5 Month Post-Surgery Update

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 5 months since bottom surgery. Though then again, it is very easy to believe it has been over 5 months since I’ve orgasmed because I can definitely feel that frustration.

I had my “6 month checkup” a little early yesterday. The doctor is impressed at where I’m at and reassures me that it is totally normal to not have orgasms until 9 months (which feels like forever!). I’m now at the biggest size dilator they gave me after surgery and I’m planning on buying an even bigger one soon to open up more options for toys and partners.

The one concern is that I’m still having some bleeding sometimes when I turn up my toys too high near my clit area. She had me send her a photo and confirmed that it is from some leftover granulation tissue that is persisting. I talked to my PCP about it and she is prescribing me some silver nitrate to apply to the area to heal it over. I also have a steroid cream to apply to aid healing. It’s a relief to know it’s not because of trauma I’ve done to the area but just tissue that bleeds easily and is treatable.

Other than that, I just need to keep practicing and hope that the orgasms come soon. I have 2 more checkups at 9 months and again at 1 year (hopefully in person). By that point I should be fully healed and just need to keep up on dilation once to twice a week.

Trying to have patience

I’m still trying to have patience and I’m beyond frustrated with the pace of nerve healing and sensation. But there are a few areas I’ve made progress.

Last night I tried out vibrator number 5, a simple slimmer model I bought specifically for this stage of healing, and it seems to be a hit. No orgasm but I felt closer than I’ve been and I learned that being able to move it in and out easily is important for me which is easier with this style.

The missing part of the picture is definitely the clit area. It feels like there is a void where there should be a something important. But last week when we tried to wake it up with the Hitachi magic wand, we overdid it and made it bleed so I have to let it rest for now. It is has been bleeding on and off so I don’t dare try the other new toy I got, a clitoral suction vibrator. Hopefully soon the nerves there will wake up. I am terrified that they were damaged when my clit fell off and that they are dead cells. But again, all I can do is wait and keep trying.

But the other exciting thing I did last night was upgrade finally to the largest size dilator that I was given. It’s exciting to finally be there and once I get used to it, it opens up a lot more toy possibilities as well as the option of PIV sex after this pandemic is over. There is apparently an even bigger size I can special order if I want but most people stop after getting to this level.

Trying to orgasm

Content Warning: Talking about sex

I got my new rabbit vibrator in the mail today so I decided to try again to see if I can orgasm or at least feel pleasure. The last time I tried having sex with my partner 2 weeks ago I could barely feel anything.

I was disappointed to find that even though I got a toy that was smaller than my old favorite, I still couldn’t insert it all the way. But I was able to get it far enough in that I could feel the vibration internally and externally. I played with myself for quite a while but sadly I couldn’t reach orgasm. The good news is that I can definitely feel it now and it feels great internally, though not much sensation in my clitoral erogenous zone yet.

I’ll keep trying because the vibration is supposed to help the nerves wake up but I think I need to go up another size on the dilator if I want to use penetrative toys made for more elastic vaginas. I’m definitely disappointed but less so than last time I tried so I’m trying to recognize the progress. Hopefully it doesn’t actually take me the full 9 months to orgasm because I’m already pretty frustrated after 4 months without that release.

Week 12 Update

I’ve reached the end of my intensive healing period! The 12 weeks of no baths, hot tubs, or lifting is over and I can now go down to only dilating once a day. That also means I’m back at work full time now.

Unfortunately the healing is by no means over. I tried having sex and I could barely feel my partner’s fingers at all. The nerves haven’t woken up yet so I have no sensation and it is going to be a lot longer before I can find out how/if orgasms work now.

I have my final post-op appointment in San Francisco tomorrow where I’ll ask about the nerve healing and find out if that is normal. I also still need help figuring out if my clit is just hidden or if something happened to it during healing. The doctor can seal off my granulation tissue at that appointment to keep them from bleeding frequently which will be great.

I’m very nervous about flying during COVID but hopefully the plane will stick with their 2/3 full protocols. I’ve also read some heartening reports about how masks are really working and cutting down on transmission even when there are confirmed cases on board.

I’m glad I can start returning to normal life a bit more but I’m frustrated sexually and hoping that the nerves wake up soon. My biggest fear about getting this surgery has always been that I would be in the tiny fraction of people who have complications that prevent orgasm. My doctor has tried reassuring me but she really can’t do much until she sees me which makes this flight worth the risk. Fingers crossed that I get some answers that calm my anxiety.

Week 11 Update

I’m in the final week of the 3 month healing period and it seems to be smooth sailing right now. The tightening seems to have ended and I may try going up to a new dilator size today. There hasn’t been any bleeding from the granulation tissue for a few weeks now but I’ll get those chemically burnt off (painlessly) next week at my final post-op appointment.

My only concern is that I still can’t feel any kind of definition on my clit which has me worried that either something happened to it during healing when that tissue fell away or that she just didn’t build a very useful one. Not much I can do about it now other than fret because that’s who I am.

Next week I can finally take baths, go in the hot tub, lift things, and have sex again. It has been hard to remember the last couple weeks not to lift things because I’m feeling better now. I also get to go down to dilating once a day instead of three times and return to full time work. I feel like I’m ready for work now but I still have to spend so much time dilating and I’ve been enjoying sleeping in.

