Sunday 23rd November - 9 days post-op
Well I'm dilating again (ain't that a surprise?). It's taken 20 minutes to reach my full depth but that's about what I'd expect. Although I am still catheterised and very swollen (but much less so than initially), I'm very happy with my progress.
We woke this morning at 7:30am, and breakfasted downstairs an hour later where we were joined by several of the other girls. I came back a little sooner than Kazzy to start my dilation, but in the event our room was being cleaned when I returned so I didn't start until 10am. I'm drinking a fair bit of coffee (which acts as a laxative on me) to try to help unblock my bowels, but despite that and the laxative pills given to me by the clinic I couldn't manage to go this morning - which is making the dilation a little less comfortable, although not unbearably so.
After coming out of the bathroom I had one of those "special moments"...I glanced at the full length mirror on the wall and saw a me who was now wholly female. Wow! Already, I can't imagine being any other way - how on earth did I cope with having a penis???
It was just so wrong for me, but at least it's been put right now.
Before starting my dilation I took some "pussy pics" to post on the Yahoo Trans-Surgery Group, as I want to give the others there an opportunity to see my progress. I'm proud of my new anatomy, so why should I hide it away from those contemplating surgery who would most benefit from seeing it, and those who've been there already and can give me feedback on anything I should look out for?
Kazzy and Toni returned from a shopping expedition a few minutes ago so we've all been chatting away. While they were out I wrote a handful of "Hello from Thailand" emails from the comfort of my bed and uploaded some post-op pictures to Trans-Surgery.
Tonight we're going to visit the Chinese Restaurant on the floor below. Right now though I think it's time to rest.
It's been a busy - but restful day. Maybe I should explain as that sounds rather contradictory! While resting but awake I typed up a little more of this diary ready to upload to my website (hopefully soon). Kazzy has been helping me with the typing, and we're starting to get there now - but I've written so much so far that it's taking a while!
The diary is illustrated with pictures which I hope will bring the experience to life for others and maybe give those planning to follow me an idea of what to expect - particularly if they choose to come to Dr. Suporn. After all, travelling 6000 miles to have major invasive surgery is a daunting prospect whichever way you look at it!
After typing for a little while (while lying in bed - I am trying to rest after all) I dozed for a while before we headed down to dinner ath the Chinese Restaurant. As well as Kazzy, Toni, Freeda and I we were joined by Oceana, Ulli and Caroline.
The food was gorgeous and the portions way too generous for my reduced appetite - I'm very glad I only ordered a small dish!
One thing that I was struck by was the dresses the waitresses wore - they were stunning and split up the sides of both legs to almost the panty line - I'd love to wear an outfit like that to a party one day!
It was a wonderful social occasion and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
As I write this I'm approaching the end of my evening dilation, which I've extended to 2½ hours as it took me a bit longer than usual to reach full depth (doing more is OK - skimping is not). After cleaning myself I'll try to wind down and sleep, as another happy day ends.
Monday 24th November - 10 days post-op
I've just had some fresh bleeding (as opposed to brown blood coming away from healing tissue - which I'm used to) from one side of my labia minora. It's the first time it's happened, but no reason to panic - I just held a cotton wool pad over it for a few minutes, then Kazzy applied Dermazin cream for me.
It's time I slept, but being a night bird at heart I find winding down in the evening difficult - especially as I'm so full of euphoria and my mind is racing with ideas...
I'm 15 minutes into my morning dilation and have just reached my depth of 7" - it takes time to get there as the vagina tightens between dilations as the body tries to heal the "wound". I don't rush, but try to interpret what my body is telling me - as I did last night.
Kazzy and I overslept this morning, waking at 8:15am. Toni came over a few minutes later, followed by Wannee at 8:30am who examined us both and was very happy with our progress. I'm very happy with the way I'm healing so far - in particular at the way the necrotic tissue is coming away leaving new tissue underneath.
Oceana visited briefly before I started my morning dilation. I feel concern for her as she's so young that she lacks the life experience to cope with this as well as those of us who are that little bit older - especially as she's travelled alone to Thailand. I tried to explain the way I see my psyche as a balance between the inner girl-child and the rational adult with the life experience to help the reborn child to cope...but with her shorter life experience it's not surprising that she's struggling a little.
