6 Days ago I walked into the Welbeck Hospital with huge anxiety and excitement towards surgery. It’s been such an overwhelming experience and I am so grateful for every single moment that has happened since.
The Day of surgery –
I had surgery on the 10th of January 2019 which was exactly 6 days ago. It was an extremely long day as I was being admitted into the hospital at 1pm which I was surprised by as for previous operations I had to be in the hospital by 7am.
I wasn’t allowed to eat anything 6 hours before my admission, and I was only allowed sips of water between 7am and 11am then I wasn’t allowed anything to drink from then until after I had the surgery done. If you’re having surgery soon it is important to follow this as it can cause your surgery to be delayed for a few hours, or it could be cancelled and rearranged for a different date. You can’t eat or drink before an operation is due to the anaesthetic relaxes your body’s reflexes so any food or liquid that is in your body can cause you to vomit or regurgitate the food back up whilst you’re asleep and it can be extremely dangerous.
At 1pm I went to the hospital and the receptionist gave me four pieces of paper to fill out ready for my admission. It included;
- Basic information – I had to fill out a form with my basic information like my name, date of birth, address, doctors details and many others. I also had to list someone as my emergency contact.
- Any illnesses and any family history of illnesses – I have filled out this form on many occasions but doctors and hospitals like to do this to double check that you’re not putting yourself at risk or in danger. This form asks if you have any heart conditions, if your family have any conditions, if you have asthma, if you drink alcohol or smoke or take any medication. It is so important to fill these forms out correctly otherwise you could put yourself in extreme danger which is never a good idea and it can cause your surgery to be delayed.
- Food menu – You get given a menu where you can choose what you’d like to eat for breakfast, lunch and tea. For breakfast the options was white bread toast or brown bread toast with whichever juice and cereal you wanted. I can’t remember what the option for lunch was sadly. But for tea there was an option between soup, jacket potato, vegetarian bolognese or salmon.
- GDPR – This is the general data protection regulation that protects everyone within the European union.
After I filled out these forms I sat in reception for a few minutes and then the nurse came down to get me and took me up to my room. The room was very nice, I had a room to myself with an on-suite bathroom with a television. As soon as I got into the room the nurse asked me to put on my hospital gown, this pair of underwear and the compression socks. The underwear was so bizarre as it was a paper material and it was so weird. The compression socks were very uncomfortable as I have never had to wear compression socks during / after surgery so it really baffled me but then I realised it was to prevent blood clots forming in your legs so I knew I had to wear them and it was important.
The nurse then checked my weight, she did my temperature, my blood pressure and my heart rate to ensure I was all healthy before surgery. I also had to pee in a cup which she did tests in – I’m not 100% sure on what she tested for but i’m guessing it was a handful of things such as pregnancy, infections and anything else.
After all of that it was basically a waiting game. I had to wait to see the anaesthetist and Dr Miles Berry himself before I could go down for surgery. When the anaesthetist came into the room she went through what her plan of action was, how I’d feel and how she’d 1000% keep me asleep during surgery. She was so lovely and went through everything thoroughly and explained what I shouldn’t do after surgery, what I shouldn’t eat and how my body will react after the anaesthetic. Shortly after the anaesthetist left Dr Miles Berry came in and introduced himself to my family, he then proceeded to draw on my chest so he knew what he was doing – apparently it’s easier to draw on someone when their stood up compared to when their led down. He then went through the basics of surgery, how long I would be under anaesthetic, how long the surgery will be overall, any issues that I might face etc. I then signed some forms and I was ready to go!
At 4pm I was taken down to theatre, I had to lie on the bed and one of the nurses put lots of sticky tabs on me whilst the anaesthetist talked me through everything and put a needle into my arm and explained that I’d be asleep shortly and I was – I was fast asleep within 10 seconds.
When I woke up all I can remember is being extremely dehydrated and extremely confused but then I realised that the surgery had happened and I couldn’t stop smiling, I was just overwhelmed and so happy that it had finally happened. I then got wheeled up to my room where I seen my mum and sister and I was so happy.
