Wednesday, 21 October 2009

My Guardian Angel was watching over me today

Today I ended up in the wonderful care of a Paramedic called Sarah. I was involved in a near miss with a car being driven by an elderly driver reversing at speed without realising I was walking across the road behind him. I was hit but not run over. Thank God my Mum was not walking by my side. I was so lucky I came so close to having my world shattered, my dreams destroyed.
Life has a habit of never going to plan.

"What does not kill us makes us stronger" is a quote that springs to mind.

We all have our own worries, our own little worlds. It only takes a split seconds lack of concentration for our worlds to collide & our lives can change for ever.

Fortunately I had dropped my Mum off at the hairdressers to have her hair done & so I was on my own as I crossed the Tesco's supermarket car park to do the weekly shop. The driver had just driven past the main entrance. The road was clear. My heart was happy as I set off. Just at this point the guys concentration must have wavered. Concerned for his passenger, his disabled wife, I can only assume he decided to save her from having to walk too far & with his thoughts only for his loved one, reversed without looking, straight at me. I ran for my life. I often cursed my height which makes me feel self conscious & prevents me wearing high heals. Not any more. With my flat shoes on, laden with empty shopping bags, I just about avoided being hit full on as the car smashed into my side & caught my outstretched hand. My Mum would not have stood a chance if she had been with me. They were totally oblivious until they heard me bang the car as I bounced of their rear wing. The car hit me but at least it did not run me over.

I was at first in mild shock, my hand slightly grazed but I did not want to make a scene. There but for the grace of God. My elderly Dad could easily have made a similar mistake & so could I. Many a time when I have been humbly trying to do the right thing, it seems the gremlins try to strike. How many times have we ourselves driven when perhaps we should not have, our minds distracted by deep emotions? There have been a number of occasions when I have been too ill, perhaps too selfish, to realise the implications my actions could bring.

At first I thought no significant harm had been done. I tried to carry on shopping. I had a long list to get, but only managed a few more steps to get some flowers for my Mum, when my legs turned to jelly. I felt dizzy as I went into deep shock. The recent memories of my car crash in April conspired to bring all the trauma back. The closeness of my surgery, my worries about my parents, all combined to completely overwhelm me. One of my biggest fears is the safety of my beloved parents while I have to convalesce after my surgery & I cannot provide the care I usually strive to. The staff were so kind. I was whisked away in a wheel chair to a quiet room as my shock became a full blown panic attack. I did not want to be a nuisance but with my hormone imbalance, my emotions were in meltdown, they were left with no choice but to call for the emergency services.

An Angel in green, the paramedic Sarah arrived. She did & said all the right things. Calmed & comforted me, checking everything was ok. She really was a sister of mercy. A relative of hers had needed to travel a similar path. There is something so special about caring people, she was so sweet to me. She studied hard to get her degree. Her very nature or perhaps it was just fate bought her to the perfect career. Sarah was the only female member in a team of over thirty emergency response personal. She self depricatingly jokingly described her large bag of emergency medical equipment as just her make up bag. She also told me her boss says “she does everything the men do, the only difference being she does it in lipstick!” What an inspirational lady.

She stopped with me to make sure I required no further treatment. Eventually guiding me with the help of the staff first Aider to the restaurant, for a much appreciated sugary cup of tea. Unable to stay any longer, her time in much demand, my angel in green, from the northern town of Grimsby was gone, but will always be remembered. We had both travelled a long, long way for our paths to meet.

I am going to write a letter to Sarah boss to let him know what an excellent Paramedic he has in his team. It’s all too easy for people to complain & moan. A little thank you costs nothing. I hope the elderly couple got home safely. I forgive the elderly driver, I just hope he does not hurt anyone else, he would never forgive himself I am sure. Would I have been able to forgive him if he had run over my Mum or Dad? No.No.No. I am no Angel. None of us knew our worlds would collide, that our paths would cross today. Afterwards I looked back on the day to discover my life was the richer for the experience.

An hour & a half after arriving I rather shakily finally left the shop having only managed to get my Mums flowers, but more importantly I had escaped a very near miss with my life, my dreams to finally be a complete Ms still in tack. The food shopping can wait another day, now if it had been clothes shopping that would have been serious!

