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!

 

I’ve handed in my notice

I’ve done it. My letter is in, and I am in the throws of the awkward notice “week” in which I have to come in and work with everyone knowing that I am heading out before Christmas *cringe*. Both the managers I work with were thankfully OK about me quitting (though “disappointed” came up a few times).

I had a few restless nights before quitting, going through what was the “right” thing to do, etc. In the end I came to the conclusion that I would only be staying on for the benefit of other people and the detriment of myself. In terms of a future job seeing that I left my contract early…well I would like to think it’s a company that values someone doing what is best for their career and not staying on in a position they dislike for some kinda show of self-torture endurance.

I now have a glimmer of light — this time next week I will have finished. From now on I need to be extra careful with my cash. I get the feeling it is going to pour through my hands in the coming months.

I have been having more trouble sorting on Testosterone + Prostap for Japan, and still don’t know 100% where I stand. However I do get the feeling I will be paying out of pocket for at least 1-2 sets of medication – at around £500 a pop. Yep, thats right. It’s so much that once I know that 100% i’m going to see whether I can either:

  1. Stop Prostap altogether
  2. Go on a (cheaper) alternative to Prostap

Many people never even start on Prostap (hormone blocker), but the argument I will face is it not being a good idea to change my medication before heading out. Anyway, I don’t see the Doctor for another two weeks, so until then, things are on hold.

Another option is to get Testosterone when I am out there… which, seeming as I just found out my “vague” area I will be staying today, is a possibility. I will be either be in Shizuoka, Shiga or Kyoto, which I am so excited about i’m finding it hard to concentrate!

For now, today is a day off , so I am getting on selling as much as possible, and will nip over to the gym to burn off some restless energy!

1 Year 9 (ish) months on Testosterone

I feel like I have not done a “summary” transition post in a while, so here we go. Part of its for me (records),  part of it is for others starting out transitioning on testosterone to check out what the future could hold (despite it varying wildly from person to person).

  • I am finally feeling happy with the way my facial hair is coming on! For months and months and months it seemed to tease at coming out more, but since being on Nebido progress has stepped up and I now have visable hair on my chin, upper lip and sideburns.
  • I am never misgendered – although most people think i’m roughly 10 years younger than I actually am.
  • My voice has stabilised and I really like it.
  • I have not yet grown to 6ft 5in and morphed into the terminator.
  • If I put in a bit of effort I can build muscle – before it was almost impossible.
  • My hair has receded – I have “devil horns” (very fitting). Sometimes I get anxious about it receding further, sometimes I don’t give a shit.
  • I have dark hair on every part of my body – this is still progressing and I think will get thicker and thicker over the coming years until people start calling the police because they have found the Yeti.
  • Testogel resulted in really stable moods. With Nebido I get a bit tired and emotional during the week before injection. I am hoping this gets less as Nebido builds in my system and I have less big hormone dips.
  • Chest in healing well from revison surgery N#1. Revision surgery N#2 should be to the end of this year. Surgery helped a shed tonne with my confidence.
  • I get hot so much quicker, and sweat so much quicker (and more). I smell more.
  • I have fewer food cravings – in fact I have less general interest in food, however this could be unrelated to testosterone.
  • My mental health has come on leaps and bounds, however this can’t all be attributed to testosterone, lots of others factors in here as well!
  • I am essentially the same person – testosterone does not make “you” disappear, nor does it change your values and/or feelings towards people.

That’s about it. My short term goal is to make it through my shift today without getting desperate enough to find a way to “slip” near the counter, crack my head and go unconscious for a while. My medium term goal is to look like Father Christmas before Christmas Day. My long term goal is to travel to the other side of the planet and start a profession with only instinct and (hopefully) some common sense to guide me.

Work continues to bore the pants off me, I have the weeked off though so will have chance to recover and hit the gym for the first time in ageeeeeeees.

Comparison pic: day 21 vs day  644 (week 3 vs week 92)

Self-injection

For those of you new to my blog, I have been on testosterone for almost 2 years (started on gel). It is normal for nurses to give Nebido (testosterone) and Prostap (hormone blocker for estrogen) injections, at least in the UK. I however, requested to be able to self-inject to allow more flexibility with travelling etc in the future.

This week I injected both Nebido and Prostap at home for the first time!

  1. Nebido – Success!

This involves 2 x needles, 1 x syringe, 1 x vial of Nebido, 1 x sterile wipe, 1 x sharps bin, and a mental technique of ignoring the fact your going to stab yourself with a needle for 2 minutes. Basically, you draw up the Nebido with one needle – slowly. Then get rid of that needle (incase it was blunted / contaminated from vial lid) into sharps bin. Put new needle onto syringe. “Quarter” your arse cheek (mentally or with a pen). Swab the top left corner. Tense then relaxxxxxxx your glutes. STAB!!

