Friday, July 08, 2005


This past Wednesday was the day of my surgery. After we had checked out of the hotel, E and I were both picked up and transported over to Greenbaum. I arrived about 2 hours before surgery, and although they already had me destined for Room 11 later that day, we left our bags in Blair’s room since they would be unattended in my future room.

I returned to the downstairs area and started the check-in procedure. I filled out the general paperwork in the lobby and then conversed with the admission’s person. After that, I was taken back into their little pre-staging rooms where my vitals were taken and I changed into my gown and booties for surgery. The nurse also gave me three pills (no, they weren't pink or blue, didn't allow me to exit the Matrix, nor did I see any rabbits), one of which was valium. Next up, they moved me to the gurney in Bay 11 where they would perform the final prep before surgery.

One of the last steps is to place an IV in my arm. The last time they rushed me through pre-op for SRS, the nurse missed on the first attempt. I have noticed over the past few years that the hormones have definitely softened me. My veins no longer protrude like they did before. When I’ve had blood drawn for testing, they’ve missed once or twice over the years. Nowadays, I typically ask the person how good they are at either drawing blood or putting in the IV just to get a feel for their own confidence.

There is one guy at my HMO that is great at drawing blood. He puts the needle in with both force and grace, never once missing. I’ve had a woman that has missed twice, and I could tell right away that she lacked confidence in what she was doing. I ended up with a rather large bruise due to her.

So, when I asked how good my nurse was at putting in IV’s, she responded with “Oh yeah, I’m really good at it”....but she didn’t seem so confident.

“The last time I was here, they missed on the first attempt. The person that was supposed to go before me had to be moved to the main hospital that afternoon and they did a rush job on getting me into surgery that morning.” I could swear that I heard her say, “Oh yeah, I remember you” which really made me think that she might have been the one who jabbed me the first time around.

So, she started on my left arm by applying the tourniquet and searching for a good vein. She noticed the one near the inside of my elbow, but she said that it would make my arm less mobile. She then moved down my arm and looked over the veins around my wrist and hand. She decided to go for the one in my hand, wiped it clean, and then tried to insert the needle. It only went about half way before she stopped. She thought about trying to wiggle it around, but since she had already hyped herself up, she kinda just stalled on what to do. Eventually, after jabbing it around in my hand a little, she pulled it out and placed gauze and tape over my now fresh wound.

She looked at my right hand and thought there might be some veins there, so we did the same thing with the tourniquet, wiping, and insertion of the needle. This time, she again made it halfway in before stalling. She says, “You’ve got a lot of valves here, but I’m going to try inserting the IV anyway.” She did. Well, she tried at least. I start seeing my skin bulge up as the liquid just flowed into the skin and not the vein. She notices this and immediately pulls it out and places more gauze and tape over my second fresh wound.

I’m usually an easy going person, but this was starting to annoy me, especially since she had hyped herself up as much as she did. I look over at the desk where the nurses’ station is located and I see this woman in scrubs who kinda gives me this ‘I’m so sorry look’ as she sees both of my hands bandaged up.

My nurse then decides to go back to my left arm, in the soft area on the inside of the elbow. This is the region where blood is normally drawn, but it makes the arm less mobile for the time the IV is in it. She applies the tourniquet again, but from what I had noticed before, she never got it that tight. She was also wearing gloves that were at least a size too big, which probably prevented her from doing a great job with any finesse. So, I finally perk up and say, “Get that thing really tight and my veins will really pop out.”

She tries to get it tight, but is still fiddling with the oversized gloves. She finally gives up and pulls the gloves off. Now that she is glove-less, she once again ties the tourniquet around my arm...a little tighter than before. She then put her gloves on again and finally inserted the IV into my left arm. I was about ready to jump up and cheer that she finally got it in.

Anyway, if anyone reads this and is headed to Greenbaum for surgery, her name is Karen and I wish you better luck with her than I had. She was 2 for 5 with me. Just for reference, I had no IV issues with the people at Davies in San Francisco when I had my two FFS related surgeries there.