I had only recently thought how lucky I am & that if I died tomorrow I would die happy. That tomorrow nearly came but thankfully my guardian Angel was with me.

My best friend S gave me a gift at the start of my journey, A guardian angel plaque with the following words inscribed:-

My Guardian Angel
She watches over you each day.
With warm & loving care.
This little Angel guides your steps.
She is with you everywhere!

Another dear friend Karen posted an appropriate link to a beautiful song

Lucie Silvas Guardian Angel

Dear Sarah C should you ever read this page, bless you for caring for me, for making my life richer.

((((((((((((Endless hugs & peaceful thoughts)))))))))))))

May your faith be your Guardian Angel
Debbie x
PS I took the photo of the Angel outside the hospital in Brighton where I had just had the most amazing experience with my Mum We had just come through the doors of the hospital (in the background) where I will be having my GRS on Nov 3rd.
Was the Angel real? Our unconditional love certainly was.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The "Mones"

With the my GRS just over three weeks away I am having quite a lot of soulful thoughts, like the tiger cub in this picture.

I completely stopped using my hormones patches on 22nd September as per the pre op requirements specific to the Nuffield Hospital Brighton for GRs with Mr Thomas. They advised me hormones should stop six weeks before surgery.

I decided to ease my self off the two prescribed eveorel patches by cutting down to one at 7 weeks before surgery, with my last patch applied on 20th stopping completely on 22nd. This was the first time I had been off hormones since Nov 1996 & I have been quite nervous how I would cope. The answer for me is not too bad. Certainly not as bad as I thought & if any one does not believe me, I will cry & throw a hissy fit, so there!

It has not been as scary as I thought it would be. I experienced a strange taste in my mouth within days. After a few days my skin seemed different & I felt more lethargic but no dramatic mood swings, hot flushes or sickness.

After the first week off hormones my "Happy face" momentarily failed me. I was due at the hospital for a voluntary day & having a nice shower when my mones went haywire. In floods of tears, my body feeling like it was reverting to man mode I felt too ugly to face the world. My skin feels so different. I suddenly felt very different, menopausal for goodness sake, I just knew it was going to happen at some point. I had to phone in to let them know I would be a little late. I was not going to let it beat me. I thought of all my sisters out there. How through it all, with all you have going on, you find the spirit & positive energy to keep going. If you are fortunate enough to have a job to go to a working girl does not have the option of throwing a sicky in the middle of a world wide recession.

I crawled into work only an hour late. Children's op was lovely as always I then went on to a new posting in medical personal. It was manic. The girls were snowed under with stressed out doctors/staff with queries about their pay etc. I was up & down running about like the most junior junior of filling assistants & was not involved in the stressy stuff. I was made to feel very much part of their team & my efforts although menial were valued. I was invited to join them for lunch, share a coffee & asked if I could come back again soon. One day I will but possibly not in that department!

I looked up at one point from my filling & in a rather grubby window there was a reflection of a woman in a very busy office, who had a very busy life, was tired, had been emotional, felt like cak but just kept going, She had a great big smile on her face. No one had a clue what she had been through where she had come from or where she was going, she was just one of the girls. That reflection was mine but once again I thought of all of you making your way in the working world.

As an aside it did strike me afterwards that all the most obvious stress & angst occurred in the medical personal office, with the paperwork not where the work was really critical in the caring departments, which perhaps says a lot about the misplaced priorities we can sometimes have in our working lives.

I had my pre-op bloods, swabs & hopefully last Triptorelin monthly injection on 29th September. Brighton advised me that Triptorelin testosterone blocker must be out of my system for at least a week prior to surgery. The last monthly one is to be five weeks before surgery date.

Due to the increased risk of infection at my voluntary work with the hospital I was advised by Brighton, once swabs for MRSA etc have been completed which should be 3-4 weeks before surgery I must stop working there. I have a second swab test this coming week. The first was clear. I was also advised I should not return to the hospital voluntary work for twelve weeks because of the risk of infection.

