May 4th – May 5th — TRAVELING DAYS TO SERBIA

My partner and I left on our travel odyssey on May 4th at 8:45 am. I should have known that traveling was going to be a problem when we left because that day also happened to be the day of Lincoln’s annual marathon…so all the major roads were cut off in someway by runners and cops. 

I was having a little bit of a heart attack, but we were able to make it to the airport in time. Our first flight from Lincoln to Chicago was pretty uneventful. When we landed in Chicago I was ready to find Concourse M….well, Chicago’s airport is big, and not marked very well. We trek from one end to the other and start following these signs that point to Concourse M (terminal 5). We walk and we walk, and the signs stop, so we turn around and notice that the signs going back the other way also have arrows pointing to terminal 5…so we walk back, and these signs stop….we turn around, turn back around (a total of four times) before we turn out of the B concourse and ask for help….when we make it to Concourse M (which we had to leave the building and get on a tram for), we are stuck waiting for an hour for Air France to open their check in. We get through that and then head through the huge security line (second time through security so far). As we get to the front, the TSA agent yells, “Again, this is the last place you can find food stores and shops, there are none beyond security.” My partner freaks out because she is hungry and so she wants us to leave the line, but I looked back and saw an ocean of people behind us so I said, “Please, let’s get through security and figure things out after that.” She throws a tantrum, but we get through and I buy her a sandwich and chips. We now have three more hours to wait….

Our flight from Chicago to Paris was….ok…I guess. There was a little kid that sat directly behind us who liked to open and then slam close his food tray….then he cried, and cried, and cried for about the whole trip. I did enjoy the free beer and the meal wasn’t half bad.

We land in Paris at about 9:00 am…our flight to Belgrade was set to leave at 9:35 am…so we knew we didn’t have much time. Well, to our dismay, the plane stops out away from any terminal, we get off by stairs and have to ride a bus to the terminal…that took about ten minutes, we then get off and start running to our gate, only to find that we need to go through Security again (the third time)….we get up to the security check person and they say, “Too late, that flight is gone.” They direct us to the “connections counter” to get another flight. I’m having a mild heart attack because 1) I’m very tired and 2) we were supposed to meet our doctors at 11:50 am and I didn’t have any way to get in touch with them.

The connection desk was staffed by very friendly people (every staff in the foreign airports are very friendly, unlike what we usually see in the states). They gave us two options 1) wait six hours, board a plane to Dusseldorf and then catch a connecting flight to Belgrade or 2) stay over night in Paris, they would put us up in a hotel and then get on the same flight that we were supposed to be on today, tomorrow. 

We went back and forth, tried to get on the internet to email my doctors (but they didn’t have it there and said we would have to go back to the immigrations building to find wireless) then said screw it…we’re going to Belgrade tonight.

We get new tickets and then head through what seems like a mile long maze. We got through security AGAIN (third time now) and they randomly select my bag to go through. After we get through security, we find a wireless station where I charge the fee to my credit card and email all my doctors. 

We then go down to our gate, which was in the basement and looked like an old bus stop and wait…five hours….I try to sleep on the concrete floor, then sleep on the metal chairs, then stand up….for five hours. When it was time to board the bus that would take us out to the plane, we notice that the “arriving on time” ticker has changed to “delayed”….and delayed….and delayed. Finally I went up to the check in counter and asked the gentleman working the table if he could please, please contact the other end to let them know that we were coming. “If we miss our next flight again, I might curl up in a ball and cry right here.” He said that since it wasn’t with their airline, he couldn’t, but we would have a half an hour to catch our other flight….

When we finally left and landed at the other airport, we were called to, in French from the flight attendants (we picked out our names from whatever else they said). There was a staff person at the base of the stairs who told us to get on the bus last so we could be the first off at the airport and that there would be staff waiting for us there. And sure enough, there were three staff waiting for us. They escorted us up to security (for the fourth time)….We got through security and then hit the passport stamping point….they asked us why we didn’t have our passports stamped in Paris and we didn’t know what to say…they said that wasn’t good, so we should remember next time and stamped our passports.

One of the staff who escorted us to security then waited for us on the other side and took us to our gate. She got our boarding passes for us and was just very, very kind. If it wasn’t for their kindness we might have missed this flight as well….until we heard that it was delayed….making us an hour and a half late to Belgrade.

BUT, when we finally did arrive in Belgrade at 9:00 pm, Belgrade time on May 5th, Dr. Marko was there waiting for us, took us to see Dr. Miro and Dr. Marta at Miro’s apartment, we sat and chatted about the surgery, etc and my heart just filled up with joy…even though traveling sucked, I believe it was worth it to be here, see Belgrade and meet these wonderful doctors. 

My surgery is tomorrow, May 7th, so I’ll move now from the travel and focus on surgery. 

May 7th, 2008–Operation Day
I got up at 7 am and ate a very light breakfast, consisting of half a tortilla with jam and a glass of water. Due to my wheat intolerance, I don’t generally eat any types of flour and so this wasn’t a satisfying breakfast, but it kept my blood sugar up for a little while. After my snack I went upstairs and spent about an hour shaving my genitals, butt, thighs and stomach (below my belly button). I found that it went a lot faster if you shaved while your body was submerged under water…it also didn’t cause any rashes.

At 11 am we were picked up and taken to the Nardoni Front Hospital in downtown Belgrade. I was pretty calm as I usually am before surgery. We got to the hospital which reminded me of a big old schoolhouse or academy and walked up four flights of stairs. I cherished this walk because I knew it would be the last steps I would take for a couple of months that would be completely comfortable.

Around noon, Dr. Miro came into chat. All the doctors are VERY friendly, down to earth, and helpful in ways I’ve never seen before. They see you as a person that needs the best care they can have to be who they are, and not as a dollar sign…This reflects strongly in everything they have done, will do and continue to do in the future. 

While chatting, a nurse came in and stuck me with a really long IV and then connected me to a drip. We waited in the hospital room, a private room with a full bath, TV with American channels, and big windows that looked out over the city. After a couple hours, a nurse came in and gave me a gown and then had me get onto a flat table. She rolled me down to the floor below where our room “apartment” was and into the operating room which they call the theater. 

They had me slide onto the operating table and put my legs up in stirrups while scooting my butt to the end of th table. This left my butt and genitals just hanging out there for the world to see, making me very embarrassed and uncomfortable…someone did eventually drape a towel over them, which made me feel more at ease. Next they put a blood pressure cuff on my left arm and tied it down to my side. They put my right arm out, which is where I believe they hooked me up to the anesthesia. Next thing I know, Dr. Korac is giving me some oxygen and then I’m waking up to him saying my name.

