Out of the Cage

Out of the Cage

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.

My Thanks

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.

The Operation

The Operation

 

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.

Omens and Eclipses

blood-moon-full-red-600x450

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

Top Surgery: Pre-med

The sun was shining on a beautiful September morning as I left home yesterday. Other than thinking good it isn’t raining I didn’t notice. My guts were full of butterflies and I could think of a million and one other things I would be rather be doing. In April this day had seemed so far away now everything felt suddenly very real. Pre-med day.

The journey down to Brighton was uneventful and the trains quiet giving me thinking space. Mentally, I was geared for a negative outcome to the day as it always is regarding the medical side of transition. This is one thing I cannot build my hopes up for them to fail so I do the opposite. Sipping my water I was glad to be alone for a while. I was meeting up with a friend between the two appointments, and I would need the support then whatever happened.

Walking out of Brighton station I began to feel the nervous nausea but found a cab and within minutes was pulling up outside the Nuffield Hospital. I sucked hard on my sugar free mint but really a mint is no substitute for a nerves ripped to shreds cigarette. Oh well, no point in hanging about I went in to the snazzy reception area and tried to appear calm and no doubt failed.

I didn’t have to wait long before a nurse fetched me and started the pre-med formalities of health history, blood tests, MRSA tests, ECG and blood and heart observations. For once my pulse was playing the game and she found it first go. She then looked at me and I thought “here we go she’s going to tell me something is wrong” but no all good to go.

My mate was outside waiting in the reception so he sat with me while we waited for the consultant. I can’t remember what we talked about; everything and nothing probably. Whatever, it worked, I felt calmer when I was called in to see the consultant.

He started talking about the surgery, the risks and things that could go wrong. Not sure what he thought when I said ‘so you going to do it then?’ He took pictures then drew a rough diagram (he’s no artist) of a breast and how he would remove it. Yes he said remove it at which point it all sank in – at last the chest is going to be a chest. I came out of his office on a cloud.

For so many years my breasts have made me feel nothing but the self-hate that has pushed me into the pits of dark depression – in ten days they are gone. A cloud, no I am walking on thin air. I am so grateful my mate took me back to the station. I am not sure I would have made it without him to keep me grounded.

The journey home was easy too, apart from a long wait at Reading. It gave me chance to grab a much needed coffee so not really complaining. Today, as I write, it is like I have had a rock lifted off me. The journey to me is real and is finally happening.

 

©JG Farmer 2015

Counting Down to Top

countdown

 

Finally I have a date for chest reconstruction surgery. The glimmer at the end of this tunnel is now a bright light. Yes it is still a few months away but what is a few months – nothing after all this time, absolutely nothing.

Now I have to gear myself up for surgery. Not easy when I just want to bounce around like a kid who just got a new train set. Oh I got one of those too but not a Flying Scotsman yet – I can wait.

I know now is the time to really prepare myself physically and that means cutting out the smoking, or reducing it to bare minimum. I also have to get my mental and emotional health into peak, and that will be a challenge and some. PTSD has no respect for anything.

So I have the date and now my posts will be the preparation to Top date.

My thanks to all of you who have supported and got me this far.

Jez

Update March 5 2015

heck_yes_by_authorgreg-d30ucev

I saw Dr Jan at the Laurels today.

Now I am stood on a station and I feel like I am in a dream, the nightmare of living in the wrong body is coming to its conclusion. Words are failing me as I cannot say how awesome I feel just knowing it is going to be over.

Since that first bra I have detested my chest that refused me my manhood. Their days are numbered, the referral to Brighton is happening. Now I must wait! Meh I can wait now, no sweat.

Wait how long? A few months – it is nothing, no time at all. How can it be? My chest has been a thorn in my guts since my teens. Yeah it is not going to be a fond farewell.

Still cannot really believe it – WOW!

A Milestone

image

 

I came out of the GIC knowing within a few weeks I would be using testosterone. I have waited years for this; to say I was elated is a mild understatement. I didn’t notice the pouring rain or the chaos of Christmas shoppers in the city centre. All I could sense was relief, a real closure on the past confusion of identity and not belonging I have known all my life,

A little over a week later the letter arrived to inform me the prescription was with my doctor and the next day I sat and stared at the tubes of gel. I was alone and able to think without influence. That is how I wanted that moment to be. I needed to know it was ultimately my decision made without interference from doctors, psychologists, family or friends whose support I am so deeply grateful for. I never doubted what decision I would make but yes, I did need it to be mine and mine alone.

So here was the moment I had longed for too long. No grandiose fanfare – just me in my room with Slash rocking his stuff on the radio. Outside a grey dismal December morning was hardly enchanting or mystical. Within five minutes the first major milestone in gender transition was done and the gel was drying on the skin of my thighs.

