November 15, 2007

Day of Lasts

Posted in schedule, transgender at 5:54 pm by Michael

Today was my last electrolysis, my last therapy appointment, and over the past few days, I’ve seen people for the last time before my surgery.


The last electrolysis — well, not too many regrets on that. Over the last few weeks, I’ve looked like C. Everett Koop most of the time, as I’ve had to not shave to make it possible to get rid of the remaining white hairs (of which there are many).

As for seeing people for the last time – that’s just hard. Harder than I thought. December 7 isn’t that far away – reentry into society!

Many people have asked me “Are you sure?”…. I had this thought this afternoon:

 I thought I’d be scared that I was doing the wrong thing. However, knowing that I’m doing the right thing is even scarier. 

Yes, I’m sure.

Off to shave.

November 13, 2007

The Plan

Posted in schedule at 11:10 pm by Michael

Here’s the schedule for the next few weeks.


Monday, November 19: Pre-Op appointment with Dr. Ousterhout in San Francisco.

Have an early morning flight down to SFO with an appointment with Dr. O to talk about all the pre-op stuff. Here’s where I get to hear about all the risks, and go over for a final time what he’s going to do. This is also when I need to pay him (in full).

Sunday, November 25: Fly to San Francisco

Monday, November 26: Surgery #1

Have to be at the hospital at 5:45am for the first surgery (outpatient)… Breast Implants. Ok, I know everyone is going to ask: Saline, Under the Muscle, Through the Nipple, Oval, C cup is the goal. (I still want to be able to run!). Time in surgery: 3-4 hours. 

Thursday, November 29: Surgery #2

Ok, if that wasn’t enough fun, its time for the “Full Meal Deal”. No fries included. Again, 5:45am at the hospital. Here’s the plan:

Hairline: While eight months of hormones and Finasteride have slowed my hair loss, and even regrown some hair, my hairline is still too high. The hairline is moved “down”. How much – not huge, but noticeable.

Brow: This is the one I’m kind of spooked out about. Here, the take my brow, and “shave’ it to make it flatter. Men have a brow ridge, women, not so much. Mine’s not huge, but its there. Here’s the spooky part – the amount of bone that he takes out *may* mean that he “punches through” into my sinuses. In this case, a titanium plate will be used to cover the holes, so I don’t get an extra two nostrils.

Nose: Smaller, narrower – basically a standard nose job, bony work included. Again, I’m sure we’ll talk about the goals here the 19th, but right now, I don’t have details.

Upper Lip: Turns out that female top lips are “shorter” than for men. So, here, he “shortens” it. I will end up with a little scar right below my new nose.

Chin: Implant of some type – will be narrower, but more protruding. Again, more detail on the 19th.

Jawline: Near the joints on the back of my jaw, he’ll shave from the bottom, making it narrower.

Adam’s Apple: In the words of Dr. O: “We’ll take care of that”. Basically, it gets “shaved” and reduced so it’s not as noticeable. Little scar right below.

Ears: Pinned back. My ears stick out a bit… not for long!

Total time in surgery will be about 12 hours… long day.

Because of the jaw work, my diet will go from liquid to soft over the next weeks. Hard foods (which happen to be parts of my staple diet) like granola, trail mix and beef jerky are out for months. The other downside of this is running. According to Dr. O’s assistant, Mira, running isn’t prohibited after the first month, but “You probably won’t want to run for three months or so. Other patients have tried, but felt like their Jaw was going to fall off.”

Huh. I’d like to avoid any jaw-falling-off feelings. Three months it is.

Saturday, December 1: Leave Hospital

After all of the fun of the 29th, I’ll be in the hospital for two days.

Tuesday, December 4: Office Visit #1

From what I understand, here’s where most of the mummy-like bandages get removed. However, the nose bandage stays on for a few more days. I get the first real glimpse of my post FFS face.

Two words: “Train Wreck”.

Friday, December 7: Office Visit #2

Rest of the bandages, sutures, duct tape and bailing wire gets removed. After the appointment, we fly home to Seattle. Lots of things about this will be interesting. First of all, I’ve seen lots of pictures of folks going through this and what they looked like on this day. I don’t think I’ll look much like my license picture at this point – both because of the surgical changes, plus the fact that there’s likely considerable swelling and bruising still.

