VIDEO: 20 Minutes after #topsurgery #HelenJoseph #SouthAfrica

Video recorded about 20 minutes after waking up from anaesthetic after top surgery on the 14th March 2017


Image taken 20 or so minutes after returning from recovery room. 14 March 2017. 1pm(ish) By Bianca Minnaar.

WhooHooo! After all my worrying and stress, and the resultant nervous breakdown and bronchitis just before surgery, I focused on self-care and with the help of my Team of Healers (therapist, psychiatrist, GP and NLP coach, and me), I got to and through The Day!

So, the obligatory anaesthetised post- top surgery video taken 20 minutes after coming out of the recovery room, by Bianca, my housemate (a nonbinary trans woman). Thank you ALL for your support and love, which has been incredible, and for those who donated to my crowdfunding campaign.

There are no words. Just heart-expanding joy.

Maurice Blanchot

Maurice Blanchot


Maurice Blanchot

Maurice Blanchot

Little Germaine

Little Germaine: age 3-ish. Around the time my shine was taken away from me. I just had to re-remember that while I have felt fragile for so long, that diamond core has been there all along, and was never taken away from me, only muted until I could and did take my voice back. #notasurvivorawarrior


“… throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.'” – Nietzsche (Self-portrait). Taken at home, the morning of the 13th March, before admission to Helen Joseph.

Michel Foucault, Dr Seuss

Foucault: (paraphrasing) one does not discover one’s self. We are not readymade and waiting to be found. One creates one’s self. “To be ready, at any moment, to give up who you are for who you can be.” (not Foucault) The “someone else” is the you that is more YOUer than you (paraphrasing Dr Seuss), not someone else in the way an actor becomes someone else, or fake, superficial people in the way they put on a mask. The “becoming someone else” is, in psychology terms “self-actualisation”, one’s “best self”. And it’s always a becoming, never a become.


No words. Just joy. The joy of walking around in the compression and shorts only last night, with the nurses asking why I don’t put my gown on – because, for the first time in my life, I don’t feel naked without a shirt on; no body shame. HUGE. And to see my flat chest this morning in my own clothes… No words. Just joy. Bowling ball in my stomach from bloating. But hey! I can see my stomach!!! One drain still draining everywhere but into the drain, but third doctor, my surgeon, will see me this morning about it and, according to the (lovely!) nurses, discharge me. So much gratitude. Thank you again for overwhelming support. πŸŒΌπŸ¦„πŸ’œπŸ•‰


Absolutely no pain. Feeling wonderful. Still getting there realising chest is flat…. Will only really get it when I get home and can stare at myself in the mirror. Hate looking in mirrors in public places. Reveal on Thursday next week. Covered and compression vest until then. Was in the process of getting discharged, but nurse who came to change the wads of padding from the left drain that was leaking said there’s a hole in the drain. Three doctors and one matron said it’s fine; bleeding through all your clothes is cool, despite all the nurses being unhappy. Now have to wait for Dr to get out of surgery. Probably have to get local anaesthetic, remove drain suture, attach it or another one more securely. So here for a while. But all is good. Still smiling from ear to ear and chatting to the nurses and the Gogo in my room. And got this necklace from the sangoma nurse who finally helped with the problem with the drain. Will treasure it, and all these memories. Absolutely not stressed. I’m Bruce Lee. “What happens when people open their hearts? – They get better.” – Haruki Murakami


Message from my Dad (Paapie). Couldn’t be more perfect. He’s a Methodist minister, with a liberal, Gnostic view of Christianity and a healthy wariness of The Church, a recovering Alcoholic with 10 years sober. He doesn’t “get” the whole “gender thing” but trusts that this is my journey, that I know what’s best for me and that he just wants me to be happy. He’s started calling me “my baby” instead of “my girl”. My mother, a staunch Afrikaans Christian, whom I’ve had a fraught relationship my whole life, to the point of not speaking for a year, now calls me “my child” on official documents, and after decades of not understanding me and having major issues with the lesbianism, now calls me “my girl… my boy… whatever”. The “whatever” is the closest. She sees me for the first time ever and is praying for me. And for the first time in my life, I see her and know that’s her love language. Nothing short of a miracle. #blessed #overcomingtraumathroughgratitude

Kate Bornstein

Kate Bornstein

Surgeon: Dr K Chauke.
Head of Plastic Surgery: Dr Grubnik.
I’ll write about the experience with the hospital, general staff, nurses, student Doctors and Doctors soon.

I had my top surgery (double incision with small inverted T and no nipples procedure) done at Helen Joseph, Johannesburg, a public/government hospital in South Africa.

I am nonbinary.

All the details of the process at Helen Joseph and the other gender-affirming surgeries they perform are here on my blog (click on links above).


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