Nips and feeling S***

Hey guys,

I am back living with my parents, after a stay at my brothers and a birthday trip taking in a few sites in London.  Problem is, I think I over did things in London, my immune system went on holiday and a party of viruses piled in. So now i’m ill, with a clogged up nose, a raspy voice that makes me sound like Barry White, and a head stuffed with cotton wool. I have to admit i’ve probably been way too active since top surgery only about 2 weeks ago. Anyway, I am sat feeling sorry for myself, fed up that I can’t have a bath because I cannot soak my stitches and trying to sort out a generic CV.

In terms of top surgery, the plasters are off, and I see my nipples! I am very pleased with the results, and with the amount of leftover breast tissue taken out. Already it is making me less dysphoric about nipple size. They are full of stitches though. Literally. Stiches. Every.Where. (cue song of the week, Foo Fighters: Gimme Stitches). Which, although normal, slightly concerns me as I really don’t want to tug them accidentally. This led to me wearing extra plasters at night right up to yesterday. Now i’m just trying to be careful. Also a couple of stitches each side at liposuction entry point. Movement range is pretty much normal, just the odd “tug” feeling. No pain, just can’t lift heavy items..ah yes, that issue. Story time.

So on Monday (my Birthday) I was travelling from my brothers house, to London, then in the evening London to Yorkshire. With a heavy case – an issue. This led to some quite time consuming and irritating situations that made me really feel for disabled people!

  1. Brother has to park up at train station, take case in with me, ask permission to get onto station to help me, get bag on train for me – then he almost got trapped in as the guard shut the door, hence a bit of panic.
  2. I had to have friend meet me at other end – but I did not know the platform I was coming into until the train arrived, so had a quick texting flurry, whilst smiling awkwardly at the cleaning staff as I hung around the empty train near my bag trying not to look suspicious – which ofc im sure made me look suspicious (I was very aware of the recent terror attack on a train just 4 days earlier in the city) .
  3. On the way back my direct train was cancelled leading me to have to explain to about four different members of staff why I could not take the replacement train which required a train change half way through (no one to carry my luggage across). Everyone pretended to know the answer – no one knew the answer. After criss-crossing London Kings Cross for 20 minutes at about 8pm, tired, ill, and wanting to just collapse, curl into a ball and start crying while someone else sorted out my problems, I got onto a train. I could not relax the whole two hours because I was not technically allowed to be on it – I was going to rely on a kind train conductor to understand my issue and just let me stay on. Thankfully no conductor came round, and after having my parents meet me on the other side and get my luggage off, I vowed mentally never to travel on a train whilst not being able to lift ever again.

And I woke up the next morning wanting to do away with my oesophagus.

I have being slowly making progress on sorting out my CV. I can only apply for select jobs (at the moment) that dont require lifting. I think next week should be OK for going for them all though, and just saying at an interview I will be a couple of weeks until I can lift. I’m not going to mention my next surgery (which I already have a consult date for in December).

I keep forgetting I am on reduced meds, which is a good thing! Only side effect I have is that I am slightly more shaky. Anxiety wise…well it’s been pretty low recently. Lets hope with job stuff creeping up that it stays that way! Now I am off to fall asleep zzzzzzzzz

Recovering

This will be short and sweet, im tired and grumpy!

I’m currently in the South of the UK seeing my brother and his partner for a little while and recovering from top surgery. I feel like i’m in the middle of a rough patch at sea, where I feel like there is no solid ground and everything is a bit of a jumble. It’s great doing different things, but with so little certainty to go on with regards to…well, what i’m doing with life, it can be hard to keep a larger overall focus. You end up tangled in a million small threads and have to keep cutting back, walking a distance and seeing the bloodly big rope. If you did not, then all the little threads would slowly trap you and drag you into a fluffy mound of fabric.

Not exercising is hard – its my release and it’s time where I do my thinking and take different perspectives. Only one week into non-exercise sabbatical and I yearn for burning thighs and back sweat. At least there is progress, as my dressings can come off this evening, allowing me to see my new nipples for the first time, and the lipo work thats been done. Although if things dont look ready i’m shoving a plaster straight back on – kinda nervous about damaging a nipple!

My laptop goes in for servicing today and I dont get it back for 9 days – so my next blog I will attempt from my mobile phone for the first time! Hope everyone is well. To anyone else currently in the rough waves, I am the crazy person in the boat in the distance waving frantically.

 

Revision surgery

Morning 🙂

I had top surgery revision this Monday past. This surgery had two aims:

  1. Liposuction – take out some of the stuff that had been left in first time with peri
  2. Nipple reduction – take them down in height and width

I will then have further surgery 3/4 months away to reduce areola size and tighten the skn around my chest. For both these its under general anesthetic. Im pleased to say that recovery is a shed tonne easier than last time! OK it’s still awkward, arm movement is restricted, my chest pangs and twinges and throbs on and off, but it’s nothing compared to the main surgery I had last December.

