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!

 

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) –

Nips and feeling S***

Hey guys,

I am back living with my parents, after a stay at my brothers and a birthday trip taking in a few sites in London.  Problem is, I think I over did things in London, my immune system went on holiday and a party of viruses piled in. So now i’m ill, with a clogged up nose, a raspy voice that makes me sound like Barry White, and a head stuffed with cotton wool. I have to admit i’ve probably been way too active since top surgery only about 2 weeks ago. Anyway, I am sat feeling sorry for myself, fed up that I can’t have a bath because I cannot soak my stitches and trying to sort out a generic CV.

In terms of top surgery, the plasters are off, and I see my nipples! I am very pleased with the results, and with the amount of leftover breast tissue taken out. Already it is making me less dysphoric about nipple size. They are full of stitches though. Literally. Stiches. Every.Where. (cue song of the week, Foo Fighters: Gimme Stitches). Which, although normal, slightly concerns me as I really don’t want to tug them accidentally. This led to me wearing extra plasters at night right up to yesterday. Now i’m just trying to be careful. Also a couple of stitches each side at liposuction entry point. Movement range is pretty much normal, just the odd “tug” feeling. No pain, just can’t lift heavy items..ah yes, that issue. Story time.

So on Monday (my Birthday) I was travelling from my brothers house, to London, then in the evening London to Yorkshire. With a heavy case – an issue. This led to some quite time consuming and irritating situations that made me really feel for disabled people!

  1. Brother has to park up at train station, take case in with me, ask permission to get onto station to help me, get bag on train for me – then he almost got trapped in as the guard shut the door, hence a bit of panic.
  2. I had to have friend meet me at other end – but I did not know the platform I was coming into until the train arrived, so had a quick texting flurry, whilst smiling awkwardly at the cleaning staff as I hung around the empty train near my bag trying not to look suspicious – which ofc im sure made me look suspicious (I was very aware of the recent terror attack on a train just 4 days earlier in the city) .
  3. On the way back my direct train was cancelled leading me to have to explain to about four different members of staff why I could not take the replacement train which required a train change half way through (no one to carry my luggage across). Everyone pretended to know the answer – no one knew the answer. After criss-crossing London Kings Cross for 20 minutes at about 8pm, tired, ill, and wanting to just collapse, curl into a ball and start crying while someone else sorted out my problems, I got onto a train. I could not relax the whole two hours because I was not technically allowed to be on it – I was going to rely on a kind train conductor to understand my issue and just let me stay on. Thankfully no conductor came round, and after having my parents meet me on the other side and get my luggage off, I vowed mentally never to travel on a train whilst not being able to lift ever again.

And I woke up the next morning wanting to do away with my oesophagus.

I have being slowly making progress on sorting out my CV. I can only apply for select jobs (at the moment) that dont require lifting. I think next week should be OK for going for them all though, and just saying at an interview I will be a couple of weeks until I can lift. I’m not going to mention my next surgery (which I already have a consult date for in December).

I keep forgetting I am on reduced meds, which is a good thing! Only side effect I have is that I am slightly more shaky. Anxiety wise…well it’s been pretty low recently. Lets hope with job stuff creeping up that it stays that way! Now I am off to fall asleep zzzzzzzzz

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)

 

Neck hair

Oh yes, the neck hair is mounting it’s attack! I was just washing my hands looking into the mirror when my eyes popped out their sockets a bit –  I spotted long, fair, thin threads poking out my neck! Like they had just sprung up over night! Either that or you can only spot them in an upstairs bathroom, on a Thursday, whilst slightly stooped over washing hands, leaning neck to the right slighty, stood in the suns rays coming through the window at a 70 degree angle. Regardless, they are there. Which is cool cause I was starting to think whether I should try slapping on a bit of Minoxidil (can make your hair grow on your face, but mysteriously not on your head, where all it can do is help stop it dropping off)

I am getting prepared for my first Nebido shot next week, it seems to have come around fast. I have heard good and bad things about this form of preperation of testosterone. One thing some people say is that transfering from testogel to nebido can cause some of the more intense side-effects rear up again, things like mood-swings, hot flushes, acne and sweats. So i’m prepared for that (as much as you can be). I think the whole idea of staying on slowly decreasing levels of testogel whilst on the loading phase of nebido is a good thing. So i don’t drop off the scale whilst Nebido gets settled in.

