*CW, there are references to unaccepting/narcissistic family
I went up Saturday to visit with my little brother and my parent’s grave. The drive is about 250 miles round trip and the husband and I just made a day for it.
I wanted to see my brother one last time before my FFS. I just wanted to check in on him and see how he was doing and to maybe talk a bit about my anxiety. He is the last blood member of my family that knew me as a child (my sister has been written off for some time now).
He was excited to meet up too, or so I thought. We arrived there after three hours of horrible traffic and found at the last minute he couldn’t go out to eat. So we sat with him, talked and he only wanted to talk about how his life was fucked up, he had a warrant and he wasn’t going to do anything about it because he was tired of jumping through hoops.
All valid enough I guess until my surgery came up. He didn’t do anything supportive. He didn’t ask how I was feeling, if I was nervous, or what my plans were. He didn’t even ask anything more than “which surgery” and I told him it was FFS.
We talked a little more about his warrants and about his on-off relationship until it got mentioned by the hubby I was puking all the time from the meds. He asked about that a little curious and I explained it was a side effect of Spiro, but that it would go away when I got an orchiectomy since I wouldn’t need to take Spiro anymore.
All he asked was why I had lied to him about getting GRS.
I tried to explain first that GRS and Orchiectomy aren’t the same thing. You get an orchie as the first step for GRS (and if I continue to have other side effects from the spiro it may happen, but that is a different post) but it isn’t GRS.
He was worried I was cutting off my dick. I told him at this moment that wasn’t the plan, for the moment I was going to try and keep the dick, but get rid of the testes so I can feminize easier. His exact words after that was “Why bother keeping the dick if you don’t have balls”.
I let the conversation drop off from there until we eventually went to his ex’s house to visit my niece and nephew. They were nice to see and the ex asked me about my surgery. I told her in about two sentences before somehow it switched to stuff about her boyfriend…
I am grateful for my spouse and for my chosen family, because there is no support from my blood family now that my parents are dead. I am truly glad I don’t have just my blood family to try and fall back on.
I came home with my feelings a little hurt, tired from trying to be supportive for them emotionally and no support in return. I don’t know if I will visit them much anymore.
Friday, the day after we met up with Dr. Meltzer and Dr. Ley, we headed into the one panel I was interested in. It dealt with surgery options for Facial Feminization Surgery, Breast Augmentation and Body Contouring. I realized I would probably know most of the stuff they would say, but I wanted to double check.
The commute into Seattle from Tacoma wasn’t the worst, but I slept poorly from my anxiety of meeting the docs the day before. I am really excited to do this, but it does make me anxious to think about them cutting open my brow and front of my sinus, cutting it into pieces and rearranging it, along with grinding my brow and jaw down and moving my scalp forward.
We arrived at the convention and I will admit I was intimidated. I am very fortunate to know some very awesome trans people, but I had never been around that many. That brought up a whole slew of anxiety that maybe I will talk about later, but this isn’t the time.
When we got there, just a few minutes before the panel, we found our case manager Raeylean… she is fantastic. I had brought her a flower to thank her, and she seemed overjoyed. She is incredibly huggy as a person and we got to talk for a little bit until it was time to go in to the panel.
The panel itself was very informative actually. Some of what I thought was no longer the case for surgical techniques, and even more importantly I found out that before coming to Meltzer’s office, Dr. Ley had been a pediatric craniologist who specialist in working on the skulls of small children… I have a huge head so that means I should be easy for her. Way more reassured I am going to be ok. The panel was worth it just for that.
We left and visited a little more with R, then headed out to pick up our friend straybits. He is as close as any family and we have been friends for decades. He just got back from Southeast Asia/India for the last year and will be going back for a few months. He was heading back up to Bellingham, so we told him we would take him up.
On the drive up we got caught up on everything and just enjoyed being with around each other. It was a nice drive with me, hubby and straybits. We got some food in Everett and 3 hours later were in Bellingham. During this time I came out to him and he just gave me a hug. I am not sure what I was worried about.
