Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Attending to other business

Today saw me visit Musgrove Park Hospital in town to have a lump in my neck looked at. I spoke to my GP about this and other things when I visited her a couple of weeks ago. She had a feel of the lump, declared it was probably nothing to worry about and referred my to ear, nose and throat (ENT) anyway to just be sure.

The lump itself appeared around November time but due to my impending GRS, I left it alone and ignored it apart from mentioning it to Mandy. It was painless, I had a blood count done as part of my pre-op and I was not losing weight unexpectedly therefore there was no real reason to be suspicious of it. Of course the GRS is done, I am pretty much recovered and the time has come to concentrate on such matters. 

I was told today by ENT that it is probably nothing to worry about, but just to be sure, I have to have an ultrasound to look a little closer and a possible biopsy if that is inconclusive. Otherwise, I can leave it alone or have it removed which would leave me with a scar. Perhaps in my testosterone life as a male I would have loved that scar, but now I would happily avoid it.

It was an unusual experience for me, having to go to hospital. I have been there so many times with Mandy and to go to that familiar place for myself and alone was very different. Of course, I have been to the Brighton Nuffield three times for myself as part of my GRS, but I do not see that as the same thing. This is odd too, because that was for far more serious surgery but yet I seem to see that as more of a life experience than as a stay in hospital. Perhaps it is because it was a private hospital, perhaps it was because it was part of my transitioning or even perhaps it was because the outcome was to be so confirming and life changing. Today however was much like how a hospital visit should be. They are typically places to be avoided and after so many times with Mandy, many of them unhappy, I was a little trepidatious. 

Of course, I also have to consider the trans side of things and usually it is not an issue, they accept me as Mandy's partner and wheelchair pusher. However, I was the one in the spotlight today and I was interested to see how they would react to me. The young male HCA who measured my height and weight was not so sure about me, but he behaved. The consultant and his female HCA along with the receptionist were absolutely fine. Nothing was questioned, I was accepted and treated accordingly. Of course, some will suggest that I "pass" because of my looks. Of course, I accept that I do look quite feminine but my big give-away is my voice. There are no doubts when I open my mouth that I was not gifted with a female voice.

Something that has given me pause for thought recently is how many of us trans individuals neglect a lot of these issues that we have. I currently have this to deal with as well as another mental health issue. I deliberately put both off until after my GRS for the simple reason that I did not want anything to get in the way. This is a seriously dangerous attitude and yet many of us fall into this trap. That small lump in my neck could be something far more sinister and even knowing that possibility, I put my GRS first in everything. This really does show how life or death our dysphoria can be for some. I am quite a grounded person and usually make very good informed decisions for myself, but this was one of those rare occasions where nothing else truly mattered. Of course, that capability to make good decisions helped me a little, I had a good idea that the lump was probably nothing to worry about because I was not showing any other symptoms. 

There is also the mental health issue I have and again, I have left this well alone because this was much more likely to have jammed up my transitioning. It has nothing to do with my gender dysphoria and yet there is a massive fear from those transitioning that delving into deeper issues will derail their treatment. It does happen and I know of more than a few that put off dealing with anything else until they had had their GRS. It is not a healthy attitude and it would be better to deal with everything together. This is one massive failing of the whole system in this country when it comes to treating gender dysphoria. I know that my gender clinic is interested in more collaborative efforts with regards this but it will be a slow process. For myself though, I now have to look at dealing with my issue and because I have finished transitioning, it feels a little scary because everything seems so clear now. 

Thankfully now, I can concentrate on dealing with these issues much quicker than in the past, and I have extra incentive for keeping myself fit and healthy!

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