Austin, TX – Practice Update

Westlake Medical Center

I just had a conversation with Dr Crane about Austin and asked if he’d like me to update folks on the latest since I know people have been asking a lot about Texas.

Crane will be doing the first Austin, TX phallo the last week of June. Forest Park Medical Center went bankrupt, which was the initial hospital on the radar last year for the new Austin practice. Next in line was Sunrise Medical Center, a no-go after the CEO pulled out once he found out the nature of the surgeries that were going to be done. As the saying goes, third time’s a charm because…

Westlake Medical Center

is all systems go. It’s a smaller and more intimate setting where Crane will be able control more variables and interactions with patients vs. a larger more impersonal hospital. A huge bonus is that two of the nurses who will be caring for his patients are also trans themselves.

There is an upcoming meeting/training that is going to take place with the Westlake Medical Center hospital staff. Speaking at this gathering will be a pervious ALT patient of Crane’s. He’ll be sharing his medical experience and able to further assist with dialogue that will aide in faculty understanding how best to support us during the hospital stay.

Dr Crane did mention booking times in Austin for phallo but I don’t want to miss speak on time frames since I know that bookings and timeframes are already a tough topic and folks have gotten misinformation at times. Best to just contact the office directly.

Here are a bunch of photos of the hospital. If you want more images or info on the hospital, the link above will bring you to their updated website.

Full Frontal
The Full Frontal ;o)
Grassy Area Near Waterfall
Grassy Area Near Waterfall
Water Garden
Water Garden
Reception Area
Reception Area
Waiting Area
Waiting Area
Patient Room
Patient Room
Patient Room Bathroom
Patient Bathroom
Operating Room

Austin, Texas – Surgery Center Update (and other info)

So I’ve gotten a few new pieces of information over the past couple of days… On June 25th, I actually shifted my surgery date back 16 days from February 11th, to my current date of January 26th, 2016. I am booking with a friend and we initially had the 26th and 28th as our dates but then found out Crane was going to be out of town the following week and thus changed our dates to February. Crane will still be off work the first week in January. However, my friend is feeling like he needs to do this surgery ASAP (who can blame him, I feel the same way) and thus decided to bump his date back to January 28th. In solidarity, I moved mine back as well, except this time to January 26th, since he chose the 28th… I’m not sure why I feel better about it this time but I do. I suppose if I could have things my way, Crane would be available the following week after my surgery, but I feel safe and cared for knowing that he will be there for the first 5 or 6 days after my surgery which for me feel like the time when things are most critical if I needed to have some kind of surgical intervention. Crane typically discharges folks around the 5-day mark, so it’s likely I’ll be out of the hospital and fairly mobile by the time he’s taking off. In addition, the micro team will be available, as well as Crane’s physician’s assistant and a urologist as well that Kelly said she believes will be a reconstructive urologist. In the end I have to ask myself: “do I trust Crane?” because he wouldn’t be leaving me in the hands of folks that weren’t qualified to care for me. And the answer is YES, I do. I believe that I have not only chosen the perfect surgeon for my needs, but in my opinion, one of the most skilled people in the world doing these surgeries with some of the lowest complication rates and he has lost ZERO penises. I know this requires a leap of faith being that the Austin location is a completely new setting. In many ways it’s a new practice even though the constant is Crane. There will be a whole new team he is working with. But I imagine this process of starting up a new practice is going to be more like second nature this time, since it’s literally his second time doing it. Crane’s done this already when he started in San Fran. Granted he took over Brownstein’s practice, but really it was just the clientele that was established with Brownstein’s name. So much of what Crane is doing Brownstein never did in terms of metas with “the works”, v-nectomy, phallo etc. Crane had to create and handpick his whole team and I feel like he’s done a phenomenal job with all of that.  I trust that he’s doing the same thing in Austin. Only this time he’s got a whole lot more practice under his belt.

