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Brenda Jean’s story

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Memoirs of getting my SRS
by Brenda Jean

My first day at Dr. Reed’s Clinic

October 1st, 2003 Well, yesterday we landed at the Ft. Lauderdale Int’l. Airport. The Delta-Song flight went really well and the flight attendants treated us royally. They knew we were TS and enjoyed our presence. We booked a cab to get to the hotel. It cost us $65 bucks. OUCH ! But in actuality, it’s about an hour drive ( using the legal speed limits ) from the airport to the hotel….

One thing to remember. Florida is primarily a tourist attraction state, therefore the State and Local police make it their business to very closely watch the cars for speeding and seat belt wearing. There are plenty of out of state travelers that are unaware of the local traps. Look out !

….and I 95 is notorious for car accidents and traffic jams as you near the airport exits. I’m here to get my first stage SRS. My life Partner, Tammi Dee, is going to get an “Orchi” procedure done here too.

I walked over to Dr. Reed’s building this morning. Dr. Reed’s clinic is in Bay Harbour , Florida . It’s located in the North Miami area, near the inland waterway. I talked to the Receptionist, Anne, first. She’s a delightful woman and a pleasure to talk to. As I sat in the waiting room, I saw this large oil painting of a mother and her two young daughters. A friend told me that Dr. Reed had painted it as well as others all around his clinic. I thought to myself, “Well, what better to have a surgeon who is skilled in artistic prospective doing your SRS. After all, post-operative aesthetics is an important criteria”. Being a Monday morning, his clinic is usually a flourish of internal business activity. Eventually, I got to meet Dr. Reed in person. I handed him all the latest medical test data that he requested.

Its important to get all the necessary medical test data together and fax it to him for his review at least 3 weeks before you arrive. That way, if he needs further testing to satisfy his criteria, it can be easily obtained while you are still at home. Also remember that some of the test results are time sensitive with respect to the surgical date. If you need more testing in Miami , your out of state medical insurance might be useless, and the costs will wind up being out of pocket.

As we sat down in his office, he proceeded to go over all the test results meticulously. He is very methodical when he talks to you and wants your answers to be as prompt and concise as possible. While he’s reviewing all of this information, he doesn’t want to be interrupted either. This is a very important segment of the Pre-operative examination for him. He doesn’t want any 2

foreseeable health risks to impair the SRS procedure.

It’s his business to know as much about your health business before he proceeds to operate. Dr. Reed means what he says, he doesn’t tolerate deviations to his requests at all.

Next, he gave me a quick physical exam. He evaluates what you have and what is probable as a post surgical result. After the medical interview, you are requested to sign a bunch of papers….

I have to admit that they contain enough disclaimers to make a lawyer choke and faint. I don’t really know what the other clinics expect you to sign, so I have no ability to compare here on this paperwork. I suspect that it’s pretty much the same for others here in the USA . Also, there isn’t any time to have a lawyer advise you on this paperwork. The only thing I can suggest is that if reviewing legal paperwork and getting advice prior to signing is an item you wish to pursue, make a request to Anne for copies of them when you send in your deposit.

……I took a deep breath, threw caution to the wind, and signed them. Next came the video taped final interview. That’s where you state your intention to get a SRS and acknowledge all the possible negative side effects and life threatening reactions that could happen during the surgery right on video tape for his legal protection. Great, all systems GO, ready for my life changing operation tomorrow. I returned to the hotel room.

We rented a larger car with soft seats and easy entry doors. We did some shopping for last minute incidentals such as drinks, milk, cereal, snacks, Sweet and Low sugar, a coffee maker, coffee, cold cuts, bread, sandwich condiments, paper plates and bowls, and other “personal needs” stuff. The hotel room comes equipped with a small refrigerator. Unfortunately, if you are an avid coffee drinker as we were, the hotel room 2 cup coffee maker was terrible, so we bought out own 10 cup for $20 with the intent of abandoning it when we leave. I planed to stay for 10 days. The Doctor stated that 8 days would suffice, but I think in retrospect that 13 days would be the best. You’ll find out why further on in this article.

I recommend that you get enough stuff to last you for at least a week, so you don’t have to do any unnecessary walking while you are recuperating from your surgery.

Here, I want you to understand a few things about getting an SRS. Don’t think it will make you more passable or acceptable in mainstream society. Don’t do it just because your partner wants you to get it done. Benefits of the operation include not having to tuck anymore, better fitting undergarments and pants, and being able to get your gender changed in many states and federal document gender changes. Also, to remove an object that bothers you and make you feel more 3

complete. If you DON’T have a problem with what you NOW have, seriously consider whether or not you really want to undergo the SRS. This is a serious operation and there is a possibility of undesirable results, regardless of whichever surgeon you choose. Weigh these carefully in your decision making. You’ll have to live the rest of your life with the results. Perhaps an “Orchi” will be better for you.

