COVID19 Disappointment – Cancelled Surgery

It has been a full week since my last post. You think being home for seven days I would write more… you would evidently be wrong.

I mentioned in the last post that my surgery was still a go. Even at that time with COVID19 not hitting full-blown yet I was pretty sure it would be canceled, and it turns out I was right. Friday, an hour before we were going to leave for my preop appointment I got the call.

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I talked with them on the phone and they said I could come in for the preop and not have to do it when surgery began again. As it stands non-emergent surgeries might start back up May 18th. I told them I would come in anyway, just to get it out of the way.

Turns out they will still need to do another preop since it is too far away to give me the narcs I will need for post-surgery recovery. That is ok though, I got to sit with Dr. Mangubat and his wonderful nurse (for the life of me I can’t remember her name).

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They reassured me that it would eventually happen. The hubby asked about combining it with my other upcoming surgeries and we also found out that if I get my lower face FFS/touch up around the eyes that I could lump it in with the upcoming breast augmentation and it would save me more than $3,000 because I would already be on the table and under anesthesia.

The hubby asked if I would be interested in doing it all at once instead of waiting a few months after the breast augmentation. I jumped at the chance. The augmentation is covered by insurance, so we would have to come up with $14k and some change for the second part of my FFS. We are fortunate to have enough credit that we paid down from the first part of my FFS that we can swing it.

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Yes its funny, and yes I may have considered that an option if I was younger and cuter. Anything to not have an office job.

So we told the doc when he opens up surgeries again that I wanted the entire thing, breast augmentation, and lower FFS. I am excited about that possibility. It means my surgeries for my face and chest would be over after that. I still have possible surgeries to deal with my Peyronie’s disease, a future tummy tuck, and possible Gender Confirmation Surgery if the surgeries for Peyronie’s don’t work out. But everything chest level and up will be done except many more electrolysis sessions (which btw will probably start in November again).

I was also able to double-check the sizing of 800cc implants on my frame and they don’t look too big. We thought for a while they might be too much, but my chest is very broad, and at 6’2″ they will be larger breasts, but not stripper size.

 

Since learning this last Friday it has caused me a bit of anxiety and dysphoric depression this week, with the realization that it got pushed off. I suspect it is going to be longer than May 18th as well. I don’t think things are going to go back to normal that quickly. Either way, I don’t begrudge the safety measures so there is space for people who are actually sick with COVID and other life-threatening procedures, but it doesn’t change how it feels inside.

So there it is, surgery is pushed off, BUT when I do get it, it will be a lot bigger and more impacting. So good stuff coming, just have to wait for it.

 

 

COVID19 – Social Distancing Day Four

I figured I had a break so I could maybe put some thoughts on paper. Mainly dealing with the whole pandemic issue going on. Oh and yes I am trying to maintain humor so you get memes as well.

First let me be clear that this is a huge medical emergency, and it isn’t just some common cold. I keep hearing the whole “it’s only the vulnerable and the old in danger” and it really pisses me off. Fuck you TRUMPers, yes it was almost uniformly a trumper that said that to me. People matter, the old, the sick, the poor, so fuck yourself.

Personally I think COVID has been rolling through USA longer then they believe. The hubby and I got super super super sick, had huge fevers and couldn’t breathe at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020 and it lasted weeks. It was bad enough I went to urgent care and they handwaved me away. I think it might be possible we already had it, and we are fairly safe.

That being said, I may be wrong, or I may be carrying it even if I am over the worst effects and I will make sure we abide by the social distancing thing. I would never want to be responsible for endangering others.

The only anxiety I have about the pandemic is my chest surgery on April 3rd. So far it is still a go, in fact, tomorrow we go to our pre-op appointment for it. Our surgeon is a plastic surgeon who doesn’t do general medicine, doesn’t see sick patients and has his own operating clinic, he doesn’t have to do this at a hospital or public medical arena. No orders have been given for him to give it up yet, so we might be ahead of the curve (hopefully the curve is flattened enough it wouldn’t matter anyway).

