Thursday, June 1, 2017


It was pouring rain the morning of Tuesday May 30th 2017.  My roommate and bestie, Linda, had to work at 4 a.m, so I took her to work, then came back to the apartment. I climbed back into bed for a couple hours, but then I had to get ready.  I was taking a trip.

I had taken off a couple days of work after working six in a row.  I was going to Boston, Massachusetts. Why Boston?  Well, I had a couple reasons, but the main reason was that I was going to a consultation with Dr. Spiegel.

Road Trip!

Dr. Spiegel had performed FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) on several of my friends, and I love the results.  You see, I have determined a couple things: first is that I will never retire.  Working retail, I will never make enough to retire, so I will work until I drop.

(Oh, how did I pay for this trip?  Prostitution.  No, actually I sold a few things on ebay, and had been paying down my credit cards, so there was room.)

I have enough in my 401k to afford one surgery and only one. I already know how much GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery) will cost, both with Dr. Christine McGinn and Dr. Toby Meltzer.  I also know how much Dr. Meltzer charges for FFS.  I got that consultation a few years back at the Keystone conference.

So now I was going to see Dr. Spiegel to find out how much he costs.  Then I will have to make a decision. I can afford only one surgery, so do I get FFS or GCS?

That is the question.  Both are Dreams come true:  The face of a woman or the "parts" of a woman.

The way I see it if I get the FFS, I may be able to find a better job, and then later maybe be able to afford GCS- if you can follow that logic.  I know it's a bit convoluted.

And it would be wonderful to look into a mirror and see a feminine face instead of Neanderthal man.  I still don't see a girl when I look at myself in the mirror- even if I'm topless and can see my breasts.  I know a lot of people can see a girl when they look in the mirror, and I envy them.

Essentially, I've grown tired of walking between the genders.  I would love to be able to afford to get it all done; be done with surgeries.  Heck, I still haven't even had electrolysis yet, so I still have that ahead of me.

It took over six hours to drive up to Boston.  I was meeting an old friend for dinner.  My GPS took me on a merry chase through the city, especially in a series of winding tunnels.  Several times, people almost took off one of my bumpers or worse.  As my friend calls them:  "Massholes."

Kim Moore: "Is that the Bunker Hill monument, or is Boston just glad to see you?"

During my travels, I passed Fenway Park, so I saw the legendary ballpark with my own eyes.  It is impressive.

After dinner in a sports bar, I found the hotel.  It was in a VERY nice part of Boston, near Boston University (my "Big Sister's" alma mater.)  I changed clothes, rested a bit, then touched up my makeup and went down to the bar for a glass of pinot grigio.  I was exhausted.  The bar was fairly empty- just me and a couple of business-looking men, neither of whom gave me a second look.


The next day, I met a dear friend and fellow Vanity Club sister Cheryl Katon for lunch.  She came in guy mode, looking very sharp in a suit.  We ate at the Cheesecake Factory (I had a chicken sandwich) and we talked about transition, being trans, and life walking in both worlds.  She is very successful in her line of work, and many people know about her feminine side, but she doesn't want to go full time.  She is happy where she is.  Lucky her.  Also, she picked up the check.  Thanks again, Cheryl!!!

After lunch, it was time for my appointment.  I made it to Dr. Spiegel's office in plenty of time.  I was efficiently checked in by Dr. Spiegel's staff.  His patient Care Coordinator, Carole, led me back to an examination room, but first- pictures!  These will be the "Before" I assume.   Carole is a very nice woman with auburn hair and wearing green eye makeup.  She smiled easily.

When I was settled in Exam Room 3, she started asking me questions about what I wanted.  She said I had a soft, feminine look already.  I smiled and thanked her.   She took down my answers to the questions, then left.  And then I waited.  And waited.

Dr. Spiegel finally arrived.  He asked questions, examined my face, and asked more questions. He asked what my main area of concern was.  I put my hand across my neck and said "from here up."

So, in his opinion, I need a forehead reshaping, a brow lift, cheek implants, rhinoplasty, and jaw shave.  So, essentially I was right- everything from the neck up.  I asked him a few questions, then waited a bit more after he left.  Carole then took me to her office and we looked at numbers.  BIG numbers.  Bigger than I have.

I was messaging with one of my dearest friends, Ally, and she suggested looking overseas.  She went to a surgeon in Mexico, and she looks spectacular.  He charges less than half of any other quote I've seen.  But then there's plane fare.  And I don't have a passport, currently.

Ally is simply stunning!

So, back to the Question:  which Dream do I choose?

I am 50.  Looks fade.  And what if the job is botched?  I'll look even worse.  Having female parts is til death do we part.  Do I attempt to blend as much as I can?  Or not have to tuck anymore?  After all, it's not like I'll USE those female parts.  Is dilating so enticing?  With a female face, maybe the misgendering will stop, or at least become uncommon.

A lot to think about.

I left the office, and headed directly home.  I arrived at 9 PM, tired as hell.

