As I think I promised, here are some (embarrassing) high quality photos. I am a few days past 11 months post op. Not as good as I wanted because my main camera is being borrow by a friend. Might post a video in a few days.

I prefer the front camera on my iPhone. It helps hide my imperfections.

Some notes
- I can grow chest hair and I do shave.
- my skin colour is weird but in there photos it looks even stranger because of the lighting.
- you can really see the unevenness of my chest in these photos. Usually I try to hide it by adjusting my posture and taking bad quality photos. Bad genetics :(
- my right side is smaller than my left because of my twisted rib cage, but I also wonder if Andy took some more tissue out my right side. You might be able to see that it appears slightly flatter on some angles.
- I don’t like the structure of my chest as it is naturally. Please don’t be harsh.

"Top surgery cost guide Australia"

This is not my video! It’s very informative so I’m posting it here anyway. This person goes into detail about the steps they took to transition in Aus and get top surgery with Andy Ives.

Like me, they decided to go private instead of public through a gender clinic. Unlike me, they got private health insure so some of their top surgery got covered. This meant filling out a lot of paperwork, paying money, and waiting 12 months before they could get top surgery. I did not do this because I had the money to pay for it all and couldn’t wait. They had to see a bad gender therapist for a referral and even without naming names, I know I saw the same person as him. He’s a well known therapist in Melbourne and almost everyone who goes to him has horrible experiences. If you are trying to find a good therapist

19th of June 2014 update, almost at 11 months post op. Things I forgot to say in the post I made yesterday

I updated the directory page of my blog and tagged some posts. I’ve been slackin’, and need to stop doing that because I keep forgetting to write things down here. Here’s my promise to you guys that I will be more dedicated to this from now on!

About 20 days ago I was touching my chest. Yes, I have been facing my sensory issues and have come leaps and bounds. After I lost mum, I had to pick up extra work to support the family financially and worked a job that was triggering to my SPD. In the past, I would have never worked that job. I couldn’t stand the things I encountered but dealing with it head on was the best thing for me. My SPD is so much more manageable now, but there are some things I will never have the ability to tolerate.

I can now touch my own chest without freaking out, nipples included. I don’t think I would be overly thrilled having other people touch my chest though, especially my nipples. The thought of it is so weird!

When I touched my chest, I suddenly realised the nerves got their act together and my chest isn’t anywhere near as numb as it was shortly after surgery.

In a very old update I said that there was a very sore and numb spot under the incision on my left side. A good fistful size of skin. It was sore like a bad bruise for about 3 months post op if I remember correctly and then it began fading quickly. I suppose over time from about 3+ months post op, I have regained feeling.

I can’t pinpoint when it changed. I think that’s because it must be a gradual thing, but I know now there’s a lot more feeling than before. There’s only a tiny bit where I feel very numb still when I touch it, but in most spots I used to feel completely numb, a lot, to most, or all of my feeling is back.

By now I hope this point is laid out clear on my blog but it deserves it’s own post anyway. Andrew is incredible at what he does. I am so glad I chose to go to him. I wouldn’t pick anyone else in the world over him if I had to do it again. If you live in the range, I couldn’t speak more highly of his results. They are so consistent and brilliant.

I’m going to try these silicon strips out again. This time I will only place the tape over the lumpy scar section because you will know what kept happening when I taped my entire chest if you read my blog. My job is very physical so I don’t have complete faith that this will work, but I know I don’t want these scars to get even more lumpy.

Forgot to say in the post before this that my scars on the right side hurt today. It was tolerable but there was no cause. I guess it could be like how old injuries hurt sometimes for no reason.

(The third photo shows me relaxing and slightly hunches forward. That’s what happens to the tape when I do that.)

Hello my patient followers. I did not update last month because of laziness and I had nothing to say. Today is the 18th of June, meaning I am almost 11 months post op. I can’t believe it’s been that long already. I have been intending to update this blog for a week now.

So, changes and such:
- the lumpy scars have gotten worse. I have not compared photos but I just know it. It’s because at my job I have to stretch very far and there’s nothing I can do about that. My chest warned me every time because it hurt, but I had to stretch as apart of my job. Andy said my scars would not get worse from physical activity but I had a feeling they still would.
- that pimple thing on my right nip I mentioned months ago is still an issue. It started throbbing the other day so I got into it and relieved it by draining it. Charming. I might book in earlier with Andy so he can help me with it. My dad thinks it might be a gland that’s not working well.
- I can’t wait to talk to Andy about scar treatment options because my confidence about my chest scars, now that they are worse in places, is not joyous at the best of times
- I’m looking into tattooing as a way to cover my chest and divert people’s attention away from imperfections

I will use a better camera next update and maybe do a video. I feel like I owe it to you for being so patient.

