On Episode Ten of the Plastic Surgeon Podcast, Dr. Sajan sits down with his patient, Blake Dotson, who underwent FTM top surgery with Dr. Sajan. Blake’s journey begins when he began questioning gender in kindergarten and at a young age. Wanting to wear masculine clothes, Blake slowly came to terms with his transgender identity in high school.
While Blake received support from friends, his family did not immediately support Blake’s identity. Going through therapy with a slant against his identity and not speaking to his mom for a number of months, Blake details his experiences.
Undergoing FTM top surgery by Dr. Sajan gave Blake the freedom to feel happier and healthier. Featured on Dr. Sajan’s TV series, you can watch Blake’s surgery and journey on YouTube https://youtu.be/Aj4MYaZQNE0 and at https://www.realdrseattle.tv/
Subscribe to the Plastic Surgeon Podcast for more plastic surgery stories from real patients and providers. Follow Dr. Sajan and the Plastic Surgeon Podcast on social media @realdrseattle.
To learn more about the Plastic Surgeon Podcast, visit https://www.plasticsurgeonpodcast.com
Learn more about Dr. Sajan’s plastic surgery at https://www.allureesthetic.com
Dr. Javad Sajan 00:00
Ever wonder what motivates people to get plastic surgery? Did they regret it? What can we learn from the stories of plastic surgery patients? We're here to explore those questions and get some of the answers with my guests, Blake, on the plastic surgeon podcast.
Dr. Javad Sajan 00:31
Hello, my friends. Welcome back. And thanks to our listeners for the amazing feedback we have had so much fun so far, and look forward to more of your insights and suggestions. Please rate us and review us on Apple podcast will help us get you more amazing content. On the plastic surgeon podcast we listen to real plastic surgery, stories, triumph and pain from real patients and providers to further understand the motivations of why they would risk their life under the knife. I'm Dr. Javad Sajan and my guest today is the awesome Blake. Blake underwent, gender affirming top surgery, transitioning from female to male with me. We're here to talk to you about your journey, how we came to know each other, the procedure you underwent and how it affected you. Blake. So Blake, where are you from?
Blake Dotson 01:12
I'm from Snohomish, Washington.
Dr. Javad Sajan 01:14
Is that where you were born and raised?
Blake Dotson 01:15
Dr. Javad Sajan 01:16
During your childhood transitioning became something that you thought of, is that right?
Blake Dotson 01:20
Yeah, I knew, what, looking back, what really hit me was about kindergarten is when I knew that I was trans.
Dr. Javad Sajan 01:28
How did you know?
Blake Dotson 01:29
It really, my most vivid memory was when I was a kid and I was on the playground at that recess. And all the girls were cheering for boys and I was like, why aren't cheering for me? I'm playing with them.
Dr. Javad Sajan 01:43
How did you know that transgender was a thing or gender was a thing at that age?
Blake Dotson 01:48
I didn't know what trans was at that age. I just knew I didn't feel like a girl. And I didn't identify with the rest of the girls that were my age.
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:00
And did you find yourself trying to dress differently or be differently in kindergarten?
Blake Dotson 02:04
Yeah. I don't know. Another vivid memory is like, my grandparents supported me and they would buy me boy clothes and my mom would get upset at them constantly.
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:17
How did they know you liked boys clothes?
Blake Dotson 02:19
Because when Layla take me shopping for like school clothes or something, that's all I would want.
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:24
What do your mom say about it?
Blake Dotson 02:25
She will just get like discouraged and be like, "No, you need to be wearing girl's clothes or you should wear this or you should wear that". And it's like, "No, I don't want to, that's not what I want to do".
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:39
How did they make you feel when your mom said that?
Blake Dotson 02:41
It made me, I didn't really understand it at the time, but it just made me feel sad.
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:47
Were you living with your grandparents?
Blake Dotson 02:48
No, I was living with my mom and my dad I'm an only child.
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:53
Were your grandparents in town or were they far away?
Blake Dotson 02:56
They just live in Monroe, which is about 20 minutes from--
Dr. Javad Sajan 02:59
How often would they see you?
Blake Dotson 03:01
I don't know, at least a few times a month.
Dr. Javad Sajan 03:05
You know it's a, probably a misconception, but you often feel people from an older generation are more likely to not be supportive of something like that. Why do you think your grandparents were supportive?
