Hey guys. Sorry, I’ve kind of abandoned this blog. I’ve been updating elsewhere but have neglected this space a bit. Thanks for those of you that nudged me to keep this current.
I’m exactly 4 weeks out from surgery today!!! It’s still completely unreal to me. This is the last big final push now. To think I’ve been dreaming of this for decades and it’s finally just a few weeks away is just a fact that my brain can’t truly comprehend. I never thought that this would happen for me. ..
Tuesday, January 5th was my 30 day mark and I went and did my blood work so that it would be sent in plenty early to the office. I’m just getting over a really bad sinus infection and I’m on antibiotics. I’m hoping none of that effect the test results. If it does, I should still have enough time to do another draw before the cut off time for results to be in, which is 7 days before surgery. Today I should find out about the pre-registration process. I’m seeing conflicting information about when we can actually pre-register with the hospital. Info from Crane’s office say 2-4 weeks prior. The CPMC (California Pacific Medical Center) website says 1-2 weeks prior. I have a phone call with Ursula (the office manager today) so she should be able to confirm for me which information is correct. Especially since before she worked for Crane, she was a nurse at CPMC.
I am feeling solidly comfortable and set within my decision to do RFF. I know my last posts talked about switching my donor site to ALT and beginning hair removal on that location. Part of the reason why I haven’t posted much since then is because the pendulum kept swinging back and forth between donor sites and I couldn’t make up my mind. After weighing my options to exhaustion and considering the lack of hair removal on my thigh to-date, as well as the potential of having a phallus that is a bit smaller than my preference or one that is a bit (or a lot) larger than my preference, I decided that as far as I can tell, it seems as though it’s in my best interest to go with RFF.
There is really only one thing that still feels like I need to make a decision on, and that is whether or not I want or need to have a vaginectomy. I do still have some apprehension surrounding removing/closing that area. Conversely, I worry that not having it closed will leave a lot of lingering dysphoria and not “change things enough” for me to feel comfortable. My feelings on this matter I think should really be another post in and of itself. So I’ll leave that topic here for now.
I finally figured out lodging for myself and my caretaker, both the first few days when I’ll be staying in the city prior to surgery and then the 5 nights I’m in the hospital and my caretaker will need to have a place close by to retreat to. I found a really basic AirBnb place that is going to perfectly meet my needs and the needs of my caretaker during that time. Then I have another 17 nights booked at an Airbnb in Oakland for my time in the area following my discharge from the hospital. I was really trying to avoid staying in a hotel because I wanted more space and privacy than I thought I’d be afforded in that kind of space. And depending on where you look, Airbnb places can be pretty comparable or even cheaper than most hotels.
Earlier this week I submitted claims for all the electrolysis I’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to get reimbursed for this for many months and I’ve made a lot of headway, but don’t have anything to show for it… YET! I was told that I would be reimbursed but it’s been a long tedious process. Aside from the reimbursement, I only have a single 1 hour electrolysis session left before surgery. I’m at a really great spot with hair removal! My arm is INCREDIBLY hairless. I have been working on hair removal for 11 months now. Of course regrowth can and will happen to some degree, but I doubt it will be very much. It will be interesting to see what grows back during the healing process. Because during that time I will absolutely not be even thinking of doing any hair removal. Still, I can’t imagine I will need more than 2 or 3 hours post op. It’s likely that I’ll do some 15 or 30 minute clean-ups a few months apart to really let things grow to a point where they are easily visible.
All of my medical supplies are gathered and I figure if there is anything else I need I can just get it once I’m out in CA. I’ve spent waaay more money on medical supplies than I had intended and it just seems crazy. I don’t want to buy anything else unless I have a legitimate existing need for it, rather than just thinking about possibly needing something. I already have all the required items. I do still want to pick up a thermometer though. A friend suggested that, to keep track of whether or not you’re running a fever which would indicate a likely infection. Good call!
In terms of packing, I’m sure even with pairing stuff down and bringing the basics that I’ll end up over packing. Ultimately I want to make sure I’m as comfortable as possible. I’m also really worried about getting the sheets at my rental really gross. I suppose if I was staying in a hotel I wouldn’t worry about keeping the sheets so pristine since there are so many people coming and going that I’m sure there is a need to replace sheets on a fairly regular basis. But when it’s someone’s home you’re staying at, it just feels different. I plan on picking up some underpads (chux) when I’m in the area, but I just cant see that really providing 100% coverage, since it will likely shift throughout the night and also, there is the whole top of my body to consider which is where my thigh graft site will be, obviously my penis, plus my donor arm which will end up moving all over the place. So I will likely bring my own sheets so that I don’t have to be quite so worried about getting theirs utterly grimy and disgusting.
I’m in the process of getting all my paperwork together for short term disability insurance through my employer. I feel really grateful. I have both short term and long term disability insurance through my employer. This both ensures that I will not lose my job to a medical leave and it also provides me with 60% of my earnings while I’m out on leave. Short term leave covers up to 22 weeks of leave. If for some reason I needed to be out longer than that, the long term insurance would kick in. This is really comforting because I plan on taking the full 3 months off work to heal from stage one and I knew that FMLA only covers 3 months of medical leave before your job is at risk. So knowing that if I needed longer from just needing a bit more time to heal, or if I encounter come complications is really helpful. Also, there is the second stage of surgery to consider as well. I fully intend on getting testicular and erectile implants which will be another stage. Ideally I’d like to have all surgery completed by the end of this calendar year in order to only have to pay one out-of-pocket max for everything. But the ultimate goal is to do what is best for my body, and I won’t know till much later in the year what my plans for stage two will be. I will probably try to secure a date this year during my post op appointments, so that I have the option of completing things this year. Anyway, I say all that because short and long term disability insurance might be something to look into through your employer as they are covering me WAY above and beyond what FMLA offers – both time off wise and financially.
I think that’s pretty much it for now. This is the bulk of everything going on and the last things I’m tying up here at home. I know these last weeks are really flying by. Ever since I hit the 90 day mark things sped up. Then since 50 days I don’t even know where the time has been going! Everyday feels like a half-day and it’s over before it’s even begun. I only have 16 more days of work before I leave. I fly out in 3 weeks, 3 days! I’m feeling really really good. Surprisingly relaxed. Ever since I quit my second job delivering papers on January 2nd, my life has quickly gone back to normalcy and my stress levels have plummeted. I’m feeling like a human again now that I can sleep past 1 or 2am and have time for self-care. Once I completely heal from this sinus infection and finish these antibiotics that are tearing up my stomach I’ll be feeling incredible!
I’ll try to do another update at 2 weeks… if I remember.