Month: July 2014

6 Weeks Post Op

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IMG_20140730_070230_689I sent these pictures to Dr. Mosser this morning. Everything looks really good to me. Now that the swelling/fluid is gone, I’ll just be waiting for my scars to fade. I should be cleared to go back to my normal workout routine and such today. I’m planning on going to the noon class at Fortius today. I’ll probably be taking it easy for a while though since lifting my arms still results in some tightness/stretching of the skin, but overall, I have my full range of motion back with no pain.

I did CrossFit today. It felt pretty good. The only movements that resulted in some trouble (tightness in the chest) were strict press and pull ups. I took it easy on those, but everything else felt really good. I’m going to be easing myself back into over the next couple of weeks. I hope my scars don’t stretch too much, but I’d rather get my fitness back up than spend time worrying about how my scars look.

I’ve been using Kelocote on my scars twice a day since 3 weeks post op. I’ve also been massaging the scars as I’ve seen suggested through a Google search.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how everything looks. Now, only time will tell how the scars will end up looking.

15 Months on T

I went to SD Pride last weekend with Alex. It was a huge contrast compared to the way I felt after last year’s pride. We participated in the 1st Annual San Diego Trans* Pride and March. For me, it was pretty overwhelming, in a good way, all the support I saw from those just passing by or looking on. Granted, we were in the “gay” neighborhood, but still, it’s something. We also got to see Laverne Cox give the keynote speech at the Spirit of Stonewall Rally. As she was leaving the stage, they brought out her biggest fan, Ryland Whittington. It was really nice to hear such focus on trans* rights this year. I know last year was a huge win for marriage equality, but I’m glad this year the focus has shifted.

I realized just a few moments ago that it has been three months since I’ve done a proper picture update. Honestly, not much has changed since then, except that I’ve gotten more hair on my face and body. My body shape seems to have stayed the same in the past 3 months. Part of that could be owed to recovering from surgery and not being able to workout though. Assuming my Dr. Mosser approves, I should be able to resume all normal activities starting Wednesday (6 weeks post op). I’m looking forward to being able to put on some more muscle and hopefully lose some more body fat.

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As far as top surgery recovery goes, it seems to be going really well. My swelling/fluid build up has pretty much all cleared up now. It was like magic after the three week mark. I’ve regained a lot of my range of motion. The only thing that is still pretty tight is reaching above my head. I’ve been avoiding doing it too much, but I had to reach something way above my head in the grocery store yesterday. It was tighter on the left than on the right, probably due to the longer time it took the swelling to dissipate.

Dr. Mosser has expressed concern about stretching of the scars by lifting the arms too much, but I think I’m more concerned about regaining full range of motion. I hope that I can find a middle ground. It is my body after all, and I hope that my scars will fade enough that the size of them won’t really be an issue. I’ll probably be asking about regaining full range of motion versus scar stretching in my follow up next week.

4 Weeks Post Op

I know I said I wouldn’t be doing a chest update unless I saw significant improvement. Well, I’m amazed at how much the swelling/fluid build up has gone down this week. With how slowly it’s been going down since I first took my compression vest off to take a shower at 5 days post op, I can’t believe it has improved this much in a week. I thought for sure that wearing the compression vest less would make it take even longer along with the added cardio, but apparently it did the opposite?

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IMG_20140716_070442_070For reference, here’s a link to last week’s photos: 3 Weeks Post Op

 

3 Weeks Post Op

Today is my three weeks post op. I had a follow up with Dr. Mosser. I sent him the following pictures:

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I told him about the swelling that’s still there on my left side, but aside from that, everything seems to be looking really good. I also asked about when I can sleep on my stomach again, how much I should wear the compression vest now, and if it was still okay for me to begin cardio today.

Here was his response:

Hello August, and thanks for sending those photos. I’d hold off another week or two on sleeping face down, just because of potential issues with rubbing the skin grafts during sleep. Everything does look like it’s improving. Please switch to using the chest garment at night only for 3 weeks and then you can stop the garment altogether. I’d like to do another follow-up in 3 weeks’ time. Cardio activities are fine now.

So, today was my first day out and about without the compression vest. It was really nice… a little weird too. The only time I’ve really worn a shirt or anything without something strapping down on my chest, whether it be a bra, sports bra, or binder, is when I’ve been sitting around the apartment. And, that has only been fairly recent since I’ve had roommates until about 6 months ago. I’m really excited to just put on a shirt and go about my day. I don’t have to struggle with my binder and have to adjust all day. It was fairly warm today, but I managed to not sweat while walking around, which is a first for me since starting testosterone. I’m sure being without the extra layer helped. I was a little paranoid that the swelling might increase without the compression vest on. I checked it once while I was in the middle of work to give myself some peace of mind.

When I had my initial consultation with Dr. Mosser, he asked me what I expected or what I wanted to get out of top surgery. My response was that I wanted to be able to just put on a shirt without a binder. I think he really liked that answer then. He mentioned that a lot of guys are hoping their chests would look like some celebrity’s chest. But, I’m really happy to say that I got exactly what I wanted out of top surgery. I am hoping to make it to the beach one of these days, but that probably won’t happen until my left side goes down some more.

I ordered some Kelo-cote on the recommendation of a friend (and I’ve seen a few other guys on various social medias and blogs talk about it). Hopefully that will come tomorrow, and I can begin applying that to scars. They don’t look too bad right now, in my opinion, but I’d like to do what I can to reduce their appearance.

I probably won’t make another chest update until my next follow-up appointment in 3 weeks unless my swelling makes significant improvements before then.

2 Weeks Post Op

So yesterday was my two weeks post op. I had a virtual follow up on Monday. I sent pictures to Dr. Mosser and wrote a quick note about the swelling on my left side. He replied the same day and said that I had bleeding on that side, so the swelling was to be expected. He also said it should go down in a few weeks. It’s basically fluid accumulation where tissue was removed. Usually, this gets reabsorbed. In some cases, they aspirate the fluid, and in rare cases, drains need to be reinserted. I also found out that this fluid build up occurs in about 40% of mastectomy patients. I didn’t know about any of this before to surgery. I’ve heard of others mention swelling, but maybe this is what they meant? In any case, I’m just waiting for it to go away at this point.

I still have one more week of wearing the compression vest. It’s either getting more comfortable to wear because the swelling/fluid is going down or I’m getting used to wearing it all the time, bit it seems to be digging into my skin less.

I’ve caught my image in the mirror in passing, and it’s really nice to see a flat chest. I’m also not self-conscious about the compression vest the way I was with my binders. I feel like it’s not visible at all. My binders had weird lines that I could see. I’m sure I was the only one that noticed, but it still bothered me. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been walking more upright and with my shoulders back since I’m not worried about the visibility of my chest. It’s nice to have one less thing to think about.

2 Weeks Post Op

2 Weeks Post Op

7 Days Post Op

1 Week Post Op