Yesterday, I had what is known as “top surgery.” Basically, a plastic surgeon took my breasts and turned them into a male-contoured chest.
I did not have big breasts to begin with, but 10 months of testosterone and lots of weight lifting made them even smaller. Basically, I had what would be typical for a male breast reduction.
I went to see Dr. Brian Eichenberg in Temecula, California, which is about an hour and a half from Los Angeles. He was amazing and so was his staff. He was kind, respectful, and took every opportunity to show me that he understood and respected me.
The procedure was supposed to be a fairly simple one. I went under IV sedation and local anesthetic (no general anesthesia, thank goodness) and the procedure was done in about 2 hours. Immediately afterward I felt fine. I wasn’t too groggy, and went to Jamba Juice for a smoothie to celebrate being able to eat again.
Then, about an hour after I got back to the hotel (the doctor wanted me and my nurse friend to stay overnight in case there were complications, and for a check up in the morning), we noticed that there was a blood stain on my compression vest. The doctor had me in an ace bandage wrap, a binder, and I have two drains (one under each armpit) to collect the extra fluid from my chest.
So through the ace bandage and the binder we noticed a blood spot about the size of a quarter. Christina, my nurse, went to go get water and some other supplies. By the time she came back, the spot was the size of a coaster. We immediately got into the car and went back to the doctor’s office. They rushed me right in and the doctor came in to look.
Turns out, I had a small artery about the size of a human hair that was bleeding into my chest. Because it was an artery, with every heartbeat it was pumping more blood into my chest. Because I ate after the first surgery (doh!) the doctor had to call in an anesthesiologist to put me under general for the second procedure. In the 30 minutes we waited for him to arrive, my chest swelled considerably. It was tight and by the time I went under, I was in real pain.
Turns out, this is a complication that only happens in one out of every 8,000 or so procedures. The doctor said he hadn’t had one happen in about 8 years. Luckily, it was an easy fix. They drained the fluid, cauterised the vessel, and put me back together.
Needless to say, I was WAY more out of it after the second procedure. General anesthesia is SO GROSS and leaves the worst taste in your mouth. Christina let me celebrate being done with an extra big Coke from Chipotle. I haven’t had a real Coke in so long! The taste and the bubbles did the trick and I felt much, much better.
I spent the rest of the night getting up and down to empty my drains and take more meds, but slept okay. Today, I woke up feeling like a whole new person. I went in for my check up and got rave reviews. Everything already looks amazing!
I have to keep the drains in for another few days and wear the binder for another two weeks. But in the moments where I have glimpsed my chest in the mirror, it’s hard to believe what I see. Is that really me?!
I have gotten a lot of questions from people about what it will be like to be able to go shirtless in public. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be weird. After 31 years of being told to always keep my chest covered in public, it will be a power force to overcome. I have been practicing around the house and in front of my friends, but no doubt it will still be strange for a long time.
This is the double standard of chests and nipples and nakedness for men and women. Yesterday, at 8 am, I could have been arrested for walking around with no shirt on. Today, at 8 am, it would have been perfectly acceptable and normal. This is insane to me. What is it about women that needs to be covered? Men have nipples, too. People sexualize men’s chests, too… just check out any Abercrombie bag, Calvin Klein ad, or an other ad aimed at men.
Are women’s nipples really so offensive? What do we, as a society, think will happen if women suddenly go topless in public? In Europe it’s no big deal, and they are still functioning just fine. There are many societies in the world where women are topless on the regular and the earth keeps rotating. We need to get over it. We need to stop telling little girls to wear “training bras” (which are basically just under shirts) when they go outside but little boys roam free and shirtless. Women should be able to wear bikinis or go topless if they want to at the beach or pool.
My nipples are exactly the same today that they were yesterday. Is it all the fat and skin they took away that was so offensive?