London and shout-outs

I was in London on Monday getting my visa sorted, and it reminded me of how “country” I am compared to big city folk. I wince at the price of a bottle of coke or a simple sandwich, feel awkward doing the “vacant” look on the tube, get in the way of loads of people whilst trying to figure out on google maps where the hell I am, and just generally look like a total tourist. All the new and loud sounds and sights left me exhausted and I could not even go to park to chill because it was drizzling ALL DAY.

My visa stuff only took 5 mins, but I wanted cheap trains so was left with 8 hrs to drift in London. I ended up in the Museum of London for a good 2 hours (1 hour looking around, 1 hour using their free wifi whilst rationing my £2.60 “large” coffee the size of a thimble). I also looked round about 15 souvenir shops, each looking more tacky than last, trying to find a “UK themed” cuddly toy to take out with me. Guess the cheapest for a mini cuddly toy? £9!! I think I would rather knit one thanks.

The rest of this week is slower, saw a friend for coffee which was nice, packed some more of my bag, i’ve been learning more Japanese and researching a lot. This weekend i’m off on a Sushi making course (Xmas prezzie from my parents) which i’m excited about – cause I get to take a load of sushi home! :-D.

Top Surgery/transitioning

It’s now over a month since top surgery, a nice milestone to reach. Healing is still going well, had a peek at my nips again this Wednesday. Can’t wait to get the micropore off, but still have 2 months to wait. But only 2 weeks till I can exercise, woooo!

Forgot to mention that my T levels have increased in the past few months to in the “normal” range. Basically, Nebido is making my levels higher than Testogel ever did, showing that all forms of T are not equal – or at least our individual way of processing them are not. I think the higher levels are a reason for my facial hair grow being on a major pulse atm. Also glad i’m not on testogel due to a major shortage in the UK currently – which is forcing people onto the stickier Testim gel version.

Talking more generally, i’ve found it refreshing recently to hear from more transguys willing to talk about the straight up facts about transitioning, especially some stuff which is harder to talk about.

  • One was a video by a guy on youtube “ElectricDade” who often does pretty deep talks. It is a talk about masculinity aimed at transmen, and I think it speaks a lot of truths about the pressures faced by transmen from many areas of society, both within the transgender community and outer circles. I think it’s a great talk for transguys just starting out transitioning to listen to, because it warns of the dangers of being lead into “proving your manliness” and how you can end up really being a type of man you are not, and actually being a not-nice guy, if you are not careful. I could talk way more about this, but I think the video covers it great. Worth a watch. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdrBUcFEneI
  • The second was a blog by “Cairtheand” documenting top surgery. Personally I know this is a hard thing to decide to do (and one that I ended up talking about, but not photographing) because it’s so personal. And much much harder when things don’t go exactly as planned. But that is what makes it so valuable to be out there online, so other transguys considering surgery don’t fall into a trap of thinking everyone has one surgery that goes perfect and is walking topless down the beach in 2 months. It’s a big surgery, and many people need revisions, emergency fixes, and have to wait long stretches of time for things to settle. It’s good to hear Cairtheand is healing well now, and a link to that page is: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/45317063/posts/1773598312

 

Anyway, long post, but now off to watch some Altered Carbon and play some SimCity, adios!

A mix

It’s now 1 month before I leave for Japan. And it’s been a pretty slow week.

Tomorrow I have to drive a 6hr round trip to see the gender clinic. Feel a bit stupid but I think I did the right thing. Basically, I know that if you don’t see the GIC/refuse to see GIC for so long, they throw you off thier books, and if you wanna come on again you join the end of the 2.5 year queue (welcome to the NHS).

So, I messaged them saying I was due an appointment cause I’m going away soon. After some to-ing and fro-ing I got an OK time appointment. Then the next day I was like “ah shit, I wonder if they do telephone appointments?” Turns out they do, but now (just a day later) they were mysteriously all full. Great. So off I will go. Worth it in the long run I suppose, cause if I just go away for a year, then at least I can come back and see them soon.

