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"The Neenah Connection"

By Denise Anne Fell

This is the story of my trip to Neenah and my journey to womanhood. It is my intent to document the events as they actually happened.

Day -5, Saturday, February 12, 1994

The flight was to originate in New Orleans. The plane was to stop in Tampa, Jacksonville, where I got on, Norfolk, Baltimore and finally Cleveland.

The plane was late getting to Jacksonville because they circled Tampa for an hour trying to land. It was too foggy and they then proceeded to Jacksonville.

We took off about 10 minutes late. The pilot said we would get to Norfolk on time. After landing and sitting there for awhile they announced that we were over flying Baltimore due to snow and the airport was currently closed.

All the Baltimore passengers de-planed and their luggage was removed from the plane. We waited and waited for a decision or some sort of clearance to fly to Cleveland.

After an hour and 20 minutes or so on the ground it was announced that Baltimore was open and all the Baltimore passengers got back on the plane, their luggage was reloaded and we took off for Baltimore.

We arrived in Baltimore and were only going to be on the ground for 20 minutes again.

After about 45 minutes we again were ready to resume our flight to Cleveland when two passengers decided to get off. They had to find their luggage in the hole and then they let four more passengers on. They only had 3 vacant seats so they had to decide to was not going to go. That finally happened. The captain then said Flight 1660 might have same day service to Cleveland.

One of the new passengers sat by me. He was from Pakistan. He was mad because his wife had to sit in a seat behind him. He did not speak English too well and just gave me dirty looks all the way to Cleveland.

I was supposed to meet Marisa at the Cleveland airport. The plane was to arrive at 2:50 p.m. We were still on the ground in Baltimore at 2:50.

Since everything was messed all along the routes I felt that I would still have an hour or so in Cleveland so that we could chat and I was getting hungry. I still had not eaten lunch.

I got off the plane in Cleveland. Marisa was waiting. I was informed that I had 3 minutes to get to my flight. They were holding it for me. I got to say, "Hi Marisa, Bye, Marisa." I got on the plane when the captain announced that we would be on the ground for awhile because all flights into Milwaukee were being delayed.

Well about 35 minutes later we took off. About half way to Milwaukee the pilot announced that we had cut speed to conserve fuel. Milwaukee had been shut down but they expected to have it open about 15 minutes to the hour. He thought that it would be like more on the hour. He said we did not want to get there too early and go into a long holding pattern.

I finally got to Milwaukee and went to get my rental car. It was in the maintenance area. It took about 45 minutes to get it. I still had not eaten lunch.

I got to the motel. It was snowing like crazy. I got checked in and asked the desk who delivered. I was given several menu's and ordered my supper and ate in my room. It was good, and I was tired.

Took a long hot shower put on a night gown and went to bed.

Day -4, Sunday, February 13, 1994

Went to Denny's for breakfast. Marsha had called and said that she was coming up. She arrived about noon and we went to Grand Avenue Mall.

I got some post cards at a nice little store called Celebrate Wisconsin. We had lunch. I had my favorite, Cajun Blackened chicken sandwich from Chickadilly Circus. We then went to Walgreen's to get a few items.

We went to South Ridge Mall. I had to go to the pet store and get Misty a couple of birthday gifts. She would turn 3 on the 15th and I was going to miss her birthday, but wanted to have her a belated gift upon my return.

We got back to the motel and Marsha and myself chatted and watched a movie on HBO and then she had to leave to get back for the Sunday Gender Chat on AOL.

I went to Ashleys for Supper. It was a nice day. There was no new snow and what was on the ground was starting to melt.

Day -3, Monday, February 14, 1994

Went down to the Federal Building. Cathy Gore, was coming to work late. I had breakfast at Wendy's and went to Grand Avenue Mall and got some additional travelers checks.

It was a beautiful day. The high was near 40. Drove by my old apartment complex. The snow was piled high. Sidewalks were clean. They finally got it right.

Came back to the motel. Ordered dinner in since Ashley's was closed on Monday. Have a big day in Evanston, Illinois tomorrow with Dr. Ettner.

On the down side I lost a large gold hoop earring. On the up side I had packed 2 extra pairs of hoops. I medium and one small.

Day -2, Tuesday, February 15, 1994

I left for Evanston at 9:30. My appointment with Dr. Ettner was for 12:00 noon.

I arrived about an hour early. I located her house and went to McDonalds for a drink. I waited until 15 minutes before my appointment and left for her house.

We began our appointment about 5 minutes late. We had talked on the phone. She had been sent an autobiography that I had written so our meeting time was greatly reduced. We talked for about an hour.