The Night Before My Vaginoplasty Surgery.

After we finished shopping for supplies for the week, we returned to our hotel room. You can’t eat anything 24 hours before your surgery, except for clear liquids till midnight. Oh yes, you get to chug down a few bottles of Magnesium Citrate. YUCK ! Needless to say, it’s advisable not to stray too far away from the ol’ toidy bowl. I found it rather difficult sleeping that night. All kinds of stuff races through your head. You know,……. the “What if’s”.

“What if the operation isn’t a success?”; “What if you’re not happy as a woman as you’d thought you’d be?”. You’ve spent most of your life dreaming about the day your sex is changed. You’ve jumped through emotional hoops and over financial hurdles the last few years just so you could get to this moment. Yes, there are a lot of unknown “What if’s”. I thought to myself, “Why am I posing challenges to the reasoning for my desire to get the operation? Isn’t kinda stupid at this time to dwell over?”. But then I rationalized that this was exactly the time for you to make damn sure that you were OK with the upcoming surgery. I took a shower at 2:00 AM in the morning. I know I said I wanted the surgery on Dr. Reed’s video taped interview, but it was there in the shower that the incidentals were worked out in my mind for good. As I dried off, I mused to my self about my male parts, “Boy, if only they knew what was going to happen 4 hours from now. YIKES !!!”. I finally fell asleep for a few hours.

The Day of My Vaginoplasty Surgery

The alarm clock sounded, we jumped up, got dressed and went over to the clinic. I was a little apprehensive but nevertheless at peace with myself. I put my cloths into the locker and got into the gown. I gave my partner, Tammi, a big hug and a long kiss for luck. Anne directed me on how to get onto the operating table. I said my prayers as I lay there getting prepped. The anesthesiologist was inserting an IV into my arm. A blood pressure cuff was on the other arm. I heard Vladimir flipping a bunch of switches on some machine. All of a sudden I started doing comedy shtick to those in the room. I asked, “Where the ‘Jacob’s ladder’ was, and if there were electrodes being raised into the sky?” Can you believe it? T minus 1 minute and counting and I’m likening this to a Frankenstein flick !! I really don’t remember falling asl eeee pppp …………………………….

The next thing I remember was feeling Anne placing an ice pack down there and tending to my IV. “It’s over Brenda. You’re OK hon”. “How do you feel? Tammi is waiting to see you”. I just felt real groggy and there was pressure down there, but no pain. It was good to see Tammi’s beautiful face. Remember, she was there for an “Orchi” operation later on that week. She was so impressed on how I was looking after the operation, that she quickly signed up for her full SRS to happen three months later, when I was to come back for my Labiaplasti procedure. After the operation you’re watched in the recovery room for 24 hours. You’re attached to various equipment that monitors your vital signs. Between the “Beep beep’s” and the humming of the blood pressure machine, you’re introduced to the famed Jackson Pratt suction device, or “grenade” as it’s so called. This is a parasite that’s attached to you for the next 5 or so days. It’s there to drain any excess blood from the surgical area inside you. You also have a urine bag fashion accessory. I would be awake, fall asleep, awaken and fall asleep again for most of the night. Thank God there was a TV set there for me to watch. I also had wonderful conversations with the night nurse that was watching me. Dr. Reed stays nearby also while you are in the 24 hour watch. Dr. Reed cooked me a nice breakfast next morning.

The next big painful milestone, “the wheel chair from hell” ride back to your hotel room awaits you. YEOWWWWW !!!! Just remember, this too will pass. Actually, it’s really not that bad. Just the bumpy areas will drive you nuts. Vladimir tries to avoid them as much as possible.

Recuperating from My Vaginoplasty

Here’s where the work begins. Upon arriving at the hotel room, the first challenge I had was figuring out how to get out of bed without causing pain in the surgical area. I also had to get used to my intimate friends, the “Grenade” and the infamous urine bag. Those pain pills sure come in handy. I was feeling pretty sore the second day after the surgery. The doctor had prescribed 1 pill every 6 hours for pain. Tell you what, I took 2. The next three days were OK with the pain pills, as long as I remained in bed. The Doctor visited me in the Motel room every day at 7:00 AM sharp for the next 5 days. He would check the dressing and my vitals. When he did my surgery, he decided to use a “pressure dressing”. That is to say that I had adhesive tape wrapped completely around my waist and down my tummy, over the neo-vagina area and around the inside of each leg. It kinda looked like a sumo wrestler getup. I had to take a barrage of very strong antibiotics every day for the next 7 days. In taking these, I started to develop a real bad skin reaction under the tape and a yeast infection around the exterior area of my vagina. By the third day, my skin was starting to sting under the tape and along the incision areas. In retrospect, if I had taken Diflucan pills during the post surgery time, I might have been able to avoid this infection problem. I’m sure glad that I booked the operation to happen in the Fall. I would have really been miserable in the Florida Summer heat. The temperatures were hovering in the mid 70’s as it was. Thank God the humidity was low. The adhesive tape came off around the 5 th day. The next thing to come off was that old friend of mine, the urine bag. That was on the 6 th day. The “grenade” came off on the 7 th . Now that was a weird feeling experience. He removed the internal vaginal packing on the 9 th day. At last I was free. So I thought. We left for home on the 10 th day. The ride back on the plane was really annoying mostly because of the unhealed stitched areas caused by the yeast infection . In retrospect, I recommend if at all possible, you get first class seats to go back home and plan to stay at least 13 days. At least that way you will avert any unnecessary strain on the stitched areas. One word of caution however.

