Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 2 and 3

Another late post, but life is going at a million miles an hour. Then again Day 2 and 3 were remarkably quiet.

The biggest thing of course was a combined 10 hours of electrolysis I got. I sat as two wonderful people worked on my face at the same time for five hours. They got a large chunk of my face done. This included all around my mouth, almost to my chin and all the way up the left side of my face. Even now, two weeks later, I have a lot of smooth skin, especially above the lips (the important spot).

I had planned on going out later that night, but you can see from the pictures that I was feeling rough, I definitely wasn’t feeling feminine and we hid out for the entire day eating grocery store food and door dash Mexican food. It wasn’t a bad night.

The next day was a little better. I woke up feeling ugly duckling, but decided fuck it and I would dress up anyways. I got some looks from the locals, but no one had the cajones to say anything so we remained where we were, ate La Quinta breakfast and then turned in our room key (btw the Tempe LQ SUCKS, it was dirty, loud and at no time did we feel safe).

We then went and saw Charlie’s Angels. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, albeit I admit it wasn’t “good cinema”. After that we went to Del Agave in Scottsdale and had a wonderful meal. The server/bartender Daniel was a great guy, I felt safe (probably the safest place I had felt in Arizona) and told us what to order that was the best, and he was right (and it wasn’t the most expensive dish).

 

Hubby was happy for real food

We had an encounter after the meal though, walking to our car a guy was walking his two kids. He spotted us and loudly proclaimed the following:

Dad: So kids, who are we voting for in 2020?
Kids: Donald Trump!!!

Yep, the asshole said it as an intimidation factor because he saw I was transgender. I thought momentarily about going over there and handling it verbally, but he had kids and I was feeling fairly vulnerable after the electrolysis, but I decided not to. I thought the hubby was going to kill him though, that is why I love the man.

I was surprised when we boarded the plane that a very conservative lady (with a church group) told her husband to let “her” through so “she” can get her stuff and she smiled at me. I cannot even explain how nice it was to have someone validate me, especially someone who looked fairly conservative, after the Trump asshole. It put me in a better mood.

We then got back to the airport, waiting around for a few hours and flew home. I always forget how much I miss it here until I land in the Pacific Northwest

Electrolysis Trip #2 – Day 1

This post is a little late, but last weekend we went down to Phoenix for 10 hours of electrolysis. The overall judgment is that it is always worth it, but it was really rough. I will break this up so you don’t get a wall of text, so lets cover the first night, Friday November 15, 2019.

The first thing that happened the week before was growing out my facial hair. I haven’t done it since August and it really set my dysphoria off. It was enough that I don’t think I could do it just for 90 minutes of electrolysis, the 10 hours is something I would go through this for though. I just can’t do short visits because I would have to keep my beard long indefinitely, and I can’t do this week after week.

2 days before electrolysis

The morning of the trip was awesome and stressful at the same time. I fell asleep around 10pm and was promptly awake by 1am, but I didn’t feel too tired because I knew we had to be up at 3:30 anyways, so I stayed up and played some video games (Judgment) and headed out very early when my hubby woke up.

Hubby is not happy.

 

Arrival at SEA-TAC with Pre-Check was worth the money for five years of coverage. We got through the system in a record time, and I didn’t even get wanded by the guard, although my bag got “randomly selected”… so no wand for me, but the poor bag wasn’t so Lucky.

Waiting at the airport was a little stressful though. It was the first time I had to grow a beard in three months and I just wanted to hide. Eventually I had to visit the boys bathroom for the first time in 7 months since I was way too masculine looking for the women’s without risking assholes, so the hubby and I both went in to the boys bathroom together, where I took a picture of how I looked.

I didn’t get looked at much, which was great with me, but surprisingly the boys bathroom was a lot more alien to me then I remembered. Not sure what the difference was, except it was quiet even though there were several guys in there. I never imagined missing warm bathrooms with voices. Weird isn’t it.

