So many times in life we talk about something that is “life changing”. “You have to try the burger there… it’s life changing”. “I just changed my shampoo – it’s been life changing – now my hair is less frizzy”. I am reflecting on what lays ahead and am struck by how genuinely life changing the next few days and weeks will be and I decided to keep a diary. As with the rest of this blog, it’s mostly for the cathartic act of writing it and for personal posterity – it may be too personal for you and that’s ok.
After an emotional and teary goodbye with my friend at the airport, my Aunt Dorrie and I went though security. Normally I shop in the duty free cosmetics, but it’s hard to be interested in makeup with such a colossal life event looming large.
We boarded the plane and after a few minutes in our economy seats, the cabin crew came to see me and told me that my seat needed to be changed. He lead me through to business class and wished me a comfortable flight.
I have a relative in the airline that must have shared the purpose for my journey because I was treated like a VIP. The captain came back for a little chat and to wish me well and the cabin service director gave me a bottle of champagne for “after”. Having a few hours sleep in a flat bed made all the difference. I feel so lucky to have such a magical start to my new beginning.
We arrived at the airport and bypassed the huge queue by virtue of some special passes we got in our upgraded seat (again so fortunate).
On the other side of immigration and baggage reclaim, we queued to buy new sim cards for our phones and then found the person sent to meet us from the Clinic. She’s called Nok and has just moved back to Thailand from Florida, so her english is amazing. The mini van drove us out of Bangkok and I chattered away while we took in the landscape. I was struck by how it would feel to be sat there alone. I realised that my Aunt’s anxiety at being in such an alien place was keeping my mind off the hugeness of where I was being taken to.
The Chon Inter hotel is a western style hotel, but is probably ten plus years after it’s day. That being said, it’s clean and absolutely fine for what I need it for.
Shortly after arriving I called my girls and I was surprised the intensity with which I was missing them already. They have just returned to school and are happy to see their friends. They also had quite a few little questions. Which suggested that they too have a lot to process in their little heads too.
We then met my online friend Miranda and her wife Vivian who was having Facial Surgery in Marbella at the same time, but we missed each other while we were there. Since then we have become facebook friends, but this was the first time meeting her in person.
I had an appointment at the clinic for a bunch of logistical things.
The first was to meet with the psychiatrist. Before going in, I was asked to draw two pictures: a person and also a house with a tree and people. I discovered I am in fact no good at drawing a people, houses or trees. The psychiatrist asked me to describe the picture of the person.
I said it was me and described it and what I was wearing. Then the house which was my house with me and my children outside.
He made lots of notes in Thai and seemed happy. He then asked me about when I started feeling this way and about my family. After maybe 20 minutes, he said “you can go”, which I have since learnt is eastern bedside manner for “Everything is good and you are all fine; It was good to meet you and best of luck”.
Next someone from the clinic came to take me through lots of paperwork and the pre and post op instructions. She said to use an icepack and pointed to my crotch and said “on vagina”. I got a wave of ‘holy shit this is really happening. she is talking about my vagina’. She described the operation at very high level. I obviously have researched what will happen in lots of detail, but somehow her giving the three bullet point version gave me another wave of ‘holy shit this is really happening – I’m not going to have that any more’.
Then they presented an ornate fuchsia coloured box covered in silk. I knew what was inside before opening. This would be my introduction to what many of the women jokingly refer to as their “Thai boyfriend”. Inside were four dilators – essentially perspex dildos which I will have to use to dilate (or stretch) regularly at first and less over time, but for the rest of my life.
The purpose is to stop the scar tissue from forming and closing the vagina up. This is done by forcing the scar tissue apart and forcing it to heal very, very slowly. I have been told by many people that this is a thoroughly unpleasant experience. At least the box was nice. When the box opened in front of me I got yet another wave of ‘holy shit this is really happening – these are mine’. I have seen pictures of them and watched videos of people taking through the experience, but that was abstract – other people usually on the internet. These are mine. I will need them. That thing will be inside me. I will be able to take that thing inside me.
I could imagine how this could read as a panicky set of emotions. But is wasn’t. There was certainly a very faint tinge of fear around the periphery, but the predominant feelings were excitement, fulfillment and joy. Somehow the feelings flickered past and I got a sense that I needed to take more time to emotionally experience these things.
The rest of the day was wandering around the town to see the mall and find the convenience store. We had a very early supper in the hotel then bed.
This is a special time and I feel lucky to be able to walk my path.