Wannee told me that I'm to see Dr. Suporn tonight. I'll take a wander over to the clinic at 5pm - the first time I'll have left the hotel since arriving here from hospital. It'll be good to go there again - the atmosphere is fantastic!
Wow what an afternoon! After lunch Aey dropped in to check on my progress. It was a lovely surprise especially as I was able to show her how much I've healed since she examined me in hospital. She also told me that my appointment with Dr. Suporn had been moved forward to 3pm, so after she left I got myself ready. Wannee rang to ask whether I felt I needed a lift or whether I felt I could walk - and in the end Kazzy and I met up with her and Toni (who was having her final check-up today - she leaves for home tomorrow) in the hotel lobby at 2pm for the short walk to the clinic.
The walk to the clinic was fine, and also a bit of a milestone for me - the first time I've ventured outside the hotel since arriving here from the hospital on Friday.
After we arrived I was examined by Dr. Suporn (with Fai helping - it was good to see her again!). When he examined the area around my urethra he said it was still a little swollen so he would leave the catheter in for now - but he thinks it will probably be able to be removed on Thursday. Here's hoping!
He also told me that he'd had a chance to study the facial X-Rays taken at the hospital when I was admitted, and that I have quite thick bone in my forehead (no surprise to my friends, I suspect - I can be a stubborn cow! ), so a "Type II" approach will definitely work for the forehead work I'm having done in January (see my FFS page) - I won't need the more major "Type III" reconstructive technique. That's definitely good news.
I also asked about the need for the sliding genioplasty and jaw reduction I was advised of a few weeks ago and he explained why it was necessary in my case (basically because of the shape of my jaw, which the X-Rays have undoubtedly confirmed). I don't pretend to understand all he told me, but I've already put my life in his hands once and I trust him totally.
Afterwards the hospitality of the clinic shone through once again. Aey's friend the dressmaker has made two dresses for Toni, and she was able to try them on at the clinic this afternoon with everybody there. After seeing how she looked (absolutely stunning!)I I couldn't resist ordering a dress too - a beautiful floor length design in red Thai silk.
We had one more surprise in store, when Natta walked into the clinic while we were there. She normally works for the clinic in Pattaya, and I've heard a lot about her from others who've been before me, as well as seeing her in the Channel 4 documentary "No Cock In Bangkok" which covered Ginny Bourne's surgery with Dr. Suporn in 2000. Kazzy and I took the opportunity to introduce ourselves, and she did make me laugh when she pointed at my chest and asked "Implants?". When I replied "No - natural", she said "Wooow!". It was the expression on her face when she said it that cracked me up most!
If we make it to Pattaya on this trip we're both looking forward to seeing her dance - she's quite a character, and apparently an amazing dancer.
After that we returned to the hotel. I need to rest before we go for dinner tonight at 7pm - it's Toni's last night here and her choice of venue - so tonight we're turning Japanese...
Tonight has been a special evening marred only by the fact that Toni is leaving for home tomorrow and she's upset about the prospect of leaving the many special friends she's made here behind - and my having a hiccup in my dilation. More on the latter in a moment, as first I want to talk about Toni's last evening here with us.
Although we'd planned to visit the Japanese restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel tonight, we ended up going to the Terrace Cafe instead. Oceana and Ulli joined Toni, Kazzy and I and we had a wonderful and fun meal together, taking a few pictures (of course!) to commemorate the occasion. Kazzy presented Toni with a rose - and a toe ring matching hers and the one she gave me several months ago (the two of us and Kazzy's friend Sammie are soul sisters - and now there are four of us). I just know it'll be as special to Toni as mine is to me.
Right now Kazzy is helping Toni to pack, and tomorrow I hope to dilate before breakfast so we can both see her off at midday.
Less tasteful stuff now I'm afraid. I started my dilation tonight 20 minutes late (no biggie) but immediately it felt much harder and less comfortable than usual, which I at first took to be a sign of the skin graft thickening as it heals (which the discharge I'm seeing indicates). It took 25 minutes to reach full depth - significantly longer than usual- probably due at least in part to the discomfort I was feeling...although when I prayed and thought back to the happy events of the afternoon my body relaxed a bit and it got a little easier.