The surgery was a success but I felt like a mess. I was shivering like I had just fallen through an icy lake and then once I stopped that, I started commenting on how painful my calves were, the were knotted up like no other. The doctors flexed and relaxed my feet, but it didn’t help…between my calves and the ache in my balls, I felt terrible.

They lifted me off the operating table and rolled me back to my room. They lifted me onto my bed and worked on my calves a little more, but again, it didn’t help. Dr. Korac thinks I got such bad cramps due to the amount of muscle in my calves (my parents and myself all have very strong calves). I was starting to fall asleep but Dr. Korac was trying to keep me up for a little bit. 

I had a nurse in and out of my room every hour or less so I didn’t sleep very well that night. Another contributing factor to my lack of sleep was the extreme nausea that I was feeling along with a very sore throat (from the tube that went down it). Around three or four in the morning is when the vomiting began. 

Post-Op, Day 1: May 8th, 2008

I didn’t really sleep the whole well that night, my night nurse was in and out every hour or less, changing my IV drip, squirting saline on my penis, taking my blood pressure and temperature, or changing my catheter bag…I felt pretty nauseous each time I awoke, and at about 5 am, I vomited. They put a thick pink sheet next to your head, so you just turn your head and go to town. At around 6 or 7, I vomited again. It felt horrible, tasted horrible and made me want to curl up in a ball and die. I know that this sounds dramatic, but the pain in my calves, continual urge to pee, vomiting nausea, hot and cold chills, sore throat, and light-headedness combined was not something that makes me optimistic. The nurse had me get up and take a couple penguin steps, which felt like more work than running for me. Dr. Korac arrived around 7:30 or so (I’m really guessing the times because I did not have a watch with me the whole time that I was in the hospital.) He looked at my lab work from the blood draw, listened to my bowels and breathing and then asked, “What’s a matter?” My breathing was heavy because of getting out of the bed and I kept having hot and cold chills. “I just don’t feel good.” He told me that the anesthesia can affect me and that the vagina is very close to the bowels, removal of that tissue can upset your bowels so those are probably the reasons why I vomited.

He instructed the nurse to just give me sips of water for now. She gave me a couple sips….then a half an hour later, I vomited again. I got really upset with myself and started thinking about all the fun things I could have been doing back in Nebraska, running, hiking, cycling, swimming. Our spring had just arrived when we left, our trees were blooming and it was time to plant flowers in our back yard…I kept day dreaming of all the things I loved and felt like I’d never be able to do them again….again dramatic, but anesthesia also makes me pretty depressed.

In the late morning, I felt horrible and felt a lot of pressure on my bowels so I asked a nurse to help me to the bathroom….sitting down on the toilet proved to be very difficult…my genitals are packed with lots of gauze because there are two drains inserted right behind my balls…one is deeper and is for the draining of the blood from the vaginectomy, the other is subcutaneous and meant to drain general bleeding. Dr. Miro put the second one in because of guys contacting the doctors two to three weeks after the operation informing them of bleeding from their stitches. He is experimenting to see if this drain will prevent that. I didn’t really care for the drains because I was bleeding a lot and when you feel it exiting your body, it reminded me of what periods felt like…something I hadn’t felt for several years.

So as I was saying, sitting on a toilet isn’t easy, and as I tightened my stomach, I felt a surge of pain where my old urethra used to be…quickly I said, nope this isn’t going to happen, lifted myself off the toilet and the nurse escorted me back to my bed.

The rest of the day, I was in and out of sleep…I was awoken every hour or so by either a nurse or different doctors coming in to check on me. Most of them were part of my operation, which really impressed me…the doctors and nurses in Belgrade are very good at what they do. My girlfriend arrived in the late afternoon, she watched TV by my bedside as I napped. A couple of the younger/newer doctors came into my room and said that they would like to take Michelle to the Turkish fortresses for some site seeing. I told her to go because all I was doing was sleeping anyway. She got back several hours later (it was dark out) The doctors had taken her site seeing, bought her some bus passes (she commuted every day from the apartment to the hospital, which took about an hour each way) and dinner. Again, these doctors treat you like visiting house guests as well as a patient, very, very generous.

Around 5 or 6 pm, a nurse brought me some dinner…which was just a flaky pastry (nothing but bread) and a cup of yogurt…their yogurt is like drinking very thick milk, and is all plain…not really my favorite but I hadn’t eaten anything in two days and so I slowly sipped on the yogurt and nibbled on the pastry…I had to take very small bites due to the stitches in my mouth.

Dr. Marko visited me later in the evening, looked at my bandages and said he would change them tomorrow because although they were full of blood, they want the blood to begin clotting instead of continually running through new gauze. After he left… I watched probably two hours of TV and then went back to sleep. Throughout the night I was awoken and suffered from hot and cold flashes.

Day 2: May 9th, 2008

I awoke feeling nauseous again….my breathing was still heavy. Dr. Korac came to visit me in the early morning. My nausea seemed to increase whenever people would come into my room and talk to me. I felt sweaty, then cold, nauseous then impatient. Dr. Korac said the hot and cold flashes could be a sign that I needed my testosterone shot (I had been off of T for over two weeks) so I would get a shot in the early afternoon…which made me happy to hear (I love my T).

I was only drinking water again that morning…I hadn’t puked since the other morning, but suddenly it came…I was vomiting over my bed and onto the floor because I didn’t have a pink sheet and because it felt like the most that has come out yet. The nurse came in, took off my shirt, cleaned off my face, neck and arms and gave me a gown to put on. I went back to sleep…again feeling horrible.

If all had went well…they would have possibly sent me back to the apartment later that day, but since I had vomited, Dr. Korac called me and said I would probably go home in the late morning the next day or later because of something in my lab work…but then a guy who I don’t remember comes in that afternoon and said that the director of the hospital said I couldn’t go back to the apartment until Monday (which would mean five days in the hospital). After the vomit that morning, I was gaining strength and felt a lot better so this news made me a little sad but they had my health in mind so I was just going to have to go along with it.

Marko came back that evening, brought me some wonderful chicken, potatoes, and carrots. He also brought me some chicken noodle soup and some corn bread (I have a wheat intolerance so the nurses were instructed not to give me any wheat products since they had given me the pastry). The pastry of courses didn’t make me sick because I do eat bread on occasion, but too much bread does make my bowels a little unhappy.

