Wellbeing

YOUR EXPERIENCE
WELLBEING

Wellbeing

FT wants our patients to receive the best possible attention, not only from a surgical standpoint, but also with regard to other personal aspects that we consider extremely important if you are going to feel well before, during and after your facial feminization procedure.

Taking care of the body and mind is an essential part of everybody’s wellbeing. It is well known that the concept embodied in the phrase mens sana in corpore sano has become increasingly meaningful, with more and more people making the effort to care for both their body and their thoughts and emotions.

It is for this reason that we want to give you some basic advice that will help ensure that you are as prepared as possible when you arrive for your operation. These are physical and mental exercises that you can do during the weeks before your operation, so that the experience is both full and fulfilling. And, of course, if you make these exercises a part of your daily life, you’ll be able to maintain this essential sense of wellbeing.

HOW SHOULD I APPROACH MY SURGERY? HOW SHOULD MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS APPROACH THE SURGERY? RELAXATION TECHNIQUES Music therapy Aromatherapy How will I feel after the operation? Patience One more important thing

HOW SHOULD I APPROACH MY SURGERY?

It is very common for people who are going to have an operation to be anxious and worried about it, even if they know that they are making the right decision.

One frequent source of anxiety is fear of the pain that may follow the operation. When you arrive in Marbella the day before your operation, we’ll explain everything you need to know and talk to you about the pain that you may feel. To ease your concerns: we can tell you that patients do not suffer intense pain after the surgery and that any discomfort is easily treated with the appropriate medication. The pain that you might experience will be no worse than any headache you may have had at some time.

Another common source of anxiety is the fear of anesthesia. Patients may be frightened that they will not wake up or, on the contrary, that they will wake up during the operation. There is essentially no likelihood that this will happen. During your operation, you will be constantly monitored by your doctors and anesthetists to ensure that everything is going according to plan, so there are really no grounds for these fears.

In any case, don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure, since this will help decrease your level of anxiety before the operation.

It is also important to think about the expectations you have regarding the results of the operation. If you’re expecting a very radical change or think that your life is going to make a 180º turn because of the surgery, this may generate more anxiety than if you think of the surgery as just one part of a process with several steps.

Each person has a basic bone structure that we use to adapt the changes requested by the patient to their anatomy. However, it’s important to remember that we are not working with a plastic, flexible material like clay, and that the cranial structure sets some limits. It is much better to have appropriate and realistic expectations about feminizing your features than to covet the features of some famous person. We want your result to be natural and you to be satisfied, which is why it’s important for your expectations to be realistic. The 180º turn in your life will also depend on secondary factors that we’ll discuss below.

HOW SHOULD MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS APPROACH THE SURGERY?

The question of how your family or friends are going to accept your change and handle the operation may concern you and cause anxiety. It’s important to remember that every change requires people to adjust, and that applies not only to you, but also to your nearest and dearest.

The best approach is to let time pass and let everyone to express their emotions. If you are worried about how this might affect your family, invite them to join our special forum for family members of patients, where we will respond to all of their questions and concerns so that they won’t feel quite so alone.

We also suggest that, if possible, you have somebody accompany you. Although you’re never going to feel alone while you’re in the hospital because we’ll be at your side constantly, during the days between your hospital discharge and the final check-up, you’ll probably feel better and enjoy this time a bit more if you have someone with you. If you will be on your own, one option is to stay at Aldea La Quinta.

RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

    Imagination relaxation

    With this relaxation technique, you find a comfortable place and focus on imagining a series of things, which produces a state of intense relaxation and wellbeing.

