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.
Life After Top Surgery
Let’s dive right into the heavy stuff this time. I promise it won’t all be heavy, but I never want anyone to be as unprepared as I was. I’m going to get very real with everyone for a bit here, then we’ll circle back and end on happy and positive notes. This is about education.
So, last time I touched on you not needing to have a mental illness for depression post op to strike. This is very true for a lot of folks. There’s a lot of stigma around depression, so I would never fault anyone for not wanting to speak up about it. But I’m here to be visible where others can’t be so I’ll speak about my experience.
I had an out of body experience for a couple of months. I took on this blog before I went under the knife and here I am 12 weeks post op and just now getting around to finishing it. Why’s that? Life gets busy right? Work and the day to day right? Nah, not really. I mean, of course I work and a lot has happened. I got married last month for example – thanks in advance for your congratulations! But that’s not why it has taken me this long. I was in a very dark place following my surgery. I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I couldn’t look in the mirror. The scars were terrifying. When I could bring myself to look in the mirror, I was like “who the hell was that?” Was I Frankenstein? Some sort of monstrous creation? Was I the abomination my parents religion tells me I am? Why didn’t top surgery fix this? This is what I’d been waiting for, why isn’t everything suddenly cured? What am I saying? I’m the first one to say surgery doesn’t cure anything, yet, here I am looking for a fix all, when all I’ve given myself is a bandaid. A dark cloud followed me around. I couldn’t keep any energy, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t socializing, I was drifting, sinking and fast.
Where does all of this stem from? I couldn’t tell you anymore than a theory. It’s an adjustment period. Remember I spoke of mental and physical recovery? You can’t go your entire life in one body with certain parts, remove something and expect that your mind won’t react. It’s just not plausible. I had to adjust. Not only did I have to adjust, I had to give myself the room to adjust. I beat myself up day after day trying to force myself to count my blessings and just be happy I got what others only dream of, FOR FREE! Instead I should have been allowing myself the chance to feel, feel the emotions and validate them.
I’ve said all of that to say this: It’s ok to be sad or to feel any other emotion other than happy after your surgery. You’re allowed to feel that way. Trust me your biggest bully will be yourself. You have to be strong enough to allow yourself to feel these emotions. Validate them and breathe air into them, but DO NOT let them take over or linger too long. You validate and then you move past. I got sucked in for months. Don’t let that happen to you. I’m here telling my raw and real story so that you don’t have to go through that. Top surgery may not be the happiest day of your life and that’s ok. This is another step in your journey of becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.
So out of the dark and heavy and into the now. I’m recovering. I’m climbing out of the hole like Batman in the Dark Night Rises. He fell a couple of times too, but he got out eventually and I will too.
Now I’m going to switch gears into a few more tips and then I will bid you all farewell. Scar care is important. Ive found that it’s a combo between the silicone tape you can order from Amazon and Mederma. Now me, personally, I don’t want my scars completely gone, I wear them proudly because I earned them. But using these two products should fade them and heal them. I just want to heal not erase. If you’d like to erase you are completely allowed to do so. This is just my personal preference. I have a hard time remembering to put the scar cream on so tape is better for me. But do your research and figure out what suits you.
Well friends, our time together has come to an end. I think in conclusion, I’m supposed to say something life altering and ground breaking, I’m not good at that. So instead I’ll say this very simple statement that I want you to carry with you through your surgery journey and everything in your entire transitional journey. When all is said and done just look in the mirror, make eye contact with yourself, don’t look at any other parts, look directly into your own eyes, speak to your soul and spirit and say “I’m Still ME.”
Thank you so much for joining me on this part of my journey! If anyone is ever in need of anything please always feel free to slide into my DM’s, they are always open. Sending so much love and good vibes to you and yours my queer family! For Queer life this is Jace Every signing off.