Top surgery – one month prior

I originally meant this blog to be sort of a live blog of my transition plus some writing/academic stuff thrown in, and then Gillian took it over. You’ll probably see some of all of those things sprinkled in with hatereads from here on out.

In less than a month, I’ll be having top surgery, which is the first major step in my transition. While this is a positive step toward reducing my body dysphoria, it’s a huge step, a huge physical change, and it brings up a lot of anxious thoughts. As I’m already an anxious person, they’ve been weighing extra heavy on me lately. I don’t say the following to complain or as a bid for comfort or attention, just to articulate my thoughts and maybe let someone else know that they’re not the only person to ever have them.

I’ve had surgery before–an appendectomy in 2005–and I was completely alone through most of the process. I was 19, away at school, and it was emergency surgery. My recovery was mostly alone, too. Now is completely different. I have Tiger, I have lots of friends and support. What I don’t have are parents, which is a different post altogether, but on the whole, I’m in a much better place in just about every sense. This surgery is my choice. I’m medicated. I’m more mature. But, unfortunately, more scared than before.

Part of it is that my appendectomy happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to be anything other than violently ill before I had surgery. I’ve had several months to dwell on this. The bigger part, of course, is the fact that not only is this a much bigger surgery, it signals a huge change in my life, and I have a lot of worries about it.

How long will it take me to recover? How out of it will I be? I got shit to do before my school year starts in September.

What if I have a medical emergency after surgery? Will my insurance pay for it even though they don’t pay for trans-related care?

I really really hate narcotic painkillers. Will I have to dope myself up to deal with the pain?

Will the anesthesia fuck with my mood disorder?

Will I look weird without tits?

Will people react to me differently? Even if they say they won’t, will they do it anyway? Could they even help it?

Will my actual physical transition interfere with my getting tenure at my job? Most of my coworkers know I’m trans, but thus far I haven’t challenged them with any physical changes.

Should I do a living will, just in case?

I’ll be completely broke for a month just after surgery. What if I didn’t plan well enough and I can’t afford to pay bills or get necessary medications?

How will this change my view of myself? I know I can expect some highs and lows, but what if it fucks me up? I’ve worked so hard over the past few years to get better. What if this sets me back?

Anxiety has steadily become less a problem in my life in the past year, and you can’t even know what a blessing that has been unless you’ve suffered from anxiety for a long period of time. Over the past several days, though, since I discovered it’s less than a month until surgery, it’s been with me almost constantly. Christ, is this the way it’s going to be for the next 27 days? I’ve got a book to finish editing, an article to write for publication, a class to finish teaching. I can’t be constantly crippled with anxiety so all I can manage while I’m home is sitting around watching my Sims make out with each other.

What will my mother say?


Part of me can’t get the next 27 days over with fast enough. Part of me is panicked because that would be 27 fewer coherent days to get responsible shit done. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be torn between five things I need to do and end up doing none of them.


2 thoughts on “Top surgery – one month prior

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