So the previous post I wrote was sorta a half-awake, partly drugged mess of a post, and though I started writing it on Saturday, I only was able to cover the day of the surgery (Tuesday).
Then I got caught up in enjoying Mexico and just did little updates to my Facebook, as for some reason my wordpress app on my iPhone crashes.
I’m back home now and healing nicely, but allow me to fill in the gaps with Part 2…
Where was I? Oh that’s right. The first night after surgery. I had to sleep mostly upright and hold a blood draining thing in my lap that sorta looks like a plastic accordion. Not pretty. And very hard to get sleep. The next two nights of sleep consist of a lot of micro naps more than anything, so those first 3 days seem like a month.
Yeah I know, yuck.
Wednesday morning we head back to the hospital to remove the drain and the mummy like bandages. It feels REALLY weird to have the drain removed because it’s essentially two tubes that run the length of the incision. The incision basically goes from from one ear up to the top of the head and to the other ear. When they remove it, they are actually pulling tubes out of one side, and they are under the skin but over the skull. It’s a dull pain but it’s something that I just have to endure. There’s tons of dried blood in my hair and my face is starting to swell. They take the bandages off and it’s not pretty. My face is swollen up like a balloon and my hair is sticking straight up where there was a gap in the bandages. I look like the creepy motion-capture CGI Tintin from the Tintin movie. What’s been done to me? I’ve been turned into a teenage boy adventurer from France!?
Separated at birth? Oui? Or Non?
Yeah, yeah, I know. There aren’t even remotely flattering pictures, but the purpose of these blog posts is to show you what to expect when you get surgery. As I write this a week later, my outlook has changed because of the surgery and that’s something that I’ll wrote about more in depth later.
So finally I get to put my hair back down and though I look like a balloon, the change is dramatic.
And though my hairline isn’t perfect, I’ve gone from no options to considerably more options for my hair. This is already starting to have a wonderful effect on my psyche. When you’re surrounded by oversensitive people in your life who give you the whole “I love you however you are”, it’s hard to describe what it was like for me, at the age of about 19 or 20, when a doctor tells you that the day your pimples go away, you’re going to lose all your hair by the age of 30… That’s a soul crushing thing to learn as a young adult, when deep down you yearn to be this thing (a girl), but you know it’s impossible. It’s hard for people to understand that in the pre-internet days, there was no trans visibility and the public face of anything remotely trans-ish was Boy George, Frank N Furter, and Tootsie.
There were no such terms as “gender neutral” or anything like that.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. And as I’m seeing the new me emerge, I am beginning to realize what it’s doing for me. I’ve basically moved my “default position” further towards the feminine. When I roll out of bed looking like shit, I don’t look like an older guy losing my hair and feeling pathetic until I get all dolled up and then feeling like I’m overdoing it. No, now I roll out of bed and I’m feeling like my old, young, gender neutral tomboy/girlish pixie creature that I was in my 20′s. A lot of pain and frustration and self loathing has been erased. In other words, I’ve gotten the effect that I had hoped.
The next night is brutal. Moreso because of the meds keeping me from getting a solid sleep of more than an hour here, and hour there, punctuated by about an hour in between of not sleeping, trying to calm my mind into a sleep. I do everything to try to sleep, but I’m simply not sleeping. It’s not even like I have been drinking coffee all day, I don’t even finally crash. I simply don’t sleep at all, and wonder when the hell I’m going to sleep. But the pain isn’t that bad overall. I have a few days where I don’t have to go anywhere. So I watch a bit of BoJack Horseman and some other movies and cuddle with the two British Bulldogs here, Molly and Lucy.
A face only a mother could love...
Having the dogs here are a stroke of genius. Not only are they like recovery/care animals, they’re so un-pretty and their faces so flabby, you don’t feel so bad about how your face looks at this time.
The next day is probably about the worst for how I look, as now the bruising and swelling is being effected by gravity. I have worse pictures than this but even I don’t want to post them. For a day or so I see what I would look like if I sat in bed eating Cheetos for a year.
yeah, I only brought like 5 outfits, so it's gonna look like I'm wearing the same thing every day. What-ev.
