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Warning: THIS IS AN 18+ BLOG DUE TO THE NUDE AND GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF MY BOTTOM SURGERY EXPERIENCE AND LIFE AFTERWARD. IF YOU ARE UNDER 18, PLEASE DO NOT ACCESS THIS PAGE– Mark your calendar for your 18th birthday and come back then. (Yes, people have done this!)
People over the age of 18: Thanks for joining me! This blog documents an experience which is frequently called Transgender FTM Phalloplasty, or female-to-male phalloplasty built 12/2017-12/2018 and life beyond. However, as a nonbinary person, my gender is more expansive than those simple this-to-that paradigms. The surgeons at Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health were thoughtful enough to discuss my specific goals in detail, and the affirmed what would relieve my dysphoria: to create a erectile-functional male-typical penis and scrotum with testicles. However, I did not want to have vaginectomy, and standing to pee has never been a particular goal or dysphoria of mine, so I did not have these aspects of surgery that some others find important. They were offered. I appreciate the way they did not give me a cookie-cutter surgery plan. Every aspect was customized to my health needs.
A note on my purpose: This is a personal diary. Sometimes it rambles. Sometimes it is written in an affirmation-style to help me feel proud and sexy. Sometimes it is overly flowery. This is a way I compensate for hateful messages I encounter where I live. If it seems proud or over the top, this is why.
Do you have sensation: Yes, base to tip. Tactile, pressure, cold, pain, and erogenous pleasure from sexual contexts.
Who was your surgeon: Devin O’Brien-Coon, plastics and microsurgery; Arthur Burnett, urology. Both are part of the team at the JHCTH in Baltimore, Maryland.
What kind of insurance did you use: I used my Consolidated Student Health insurance. My cost was the max out of pocket twice– $4250×2. The hospital allows payment plans later. I had other travel expenses and time off work costs. It was three stages of surgery and trips to Baltimore.
How would you rate your experience with these doctors: Excellent in every regard. Our rapport will last a lifetime, and I will never forget how generous they were with their time, how compassionate, professional, thoughtful, and collaborative. Their office staffs are busy but highly skilled and will go to bat for you.
How big is your penis: This question is weird and I hate it. It is big enough. It does get girthier when I have an erection. It gets longer a few inches in that the tissue is otherwise compressed when soft. This may be the one question I don’t like, the actual cms.
Are you happy: Absolutely, 100%. No matter how difficult or expensive it was, it is 100% worth it.
I did an Ask Me Anything on reddit r/ftm about the experience of having a penis for 1.5 years. Gosh, I answered maybe 75 questions/ This is probably a good starting point for people looking for FAQs on phalloplasty from a learning for the first time perspective:
Special requests: Please do not repost or transmit the images on this blog. You may contact me for permission to use them in a presentation or for another purpose.
If you would like to get in touch with the surgical team, the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health email is JHCTH@jhmi.edu.
Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught. — Leslie Feinberg