Like I said before, my face wasn't necessarily masculine looking. Also, I work as a professional makeup artist with the leading authority in cosmetics and I pride myself on really being able to feminize my face through makeup. For me personally, it was more of an issue of certain things that annoyed me/could read as more feminine. My hairline and length of my forehead was something I've always been extremely insecure about. I literally wouldn't leave the house unless my hair was done or I at the very least had a hat or hood covering it. My chin was another big issue, or lack there of. I'm 5'9" and 120-125lbs. From my profile, the length of my chin was really short. If I had my head tilted down I felt that it would just blend with my neck. It ruined most profile shots of me. If I would've been only able to fix two things I was unhappy with those two would have been it.
Luckily for me, Dr.Spiegel works out of Boston, which I live about 45 mins from. At first I booked my own consult with him without telling anyone. I wanted to get a feel for him before I had brought anyone in to hear a second opinion. At our first consult he and his team couldn't have been more comforting and kind. The girls working in his office are super friendly and supportive. Same goes for the Spiegs! After meeting he asked me what I was looking to change. I don't really remember what I said but forehead, chin and I'm sure I mentioned a few other things. Talking with Dr.Spiegel, he had a very calm and friendly vibe. I wasn't overwhelmed by his opinions, he seemed very knowledgeable and confident in what he thought would make me happiest. I left that day extremely excited and with a folded with everything I was to have done and the overall price of the surgery. I totally just threw it out there to my mom later that day that I had visited a plastic surgeon on my own (can't say she was too surprised since I've always been the type to want something and go out on my own and get it lol). She was also aware of me wanting surgery for awhile beforehand. I showed her the papers I was given and we talked about it for a few days and sadly decided it just wasn't the right time financially.
About a year later, and constant talks with my mom about this surgery and how important it was to me, I set up a second consult with Spiegel. This time my mom demanded she would come to check him out for herself. This consult was a little longer and more detailed. My mom had her questions and so did I. We went over the list of things I was to have done which were the following: Forehead contouring, brow lift, rhinoplasty, lip lift, chin contouring, cheek implants and lastly trachea shave. I felt really confident with everything g we had chosen to do and was probably shooting rainbows out of my a**. Meanwhile my mom is overwhelmed, yet incredibly supportive as always. I really am so lucky to have her, I wouldn't have been able to achieve the results I wanted for myself without her help. I realize how lucky I am to have such support and know it's definitely not the case for everyone going through this journey.
As for payment we and how we wanted to go about it was another discussion. For me, I was really adamant to have everything done at once. I wanted to get this part of my transition over with so I could live my life more confidently and at peace with myself sooner. Of course, at about $45k, paying that all up front might've not been a reality. I obviously would've taken the option to spread out the ops if we had to (even though in the long run it might've ended up being more expensive) but luckily my mom and I came to an agreement that having it all done at once would be best so we called and set the date.
Dr.Spiegel as you probably know if you've read other reviews/articles mentioning him is one of the top doctors specializing in FFS in the nation. Our appointment was booked maybe November of 2015 for March 31st, 2016. Seems like a long time to wait but honestly time flew by and before I knew it I was back in his office for our final consult before surgery day. At our final consult I had Zoom teeth whitening done first with his wife Dr. Onir Spiegel. She's amazing and also very knowledgeable. She reassured me that I would look great post-op (as did all his amazing staff) and left me remaining even more confident and trustworthy of Dr.Spiegel. After teeth whitening (which I loved and will be back for more) Dr.Spiegel, my mom and I went over everything we had discussed previously. He described how he would perform all these procedures and the potential risk factors that go with them. I can't stress this enough, your final consult is it! If you have any concerns, questions or inhibitions this is the most valuable time to voice them not matter how small or dumb you may think they are! The goal is to be on the same page as your surgeon and you should almost be able to have an imagination of what you're results should look like beforehand. Be realistic of course. I wanted a natural result but I also wanted to definitely notice a difference. Wanting this kind of result is a big factor as to why I chose Spiegel seeing as that seems to be his thing.
Day of surgery finally comes and I'm so excited to bang it out. My mom and I checked into the hospital and got situated in my little pre-surgery room. I one by one met with the nurse and all of Dr.Spiegel's "posse" as she called it. All very nice people who seemed more than trustworthy and like they all had the best intentions for me. Dr.Spiegel came in last and we went over everything again and it was time to go. They gave me something before wheeling my off to relax me and before I knew it I was out. And then I was awake! Surgery took about 5 and a half hours. I woke up in no pain at all, which was one of my concerns. I actually remember saying out loud once I woke up "That was such a great nap, I feel soooooo good and relaxed." Clearly I was still feeling the anesthesia haha. I was wheeled back to my little room and was assured everything went perfectly. I was still comfortable and pain-free and ate like 3 things of jello and a bunch of juice, I guess I was hungry. If I had any issue eating I made it work.
I was then taken up to my actual room that I'd be staying in overnight and got myself situated. All the nurses that helped me throughout that night were very sweet and helpful. I was in a little discomfort at some points throughout the night because of the swelling. Mainly my cheeks and upper lip. Although it was nothing the pain meds couldn't get rid of. I ended up being good to leave way earlier than expected the next morning. I was told to expect to get to go home around 4 but I got the ok to go by like 9 or 10. I felt really good and positive which I think showed and led to me being able to go back to my own bed early.
As I'm writing this it's been 10 days since it all went down. First three days swelling went up as he said it would. It wasn't too bad, though I feel I might have a higher pain tolerance? I was bruised around my nose and cheeks but nothing to be unexpected. After those three days swelling started to significantly down day by day. I made sure to keep myself fed and I normally drink a ton of water and so I only continued to do so. By day 7 I was really starting to see myself through the swelling and was so excited. I think it was day 8 that I had my post up consult with Spiegel. Honestly by then I felt amazing. I was starting to sound more like myself again, swelling went down a lot, was loving how everything seemed to be settling and I just overall felt really positive about my experience thus far! Dr.Spiegel seemed very pleased with the results we were seeing as well and was impressed by how fast I was healing, saying that it was unusual for for someone to heal so well at this point. I could not wait to rip those bandages that were wrapped around my face off for good. Sleeping facing is annoying enough but with those bandages it's even worse. I did it though because I wasn't about to mess anything up haha. He first removed some stitches, then staples in my forehead and then lastly my nose cast. Absolutely loved how my nose looked he really killed it. In the best way, of course. My mom left that day feeling ecstatic and like it was absolutely worth it.
Day 10 and I'm growing happier with my results everyday. Every morning I wake up and the first thing I do is run to the mirror to see what looks different and what's less swollen. I originally planned to take a month off from work, but I'm optimistic that I'll be able to return by next week. Which is perfect seeing as I only had two weeks of paid-leave and the rest was going to be un-paid. I truly am very pleased with the results I'm seeing so far. I was on the phone with my friend trying to tell her what my favorite part was and ended up just saying everything was my favorite. At this point I feel a million times more confident without makeup than I ever have. Before I would get anxiety going out in public with no makeup and my hair not done. Now I actually feel confident in how I look to go out with no makeup and my hair tied back. Little things like that seem so small but for me used to seem like such a luxury. I'm extremely excited and optimistic about the future and am looking forward to seeing the final results. Also, I can't wait to do my makeup once the scars close and get to paint a new and improved me!
I'll try and keep you all updated and am thinking of making a YouTube video also describing my experience throughout this experience. Stay tuned, xo.