We arrived in Phoenix with little problems, although the steward was nice and gave me a hard time for “being in a band”. However when we talked (he was obviously flaming) and I told him I am trans, I showed him before and after  and he was floored (as was the other steward). He had a lot of questions, he thought it was funny a lot of people ask him about transgender people, and he would always explain “How the fuck do I know?”

We then landed in Phoenix, dirty, browns and browns, it is not something I would like to live at for the beauty of the landscape. We sat in first class as this other man in first class started taking everyone’s pillows and blankets and stuffing them inside his suitcase… WTF… We then got ourselves a fancy rental car… even had its own AC/heater temperature for each side…

We then checked in to a different then normal La Quinta… and that was its own brand of hell, but at least on Friday night it just seemed a little bit dirty and worn down. From there we got sandwiches at AZ Sandwich CO and hid out all night waiting for my 8am appointment. We watched videos, trying to use Hulu to stream, but that was limited results. Eventually we logged into Youtube and watched videos until we both passed out for our first day.

15th Birthday Memories

Well today is it, it is my 48th birthday and the first one I am out to the world as who I am (a girl). You think that would be what I was focused on today but it isn’t. I woke up thinking about my 15th birthday in 1986.

We had been living in our car at this time for about six or seven months. Having left Lake Stevens, a contract out on my family we had to leave everything behind. My dad sold what he could, got a car (a 1978 Cadillac El Dorado I believe, a baby blue color).

1978 Cadillac El Dorado at the Everett Motel near 1115 Broadway, on the cross streets of Broadway and 12th street (it is abandoned now, maybe torn down). 

We had gone down to Lake Tahoe in late January/early February and had just gotten back up from there at the end of June. He had to sell the Cadillac for money for food and by this time we were in a 1970s Gran Torino. From that point we had lived in the rest stops between Everett and Bellingham, camping out when my father could get enough cash for a park camp space.

Gran Torino is on the left, my brother and mother in front of the trailer end of August 1986 in Birch Bay WA on Loft Lane. Our first home in a long time.

By August though we were living in Birch Bay state park. We had a tent, the car, and we had made an occasional impromptu shelter under the park bench with plastic. Yes we were truly homeless like you see in the movies or in Seattle now. Eventually we got a hold of a tent at least.

legitimately not joking when I say I slept under a visqueen piece of plastic under a park bench. I believe this is on my birthday actually.
A little bit better picture, right before we got a cake for me.

It was the five of us, my sister, brother, mom and dad along with our dog “Thirty Eight”.

I remember that we didn’t have money for presents, the last gift of any sort I had gotten was when we were just becoming homeless and before we left Everett in February. I think it was from Catholic Community Services actually, that I had gotten a set of grey sweats and it was something I wore a lot when trying to sleep.

I learned a lot being homeless, how many people out there who would want to help… and sadly how many people pointed, stared or made comments. After all, no matter how clean we were, and how often we would dig money up for a laundromat, you always have this smell. It isn’t dirty, greasy, but it is a homeless smell no matter what you do.

I remember I was reading “The Exorcist” while we lived in that state park. This was the last full blown homeless location. After several weeks at Birch Bay state park my parents got enough momentum that we weren’t homeless in the fact that we got ourselves a tent, and eventually moved from apartment and shelter to apartment and shelter, but we were out of the car at least (and out from under the park bench).

The big upgrade for our family! Here is the tent. We got harassed a lot less once we had a tent and it didn’t look as bad, almost as if we were just vacationing
Brother and sister doing kid things

The two things I remember from my birthday. The first is that my parents were sober most of the time we were full blown homeless (except when we were living in motels). When we were in the car, or in a state park they kept sober. So it was a sober birthday they gave me, which at the time (and maybe even now) made me incredibly happy.

The second thing I remember was my dad scraping what he could to get me a cake. It was one of those small, single layer, pie pan size cakes and when divided among five people it was a pretty small piece, but it tasted really good (I believe carrot cake, and to this day carrot cakes and spice cakes are my favorite). I remember thinking how grateful I was to have it, and to have family and a sleeping bag to lay on, under the plastic sheets covering the park bench.