I’m also very curious as how I’m going to get “read” at this point. Male? Female? Sir? Miss? Who knows… I’ve never been read as anything but male to date, so this should be an experience.

November 12, 2007

I Never Knew PM Skills Would Be This Handy

Posted in Identification, transgender at 9:03 am by Michael

Forgetting the huge emotional and physical parts of being transgender, I have to say, the process, paperwork and just plain byzantine rules are pretty remarkable.

For example, the simple question of “What Gender Are You?”… not so simple.

To get a new Washington State driver’s license, you need a letter from a Medical Doctor (Not a therapist – the rules just changed, but that was because there was a new administrator of the WADOL, not because any law changed. Odd.) The letter needs to say that you are living fulltime in your new gender, and its “Appropriate”.

Name change, pretty straight forward. Need to go to a local district court, submit papers for said name change (I loved the papers – “The Petitioner requests the change of name for the following reasons:” – Uh, I need a reason?)

Now it gets fun. In order to get a new gender for your Passport, you need to have a letter, from a surgeon, indicating that you have had “Irreversible Gender Related Surgery”. What this *actually* means is that you have had genital SRS. If you do what I’m doing – having FFS – no downstairs surgery – not possible to get a passport with an “F”. However, getting a new passport after a name change and a new picture seems like no problem.

For the Social Security office, just to change your name, bring in your name change docs (after filing), one ID with your old name, and one ID with your new name. Both have to be government issued of course. So, trying to solve for this problem, it means that name change has to be first, then license, then SS office, then passport. (Because the SS office needs to see a new and and old ID, and if you apply for the new “right name, right picture” passport, then they have that passport (the old one)). I wonder how they are going to deal with the radically different pictures. We’ll see!

For the FAA (I’m a pilot), bless their little FAA hearts, they have published the guidelines for how to do this. ). You need to appear at the local “Flight Standards District Office” for “positive identification”. Please don’t ask what they need to “positively identify” – I have no idea, and I’m not sure I want to know.

For your birth certificate, it varies from state to state – some states just want a MD letter indicating its “appropriate”, and some want a full on surgical report describing how you have been altered. Youch. I was born in Boston, so Massachusetts rules are in play, and for them, its all about Genital SRS, and a letter indicating same.

Work is pretty good – I need to send a mail to the IT people saying that my name changed. As for what gender that the HR systems have – thats an interesting one. Do I want to change that? If I change it, how does that impact my benefits (I’m married – more on that below – with three kids….) I think for now, I’ll leave it “M” – I don’t want any systems melting.

As for our marriage, this is super interesting. Basically, since we were married, legally, as man and woman, it stays valid for as long as we say it is. Turns out that states don’t have a way to invalidate your marriage w/o your consent. From an IRS perspective, they won’t have any problem taking our money, filing jointly. Now, for Social Security survivor benefits, its not clear if they will pay it, but thats a way away.

Now, I haven’t even gone into what box that I’ll check when filling out a form for something simple like a credit card… I’ll work on that later.

Welcome to M()

Posted in About at 3:12 am by Michael

Its November 11, and there’s a lot to be happy about. I’ve got a great wife and kids (3). Its sunny. The Red Sox just won the World Series, the Pats are 9-0. Great job, great friends, great family Our youngest son at 7 months can crawl, stand, and loves to eat! It’s all good…Oh yeah, and on September 11 (good timing huh?) I came out to most of Microsoft as transgendered.Then, a month later, this became really public with this article. I’m still me, still the same person, but about to change the wrapper in a pretty significant way. Later this month, in San Francisco, I’ll be having “Facial Feminization Surgery”. When I come home I’ll be living fulltime as female… You can call me “Megan” then. (or Michael still… I’m not picky). Hence the M(). After that, it will just be “The New Normal”. That’s what I hope to start living soon thereafter. Life goes on. I plan to write here what’s going on between now and the surgery day(s), then document both how I’m feeling and how I’m looking….

Should be an adventure.

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