I’ve been pretty open about my transition, but up until now, I haven’t really talked about the part that people seem to be the most curious about:
Before I talk about me specifically, let me clear up a couple of things for those who might be wondering:
Lots of trans people choose not to get surgery (because they don’t want it, they’re worried about the risks, or because they don’t suffer from anxiety–or dysphoria–about their genitals). Others aren’t able to because of their financial situation, their insurance doesn’t cover it, or because of societal/family pressure.
Just because a trans person doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) get surgery, doesn’t mean they aren’t trans. It doesn’t mean they are any less their true gender.
Any way, in my case, I haven’t really talked about it a lot, because for a long time I was on the fence about it. Surgery is a BFD (big f**ing deal), after all; it’s not something to be considered lightly.
I’ve talked before about how, for a long time, I managed to convince myself I wasn’t trans. Even after I admitted to myself that I was trans, I was convinced for a long time that I didn’t want surgery.
It didn’t really bother me to look “down there” when I showered, and to be honest, I really kind of liked being able to stand to pee, and, well, that other thing you can do with “one of those” felt kind of good.
The further I got into transition, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I remembered back to when I was a kid, and I would pretend that I could push everything back inside my body. I reflected on how much better I feel when I use a home-made gaffe to “tuck” everything under.
But still, I hesitated. BFD indeed.
I’m not sure when it happened-some time after I came out publicly, I think–but at some point, I realized that, since the process takes so long, I could get things started, and I could always change my mind later on.
And so, in my usual fashion, I researched. I looked up surgeons, techniques, anything I could find. There’s a lot of information out there, but figuring out what’s accurate is like searching for a needle in a planet-sized haystack.
Now, I’m lucky enough to work for a company based out of California, a state that requires all insurance plans underwritten there to cover trans-related care, including surgeries.
And it turned out that of all the surgeons I could find good information about, and that I liked the results of, only one was covered by my insurance.
Well, that made the decision easier for me.
I still wasn’t sure, though. I took a couple of weeks before I contacted their office. In early January, I sent an email, asking to schedule a consultation. A couple of weeks later, I got a reply.
I was scheduled for a consult 4 months later in May.
That’s when I realized this wasn’t going to be a fast process, by any stretch.
But, I waited. In the meantime, my transition kept on keeping on. I went about life, getting used to being seen by everyone as my true self.
As time went on, though, I found myself counting the days until my consult, then the hours, then the minutes.
When I wasn’t working, I couldn’t think of anything else. I wanted this for myself more than I’d wanted to transition in the first place.
The consult itself was short, maybe about 30 minutes. Since the surgeon is in California and I’m, well, not, we had a phone call. He managed to answer pretty much every question I had before I could ask it.
One thing we talked about was my weight. Years of not caring for my body has left me overweight. In order to have the surgery, I needed to get down to a BMI below 35 (at the time, it was about 39). I was already working on losing weight, and showing modest results, so the surgeon, said we could go ahead and schedule a surgery date, and follow up in a few months.
Alright, so I needed to lose some weight. I could do that, right? I had an amount I needed to lose, and I’d soon have a deadline.
The doctor told me I’d hear back within 2-3 weeks about my surgery date, and so I waited.
When four weeks went by, I called the office, and was told that it was taking longer than normal, but that I should hear back within the next couple of weeks.
Two more weeks went by, and still, I heard nothing. I called the office back, wondering what was going on. I left a message for the scheduler, but didn’t hear back.
After more than two months, I finally heard back this past Friday: I’m scheduled for surgery on May 3rd, 2017 (the day before Star Wars Day; I’m half tempted to ask if I can delay by a day).
Up until I read that email, I still had doubts. Is surgery right for me? Will I go through with it? Will I be able to lose the weight I need to lose.
But as soon as I saw that date, all of that vanished.
I knew in that moment, that it was going to happen, come hell or high water. Am I still nervous about it? Of course. Will I go back to doubting myself at some point? Sure.
I hadn’t really done much since May to lose the weight I need to lose. I’m still roughly 40 pounds away.
But now I’ve got a date. A deadline. 280 days (or 40 weeks; coincidentally, the same amount of time as a pregnancy). I need to lose one pound a week.
And so, I’ve got to buckle down. I need to exercise more, eat less, and eat better.
This morning, I walked for about 90 minutes along the waterfront where I live. I sweated, I hurt, and I got out of breath, but I didn’t stop.
Now only 280 days & 40 pounds to go. The clocks ticking.