I wasn’t concerned about the lighting tonight. It was not about taking a million selfies, only to weed out the bad ones. These last few photographs were about me seeing myself in all my gynecamastia glory for the very last time. I wanted a snapshot of what got me to this point. It was clear to me I was not only embarking on a new journey in every facet of my life, but I was adding fitness and my well being to an ever growing to do list of becoming, ME.
It’s 7am Tuesday morning the day of my gynecamastia surgery at Lexington Plastic Surgeons in New York City. I’m wired and I’m ready. My mood is defiant yet exhibiting a sense of pride that today is just another building block of decisions I’ve made for the benefit of me and me only! Whenever I’m anxious about something, I’m methodical in my preparation for it. Due to the surgery, I had to fast so all that was needed this morning was a quick shower, gathering of a few personal effects and into the Uber I went. I couldn’t get there fast enough but I was happy that I wasn’t driving myself. I wanted to be able to keep my thoughts focused on the surgery and not the insane traffic in midtown.
Once I arrived at the facility, surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous. I expressed this to a nurse by the name of Trinity who asked me how did I feel. I Knew I was doing the right thing. The comfort of the office and the compassionate disposition of Trinity put me at ease. Besides, I completely loved the fact that her name was Trinity, a character from one of my all time favorite films, The Matrix. If she was Trinity, I was definitely Neo realizing that I had the control over my life all along and that I have, and always will be, my own hero!
I couldn’t put my surgical gown on fast enough and when I was all set, I patiently waited for the arrival of none other than Dr. G himself, or professionally speaking, the incomparable Dr. Ginsberg. I mentioned that there would be more on him and I’m excited to tell how our paths crossed.
Fear also began to creep in but I had the one thing I needed most, trust in the rapport with Dr. G.
Dr. G and I met in my pre- op meeting so I was already enamored with his jovial personality which immediately made me feel safe, confident, and that I was in the right hands. I loved that his first name was Gerald. My mother’s name was Geraldine so yes; a spiritual hippie like myself saw this as a good sign. Dr. G did not disappoint by any means. I of course did my own research on him but just like anyone described on paper, no one in person is ever like his or her accomplishments or accolades. In this case, Dr. G was better. He was like an old buddy from school that you love having a beer with. He was the scholarly professor that passionately and brilliantly knew his subject. What was important to me was that he was unapologetically human, funny, and down to earth. I needed that.
Our sense of humor seemed to align and he answered all of my questions without me asking and even a few, I didn’t even know I had. He was honest, concise, and let me know again that I was a good candidate for the procedure. He mentioned that based on my previous workouts and skin elasticity, I would have amazing results. Ok Doc I thought to myself. I’ve carried these man boobs for years and I wish I could say I believed him right away, but I had my doubts. Fear also began to creep in but I had the one thing I needed most, trust in my rapport with Dr. G. I knew this was yet another moment in my life where I had to just cross my arms on my chest, close my eyes, fall back and know someone would catch me.
I felt no pain, but very much wanted my sofa and more importantly, a mirror.
The time was now. I walked into the operating room much to my surprise. In my past surgical experience, I was wheeled in and not long after in what felt like a five-minute nap, out of surgery and in recovery. Today I walked the green mile of sorts to the operating table to lie down. It was bright, it was cold, and I was desperately trying not to look at the table of surgical equipment. I felt the same way so many of us do by not wanting to read the label of hotdogs or scrapple. I didn’t want to know what’s needed to get rid of my fatty and fleshy chest. Let just get it over with.
Two nurses were busy getting things ready, as Dr. G would enter soon. Their personalities, just like Trinity were infectious. The anesthesiologist began detailing her role and what would take place. I loved the camaraderie they all had with each other. As I began to laugh with them as they described Dr. G’s cool demeanor, I was asked what type of music I wanted to hear. It was a no brainer to me, nineties R&B of course! My wish was granted as I was getting the knock me out medicine administered. The anesthesiologist mentioned that it would feel as if I had a few margaritas. After what felt like a few seconds, I asked her, am I already supposed to be feeling something? Yes, she responded as the nurses chuckled in the background. Then just like that, it was lights out!
I eventually came to and felt as if I took a quick catnap after one of my father’s heavy Sunday meals. The only difference was that I was alert, bandaged, and greeted with a smile by one of the nurses. With her assistance, I slipped into my compression garment, then my clothes, and I was out the door feeling like I never had two physical burdens completely removed from my body. I felt no pain, but very much wanted my sofa and more importantly, a mirror.
Would I be an advocate for other men to do the same or champion them to be comfortable in their stance on body positivity regardless of their shape or size?
Once I arrived at home, I ordered some take out. Teriyaki Salmon, mixed vegetables, and avocado and cucumber rolls were in order. As I hit submit on my online order, I went to the bathroom. I just had to see it. I had to see me and if I was the successful candidate that Dr. G said I would be. I walked slowly down the hall at first, and then picked up the pace when I realized my surgery did not impair my legs or movement. I felt silly milking my recovery for an audience of no one. I carefully removed my sweater and peered at my reflection. I could not believe my eyes. I felt as if they were focusing to get a more accurate target because the one before me, my chest, was unrecognizable.
Dr. Ginsberg, the man of many jokes and an affable nature, was not only a talented surgeon, but he was also not a liar! Flatness was all I saw. My chest was flat, in the front, and on the sides. Yes, I turned to my left, and to the right multiple times as I grinned and giggled with a sophomoric sensibility as I was overcome with joy and relief. Finally, I now looked like the man I felt in my head. It was all too much to take in and I carefully put my sweater back on. That was enough excitement for now. I would wait for my food, and then settle in for the night.
I was hungry and tired and knew tomorrow would be a new day with new intentions. I was ready but my recovery and work on myself was not done. I now had to do some additional soul searching on my decision to go through with the surgery and whether or not it was warranted. Would I be an advocate for other men to do the same or champion them to be comfortable in their stance on body positivity regardless of their shape or size? I was happy, I felt free, but I realize my journey is not the same for everyone. All I knew is that I had no regrets and as I drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t help but think, what took me so long to take action and feel this damn good? Whether or not other men would have made the same decision was irrelevant to me. I did what was best for myself. I pulled out my cell phone to take a look at the selfies I took the night before. My smile returned and I felt happy that I wasn’t concerned about the lighting. My male breasts were gone, and I could cross at least one more thing off my to do list. Now on to my what’s next!