Saturday, June 04, 2011


I was sitting on the edge of my hospital bed in the Clinica Angeles Chapalita, looking down at the Clinica Angeles Chapalita logo slippers on my feet as I thought through my doubts and fears.  I already felt pretty much committed.  Still with only moments left before the anesthesiologist would place the mask on my face, I think it is only natural that I had second thoughts.

I had spent the previous night in my girlfriend Kay's clinic room, trying to help her and keep her comfortable after her series of surgeries.  This morning it was my turn.

During the planning phase of this trip, I had misgivings about being scheduled second.  I'm squeamish of all things medical, and I was not sure I could see Kay post surgery and still be able to go through with mine.

Instead, it worked out very well.  I was too worried about Kay to worry about myself before her surgery.  Then after, I was so concerned with trying to make her comfortable that I wasn't thinking about my operations at all.

At this point I was in my own room though.  The doctors had been in just moments before.  Doctor Cardenas, another plastic surgeon, and lots of support staff had come into my room.  While everyone watched, Cardenas began drawing the incision marks on my chest, throat and forehead. I think that is when the fear set in.  Sitting there on the table feeling the marker draw lines that would soon be traced by a scalpel.

Had I really thought this through? Only months ago, all these operations were a fantasy to me.  I had heard about typical US prices and ruled out all these operations because I felt I couldn't afford to do this and GRS too.  Then a chance meeting changed my transition plan.  I had found Kay, fallen in love, and as a result, learned about surgery options I probably never would have explored on my own.  She was already scheduled for surgery on April 20 with Cardenas when we met in early December.  When she had gone over   the pricing, I had been astonished, and a little tempted.  By March, I knew there was no way I could let her go to Mexico for surgery and stay home only getting updates on her condition by sporadic phone calls.

My need to take the trip had made the idea of taking care of some of my own surgical needs more tempting than ever.  If I was going anyway, that meant I could have my surgeries without additional travel and lodging expenses.  Plus,  Kay already had arranged for a good friend to come along, so I would not need to find someone to look after me.  After my own research into  Cardenas's practice as well as the potential risks of the surgeries I felt I needed, I was sure I wanted to do it and began scheduling.

It was barely a month ago that they set my April 21 surgery date.  Had I researched enough? Was I even sure I needed all this work?  Was it safe to have all this done in Guadalajara, Mexico?  I knew these thoughts were no longer constructive.  Just last minute hesitation.  I had researched.  I knew these operations would help my confidence and self esteem.  It was worth it, and that had all been settled.

Moments later they came to take me to the operating room.  It was not at all the way I imagined it would be before arriving here.  The walk was not a big white, sterile corridor with that lingering hospital smell. Instead, the door to my room opened into a courtyard surrounded by two story balconies.  The floor was stone.  Benches and various plants punctuated the open space.  The nurse walked me and my IV bag stand part of the way around the courtyard to another door that opened directly onto the surgical suite, which thankfully looked a lot more sterile, but frightening compared to the open, natural feel of the courtyard.

I was terrified.  My heart was racing as they set me on the operating table and began final preparations.  When they started taking my blood pressure I thought it would come up ridiculously high, but it didn't. The nurses did realize I was scared though and tried to comfort me.  The last thing I remember was looking up into the light, a nurse holding my hand on each side.  The one to my right said "You have such a pretty nose."  Then I was out.

 I awoke.  Just barely.  I couldn't feel pain anywhere, and it never occurred to me to open my eyes.  I just remember the sensation of sliding, as they shifted me from the surgery table to whatever they took me to my room on, and a sense of motion, then sliding again as they placed me back into bed.  Several relaxed voices were conversing in Spanish through my relocation.  I was just awake enough to take the conversational tone as a good sign.

When I became fully awake and opened my eyes, I was back in my room.  I had no idea what I looked like.  No mirrors.  I knew how my head was wrapped because I had seen Kay.  Looking down, it was pretty obvious I wasn't flat chested anymore.  Bandages completely covered my breasts, which seemed impossibly large.  Mentally, I felt a lot sharper than I expected too.  But I could barely move, and every part of me felt stiff, sore and unresponsive.  Fortunately Kay and our friend were there to take care of me.

