Yearning for Flatland

I went to see Dr. Brownstein, the San Francisco plastic surgeon who specializes in FTM chest reconstruction, yesterday. Depending on whether or not someone cancels, I could be having surgery as soon as February 15 (or as late as September, or perhaps July, it’s so all up in the air.)

I’d been warned he was a little weird, maybe even slightly creepy, and didn’t have the best bedside manner. What I saw was a slightly nerdy, tall, athletic, grey-haired guy with a quirky, dad-like (prone to bad puns) sense of humor, a staff that likes him a lot, and a four month old dachshund puppy that he clearly adores. He’s a little hand-wavy about medicine when it falls outside the purview of his specific surgery, but I didn’t actually expect him to have more than the most rudimentary of understandings of my rare immune disorder. Honestly, I felt pretty comfortable with him. He clearly does a ton of these surgeries, knows what he’s doing, has confidence in himself, and more to the point, has earned the loyalty of the people who work for him. You don’t get that by being creepy. If he’s a little quirky for specializing in trans medicine, hey, at least he’s doing this by choice.

DK went with me for moral support and because he has a vested interest in this subject himself and wanted to meet Brownstein, too. Afterwards he asked me if I had any hesitation about it. The honest answer is no. If I could have a flat chest tomorrow, I’d do it. My apprehensions aren’t about finally freeing myself from breasts, they’re more mundane: I’m afraid I’ll wake up during the surgery. I’m afraid I won’t wake up from surgery. I’m afraid that the wounds won’t heal well because of my CVID. (That one’s justified – the day after they sent me home from the hospital following my hysterectomy the incision came open along its full length, and I ended up with an open belly wound and daily dressing changes for three months.)

I’m afraid that it won’t be enough – that even with a flat chest and a deeper voice, I’ll still get called “ma’am”.

But I’m not at all afraid of what it will mean to not have breasts. I don’t care in the least that I will have scars, and that I will lose “erotic sensation” in my nipples. I don’t have much to begin with, honestly, and even if I did I’d trade it in a heartbeat for being able to wear slim-fitting shirts and have them look right.

I had an odd moment today of considering whether I should do one last dress up as a girl before I have this surgery. It was weird how apprehensive the idea made me. Just the idea of putting on a bra and panties, a skirt and makeup, feels so wrong for me. Almost makes me want to do it, just to push my own boundaries.


~ by Nezu on 4 January 2012.

4 Responses to “Yearning for Flatland”

  1. So, um, obviously don’t do the girl thing. 😉 Also, really glad that you’re comfy with the surgeon. Never had any surgery myself, but I expect that would be important.

  2. I have to admit a certain synergy with your squeeminshness over the ‘dress up’ – maybe we could do it as a church fundraiser? Na, that’s been tried. We could have a burning of the bra ceremony (I guess that’s been done too, but different era, different context). Well, whatever and however you choose to continue honoring this journey – we’ll keep honoring (and valuing) you. Blessings.

  3. Awesome that it went so well and that you’re feeling clear about it and comfortable with Brownstein.

  4. The fact that the staff like him speaks very strongly in his favor, I think.

    If you like the outcome, could that be enough?

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