I wanted to eat the chicken right away because it looked so good, but I had eaten a little fish and some potatoes already that night so I decided to save them for the next day. He changed my very bloody bandages and then said good night. I slept throughout the night which felt great. The apartments they put us in are on the same floor of new mothers, so you do hear a lot of crying babies, but otherwise it was a very calm and peaceful room.

Day 3: May 10th, 2008

I awoke around 6:30 am and they took a blood draw right after that, along with the routine of saline washing out my penis, a new catheter bag, new IV, and antibiotics, etc. Every eight hours or so, my pain killer would wear off, so I’d ask for another shot. They usually gave me a shot directly into the butt, only once or twice did they inject it into the IV.

I was feeling a tons better this day and started to actually feel some excitement about doing the surgery…My partner came around noon and we watched animal planet all day. I cried a little because again anesthesia makes me depressed and watching all the animals made me miss our two dogs and two cats…I was starting to feel extremely homesick.

My partner left a little later that afternoon to eat and walk around. Dr. Korac came back to see me and explained a little bit about my lab work. The reason they were keeping me longer is because my liver enzymes were increasing, which is a sign of liver damage. He said that the mix of anesthesia and antibiotics used doing surgery were the cause of this increase in enzymes. It is something that happens, who it happens to just depends…BUT he said my enzymes from this morning showed that things were going back down which was a good sign. This made me feel a lot better. My body is very picky when it comes to drugs. Besides drinking beer (I do love my microbrews) and injecting testosterone I do not use any type of drugs, over the counter or otherwise. I come from a family of chiropractors, so when I’m feeling discomfort or pain, I travel back to my hometown for an adjustment and then I feel better. So this news doesn’t surprise me…I was just happy to hear that I was bouncing back.

Dr. Marta came later that afternoon to check in on me and then Dr. Miro came around 9 pm, he had just returned from another surgery in another town and around 10:00 pm Marko showed up with three bottles of water that I had asked for (very nice of him). He changed my dressings again, as I said, I was bleeding a lot. This time, he took everything off, including the wrap that was around my penis. He asked Michelle if she would like to take pictures of the outcome for me so she did. This of course made me a little nervous because Michelle hasn’t been very excited about this surgery because she doesn’t care for male genitals, so although I’m all about my penis and balls, I feel bad for her, we’ve had our ups and downs but we love each other…we don’t have to make things work, they just naturally do.

I couldn’t have done this surgery, or this recovery without her…making me all the more grateful to have her by my side. Actually, I couldn’t have done any of the things I’ve done in my transition without her, she is the only person that has always been there for me.

Dr. Marko went to wash his hands and then asked if I had looked at the pictures. I hadn’t so I took the camera from Michelle and looked at them knowing that this was only three days in so there would be a lot of swelling. I felt a warm sensation run over me, the results were very satisfying, no more vulva or vagina….wow.

After everyone left, I went back to bed and slept throughout the night.

Day 4: May 11th, 2008

The night before, Dr. Miro mentioned that I may be going home today, which had me very excited because although the nurses were very nice, some spoke very good English, others knew a little (the doctors made sure that nurses were on shift that had some English skills so that we wouldn’t feel completely lost), I was tired of being in the hospital, tired of not really eating (they brought me corn bread and yogurt for dinner and breakfast, which after a few bites of the bread and a couple sips of the yogurt I wasn’t interested anymore…even though I was starving, I couldn’t bring myself to eat/drink what they gave me) and tired of being away from Michelle so long.

Dr. Marta came and changed my dressings, then Dr. Korac came and said, I think you are going home today, which meant the labs were still improving. Around noon or a little later, Dr. Marko came and said, “Ok, first you take a shower, then we go back to the apartment.” The nurse on duty was the same one who had rolled me into surgery. She was very nice and very cute so she said, “I’ll go grab some things then we shower…together,” and laughs. Marko was like, “Hey not bad, she has never said that to me.” It was very funny.

My five (counting surgery day) stay at the hospital was a time where I’ve had more people see me naked then I care to have, so this was another reason I was excited to leave the hospital. I stepped up into the shower, which doesn’t really get warm water and had an invigorating little cleaning. I didn’t care about the cold water because it felt so good to have water running across my skin and through my hair. A couple days before a nurse had me step in the shower and we cleaned my legs, but this time I got everything, as good as I could using one hand and being attached to a catheter bag.

Marko changed my bandages again, they were already all bloody from that morning and I got dressed. They wheeled me out to his car and we began the drive back to the apartment. I really enjoyed the drive because we went through windy streets that go through the HUGE city park, so I saw a lot of people barbequing, playing sports and just enjoying the scenery. We also went by two weddings.

Returning home, I was given instructions on how to use the catheter with a glass stopper, and to connect to the bag at night when I was sleeping. Marko then left and I enjoyed some real food. The rest of the day and night we watched TV and movies. When I went to bed at 10 pm…I missed the hospital bed because although it was too short for me, it was a ton more comfortable. I awoke at 3:00 am, in some pain both between my legs and my back. My partner laid a couple comforters down and then we put two pillows under my head, one under my back and one under my legs. I think that for the rest of the trip we’ll be experimenting, hard beds do not like me.

 

Day 5: May 12th, 2008:

Every morning since the second day I’ve had bowel movements, which is a good sign to me and a real relief knowing that I won’t struggle with constipation. My balls feel like they are burning, so I’m hoping that the drains will be removed today.

Day five proved to be a little difficult for me. The burning sensation where my balls were made me not want to get up off the couch. Marko arrived at the apartment around 2:30 pm or so and we went up stairs where he took the old bandages off and then said he would remove the drain on my right side. “It won’t be painful…just unpleasant.” “Okay,” I replied with a lot of hesitance in my voice. He then said, “I guess pain is unpleasant, huh?”

I saw her pull out a very small blade from a sterile packet and I thought, oh god this is going to hurt. I’m not sure what he did down there but it did hurt, probably for about ten seconds, after he pulled the drain out, all was fine. Those ten seconds were definitely, unpleasant. I have one more drain, which I believe to be the bigger one placed where my vagina used to be. I’m hoping that it gets removed very soon because I’m tired of the piles of gauze and the feeling of blooding leaving my body. It is a good thing, the drains and the amount that I’ve bled…the swelling has gone down considerably around my balls and it decreases the likelihood of me experiencing bleeding a couple weeks out of surgery from my sutures but having one less thing jetting out from my body would be nice.