She asked me a few questions. Most of the questions had been answered in my autobiography. We chatted and she told me that she would notify Dr. Schrang I was recommended for SRS. We hugged and she asked me to stay in touch.

I returned to Milwaukee and did some laundry. I did not want to leave dirty clothes packed for 9 days while I was in the hospital. I had dinner and got ready for my trip to Neenah tomorrow.

It was a WONDERFUL day.

Day -1, Wednesday, February 16, 1994

I awoke at 4:00 this morning. I drank a glass of water and went back to bed. I slept until 7:15.

Finished packing everything and went to Denny's for breakfast. I felt calm and relaxed.

Went back to the motel and waited until about 9:45. Put my luggage in the rental car and started towards Neenah. I took my time since I did not have to be in Dr. Schrang's office until 1:30.

I went through McDonalds and got two medium diet cokes for my trip. I had a nice leisurely drive through the Wisconsin countryside and snapped a few pictures of the snow covered fields, etc.

I got to Neenah and stopped at Tom's Drive In. I had eaten a steak sandwich from there once before. Very good and very reasonable.

I got to Dr. Schrang's office about 12:30. They were at lunch. I read a magazine. I felt very relaxed and comfortable. I got to see Dr. Schrang about 2:00. His 1:00 appointment was late.

We had a nice chat. He checked the photos he took when I saw him in July and decided that he would do the skin graft after all. I did not have a lot penile skin to work with.

He told me that Dr. Ettner had called and left the message that I was an excellent candidate for surgery. He said that he thought so too.

When I came out of his office Marsha was in the waiting room. She came to the hospital with me and helped me bring in my bags. They were ready for me. The first issue was to go to the laboratory for the HIV test. Then I went to my room. I was in 237-B and over looked the Fox River. It was a nice view.

Marsha went to the store to get a hair brush for me. All I had was a hair pick.

The hospital staff is extremely friendly.

I spent the evening getting prepped for surgery. My big day is rapidly approaching. I am glad that Dr. Schrang is a big believer in sleeping pills.

Day 1, Thursday, February 17, 1994.

The big day has arrived at last.

I was taken down to the surgical holding area around 6:45. My surgery was set for 7:30. I talked to the anesthesiologist and requested an epi dural instead of general anesthesia. He agreed. I was the first person that Dr. Schrang performed SRS with an epi dural.

He set it up and then Priscela was in the OR with me. She would ask if I wanted to take a little nap and if I said yes I would get something to doze off.

I spent about 15 minutes in recovery and was back in my room before 2:00 p.m. I dozed on and off but was alert for the most part. I could not eat much of my dinner but did eat some Jell-O later.

I had a great night's sleep. The site where they took the skin graft is sore, but the new vagina site is not too bad. I have 3 ice packs in the vagina area. One in the middle and one on each inner thigh. He does this to control bleeding and swelling.

Day 2, Friday, February 18, 1994

What a great day. My first full day as Denise. I received some beautiful flowers from Melanie. The biggest surprise of all was a visit from Elaine. She flew up from Dallas for a visit.

She left a little after one to grab a bite to eat and to catch a 3:00 p.m. plane back to Chicago and then a flight back to Dallas.

Dr. Schrang said it went well and was not as difficult as he thought it would be. I will be able to get up and get a hot shower on Wednesday. Until that time it is flat on your back in bed.

There was no fireworks or trumpets like I thought there might be. There was only a wonderful feeling of contentment and completeness. I am finally the female that I was meant to be.

I have just began my journey to the rest of my life.

Day 3, Saturday, February 19, 1994

Quiet day. Marsha came up in the afternoon. We chatted.

Dr. Schrang came in. They have changed the dressing. I was told it looked swollen but no problem. Dr. Schrang gave me the legal papers to get my drivers license and birth certificate changed.

I will quote the letter here:

Date: February 18, 1994

Regarding: Denise Anne Fell

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that the above named patient is a 48 year old male to female transsexual who underwent Sex Reassignment Surgery for Male to Female on February 17, 1994. The operation was performed by me at Theda Clark Regional Medical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin.

This surgery has effectively converted Denise Anne Fell into a woman. Specifically I removed the testicles and penis and created a fully functional vagina, labia and clitoris. She should now be considered a functioning, anatomical female.

I performed the surgery in compliance with the Harry Benjamin Guidelines. It was done on the recommendations of two licensed workers in the gender oriented field and after the recommended one year course of hormone therapy was completed.

Should any questions arise concerning this procedure, please contact me.

It is signed by Dr. Schrang and notarized. His corporate seal is also affixed.

Sure makes me feel good to get this document.