Blake Dotson 03:16
My grandma is definitely a person of the sixties, so she definitely was more supportive. And open-minded about like different people per se.
Dr. Javad Sajan 03:27
Did anyone talked to you about gender at that, around that age? Or did it come up as an issue?
Blake Dotson 03:32
No. It never came up as an issue. I don't my, I don't think my parents even heard the word trans until I came out later.
Dr. Javad Sajan 03:40
And then during your education, when did you start learning about gender?
Blake Dotson 03:46
Not until high school.
Dr. Javad Sajan 03:48
And how did elementary and middle school treat you?
Blake Dotson 03:50
Elementary, I wasn't so much of an issue. Everybody knew that I wasn't a tomboy, so that's just who I was. Middle school was definitely hard because I started experimenting with sexuality and a little bit of gender more, but definitely I didn't like still realize it until about 13. So middle school at 13 is when everything kind of hit the fan.
Dr. Javad Sajan 04:19
When you say you were experimenting with sexuality, what do you mean by that? Did you have other partners at that age?
Blake Dotson 04:24
I had my first girlfriend at like what, 13 or something at the middle school age. So I would that's when I, okay. I realized I was gay, but the gender thing was like in the background still.
Dr. Javad Sajan 04:38
So you were presenting as a girl and then you were quote unquote dating a girl at that age?
Blake Dotson 04:42
Dr. Javad Sajan 04:43
And was she also gay or lesbian?
Blake Dotson 04:46
Dr. Javad Sajan 04:47
And how did she know? She was like that?
Blake Dotson 04:49
Honestly, I don't know. We just kinda like, I didn't know until like I had feelings for her until like we started talking about that kind of stuff.
Dr. Javad Sajan 04:58
And how did that pop up.
Blake Dotson 05:00
Just, I don't know. I started seeing things on TV and I was like, Oh my God, I'm gay. And I liked this girl.
Dr. Javad Sajan 05:09
Was it a show or a moment in TV that you saw that made you understand or learn about it?
Blake Dotson 05:14
It kind of started with glee, I think with a lot of people, my age glee was the first like major television show that had visibly gay people on it.
Dr. Javad Sajan 05:23
And then you dated this girl for a little bit of time?
Blake Dotson 05:26
Yeah, probably midway through high school. So from seventh grade to my sophomore year.
Dr. Javad Sajan 05:32
And the people in your school know you were with her?
Blake Dotson 05:34
Dr. Javad Sajan 05:35
What did they say?
Blake Dotson 05:36
So how much was surprisingly accepting? I don't know if it's just me. I'm one of those people that doesn't tolerate a lot of crap, so they didn't mess with me a lot, but not a lot came up. I mean, it did occasionally where people would sort of try and bully me, but it just never was an issue for me.
Dr. Javad Sajan 05:55
And were you dressing more quote, unquote, a tomboy at this age? Or were you dressing more of a traditional female role?
Blake Dotson 06:00
I was more traditional female, seventh and eighth grade. And then my freshman year is when transitioning came up.
Dr. Javad Sajan 06:09
How did you learn that transgender ism if you will.
Blake Dotson 06:14
That's when I got my first phone at the time and I could start doing my own research.
Dr. Javad Sajan 06:20
And then the internet, you started looking up gender, or what did you start doing first?
Blake Dotson 06:24
It really came up and like, anime is what I started looking at.
Dr. Javad Sajan 06:29
The Japanese cartoon.
Blake Dotson 06:31
Yeah. On like gay people on gender and that kind of stuff. And cause I really was a huge anime fan at the time.
Dr. Javad Sajan 06:38
I used to watch dragon ball. That counts, right?
Blake Dotson 06:41
Yeah, I was into Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Dr. Javad Sajan 06:43
Oh yeah. Iknow Naruto. Yeah. Yeah. So they have transgender people on that show.
Blake Dotson 06:47
Not necessarily trans people. I mean, you could probably pick some out, but the gender neutral thing is what really started to strike me on the androgyny on what? Okay. There's like a character called Haku was a boy, but looked really, really feminine.
Dr. Javad Sajan 07:07
But they didn't present it as a gender thing. And did that person have partners or relations of the same gender or that was never a thing.
