As a male-to-female transsexual, the process of transition has been the most difficult, life-altering, and challenging path I have experienced within my 45 years of life. For me, very little about transition has been easy.
Very little, that is, until I made the decision to have my FFS and breast augmentation performed by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas at the Innovare Clinic and Hospital located in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to spend the next eight days thereafter at the TransOp recovery home.
To begin with, if you are reading this review and the other reviews here, then you are obviously doing your homework much the same as I did when deciding which surgeon to choose. Within the medical community that performs these types of services for trans patients, there are slightly more than a handful of internationally renown surgeons scattered around the world. Presumably, also as I did, you have or will check out the other doctors on that list as you continue your research and decision making process.
On its face, its a tough decision. I mean, there is a lot riding on the outcome and the results of surgery, particularly with FFS. It is your face, after all, and there is nothing more public or more visible than that, so you want to get it right the first time.
Being fortunate to have a number of friends in the trans community who have been there, done that, I interviewed many about their respective experiences and how they felt about the results of their surgery and the surgeons who performed the surgeries.
Granted, on that small list of recognized and well-qualified practitioners who all pop up on google searches, in internet support group forum discussions, and who visit certain trans conferences here and there and all around, the one name I kept coming back to time and time again was that of Dr. Cardenas.
In this, I have several friends who had visited Dr. Cardenas for their FFS and other transition related procedures, most of whom I spoke to directly about Dr. Cardenas. All of who had nothing but high praise and a showing of gratitude to offer Dr. Cardenas. All unequivocally and without reservation or hesitation recommended him. As for the others I knew who had visited him, having known them
Previously for the time I already had, their before and after pictures spoke volumes about the skill and artistry of Dr. Cardenas and his staff.
Still, it was a difficult decision to make as to who to choose. In the end, what really sold me on Dr. Cardenas was a really long and detailed telephone conversation I had with a close friend of mine who lives on the opposite coast of where I live in the United States. I have known her for years, and knew her before she had first visited Dr. Cardenas a few years back. So I already knew the big picture details of her transition and the surgeries and procedures that she had had, but this time we got into the nitty gritty details and hashed it all out so I would know exactly what to expect if I choose Dr. Cardenas.
Because really, one of the most difficult problems I was having in making my decision was that it was difficult for me to imagine what I could or would like like afterwards. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what I was going to do, but as a really tall transitioner who had overcompensated in a number of male dominated activities throughout the years, and who had spent many years in denial about who I really was, it was a difficult visual at best, despite how any one surgeon or anyone else may have tried to paint or frame that picture for me.
Talking to my friend, she made the compelling analogy that Dr. Cardenas is an artist and that we are the canvas. Her point to me was that Dr. Cardenas had all of the experience in the world, just as some other surgeons had, but what distinguished Dr. Cardenas from his colleagues was his vision and the full potential he saw within his clients.
And that was exactly the point that tipped the scale for me in Dr. Cardenas’ favor. By the time we had finished our conversation, I had already made my decision.
The rest, as they say, was history, and even better, it was ridiculously easy from that point on.
Making meaningful contact with Dr. Cardenas’ office and staff was easy-peasy and an absolute breeze. His people were immediately responsive and answered all of my questions in a timely and substantive manner. His staff also worked with me on scheduling my appointment and reserving my surgery. All of the accommodations and surgical recommendations were performed in advance. And all dealings were upfront, open, transparent, pleasant, and there were no surprises.
After that, with all of the preliminary stuff signed, sealed, and approved, all I had to do was show up to the airport on time with my passport in hand, board my flight, and fly down to Guadalajara International Airport, and that was it. Dr. Cardenas and his fantastic and accommodating staff did the rest upon my arrival. All I had to do was follow their lead. It was THAT easy.
Not ever having had a major surgery like FFS or breast augmentation before (I had both performed during the same surgery), I didn’t know what to expect. But given the confidence, competence, and clear dedication and loyalty of the staff, and after my personal consultation with Dr. Cardenas, I was not concerned at all. Which I thought was kind of odd, to be honest, given that major surgery is still major surgery regardless of what it was. But my excitement, my anticipation, and all that I had witnessed around me down here in Guadalajara quashed any nervousness I might otherwise have felt.