In Bellingham we dropped him off. We are really hoping we can see him before he leaves again, but if we don’t we know we will always be there with each other.
We then got to go see my brother. He is doing really well, sober and thinking straight. He seems to be accepting my transition and was very positive. We stayed with him for awhile before we moved on.
By now it was about 7pm, but we wanted to stop by my parents grave (both of them are together) and pay our respects. That only took a few minutes, but I realized we need to clean it up when we come back up in a few weeks.
We then drove the 120 miles home and went to bed. It was a really good day, but a really exhausting day. We are still recovering now, a week later from the trip. It was worth it to see family and get reassurances about my surgery.
There was a large group of us at this older house. It was some people I knew, some I didn’t. It wasn’t a full party, there was a little drinking but nothing big. As a group we all talked, laughed and things went well enough.
The group decided to go to a new house, and they all went out the back door to go over there. I found myself at that time unable to follow them easily, I was at the front of the house (outside) and found myself in crutches with a broken foot. I am sure was reminiscent of last October.
I struggled outside trying to go around the house with a hill with weird steps that had appeared. I eventually got up and over and to the neighbor’s house with a lot of swearing. Once I got there the party had become more serious, a lot of people were drunk or high.
I looked over and saw my mom laying on the floor. At first I thought she had fallen (she was older in the dream) and I ran over to check on her. She was making absolutely no sense. I asked her a few questions and realized she was high as fuck.
Even as I stood over here, yelling at her so she could hear me and pay attention she could only half look at me and tell me its all ok.. while using my brother’s name for me. She was on a huge nod from getting high.
I was so angry, the kind of angry I have been at my parents for getting drunk when I was young. A couple of the others around me quieted down and got serious (I think they noticed my mood had changed) as I rifled through mom’s pockets.
I pulled out a series of fancy labeled vials (it looked professional packing, like you bought it from a store) and kept asking her where she got it. A couple of people nodded to me, they knew the answer and I put the vials in my pocket. She was trying to talk to me, while she was as high as fuck, and I just patted her and told her don’t worry I would find them as I got up and was getting ready to kill something.
I woke up so angry and hurt from this dream. While I am sure the dream came from the homeless guy I gave a buck to yesterday outside Target. He was on a nod with a sign. He needed money though, so I don’t regret it, although I didn’t anticipate this as a result. The weird part is my parents never did heroin, or anything that puts a person on a nod. It was alcohol, with pot and sometimes coke or acid.
Even now I am hurt, angry and missing my mom at the same time. With both parents passing away a couple of years ago I haven’t really dealt with it much. Too much work issues, husband’s transition surgeries and finally I just wasn’t ready. There was too much other stuff in my head to deal.
The anger and hurt reminded me a lot of when I was a teenager, how angry I was when my parents would drink. I was angry all the time and I think that was probably why I was like I was. I suspect all the things are going to start coming to the surface, especially since I never have truly dealt with my parents drug use and alcoholism and how it impacted our family.
I don’t know if its because my headspace is changing with my transition to female, the hormones, or just exhaustion (probably a combination of all three). It has become a lot harder to shove my feelings inside me, and I haven’t figured out the best way to handle how difficult they are to bury.
I guess that will be part of this journey, and sadly I suspect this won’t be the last dream of this kind either.
Well I guess that was a pointless worry. We did go up for the laser hair removal appointment and arrived early to meet my brother at a local diner… who was still passed out from the night before and didn’t show up. Yep, even after calling and texting we got nothing.
I guess that made it a real easy decision on what to say (as in nothing). So we had some biscuits and gravy and went on to the appointment.
The appointment itself went really well, they upped the laser wattage so it might be more effective this time, although it was pretty effective to begin with. We talked about electrolysis with the staff and just enjoyed the day.
We then came home and hung out in our bedroom. All in all a good day, and one that had a lot of needless worry going up to the leaving time.