    • One example of imagination relaxation: lie down with your eyes closed in a place far from noise and tension. Breathe naturally, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Imagine a blank movie screen on which the numbers 5 to 1 begin to appear. With the 5, I feel relaxed. The 4, more relaxe. The 3, even more relaxed. The 2, I’m very relaxed. And the 1, I am completely relaxed. I can visualize my entire body as if I were looking in a mirror… I go over my entire body in my mind, focusing on the areas with the most tension… I keep breathing and every time I exhale, the tense areas relax more… I go over my body in my mind: my legs, my stomach, my arms, my neck, my head. And every time that I exhale, I release more and more tension. I imagine the air entering my lungs. When it comes in, it’s green, like nature, and it’s refreshing. When it goes out, the air is a relaxing and liberating blue. The refreshing green air comes in… the relaxing blue air goes out. I focus on relaxation and the calm I feel right now. I stay in this state for a few minutes and then I prepare to leave the exercise. I return to the movie screen and the same numbers: Five, I am very relaxed. Four, I start to become aware of my body and the present moment.Three, I begin to gently move my toes and fingers. Two, I begin to stretch little by little. One, I open my eyes and I feel the relaxation in my body. Whenever I want to relax, I can do this exercise again.
    Progressive muscular relaxation

    This is a very effective relaxation technique that consists of tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in two different phases. In the first, you consciously tense your muscles for a few seconds and in the second, you release the tension and concentrate on how your muscles feel. You divide your muscle groups like this:

    • Sitting in the most comfortable chair possible with your hands on your knees, breathe in deeply, locate the tension in your body and try to release it.
      Then focus on your forehead. Tense the muscles of your forehead as hard as you can for 5 seconds. Then gradually release the tension and concentrate now how these relaxed muscles feel for 10 seconds.
    • Close your eyes, squeezing hard for 5 seconds and then release the tension and concentrate on how your eyes feel when they are completely relaxed.
    • Follow the same procedure, tensing your nose muscles and pressing your lips together.
    • Raise your shoulders up to your ears, squeezing your neck and follow the same tension and relaxation procedure.
    • Stretch your right arm forward, make a fist and tense all of your arm muscles for 5 seconds, then progressively relax the muscle for 10 seconds. Repeat the procedure with your left arm.
    • Do exactly the same with your legs.
    • Bend your back forward, noting the pressure that builds up in the middle of it. In this position, raise your bent elbows backwards and tense your muscles as much as possible for 5 seconds, then begin to release the tension little by little, returning to your original position.
    • Strongly tense your stomach muscles (abdominals) and focus on the feeling of relaxation that appears when you release them.
    • Do the same with your buttocks and thighs.
    Breathing

    Focusing on your breathing is also a useful relaxation technique. To do this, you want to focus on slow diaphragmatic breathing or simply on how you breathe naturally.

    • Slow diaphragmatic breathing: put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach to ensure that the air reaches the lowest part of your lungs without moving your chest.
      • As you slowly inhale, bring the air to the low part of your lungs, distending your stomach and belly a little without moving your chest.
      • Hold the air in this position for a moment.
      • Slowly release the air, pulling your stomach and belly in a little, without moving your chest.
      • Try to stay relaxed and let yourself relax even more as you release the air.
      • Inhale counting to five, hold it counting to three and release it counting to five.
    Visualization

    Visualization is a technique in which you imagine a feared event and try to feel as relaxed as possible at the same time. This gets you used to the idea of what might happen and prepares your emotions for that event.

    • Every day, for the 15 days before the operation, spend 10 minutes imagining how you are going to feel after the operation, with your eyes closed and in a relaxing setting. Focus on imagining that you’re going to be fine, relaxed, with little discomfort and adapting well. You can combine this technique with music therapy or aromatherapy to reach an optimal state of relaxation.

Music therapy

As everyone knows, music makes people feel a multitude of emotions, recreates moments from the past and can even motivate you or make you sad, depending on what you have chosen to listen to. Music can be a great ally while you are waiting for the day of your surgery. To ensure that your emotions are at their best during this process, we suggest that you put together a playlist that you can take with you everywhere. This list should contain songs that make you feel relaxed and calm –for example, instrumental, classical or chill-out music– and songs that make you feel good and upbeat. These songs will be especially useful after the operation, when you might feel a little blue and low on energy due to the surgery and anesthesia.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a therapeutic discipline that uses the properties of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to reestablish balance and harmony in your body and mind to the benefit of your health and beauty. The best-known essential oils for stressful or anxious times are lavender, incense and bergamot.