Now it is another waiting game as my body does what it needs to do with the hormones although it already is doing some of it anyway. The goatee is set in place and since I did the Movember thing I have the beginnings of a moustache. My voice is annoyingly androgynous as it has been for years but I rarely get misgendered even on the phone.

At this point the only changes I can report are a deep sense of peace and a new morning routine that allows for the application of gel every day and half an hour in sat on my bed while it dries reading a book, well I have said for a while I need to read more. The biggest thing is the very real finality of the female identity I struggled to maintain in the past.

I don’t hate who I was but I do despise the society and dogma that forced the real me into hiding and a life of fear. No human being should feel they have to live in fear; no human being should feel they have no way out. Granted the world is changing and becoming a more accepting one but we are not there yet. I didn’t think I would be around to see the changes that are now happening so anything is possible.

I am Human

lgbt-rights

 

Anyone who knows me will know I am a huge supporter of the NHS, without it most people in the UK would be screwed. However, this will not stop me kicking up a veritable stink if they get it wrong – and this time they have got it wrong, very wrong.

As a citizen of the UK I have the legal right to change my name and title. As it happens I obviously want to change my name to a male one and I have done. I have also changed my title to that of Mr. and that is my legal right to do so. No organisation has the right to refuse me that not even the NHS.

I informed my doctor, and to be fair she totally and absolutely supports me, my gripe is not with her in anyway. My issue is with the practice pen-pushers who call themselves management. At best I call them uneducated in matters of law, more likely discriminating bastards. They refuse point blank to change my records without a gender recognition certificate – which they are not allowed by law to ask for. By law they have to change my name on the records and accept I am now Mr. Simple as that – it is not rocket science. They still refused.

I have now obtained, in addition to a deed poll which is a legal document, a statutory declaration that my name change is permanent. This was done at my own expense as it matters a great deal to me. Okay that is not a huge amount of money but nonetheless it is inconvenient. This document has been presented to the practice. They still refused to amend their records.

So here is the legalities under the Equality and Human Rights Act.

 

Specific processes for certain agencies

 

Some organisations have specific procedures for processing name changes relating to gender transition. These procedures have often been in place for 30-40 years and are not negatively affected in any way by the Gender Recognition Act.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will alter your name on their records and will issue a new plastic National Insurance Number Card with that name on it. They don’t alter anyone’s National Insurance number under any circumstances. There is no gender indication within the number and therefore no point to do so. A change of name on its’ own does not alter the rest of your national insurance / tax computer records, as you will remain a member of your birth gender until such time as you successfully apply for legal recognition. The Gender Recognition process issues instructions to the DWP and Inland Revenue to make appropriate changes at that time.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will change their records of your name and issue you with an updated driving license on written request. In this case the procedure, which has been used successfully for many years, includes the issue of an amended driver number. Your driver number includes a gender marker. This is updated to show your new social gender so that anyone inspecting your driving license will see a code that concurs with your name and the way you present.

The process with passports has changed slightly over recent years because of a greater need to prevent fraud. However, the policy of the Passport Agency has always been to facilitate issue of a replacement passport when the applicant has changed their name and social gender role, backed by a letter from a medical professional to confirm that the change is for gender reassignment and intended to be permanent. As the process for any change of photo and details involves an interview it is best to enquire with your local passport office about what you should do and the evidence you need to supply.

Processes like these were in place before the Gender Recognition Act and remain unaltered by the introduction of the formal legal recognition process.

Other organisations such as employers, educational establishments, registration bodies, your local NHS GP, hospitals, utility companies, and service suppliers such as banks should likewise be prepared to change your details on request. Some may request evidence in the form of a statutory declaration of your name change, but that is all.

 

Gender Recognition Certificates

Some organisations may mistakenly believe that they are not supposed to change their records to show your new name and appropriate title (Mr, Miss, etc..) until you have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. This is incorrect and in most cases would constitute discrimination.

Furthermore, nobody is entitled to see or record the details of a Gender Recognition Certificate if you have one. If someone requires proof of your legal gender then you could show them your birth certificate.

The Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) exists only for the Gender Recognition Panel to instruct the Registrar of Births to make a new entry in their register, from which a birth certificate can be drawn. The document states clearly that it has no other purpose. Recording sight of a GRC would automatically lead to a breach of Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act, since sight of the record by any other person would constitute an unlawful disclosure of protected information. Officials should therefore be gently advised against making up rules involving GRCs.

 

There you have it in black and white. I am now sending a copy of this act with yet another copy of my documentation to the practice management and also a letter from my lawyer informing them they are breaching my rights, and unless they change my records at once there will be legal proceedings taken against the individuals causing the issue. As I said I have no gripe with my doctor nor should I she is just as unimpressed with this as I am.

