It’s that time of year again! That day when, three years ago, I bought a smash cake for Spot to celebrate his first birthday, filmed myself beating up said cake with my dong, and put it up on this very info blog.
(When job interviewers ask, “How would you describe yourself?” it is very difficult not to mention this.)
But! Today is Spot’s fourth dickaversary! And to celebrate THIS year, I’ve got a giant info dump prepared, as far as what I’ve been up to lately phallo-wise. (I don’t have another cake prepared. One can only accomplish so many feats in life.)
So, what’ve Spot and I been up to lately?
For one thing, I had my yearly visit to the urologist just a couple weeks ago, and I’m happy to say, Spot came back with a glowing bill of health all around.
The drippiness issues that had been annoying me since my second urethroplasty have entirely cleared up, making the adult diapers I’d gotten into the habit of wearing– which I hadn’t mentioned here because they weren’t *necessary,* per se, but when the occasional accident happened, being prepared was nice– something I no longer feel any need to wear. Back to boxer briefs, at last! Woot! 😀
My urologist did chime in with her approval about one thing: the medic alert bracelet I’ve worn on my right wrist for the past year and a half, which I *also* didn’t mention here yet, so! It’s storytime.
Picture it. It’s 2017. Scar tissue has closed up my new urethra for a second time, so I’m in the emergency room. All I know is, it is agonizingly painful to try to pee.
Someone comes into my ER room. “I need to insert a catheter,” he tells me.
I shy back. “Okay, so. Hang on a sec. I’ve had a phalloplasty, so, have you ever–”
His response: “What’s a phalloplasty?”
I demanded that he please step away from my dong.
He protested, saying it was just a simple catheter, nobody likes doing this– and again, I refused, until I could talk to a doctor who’d had experience with phalloplasty phalluses before.
Nobody on site had, it turned out. The ER docs put in a suprapubic catheter based on my demands, then scheduled me to see Dr. Elliott at the University of Minnesota as soon as possible.
I hadn’t told that story because I thought I’d been making a big deal out of nothing, but when I told my urologist about it, she said I had absolutely done the right thing. Putting a catheter into a phalloplasty *can* be done, but she said it should only be attempted by a qualified urologist.
She said further that the medic alert bracelet I’ve been wearing since that incident, given to me as a holiday gift by my mother– “SUPRAPUBIC CATHETER ONLY”– wasn’t necessary for someone who’s had phalloplasty to wear, but that it was definitely a good idea.
So. Something to keep in the ol’ inventory, if anyone reading this blog is a worrywart like me.
The other thing I’ve done, just in the past few days, was to finally visit a lymphadema specialist again.
I don’t know if it’s shown up in any photos I’ve posted here, but my left hand– the side my forearm skin graft was taken from– has stayed swollen considerably, and this fact is 100% entirely my fault. I had massage, wrapping, and exercise treatment for the lymphadema in that hand for about a year after my phalloplasty, then both stopped doing the recommended exercises *and* wearing my lymphadema sleeve and glove soon after getting the range of motion back in my wrist. My bad, yo.
My excuse was, the only way having a bigger hand on one side affected my life was, I have to buy two pairs of gloves in the winter. But my partner recently made it clear: he thinks my swollen hand looks off-putting, and he wanted me to at least *check* with a lymphadema specialist to see if anything could be done to reduce the swelling. Fair enough, I thought.
My new lymphadema specialist (or “CLT”, as they’re credited after their name) thoroughly examined the affected area, putting measuring tape around all up and down and around my arm and hand, and said she had good news!
Apparently, my hand is at what she called “Stage One Plus,” which is where the skin is still spongy and bounces back when pressed down upon. This is the best stage to be diagnosed with when you have lymphadema, because it means, yes, lymphatic fluid is trapped in my hand, but it can still be manipulated and eased out with regular massage therapy, which I’ll be doing daily now, as well as getting back to regularly wearing my lymphadema sleeve and glove (which still fit me, yay!).
So for the near future, expect updates about how to manage mild lymphadema in your hand if you used a forearm graft for phalloplasty, ’cause those will be coming down the pipeline soon.
In parting, I wanted to mention: Spot’s namesake has actually healed! That dark, discolored spot of dead tissue that gave Spot his nickname? Isn’t there anymore! The skin is all the same color by now, four years in.
He’ll still always be Spot in my heart. I just thought it was interesting. :3
Until next time, y’all!