The Ft. Lauderdale Airport terminal also services the people from the Fly/Cruse lines. When these ships come back to port, there are a very large quantity of people who are going to travel home by air. All passengers in the terminal that we were departing from have to converge at one central area for security checks. The security check line cue time lapse could go as much as 2 hours long before you get to the departure gate. I think it’s wise to plan to spend a little time waiting to be checked out by security. Hey, worst case is that you get through the security early and have to spend a while at one of the several restaurants within the departure area. At least you won’t miss your plane because of a security snag up. One other thing. Call your airline and confirm their departure time at least a day before you leave. To our horror, the airline had cancelled our return flight a week prior and replaced it with a flight that left 2 hours earlier, which we failed to find out about. They rescheduled the next flight for us at the terminal kiosk which took about three hours to wait for, and this one required a stop over. I wasn’t informed of the flight change because the only phone number they had was my home phone. Obviously there wasn’t any one there to answer that call. When you make any reservations, it’s best to give them your cell phone number. At least that way they can get hold of you if there are any problems. Oh yes, one last thing that will help you get through the security without being totally frisked is to remember to take your shoes off and put them through the baggage scanner. Women’s shoes have a metal support strip in the soles many times, and that will ring the walk through scanner alarm in a snap. You can avoid the consequences of being publically frisked by just remembering to remove your shoes.

Three Months later, Back for My Labiaplasty.

Arriving back at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport again, we decided to rent a car at the terminal instead of taking the cab. We saved a couple of bucks by doing this and

were more familiar with “the driving in Miami ” drill.

Well, here I was, back in Dr. Reed’s office for the second stage. Being off the Spyro for four months, you body has a problem getting rid of all the water weight that you get from eating all of those rich goodies. I gained enough pounds back so that general anesthesia was no longer allowable by Dr. Reed’s calculations. I had to go with a local anesthetic administered to the vaginal area. The operation went smoothly. I even had the chance to make Dr. Reed laugh. He was commenting on the location of my Clitoris within the Labia area. I spoke up and commented,

“Ah yes, esthetics. One’s nose should always be centered in front of their face.”

Actually, it was kinda weird listening to them talk to each other while they were operating. And, you could hear and smell the electronic scalpel cutting away.

This was not the time that I wanted to hear Dr. Reed say, “Oops”, or “damn it”, or any other useful expiative indicating that something just went wrong. The surgery went well. It was about 2 hours long from start to finish. I spent about 4 hours in the recovery room. Then the lovely “wheel chair ride from Hell” back to my hotel room.

As always, Dr. Reed came to visit early next morning to see how things were doing.

This time, I had taken three Diflucan pills to take over the recuperation period that prevented any occurrence of yeast infection both under the adhesive bandaged area and around the labia and surrounding areas. Look out though, they cost about $28.00 each, and that’s for the generic version. The local pharmacy nearby can get them for a better price. After about three days in bed I was able to walk around fairly well. I needed the pain pills for only two days this time.

As I previously mentioned, confirm your departure flight at least a day before you leave . And, make time allowances for overloaded security check lines.

Post Surgical Experiences.

Ok, here’s the down and dirty about the after affects of my procedure.

Q. Am I satisfied with my visual results?

Esthetically, my Gynecologist told me that it looked very natural. A lesbian lady friend also commented that it looked natural. So as far as looks go. I’m pleased.

Q. How about depth and width of the neo-vagina?

After progressive stenting (verb: to use a stent in one’s neo-vagina) I eventually 7

achieved insertion of the “Big Kahuna” which is about 1.5″ inch in diameter. The final depth attained was 4.5 inches deep, which is typical for most average genetic females. So again I’m satisfied.