Like music, smells also have beneficial effects for the body and mind. For centuries they have been used in curative processes and this knowledge can be drawn upon to make your experience after the surgery as relaxed as possible. You can put a few drops on your pillow or a handkerchief or add some drops to your usual hydrating cream or body oil. You can even add some to your bathwater or use essential oil burners or incense to give the space around you a natural smell.

How will I feel after the operation?

The day after the operation you will probably feel a little low, nervous or uncomfortable. All of these emotions are the natural result of hours of surgery and the effects of anesthesia. It is also quite common for people to feel a little down after they achieve a goal or when a long-awaited day passes. This emotional change is normal and due to the fact that our bodies relax after expecting something very intensely for a long time. Don’t worry if these symptoms appear since they will fade as you begin to feel better physically and your body recovers as the hours pass.

As the days go by, you may also have a feeling of regret or even question why you decided to have the operation. This feeling is also due to the slight depression that you may experience after reaching a desired goal, similar to the post-vacation blues most of us have experienced, that feeling of sadness when you come home from your vacation and have to face reality again. As you know, this only lasts for a few days and is closely linked to the adjustment time that some people need to deal with change.

Most likely, you’re reading this and you don’t identify with it. While most of our patients feel a bit uncomfortable from the surgery, they’re usually very upbeat and happy that they finally took the step that they so badly wanted to take.

Patience

As the doctors will have told you, you won’t see the final result of the operation until several months after your surgery. This is due to the fact that the inflammation requires time to go down and it can take time for the tissues to regenerate and readjust to the new bone structure. To see the final results of your operation, you’ll have to be patient and wait from 6 to 12 months according to the procedure you had done.

If at any point you feel impatient and this makes you anxious or upset, remember the relaxation techniques that we suggested for the period before your surgery. You can do them now. You can also send an e-mail to postop@facialteam.com to talk to us about your questions or concerns. Remember that our Postoperative Support Department will also be in touch with you from time to time to find out how you are doing.

To control the anxiety that may come from waiting for your results to appear, we also suggest not focusing too much on it; if you let your life revolve around this thought, it will just become stronger and intensify your anxiety. The best thing to do when your nerves get the best of you and your thoughts set you on edge is to take a soothing walk and focus on the world around you or on the music you’re listening to. You can also call someone to talk about anything other than your worries or fill your time doing an activity that requires some concentration, like housework or manual tasks.

One more important thing

As you know, facial feminization operations significantly change your appearance, making your face look more typically feminine. But facial feminization is only one of the many things that you can do during your transition. You can’t expect magic results just from feminizing your face. Other “secondary” aspects are just as important, like the way you dress, your hygiene, eliminating facial hair, make-up, behavior, etc.

Don’t hesitate to get advice from trusted people around you or visit a beauty salon, where the employees can help you find a more professional appearance.

Nutritional advice A healthy lifestyle Physical exercise

Nutritional advice

Before an oral surgery operation, such as jaw and chin remodeling or cheek augmentation, you should follow some nutritional guidelines that will help you get through the pre- and postoperative process with greater chances of success and a rapid recovery.

The surgeon’s most basic concern is related to correct scarring in the surgical site. Here, a proper liquid or soft diet, depending on the case, is essential. Moreover, chewing and swallowing may be difficult due to incisions or possible swelling resulting from the operation.

Another common source of anxiety is the fear of anesthesia. Patients may be frightened that they will not wake up or, on the contrary, that they will wake up during the operation. There is essentially no likelihood that this will happen. During your operation, you will be constantly monitored by your doctors and anesthetists to ensure that everything is going according to plan, so there are really no grounds for these fears.

A proper post-surgery diet

Your diet must supply the necessary amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. These needs depend on personal characteristics like the weight, size, age and sex of each patient and must, therefore, be individualized. Check-ups and consultations with nutritionists effectively and healthily complement the surgical work done.

Tissue recovery requires a balanced diet, and as a general rule, the amount of food you consume should not decrease, as this could delay scarring and cause dizziness. A normal person requires around 30 calories per kilo (usually some 2,100 a day).