It was also recommended that my genital hair removal should ideally be completed 3 weeks prior to my surgery. I have had 13 electrolysis & 3 laser IPL sessions with an excellent hair removal specialist. It is not easy to find a practioner experienced & able to do this type of specialist hair removal. To help with my electrolysis I actually had to dye my hair black the night before so they were easier to locate. I have had to take painkillers & apply lots of prescribed emla cream to ease the discomfort of the final stages as my anxiety has increased. It is just another process to go through & better done beforehand than after when it may not even be possible. A humble recommendation to anyone who is considering hair removal with laser IPL is to consider doing it when you are young & your hair has more natural dark pigment.

My mood swings have become a bit more wobbly this week. Dad has been on his best behaviour bless him as my Mum has warned him I when I feel much more emotional. With my surgery so close now it is causing me to focus on that area of my body I had for so long managed to blank out of my mind. I never experienced “willy hate” just great sadness. Now it feels like those memories, those nerve endings are so raw they are already being cut by the surgeon. I feel these emotions are perfectly understandable & healthy. I would not be human if I went into this kind of surgery with no nerves at all. I have dreamed & planned off the day when that part of my body could be corrected. I may have dreamed it but now the reality of that dream is hitting me full on & conjuring up all kinds of emotions. I am experiencing all kinds of life affirming feelings together with a few demons.

With just over three weeks to go I think the time is right for me to stop all my voluntary work which I have really enjoyed doing. My concentration has become worse & my emotions heightened by the day. Nothing too out of the ordinary considering my date with destiny may be very very close, all being well.This is causing me additional anxiety in my personal friendships & I fear all hope for my most special of friendships may now reached its darkest hour after a glimmer of hope. In spite of the tears, there is so much to experience, so much to do. I have never ever felt more alive than I do now. Life is full of surprises. I must stop moaning about my mones. My judgment is slightly clouded by my lack of hormones but I can clearly see I have so much to be truly grateful for.

May your life be kind to you.
((((((((((Peace & hugs)))))))))

PS Please note any medical information needs to be confirmed by qualified medical personal who are assigned to look after your specific medical needs. We are all different & so are the requirements at different hospitals etc I only offer the information here as my particular experience.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Inspirational Courageous Journey of Pam Warren

The Courageous Journey of the Woman In The Mask
Ten years after the Paddington rail disaster

I watched a programme this week about an incredibly courageous woman facing the most frightening of fears. The story of Pam Warren who survived the Paddington Rail disaster despite horrific burns attempting to travel on a train again 10 years after the disaster was the most humbling experience.

I have been off my hormones for nearly 3 weeks now & my mood has been quite emotional to say the least. Thoughts of dear friends facing tremendously difficult situations are close to my heart. Life can be so cruel.

Childhood memories of the area of my body which will soon be operated on have become increasingly very vivid & unsettling. Sometimes it seems so daunting to face our demons. I have stood outside many doors too afraid to step inside. I was praying for inspiration for my friends going through such difficult times & for myself & my modest challenges. The strength of Pam Warren to step on board a train again, to face all she has been through shows how remarkable the human spirit can truly be.

For inspiration on how to face your demons & overcome adversity Pam's story is well worth reading. I have included parts of her experiences below:-

Seizing every opportunity: Pam Warren, ten years after the Paddington rail disaster.

The screech of metal against metal, wheels scraping along the steel track, was what frightened Pam Warren the most. The last time she'd heard that noise was on October 5, 1999, sitting in coach H of the 6.03am Great Western express to London Paddington just before it crashed head-on with the 8.06am Thames Train to Bedwyn, killing 31 people and injuring more than 400.

That sound was the one thing she'd forgotten; strangely missing from the terrifying nightmares and flashbacks which played in her mind like a video on a never-ending loop. But as she stood on the platform of Slough Station in Berkshire, to complete the journey she began at 7.42am ten years ago, the noise of the train pulling in conjured up all those repressed images.

The grinding and violent grating sound as the first-class carriage she was in crumpled before her eyes in the impact; the unnatural sound of men screaming around her; the white heat of a fireball and the sound of her hair crackling as the flames swept over her.

