Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A difficult couple of weeks

It's almost a little sad that I have to write about less positive going's on but the last two weeks have been really hard for me to cope with a lot of conflicting feelings. It's vitally important that I do write about the harder issues I have to face, as I have never tried to sugar coat anything when it comes to my story.

It all started just under two weeks ago when my friend Susan, who had been staying in Taunton for a few days, left to go back home. Let me say that my recent low had nothing to do with this but it was ironic that the trigger day was virtually the same day. It started with a visit to the Laurel's, literally ninety minutes after Susan had left. My sessions there now do not hold the dread that they used to and I was actually quite positive that I might be getting some good news about my GRS (gender reassignment surgery). It had been six weeks since I had last been there and I had been given hope that the doctor might have been persuaded to move things on due to the error he made last year which resulted in me waiting for a letter that was never going to arrive.

I should have expected that nothing had changed, which was in fact the case. Lynda (my therapist) reported that nothing had moved on and we were still waiting for May to roll over, which was when the doctor had promised to write the referral letter. We then discussed perianal hair removal, because six weeks ago Lynda had requested the funding for this process so that we would have no issues in advance of my upcoming GRS (I will discuss more about perianal hair in a future post). I had already spoke to Lynne, who has been doing my facial LASER at the Nuffield and she had reported that my funding had just come through a few days prior. Lynda seemed quite annoyed at this, stating that she had put this through the day we met six weeks ago and should not have taken this long. I then told Lynda that my first session was almost seven weeks away (alongside my facial hair work as well). This seemed too long and I suggested I make a separate appointment for my perianal. We talked some more about GRS and it was time to go.

As soon as I got home, I rang the LASER clinic and made an appointment 3 weeks sooner. This made me feel a little better because I have to have at least five of these session with probably four weeks between. You also need four weeks healing at the end before surgery so that is at least twenty weeks, hence the reason for getting a move on. This session is for this coming Monday, and I will be reporting about this treatment which is in a very interesting area!

The very next day saw the start of two very extreme and conflicting emotional difficulties. For the last two weeks I have found this waiting game for the doctor to write these referral letters to be profoundly difficult to deal with. I have not seen the doctor since February and am not scheduled to see him until July. This situation leads me to worry about whether those letters are going to be written or forgotten. Remember that the doctor forgot to write my notes up last year, and also backtracked on his decision to start the process in February. After two weeks of working through this, it is simply a trust issue - I do not trust this doctor to write this letter on time.

Waiting for a doctor to write letters may seem a trivial thing to some to be worrying about, but for me this represents the final stage in this part of my journey. I do not see GRS as the be all and end all but it does feel vital for me to be complete now. I never used to think this way, but time does change how we feel about things. I now want to be moving on this process but to be held up by a doctor who has failed me in the past is very distressing to me. I think I have had only one decent nights sleep in the last fortnight and find I am waking at about 3.30 and not able to get back to sleep with all this on my mind.

In contrast, I have found some inner realisation that the journey I am taking is so right for me. When I came out to Mandy, over four years ago, I always knew that I would end up living full time as a woman. When I overcame that hurdle, I knew then I was doing the right thing. I have always been confident as Lucy but literally the same day that I started this worry phase, I also became super confident about myself. This has led to a new me, full of self belief and aware of the true me. More importantly, I have come to love myself. I hated myself as a man, he was such a horrible person and I was so glad to transition as Lucy and get rid of him.

I put this sudden change in confidence down to a few things that have suddenly clicked into place. I am sure the hormones have played a massive part in this change, I am much more in touch with my feelings and I really think differently about everything. My upcoming GRS also play a part, I am going to be physically much more complete as a woman and this realisation is immensely powerful. Finally, I think every last vestige of the man I was has been completely obliterate. Obviously the memories remain, and there is nothing I can do about that even if I wanted to. However, I am a woman now and this is my way forward. This has even changed me physically, I walk through town with a real sense of purpose now and nothing or anyone is ever going to change my mind.

So it's been an interesting couple of weeks. As I said, I have two very contrasting sets of emotions going on here and it has been difficult to deal with both at times. I've been trying to deal with my worrying as well as trying to fathom out this super confidence. I have tried to use the positive emotions to offset the negative but at 3.30 in the morning that does not work.

To help me with this, I also tried to add in some different experiences to try to invigorate my life outside of all this. For the first time, we went to Exeter Pride on Saturday. This was a completely new way of thinking because I have moved away from the trans community over that last couple of years. I made this move because I was unhappy at some attitudes within the community, often towards Mandy. She has always felt excluded at events and even encountered hostility probably due to jealousy of some sorts. However, I felt I needed to get some connection back to others that understand what I am going through. The event itself was quite enjoyable, and a discussion forum and workshop at the end gave me back that connection I was possibly seeking. 

Sunday even saw me going to a coffee evening, organised by a lady I had encountered on Facebook. This was also very helpful in dealing with my issues. Just being able to talk, and listen to others with similar problems to my own was a very useful healing tool. I also got some pointers in how to deal with my issue with the Laurel's.

Finally, because this has got a little long, I found a superb YouTube channel detailing a young lady's transition in the USA. Autumn Asphodel is her name and whilst things work differently over there, a lot of what she has to say about feelings and emotions run very true wherever you are in the world. There are over 60 in depth videos detailing just about everything you could need to know. From dilation to sexual function, it is all there as well as a host of other videos explaining all Autumn's other mental health issues which are just as insightful. Watching these videos has been tremendously helpful and I am quite awed at the effort that has gone into these works. Please, anyone, consider watching a few of Autumn's works. They are quite touching and I have cried at more than one. https://www.youtube.com/user/AutumnAsphodel


  1. Lucy,

    For me this has been a good summery of all we've talked about during this period. As such it has help me to get a better idea of just what you've been going through and how you feel. As I've said to you elsewhere, I just hope the outstanding issues are resolve quickly. Clearly though, the inner contentment and confidence you've talked about here and elsewhere are clear to see.