He then brought out a bottle of saline and showed me how to inject saline down my stint to clean it out. I actually liked the cool feeling of the saline down the tube so that was nice. He said to do it twice a day, if I didn’t it wouldn’t hurt anything, but it was good to do.

Marko then helped me program the TV so that the main channels we flipped through were American or UK channels, and he found Animal Planet for us, which made me very happy….again, I can watch Animal Planet all day.

That evening I took two Tylenol PMs in hopes that I could sleep throughout the night, suddenly around 12:30 AM I felt a very sharp pain in my bowels. It felt like someone was trying to push a boulder through my rectum so I got up out of bed and went to the toilet. I tried to make a stool but it just hurt too much, so I sat on the toilet for a while until the pain went away. Before I went back to sleep I took a natural stool softener. We’ll see if it helps.

Day 6: May 13th, 2008

I woke up this morning with less of the burning sensation; I think removing one of the drains helped and am very excited for the second to be removed. I was able to make myself a cup of coffee and drag one of the kitchen chairs out to the terrace. I sat out there for a while, drinking my coffee and reading a fantastic book called “How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States,” by Joanne Meyerowitz.

I hope with each day from here on out I can spend more time off the couch. Dr. Miro called the night before and said that he would come to the apartment today to check on me.

I finally figured out how to properly (I think) use my supra-pubic catheter without having it attached to the bag to empty it. To drain it without the bag, you have to take off the paper tape holding it to your body and let it hang down below your bladder. Dr. Marko explained how to do it, but before I didn’t hold it down low enough for the fluid to drain. It feels good not always having to attach myself to the bag to drain my bladder, but I do end up standing in the bathroom for about five minutes before my bladder is drained enough that I can close the clamp again.

I moved a lot more today (still only in the apartment) and managed to give myself a shower by wrapping a towel around my waist and leaning over the tub washing my hair, arms and torso.

Around 2:30pm Dr. Miro came to chat and Marko’s mother (who is also a doctor) and a friend came and cleaned our apartment. Again, we are treated so well here. I have a high level of respect for Dr. Miro because I can tell that he truly cares about transgender people and truly wants to help us at the lowest expense possible to us. He is constantly fine-tuning his skills and is constantly looking at new ways to offer the surgery to us at lower costs. During our conversation, he relieved any fears I had about post-operative complications and I know that if I do have problems, I’ll call him up and either meet him somewhere in the states (he is in the states at least every six weeks) to correct it or fly back to Belgrade. He doesn’t feel like I’ll have any complications, and so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he is right 😉

During our conversation he said that he would remove my second drain on Thursday and the stint on Friday. I’ll be happy to have both items gone even though the stint hasn’t caused me any real problems. I don’t touch my genital region so I don’t knock into it and when emptying my bladder, I haven’t felt any spasms. Every once in a while I’ll feel some slight burning where I would predict my old urethra to be located, but otherwise, it’s pretty good.

The thing that has been the most unpleasant and continues to hanker me down is the pain that I feel where my testicular implants are. It feels like someone is throwing acid on my skin, this feeling intensifies when I stand up. I made the mistake of taking regular Tylenol vs. Tylenol PM that evening and spent the whole night in and out of sleep and irritated by the pain in my balls. I know some guys don’t have really any severe pain after surgery so I’m not sure if it is my balls, or the piles of gauze that is taped to my body.

This past week I have had no sexual desires or feelings, but interestingly enough, I had a sex dream tonight and actually had a spasm in my penis…in the past this would have been a pleasant feeling in my sleep, but not tonight…due to the sutures, stint, catheter, drains, bandages and general aches, it just hurt like hell and woke me out of my sleep. Even though I have no control over my dreams, I hope that I won’t have another sex dream until recovered!

Day 7: May 14th, 2008

Well, it is my one week anniversary from my metoidioplasty procedure and my balls still hurt. Marko called to check in and said that he would bring a painkiller for me that should be more effective than my Tylenol.

I didn’t move around much today because of the pain that I felt around my balls…I really can’t describe it besides just saying OUCH! I did manage to bathe again by leaning over the tub and washing my hair, arms and torso. I also shaved all the scruffiness off my face, making me feel more put together.

Marko arrived around 2:30 pm. He had swung by the pharmacy and picked me up a stronger painkiller…which I’ll always be grateful for because Tylenol did not cut it. Then we went up stairs and he changed my bandages noting that the bleeding is less, but I STILL am bleeding quite a bit…the guys that say they didn’t really have much bleeding after the operation amaze me. I’m hoping that I won’t have the breakthrough bleeding through my sutures upon my return to the states with the amount that has drained out of me since surgery.

After Marko left I went between writing, watching TV (animal planet and discovery are our channels of preference) and playing on the internet…so nothing too eventful.

Day 8: May 15th, 2008

I have to remember that my body is eased under a painkiller so I’m going to still take it easy today BUT I am going to go on an outing, my first since before surgery. At around 1pm we are going to be picked up and taken to Dr. Miro’s new hospital…he wants us to look around and take pictures if we would like to share what we see with others. He is then going to remove my second drain, YEAH. At around 3 pm we are going to meet with all the doctors and their families and have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant. This excites me because I’ve been dying to try Serbian beer but don’t really want to mix painkillers and alcohol…but once during my time here won’t hurt.

Dr. Marko picked us up at 2 pm and we first met him, Miro and Marta at a very nice restaurant in central Belgrade. We ate on the outdoor patio which overlooked a huge central park (Belgrade has a ton of parks…very nice). The food was really good and their beer was nice. After lunch we all walked back to Marko’s car…this was quite the walk for me just because I hadn’t really walked very much since the surgery and because the amount of gauze between my legs really restricted my movement.

We first went to the Children’s hospital, a very old hospital and gloomy to me. Marko removed my second drain (yeah) and then Miro looked at everything and took some pictures. I now only have one piece of gauze between my legs that is held in place by one piece of tape, much better.

As I was laying on the table, my partner asked, “Are your ankles always swollen like that?” I didn’t really understand until I looked down at my right ankle and noticed that it looked like I had an elephant foot or something. I’ve sprained my right ankle several times in my life which makes the doctors think that that tissue is more susceptible to swelling than my left. They advised me to elevate my leg, which I did, even when I slept but it is still a little swollen…I’m thinking it is a side effect of either my antibiotics or the new pain killer that I am on.