The sight of her leg on fire and the desperate scramble through a broken window all flashed back, as did memories of sitting on the railway bank - blackened and burned - staring in shock at her 'barbecued' fingers.

'My heart was racing and right up to the last second, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get on the train,' says Pam, 42, whose burned face, encased in a plastic mask, came to symbolise the horror of the Paddington crash.

'The logical side of my brain kept telling me I would be fine, but I didn't know if I'd be able to cope with the emotions which might wash over me.

'I haven't stepped on a train since the day of the crash, ten years ago, but I don't like the thought of fear ruling me or the crash defining me. I do not consider myself a victim and it was that feeling which stopped me running away.

I stared in shock at my barbecued, black fingers!

'To cope, I imagined myself inside a protective bubble, and it was only when another train whooshed past ours in the opposite direction that I jumped 6ft in the air. I also became anxious when we approached Ladbroke Grove where the crash occurred.

'The journey took 13 minutes, and it was a relief when it ended, but I felt elated when I got off the train because it was important for me to complete the journey I started ten years ago. It feels as if my life has come full circle. But will I do it again? I'm not sure, I really don't know if I'm brave enough.'

Pam Warren's remarkable train journey, two-and-a-half weeks ago, featured on ITV's Tonight programme with Trevor McDonald to mark the 10th anniversary of the Paddington rail crash.
Pam Warren agreed to travel the same journey after she spoke to the rail industry's safety chief
Before agreeing to it, she met Len Porter, Chief Executive of RSSB, the industry's safety wing. Thames Trains was fined £2million in 2004 and Network Rail, previously Railtrack, was fined £4million in 2007 for the 'systemic and unacceptable' safety failures leading to the Paddington Crash, and Pam was keen to be reassured by Len Porter that the main recommendations from Lord Cullen's inquiry into the crash, had been implemented.

She also insisted on being accompanied by her psychologist, Anton Kruger, who helped her prepare mentally for the journey and remained in her line of vision throughout.

'Train safety is still not perfect, but it's comforting to know that lessons have been learned,' says Pam, who plans to mark the anniversary on Oct 5th, as she has done every year, by going somewhere quiet and thinking of all those 'who didn't make it'.

'The crash should never have happened and I wish every single one of those who died was still here, but the fact that rail travel is so much safer today is a very positive legacy for them to have left behind.'

Pam Warren suffered horrific burns in the crash in 1999. She travelled alongside her psychologist. This is the first time in five years that Pam, whose courage as 'the woman in the mask' touched the nation, has spoken about the crash.

After founding the Paddington Survivors' Group, she deliberately dropped out of the public eye in 2004, following an acrimonious and painful divorce from her husband, Peter. They'd been friends for 15 years, married for two and were business partners at the time of the accident, but the trauma eventually shattered their relationship. Today, they no longer speak.
My mask felt like a protective barrier against the world.

'Going over my story again and again felt like picking at a scab and I knew I had to disappear if I was going to allow myself time to heal properly,' says Pam, who was forced to give up the financial advisory service she set up with her ex-husband, who became her full-time carer after the crash.

The most striking thing about Pam Warren, today, is how good she looks, given the injuries she suffered. Her hair, burnt to within a whisker of her scalp, has grown back dark and glossy.

She has a delicate bone structure, soft eyes and a warm smile and it's hard to believe this face was once so swollen and disfigured that the sight of it in the mirror reduced her to tears.
'Very few people see me without my face on,' she says, referring to the camouflage make-up she uses to disguise the scars. 'When I look in the mirror now it is with acceptance. This is who I am and I hope this face will last me until I fall off the twig. Looks are not important, it is who you are inside and I am a much softer, kinder, nicer person than I was before the crash.'

Pam spent three weeks unconscious in intensive care. She endured more than 22 major operations on her face and hands and had to wear a transparent plastic mask for 23 hours a day for 18 months while the skin grafts healed.

'I still have the mask. Actually, there are three of them because as the swelling went down, they had to make a new one to make sure it was tight enough to keep the skin moist,' she says.
'I keep them in a memory box in the attic, with all the cards and letters of support I received. I don't ever look at them now, but I can't throw them out because they are an important part of my history.

