So, I have narrowed my surgeon choices to these two doctors:
1. Dr. Medalie at Cleveland Plastic Surgery in Cleveland, OH
2. Dr. Garramone at The Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Institute in Sunrise, FL
Dr. Medalie is my top choice for the following reasons: his post-surgery outcomes, his commitment to the trans community, his fair price, and his geographic proximity to K’s* dad, where we will be able to stay for free in the comfort of a spare room of a supportive family member.
Dr. Garramone has stellar outcomes, competitive prices, is transparent about his involvement and commitment to the trans community. People rave about both these doctors, and I would feel very confident to be under either of their care.
I am also considering Dr. Fischer in MD, Dr. Brownstein in CA, and Dr. Steinwald in IL. For now, I am pursuing my top two choices, and if they become less viable, I will contact the others and expand my search. They all seem to be fine doctors to me: they all have great reviews, all have well-documented expertise, all have satisfactory after shots of top surgeries performed on transbucket. I think they each would do a fine job with my chest.
Dr. Raphael at the American Institute for Plastic Surgery in Plano, TX is not on my list because he requires in-person consultations, and I can’t afford to fly to Texas for a consult.
After shot results, previous patient reviews, price, acknowledgment of the trans community on their websites, and general gut reaction to their wording and site appearance all played deciding factors in my decisions. I am an average B cup, and believe a double incision to be the best method for my chest, from which I will get the most aesthetically pleasing results. Of course I look forward to talking over all my options with my surgeon. And of course I would love to hear about your top surgery experiences, dear reader, with these or other surgeons. Or if you are in the same position as me: what considerations have I forgotten? What angles are most important to you?
Up until today this surgery has just been in my head, just been writing on a blog, just been conversations with my friends and K and DR. M.** I have been afraid of top surgery, what it would mean for my body, what it would mean for my identity. Would I get lost? Be disfigured? Be forever scarred? And I have been eager for it, excited to feel good about my body, looking forward to seeing what I think about myself in my head reflected in a mirror, for the first time in my life. Think about it, those of you lucky enough to be male between your ears and between your armpits, to be female in your head and in your pants: what does it mean to be the same person inside as outside? What would it feel like to have that stability, that identity, taken away from you?
This surgery gives me myself in a way I never dreamed I could exist, because I was too afraid of what that desire meant: that to be a butch female and not want breasts meant I was wrong or ugly or a monster. An hour ago I sent Dr. Medalie some chest pictures (that’s right, topless photographs of me exist on the internet. I know, it creeps me out too, but it’s for the greater good.) and a medical history form. I feel pretty fucking awesome about it. Like really excited and not scared–just like I’m moving forward in a direction that is right for me.
And guess what?
I’m proud of me.
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
*K=the girlfriend. The best one ever, actually.
**Dr. M=my therapist. The best one ever, actually.