The flight home was unremarkable, except that it wasn’t very full at all, so I got the entire emergency exit row to myself (more legroom and space, so I could spread out a little! 😀). Collecting my luggage took longer than expected due to a lot of confusion in the baggage claim area (caused by the airport/airline changing carousels multiple times and taking so long to get the luggage there), but once I had everything, we headed home. Our poodle was so excited to see me – she wouldn’t stop licking my face for at least 15 minutes! We got home and we soon were all in bed – it was late.
Life settled into a new routine. Dilation began dominating my waking hours; three times a day, about an hour each time I do it. I had one more week off work, so I took care of a few doctors appointments and errands which required my attention. We resumed some of our usual habits – dinners together, game nights, bedtime cuddles with the kids, etc. Life is returning to “normal”.
But it’s a new normal. The dysphoria which debilitated me nearly daily has diminished to a point where I feel much more equipped to deal with it; it has become less frequent, less intense, and it goes away more quickly. The absence of the mental buzzing has given me a sense of calmness, peace, and even serenity! I smile more easily and more frequently – often for no apparent reason, though more often than not, it’s because the thought popped into my head that I now have the body parts which I’ve long felt that I should have had.
I had stopped taking my anti-androgen (testosterone-blockers) a few months before the surgery, and over the course of my recovery had stopped an anti-anxiety medicine. I’ve reduced my anti-depressant dosage and with the approval and support of my medical provider, am making my way towards ceasing it altogether. While I’m still physically weak and tire easily, I’m more mentally and emotionally strong. I have a confidence that I didn’t before, and I feel much more connected to my own body.
Before my surgery, one of my therapists warned me that surgery wouldn’t solve all of my problems. And she’s right – it hasn’t; there are still repairs to make around the house, bills to be paid (actually, there are more of those now that some of the medical bills are coming in), and the usual challenges that are a part of being alive. This surgery did not magically cure me. I still have a lot of work to do towards healing, both physically and psychologically.
The surgery was meant to do one thing: to help reduce the dysphoria I felt towards and surrounding one specific area of my body. And to that end, the surgery was very successful (at least so far). It got rid of the dysphoria around my genitals, and removed a mental energy drain that I hadn’t known existed.
So while I still have a long ways to go, to me it feels like I’m closer to my destination than I am to where I started. The doubts I’d wrestled with over whether transition was the right path for me are quelled. The fears that I might be making irreversible mistakes have proven to be unwarranted. I am on the right path. I am making my way home and am starting my descent to make my landing. As the captain on my plane told the flight attendants, it’s time to
“Prepare for arrival”