Blake Dotson 07:16
That was never an issue. It was just that person was extremely androgynous.
Dr. Javad Sajan 07:21
And then what, where did you go from there?
Blake Dotson 07:24
I just started the gender came up more, this was 2011, 2012. And so more like gender issues were starting to come up in the media. And so I just started looking at all that stuff and I was like, all this is making sense to me.
Dr. Javad Sajan07:40
How was your mom responding towards all of this?
Blake Dotson 07:42
I kept it very private at the time, so she didn't really see it much. I hid it from her.
Dr. Javad Sajan 07:51
Did your grandparents or anybody else in your family now?
Blake Dotson 07:54
Dr. Javad Sajan 07:55
Blake Dotson 07:56
Just my friends at school.
Dr. Javad Sajan 07:58
How were they responding to this?
Blake Dotson 08:00
Most of them very well, very well. The ones that weren't, I figured out really weren't my friends. Not so well. And I ended up distancing myself from them.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:11
When did you in high school, you decided you were transgender, is that correct?
Blake Dotson 08:16
Or came out the beginning of my sophomore year.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:18
And when you say you came out, what does that mean?
Blake Dotson 08:20
I started telling people that I was trans.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:23
Who did you tell first?
Blake Dotson 08:24
I told my best friend at the time.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:26
And what did your friends say.
Blake Dotson 08:28
She didn't really know what to say at first, but she was like, I mean, if this is what you want that cool.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:34
Were you going in therapy or anything like that during this time?
Blake Dotson 08:37
No, my mom, when I came out as gay in middle school, my mom tried sending me to therapy and I refused.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:44
Was it regular therapy or conversion therapy?
Blake Dotson 08:47
It was regular therapy, but what the goal of conversion in mind.
Dr. Javad Sajan 08:56
And why didn't you go to it?
Blake Dotson 08:58
I didn't want to talk to anybody at the time. And then I just, the therapist that she sent me to was her choosing and it was an older guy that I knew had no idea about LGBT issues. And it was of, I think Christian origin. He was like out of a Christian related organization. And I just asked everything about it was red flags for me.
Dr. Javad Sajan 09:22
Did you even meet with them or you just researched him?
Blake Dotson 09:24
No, I met with them probably 10 times.
Dr. Javad Sajan 09:27
Oh you did. Just to be loyal or nicer.
Blake Dotson 09:30
No, that my mom made me.
Dr. Javad Sajan 09:32
Yeah, that makes sense. Tell me how those interactions because a lot of people go through that.
Blake Dotson 09:37
It was really tense. I mean, I really didn't talk much. I just answered basic questions, but I wouldn't give him like any information about myself. What would he tell you? He just, cause I was so closed off. He didn't really know what to do besides pry. And he kept like asking me questions about why did I feel this way and stuff like that. And I just wouldn't answer.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:02
And did he try redirecting you telling you that maybe you're incorrect or what you're thinking is wrong?
Blake Dotson 10:10
Not really because I wouldn't let it get there. I mean, I knew better. I knew what the goal in mind was. So I just refuse to let it get that way.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:19
How did you stop that therapy?
Blake Dotson 10:21
My mom just knew that there wasn't any point anymore, so she just let me stop going.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:28
You came out to your friends in high school. When did you tell your mom?
Blake Dotson 10:31
I told her December 16th of 2013.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:36
It's really specific. How do you tell her?
Blake Dotson 10:39
I told her pretty much forcefully after she went through my phone and found some conversations with brands and yeah, pretty much forced me to come out.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:49
How did that go?
Blake Dotson 10:50
It was bad.
Dr. Javad Sajan 10:52
Blake Dotson 10:53
I was pretty much cornered and in the living room of my childhood home and I had to tell her that I was trans, why I felt this way. I've felt this way my whole life, even though she ignored all of the signs that there was no denying it.
Dr. Javad Sajan 11:13
What did she say?
Blake Dotson 11:14
She said, no, you can't be this way. You've never been a boy and all these kinds of things, but it was like, I tried explaining to her and pointing out memories in my life that I even told her. I think it was third grade. I mentioned to her that I felt like a boy and I remember that day and she doesn't and I think she blocks it out of her mind.
Dr. Javad Sajan 11:36
What does she say after your conversation in your living room?
