Monday, 9 November 2009

Thinking of Debbie (UPDATED with photo)

Hi all, Nicky again, Debbie is going to be in hospital for a couple of days longer due to a small issue, but is in great spirits!!
So would you like to leave a small greeting as a comment on this post and I'll forward them all to her by SMS?, which she'll appreciate! (she doesn't have a laptop).
I'm visiting her tomorrow hopefully.
nicky xx
ps Debbie wanted me to post this super happy photo!!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Debbie's text messages...

Hi folks...Debbie lets me know how she's doing each day.
Mostly she asks how *I* am!!!...typical Debbie...
Tonight she sent me this by text message :

Hi Nicky
I have had a really lovely day today. Dear Jo, Lucy and two of my Mswell friends kindly visited me. I also had the treat of real food again,chicken mash. Tmorrow i hope to be able to sit in a chair. The simple pleasures in life. May your weekend bring everything you wish for.
Debbie x

Just wonderful.... :-)
nicky x

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Debbie's GRS is complete & she is fine - UPDATED

Obviously I'm not family, so the hospital wouldn't really speak to me, but Liz (the clinical nurse) very kindly briefly came on the phone at 2.50pm. I didn't like to nag them, of course.
"Obviously I can't go into detail, but the operation went well, and she's back on the ward and she's fine", she said.
I thanked her very much for taking the time to speak to me, and asked her to pass on our best wishes.
Wonderful to know that she's ok, and that all went well. She was so serene yesterday, and I'm sure she'll rest well this week.

Nicky xxx

UPDATED 4.20pm by Nicky
Debbie just called me! She sounded amazing, not in any pain (meds, I would presume), and they're keeping her very comfortable. She sounded very clear and lucid, much more so than others I've spoken to after surgeries. She's made of tough stuff! She asked me to pass on her thanks to everyone, and will try to make what phonecalls she can. I had to tell her to keep them short! so as not to tire. But she was clearly elated, but also very serene and happy.
She asked me to direct you to some music she is thinking of that explains how she feels, either by Simple Minds, or the Miley Cyrus song displayed on this blog page.
Nicky xx

Debbie is now having her GRS

Hi all, it's Nicky again.
It's 8am, I got the text message shown below from Debbie at 6am. I managed to reply to her just before she will be now having her surgery.
She made it, and is doing so well !

Hi Nicky
soon that part of me that troubled me so, will be gone forever. Please say a prayer for my mum and dad,to bring them peace. I believe in angels.
most sacred heart of jesus i place all my trust in thee.
lots of love
bless you
debbie x

Monday, 2 November 2009

Debbie is settled in hospital

As Debbie mentioned, I'll humbly try to update her blog where possible.
It's 4.45pm on monday, and she checked in at lunchtime today. Her GRS is tomorrow. I've just received this from her via text message :
Hi Nicky
I am all booked in and everything is fine. I still feel so at peace. It is the most beautiful feeling. I am in the room directly above the hospital entrance. All the rooms with a view are full at the moment, which is not a problem. All my heart can see is blue sky. Tomorrow i will be climbing so high. As long as my parents are fine, i will be too.
Bless you
lots of love
A very happy smiling

I will try to talk to her later, and get a hospital update tomorrow.
Nicky xx

Sunday, 1 November 2009

My date with my destiny has nearly arrived

Thank you so much for all your kind support. I really value our friendships & am so gratful for all the wonderful inspirational friends I have met on my journey. GRS is another process, a very life affirming process but not an end to my journey.

I will be having my surgery on 3rd November at 8-8.30.

I will be convalescing for 4-6 weeks at my parents & be away from my computer. All being well Nicky is kindly going to update my blog from time to time while I am away. I am blessed to be going to the surgeon of my choice at a hospital with very kind staff. If my parents & our doggy are fine while I am away until Tuesday week & remain healthy & happy when I return I will be the luckiest daughter in the world!

I may not be around for a while but will be thinking of you all.

I have included below details of my stay in hospital which I hope may be of interest to those of you who may be on the same path.

Time line of hospital stay for full Vaginoplasty

My procedure will be Penial inversion method
Arrive the day before surgery approx 12.00hrs

On day of admission Monday 2nd Nov:-
Bloods taken for a group & save.
Commence on a low residual diet.
Clexane given 12 hours pre-op. This is a small injection to thin your blood which helps to prevent any blood clots forming. You are given this daily for the next five days whilst you are on bed rest. (You may be seen by a psychiatrist for a second opinion at this stage if required). I have already had two suitably qualified confirmations as to my suitability for surgery.