Learning to self-inject is going to be a fun situation. Not only am I going to squeezing 3 months worth of Nebido into my backside, I am also going to be shooting up with 3 months worth of Prostap (blocker) – also learning to self inject in my arm. My awesome GP has sorted out the whole thing, so it will be a nurse who knows what they are talking about, not one who wants me to push the thick Nebido solution into my left calf in about 5 seconds or something like that. So i’ve heard Nebido can hurt. Like a bruise? or something. Well, I have to take a 5 hour, 3 change train journey back straight after the jabs (yep, I am travelling back to home county for these jabs) with all my luggage to haul around, then a 25 min walk across town to my house. Ahh to be trans.

Top surgery talk

I’m starting to get more sensation in the left side of my chest. I can feel my nipple, and around it, although the feel is..strange. Like touching it over a barrier of thick bubble wrapping paper. Right side has less feeling. Healing is going well, and currently the scars round the areola seem quite thin, although I know that can change as months go by. The skin is very slowly tauntening (is that a word?) up. It’s been 4 and a bit months, so in the grand scale of things its not been long. I get the feeling my meeting with the top surgeon in June re: revisions will come round very fast.

Life

I have shirts now for my suit, all I need is to start finding excuses to wear it! Things are pretty slow at Uni currently. My CPN wants to meet more regulaly to start tackling my anxiety more head on, actually going out and doing stuff etc. Bit unnerved by it, but I know it will be a good think. I think the practical stuff works the best when it comes to battling back anxiety. No number of booklets and talking therapy can make up for going out putting yourself in the gut-wrenching situations again and again until you become numb to them and just relax. The problem is having the mental energy to put yourself through that without breaking down. Let’s hope my energy stays OK.

Comparison Pic: Day 35 vs day 462 (week 5 vs week 66 )

 

 

2 years open about being transgender!

Volunteering

I’m (hopfully) going to be starting to volunteer with kids soon, which meant the dreaded DBS check. Basically a check to make sure your not going to run off with the kids, whack them, teach them how to carry out a burglery etc. It’s pretty fast..IF..IF you have not moved house several times in the past five years. The guy at the SU (student union) was helping fill out the form and he looked ready to collapse when I showed him the list of addresses. There was seven in the end. It took him a good 20 minutes double checking all the dates and postcodes etc.

Added on to that I had had to call the DBS service and set up a special case that basically just means that I can choose if I want to tell people I am transgender, rather than them finding out because it is printed all over the form with my old name for them all to see. Getting to start volunteering is hard these days! I’m pretty damn excited though, as i’ve never worked with kids before. Going to have to wait 2/3 weeks for the forms to come back now.

Transitiony stuff

Good news this week, my “telephone pole” i.e. an areola stitch that was poking out for about a week, finally came out! Pretty random that it appeared almost 4 months after surgery. It was like a transparent plastic fishing reel material. Maybe new ones will pop out?  Also I am getting more sensation in my nipples and the surrounding area. It’s patchy and sometimes a bit “jolty” but it’s a development. I’ve been swimming a couple more times, and still finding it hard to get the courage to go out there with my trunks on, but im doing it. I just feel like a stage light it following me the whole distance to the pool edge.

Oh, also, I am noticing fluffy hair growing on my cheeks! I think it’s jumping ship from my head hair and sailing down to my cheeks.

Life

Mentally I had a downer this week, just for one day/evening really. I just suddenly lost it, let go of the rope I was clinging to and seemed to be freefalling down into a dark hole. It was really shitty and apathy just took hold, about anything and everything. Thankfully I have been doing better and it must have just been a short sharp dip. Strange how that kinda think takes hold, just seems to come out nowhere like a sudden wind change.