No one should be made to feel less for being who they are. Here in the UK we are protected by law from discrimination like this and I will not hesitate to use it. I face enough prejudice every day from walking down the street and I deal with that. I will not put up with it when I do not have to.

Thank you so much for being there to all who read, follow and/or comment. Your support is very precious to me and I love you all dearly

Love and light

Jez

Red Tape

Red Tape

 

If I ignore the NHS and TalkTalk, changing name and title has been a rather easy process. Yes, it has involved lots of form filling and ticking boxes and in one or two cases explaining why a person who is listed as female would want to use a man’s name and title. That is the process of red tape and one has to go through it anyway.

The NHS is causing me real problems. They now have six copies of my deed poll, all of which are certified and stamped to their requirement. Yes, I said six, and still they have not updated their records and insist on using my old name and using female pronouns. When I complain they tell me ‘It’s an oversight and shouldn’t have happened!’ Well perhaps if they updated their bloody records with the information they have been given six times they would not keep having these oversights. This is the NHS, the same people I am supposed to trust with my transition therapy which involves sharing some very intimate details of myself amongst other things. How can I trust them with stuff like that when they cannot even change stuff on computer records. It is a name change, it involves pressing a key or two and that is it.

As for my phone and internet provider, TalkTalk, they are seriously skating on thin ice with me.  I called them, and got put through to their call centre in India, or wherever it is, it certainly is not the UK. I explained I had changed my name and needed to change my account details – simple if I don’t they will not be able to collect funds from my bank to pay the bill. Simple, yeah right! The ignorant ass taking my call then spoke to me like I was a maggot demanding to know why I would be so stupid, yes he said stupid, as to change my name. My response was polite as I informed him I would be reporting him to his manager and TalkTalk. I then explained at least a dozen times I would not be giving him details as to the reasons for changing my name as it was none of his business. I faxed over a copy of my deed poll and then got informed ‘You done it wrong girlie you put a man’s name on your deed poll.’ Needless to say this is now in the hands of my lawyers, TalkTalk management have been informed and are grovelling as they know it could lead to a case of discrimination – damn right!

Other than these two instances it has been plain sailing with no issues at all, frankly the two issues that have come up are more than enough.

 

Love and light

Jez

No Return

1620802_10151964544067532_1803174003_n

 

Over recent weeks so many people have chimed in with what they think is wise advice about my transition. All in the same vein that there is no going back. Each time I hear it, I listen and try not to bite as in the main they are being kind. The fact is I am past the point of turning back. I passed it the day I walked into Doc M’s surgery and asked her to help me. All the thinking had been done.

I have lost count of the sleepless nights spent in anguish trying to escape the inevitable choice of going down the road of becoming a man. Yes I said inevitable as there was really no other choice as my emotional and mental well-being was deteriorating rapidly. That anguish and pain I never shared with anyone. It is not something that just quietly crept through the door like a good idea. It has haunted me in some way since childhood.

Each time I pushed it back refusing to give in. Each time that got more difficult to do, until I could not fight anymore, not for her. She had reached the point of exhaustion and he had to take over. I have no regrets here. My life as she built him up until he was ready to take over and face the journey that will take me through this.

Mentally and emotionally the transition has taken place and has been going on for many a year. The times I feel like I have killed her, are the times I need to reflect on all that she gave me and yes my life as she gave me a lot, not least my wonderful sons. Nothing, not even he, can take their mother away but he does not want to as they are as much a part of him as they were of her.

Yes I know there will be no going back once medical intervention has taken place but in my heart in my mind I cannot go back as there is no place to go back to. As I sat in the guy from the Laurel’s office on Friday answering his questions, answers that go back to the 1970’s I felt the boxes of myself being unpacked – again. This is something I hate doing as it tears into my core. I cracked up a few times and despised myself for most of it.

This is nothing new, my LIFT counsellor and my psychiatrist have done the same thing a fair few times. It does not get easier and it does not get harder. Each time it is like opening up the wounds of self-hate and guilt for the first time, it hurts and it bleeds. I see the person asking me the questions and they are always kind and supportive but my barriers rise and I feel alone and haunted. Each little event of the past is like ghost reminding me of things I do not want to remember.

There is no going back as this time I am repacking those boxes and I do not think I will need to open them again. They are the events that hurt me and reliving them causes me the greatest agony I have ever known. Instead I am ready to move forward into the future and take all the crap and the good times that has to offer. This time I am aware it is those past events, and surviving, them that has made me stronger and ready to do that.

Once again I send my deepest gratitude to all of you who message me; your support is valued more than I can ever say in words.

Love and light

Jez