However, there turned out to be another factor - 40 minutes into my dilation I realised that I badly needed a bowel movement. Somehow, I've gone from being constipated to the exact opposite with virtually nothing between.
That led me to break my dilation - the first time I've had to do that. I mention it mainly because it was so upsetting (and turned out to be nothing) and in doing so I subconsciously remembered to apply what I've been learning about hygiene while dilating in a circumstance I hadn't been taught how to deal with. A simple thing really - before restarting dilation I removed the rather messy (I'm healing, remember) condom from the stent, replaced it with a fresh one and lubricated it as normal.
Despite the 20 minute break I reached within ½" of full depth in seconds, and it's now so much more comfortable. I'm going to extend this dilation by half an hour to compensate for the slow start and the break. Another lesson learnt.
Tuesday 25th November - 11 days post-op
With Toni leaving today I'm doing my morning dilation 4 hours early (I started at 6am) so that I'll be able to see her off at midday. It's the first time I've started so early, but good practice for the routine I'll have to adopt (probably 5am and 6pm) when I go back to work on 2nd March after my FFS.
This morning's dilation went just fine, as did breakfast afterwards - Toni's last with us here before flying home tonight. Afterwards she visited the clinic to say her goodbyes but I had to come back to my room to rest. Wannee was due to pick her up for the journey to Bangkok at midday but in the event was delayed for a while.
No matter - we all waited with Toni in the hotel lobby sipping drinks (non-alcoholic except for Kazzy - we're being good! ). She left with a smile - which I was very happy about as last night she'd been upset about leaving and I remember her apologising for crying and me telling her not to be sorry for that - tears are good for letting out the pain, and can be turned from tears of sorrow at leaving to tears of joy at her achievement in getting through this experience and at all the wonderful friends she's made here. Eventually Wannee arrived and once the car was loaded we waved her off. I hope she gets home OK, and doesn't feel low on the journey. I know she has special people waiting for her when she gets back, and that can only help.
I speak for Kazzy too when I say that she touched both of our hearts while here. Although I met her in the UK before flying out here (we knew we'd be in Thailand at the same time, and arranged to meet for a meal several weeks ago), we've grown so much closer here - and seeing her and Kazzy get on so well has been such a pleasure.
While I was resting this afternoon Kazzy was in town with Ulli, and when she returned she gave me two gifts I already treasure - a beautiful white top with a spiders web pattern stitched into it, and a pair of earrings which are very unusual and have a medieval theme - I'm not giving anything more away yet as I want to surprise a few people from my past with them.
This afternoon as I was (still) resting Aey called by to see how I was doing, and we had a long and very special chat. I bared my soul to her (I feel I know her that well already) telling her a little of my background...about the special moments in my life and how I sometimes suffer with mild (by clinical standards) depression, and how I now cope with it - sleep, tears and laughter. As we talked about the painful things Aey held my hand and hugged me. For one so young, she's truly wise. A wonderful person, and by no means the only one here who is - not by a long way.
For the rest of the day I've continued to doze and rest. I feel I'm in more pain than over the past few days - maybe in part because of my excursion yesterday, maybe because of healing. Resting more today seems sensible, and as a result I'm not going down to dinner tonight - I'll order room service after by dilation is over.
Speaking of which, I started tonight an hour late (at 7pm instead of 6pm) but so far it's gone without a hitch (as it did this morning) despite my trepidation after the upset I felt last night and the increased pain I've felt today.
Just after I started writing this entry I had another one of those "special moments" which have marked my journey to finding and healing myself. I had VH-1 on the TV again (and had reached depth a few minutes earlier) and a song by the Pretenders came on - "I'll Stand By You". What first got my attention was a lyric which said "don't be afraid to cry" - exactly what I've learnt and what I told Toni last night. The fact that the guy Chrissie Hynde was singing to was wearing a cross just made the message stronger. I was liberally crying tears of joy and thanks by the time the song ended.
Thank you Lord.