Ending on a high…. this Friday 7th marks my “2 year “coming out” day“!!! When I first told anyone (my parents) that I was transgender :-). Can’t believe it – how much has changed since then! I thank my two-year-ago-me for being brave enough to actually say what was on my mind and be open about who I was/am. From Friday I can officially apply for a GRC – a Gender Recognition Certificate to change my gender on my birth certificate too. But I will talk more about that in another blog.  I have no one to celebrate with on Friday but I will be having a beer or two and a nice takeaway, and celebrating with people next week.

Comparison Pic: Day 7 vs day 441 (week 1 vs week 63)

Top Surgery chat

It’s now 15 weeks since I had top surgery. Almost 4 months. No regrets about it at all. This is just a small blog chatting about what I thought of it, my tips and general stuff really.

It’s hard to picture in your head pre-top surgery how you will look afterwards, how it will feel, etc. I used to look down at what I had and just try shift it and pretend it was not there, or squish it down thinking “maybe this is how it would be?”, “would I like this?” “will I miss these?”. And you can never know 100%, cause let’s face it, nothing is 100%. Which is also why it’s silly when people want you to say “yes this is what I will want permanently for the rest of my life”. Who an earth knows that about anything? It’s more a long term feeling that this is who you are.

Pre-op

Building up to it the procedure grows in significance and seriousness. You really have to be head strong and know what I mentioned above. But the process is managable, and to any transmen or non-binary people thinking about it, I would say don’t be put off by it seeming too scary or big to handle. Take your time thinking what type of top surgery you want and ask yourself the difficult questions direct “can I cope with scars across my chest?” “can I cope with a drawstring look?” (both of course will fade to an extent), “is it impossible for me to think about loosing nipple sensation?”, or simply “is this the right time in my life to do this? Should I wait?”.

I found the pre-op process on the NHS really good, pretty speedy, and staff were aware of and sensitive to trans stuff. Compared to waiting to go on testosterone this was a breeze.

During

Get swept up in the process and let yourself go to the flow. I found being busy with doing stuff, signing things, dressing in stuff and answering questions helped to stop anxiety building too much. I have not heard of anyone who has gone the NHS route and not had a private room with ensuite. Found it quite surreal how many people are all concentrating on YOU before/during surgery. It’s strange, even if you know your just another person on the conveyor belt! I had that last moment i’m sure loads of transguys/NB people have just before, looking and feeling moobs one last time and trying to let your body know whats going to happen. Although of course your body is all chill and thinking, “eh? nothing is happening now, i’m fine, loosing body part?? haha, right”. Decision has been made, now all the hard work is down to the surgeon (that amazing being).

Post op

Healing is a long process, and as it goes on and the excitment wears off, you can become bored and fustrated with it. It feels like a never ending repeat of  “just a little bit longer until I can…”. Results can looks raw and lines everywhere and stitches and it’s not what you want to see. And at 4 weeks its not, and at 8 weeks its not, and at 12… and you might have to face the fact you need revisions, or to live with your new chest not quite how you envisaged it.

But eventually you should see improvements (most likely the older you are the slower this is) and things start looking up. And then you have to build a new relationship with your chest (the stage I am at now). It feels natual and great, yet still hard to remember that its flat now.

  • I have to remind myself I can stand up straight now without risking moobs showing.
  • All my T-shirts and tops are high neck, so its going to take a while to slowly buy in some new gear that is not gripping my neck.
  • Swimming will take a while to get comfortable with.
  • I still feel scared to brush hard against my nipples, just generally or washing etc. because I feel like they might rip off – again, time.

I have learnt to let go and not worry about the pace of healing. It just is what it is, i’m content with that.

Life

Handed in my assignment! So having a few days respite before tackling next module and dissertation. At my parents place for a few days, nice to get away from the tension of my house share. Had one of my wisdom teeth out yesterday, was damn quick. Literally booked an emergency appointment (it hurt) at the dentist, went in, and came out 20 mins later minus a tooth. Just had to put up with the dentist cranking at my tooth like he was trying to change a flat tyre. No transition news this week. See you in April 🙂

Comparison Pic: Day 28 vs day 434 (week 4 vs week 62)