'There will be more operations in the future, but it is mostly maintenance now. The grafted skin isn't like normal skin,' she says rubbing the surface of her hands, where the legacy of the burns are most evident with puckered skin and fingernails missing.

'It doesn't heal when you cut it. I can only go out in the sun with a big hat and special extra-strong sun cream I buy from Australia.

'Over the years I've had a few twits who, on seeing my scars, have asked: "God, what happened to you?" And I just reply: "I got burned", and walk away.

'Having stared death in the face, I've realised that life is too short to waste time on worrying about what people like that think of the way I look.

'I feel grateful for what the mask did for me. It felt like a protective barrier against the world when I most needed it and all the problems really started when it came off. The brain has a funny way of dealing with what is most important at any particular time and for the first 18 months it concentrated on my getting better physically, but after the mask came off all the emotions came to the fore.'

Pam suffered terrifying nightmares and flashbacks and found it impossible to adjust to her new life, her old one having been completely ripped apart. Perhaps, inevitably, the first casualty was her relationship with Peter, now 60, who'd lovingly devoted himself to her recovery.

I hit the bottle to make the flashbacks stop.

'I defy any marriage to survive what we went through, although I feel a large part of the blame for the collapse of ours lies with me, because of the mental challenge I was facing,' says Pam.
'I was not a nice person to be with. I couldn't cope with what I was going through as well as the responsibility of knowing that my well-being was affecting that of another person.

'There was a real sense from the beginning that this was something I had to go through alone, the feeling of "how could anyone else understand what I'm going through if they weren't there".

'To cope, I hit the bottle for about a year. At first, I found that a glass or two of wine in the evening helped me feel a bit better. Then a glass or two became a whole bottle, or maybe two. You think it is going to numb you, help you sleep, make you so zonked out you don't have flashbacks and nightmares. Then the next day I'd feel hungover and not want to do anything.
'It made me a horrible person to live with and it is the one period of my life of which I'm ashamed. I became a selfish, uncaring idiot.'

It was during this time, when negotiations with Thames Trains' insurers over Pam's compensation were also dragging, that she tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. When she told Peter what she'd done, he rushed her to hospital. 'It was after one particularly terrifying flashback - I just wanted to try and make them stop,' she says. ' Afterwards I was admitted to a private psychiatric clinic for three months and for the first time I felt relief.' Pam was subsequently diagnosed with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

'I was finally being prescribed the right medication and I wasn't allowed to see any family or friends for three months - it was actually a relief, not having to worry about them or about the cooking or anything else. It was a nice rest.'

Pam's nadir came at a press conference in 2003 when she broke down in tears and wept: 'I wish I'd died in the crash.' She spoke movingly of losing the will to live as insurers insisted on what seemed like endless assessments of her physical injuries and emotional trauma.

Her real recovery finally started, however, after she stopped drinking and walked away from her marriage. Her sobriety came after a conversation with former Welsh Guardsman Simon Weston, who was badly burned during the Falklands War. Simon is lead ambassador of the Healing Foundation, a charity which helps rebuild the bodies, minds and lives of people with disfigurements. Pam now also works for the charity as an ambassador.

'Simon was one of the few people to understand what I was going through. He told me he used to drink to blot out the memories and asked me if that was what I was doing, too,' says Pam.
'He told me that no matter how bad it seemed now, it didn't mean I could not find another way to cope. He made me realise that it didn't have to be like this for ever. Then, when my close friend Jan, another Paddington survivor, told me: "I don't like you when you are like this," I went home and poured every single bottle of alcohol down the drain and just stopped. I didn't touch any drink for the next year.'

Pam is reluctant to discuss the end of her marriage in 2004, because she believes some things should remain private, but says: 'I regret the way I behaved, but I don't regret the end of the marriage. Once I was on my own I immediately began to feel happier.'

Pam credits her mental recovery on cognitive behavioural therapy, but one suspects that true grit has also played a part.

'What I like about my current psychologist Anton Kruger is that the first thing he said to me was: "Right, what do you want to do with your future?" and I loved that, it suits my personality,' says Pam.

