Saturday, August 9, 2008

Plastic Surgery, the Journey

I have written before that I have lost a good deal of weight, so to reward myself I'm going under the knife this Tuesday, August 12, 2008. This is to deal with the turkey neck that is the result of losing weight along with the fact that my cheeks are now hollow. In addition, I've asked to have the bags under my eyes to be fixed.

Here's the offcial "Before" picture. I am wearing a wig and no makeup:

I've done some soul searching and wondered if I'm doing this strictly for my crosdressing and if so, am I being influenced by the fashion and media industries about how we should look. I'm sure a feminist would jump down my throat if I said, "no way". So yes, there is that influence to some degree, but keep in mind I'm in guy mode much more than gal mode, so that looking good in guy mode is important too. The main thing is when I did lose the weight I felt great. In fact I feel better today than I have in many, many years. Yet when I look in the mirror, there's this haggard looking guy looking back at me. The outside does not match the inside. This is the main reason why I want these procedures.

Many friends have asked me to chronicle this adventure as they would like to know what it's like. My plan is to write and post pictures of myself each day. I'm not sure if I will be up to it or if I can actually put a wig on over my bandages. So I'll have to wait and see what kind of pictures I can come up with. Hopefully I will be up to at least writing about it.

I've already had two meetings with the doctor. The first meeting we talked about what could be done, where it could be done and how much all of this was going to cost. It will cost a little under 12K. Health insurance does not pay for this, so I took a loan out from my retirement account.

I also chose to come out to the doctor about my crossdressing. I wanted him to understand that he did not have to preserve anything that is masculine about me, and that I did not want any feminizing surgery either. He told me he could make me look better in both my male and female presentments. This was a great relief in that he understood what I was all about. I felt it helped that I showed him pictures of me as Tracy, he seemed to understand that I was serious about how I looked. I also told him that I use 3M Transpore tape to pull my turkey neck up for some of my pictures. He said that was essentially what he will do with the face lift, and in addition, he will remove the fat that is under the chin.

We discussed where I was going to have this done. He is the head of plastic surgery at one of the best hospitals in the South-East Michigan area. He has his own "state of the art" surgery suite at his office. In fact, the surgery suite is a copy of the operating room at the hospital. He is board certified in plastic surgery (very important, some plastic surgeons are board certified, but not in plastic surgery). I chose his office because it would be a little more than $800 less expensive and it was out patient. The hospital would have insisted on an overnight stay. I figured too that he would be more at ease in his own suite. I know I would be! He told me that since he's had his own suite, he has only had to use the ambulance three times, and they were all for precautionary reasons. Keep in mind I asked other people for recommendations for an excellent plastic surgeon, and he is one of the best!

I wanted to see his pictures of before and afters, which he showed me. They looked wonderful. The people in those pictures looked like themselves only better, nothing drastic and they all looked very natural. This was very reassuring. At the end of the meeting he turned me over to his assistants where they took my before pictures and we went over the cost of the procedures. One thing I found out is that if I got the three procedures done all at once, I got a discount as I didn't have to pay for the surgery room more that once nor the anesthesia.

It took me a week or so to decide. In order to set up appointments for the surgery and the follow-ups, I had to plunk down a deposit of a thousand dollars. I had a second appointment on July 25 to go over my surgery prep. This is where they tell you what medicine to stop (usually blood thinners like aspirin) and which to start (like mega doses of Vitamin C, for better healing). It's a basic physical and checking reports from other doctors. They also gave me a personalized booklet describing the whole process and what to expect.

For the record, this is the technical mumbo-jumbo of what will take place:

BILATERAL LOWER LID BLEPHAROPLASTY (Removal of excess skin and fat from my lower eyelids)

STANDARD RHYTIDECTOMY (Removal of excess skin from my face, jowl and neck. Tightening the underlying fascia and muscle)

NASOJUGAL FOLDS FAT TRANSFER (Fat transfer to Nasojugal/Nasolabial Folds (Transferring fat from another part of my body to my nasojungal/nasolabial folds)).

On Friday the 8th, I got a call from the anesthetist to go over what medications and existing conditions I have. I asked her point blank if she liked working for this doctor. She told me she has done this type of work for 25 years and have worked the last 10 years with my plastic surgeon. She even had her two sisters that live outstate come and have work done by him. It was a frank and open discussion and really has helped in settling my nerves!

This is not a flattering picture of me, but this is the full picture of the above shot. This is what I would call "Minimalist Crossdressing" I'm wearing a wig and three pieces of clothing:

So wish me luck, the next time I write will be after the surgery!

Love, Tracy


morgan said...

best wishes fgor a speedy recovery and good luck too. Morgan

Tracy Schapes said...

Thanks Morgan, everyone has been so supportive!

abdominoplasty surgery said...

Hello friend
thanks for sharing this interesting blog about Plastic Surgery, the Journey, I'm very interesting in this topic about plastic surgery because I'm think in having a abdominoplasty surgery thanks I wish you speed recovery