Before I go any further I need to put a disclaimer. This post is about genital stuff, mostly about changes, some of which are unexpected. I feel the need to write about it because that is the purpose of me blogging about my transition, all the details of it. However, if you are squeamish or don’t want to know about medical aspects of my genital transition then don’t read any further, I will even put a cut here for you.
I was going to write all about my consult itself, but it turns out something more exciting happened. I got fired after submitting my FMLA paperwork for my transition surgery.
To be honest, it is more of a laid off situation, I am currently in a probationary period and within the first six months they can let you go no matter the reason (and they never have to tell you why). I assume this means I will be able to collect unemployment, the problem being is my job during the “unemployment year” was with the department of defense and there is a slew of hoops I have to jump through.
I have never received any disciplinary comments, never had any issues that I know of. I even asked my boss last Thursday how things were and she was fine. She even talked to me on Tuesday, the day before I was “separated” and was all chatty with me on chat while I was in Phoenix.
I went into work yesterday morning, and while I dislike my job I was putting 100% into it. I sent an email in explaining I am going to need to file for FMLA, that I am getting the surgeries and will need LWOP. Within 25 minutes HR had called me in and issued me a letter saying I was being separated.
All it quoted was the Union CBA that outlines the authority they have to release me, they don’t need cause and they don’t need to say why. The letter is dated the same day as my email too so that means they ran down to the director immediately and had her sign it.
Now, I am waiting on my unemployment decision (the hard part is I worked for the agency who handles unemployment, so this is awkward) before I make any final decisions on what to do. I may just walk away if I get my unemployment and look for a better job, or I may pursue this.
While the union agreement does cover their butts and allow them to do this, there is no way that my FMLA request for transgender services wasn’t involved since I have had no personnel issues. With that information it is actually against state law to lay out retribution for my FMLA request (and in WA state transgender care is covered under FMLA, or at least the state’s expansion of it).
That however will wait until I hear back. For now I will be anxious, begin my job searches and try and get unemployment. All the while arranging for my surgery in April. It just means more debt… However, the alternative is worse.
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.
I woke up this morning terrified from a dream I can’t remember, anxiety about things coming up, and obviously some self dislike at the least.
As I talked about earlier I am hoping this week to give notice to my current employer. If things work out I might just mic drop and walk out of the job since it will never appear on any sort of linked in, resume, etc. I have only been here 8-10 weeks in the end, so it isn’t something I am going to use for future job growth.
That being said, we can absolutely afford me taking a couple of weeks off before starting my new job, but I woke up anxious about my pay from the new job. I woke up terrified I was screwing us. It isn’t necessarily the wage I am making more than an adequate job to live, but a large drop in what I make now, about $20,000 a year less then my current job. To be honest even with almost $140k in student loans we can make the payments and have a really good life, even if we would rather go back to working at a coffee shop/book store.
The cost of my FFS is what is freaking me out. A very rough estimate is in itself $20,000 for the surgeries I want, plus up to two weeks in a hotel, two flights down to Arizona and back and anything sundry. I am worried I am making my husband work at a job he is not fond of to be our primary support. We both make about the same, but there are multiple other surgeries coming up that makes my work erratic (orchiectomy, breast implants, probably a tummy tuck from my extreme weight loss and even a thing on my neck/chin – close to a face lift). All of these combined is more than my student loan.
Let’s not even combine the fact that I am on the higher end of 40s. Not like I have 40 years to pay this shit off… well hopefully I do but that means retirement sucks.
I logically know we are doing a good thing. The funny thing is, if this was for the hubby I wouldn’t even blink. I would be down for it and insisting he do all the surgeries he needs to be who he was and never feel bad for a single moment. It is because it is for me that I feel that way. Even knowing this logically it makes my stomach hurt and me terrified I am fucking up things for us. Especially that I might be fucking him over.
I realize I am going to have to get over it, there are other more real issues such as dealing with the public now that I am almost to the point I will be public. I just can’t get over shackling my husband with “golden chains” for my needs. He deserves so much more than that. That is what I woke up terrified about, that I was going to hurt my husband.
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.
This was a slightly more unusual dream for me. I don’t normally dream about jail or prison, at least not since I am adult and my dad stopped going to jail.
It started with both the hubby and I in jail. It seemed like somewhere in Arizona, we were both arrested and behind bars. It didn’t seem that people knew we were married. The charges weren’t super bad, but it wasn’t just some overnight stay because of a rough night either.
We spent most of the time talking about whether or not they would ever catch the hubby’s trans status. I was fairly sure that would never be detected. He was post surgery like now and there was no reason for them to notice anything.
He did appear slightly more androgynous than he does in reality. He was more slender (without breasts or hips, just smaller like he was when he was very sick). He also appeared like he was wearing eyeliner when he wasn’t. I suspect that is my memory from pre-transition where he wore eyeliner most of the time. He was also covered in a lot more tattoos then he is now (and he has a lot now).
We were talking about what we were going to do when we got out, and he wanted to go down to meet up with some people so we could make some money. Evidently we did a lot of illegal activities (thinking more like Shadowrun cool type things, and not reality banal/stupid shit). It caught me off guard in the dream, since in full disclosure it was the hubby who kept me from following family friends into an MC (also from joining the Army, but that is a separate story).
The rest of the dream is fading now, I just remember being worried about him being discovered though, since we were going to be stuck in jail for more than a few days. We wandered around the jail (more like a prison set up), just chatting. The biggest memory, how much I loved his eyes. Not in a serial killer can I keep them in a jar way, rather in a “I love to look into his eyes” kind of way. I was then awaken by a cat smacking me in the face.
I think overall it is just my post-surgery anxiety. I also suspect the location of an Arizona jail is directly because of being stuck in an Arizona hotel room for 9 days.
