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!

 

2018 has good vibes

Yep I wrote that title despite being in full flow of a cold and trying to batter away a million worries about the future. Reading many blogs and watching many vlogs, I have noticed that generally most people have got positive hopes for the coming year. I have to agree, plus, in my mind 2018 is a “good” number (does anyone else get “vibes” from numbers?).

For me, it will be a year that steps up the game from 2016 and 2017 when I went off to Uni after a couple of years of bad mental health. I achieved a hell of a lot going off to Uni again, building a foundation as Seb. This time, I will be going futher out, pushing my limts even more by living in a foreign country where I only speak the basics of the language, where the culture is VERY different, and where family will be a 13 hr flight away. All whilst navigating being transgender in a different country too.

It all feels very close now, less than 3 months away.

Wanting to live abroad AND being trans can be the extra complication that puts people off, as things are hard enough to sort out as it is. But right from the start of this transition I was determined that being trans would not put me in a corner and limit my dreams and aspirations. Instead you have to learn to be more proactive, more assertive, judge situations quickly, and sometimes just be willing to simply let things play out. If you can’t, then you find you get stuck in red tape and words of caution that leave you running round in circles.

I’m not going to make any new year’s resolutions, (except for maybe to remind myself not to get wrapped up in the moment and take stuff to seriously – but this is something I work on anyway). I just want to keep on being me, and keep on driving towards what makes me happy in life. Sometimes I feel this world just keeps getting crazier and crazier, and more and more people seem lost and out of touch with life. I think that in the future there is going to have to be a much bigger push towards promoting mental health and healthy lifestyle choices…otherwise it’s going to turn into mega-urban areas of zombies. Saying that, some people are staying ahead of the game with that one, taking part in the real-life “zombie chases” in different cities. I digress.

So, now i’m gunna rest up, eat Jelly and snort decongestant tablets whilst half-watching a bit of shitty TV.  Then look back at this blog in a few days time when recovered and wonder what the hell I was on about. Adios.

Transition progress

Looking back it’s been a year of major changes in my transition. Although I started testosterone in 2016, it has been 2017 where my male appearance has matured much more, facial hair has slowwwwwly come in and body shape has subtly shifted day by day. I believe the change to Nebido injections from Testogel shifted the gears of my transition somewhat. They say it does not matter the type of T you are on, as all are designed to give you the same amount, however as a pretty active person, I felt I sweat much of the gel off before it had chance to absorb into my skin.

It’s different now, not being a “newbie” to transition. I see lots of guys going through the start up process on forums and groups online and try give advice when I can. One thing I have noticed however is many of the same questions I asked a couple of years back are still asked, like “what changes will I see when?” “will T make my personality different?” etc. I never really got a straight answer then, and now I understand having been through the process how totally different everyone’s transition is.

  • I’ve had months of fustration watching people get beards after only 5 months on T, whilst I was a year on.
  • I’ve seen people say T changed their behaviour so much they had to come off it, whilst enjoying the calmness it has brought over me
  • I’ve seen people attribute it to their weight, both claiming it’s the reason they have put on loads, and lost loads..whilst also seeing many people like me stay steady
  • I’ve seen people blame being on T for catching a nasty cold…

The list could go on, but there are instances, especially in group support forums etc, where I wish people would not treat their experience as the gospel. Lots of people who can decribe their own experiences whilst showing an understanding that it can be vastly different for the next person is the most help to new-comers to transitioning. Better than someone believing they will have a Gandalf beard after a couple of months and then being sorely disappointed.

Life

Christmas went like a shot, but it was a nice time. Saw the family, eat lots of good food, received some nice prezzies (including a Sushi making course at Yo Sushi! which i’m looking forward to!).

If I had felt able to cut down my hours at work I would have, I have had some exhausting days working Christmas Eve, Boxing Day/general-crazy-sale days. Long shifts of being buffeted around, bending and picking up items people are throwing to the ground, ticking 1000’s of items all QUICK, QUICK QUICK is not fun (although if the manager asks “yeh, this is not bad!” *insert grimace-smile*). At least I only have one more shift then i’m done! Hopfully the extra cash will help with one of the many extra costs that will pop up soon, like getting to London for a visa, buying gear for Japan, luggage costs, and a multitude of other hidden costs (don’t we love ’em!)

I now have booked both my flight and my hotel for the first few nights in Japan. January is round the corner and I think it will be a busy month!. Finding out placement, getting documents in order, oh, and having surgery!

Hope everyone has a good time moving into 2018, year of the dog – apparently a good year for lifestyle changes.

The fear

I am now a MSc (distinction) BSc (1st Class Honors) graduate! I found out on Thursday last week I have a distinction in my forestry course, which is awesome, and more than I was expecting!

