sacredchao: (Default)
This new body just gets better all the time. This isn't just not wrong. I've had it brought home to me just how remarkably right it is. I keep saying this over and over - I wish I'd done this 20 years ago even though I know I wasn't ready and it would have been so much harder. The next step is to keep settling into it. This will take some time but the learning curve promises to be rewarding.
sacredchao: (Default)
Things are still getting better. My stress levels are down, I'm making and retaining good connections with people and more and more I'm settling into my body.

Cut for talk about girly bits and how they're progressing. )

So I'm relaxed and happy. I've cleared some huge stresses from my life and starting to find new food for thought with regards to my sexuality. There's nothing that's a notable departure from where I was before but the removal of such a significant dysphoric dissonance and being so pleased with how my new body is progressing makes contemplating such things much less fraught and so much more promising. I think perhaps I've hit a good part which is such a relief after the past few months.
sacredchao: (Default)
Things are settling.

I've not yet made any inroads on unpacking. The boxes are heavy and awkward and I'm wary. I'll get there but I think I will need to dragoon the unwary.

For the rest of it, the swelling has reduced and the slight ongoing bleeding and disconcertingly firm places (feels like cartilage) was looked at by the surgeon today and declared to be not a thing worth worrying about. This was what I suspected, but worth checking. A side note to that is that I'm leaving out the inner form for a bit and using tampons for the seepage. It's silly but there was a little bit of joy in legitimately purchasing tampons for my own use, even if it could never be tied to actual menstruation.

I've had a couple of nice days of what might be called actually enjoying this annual leave I'm taking. Monday was cafe breakfast (middling, but still tasty) followed by the purchasing of a nice teacup from the T2 shop on Brunswick St, playing about at Gallin's Music and then home to tea in said new teacup and Thai food dinner with nice housemates. Today was the visit to the surgeon followed by a spectacular vegan breakfast at a local cafe. It turns out that smoked tofu is not only a thing, it's an amazingly good thing. So so tasty! That plus other tastinesses such as black beans and beetroot relish made it memorable. From there I went shopping for a half size guitar for Small Boy with Bonnie. Every time I've seen him pick up a guitar without thinking he's picked it up left handed and been apparently much more comfortable strumming with his left hand so I asked the guys at the guitar shop to string it left handed for us. We got home and of course he immediately picked it up right handed - seems it was the size throwing him off. Fine, I reversed the strings making it right-handed again and we'll see how that goes.

While we were waiting for the guitar to be restrung, we roamed Brunswick St and Bonnie showed me a place that sells old stock for a number of brands I like, including Dangerfield. I spotted a red wool felt trilby marked down from $34 to $19. I was pleased enough with that but doubly so when I received it back from the cashier with $15 change from the $20 note. Apparently that happens sometimes there - extra markdowns don't hit the floor stock fast or consistently enough. Still, a not bad at all hat for five dollars makes me happy.

Home to relaxation with the rest of the household for the evening. I like it here.

Ow. Yay.

May. 1st, 2013 03:10 pm
sacredchao: (Default)
It’s now May although in my head it’s still just barely April because as far as I’m concerned it’s still Tuesday night even if I did start typing this at 2:45 am.

So just over a week ago, I regained consciousness and vomited weakly into a bag. That was my first conscious memory with no penis. Except that it really wasn’t. Sure, at that point there was nothing I had which could be pointed to and described as such but I was so swollen and swaddled that it made no difference whatsoever. It would be nearly another six days before I cried tears of joy over that fact.

I should have been typing something every day but I was sore and muzzy-headed enough that the simple lack of being able to just type it all directly into a blog made me give up and either sleep or, latterly, read lots of Terry Pratchett. So let’s see if I can’t remember enough now while I’m still in my hospital bed that my future self doesn’t quite want to throttle me.