OK, so on to better things. After I was all set up, E came back to sit with me before I was taken back to surgery. We kidded around a bit about the valium, my favorite IV nurse, how I was definitely going to milk my recovery with the two flesh wounds, and how E was going to hook me up to all of the equipment and shock me. Evelyn stopped by and said she would be the nurse monitoring my sedation. I remembered her from last time. She said she would be watching my vitals as well as my facial expressions during surgery. She seemed really cool.

Michael, Dr. Meltzer’s assistant also stopped by briefly to introduce himself and to inform me that Dr. Meltzer would be there shortly.

When Dr. Meltzer did show up just after 1pm, I started out by asking two final questions. Unfortunately, the valium was working pretty good by then and I don’t remember the first question. The second question was ‘How soon can I start having sex again?’ E says that Dr. Meltzer kinda chuckled when I asked this but told me I could resume sexual intercourse in a month.

After the questions, Dr. Meltzer had me stand up so that he could draw on my stomach in the areas he would remove my body fat via liposuction. He drew rounded rectangles of different shapes on both sides of my waist.

Now you have to remember that the valium has really kicked in by now and I am a pretty relaxed person. Dr. Meltzer usually dresses very professionally, and by this, I mean that he is usually wearing a suit and tie. The only time he isn’t is when he is cycling or has cycled to Greenbaum to check in on everyone and has changed into scrubs. While he was drawing on me, I noticed his very sharp tie and the colors in his shirt’s fabric. They matched very well, and if I remember correctly, he wore a very deep blue tie with a shirt that had fine blue and white stripes, all underneath a dark suit with very fine pin stripes.

Of course, the valium (at least that’s the excuse I will be using) allowed me to say out loud, “You look very sharp. Your tie matches very well with your shirt.” Dr. Meltzer thanked me for my compliments then semi-surprised me by saying that he sold clothing in college.

After drawing lines on my waist, he had me sit down so that he could draw lines on my face in the areas where he would be transferring fat into my nasolabial folds. E tells me that after he was done and had taken off his gloves, I smiled and he noticed some other lines that formed on my which time he drew a few more lines in some lower areas.

Now that I was fully ready for surgery, E and I hugged. E told me that E loved me, and I became emotional...almost crying...before telling E that I loved E, too. I’d left E another note in the pocket of my jeans...just in case...but as one can tell, I made it through surgery with no problem.

I was loaded onto the gurney and then wheeled off to the OR. I do remember actually making it there and doing a little more maneuvering, but most of my memory of that time is very foggy.

The next thing I remember is hearing a female voice, “Kara, the surgery is over.” I also remember that my arms were straight out to my sides and were restrained at the wrist. The worst part is that I felt super cold and started shivering uncontrollably. After that, I only remember bits and pieces from later that night.

After I arrived in my room for the night, E says that I spent a lot of time either asking the different nurses their names or trying to remember their names. I was definitely out of it. E also said that Dr. Meltzer had come up after surgery and said the normal stuff...that surgery went well and that he removed about 650cc of fat from my waist...a surprising amount considering my size.

Some of my more vivid memories are of dinner. They brought the slip of paper around for me to pick what I would like, and I picked items that were very easy on my stomach. I also asked if they could give E a dinner slip as well.

Anyway, I ate some vanilla flavored yogurt, some fresh fruit, milk, and two servings of ice cream. Luckily, the food preparation person remembered me from last time, as well as my fondness for ice cream, which is likely why I ended up with two servings. At this particular time, I felt very alert and remember things quite vividly.

I milked my IV battle wounds for more ice cream later on that night.

I’d also had visitors that evening, including Blair who rerouted her dinner down to my room, E, and Lisa, a T-friend from the Bay Area who’d arranged a consult with Dr. Meltzer for that morning.

E and Blair, though, had conspired to have a little fun with me that evening while I was in and out of consciousness. I brought along my stuffed bear, Stuffed, who unfortunately ended up as one of their main props that evening.

