The end is nigh

August has come with the stark reality of the end of this Uni course. I will have finished most of my dissertation in about 2 weeks, and completely in 3 weeks. Then the pages have not been written yet. I can follow no course, instruction manual or guide to the following part of life. Without boring everyone, I basically am investigating a few avenues. 1) A 9-5 job, 2) Teaching abroad 3) WWoofing abroad 4) Hogworts.

I started writing this blog in the months of dark depression and leading up to being well enough to start a Uni course (albeit with high levels of anxiety). That was a huge leap, leaving the security of a flat, good mental health support, family, and an area I had grown up. I followed my gut back then, and i’m happy i’ve ended up here now. Maybe it’s time for another leap.

I find the idea of getting to midlife and realising I did not do what I wanted, and could have done, in my earlier years more terrifying than the actual decisons I am making now. I feel I need strong coffees, Maryland biscuits and lots of long walks to come to a firm conclusion.

Transitioning stuff

I went to the Doctors to ask about staying in Wales and transitioning and GIC stuff. After waiting 3 weeks for the appointment, then 45mins in the waiting room past my time, it was a bit shit. Well…nothing wrong, just she had no idea and said she would look into it. I get the feeling she will come up with the same answer everyone else has given so im not holding my breath.

It’s the monthly photo day today, and hopfully you can see the improvements of my facial hair! I have not trimmed it for 5 days just to see what it ends up looking like. It’s a bit scraggly but im so overjoyed that it’s coming in that I don’t care. I have seen no noticeable changes in body shape recently. Mentally I have had a bit of a boost, I believe due to the Nebido shot kicking in. At least i’m aware now of what to expect towards the end of each shot cycle – lethargy, bit of grumpiness.

I’m trying to get mentally prepared for revision surgery on my chest, now only about a month or so away. I hate the recovery time and faff, so it takes a while of getting my head in the game so to speak. I want it done, I just wish it was a “snap fingers and voila” type thing.

Anxiety

I have not talked too much about this recently, but I feel things are improving steadily. I am still seeing a CPN and support worker every week, doing stuff like walks and going to coffee shops, having lunch places, trying to meet people etc. It’s getting me out and about and gently challenging me, proving that I can cope in situations I thought I would not cope in. As always, it seems the key is just exposure again and again and again until it’s second nature. I really have to work at it, particularly now when I have nothing I have to go to in terms of work or lectures.

Damn it, I really don’t think you can see my stubble in this pic….maybe in 2020.

Comparison Pic: day 21 vs day 560 (week 3 vs week 80)

 

 

The Creature & Darkness

Creature & Darkness

A creature steps out into the blinding light. Confident and aspirational, it soaks up the feelings of fresh air and a thousand possibilities. It’s shallow eyes and lack of lines the only indicators of a spring innocence, a lack of grasp on the firmness of the setting; the hardness. It trips. No problem, this creature is strong. It get’s up, a little shaken, but otherwise OK. The creature realises it should probably get moving..after all the light is blinding. Which way is out of the light? The door behind is shut. It starts walking, direction can hold no importance in a sitution like this. SLAM. It’s walked into a large metal lamp – the source of the light. What the fuck? The bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness steps up in an instant, feeding time. Before the creature knows whats going on, darkness folds itself tight around it, squeezing and pushing, trapping the creature in it’s cloak. Panic takes hold and a coldness sets in, a damp kind that mixes with fear to create a sweet, tasty dish for the predator. Darkness starts dragging the creature away, feet first, further and further into it’s home. It dumps the creature and casually and very slowly starts picking out it’s brains – not it’s phyical brains, for it has no need for flesh – it’s the mind, it’s very existence it craves. The creature feels a tearing.. a hopeless loss. It shudders. Sometimes it puts up a fight and screams and squirms against its bindings. After a while, it just lies there and feels more and more empty, more confused and disillusioned.

Suddenly, something is wrong – darkness is in a mood, quite clearly more than a little pissed off. It has reached a part of the brain it can’t get to. The creature is subconsciously doing some bloody gnarly psychological gatekeeping. More time passes and darkness decides to get out it’s “Mind-Meal Problem Solving – Series 1” book. The creature stirs – noticing a relinquishing of pressure. Everything is still pitch black, of course, but it opens it eyes anyway, looking all around. Slowly, very slowly, it picks itself up and starts crouch-walking – again, in any direction. It keeps stumbling, shit scared and having no idea why it’s running or what/who it really is anymore. A light flickers. The creature is so un-accustomed to it that it shuts it’s eyes, squeezing them tight. The light then comes on, and stays on. Through shut eyes it follows the gradient between shadow and light. SLAM. It walks into a large metal lamp. Something registers in the creatures mind – quick as lighting it lights a candle. The light bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness swoops and swoops, attacking at all angles. The creature holds up the faint light of the candle and shivers. It starts walking – it still does not have a direction, or a purpose – but for now, as long as the candle stays lit, that’s all that matters. The creature has just survived it’s early twenties.

