Wednesday, 3 November 2010
To have a glass of “mindfulness” for those times we all get during our lives where we face a huge challenge & we anxiously question what path we should take.
I feel so lucky to have had the surgery & had such excellent care. The seemingly endless medical rehabilitation involving longer periods of tiredness than I had perhaps anticipated & the tedium of all the time required in dilating to maintain the surgeons work, were all worthwhile.
The butterflies of deliberating what changes I needed to have, how to achieve them, with who, how & when was best for my loved ones & I, is now thankfully in my past. I had many sleepless nights before deciding what to do as I had always had trouble making decisions & trusting my judgement. Its hard to decipher all the information out there. I was lucky to find the right surgeon & hospital for me & my circumstances. A place whose staff I felt at ease with & confident in. Once the decision had been agreed I felt so much calmer although the time just seemed to race by, with so much to plan for. I certainly felt a whole lot easier once everything was in place. My biggest worry was the thought of coming off hormones before surgery & the effect on my emotions. I dealt with any anxiety as best I could by looking at the surgery as just another process to go through, a river to cross. The feelings you get on the other side are unique. For me they were life affirming, validating completely what my heart & soul felt but in truth for me was truly a leap of faith.
With all the uncertainties in the world, with the continued recession & cuts to services the opportunities to have any kind of surgery via the NHS is likely to become ever more difficult. I fear the surgery I was so blessed to have will be low down on the list of priorities & so when cuts need to be made, such operations will be first to to be delayed. After many years of feeling cursed, I really do know how lucky I am to have had the operation I needed. I had the most wonderful care & very little pain. In the few very difficult times in hospital when I had problems with excessive bleeding the care was second to none. Nothing was ever too much trouble for all of the team at the Nuffield in Brighton. Emotionally transitioning has been right for me. I had never experienced feeling so at peace & tranquil as felt post surgery. I surfed a wave of euphoria which lasted a very long time before crashing into the blue stuff. I am not sure if that was inevitable post op blues or the challenges of external events.
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending is a quote I read recently. I cannot deny my past even if I wished to. As a very shy private person with no self esteem & little confidence when I first transitioned it felt at first like I had to almost wear my past on my sleeve. By living the life I found a confidence within that I never dreamed possible. The GRS gave further validation. Life is not perfect for anyone. My hopes & dreams before surgery were realistic but were exceeded in many ways. It felt a very spiritual time for me.
I was extremely tired when I first came home from the hospital & had to go back on my HRT a.s.a.p. before I became too much of a moody cow! There was a period initially when I came home to recover which felt like testosterone's last stand. Probably due to being off hormones for several weeks & exhausted my body seemed to go through a second puberty. This involved changes to hair texture. I had been warned by the lady who did my laser & electrolysis that there may be a brief period when apparently dormant facial hair would have a spurt of regrowth & she was right. On the plus side there was to be an unexpected change in the texture of the hair on my head which has grown thicker with every month. Not a miracle growth but significant enough to boost my self esteem. Once the short period of hormonal imbalance settled down the tranquility returned. Gradually my body changed, I put on over a stone in weight, thankfully I needed to & most of it went in the right places. Although I had been on prescribed hormones for 12 years before my op & never been blessed with more than an A cup, they had almost completely disappeared in the 6 weeks I had to be without my HRT patches. The cheeks of my face which had been rather gaunt for several years filled out nicely. I have my bad hair days & days when my confidence evaporates due to an avalanche of insecurities but they feel "normal", the same as any other woman. I just get on with life now & when I fall on my bad days I find I can bounce back so much stronger, most of the time. From being too afraid to be my true self & wondering how people can go through so many changes, I now feel I have earned the right to be out there just getting on with my life, the same as any one else. I have always had respect & compassion for others but for so much of my life always treated myself in ways I would never have a friend. How I feel about my self has changed so much. The ordinariness of my everyday life, the simple pleasures, the quiet times are to be cherished. where once a dysphoric voice would always scream there is mostly always peace. Occasionally I have dysphoric times but I have been very happy with the outcome. Life has been so much better than it ever was before.
One of the realities I have had to come to terms with & have begun to question is when it comes to relationships; at work, socially or in our private lives, how I/we fit into this world as a woman with a certain historical past. Our past is always going to be there & with the potential to be used negatively against us when it suits. No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car.
I am very emotionally driven & its taken a while to realise I need to change my way of thinking .The golden times are when I am able to live for the moment for the "here & now".
I have made some wonderful friends. According to CS Lewis Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You, too? Thought I was the only one." So many of the friends I have made here have been inspirational. You helped support me on my journey especially through the difficult times & is something I will always be grateful for. You really helped transform my life.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world.
The tender handshake between myself & the remarkable Liz Hills on the day I left hospital says sooooooo much.
So sorry for leaving it so long between posts. I have been so busy living life. A minor temporary set back to my health with a virus made me feel a little poorly & unable to blog but its nice to be back online again.