Marko, Chell and I parted ways with Marta and Miro. Marko then took us to St. Medico, the new private health/surgery center that they are going to start using for their operations. It was a very posh building; the entrance kind of reminded me of a Spa. Everything was very new, very clean and very white. The recovery beds were modern, not like the old metal frame beds in Nardoni and the TV’s were Phillip Flat Screens with DVD players. Depending on which side of the building you were on, you had a beautiful, beautiful view of Belgrade. The center is closer to the apartment than Nardoni but I’m not sure about bus transportation there.

When we returned back to the apartment, Marko downloaded a movie to my computer from his Ipod and we chatted a little before he had to go…such a nice guy. The rest of the night I laid on the couch in pain…even on pain killers my balls hurt. I’m hoping that this pain is less by the time Monday morning rolls around because otherwise the plane ride home is going to be hellish.

Day 9: May 16th, 2008

I obviously didn’t drink enough water yesterday because my urine was very dark, and I think I noticed some blood in it. I get my stint removed today, so we’ll see if that helps with the sensitivity of my penis. As of now, I cannot even touch the tissue because it hurts so much.

Dr. Miro and Marta swung by today around 1:30 pm to look at my penis. They said that Dr. Valdimir would come tomorrow to remove my stint…so I would have one more day with it in. For me, the stint hasn’t been much of a problem as it has for other guys but I will be happy to have it removed because then I can pull my underwear up a little higher to cup my junk 😉 and I can put a blanket over my body without worrying about it resting on top of the stint.

It was a fairly uneventful day. I took my first trip to the Maxi mart since prior to surgery, and then laid on the couch the whole day due to the extreme pain that I was feeling in my balls. This pain increases at night when I am trying to sleep. From previous surgeries I can tell it is my skin healing around the stitches, but it still is not pleasant.

Dr. Marko swung by around 9:30 pm to check in on us and then was off. I’m going to miss these guys when we leave on Tuesday. I had a horrible time trying to sleep tonight. My genitals hurt so much that I took a couple Tylenol PMs to knock me out, but I still couldn’t sleep because I was frying up in the bedroom and my partner didn’t want the air co on, so I went downstairs and slept on the couch, which I like better than the bed because the bed is too hard for me.

Day 10: May 17th, 2008

I took my very first real shower since prior to surgery this morning…I did shower in the hospital but I didn’t get myself as clean as I like due to the lack of flexibility and I didn’t use the soap/shampoo that I like there. Before today I have been leaning over the tub and washing my hair and arms, but nothing else.

This shower felt fantastic. I have a severe case of diaper rash on my butt from all the gauze that has been rubbing against it these past ten days, but I have been freed of the gauze and tape and am now using a maxi pad in my underwear so this should resolve itself in the next couple of days. The other thing that I noticed is the amount of blood crusted around my stitches where my perineum is. That is another very sensitive place, so I gently washed, rubbed and patted it. I don’t want to disturb it too much because after a few days I suspect that it will fall off and there will be some nicely forming tissue there.

Guys have commented in the past how difficult it is to shower because you have to hold the shower head with one of your hands but I’m used to this. Our house in the states has a European style bathroom so we have to sit in our tub and use one hand to wash ourselves with our shower head…here it is even easier because I can stand up in this huge tub.

I’m not sure what time the Dr. will be here, but after he removes my stint I believe the doctors have arranged for us to have a tour of Belgrade which will be good because my partner is extremely homesick and antsy. I’m doing fine because too much movement makes me feel even more pain so just sitting on the couch is the best option for me.

Dr. Valdimir swung by around 8:00 pm today to remove my stint. The most painful part of this was when he removed the gauze from around my penis because some of the blood from my stitches had adhered to it…The stint didn’t hurt, it was just a weird feeling. After he removed it, he showed me how to rinse out my new urethra with saline. That also does not hurt but actually feels pretty good.

Michelle and I chatted with him for a bit and decided that tomorrow we will do a little sight seeing with him. I’m excited to go out, and also excited to know that I only have two more days on this couch before I can go home.

Day 11: May 18, 2008

I slept pretty well last night, again deciding to have the couch as my bed rather than the actual bed. My balls didn’t ache as much and moving around is a lot more pleasant without the stint in my body. I’m hoping that the swelling around my balls has gone down because then walking will be even more enjoyable.

Dr. Valdimir picked us up around 5 pm and then we swung by Marta’s home and picked her up before heading downtown to the big pedestrian mall and park situated around the Turkish fortresses. When we first started walking my legs were closer together than they had been in a long time but as we continued, I slowly spread them further apart. I didn’t feel pain or fatigue, just tightness in my right nut that continued throughout our walks.

We took a little break near the Turkish fortresses, where we looked out over the two rivers, listened to the retired gentleman playing their accordions, flutes and singing and just taking in the overall beauty of Belgrade. I felt a little sad that I wasn’t well enough these past two weeks to visit the museums, walk the streets and take in all of the beautiful parks that they have. This city has such a rich history, architecture, and culture.

After our break we began our walk over to the restaurants….these restaurants were situated on an old cobblestone street, vendors selling jewelry were lined outside the gates of the restaurants. Valdimir took us to an authentic Serbian restaurant, where we sat outside; surrounded by layers of potted flowers…it was beautiful. There was a mariachi band that serenaded us with the Love Song and Love Me Tender….I’ve never experienced anything like this.

The food was very delicious, their breads, including cornbreads were soft and moist, and their cheese was also this way. I’m going to miss Serbian food because I find it to be a lot richer in taste and good veggies than any American food. Their dark beers are comparable to the US microbrews; it feels good to be able to enjoy a beer with my meals again.

When we returned back to the apartment, I was ready to lay down on the couch and stretch out my legs, but I definitely think the walking was good for me.

Day 12: May 19th, 2008
I injected my second dose of T since surgery this morning…how I love having my hormones back in my system. My balls ached a little this morning but nothing too severe. I took another shower, one of my favorite activities each day because it feels so good and now plan to just relax on the couch for the rest of the day, preparing my body for our long day of traveling tomorrow.

Day 13: May 20th, 2008
Today we traveled back home. All I can say is traveling for 24 hours is not fun. I brought a donut to sit on, but I found a few pillows under my butt to be more comfortable. I would highly recommend that you visit your local Walgreens or CVS Store and purchase a couple air travel pillows, they are WAY better than the pillows that the airline gives you, and you know whose head has been on it.