Windemere, UK

Transition stuff

Well, I stuck two needles in myself. Result! (I realise I might have weird concepts of achievement) Last week I got to inject my Prostap jab and my Nebido jab, which means I can now self-inject at home at my leisure :-). I found that I’m a bit strange when it comes to needles – shoving one in me does not phase me in the slightest, if anything I feel a bit detached from it – like i’m focusing on doing it correctly to someone else.

  • Prostap – easy peasy. You snap a seperater in the needle and a powder and liquid mix. You screw the needle on. You then inject at a 90 degree angle, needle going 1/2 way in. Takes about 5 seconds to inject, then leave for 5 seconds to make sure the last bits absorb a bit. I felt nothing – seriously, nothing. Afterwards the arm turns kinda achy numb for a while. No biggy
  • Nebido – more complex! You have to draw up the liquid from a vial, then change needle. Push air bubbles out. Locate injection site and wipe clean (top quarter). Tense leg……then relaxxxxxx leg. And then stick a pretty large needle 3/4 way in (intramuscular). It’s thick, so you slowly inject over 1-2 minutes. It’s a bit of a balancing act, trying to push it in whilst making sure the needle does no poke in too far whilst leaning round at an odd angle. Then leave again for 5 seconds for absorption. Then slowly pull out. And let blood start pouring out! (ok, its best if this does not happen, as it means you have hit a vein/capillary, but its not the end of the world). Was told not to aspirate (pull back slightly) at the start as its now not NHS practice.  First 3 mls went in ok, the last 1ml was a bit harder, like my body was going “no more I tell you!!!“.  Just aches a bit now.

I just need to get everything sorted now for next time, like needles, syringes, set up getting the medication etc. It’s kinda irritating because I think I may be changing GP surgery before the date of my next shot. But i’m pretty good at not worrying about things in advance now.

Facial hair is coming on well, and i’ll have an update pic up next week. Maybe it’s a deciduous plant that comes into it’s own in summer?

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 🙂

 

 

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)

The mens changing rooms

Last weekend, early morning, I went lake swimming with a group. This was a shit scary concept by itself. I had to catch a bus, travel for an hour, then meet with a bunch of strangers, and then go swimming with them. Sat on the bus I tried to distract myself with music and watching the bus travel in every direction BUT where I wanted to go first. I can’t pinpoint the anxiety, but it’s connected to people meeting me, and some kind of judgement maybe? Or me doing something wrong or not realising the right social convention? Anyway, I arrived and was early, so walked and looked at the beautifal lake with the rising sun skimming it’s surface, and was tempted to say f*** it to group swimming and just dive in and swim myself. But it was my first time proper lake swimming, and I wanted to make sure I was doing things right.

Anyway, I got to the building, still early, and the door was wedged open a notch…but the lights were out. I skulked about outside for a bit – the took a deep breath – and opened the door. A little bell rang. It was dark, paddleboards and oars and wetsuits were everywhere. I heard voices. They sounded like they were coming from a back room. I did a little dilemma dance in my head

I think it’s intruding if I seek out the voices, since they are technically still closed, but can I go out if they heard the bell ring?..will that be strange?

After standing there like a lemon for about 30 seconds to see if they came out I “casually” sauntered back to the door and went out. -exhale-. So now, I just waited outside with my head like a disco panicking about everything and anything (Including dead bodies floating around the lake…I should not watch anymore crime drama).

Then suddenly, at the allocated time, everyone suddenly turned up in some anomaly of excellent punctuality and started walking in the doors (people randomly appeared from inside). Everyone seemed to know everyone else. So I walked back inside, and introduced myself to the guy running it…they were friendly actually (need to keep reminding myself these social situations are not always horrendous). I was a bit intimidated by the men though tbh, all of them either ultra triathelon guys in their prime or just tall well built middle aged men. Youngest was maybe 35?. So this was when it got hairy…

I said I wanted to rent a wetsuit, and they got one out for me, and directed me to their changing room area. The mens changing area was a room about the size of an average kitchen, maybe smaller, with a few plastic chairs, two showers with a thin flimsy pull across sheet and miniture toilet cubicle wedged in the size. Fuck…. fuck fuck fuck.

