Jace's Top Surgery Journey – Pt. 2 Pre-Op and Prep

This is a six part series highlighting Jace Every and his journey through top surgery.  He has written this series from his perspective of life before, during and after top surgery.  His words, his journey in a completely honest and vulnerable take.  Here is Jace.

Pre-Op and Prep

Where was I? Oh right, my journey started in 2015 when I realized that it was time for my gremlin to go. So naturally top surgery was the next step in my transition. So when you start the process of top surgery you settle in for a long, trying, exhausting, overly emotional rollercoaster of a process. There are sooooo many steps and trust me it feels crazy and even idiotic at the time but fret not my loves you will soon learn that they are vital steps.

Step one for example. No surgeon will operate on you unless they have a letter of release from a therapist saying you are fit to make this life altering decision. Let’s not forget, although you have decided that this is right for you it is a major surgery. A mental check up is completely warranted and necessary. Even if you haven’t decided and you’re just thinking about it, therapy is still the first step. A therapist, especially one who is familiar with the trans community and process, is a great tool to help us sort through questions, good and bad emotions, as well as just having someone to talk to that will listen, whether you’re paying them or not. So this step for me was already in play, I was already seeing a therapist for my hormone replacement therapy. Trust me when you’re reliving puberty, you want therapy!

Now, my insurance ordeal was a pain in my ass. First I had it, then I didn’t, then I had it again, then I didn’t. Going through this can make it almost impossible to get any surgeon to agree to a consultation. I decided at one point and time to just hold a fundraiser and pay for it out of pocket. Unfortunately, due to my work schedule I could not put it together. So I held off for another couple of years, dying a little every time I looked in the mirror. But peeps when I tell you everything happens for a reason, I MEAN IT!! Nothing was happening for me where I was living in Orlando, FL. Let’s face it Florida, is behind the trans service times. I had to get out of there if I was going to make anything happen to further my transition. So I went as far west as I could: CALIFORNIA OR BUST BITCHES!!!

So I came to Cali and Lord and behold I got on Medi-Cal! All of my problems were magically fixed! I have LA Care. So not only was top surgery included in my insurance, it was 100% COMPLETELY COVERED! NO CHARGE TO ME!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? I couldn’t!! I think I may have actually busted out in a happy dance for a solid 3 hours! Talk about a work out! Hey, speaking of work outs, let’s talk about that.

So when I found out I was able to have top surgery and it was going to be covered completely I just had to pick my surgeon, set up the consultation and get a date set. As I was awaiting all these steps I did some research. A lot of trans folks found that building some muscle in your chest would really help the surgeon and your after results. Well I had no clue how fast my date would come at this point so I had to get to work immediately! I did some searching on Instagram and found a Transperson that had just graduated with his Personal Trainer Certification. His physique was my body goals. Not too much and not too little, just a few days in the gym a week. Now folks, I have tried many many times to develop a workout routine and stay motivated to keep going. I could NEVER hold myself to it. So I knew I would need something with variety and something that didn’t require me to be in the gym 6 days a week, because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.  His routines seemed short and to the point. His name is Andrew Frey of Andrew Frey Fitness. You can find him on instagram, his personal (scum2000) or his fitness page (andrewfreyfitness). He built me a plan online that I could execute and even gave me some nutritional tips and tricks (abs are made in the kitchen people). Anyway, he was affordable and his workouts were unique, so I buckled down and got to it. I found myself a little more inclined to stay on these because they were fun, I saw immediate results and had a new life changing goal to keep me focused. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t still struggle to stay motivated, because I 100% did. I still skipped and missed some days but I was doing better then I ever had before. Let me tell you, it completely paid off surgery wise. But we’ll discuss that later.

You know I’m the type of person that can stay motivated to do things if I’m helping someone else. I like to have purpose, to really feel like I’m paying it forward. One day I logged onto instagram and I saw a post that Emerson Palmer (palmer_fivevi) made. His post stated that his top surgery was coming up in 2 weeks and in honor of that he decided to stop binding for the remainder of his time before surgery. He was doing it to cleanse his spirit and say goodbye to his chest in a symbolic way. But his post inspired me. So, I reached out to him directly to get his permission to expand his idea. He was all about it. So 1.5 weeks before my top surgery I started the #forthosewhocantrightnow movement. I decided not to bind my chest for that time period not only to say goodbye to this chest that I’ve been with since puberty set in but also to raise awareness for the transgender family that are not able to have surgery right now. No matter what the circumstances, maybe financial or maybe not in a safe enough environment to medically transition, not everyone is blessed enough to receive top surgery. Not now or not ever, in the states or worldwide. We owe it to our trans family to be visible and to appreciate the gifts we are given. Especially in my case where my surgery is completely covered and my trans family everywhere is struggling to pull together pennies to pay for this life changing, life or death surgery. I hope that this movement catches on. I hope that I inspire more trans family to do this for our extended family. I also hope that it helps my trans family realize the importance of appreciating your body and what this body has gotten you through up until now. Our body should be celebrated as we go into this major change. Going in with a negative mind can cloud the air of surgery in my opinion. There’s so much prep to be done mentally and physically before top surgery. The physical part I had down but no one prepared me for the mental part. That’s what I’m here to do for you. So stay tuned for the next installation. Shits about to get real fam.