More pointless trans rules

Last battle to be able to stay in Wales looks defeated. Despite studying here for a year and wanting to find a job round here, at least in the short term, I will have to move away in September. It’s all because of the differences in funding between NHS England and NHS Wales. With NHS England, you can go to any Gender Identidy Clinic (GIC) you choose. Being with a GIC is essential for your transition. It give you access to being assessed by a professional, which in turn gives you access to being prescribed hormones and being referred to surgery(s). NHS Wales don’t have their own GIC – they used to, but budget costs shut ’em down. Everyone in Wales wanting access to a GIC has to go to London Charing Cross, as this is the only GIC NHS Wales will fund.

Well“, says I originally, “this is fine, I am already with a GIC (further North), so NHS Wales will have to keep funding for me going to an ongoing secondary care unit

Computer say’s no“, says the system. “You have to cut off your care at the other GIC, spend 2 years on a waiting list to Charing Cross that is currently blocked/delayed for Welsh patients because of arguments over funding (heard through the grape vine), then have a starter meeting with Charing Cross, then on your second meeting start talking about referrals”

But…”

Computer say’s no

F*$)^£*

The problem I have, is that IF I were to get a referral for lower surgery, then I could get one in the next 4-8 months with my current GIC, compared to the circa 2.5 years if I swapped. That referrel would be the last thing I need the GIC for – my hormone care could now be taken on by an endocrinologist. It’s just so friggen awkward and annoying. It makes me feel trapped due my health care and it surprises me that NHS Wales can act like this towards transgender people from England, it’s basically pushing people like myself to stay away from the country. Surely the funding differences between a London clinic and a Northern clinic can’t be that different??? (if anything I would think the Northern ones to be cheaper).

I think the decision has probably been made by some finance minister people with no knowledge of trans issues, bogged down in bureaucracy, thinking it would make funding issues easier to concentrate on one clinic, where in reality it’s just caused one big headache. Particularly for recent graduates from Welsh Universities who have fallen in love with the country and are willing to invest their time in staying and calling it home. Rant over.

Lets insert a picture of me happily crabbing to lighten the mood.

Crabbing Seb (2)

Transition

I think being due my shot next week is making me snappier and sleepier. I have wayyyy less energy, which is shit because I have an exam on Saturday. I spent 3 hours during the day yesterday just sleeping.

I’m not nervous at all about self-injecting Nebido, I have a pretty high pain tolerance and needles don’t freak me out. Just wanna get it done. Bring on T-shot day.

My facial hair keep on coming through at the moment. It’s kinda fustrating though cause I can see the gains, but to someone 2 metres away there is nothing there, ‘cept maybe a bit of a moustache shadow.

I got misgendered this week

It was shit

I was working in a computer room with a woman beside me. A dude comes in with a woman, glances round the room, then say’s

“Are you ladies the only two in here?”

*Silence*

Then the woman beside the guy awkwardly said

“Umm, thats not a lady…”

He kinda mumbled some shit, and then they did some stuff on the computers in the room. When he spoke over to us again, he only ever looked at the woman near me. He would not look me in the eye AT ALL.

To be honest it really shook me up for an hour or two. I felt like I had been shot back a year and a half to the old struggles I thought I was way clear of. But i’ve spoken to a few people about it, and I think all that happened was:  he glanced real quick round the place – I dont have facial hair – maybe he just said it automatically…and I think he was pretty embarrassed afterwards – hence the no looking at me thing. So i’m OK, it has not dragged me down for weeks into a slump, it was just a bit of a jolt. And something that could have happened to a cis-guy, but without having the transition history, they would probably not think half as much about it as a personal thing than I did.

Anyway, I’m sure these blogs get longer the more work I have to do.. avoidance tactics!  See you next week 🙂

 

 

Foraging

This week has been one of those non-descript ones, where life just goes on really. Working on my dissertation, heading to gym, taking walks.

