Top Surgery and Transitional Musings

Hello world.

So with my mostly full embracing of transition, I’ve been doing some sporadic thinking (oh no, the horror!).  Part of this comes from the fact that I recently burned half of my hand while hurriedly making tea before class.  I expected my hand to be horribly disfigured for the rest of my pitiful existence, but miraculously it’s been 2.5 weeks and my hand is looking pretty dang good.  I’m not even sure I’ll have visible scarring from where the blisters formed, popped, and tore the skin off of my poor injured hand.

Which led me to thinking about top surgery, as I do.  I’ve toyed with what type of top surgery I would want.  Of course, the eventuality of going on Testosterone by the end of this semester (oh yeah, more on that later) will, of course, play a role in how much breast tissue and stuff will be removed come surgery day.  However, my “good scarring” abilities have gotten me to thinking.  Because I’ve seen MANY pictures of post-op chests, both keyhole and double mastectomy, in my anxiety-driven scouring of Transbucket.  And a lot of the results I’ve seen have looked spectacular, again both for keyhole and double mastectomy.

I’ve done my research and I know that keyhole procedures work well for smaller-chested people like myself, and a benefit of it is that there is minimal scarring.  These are all good incentives, but some drawbacks are that, in most cases, a revision is needed to either remove excess tissue or to shave the nipple stalks, which is typically not done when removing breast tissue for fear of losing the nipples.  Plus, a more male-contoured chest is not necessarily (if at all) accomplished.  Not that I want to be über-man Stef, but I’d like a semi-passable chest if at all possible.  So then considering I scar so well, I thought maybe I would instead take my chances with double mastectomy.  It might lead to results I’d prefer, I feel.

So that being said, two more quick things to note are my “name change” and my new transitional schedule.  Starting with the latter point, I was talking with my gender therapist and she’d been thinking (oh no, her too!!) since our last session.  She figured that, just assuming I get into grad school, if I planned on staying the summer at home (which I do), that it might make the most sense to start on T immediately following graduation from undergraduate school.  Then I’d have three or so months to get used to changes and see how it goes, and as an added bonus my family would have that time to slowly get used to things as well.  I thought this was an awesome idea, so that’s my tentative transition schedule.  I’m waiting on top surgery until I see how it goes on T, and so I just have between now and the end of April to attend the requisite doctors appointments.

And now my name change.  I haven’t officially, legally changed it.  Just via Facebook, which of course means it’s legitimate.  But in all seriousness, I have been switching over everything to Stef versus Steph, because to me “Stef” is more neutral or masculine than the original spelling.  Plus, it was time for a change.  So there you have it.  My middle name is still in progress, although I’m thinking it will be some variation of Micah (possibly Mica, since I’m a huge mineralology geek).

That is all, and now off to class. Hope everyone’s doing well.

–Meike

4 thoughts on “Top Surgery and Transitional Musings

  1. Definitely opt for a peri / keyhole if you can. Seriously, no matter how miraculously good your scarring is, with a keyhole there is NO scarring. Having had a DI, this is still and probably always will be, a sore point with me. The trick with this – same with a DI – is to find a surgeon who is really really good at this type of surgery and has consistently great results.

    Also, I was thinking we have similar issues around name. I want to keep a shortened version of my original, or perhaps the male spelling (but not the American male version, which is different). If you want to go with Stef/ph, you could go with Stephen or Stefan or something if you don’t mind having a more masculine name. (While we’re on that, read The Well of Loneliness – main character is Stephen, though she’s a girl.)

    Congrats on getting the ball rolling on this. Exciting changes coming your way, and your family seems supportive too!

    1. Stephen/Stefan is not an option for me, since I don’t identify with those names at all (plus I have an Uncle Stephen, so that’d be awkward). I happen to really like my name, and while I’m sure even the Stef spelling would be considered somewhat feminine, I have a sneaking suspicion that people wouldn’t be all that fussed if they just saw me as a “heterosexual cis-gendered” male. I’d be laughing internally, but from a social standpoint I’m thinking I’m set. So, yay for progress!

      1. I understand, I am struggling with names myself (going to write about that). And let me tell you, if you go with “Stef” two things will happen. I know because I am in a similar situation with a shortened name:
        1. People will ask what it’s short for. My best answer is, be prepared for a snarky reply. I’ll say “it’s short for me” (because I’m short, get it?) or just say “it’s short for Stef.” End of discussion.
        2. People will discover what it’s short for. They will either be nice and say they can’t see you as “original long name” or they’ll be nasty and say they can’t just call you “Stef” now that they know, or they’ll be indifferent, not knowing how much it actually means to you.

        So, just be careful with this option.

  2. I know, no worries. I’m prepared to fight this until the end with people. In the end I’m not going to change my name to something more recognizably masculine just to make other people feel more comfortable. I sometimes have told people “No, I’m just Stef” and leave it at that. And I imagine once I go on T and start to “pass” more (at least in others’ eyes), it won’t be seen as feminine per se. And I’ll still have to tell people I’m “just Stef”, but I’m fine with that.

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