  • I was in at 12.30pm and out by 5.30pm the same day
  • I don’t have drains
  • I only needed to wear the post-op binder for 1 day, now its compression for for just one week
  • I take the dressings off myself in 10 days – no post-op appointment needed
  • So far I have not needed any extra medication, even though I have a back up of paracetamol, ibroprofen and codeine
  • I can walk around, get into bed and go to the loo without struggling
  • I had a smaller dose of anesthetic so the dozy affects have not lasted so long

The staff at the day-op centre were all dead nice and made it an easy process. I did have one moment after the surgeon talking about general anesthetic and drawing on my chest where i was like “arghh, what am I doing, I don’t wanna put up with all the pain/recovery again!” But that passed, and i’m glad it did cause as i’ve said, its not been half as bad. I just had to go to my GP’s yesterday and get one of the dressings re-done as it was saturated in blood and looking a wee bit gory. I saw my left nipple as this was being done, a tad more gory.

Now just counting down the days until I can exercise again – jump, lift weights, hop, dance, shimmy, and generally get back to annoying people properly. Also dealing with reduced anxiety meds now – a third cut off my dose. Seems to be going fine as we speak, and feels good to be slowly getting off them. Just a little bit more shaky than normal. I had a month before I reduce again, and my GP surgery have been great in giving me lots of control over the reduction – I have the flexibility to go up again if I need to.

Currently, sometimes I feel like everything is too slow and that I am getting nowhere. Other times I feel like loads is happening all at once! I’m trying to not overthink (which is hard where there is not a dissertation distracting your mind) and stay focused on the simple, main goals of the coming weeks and months.

  1. Recover
  2. Find a job
  3. Get job in Japan secure
  4. Find some cheap but comfortable accommodation

Easy right?

Lake Idwal 5.JPG

 

 

Leaving mental health care (!)

When I started to write this blog, I wrote a lot about mental health, mainly depression and anxiety. At the time, both were making my life a misery. Some days I would wake up and not want to wake up, some days my anxiety was so high I could not get out the house. It was shit.

Well, after being with a community mental health team (CMHT) for god knows how long, I have just broken off with them – my depression has gone, and my anxiety is under much better control. I no longer have a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) to see regularly, no longer have a support worker, no longer have access to their “on duty” phone line and fast call outs. Hours upon hours upon hours of help, advice, patience, caring and not giving up on me got me to this point. All on the NHS. Many of the CPN’s and support workers I saw were overworked and lacking pay raises, yet all of them felt passionatly about the NHS and keeping it a free source of health care for anyone in Britain. In fact, I can’t remember anyone i’ve spoken to recently who has thought the NHS is a bad idea. It’s sad to think the Conservatives are slowly privitising it on the low-down. It’s sad to feel powerless about it and see it crumble. I hope everyone comes together to fight for it in the future.

I will continue to feel grateful for the NHS, especially with operations on the horizon (one next week for chest revision) , trans medication and general healthcare. Being out of CMHT does not mean the end of all medical stuff for me unfortunately!. I now need to reduce down some anxiety meds, and try get off them altogether. I also need to sort out my Nebido injection and Prostap + regular bloodworks. Nothing as intense as before though.

So much is changing at the moment. Wales is now a dot in my rearview mirror, I sit writing this at my parents house in England. My gear is piled around me. I look out to trees & shrubbery rather than a whole town and the mountains coming down to reach the sea. But its OK, there is enough green here to keep me satisfied (for now). I don’t think I will be settled for a while, but I don’t feel like settling quite yet anyway!

Revision surgery – The pre-op went smoothly. 3 hour round trip for a 10 minute appointment. Literally: weight, blood pressure, swabs, questionnaire, bloods, go. Im going to be totally put under, but after I have woken up for 2 hours and eaten I am free to go. Liposuction could cause quite a lot of brusing, but there is a chance I will just need to wear a compression top, not a proper wrap-around binder – we’ll see. I am already mourning the impending lack of exercise.

Can’t believe comparison picture week has come around already – but here you go, hopfully you can see some facial hair growth this time!

Comparison Pic: day 28 vs day 588 (week 4 vs week 84)

 

Goodbye Wales!

I leave this small seaside town in a couple of days, so as a last farewell my housemate and I have been doing a mini tour of the area, which has been great fun. The day before last saw me on a beach jumping into the sea again. Had to deal with a double whammy of trickyness:

  1. The beach was really busy at the carpark end. So we had to walk through droves of screaming kids, sunburnt adults, windbreak fortresses, sandpit traps, toddlers wandering aimlessly around in nappies and wet dogs running towards us and sniffing about. Got my anxiety cranked up a bit, but we kept walking until a quiet bit (which was only a 5 min walk, which no one seems to want to do).
  2. Getting changed on a beach. Already had my trunks on, so fine getting changed – although got a bit iffy about my chest; i’m looking forward to some changes with top surgery revision. Then afterwards I only had a tea-towel like piece of cloth to dry myself with- a few dog walkers straying outwards from the carpark end of the beach got a nice image of my arse.

NewB 220817 (5)

So quite emotional, I will now be landlocked, with no miles and miles of views to look out to every morning (im sure there is someone primeval about liking a good view, it feels good – like “hell yeh, im guarding my land”). But back towards my home town there is some beautifal places also, so long as I go out and find them.