It is funny, I am in a good place now. We might have a ton of debt, but they can’t repo my face or who I am. We eat well, we can afford to replace a tv when it goes out. I was less anxiety ridden though when I was homeless, I found happiness in smaller things (like a cheap grocery store single layer pie pan size cake).

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all romanticizing being homeless, it fucking sucks. You are cold all the time, tired all the time and people treat you like shit. Sometimes though for me it is worse being tied to obligations, worrying about my job schedule and not getting to see the day pass by.

I suspect my childhood gave me a lot of fucked up coping mechanisms, and broke my mental health. That being said, it doesn’t change that I find myself today thinking about being 15 and living in a state park… under a piece of plastic and a park bench instead of what is happening now on my 48th birthday.

Morning Ritual

Before I decided to transition, I had unknowingly suffered from white boy privilege. I would give my girlfriends, then wife a hard time about how long it took to prepare. All the while not realizing how long it did take to prepare, and the expectations of society on it.

Fast forward to now, and I realize what a douche I was. Not an intentional douche, but a douche nonetheless. Now that I have a morning ritual with makeup, and not even that heavy of makeup (I am still scared of that, will post later on it).

So every morning I double shave (that is until I finish electrolysis) then I put on makeup. I realize I am not winning any beauty pageants, and that a lot of women forgo this (rightfully so if they don’t like makeup), I can’t. Being transgender means I need to try and use every tool I have to give the indications of the gender I am presenting. Every little bit helps.

Here are some photos of my makeup, actually it isn’t much and maybe I will do a more in-depth later, but this is it for now.

Also I am learning to eat crow as I realize all of the microaggressions or at least the unrealized privilege I judged women and undoubtedly minorities with. I am trying to change that.

Rest of the FFS Trip

To be honest a large portion of the trip after my surgery is a blur. I do remember the whole food debacle though with clarity.

Before we came down I got the surgery schedule and was told that I would be on clear liquids for three days Friday through Sunday), then another 2-3 days of soft food (Monday and Tuesday) and by Wednesday I would be fully capable of eating. So we went to Frye’s Grocery and bought food for the 9 days we would be in town. The first three or four days being clear liquids, the next two being soft, then normal.

The cart isn’t full yet.

When I came in for my pre-op appointment on Friday we were then told no, in fact I would be on clear liquid until Wednesday, and I might be off soft foods by the time I left (but probably not). So we went back to Frye’s for a second set of groceries based on this (another $70).

I was released on Sunday to go back to the hotel from the hospital and I was told right there by my surgeon that I could immediately start eating regular solid food. The nurse came in behind the surgeon and suggested that maybe I don’t, and to be honest we listened to her, but I was frustrated by the constant changes in what I was supposed to do post-surgically. Almost as if she didn’t remember.

The surgery itself went well though and I liked what I saw, so I went back to the hotel room and the next three or four days were a blur. We occasionally went out, but eating regular food was too difficult so I ate a lot of yogurt and dip while laying in bed. Also I hated growing stubble because I couldn’t shave.

Red Robin was really hard, I couldn’t open my mouth so I had to cut the burger into 20+ pieces and eat it with a fork.

It was partially a blur because there was pain meds, recovering from general anesthesia and finally I got sick and was puking my guts up. All I remember was watching Brooklyn 99 and marvel movies in a haze of sleep, sick and dreams.

We couldn’t tell if I was sick because I caught something, or because I had to go off all my hormonal treatment, either way having had facial surgery, my head was wrapped up and hurting from cutting off portions of my skull (forehead, cheeks and jaw) that it just sucked. Also, by this time my hair stank, it still had blood in it, even after days of showering, because I couldn’t scrub it.

I tried constantly to clean the blood out of my hair for the whole week.

By Thursday morning though I was recovering and we began going out to do small things, mostly so I could eat something that wasn’t yogurt. I still couldn’t open my mouth all the way, but it was definitely better. Below was my trip to see Avengers:Endgame.

