This is my view of Spot for the next week and a half or so. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt!

My last stage of a buccal-graft (rebuilt with inside-of-the-mouth tissue) urethroplasty was this past Friday. I went home that same day, and I’ve been more or less asleep until today.

I low-key feel like I have to pee, all the time. This is normal, the same as any other time I’ve had a catheter in, though this time they’re giving me medication twice a day to prevent bladder spasms.

*Unlike* most other times, this stage of urethroplasty had me under total sedation, so they had to put a breathing tube down my throat during the surgery. I had a sore throat for the first couple days; it’s all fine again now.

Siiiigh. A year and a half of stricture complications since June 2015, and fingers crossed, this is THE LAST chapter in the Spot Surgery Saga. I have the catheter taken out two weeks after the surgery– as my doctor put it, “You’ll be peeing in a bag for Christmas, and standing up for 2017.”

Can’t wait. 83

Urethroplastypalooza, Part 1: This Hole Was Made For Me

This is it. Wednesday, June 15th, two days shy of Spot’s first anniversary. Take 3 in trying to stop scar tissue from “healing” my dong’s urethra shut. Stage 1 of a 2-stage urethroplasty.

(Or is it Stage 2 of a 3-stage? I had a suprapubic catheter put in a month ahead of time, just to give the whole area a chance to calm down if anything was inflamed from trying to pee through my stricture. But anyhow.)

For this surgery, Dr. Elliott used buccal (inside of the mouth) tissue to rebuild the urethra’s strictured area from scratch. And for as cringe-worthy as “we’re stripping the skin from the inside of your mouth” sounds, I can easily say that this surgery was both 1) the most painless, and 2) the oddest-looking, as far as results go, that I’ve had yet.

Pictured above: what the *outside* of the harvested area looked like, three days after surgery. That’s not hair on my lip; it literally looked black on one side from bruising.

But as far as pain went? There was so little, I was off the Percocet the docs gave me after only a day and a half. I could feel the ends of some thread poking from where the inside of my mouth was sewn back up, but other than that… Y’know when you accidentally bite the inside of your mouth, and it’s a little raw in that spot for a couple days, but it doesn’t really hurt? Imagine that feeling, only on one entire side of your mouth. I’ve burned my mouth on pizza and had it hurt more.

The only *really* annoying part is how I could only open my mouth a tiny fraction on my ‘good’ side at first. It’s slowly getting more forgiving, and should be back to a normal range of motion within a month or so, but watching me try to eat this first week has been pure comedy. Picture a sloth, using one hand to hold a forkful of something mushed flat, its other hand sloooowly trying to guide the fork through the tiny slot of its open mouth, and you’ll get the idea.

It was that same Friday night, a couple days after surgery, that I discovered the sutures sealing a giant pad of gauze in place right underneath the base of my penis and over my vulva. (You’d think I’d notice something like that sooner, right? But nope. Like I said, no pain!) This is when I started to get a little nervous. “I’m sure they have a perfectly good reason why they sewed my vagina shut,” I thought to myself hopefully.

And indeed, I found on my follow-up visit that next Monday, nobody had actually sewn anything shut– it just *looked* like they did. A quick few snips, some forceps tugs, and the sutures and gauze pads were gone, leaving a hole underneath the base of Spot, riiiight where my original factory-issued urethra used to end.

Here’s what’s going on inside that hole, as it was explained to me. The surgeons put a small slit down part of the rebuilt urethra, facing the outside, and lined it up with a hole to the skin’s surface. For most FTM guys, this hole’s usually made to go through the scrotum, and that’s where you pee from for the next few months. Since I didn’t have a scrotoplasty, they put my hole right above the top edge of my vagina. You could be forgiven for thinking the pee comes out there, it’s so close.

(That’s right. All you confused eight-year-olds out there can consider yourselves justified; there’s at least *one* person in the world who pees out their vag. Kinda sorta.)

Now all I have to do is wait three months before I go back in to have my doc scope around the area and see how the former stricture area’s healing. If no more scar tissue’s cropping up, then *six* months from now, they’ll be sewing the urethra slit shut again, and this whole year-long journey can finally come to a happy end.

As an aside, three cheers for my follow-up doctor for agreeing to take photos of my crotch as soon as she’d opened the area back up. She got even more bonus points from me when she aimed the camera and said, “Open wide… and say ‘cheese’!” 😀

For Worried Anon!

thatsnotrebellion:

chinchilla-meat:

I realize my last answer was a little vague numbers-wise, so to give some perspective of how rare the troubles I’m having really are, I offer this:

When I had phalloplasty, Dr. Crane and his team had done about 150 phalloplasties already.

So far, how many of those patients have had scar-tissue strictures like mine, *including* me?

3.

Those kind of odds are what I meant by “improbable.” So know what’s *possible* when you’re going in, sure– but honestly, I wouldn’t worry *too* much.

I’m curious where you got that number from, and was I included in it?

It might’ve been! The specific number I was referring to wasn’t of the number of strictures that had happened from Crane’s surgeries, but the cases that were so severe that the patient couldn’t pee through it whatsoever. (The scar tissue taken out of me during my stricture-fixing surgery was described as “like a cork.”) If that’s what happened to you, I do sympathize.