We did decide not to fly down to Phoenix for electrolysis. We didn’t want to deal with the possibility of getting the virus in that travel but before my surgery. Surgery comes first, then electrolysis. In fact this has changed things in our order of importance and if the pandemic isn’t too critical I might try and get my lower face done in May instead of waiting. We will then proceed with electrolysis in November again. Besides face work will remove face skin and that means less electrolysis needed anyways.

I was not really shocked, more like saddened when I saw my fellow citizens freaking out and starting to hoard things that didn’t need to be hoarded. Toilet paper, water, and all the disinfectants/sanitizers. Seriously just wash your damn hands. So there we are now, a society of losers that freak out and run around like chickens with our heads cut off, when not more than a week before we were mocking people dying in other countries (I have a huge rant about this coming up at some point).

The food situation is good, we are cooking at home and I am baking like a madwoman. We are fortunate that both of us can telework right now, but we are prepared for that to go away if it gets worse. We are then fortunate enough to have enough credit built up to last awhile. I definitely think we need to help others with unemployment/COVID pay, but I see Trump is going to bankrupt us with gifts to businesses more than to the people themselves. I guess I shouldn’t expect more.

I think we will be in a routine soon enough. I am running solo games for hubby and I am going to try and get my group games on discord more (sorry Torie that it got put off). Honestly social distancing, as long as I can work from home, works for me indefinitely.

The one thing I really do feel guilty for though is the semi-relief I feel that my parents died already. They both had huge medical issues (my dad had huge lung issues) and with this running around I would have been a basket case being worried. Especially since I had family and friends of family that wouldn’t stop going over there, even when they were sick. It was bad enough when they were alive I got in fights with them over it. While I feel guilty, there is a sense of relief that I don’t have that worry (although I would give almost anything to have more time with them).

Moral of the story, just stay the fuck home and make sure you don’t hoard things an elderly or poor person can’t afford to get immediately. Make sure we take care of each other. Also thank you to everyone, first responders, medical, stockers, cashiers, etc that are keeping things going.

Well that is it for today’s “COVID POST”. I am going to write more, I am feeling a little better mentally and life is smoothing out. Or maybe this is like half my posts saying I am going to write more and don’t. Only tomorrow will tell 😉

 

Contrary to what I have written lately, I am happy

I realize a lot of my posts have been negative lately. The grief of the anniversary of my father’s death, the stresses of family, the transphobia on a regular basis. This might make it seem like everything is just doom and gloom. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am happier now then I have been since I was seventeen. To be honest I am much happier than even then. This morning I was in the shower and I saw in our little hanging shower mirror the girl I am. It only lasted until it steamed up again, but I caught a glimpse, something I never saw my entire life before my transition.

In other mirrors I sometimes catch it, or maybe just in the way sometimes people react. Sometimes I even feel it inside, sometimes for a brief moment I forget all the stresses and I just feel like me. It is the greatest thing ever.

I definitely see it a lot in the eyes of my husband. That is where I see myself the most, and the most often I feel whole. Not specifically that I wouldn’t be whole without him, but I see the confirmation of who I am. Not just as a transgender girl, but my creativity, my intelligence, and emotional capacity. There is a validation there.

I just wanted to clarify to everyone that while a lot of hard things are happening, I have never been happier before, and so unhappy as well, evidently when the depression leaves, I don’t get access to the ability to numb the bad parts, but that is ok it means I feel the good parts too.

I just can’t tell my friends and family enough how much I love them for their support in allowing me to be who I am. I especially can’t tell my husband enough how much he means to me.

Things are great in my head, I promise!!!

Acknowledging my privilege

I am sure in the ensuing days that I am going to rant, rave and cry here about my transition. There is so much that sucks, so much that isn’t talked about that you could fill a book (and I probably will).

That being said, with the debt/transphobia/dysphoria and other problems I want to acknowledge my privilege at the outset. I am in a much better place then many of my trans and non-binary people and I don’t ever forget it.

