Post-op Progress Proves Challenging

As with most surgical procedures, one must have follow-up visits or therapy to improve the healing and overall outcome. My vocal cord surgery was no different. I had made the decision to switch vocal therapists in the department and met with the new therapist. She explained her background as an opera singer and her plan to work with me to strengthen my voice, try to reduce the raspy sound that resulted from the surgery, and see if she couldn’t return some of my singing ability. She advised me that she could give no guarantees and that it would be a long process. She taught me the first series of exercises and sent me with instructions for alternating the process with some vocal rest to prevent a repeat of my first attempt at therapy exercises.

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I Have A New Voice!

It was the first Friday of October. Surgery day! The wait for my throat surgery was not nearly as long as the top surgery. It was also nice to know I would be able to recover at home rather than a hotel like after my top surgery. As with most procedures, the hospital required that someone accompany me and be available to drive me home.  I asked the friend who had previously offered to go to Kansas City with me and she gladly said yes. I had a 6 am arrival time, so I arrived at her house early that morning. I’d attended my pre-op appointments at the hospital and followed all of the instructions I’d been given for the night before surgery. I was thirsty and kind of cranky, but ready to head to the hospital.

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Repeat After Me… or…Vocal Therapy Is Not My Thing

Shortly after the top surgery it was clear that there were people still misgendering me. While I’d most often been addressed as “sir” before surgery, I was finding that “ma’am” was creeping into the picture a little more than I liked. Frankly, I didn’t like it one bit. I’d always had the issue over the phone but in person it hadn’t been so common in the past. I thought that if my voice pitch was lower – more masculine – this problem would go away.

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A Little Off The Top…a.k.a. Surgery Day

Morning – or what would pass as morning as early as it was – came quickly. The plan was to be on the road between 2:30 and 3:00 am. We would be on the highway and well on our way before most people were even thinking about getting out of bed for the day. There would be no morning coffee or breakfast for me since I’d been given strict orders for nothing after midnight in preparation for the surgery.

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Meeting The Surgeon

So, let’s talk about surgery. I had known for many years – decades actually – that I wanted to have top surgery. I had no clue that was what it was called, though, due to my lack of knowledge around transitioning. I did know the definition of mastectomy and knew that having one would be key to me feeling more “male.” Despite knowing this, I spent many years not even knowing that I could have a surgery for this reason. I’d only heard about women having mastectomies for cancer or whatever medical reason made it necessary. As much as I wanted to have surgery, I didn’t know you could just do it because you wanted to do it. I’d never heard of top surgery or gender affirmation surgery or even the word transgender.

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