About a year and a half after I legally and socially transitioned to the life I should always have lived, I am much more comfortable in my newfound life. However, one significant discomfort remains on my body. The remaining male genitals cause me enough discomfort that I will need to seek surgery to remove them.
How do you feel about SRS?
One of my adopted sisters had her tonsils removed when she was nine years old. I think my feelings are comparable to those of a nine-year-old girl who is about to have her tonsils removed. Like her, I have fears about possible complications of surgery, and of the fact that I will be cut open, yet I also know that I need this surgery for my quality of life. The alternative is to be a non-op TS and have those male parts for the rest of my life, and the discomfort of that is unacceptable for me.
To date my only surgery experiences have been four tooth extractions at age 14, wisdom tooth extractions that I delayed until age 29, and my orchiectomy at age 31. I have never undergone general anesthesia, and I have never had to stay overnight in any hospital in my memory, so this will be a new but necessary experience for me.
Unlike the nine-year old girl, I will have to travel halfway around the world for my surgery, and then go through it without the support of family. I doubt I will take any friends along either, since I would need to pay their travel expenses.
I used to consider having only an ‘external’ SRS procedure in which a surgeon would have performed penectomy and labiaplasty, but no vagina. I believed this would shorten the recovery time and eliminate any possibility of suffering a fistula. As much as I feared fistulae or extra recovery time, I also feared I might find this unsatisfactory once post-op, and then I would have to accept the same risks anyway but for lesser results. Then the only options would be skin grafts from non-genital areas leaving visible scars for results inferior to the penile-inversion procedure (which would no longer be possible) or a riskier colon transplant procedure.
I discussed my thoughts with two different gender therapists, and both believed that any transitioner who was willing to have her male genitals removed might as well have the surgeon create female genitals while they were at it.
In summary, I don’t seek the surgical procedure itself; rather I seek the results of SRS surgery. Surgery is merely what I must go through to obtain what I need.
What do you hope to accomplish from going through this surgery?
I seek this surgery so that I may feel comfortable with my body. For me having a vagina or even no genitals would be more comfortable than having male genitals.
I have never been married, and never have even had a real boyfriend or girlfriend. Right now I am not interested in having any romantic partner. Therefore, I can say that I am having this surgery for me, and for my own personal comfort, and not for anyone else.
About six weeks after SRS, I will return to work, and life will be pretty much the way it was just before SRS, except that I will have a busy dilation schedule for the next four to five months. But I will feel a lot more comfortable in the body that I live in as I resume living my everyday life.
I paid off my car in October, and began to accumulate funds for surgery. My workplace requested me to perform lots of overtime during the last three months of 2003, which dramatically increased the amount of money I had saved for surgery by the end of that year. Now if this trend would continue…
Uncertain that I could be satisfied with only penectomy and labiaplasty, I now reconsidered the usual SRS procedure. I began to investigate various surgeons. In April I began to see a gender therapist in the area to begin the process for obtaining SRS therapist letters.
My new found life was threatened when the Social Security Administration outed me to the HR department at work. Well now that HR knows about me anyway, I should be able to obtain a personal leave at the time of surgery. Since I won’t have to save funds for a period of umemployment upon SRS, I moved my target date for surgery forward to mid-2006.
In the meantime, a new manager reduced the amount of overtime we were allowed to perform at work. I am still able to save funds for surgery, just not as quickly as before. In spite of this, I still believe I can obtain surgery in 2006. I informed my therapist that I would likely seek letters before the end of 2005.
I bid for and obtained a new position at work. Once I show myself qualified in this position, my pay will increase and partially offset the reduced overtime. I had to transfer to second shift to obtain this position, but I am already finding that this too has some advantages.
My goals for 2005:
Finish saving funds for surgery.
Contact several SRS surgeons and directly ask them my questions.
Get my two therapist letters recommending SRS.
Choose my SRS surgeon.
Set a 2006 date for my SRS.
If I can’t have SRS in 2005, then before the New Year has ended I hope to know who will do my SRS and the day he will perform it for me.
I have chosen my surgeon and set a date. My surgeon has received my 10% deposit, and has guaranteed his current price for me. I am scheduled for SRS on October 3rd with Dr. Kamol.
Two of my friends in Tulsa will come up to see me just before I leave. Then one of those friends will fly with me to Bangkok, and she will be with me during my surgery. She is post-op herself, so I look forward to having someone with me who has been through this. When I leave Bangkok, I will go with her to Tulsa, where I will stay for a few days so my other friend can look after me for a few days before she drives me back home. Thank you!
My surgery will consist of SRS by penile inversion with a scrotal graft and a trachea shave. Kamol thinks I will end up with less than six inches of depth because I’ve had my orchiectomy six years ago plus I’ve been on HRT for three years. But appearance is more important to me than depth, so I will ask Kamol to try for appearance first, function second, and then depth.
I am now excited as I count down the days until the surgery that will make me physically correct.
Spring to Summer 2005
April 11th – My therapist wrote my SOC letter recommending SRS.
May 24th – I sent my application and documents for my passport.
May 31st – I purchased my airplane tickets to and from Bangkok. I leave on September 30th and will be connecting through Tokyo. When I return, I will arrive in Tulsa where I will spend a few days resting at a friend’s place.
For information on how to obtain a temporary passport with your sex listed female (for traveling to and from your SRS surgeon abroad), read my Passports for Transsexuals Traveling to Thailand for SRS page.
June 20th – My passport arrived in the mail. They sent me the temporary one-year passport with the sex marked F!
As of today (July 2nd), I am now 93 days from SRS. I have purchased my plane tickets, obtained my therapist letter, and received my passport. In five more days I will see my HRT doctor to have pre-surgery tests performed to verify my good health, fill out my FMLA form for my time off from work, and write a letter for my surgeon verifying my several years on HRT.
So now my pre-op tasks are mostly completed, and I have to wait through the dog days of one more summer until my SRS. It does get hot in my workplace during the summer. Then I will have to suspend my HRT starting on September 3rd. I am hoping that won’t be too unpleasant.
My friend won’t be able to make it to Thailand with me. But I will still be able to stay in Tulsa after I return to the USA. In partial consolation, another woman who has also chosen the name Sherry has chosen the same surgeon I have, and she was able to advance her SRS date, so she set her surgery for the day after mine. We will then recover in the same hotel room after we are discharged.
My HRT doctor performed several lab tests on July 7th to verify my good health. In late July she gave me the results of blood tests, my EKG, and a chest X-Ray, which I forwarded to Dr. Kamol.
I had to discontinue my HRT on September 3rd. I thought this would not be a big deal because I did not take any HRT for the two years following my orchiectomy back in 1999, but in a matter of days I found that I was cranky at work. Although nobody has told me I seem different, I can tell that some coworkers have noticed that I’ve been crankier lately. Then I started having hot flashes. I was hoping these hot flashes would be less uncomfortable in the cooler September weather, but it turns out that our weather has been much warmer than normal this September, and this has added to my discomfort.
In spite of these unpleasant developments, I continue to grow more excited as my surgery date approaches. Now I am busier as the necessary preparations for my long journey to Thailand take up more of my time, and my workplace has increased my working hours during my last workdays as a pre-op. I am now only seven days from SRS and four days from my flight to Thailand.