So I just went with it, and rolled with the flow. After all, I did come down here specifically to do this, so it was game on …
Laying there on the operating table on the morning of April 25, 2015, watching the anesthesiologist do her thing inserting an IV into me, I was pretty much gone to the world and out like a light immediately.
Next thing I knew, after seven or eight hours or so of surgery and some time sleeping afterwards, I woke up, and it was all done.
Although true – I initially looked like I could have walked straight off the set of The Walking Dead, I mean come on, who doesn’t look like that after such an involved procedure?
It didn’t take long, though, to begin to see the true artistry within Dr. Cardenas’ work as reflected by my new surgically reconstructed face and augmented breasts. And with each passing day since, as the swelling and bruising continues to recede, his good work becomes more and more unmistakable and clear. I cant wait to see how I will look when the swelling is all said and done!
Regardless, six days after my surgery, his staff removed many of the bandages, stitches, and wraps that had all been previously holding me together as I recovered in the recovery home. In the doctors office that afternoon, I viewed a lifesize image of myself in a mirror, seeing myself, my real self, for the first real time in my life. It was a moment that I will never, ever forget. Shortly afterwards, I was crying my eyes out uncontrollably in the midst of a big, gigantic, raw cathartic explosion of pent up feelings and emotions.
I was finally me.
After all of these years. After all of the hard work I had put in to getting to this point. After all of the sacrifices and loss and pain, and after all of the inner and outer battles I had fought to become me — I was finally me.
As I sit here typing this review, I do so brimming chock full of positive energy and hope for the future and the life I have dreamed of for so very long now.
All I have ever wanted in my life, whether I was ready to admit it or acknowledge it to myself at the time or not, was the opportunity to live my real, authentic life. And at the end of the day, I do not feel like that should be too much to ask for. However, I will forego any and all obvious social commentary relating to this very basic, intrinsic, instinctual need to embrace ones real being, inner essence, and true gender identification. Because we all know the deal, we all know what we are up against, and none of that is what this review is about.
Instead, at its core, this review is specifically about what Dr. Cardenas and his staff have done for ME.
Which is simple – they gave me exactly what I was looking for. They gave me to myself. And the thing is, in so doing, they have opened up a whole world of limitless possibilities for me as I continue to move forward into my real life.
To this end, there is nothing else I can add about Dr. Cardenas’ skill and the results I have observed to date. He gave me exactly what I wanted and what I was looking for. In fact, he exceeded the high expectations I held coming into this beforehand in every way possible. And how many times can you say that about services rendered from any place within any given service industry? In my experience, not too many. Dr. Cardenas is a clear and exemplary exception to the general rule that typically results in a lower bar and lower expectations.
As for the hospital itself, I was extremely impressed. The facilities were striking, the staff was amazing, and the technology was cutting edge.
As for the recovery home, all I can say is WOW. Just simply WOW! Its the type of place that I would love to stay at during a really nice vacation – it is THAT nice and well-tended. The food is beyond excellent, everybody goes out of their way to accommodate you, take care of you, and to ensure that all is well and all needs are tended to.
I also cannot speak highly enough about the staff at the recovery home. Given that I spent a vast majority of my time here at the home while recovering, they became my second family. I could see it in their eyes from the very get-go. They genuinely care about us here, and it becomes a lovely, enjoyable, and refreshing little community unto itself throughout the duration of the stay.
Its all a class act all the way here, from top to bottom, front to back, and side to side. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. And in this regard, I am looking forward to returning in the future for other procedures I plan on having.
The author of this testimonial is Anne Kelly. She may be reached by e-mail at the following address: a n n e 2 3 4 5 0 at y a h o o . c o m . To contact her, please remove the spaces between the letters in her e-mail address and change the word “at” to “@.” This step was added to help protect the author from spambots looking to harvest e-mail addresses.