Thursday, July 27, 2006

Luck, let a gentleman see

There are 13 lucky days left until the last morning that I wake up with breasts. Can't believe it's less than two weeks already! Seemed like such an eternity when I made the appointment. I'd wanted an appointment in June, and settled for August because that was the soonest one by the time I'd made up my mind to go with Brownstein.

I'm finding myself getting more and more excited as the days drop away...this surgery is looming larger, expanding out of its ever present place in a corner of my mind to infiltrate the rest of my thoughts as well. Hardly a few minutes go by now that I don't find some reason to think about it, whether I'm thinking about my trip, or the people I want to see, or the things I need to bring with me.

I think a lot about preparation- what clothes should I bring? Do I have enough DVDs to keep me occupied? Have I taken enough vitamins? Did I do enough push-ups? I also wonder a lot about the aftermath. I'll be reaching for a book on the top shelf and wonder how long it'll be before I can easily do that again.

With my rising excitement is coming a small but persistent case of nerves. I hope that everything goes well- that the Dr. is going to have an 'on' day, and do his best work, and make a nice job of it. (The fact that he does, as far as I know, 3-4 of these procedures a week is very reassuring to me on that count.) I hope that I don't have some previously undiscovered tendency for keloid scars...I hope that my scarring is minimal and manageable, as much as it can be. I hope that I don't lose a nipple!

These nerves are basically tied up in two things- worry about the unknown, and worry about somehow mucking things up. I'm nervous because I don't know what my limits are going to be as I'm healing...I've been asking around to find out what kind of timeframe other guys had before returning to normal, but honestly, it's all such an individual thing that no one can tell me how long it's going to be before I can lift my arms over my head, or hoist a heavy box from floor to counter, or even pull someone in close for a hug without caution.

Which contributes to my second fear, familiar to those of you who recall my anxiety dreams about this exact subject, of mucking up the results. I'm pretty sure Brownstein's going to do excellent work (or I wouldn't be going to him!) but I'm worried that I'm going to try to do too much too soon, and stretch my scars, or something. It sounds a little silly when I type it out- I've been doing meticulous research, and I'm going to be surrounded by people (family, friends, loved ones) who are invested in my recovery and are going to help me. I shouldn't worry that I'm going to do something wrong. But there it is.

I wonder if it's some sort of knee-jerk, "I can't believe this is actually happening!" reaction. Like, I can't believe that I'm finally going to have a body that I love, and enjoy, and am unashamed of and unabashedly enthusiastic about, so clearly, I'm going to do something to mess it up.

and speaking of my body, I'm having all sorts of complicated feelings about it as the time for surgery draws nearer. Surgery has been something of an abstraction til now. A desperately sought, carefully tended goal, but not a reality. I've been looking at photos on Transster and reading guys' transition diaries for five years, and now it's my turn; it's starting to sink in that I'm going to have my own set of Before & After shots.

In less than two weeks, I'm going to be altering my body in a permanent and fairly drastic manner. That's, uh, intense.

And it raises big questions. Questions about why I'm doing this, where this comes from, what does it mean to be trans and to need this surgery? These questions scare me, sometimes, in their enormity and seeming unanswerability. I can answer them, but such answers often lead to more questions. Because I'm not comfortable in this body, because I need the rest of the world and my own eyes to be able to easily and readily see my masculinity, that I'm exercising my rights and agency over my own self (my bodily, physical self) in order to make my self (that is, me) happier and in some tangled way more normal. I don't know what kind of world I could live in where I wouldn't want or need to transition- I don't know if that world is anything more than a specious exercise in armchair philosophy. It's enough to me now to know that the world I'm living in isn't such a world, and I'm having surgery in 13 days.

It feels to me like perhaps this is the next step in this transition. Now that I've made my decisions, not to sit and rest on them, but to continue to examine them, tease them apart, flesh them out and trace their roots and get at the nuances and subtleties and possibilities. I need to learn how to do this in a way that's positive, and productive, and thoughtful, without second-guessing, invalidating, or stressing myself out too much. No sweat! Right?

Well, my progress these days is trying to turn anxiety into anticipation- I want to relax my way into this triumphal moment. It's going to be a vacation, after all!

I'm spending some quality time with my body- enjoying it as it is now, and visualizing how it's going to be soon. I don't know if I'm going to miss my breasts, exactly, but there is a thread of sadness to this endeavor. Guys have warned about post-surgical depression, as a possible chemical reaction to anesthesia, and also as a psychological reaction to a surgery. I can't help but think that any depression is going to be swept away by my delight, but you never know, so I'm trying to gird myself against it nonetheless.

I hope things go well.


CaptLex said...

Eli, we were talking about this very subject at the last group meeting this week - wish you could have been there. I wish you an uncomplicated surgery and a speedy recovery. Hope all goes well. Can't wait to see you when it's all over, dude.

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