Chest is healing really well, it’s 3 weeks, coming on 4. I change micropore tape once a week and get a good peek at the nips. No pains, and def think this last surgery was worth it, I like the results more than after 2nd surgery. Too early to tell “final final” result though, will have a better idea in about 3 months.

London Bridge

Getting really fustrated atm at just wanting to get stuff done, feel like i’m hanging around the starting line and keep getting delayed. Trying my best to keep positive though and keep mental health in check. I go to London next week to sort out visa stuff and i’m meeting a friend down there for half a day as well so will be nice to catch up and wander round the city.

I have decided to experiment with keeping this blog going, just on a reduced basis once I leave. It may be hectic for a while though. All “hectic” means as it stands is “baking an apple crumble for a family meal on Saturday” hummm, think my definition will change soon. Soon hectic will be juggling several classes, trying to deciper complex characters on a daily basis, meeting millions of new people a day, and just generally being like a deer in headlights.

Until next week!

 

 

 

Future of the blog

Hey,

I’ve been swaying back and forth recently about where I am going with this blog, and how I can keep it enjoyable (e.g. I don’t want to start becoming like “ahh, it’s Thursday.. better write my blog..sighhhh”). Part of me is wondering if it is coming to a natural pause. My main focuses have always been, right from the start:

1) Mental health – mainly depression and anxiety

2) Trangender – mainly the process of transitioning

These days, yes I still flip around with my mood a bit, but within the “average” range I would say, not diagnosable as depression. My anxiety is still a challenge but since leaving mental health care services and coming off medication it’s become more of a day to day thing, no big advances and stuff.

Transitioning wise, well, I’ve just had the last of my revisions on my chest and, at least for the next year and a half/two, I don’t have any surgeries lined up. Testosterone is still working it’s magic, but at a pace that requires gaps of months and months to really notice.

I feel like i’m moving on to something completely different now, heading off to Japan. All my thoughts, worries, excitement, nerves, etc are based around that topic. Thing is,

I dont want to move this blog away from it’s founding topics

To me, this feels like my MH + transition story board, and many of my followers on here I know follow because of interest in simular topics.

So, i’m thinking my options are going to be either:

1) Stop the blog, at some point before I leave (next month). In this case, I would intend to come back to the blog in the future if/when I make any big movements in transitioning OR I feel I have a lot to talk about on the mental health side.

2) Continue the blog with a post every month or two. In which I would talk about being transgender in a foreign country, and the challenges associated with that. (i.e. I would not make it into my “day-to-day” life working abroad blog).

I think once I start my new job abroad, I will be more excited about regularly writing about that, the country, the general challenges, and so a weekly post here will no longer be the fun and release it has been for the past 3 years (ish). Anyone have an opinion on what they think is best? Anyone got an interest in hearing about tackling trans stuff in a new country (option 2)?

Anyway, for now, I gotta sort out more paperwork, buy more stuff and write a list of things to pack. See you next week 🙂

The mind set for moving

It’s strange how you can live 30 mins away from friends and relatives, and not see them for months at a time, but just knowing they are there means you don’t really miss them. However when moving to live on the other side of the world, give it 2 weeks and not being able to see all your friends and relatives hits hard. I suppose this is amplified by the fact that its naturally a time where you really want support. Everything is new, strange, hard to fathom and being strong all the time is exhausting.

I’m trying not to get too deep into how I will deal without knowing comfort is a drive away/a shout away/a walk away. A phone call is all I will have, with a bit of skype. It’s funny, when I went to live in Wales for University, I did not see my parents for months at a time at points…yet I knew I could afford to pop on a train (3.5hrs) and go back for a weekend whenever.

Japan will be…not a train ride away! More like a bloody big plane and several train rides away, and give or take a day or two! It’s now “next month” I head off. Shit.

Next month I will be on Japanese soil, on a teaching visa, ready to start a job in front of classes of kids expecting me to produce fun and interactive lessons for them. Shit.

I’ve come from a place of severe anxiety. So much I found it hard to be in a room with more than one person I did not know. Sometimes it was too hard to go to the shops, and talking infront of strangers was near to impossible. Now this….

