I arrived two hours early but unfortunately 40 years too late for the consultation. My lovely counsellor of many years Fran accompanied me. I was & still am quite emotional over the whole experience. I could write & write for ever exuding praise for the hospital & its staff. The standard of care, the cleanliness. The friendliness of the nursing staff of whom the leader of the team is a sweet lady called Liz Hills. A marvellous nurse who reminds me very much of my best friend, a guardian Angel, who has been guiding me & even saved my life. The expert & very honest surgeon Mr Thomas. The luxurious rooms with sea views & Kestrels nesting in a box 50 yards from your window. The closeness to my home. That Fran used to work in the previous hospital before this one was built ten years ago. The surgeon Mr Thomas was taught by Mr Royal the very same surgeon my counsellor used to work with. That Mr Thomas was very impressed with Frans background & happy to take her word that I was a genuine case & ready for this life changing surgery. The only awful bit was the examination. If I felt great sadness at my deformity before I transitioned that sadness has manifested itself into total horror & hatred of that cursed organ. I so desperately want it gone. Enough, I am sorry that is too much information, please forgive me.
Did I mention the brilliant nurse Liz? Well she is worth another mention anyway. She was so completely understanding & sensitive to how someone like me feels going to something like this. She was full of 110% genuine compassion. To know she & her team would be there before, during & especially with the aftercare is very reassuring. She actually worked with Fran as a junior nurse in the original gender clinic part of the old hospital. So she has a lot of experience to offer.
For my fellow sisters & I GRS is often the Holy Grail but it is not always achievable. We sat just outside the main entrance afterwards & I had trouble holding back the tears. I was shaking with emotion & could not really comprehend what had just taken place. It took about 20 minutes for me to come down & try to make sense of all the emotion. Then a mixture of shear elation & anxiety took over. From where we were parked I could see reflected in my driver’s mirror, the doors to my destiny beckoning. So close yet so far. It took an age for me to compose myself & drive us home.
I know how anxious my beloved elderly Mum & Dad will be for me when I finally have this surgery done but if they had seen this hospital & its incredible staff they would be so much more at ease. One way or the other I am going back through those hospital doors & coming back out a new woman. Hopefully with the NHS in the new financial year April 2009 possibly before 2010. April 1st would be appropriate after nature’s cruel joke. Realistically Oct- Nov 2009. If funding is not in place by February at the latest my flat will be on the market at a knock down price & possibly even sooner.
"Yesterday was beyond my wildest dreams, so close yet so far".
I never ever thought someone with so little confidence until I transitioned & found my self belief, could ever have got this far. I still cannot believe it.
This life is a journey & the GRS not an end. Some less fortunate dear sisters are not always able to have any medical treatment or even begin to experience what this life is really all about. In my moments of elation I will always remember these courageous sisters. I have known since a very young age that I am a woman trapped in a male body but it is only since January when I begun to live as a woman full time did I actually find that special feeling, that magical self belief that actually comes from that final big leap of faith.
The wise words of two dear friends far more eloquent than I, sum up how I feel about my life, my very real life, experiences of recent months, quite perfectly:-
From my dear friend Kate regarding my brave friend Jo & her brilliant debut in the workplace, for the first time in her life:-
“It is so Not A Big Deal but until you've experienced that yourself, it seems impossible to believe - and I suspect some people never do reach that. We don't dress; we don't present en femme; we don't become women; we don't change sex; we don't transition. It is so much simpler than that: we just drop the male masque, the disguise we have worn for so many years. It's not a step forwards - it's rewind. And from there, you can now move forwards.
My dear friend Jo’s memorable thoughts, on a memorable day for both of us:-
“This has been, and is, one extraordinary journey. Yesterday's insurmountable barriers fall away like dust when you realise who you truly are - and that your responsibility is simply to be that person. Nothing else. The world sees you doing it, and responds to that (though what the world does or doesn't do recedes from your mind rapidly..it seems a paradoxical accident that the more irrelevant others judgements of you become, the better and more supportive they become too). The dropping of the male mask is exactly how it felt yesterday - the jettisoning of something painful and interfering and unnecessary, to reveal the reality within. What was vaguely astonishing (in an unastonishing way) was how utterly easy it was, how unremarkable, how I realised all the assumptions and fears were mine - and mine alone to deal with.”
Bless you all, my inspirational & supportive friends, each & every one of you.
A tearful happy Debbie.