Well the final day of the surgery came and went. It started out hopeful, the hubby woke up feeling pretty good, the swelling was down, our hopes were up and life was good.
The checkout went smooth, took a final couple of pictures and then we went to Dr. Meltzer’s for our final appointment with him and Dr. Ley. It went very well, both doctors thought the hubby was looking very good for the time in healing he had. It was about now that being up and moving for the first time in almost a week, he was feeling sort of rough.
Once he was given the full approval by both doctors we headed to what would be the trial for the day, our flight home. We arrived almost three hours early just in case. In that time we encountered the following issues that started by dropping the car off at Alamo. It seemed to take forever, then it was a long ass walk for the husband over to the bus, then to the terminal. Especially with his need to utilize the restroom frequently due to spasms from the surgery, and his first time walking in a week it was so rough for him, I felt really bad.
Once we arrived at security things just went downhill from there. We got pulled over for TSA inspection. We forgot in the journey to the empty his water bottle, and of course the couple in front of us threw a fit and because of that fit, they got hauled to the side and inspected by the officers. The TSA agent behind the scanner then seemed to pick out the next three groups in retaliation, which included us and two people in wheel chairs. All of us got scanned, and thats where the TSA agent found our water bottle and we had to throw it away. It wasn’t a big deal, but we lost a nice $14 water bottle because of that dick.
We then arrived at the gate and waited almost two hours, to find out our flight got moved to a different gate. When they landed they couldn’t board because they had to wait for maintenance to refill an O2 canister for a medkit. AN HOUR LATER they announced we would be almost 90 minutes late boarding. I don’t blame the pilot/crew, they were arguing with maintenance over getting it done quick enough, but damn it sucked.
Once we got on to the plane (over 90 minutes late) we settled into a super hot plane that had been sitting on the tarmac in 107 degree heat. Evidently the battery used to power the AC when the plane was powered down was missing, so there was no AC when we got on board. Poor hubby was suffering really bad, all of this, plus the exertion had hit him hard, also his pain meds had worn off.
We flew back to Seattle, with W and I watching Cuthroat Island on his iPad. It was a great distraction, and nice to bond with the hubby even when everyone else was around us. We landed after having a semi-decent cold dinner.
Once we landed, we immediately found a cab available (Lyft had too long of a wait, and I won’t give a dime to Uber). The cab took us home, but it also didn’t have AC on and we almost died in that car from heat stroke (ok, that may be hyperbole, but you will never get me to admit it).
Once we got home, we had to spend about 30 minutes with the cat, he thought we had abandoned him. He hadn’t gone without both of us for that long ever. However, he was quick to fall back in love with us. While W bonded with the cat, I went and got us some Panda Express, because dear god I am not cooking when it was almost 8pm and we were exhausted.
We ended up the night in our bed for the first time in 9 days. It was glorious, although the trip itself was definitely worth it as well. Also, the hubby and the cat spent some important time together.
I have to admit it, right now my experiences in other cities dealing with the LGBTQA thing hasn’t been super good. Philadelphia was good, Denver kind of sucked, Atlanta really sucked, so coming to Phoenix I was pretty sure it would be the same.
It wasn’t, overall it was a good experience, barring one funny negative experience that really wasn’t negative.
Our arrival in Phoenix was marked by a rare homophobic event. We were in line at Alamo Car Rental, and ahead of us we watched a couple get harassed by an Alamo agent. He was pushing the “walk away” insurance, and all the extra things. He was pushing it hard enough that it made the rest of the line nervous.
It was our turn, as we stepped up I braced for the selling pitch. He began a long spiel of why we needed the walk away insurance, that Arizona law lets them claim for lost days if the car was damaged, etc etc. It was then my wonderful husband spoke up and asked me a question, but used the term “sweetie” for me.
The guy froze, his head went back and forth between us, and without any further mention he has me sign off the contract and we walk away without him saying a word. So while it sucked he obviously had a problem that two guys were together, it worked in our favor and the spiel stopped.
Our next encounter was at the Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Once again most of the staff were older people, so we were prepared to get a hard time. When our tour guide Judith arrived to give the tour, my fears blossomed. She was an older, conservative appearing woman.
However, she realized fairly soon into the tour (followed by a second tour for a different subject) that the hubby and I were together. Instead of any homophobia, she just talked to us even more. She seemed overjoyed that we liked listening to the tour, and wanted to know the history. It was definitely a great experience, and Judith is a great lady.
Dr. Meltzer’s office of course is super accepting, so we don’t need to go into that, but the Greenbaum surgical center was an unknown. However we arrived there and ALL of the staff were great, accepting of me arriving at any time day or not to visit the hubby. At no point did I not feel welcomed. It was impressive.
The rest of the time there was spent mostly in the hotel room, so the only other people we really saw were the hotel staff and they didn’t blink an eye at us. I don’t know if they were ok with us, but they kept their professional cool if they did.
That means Phoenix ranks a close second behind Philadelphia in my experience in accepting LGBTQA. I am not addressing the governmental/legal standpoint of transgender people here, just my experience with individuals
Of course I am posting this Sunday, a day early from our trip ending, hopefully that won’t change in the next day.
Day 4 has come and gone and it was less exciting then other days. The morning started out bright, sunny and warm. I believe it was 79 degrees when I went to visit the hubby in the morning around 6am. I know it was pretty, and I can tell there should be color there, but […]
I am posting this as a combined post for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That is because all we are doing is huddling in the hotel room, hubby is sleeping a lot and we are just waiting for the healing.
I did end up going out to get him food in the 105 degree heat, yes that is how much I love him :).
So all I really have are a few pictures to share.
There we go, that was the boring three days. More to come