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My Last Week Pre-Op

When my surgeon’s office called and left a message telling me the insurance approved my surgery, I couldn’t dial back fast enough.

I was standing alone in my living room, phone to my ear, shaking. With my messy handwriting being even worse with my nerves, I scrawled down the date of surgery in my date book as I chatted with the woman on the other end of the line. After discussing pre-op care and the day of surgery, I hung up.

Then, as I was standing alone in the quiet empty house, the oddest emotion hit me- nothing. I expected to feel relief, and especially joy, but I just felt a vague nothingness.

“.. IT STILL FELT LIKE EVERYONE WAS MORE EXCITED THAN I WAS.”

I called my fiancé at work, and of course my mother before posting to all my friends on Facebook. But amid the cheering and good wishes, it still felt like everyone was more excited than I was. I couldn’t grasp what was going on in my own head. Over a month later, with one week left to go, I still can’t sort it out.

I came out as a transgender man in 2014 at the age of 19. I knew I wanted “T” and top surgery from the start. But, it all seemed so far away and impossible to obtain. I had almost no resources and no path to start down. With my parents so against my transition, I had to do it all myself. Now here I am three years later- I found my therapist, got the letter for “T”, went to endocrinologists and other doctors, went through the legal name change steps, and looked for top surgeons. With the exception of a few people from a local LGBT youth group and a chance reply on Yahoo! Answers, I’ve done it all by myself. I am over a year and a half on “T”, my name is legally changed, and my top surgery about to happen because of my refusal to give up. But in the midst of it all, my mind is a mess.

There is a part of me that feels slightly attached to my breasts. During intimacy, I do enjoy having them touched it’s going to be odd without them there at all. However, the stronger feeling is dysphoria. I will not miss changing my shirt five times before leaving the house in fear that my shirts are too tight and reveal my breasts. I can’t stand having to worry about hiding a sports bra while I’m on stage or working out. I do not enjoy times like when I got so worried about my chest sticking out that I bought a new sweatshirt while walking around the mall with friends. Even with the little good, my breasts cause too much of an issue. They have to go. The fact that any part of me still likes my breasts, even such a tiny part, can throw my whole mind into chaos.

“MY CONCERN REGARDING HOW I FEEL ABOUT THEM BEING THERE IS NOTHING COMPARED TO MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ACTUAL SURGERY.”

My concern regarding how I feel about them being there is nothing compared to my thoughts about the actual surgery. As I’m assembling things to keep me occupied during recovery, as well as what I need for care, I want nothing more than to have it done, start the recovery process, and then move on with my life. But, I know it’s not that simple. My biggest fears play in my mind again and again- what if I go into cardiac arrest on the operating table? What if I’m given too much anesthesia and don’t wake up afterwards? What if I suffer complications? What if I get an infection? How will I react once it’s done? My anxiety worsens my fears each time one comes into my mind.

I know deep down I will be happy and relieved once I wake up from surgery and begin healing. I have high hopes for my life post-op. But, as of right now, the date being about a week away seems so unreal and I’m still unsure how to react. I think it’ll be that way until after my surgery happens.

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