Today marks one month since my surgery and, I guess, I should give an update?
Overall, I’m feeling reasonably good, I think. It’s really hard to say, to be honest. One of the hardest parts about recovery is that it’s entirely unknown. I don’t know if things are going well. I don’t know how things are supposed to look or feel. I don’t know if that pus-like stuff coming out of me is normal or not. I have nothing to compare this to. What I do know, though, is I’ve been consistently trending towards feeling better. Most of the time, it feels like two steps forward and one back. Every few days, there’s a day that feels worse than the day before.
While things are still swollen a lot, the swelling has gone down a ton and it continues to each day in a noticeable way. My genitals are looking less like a butcher’s shop and more like an actual vagina. Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten more mobile and can do more. At this point, I’m able to leave the house and go places, slowly. I even made a trip into the city (NYC) via the PATH (subway) a few days ago for a coworker’s going away happy hour. The subway steps were a bit much, but it was doable…except for almost blacking out on the subway on my way home. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m certainly not pain-free, but most of the time, it’s pretty okay. As long as I don’t get too crazy, it’s not a problem. The worst pain has been from the stitches coming out. They’re prickly! And the slice you up!
I still don’t feel comfortable sitting completely upright. I just spend my days on the couch with a solid slouch going so my weight is off my vagina. My back is probably at a 60-75º angle most of the time. However, I can sit more upright if I cross my leg under me to prop my vagina up a little. I can sleep on my side if I keep a pillow between my legs, but I still sleep on my back every night to be safe. We’ve let the cats sleep with us a couple nights, but I’ve been too nervous to do it more than two or three nights so far.
Let me pause for a second there and try to connect back to my last post a few weeks ago here…
I stopped taking my pain killers and switched from adult diapers to overnight maxi pads about 12 days after surgery. I was pretty impressed by this, to be honest. I thought I was going to end up needing pain killers for much longer. It was a nice surprise. This allowed me to actually start pooping regularly without needing to take a stool softener every other day or so—if you watched the Super Bowl this year, I’m sure you saw the commercial talking about opioid-induced constipation. It also allowed me to start thinking clearly again. Switching to pads and getting to go back to wearing regular underwear was a nice comfort upgrade as well.
Another huge upgrade was getting to start taking estrogen again two weeks ago. It was a full seven weeks without it and my boobs pretty much disappeared and my face started reverting back to how it used to look before HRT.
It took about a week after getting the catheter out to finally figure out how to pee…or even know if I have to pee.
It was probably a few days after my last post that I was mostly self-sufficient around the house and, as the last few weeks have gone on, I’ve been able to do more and more.
I started officially working from home 19 days after surgery, but I was able to do a few small things the week before. Working from home hasn’t been nearly as productive as I’d like, but I’m generally the kind of person who works better in the office anyway so I’m not too surprised.
My first time leaving the house after surgery, aside from my doctors appointment a week after surgery, was after 17 days. I went to a nearby micro brewery with a few friends who were kind enough to pick me up and drive me. It was manageable, but not pain-free. The following day, a friend of mine came to Jersey to have lunch with me at the diner three (short) blocks from my house. I was able to walk there and back just fine. A few days after that, I decided to push my range a little more and walked to the drug store six blocks away. That felt like it was pushing it though. I was in a bit of pain by the time I got there, but it didn’t last too long after I got back home and rested a bit. I was able to go back out to meet a couple friends at a bar five blocks from my house that evening.
Figuring out my limitations is still an everyday process. “I dropped something, can I bend down to pick it up?” “Can I reach up to that shelf?” “Can I lift this?” Each day getting in/out of bed, up/down from the couch gets a bit easier and more normal, but I never really know how much I can move in a certain direction or what I can do until I try it…slowly.
I’ve only really been showering twice a week. It’s kind of a lot of work and I’m still afraid I’ll slip or something dumb. It’s getting better though.
Dilating is…getting old. It’s just so time consuming. I feel like every time I look at the clock it’s dilate o’clock. And I’m tired of having lube oozing out of me. And don’t get me started on how dry my skin has been from all the hand and dilator washing. On the bright side, I get to step down from four times a day to three on Thursday so I’ve got that to look forward to.
I’ve had a lot of freakouts about things. As I mentioned, it’s all so unknown. I’ve called the doctor a few times to double check things and even had to leave this message, “Hi…I was wondering if…I feel like…can I…it looks weird to me…can I…send a picture for Dr Rumer to look at to make sure everything looks okay…it…looks weird?” I don’t know how dudes send dick pics out all willy-nilly, it’s so weird to send an unsolicited photo of your junk! I spent a solid ten minutes just thinking of a proper subject line for the email that would give warning that “hey, you’re about to get a facefull of frankenpussy.” It turned out everything was fine and the part that looked really weird to me was actually just my clit! Who knew?
I have my five week post-op appointment on Thursday which I’m actually looking forward to. I want to have the doctor look at everything and tell me it’s healing right. I want to hear from her when I can run again—still hopeful for the six week mark. I’m hoping to start going back into the office by the end of the week, but we’ll see if I can.
At this point, though, I’m really getting anxious to get back to my normal life. I’m tired of recovery. It sucks. I want to run. I want to go back to work. I want to not be recovering anymore. I don’t remember what not-recovery is like. What’s normal life? I have no idea anymore! My depression kicked in hardcore last week. Luckily, not my suicidal depression, but just my “I feel…nothing…at all” depression. Today seems better though.
Anyway, that’s about where I’m at. I think it’s all about normal?
PS: I’ve lost ten pounds.
PPS: I’ve reached down to…uh…jiggle after peeing twice.