I got it together enough the next morning to post on Facebook (and the love I bear my smartphone over this period of otherwise total internet blackout probably doesn’t bear repeating and might be slightly creepy). The resulting tide of love I got from that one post alone makes me realise how ridiculously lucky I am. 80 “likes” and thirty something comments is nothing for a FB post but this didn’t go viral or otherwise get shared, that was entirely from my friends. I got message after message that day and in the days since via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, a couple of different chat clients and in a couple of truly weird instances, phone calls. This is a theme I will probably return to again and again. It bears repeating because that paragraph nearly didn’t exist. I nearly just said that the first two days consisted of me trying to sleep through the discomfort, in between medical needfulnesses and the astonishing physical challenges imposed by eating awful food when you can’t sit up.

The first two days were in fact, discomfort, intermittent sleep, medical needfulnesses, physical challenge eating and unremitting love and support.

Friday brought the first day of elevated temperatures. This meant that food went from boring to nauseating and apart from white bread and simple dairy I couldn’t face food, the smell made me want to gag. The lowering of discomfort from surgery was countered by that non-specific grubby malaise that comes with just fighting off a bug. The drain, catheter and IV conspired to keep me flat on my back and I experimented crazily with bed settings to find one that minimised that and ease my lower back. This was basically me playing with the recline setting. For some reason I couldn’t just raise my feet – that option seems to be mechanically disabled on this bed. Electric motors complain but nothing happens so there are locking pins in or something. This continued on and off over the weekend. In that time I got visits from my parents, the genderqueer and trans community and of course, derby people.

Cut for way too much talk about blood and body parts in amongst the funky self-actualisation thingies. )

The catheter came out the following morning and since then I’ve not been tethered to anything (the IV came out on Sunday) and it turns out that most of the restrictions on my position in bed have been related to the internal form and swelling. So I’m still either laying flat or gently reclined on my back at this point for my most comfortable sitting position. The fact that I can sit upright more or less comfortably on the toilet makes me look forward to the inflatable doughnut cushion Mum says she’s bought me. All the hoops have been cleared as far as I’m aware so I should be headed back to Mum’s tomorrow. A combination of concern for my cat (I dragged her into a strange house and then disappeared 36 hours later – from Bonnie’s reports though she seems happy, but I just want her to see *me* back there again) and the fact that I now have the Amazing Japanese Shower of Extended Joyful Features may see me home earlier than planned after that. From there it’s not quite business as usual but back to real life.

There has been no inkling of regret in this but there have been ponderous, crashing surreal (that’s been a favourite word lately) moments when I’ve contemplated the irreversibility of what I’ve done. Contemplating exactly why this is actually such a big deal might be a whole other blog post because while I’m not going to dispute the idea that it’s a big deal, exactly why warrants more teasing out. Later. So while I could characterise a lot of my thought processed as “Oh god, what have I done.”, that reflects the seriousness and irreversibility of it all rather than the good or bad aspects of it. I’m getting sensations which are either actual phantom sensations or bits of skin so radically relocated that I can’t make sense of what they’re telling me and this reinforces the weirdness of everything. For the most part I’m just enjoying tripping on this. It’s fascinating and surprising and at the same time the culmination of a goal that I’ve been pushing towards for about three years now.

I still stand by what I said earlier about surgery not being the be all and end all of transition. Even disregarding all other trans people who don’t want or can’t have surgery and talking soley about myself, I’d already done a substantial portion of the process of transition well before surgery. But in addition to what I’ve described surgery as before, it’s essentially the last big goal for me to work towards as part of transition. That doesn’t mean I’m finished, not by a long stretch. But it does mark a change to a point where my primary focus might not actually be transition and I can get on with my life.

[edit:]

Now at Mum’s place with real internet.

