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!

 

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.