Although one of our bags was late to arrive (it came in the next day) we made it home and didn’t miss any flights…we came close in Rome, but we made it. I didn’t request wheel chair services and was able to make it through all facilities including Chicago O’Hare…but I was very sore by the time we got home.

Day 14: 2 weeks Post op! May 21st, 2008
I wish that I could say now that I’m two weeks post op all is healed and I’m back to my old self, but it isn’t true. I’ve been dealing with extremely itchy skin and some burning sensations…I’ve felt this since the third day into recovery. So I took a shower right away in the morning. Upon changing the bandages around my penis I noticed that my top stitch is no longer connected and that a piece of my penis skin is separated. I took some gauze to wrap around it and as I set it under my penis, a bunch of redish/urine fluid flowed out of my penis. I took pictures and sent them to Dr. Marta, but she assures me that everything should be ok, but I should keep my hygiene level on high for the next couple of weeks.

After wrapping my penis, I went downstairs to the couch and stayed there all days except when I needed to urinate, which was about every hour! It can sometimes be frustrating for me because one day I feel pretty good and the next I feel like I’m back to square one again, so I’m trying to keep my head up and breathe.

In the evening a few of my friends came to visit, as I reached up to give one of them a hug, one of my dogs jumped onto the couch and applied firm pressure to my package…not enjoyable to say the least.

I went to bed and had a lot of troubles sleeping because of the twinges of pain that I felt in my scrotum.

Day 15: May 22nd, 2008
I woke up this morning and went to change my bandages around my penis. I’m a little worried because it looks like a little more of my skin has separated where the stitch is missing. I will continue to monitor and hope all is well.

Today is the first day that I haven’t taken a pain pill…I’m going to see what I feel like with less drugs in my system.Dr. Miro called me and we chatted for a bit (he is in the states for the next couple of weeks which makes me happy because I can call him anytime). He asked me to send him photos of my genitals so that he could see the stitching that has broken apart. He advised me to ice my penis because of the swelling.

I stayed off pain pills all day and night and didn’t feel anything that would want me to have a pill, which makes me very happy.

Day 16: May 23rd, 2008
I asked Miro if I should leave the wrapping off of my penis now, he advised me to wrap it a couple hours then unwrap it for two hours, etc. The wrapping helps with the swelling but it feels really good to have fresh air and oxygen getting to that tissue. I was able to pull off the dead skin that the stitches had gone through from my penis this morning…it looks like I lost five stitches from whatever happened. I’m continuing to ice my penis on and off, there has been no change in swelling to note at this time.

Yesterday was the first day that I poured peroxide on all of my stitches, I repeated it again this morning and then bathed and am finding that that greatly reduces my itching…which makes me very happy.

I feel a burning sensation where my urethra runs now and then, especially when urinating through my catheter. I’m not too concerned by this because from what I’ve read this is a natural sensation and will heal overtime.

I have avoided any pain pills again today and am pleased to say that I think I’m free of that part of recovery.

Day 20: May 27th, 2008
So tomorrow will be my three week anniversary from lower surgery. I would jump up in joy but my movement is pretty restricted right now. The suprapubic catheter doesn’t bother my bladder, besides rubbing on it and so when I pee I notice some very diluted blood and little tiny pieces of flaked tissue coming out…BUT it is driving me nuts where it is exiting my body. I keep having to shift it and am very careful about pulling it down or up. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to take it out next week because I can’t imagine having it in for too much longer.

As far as my balls go, I’ve found that if I wear what I call the banana hammock underwear, I can stand in one place and not feel the fire like pain in my right nut, the problem with this is I hate briefs…I’m a boxer, boxer brief kind of guy.

I was able to walk (duck walk) two blocks and back yesterday without stopping, so each day I’m going to try to go just a little bit further. I’m also going to begin very light arm exercises while laying down or sitting. Again, I don’t want to move my torso around too much because of the catheter in my bladder but I would like to have my muscles remember what it is like to lift a weight, very light but still something.

At the moment I’m still planning to go back to work full-time next week at my desk job. If my scrotum is still as swollen and unforgiving when it comes to chairs, even padded chairs, then I’ll return back to my house and try to get tasks accomplished from my couch.

The only other news to report is the area of my penis that has torn away from the stitches is slowly healing. I’m also have to do an exercise where I slowly pull the shaft of my penis down, exposing my glans (I’m uncircumcised) and then slowly release it back. Apparently some fluid (urine/blood) leaving my urethra has gone under the skin so this exercise should help with the swelling.

Day 23: May 30th, 2008
I lost my last stitch from my mouth this morning. It feels very liberating to not have stitches sticking out anymore, so that was one positive that I have had this past week. I’m still couch bound and experiencing some minor pain in my scrotum after walking around the house.

When I went to take my bath today (the highlight of my day, every day), I noticed that one of the two stitches that holds my catheter to my abdomen has come undone (the scab it was attached to fell off). In five more days I will begin to attempt urinating through my urethra…let’s hope it works otherwise I may need to figure out what to do if my other stitch comes out.

I’ve noticed some minor bleeding from a spot between my balls where a stitch has come off. My body has dissolved through a lot of these stitches pretty fast which makes me a little nervous. I’m really bummed about the stitches that I lost from the shaft of my penis. I noticed a small spot at the base of my penis where the stitches are slightly open, so I’m hoping that resolves itself soon because I have this fear (probably way out there) that my whole shaft is going to come apart.

As far as my scrotum, it’s still pretty swollen and black and blue. Less swollen than it was at day 15, so I am going to have to stop evaluating things daily and focus more on the weekly progress. This is hard for me because I’m starting to get pretty depressed by the fact that I can’t do the things I normally do.

Day 26: June 2nd, 2008
I had originally planned to go back to work today, but with the process of this recovery, there is no way I want to be sitting at a desk and trying to focus on things. Although the swelling in my scrotum is the same as it was at Day 19, I do have more flexibility in my legs and my stitches aren’t quite as sensitive to touch when cleaning as they were before. I’m still very careful, but a little more confident in my touching sites during my two to three times a day cleaning regimen.

In two days I will begin using my new urethra, I accidentally used it a little today (for the second time since surgery). I guess it is ready to go for a ride now, but I’m nervous about urethra problems so I’ll just wait, what’s two more days?

