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?

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.

 

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)

 

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!

 

 

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)