I really want to thank Dr. Spiegel from the bottom of my heart!

In the past, I was against having cosmetic surgeries except for my nose. I’d really feel appalled when I looked at people who had cosmetic surgeries. It seems like there was no way around looking plastic if you have such surgeries. I finally had the courage to have rhinoplasty and my nose looked twisted afterwards. I went back to the doctor and told him my concerns and he dismisses and advised me in a challenging tone that I should seek other opinions. I was devastated. Being born with a male body and a female identity, I really hoped my nose job would make my face look more feminine without needing so much makeup. I guess after that horrible experience, my fears of having cosmetic surgeries were destroyed. So, I thought of having a correction and began another search to find a good cosmetic surgeon.

I know I haven’t introduced myself. I’m a Saudi transwoman. I was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in that hostile environment towards LGBT people, and in a family that didn’t want to even listen to me and understand. I have struggled so much to reach the stage of being able to even think of having cosmetic surgeries. After having that nose job with a Saudi doctor, I decided to look for another skilled plastic surgeon. I contacted the most famous doctor in the middle east, but the response I received from his clinic didn’t address my needs in a good and understanding way. People in the middle east, including doctors, think of LGBT people as sick perverts. I didn’t want to deal with a skilled surgeon who will not address my needs of having a feminine face, because what’s the point of having cosmetic surgeries if they’re not going to feminize my face?!

I’ve never felt confident taking close-up photos of my face, but I would always brush this idea under the carpet. Finally, I decided that I wanted to pass as a female and look beautiful without the need of so much makeup. If one day I have the opportunity to live as a woman, then I would definitely want to pass as one without spending hours on make up trying to feminize my features. So, I started thinking seriously of having FFS. I began my research, and I made my decision that I really needed it. I searched and searched online until I found Dr. Spiegel. What made me feel good about this doctor is that he doesn’t make his patients look plastic. I’ve seen his befores and afters, and I couldn’t find one that looked unnatural. I scheduled a Skype meeting with him. He saw me and I really believe he knew what needed to be done with one look. I asked him several questions, and he answered all of them with short answer. I got afraid of the amount of the confidence he had, but decided to go through with it. I wanted to do FFS and a voice feminization surgery. Dr. Spiegel explained that the voice feminization surgery will have to be done later. I agreed. They scheduled two surgery dates for me, one for the FFS, and the other for the VFS.

A week before the surgeries, I landed in Boston. I went and had my pre-op meeting with the doctor. I was so nervous of being exposed as who I really am to strangers. Carole greeted me and made sure I was relaxed. I met up with Dr. Spiegel who explained all the surgeries. I pointed out some things that I needed to be corrected, and he said he would do his best to fix them (e.g. my eyebrows didn’t match. One of them didn’t start at the same point as the other did. I wanted the doctor to fix them).

The day finally came, and I went to Boston Medical Center. I was so nervous, but not afraid since this was my second surgery. The doctor came and went through everything we planned to do that day again. The young doctors and nurses were amazed by the fact that I came alone without any escort. After waiting for some time, they wheeled me into the OR, and within 2 minutes of seeing Dr. Spiegel and his staff there, I was out. The surgeries I had included: forehead contouring, mandible contouring, lip lift with augmentation, cheek augmentation, trachea shave, rhinoplasty and dimpleplasty. If I remember correctly, I woke up in a bed in one of the hospital hallways. My eyes were almost closed. I badly needed to go the bathroom. They attached some kind of tube to my penis and told me to go. I couldn’t as I’ve never been able to go in open spaces before. I told them I needed to go the bathroom and I was really in pain of holding that. I heard them speaking to one another that I couldn’t possibly have the strength to stand up and walk. One of them decided that it was ok. So, a nurse helped me get up on my feet and I walked with her help to the bathroom. I believe everyone there was amazed by the amount of courage and strength I had in me. Then, they wheeled me into the room I rented for one night. I couldn’t eat well as I wasn’t able open my mouth to chew because my jaws hurt like hell. They called me a taxi the next day, and told him my address. He dropped off at the hotel. I survived there for two weeks before moving to Chicago to settle there. After a week, I went back to Dr. Spiegel’s office to have the staples removed from head. After getting back to the hotel, I tried to take a shower. My hair was stuck from the ointments they applied. I brushed my hair a little after that shower and a lot of it fell off from the cutting done during the forehead surgery. I was sad to lose that amount of hair. I noticed my nose was twisted again.

During the first month after the surgeries, I survived eating ramen, yogurt, toast sandwiches with cheese, peanut butter and honey. I couldn’t eat anything that needed chewing. Imagine eating the same meal almost all day every day for a month! I decided to raise my concerns about my twisted nose to Dr. Spiegel. I sent Carole an email about that. She calmed me down and told me to wait as results take time. I replied with an angry email. Dr. Spiegel replied and told me not to worry and if my nose needed correction, he will do that free of charge. My face looked horrible being all swollen and bruised for the first couple of months. I began my HRT therapy one month after the surgery. After two more months, I went back to Boston to have my VFS. They recorded my voice for comparison. To make a long story short, I went through the same process, explanation by the doctor, having the surgery, recovery. I had to keep my mouth shut for 3 weeks. I couldn’t even whisper. I had a few coughs and sneezes, and I spoke sometimes when I forgot. After I began speaking, I noticed my voice was a little higher. I took some voice lessons with a voice coach. Although my voice doesn’t sound as feminine as someone would hope it to be, but I’m satisfied with the results.

My hair grew back. The hormones helped in making my features become softer. My nose was still twisted. I told Carole and sent her some photos. Dr. Spiegel saw them and agreed to fix it. They scheduled the surgery 6 months after the FFS. I was already beginning to see how beautiful I looked 5 months after the surgery. I traveled to Boston, had my in-office revision. I bled a lot that day as I made my trip back to Chicago.

With my nose corrected, my face was beginning to look more and more beautiful. After 11 months, I was beginning to see how amazingly beautiful my face was, and it was still improving. Now after two years since the original surgery as I’m writing my review here, I believe I look like a super model. I’m really happy with the way I look now. I still can’t believe the change myself. Although I’m 36, I look younger now than what I looked like during college! Most importantly, I don’t look like I had surgeries at all!

I really want to thank Dr. Spiegel from the bottom of my heart! He made my dreams come true. I also want to thank Carole. She was so patient with me. I gave both of them a hard time when I noticed my twisted nose. They did everything they could to make my experience easier and more positive. I don’t think there is another FFS surgeon that I would recommend other than Dr. Spiegel.

2003 in Saudi Arabia