Thankfully anxiety has slowly been retreating, with a lot of effort on my part to keep mentally strong and face situations head on. And transitioning has helped. That’s another hurdle I will be facing in Japan. Transitioning in a different country. Thankfully I think medically I am sorted, it’s just other stuff like how to deal with onsen (hot spring baths, naked) and public bathrooms, gym changing rooms, showers, sharing rooms etc.

At the same time as all this, i’m excited. I feel like i’m finally getting back into “exploring” and opening myself up to experiences like I used to try do as much as possible 5 years or so back. Often the toughest situations give the best opportunities to develop and grow as a person, and give the best memories. I just have to remember that when i’m in the centre of the storm!.

 

 

3rd Surgery down

Hopefully the last on my chest!

This week I went under general anaesthetic for a second revision to my chest, to decrease the size of my areolas and to take a wee bit of left-over material from one side by liposuction. The decrease in areola size also allowed for the skin to be stretched more taunt on my chest, reducing the chance of “saggy skin” which, ofc, no one wants or expects until they reaching their final years…

I was pretty relaxed before surgery, I know the drill by now, and was happy to hear I was first on the list for afternoon operations. Mainly cause I was already starving and was thinking it was best I got knocked out before my hunger turned me into an angry, moody chimp, banging my chest and yelling downing the waiting area.

Down in theatre things did not get off to a great start… the cannula killed being put in. Then the guy came with the bloody big syringe full of anaesthetic, plugged it to the cannula and started to ram it in with pressure .. *arrrrghhhhhhhhhhh*. They got the hint via me:

1) Yelling

2) Coming out in sweats

3) Shaking

+ and the heart rate moniter bleeping beside me suddenly having a temper.

The anaesthetist paused and was like…”ahh, blown vein”. Great. So they quickly went with pulling out the old one (oww) and putting in a new one (oww oww). He shoved in the rest and I started to feel like violently throwing up. The last thing I remember saying is “I feel..quuuezy..” then OUT.

I came round feeling not too bad in recovery. Just kinda high I suppose. I vaguely remember watching nurses wandering around, then being helped to clumsily get into my clothes. Then back to main room where my mum came through to see me. I had a bit to eat, had a quick chat with surgeon who seemed happy, then was off!.

Ahhhh the car journey back, 2 hours of pure.. HELL. In the car, something suddenly turned inside me and I felt like throwing up all the time, yet there was nothing to come out. I felt sick as a dog. Sick as a rat after eating a full block of stilton cheese. So my mum kept having to stop the car to let me out to retch and make generally disgusting sounds in laybys. The joy. The wrap round my chest was uncomfortable, my hand throbbed, my shomach churned, and I would have been happy for the car seat to swallow me whole.

Somehow made it to bed and had fragments of sleep interspaced with wake-full moments of a heaving stomach. Next morning noticed my hand had turned blue from the bust vein, and still felt sick pretty much all day.

But, things are improving!! I have had about 24 hours free from vomit feelings now! 🙂 . The tight wrap is off and so I can move more freely with just the bandages and a compression top. I’m on no painkillers or anything, I just have twitches and spasms from my chest that are managable. I am trying to be a good recover’er. Just gentle movement around, eat well, rest a lot etc. I’ve learnt from past op’s that slow and steady does win the race when it comes to recovering. What’s nice now is not having any surgeries to think about in the future (as it stands). I’m happy to just fall into a quiet period and contemplate further stuff if/when it comes to me.

Now i’ll sit back with a coffee and chill for a bit, maybe watch Perry and Percy the pigeons sunbathing outside in the trees as normal. Till next week..

 

 

 

I don’t watch trans documentaries anymore

And it makes me feel uneasy each time I see a new on one. First, to make it clear, I know exposure is important to get people thinking about transgender people, discussing it, and for changing baseless negative attitudes.

However…

What I find hard is reading/listening to all the venomous comments that spring up afterwards with people trying to convince others down two main lines 1) That you should take trans people as a joke, and laugh at dillusional behaviour. 2) That they are forming a dangerous precedent that will result in people being harmed, damaged, assulted etc.

