December 7, 2008

One Year Post FFS

Posted in surgery, transgender at 9:02 pm by Michael

Enough with all that emotional stuff, what’s going on with my face? This post is probably of limited interest to most, but I figured I’d post it anyway, as a record of my process.

Today is the one year anniversary of coming back from SFO, back to Seattle. Today is better. 🙂

Here’s the compare/contrast – before, last year, today.

November 29, 2007

November 29, 2007


December 8, 2007

December 8, 2007

December 7, 2008

December 7, 2008


December 7, 2008

December 7, 2008

December 7, 2008

December 7, 2008

Ok, I admit it. I look a lot different.
The Issues.

I was most concerned with having any sort of nerve damage/sensation loss. A year later, its relatively minimal, and in line with what Dr. O predicted. Right underneath my nose (the flat spot that’s parallel to the floor when you are standing up – I’m sure there is a name for it, but it escapes me) is still totally numb. That numbness goes a bit up to the point of my nose, but not “around the corner”. It’s still cold sensitive – we’ll see how skiing this winter is. I have a bit of surface numbness on the top part of my upper lip, but it’s not bad.

On the very top of my right ear there is a little bit of numbness at the top – the right one is totally fine.

The top of my head, roughly the size of my fist, going back from my hairline is still numb on the top. I notice this most when we are walking/running and branches rub the top of my head. It just feels odd.

That’s it.

Generally, everything came out even. Skin isn’t clay or metal, and there’s bound to be little imperfections. There are three little unevenesses. On my hairline, the actual hairline itself isn’t quite even. It dips down in one direction a bit, but I think I’m the only one to ever notice.

Hairline, December 7, 2008

Hairline, December 7, 2008

Secondly, when I scrunch (technical term) my nose up, one of my nostrils is a little lower than the other one. This is not noticeable w/o scrunching. I have airbrushed out my nose-inside for the faint of heart, and also made this super small by default. Click for a bigger image (IF YOU DARE!)

Nose uneven-ness

Nose uneven-ness

Lastly, there’s sometimes a little tiny divot that appears along one side of my jaw, lust past my chin. Its a little bit noticeable in the profile shot for the right, but only when I smile. (Which is hopefully more and more!)

Unrelated to the actual FFS part, but definitely important has been facial hair removal. It’s still a work in progress. I have done two laser treatments in the past year (last December and January) to deal with the black hairs, and I’ve been having electrolysis on average 3x a month for about an hour. Honestly, my schedule hasn’t really allowed for much more. The progress here has been *slow*. Luckily, most of the black hairs are gone, with a few cropping up occasionally (Pluck!). My upper lip and lower lip are now hair-free enough so that I don’t have to shave those areas. Around my chin is 80% done, but my neck is still white hair central. I have to shave every day, and I’m still a little self conscious about it.

The Fair

My nose… hmm… it works. It’s different. Instead of being convex when viewed from the side, it’s now a little convex. Was it a big difference, hard to tell.

The chin and jaw – its so hard to say, but the shape is different. I think my face is rounder now, and that’s all about the jaw.

My Adam’s apple is way less prominent, although not gone. I appreciate the fact that the scar for it, right under my chin has basically disappeared. Not having the scar on my lower neck makes it significantly less noticeable.

The Good

I love not having ears that stick out. I *always* hated them, and now they are safely back and locked.

The combo of the hairline modification plus the hormones has left my hair in a good state. It’s thicker, and growing out nicely. I actually like wearing it back now.

My brow ridge is totally gone. Whoosh. It was relatively prominent before, but it’s not any more! I think this trait is an interesting one – it’s true that the majority of Caucasian women do not have one – however we were watching “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (Season 2)” (Yes, Anh and I can be addicted to trashy reality TV) and one of the patients – “Amber Smith” who is/was a model (with a serious narcotics addiction) has a very prominent brow ridge. You would not think she was ever a man in any way.

The Reaction

The most biased first. I went to see my mom last month when I was in Boston, and she said – “Ok, let me take a good close look at your face.” After inspecting it, she said “Huh, I don’t see any masculine features in your face at all.” I think that’s a little pushing it, but hey, she said it!
At work the other day I was having a lunch meeting w/my friend Val and another co-worker, and she was sitting next to me. After the meeting she remarked how totally gone my brow ridge is.

In terms of how the FFS contributes to passing, I think it was pretty important for me – but other stuff was needed too. The bigger issues were making progress on the hair removal, since my hair was so dark and my skin is pretty light (contrast!), and also having my hair grow out. I’ve noticed that passing has a lot to do with what I’m wearing too. With a heavy coat on, I’m more frequently “Sirred” – but without, it’s become infrequent.

In the end, I think that FFS (in combination with moderate dress – see previous post on “Passing”) has helped me to just go about my daily life, and to not stick out (as much).

Am I happy that I had it? Yes. Was it absolutely necessary? Probably not. But, I transitioned post FFS so I don’t have a reference point.



  1. Tam said,

    It’s great to see the pictures. (I’ve been reading your blog for a while but only commented once or twice before.)

    I am a cisgendered woman and I have so many black and white hairs on my chin that I have to shave every day too. I think it’s more common than you’d think.

  2. Jenny said,

    Megan i think you look wonderful and as for your nose its fine my nostrils are not the same they are close but not the same and i have had no ffs or other surgeries …yet… remeber no one is perfect and as long as you can breath well and its not been noticed by anyone else don’t worry as i said before your BEAUTIFUL!

  3. Chris said,

    Megan, you are a beautiful woman! You’ve come an incredibly long way in a year. Congrats on everything going so well.

  4. Samantha said,

    Uh Megan, I hate to be rude, but they are after all EARS, not tray tables. Safely back and locked… Right and the seat belt sign will remain lit as we begin final approach for Seattle.

    Sorry, I just had to. The way you wrote that, and your jet setting ways, had me thinking of tray tables.

    You look great my dear, and you’re doing fine!
    Megan>> Ok, that was hilarious. Good thing that I wasn’t drinking soda, or there would have been a nose-tastrophy! 🙂

    Happy Holidays to you and the whole family!


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