Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Top Surgery Health Regimen :)

So, what about me? Although Top Surgery has been a recent reality for me, there is much about how I prepared for and healed from it that reveals time-tested aspects (neuroses?) of who I am.

I am a foodie.
I am a herbally-inclined magician.
I am a meditating monkey.
I am into natural, gentle methods of health. 
I am into looking and feeling handsome.

Basically, I'm sort of like what my brother calls me, a "hippie". I like to look at it as boho-queerhippie-sheik. Words... even when we produce them ourselves, they are often too light; never fully expressing the dense reality we live in.

What did I do to prepare for top surgery? I did research and I consulted my herbalist friends. Now, many of you reading this actually have access to an herbalist. In most big/medium sized cities in the US there is usually at least 1 herbal practitioner. In my home state of Utah there is one and she is very very good! Utah I know! So, look one up in your area if you're interested. Or, more conveniently, just reference this article.

**Most of these herbs/supplements can be found at a large convenience store, like Safeway, Target etc.

**I am not a certified doctor/medical practitioner. (That being said, Our bodies can be the best doctors.)

Alright, Here is what my herbalist friend recommended:


Begin taking Milk Thistle immediately (one of our best liver tonics, and works best in food or capsule form.) This basically cleanses the liver which helps two fold: for those on Testosterone therapy and for cleansing the toxins accumulated after surgery. Pain meds (Percocet, Codine etc.) will toxify the body, so milk thistle is an excellent cleanser for pain-med damage.

Increase fiber, protein (100g/day), fresh fruits and vegetables, and probiotics

◦  Focus on colorful foods and quality proteins- pastured eggs, poultry, wild fish, nuts

 Increase water intake- 3 quarts/day pre and post surgery

Zinc supplement 

◦ Most of us are deficient in zinc.  Lots of research shows how Zinc reduces wound

healing time, supports immune function, and helps ward off infection post surgery

◦ Dose : 60 mg of available elemental zinc/day. Amino-chelated is best absorbed or

Zinc sulfate tablets (cheaper) 220 mg, 2X/day. 2 weeks before, 4-6 weeks after


Vitamin C supplement, 4-6 g/day, or eat lots of berries, 2 weeks before, 4-6 weeks


◦ Foods high in Vit C: fresh green peppers, berries, citrus, leafy greens & sprouted


Vitamin A supplement, 10,000 IU/day, 2 weeks before, 4-6 weeks after surgery

◦ reduce amount to 5,000 IU if continuing supplementation after this time frame

Foods high in Vit A: liver,  fish liver oils, egg yolks, leafy greens, broccoli, seaweed,

carrots, sweet potatoes, and yellow-orange fruits and vegetables

Magnesium supplement (to lower stress and relax) 

Milk Thistle! Just hanging out, being a helpful herb.

ALSO (Pro scar tip): Zinc and Vitamin C are known to help minimize scarring!


Increase protein (100g/day) to assist tissue and collagen repair

 For at least 6 weeks focus on these foods-

bone broth, shitakes,  pastured eggs, wild caught fish,  berries, raw green/red peppers, steamed greens, seaweed, soaked sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, fresh juices and smoothies, miso, carrots, broccoli, citrus, and sauerkraut 
◦ We want the antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids,
B-vitamins, Zinc, minerals, probiotics, protein, and enzymes out of these foods, if
you want to increase healing time and don't want to take supplements, eat these
foods :)

I personally cut out refined carbs almost entirely post surgery. My body told me No. So I listened. I craved a beer at 3 1/2 weeks post op, but luckily(?) for me the store didn't have gluten-free beer.

BONE BROTH: highly recommend. Collagen repair, ie. speeds healing time, reduces scars. 


Constipation- side effect from Morphine and other Narcotic Pain medications

 Try a gentle laxative like ground Flax seed soaked, oatmeal, prune juice, or soaked

or Marshmallow root powder

 Next try an increase in your Magnesium supplement

 Next try Smooth Move tea from Traditional Medicinals

 Avoid strong laxatives, as they can cause straining

Nausea-side effect from pain killers and trauma from surgery

 Ginger or Peppermint tea

 Peppermint Spirits tincture (by Herb Pharm at the Coop, very effective)

 Cannabis- most effective :) *caution with pain medications

Pro Tip: get a LAXATIVE. For real. I used colace (stool softener) and Smooth Move tea. Do not over do it on the Smooth Move tea, its powerful. Like, don't double bag it.


Us Humans, we don't like pain. It hurts.

 I was prescribed Percocet, it worked just fine for Day 1 and 2. 
After that I switched to Cannabis.

 If you have access to it and it doesn't make you feel super anxious, I recommend it. Especially high quality cannabis oil, and Indica concentrates in capsule form. Trust me, cannabis cures cancer. It aids in nausea, sleep and pain during recovery.

I must say though, it does cause sensory intake to be heightened. You will feel your if you aren't into that level of bodily awareness, perhaps reconsider.

TOPICAL TREATMENT (After incisions close up):

 Apply an oil infusion of St. John's wort and Calendula with Vitamin E to encourage

healing and help with shooting nerve pain as soon as incisions are closed.

