It’s difficult to write too much detail about the status of my recovery. There’s a fine line between sharing relevant information and grossing people out! Also, it’s been important to me to remain positive and optimistic. Any negative experience I’m having is more than balanced out by the positives. I’m still grateful. I’m still far better post-surgery than I was before.
Kaiser Permanente is a giant organization. It comprises many separate companies working under the same umbrella, which complicates matters when dealing with something as intricate as gender confirmation surgeries (and associated aftercare). The HMO spreads professionals over different bureaucratic structures, so it’s not surprising when things don’t go exactly right. However, even understanding that fact doesn’t calm the nerves when you’re the one caught in a maelstrom of confusion. I must count on them to help me get through the pain and complications. Unfortunately for me, that has meant a load of stress and anxiety on top of the pain. For a while, it became depressing and demoralizing. But things have gotten better, at least regarding responsiveness to my aftercare.
A Complication: Granulation Tissue
Last August I started experiencing a stinging pain in my groin. I was still healing from bottom surgery on May 29th, and I was also taxing the area with dilation. Having some pain wasn’t a new thing. The discomfort continued to worsen through the fall. In mid-December, I was diagnosed with granulation tissue in the vaginal canal. From what I understand this is a common complication, which is treated with silver nitrate over a period of time to heal the wound. Granulation is a good thing. It’s a sign your body is trying to heal. Here’s a description (Source):
Treatment for the Granulation
I started silver nitrate treatments in December. The treatments have continued every 2-3 weeks since. The granulation is healing slowly. But the continued treatment of this has delayed my (presumably) final surgery, which should consist of a revision to straighten my urethra and breast augmentation. The surgery cannot happen until the granulation tissue is 100% healed. So, I wait. Each time I travel to San Francisco for a follow-up, I hope it will finally be time to set a date for surgery. But that time has not yet arrived. I am frustrated by the lack of freedom to plan anything too complex too far into the future since I still don’t know when this next step will happen. But still, I readjust my expectations and settle in for an increasingly lengthening arc of healing.
A Second Complication: Pelvic Tension
In January, I started experiencing more tightness than I had previously, which began to interfere with dilation. I’ve always had tight pelvic muscles, a fact I’ve become more aware of as it continues to cause issues with my new anatomy. I’ve seen a physiotherapist once so far and have been doing several exercises designed to relieve the tension. The physical therapy is having some positive effect, but not enough. Unlike the granulation, this is not a symptom with an easy cure. This one will be mostly up to me, and the challenge daunts me.
Treatment for the Pelvic Tension
Pelvic tension is an issue I had never heard of before this situation. As I learn about it, I can see how fortunate I am that my tension is not as severe as it is with others. It’s an issue which affects all genders and can cause chronic, ongoing pain. The solution is not easy or clear-cut. The cure is an elusive combination of relaxation and exercises, a connecting of the mind and body in a way I have not previously been able to achieve. No magic pill. Dammit.
As the granulation tissue heals, I’ve started this new journey, necessitating another level of self-awareness and mindfulness. Scary, but crucial. I’m confident. But intimidated. But confident.
The Good News
I have a lot less pain these days. And Less Pain = Happier Daya. I feel liberated enough by the improvement to face this next part of the journey. When I realized this part would be almost solely up to me (and my ability to relax), I luxuriated in 12 hours of self-pity. Then I was able to return to the gratefulness I feel about these opportunities. I’ve steeled myself, and resolve to move forward. This thing is a problem, but it has a solution (or so I hear).
I can now sit for extended periods without too much discomfort, and I’m getting back to a normalized schedule of activity. I have been static for the better part of a year. I’m ready to move my body again.
Get Me on a Roller Coaster!
And speaking of moving: I miss roller coasters!
If you know me, you probably know I’m obsessed with coasters. As I get older, I’m pickier about which ones I’ll ride, but without coasters in my life, I get wound tightly. Roller coasters are a blast and have always provided me with the best form of primal scream therapy. I desperately want some of it again. I’ve received the clearance to do so by my surgeons (who tell me I “can’t break anything” at this point).
Now I wait for the right opportunity to ride, which should present itself in a matter of weeks. And pelvic tension be damned; I’m ready!