I didn’t really feel any discomfort that entire evening (that I was conscious of), probably from having the residual pain killers pumped into my body during surgery. It also probably helped that I didn’t have full sensation in my vagina yet. In between nurse visits to check my vitals, I seemed to sleep fairly well. E spent the night in the fold out chair in the room, but probably got less sleep than I due to the interruptions.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What did you have done?

I talked the recovering Blair into taking a lap around the Greenbaum ward after dinner. As we exited her room, I see this woman with sun glasses ahead of us just standing there. She looks star struck, and if anyone could look like a model rubbernecker, I’m sure they would look just like her.

I made it past her, but the waddling Blair in her Dr. Meltzer provided robe caught her eye.

“Hi. What did you have done?”

Blair pointed at her groin and said, “Downstairs.”

“I know, but what did you have done?” she asked again, thinking that Blair was telling her that she had surgery downstairs at Greenbaum.

“Oohhh......v a g i n o p l a s t y,” responded Blair.

“Oh, I hear more women are having that’s a new procedure” in reference to an article out about more women having their labia reduced in a procedure known as labiaplasty, and not vaginoplasty.

“’s been around for awhile,” Blair corrected her.

“So, you didn’t like the shape of it?” the woman asks.

“Yeaahhhh...pretty much,” Blair said with a slight smirk on her face and an additional eye roll for added effect .

We all kinda chuckled afterward.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day....The Sequel

I’m back in Scottsdale, Arizona, for more surgery. Last year, I was here with Amber for her SRS. This time, I’m here for labiaplasty and a little body contouring around the waist. The labiaplasty is to further define the labia and to hood the clitoris while the body contouring is ultrasonic assisted liposuction to give the waist a more feminine appearance. If I can, I'm also going to see if he will place some of that extra fat in my nasolabial folds.

Since today is a holiday, Dr. Meltzer’s office is closed, but since he has surgery all day tomorrow, he’s holding pre-op appointments today for surgeries tomorrow and Wednesday.

E (who’s along to help me during recovery) and I were picked up at the hotel and transported to his office, where we waited for a few minutes before being escorted to an exam room. I went over some of the basics with Janet, Dr. Metlzer’s nurse, before asking some of my questions. When Dr. Meltzer came in (he’d ridden his bike to the office in the heat....although I had already run 4 miles that morning), we went over all of my questions and concerns:

I don’t seem to have much sensation in my vagina:
None of the major nerves were cut, so you should regain full sensation with time.
I pulled out several ‘dissolvable’ sutures and can feel more in there. Will more be used?
Sometimes the dissolvable sutures take several months to be absorbed. Dissolvable sutures will be used during the labiaplasty, so you will not need to have any sutures removed at a later date.

When should I resume my dilation schedule, and how often should I dilate?
You should resume dilating about 3-5 days after surgery....probably this Saturday. Start with the smaller dilators and continue with your current schedule.

How soon can I start running again?
You can resume brisk walking in a week, running in two weeks. There are no restrictions after 2 weeks.

My mons area is still swollen similar to Amber’s.
Some people have that, some don’t. We’ll lipo that area at the same time that we lipo your waist.

My urethra is very small causing urination to take forever.
I’ll open that up a little today (which he did with a hemistat) and take care of that during surgery.

My urine stream is also angled up fairly high.
I’ll also take care of that in surgery.

I had an orgasm and excreted fluid that wasn’t urine. Any idea what it might be?
It was probably seminal and prostatic fluid. The source of the fluid will probably dry up in time.

I prefer a labial shape that isn’t too big.
We looked at the porn magazine that I brought along again. He said that the one I liked was a reasonable possibility.

I have cleared skin above the clitoris that is outside his 1cm preference.
He said he could remove the skin, but I told him that I kinda liked that skin and preferred to keep it even though it meant I would have hairless skin above my hooded clitoris. In the porn magazine, there was one picture that had a hairless area above the clitoris that Dr. Meltzer pointed out. Dr. Meltzer also mentioned that I could have hair transplanted there if I didn't have any regrowth. He suggested not having hair transplanted from the back of my head though, as the hair there would be of a different texture and would grow to slightly different lengths. (We all kinda chuckled.)