Blake Dotson 11:39
She originally said that it's okay, we'll get through this, but then her actions following that disprove that.
Dr. Javad Sajan 11:48
What were the actions?
Blake Dotson 11:49
She basically didn't talk to me for a couple months after that, even though living in the same home, basically nothing.
Dr. Javad Sajan 11:58
Then what happened?
Blake Dotson 11:59
And then just everything was hard after that. Our relationship didn't improve until probably two years ago.
Dr. Javad Sajan 12:08
What happened two years ago that it improved.
Blake Dotson 12:10
I think as enough time passed. And she realized that, you know, this is my only child and I'm gonna love him if he's a man or not.
Dr. Javad Sajan 12:19
Did you guys have a conversation or did she just finally thought?
Blake Dotson 12:22
I think I finally thought because things were so tense. I didn't let her into my personal life a lot. I mean, things gradually improved, but our like personal relationship never mended until that point.
Dr. Javad Sajan 12:37
So transitioning is a spectrum, right? People do it differently in different ways. When your mom learned about it, is that when you started presenting socially as a male?
Blake Dotson 12:48
I think that's when she like started looking into it. I started presenting pretty much right after I came out fully like socially transitioning.
Dr. Javad Sajan 12:58
People that don't know. Can you tell us what socially transitioning means?
Blake Dotson 13:02
Means, that I started telling people my pronouns are he him and I identified as male. And at that point is when I changed my name to Blake.
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:12
Did you start? So you started dressing, you started buying more boy clothes. Is that correct? Or male clothes. If you will.
Blake Dotson 13:19
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:19
Would your mom call you Blake or not?
Blake Dotson 13:21
No, she still doesn't until the day.
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:23
Who started calling you Blake first?
Blake Dotson 13:24
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:26
And how did the school respond to it? Did you tell them or what happened? And with that?
Blake Dotson 13:30
I didn't really go that far into taking the effort to tell my teachers because I didn't care but I made an effort to tell my friends and classmates to refer to me as he, him and Blake.
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:42
What did they say?
Blake Dotson 13:43
I didn't get much pushback. They were just like, okay.
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:47
In other than socially transitioning. Did you start anything else?
Blake Dotson 13:51
Dr. Javad Sajan 13:52
When the, I started with mom where did she take it from there? How did things get better?
Blake Dotson 14:00
I think she, we never really had a conversation about it. We still really haven't. I think she just said, it's not about me and this is who you are. And I just have to love you for who you are. She said that in the last words over the years.
Dr. Javad Sajan 14:19
What were your grandparents saying during all of this?
Blake Dotson 14:22
They knew they didn't have a lot of say in it and didn't want to make a rift in their relationship with my mom either. So they did the best they could to just kind of step back and do the least. And then when everything was really weld over, when I came out, my grandma decided she's going to support me.
Dr. Javad Sajan 14:43
Well, did you have other family members who knew?
Blake Dotson 14:46
No my family is very small.
Dr. Javad Sajan 14:48
Was your dad involved in your life?
Blake Dotson 14:50
He's yeah, he's still in my life, but he's pretty much just has gone along with what my mom has said the entire time.
Dr. Javad Sajan 14:58
So now in 2020, everybody's comfortable with it, correct?
Blake Dotson 15:02
Dr. Javad Sajan 15:03
After you socially transitioned, when did you decide you were going to medically transition?
Blake Dotson 15:08
I decided immediately that I was going to medically transition one before I had even come out. But the issue was, is I knew my mom and my dad weren't going to be supportive. And they actually made a condition with me that I couldn't even cut my hair until I was 18 years old. And so definitely couldn't take hormones or medically transition at that point. So I didn't take hormones until I was 20.
Dr. Javad Sajan 15:34
How did you start medically transitioning?
Blake Dotson 15:37
I did a lot of research on a endocrinologist in our area and found one that was taking new patients.
Dr. Javad Sajan 15:48
Did they make you go through counseling before you started hormones?
Blake Dotson 15:51
Yeah. And that was one thing that I actually did through high school, without my mom knowing is on when I would work, I would save money and put away. And luckily there was a therapist in the area that was doing like an LGBT grant. I forget what the name of it even is, but each session was $10 and I was able to go see her, talk to her and do like the old fashioned way. I mean, you can call it the old fashioned way on, you had to get a letter of recommendation and all that kinds of stuff before transitioning. So I did that and then I took, I forget what it's even called, but it's basically the gender evaluation test. And that's how I got my letter of recommendation before going to the endocrinologist.
