For the last few months I have been sat on tenterhooks wondering what would happen. I have not been the biggest fan of the psychological referral process of transition as to me it feels like I have to validate myself and my existence. The closest analogy I can think of is end of year exams which are make or break. As I need to transition I have jumped through the required hoops.
This week I attended a referral consultation for my second referral for reassignment surgery. So off I went to Bristol to jump through more hoops. As usual I am early and end up sitting in the waiting room with some guy ranting about an alien invasion from Mars that is happening and nobody does anything about. It is at this point I want to get the hell out of there. Instead I absorb my attention into a game on my phone.
The appointment itself was the usual questions and double checking the case notes. The guy is kind enough not to press for details as he had actually bothered to read the notes. Thirty minutes later he told me the hoop jumping is over and my surgeries should be in 6-9 months time. Three months of that I am busy with various Pride activities across the south west of England so that time is going to shoot by.
With top surgery I was able to leave my past self in the past. Now I can finally start thinking of my future self as I can see a light at the end of the tunnel where I can truly be me. It does not change the fact being transgender, whatever aspect of that umbrella, is still treated as a mental health problem. Sure it causes mental health problems by the bucket load, but in itself being transgender is not a mental health issue and should not be seen as such.
© JG Farmer 2016
More of my ramblings from my diaries over the time of Top Surgery October 2015
A week of not so quiet and restful healing later, life has a way of changing our plans at whim, and it did that with style as always, but I was back in Brighton for my post op. Had it worked? Everything is healing as it should. Staples out from the nipples; glad I had taken codeine beforehand, so it wasn’t that painful. No more itchy dressings and I only need to wear a binder if I go out to protect myself.
I looked in the mirror and I look a bit battered. But I can look at me and not hate what I see to the point of spiraling into dysphoria. For the first time ever I can do that. I still have a lot of healing to do but it is one huge step in the right direction.
For the last two weeks my emotions have been shot to hell. They are still shot to hell. I don’t have the words that sum up how I feel and yes that is frustrating me to bits – I am a writer and not knowing words that express the emotions is unheard of for me. Happy. No it is beyond that way beyond that. I am out of the cage now and it is awesome. That is the best I can do to sum it up.
It is only proper that I stop at this point and thank all those who have supported me this far. My deepest thanks go to Mr. Yelland and his team at Nuffield Health who made it possible. Also to Jenny, Misty and Lisa for getting me there and back for the operation and to Andy for being there for the post op. My boys for being my boys and keeping me going. Alf for being a real bro and staying with me until I woke up. Kayto for being the best friend a guy could have at 430am. Finally, to Caz for being my Caz and making me smile when I wanted to cry – I’m not easy to live with and you hung in there for me.
Taken from my incoherent rambling of a diary for Monday 28 September 2015
To be honest I don’t remember that much. It was still dark when my friend and I left for the hospital and the roads were peaceful. Just as well as we were both tired from the previous night.
On arrival I booked in and was taken to my room for the next 24 hours or so. A flurry of people came in and told me stuff, can I remember any of it – not a thing. I ordered food for later in the day, undoubtedly vegetarian as I don’t eat meat that much and probably a bucket of coffee. No coffee since the day before and I know me well enough to know I would have been as edgy as a cat on a hot roof. We were told, so my friend tells me, I was going to theatre for 9.30am but didn’t go until 12. I was back by 2:30pm judging by his post on Facebook.
I must have dozed off as they woke me up to give me the anaesthetic, after that the next thing I know was talking to my mate and it was all done. I felt like I had been hit by a wrecking ball but was too groggy to make much sense of anything. The night was one of interrupted sleep as the nurse had to do regular obs on my sugars as I am a diabetic and some painkillers when needed.
The procedure can be found here http://transurgery.com/chest-reconstruction/double-incision-technique
Mr Yelland, the surgeon, made the cool dude list on Tuesday morning when he came in to sign me out. His tie was superb. Anyone who knows me will know, that means I was back to my normal self even though I physically felt like I had been demolished. So it was home for a week of rest and healing before the post op appointment.
Written at some point on the night of 27 September 2015
Travelling down to Hastings was event free, the conversation easy and nicely distracting from what was going to happen the next day. We stopped at Cobham Services for coffee and sinful donuts. Donuts are a very rare treat for me so they always taste awesome.
It was getting dark by the time we were driving through Kent to East Sussex with the aroma of hops teasing our noses. I had forgotten the utter deliciousness of that. I must have drifted into my memories a bit, as the next thing I know was a glorious reflection of the full moon shimmering on the English Channel and we were nearing the end of the journey.
My friend dropped me off with the friend I was staying with. Again easy conversation and a chilled out atmosphere and I am too calm, I know I am too calm. Tomorrow I am having surgery and I’m not even feeling a slight sense of nervousness, just an amazing sense of calm that life is beginning to go the way it should be.
We watched the lunar eclipse. Light pollution in Hastings is so much less than in Swindon. The darkness of the sky made so many more stars visible and the colour of the moon was a deep blood red. A truly blood moon and prophetic to a Pagan like me. Blood moons are omens of an end and a change in life. I wasn’t going to watch it as I knew it would set my mind into thinking.
Thinking, oh yes, the thoughts started coming thick and fast. Back in bed for another nap before leaving for the hospital – sleep wasn’t going to happen quickly. So I let the thoughts come. Not once was it ‘am I making a mistake’. I never have had that thinking really. I have known my male identity too long to think it is a mistake or doubt myself on it.
Omens are not all doom and gloom and, when you think about it, what does the end mean. It just means something stops. The pretence of being content in a female body has come to end. For a new beginning, something must end and for the man I know to exist that pretence must end and tomorrow it ends, there is no going back.
©JG Farmer 2015