I saw my surgeon, Dr. Cam Bowman, in Victoria, BC on Friday for my 6 week post-op check-up. Dr. Bowman works in Vancouver but was in Victoria to give a free talk at the University of Victoria on sex reassignment surgery and agreed to meet me there instead. I had three things I wanted to get out of my meeting with him:
- The “all clear” to no longer wear the compression vest
- Information about the extra swelling I still have on the right side of my chest
- Information about the flat spot I have on my right pectoral muscle
The compression vest was getting challenging to wear: with temperatures rising, it was getting damn hot under that thing; it wasn’t helping with the prevention of testosterone-induced acne on my back and chest, and I just want to be free with my new chest—the vest was like the drag of wearing a bra x10! To my extreme pleasure, Dr. Bowman told me that I no longer needed to wear the vest.
I still have more swelling on the right side of my chest. One of my doctors thought it was just swollen tissue (still healing), while my other doctor thought it was fluid. There is no skin discoloration, but Dr. Bowman thinks it’s probably a hematoma. He said it’s likely that my body will just absorb this over time, and that this can take up to a year, but if that doesn’t happen on it’s own that he can remove it with liposuction. A friend of mine who had a hematoma as the result of a hysterectomy said that she massaged hers to get rid of it, but I’ve also read that this can actually trigger more internal bleeding and make it worse. “Benign neglect” is the best course of treatment.
On the same side of my chest, I noticed that I have a flat spot in my pectoral muscle, which made me worry that there had been some kind of damage done to my pec from surgery. Dr. Bowman assured me that they don’t touch the muscles at all and that my asymmetry is natural—it’s just that I didn’t notice this before because there was breast tissue covering up that flat spot. I may have to work out my right pec a little harder in order to account for the flat spot.
In conclusion, Dr. Bowman was very impressed at my rate of healing at six weeks, and I was extremely pleased with this and for getting some closure about my three issues.
I am now compression vest free! Yesterday for the first time, I got to hike with just a t-shirt on—no bra, no vest, all chest! I wore a tight T to celebrate my new freedom. When I got to the beach, I took it off and hung out topless at the shoreline, getting some sun on my back (but NOT my nipples—I need to be careful about their exposure to sun.) Then I worked in my garden for several hours, again topless and loving it! It all came together so wonderfully, and I am extremely appreciative and humbled by it all!!
Below is a photo of me with the vest AND drains (from May 5), then just the vest (yes, it IS kind of pink—I washed it with my GF’s red dress), and my chest at 6 1/2 weeks.