The part I’m really not looking forward to is being on a plane during a pandemic… Wish me luck in not catching anything!

9 Week Update

This week has been pretty uneventful. The only thing going on with healing is that things have tightened up and lost their elasticity temporarily. Luckily I was warned that this would happen and make dilation more difficult and so far it isn’t as bad as they made it sound. Once this is over, I think I’m ready to move up to the next size dilator.

Other than that, healing is going well and it’s starting to feel more like a normal part of my body instead of something new and unfamiliar. 3 more weeks until I can start exploring it more!

How much does surgery cost?

It is going to depend a lot on your insurance plan and where you decide to get surgery but let me share a bit about what my expenses were.

  • 2 Pre-Surgical Consults in San Francisco with flights for 2 people and 5 nights in a hotel – $1,000
  • Comfortable ground floor lodging for 1 month in San Francisco for the pre-op appointment and 3 weeks of recovery on AirBnb – $3,300
  • Lodging and gas to drive to San Francisco from Seattle and back – $400
  • Takeout food during recovery (we splurged a bit on comfort food) – $1,200
  • Medical supplies and copays – $200
  • Flight back to San Francisco for a 3 month recheck – $200

Total = $6,500

I am very lucky that I didn’t have any large deductibles and copays since I met my out of pocket max both years. This was obviously a much more comfortable recovery than most people can afford and I am extremely grateful to my friends who donated almost $4,000 to help make this happen. I also didn’t have to bear all the expenses myself since my spouse paid for a lot of the food.

Did my clit just fall off?

Content warning: gross medical shit below

Healing from this surgery sure has been a wild ride! Last night I had the fun experience of having all that yellow tissue that had formed where my clit should be just fall off in my hands. There wasn’t any pain or blood but a fairly large piece of… stuff? just came away.

Naturally, being the anxious person I am, I freak out that my clit must have just shriveled up and fallen off. I legit thought that and it made it very hard to fall asleep. I messaged my surgeon though and this morning she got back to me and said that it is normal (!) and this is just the exudate falling away.

I still am not entirely convinced since that whole area is still numb and swollen and I can’t tell where my clit actually is. I also have quite a few areas of granulation tissue that keep bleeding that I need to get treated. So I just decided to switch my 3 month post-op back to an in-person clinic visit instead of a virtual follow up. That means spending an extra $200 to fly to San Francisco again and risk COVID exposure on the plane. But I need that peace of mind to have someone look at it and tell me that everything is fine.

Week 7

The mantra I have to keep chanting to myself is “Healing is not linear.”

Content warning: Gross medical shit below

It’s been 6 and a half weeks since surgery and while the exterior of my labia look great, the interior is still a mess. My clit is still obscured by yellow tissue that is apparently called exudate and while it is apparently normal for this stage, it looks disgusting. I have a lot of the brownish proteinaceous discharge which means I’m going through a lot of pads. And I have some granulation tissue on my inner labia that bleeds easily.

On the upside, dilation is going easier now that I’ve gotten used to the new size. I’ll give it a couple more weeks and then upgrade again. I also talked to my primary care doctor yesterday and she assures me that this is great healing for this stage. I am so grateful to have a doc who is one of the most knowledgeable people about neovaginas in the city.

My mood has been pretty down still and while it’s not as bad as the day I think I had my period, I’ve had a hard time finding ways to get through the day. The mood lighting from the smoke in the air definitely doesn’t help and it is triggering my Seasonal Affective Disorder early. To help, I got back on OKCupid and I’ve been chatting with a lovely trans woman. I know I can’t meet anyone new right now but it feels good to start planning for the future.

I also started back at work half time which is where I’ll stay for the rest of my 12 week healing period. It is exhausting to even do 4 hours a day of computer work but it is nice to feel useful and talk to my coworkers again.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. Healing is not linear.

Post Surgery Blues

I really didn’t expect week 5 to be the hardest week. I guess I expected that by now I’d be in the clear mostly but healing isn’t linear.

When I graduated from the surgeon’s care, she warned me about a phenomenon called the “post surgery blues” that usually hits around the 2 month mark. It is caused by all your body energy going into healing and depleting the brain’s reserves. So eventually you hit a wall and your brain is starved for happy chemicals.

I’m not sure if that’s what’s happening early but it sure feels like it this week. It could be just my period hitting but today I’m constantly on the verge of tears and anxious about everything. Yesterday I was tired all day and I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t fall back asleep for over an hour this morning. My brain kept fixing on all the things that could go wrong.

What if I’m dilating my urethra accidentally? I have had a dribbly stream when I pee lately. What if my blood clot has actually moved and I’m tired from it being in my lungs? What if I caught COVID in the ER lobby?

Then this morning I cleaned my new bits and discovered that my clit is yellow and swollen and doesn’t look right. So I messaged my doctor and anxiously waited for that response. Turns out it’s very normal for this phase; enough so that she has slides on it for her presentations. That doesn’t mean I’m not freaking out though.

Everything hurts this week and it sucks. I’m sure it will get better but for now all I want to do is complain and cry. That’s the full answer to how I’m doing this week.