But that’s the worst the swelling gets, and by the end of the week, the swelling has subsided. Now I’m looking at my hair and dreaming of all the potential haircuts I can get, and noticing how much I’ve neglected it over the years. At this time its at that too short to be long and too long to be short stage which is just a mess.
Interestingly we go out and I’m not sure how I’m being read. I think I’m not being seen as trans, but just as a woman with sort of a crazy cat lady haircut.
By about saturday evening we get out a bit and walk to the mall. the exchange rate is really good, and pretty much once you do the math, everything there costs about half as much as it does in the states. A six pack of Heineken bottled beer is about $5 even at a convenience store for example. We go shopping and my friend buys a ukelele.
I’m allowed to drink a little bit and have some fun.
I only had one Corona and a shot of Tequila. Really, I did.
At this point I’m healing really well, and somewhere in here they take out about half of the stitches. I didn’t think I’d be feeling quite this energetic so soon after the surgery (in fact I planned on being in bed for a month), and Guadalajara is beautiful. We’re in a great part of town and I learned later that because of things like NAFTA, Mexico has more of a middle class than it did (3o years ago it was more like either you were rich or or poor). I’m suitably impressed with Mexico, in fact I like spending my money down here and I think it benefits all of us in North America to have a stable, growing Mexico. I don’t particularly know a lot about the reasons why Trump wants to build a wall to keep them out of America, you might have to build that wall to keep me from leaving the country and living down here like a princess.
I know, I’m only seeing one side of it. I know there are extremely poor parts of Mexico, but there’s shitty parts of the US too. I found Guadalajara to be about like Savannah in the 90′s, and way way better than New Orleans in terms of general run down and scariness. I know the transop folk are fighting an uphill battle with Americans thinking that if they go to Mexico for surgery, that they’re going to wake up in a bathtub full of ice and a stolen kidney, but that’s sooooo far from the truth. The way things are set up here, it’s basically a beautiful bed and breakfast that you visit in a beautiful part of town, and oh, hey, you’re getting some “work” done on your body at the same time.
Nope. This didn't happen.
So Sunday we took an uber to Tonala, to visit the craft market. Tonala is known for it’s ceramics and going crazy with the sun motif in designs and oh I want to buy everything and take it all home, but I can’t.
I highly suggest taking uber’s when you’re in another country and don’t speak thelanguage. It’s perfect. As long as you know exactly the address you’re going to, it’salready pre-loaded with your uber driver and pretty much nothing can go wrong. Theycan’t drive around in circles and charge you more or be an asshole because they want agood rating. I just smile and tell them I don’t speak much spanish, and holy shit, theUber takes us about 20 miles out of town, and only costs 125 pesos, which is about$7.35 Where can you go 20 miles for $7 and that barely covers the cost of gas?
The market is wonderful and I am in search of painted tiles for a table mosaic projectI’m doing back at home. We find the tile store and sadly they mostly sell whole boxesof tiles, which is far too heavy to bring home. They also have gorgeous painted toiletsand sinks and I just want to redo my bathroom with these.
with toilets like these, I'd welcome Monteczuma's Revenge!
So yeah, when you convert them to USD they come out to be only about $180 each, which is nothing. You can get them in the US, but they cost like $700+. I’ve been told that maybe you can get them in Tiajuana and bring them back in to the states, so if I’m ever on a road trip to San Diego and back, I think I know what I’m going to bring home.
Tonala is beautiful, if a little rough around the edges. They really like the sun motif here and there’s just too much to buy I can’t fit it all in my luggage. Here is pretty much my haul of loot, and none of it cost that much.