This morning is highly stressful. I am going up to my old hometown to get my second session of laser hair removal on my face, and while I am there I am going to visit the parents’ grave and have breakfast with my little brother.
I am planning on telling him about my transition. Right now as it stands only my husband, one friend who is also transgender, my doctors and the laser hair removal people know. Since I still work for the Department of Defense (and will do it for at least six more weeks) I don’t dare go public. In addition I am not sure how public I will be until the hormones have worked the magic they have (at least as far as they can).
The reason I am considering coming out to be my brother is because he was very upset to find out after a lot of other people about my husband’s transition (from wife to husband). I love him, and I know he loves me and I want to give him a chance. He seemed hurt by it and my family was incredibly close growing up (probably inappropriately so).
My fear is he will totally blow it, freak out and then tell everyone else. He is fairly even keeled about a lot of things, but every once in awhile a childish streak comes out and he acts like a freaking out teenager.
I really want to believe he will keep it quiet, be happy and supportive. I think that is a possibility. Sadly the thing that freaks me out is he might not be. His own demons have been biting at him since our parents passed and sometimes he doesn’t make the best choices, especially concerning life decisions and sobriety.
I am worried he is going to lose his shit, tell others and bitch. To be honest it isn’t his freakout that is worrying me and making it hard to sleep, it’s the fact that if he does that he is out of my life and I already don’t talk with certain other members of my family.
So this morning is stressful until we find out what direction this goes.
A lot of people don’t understand why I am not satisfied with my current employment. I get paid more than I probably ever will again, for a job that is much easier than any job I will have in the future. I have many reasons I am not satisfied, one of the reasons for my dislike is the travel.
I realize it is normal for a lot of couples to spend time away from each other. I hear from some people “that’s healthy”, but not for me. Before this job, over 22 years of marriage I had only been away from my husband for maybe three days at most. Since I started my job in 2014 however I have spent 4+ weeks a year away from him, the pay, the ease of job isn’t worth it to me.
It is probably partially because my parents didn’t spend time away from each other. The only time they did was when it was forced by outside forces (primarily if my dad had to do any time in jail). Other than that, in their entire 46-year marriage they never spent a day away from each other.
I hate being away from him, I would rather work in fast food, living paycheck to paycheck then to spend a night from him. Eventually I will be in a position to change this situation. I won’t wait for some “future date” when all my student loans will be paid off, it will be sooner than later, much sooner.
However, for now at least I have to take a flight this morning to Atlanta where I will stay for five days (one weekend day and four weekdays). I will just be counting down the hours until I can come home to him.
MY FATHER’S PASSING, PART 1 – THE BEGINNING
I have been circling this writing for more than a year. It was by far the most horrendous event I have been witness to in my personal life. More so then when strange men came into our home when I was a teen with guns, threatened us and caused us to have to live in a car for over a year with an actual contract out on our family. Worse then being evicted from multiple places to live. Worse then not having enough food so that I would get stretch marks that didn’t go away until I was in my 20s from losing weight by the end of of the month. Even worse then horrible nights when there is an alcoholic rampage in the house.
It bothers me enough I still haven’t sat down and cried, instead I am so very angry at so many other people that I haven’t really talked to anyone about this but my husband Wolsey. I have found that trying to unpack it is a large undertaking and to be honest I don’t know if this even covers everything. This is about the circumstances before, during and shortly after my father passed away. I know I will miss details as I go. Hopefully Wolsey will point them out and I can update this post over time.
My father was a very complicated man. He loved his children very much, he had been in trouble with the system for most of his life, and he ended his life in poverty. He had an endless supply of love and acceptance for me and Wolsey. He would support us no matter what. However, his decision making had been damaged due to PTSD, mental health and most impactful was alcoholism.
We tried to help as much as we could, but he was proud, and he also knew we had our own bills so the best we could do was help out with some bills, some food and some extra stuff I knew they would like (below is a video of 60th birthday from March 24th, 2008, he always liked carrot cake).