For the record, I’m glad I asked Dr. Chen about this when I was having my last follow-up visit in San Francisco. He said that the number of patients having strictures occur after their phalloplasty was still holding consistent at around fifteen to twenty per cent– slightly lower for forearm skin donors, slightly higher if they took your skin from the thigh.

Lesson learned: I wouldn’t *count* on a stricture happening, but if it’s at all possible, I’d budget for airfare and a hotel stay for a possible second trip to San Francisco just in case. One hopes you won’t have to take it, of course, but if you happen to be one of those “lucky” 15-20%, it won’t shatter your bank account, either.

SUCCESS!

Out from the surgery with Dr. Crane to fix my urethral stricture and feelin’ surprisingly fine/lucid, if a bit sore around the area involved.

The scar tissue stricture was super dense, but short– enough to sew together the ends of the urethra without even needing to harvest any tissue from the inside of my mouth to connect any gap. Turned out to be a best case scenario. Finally! I could use one of those by now. :3

For Worried Anon!

I realize my last answer was a little vague numbers-wise, so to give some perspective of how rare the troubles I’m having really are, I offer this:

When I had phalloplasty, Dr. Crane and his team had done about 150 phalloplasties already.

So far, how many of those patients have had scar-tissue strictures like mine, *including* me?

3.

Those kind of odds are what I meant by “improbable.” So know what’s *possible* when you’re going in, sure– but honestly, I wouldn’t worry *too* much.

Month 4 ½-ish.

Movin’ slow this past week.

I’m in diapers again. For some reason, Spot has started leaking short, heavy bursts of the most foul-smelling urine, despite my already having a catheter in. At random. All through the day. Through the urethral stricture that’s already there, so whenever it happens, as urine is actually coming out, I am in UPPERCASE amounts of pain. The catheter opening’s been starting to leak tiny amounts of blood, too.

I’ve been told by my surgeon’s staff that this is something that can happen when a catheter’s in for a long time, and that I need to get my tube changed. Fair enough; it HAS been in for five weeks, and there’s still four weeks until my Final Boss Battle Surgery to get my urethra fixed from the mess of scar tissue it is now.

However, I just got told my usual doctor isn’t authorized to do this. I thought she was. Really should’ve double-checked on that, in hindsight. So, come Monday, it’s time for me to go re-catheterization shopping. And to have very little idea what’s going on with my crotch until then, other than that it’s drippy and smells awful.

I’ve been asked by two people now whether I regret having phalloplasty, and my response is a DEFINITE no. Not even through the complications I’ve been having. The humiliation of having to rush home from work to change my soaked pants. Or of being back in diapers. Or the pain. It’s still all been worth it. I recognize these are temporary problems, and can’t wait to finally write my name in the snow come winter. (I’m thinking cursive.)

It’s just… it’s been really, really hard this week. But, I promised to give my whole personal story when I started this blog, and if pain and uncertainty are temporary stopping points at the moment– even if most people going through phalloplasty will never have this happen, and I’m glad about that– I’m not going to hide this part, either.

Also, wanted to make sure to get a shot of under Spot’s head, ‘cause if nothing else, the area *around* the urethral opening’s been healing up like a charm. :3

Month 4. (Easier than going day by day, at this point.)

I wanted to bring up an important point for any of you who’re eventually going to go through phalloplasty, and that’s that it took me *four days* to muster up the courage to take this pic of my suprapubic catheter’s entry site.

Thankfully, nothing was infected when I finally looked at it, but it makes me realize the truth of something Dr. Crane and his staff told me: You *have.* To look. At your surgery site. To keep yourself healthy post-surgery. Buy a hand mirror. Use the reflection off whichever bathroom or bedroom mirror can reach down there. Just look at it SOMEHOW.

‘Cause I get it. For most of us, looking at our junk is something we’ve trained ourselves NOT to do, right? Out of sight, out of mind.

But this could’ve gone *so* much more badly than it did. All I had to go by was an awful smell coming from the catheter site. Does that mean it’s infected? No. Should I have checked to make sure a lot sooner than I did? YES.

Please. Don’t take that kind of head-in-the-sand chance with your health, any of you.

Post-op, part II.

Okay so WOW am I glad I didn’t wait on this follow-up surgery any longer than I did. The scar tissue buildup was, in the surgeon’s words, “a wall. No wonder you were having so much trouble!”

I’ll reiterate: this is not normally something that happens. A stricture *can* happen a few months out from phalloplasty, but for anyone worried this’ll happen to them, I wouldn’t. When my body *in particular* wants to heal something, it does NOT mess around.

Turns out I get a third and final round left I’ll need to schedule within the next two months or so. Then the surgery team can go in directly and deal with the bit that’s scarring up, so the scar tissue won’t just keep slamming the urethra with every new removal. I’m admittedly a little iffy on the details for how they’re going to do this, but you can bet I’ll have a bunch of questions for Dr. Crane tomorrow.

I’m not worried; I’m in good hands. Already feeling tons better after the surgery, and from having a suprapubic catheter put in for now.

I’ll keep everyone posted. Had no idea I was going to have this much content for the blog, haha!