Ok, so at this point I had a slight complication. It got only about 1cm in then started to really f***ing hurt. I tried pushing in more but was hitting a block so had to pull out. Blood came out, indicating I had hit blood vessel. So – by this point shaking like a leaf – I stabbed again about 2cm down from the first spot – thankfully this went in fine and I spent the next 2 minutes with the growing ache of 4ml of thick liquid being injected into my muscle. You really have to push hard, its damn tricky to keep your hand steady and push all whilst reaching round your body. Finish injection – pull out, needle cap on, into sharps bin. Cotton bud on injection site & press. Then plaster 🙂

    2. Prostap – hummm

This was a wee bit trickier. You would think not, as its a pre-set up injection. Basically you have to push the plunger on the syringe until it gets to a certain line – at this point the powder and liquid combine, and you tap it a bit to mix them up thoroughly. Now, I read the instructions and took them to heart – it says not to be too vigorous as you may get bubbles (=bad). I only tapped it around a little, then injected. I noticed in the syringe there seemed to be a bit of white powder left – and as the needle came out of my skin some white liquid came out too. I them looked at online videos and most people seem to shake it much more! Lesson learned for next time. Hopfully it will not affect me too much for the next 3 months.

Work

Groan. Improvements? Now working on my own, so I feel I have more flexibility to move stuff around or have a cheeky sit down on the foot stool for a minute or two. Also feet/legs are recovering quicker – although they still ache a lot by the end of shift. Unchanged is the sheer bordem, the relentless repetitive music, the bright lights, dust that makes my eyes turn red, the tacky heat of the stock room and the underlying anxiety of trying not to need the loo making me need the loo.

I have also noticed a subtle shift in the way management approach me now. We have a new bunch of newbies – so I am no longer classed as one. This means I am expected to know what i’m doing, where everything goes, and all the infomation required. Hahahahahahaaa. They are no longer so blasé about me not meeting targets and don’t spend as long going through stuff with me. In the past I would have felt like this is all my fault and I should be on top of everything – HOWEVER – now, I just acknowledge this as a flaw in their training and management style. Im working Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues before my next day break – think i’m going to need to start injecting myself with caffeine.

Life

I can exercise now, so I am cycling to work, back into sit-ups, squats, weights etc. It’s giving me a much needed mental boost. Anxiety meds are on the decrease again, but I seem to be doing fine with that. For now, it’s my day off, so going to do a bunch of Japanese learning, have a nice lunch out with my Mum, and sleep/chill.

Signing off with a random joke I saw on twitter  which got me chuckling:

“A man decided to visit a zoo and was disappointed to find there was only one animal there. It was a dog. —— It was a shih tzu”

The choice of anonymity

I was having a chill walk round my neighbourhood the other day, when I heard an:

“Oy, mate!”

I turned around to see a car had pulled up beside me with a young man and woman in it.

“You know where Beech Street is??”

I paused and just stared at them for a 5/10 seconds. Reason being, this was my cousin, and her partner with whom I had been in the same form at school with for about 4 years. And they did not recognise me one bit. I have not seen that particular cousin since before I started to transition, so it’s no wonder. I’m guessing she would have heard through the grapevine that I was transgender and therefore so would her partner. But I suppose there was nothing to suggest to her that it could be me who they was talking to. I must have gone bug eyed staring for a bit, totally not concentrating on the question before:

“No sorry mate, no idea”

Looking back, I had a rough idea, but my mind was in such an odd place that thinking of location was the last thing on my mind. I made me think though, number one about how much i’ve changed. It’s stange because it’s been so long since I started to take testosterone, and with my brain nothing has changed, it feel like just me. So I often forget that I am unrecognisable from my previous self. I am effectivly anonymous to past friends, family and acquaintance unless I tell them its me and/or they see me often enough to see a gradual change. I can choose to be lost in people’s world, even when I pass right by them, or even talk to them.

It also made me think of the freedom and happiness I get from being seen so completly as the gender I am. Btw, no I did not mention it was me, I just did not have time to think it all through!

Job

I have a job!! I had an interview yesterday, which turned out to be a relaxing and fine experience. Two hours later I got a call offering me a role as a “Click and Collect Assistant” at a major high street retail store :-D. It’s a Christmas temp role till the end of December but should keep me busy and get some money in. I have a 25 hour contract spread over 5 days, so not often will I have 8 hour shifts which suits me.

A bit nervous, yet excited. I’m 27 and this is the longest houred contract I would have had. Between Uni and mental health issues I have not held down anything near full time. Hopfully though the time is right, it definitely feels more right. I start on Monday, so it’s all happening pretty fast (I’ve told them I can’t lift till mid October). I just need to keep in mind the bigger picture! My next journey begins.

Time for comparison pic – Now 1 year and 9 months on testosterone! You would have seen more chin hair if it wasn’t for having to trim it all down for my interview. Chest is healing well. Stiches still all over the place.

Comparison Photo: day 14 vs day 616 (week 2 vs week 88) –

Goodbye Wales!

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

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

NewB 220817 (5)

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

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

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

Note: Please ignore the cheesyness

 

 

 

 

The 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)