There are multiple areas where I have privilege starting with my skin color. I am white, which starts me at the top of the privilege pyramid when it comes to transitioning concerning ethnicity. It is still absolutely dangerous for me, I could be stabbed, shot, beat up, fired, etc. However, the statistics show that out of all of my trans and non-binary people I am the least likely to suffer that hatred. It still can happen, but I start out with a weighted advantage.

The second area I have privilege is access to credit. I do not have money to pay stuff outright. I don’t have the ability to just buy things and walk away with no consequences. I do however have an education level and a professional field that gives me better access to white collar jobs, and much better access to credit.

I will still have to pay this all back. Right now we are at approximately $32,000 for my face left after paying back almost $8000 already. I have spent more than $10,000 in electrolysis on credit card that I have been able to pay back (and just dumped another $1500 today for flight down to Phoenix). There is an additional $25k I will be spending as we move forward (not counting my portion of the cost of SRS if I get it) for lip feminization/facelift/tummy tuck. I can access that credit right now if I wanted, but I really can’t afford the payments.

That being said I do have to pay this all back, but I am in a much better position then a lot of people transitioning who can’t even get access to credit. In the end maybe they are better off if their not hitting $50k in negative value, but the depression and dysphoria I suffer from is only worse for others who can’t touch it, so no I don’t think they are better off even if they aren’t in debt.

I have another set of privilege, I have insurance (this goes with the white collar work/education privilege). I still have to pay, but having the insurance gives me access to doctors, HRT treatments, surgeons and lab tests along with a very good therapist to work on my childhood PTSD.

Finally, and the most important privilege I have is my husband. I am married to someone who dedicates their life to me (as I do to them). They are devoted to helping me through transition. They are there when I cry, when I laugh or when I am just confused and scared. Wolsey is the highest point of my privilege and without him I would be dead (and that isn’t hyperbole). Too many of my trans people do not have someone else (whether they have class/ethnicity privileges or not). For this last privilege I am the most grateful and without it I couldn’t do this.

I know I have privilege, and I know even with that I am going to have hateful days of crying. I will come here to cry, just understand that I realize this privilege even if I use this platform to vent.

Lunch Visitor

From last Thursday:

Sometimes when you are stressed out about work, transition and rapid hormonal fluctuations, the universe  sends a seagull to check on you… ok to eat your lunch but it’s the same net positive.

Just a brief update.

I realize it has been awhile since I posted. I was happily sailing along post surgery, starting to talk about things and I went radio silent. The problem was I just hit a wall unexpectedly.

I assume its from all the anxiety, the hormonal shifts because we can’t get the spironolactone right, surgery push back and just a general exhaustion. It wiped me out for a month, I haven’t even got caught up on my video creation or started doing the courses for 3d art.

A lot has happened since I went dark. I am scheduled for my bilateral orchiectomy on June 14th (yes Karen, that is when they will remove my testicles). I will be out of work again for a week, no sick time, and of course my employer is ok with the time, but no offer to do the normal request for other employees to volunteer sick time. I don’t expect it, but it is typical of what they ask for the other employees and then not for transgender issues.

I have been back to work for almost two weeks and people overall have been pretty good. I am now legally female both state and federal levels. I have ID and a birth certificate with the female outlined, so that is a giant win (even though that was four days of running around, probably a big reason I hit a wall).

I do think I am looking pretty good for where I am at. I know I have a long way to go, the orchiectomy will be a godsend and I should start seeing changes quicker.

Actually feel pretty good about myself sometimes.

My coworkers overall have been really cool about it. There are lots of new things I am learning, such as how women’s bathrooms are a whole different world then men’s bathrooms. I think that deserves its own post.

My husband has been a gem overall with understanding my anxiety, and hormonal ups and downs. We have had a couple arguments but I understand where he is coming from. I just want all of this done as soon as possible, then I can move on to picking up my life and becoming who I am.