Q. How good was it for intramissive sex? External stimulation?

Well, here I have a problem. For short durational stuff it’s OK. But over an extended period of time of intramission, I start to get very painful and want the activity to stop. My problem here is that I had very sensitive penile skin to start with as far as repeated rubbing was concerned. Being a male “outie” originally, lubrication wasn’t a problem. But now as a neo-vagina “innie” lubrication is hard to maintain. Don’t get me wrong, I tried all kinds of lubes. I do experience some erogenous feeling inside the neo-vagina, but not enough to make me fly over the mountain of extacy. As far as my citrous is concerned, I can feel if something painful is pushing against it and I have some slight touch sensation but there is no erogenous feeling in that area. So there I lost out. It’s been over a year now that I had the Labiaplasty and there hasn’t been any positive changes. I want to say that this isn’t always the case for most. I have two friends and my partner who went to Dr. Reed and they all function very well in this area. I have a few other friends who went to others, and they too had no problem here. Guess I was the one who drew the short straw. I don’t feel depressed about it. I’ve become somewhat frigid and really don’t miss having an orgasm or being able to be aroused.

Q. Are there any other post-surgical health related issues with my neo-vagina?

I’ve had a propensity to develop a lot of urinary tract infections. In all fairness, some of the cause might be related to my being slightly diabetic. The urethra is prone to getting bacterial type infections. One of the things that I have come to the conclusion as a cure is to carry an empty douche bottle and fill it with warm water and irrigate my vaginal area every time I have to urinate. Sort of like using a bidet. Also, every time I have to take a antibiotic for a UTI or other bodily illness, I need to take some Diflucan pills to counteract a side affect of getting a yeast infection inside my neo-vagina. I’m to understand that this reaction is also common for a few genetic females as well. I have also had a problem with getting both bacterial and fugual yeast infections inside of my neo-vagina.These were primarily due to a slight urine drip that would happen while I sleep. I have an increased need to internally douche at least 3 times a week with a lukewarm solution of water mixed with an antiseptic solution. I also have to make sure that I douche with lukewarm water immediately after I dilate. Contrary to one’s imaginative opinion, dilation exercises aren’t fun.

The procedure is likened to using a broomstick up there rather that a male sex organ. I’m all for someone inventing various sized flexible soft skinned sanitary dilators. Perhaps even having the ability of dispensing a little lubrication from the tip.

Q. Do I have any other gripes about having a neo-vagina?

One thing that I am furious about is the lack of medical support available to a Post operative TS in their home state area. I had to go through 20 Gynecologists before I found two that would even look at me. And that was with insurance coverage. God forbid if you are on state entitlement insurance because you’re out of work and no one will hire you. State insurance is like asking the doctor to take an enema before they examine you as a patient. I understand that there isn’t much money in taking state entitlement patients but damn it all, I’m still a person who needs medical attention. I will add here that Dr. Reed had openly invited me to come to his office in Florida if I needed help. Unfortunately, I live in Connecticut . You do the math. Make sure that you locate a Gynecologist who will agree to treat your neo-vagina ailments nearby, in your state, before you get the operation. At least that way, if you get in a medical snag, you’ll have someone with experience rather that an ill equipped intern at the emergency room.

When I came home from my initial surgery in October, 2003, I was unceremoniously terminated from my job. The underlying reason? My boss had a replacement ready to take over my job and he didn’t want a TS working in his plant anymore. The women in the facility also had a problem with me now being able to legitimately use their sacred bathroom. I’ve still yet to find a job in this state. That even includes a minimum wage job. I saw a clerk in a department store, who had his pants down to his knees and showing his boxer shorts to the general public. He also had huge hollow ear plugs in his ear lobes and more piercing hardware on his face that I have downstairs in a storage can. Him they would hire. Me? Forget it. What would the customers think?!!! Go figure. I used to be an Electro-mechanical Manufacturing Engineer with a background in electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical controls, machinery fabrication, motor drive systems, quality control inspection & metrology, and a Tooling and fixturing design Specialist. Now I’m a leper. I have a suit against the owner for Wrongful Termination but the state is taking forever to investigate the claim and make their decision. The claim was initially filed back in November of 2003. It’s January 2005 now. My point? Don’t count your employment chickens before they hatch.

My last gripe concerns that of the federal government and the state government. If I just got an “orchi”, and am on a legitimate hormone replacement therapy program, and I’ve been adequately diagnosed by two shrinks as being legitimately Transsexual, I should be able to have my gender legally changed on all state and federal ID’s and registration documentation. Getting an SRS shouldn’t have to be a prerequisite. Case and point here is the fact that an F2M doesn’t have to get a phalloplasty to change their gender legally. All they have to do is get breast removal and a hysterectomy and HRT. They may still have a vagina and be recognized as a male. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that I got my SRS. But I felt that the system here railroads you into having to get the operation rather than it simply being you option and right to choose. There are many M2F TS’es out there who can’t afford to have the operation, or are in poor health or too old to undergo the surgery.

Good luck in your journey. Live long and prosper and may the force be with you.

My Email address is “tgbrendaj@yahoo.com” If you have any other questions.

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