So the last week has done a complete 180. Shortly after giving my $500 deposit to Dr. Steinwald I had a revelation. I quickly called up my insurance and gave them the surgery codes that are on Dr. Medalie’s website. My surgery is covered by my insurance… well except for the nipple grafts. From there I contacted Dr. Medalie and found out the nipple grafts are only $500. Plus body contouring that’s a $2000 out of my pocket.
But now I am back to my original problem. I need a letter from a therapist. I started looking on Susan’s at the list of online therapists. Then it occurred to me that Medalie had mentioned they would recommend a therapist if I needed one, so I asked. Turns out it was the one I was looking at. Dr. GRAHAM L PEVELLER http://www.gendertherapist.com/ After a briefly contacting him I was sent all kinds of information. 8-10 therapy sessions plus a letter for $280. So affordable. Not even half a day later and I have my first appointment scheduled for Thursday.
I really hope I can get a letter from this guy. I am completely out of options otherwise. I turned to online therapy as all my face to face therapy in the past has blow up at me. I will let everyone know how it goes. It seems like the right option. Dr. Graham has all kinds of packages on his website to. So if you just want a hormone letter or a full blow SRS letter, it’s all packaged affordable at around $40 a session.
I am for sure considering other liposuction now. I was planning to spend around $10k and to have that shot down to $2k is awesome. Obviously I won’t spend $8k in liposuction. Probably just my lower abdominal area and maybe if Dr. Medalie suggests anywhere else to get rid of my feminine shape.
The surgeon called me earlier this week. He answered most of my questions and reminded me of how bad I suck at talking on the phone. The secretary still needs to call me sometime this week to officially set my appointments and for me to pay the deposit to hold the date; but it is pretty much set. Surgery will be January 9th 2014. I will see him the day before for my consult and the day after to make sure I am healing fine. January 15th I should get the drains out if all goes well. I will be in the area for over a week. He even gave me the option to go home between the 10th and the 15th but grandma freaked out when I mentioned it. She wants to be close to the hospital just in case.
Here’s my new breakdown of costs.
$4500 surgeons fee paid with care credit. To pay off after I go back to work after surgery.
$1500 cash for rest of surgeons fee.
$2400 cash for facility and anaesthesiologist fee.
$300-500 cash for pathology report.
$900 cash for 9 day stay in the area hotel. (the surgeon will be updating his site soon to give me better figures)
$120 for gas round trip. 7 hours each way.
That totals $4500 in credit and $5420 in cash spent.
I also inquired about some liposuction for below the belly button. He estimated around $1500 but no more than $2000. It would be done in the same surgery to be cheaper. I’ve started exercising again to try to get rid of this flab. If I get rid of it before January then I won’t get the lipo, if not then I probably will. Here’s hoping.
Here’s what it looked like back in early March. It may not look bad to you but it drives me crazy. Am rocking the penguin pajamas.
I will post my exercise routines in another post soon.
I have been communicating back and fourth with Lake Forest Plastic Surgery in Illinois. The surgeon has yet to call me but I expect it to happen sometime this week. Turns out you can get a %5 discount if you pay with cash or check. The bad news is it only applies to the surgeons fee of $6000. The worse news is care credit can only be used on the surgeons fee. Due to my financial situation it looks like I won’t be saving that $300 dollars.
Here is the current breakdown of my expected costs. It will most likely change closer to time.
$3000 surgeons fee paid with care credit. To pay off after I go back to work after surgery.
$3000 cash for rest of surgeons fee.
$2400 cash for facility and anaesthesiologist fee.
$300-500 cash for pathology report. (Something everyone should get to make sure you don’t die of cancer)
$700 cash for 7 day stay in the area. Hotel.
$250 cash for round trip for two plane tickets.
$120 for gas round trip. 7 hours each way. We decided it is cheaper to drive then don’t have to worry about transportation when we get there.
That totals $3000 in credit and $6720 in cash spent. As long as I have the care credit the costs are very affordable for a January surgery.
I plan to also see what he could do with the area below my belly button and how much it will cost.
The past week has comprised of contacting the surgeon who will preform my top surgery. Along with talking with my grandmother of the steps that will occur. Initially Dr. Steinwald has quoted me $6000 for the surgery plus $2400 for the OR cost. That is on the low side of his costs. There will also be plane fare and hotel fare to worry about. I am slowly getting it to come together but it will take time.
I should have enough money from my job to afford almost all of the procedure by January. Dr. Steinwald accepts Care Credit, which I will use to the max so I’m not completely broke. He wishes to talk to me on the phone yet but I need to compile a new list of questions since he just released a new site especially for my kind. http://www.chicagoftmtopsurgery.com/
The best part is he doesn’t require a letter from a therapist. I still haven’t been able to acquire it due to my other issues which I highlighted in my first blog. Those therapists just want your money. The other promising thing about getting it done with Dr. Steinwald is that he preserves the stalk of nerves to the nipple. That means I won’t loose potential for sensation that I would otherwise loose with nipple grafting. Since they won’t be cut off and put in a petri dish for over an hour it is even less likely that the nipples will die. That can happen with grafts.
Just when I think I can hold out longer without surgery the pain in my breasts returns with a vengeance. I will be glad once they are gone. Due to this pain I will be sure to get a pathology report with my surgery. I have a feeling something isn’t right. I don’t want to think about it though.
