Writing about why I chose a vulvoplasty is extremely personal and makes me feel exposed and vulnerable, for some reason… So I’m going to take those feelings and flip them upside down to my advantage.  This is a post that at the end drips with empowerment, freedom, and pride!


Getting Out of my Comfort Zone

It seems that almost every time I get out of my comfort zone I gain so much more than if I had stayed in. With that in mind, I contacted GrS Montréal a number of weeks ago and offered to write for their blog TransAvenue. One of the topics I suggested was ‘why I chose a vulvoplasty?’ To make a long story short, I wrote for them one of my most intimate articles to ever be published.

Without telling almost anyone, in November of 2019 I flew out to Montréal for surgery at CMC Montréal to have a vulvoplasty. It wasn’t until I returned home and mostly recovered that I shared it with a few close friends. By keeping my plans private I felt empowered and in control because I was able to withhold such ‘big news’ to myself. A friend told me “remind me to never play poker with you”. But on the other side I stayed in my comfort zone by not sharing. Now I’m extremely honoured to open myself even more by having such an extremely personal experience posted on TransAvenue. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone!

Empowerment & Freedom

When I started writing this post for HolaSoyYo.com I was very reluctant.  I didn’t know where to begin or what to say. I felt very uncomfortable opening up to you. Then I paused for a minute reflecting on why I was feeling reluctant. That’s when I discovered my hesitation was rooted in sentiments of being exposed and vulnerable. Digging deeper these ideas were based on shame and fear; the very common fear of judgment by others.

This is the part I adore about poring over my feelings and digging deeper. By doing so, not only do I expose the basis of those thoughts but eventually I get to understand them and by extension to take control. Now that I know what I was feeling and why, I can see that there is no reason to have those emotions. I’ve freed myself from the shame and fears. If anyone wants to judge me, sure, they are entitled to their own thoughts, but the fact is that should not affect me and should not influence my decisions. Hence my choice to open up and allowing my article to be published on TransAvenue.

Why should I have negative feelings if I already had the surgery? Duh! That just makes no sense!

I had the surgery, I’m proud of my decision making process, and the determination itself. Simply put, it was the right option for me. I’m not going to tell you here why I chose to get a vulvoplasty, I’ve already done that in the TransAvenue blog, but I am going to tell you that by getting outside of my comfort zone to publish that post, along side this one, I am now harvesting a stronger sense of ownership of my decisions, my surgery and how I open up about topics as intimate and personal as genital reconstruction*.

Pride

I started this post by saying I felt exposed and vulnerable. After writhing these words, I’m now proud to take my shame and fears and put them aside. In fact, it’s more like pushing them vigorously out to the ditch, and share with the world my ultra personal reasons of why I chose a vulvoplasty. You can read all the juicy, albeit sometimes technical reasons on the TransAvenue blog (French version available here).


*Note: You will see that I never use the term ‘lower surgery’. Though it is commonly used I simply don’t like it. It may be my ESL roots, but in my head I hear ‘feet surgery’. Hahaha!

6 thoughts on “Opening Up About Why I Chose a Vulvoplasty

  1. Sincere, succinct, you know my journey, much mirrors your own, barring gender dysphoria.

    I have had and had many of the same choices for the same reason or very similar I can say that, I have few regrets, non relating to transition, but occasional and fleeting what ifs relating to my GCS choice.

    Did I ultimately make the right choice yes, am I happy with my choice yes, was it right for me yes, am I less of a woman because of it, hell no.

    Thank you as ever for sharing

  2. Franches,
    I read “Opening Up About Why I Chose a Vulvoplasty” and TransAve blog piece you wrote.
    And after much thought, I read the TransAve piece first a month ago, I have decided to have the same procedure.
    Looking for an animation of this procedure to see what happens.

    PS
    Thank you Franches for being you! and writing this blog is a God send. I think systematically as an Industrial Manufacturing Engineer.

    1. Check with the surgeon to ask what technique they use. GrS Montréal uses a penile inversion technique for both vaginoplasties and vulvoplasties. The difference is that there is no cavity created and therefore no dissection to accommodate the cavity. Once you know what technique your surgeon uses, you can search online for an animation. I found one in YouTube that seems very similar to the description that GrS Montréal gives for their penile inversion.

      About your PS, I’m happy that you find this blog useful. Let me know if you have a question or topic you’d want me to talk about. I may write about my experiences on that topic. 🙂

  3. Franches,

    You’re right when you write in your TransAve piece that the medical perspective is easy to find, but the patient’s perspective, our perspective, whether before or after surgery, is not. The medical view is certainly important but merely technical and, at the end of the day, our choices are somewhat limited by our anatomy, the selected surgeons and their training, the hospital’s capabilities, our medical insurance, our finances, willingness to travel, etc. The real fundamental decision of vaginoplasty or vulvoplasty however, is mostly ours only, irreversible, and for most of us, a decision we’ll be happy with or regret for a very long time. For some it may influence their selfperception, their sex life, and relationships. For others it may not. No matter, to me, these personal considerations seem so much bigger than the medicotechnical ones. They are deeply personal and complex as each of us is different with a unique past, hopes, sexuality, comfort zone limits, and fears. Opening up about it offers this our inner self for all to see. Thank you for your courage to do so, Franches.

    I’m past FFS with FacialTeam (wonderful people and results) but before genital reconstruction with a preference for the same choice you made. Would you mind talking to me offline, please? I’d very much appreciate this. Thank you.

    Marika

    1. Hi Marika. Yes, the medical considerations are important, but they are only a part in the larger, more complex personal considerations, interests, and even the individual’s comfort level. As much as we can predict how we’ll react to living with the results of a surgery, any surgery, we really don’t know until we live through it. Even, I have noted that my perceptions of my own results and their impact on my life, for any of the surgeries, have evolved through time.

      For the vulvoplasty my thoughts about it shifted from the night after surgery to the third day post-op that I was transferred to the recovery home. The next major shift in my mindset came when the bandages came off, I believe on day 5 or 6 post-op and got to see the surgical site. That was a complex emotional moment, and then through time my thoughts keep evolving. In general terms you could say I’ve gone from the novelty of the surgery to having a closer sense that I’ve always been the way I am now.

      About talking offline, I have sent you a private email to answer any in confidence question you may have for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *