Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A return to Eden?

Time seems to have flown by. I am now three months post op and looking forward to the future. For so long I dwelled on my past, existing in stasis, never believing some one so lacking in confidence and self esteem as me would one day get as far as being able to finally live my dreams.

My 12 weeks post op appointment in Brighton last month proved to be a very emotional thought provoking experience.

GRS was important and right for me but not the holly grail, part of a new beginning, a very necessary procedure to correct a birth defect not an end.

The journey we may take to get there is a precarious one especially with our clarity of thought to see the right path to take clouded by stress, dysphoria and the resulting ill health that can bring. What we need to do, the changes we feel we need to make to our lives and their effect on our relationships with our loved ones, our families, friends and colleagues, our careers, our ability to make a living and support our families often bring so much heartache. Sometimes not getting what we wish for can be a blessing as so much of the consequences of what we feel we need to do once done can never ever go back to the way they once were. Unfortunately for many this is not a choice or a lifestyle, equally some cannot make the changes they need to. No ones path is right or wrong, bigger or better. We are people not labels! I felt the pace of my transition took for ever but changes only really happened successfully when I was ready and from my humble experience you know when you get to this point. I found others stories inspirational and once you begin to make little changes you can get swept along by the successes of others. May be too quickly and perhaps the author of those successes chooses not to tell you the bad bits. Its not a race and ideally it has to be what is right for you.

Our aspirations for any surgical procedures we undertake require a lot of soul searching and very careful research. The convalescence period can take quite a while before you begin to feel anything like how you used to and can give you plenty, perhaps too much time to reflect on all you have gained and all you have lost along the way.

Just as I struggled with my creativity regarding my painting I have found myself blocked from blogging lately. Partly due to devoting my time to caring for my parents, building my new life, lack of access to a computer but also lacking confidence in what I should or should not write. I feel very conscious of how lucky I am and how fortunate I have been in so many ways. I always try to write from the heart and be truthful. I have lived in the shadow of depression for so long I now feel more able to look on the positive side. Does that make my view too sugar coated? I still get anxious feel frightened and aware of my history for depression but I no longer want those feelings to control and define me as well as bore friends rigid.

The reality of life’s challenges occasionally continue to drag me back into the darkness but my life is unquestionably infinitely better than it would have been had I not accepted the changes I felt I needed to make. GRS was never going to be a miracle cure for all my insecurities and anxiety issues. In truth it has not entirely removed all symptoms of my gender dysphoria. As my energy levels improved and circumstances allow I have found myself finally able to live my life relatively dysphoria free but there remains a baggage we seem forced to still carry which society and our own perhaps excessive self analysis never let us forget.

With some friends who may read this blog facing difficult times regarding loved ones or approaching or experiencing surgery I have found it really difficult to share my experiences in case they prejudice their expectations, upset them by increasing their fears or by glossing over the bad experiences not forewarning them of what could lay ahead. We all have such different complex lives, different emotions and needs as well as pain levels etc I really value the friendships I have made here with you.

How different our experiences can be with one surgeon and the same medical team using the same hospital was bought home to me by the patients in the waiting room to see Mr Thomas the surgeon, clinic. For me the outcome of the surgery remains a life affirming experience. There has been a lot of fatigue, a few hormonal mood swings and physical uncomfortableness. Perhaps a little more pain than I have chosen to disclose here but for me a process that was no where near as daunting or painful as I expected and trust me I am a coward when it comes to pain. The saying “no sense no feeling” springs to mind! A consequence of any surgery may be that you do not recover all feeling. I still have numbness in a small part of my lower lip from my facial feminisation surgery in Jan 2008 which is now unlikely ever to return and other aspects were not perfect but my expectations of how the surgery may help me were realistic and achieved. The surgeon Dr van der Dussen had a very poor canvas on which to work, the wrong shape and texture! Could he have done more or a better job? Do I wish he had been able to do more? Yes but perhaps more out of vanity and how much I could afford than dysphoria. I am still happy with the results. Regarding my recent GRS lets just say I have been very fortunate not to experience very much pain but there is also so far absolutely no feeling in certain personal aspects of the surgery I do not wish to disclose here. I am still very very happy with my surgery and the care I have received. I was reassuringly told they have more problems with complicated hernias than they do with GRS but if you are one of the unlucky ones its of little comfort.

The Nuffield Hospital Brighton feels like "a smile factory" to me. I still have to pinch myself to believe that I too had that post op smile beaming brightly. The drive to Brighton sharing a beautiful sunset with Mum felt like I was returning to a kind of Eden but occasionally sometimes as the story goes that apple can be poisoned and the outcome very painful. You can never tell quite how you are going to react to each aspect of the procedure.

The patients attending Mr Thomas evening clinic comprised of one lady who was there with her partner, who gleefully told me she was really happy with her surgery and even knew exactly how many days it was since she had her surgery. Another lady appeared in terrible discomfort and could barely walk. My heart went out to her. A Mum arrived with her very young looking daughter. The young lady appeared as any other genetic female of her tender years and perhaps that was the case but either way she was attending Mr Thomas clinic that night. They may well have suffered at the insensitive hands of the journalists who chose to cruelly sensationalise their story. She looked as though she may have been on some form of puberty blocking treatment which delay the ravages that testosterone can have on our bodies until she was of an age where she could be sure or legally be able to have surgery. I would be lying if I said I did not feel a tinge of regret or envy at not having had the opportunity or in truth been ready to have the surgery when I was her age.

I was sat there all smiles but frightened of what they might need to do to me at the appointment. Being so blessed to still have my Mum alongside me; supporting me after all she had been through recently meant so much to me. My Dad had kindly offered to come if she was too poorly to have made it as he did not want me going alone. With a life time of trying to deal with a transgender daughter with what had for so long been the limited knowledge/beliefs and understanding from a bygone age. For them both to have found themselves in the hell of denial for a dozen or more years to be offering the level of acceptance and unconditional love they do now and for me to cherish everyday with them is simply incredible and way beyond my vocabulary.

I did require a remedial procedure involving the removal of some granulation tissue which had built up unknowingly to me as my body had tried to heal itself too quickly. I was very lucky it had developed in an area which did not cause me pain while dilating. The procedure was uncomfortable but I was able to drive home. It has set my progress back a little and been painful and tender for a while but not too bad. The news that the follow up appointment with Doctor Curtis the gender specialist who monitors my hormone treatment would be paid by Mr Thomas as Doctor Curtis referred me to him for GRS was welcome news. I am now ready to try to make my way in my new life. I read a very poignant reply by a compassionate and wise lady called Tess on Angels a UK transgender support forum regarding a woman who was very nervous about beginning her new life which I will post shortly.

I am on that edge, wings outstretched, ready to fly, very excited, a little frightened, separation anxiety regarding my devotion to my parents weighing heavily on my heart and conscious, not sure if I can deal with life’s really hard knocks having lived in such a safe familiar environment for so long but there is no regret no turning back now.

Lots of love
PS many thanks to Anji for the lovely photo on the postcard above which she kindly sent to me. That lady reminds me of someone I know, who should be painting!


Anji said...

I'm really pleased to see a post from you Debbie. I can understand your need to be quiet for a while.

I'm glad you liked the picture, hopefully you'll be painting again soon

alan said...

Thank you for the words I find here...you have been missed and thought of often.

I'm not surprised that some lingering feelings of dysphoria would arise, having spent such a great percentage of your life dealing with it, it only makes sense that it will need time to subside completely. To wake up and look in the mirror and know you are truly you must still feel as if it's a dream!

As your life settles to normal; as winter gives way to spring; I hope your muse find you again, both on canvas and in ether!


Gérry MCcánn Operación Task Máfia Organizada said...

