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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.