It’s been over five weeks since I had my hysterectomy and I wanted to share my experience. I know that not every transgender man wants, or even needs, to have a hysterectomy. The decision is a deeply personal one for most people, but if you’ve read my past articles, you’d know I’m more of an open book than most people. All kidding aside, my hysterectomy journey is my own. I can’t speak for other transguys, as we each have our own reason whether to have a hysterectomy.
Why I Chose to Have a Hysterectomy
I have wanted a hysterectomy for at least the past two decades, if not longer. The idea of bearing children always felt wrong for me and my body. I have long wanted to tear out the entire inner workings that would make that possible. The last thing I wanted was to get pregnant on accident as my own mother had (that’s another story).
Besides never wanting to become pregnant, my body clearly hated me as much as I hated it. My reproductive system has had numerous health problems since I hit puberty in my early teens. It began with painful cramps and ovulations. Later I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and I had to have my right ovary removed due to a dermoid cyst.
That was the first time I begged for a hysterectomy. I figured, if they had to open me up anyway, why not just take it all out? As any woman who has asked for this procedure in her twenties will tell you, most doctors will refuse. All I was able to do was talk my gynecologist into giving me a tubal ligation. I was lucky that I even got that much, being only twenty-eight and unmarried at the time.
My medical issues didn’t end there. I’ve gone through numerous treatments and procedures to try to lessen the amount of pain I was constantly experiencing. I was asked to try anything and everything except for a hysterectomy. You can imagine my surprise when my gynecologist was the first one to suggest I have a hysterectomy after I came out as trans. I’ll admit, I laughed when she suggested it, after refusing me for so long. I think that was my first time experiencing male privilege as a transguy.
My Surgery Experience
I have heard my share of horror stories about how some people in the medical community treat transgender people. I had braced myself to run into at least one intolerant person when I went in for my hysterectomy. I will admit I was pleasantly surprised that not a single person gave me any trouble. They were all professional, and many were curious and wanted to learn more.
That’s the biggest thing that struck me, especially from the nursing staff, was the general lack of knowledge regarding transgender people. It did give me hope that they wanted to learn, so I encouraged them to ask as many questions as they wanted. I know not all transguys are comfortable answering those questions, and I wanted to help educate as much as I could.
Besides how I was treated at the hospital, another pleasant surprise was how quickly I was able to get out of bed, and I even went home the same day. This was a marked difference from when I had my ovary removed nearly nineteen years ago, when they made a large incision. It took me weeks before I could walk without my insides feeling like they would spill out. This time around, everything was done laparoscopically, with only three small incisions.
My Recovery Experience
Once I was back home, my recovery had its ups and downs. Overall my recovery has been fairly smooth, and the biggest issue I’ve had wasn’t even related to my hysterectomy. I developed what I thought were complications, with severe constipation and a low-grade fever. So, five days after my surgery I went back to the hospital, only to find out I had developed appendicitis. It was entirely unrelated, and I ended up needing an emergency appendectomy.
Over the past month, I’ve technically been recovering from two surgeries instead of one. However, the appendectomy went well, and I haven’t had any more complications from that. I was told that my recovery time from the appendectomy would be about two weeks, while my recovery from the hysterectomy is going to be a total of eight-to-twelve weeks.
The reason my recovery is so long is that I opted for a total hysterectomy. That means I had everything removed; my fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix (my ovaries were both gone at this point, or they would have removed them too). When the cervix is removed, they must sew together the end of the vaginal canal, into what’s called a vaginal cuff. This cuff is what takes so long to heal.
Also, because the surgery was done laparoscopically, I have experienced a longer period of post-surgical bleeding from the vaginal cuff. My gynecologist wasn’t sure why, but she’s seen this with several other patients before. It’s only now starting to taper off, but from a dysphoria perspective, it wasn’t pleasant having to deal with vaginal bleeding for nearly five weeks.
What’s Next in My Transgender Journey
Since I’ve had these back-to-back surgeries, I’ve managed to max out my insurance deductible and my out-of-pocket maximum. Because of that, I’ve decided to try to get my top surgery this year as well. I have been referred to a surgeon that came highly recommended by several other local transguys, and as luck would have it, he’s also an in-network provider with my insurance.
Right now, top surgery is the only other surgery I really want. I have no plans for bottom surgery. If I were to change my mind, the only thing I’d get would be something that’s known as a clitoral release, rather than a full metoidioplasty. However, I’m afraid of running into the wrong surgeon and ending up having nerves cut, leading to a loss of sensation. Testosterone has made everything more sensitive and I’m not ashamed to admit that I am really enjoying that.
Many people have asked me why I don’t want to get phalloplasty. The reasons behind that are complicated but suffice it to say that I don’t have dysphoria around the size of my genitalia. Having a micro-penis is perfectly fine by me, and I don’t want to deal with all the possible complications and potential loss of sensation that a phalloplasty could bring.
Hopefully once my top surgery is completed, it will be the last surgery I’ll need for a very long while.