Breast augmentation, forehead reconstruction, brow lift, hairline advancement, and a tracheal shave were all performed in less than three hours.  The first day, was uncomfortable, but the day after was worse.  Pain was constant all day, but bearable.  Then by 1 AM,  I was out of my bandages and showered.  My breasts felt impossibly heavy and delicate.  My forehead felt painful and hollow.  My throat felt like a typical sore throat and my voice came out raspy.

I was discharged only 24 hours after surgery, feeling weak and nauseous, with my new surgical support bra tearing into my spine and crushing my ribs.  I looked hideous.  My curly hair had not been touched in days, a row of stitches followed my hairline around my scalp, and my face was puffy and swollen.  The driver our bed and breakfast sent for us looked a little puzzled at first sight of us.  I felt awkward being in public at all, and was very pleased to arrive at Casa De La Flores, finish check in and settle into our room for 9 days of healing.  :)


Caroline said...

Think you are going to have to review your profile statement Shandy!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Shandy!

I am so excited for you. I am also happy to hear that you are recovering well, and it sounds like everything turned out as you hope.

You look fabulous!

Best of luck and take care,

Cynthia said...

Dear Miss Shandy,


You look unbelievably gorgeous. All that pain and everything you went sure paid off.

I am so happy for you. Now I see that all my prayers were answered so beautifully. I will continue to pray for further healing and success in your next surgeries.

So many hugs woman,


ms.shandy said...

Thanks eveeryone! @Caroline I've not looked at the profile content for a while. Thanks for mentioning! I'm definitely not perpetually single anymore. LOL!

@Cynthia Thanks so much for your prayers, and for taking the time to comment. I really apreciate it a lot.

@Kate I am recovering well. My blog is months behind and things have went really well since I got back to the US. I need to catch this blog up so bad!

Jenny said...

Phew! You're through it safely. And don't you look good!

Leslie Ann said...

Hiya, Shan! I had hoped to see your results in person last night (hint, hint), but this is a pretty good substitute. You look terrific. Say hi to Kay for me.


Kristina Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing that with us Shandy--BTW, you look GREAT! Congrats.


Anonymous said...

Wow!! Not only are you a beautiful woman, you write like a pro. Your description was amazing. I felt like I was in your body the whole time. Congrats young lady. It seems your dreams are coming true and it makes me so happy to see you so happy. :)Suzi

Melissa said...

Shandy, you look terrific! I was wondering what you had been up to. You did a good job of keeping this all a secret until you were ready to let us know. Discharged after only 24 hours? I hope your nine days of recovery in the B&B weren't too painful.

Melissa XX

chrissie said...

Yep. It's such fun, innit? ;-)

Hugs and hopes for as quick recovery, petal..


Debra said...

Oh my gosh girl congratz! And you look amazing =)

ms.shandy said...

@Jenny Thank you!

@ Cynthia Thanks again for your prayers, and for encouraging me to right with your comment on the previous blog.

@Leslie I hope I do get to see you soon. it's been a long time since I got to hang with my crew in Lex. LOL! Missing everyone terribly.

@Kristine Thanks!

@Suzi Thanks for the kind words about my writing. I feel like Imy style has become a bit dry in 2011. So its always good to hear something positive. LOL!

@Melissa I've been wanting to write for ages. But bfore surgery I was preoccupied, and after, I was so tired during recovery. Things are fairly normal now though. And th B and B was actually a pleasnat stay after the first 3 days. The pain was less everyday. :)

@Chrissiie Thank you! This all happened back in April. Took two weeks to be able to sleep fully reclined without feeling like I was going to blow out a boob trying to get back up. My eyes were bruised well into May. The swelling lasted almost that long. But now things are pretty normal again. :)

*Deb Thanks! =)

Viv said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with us - it's so nice to hear about options other than the ones that are most commonly talked about in our trans corner of the 'net. You look wonderful. Hope you aren't in pain for long.

ms.shandy said...

@Viv There are some amazing options out there. I'm in a narrative frame of mind right now, but once I get through story telling, I'll probably go back and cover the details about Doctor Cardenas, my various operations, and my final impression of the whole thing.

GirlWhoShould (Lucy) said...

Congratulations, hope you've recuperated well xx

Lucie x