Mostly this post is to say I am alive, I will continue posting about surgery and about everything, I just hit a wall and needed a break. I may be stressed, upset, etc, but I need to make sure everyone knows that I realize I am a very lucky person and I know it. While I may have just added a little over 40k in debt, I am fortunate to have that option when so many others don’t.

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew I knew and that I should be back now :).

The Trip to Scottsdale 1 (The Flight Down)

Today will be the first of probably several posts about my trip for FFS down to Scottsdale. This post will be a general wrap up of flight down. Other posts will be about specific events, dates or things but will not include the surgery related aspects. The surgery will be handled separately so people can avoid the details if they want.

The morning of 4/24 started out pretty good. We were both wide awake and head out of the apartment, driven by our good friend Torie (thank you!). The trip to the airport was pretty quiet, I was nervous (and I assume the hubby was as well), and Torie was exhausted from coming to get us.

Once at the airport though I got the have my first experience of the week that would turn out to be frustrating, and honestly not that surprising. We were waiting at the gate for Delta when I had to run to the restroom. I am dressing femininely now but I still didn’t feel without the surgery that I wanted to cross the bathroom border yet.

Not my best look landing in Phoenix, it was a rough morning, also yes I actually do need a bra

I got into the bathroom and did my business. As I am trying to clean up, make sure my mascara is on right (eyeliner issues) and I saw in the mirror a shorter guy, muscled and glaring at me. He stepped right up behind me, maybe three feet between us and watched. I finished looking at myself, turned to him at my entire 6’2″ and asked, “Do we have a problem?”.

First, I know I don’t pass, so at no point did he think I was a girl. However, he did seem to assume I am fairly meek, and to be honest I am a lot more meek now and risk averse then ever. The hormone issues later this trip kind of show why.

He stepped back from for a second and took me in. My only advantage is height, but also probably the lack of caffeine… I hadn’t had any at that point and some of my friends can vouch that it doesn’t go well without it. I can be aggressive and they tell me a little crazy looking. He raised his hands, “no man, no problem” and continued back into the toilet area.

Unfortunately that put me in a more self-conscious mood and less angry mood. I spent the time in the airport feeling uncomfortable with myself, looking in my phone constantly at my image (using the camera). The hubby was great though, he made sure to double check how I looked for the twenty thousand times I asked, he reassured me, told me he loved me, and was pissed at the guy in the bathroom for me (by this time I was more embarrassed and less pissed).

We got on our plane and was met by the best possible incident I would have this trip and a nice thing in general.

Hubby and I

The hubby insisted we fly first class for the surgery. He would rather pay the money for me not to be squished in coach on my return trip with head surgery. It would turn out to be an excellent choice and worth the little extra debt it cost.

We got on the flight and things were smooth, the stewardess was fantastic and during the coarse of the flight. She brought us some sort of biscuit sandwich breakfast with yogurt and fruit. I found I liked the fruit a lot better than everything else (my cravings and tastes have changed so much in the last year).

Somehow during the flight the stewardess and I talked and she asked about our trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale and we told her about my surgery. She was incredibly sweet before, but she was even more kind. Right before we landed she had put together a little care package out of first class foodstuffs for my recovery. While I couldn’t eat it, it was something the hubby could and her concern was outstanding. It totally made up for any issues that day.

Once we got to the Alamo Car Rental agency and picked up our car we were trying to decide what to do. Originally we were going to go to the Odysea Aquarium then check in, but we were already tired from the flight and had to go shopping for food for the week so instead we opted out.

We went to the hotel room and checked in, we then went to the Frye’s Signature grocery store and picked up the food we would eat for a week (we don’t like to eat out multiple times a day, and I wouldn’t be able to with the diet I had to go on with clear liquids and soft foods).

We got back to the hotel and pulled out our Apple TV. I had decided I was tired of being stuck on whatever crappy channels the hotel had and we brought it down thinking to just login to the network and plug it in. It turns out it is a little harder to do that, we had to deal with an idiot as we called the hotel’s internet people and asked them to add our Apple TV’s mac address to their network, which they did and it was 9 days of watching our own shows, only a super tiny tv screen sadly.