Dr. Javad Sajan 16:40
How was the endocrinologist?
Blake Dotson 16:42
Very easy opening. Her name is actually Dr. Lori Cooper. She's at the Polyclinic here in Seattle.
Dr. Javad Sajan 16:49
So you drove from Bellingham to Seattle. When you started hormones at 20, what were you doing? Were you in college? Were you working? What were you doing?
Blake Dotson 16:59
Yeah, I was a full-time working college student and so I worked at the local, co-op doing feed store work and then full-time college at Everett community college.
Dr. Javad Sajan 17:11
And what are you studying?
Blake Dotson 17:13
Dr. Javad Sajan 17:14
Oh, that's cool. What do you want to do?
Blake Dotson 17:15
Be a nuclear medicine tech. Well, what does that mean?
Blake Dotson 17:18
So nuclear medicine is the opposite of x-ray. So we give people radio tracers and through their IVs, LH, like the most common one in nuclear medicine is a heart scan. So like I give and I V it's called technetium 99, I'm obsessed and maybe goes to the heart and then we detect the radiation coming out of the patient. And collimators.
Dr. Javad Sajan 17:43
How did you learn about that?
Blake Dotson 17:44
I was originally interested in ultrasound, but then I started looking at all imaging and nuclear medicine was the most interesting.
Dr. Javad Sajan 17:53
That's cool. When did you decide surgery was for you Blake?
Blake Dotson 17:57
When I decided that working out was too painful with a binder.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:03
When did you start binding?
Blake Dotson 18:04
I started binding in 2013. So I binded for seven years.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:09
Why did you start binding?
Blake Dotson 18:12
Because I was very uncomfortable with my chest.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:14
How were you uncomfortable?
Blake Dotson 18:16
Just having breast tissue and having a female shape was uncomfortable.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:23
And then you started looking into a surgery after you did the hormones in your twenties. Correct?
Blake Dotson 18:29
I started looking at surgeons when I came out.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:33
How did you hear about me in this process?
Blake Dotson 18:35
I just looked in the area because I knew I didn't really want to travel. And then just looking, I've looked for a long time.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:47
How did you tell your mom that you wanted surgery?
Blake Dotson 18:51
I told her that I was uncomfortable with my body and I can't live like this anymore.
Dr. Javad Sajan 18:56
How did she respond to you being on hormones and your physique, your voice, hair, everything changing.
Blake Dotson 19:02
She was pretty silent about it. She didn't really react until, you know, about two years in about a year ago that I started really looking male. And now she'll like tell me that I'm handsome and things like that. And that's nice to hear but it definitely took her awhile.
Dr. Javad Sajan 19:21
What was the final thing that made you decide to book your console and start the process for surgery?
Blake Dotson 19:26
That I just was starting to physically get unhealthy and depression that I wasn't trading myself. Right? Because of the dysphoria and discomfort.
Dr. Javad Sajan 19:38
And then you researched some doctors ran across my name, right? What made you want to see me out of everybody else? Cause a few people in the Seattle area, I do this.
You were definitely were listed with the most experience and most positive feedback.
Dr. Javad Sajan 19:52
Did you watch any of the surgeries live?
Blake Dotson 19:54
Dr. Javad Sajan 19:55
That helped you make your decision?
Blake Dotson 19:57
Yeah, I'm definitely kind of a medical nerd. I watched all the surgeries.
Dr. Javad Sajan 20:01
Oh, that's cool. So you watch my snaps and you see how we do things.
Blake Dotson 20:04
Dr. Javad Sajan 20:05
So there's different kinds of operations we can do for chest reconstruction. Right? Well, there's something called the anchor approach where you basically, it's a cis female reduction. That's done more aggressively. There's something called a keyhole where you just make a small incision underneath the nipple and take the tissue out. And then there's the most invasive, a double incision, a double incision is where I'm making a decision. On each side. I remove the nipple from the body, remove the tissue, lipos sculptor, more male physique, and then put it back together in this procedure, the nipple is re transplanted as called an autotransplant on the body to create more male physique. So we talked about those different options during your consult. How did that go?