Taking in the necessary nutrients is fundamental and you shouldn’t skip a single meal; you’ll feel better and stronger and recover faster. Your nutritionist will suggest the best guidelines to follow and explain the applicable protocols for the required progressive diet in each case.

GENERAL GUIDELINES
Before surgery:
  • You should not eat solid food during the 8 hours before the operation.
  • Your last meal should be light, since your stomach should be empty.
  • Avoid liquids like tea, milk and juice during the 3-4 preceding hours.
  • You should also avoid soft drinks and citrus fruits, which can delay coagulation and healing.
  • The hospital will supply the proper diet during your stay.
After the surgery:
  • Do not eat while you are under the effects of local anesthesia. You could burn, bite or otherwise injure yourself due to the numbness of your mouth. You could also inadvertently damage the surgical site.
  • Before taking prescribed medicine you should drink or eat something to prevent possible vomiting and nausea.
First days after the operation:
  • As a general rule, your diet during this recovery period should be based on cold, soft food. This will slowly become more solid, but never include hard foods.
  • The length of this stage depends on the surgery performed. Generally speaking, it lasts between 1 and several weeks, depending on your operation.
  • You must eat slowly and chew carefully.
  • It is best to avoid irritating, spicy or heavily seasoned foods and fat during the first days, as this can delay scarring.
  • Do not consume hot food, as heat can promote hemorrhaging.
  • Drink liquids frequently.
  • Your diet should not contain particles that may cause infections, at least while your sutures are still in place (popcorn, etc.).
  • After each meal, wash out your mouth with saline solution or an antiseptic solution prescribed by your doctor.
Recommendations for each meal:
  • Breakfast and snacks: milk or fruit juice, shakes, homemade pastries, soft bread or scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch: any type of purée that includes legumes and/or vegetables, cream and other soups, cooked vegetables, fish, boiled rice, boiled pasta, eggs, cooked root vegetables, etc. All the dishes should be soft, easy to chew and light on seasoning.
  • Dinner: soft cheese, eggs, boiled or preserved potatoes, poached fish, cold cuts, broths or soups.
  • It is essential to stay very hydrated. Drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day.

In any case, your diet will depend on the texture that you can tolerate at any given time and on your doctor’s instructions.

A healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is a philosophy of life in which taking care of your body and mind is an essential part of feeling good. This includes daily physical exercise, resting well, eating right, quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking and keeping stress under control.

Stress is one of the factors that most affects physical and mental wellbeing. It can produce internal lesions due to increased muscle tension and hormones in the organism. Mentally, it can wear you down, make you grumpy or depressed and cause you to engage in unhealthy behaviors like substance abuse and overeating.

A controlled diet in normal, healthy people results in low levels of cholesterol, low blood pressure and, of course, less body fat, aspects traditionally associated with a higher-quality and longer life.

The assistance of various health professionals like psychologists, nutritionists and physiotherapists is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

Physical exercise

Moderate physical exercise has been shown to have many beneficial properties for the body. Something as simple as walking every day for at least a half hour at a slow pace is of great benefit for your physical and mental health.

Other exercises that fully work the muscles such as swimming and dancing are also very beneficial. What’s more, if you participate in team sports, you get the added benefit of being surrounded by other people.

After your operation, you’ll have to wait at least 6 weeks before doing moderate exercise, since even though your scars may look good on the outside, the scarring process inside requires a bit more time to finish. Between the sixth and eighth week, you can begin to do some slightly more intense exercise, but you should always listen to your body and know your limits. Always remember that before you begin to do any exercise, the initial inflammation must have gone down significantly. If you usually do contact sports like basketball, soccer, martial arts, etc., we recommend that you wait at least 3 months.

What you can do during the first weeks after the operation is very gentle exercise like walking or biking, but always following your doctor’s instructions.

Yoga, tai chi, qigong, Pilates

Practiced moderately, these activities can also help you maintain a healthy body-mind balance. All of them strengthen the body and improve flexibility with a series of positional exercises that are extremely enjoyable. Moreover, in most cases, they include relaxation and/or meditation techniques, which integrates awareness of the body and mind into a single activity. You must wait at least 8-10 weeks after your surgery before doing these activities.