On the way back through Connecticut, I kept driving through clouds of milkweed sparkling in the sunlight.  They looked like snow falling.  It was so beautiful.  And the clouds above seemed like Heaven.  For a time, I had no cares, absorbed in the splendor.

I have a decision to make.

Be well.


  1. You will make the right choice, my dear, dear friend! It's a marathon, not a sprint. <3

  2. Is it possible to do a little of the FFS a little at a time? Like, maybe the jaw and forehead now, and then the rest a little later? Or, do you think that might look weird to only have half of it done?

    I think you're beautiful regardless, but I know how important this is to you. I hope it all works out how you want it to. <3

  3. Sophie -

    Go for the FFS. That'll make you look much more feminine, and help you blend in better. That, and continued voice work, and you will get misgendered much less often. From there, you have a much better chance at landing better jobs....

    The cost for a passport is around $150 or so, and I'll be renewing mine this year. It's well worth the expense of having one. Regarding surgery outside the US - consider it, as the cost of getting to/from the surgeon AND the price of the surgery is often lower than the price in the US. But I'd rather have the surgery done by the best surgeons, and they are here.

    Good luck and best wishes....


  4. Sophie, Only you can make this decision and I certainly haven't experienced the kind of prejudice you face. But it makes my heart hurt. I am fearful of the risks to you in any choice. You are a thoughtful and emphathetic person. Any photo I have seen of you shows an attractive, well dressed woman. I do know depression and loneliness, but will changing your physical self in any way change those things? Only you can decide. What I really wish is that all of us who believe in peace and love could find a town free of abuse, judgement and hate. I would live there with you. Hugs!

  5. Sophie

    Have you checked out Rhonda's blog She speaks highly of Dr. Vartan Mardirossian. I believe he is in S. Fla. but I do think that one of his specialties is working with the "T" community on FFS.

  6. First of all, Sophie, you don't need surgery to be the whole-formed and gorgeous woman you already are, inside and out. I also think the question you've posed is a false predicate.

    I say this because it sounds like you've created false expectations about at least one of the alternatives before you. FFS may make you feel better about your facial appearance but there is no guarantee that it will help cut down on being misgendered. People don't base their determination of another person's gender solely on facial features. A person's physicality, their demeanor, the way they carry themselves, their mannerisms, the register and tenor of their voice - all of those characteristics conjoin to lead others to decide whether they're looking at or interacting with a male or female. Some of those factors are controllable, some are not.

    The larger issue, at least to me, is why you are considering FFS. Getting it to minimize the number of times you are misgendered means you would be getting surgery to please other people and not yourself, to make others feel better about your transition, rather than to materially benefit your life as a woman. Surgery is an intensely personal thing. You are the one who will have to do the healing and experience the pain. You are the only one who will have to live with the outcome, good, bad or indifferent.

    Any surgery that isn't about correcting a problem, restoring a physical deficit or forestalling a future physical issue should be undertaken because it will improve how you feel about yourself, not how you think others will react to you. If that's GCS or FFS, or anything else, that's up to you. But make the choice for the right reasons and not some imagined predicate of greater social acceptance.

    1. Gina -

      Getting any surgery that modifies the body is a combination of pleasing one's self and influencing how others may interact with you. Does Sophie like having a relatively masculine looking face when she looks in the mirror? Only she can answer that and say that it is acceptable to her. If she's going for FFS to reduce the number of times she is misgendered, that is up to her. She can't fix others perception of her, but she can influence it in the direction she wants.

      The more one is able to appear as an average woman, the more likely that others will treat you as that average woman. Not all of us have features that make it easy to blend in. Not all of us want to stand out for having not so feminine features. So surgery, in many cases, will be a reasonable choice. Only Sophie can say whether that choice is worth the cost....


  7. It is a conudrum that so many of us face. You are making the best decisions you can based on time and resources. Keep hanging in there!

  8. These are some of the most difficult decisions any of us have to face up to. One of the hardest things to decide is "What is it that actually want?" this is something that like you I have to face up to this year, it's certainly not easy, but at least here in the UK we still have the NHS

  9. I went to Dr Spiegel. I decided on the 'top-down' approach, figuring that the parts of me that stick out of my clothes will be noticed first. I am very pleased with his work on me, and while there is a possibility of things not working out as planned, he's pretty skilled at what he does. Yeah, looks fade, but if you are happier with the newer self-image it gives you, it can make other things easier.

    Consider that not everything suggested needs to be done. I skipped the nose and jaw reshaping, although certainly it would have made me more attractive, and focused on the most troublesome gender cues - forehead reshaping, cheek implants, lip lift, and a couple of other things that were simply vanity for me - eyelid surgery and some skin tightening.

    If you do consider FFS in stages, think about doing one area at a time (like everything above the mouth), rather than brow and jaw then going back to do more things around the jaw, etc. so you're not 'reworking' the same area and needing to heal again.

    If you feel that you can only get either FFS or GCS now but FFS may make it easier to get a better job, consider that some of us started transition in our 60's. There will still be time for GCS in the future.

    Hang in there. It does get dark, but there can't be a sunrise without the night beforehand.

  10. Does Ally have a blog? I would like to find out more about her transition?