It finally happened. It's been over 5 years since I first went to my GP and asked to be referred to a Gender Identity Clinic. Over 5 years since I came out as trans and started to be known as Zac by everyone at school. It's taken over 5 years, but I finally had top surgery a couple of days ago.
I don't think it's sunk in entirely yet. I'm still padded with cotton and bandages and dressings. I still have drains in my chest to remove any excess blood and fluid. I've had the chance to have a few quick looks at my chest though and it looks amazing.
It feels incredible to look down and see a flat chest where just a few days ago I saw fatty lumps that I've been struggling to come to terms with since they started to grow. At the onset of puberty I felt a lot of confusion and discomfort with my chest and how it was growing so different to my brothers'. I could no longer run around topless and needed to cover up. I wore baggy clothes and hated anything which clung too tightly to my chest causing uncomfortable feelings I wouldn't be able to identify until much later.
I used a bandage for the first time to press my chest down flat when I was around 16. It felt right and whole like nothing ever had before. However, I was worried people might notice and it was tricky to get the bandages to stay in the right place so I didn't do it very often. I'm not sure if I knew at the time but binding with bandages is also not recommended because it can be very dangerous for your health; it's much better to try to get hold of a specially made binder if possible. Some good places to get binders are: MORF, Spectrum Outfitters, gc2b and Underworks.
Even using a proper binder I could never get my chest completely flat and especially recently binding has been causing me back pain and additional tiredness. After 5 years of binding I was definitely getting sick of it and it's such a relief to be free at last!
What did I have done?
Due to the size of my chest I had a procedure known as double incision with free nipple grafts. This can also be called a bilateral mastectomy. I have two horizontal incisions across my chest under my pec muscles and my nipples have been resized and grafted back on in the appropriate places.
There are obviously risks associated with this surgery as with any surgery such as infection and scarring. With the nipple grafts there is also the risk of losing the nipples but in this case it is possible for them to be reconstructed and/or tattooed on. I'm not too fussed about having scars as I have so many already I feel this just adds to th story written on my body. I also don't know how much sensation I will regain, as it will come back slowly over time.
Though I hope that my nipples turn out okay, it wouldn't be the end of the world to have them tattooed because they can look so realistic:
It was always going to be a bit of a trade off for me because I had a very sensitive chest and nipples which were very enjoyable in sexual scenarios. However, in order to feel comfortable the rest of the time I needed to bind my chest and I didn't feel comfortable leaving the house without binding. Therefore I felt in the end that some loss of erotic sensation was a small price to pay for never having to bind again, being able to go swimming topless and being comfortable with my naked chest.
My pain levels so far have been lower than I expected and it seems to be fine as long as I take painkillers regularly. I'm more tired than usual which is typical after surgery and I've been taking it easy over the past few days. I feel quite clear headed and able to get about the house doing things so I haven't found the recovery too difficult so far. However exams are looming and I plan to start revising tomorrow so I'm hoping I will be able to focus on studying over the next few weeks.