 Effective herbs for reducing scarring: Rosehip seed oil, Helichyrisem essential oil

I am personally using a three fold system: 
I am using a nerve salve (to regain sensation): St John's Wort, Prickly Bark, Beeswax, Helichyrisem, rosemary, wintergreen.
I was given (as a sponsor type gift) a powerful scar cream that contains: calendula, tea tree, sard(?), carrot, wheat germ, clorophyll, azurite, arnica, gingko, aloe vera, SHARK cartilage, EMU oil, vitamin A, D3, E, F, C, onion extract, epithelial growth factor. Just. Woah.            
Target scar strips (silicone) check out Micah's bit about scar strips @
3 weeks post op, chock full of herbs^

Before Leaving the Hospital make sure You know- Checklist:

 How to care for your wound at home

 What to look for that might need attention right away

 Who to call with questions and problems

 What your activity limits are

 Other restrictions- related to pain medication, diet, etc

 What medications to take and when to take them

 When you need to come in again

Get cozy, make a fort of pillows, have your herbs ready, and pull out the Sudoku puzzles.

I do hope this was helpful in any way.

Q's? :


with Love, <3

Marval A Rex

Link to another article on Weed and Transition

It's been a green month! Here's an older article of yours truly, from Northern California's Emerald Magazine:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Marijuana... and Top Surgery

Oh yes, marijuana. Weed, grass, tea, ganja, mamaganja, cannabis.

On the cusp of her national legalization, and my gender-confirming surgery, I am lucky to have her help. . .

Its been almost three weeks post-op for me. I'm feeling great.

Here's how weed entered the picture:

One of my main concerns before I went ahead and got Top Surgery (ie. double mastectomy with chest masculinization) was allopathic pain meds. Many people struggle with pain meds, such as Percocet, Codine, Hydrocodine, Oxycontin etc. I have never dealt with the addictive lure of these medicines, but I was aware that they slowed recovery and prolonged healing time. And, being the New-Age magician that I am, I am wary of foreign invaders meant to "numb my pain" but not really help me heal all too well.

The goodie bag I got from The Growing Kitchen in Boulder, Co.!! 

Fortunately, I had the grand synchronicity that my surgery was in Colorado. And in Colorado, weed is legal. (Note: I chose the surgeon because they are phenomenal, not because "Colo" has the green.) Regardless, I am not a frequent smoker and was far more interested in medical marijuana, which falls under the category of "alternative medicine". I am a big fan of alternative medicine, which is really ANCIENT legacies of wisdom concerning optimal health, from before the Industrial Revolution and Modern Science. Herbal remedies and other ancient medicine practices have stood the test of time, even if the West won't quite acknowledge it yet. Cannabis, which is both a term for the plant itself as well as the elegant healing compounds inside, is a powerhouse healing plant. These compounds are powerful in their healing ability. They're called cannabinoids, and are also known as CBD's. They cure cancer. Among other things.

I figured it couldn't hurt to supplement my healing regimen for top surgery with some ancient plant medicine. This mage is down with the herbal remedies!

Me being cute, 1 week post op. 

I was forwarded to a local, organic cannabis company in Boulder, Co from my friend Sharon Letts whom I'll refer to as "the Florence Nightingale of weed". There I met Brooke Wise, the owner and guru of The Growing Kitchen. Brooke was incredibly welcoming and smart as a whip. She gave us the grand tour of the facility where they bake and create all the delicious goods, tinctures, capsules, salves and candies made with that special (not secret) green ingredient. The tour was excellent and the atmosphere was clean and professional. Brooke is ahead of the whole legal-weed business, and I have no doubt TGK will flourish and change the world's view of green medicine and business.

Basically, Brooke is awesome. She gave me a goodie bag of her products for being a brave young lad who got his boobs plopped off in an act of solidarity with his authentic self. (Not her words, mine.) In it were a variety of treats for "ingesting" or eating cannabis. I received Peace Pain Pills, which were the most important in the goodie bag for my first bout of recovery time. Other items included calming lozenges, two edibles, and a mouth spray infused with weed.

Let me tell you all: I was off the Percocet they prescribed me in 2 days.

And I felt minimal pain after that, because I was taking capsules of high concentrate weed for pain management. IMPORTANT: I did not mix Percocet with the weed pain pills. There are always possible contraindications, so best not to mix while recovering. Once I felt the pain was manageable, I switched to the weed pills and never went back to those powerful allopathic opiates.

I absolutely recommend medical marijuana in recovery from any surgery. Top surgery was no exception. It stimulated my bowels (surgical anesthesia causes constipation), lowered my pain, helped me sleep, and the dry-mouth made me drink tons of water. Drinking lots of water after surgery is an excellent idea while your body detoxifies. Two green thumbs up.        

I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and the effectiveness of TGK's products. They not only work to relieve pain but also improve my mood while I recover. And they are delicious!
To keep up with this revolutionary healing company, check out their website at:         The Growing Kitchen

So, would I recommend taking in some form of weed while recovering from top surgery or any kind of surgery? Yes! If you have access to it, consider it. I will admit I was glad to have Percocet the first two nights, but after that I was glad to be off of it. Transitioning into taking the weed pills was a smooth and painless feat. And I feel like I recovered faster for it-- I was enthusiastic and ready to go on substantial walks by day 4 of post op. Fabulous!

Any Q's? Ask them here or email me at

**All bodies are different and I have no doctoral licensure to give out medical advice. This is just what worked for me and its possible it could work for you too. As an side, it is not possible to overdose on cannabis.

AND! In my next post I will provide a succinct list of steps I took so I could heal from top surgery quickly and efficiently.