'I don't like feeling trapped in the past. I hated not working and spending every day watching old black-and-white films at home and then having absolutely nothing to talk to my friends about. I wanted to be normal again; part of society.'
In 2003, Pam was awarded compensation, reported to be more than £1 million. She is prevented by the terms of the settlement from revealing exactly how much, but says: 'It is not as substantial as people think and working again was always going to be a necessity.'
In May 2007, Pam set up her own business and now works as an events manager, organising balls and corporate functions. Her favourite was a James Bond-themed event for an engineering firm. 'It's wonderful,' she says, 'doing a job which is so joyful and is all about making people happy.'
She also takes great pride in her voluntary work, mentoring other people who have suffered burns injuries to their faces.
'Often they don't want to wear the plastic mask, asking: "Will it do any good anyway?" but as soon as they see my face that question is immediately answered.
'I like to meet the whole family of such victims to warn them that, even though this person might feel positive now, there will be periods of depression in the future and not to be frightened of it,' says Pam, who is careful to take off long periods of time between jobs because of her continuing health problems.

'It's when I become exhausted that the depression sets in and I start having flashbacks and nightmares again. I've learned now to just give into to it, rather than fight it, knowing that in two or three days it will pass.'

Pam's evident happiness can also be partly explained by the new man in her life, an IT consultant, whom she met at a New Year's Eve party almost two years ago. 'He didn't know who I was when he asked me out, he just liked me for me,' she says, smiling broadly. 'I sat him down and said: "There are some things you need to know about me." I explained that I still sometimes suffer depression and need time and space to be on my own. I told him: "I'm a high-maintenance woman, so if you want to back off now you can." But he didn't.'
So are there times when Pam still wishes she hadn't survived the crash? 'Oh my goodness no, I love my life. I understand why I felt that way back then, because when you are constantly suffering flashbacks all you want to do is go to sleep and never wake up.
'But that's not who I am now. Having almost died, I want to pack as much into my life as I can. I want to travel to places I've never been, spend time with the people I love, and work because it's important to my sense of well-being.
'The one thing the Paddington Crash taught me is that you never know when your life is going to end, so you have to make the most of every single day.'
A lesson to us all from a very brave lady.
((((((((Peace & Hugs)))))))

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A weekend of Revelations

My parents & I never really had the chat about the birds & the bee’s or S E X. There just never seemed a need I guess. Mum & I have led very sheltered lives. We blush quite easily & although not completely innocent/naive we are far from worldly wise.

Sunday 5th October has been something of day of revelations. We have both dealt with some rather uncomfortable questions. The kind of questions not that many Mothers & daughters would normally need to have certainly not at a combined age of one hundred & thirty. I tried to be as open & honest as I could be without worrying her with too much information regarding my impending gender realignment surgery.

I explained to her that my need for surgery was to alleviate the discomfort I feel with my body, my gender & was nothing to do with my sexuality. Having a sexual relationship had just not been something that has been part of my life & perhaps never will. We talked about the dilators & how often I would be using them. How long the packing would be in place, all kinds of questions. She was very understanding. She has experienced far greater pain than I probably will from my GRS, during the joys of child birth & other operations of a womanly nature. We had never shared such intimate things before & this was to be another poignant emotional high on this journey.

Mum told me there was a history of the females in her family not being able to have children. According to my Mums doctors I was likely to be her last chance of a child as she was at high risk of a miscarriage. Her muscles were particularly week. When she finally became pregnant she was told to have as much bed rest as possible & had to give up her office job immediately.

When the doctors were sure she was pregnant because of her medical situation they gave her a special injection to improve her chances of avoiding a miscarriage. She remembers this very vividly. I may never know the significance of the effect this chemical wash had on me the embryo at this stage in my life I was born in the 1960s. We were perhaps one of the lucky ones as this was the period of time of the thalidomide fertility drug treatments. One of the young Mums who she shared the same maternity ward had a baby born with the effects of the thalidomide drug. They became life long friends.

My Mum was only 8 ½ stone when she gave birth early to me an underweight 7 ½ lbs. For several months I remained in hospital. I was born deformed in the genital region of my body. At 12 months I was very weak & could not sit up right.