Ta-Da!

We then decided to eat some Mexican food from an area that should know how to make it and we were not disappointed. I knew that I only had 24 hours of eating normal before restrictions so I enjoyed some nice enchiladas and a quiet moment with my hubby. We ended up going to Habanero’s Mexican Grill and it was fantastic!

We then went back to the hotel and decided to call it a day and start watching Marvel movies. The hope was to finish them all and go see Endgame before we left.

That was it, our first day of travel down for the trip, not even any surgical info in there. Below is a general set of pictures

 

 

Awkward Questions

I know it has been a month since we talked or so. It is because a lot of things have been going on. I am preparing for surgery in less than three weeks, new job, and dealing with therapy and hormonal swings.

Work itself is going really well, more so then I would have anticipated. Most people are either outwardly supportive, or fade away. I realize some people are upset when people fade, but I would rather they self-selected out of my life then to have to deal with them.

The people around me, even when they try to fade away have all been working hard on the pronouns. I think it is a little bit harder because I worked there for a few months last summer while using masculine pronouns. However, they are really trying.

The only issue that has occurred was one morning being approached by a social worker from across the hall (I often work with them on my audits). He walks into my office and noticed I had a beard. He looked at me and asked “You use feminine pronouns right?”

I turned and said “Yes, I do. However I have an electrolysis appointment in two days and I have to grow my beard out for it.”

At that point he turned around and walked out.

He didn’t say goodbye, he didn’t smile he just walked out. My assumption is that even though he is a social worker, he doesn’t have good social skills. I am not sure if I passed whatever test he had, or if he is freaking out, but honestly it doesn’t matter.

There have been a couple of other specific things, but I think I will cover them in their own posts. The overall important thing to know is that I have been accepted in general so far, and to be honest that is far better than I had anticipated. We will see how they feel after the FFS surgery.

Year 1

Today (March 13th) marks the year anniversary date that I came out to my husband as trans. While all the signs told me that it shouldn’t be hard, it was one of the hardest things in my life and one of the things that improved my life the most.

In the last year I have lost 110lbs (and slowly losing more), I have quit two jobs, been fired from a job and started three new jobs (well actually 1 new job and then two older jobs I had before) in an attempt to find some place accepting.

I have come out to my family, my husband was incredibly supportive, after all he called me “his little egg” for years before I knew what that meant. My blood family’s response has ranged from tepid to no response or acknowledgement of me living at all.

My friends have almost all universally been supportive or disappeared (and the number that disappeared were very small and mostly just ‘online’ people that I didn’t know that well). The vast majority overall have proved to be loving, accepting and caring of me.

I started hormones 11 months ago, but in this last time my transition has been slowed by my testosterone production. “My little buddies” haven’t been removed yet and they are fighting like hell to stay and to mess up my hormone levels. That is ok though, they are off the island within 2-3 months and life will be better.

I like the way I look way better than I ever have. It isn’t just the weight loss, it is feeling more comfortable about who I am. This is the first time this year in my entire life since I was a little kid that I enjoyed shopping. The husband is still in awe sometimes when I pick something out on my own.

Of course there have been no surgeries or heavy medical inducements other than hormones yet. That all happens this year (well next 6-9 months at the longest), so my second and third year will be harder then the first. Although I suspect my appearance will change even more drastically then it did this year, so my pictures up to now aren’t even half the story yet of my journey coming up.

There are still a ton of details and chapters I haven’t talked about yet, those will happen. I just wanted to wish myself a happy birthday/anniversary of coming out to my husband… who already knew and was waiting.

I love you my little rat.

 

Testosterone (Part 1 of many)

Disclaimer: One important note, I am talking here about my experience, everyone experiences sex and hormones differently and this post is by no means exhaustive – I am sure I will have a lot more to post but even then my view isn’t the only one.

When I was younger, long before I considered transitioning I held the standard AMAB viewpoint of sex. I was always interested in it, I liked looking at pretty people in skimpy outfits. I couldn’t keep my hands out of my pants, or if I was in a relationship someone else’s pants.

