Well, it’s been 15 days since I had my forehead and scalp peeled away, my skull contoured and fat injected into my cheeks. Where did that time go??! All the swelling and bruising has gone, leaving me to get used to my new face. Considering what I’ve had done, you would think I still look like punched dough. But no. How come? Yeh, you may be asleep during surgery but the procedures take their toll – both physically and mentally. Though I’ve had my stitches out, I still feel exhausted. Psychologically too. My mini meltdown prior to surgery was one thing, but to come out the other side is another. It’s so weird to look in the mirror and think “wow, this is what I look like from now on”. It’s like when you see a drawing of a celebrity that’s, erm…not very good. You can tell who it’s meant to be but there’s just something that doesn’t seem right. Well that’s how I’ve been feeling when I look in the mirror. It’s not the face I had on August 14th 2019. Even just reaching up to your own face is a weird experience: some things are no longer where they used to be!! I still have very little to no feeling in the top part of my face/scalp. That’ll take time as the nerves recover from surgery. Doing make up or drying my hair is certainly a strange experience when you can’t gauge pressure or feel heat…yet it feels like there’s a plate on top of your head. I’ll be posting before and after photos soon, so stay tuned!!
I always say that great service isn’t just when you buy something. It’s the whole experience: before, during and after. It’s something we strive to do at work – make sure every customer is well looked after before their tattoo, during and after. Way after. Whether it’s a week, a month or a year. We never stop caring about our customers at work and we’re always there for them. Since waking up with a modified face, the post-op support and care has been every bit as amazing as the consultation and surgery itself. I had a feeling it was going to be this way. Even before surgery, The London Transgender Clinic had everything planned and organised for me. In addition to booking in all my follow up appointments, they arranged for a Hilotherapy unit to be delivered to me before surgery so I had it at home to help my recovery. They also booked me in for a series of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) sessions for before and after the surgery.
For those that don’t know what MLD is, it’s like a massage but it’s not a massage. It helps to drain the lymphatic system in order to promote healing. I went into it not knowing what MLD was but having had the sessions, I can honestly say it did really help. It’s a known fact that the human body was designed to be self-healing but even with the most enthusiastic immune system, major surgery requires time to recover from. MLD helps by making the lymphatic system more efficient, therefore speeding that process up. I’m proof that it works: 2 weeks on, you can’t even tell I had major surgery just from looking at me. Ok, the fringe does help to hide the incision but whatevs!!
Lynsey Tate is my therapist at The London Transgender Clinic and she’s done an awesome job in helping me before and after my surgery. She’s one of the reasons I don’t look like punched dough as I type this and knows all about the importance of recovery, as she explains: “Recovering from surgery can be difficult for the individual, it’s hard to know how to touch or when it’s ok to touch the areas you have just had surgery on. MLD therapists have been specially trained – they are not massage therapists. They excel your recovery and stimulate the healing process when your body is struggling to do this at its normal pace. Your therapist’s hands are the guiding touch to help: they know when, where and how to touch post-surgical areas.
We gently encourage the body to remove waste from the area (bruising, proteins, water, cellular debris, fatty acids etc), this looks like a massage but the technique and theory are different. The debris surrounding a new, fresh incision that is trying desperately to heal and form a scar can impair the final result. MLD not only helps with scar formation, but it also helps stimulate your immunity, therefore less chance of complications such as seromas and infections.
It’s such a rewarding job. My patients trust me with their body at its most vulnerable and express such relief from their sessions, it’s a pleasure to take part in the recovery.”
Thank you so much for being a part of my journey Lynsey 🙂
In addition to support from The London Transgender clinic, I’ve had sooooo much support from people around me, friends and people on social media. Thank you everyone, I am truly grateful. Being completely honest, I never expected so many people to reach out to me, asking how I was doing. During my time off, I also received lots of really kind messages from people saying how my story so far has inspired them or helped them in their own lives. I’m gonna lie, it’s a lot to take in sometimes and I don’t really know what to say a lot of the time…so sorry if I sounded like an awkward oblong in my reply to you!! Fact is, I don’t see myself as particularly interesting or inspiring. I’m just being me and
sharing waffling about my journey to anybody who will read about it. If you want inspiration, look no further than my best friend. She applied for The London Marathon, not expecting to get through. But she did. On top of all the other stuff she was going through at the time, she put herself through 3 solid months of training (which brought with them their own ups and downs) in order to prepare for it – all whilst raising money for charity. And you know what? She completed her first ever marathon in an amazing time. I’m so proud of her for achieving such an amazing thing. She didn’t even need a montage, unlike Rocky. She won’t say she’s inspiring, but she is.
My mom did actually message to say good luck for the surgery but it was a half-baked gesture. Especially as she sent her bland message over a week after my surgery. It’s a known fact that I’ve never been close to my family. Even less close after telling them I was transgender. To this day, my family and I remain apart, and I’m totally ok with that. It honestly doesn’t bother me at all. They have their own views and their lives to live. I have mine. With all the amazing people I have around me, who even needs a biological family?
Featured image: by me