Day 4, Sunday, February 20, 1994

A quiet day. Marsha came up and we were joined by Claudia and her friend Susan.

Day 5, Monday, February 21, 1994

Quiet day. I got some rest. I am feeling more pain (sensitivity) around my vagina.

Day 6, Tuesday, February 22, 1994

A quiet day. Dr. Schrang brought dilator and discharge instructions. He said that I should look them over. Basically, they say dilate often and be careful you are now a woman and subject to yeast infections and other infections that women can get.

Day 7, Wednesday, February 23, 1994

Today is the long awaited day. The IV comes out, some of the bandages come off and I can get a proper bath.

The bath felt totally wonderful. I had nothing but sponge baths since last Thursday.

I got my first look at the new vagina. The only view that I had was looking down. It sure looks different. The area is still swollen but o me it is the most beautiful vagina in the world.

Day 8, Thursday, February 24, 1994

I had a nice hot shower this morning. It felt wonderful. I also spent several hours out of bed today. Since tomorrow is discharge day I thought that I needed to get my strength back.

I made several trips around the second floor. I need to get use to sitting up again. I also went to the cafeteria and had an Eskimo Pie (yum, yum).

I learned how to apply the anti bacterial ointment to the surgical stitches in my labia. The sutures are self dissolving. This does help to soothe the area.

Tonight Maureen, a great nurse, brought me a mirror. I got an eagle eyes view of my new vagina. Of course the packing is still in. The packing comes out tomorrow.

Once the swelling goes down I am certain that it will be the most beautiful vagina in the world, at least to me.

It took me 48 years to get the right sex organs. I plan on saving it for someone special. I was a female in my brain. I became a female above the waist with hormones and now thanks to Dr. Schrang I am a complete female.

Day 9, Friday, February 25, 1994

I got up early this morning waiting for Dr. Schrang. It was snowing like there was no tomorrow. The snow started late last night.

Dr. Schrang came in around 10:00 a.m. He had a surgery at 7:30. He was cheerful and I awaited with an unknown anticipation of what was to come next.

Out came the packing (more than you would believe possible to put in such a tight area.) In went the dilator. No pain, just a feeling of being filled. When he withdrew there was a suction feeling. He then re-lubricated and said go for it. He showed me how to put it in and told me how to hold the pressure for 30 to 45 minutes six to eight times a day in the beginning. He said I had fair depth (about 5 1/2 inches) and good width. He said that as the swelling goes down I can expect to gain about 1/2" of depth. He also suggested that I purchase a larger diameter dildo to maintain my width.

He wished me well and said to keep in touch.

I cleaned up, put on my make up, tried to get the hair right and got dressed. I needed to get on the road. The snow was not slowing down.

I got checked out of the hospital (pharmacy) and went down and got my rental car. My hands were almost frozen in the snow it was 18 above. I had gloves but just did not put them on.

I left the hospital at 12:26. It got to Milwaukee (the motel) at 3:30. The closer I got to Milwaukee the harder the snow. By the time I arrived there was 10 inches of new snow on the ground and it was still falling.

There were traffic accidents all over the place. The snow was blowing so hard on U.S. 41 that at times there was white out conditions. Thank God I had retained my snow driving ability. It was that ability and Gods grace that helped me to safely get to Milwaukee.

I checked into the motel and ordered my dinner from a delivery place and after supper I started the dilation process. I took my shower and dilated again at 8:00 and try to maintain a 6 times a day schedule. Spent too much money to let my vagina close up.

Day 10, Saturday, February 26, 1994

The phone rang at midnight and I awoke to do my scheduled dilation.

The dilation started as usual and then I began to start playing around. Sort of experimenting and started a slow in and out movement and slowly picked u speed. Not real fast, but a medium type speed. Towards the end of my 30 minutes I got a strange tingling feeling. It was not an organism as I knew them but it was very tingly and wonderful.

When I did my 4:00 a.m. dilation I did not experience the same sensation, but it was not an uncomfortable feeling.

I am looking forward to getting back to Jacksonville and finding a larger circumference dilator.

This has made me wonder, in a very serious way, how it would feel to be made love to by someone you care about. I mean a serious relationship. Maybe one day I will find out. Now I just want to heal and maintain as much depth as possible.

After my 8:00 a.m. dilation I got cleaned up and dressed and went to Grand Avenue Mall. I wanted a Cajun Blackened chicken sandwich before going back home and Dr. Schrang had mentioned douching several times a day with vinegar and water in the discharge instructions. I wanted to get some vinegar and water douche. Since I had no more room for anything I purchased some Summer's Eve instead of a douche bag. I will get one when I get home.

