July 12th, 2017
Remember back in 2015 when Ashley put in a two-years-out down payment for bottom surgery with Dr. Bowers? Well, that two years later is now now, and Ashley has just gone through gender-confirmation surgery with Dr. Bowers, and she and Jay talk through its ups and downs.
Ashley thinks back to her facial-feminization surgery in 2014, and she recalls letting her parents know about that upcoming surgery and their reaction at the time of near indifference. In contrast, a few months ago when Ashley let her parents know about her gender-confirmation surgery, they seemed much more receptive — although they weren’t quite fully enthusiastic either. But in a moment that surprised Ashley, her mom offered that she’d be open to coming with Ashley for surgery if she didn’t already have someone to go with her.
Fortunately, Ashley did have someone to go with her. Dinah, one of Ashley’s longtime friends, generously offered that Ashley could stay at her apartment in San Francisco during her recovery, and Ashley quite happily took her up on it. Ashley knew that she’d be stuck in the hospital for a few days after her surgery, and she was super grateful to be able to stay spend her post-hospital time hanging out with Dinah and her boyfriend Joe in their comfy apartment rather than being cooped up in a hotel room.
Jay and Ashley talk through the surgery itself along with the pre-surgery gantlet of the bowel-prep that Ashley had to go through. In the process of chatting about the gallon of liquid that Ashley had to guzzle, Jay and Ashley get to thinking that barium might have been one of its ingredients, but having checked on that later, it would seem that magnesium citrate might be the more likely active ingredient.
As for the surgery itself, Ashley made it through swimmingly. Ashley was on bedrest for the first two days after her surgery, but having brought along her iPhone, her iPad, and a few comic books to the hospital, Ashley didn’t struggle to stave off boredom. She wasn’t in too much pain during her stay at the hospital, though her regular doses of Percocet probably helped with that. On top of that, a number of Ashley’s friends from the Bay Area — including Carla, Jeff, Matt, and Julie — visited her in the hospital, which did wonders to lift her spirits.
Three days after her surgery, Ashley was cleared to leave the hospital. At that point, she was still tethered to a catheter bag, which she had to drag around with her until her follow-up appointment, which was a few days later. And at that point, her vagina was full of post-surgery packing as well. So while Ashley relished being able to hang out at Dinah’s cozy apartment, the first few days of her post-hospital recovery still had some tough moments.
At the post-surgery checkup at Dr. Bowers’ office, they took out the packing from Ashley’s vagina, which felt to her a bit like the magician’s trick where they pull a seemingly endless stream of handkerchiefs out of their fist. And then after that, they taught Ashley how to dilate, which is a process of inserting medical-grade dildos into one’s new vagina to prevent it from healing shut. Ashley grouses to Jay about the tedium of dilating, but she also concedes that she’d much rather go through the monotony of dilating her new vagina than to not have one at all. Still, Ashley is looking forward to the coming months when she’ll be able to pare down her dilating schedule from three times a day to two times a day (and eventually being able to pare it down even more).
From there, Ashley shares some keen makeup jobbies that she has come across. First up is Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid, which makes use of the principles of the color wheel to cancel out skin tones that one might be looking to minimize. Ashley also goes over her recent find of a new concealer, MAC’s Matchmaster Concealer. She finds its lipstick-like consistency rather convenient because it hardly requires much blending after it’s applied — unlike many liquid concealers that she’s tried.
Ashley feels like she’s over the hump in her recovery, and she’s able to get through most of her day-to-day activities without too much trouble. Her life isn’t quite back to normal just yet, but she finds that each day is a little bit better than the day before. And while it may have taken close to forty years, Ashley finally feels comfortable with what she sees in the mirror.
(Ashley’s polish in this episode is D’Lilac. We aren’t being paid to say this — just thought maybe you’d like to know.)
August 23rd, 2015
Ashley went to see her parents over Independence Day weekend. Her brother Adrian, and his wife and parents-in-law were also there, so Ashley felt some reassurance that even if her parents weren’t any better with her name and pronouns, at least the support from the other visitors would able to make up for it a bit.
Sadly, Ashley’s dad breezed through misgendering Ashley without batting an eye, neatly outing her to Adrian’s parents-in-law. She was so upset she couldn’t even muster a correction to her dad’s careless pronoun use. Being around these new extended family members got awkward after that.
Worse, Ashley came to realize that her parents’ lax pronoun efforts could become a safety issue if, in public, her parents were to misgender her within earshot of someone who might be inclined to do harm to people like her. Ashley decides to write another letter to her parents to try to spell out the potential consequences of their devil-may-care approach.
She also goes over her plans for GCS (gender-confirmation surgery). She’s put in a down payment with Dr. Marci Bowers, but it may not happen until Spring of 2017.
Ashley tells Jay about the Too Faced retractable kabuki brush. She’d been needing a retractable powder brush to stash in her purse, and while she was previously wary of artificial-hair bristles, Ashley found that it picks up powder just as deftly as any of her natural-hair brushes. Then she compares two different powders and comes away with a new winner.
(Ashley’s polish in this episode is Suzy & The Seven Dusseldorfs. We aren’t being paid to say this — just thought maybe you’d like to know.)