That video is four years after he was diagnosed as terminal. He had been terminal for close to a decade. The spots on his lungs kept growing, but he kept trudging on. We didn’t realize how bad his health was, he kept it to himself, but even with as bad as it was, he still might have made it a couple more years.
I think about it now though; I think I knew he was closer subconsciously. One day in March the year before he passed I had traveled up to Bellingham by myself, in a rare non-Wolsey trip. For some reason a song came on my iPhone on the way home and I had to pull over and cry, I was worried about my dad and mom’s health out of the blue and I realize now I was already grieving.
He survived much longer than anyone had expected. He had gone back into the pulmonologist that had originally diagnosed him six years before and they all came out to visit. None of the staff thought he would have made it a year, let alone six. My dad just smiled and told them he was immortal, no one could kill him.
There was a saying all my friends and family joked about since I was 18. No mere mortal could kill John Bradley. He was tough, resourceful, and just enough luck that everyone believed he would survive just about any situation. In the past he had taken on multiple cops, Vietcong, members of other outlaw clubs and abusive family members when he was a child. This saying changed as he got sick though. Our saying didn’t change much, but it went to “He has one more good fight in him”, even his last year where he couldn’t walk very far from his chair we said he still had a good thirty seconds in him, and to be honest thirty seconds would still be enough for most circumstances.
I tell you all of this to give you some background on him. In the future, I will probably have a lot of amazing (and some terrible) stories about him.
It started in January of 2016. His health was fairly poor, and like usual he went in and out of the hospital as his lungs were getting worse. He had gotten out and was recovering. We had been up there a lot to look over him and my mom. Things seemed to be getting out of the weeds and back to normal.
It was then that we started preparing for the hubby’s top surgery. He was ready to go, and the night before my dad received news that an old friend of his Joe had passed away and this was a huge blow to my dad.
Most of my dad’s friends were gone. They were hard living outlaw motorcycle club members and he was on the other side of sixty. This meant those that didn’t go to prison and die there already were all in bad shape. Joe was the third to last friend my dad had (Jimbo and Dennis were his last friends). This is out of literally dozens of hardened men I grew up with and called family. It set my dad into a tailspin of depression.
I should have picked it up earlier. He had mentioned to me once in passing that lately he was missing my grandmother. She had passed away 30 years ago and I now realize he was probably feeling depression, lost and just not in a good headspace. It didn’t help that he was bipolar, and had severe depression/mania episodes.
He called me one night, and I could hear the exhaustion and depression in his voice that night. I talked with him, reassured him and reminded him that the hubby and I would be up the next weekend. He perked up a bit and was excited about the surgery and the results. I hung up thinking everything would be fine. Things weren’t fine, and wouldn’t be fine for the next year.
The next day Wolsey went into surgery and while it was a successful surgery it was inundated with a lot of complications. No one had told us how bad he would leak from liposuction portion of the surgery would suck. The actual mastectomy went well, healed quickly, etc. The doctor’s office messed up though, they sent him home long before they should have and it left me by myself to take care of him. He couldn’t move well; he couldn’t clean up after his wounds and he was just hurting too much.
At no point in time did I begrudge that. I am here for him, just like he was here for me for everything. It didn’t bother me to have to put in that effort of getting up every 20 minutes, help him to the bathroom, while he was in there clean up the bed, change bedding and then put him back to bed and give him more pain pills. He is my life, and it was the least I could give to him.
It was also at this time I got a call from my mom. My dad had gone back to the ER and his O2 wouldn’t stop falling. They had him on positive air and he could talk. They were discussing options about how to handle it.
Something snapped in him, or maybe it’s better to say a decision was made by him. He took the positive air off his face, got up and while the doctors were talking he went downstairs and had a cigarette. When he came back up, they told him he couldn’t do that anymore and that he would have to use the positive air for a large part of his life, or at least until they could get the O2 under control. I was told he just shrugged and told them to fuck off. He was done.