McCann Unravels. "Los MCcánn nó són víctimas són verdúgos"

Gerry MCcann es pederásta y no le ímporta que sea niño o niña lo que les interesan a los pederastas es su infáncia. LA JUSTICIA CUMPLE SE REHABRE EL CASO . SOS: EL RESCATE, DE MADELEINE (MCCANN) LA NIÑA “INGLESA” RAPTADA EN (PORTUGAL)
Madeleine MCcann el gobierno portugues y ministro de justicia mas fiscal y el juez toman una alternativa para los "Mccann" no hay cadaver no hay juicio.El juicio de "Marta Del Castillo" no hay cadaver pero se hace justicia......................
Madeleine MCcann En la primera anestesia la niña se despertó cuando se encontró al padre abusando de ella fue golpeada salvajemente por el propio padre al darse cuenta que no era bien recibido y volvió a ser anestesiada de hay la sangre de la niña de los golpes recibidos recordando en todo momento que estaba bajo los efectos del alcohol de hay el ataque cardíaco. Cadena perpetua para Un Pederasta y pedofilo Fueron los padres los asesinos mas torturaban a la niña. Los McCann y sus siete amigos cenaban cada noche durante sus vacaciones en Portugal, incluida aquélla en la que desapareció Madeleine, aseguraron que éstos bebían entre 10 y 12 botellas de vino, a las que precedían cervezas y cócteles durante el aperitivo mas lo que tomaban durante las comidas . kate y Gerri de profesión médicos anestesiaban a Madeleine puesto que lloraba 18 horas al día con mucha regularidad porque tenían en casa a su maltratador era ese el motivo de su llanto y se combirtio en un suplicio o martirio para el matrimonio causa del asesinato premeditado en primer grado aquí no podía haber ningún accidente por exceso de anestesia puesto que los dos son médicos .Estos asesinaron a su hija con premeditación .Los Mccann tenían deudas de tres mensualidades de su hipoteca de tres mil euros mensuales y las cuentas al rojo y se tomaron unas vacaciones veraniegas mas 40 días sin pagar nada por sentirse el director del hotel responsable de la desaparición de Madeleine total unas vacaciones a lo grande y todo a costas del asesinato premeditado en primer grado. No hay ningún retrato robot que valga basta, basta, de tanta comedia la falsa del retrato robot inventado por Remenber de Rokley portavoz del gobierno Británico y periodista que costo un millón y medio de Euros que tubieron que pagarles los Mccann por limpiar el nombre..Cuando se descubra la verdad se recuperara el turismo y la alegria de algarve recuperacion de empleos y la normalidad con el mundo.Está la reputación de portugal en jaque. "El último gríto de Madeléine MCcánn"
En vez de mistério tuvo más de círco y todo para tapar un asesinato que un niño no lo pasaria
desapercibido, lo demás de rísa por no llorár... Quisiéron hacérles al múndo un labádo de cerébro con retratos robot y comedias con el porta voz al frente.
Caso Madeleine McCann - Operación Task...
Es una manipulacion de ciertos jornaleros implicados con los MCcanes y remenber para segir estafando y sacando fondos Estamostodosaqui...Estamos hante una Máfia Órganizada ...

Advertencia cuidado con el monopolio capitalista es el que está haciendo que no salga a lúz este articulo por no salir de un juzgado o de un medio de comunicación y el monopolio. MCCANNES Y OPERACIÓN TASK no les interesan que salga a lúz porque se les terminarían la ganga silencio es el dilema de todo un monopolio llenos de mentiras aqui se está encubriendo la verdad...
Que sepán tanto gobiernos como jueces y medios de comunicacion que estan colaborando a crear un atentado contra la democracia y una conspiración hacia los derecho de la opinión y publicación una forma mas de hacer terrorismo tema de los MCannes es una burla hacia el múndo.Hasta que les vengan la sensatez a los medios de comunicación seguire ocupando su lugar. Esto es muy delicado para tenerlo en silencio los medios de comunicación tanto tiempo.

chrissie said...

Good post, Debbie...

Lots to think about there.

Not too sure WHY you are lacking in self-esteem, though. No reason for it that I can see...


Anonymous said...

You shouldnt feel emabarsed about writing about how you feel.
I love reading your blogs and to hear about success stories is not a bad thing.
You have a great ability to write and I hope you keep it up.

喜早 said...