Packing to move is as fun as always – so about as fun as petting a terrapin. I have brought vacuum bags for my clothes which is proving a nice distraction as I like to and watch the air get sucked out (simple things give me pleasure). Other stuff I am succeding in moving from one side of the room to the other. I now have spare time (my first free week) since I have finished my dissertation, so I can take time with things and enjoy not feeling like I should always be getting back to work. Although talking about “real” work, I need to start looking around to be ready post-surgery. Hopfully everything will slot together nicely.

Coming up is my pre-op, so will be updating on that next week. All a bit of a faff for some bloods, blood pressure and weight etc but hey. Needs must. Everything else transition-wise is going well. Nebido is working its wonders and everyday I add a new day to my “life as Seb” which I can look back on. Building up a history in a new identity takes time, but when you do it as an adult you appreciate seeing each new memory you create, it adds to a book that is paper thin at first, but soon grows! 🙂

Note: Please ignore the cheesyness

 

 

 

 

The cliff of post-Uni

Life is picking up the pace. I wont be in this house much longer. Which in some ways in kinda sad, cause its got awesome views and I have lots of space, but I did not live here long enough to get too attached (7/8 weeks). And I think i’m part Nomad now anyway.

Next week sees me moving to my parents for a bit pre-surgery. I need to attend a pre-operation appointment, and just get in the right frame of mind for it. After that I will be heading to my brothers house, who has kindly let me stay with him and his partner for a few weeks during recovery! Then I will bounce back to my parents who will hopefully tolerate me until I get a job and a house share in the area :-).

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Basically I will be living out of a suitcase for a good month if not more. It’s going to be a teeeeny bit of an upheaval, but it makes sense, and it’s a plan – my plan. I’m kinda learning to be comfortable with just doing what I think is best for me, and not what other people think is best. It’s taking some time, cause sometimes I just wanna follow what someone else says, cause the known path is the least scary. But slowly i’m trusting myself, and the more I do, the better i’m feeling within myself. All good stuff!

I’m selling/donating/chucking some of my gear to make it more transportable. I.e. can all fit in a standard sized car. The only big thing I am reluctant to sell is my bike, so i’m keeping hold and ensuring my other stuff is small enough to squeeze round the bike with its wheel/s off in a car. It’s pretty refreshing really, the more you throw the lighter you feel. I try assess each item for the likelihood of using it in next couple of years. I sold my office chair today, and felt stupid for having a mini heart tug at seeing it go. Soon got over it though.

I have (kinda) finished my dissertation! My supervisor is having one last check, and then I just need to add page numbers and BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! send it in for printing 😀 . I am going to a nice fish resturant on Saturday evening to celebrate. Uni no more.

Transition wise – well, they say all forms of testosterone are the same – so it must be the dose – but Nebido is great. I’m finding it easier to gain muscle (than Testogel), and facial hair is coming in at a much faster pace. It’s like Popeye has just eaten an extra strong tin of spinach. I bet if he had grown out his facial hair he would have looked like a walking carpet.

Anyway, all this life changing stuff means I am leaving CMHT – no more mental health support for the first time in 3? years maybe. Which, i’m not going to lie, is shit scary. But I feel I am ready for it now, I will have to keep a check on my anxiety. I will have to take deep breaths often. I will have to let go and move with the flow more often. I will have to smile and enjoy the present. I am excited about what is round the corner!

London

 

 

 

I dont saunter, I sail

Yesterday I did what i’ve saying i’ll do all summer, and went to a summer activity session run by the University. I chose sailing, cause it’s something i’d never done before. And I faced a whole host of challenges, including being on a minibus full of strangers, getting changed in an open men’s changing room, and standing around for ages on a shore-line trying to make sure it didnt look like I did not have a d*** downstairs. And you know what? I flipping well got through it all. I had this mentality…

“If I wanna travel, if I wanna live abroad, then I can’t be someone who bails on an afternoon trip on some boats just cause there are a few hurdles to get past”

and it worked. Each challenge came up one by one, and each time I just questioned what I would do if it happened in Japan, or in a random hostel somewhere. Turns out sailing was no quite as exciting as I had hoped, spent 4 hours on the trip and only 10 minutes sailing a dinghy boat, but hey, I got talking to a few random people which was nice. Yep, my anxiety has dropped to that level now, I can talk to strangers without erecting a pop up greenhouse, stepping in and staring blankly out of it like there is a signpost trying to talk to me.

It was a stark contrast to the day before, where I had a bit of a shit meeting with my CPN. They were basically trying to pressurise me into going on a walking group with other members of CMHT (i’ve been before) but I was having none of it. I was not in the mood, and felt I was better off working on my dissertation. Ended up cutting short the meeting cause it all got a bit “argh”. I dont like it when someone trys to push me into a corner. Anyway, the high of yesterday has left a nice “karma” balance to this week so far.

I have also just passed the first stage of a teach abroad programme (got an email an hour ago)….arghhhhh

Pic from the beach this weeked – I could not resist rolling down a sand dune and getting sand in every crack and crevice. A mate was round which was really nice, travelled to some of my favourite areas again 🙂

NewB Aug 17 (4)