I went to the airport and extended the rental of my car for 2 days. Mostly because of the hassle of getting a taxi on Monday morning.

It is now 1:30. I guess I will get a dilation in as Wendy is due to come by after 4:00 this afternoon.

Wendy could not make it this afternoon. She will be by about noon tomorrow. I went to Ashley's tonight and had supper. The meal was wonderful as always.

After talking with Jen tonight I learned that I most likely had a small organism in my mid-night dilation. She said it sounded like a small organism. She also explained that a female's organism can be from very mild to almost earth shattering. If this is so, then I hope I can do what I did to cause it again. Well tomorrow is another day. I am happy and content.

Day 11, Sunday, February 27, 1994

The mid-night dilation was uneventful. There is still some bleeding. It is not as heavy and the sanitary napkin seems to hold it all. Per Dr. Schrang this is normal and will continue for some time.

The 4:00 a.m. dilation was uneventful. I was really sleeping good and it was difficult to wake up and get going with the dilation.

I awoke at 8:00 a.m. and did my morning dilation. After cleaning up I got dressed and went to Denny's for breakfast The day is cold and crisp. There were a few flakes falling on my return to the motel. It is a beautiful day. Tomorrow I leave for home and my reunion with Misty.

Wendy came by for a little while this afternoon. We had a nice chat and I must say that she has some great hair. I am rather envious in this respect.

Went to Ashley's for dinner. I came back and started packing for my trip home.

Day 12, Monday, February 28, 1994

The day started on the down side. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and dilated. I got cleaned up, put on make up and got dressed. I finished the little last minute packing and prepared to leave. The rental car was dead. It would not even turn over.

I called the rental car company and they came checked it out, and took me to the airport. They said they would pick it up later. I went and had breakfast at the airport and went to check in for my flight.

The flight to Cleveland was uneventful. I had enough time to get a hot dog in Cleveland and unwind. Since I was in first class I boarded last instead of first. I sat next to some guy that must have weighed 350 pounds.

When the plane landed in Baltimore I was alone in the first class area. This was nice. The plane left and went to Norfolk. Again I was alone in the first class section. I was alone in the first class section on the flight to Jacksonville. Basically, I had a Flight Attendant for me. Not a bad deal. If I even looked like I wanted something they asked. I recommend this type of travel whenever possible.

The day ended as bad as it started. I got to Jacksonville, gathered my luggage and called Thrifty Car Rental. This is where my van was parked. The cost is only $2.25 per day so it is economical and they normally bring my van to me when I call.

I called and they sent a bus to get me. The lady on the phone kept calling me sir. I said, I am not a sir I am a lady. She said, O.K. Sir. She said they would be right up. I waited outside with my luggage on a cart and soon the Thrift Car Rental van arrived. I said I could not get into that. I had just had surgery and I was not going to rip something out. I said they were supposed to pick me up in my van. The stupid guy looked at me and called me Sir.

He left. About 30 minutes later I called them back. Then I got this other dimbo. She said they did not do this. I said that every time I parked there they brought me my van. She said they did not. She had worked there for two years and this was not done. I said they do it every time I park there. She said they did not deliver rental vans to the airport. I said it was not a rental van van, it was my van. She said, "Sorry." We will be right up. I gave her the claim check number again.

I waited another 40 minutes are so. I called again. She said that the driver was there. I went and looked. I did not see my van. All of the sudden in comes a Thrifty driver. He had brought a Mercedes up. I said that is not my car. He said the number is 93286. I said my number is 91286. I could not get into that car. I said I have a burgundy Astro van. He said he would be right back.

I waited another 25 minutes are so for him to get back. He brought the right van this time and I dropped him off and paid them. I was totally ticked off. If I had said what I wanted to say it would not have been very lady like.

I finally got home about 6:30. The plane had landed at 4:25. Misty was thrilled to see me. She jumped in my lap and must have kissed me for 30 minutes. It was like, "You did come home." "You did not leave me." It was a happy reunion.

I ordered dinner from a delivery place and she got her well done hamburger for supper. I got unpacked and washed lots of clothes. I was ready to take a shower and get on with my dilation when my niece that had stayed here came by. She had just got out of class. She did not leave until about 11:00. I got a nice shower and got into bed to dilate. I slept like a baby.

Closing Note

I am working to getting back on the proper dilation schedule. The two things that were accomplished today were, I got my hair done and I got my new drivers license. It now has an "F" on it. The picture is terrible, but I got rid of the "m".

This was the story of my journey. It started rocky and ended rocky, but I achieved my life long dream. I am a woman, emotionally, physically and legally.

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