Oh, and the food! Speaking of Monteczuma’s Revenge, I’m like one of those people to whom Mexican food has the opposite effect on. As bad as Taco Bell is here, that’s my go-to food if I want something that calms my stomach. Yeah, I know, that makes no sense. But the tacos in Tonala? Oh, yum.. yum.. amazing. The way tacos are supposed to be. And this plate of tacos was only 32 pesos (that’s less than $2)
I know this doesn’t look like tacos but it is. it’s 4 of them and they’re flat. The shells (are they shells, or tortilla? I don’t know the terms?) are soft and just soaked in something, cooking oil? I don’t know. Its a bit messy but the flavor is like soaked right into it all and oh..yum yum.. I’m craving this now. It’s going to be a challenge to find good Mexican food up here in Mass now that I’m back..
A few more days of rest and relaxation and I finally get around to working on some of the projects I brought with me. I’m inspired by a Spanish-Mexican sorta flamenco thing and whip up this piece of artwork. I wonder which lucky contributor to my indidgogo campaign will get this piece?
The last couple days there we still head off to the care facility (I’m not sure if hospital is quite the right word) for LED light treatment on my face. I guess it’s supposed to speed up the healing process. I don’t have any pictures of that, but here is what the outside of the building looks like. I remark that it looks like some kind of ice cream cake made out of chocolate and vanilla with hershey’s syrup drizzled on it..
The last days there I’m getting itchy to get home and back to work, and starting to visualize my new haircut. I’m going to do for the short pixie cut, sort what JLaw has going on here. At the moment I’m going to wait for the scabs and scars to all heal.
I know my hairline isn’t quite there yet, but my options have gone from nothing to something a bit more hopeful. The reason I am so upfront about my issues transitioning is that I want to show people the difficulties of transitioning when you’re older than 30. I came out as trans in my late 20′s, but wasn’t able to do much about it till my mid-30s and the older you get, the harder it is. But for my age, I am blessed with good health and pretty much the body and stamina and healing of a teenager. I know plenty of people my age whose bodies are falling apart, and I’m nowhere near that, thank God!
Pretty much to wrap things up, I fly back and for the first time, I’m just myself. I’m presenting as female (of course), but not needing a wig to do it. I scrape up a little makeup and I manage to foof up my hair a little bit.
When I have my layover in Houston (I flew in there the day after flights resumed after epic flooding), and I just the ladies room, damn their stupid bathroom laws. Come to think of it, maybe the flooding is God’s way of pissing on them for their bigotry. (It’s not just HB 2 in North Carolina folks, its ALL OVER the South..)
(btw, I have a lot of opinions about HB2 that I want to express I will just wait for another post for that).
So that brings us up to about now. I’ve been home a day and a half and the first thing I did was take a nice bath, and trim off about an inch or two to my hair, and though it’s not the cut I want yet, it’s made me very happy to see myself like this.
This is still me without makeup, with some bruising (I have some weird yellow patches on my skin) and swelling in a few small places. I have yet to do full makeup with false eyelashes and I haven’t even tried on any wigs to see what the new eye/forehead area will look like with longer hairstyles. I haven’t tried it yet because I still have some lumps under the incision, and I’m a little worried that maybe I have a small infection under there. I’m going to see how it is in a few days and if it gets worse or doesn’t go down I might have it looked at. Once everything is good I’ll be back to camming (I might even try a little camming today) and I predict I can be doing shoots again in a week or two. Like I said, I have a HUGE backlog of work I did before I left that I gotta slog through next.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the results. It’s changed my outlook about things but since I spent about 10 days not thinking sexy thoughts, I haven’t been super turned on by much of anything. So I’ve been far more introspective and looking back at my life and career and my journey more than anything else. I had also planned on working a bit on my memoir while I had this downtime, and we’ll see what progress I make on that as well.
I do have other things to report about my career (some of it is VERY BIG news), but I’ll save that for another post, maybe tomorrow.
I want to send and extra extra thank you for all the people who contributed to my cause and want them to know how much this surgery has improved my happiness. Since I’ve been back I’ve been very happy, and not even the untimely and unexpected passing of Prince can really bring me down now. But right now I’m living in the now, looking at the past, and very soon I will be again thinking about the future, now that the prospects of the future have improved!