Things I will do when I have healed from top surgery

mytopsurgeryexperience:

  1. Get up early in the morning on a sunny day, walk to the basketball courts, and play shirtless without anyone else there
  2. Skate a lot more with my headphones in wearing a singlet, and grab some food on a skate
  3. Go to the gym with my another friend who had surgery with Andy, and work on my pecs
  4. Ride my bike more. Use it as a main form of transport to go to the store
  5. Hug more people without worrying about what they can feel
  6. Work on cutting hip and stomach fat down over the next 6 months
  7. Go running in the private field I live near, and if I get too hot, take off my shirt
  8. Go to the beach

17 hours.

Reblogging this for myself because I still want to do some of these things. I wrote this 17 hours before surgery and now I’m just over 10 months post op. Unbelievable. :)

Only now did I realise I said I was 8 months post op in my last photos. Bad typo! I edited that. I was actually 9 months post op, and on the 26th of May I hit 10 months post op, and on the 26th of this month, the month of June, I will hit 11 months post op. I will make an update soon. Sorry for slacking. I’m not in a rush to do it because not a lot changes.

9 months post op with Andy Ives in Melbourne, Australia.

I forgot to post these. Sorry for the difference in quality. I took the first photo with the front camera. Ignore the 2 red vertical marks in the second photo. I got scratched by an animal and the marks have since gone. The black stuff is adhesive I have not yet been able to remove. I took that photo to really show the diversity and difference of my scarring. The weird colour is from unnatural lighting, not my actual skin tone.

For anyone who is getting top surgery and looks to my results as something they can expect for themselves

Short answer:

Don’t

Long answer:

All chests are different. Mine happens to be more different than usual.

Our scars heal differently too. Some people move their chests more than I do and stretch when they are freshly post op, yet their scars are thin and the colour looks close to their natural skin tone. I was so careful not to move my arms a lot and stretch for months, and I taped my chest up, yet I have lumpy parts that are very red.

I have always known something was off about my chest and didn’t know all the reasons why. Only a few. Today I discovered the extent of why my chest looks different. I am dealing with unusual bone structure possibly relating to a genetic condition. 

My chest is uneven naturally, sunken in, and literally twisted. My ribs also flare out, something I have learned to partially disguise in photos and with weight gain. It’s nothing severe so I’m not asking for pity. I want people to know that any flaws in my chest aren’t to blame on my surgeon. Nature is to blame and those flaws are apart of me anyway.

My surgeon did what he could with what he had, as he does for all surgeries. No one has criticised my chest either, so this isn’t coming from a place of bitterness. I just want to warn everyone who is doing what I did before I had my operation.

Your own chest is unique and your results will be individual. You can’t expect your chest to heal the same way as others do, or for your structure of it to be exactly the same if you have issues like I do.

Thanks for reading! :)

7th of May life update - my appointment I mentioned in a previous post

I’m 9 months and around 11 days post op but this update isn’t about my top surgery results.

I suspected I had other issues with my chest and heart, and after my mum died from heart issues, someone booked in an appointment for me to see heart specialists. I knocked that over today and I’m relieved to have done that.

So, I found out I don’t need to worry about dying from whatever mum died from. I don’t have what was found during her autopsy. My heart is healthy. That’s not the end of it though. My dad who is alive has heart issues that run on his side of the family, so I talked to them about that. They aren’t sure if I have inherited a particular medical condition from his side as they have to do some genetic testing first. I’m so grateful that it’s covered because it’s going to cost them $3,000 to figure out if we have it or not. I will find out in up to 3 months if further testing is required for a diagnosis which would involve a simple blood test from me. I will keep you all updated now that I have mentioned this on my blog, even though now it’s not something that’s an issue for my actual chest, like I thought it could have been before.

Speaking of my chest, I do have some issues with the physical part of it, but they are nothing for me to worry about. I received 3 other diagnoses. My chest is uneven, and so is my dads. I can only guess that I got it from him. Our bone structure is also slightly twisted. Imagine my ribs and torso on an axis, and it’s slightly off. That’s what it’s like. And my chest is sunken in and my ribs flare out, something I already knew, but was unsure of what that meant for my possible heart issues. Now I’m going to make another post about this last paragraph because this is something I have wanted to address for a long time, for people who come to my blog and want to get an idea of how their chest will look post op too.

I will also share pictures shortly. 

9 months post op with Andy Ives in Melbourne

It”s the 25th of April 2014 so tomorrow I will be 9 months post op.

I’ll post pictures in a separate post later on.