So when I got married to my spouse, long before he transitioned and he was still my wife, I was the typical guy in some ways. I am told I wasn’t too pushy, but I do know I wanted sex all the time. My sex drive was high enough that it caused some friction between me and the spouse. They had a more AFAB type of sex drive, which isn’t just hormonal of course, it also involves social acceptability and how AFAB people are raised.

We would fight when I was younger because of our differing sex drives. I didn’t understand why someone wasn’t in the mood for periods of time. I can completely admit I never really considered outside my point of view. I didn’t understand truly that others didn’t experience sex drives the same as I, and to be honest that is a pretty typical male outlook from my understanding.

If we didn’t have sex more often then every couple of weeks (or even weekly) I would feel that they were withholding or being arbitrary. I didn’t understand that testosterone is such a big influence on your sex drive, and they didn’t have the same feelings. I was ready anytime, anywhere, I could have sustained a big injury and still want to try. I am ashamed to learn how privileged I was being about it.

Now that I have been on testosterone blockers for about 11 months (with wildly shifting numbers, so we still don’t have it under control) and estrogen for the same amount of time I think I have a lot more understanding of what someone AFAB generally feels, and to be honest I am frankly ashamed of some of my outlook and attitudes before my transition. Not that I was a bad person, but that I just didn’t understand.

Let me crush the whole idea that you don’t like sex if your testosterone is stopped. That is not the case at all. In fact sex now has been more incredible overall (due to a whole range of effects of the estrogen and testosterone blocking that I will go over in detail later). I love being with my husband and I do have an active sexual imagination.

However, I am not continuously bombarded with the urges for sex during the day nonstop. Before I would think about it multiple times a day. Now when it is quiet, I have some time and I feel relaxed it comes up in my thoughts, sometimes. Without the testosterone it isn’t that drive, that overwhelming need that it was. It gives me time to think about other things and just relax.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, it means I can work on things without being distracted too much. I can focus on my creative works and instead of satisfying a lot of objectification in those works I feel I get more in touch with the work itself.

Another side effect is that I now scroll past a lot of ads and distractions I used to look at and find them frankly ridiculous. They used to capture my attention for periods of time, distracting me from things I wanted to do otherwise.

I didn’t realize how much advertising is placed that way, and how much culture adopts it without thinking. I know I had fully accepted it without a second thought. The good part is that now I have a lot better understanding of how it effects people with and without testosterone.

I am not saying my experiences or views now perfectly match up with people born AFAB. I didn’t have the stigma of sex laid on me (quite the opposite actually) and society didn’t treat me different. What I am saying is I believe I understand those experiences better.

I now understand why women get frustrated with the pushiness of men better. I understand why I heard the words “Not tonight, I am not in the mood” and their frustration when I would ask in a different way. When you don’t have the intense push of testosterone there are a lot of other things going on, stressors, needs, and desires.

I find now that I look at a lot of the way women are portrayed (the super sexy style) and it is not as attractive to me anymore. I can appreciate it, but its different and not really something I find interesting or even healthy necessarily. I will probably need like five posts to explain that.

If you had asked me before my transition, I would have said testosterone had a fraction of the influence that it evidently had. It is eye opening and I wish I could explain it to other AMAB born people. Get them to look outside those feelings. The problem is those feelings are there your whole life, you don’t have a reference otherwise.

I also want to make it clear that having testosterone is not bad at all. It is perfectly healthy, with needed function. I am not one of the ladies that believes it is poison. What I am trying to say is I didn’t realize as a privileged white male before transition I didn’t have to look beyond my urges because society is built around them. Now that the curtain has been pulled back with the urges and I have been shown what others see and feel I have had some realizations.

I am still working on those realizations in my head (and on here), but for now I basically just wanted to say I was amazed at the difference.

TL;DR With my testosterone blocked I found my outlook on sex and the sex drive completely different and I now understand why a lot of women talk about sex the way they do.