Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for granulation tissue

Get that soldering iron away from my crotch!

I’ve mentioned a few times that one of the issues I had after my surgery was some granulation tissue right at my vaginal opening. It wasn’t all that painful, but it was annoying and emmitted a fair amount of near-constant puss-like discharge. There was quite a bit, actually; the doc said that it was a lot.

So, today I had the appointment with the local surgeon to have the granulation tissue removed. When I saw him a month ago, he had used the word “cauterize.” Now, I know that cauterizing something involves heat, but I suppose I wasn’t fully prepared for the procedure. I was definitely nervous, but I guess I wasn’t ready for how much it felt like minor surgery. I was brought into the room and laid on a bed and had myself up in stirrups.

They covered my face with a sheet, I think as a sanitary procedure, and then the doctor came in. He gave me a shot of lidocaine in each side of the vaginal opening, and essentially used a high-tech soldering iron. The pain wasn’t that bad, but the smell was nauseating; burning flesh is never a good smell, when it’s your own, and it’s your own vagina, it’s down-right awful. There was some stinging and pulling, and this was definitely the roughest anyone has been with my new parts (I’m still pretty gentle with them). The sound wasn’t great either, sounding sort of like an electronic buzzing sound. It was over in less than fifteen minutes. I’d say the pain was maybe a three or a four, but the stress of the experience was probably more like a five or a six.

So, that’s over with. I now basically have two burn wounds at my vaginal opening. The surgeon said that new skin should grow over them and that I should go back to see him in two weeks so he can check and see how everything is doing. More importantly, he said that tomorrow I could take a bath and soak – yay!

[fyi: I don’t feel like posting this surgeon’s name in my blog. If you’re in the Boston, MA area and you’re in need of a surgeon who is familiar with surgically-constructed vaginae, please contact me and I’ll forward his info.]

“That’s a lot of granulation tissue”

I just got back from a visit to see a local surgeon. Pretty much the only ongoing issue in my healing is a little flap of skin that’s hanging off and expresses a bit of puss-like stuff. I sent pictures to my surgeon in Colorado who performed my SRS. She said that it looked like granulation tissue and that I should be able to have it taken care of locally. It took me a little pressing, but I found a local surgeon that was willing to look at me.

I was a bit stressed out due to a very emotional conversation with my boyfriend last night, so my emotions were shot to start out. The fact that the surgeon I went to see is a urologist didn’t help. Though, the department lists “female urology” as a specialty, and my mom has been to see a urologist, and my therapist, who is female, has seen this exact doctor, so I’m just being silly.

My anxiety built as I entered the building and rode the elevator to the sixth floor. While I was waiting in line for registration one of the office assistants called me “sir” – not a good start. She never corrected herself, but she was fine besides that.

As I waited in the waiting room I was hardly the only woman there, which helped to put me at ease a little. But while I was waiting for the office assistant for the surgeon who was going to see me, I caught myself absent-mindedly scratching my hand. It’s been a very long time since my anxiety lead me to engage in any sort of self-harm (I used to pull my hair, poke myself with pins, and scratch myself as “coping” and distracting elements). I can’t remember the last time I was that anxious.

After about forty-five minutes in the waiting room I was called in to see the surgeon.

I got to take my first ride in stirrups – oh joy!

When the doctor was first examining me he turned me into an impromptu teaching-tool for the nurse in the room. He pointed out my clitoris to her and explained that it was formerly the head of my penis, and also pointed out my urethral opening and vaginal opening. It was definitely sort of weird. I guess my status as a post-operative transsexual makes me enough of an oddity that I get to be used as a lab rat anytime I’m around medical folks. It’s weird, because I don’t really mind helping to educate, but the way it was done felt fairly dehumanizing. Oh well.