So, when I first got my surgery date back at the end of May, I pressed for information about where the surgery center was going to be. I could tell that Kelly was hesitant to disclose the location. At the time I had finally gotten it out of her that my surgery might be at Forest Park Medical Center. It’s called: Forest Park Medical Center – Austin (outside of Austin, in Round Rock, Texas which is about a 45 minute drive from the heart of Austin. Anyway, this surgery center (FPMC) is like a hospital version of the Ritz-Carlton. Seriously. It seems like an ideal place to have surgery and to recover in a setting that feels completely different – at least from any hospital I’ve been in. As it turns out this surgery center is still in the process of opening. I’m fairly certain it’s pretty much built (there is a live camera HERE on their website that you can see the place being built) but it seems like they are finished with the outside now and are busy working on getting the guts of the place up to speed. To be honest, I’d prefer not to be some of the first patients in a brand brand new hospital anyway. 6 months – 1 year down the road, ABSOLUTELY! But I’m ok with Forest Park not being ready in time for my surgery…

As of right now, at least if you are having phallo, it will be at Arise Medical Center (everything, or if it’s just for those having phallo. It does seem like this location is much more ideal in terms of being accessible to folks staying in the Austin area. It’s still up in the air about where Crane’s office is going to be. There is a possibility that his office will be in the Arise Medical Center, which would be super convenient. I’m guessing that by the time I get my surgery packet in the mail (around August) that I will know more about that. Also, Kelly said they are currently working on gathering resources for people as far as suggestions about lodging and other helpful information.

What I can say for sure is that currently, phallos are being booked on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. If you book a Tuesday then you have two options for pre-op. You can either:

A.) Arrive in the area early and meet with Crane’s physician’s assistant to go over paperwork (and Crane as well, by request) the Friday before your surgery… or

B.) You can have your pre-op on the morning of your surgery and the administrative office will send you all the paperwork you need to fill out through the mail as well as your scripts to fill, in advance.

I am not comfortable with doing my pre-op the morning of surgery. I know myself, and I’m too much of an anxious person to feel comfortable with that. I definitely don’t want to feel rushed in my pre-op conversation. I need to feel like I’ve covered everything in a thorough manner – and while that may be possible to do the morning of surgery, it certainly wouldn’t feel that way for me. So for my comfort and to ease my nerves, I will be have my pre-op the Friday before allowing me adequate time in a setting where I don’t feel like I’m “under the gun”.

For those booking on Thursday’s your pre-op appointment will very likely be on Wednesday, the day prior. I say this because when I was originally scheduled for Thursday that’s when my pre-op was set for. And now that my buddy has that date, his pre-op is on Wednesday. So, that’s just some info to consider. Of course, things are always changing, but it seems that’s the case as of right now.

Also, I was under the impression that Crane requires you to stay in the area for one month on average following your surgery. After booking my post-op appointments it seems like it’s actually a bit closer to 3 weeks following your surgery. However, after factoring in arriving a few days early and likely not leaving on the same day as your last post-op appointment (or if you have some complications), 4 weeks does seem almost spot on for general planning. From the date I arrive to my last post-op appointment is 26 days. I intend on leaving no sooner than the day following my last appointment. So I’ll be in Austin for no less than 27 days.

I have 3 post-op appointments setup. It seems that post-op appointments for phallo land on Wednesday, regardless of if you have a Tuesday or Thursday surgery date. Both my friend and I were scheduled on Wednesdays for our post-ops without asking, which is why I suggest that this might be the case. Post-op appointments are each one week out. So this is what my timeline looks like for Austin for those wondering about start to finish and frequency of post op appointments. Obviously though, keep in mind that as with any surgery, especially one of such a delicate nature, depending on how the surgery goes and if I develop any complications, this timeline is subject to change:

Pre-op Appointment: Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Surgery Prep (this is not an appointment): Monday, January 25th, 2016

Phalloplasty – (Stage 1 of 2): Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

1st Post-op Appointment (w/ Dr. Crane’s PA): Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

2nd Post-op Appointment (w/ Dr. Crane): Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

3rd Post-op Appointment (w/ Dr. Crane): Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Also it’s worth noting that although my first post-op appointment is scheduled to be with Crane’s PA, that is not the standard procedure. I’ll only be meeting with him for that appointment because Crane will be off work that week.

Ok friends. I think that’s it for now. I’m trying to keep people in the loop as much as possible. I know it’s been really helpful for me to track others through their process with all of this. It’s helping to not only inform me, but also to pass the time and keep me sane. In some odd way, following other guys has made me feel like I’m right there with them. Since this process can be a lengthy one, not only in terms of getting to your first surgery date, but from the true “start” to “finish” with often multiple stages, I know I like being keyed in and up-to-date with the most current info. So I hope this helps.

