Testimonial Elise

A Journey as a Transgendered Female

“Dearest Ann and Dr. Reed,
Please see the below on me communicating my experience at The Reed Centre, and please feel free to share it wherever you deem necessary. All I ask it that you only use my first name. I feel sharing my journey/ story to be so valuable to others who are on this same journey, and I know that for me personally, I wish more people shared their stories to educate others on making informed and comfortable decisions.

I offer you all a world of thanks for everything…you literally changed my life and increased my quality of life!

Elise (from Elise with permission to post)

As a Transgendered female, for years I sought out information on MTF vaginoplasty, and reviews on all doctors were from one extreme to the other (positive/ negative), so it was rather difficult to officially make a decision; however, I ended up deciding on Dr. Reed due to his many years of experience and the fact that The Reed Centre had fees that were more in reach to my financial abilities. After a full year of saving, I finally was able to proceed with my surgery in October of 2014, at which time my mother and I travelled to Bay Harbor Islands. I must admit, I had feelings of anxiousness and nervousness, due to the fact that I could not personally vouch for Dr. Reed’s experience or abilities, and as with all other doctors, I would be experiencing firsthand whether or not I would be satisfied with my experience and results.

From the moment I walked in to The Reed Centre, I was so very pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere; I was greeted by Ann, Dr. Reed’s office manager, and what a wonderful lady she is (so kind, welcoming, warm, and genuine). Moments later, I met with Dr. Reed, who not answer met my expectations regarding answering questions and making me feel comfortable, but he exceeded them.

Dr. Reed is so precise and goes over every aspect with a fine tooth comb, so much so that if you interrupt him in the middle of him evaluating your chart, paperwork, and medical history, he is not shy to say “Please give me one minute…let’s take this one thing at a time so that I feel confident knowing that we didn’t miss anything”, which made me feel so confident in knowing that he was thorough and truly did care.

The next morning was my surgery, at which time I met with the anesthesiologist (I cannot remember his name), but he was equally so very thorough, and I do want to point out that he is a Doctor of Anesthesiology, not a nurse anesthesist (there is a difference, and not to say that a nurse would be less effective, but I certainly felt much more comfortable putting my life in the hands of someone with much more medical training). The anesthesiologist, made me feel at ease, and though he did not speak much, he did keep me informed of each step he was taking prior to taking it, which made me feel much more at ease.

Following surgery, I was not in a great deal of pain, but more discomfort due to two things: 1) the catheter was very uncomfortable, but this is not an uncommon factor of catheters 2) I felt an urge to have a bowel movement, although this feeling was misleading, because a bowel movement was not what my body needed, it was actually the packing in my vagina that caused a sensation/ pressure similar to needing to have a bowel movement.

Following surgery, I was cared for by Nicole, a wonderful nurse! Nicole extends such a great amount of compassion and effort, and she truly shows you that she cares. A few hour later though, was the end of Nicole’s shift, and another nurse by the name of Maggie took over and cared for me the rest of the night and morning. Maggie was equally caring, knowledgeable, and helpful. I do want to add that the nurse sits only a few feet from you at the nurse’s station, so you literally have constant watch on you, which creates a much needed feeling of security.

But even though there is an excellent nurse to watch over you, keep in mind that Dr. Reed remains just a few doors down the hall to also periodically check-in with you and receive updates from the nurse (following your surgery, he does not leave the facility until you leave the next morning, which again, creates such a wonderful assurance of security and consistent care).

The next morning Dr. Reed and his nurse personally escorted me right to my hotel room where my mother was waiting, and every morning for the next seven days, Dr. Reed showed up no later than 7:30 to check on me, change dressings, etc.

I will back up a few days to the third (or second…cannot remember which) day after surgery, when Dr. Reed did my first dressing change — I was so eager to see the results, yet I feared I would see something rather scary being it was so early on, but to my dismay, I was pleasantly surprised! Not only was swelling minimal, but I was so pleased with the precision of the incisions and suturing. Keep in mind: I am OCD, figuratively speaking of course, and I am very critical of anything on my being or having to do with my appearance, so again, I was extremely and pleasantly surprised.

Over the course of the next few days, my pain level alternate from minimal to moderate, but never directly in the surgery area, more due to my catheter and the discomfort of the suspension sutures, which assists with the neovagina adhering to the interior of your body.

On the 7th day, I returned to The Reed Centre to have the packing and suspension sutures removed, as well as to be shown and experience dilating. Yet again, I had the pleasure of being taken care of by Nicole, who was so gentle and made me feel so comfortable. She showed me step-by-step what she was doing, and educated me on how to take care of myself and prepared me for future dilating and ensuring a permanently positive result.

Following my post-operative care with Nicole, I felt so much more comfortable after having the packing and suspension sutures removed (what a difference in comfort level!). Dr. Reed periodically came into the room to check on me and see if Nicole or I needed anything. After we were finished, I proceeded to Dr. Reed’s office for reaffirmation of postoperative instructions, receiving of my letter declaring my gender change (to be used for changing my birth certificate), and any final questions that I or my mother may have had, then we were kindly escorted by Dr. Reed and Nicole so the we could proceed back to our hotel. My mother and I returned home the following morning.

In closing, I want to express my deepest and sincerest thanks to Dr. Reed, Ann, Nicole, and Maggie (as well as the anesthesiologist, which again I am drawing a blank on his name), for their care, compassion, and sincere interest in ensuring my comfort and success — words alone cannot fully express this.

I will not dictate where one should or should not go to have their procedure, but what I will say is that I truly believe it to be impossible to receive better care and/ or results than that of which I received from Dr. Reed and his staff. This was a life-altering procedure, and I could not have possibly have chosen a better place to have completed this journey”.

Elise