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)))))))))))))))))


Anji said...

I don't know a lot about the subject, but I do remember hearing a long time ago that when there was doubt about a baby’s sex, if there was anything resembling a penis the baby was designated ‘boy’. I hope that today things are a lot different. Older doctors were left behind so quickly in the past. I know that my doctor frequently goes on courses, even though he will be retiring in a few years.

You and your mum really shared a mother and daughter moment this weekend. As a mum myself, I can say that those times are really treasured. It’s lovely that you can talk so openly about your operation and your future body to her.

The world has come a long way since 1996, there is still a way to go yet. Do you realise how much you are contributing to the progress by blogging about your life?

I really like the picture from the NHS Volunteer magazine, no wonder they chose it.

Hannah Rose said...

Hi Debbie, just hi :-)

Debbie K said...

Dear Anji
Your kind & thoughtful words provide me with so much comfort.
Bless your heart. I am finding all the emotions quite difficult to deal with right now as memories become so raw. One thing remains constant & that is how lucky I am, how blessed I feel.