Yesterday was probably my most active day so far. After walking around Menards with my honey (a home improvement store), I went back to the house and slowly mowed our back yard….I figured since I could push a shopping cart, I could push a mower. After I was done I took a bath and retired to the couch where my right nut hurt throughout the night, but it doesn’t today. This right nut has had this same type of pain since right after surgery, so I’m hoping it’s just part of the healing process…if it continues into next week (week 5) then I’ll ask the docs about it.

Besides being discouraged by the status of my swelling…I’m also slightly depressed because of not being able to work out, not being well enough to even go for a walk, not having the energy or ability to lift things that I want to lift and not working. I don’t really want to work right now, the idea of it kind of scares me because concentrating on something other than healing right now just doesn’t sound too appealing.

I also feel depressed because my partner is not very happy with me not being able to help her out more. In the past, I just took care of things, fixed things, cleaned things and work with her in landscaping our yard, now she has to do everything (I’ve been doing dishes) and it makes her very overwhelmed. She isn’t mad at me, but her feelings of being overwhelmed are rubbing off on me and making feel frustrated that I can’t be more helpful and get the things done that need to be.

Day 27: June 3rd, 2008 (My Three Year Anniversary on T)
I feel like my recovery has taken an uphill swing starting yesterday afternoon. I began walking slowly on our treadmill (1.9 miles per hour) for a half hour and then lifted some weights (laying down and sitting) which made me just feel stronger and more positive. I started to notice a decrease in swelling in my scrotum last night. I plan to take picture tomorrow (4 weeks post op) to see if this is really true 😉

I also began to urinate through my urethra today. I’ve done it a couple times and so far all is well. I haven’t noticed any leaking between my balls but we’ll see how it continues to go. I needed this little boost, so here’s to continual strides forward!

Day 28: June 4th, 2008 (1 month post op)
I’ve continued to use my urethra and I’m ready for my catheter to be removed tomorrow! I’m looking forward to being freed of all tubes and not worrying about something pulling on it.

I’m not even close to being able to urinate stranding up at a toilet. Right now I’ve been practicing in the shower because there is so much force and splatter that if I stood in front of the toilet I’d hit everything except for the inside of the bowl. From what I have read from other guys, it looks like it is going to take me a couple more months to get the whole through the fly thing down. But I’m ok with that because I finally have a urethra positioned where I want it.

In comparing pictures of my scrotum today to what it was last week, I can tell that even more swelling has gone down, especially on my right side. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to say this again next week at this time because the sooner those boys are settled in, the sooner I can walk without looking like a cowboy or someone who fell on a rod that is now up their butt.

As for my exercise habits, I’m continuing to walk for 30 to 45 minutes on the treadmill at a speed ranging between 2.0 to 2.3 mph (slow, slow, slow) and then spending 30 to 45 minutes lifting…as I get healthier I’m going to spend a lot of time focusing on different muscle groups, since I can’t run or bike I’ll put my focus on lifting for now.

Day 30: June 6th, 2008
I’ve been peeing through my urethra for three days now and am attempting to figure out the aim and how to deal with the spray at the toilet. My urine has gone all over the place so it’s a good thing to keep cleaner and paper towels with you when first learning how to do this. The past five times that I’ve tried, three of them I was successful in getting “most” of the urine in the bowl, the other two ended tragically and I had to move over to the tub to finish. I’ve found that any slight movement can change your urine flow completely. My most successful attempts have been when I gently press my finger against the piece of my penis’s shaft that is swollen over part of the urethra, this pulls it slightly away from the urethra opening…if I touch anything else or get too much pulled one way or the other, then I spray everywhere but in the bowl.

My catheter is still in. My doctor wanted me to wait a few more days, “just in case.” So far all is going fine besides the burning that I get on and off in my urethra…so Sunday, is now the day when this tube should be removed.

My scrotum is swollen like all get out. My left nut looks like an oblong egg and my right, an oblong orange. The tissue around my penis, my mons, and my scrotum is very, very sensitive so touching it isn’t a joy to me right now.

On another note, three nights in a row I’ve had various sex dreams and I believe that I’m waking up with morning wood…ah, to be a teenager again 😉

Day 31: June 7th, 2008
The night before I started to have that grayish and clumpy sludge come out of my urethra…the few days before that everything was clear, which made me a little nervous so that night I attached my catheter to the bag (I wanted to take the catheter out on Thursday but Dr. Miro suggested I keep it in just a little longer, just in case).

When I woke up this morning, there was pretty dark urine in my bag and a lot of the flaky matter from my bladder, so I was hoping that I would be able to take the cath out that day. To compensate for the dark urine, I began drinking a lot of clear fluids that morning. The whole day I didn’t pee as much as I had been which made me a little nervous but when I did pee, everything came out fine, just in smaller amounts.

After talking with a couple guys and being in contact with Dr. Miro, I called my partner’s mom to see if she could remove my catheter (she’s an RN). She came over in the evening, cut the one stitch that was still attached and then said, “Are you ready?” I replied, “No.” So she told me to take a deep breath and then she slowly started to pull it out. I was prepared for it to make me feel weird, but it really didn’t. I was also prepared for it to be really long, but it was a little longer than the expansion of my hand.

Urinating is so much easier without the catheter in. Before, when I was done, I would feel some stinging or pain in my urethra, now it is gone. It is also nice not to worry about catching the tube when changing clothes or attaching to the bag at night.

Last huge hump for me, the swelling of my balls.

Day 35: June 11, 2008 (5 weeks post op)
I thought I was out of the clear when I didn’t notice any leakage along my suture line but two days ago I began to worry because of the wetness I was finding between my balls. My theory is I may have had this earlier, but not noticed it because of the swelling. I contacted Dr. Miro and he asked me a few questions, then asked me to have a urinary analysis done. The test came back positive for a large urinary tract infection (this is common when one has a catheter). I was put on antibiotics and instructed by Miro to wait and see what happens after the infection is cleared…unless of course I notice something worsening.

I figured the symptoms that I had been having for awhile, burning while I urinated, cloudy/strong smelling urine and clumpy discharge was just part of healing….oops. I’ve never had a bladder infection before so I wasn’t sure what it felt like. I started the antibiotic yesterday and have already noticed a small difference: less cloudy urine, less clumpy discharge and less burning. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the clearing of this infection will solve my leakage along my suture lines.