My next step is to contact my work and see the options for medical leave. I could really care less about getting paid for the time off but I do need the time off, without getting fired. Need to pay off that care credit after the surgery. If I can get partial pay during my time off that would be great.
I also need to prepare my questions for the surgeon and talk to him on the phone about the whole thing. I hope he deems me sane and that I can go through with it without any issues. Looking at the calender I hope that he has Tuesday January 7th open for surgery. I would arrive the day before on Monday and stay a week or more. I kind of have to get it done that first week as my grandma has plans the last two weekends in January. Then she leaves for vacation all of February and March. The time alone will be nice to adjust to my new chest and just be at peace with myself.
The healing time is stated at 4-6 weeks. I am hoping the surgeon will extend it to 8 weeks so I have extra time to heal. My job involves lifting heavy objects and moving my arms all different directions with stretching and I don’t want to mess anything up. That would just suck.
Oh I also need to find a new primary physician since my current one is an incompetent idiot. Last time I went to him he didn’t keep record of my previous visit and the stupid nurse wanted me to take a pregnancy test even though I clearly stated I hadn’t had sex to get pregnant… That was just total bullshit. They would of probably charged me more also.
Now I need to get my act together and get those questions ready for the surgeon.
This will document my journey to discovering Alex. An alias which I have taken on in some forms of life while still living as my birth name in others. I am trying to discover the best label to fit me and the steps that I need to take to be most comfortable in life. I may not be the best writer but by looking back at these past posts I will hopefully discover what it means to be me.
My transition to Alex started not to long ago. At the end of 2011 I had decided that something was definitely up. I wasn’t just some girl with issues. The real beginning of my transition started in February of 2012. I had moved away from my mother; into my grandmothers house. She was on a two month vacation and I buckled down and bought my first binder. That was the first physical step I took and one that I won’t take back. That feeling of the first time binding is wonderful and relieving (well after you almost die from trying to put the damn thing on the wrong way).
Before that I had been seeing various therapists at the demand of my mother not kicking me out of the house. Let’s just say they were a waste of her time and money. The thing about therapy is if you are not ready and willing for it don’t bother. Even if you are ready for it the therapist may not think you are and just fuck with you to take your money. That was the case of the first one I opened up to. I came out as transgender FTM to her. I had been seeing her at a Developmental Disabilities due to me not giving a fuck about therapy at first and so not speaking which caused the first few therapists to think I had some mental problems. Well she wanted me to start seeing her at another office in the hospital. Little did I know that each appointment would be $90+ dollars after insurance and after over six months of that I had nothing from her. No letters No nothing.
She wanted me to get a job first to fund my transition. Okay that made sense. I wanted a letter to start hormones. Little did I know at the time that I didn’t need a letter for that. But the bitch sure was good about not telling me about it. She was more focused on me having a job and hanging out with non-existent friends. (okay I might have what appears to be issues to the normal everyday person) It got to be about October of 2012 and she finally wanted me to take a test to understand me better. Six months later and now you want to understand me??? Keep in mind I don’t open up well in the first place. I’m not an open book and will never be so people can’t expect to just chat with me and get all the answers. I answer things short and as little detail as I can. It is an automatic reaction and not something that is easily changed. I don’t particularly want to seeing as people that are like that disgust me.
So I took this test. I later found out it was a personality test, that I had schizoid personality disorder, and that I was out $600. All of that and no one bothered to tell me it was the determining factor in if I was ready for surgery. Okay it was the beginning of my transition and I wasn’t aware I had to come fully read up on the subject of who what where why how of all the surgery details. Needless to say it was a waste of money. Also due to the diagnosis she wanted me to retake the test in a year to see if it develops into a form of Schizophrenia. Yeah sorry tester bitch your not getting another $600 from me. If I start seeing things that aren’t there maybe I will consider going back – probably not. After that I stopped seeing the therapist.
Fast forward to spring of 2013. I decided that I didn’t want the hormones any more. Go figure it was probably a good thing she didn’t give me the letter. She could of also kept my respect by just saying to take some time off and think hard about what you really want instead of paying her for over six months. I didn’t speak of this to anyone as I don’t share my personal business with people, its personal.
Now it is summer and the boobs are quite painful. They even kept me awake one day in immense pain. It comes and goes and I could feel nothing for weeks. It was shortly after the pain that I decided to get top surgery as soon as possible. I read up on surgeons and others accounts of it and have been getting prepaired for it. By January I will have enough for surgery. The problem is that I am having a hard time getting a letter. I have seen two different therapists since then. The first one thought all my issues steamed from my mother and that any trans issues wouldn’t be addressed until afterwards. After asking advice of my transbuds over on Susans I cancelled my next appointment with her and never went back. The second one demanded a minimum of six months of therapy and from the first appointment thought that because I’m in the middle that it could be body dysmorphic disorder and if that was the case she wouldn’t write me a letter due to “not believing in changing your body for those reasons”. So that meant I could waste months of money and get no letter. I didn’t even bother to schedule a second appointment with her.
Now I currently stand at trying to get a letter or find a surgeon that will take me without one. I did find a Dr. Steinwald in Illinois who does top surgery on informed consent but that will take travel and hotel expenses into account. I would really like to get it done locally with Dr. Medalie in Ohio but the letter is key and I’m coming up dry.