Op day Tuesday 3rd Nov:-

Phosphate enema given to clear lower part of bowel (06.00 hrs am case, 11.30 hrs pm case.)
Ted stockings, knee length (again helps to prevent blood clots).
Seen by Mr Thomas.
Seen by Anaesthetist.

Theatre Receovery:

You will be in theatre for approxiamately three hours & in recovery until your observations are stable enough for you to return to the ward.

Return to ward:

Post op observations until following day:
blood pressure, pulse, respirations oxygen levels & temperature. 15 minutes first hour, 30 minutes second hour, then 1-2 hourly throughout night.
Your dressings will be checked on a regular basis.

You will have two drains to drain any blood from collecting around your wounds.
Catheter to drain urine from your bladder. This stays insitu until day six.
IV fluids to keep you hydrated.
Vaginal pack insitu & t-bandage over your new vagina.
IV Antibiotics for two days.

Day one Wednesday:-
Blanket bath.
Clear fluid diet.
IV Antibiotics & clexane.
Pain control.
Bed rest.
IV fluids are discontinued.

Day two Thursday:-
Blanket bath.
Clear fluid diet.
IV Antibiotics & clexane.
Drains removed.
Pain control.
Bed rest.

Day three Friday:-
Assisted wash.
Low residual diet.
Oral Antibiotics & clexane.
Pain control.
Bed rest.

Day four Saturday:-
As above
Nurses will sit you out in a chair for 30 minutes, am & pm.
No standing or walking.

Day five Sunday :-
Pack removal by Mr Thomas or trained nurse.
Teaching of dilating & douching.
Normal diet.
Last day of Antibiotics & clexane.
Pain control.

Day six Monday:-
Catheter removal with antibiotic cover.
(Occasionally you may not be able to pass urine because of the swelling of your urethra, if this happens you will be re-catheterised & the cath will stay for seven days & be removed by your district nurse.
Breakfast, dilate, bath, douche.
Super dilate, bath, douche.
Pain control.

Day seven Tuesday:-
Discharged home at 10.00am
Letter given for help at airport if required.
Letter given for GRP (This may be given at your post op check).
Letter given for GP.
Medication given to take home.
Discharge advice sheet & sick certificate if required.

When I come home I will have to undertake all the advice on the discharge sheet including many sessions of dialation. I have also been advised:-

No physical exercise for a minimum of first two weeks.

Begin carrying light weights after two weeks. Gradually increase weekly.

Bathe three times a day in a small amount of water for first three weeks.

You should not drive for three to four weeks. Legally you can only begin once you are able to do an emergency stop.

Begin very short walks with dog after two weeks.

I must stop blogging now & may be away for a while.

Your friendship means so much to me. Your kind words have lifted my spirits & are really appreciated.

May there be peaceful happy times ahead for you all.

Lots of love

Why did you transition?

I came across a picture of me pre transition which captures perfectly the turmoil I was in trying to live my life as a lie. The picture on the left was taken Christmas time 2007 & shows the strain of me having got to the point of realising/accepting I needed to & was finally ready to transition, having become so ill my close friends were afraid I was terminally ill. At this point I had always known how I was born with a body in conflict with my heart & mind but did not know if I could actually live the life full time. I had decided that for me, to improve my self esteem & to help smooth my transition into my new life I would be having facial feminisation surgery with Dr Dussen a month later in January 2008. I had not realised quite how ill I had looked at this time until I came across this very rare picture of me taken at the time.

The picture on the right is me 6months after the facial feminisation surgery. The changes were quite subtle but they were right for me, as was the new life.

I had contacted a small number of women who had successfully transitioned trying to find out what made them transition. I had wonder how some one so lacking in confidence & self esteem could possibly transition. No one can answer that question but you.

I had to find out my own truth when I was ready. January 2008 was that time. I went at a pace that was right for me & my loved ones & was fortunate enough to have the opportunity. We faced our fears together & have gained strength with each challenge we faced.

Here I am two days before my GRS totally at peace with the surgery I am about to undertake. No one could prepare you for how you may feel after the surgery but I am so grateful to be at this stage in my life.

Treasured memories:-

I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved Auntie Peg. My Mums sister, my Auntie Peg passed away this day the 1st Nov 1979 at the age of 53. We will never ever forget her. She was a wonderful sister & the kindest of Aunties.

She had been suffering terribly from kidney failure & unable to have a transplant had been put on prescribed experimental drugs in hospital to prolong her life. Between Dialysis treatments she returned home in a terrible state & tragically took her own life. My dear Mum took a telephone call which was silent that morning which she has remembered for the rest of her life. She was so close to her sister & loved her dearly. My Mum has only recently just begun to find some kind of closure such has been her grief. My beloved Aunties suicide & the pain & suffering it caused my dear Mum undoubtedly helped save my life when I have been in turmoil over my gender issues.