This morning my surgeon burst into my room which he did every time he saw me in hospital. Now this isn’t an entirely fair description as the man does knock, but then so does everyone else. So at 7:30am which is apparently when he visits post-op patients I get a polite knock at the door which just barely suffices to wake me. “Is that breakfast?”, I think, “Or does the nurse want to do something to me?” (never as good as it sounds) So I cheerfully invite whoever it is in except that I’m not awake so a series of noises emerge that mean nothing except “I’m awake.”, but that’s enough. The nurses and kitchen staff understand this. They crack the door open and explain who they are in gentle terms and then let me catch up. My surgeon doesn’t. I don’t know when he wakes up nor what he drinks when he does but he’s got a full head of steam by the time he gets to me. He breezed in, breezed at me, patted my knee, called me dear and breezed out. My half of the conversation was approximately “Whuh? Uh? ... Home? Yes...today... unh...salt...appointment...?...” Followed by me being functional enough to remember what he wanted to talk about five minutes after he left. Good enough though. Everything was written down for me anyway and I remembered the important bits regardless.
I think it shows how pleased I am to be out of hospital that I sat uncomfortably in the car going down the Southeastern Freeway towards Berwick through the driving rain and genuinely enjoyed it. Then after dropping stuff off at Mum’s we made a quick trip to the shops for a few things. It turns out a supermarket run after sitting in a car for a bit is about the limit of my physical reserves for the moment. I shouldn’t be surprised though, really.

I have liquorice allsorts though.

Ow. Yay.

May. 1st, 2013 03:10 pm
sacredchao: (Default)
It’s now May although in my head it’s still just barely April because as far as I’m concerned it’s still Tuesday night even if I did start typing this at 2:45 am.

So just over a week ago, I regained consciousness and vomited weakly into a bag. That was my first conscious memory with no penis. Except that it really wasn’t. Sure, at that point there was nothing I had which could be pointed to and described as such but I was so swollen and swaddled that it made no difference whatsoever. It would be nearly another six days before I cried tears of joy over that fact.

I should have been typing something every day but I was sore and muzzy-headed enough that the simple lack of being able to just type it all directly into a blog made me give up and either sleep or, latterly, read lots of Terry Pratchett. So let’s see if I can’t remember enough now while I’m still in my hospital bed that my future self doesn’t quite want to throttle me.

I got it together enough the next morning to post on Facebook (and the love I bear my smartphone over this period of otherwise total internet blackout probably doesn’t bear repeating and might be slightly creepy). The resulting tide of love I got from that one post alone makes me realise how ridiculously lucky I am. 80 “likes” and thirty something comments is nothing for a FB post but this didn’t go viral or otherwise get shared, those responses were entirely from my friends. I got message after message that day and in the days since via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, a couple of different chat clients and in a couple of truly weird instances, phone calls. This is a theme I will probably return to again and again. It bears repeating because that paragraph nearly didn’t exist. I nearly just said that the first two days consisted of me trying to sleep through the discomfort, in between medical needfulnesses and the astonishing physical challenges imposed by eating awful food when you can’t sit up.

The first two days were in fact, discomfort, intermittent sleep, medical needfulnesses, physical challenge eating and unremitting love and support.

Friday brought the first day of elevated temperatures. This meant that food went from boring to nauseating and apart from white bread and simple dairy I couldn’t face food, the smell made me want to gag. The lowering of discomfort from surgery was countered by that non-specific grubby malaise that comes with just fighting off a bug. The drain, catheter and IV conspired to keep me flat on my back and I experimented crazily with bed settings to find one that minimised that and eased my lower back. This was basically me playing with the recline setting. For some reason I couldn’t just raise my feet – that option seems to be mechanically disabled on this bed. Electric motors complain but nothing happens so there are locking pins in or something. This continued on and off over the weekend. In that time I got visits from my parents, the genderqueer and trans community and of course, derby people.

Cut for way too much talk about blood and body parts in amongst the funky self-actualisation thingies. )

The catheter came out the following morning and since then I’ve not been tethered to anything (the IV came out on Sunday) and it turns out that most of the restrictions on my position in bed have been related to the internal form and swelling. So I’m still either laying flat or gently reclined on my back at this point for my most comfortable sitting position. The fact that I can sit upright more or less comfortably on the toilet makes me look forward to the inflatable doughnut cushion Mum says she’s bought me. All the hoops have been cleared as far as I’m aware so I should be headed back to Mum’s tomorrow. A combination of concern for my cat (I dragged her into a strange house and then disappeared 36 hours later – from Bonnie’s reports though she seems happy, but I just want her to see *me* back there again) and the fact that I now have the Amazing Japanese Shower of Extended Joyful Features may see me home earlier than planned after that. From there it’s not quite business as usual but back to real life.