All my childhood I suffered with kidney/urinary infections, stones etc & was constantly in & out of hospital. I suffered a great deal of pain in that region of my cursed body. I dreaded all the examinations. The only way I could deal with those feelings were to try to blank them out as best I could. Those memories are now once more open wounds with the nerve endings so exposed for all of us.

The bombshell my Mum dropped on me today was the explicit detail she went into about the state of the deformity I had been born with. Things were not where they should be for a normal male baby. At the age of five I was to have had an operation to correct it. I was prepared for surgery & at the last minute the surgeons decided it was unfair to put a young child through a series of such complicated risky surgery. They had hoped given time as an adult I would function normally.

I was not alone in blanking out the pain that part of my body had caused. When I told my parents in 1996 I needed to transition because of my gender dyshoria unknowingly that birth deformity had come back to haunt us all. All my parents understood of people like me was from the tabloids & TV of the time. They were appalled at the name that had been given to people like me “Transsexual”. To my Mum the reference to sex implied something salacious. They both went into denial & would not listen to me or my counsellor. They were from a different age & this was understandably just too much for them to be able to deal with. To go through all she has been through & then to have her dream of a child turn into a nightmare; I have great sympathy for her anguish when I shattered their lives by disclosing they had actually had a daughter.

Unfortunately my Mum eventually sought the advice of her own doctor Dr B. who had a very limited knowledge of my condition. She was nearing retirement age & about to become a missionary. She callously told my Mum that people born with my condition usually have to leave their home town & start a new life. They risk victimisation if they stay. When my Mum asked her for the medical records of her pregnancy, my birth & early childhood so they could begin to make sense of it all those records covering that part of our lives, so she claimed had gone missing. My poor Mum confessed she still blames her self which is so untrue. How heartbreaking to long for a child & have some one like me who’s condition has caused so much trauma to their lives.

I am not sure if this heartless doctors; ill informed remarks robbed us of spending a more fulfilled & happy life together but it certainly contributed to the heart ache we have had to go through to get where we are now.

It may have just been nature. It may have been the well intentioned medical intervention but something must have happened to me in the womb that caused me to be born this way. It would appear that at this moment in time there is no medical test that can be done until you are deceased. I do not need validation but today’s revelations have come as a bit of a shock.

What happened to me to cause me to be born this way I may never know?

I am not sure if it matters. I have never blamed anyone for my condition. God made me like this for a reason. I would not be here as the person I am today, were it not for my beloved Mum & Dad or those doctors had not intervened. All that matters is that we enjoy what future time we have together.

Having this surgery is very important to me but it is also just another procedure to go through. It saddens me when some souls on this journey claim their way is the only way or their T/dyshoria is bigger or more significant than another sister or brother. We are not defined by our condition, where we have come from does not dictate where we are going. I just wish we could all be friends where ever we are on the spectrum what ever path we feel we need to take.

With 4 weeks to go I am at complete peace with regard to my surgery. I wish everyone who feels they need this surgery could be able to have it. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to have the surgeon of my choice in the hospital of my choice with excellent facilities & very caring staff. I am naturally anxious & just wish it was all over. I am not sure if anything could prepare me for how I may feel afterwards. To have that deformity corrected to be comfortable in my body would be beyound any words of happiness my limited vocabularly could convey. God willing, I think the very large smile on my face will probably say it all. As long as the surgery actually happens in 4 weeks time & my parents are ok I will be ok.

I could not be going to be a better place for my particular needs or coming home to a nicer home. If I am honest I am more frightened of all the examinations than the actual surgery & the time when I am in the hospital. I am more nervous of how I may feel when I am home & those nerve endings start to heal & try to adjust to my new anatomy. I am not sure how I will cope with the pain both physically & mentally from maintaining & caring for my new anatomy. I have complete faith I will find the strength to pull through.

I have angels for friends who have guided me this far. Two actually visited my home & blessed me with their presence on Friday. To meet dear Jo & Nicky was both a joy & a privilege. I really value our friendship. With true friends like these, we need never feel alone. How I wish we could all meet up one day here on earth to give each other a big hug in person. Miracles can happen!

(((((((((((((((((((((Peace & hugs)))))))))))))))))