Blake Dotson 20:50
It went well I was trying to convince myself at the time that I was eligible for keyhole and I definitely wasn't. I had too much tissue for too much before. And once I accepted that I had to get double incision surgery at, it clicked in my head pretty well after that.
Dr. Javad Sajan 21:09
So why were you thinking keyhole versus double incision?
Blake Dotson 21:12
Because I didn't want the double incision scars and being very obvious, like to the public, if I were to take my shirt off or something.
Dr. Javad Sajan 21:21
Yeah. Was it hard to accept that you would lose all nipple sensation with the double incision? Cause that's one of the things that happens with that operation?
Blake Dotson 21:29
No, it wasn't. And I see a lot of people that are concerned about that and get kind of detached about that but I never was too concerned about that and it doesn't bother me now.
Dr. Javad Sajan 21:39
After the console you went home and you talked to your mom about it.
Blake Dotson 21:43
Not really now.
Dr. Javad Sajan 21:45
Were you doing everything and fun and just paying for it with the other work you were doing or was she helping you with it?
Blake Dotson 21:51
I am thankfully on my parents' insurance. So that is how I pay for everything.
Dr. Javad Sajan 21:57
When you told her you really wanted surgery, how did she respond Blake?
Blake Dotson 22:01
At this point when I went through the console and I was in the process scheduling and everything, she was supportive at this point.
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:09
Did she want to come to the consult to learn herself or not really?
Blake Dotson 22:12
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:13
Why do you think, so
Blake Dotson 22:14
It just for con in her mind just to consult on this is just a piece of the process.
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:21
How do you feel once you book surgery.
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:23
I've felt really good.
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:25
What was going through your mind that you were going to make this permanentthis, upermanent change in your body?
Blake Dotson 22:32
It's a really good question because I honestly, I was just like, okay, this is a part of my process. And I didn't like at that point in time. And it wasn't a huge like moment for me, which I think is a little strange looking back now, but it just was a phase.
Dr. Javad Sajan 22:48
As surgery day was approaching. And the night before, what was going through your mind?
Blake Dotson 22:53
I have to say never had major surgery. So I was like, Oh my God, what if something goes wrong?
Dr. Javad Sajan 23:00
Then we did your surgery. We did, we ended up doing a double incision chest reconstruction with Freenet polygraph. You are part of our docu series. Right. We filmed it. How and then you went home the same day. How did you feel that day after the surgery was done?
Blake Dotson 23:14
I felt really good that it was done. And I just was really focused on healing at that point.
Dr. Javad Sajan 23:22
And you know, getting to know you a little bit, Blake Dotson, I know you're more of a private person, but you happy to share with others. You agreed to be part of our TV series to share your experience. What made you want to agree to that?
Blake Dotson 23:36
Coming from such a small town, I was fortunate that people were pretty accepting and progressive, I guess, progressive mindset on learning new things about people and that people are different and trans people really aren't that different from any other person. But I have plenty of friends and now people in other places that aren't, and don't have that acceptance. And I would rather, those people become people that learn about it and become, accepting and learn that it's not different.
Dr. Javad Sajan 24:10
How is it not different?
Blake Dotson 24:11
I mean, I had to become a male that physically and socially, but I'm no different than any other male.
Dr. Javad Sajan 24:20
How do you feel now after surgery?
Blake Dotson 24:23
I feel much more confident and just happy with myself. And I don't have to stress that I have to wear a binder for eight hours a day again, and that my back and my ribs are going to hurt.
Dr. Javad Sajan 24:35
How did the scars make you feel when you see them in the mirror?
Blake Dotson 24:39
At first it was a little jarring because I was like, this is not exactly not what I wanted, but that only lasted for about a week. And then after that, I was like, well, these are a part of me now. And it shows what I've went through.
Dr. Javad Sajan 24:54
When you say not what I wanted. Do you mean that type of operation or the look of the chest? What do you mean by that?
Blake Dotson 25:01
The look of the chest mainly because I adjust the, because they were so dark at first. I mean, there's only a week old scars. I was, it took a lot out of me to look at them.
Dr. Javad Sajan 25:17
What thoughts went through your mind when you looked at them?
