The life-long chest cut of the transgender boy

With drainage and an allergy to antibiotics, Bao Bao thought that he had to die during a chest surgery three years ago.

Bao Bao is the name of a 23-year-old transgender boy, a native of Tra Vinh, who gave it to himself when deciding to come out. On the surface, Bao Bao is a good-looking boy with a student face, large shoulders, and a well-proportioned body. He has a bold, even shaved mustache, and his voice is low and warm.

In order to have the current masculine appearance, Bao Bao said he has invested and traded a lot. From a young age, he always wondered why he was a boy but didn’t have a “chili”, why he had a girl’s body. Going to ask Grandma, I don’t know how to explain it to me. Until growing up, Bao Bao realized that “I am a transgender”.

For several years of burning intentions and working hard in Saigon, Bao Bao has earned more than 30 million dong, planning to have a first-round surgery. This surgery will remove the entire mammary gland and most of the fatty tissue from both breasts. That means, Bao will lose the ability to secrete milk, and feed babies with milk. In return, he has a flat chest like a normal man, no longer miserable, wearing a tight bra, both having difficulty breathing, and burning blisters.

“Nobody forced me to cut my body. But to change my fate, I vowed to change money, tears, blood, even life,” he said.

One morning at the end of 2018, Bao Bao went to the operating table, at a district 5 hospital. The surgeon is a middle-aged, little-known male doctor in the transgender community. The cost of the doctor is just the right amount of money you have.

Friends advise to prevent waiting, making more money “making breasts” in other expensive but more prestigious places. Bao Bao did not listen, partly because of the regret of the deposit, partly because of the dose. “My chest is small, probably won’t be that, or if I get scarred, go to the tattoo shop”. More importantly, Bao Bao wants to take care of the wound for a few months so that the breast will heal completely, so that he can return to his girlfriend’s parents in Da Nang and start a career here. At that time, he confidently confessed that he was transgender with his girlfriend’s family.

However, things are not as simple as envisioned. Bao Bao said that when he woke up in the recovery room, he found his chest wrapped in a bandage, the two sides plugged two drainage pipes, it was “so happy”. The anesthetic was not over yet, he did not feel pain, still laughed at his girlfriend and called to inform relatives on the phone. Unexpectedly, within 30 minutes, the breath of difficulty struck. Looking down at his chest, he discovered that the right chest area was gradually tense and swollen as if it was about to explode. He gasped, gasped, gulped the air like a stranded fish.

The doctor could not transfer the patient to the emergency bandage in time but pushed the entire hospital bed into the elevator, and ran to the operating area. On the way, the nurse let him breathe oxygen through the mask, but without improvement, the young man found himself “lightheaded”.

“I waited for about 15 minutes to have the operating room empty for my turn. Before I died, I felt the knife cut into my chest and the warm blood wet my arm,” he recalls.

Bao Bao after breast surgery, photo taken in 2018. Photo: Characters provided.

The second time Bao Bao woke up, was the next day, looking vaguely down at his chest, both sides were flat, the infusion was still evenly small. But after an injection, his body reacted strangely. The red, itchy patches of skin are accompanied by chills that make the whole body shiver. Jaws hard, teeth bumped together, unable to call for nursing, he tried to hit the side of a gurney to attract attention. Two female nurses rushed over, using material that looked like a heating pad, covering the patient’s body. Warmer people, once again, Bao Li.

Nearly 24 hours in the operating room and recovering by himself, the young man regretted a little, thinking “I almost died a bit”. The girlfriend outside is also fidgety. She shared that she was very afraid of her boyfriend going wrong on the operating table. If something happened she would regret it for the rest of her life.

Compared to similar surgeries, Bao Bao said that friends usually return home after just one night in hospital. They take care of the wound at home, on the 10th day, they return to the hospital to cut the thread. It took him more than a week, both hospitalized and in the doctor’s office to monitor complications. Two crescent-shaped scars around his chest were enlarged, pretty bad, so he went for a color tattoo to cover it.

After the death of the first child, Bao shared that he did not blame the doctor, nor did he intend to arrest the temple. Because surgery or not is your decision Anyway, the doctor has also tried his best to handle the incident, take the initiative to take responsibility when things happen. But because he put too much faith and was disappointed, he did not want to re-examine, keep in touch or recommend to his friends. The source of the two events, he just asked through the speaker and was explained, because the drain was blocked, the fluid could not drain out and was allergic to antibiotics.

During the two years after the “memory of life” surgery, Bao returned to his daily routine and work. Sometimes his chest is still a little throbbing when he is exercising too hard or carrying heavy loads. Particularly, Bao Bao’s memory is much worse. Like the timeline of the operation, some details took place in the past, he had to rummage through the photos, or ask his friends to remember correctly. Even, he is also more forgetful than before the surgery.

“I have no intention of undergoing transgender surgery yet. Female-to-male genital imaging is complicated, costly and more complicated from male to female. Now I am satisfied with being able to confidently strip naked. swimming or wearing a white shirt does not need to hang back “, Bao Bao emphasized.

Exchange with VnExpress, Dr. Nguyen Minh Man, Head of Clinical Psychology Unit, HCM University Hospital of Medicine, explained that transgender surgery is a major invasive surgery, with many risks, greatly affecting the rest of the life of a man. Therefore, before the implementation, in addition to endocrine examination, general examination, the person in need should be consulted carefully by a psychologist. First, determine whether transgender needs are truly legitimate or not. Second, provide situations that could happen after surgery. For example, is surgery failure acceptable? Or can they get used to and accept their new body form?

Letter Anh


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