One thing I have done differently though is start a bit of foraging on the seashore. I have a type of support worker currently who I go and do stuff with, and they took me to the seashore for foraging a few weeks back, showing me some of the stuff that could be collected round here, so I decided to try it out myself. I’ve found its really relaxing, my mind can’t seem to get trapped in stress and panic when it’s searching out periwinkles, limpets, cockles, mussels etc.

My first go I came back with a load of periwinkles which I soaked for 12hrs, then boiled. Had a fun time getting out the little snails with a pin.

Periwinkles 3 (2)

They tasted not bad, a bit rubbery. They look disgusting. I only ate the first one after watching a video of ~9 year old eating them on youtube. I was like…well this must be safe to do…and soon got into it. I’d give them a 6/10, and one i’ve already foraged for again.

Also got some limpets which I oven baked in a lemon-garlic-pepper-butter sauce first time round. That was alright, I’ve had them again and boiled them, and they taste a bit better – less tough. There are mussels everywhere but i’ve been warned not to eat them near settlements, and it’s a bit dodgy in the summer months. But maybe if foraged far away from habitation…thats possible here. There are also plenty of crabs, and i’ve just brought a crab reel – so will update next week!

I still love it round here, i’m making final enquirys to see IF I did stay here, then what would happen with my transgender medical care, mainly the gender clinic. I don’t think it will be funded, and I still need to be with them for now. I can’t see a GP till the start of August though (good old NHS) so it will be a while till I have more info.

My top surgery revision op (stage 1) is in a couple of months now, (just got the letter through), which is scary cause by then this Uni course would have ended. It does keep me tethered down, which may be a good thing, otherwise straight out this course I could well end up on an impulse flight to Taiwan or something random. I feel more ready for this course ending than I did with my undergraduate course though. Back then, I kinda assumed I would get a grad job straight out of Uni, easy. Now I am more realistic, knowing I join the scrap of many unemployed graduates, all like me, fighting to get the first step on the ladder of employment, whilst trying to blank out debts of 10’s of thousands of pounds, a sudden drop into the rental market, bills, battling back stress and depression….. sorry, getting away with myself.  It’s all good, everything is going to B-E-A-Uuutifal.  But yeh, so revision surgery 1 is round the corner.

I really want my 2nd Nebido jab now, and it’s still a week and a half away. I feel like testosterone is loosing momentum in my body – I need a re-fuel. This is going to be something I need to get used to, the peaks and troughs of injections which I never had on gel. It is hard to explain but I really do feel like I can tell my levels are starting to decrease. On that note, I need to start watching a few videos on self-injecting Nebido so i’m all swatted up when they come to teach me on my next shot date. Maybe I can practice by injecting Nutella into me? I would love to be powered by Nutella.

 

 

P.S. No comparison pic to end with! Feels weird after all this time.

 

1 year 6 months on Testosterone!

Woooo, has it really been that long? I think the last 6 months have flown by, most likely because of University. But I suppose it calls for a bit of a summary of how things are now.