Blake Dotson 25:22
As like the first thing I was like, people are gonna know I'm trans when they look at my chest, but then I was like, no, not really. Not a lot of people will immediately associate it with that.
Dr. Javad Sajan 25:33
Why do you care if people know you're transgender?
Blake Dotson 25:36
Because of the stigma that has been around being transgender for so long. I mean, when Bruce Jenner now Caitlyn Jenner came out. I saw a lot of bad media reaction and that was how I thought I would be treated at first by like any media or things like that, or just the public in general. But now I see that's not immediately true.
Dr. Javad Sajan 26:05
Give me an example of the bad stigma that you think is associated with transgender people.
Blake Dotson 26:10
That no matter if the comments I see are no matter how many hormones you take or all the surgeries you're do you do, you'll never be the gender, the set gender. Like you'll never be a man or you'll never be a woman.
Dr. Javad Sajan 26:23
When you see, how does it make you feel?
Blake Dotson 26:25
It makes me feel sad. That no matter like you, even though you see somebody went through such a great process, that you would deny somebody that in somebody else's mind,
Dr. Javad Sajan 26:40
What are you doing now with your life? Like, where are you up to that?
Blake Dotson 26:43
I'm a, full-time called student working through my internship or ready to graduate in five months.
Dr. Javad Sajan 26:50
You're doing it. So your internship is a nuclear medicine, do they pay you for that? That's just something you do. Part of your education.
Blake Dotson 26:56
No. It's an unpaid internship.
Dr. Javad Sajan 26:58
And are you working any jobs right now?
Blake Dotson 27:00
Yeah, I worked for attract display on the weekends.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:03
What do you do there?
Blake Dotson 27:04
It's like a home improvement feed store.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:07
Oh, that's cool. And then you have your horse tad, ri. Ght?
Blake Dotson 27:09
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:10
Tell us about Ted.
Blake Dotson 27:11
Ted is a big goofball. He's a 17 hand paint that I show in Western pleasure.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:19
That's awesome. What's next for you in life? My friend.
Blake Dotson 27:23
Just to get out of COVID and start working.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:28
Are you in any relationships right now?
Blake Dotson 27:30
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:30
Do you have a girlfriend? Boyfriend?
Blake Dotson 27:32
I have. My partner is non binary.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:34
Okay. That's cool. And how did you find them?
Blake Dotson 27:38
I approached them one night after one other shows a drag bar, bar here in town.
Blake Dotson 27:44
How long ago was that?
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:45
That was a year ago now.
Dr. Javad Sajan 27:47
And how are things been going?
Blake Dotson 27:49
Well, it's good. We have a good relationship they've actually had some work done like you also.
Dr. Javad Sajan27:55
That's awesome. Where do you see your future heading? Are you staying with your mom right now? Do you have your own place?
Blake Dotson 28:02
I'm living at home right now. After graduation and getting a job, first thing I was going to move out.
Dr. Javad Sajan 28:08
And are you going to stay in Snohomish County?
Blake Dotson 28:10
In the state? Probably.
Dr. Javad Sajan 28:12
That's awesome. So Blake, you've had a tremendous journey. If there was one thing you could share with other people who are going through this, that would have been good for you to hear, what would that be?
Blake Dotson 28:24
The, probably the best thing is that you have to live with yourself and you can't, even if you have a small family like mine, where your family, your basically your immediate family is all you have. You can't let their opinion affect you because you have to go to bed every night with yourself. And if you're not happy with yourself, then what are you really living for?
Dr. Javad Sajan 28:52
Are you happy now, Blake?
Blake Dotson 28:54
Dr. Javad Sajan 28:54
That's awesome. Thank you so much for being my guest today, Blake, your story is so strong, so powerful. When I think about it, it really helps me see how an individual person's will determination, guides them through difficulties and sometimes a lack of support at home. And I think you being us made you so great today and it help create the life that you have and the life you're going to have. I have learned a lot. I know your ordeal teach our listeners how and what to expect as they go down their own plastic surgery journey. I appreciate your time and I'm honored to have you as a good patient. And I would say my friend Blake, thanks for listening to the plastic surgeon podcast and please rate and review us on Apple podcast for more amazing for my live surgeries on Snapchat and my adventures throughout the week, catch us on all social media at @realdrseattle see you next time.