  • I stopped consistently taping my chest up about 2 or 3 months ago, but I still made an effort to only keep it untaped for a few days at a time when it was not taped up. I have not taped my chest up for about a month now, and I have reasons for that. I don’t see the point when the silicon strips don’t stick down. My main job is very physical, I constantly extend my arms, move my chest, reach, and the environment is usually hot and full of moisture. Combine those things, and it’s a recipe for adhesive not to stay down, so there’s no point taping my chest.
  • I need to figure out a new way to manage the lumpy parts of my scars. When I see Andy next, I will talk to him about my options.
  • I can’t remember when my appointment with him is, so I called and left a message.
  • I can touch my chest a lot better now. My job has made me learn to deal with many parts of my sensory disorder, so I am learning to tolerate the bad parts of it better. 
  • My right nipple still has an issue with a lump being there, but there is no pus in it. I will talk to Andy about that next time I see him,
  • My left side is still more numb than my right. Under my incision on my right side, I have feeling there, but it’s still very much numb in areas on my left side under my incision. That was a problem site after surgery. It felt extremely sore for months. I couldn’t touch it without it feeling like I had a massive bruise. Soon I will make a picture or video to show the areas I mean.

Other stuff:

Life is going well. It still sucks since mum died, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Besides that, everything is alright. I got a main job I really like, I work a few different jobs, I’m building on my skills, my social life isn’t bad (I’m going out tonight!), and no one knows any different. I work 30 minutes away from home so no one knows about my history and I’m not at risk of people finding out, because no one from my past works at my work or goes there. 

Sometime within the next few months I’ll have an appointment with my GP to check my T levels. I will be interested to see what they are, because I have had issues with them suddenly dropping at times. I don’t think that has happened because I am experiencing hair growth at a good rate. I’m not stoked on body hair, but my facial hair is coming in.

Not too long away on May the 7th I will get various health tests and make sure the internal parts of my chest are OK. 

Random update on the 11th of April 2014

I’m over 8 months post op now.

On the 7th of May I will be going to a hospital in Melbourne to get many health tests done, to see if I have inherited any conditions from my parents. This appointment was organised shortly after my mother died because it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I present symptoms of more than one medical condition.

The bad news: these conditions strongly relate to my chest, an area of my body I have been fighting to be comfortable with for too long, can shorten my lifespan, may need painful and horrible surgery to correct problems, or to be on medication for the rest of my life, and learn to accept these conditions.

The good news: I might not even have any of these conditions. If I do, one of the surgeries I may require will improve the look of my chest. 

If I require further surgery on my chest that’s unrelated to transitioning, I will probably still blog about it here. I’m scared of hearing what I could have because I am sure I have one of the range of conditions I might have. I am keen to get it over and done with to find answers and solutions. 

8 months post op with Andy Ives in Melbourne

I’m 2 days off being 8 months post op. I already posted photos and a video so this text post will be a summary of everything I have already said and more.

  • I am having a minor ongoing issue with my nipples. My right nipple has a few small lumps on it that have pus inside. It’s like a few small cysts but I don’t know if they are actually cysts. My left nipple doesn’t get it as much or to a noticeable degree. I checked it the other day and there was only 2 tiny lumps.
  • I have been too lazy at taping my chest. When I do tape it, the tape just falls off anyway where it should be holding the silicone strips on. I think it’s still better to do it even if the tape comes off anyway so it can have a little time to hopefully heal up even more. It feels so pointless though. I need to get back in the routine of doing it. I haven’t had any tape on my chest for a whole week! Not good!
  • The sensation is coming back slowly but surely. I don’t know if I’ll ever regain full sensation. I got a skin graft when I was a teenager and it was numb for years. Now the feeling is around 80-90% there if I give it a firm poke, not so much if it’s a light stroke or tap. I guess in years to come the feeling might gradually come back a lot more in areas of my chest. It doesn’t bother me because it’s not like I experience a constant feeling of numbness. It’s only noticeable when I touch numb areas of my chest.
  • I mentioned that after surgery I had this very sore spot on my left side under my incision. It was like a bit circular area that felt very sore and bruised for months even though it looked normal. That’s not there anymore. There’s only one small spot where it’s a little bit sore if it’s poked firmly. That doesn’t bother me. I’m so glad that issue went away.
  • My scars have faded in colour, minus the lumpy parts. Compare photos of my chest now to photos of it 4 months ago and you will see that some of the redness has faded. 
  • I haven’t started using bio oil or any other scar treatment on my chest yet, but after 1 year post op, I will look at my options. 
  • I’m still coming to terms with the way my chest will never look normal. After surgery I forgot that even when my scars fade, my chest will still look weird. That went out of my mind and even further away after mum died. I have only thought about it more recently and what that means for me in the future.
  • I’m getting more chest hairs. I don’t like them so I remove them, but if they keep growing and I decide to grow them out, they could be used to help shield or distract people from my scars if I do go shirtless.

See my 8 month post op video here, and photos here.

4 days off being 8 months post op with Andy Ives in Melbourne, Australia.

Sorry for the poor quality. Next time I will try posting a video from my phone because as soon as I upload the clips on my laptop, the quality gets killed. The lighting is also really weird looking.