There has been no inkling of regret in this but there have been ponderous, crashing surreal (that’s been a favourite word lately) moments when I’ve contemplated the irreversibility of what I’ve done. Contemplating exactly why this is actually such a big deal might be a whole other blog post because while I’m not going to dispute the idea that it’s a big deal, exactly why warrants more teasing out. Later. So while I could characterise a lot of my thought processed as “Oh god, what have I done.”, that reflects the seriousness and irreversibility of it all rather than the good or bad aspects of it. I’m getting sensations which are either actual phantom sensations or bits of skin so radically relocated that I can’t make sense of what they’re telling me and this reinforces the weirdness of everything. For the most part I’m just enjoying tripping on this. It’s fascinating and surprising and at the same time the culmination of a goal that I’ve been pushing towards for about three years now.

I still stand by what I said earlier about surgery not being the be all and end all of transition. Even disregarding all other trans people who don’t want or can’t have surgery and talking soley about myself, I’d already done a substantial portion of the process of transition well before surgery. But in addition to what I’ve described surgery as before, it’s essentially the last big goal for me to work towards as part of transition. That doesn’t mean I’m finished, not by a long stretch. But it does mark a change to a point where my primary focus might not actually be transition and I can get on with my life.

[edit:]

Now at Mum’s place with real internet.

This morning my surgeon burst into my room which he did every time he saw me in hospital. Now this isn’t an entirely fair description as the man does knock, but then so does everyone else. So at 7:30am which is apparently when he visits post-op patients I get a polite knock at the door which just barely suffices to wake me. “Is that breakfast?”, I think, “Or does the nurse want to do something to me?” (never as good as it sounds) So I cheerfully invite whoever it is in except that I’m not awake so a series of noises emerge that mean nothing except “I’m awake.”, but that’s enough. The nurses and kitchen staff understand this. They crack the door open and explain who they are in gentle terms and then let me catch up. My surgeon doesn’t. I don’t know when he wakes up nor what he drinks when he does but he’s got a full head of steam by the time he gets to me. He breezed in, breezed at me, patted my knee, called me dear and breezed out. My half of the conversation was approximately “Whuh? Uh? ... Home? Yes...today... unh...salt...appointment...?...” Followed by me being functional enough to remember what he wanted to talk about five minutes after he left. Good enough though. Everything was written down for me anyway and I remembered the important bits regardless.
I think it shows how pleased I am to be out of hospital that I sat uncomfortably in the car going down the Southeastern Freeway towards Berwick through the driving rain and genuinely enjoyed it. Then after dropping stuff off at Mum’s we made a quick trip to the shops for a few things. It turns out a supermarket run after sitting in a car for a bit is about the limit of my physical reserves for the moment. I shouldn’t be surprised though, really.

I have liquorice allsorts though.
sacredchao: (Default)
Everything is moved. The shopping list is mostly filled. I have to rummage though closely stacked boxes to find the one that contains my bags so that I have a bag to pack and then pack it. My last solid food happens in less than two hours and after that there's a somewhat intimidating prescription to take. I should also book a taxi now for 5am, given that admission is 6am.

Suddenly it's upon me and it's awfully surreal.
sacredchao: (Default)
Just over two weeks to go and there's a sense of too much to do and too little time in which to do it. This isn't actually the case but it feels that way and the temptation to procrastinate is perversely strong. I'm definitely starting to feel the stress. It's not so much that I'm consciously worrying about things but my body steps in and hits me with adrenal surges so sharp that I gasp like someone has poked me with a pin or I'll suddenly have to disappear from my desk at work and walk quickly and determinedly away so that I can burst into inexplicable tears in private. I'm also veering oddly between insomnia and finding myself falling asleep at inopportune time (ok, maybe the veering isn't so odd but it's inconvenient and disconcerting) I may need to be very conservative with my estimates of how much I can get done in a given amount of time in the final week.

