Saturday, November 8, 2014

6 Week post Op Update

This week has brought some excitement mixed with the boredom of forcing myself not to do too much during recovery, here at the 6 week post GRS mark.
         


Last Sunday was Mitchell's birthday and I was so happy to get a chance to spend some time with him on his special day.  He came in about 5 that afternoon so we were able to go out to a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse, then we went over to Mama's for a little birthday party.  To him, she is Mama Matthews and to me she is just Mama.  No birthday would be complete without a celebration at her house even though there were just the three of us this year.  Our family is small but we have Big love for each other.
At Outback after taking Mitchell to his birthday dinner, my treat this time.
My baby about to dive in (literally) to his cake that I had special ordered for him from our favorite restaurant.
Mitch had to leave for work very early Monday morning, so early that I was able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Monday was also my day to go to my new doctor and get my first post op check up.  It's always a good idea to have a local doctor, preferably one experienced with post op trans patients, perform regular check ups after GRS.  I was lucky to find this doctor in Raleigh even though it took me a couple of weeks to secure an initial appointment with her.  When I saw her Monday I was 40 days post op.

Dr. Keelee MacPhee bases her practice in both Raleigh and Durham, NC, but my appointment was at her office at the Women's Center at Raleigh's Rex Hospital campus.  I actually arrived a few minutes early (what was wrong with me?) but had to drive around the parking deck searching for an opening.

There was an SUV in front of me as we climbed level after level of the full parking deck.  Coming around one last corner I saw that we'd reached the end of the lot.  The SUV stopped and I stopped at a normal following distance behind her as I contemplated having to turn around and head back down to see if anything had opened up at a lower level.  She began to back up and I didn't have time to move out of the way.  I managed to blow my horn and laid on it for a few seconds thinking she would hear or see me before we made contact, but alas she didn't.  She made a nice little bump into the front of my car before coming to  a stop.

The other lady got out of car about the same time I did and my first reaction was to loudly say, "What did you do?"  She seemed upset and very apologetic but within a few seconds I gave her a hug.  I've done things like this before so I could certainly relate.  She said this was the first time she'd ever had an accident and by her reaction I believed her.  We both had appointments at the Women's Center and she said she was late for hers.  Maybe that explains her impatient driving, I don't know.  With no injuries and only minor damage to both cars, I decided just taking a few pictures and getting her insurance information was sufficient, so she apologized again and after another hug we went our separate ways.
The damage to my car from the parking deck fender bender.
Dr. McPhee has a very large, upscale office and, on this day at least, it was not crowded.  After finishing the paperwork you always have to fill out at a new doctor's office, a young woman in a dark blue uniform came out to get me.  At first I thought she was a nurse but then realized this was Dr. McPhee herself.

We went back and talked for awhile.  She is experienced with transgender patients, as we are a large part of her practice.  She performs breast augmentation, facial feminization surgery and a host of other procedures as you can see here on her website.  Remarkably, she has been trained by renowned trans surgeon Marci Bowers to perform GRS but she has yet to perform her first solo sex change.  She is brand new at GRS.  She told me she is ready but the hospital isn't quite ready yet.

I was referred by my friend Carla who has been seeing her for post op check ups.  Carla also had GRS with Dr. Brassard in Canada, about a month before me.  Dr. McPhee actually said she has seen quite a few of Brassard's patients, so post op treatment is not new for her.

After asking me lots of questions and me telling her about my communications with the nursing staff in Montreal, it was time for the doctor to examine me.  Any modesty issues I had over having my genitals examined have been cured by both surgery and my experiences in Montreal, so I took my skirt off and got on the examination table.

The doctor said she doesn't like to use the stirrups so I just laid back, but she does perform an "interactive" exam and wanted to show me what she was seeing, so she handed me a mirror.  She thought that overall I was healing well for the 6 week mark but she did confirm a small area of (hyper) granulation tissue.  She treated that with silver nitrite, which was basically a wooden stick with the active substance on the end.  This treatment took only seconds and was basically painless.

There will not be any lasting effects of this hypergranulation tissue.  Even though I seem to have a mild case of it, it's made things like sitting a dilating a little more uncomfortable so I am glad to be getting treatment.  We made another appointment for November 17th, 2 weeks away, and I do look forward to going back.  I like this doctor a lot.


We had yet another birthday in the family this week.  Wednesday was Mama's birthday and this year it was kind of mellow because we celebrated alone.  We both really miss Daddy and I know it was hard for her having a birthday without her husband of 54 years. 

The dogs and I did spend most of the day with her.  We had small cake and opened her presents after a lunch that I brought in from KFC (her choice).  That evening we had an nice, early dinner at Cracker Barrel.  After dinner we went to Cato and a couple of other stores for a little mother daughter shopping.  Most of the time (when Mitchell isn't here) Mama and I are all each other have and I am really happy to be able to spend a lot of quality time with her.  Things have gone so well with us since I came out, although we got along well before too.

*****

This week I had another correspondence with nurse Anne, of Dr. Brassard's staff.  She seems to be handling all of my emails, even though I had one response from head nurse Patty.  They appreciate me sending pictures every week as that is the only way they really can check on you from afar. 

Apparently my recovery is going smoothly with the only issue being the hypergranulation.  Many of my friends have mentions pieces of skin sloughing off in the weeks after surgery.  I haven't noticed anything like that and as that seems to be normal, this was one of the questions I had for the nurse.  She said the hunks of skin peeling off is from parts of the vaginal skin graft not adhering.  Even though this is normal, for me it is a good sign of healing that I have not yet experienced it.

*****

Life continues to slowly get back to normal.  I had an orthodontist appointment this week and in the next few months I'll be winding down my long treatment with Invisalign braces.  (This will have to be the topic of another blog).

I'm still not walking the dogs unless I have someone to help with Nightingale.  The next time I see my doctor I am going to ask if it's ok to start back walking both dogs, as I feel ready (or nearly ready) to get back to our normal routine.  The dogs are certainly ready right now!  It will be awhile until I get back on my bicycle though.

Seeing the doctor seemed to help me mentally and perhaps the treatment she gave me is making me feel better physically too.  When you are worried that something isn't right it's hard to be in a good mood.  Feeling better physically means I am not having take as much medicine, even though I'm still taking Ibuprofen for low level swelling and mild pain.  I'm also able to sit more now and move around much better with less discomfort.

Caution is the biggest reason I am staying home most of the time and laying around a lot.  I certainly don't want to overdo it again like I did a couple of weeks ago and mentioned in my last blog.  The biggest thing I am looking forward to this coming week is starting to use the largest (orange #4) dilator.  That is going to be big news for sure, so stay tuned for next weeks update to see how that goes.