The Care and Feeding of A Vagina

I had planned to write this post after I completed my surgery, but I didn’t. Simple as that! I will try to make this palatable for at least most of my readers although I will forewarn you that I have a tendency at times to provide too much unnecessary information to get my point across.

This story begins when I first woke up from the anesthesia for my GRS in my hospital bed in my assigned suite which, besides my bed had a couch,  a coffee table and a dining table and chairs so that a family member could stay with a patient overnight during the recovery period. I also had a small fridge and microwave oven so that I wouldn’t need to subsist only on hospital food, which compared to hospital food in the US, would be considered gourmet by American standards. GRS, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for a variety of descriptions of this type of surgery, my own favorite choice being Gender Re-affirmation Surgery. I looked down south to see bandages with a large tube emerging which I had been told before hand would allow me to relieve myself of excess fluid stored in my bladder. More simply put, it was there so that I could pee into a bag which I could hide under my gown for walks outside my room and even to visit Le Bon Pain (The Good Bread in French) in the main lobby, which is part of a chain of restaurants all over town that bakes their own wonderful confections to die for.

I had been warned about the possible risk of a post-op complication where the urethra could remained blocked after the catheter is removed. Fortunately for me, that was not the case. In fact, on the first two occasions after my catheter had been removed on Day 3 or4, twice I didn’t make it to my toilet in time to prevent soaking my entire lower body, not to mention flooding the bathroom floor.  I felt a little embarrassed but realized that this was likely to be a common occurrence with newly post-op trans ladies like myself. It was actually hilarious, if you ask me.

On post-op Day 5, I was released to return to my hotel where I was allowed to stow my belongings in a storage closet by the front desk so I wouldn’t need to pay for a room while I was away. I had been allowed to do the same when I took a 3-day side trip to visit  the Angkor Wat Temple Complex near Siem Reap, Cambodia before my surgery.  For my post op self care, I was given instructions to douche myself with a Betadine solution twice daily and was scheduled for a followup visit to the PAI Clinic two days later.  I had taken a number of selfies with my cellphone in the hospital before and after after my initial unveiling and a few days later when the swelling had subsided. Everything was still swollen from the surgery so there was really not much to see, nor did I care to look until later when I had my first post-op followup with Dr. B after I had returned to my hotel which became my home until I returned home to the U.S. two weeks later.

As it was when I first visited the Preecha Aesthetic Institute for my pre-op consultation with Dr. Burin, on the morning of the second day following my release, I was picked up by the courtesy driver from the clinic and taken the kilometer and a half to the PAI  , to which I was easily able to walk unaided a few days later.  Before I could sit in the waiting room I was escorted to an examination room where I was instructed to undress from the waist down and put on a gown.  Dr. Burin came in a few moments later after the assistant had helped me up into stirrups for the first time in my entire life, save for during the surgery itself.  I had already been presented with a cute little zipper bag  containing two dilators in two diameters made of wax, a pack of condoms which I could use to sheath them if I needed, two bottles of Betadine with which I was to douche twice daily in solution, a rubber applicator with bulb and a tube of K-Y jelly, euphemistically known as a personal lubricant.

The first thing Dr B. wanted to know was my vaginal depth as did I, so he inserted gently the smaller diameter dilator as far as it would go, made a mark and then measured the dilator with a ruler after he had withdrawn it, as it really goes without saying.  My depth was a full six inches with the scrotal skin graft alone without having to graft a portion of my sigmoid colon which would have added another $2500 to the cost of surgery but which I fortunately did not require.  I was as pleased as I was relieved that I had at least an average depth for a natal female adult when aroused. Of course, I don’t have a cervix into which a penis could crash during intercourse nor do I have the ability to lengthen my vagina during arousal. Anyway, who cares? It works!

Next Dr. B demonstrated douching my new body cavity with the Betadine solution which I was to administer twice daily in the shower after dilation.  At the same time he would point out so that I could see in a mirror the labia majora and minora, urethra opening and my new clitoris, complete with hood. Before coming to Bangkok I had made a thorough study at home before hand and I was well familiar with my plumbing beyond that of many natal women.  I forgot to ask him for how long I should continue twice daily dilation or about resuming my hormone therapy.  Looking back I now realize that those questions were best asked of my own Primary Care Physician once I returned home.  I knew I must continue  taking Estriadol for life but unfortunately, I had presumed that I could stop taking the T-blockers as I no longer had the primary production facility for Testosterone and I didn’t have ovaries or a uterus for the production of estrogen.  I had been warned by a patient I met who had undergone her GRS a year earlier that she had experienced an increase of T during the months following surgery. I didn’t heed her advice and never scheduled a followup visit with my PCP upon my return home and after almost two months my hormones became dangerously imbalanced to the point that I would reach a state of distress that some of my women friends have reported have caused them the desire to break things and kill people, much like symptoms of PMS and later in life the infamous “hot flashes” I’ve heard so much about.  My doctor said that I must continue T-blockers for at least a year post-op and had me agree to stop playing doctor and TAKE MY MEDS as directed.  Oh well, a lesson learned the hard way.

So I have now kept to my daily regimen  of dilating and taking my hormones and other medications as prescribed to keep both my mental state in balance and my vagina healthy and happy.

One more thing before I forget. A week or so ago I got to thinking that since I must dilate regularly for who knows how long, why not buy myself a dilator that is battery operated, LOL:)

Deanna Joy

About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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4 Responses to The Care and Feeding of A Vagina

  1. Very informative, and well written Deanna!

  2. pasupatidasi says:

    what cassandra says…informative…and stuff my 11 year old daughter will need to know someday…so i file it under ‘future reference’…and thank you for being ‘out there’ about these things

  3. Roni Ray says:

    Deanna, thanks for the insights. Looking forward to my own rite of passage into womanhood on Sept 12, 2014.

    • I congratulate you on your upcoming “rite of passage”. into womanhood. I pray that all goes well as it did for me. If you are willing to share with me about your own experiences, either online or in private communication via my email address, listed above, I would love to hear from you. I would also like to share about my own “rite of passage,” which is only my own personal interpretation of events and is, in no way, discounts your own interpretation, in case you might take it that way..
      If you were to read some of my earliest posts from Dec 2011 forward. I made a promise to myself before witnesses, my readers, that by the time I had my surgery, I would already have become the woman I always dreamed I would have been, had I not been born with the very special challenge of mismatched sex and gender. For me, as it was for my fellow blogger friend, Robyn Alice McCutcheon (, I saw my surgery as the exclamation point to “my rite of passage” because, to me, the whole experience of preparation for that climatic event, pardon my pun, was my “rite of passage” into womanhood. I must admit, without sounding too boastful, that I was totally prepared for my surgery, physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually, and to that, I owe my successful surgery with no complications of which to speak.
      You Go, Girl, and my heart goes with you!

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