  • I can’t remember the last time I was misgendered. This feels great and has given me much more confidence
  • My view on gender and labelling has changed and developed and I no longer care half as much as I used to about how far I fit into the “trans masculine” zone. I’m sure i’m in there, otherwise I would not want, need, enjoy all these physical changes, but I understand that alongside 99% of humanity,  I have a mix of gender traits and characteristics.
  • I’m much more sure of myself. With my added confidence I now am more likely to stand up for what I believe. It’s a long way from eloquent public persuasion, and I doubt i’m ever going to want to be someone like a politician etc, but I know I have a right to a view and to express it, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed to heads up with people who don’t agree.
  • My facial hair is no where near I expected it a year and a half in. I only had the low expectation of having a furry colony of trolls living in my flowing, slightly tapered and hansomely shaped beard. It seems to be taking off though, a combo of Nebido (which I have a feeling has increased my T levels) and Minoxidl have booted my face into gear. Although at the moment it seems to went to become a cotton plantation.
  • I’m not a big built guy, but I have bulked out. My shoulders mainly and upper arms. I do weights every other day (ish), the same kind of stuff that I used to do pre-T. Expect for now I can progress, lift more and put on more muscle.
  • I’m still mentally getting my head round all the possible surgery’s and the time and recovery. It affects a big chunk of your life if you choose the surgery routes. It adds a spanner in the works sometimes, and can limit and irritate and effect mental health too. At this stage in my transition, i’m starting to get into the thick of surgery decisions etc.
  • I’m still so happy I made the scary first step to start transitioning 🙂
  • I still can’t bring myself to like the Trans flag – to me it just reinforces the idea of gendered colours to the wider public – a rediculous “belief” that is already too widespead. But I’m not going to stress about it, it is what it is!
  • I’m hairy – and the body hair growth never stops!
  • I eat more
  • I sweat more
  • I smell more
  • Testosterone has not changed me – like the core of me, who I am.  I was a bit worried about this pre-T… would I loose the person I feel I am inside? But instead, all thats happened it that person who is me can express themselves more openly and freely.
  • I no longer get so worked up going into mens bathrooms. It used to scare the shit outta me. Even when I started been seen as male. Now I just go in, and if cubicles are in use, I don’t wait inside, I tend to go outside and hang around for a while and check again after 5 mins. Then I just get a bit nervy about how i’m going to find a loo if they are STILL occupied.
  • I want to get to know more transguys more than ever. The more I travel down the transitioning pathway the more I feel connected to other people going through it too. I want to share with people who understands the accumulation of highs, lows and everything inbetween.

On other news the house move went well, although it threw me for a few days trying to settle into everything new. I love the view and the space. I had a bit of a down this week with the walking group i’ve been going to – freaked out a bit and had to go back home. Don’t think i’m going again. But to be honest it has not got me half as down as it would have in the past.

OK, so from now on pictures once a month. Spare you the horrors! Anyway, i’m off for a swim 🙂 (unfortunately a pool this time, not a lake)

Comparison Pic: day 1, day 182, day, 364, day 532  (week 1, week 26, week 52, week 76) Start – 6 months – 1 year – 1 year 6 months

Moving home! 引っ越しする!

Today i’m finally moving out of this tiny, cramped, windowless room and moving into a reasonably large airy room with a double bed and a window with a view to the sea!

Things are a bit crazy, I’m writing this surrounded by boxes and loose items flung around the room, and i’m mid way through cleaning surfaces,  floors, cupboards and sills. Tucked in the corner is my dissertation and module work from the 1/2 inch of desk space i’ve been doing my work on. A “man with a van” is coming at some point, not sure when yet, and hauling this stuff about 5 minutes across town – with me helping (to make it cheaper), so let’s hope I don’t do my back in. It’s a forced move, the landlord wanted the property back, so I had to find another property for only a few months whilst I finish off Uni here. Least the new place looks like an upgrade.

In two months time, no more studying, no more dissertation, just….life. Work. It’s really strange. The job hunt continues, and i’m getting a little bit more edgy to find one every day. A bit concerned that my top surgery revision is going to be around the time that i’m planning on starting a job. But for now, there is nothing I can do about it.

It’s something that is really a pain in the ass with medically transitioning, all these appointments and recovery time don’t sit well with the modern world. These days you can’t take time out and not expect it to impact on your job/work. The only way to lessen the impact is to go slow and time it well, so your not at your worst when you need to be at your best (although cancelled/delayed apps/ops are always a possibility).

I had my bloods taken this week to check my levels now i’m on Nebido. It’s the 8 week mark. And I need to get some more done in 4 weeks for the 3 month mark when I have my shot. I’m hoping everything is going smoothly, i’m so busy I really can’t deal with adjusting stuff. It’s fine. I’m sure.

I have come to the decision to stop posting weekly pictures from the 1 year 6 months on testosterone stage, which is next week, and just start posting a picture once a month. I think it’s got to that stage now where stuff is so slow only monthly (if not more) pictures will show any difference. Hopfully I will have other interesting pics to post!