At this point, I was luckily the first person to get changed, so boy, did I get changed – I got changed like there was a drowning baby in the lake that I could only save if I got into my wetsuit in 3 seconds flat. I had just got it up to my stomach when 3 guys came in. They said hello, and I grunted, probably a bit rudely, not wanting to talk. They started to strip off whilst I hastly finished changing and started to stuff my gear in my bag as more guys came in. With everyone’s gear, there was not much room to manoeuvre. Anyway, I shot out and went outside the building, and just sat and breathed and tried not to panic about after swimming. More people came out and started to mill about and talk. I could not handle it so walked to the lake and started to wade in a bit get a feel for it. I was very conscious of my lack of bulge too in this very tight suit, so being in the water helped.

Anyway, the swim was amazing, it was cold but I soon warmed up in the suit, the views were amazing, it was all just great. Then it finished.

People started to mill round the lake at the end and chat… I shot out and went up the building to get changed. I pulled off my suit in one move like I was god-damn batman. I towel dried frantically and put on some boxers. Feeling margianlly better and desperately needing the loo I went in the cubicle. As I was finishing I heard guys start to come in the room. Arghh. I concentrated all my energy, walked out and looked straight to my gear whilst holding my hands in a “I hope this is not obvious covering my private area” way. Had one cocky guy try start talking to me:

Guy: “Water weren’t cold was it mate?

Me: *fumbling with socks on a plastic chair whilst trying to ignore the side angle view of his penis * “Erm, Not too cold no, it was alright

Guy: “More than alright, that was, it was fucking amazing”

He was kinda hyped up and I was really not in the mood for conversing so I just said nothing more and started packing all my gear, surrounded by naked and semi naked men. Tbh, it made me very dysphoric. I was super aware of what I do not have, and it turned it from the whole thing being awesome, to just purely the swim being the awesome thing.

Problem was, I enjoyed the swim so much I want to go back. So I’m trying to figure in my head ways to go back without having to encounter the changing room situation. I think the only way really is if I have my own suit – I could just get changed outside behind some trees. Or if I mention i’m transgender they might have a seperate area I can get changed..i’m not sure how I feel about disclosing that to them though. Hum, I think on.

Anway, wow i’ve written loads. I could write a lot more. I’ve had a shit week in terms of my moods, and I think it might be me getting used to Nebido still. I can’t concentrate, I want to do everything at once, and therefore can’t do anything. I’m sleeping 10 hours at night and then about an hour in the day. I’m hungry more and sometimes have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it. I get fustrated and angry and i’m 100% all in or 100% all out with decisions. I really need it to calm down, i’m finding it hard to manage. It’s just getting through each day as it comes, each hour as it comes, and not kicking myself if about not getting everything done I think I should get done.

Comparison Pic: Day 14 vs day 497 (week 2 vs week 71)

 

Nebido changes

Life

Oh god, awkward barber moment. I had to get my hair cut this week, it was running out of control, so off I popped to the barbers on the other side of town because its quietest early in the morning. Except this morning there was an old man having his hair cut, and only one guy cutting. I sat on the bench in this small room next to who I assumed to be his wife who was waiting for him. And I did the “I’ll stare at my phone with a passion like no other” thing for 10 minutes whilst they nattered on. Then close together, someone else entered, and also he finished cutting the guys hair. I thought OK, it’s kinda crowded on this bench, but at least it’s my turn now – but then she shimmied over to sit in the chair (it’s a unisex place but there has never been a women getting a cut when i’ve been there before). I kind of took stock of the situation, could not take starting at my mobile for much longer, and randomly stood up, and walked out. Which oddly made me feel like i’d walked out of a shop without paying. Then ended up in another barbers with a grumpy person who attacks your head like its wild grown hedge they wanna prune down, but surprisingly ends up doing a good job. Least that’s that now for 5 weeks odd.

My parents have come to visit for a couple of days, which resulted in a trip to the beach yesterday. Shoved my wetsuit on, that actually fitted me despite it being from pre-transition days, and I actually went in the sea with my dad, despite it being pretty damn cold! For some brief periods drying off I was topless, which was a strange feeling out there. Good though, and so much easier getting changed on a windy beach with just trunks! Has felt like a re-fresh for my body getting in the salt water 🙂 .

