3 March 2007
Yesterday I opened my eyes at 6:37. I had slept badly and I woke up several times during the night but I felt as though I had slept well. I was scared and, at the same time, I couldn’t wait.
2 March 2007 seemed to me straight away an important day. Perhaps it was one of the most important days of my life. So I explained to my body what was going to be done to it, explained that it was going to be examined, and I would be told if it could be rebuilt, to give it back what was once taken away, when I was 4 years old.
I smoked a cigarette outside, but it didn’t calm me down. My heart was beating very fast.
At 7:05 I was ready. My man asked me, from the depths of the bed in a thick voice, to call him after the appointment. That reassured me a bit, softened this sense of loneliness which I was feeling.
At 7:14 I was on the metro. I arrived in Saint Germain en Laye far too early. But above all I didn’t want to arrive late and miss my appointment. (I was warned when I made the appointment not to be late, the doctor was overwhelmingly busy and wouldn’t be able to wait for me. )
In the waiting room my legs went numb with anxiety. When he arrived, I was overcome and intimidated. I followed into his office this tall man with a soft voice and blue eyes.
He started by asking me questions:
Why are you here?
How old were you when you were circumcised?
How old are you now?
Have you any children?
Do you smoke?
Do you take any medication?
Have you ever had an operation?
Does the scarring hurt during intercourse? At which point?
Then he examined me and explained that I had suffered removal of the clitoris and damage to the labia minora. He told me that the labia minora hadn’t been deliberately damaged (as in the case of pharaonic circumcision) but because of my anatomy at 4 years old (the procedure was approximate, imprecise). In scarring, they became joined together and the clitoris was positioned out of its normal place. My vulva is inflexible, less elastic than it should be because of the scarring, which could give me problems during childbirth.
“We can make a complete repair”. When he said that, my heart leapt out of my chest and something swelled up in my rib cage like a flower blossoming. My God but that was good to hear that sentence!
Returning to his office he explained that he would remove the scar tissue, separate and reconstruct the labia minora, then free the clitoris.
He also proposed that I take part in an experimental procedure for improving the structure of my labia minora by way of a product which would be injected and would be absorbed in 18 months to 2 years. Up till now, 100 patients had done this and seemed happy. I agreed (I believe I would have accepted anything that Dr Miracle suggested) That would give a complete reconstruction, he told me, of my vulva.
I will have nothing to pay if my insurance takes care of the excess fees of 300 euros. Social security takes care of the 5000 euros which is the charge for reconstructing my clitoris and labia minora. The 1600 euros for the aesthetic improvement of my labia will be taken care of by the people who are leading the experimental procedure.
We came to the moment of arranging the operation. He asked me when I would like it to be done. That amazed me. I thought he was overwhelmed. I asked if it would be possible during May. His reply surprised me: “Not before?” The operation is going to take place on 16 May 2007. I will be admitted to the clinic the evening before and I will leave during the morning of 17 May. My man will come for me by car. To prepare for the operation I have to have a blood test, meet the anaesthetist on 11 May and stop smoking (smoking heightens the risks of complications from the operation) at least 6 to 8 weeks before the big day.
The doctor showed me that the information on the operation which will reach the social security was coded. They would not know therefore why I was having the operation. It’s not very important for me but perhaps it could be a disadvantage if it were known (I really can’t imagine how, but one never knows …. ).
I found the doctor really kind, I felt an individual, unique, important and that was ridiculously good. He was attentive and I felt good. Moved but relaxed. He asked what my gynaecologist had told me about my circumcision. I replied that she had never said anything about it but that was already better than the previous who had told me it didn’t matter and in any case, it was done, full stop. He finished by “pleasure, it’s all in the mind. What do you want? There are women who never have an orgasm, that’s how it is.” Yippee.
The doctor seemed overcome by what I told him. We chatted a little. I asked the doctor if a woman in the position of my cousin, who had several children, could be operated. And I had the confirmation yes.
He worried me a bit by saying “Good, well, if I don’t die first, there should be no problem.” That was perhaps a joke but seeing how I worried about his death before, I began to regret not having asked for an earlier date for the operation.
He was very clear and very complete in his explanations. For the operation I would have a general anaesthetic and a local anaesthetic. I would be in pain for a week and then the pains would decrease. I would have a follow up visit after 2 weeks of convalescence, then a month later and then 6 months later. After that last visit he would suggest a follow up by a sexologist if I wanted one.
During the 6 weeks of healing, there will be some discharge but it is normal, there is some drainage to be done. I will have treatment and dressings.
It is necessary to wait for 6 weeks to pass before resuming any physical or sexual activity. As I don’t have a job where I need to move about a lot (I don’t need to walk much for a start), the doctor thinks a certificate for a week off work should do. The clitoral sensation, pleasure, reappears after on average 6 months.
The appointment is over, I paid the fee, made an appointment with the anaesthetist, and registered at the reception to reserve a room.
Leaving, I felt strange: I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. And I was very anxious (don’t let him die, don’t let him die too soon). It made me feel better to talk to my cousin when I called her as soon as I returned home. My man and my best friend were delighted along with me.
I can’t wait for 16 May 2007. Can’t wait, can’t wait!
[original in French]