I was meant to go on another group walk this week, practice my socialising! But it got cancelled cause of the weather (I get the feeling this might be a reoccurring theme), and I can’t have my usual meet with support worker this week because of the move. Things should get back on track next week.

Transition wise, facial hair progress is really making me happy. I continue to rub in 0.5ml of Minoxidl every day, and more and more stuff keeps sprouting out – most of it light and fluffy peach fuzz – but a few are starting to turn darker. No other noticable changes.

Comparison Pic: day 35 vs day 525 (week 5 vs week 75)

 

Lone Wolf

Transition

  • Minoxidl still working well
  • Waiting on top surgery revision letter
  • First bloods since I Nebido started next week
  • I think I might be stabilising on Nebido a bit more…
  • Braved the open male changing rooms again to go lake swimming

Life

Time is rolling on and i’m getting more and more involved in my dissertation for University. It involves a lot of time staring at trees (figuring out species) and then hugging them (taking a DBH measurement) which I enjoy, especially with the weather being as hot as it has been. Only annoying bit is inputting it all into a spreadsheet – but I’m getting quite quick at that now.

I went on a walk this week, a CMHT (community mental health team) organised walk round the area. My CPN (community psychiatric nurse) had been trying to get me involved in it for a while, and I finally bit the bullet and showed up. This week it was a quiet one apparently, only a few people and quite a short walk. I found that my anxiety was pretty low, if anything it was more my awkwardness this time that came to the forefront. Holding chit-chat conversations with strangers is something that does not come easy to me…in fact it does not really come at all! Once I know someone over a period of time I slowly open up and talk more, but not on first contacts. All in all I surprised myself to be honest, it was all not as horrendous as I imagined, in fact, I felt no pressure most the time to speak, and just being with people without that struggle to speak/think of things to say was nice. *virtual pat on back*.

Tbh, I’m starting to feel comfortable with the idea that I will never be someone who likes being in big groups and social situations. Someone I know calls me a “lone wolf” and I think it’s pretty fitting. One person around, if I get on with them, is OK. But otherwise I kinda roam and enjoy the freedom of doing what I want, when I want. I guess when/if I meet “the one” that’ll change. But for now I traverse the land alone, seeing all there is to see.

I’m hoping it does not get in the way of me getting a job. Forestry is one of those deceptive careers which people think is kinda “isolated working”, when in the reality a huge chunk of the jobs these days for it are pretty social. Even “log cabin in the woods” ranger jobs now have added public interaction and guided talks/presentations attached. Still, anything environmental would be cool, ideally out of an office for at least 50% of the time.

Or maybe i’ll head off to Japan, and teach for a while. Don’t ask me how that will work with my transition, god knows. I suppose some stuff might pause, other stuff may be complicated…may have to cross those hurdles when/if they come.

Or maybe i’ll buy a boat and sail into the seas?

Or maybe travel to Indonesia and live cheap for a year doing environmental stuff.

Or maybe stay in Wales

Or go to the big cities

Or curl into a ball

and escape into

my dreams

 

Comparison Pic: day 28 vs day 518 (week 4 vs week 74)

 

Injection & surgery updates

Morning, two major bits of progress this week!

  1. Self-administeration of Nebido sortedTick

Regular readers may remember I wanted to self-inject the last one, however was stopped just before the finishing line by the nurse, who ended up doing it instead. In the normal “doing the rounds” NHS way of progress i’ve been batted from one person to the next, to the next, with large gaps of time in between. Thankfully my GP was in action mode when I saw her last week to update on the lack of progress and sorted out, there and then, a nurse who was willing to teach me for my next shot in late July. It’s only taken about 4 months to sort out (slight sarcasm). But seriously, i’m just happy it’s one less thing to arrange. In a couple of months time I will be able to let you know if Nebido is as painful to self-inject as people make out! (something to look forward to! :-p)