The surgeon said that I have a lot of granulation tissue, and he was hesitant to take it off; he thought there might be a bit of pain. I said that I have a fairly high pain tolerance and I felt comfortable with him taking it off. He said that it was too much to do today, so I had to make another appointment. He also said that beyond the granulation tissue it looks like I still have some healing going on.

The surgeon was actually pretty cool, and by the end of the appointment I felt much calmer and more positive, even with the couple stressy issues that happened along the way. Also, his office assistant is awesome and lovely, which always helps.

So I still have my granulation tissue for another month. In the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal, but I wanted it done with; I’m tired of wearing pads everyday.

Three Month Post-Op Update: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

Wow, has it only been three months?

Yep, apparently; three months ago today I had my SRS.

It may seem completely silly to say, but I really can’t even remember what having a penis felt like. I mean, d’uh, right. I know I had one, and I can remember having one, sort of, but it seems like such ancient history. Before surgery I tried to picture what I would look like with a vagina; I found it fairly difficult to imagine. Now, though, everything just looks so “right.” My vagina looks like it’s always been a part of me. My body finally feels like my own. Truly. And now I can’t really picture myself as ever having had a penis. Sweet. 😉

So, really, how’s it going?

Well, the healing has been going amazingly well. My labia have shrunk to much more normal proportions, and at this point the left side (which was the side that was “bigger than my head“) is smaller than the right. Even more impressive to me is how much the scars have faded. The scar on the right side is very faint already and the scar on the left side, which was the suture line that had all the issues, has begun to fade as well. Considering how things were just a few short weeks ago I am truly thrilled with this amount of progress.

I still have a little bit of numbness, but my sensation has been gradually coming back and the progress here too has been wonderful. It seems that at about nine or ten weeks post-op things really started getting much better pretty quickly. I’ve been continuing to explore my body, and am learning how everything feels and what sensations I respond to. As I mentioned here, I am orgasmic, which is quite lovely. 🙂 I’ve sort of lost track of how many orgasms I’ve had at this point (I think it’s eight, but that might not be right). Some orgasms have been very mediocre, and some have been earth-shakers. I’m gradually figuring it all out. Before surgery I found that pretty much the only way for me to have an orgasm and not lose my mind was with a vibrator (becuase I didn’t have to touch myself, basically); well, since surgery I ~do not~ like the vibrator. We’ll see if I grow into liking it, but for now I’m just fine without it, thank you very much.  :-p

One of the most exciting things about reaching this point in the process is that I drop my dilations from three times a day to twice a day. That middle-of-the-day dilation has just created all sorts of scheduling and motivational issues. I am really glad to be down to twice a day.

I do have one fairly minor issue which seems more frustrating than all that problematic. I have a little tab of skin on the left side right at my vaginal opening; it oozes a little bit (which requires me to still be wearing pads – grr!). I went to see my local doctor who didn’t really know what it was, so I emailed some pictures to my surgeon. It turns out it’s granulation tissue, and it seems like it’s not all that uncommon of an issue with this surgery and not that big of a deal to take care of. According to my surgeon it should be excised and it’s a quick and easy procedure. The slightly frustrating part has been finding a doctor in Boston that’s willing to see me. I never even realized before surgery that this would be an issue – one of the problems with having surgery 2,000 miles away from where you live. As my doctor said: “Surgeons don’t like to look at other surgeons’ work.” I felt very alone. Fortunately, I pushed a little, and my doc was able to find a surgeon at Boston Medical Center who’ll help me out. YAY!

My motivation and energy finally seem to be getting back to pre-surgical levels. I am surprised how long this has taken. I know it was major surgery, but it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that all should be back to normal in a few weeks, and it just doesn’t work that way. The recovery time suggested by my surgeon was 6-8 weeks (I took about seven weeks off from work), but I really think that anyone having this surgery should expect a good three months before starting to feel back to normal. I’m finally feeling like myself, and it feels awesome!

So, I guess the short version of the update is that I am supa-happy with my new body and everything is going very well.

Hooray!

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