Bangor Grad WordP Copy

The day was really fun, albeit a little long due to the drive. I went round with my Mum taking pictures in a gown and hat, talking to people from my course, and went and shook hands with the Chancellor of the Uni during the (thankfully quite brief) cermomony.

Felt a bit strange afterwards. It’s like a finality… leaving behind the academic life forever. I love studying, but don’t like research work, so a Phd is not for me. Producing a dissertation for a Masters is bad enough, the idea of producing one for a 2-4 year Phd makes my heart turn cold.

Japan prep

I’m on the edge of buying tickets to Japan, and I tell you what, it’s scary. Booking tickets for a trip somewhere can be a giant headache. Booking tickets for travelling somewhere where (for the foreseeable future) you’re not coming back, is very disconcerting. Your brain kicks in with its “error correcter” which double checks stuff like:

Brain: “Ermmm, are you sure this is right? It says “one-way”? — “isn’t this an expensive risk?” —- “erm, your booking these NOW? can’t we wait till late..risk reduction and all..”

It takes a lot to stay objective, weight out pros and cons, and go for it.

Life

I have started a part-time Christmas job at another major UK retailer. This time I have sensibly kept the hours down to 16 a week, just until the end of the year, so not long at all. I had my first shift on Tuesday and almost passed out of bordem. I was in the stock room getting them ready for the sale and bloody hell it was so dull and repetitive and just MIND NUMBING. That was for 4 hours. I have a 8 hour shift on Saturday. Hopfully I will be doing something else otherwise I may crack. Imagine a pile of toothpicks, some 6cm long, some 7cm, and having to sort them into piles… yeh, that kinda bordem.

Transition

It’s soon getting round to ordering testosterone for next shot. Can’t believe how quick the days are going. It will be my last one done in the UK! Happy with the progress of changes currently. It’s really only facial and body hair that are progressing (if there are other changes they are too slow to notice). Still using Minoxidil on and off, not sure if it does stuff or not really. This Christmas will be the first time some people see me with facial hair!

Anyway, I gotta get booking flights, hope everyone has a nice Christmas, or at least manages to get through it OK :-). See you on the other side.

 

I’m hooked

Today is graduation day! I’m travelling with my Mum across the country to don the gown and cap and have a bit of celebration :-). Hopfully the rain will stay away and the snow will have totally melted before we get there. I’m really looking forward to seeing my Uni town again, seeing the sea and the mountains, breathing the fresh salt air! Not looking forward to the long drive but we’ll manage it somehow. Will find out my grade today as well which will be good to know finally.

Contemplation

I have been into a series on TV recently called “Ben Fen Fogles Lives in the Wild” which is about individuals or couples who were living “normal” lives in the Western world, or at least trying to, before deciding to pack it all in,  go remote as possible and live in “the wild”. Ben stays with them for a week and discovers their reasoning, what their lives are like, and if it is really as idyllic as it sounds.

I know why the show appeals to me: I have a love for travel, and getting away and being thrown into alien environments and working out how to survive. It’s also interesting to see how the people cope with the isolation or having to interact with the indigenous neighbours who appear from the wilderness around them, how much they are off the grid, if anyone can truely be away from the modern world anymore.

Also it kind tugs me to know that I would have slightly more complex issues than the people in the show if I ever did this myself, as I have a constant need for testosterone, a shot every 3 months. That means as it stands I would have to contact medical facilites every 1/4 year (or be in a location where I could safely store the drug myself at a correct temperature..which seems unlikely). It also means I would have to pay for these drugs, so would not be able to live totally off grid. OR, I could go off testosterone (*gulp*), the voice and (most) beard growth would stay or just slow down, but then have to deal with “female” menstural problems.

Now, I know that such a thing is unlikely, it’s just I suppose it kinda saddens me a little sometimes that there is that extra barrier. I mean, god, i’m finding it hard enough to sort out testosterone for Japan, another modern 1st world country!. Maybe in the future they will be able to invent an implant that slowly releases testosterone over years, negating the need for frequent doctor trips and injections. I have to think of the other side of things though, at least I have been able to transition, if I was living in one of these remote places from the get-go then I never would have been able to be who I am today. Living in the UK has given me the oppurtunity of a life living as who I really am and who I love to be.

Anyway, Christmas build up continues! One thing at a time, let’s let a large brightly dressed man jump down our chimney first and steal some mince pies before deciding what remote jungle outpost I could live in like Tarzan!

Dropped into a city

Taking the JLPT 5 (Japanese language proficiency test) in London, December.

Sunday was quite an experience. I did a round trip to London in one day (over 6 hours travelling) for a 2 hour (ish) exam. It gave me some mini-practice at exposure to many different “new” things all at once.

