I met with a surgeon yesterday, a plastic surgeon. I’d met him before actually. 27 years ago to be exact. That was when I had my first top surgery. We didn’t call it that back then. We weren’t queer or intergender or even trans back then either. We just moseyed around blissful for the most part in our ignorance, unintentionally being intentional, going unrecognized even by ourselves. If I’d had my way, I’d have done a complete top surgery, the whole enchilada, then. But like I said, I wasn’t even fully aware of what it was I was meaning, and, it seems I didn’t realize it was my choice and, well, like all good girls I listened to my mother. The doctor said, “what size do you want to be?” And I said, “see that wall? your desk?” And my mother said, “absolutely not.” And so it wasn’t. And I’ve lived with it, with whatever level of discontent I let myself feel. So now I’m facing it, dealing with it, for the first time, or second time, all over again. And so I saw the same guy. 27 years later.
Why now? I couldn’t tell you really. It has to do with hitting a wall. Tired of being so uncomfortable, hating my body so much, hiding it so carefully, purposefully, painstakingly. Tired of being so fragmented. Tired of being so ashamed. Tired of the schism between the image in my head and the one in the mirror. And while it is hard to believe, I only recently found the trans community, people I believed only existed in my imaginary life. What an eye-opener that was! But more about that in another post.
The decision has been made for a long time really. All that remains now are the hows, whats and whens. Last month I had a consult with a relatively well-known plastic surgeon who specializes in top surgery. I drove out to Springfield by myself early in the morning, listening to sports radio and trying to not let my anxiety hijack my body even while my stomach was doing painful gymnastics. The doctor’s staff was incredible. They were welcoming and warm and open. Other trans-guys were sitting in the waiting room. And not that we talked to one another or even made eye contact, we knew we were not alone. The doctor herself was fantastic. She was calm and reassuring, supportive and confident. For 8300 dollars (give or take) and a letter from my therapist she’d be happy to make the necessary alterations to my body.
I left that appointment reeling. That I could even conceive of changing my body to make it even a little bit more compatible with what I saw when I closed my eyes was thrilling. The financial piece was crushing. The required letter from my therapist was infuriating.
When I close my eyes, for as long as I can remember, I see a tall (6’2″) lanky young man. I realized only recently that the distortion between what I feel/see and what others see is not how everyone experiences themselves and goes through life. How amazing would it be to bring those two images even slightly closer together?! Entertaining that possibility and the excitement that brought was shattered by the 8300 dollar reality however. I have a wife and two children, a mortgage, car payment, credit card debt and a whole host of other reasons that make spending close to 10,000 dollars on elective surgery impossible.
The letter from my therapist, while do-able, made me angry and I told the doctor so. I can appreciate doctors wanting to cover their asses by having the therapist’s letter – wasn’t there fairly recently a woman who loved cats and paid a plastic surgeon to make her look more feline-like? My point is that if I wanted a nose job, I would not be required to produce the same letter. I understand that there are crazies out there who may do something and then later regret their decision (see the cat lady) and sue the doctor. We live in a litigious society. I get that. And not to beat a dead horse, but if I wanted breast “enhancement”, I wouldn’t need a letter from a therapist. Enough said for now.