2. Saw my top-surgery surgeon about revisions – Tick

This was something of a blur, an hour and a half travelling from parents house, 10 minute appointment, hour and a half back. I was out the appointment before I was scheduled to be in for the appointment. But I knew what I wanted, and I was clear on asking for it – liposuction, nipple reduction, areola reduction. The liposuction they umm’ed and ahh’ed a little bit about. Apparently most the extra bulk I see is pecs not fat. But in my eyes, if I am kinda slim now and have fat there that I don’t like, if I gain weight and more fat goes there I will really not like it. Might as well get it sorted now. I will have two surgerys:

a) Liposuction and nipple reduction – in around 3 months time (which is good because I don’t have to think about Uni, and summer will be mostly over)

b) Areola reduction – A slight chance this might not be needed if the above operation makes them contract more.

Both of them day surgeries, the first with a tube grip for 4/6 weeks (ffs). Both no exercise for a month 😦 . Once it’s done though, it’s done, never again to be needed! The surgeon was fine with doing revisions, answered all my questions and was efficient and friendly. I feel confident they will do a good job.

Transition updates

This is mainly focused on facial hair. And to my pleasent surprise, minoxidil appears to be working for me! I’m about 5 weeks in of using 0.5ml once a day on my face. I now have a fuller ‘tashe and dark hairs on my chin are coming through in a patchy fashion. Light hairs on cheeks are still light but getting thicker and growing in faster. Now…as a scientist by training, I realise this could be a coincidence, it could be to do with testosterone doses changing on Nebido, or it being summer and my face is a thriving perennial. However it has freaked me out enough for me to refuse to halt taking Minoxidil until even more hair is present…I don’t want to risk it all falling off. After a year and 4 months I think i’m due my share of facial hair.

Also I took my last packet of testogel on Tuesday, never to be had again! This was really cool, no longer the annoying 5/10 mins of waiting for it to dry, of trying not to get sweaty for 6 hrs (impossible in my case). So yeh, goodbye gel, i’m still thankful for all the changes you’ve given me!

Life

Meetings, meetings, work, walking, cycling, food shopping, gym, work, eating, sleeping, walking, gym, meetings.

Comparison Pic: day 14 vs day 511 (week 2 vs week 73)

Revision Appointment

Next week I have an appointment with the top surgeon I went with in Decemeber – the first time I will have seem him since the actual surgery date. At the post-op (10 days after op) I just saw a nurse who took off the bandages and sent me on my way.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I am looking for a bit of revision done, a bit of fat out here, a bit of shrinkage there. Things, I feel, I would not have to do if I had gone with double incision instead. But I don’t regret going for peri-areola, I think the scars from DI would have caused me too much anxiety in the long run. I can’t really compare with many others who have gone peri, cause I think on a scale, I was probably one of the bigger moob sized people who has done it. So a different time scale of recovery to most.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what he says, how many surgeries, and when he can perform them. I am not worried about him saying no, from what I have heard he is happy with doing revisions, and expects it with peri because of caution when doing the first main surgery. Sounds a bit silly, but I might push any surgery dates back till mid/late August. Just cause I don’t want to be barred from the sea/lakes/rivers most of summer whilst recovering! I’m not living here for long, so I want to make the most of all the outdoor stuff round here.

I am back at my parents for most the week, and I am travelling from here to the appointment. Being back almost made me forget this blog! I have only just remembered now at almost 10pm after coming back from swimming, with a full on allergy demon-swarm-streaming-arggghh head (yes just check out the pic to notice!). Strange being out the bubble of the Uni town. It’s busier here, and just..odd! I’m so used to living further away now.

Also I see my GP tomorrow and want to make sure I will be self injecting my next Nebido shot. So I will have a few things to update on next week. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and the comments I get from time to time. It’s nice to hear from people across wordpress 🙂

Comparison Pic: day 35 vs day 504 (week 5 vs week 72) 1 year 5 months!