  1. Firstly finding the damn building. They tell you it’s on “campus” – great. You know, there is only about 9-10 large buildings with various entrance/exits on campus, interspaced with parks and side roads. I ended up bumping into a few other lost people, and after establishing we were all going to the same place, did a bit of wandering till we came across a busy courtyard. Bingo.
  2. The shock of how many people were taking the test! I was 45 mins early and already there was a queue of about 50 people snaking across the courtyard. I heard that it was something like 350+ people all in all. Thankfully I found this easier for my anxiety as I could just “blend in” amoung the crowds and observe.
  3. Learning people had come from other countries just to take the test! There were people from Scandinavia, Germany etc. My trip from “up North” paled into insignificance.
  4. Having one of the all-too-familir long waits for a cubicle to be free in the guys toilets. It’s a tad awkard stood there in a tiny room where everyway you look seems to be either a guy at a urinal or a mirrored image of a guy at a urinal. Cue fake very-important-crap-on-phone look.
  5. Realising I am actually quite good in a stress situation. After finding a queue of people outside a room, after going though a warren of doors, I assumed I had found the correct room. I stood in the queue outside the door. God knows what clicked, but after 20 mins I thought…”humm, is this really my room?”  I abandoned the queue and walked up to the door — wrong room. Shit. I doubled back and did some quick-step exploring, before finally finding the right room where thankfully nothing had started. Lesson: being a sheep can be OK, as long as you are a sheep who knows why you are beexam rooming a sheep. I was a blind sheep.
  6. Trying not to laugh at random “break music” on listening test
  7. Trying not to laugh at ridiculous possible answers to questions.
  8. Trying not to attack the guy coughing throughout the listening section. Who was strangley quiet in the other sections….
  9. Enjoying a 1st class train journey home, as it was oddly cheaper than a standard ticket. I of course did the normal and drained the food trolley of all possible free food each time it came round and stored some away for later.

Anyway, I think I have passed, and it felt really good getting to show what I had learnt over the past years. It also refreshed in my mind how intense Japan is going to be – a constant bombardment of the unknown and quick decisions that either set you on a right path or result in you quickly falling deeper into the rabbit hole.

STP dilemma

Thinking of getting a decent STP/packer before I go to Japan, but really struggling to find one that ticks all the boxes. Thing is, I prefer “discrete” but there does not appear to be a good one that is this, + STP’s well. I really like the idea of having one though, so the search continues. Anyone got a recommendation?

 

3rd surgery

This week I headed off to see my surgeon to discuss top surgery revision. As normal, it was a friendly but rapid appointment. Basically:

  1. Go in room, ask what it is i’m needing/how past surgery went. (2 mins)
  2. Whip off shirt, have a little inspection, talk about where they will cut, etc.  (4 mins)
  3. Shirt back on, surgeon draws a mini picture in notes to remind him what to do. (1 min)
  4. I explain i’m going to live on the other side of the world in less than 4 months, and I get booked in asap – which is late January (2 mins)

Roughly ten minutes after going in, i’m making my way out. The surgeon is normally on time as well, which is nice because it limits the amount of time I have to spend in the waiting room of the breast clinic, where pretty much every patient is female.

OK, so I was hoping to get this done before Christmas, but hey, at least this will be still in time for going away. It’s not like I can demand the surgeon cuts short his Christmas holiday (if this happened it would be interesting to see my chest results – probably stitches spelling “MERRY FRIGGIN CHRISTMAS”), nor can I shunt someone else off the list (im not THAT evil).

surgery pic blog

What’s kind disturbing is how used to surgery I am getting. It’s like i’m developing a routine with it. I know what I will need, what preperation needs to done, aftercare etc. Fingers crossed this is the last one for a while though. It’s under general anaesthetic but a day surgery again, so nothing too big – chop out a bit of areola, suck a tad more out of one side.

Life

Gym membership gone 😦 . Which means more home workouts, long walks and cycling into town a bit etc. Ah well, was good whilst it lasted. I’m not too down about anything at the moment, and despite no anxiety medication now, levels of panic and despair are low!

I have my Japanese exam this weekend in London, which i’m a tad nervous about now. 試験をしんぱいします! I think the Japanese motto of “to do your best” will aid me. I will have a good 3 hours on the train traveling there to get into Japanese only mode.

Testosterone

Still having troubles with getting a solid answer about obtaining Nebido (and Prostap) for/in Japan. My GP is following up another lead though, so again I wait. It’s a strange concept to me, coming from the UK, that many people around the world have to pay stupid amounts of cash for essential medication. When you have a life-long need for medication and you’re having to pay private prices you are talking (tens of) thousands and thousands across a lifetime. I know many countries have health-insurance linked to jobs, but from what I hear they can pick and choose treatments they give you access to, and whats the safety net if you loose your job? Long live the NHS!