Concerning body contouring:

Do you recommend massages of some sort afterward?
You could have topical ultrasound 3 days a week for 2 weeks, or 2 massages a week for 2-3 weeks out.
What type of scars and bruising should I expect?
You’ll have two incisions for the entry areas, but you probably won’t have much bruising for the lipo.
What should I do if folds appear in the lipo’d area?
They probably won’t based on your physique since you are fairly lean.

Dr. Meltzer said I would have to wear the girdle devices for 2 weeks. The band around my waist should be worn for 2-3 days and then the longer girdle should be worn for the remaining time.

He also said that he would be able to place a little of my body fat into my laugh lines (nasolabial folds).

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A day and a half at home

E and I flew in on Friday evening, chatted with those staying at my parent's house, attended a family gathering Saturday afternoon, and chatted over breakfast this morning before flying out around noon. When I woke up yesterday morning, my dad informed me that I had a flat tire and he'd spotted the nail in it.

I dropped the car off at Wal-mart to have the tire repaired while I talked E into buying a swimsuit in order to join me in the pool at my aunt's house. The water at my aunt's house was warm, almost too warm for the hot muggy weather...but it still felt nice. It's the first time I have swam in about 2 years, and the first time post-op.

When I still had the equipment, getting into cold water was a chore. There were two methods...either jump in or go in slowly because Junior and the boys definitely did not like the cold. I wondered how it would go now that they were gone, but since the water was fairly warm, this wasn't really an, I just jumped in anyway. I couldn't talk E into the water, but I did splash around with a few of my extended family.

When E wasn't around, my uncle asked, "So... who is E?"

I told him that E was my eFriend.

E has never dated a T before, so this is the first time for E. Everyone in my family obviously knows that I am T, and they obviously found out over the weekend that E and I are dating. They seemed to take things fairly well...and were simply happy that I was finally dating. I know it was a lot better having E around since I finally had someone to do stuff with.

After the big meal and picking up the repaired car, we headed back to my parents. I finally got E in the water for a late night swim. The water was a bit cold, but I didn't test out the slow entry method, and simply jumped in again. Actually, it didn't feel that bad down below, so perhaps that is another positive aspect of having it gone. At least I hopefully don't have to worry about shrinkage now.

Friday, July 01, 2005


E and I are on a flight into the hot and humid Midwest. My family is having their annual family reunion and both of us are popping in for a short stay. We fly out to even hotter weather in Arizona on Sunday. Yup, I'm headed back to Scottsdale for round 2. I have labiaplasty on July 6th...the same day Amber had her initial SRS last year. I was initially scheduled for June 20th, but with Blair getting a date on the 29th of June, I was able to get the July 6th one without too much trouble. That will give us a few days to hang out in the hot desert heat while we're both there for surgery. E is just along for support, but also gets to hang out with me while I visit with the family.

The past month or two have been fairly hectic, though. It's nice to finally be on 'vacation', even if it does involve surgery. It feels like I've been swamped at work lately, but I was able to get most of my current projects either finished, or to a point where I was waiting on other things to happen before I moved forward. We've also had rumors of layoffs circulating the office for quite some time, and due to some demographic analysis problem, they didn't implement said layoffs until just recently. This was the third layoff I've been through at my current company. Most of the time, they have called these layoffs 'cutting the fat' that was left over from the biotech boom. Well, the good news is that I still have a job, but since someone in our group was laid off, I'll now probably have more duties.

So, for the past month or so, my left eye lid has been twitching on and off. It's happened in the past. Usually I attributed it to stress and possibly being dehydrated...but it's probably due mainly to the stress. Now that I wrapped up most of my work and we're past the layoffs, hopefully it will stop twitching. If it's related to the upcoming surgery, then I still have about a week before it will hopefully stop.