Transition

Nebido is great for my ability to bulk up. I mean its the same stuff as testogel in the end fo the day, but my levels must be at an increased level on the injection. I’m able to lift more, and feel more “powerful” in the gym. Facial hair is coming in more and more, although this could also be helped my the minoxidil i’m taking. I am eating more, and drinking more fluids. The main problems I am having at the moment are moods. I am more irritable and get fustrated quick. I have a feel more low moods then really energetic moods. I’m just trying to ride the waves until it calms down, but it is hard, and it’s something I hoped I would not get really changing over. Basically all this above confirms I am 100% in teenage boy mode. Oh, and i’m continuing to use minodixil because I THINK, maybe, just MAYBE it might be helping with facial hair. maybe…

Top surgery

I’m still amazed at how much my chest is still changing, 5 months after surgery. I think peri-areola surgery is a totally different ball park to double insicion when it comes to healing, and there are far fewer of people’s accounts of it. Rather than the swelling and scar fading being the main aspects, its more about skin elasticity and reshaping happening over months and months. I see the top surgeon in under a month now, and want to get a few revisions, which i’m sure he will be cool with. Yes, I go swimming and show off my chest (it takes confidence and a f*** you attitude) but I really would like the nipples reduced and the size of areolas. I think it would go a hell of a lot of a way to alleviate my dysphoria about my chest still seeming to me like slightly “female looking”.

Weeks seem to be ticking by quick at the moment, soon it’s only 3 months left at Uni before I move on. I need to get cracking on my dissertation and keep up with module work. Yet I also want to make sure I’m making the most of what there is to offer round here and getting out and about! I’m starting to see a support worker (as well as my CPN) next week, who is going to do more outdoor stuff with me – get me interacting with people as well. Feel I am ready for the challenge..I think!

Comparison Pic: day 1 vs day 483 (week 0 vs week 69)

 

 

Hey, Man

I’ve started to get slightly irritated by guys who come up to me and say “Hey, man”. It’s funny, never before have I heard a woman go up to another and say “Hey, woman”. I dunno, I actually did try it a few months back to say “Hey, man” to another guy, and it felt so damn weird. I felt like I could be saying “Hey, human” or “Hey, I notice that you have a penis” or “Hey, you have arms”. Not sure if I am explaining this well.

Maybe it just sounds funny coming from me, maybe its more of an American or surfer dude thing? I suppose I feel fine with “hey buddy/pal/mate” and they are kinda similar. Even those I don’t say personally, just other guys say to me. This relatively new world of being perceived as male is still eye opening and novel. I think some things I will always see in a slightly different light to cis-males just for the simple reason of being brought up as a female in society. And I kinda like that difference. Being transgender comes with so many tough decisions and hard situations, it’s kinda nice and you wanna grasp to the bonuses that come your way, like being one of the few who has seen first hand how society responds to the different sexes.

Transition stuff

I have started to use Minoxidl on my face. Finally succumbed to the idea of a Gandalf beard. I only use between 1/4 and a 1/2 of a ml, not the 1ml dose that you would put on your head to stall balding. I don’t really like the stuff tbh, it’s oily and feels greasy on my skin. I dab it in the morning, spend 4 hrs trying and failing to remember to not touch my face, end up with oil all over my hands and getting on my work papers and laptop, then gladly rub it off about midday. I’ll use it for another week or two and if I don’t see much happening I may just quit and store the stuff in case I want it for balding later on.

Oh, and i’ve turned into a raging, hormone inbalanced 14 y/o boy. Nebido is having fun and games, and I’m hungry ALL the time, I need naps in the day, and have random pulses of huge energy. I’m getting spotty’er and hotter and sweaty. On the plus side it’s helping me do some really good workouts at the gym/pool and muscle mass seems to be increasing. On the minus side, I’m having to deal with mood, energy and metabolism swings. I am now like a hobbit, having multiple breakfasts, and post-dinner dinners etc. It should settle down, but for now I am trying to balance it all with quite a lot of Uni work, both from module side of things and dissertation. Only 5 more weeks till I can stop rubbing in Testogel.

Life

I had a telephone interview yesterday :-0 . Potential job, although it’s one that is very hard to get. What is strange is my anxiety levels did not reach a crippling peak. I had prepared, and yeh I was nervous, but for the first time ever with an interview I had a bit of focus in me. The next stage would be an assessment day – a bit more anxiety factored into that one, but will not think about it too much unless it happens.

I feel generally I’ve been doing really good with anxiety in the past week or two. I’ve been able to walk around and do stuff without much trouble. I’ve had short bursts of very low moments, I think linked to the Nebido, but i’ve got through them and not let them rule me. Hoping it’s going to continue in a good way.

Comparison pic: day 28 vs day 245 vs day 476  (week 4 vs week 35 vs week 68 )