My hysterectomy – March 25, 2010

4 01 2011

Don’t worry, nothing graphic! Just thought I’d describe my hysto experience for the benefit on anyone who is planning on getting one. I won’t go into whether or not a hysto is medically necessary for trans guys. I know there’s some debate out there. The majority medical opinion is that a hysto is necessary because of the increased risk of ovarian and cervical cancer caused by testosterone treatment. However, there are dissenting voices out there who believe that it’s not necessary, or that there isn’t enough proof of the necessity. I respect everyone’s choices in this regard. For myself, I didn’t feel like taking the risk. Also, I was getting the worse cramps of my life, especially when my girlfriend, L, was on the rag. I had some pretty bad period cramps in my day – the incapacitating kind. But these brought me to tears. They reminded me of labour pains.

My endocrinologist, when I saw him in November 2009, said that I should think about getting a hysto in the next couple of years. He gave me the name of a gyno in the same building but, on the advice of a trans bro in Montreal, I went to see Dr. Tulandi at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. I cannot be more grateful for that advice.

From the beginning, my experience with Dr. Tulandi and his staff was excellent. I felt respected as a trans person. His secretary is a super awesome person on whom I developed a total brain crush. When I first went to see her to try to get an appointment, I started with: “I know this seems weird but I’d like a consultation with Dr. Tulandi for a hysterectomy.” Without batting an eyelash, she said: “For gender reassignment I’m assuming.” I dealt with her a lot through the whole process of filling out paperwork, scheduling blood tests and consultations with various specialists at the Jewish. This person is an absolute organisational whiz and she always took the time to carefully explain everything to me. She was also great with follow-up!

Dr. Tulandi himself is just . . . so super sweet! Very generous with smiles, no judgement, etc. On the day of the surgery, he came to see me when I was in the room in which one waits just before surgery (whatever they call it). His presence was very comforting. He even joked with me when asking me who would be around waiting for me outside of the operating room. I told him my girlfriend L would be there and he asked me to describe her. “I know she’s probably very beautiful,” he said, “but make sure to be more specific!”

Dr. Tulandi uses robotic surgery when he can, which is less invasive than traditional surgery. This leaves fewer and smaller scars and results in a faster and easier recovery period. His staff called him a miracle worker and they meant it!

As for being trans, in spite of me being there for a hysterectomy, every single person except for one consistently called me “Sir” and used male pronouns. I was not expecting this degree of courtesy and respect and I was very pleasantly surprised. Everyone from the nurses to the person who came to get me to bring me to the operating room to the anesthesiologists were friendly and respectful. And the one person who called me “Mme.” and “she” on occasion only did so because she was confused. She was still very friendly and polite.

So, with all the professionalism around me, I felt quite safe. I was a little worried about the anesthesia, not because of a lack of trust but because of a previous experience that nearly, as far as I know, resulted in me dieing from lack of oxygen. Of course, back then, I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with sleep apnea. This time, they knew about it and were prepared to deal with it so that was reassuring. The experience of going under is . . . unpleasant. Scary. That can’t really be helped. I felt like my brain all of a sudden became very, very heavy. But it was over quickly as it’s very fast acting. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room, relieved, safe and still in good hands.

L. was able to get into see me eventually and she can attest to how much I babbled. I wish I would’ve asked her to record me because I think I said some deep stuff. I don’t remember all of it but I was elated. I felt supported by all the people who were wishing me well through Facebook and it was as though I could feel their positive vibes for real. The experience also helped me change my script from my first disastrous incident with anasthesia.

The most unpleasant part was the catheter. Big 😦 on that. I am very squicked by the idea of anything going into a urethra. And, as the nurse who had to adjust it at one point mentioned, they had put one in that was a bit too big. So . . . it was incredible uncomfortable. However, the leggings that would automatically massage my legs to prevent bad circulation were very nice! I totally want some 🙂

So, all in all, a very positive experience and I think that Dr. Tulandi and his staff could serve as role models for other medical facilities in terms of dealing with trans people. Certainly, the Ellendale Radiology Clinic on Côte-des-Neiges could learn a thing or two (they never responded to my letter!)  I highly recommend Dr. Tulandi to any trans guys in the Montreal area who are looking to get a hysto.

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5 responses

7 01 2011
Why I will go out of town for top surgery « Tboy Jacky

[…] feel respected. This is in such sharp contrast to the treatment I got at the hospital where I got my hysterectomy, which is ironic since that hospital doesn’t specialise in dealing with trans folk. Again, […]

8 01 2011
nix

thanks for posting about your experience.

8 01 2011
Jacky V.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

22 04 2013
Kelly

Gee, I realize I’m finding this quite late. Anywho, my question is how long were you on bed rest or off work for? I’ve heard some people take 3-6 months. My mom said she had to hold her abdomen every time she sneezed or coughed (this was the 80s though). What was your healing experience like?

6 01 2014
Why I will go out of town for top surgery | Jacky with a Y

[…] feel respected. This is in such sharp contrast to the treatment I got at the hospital where I got my hysterectomy, which is ironic since that hospital doesn’t specialise in dealing with trans folk. Again, […]

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