He checked himself out of the hospital, meanwhile they were telling him he would die. He wasn’t going to let himself loose anymore of his freedom. I also think he had hit a depressive point again, his closest friends had passed, they weren’t ever going to make it back down to Lake Tahoe, or pretty much anywhere out of their apartment except for when I could take them places.
He decided to do this on his terms and he took their info for hospice and went home and determined that is where he would pass. My mom told me this over the phone and in my head, I was freaking out. My dad was dying, probably wouldn’t be longer than a week or so and I couldn’t leave that night at all since Wolsey couldn’t take care of himself.
The worst part is Wolsey couldn’t take care of himself at all for the next few days. It was unlikely he could get up to Bellingham before my father passed. Meanwhile I knew I would have to drive up there daily (a 250+ mile roundtrip) that I would have to fit around being home to take care of Wolsey. I couldn’t imagine it ever being worse.
I was wrong, a thousand times wrong once the hospice situation happened. However, that part of the story is still coming up and I think I have mulled about it enough for today.
Yesterday the husband and I went up to Bellingham early. The purpose was to visit my mom’s grave, as it was her birthday a short time ago, we had just gotten the solar Christmas lights they would want, and then to continue my photography project where I photograph all of the old places I lived.
The first place in Bellingham we stopped at was Fred Meyer’s for flowers and a super rich, chocolate frosted, chocolate cupcake with a chocolate straw and sprinkles on it. My mom loved chocolate cake with chocolate icing and would always sneak it in even with her diabetes.
We visited their grave and noted that our solar candle and wind chimes are still there. That was a surprise to both of us as we figured when we put them up in May, we would have to replace them every few months either due to teenagers, or just the weather.
We pulled out the solar Christmas lights and realized we didn’t have any ties to run it up the shepherds crook. We will be going up the weekend after Thanksgiving to put a Christmas wreath on it so we will just put the lights up then. We would wait closer to Christmas to spread out the going up now and then, but with the hubby’s surgery the following Tuesday Nov. 28th, we won’t be able to come up until after Christmas.
I felt a bit guilty since I hadn’t been up there in almost five months and due to work/injuries and stress I put off doing it. My goal is to come up four times a year to visit, both of their birthdays, wedding anniversary and Christmas. I realize over time this will probably lessen, but I guess there hasn’t been enough time yet.
While we were up there, we went to visit my brother who had just gotten out of rehab and is temporarily staying at his ex’s place with his kids. We dropped off a HD video camera we bought about five years ago since our phones and my camera match it to them. The kids evidently have youtube channels and wanted a better camera to film. I am glad to see my brother, sister (in-law unofficially) and younger grouping of nephew and niece.
We then went around to the remaining places I lived in Bellingham and photographed them as they look now. All I have left after this is the Everett, Lake Stevens, and Seattle areas, but the Whatcom County areas for living are done. I was incredibly pleased when they hubby said I could photograph his old places he lived in before being with me. We will do that the weekend we come up to put the wreath and lights up. I also told him I considered doing the same of a project of all the places I worked (dozens and dozens of places, literally), because it is a larger scale then the living, we will see if that goes that way.
We then left town and on our way back stopped by Flyer’s Restaurant and Brewery (their Burlington location). I will probably do a full Yelp review, but suffice to say the burger was really good, the staff was nice, but it was not quite the atmosphere we were looking for.
We were wanting to check it out as a possible entry in our 2019 book we are trying to get started that is a guide to greasy spoons and American diners in Western Washington. Way to upscale a place. Its on the Skagit Regional Airport and people literally can fly their small planes in and park next to the restaurant. Not what we were looking for, but still pretty good meals.
We then got home and before I could pull of my walking cast and rest, the drain pipe of our garbage disposal cracked and spilled everywhere. Hubby was great, he jumped in, cleaned up the water as I watched helplessly unable to help with my cast. We then called maintenance and they put a plug on the drain and supposedly this week they will repair it (replace is probably more likely).
Well that was my day today, went pretty well overall. All that matters is I got to spend it with my best friend and husband (yes they are the same person).