovery and Dilation
I ended up needing the entire eight weeks just to return to work half time. It took about another eight weeks to work back to a normal(ish) day. I’d say six months after the surgery I was feeling pretty normal. Before that I still fatigued pretty easily.
The surgical area is still recovering at this point. It looks very good now. It was perfectly reasonable a month after surgery with much of the swelling down, but at this point the swelling is pretty much gone and that turns out to be fairly significant.
I had a few areas of granulation tissue and scarring that were painful when I’d dilate. I worked through that and the granulation tissue broke down and things healed and now those areas are smooth and not painful. The worst one, which had stayed raw for about eight months is now healed over.
The feedback from my GYN today is that everything looks really great. The depth is good, no stenosis (narrowing). The only thing that has some narrowing is toward the entrance and I expect that over a period of weeks or more likely a few months that will resolve now that I’m not dealing with pain.
The other thing that was interesting was that a lot of what I had thought was scar tissue was apparently granulation tissue and basically crumbled away leaving a nice smooth surface. There’s scarring but not a big deal.
The sensitivity is still returning. It is pretty good at this point, but just a bit more would help a lot. I’ve also been told that SSRIs can really interfere. Perhaps I’ll be able to lower those now that things are getting better.
I have a checkup with the surgeon when he’s here for First Event in Waltham coming up. After that just a yearly check with the GYN unless something comes up that warrants a visit.