There is more than just the stress of moving house and impending surgery to cope with. The loss of derby is still fresh enough for me to cry over under the right circumstances and while that's receding it's a sort of sour background fog that ties in with me being really fucking annoyed with my body, mostly because of the restrictions associated with my knee. This in turn relates to the way in which the impending reconfiguration of my body has me angry at myself for the indulgent comfort eating and excess of alcohol which in combination with almost no exercise has seen me gain 10 kg and lose a lot of hard won fitness. I worry about how to deal with that as I suspect I may be pushing too hard with that even now. It also has me re-evaluating aspects of my sexuality again which will place me even further into extravagant freak territory but which I cannot simply sweep under the rug and ignore - that bump is now too large. This will be part of how I contextualise myself in the future and not something I can ignore while actively trying to start dating again.

I've also made a tentative but enormous commitment which has a year long lead time and a lot of wrangling but would yet again turn my life upside down. It has a ratio of amazing and scary that probably means I absolutely have to do it if it's even remotely feasible but the very idea makes my brain fizz.

I can't actually effectively hold all of this in my mind at once. I'm trying very hard to focus on the important stuff that is happening really very soon now but the other things barge in and shout at me about how big and important and exciting and scary they are and how I need to think about them Right Now. This is not something that is calculated to promote calmness and rationality.

Still, there's not that much time left. As long as I do what I need to get done in the next couple of weeks, from that point I can just hang on for the ride and come out the other side with a much clearer mental and emotional landscape or at least one with a couple of huge and pressing elements removed. I just wish I could convince myself to put everything else aside until then.

Why am I doing this to myself?

Advent

Mar. 25th, 2013 12:01 am
sacredchao: (Default)
Two years, four months and two days ago I started taking estrogen. I've taken it every day ever since. Tomorrow will be the last dose I take for a while. This is because Tuesday marks the point where there are only four weeks until I go in for surgery. Apparently an elevated amount of estrogen ais a risk during surgery (it is for cisgendered women as well but there's no way to regulate it in that case)

I'm starting to pack my things, work through lists of things I have to do and I am thinking of little else but moving house and surgery. Moving house also happens in four weeks, the weekend before surgery. I could wish it was a week earlier but some things just can't happen so I guess I suck it up and deal. It essentially means that I'll do a quick and dirty setup in the room that will be my bedroom so I have a bed to sleep on and access to my clothes and everything else will be shoved into the other room to be dealt with when I get home after surgery. Unpacking will be a slow and gentle exercise, methinks.

I don't think I'm especially scared. I'm appropriately wary of the risks associated with surgery but short of not going ahead with this there's nothing I can do about that so it's not worth getting worked up over and I'm not. I'm a little more edgy about the pain that I know will be involved but again, that will be what it will be and falls into "suck it up" territory. Price of admission and all that. It's what comes after that. New home, readjustments to make to how I see myself. I suppose my life won't change that much but what will change will be that I will no longer have a major goal to push towards with transition. I'll have done all the big stuff and, to paraphrase Hitchikers' Guide to the Galaxy, anything I still can't deal with will therefore be my problem. What next? I broke my life apart, threw away several large chunks of it and then set myself to focus almost entirely on the process of transition. I need to be aware that I'm not going to have much in the way of goals after this and be ready for the "now what?" questions. If I'm honest, I think that's what I'm nervous about now. Once I've negotiated the big stuff I'll be left with just a life like everyone else. It'll come with a couple of extra challenges but so do many other people's. To survive isn't enough, I'll need more purpose than that. There's no big rush I guess but even so.