I went to my post-op appointment on Friday and I knew this would happen. I was hurried through, the surgeon only spoke to me for about five minutes and bailed out of there quick. Her assistant removed stitches, or at least tried to (since then my hubby has removed more than a dozen stitches out of my scalp that should have been done).

I was (and am) really happy with the results, even with a swollen face.

Eventually Saturday morning we piled down to the car, took it back to the airport and I flew home. I haven’t ever been so happy to just be home. There I spent the next 2.5 weeks recovering. The husband was so much help I can’t even thank him enough for everything he did. I am a lucky girl.

Seriously, I couldn’t have done any of this without him.

Well that is it, my FFS trip (I still have a whole mouth/lip FFS thing going on, but that won’t be until end of 2019 and is its own story).

 

FFS Surgery

First I want to be clear about this. FFS Surgery was the most invasive surgical experience I have ever had in my life. I had read up all about it, felt I was prepared, and to be honest I was pretty prepared. That being said, I do hope I don’t have to deal with something on that level again.

I got up a very very early Friday morning (although not nearly as early as we did to go to the hubby’s surgery. We wandered in and it took awhile for them to process me. It was super busy, and unlike the almost dead waiting room for Wolsey’s surgery, this one was packed with a lot of people.

Didn’t feel right to take a photo of the people in the waiting room so you get an outside picture.

They got me back and started preparing me. I think I looked pretty comfortable, and they were incredibly nice, but I have to say there was a bit of terror in my heart.

That terror would creep out sometimes too.

The best thing about the surgery other than my wonderful husband, was were the nurses. There was a bear of a man that I cannot remember the name too, but he was the In Charge nurse (I am not sure of their titles). He and I talked politics (he is conservative, but the kind that I get along great with, even on points we disagree). He held me over until the star of the show came… Jeff the nurse.

Jeff was there for the hubby’s surgery, he was there for mine. He was the kindest, most warm-hearted man and I can’t thank him enough for everything. I truly truly truly think he is fabulous.

I don’t remember much about the surgery itself, I know I was under for more than 11 hours and that my recovery was rough.I puked for the first 24 hours almost non-stop in reaction to the general anesthetic. Although thankfully I remember almost nothing of my hospital stay due to the IV drugs I was on.

The hospital stay itself was fantastic though. All of the nurses were supportive, they didn’t blink about my transgender status and several of them remembered us from when the hubby was there 18 months earlier for surgery. They even noticed I had lost a bunch of weight.

For the two days I was stuck in that horrible headwrap you will see in the pictures. They couldn’t change dressings or do anything with my hair as they had cut my scalp like a baseball to go under for my bone work and then pulled my scalp forward a little bit.

By Sunday afternoon I was released by the nurse, the doctor wasn’t able to make it in. This made me uncomfortable, along with the whole eating solid food thing that I will eventually talk about.

I got home, and by Sunday night was able to sleep next to my husband, with the headwrap off, and about to have a sucky four or five day recovery before things got better.

That blue pen took days to get cleaned off

That is it, that is my surgical experience briefly and only in general, although I am sure I will post specific things when they come to me. Below is the gallery of all the photos suitable for posting. More posts about the rest of the week and specific details will be upcoming


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

 

 

Liberty, WA “Ghost Town” (gallery)

Type: Ghost Town/Abandoned location
Location: Liberty, Washington
Date: September 9, 2017

We ended up driving through Liberty, WA on our way home from Leavenworth and stopped. I had read it was a ghost town, and there are some remnants of buildings.

However, it looks like a lot of the buildings I had seen pictures of online were removed, or at least not visible. There is a community people live at just up the road and I walked as far up as that community, I didn’t want to interrupt them.

So my first so called abandoned/ghost town. It is a good start on this project of abandoned places. Going back and looking at these photos I think I have learned a lot on what to do next time.

Oh and the pictures are of me about 20 months or so before transition started :).