I then spent most of the night in and out of sleep. I had a nurse who was looking after me all night – she was amazing. After I’d woken up from surgery I only had paracetamol and ibuprofen as the pain wasn’t severe and I was coping, I was just having weird shooting pains so I asked for some pain relief.
I had drains in after surgery and it was one of the one things that I was worrying about the most. The thought of having tubes in my body and coming out of my body just freaks me out an awful lot. The drains are there to remove and collect any blood, puss or excess fluid that can be inside your chest. If you don’t have drains then there is more of a chance of having complications or fluid building up within your chest which can cause damage and medical issues. Here’s some facts about drains;
- Some surgeons don’t like using drains whereas other surgeons love using drains. It really depends on who your surgeon is, and if you do have any queries then it is worth talking to them about your worries and your feelings.
- There are different time lengths with drains which differs with surgeons. I had the drains in over night and then removed in the morning whereas some other surgeons like their patients to keep their drains in for 10 days. Like I said above if you have any queries or worries then it’s really important to talk to your surgeon as they know what is best and they know all of the answers to each and every question you may want to ask.
I then managed to sleep okay during the night. I would often wake up as I was extremely thirsty but other than that I had no pain during the night!
Day one post op –
I got woken up at 6am by the nurse doing my regular check ups. I had a good night’s sleep and I was wide awake so I wasn’t fussed about being woken up. The nurse had asked if I wanted breakfast yet – I kindly declined as I knew I’d be having my drains out soon – so I wanted to eat after it happened in case I was sick or anything but it turns out you need to eat before having your drains taken out so I decided to have breakfast earlier than expected.
I had my breakfast which consisted of toast and corn flakes which was beautiful. After I ate it the nurse came to take out the needle in my hand and take out my drains. I asked the nurse would it hurt and she reassured me and said it wouldn’t – so I trusted her with my high pain threshold. She told me to breath in and as I did she pulled the right side drain out and no word of a lie – to me it felt like a scratch, it was a really bizarre feeling and I worked myself up so much about it when I shouldn’t have and then my left side drain was removed and it was all done. My Left drain had no blood in it, and my right had a tiny tiny amount of blood in it so the nurse was very happy to remove them!
Miles Berry came to see me around 15 minutes after my drains had been removed and he was over the moon with how well I was doing. He explained that the surgery went all to plan, it took him quicker than he expected and he’s happy with how my chest looked. He also mentioned that I had slight dog ears before surgery and he was concerned about them but when I was led down in surgery they disappeared and he was baffled – dog ears is saggy skin on your side! He then said he was more than happy for me to go home and he’d see me soon.
I was discharged at 9:30am with some leaflets and medication. Me, my mum and my sister headed straight to Paddington station, got ourselves some lunch from Sainsbury’s and got the 10:15am train home. I was really worried about getting the train home – but for me it wasn’t dreadful. We was on a quiet train so we managed to grab seats straight away and the train journey was only 1 hour and 45 minutes long so it flew by. I had my neck pillow which was a god send – If you’re planning on getting a train home after surgery i’d recommend a neck pillow!
How I feel Now –
I have been waiting for this day since I was 11 years old, I hated my chest, I hated that it was so female overall I hated it an awful lot. The amount of times I thought about cutting my own chest off and the amount of times I’d dreamt of having surgery is unreal. I hated my chest for years, I refused to acknowledge it for so long. So having this surgery has been so overwhelming and it has been worth the sweat, blood and tears that I have had during this whole process.
I had my “reveal” on the 15th of January (I shall post a blog post about it in the next few days!). When I saw my brand new chest for the first time I was on the verge of crying in the doctors room and I can’t stop looking at it now.
For the last 10 years I have felt like a Jigsaw where some of my pieces were missing and all I had to do was find them and put them in the right place. Coming out, starting testosterone and now having had top surgery means that my puzzle is complete. I am complete. I have said from the beginning that bottom surgery isn’t for me, for many reasons so I am finally myself, and I can finally see my true self in the mirror.
I finally feel like me, and that is so important.
If you would like to ask me any questions regarding top surgery, or surgery with Dr Miles Berry you’re more than welcome to contact me. You can either comment below or if you click here then you can contact me via email. I am more than happy to help anybody who may need it or may need some advice and guidance!