Having said all that I suspect that I really shouldn't underestimate the fact that there will be several levels of coming to grips with what I'm about to do. I'm not even sure what that will entail but it's not going to be a case of dusting off my hands and getting on with life as if nothing has happened. Even putting aside healing, I think I'm going to be re-examining myself yet again. Let's be honest, I have no idea how I'm going to feel at that point. Lots of general purpose bracing knowing nothing except that there's a significant probability of post-surgical depression. That's a very long winded way of saying that this is a big deal and I have no idea what to expect afterwards. As usual though, getting it out of my head helps it to make more sense.

I watched a video about body modification yesterday. In the middle of it, reassignment surgery was mentioned and there were some shots of surgery being performed. It was graphic and bloody and unpleasant and more or less intended to shock. I watched it with a degree of naked want that surprised me. I watched the incisions and the suturing with no fear or distaste, just a wish that I could skip the next four weeks. I have no misgivings about this, no second thoughts, no niggling wondering that I might not be doing the right thing. This is so so right.

For all that it's very definitely what I want though, I'm already wigging out slightly and by the time the weekend of the 20th of April rolls around, I'm going to be a bit incoherent. Anyone helping me out on moving day gets extra thanks for their forbearance in advance.
sacredchao: (Default)
Time rolls on. Tomorrow will be six weeks to go before surgery and it's starting to get big enough in my mental view that I'm losing perspective and it's now just a Very Big Thing™. How I will be feeling in a few weeks wouldn't bear thinking about except that I'll be moving house about then.

I confirmed my new home today. I'll be sharing with two lovely people from my derby league and the six year old son of one of them. They're both good, low stress friends and I'm really super pleased to be moving in with them. Rather nicely, what I'm getting for my rent is essentially a corridor that leads off the loungeroom; the two smallish bedrooms and ensuite that open into that are all mine except that the ensuite also constitutes the laundry. It's for all intents and purposes my space and that will be a very nice thing indeed. The rest of the house is a nice space as well.

The fact that I'm sharing with a couple of people from my league and that there will be a steady trickle of people from my league and others through the house will be a gentle way to stay connected that isn't going leave me overwhelmed. I've also got my own space in which to hermit if I have to. Being in Thornbury also puts me much closer to a great many friends. For that reason and a few others, I'm looking forward a great deal to moving back north of the city. The plan at this stage is hopefully to move in there the weekend before surgery. This could involve using most of my reserves of coping but at least it's positive stress. Then I get a full Monday to Friday at work. Having said that, it will also be the last week of my secondment, mostly due to the fact that I'll be away from work for five weeks after that. I have no idea what's going to happen after that. At all. I can't begin to predict my life post surgery. It will, of course, be much as it was before but I'm having trouble picturing it.

Eep.
sacredchao: (Default)
A big step today, I booked the date for surgery. Don't invite me to anything on 23/04/13, I'm sort of busy. It's a couple of weeks later than I expected but really that's neither here nor there at this stage. So this is a big thing with attendant crazy stress levels. Coming on the heels of the news about my knee, it presents two huge stressors, both of which introduce considerable uncertainty. Yes, I expect surgery to resolve a lot of dissonance and confusion but I also know full well that once that happens there will be a whole new slab of myself to evaluate and place into context and it will result in me evolving and growing yet again. I have no idea what the result of this will be though, only that it will almost certainly happen and so I should not make any especially firm plans.

I have a job interview on Wednesday. It's for the permanent position for which I've just started the secondment. I like to think that the fact that I've been given the secondment bodes well for he permanent position but I rather badly want this one. It will be a quiet relaxing job around people I like, interacting only with other departments, not the general public. It also means a slight bump in pay. Want.

So these things along with various interpersonal whatsits happening at different levels for different reasons and the need to find a new place to live before surgery mean that I have enough uncertainty in my life to have pinged some sort of what-the-fuck-is-going-on threshold. I need to address one thing at a time, even if everything is clamouring for attention at once.

There are times when I just want to have a comfortable thing to curl up against though. My soul is craving safe and cozy and I'm really not finding that right now.

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