A day in the life of a trans guy – How I prepared for top surgery.

I thought it might be helpful to write about how I prepared for top surgery, as I don’t think there’s enough information out there about it. There’s lots on the surgery itself and not much about post surgery, especially if you don’t have family to support you.

As soon as I got my date for surgery, I wrote a list a big list of everything I thought I would need and what I would need to do running up to surgery. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I’m pretty good and planning and organising myself and being over-prepared.

I also have 2 cats and 2 dogs, who are my absolute world so I needed to make sure not only was I prepared but they were also going to be cared for and had everything they needed.

LISTS! cannot express enough about how helpful lists are and also feels great when you finally get stuff ticked off. Plus they are a great visual aid to see how much you need to get and for me its just a great way to help organise my brain and figure out when I need to get things and in what order.

I belong to a great facebook group called TMSA social and support, they have two separate groups. They have files for surgeons which is where I picked mine from and everyone is super friendly and were so helpful when I asked for advice about what I needed post op top surgery. Highly recommend this group.

So here is what I bought and organised for top surgery pre and post op.

One of the hardest things was asking for help, I created a FB group chat with friends asking for help, I needed a lift to my pre op appointment and back, then a lift to hospital for surgery and a lift home again. I needed someone to stay at my house and look after my fur babies. I needed people to come over and help me take the dogs out, help with housework etc.

Everyone was amazing I got the support I needed, which was amazing. I had friends who took me back and forth to the hospital for my pre op appointment, surgery itself, post surgery and post surgery check up appointments. I also had friends stay at my flat and look after my fur babies, who had the best time.

Unfortunately I didn’t really have the support once I was back home, which sucked but I managed. I did have a couple of friends who came over and cooked for me, which was great but I was hoping for a little more help. Maybe I expected a bit too much, but I’ve made my peace with this all now.

I bought myself a amazon fire tablet, heaphones and microSD card, so I could download films to watch while I was in hospitals. I’m glad I bought it, it came in real useful, I watched quite a lot of films.

After surgery you aren’t allowed to shower for a while, so I bought some Clinitex body wipes from amazon and man am I so glad I did they were amazing, they made me feel pretty clean. I definitely recommend them.

I bought slippers and a dressing gown but I didn’t actually end up needing them, as they were provided but if in your paperwork they suggest them I’d buy them just in case, that’s if you don’t already own them.

I bought 2XL vest tops to wear after surgery, as it was in August and they were easy to slip on and off. I wore zipped hoodies as they were easy to get on and off too, as after you have limited movement in your arms for a few weeks. I bought the vest tops from Primark as they were only £2 each.

I am on lots of different prescribed medications and over the counter medications. I asked my GP for 2 months worth of all my meds so I didn’t have to worry to much about them and then I made sure I had enough of my over the counter medications, paracetamol, sinus rinse and vitamins.

I am on a key meter for my electric, so over the weeks running up to surgery I kept adding more then I usually put on my electric, so I knew I would be covered, same with my rent, I made sure I put extra money on my rent too.

I stocked up on basic household stuff, toilet rolls, washing up liquids, you know the boring adult household stuffs lol!

(NOTE I did a lot of stocking up no stuff! lol)

I stocked up on dog/cat food, cat litter, poop bags, treats.. again general stuff I would normally get to care for my gorgeous fur babies.

As I had a few friends stay over, I made labels for all the cupboards so it was easy for them to find stuff. I also made a list of instructions for the fur babies and just general information…yeah I said I was a bit of a control freak, which stems from anxiety.

I love my incense sticks and candles so I made sure I had them in.

I have a battery pack I took to charge my phone at tablet whilst I was in hospital, I made sure that was fully charged the day before I had surgery.

I made sure I had snacks, drinks and easy to make food in the flat. I mainly ate snacks and takeaways lol!

I bought these great hydration tablets O.R.S hydration tablets from amazon, they were great and I still use them now, especially for days I don’t drink enough.

These last few things were probably the most helpful of all.

So after surgery you aren’t meant to lay flat for a while, so I bought two V shaped pillows, two regular pillows and a memory foam neck pillow.

The neck pillow came in handy whilst I was in hospital after surgery, I used it when I was sleeping and it made the whole experience more comfortable.

The V pillows and two other pillows were great for when I was at home recovering, I spent 4/5 weeks sleeping on the sofa, as it was just the most comfortable place for me.

I honestly can’t say enough at how much those 3 particular pillows helped so much.

So for me that was is really, I’m pretty good at self care and looking after myself, so that part wasn’t too hard.

I couldn’t have done it without spending months of organising and planning, without the people who helped me.

If you’ve found this helpful, please feel free to share and use this as a guide to going through top surgery.

Peace out

Zak

Self care – Honouring your emotions

Honouring my emotions is not something that comes easily to me, mainly because its so uncomfortable. I really hate sitting with how I feel, I’m always trying to make myself feel better, but I’ve realised in doing so I’ve been making the situation worse.

Lately I’ve been doing so much to distract myself, that I’ve ended up running away from how I actually feel inside and I’ve been ignoring how my body feels and its been shouting at me.

I hate feeling depressed and anxious, so I’ve been distracting myself. All this has done is magnify the depression and anxiety and made it worse.

This weekend I decided that I need to just sit and be and feel my emotions. Which has been difficult and uncomfortable and I can feel the sadness and darkness slowly creeping in, I feel vulnerable and emotional, I feel on the verge of tears but haven’t been able to let myself cry. I also somehow feel a bit more relaxed, less tight and intense. I feel a bit calmer then I have done.

Just sitting with how I feel seems to be helping, I’m going to try my best to continue to sit with how I feel and observe and notice when I am trying to hard to run from how I feel.

Sometimes self care isn’t about doing, sometimes its about doing nothing and just sitting and feeling the emotions, no matter how difficult it is.

I hate sitting with the darkness because I know it can be stronger then I feel. It makes me feel so weak and worthless, I know the depths of the darkness, I’ve been there before.

Obviously going to counselling is stirring lots of things up for me, helping me deal with stuff that happened last year with friendships, relationship and older stuff. It feels different to counselling I’ve had before, I feel more open, laid bare. I feel like this will really help with meaningful healing.

I surrender, I cannot control my emotions, I cannot control the darkness, I trust that in my surrendering the universe will provide me with healing and continue to guide me to my inner light.

Peace out

Zak