Firstly, can’t this whole idea about discussing transgender people’s existence be just tossed out the window, because that is not a discussion. Full stop. Trying to tell someone their feelings are not valid is like telling the moon it doesn’t exist. You’re not getting anywhere. Also, transgender people are not claiming that they are cis-opposite sex, so we don’t need a biology lesson. Speaking for myself, I am very aware that I was born into a female body, and that my DNA will always code a XX. ….So? If we all had to stay exactly how the natural world shaped us, and shun the capabilities of modern medicine, then no one would be having botox, skin grafts, boob-lifts, bionic arms, pace-makers, prosthetic ears, liposuction, vitamen injections, birth control coils etc just to name a few. Why try reject a trans person to the capabilities of modern medicine? In the end of the day it’s there to use to improve lifes, why not?

Are people really concerned it won’t improve our lifes? Why not ask the people who have gone through transition? How many feel better, and how many feel worse? Treatments always have benefits and side-effects, (try reading the entire list of side-effects for something as simple as Ibroprofen), but the reason you still have all the treatments regardless is because the benefits outweigh the side-effects. For many cases (I don’t speak for everyone*) transgender people can be in a dark and confused time before transitioning, and life can seem pointless or hopeless. Transitioning can be a rough path, but the benefits can be literally a breath of life into one that was slowly retreating from the world.

I wish documentories took more time to reach deeper into the reasoning of transgender people, and focussed less on the “entertainment” of showing people the potential surgeries and the “big steps”. Most of transitioning is the everyday life, year by year processes, slowly building from the ground up and learning how to enjoy the delights of the changes piece by piece by piece. It’s Joe-Bloggs stuff, it’s not a circus show. It’s people trying to get on with life and enjoy it, whatever it takes.

So no, will give this documentory a miss, although (with a prayer that it’s a decent one) welcome the random population watching it to start the thought process off for people who are truely in the dark.

 

*disclaimer* I am not suggesting everyone who is transgender want’s to medically transition.

2nd self-injection

This week I self-injected Testosterone and hormone blocker for the second time. Felt more mentally prepared this time. Last time I think I had a current running through me that was shouting “what on EARTH have they done letting you have these big needles to jab yourself with? everything could go to shit!

This time, I was shaking (despite not wanting too, as it makes it a hell of a lot harder to hold the needle still) but I felt determined to do it right and improve on last time. Things I did better:

  • Had alcohol wipes, cotton buds and plasters within easy reach
  • Shook the Prostap more, so that all the solution was milky white (no powder stuck to the edges)
  • Lined up needle and jabbed in quick – I did not feel the arm jab go in, so that was great
  • Also jabbed quicker with the testosterone – this one still ached like mad (still does a little bit) but I got it in first time, and had a countdown to steadly inject in 2mins.

Basically I did not faff around as much this time, so I had less time staring at a needle, and less time for my eyes to mention to my brain “erm, think we should tell you something…he’s got this sharp metal object…

I did notice my energy levels had dropped down a little in the days before my jab, but nothing too negative. Soon no doubt I will feel the energising rush of T as it builds in my blood. I had a blood test taken on the same day as I injected (before the jabs, in the morning) which will be interesting to get the results of, to see if it’s improved at all from last time.

Top Surgery Revision Pre-Op

This is just round the corner on Monday, so off I will go on a relativly long round trip for (yet more) blood tests, MRSA test, weight and BP. The joys. I wish hospitals were so linked up I could just get this pre-op done at my local hospital, but hey. Looking forward to being done with this last op for my chest, then just letting it heal not having to think about it any more.

Life

It’s been generally dark, drizzly, frosty, cold and dull in the North of UK recently. Hard to get motivation up to do much. I have however finished my TEFL course with a distinction which is cool, and have been pushing ahead with learning Japanese. My cold also has gone and i’ve been back into doing weights at home, following workouts on youtube from cheery American’s with inspiring quotes and chiseled bodies.

A couple of months now till I move away. Yikes!