I have witnessed first hand the pain & anguish my Mum has gone through. The tragic reasons my Auntie took her own life & the heatache suicide can cause to those who are left. As a consequence of our experience I have always felt responsible for trying to make my Mum happy. In many ways that has become how I feel about all my friends who I value dearly. I just wish you could all be happy. In reality I appreciate we cannot be responsible for how other people feel but it does not stop us caring.

My relationship with my Mum is so close, just as my Mums had probably been with her sister. Each year I have visited my dear Aunties grave to pray for her. I promised my Auntie through my prayers that I would always look after her sister. For many years I had told her in prayer of my anguish of not wishing to hurt my Mum by divulging my condition to her. How I had tried to live to my parents wishes to not transition while they were alive. Yesterday I visited my Aunties grave to pay my respects & to share with her my life affirming news that I would be having my GRS this Tuesday. I thanked her with all my heart for giving me a chance of the life I have now.

God Bless you Auntie Peg.

Life through a kaleidoscope:-

With one day to go before I travel to the hospital for my GRS I feel so incredibly peaceful. My parents have been so supportive, my friends so kind. Life has been a blur trying to prepare for what feels like a period of hibernation, followed by something close to a rebirth. a chance to correct a birth defect to correctly realign my gender. The time when I return & the pain relief from the hospital starts to wear off will be challenging to say the least. As long as I can avoid stressing my parents we will be fine. My life has never been busier or more fulfilled. I have had some wonderful experiences & been overwhelmed by the kindness of my family & friends. There has been so much to think about & plan for.

So many emotions, so many memories. It has been like viewing my life through a kaleidoscope at times.

Very occasional paranoia induced by my withdrawal from hormones, a requirement for my surgery, has led to the odd anxiety overload. Liz Hills the lead clinical nurse had warned me not to read too much into other people’s experiences of gender realignment surgery.

She explained that you may tend to only hear about those who are unhappy or alternately those who feel their surgeon is the best & the only place to go. I am so fortunate to be going to the surgeon of my choice & the hospital of my choice. I am happy to place my trust with them but even so a little nerves are understandable.

The post op experience when I am back home & all the emotions, possible post op blues concerned me. There was a posting on a support forum called "angels" which referred to post op experiences. Foolishly rather like a child being warned not to do something I did & opened a Pandora’s Box of complex feelings. These played on my biggest fears, which actually caused me to take to my bed for a day. Liz was able to allay my fears & explained clearly why I should not worry as it should not happen to me. Wisely for me Liz has also told me not to think too much about that stage until I am through the operation & nearly ready to come home,which suits my natural anxiety.

Coming off the hormones 6 weeks before surgery has not been as bad as the fear I had of the unknown, my fear of how badly I would cope. I have been doubting my judgment even more than usual & making allowances. What was very different for me was I found myself being less passive. Every time I felt ready to bite, to say or write anything potentially inflammable, I wrote those feelings down & filed them. I then went back to look at them in the morning. Sometimes especially when my mood may be shall we say was questionable Silence was the best answer & gave me time for clarity before it’s too late. The lack of hormones & my natural anxiety are a potent but LIVABLE MIX.

I have been devoting my time to making sure everything is in place for my parents & ensuring their needs are all catered for. They have been brilliant so supportive. I am blessed to have so many lovely friends I wanted to catch up with before I go into hibernation but I found myself running out of time. So much shopping to get in so that Mum & Dad not to mention our doggy are all well looked after. My proudly independent parents did not want me to ask anyone to help them. It’s great they still feel able to be independent but I still needed to make sure there are friends on standby just in case they need anything.

My counselor is now coming down from London this Sunday afternoon so we can make any early start in the morning. She is kindly sleeping on my settee while I spend my last evening & night with my parents. They have never met her before so that is going to be one of many emotional events come Monday Morning. I am understandably becoming more nervous about the surgery but thankfully not my need to have it. Its how my parents will cope that tops my list of worries. I will be glad to be home again & through that first month of recovery. Then it will be Christmas & all the emotions that brings.

My sleep has started to suffer slightly but not too badly. I really am focusing on how lucky I am & all the wonderful things that have happened to me, the inspirational friends I have been so blessed to meet. I cannot see me sleeping at all on Monday night unless they knock me out. Memories of my childhood & the traumatic pain & emotions focused on that deformed part of my body are becoming intensely more vivid by the hour. I am understandably becoming more nervous about the surgery but thankfully not my need to have it.

(((((((((((peaceful thoughts)))))))))))

Lots of love