Upcoming topics for posts will include:

  • Laser & Electrolysis Updates
  • Insurance Verification Process
  • Mailed Surgery Packet (received 4-5 months pre-op)
  • Packing Lists, Medical Supply Lists, Surgery Prep, Helpful Suggestions

*** Please feel free to leave a comment if there is anything that you’d like for me to cover that you feel I’ve missed so far… This blog is for you.

Surgery Date Booked !!!

Possible(((Surgery date changed multiple times – final date is February 4th, 2016 in San Francisco, CA)))

Wow, I can’t believe I finally have a date! This all seems so unreal to me. I was just sitting down relaxing before bed and realized I had a missed called from an unknown number as well as a voicemail. I listened to the voicemail and it was Kelly from Dr Crane’s office. I was shocked because it was late – a few minutes before 10pm (I live on the east coast so there is a 3 hours time difference). I texted my buddy to let him know (since the two of us are having surgery the same week, we need to schedule together) then I gave her a ring back.

Kelly informed me that they were beginning to go through their lists of tentative dates that people had requested and are finally booking people for actual dates now that they know which days the microsurgery team will be working (Tuesday’s and Thursday’s). The only factor that is still up in the air is that even though Dr Crane is in-network with my insurance, they don’t know which insurances the actual surgery center is going to be in-network with just yet. They don’t anticipate it being different from the insurances they are in-network with in San Fran, but won’t know for sure until September or October. This has me feeling a bit nervous, but I’m choosing not to worry all that much about it. I’ve gotten to the point that I really do believe that things are going to work out, one way or another. Worst case scenario I will have to make a case for a coverage exception at a surgery center that is out of my network. ABSOLUTE worst case scenario, they deny it and I end up having to go to Dr Chen in San Fran. Although I feel the most comfortable with Crane (granted I haven’t met Chen), I would be fine going to Chen at this point if it came down to it. The main reasons being because I trust Crane’s judgement. It’s just that I prefer Crane as well as the Austin location.

I ended up patching my friend in on 3-way calling and we settled on February the 9th and the 11th. Kelly also started to talk a bit about pre-op appointments. So Crane isn’t around on Monday’s which means that pre-op for the surgery on Tuesday the 9th would need to happen either on the Friday before the surgery or the morning of. Personally, doing pre-op the morning of  just feels a bit rushed to me. Luckily, my buddy is totally fine with it, so instead of getting into town 5 days before surgery, we can just arrive a couple days before. He will have his phallo done on Tuesday the 9th and I will go on Thursday the 11th.

Kelly said that the surgery packet/paperwork will be mailed out to us 4-5 months before surgery. In the meantime she will be working on finding resources for folks while they are in the area – such as lodging, pharmacies, stores, transportation etc. I was able to find out that the address of the new office will be: 801 West 38th Street Austin, TX  and the hospital is going to be: Forest Park Medical Center. I am still a bit confused on the address of the surgery center though, because from everything I’ve Googled it looks like it’s in Round Rock, TX  which is about 20 minutes outside of Austin. This is confusing because Kelly told me the surgery center is less than a mile from the office. I’m going to have to confirm the address with her.

In the meantime… I HAVE A SURGERY DATE!!! Really, this just doesn’t feel real. I don’t know that any of it WILL in fact until I’m very much post-op. Because I never thought that I would get here, a small part of my deep inside feels like it’s just waiting for something to go wrong and snatch this dream away from me. I felt similarly in the time leading up to my top surgery. I was really anxious that my dreams would be dashed and something would get in the way. For anyone that’s reading this and feeling like this will never happen for you, PLEASE know… I was you. This was a distant dream that I truly didn’t believe was meant for me – money being the main factor that rooted me in that strongly held belief. But the truth is that this is a medically necessary procedure and it’s being treated as such more and more with each and every day that passes. If this is something you need, YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE, this will indeed happen. Then, go out and MAKE it happen. It’s a powerful life affirming experience when you breathe life into your dreams – no matter what the dream is. That experience has the power to INform and TRANSform the rest of your life.

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  ~ Socrates