 

 

Consult Trip to Phoenix (event)

We did it, we finally went down to Phoenix to see Dr. Ley for my FFS surgery. I will go into it’s own post on everything she is going to do, this rather is to just give a brief rundown of the trip itself.

We got to the airport later in the day. This is the first time we haven’t had pre-check in four years. Our first flights no longer working for the DoD. We were fortunate, the lines were really fast and not much wait… however then came the body scans.

The hubby went through without a problem. I stepped through and was scanned by the MRI machine. The hubby said he saw the light go off around my groin area. They immediately pulled me to the side and as he was about to pat me down I stopped him and warned him I am transgender and that I have boobs if he runs his hands up my chest.

That boy froze so hard. He looked like he was going to faint. He then touched me on the hip, on the side and walked off saying I was good. Absolutely no looking in the region that set off the alarm as well. So the hubby kept making fun of my groin after that until we got onto the plane.

The plane trip was easy, we just flew for a little over two hours, bored. The service both down and back sucked though. One passthrough with water and then both times the stewards disappeared into their little shack and we didn’t see them at all.

We landed, got our car and found our hotel room. Hubby wrestled with the air conditioner after we had some Red Robin then we went to bed and slept like crap. Waking up the next morning we went and got my jaw/face/head x-rays and went to the consult.

On the way back from the consult we had a great lunch at the “Old Mission” a really good, if a bit expensive mexican food place (upscale). The tacos were fantastic and the guacamole was decent, but a bit too expensive.

We then got to the airport and once again I got pulled by TSA, my groin lit up their MRI machine. I have no piercings down there, nothing in my pocket. This time I decided to not say anything about being trans and they guy did a pretty thorough background… EXCEPT HE NEVER CHECKED MY GROIN. He even swabbed me, but not my groin. I could see my groin lit up like a Christmas tree on the machine, but evidently he was scared enough of my dick that he didn’t go near it.

They then pulled my bag and my bag also had set off the scanners, this time it was the trail mix in it… Good job TSA, way to protect our borders… from my terrorist trail mix.

We then got there and waited SIX HOURS!!!! We had to turn the car in so we were stuck. We had only been away from the airport itself 14 hours total… There we sat (and hubby slept) until the plane came. We flew home, but that wasn’t all, we spent almost an hour on the tarmac in Seattle waiting because an Alaska Air plane had problems and couldn’t leave the gate.

Overall, I loved being with my husband, I loved getting my FFS consult, but the trip itself was too exhausting with no real stories to tell… other than my groin is disliked by the MRI machine. Hopefully details of my FFS consult after I have slept some.

 

Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo (date)

DATE DAY:
Where: Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo
Links: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) https://www.pdza.org/
Date: November 10, 2018.

We have really been wanting to go see the zoo since we moved here in July, but with my jobs switching around and just the stress of transition we haven’t gotten out. Finally we decided to go anyways.

The zoo was sadly smaller than anticipated, but I loved the jellyfish and Dari the tiger the most. However, pretty much everything came over to check us out. According to the worker, Musk Ox had never gotten that close or walked towards people that she saw before.

The arctic foxes were cool enough, but their area was full of plastic garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure they were there for a purpose, to entertain them. I also realize that they don’t have the budget of the Woodland Park Zoo. That being said it still was uncomfortable to watch (same with penguins).

The jellyfish photos came out better than I expected. The rest of my fish pictures sucked (and got tossed), except for the “disapproving fish”. I need to learn better techniques and get additional equipment for aquarium photos.

Dari the tiger however was my favorite. She is a gorgeous animal and was intently interested in a toddler and then me… is that saying something about me? If I wasn’t color blind I would have played with the color levels to get the picture even better, but that is the last thing anyone needs me to do.

She noticed a toddler across from her
She noticed me

I don’t think we will visit in the short term again. If we get money up (I am now going to be unemployed) I want to hit the other sites around first. Still, we had a great time and some of the animals were awesome.

DATE GALLERY!!!
(video clips below that)