Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Turning a corner?

It's been a tough few weeks, all of the problems could have been avoided and very little I could actually do to avoid said problems. I don't want to be doom and gloom too much more and think that I may actually be pulling out of my situation and moving on.

I could write a whole heap about what has been going on, blame the guilty and offload all this rubbish but feel it would get me nowhere apart from wear and tear on this keyboard. Instead I will write a little about the last few days. This does include some of my situation but perhaps a more positive slant on it all.

The middle of last week was very empty. I was waiting for phone calls that never happened and this led to a very glum feeling. I wouldn't describe it as depressed, as I do not think I have ever experience that personally but I was getting very down. Eventually on Thursday, I managed to have a worthwhile conversation with the Laurel's, my gender clinic. If you haven't worked it out, this has been the source of the problems. 

Although this phone call didn't completely reassure me, I decided that I had to try to move on and take as much as I could from it. I had an appointment at the clinic on Monday and could deal with my problems face to face with someone. The weekend was upon us and it was time to enjoy myself again, something that has been impossible for the last few weeks. Saturday was an uneventful day but Sunday saw me going to a coffee evening with some other trans people. 

This was very important for me, as I had found out the month before. To listen to others and their issues, suddenly I felt less alone in all this. It didn't trivialise my problems, they were as bad to me as others problems were to them. Just knowing we are all going through the mill, or have been through it, helps a little. It wasn't just talking about these issues, there was also some laughter and general chat.

I was up at the crack of dawn for my daily run, which now consists of running to Creech-st-Michael via the river Tone and then back down the Taunton and Bridgwater canal - a total of eight miles! This has been the saving of me lately, that hour and twenty minutes gives me an opportunity to work through my problems in my head as well as the therapeutic benefits of being out in the country first thing in the morning. I've seen several herons lately as well as Monday, a fox just a few metres ahead of me.

Once I got back, I prepared myself for my trip to the clinic. I also had my facial LASER this morning which meant no serious makeup - nothing on the areas to be treated. I have often gone completely bare to LASER but today, because I was going into the dragon's den that was the Laurel's, I needed some war paint on! Lip colour, eyeshadow, waterproof mascara and penciled eyebrows were the order of the day. 

We got to the Exeter Nuffield and after a wait, were called in by Lynne. I wrote about my perineal LASER a few weeks ago, here, and this probably reflects well my relationship with Lynne. After we had finished, she asked what we were doing for the day and I said it was the Laurel's next. Lynne is very good at getting you to talk and we both ended up telling her what had been happening. Lynne is one of those who I will remember for a long time after I finish transitioning and shows just how many people we do encounter that help us on our way and treat us with kindness. I also sent regards from several people from the coffee evening, and she remember them all!

We left, buoyed up a little from this and drove into the city. We managed to find a parking space right outside the clinic but with over an hour to go, we decided on a coffee first. I don't know why I wrote coffee, for once I had tea and Mandy had hot chocolate! We also sat in front of the cathedral for a short time before psyching ourselves up and making our way to the clinic.

My appointment was with Lynda, my psychotherapist, and she called us in. I knew this was not going to be a pleasant meeting and to start off, Mandy decided to have her say in how I have been treated. It is sad that Lynda has to endure this because I feel she has worked harder than anyone to get me moving. But she was the first person in the firing line, and she had to bear the brunt. I then proceeded to give her a copy of my complaint I had made to the clinic manager (this had been handed in when we entered). We thrashed this whole episode out for the next forty minutes. There were tears from me (remember the waterproof mascara?) and I sensed that Lynda was quite upset as well. I called a stop to it all in the end, we were going around in circles and Lynda had assured me she will do all she could to hasten getting my final referral letter out of the clinic as soon as my 2nd opinion had arrived (which it hadn't).

We then talked about other things and my preparation for my GRS (gender reassignment surgery). All I had really done was think about things and get my perineal LASER started. As we closed everything down, she gave me some assurances about what she would try to do to get things moving as well as saying she would email me once the letter was on it's way.

We went back out to the waiting area and Lynda went to photocopy a couple of pieces of information for me whilst I made our next appointment. She came back out with my 2nd opinion in her hand. I gave a great cheer and the whole waiting area could sense the relief in me.

We headed back home, and sure enough, my copy of the 2nd opinion was waiting for me. It was a lovely letter to read and perhaps one of the best reports I have ever read about myself.

Things seem more positive, I feel much happier in myself and I just hope that that final letter gets written promptly. Once that is done, I am out of the hands of the Laurel's in into the arms of the Nuffield group, and they don't f... mess around!

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