I was intending to do a write up of the holiday using photo's to describe it. Typically, our mobile broadband we our using has decided to go a bit flaky on this second week, probably due to the poorer weather and it is very on/off. The thought of trying to upload 40mb of photo's is not even thinkable. I will have to wait until we get back and on to our more stable wired broadband. Instead, perhaps some more thoughts on this holiday.
The two weeks is (almost) over and on reflection, this has been a very satisfying holiday for myself. There are many reason for this, probably the principle one is my feeling of completeness and for once being able to enjoy myself as who I am. The timing has been good, coming 5 months since my surgery and I feel like this has struck a line between my recovery and moving forwards with things.
There's been bad in this holiday too. Primarily we have discovered just how disabled unfriendly the Lakes really are; I have really struggled to find things for Mandy to enjoy and sadly she has ended up stuck in the cottage a few times. I know some areas will always be difficult for disabled people but I feel there could be a great deal more done for them here. The Equality Act 2010 was brought in with the aim of enabling people to have a more equal country to live in, but our experiences of it are that disabled people seem to benefit the least. It's a very useful piece of legislation to throw at companies when it comes to trans discrimination, but for physical improvements to those with mobility problems; it's a different area entirely.
Despite this we have managed a fairly active week for us all. Susan and myself have engaged in four decent walks, although this second week has found us a little more tired possibly due to hay-fever being a problem, although my own is now much better than it used to be. We had a couple of long local field walks, a walk around Ennerdale Lake (8 miles) and a scramble up the mountain of Skiddaw (931 meters at its summit).
These walks have felt much different now I am post-op. There is now a freedom in the clothes I can wear with no obvious bulge now down below. That bulge had never been a real issue in my transitioning but since its removal, I have explored different styles finding a top and leggings to be much better than a skirt when walking. There is also not having that reminder swinging away when walking, it feels freer and just more comfortable.
There is a downside to it all too, and that is toileting! Gone are the days of having the convenience of the nearest tree and it is a different kettle of fish now. I have documented this new issue in the past and found squatting ended up with a massive risk of wet knickers/leggings. I purchased a female urinary device, the Go-Girl, and this has been used quite a number of times recently. It has been an educational experience, the first few times were very hit and miss and I ended up with wet knickers more than once. By the final walk this week, I pretty much had it nailed and knew exactly how to use it without problems. Urinating in the middle of nowhere though is a much more time consuming experience and I will need to select quieter walks for the future, especially when I am on my own with no one to be on "look out"!
As I said, involving Mandy has been a little more difficult but we had a few trips to the small towns in the Lakes. Last Friday was nice in that we had a trip on the ferries that go around Lake Windermere. Two of the bigger vessels are well equipped for wheelchairs and we spent over three hours going around the lake taking in the scenery, a good way for Mandy to do this.
Of course as usual, I have consumed far too many calories this holiday. Although the walks have burnt up some of these alongside several runs, I know that my weight has increased because some of my skirts now no longer fit again. When we get back, I need to get cracking and try to get back to my pre-op weight. I did it before, so I know I can do it again!
Attending to myself has also been a new addition to this holiday. Of course there is the dilation, which I have managed quite well and not skipped a single session. There has been one issue that took me by surprise. I noticed after a week or so, I was experiencing some vaginal soreness. It took me a time to get to the bottom of this but in the end I suspected it was the soap I was using. On the advice of Brighton, I used aqueous cream for a time whilst using Simple soap for my bodily washing. Eventually I moved to using the same soap for washing my new vagina. When we packed for the holiday I found a bar of Dove soap, that I used to use pre-op so I packed that for a change. This was the cause of the irritation and a tub of aqueous cream made things much more comfortable, perhaps taking 12 hours to calm things down. It was a good reminder that things are still very much new down there ad still need a bit more care than normal.
Tomorrow is our last day here and then Saturday we head back down the M6 and M5 to home. Watch out from Sunday for those photo's.