In other news, with each day my legs are getting closer together when I walk, even though I’m still sore as hell. I’ve now completed for third full day back at work. The scab from my catheter hole also fell off today, I had it removed on Saturday, so it took four days to heal over.

Day 39: June 15th, 2008
To any guy out there that is having burning sensations, clumpy discharge, and smelly urine (hope you’re not eating) go have your pee tested! That UTI was I believe the cause of all my problems that I’ve written about. I’m now on Day 6 of the antibiotic and my urine no longer burns, my penis no longer drips extra urine after I think that I’m finished and the leaking I experienced before has stopped for the most part.

I’m walking more, still slow and like a cowboy, still sore if doing too much, BUT I am walking more and the sutures are slowly starting to fall out. I’m guessing by the end of this week, all my stitches will be out.

I’m still using my makeshift stp device when I pee, it is much easier than worrying about aiming right…but in the next couple of weeks I think that I’m going to try to pee without it again. I was joking with my girlfriend about how I wanted to put a urinal in our bathroom…she didn’t catch on that it was a joke and flipped out on my a little 😉

Day 45: June 21st, 2008
I’m past six weeks now in my recovery process…hopefully in two more weeks I’ll be able to begin doing some mild work outs, we’ll see how things go. After all this waiting, I’d hate to screw things up to set me back even longer.

Over the past week, I’ve been standing to pee through my fly without an STP device at home…I’m still scared about peeing myself in public even though I really doubt that will happen. There is plenty of stream pressure and even at the very end when it just cuts off, the little drips that happen do not hit my pants or underwear. It will be great when I have the confidence to be in public and not worry about anything, especially the bathroom 😉

My UTI is cleared up, I think…I may go and have another test done just to make sure. I do have an infection from where some of my sutures were. I had an abscess from this (a pocket of fluid that dripped out, it was a light orange and the consistency of an egg white. This dripped for about a week and then stopped. I had a culture done at work, but haven’t heard from them yet to see if I need to be on an antibiotic for it.

My energy comes and goes, I feel really tired today, so I’m not too excited about driving to Omaha (an hour away) and staffing a booth for work at our Nebraska Pride. I really just want to sleep today.

As far as sleeping goes, I can now roll over on my side without any problems and sleep. I’ve also had a few moments of self-love and wow, working good  The swelling in my balls has gone down some more, there is definitely swelling still there, but it is nothing like what it was a month ago. People have asked me when I’m going to stop walking like a cowboy and I just shrug and say, I don’t know.

Day 53: June 29th, 2008
I’m now seven and a half weeks post op and feeling better by the day. I sadly was told last week that I had another UTI, so I’ve been on my second round of antibiotics. I think we may have got it this time, but we’ll see what my new pee test says next week.

My suture lines are all healed. I do have a couple spots around the head of my penis that still have a couple fishing wire type sutures, but otherwise I’m all closed up and no more scabs.

My legs are getting closer together, I still walk like a cowboy, but it isn’t as noticeable now. I’m also able to sleep on my side without anything between my legs, but right now my back is the most comfortable position to be in when catching some z’s.

The thing that has been most exciting to me at this time is that I can walk around, stand around, or bend up and down without any pain from my groin region. With each day I’m feeling more and more like my old self and am pretty optimistic about starting some light exercises in a couple weeks. One of the hardest things for me right now is the loss of tone that my body has suffered. I know that it will come back with exercise, but when you work really hard on your body, it sucks for it to lose some of it’s shape.

The other exciting thing is that I’m standing up to pee 90% of the time now in both public and private. I do not use an STP anymore and things are working great…every now and then, my spray goes in wrong directions or drips on the floor, but for the most part it’s doing good.

Day 55: July 1st, 2008 (tomorrow will be two months post op)
Today was the first day that I’ve gone running since before my surgery. My legs have lost a lot of their tone and the weight that I’ve gained has been in the hips and thighs so I’ll be happy to be able to get back to my old routine. I only ran for a mile and half before slowing down to a walk today. I plan to slowly increase my running and cycling over time so that hopefully by mid-August I’m back to my old routines again. The thing that is feeling the greatest for me right now is the fact that the surgery is done, the loan is slowly getting paid off and the recovery is well on its way. All these years of researching this and planning for it has finally arrived. I’ve already noticed my mind turning back to my old interests, art, music, and writing. I feel like once I get completely out of the woods and have my loan down to a low amount that I’ll finally be back down on the ground, only working one or one and a half jobs and enjoying what life and nature has to offer instead of fighting against the policy and financial gods.

Day 84: July 30th, 2008 (three months post op)
I am very, very happy to see another month under my belt in regard to this recovery process. I’ve been running for the past month (began a day before my two month anni), up until yesterday, the farthest I’d go was four miles but I felt really good yesterday and was able to get six miles in. I don’t have any pain or discomfort in my groin which is a sign that my running shouldn’t be constricted anymore. I also rode on a stationary bike a couple days ago to see how it felt, and all was good. Once I get my road bike fixed, I’m going to try and hop onto it and ride around to see how the real thing feels.

I can tell that things are still healing. My suture lines between my balls is very tender and still red. I’m also still struggling with urinary tract infections. I’m on my third round of antibiotics and hoping this will be the last. A week ago, my APRN ordered a urine culture to see exactly what bacteria I was struggling with since the other rounds of antibiotics didn’t help. The results came back positive for group B strep, so I’m now on penicillin. I’m five days into the prescription, and I do feel better so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

My balls are still tender now and then, as well as the tissue above and around my penis. I pee standing up most of the time, the only frustrating thing is at the end of my bladder being empty I dribble all over the floor. I wish that I could get two more inches of length…wouldn’t that be nice.

September 5th, 2008
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all in regard to my recovery process. I am now 4 months and 1 week into recovery and am back to all normal activity, biking, running, swimming, etc. After my third UTI was cleared up, I have not had any real issues. I did feel a sort of burning and uncomfotable sting sensation around my penis and along my suture lines for a good three and a half months, but now everything is very comfortable, except for an occassional sore ball. If I do get any revisions done, I will have my mons area liposuctioned and lifted a bit. Depending on how much it would costs and how long recovery would be would determine if I’ll put my body through yet another surgery. I have 10,910 dollars left to pay on my surgery and so once that is done, I’ll finally feel like I can return to focusing on the things that I love in life, these past four years have taken me away from music, art and writing which I think is affecting me with each day that passes. I think at this time, I can close my journal entries in regard to my lower surgery. Thank you for sticking with me during this process.