Permanent Body modification to date. Not counting maintenance like food, exercise, tooth cleansing, haircuts or dyes, sunscreen or dilation

Greater than one per year )

And yet I look so square.
Okay then - everything's settled, or at least setting down. Back to normal... I guess. Uh... what were we doing? says my subconscious.

I pick up the guitar that I stopped practicing two and a half years ago. A and U and A and A and D and E and repeat.

I borrow and eat sci-fi RPG books.

I think about looking for work. About travelling. I make plans.

I take a look at the SFU student newspaper, and put the damn thing back down again.

I learn a new kind of art tha segues into body modification - henna.

Yeah. Where were we?

I've been off progestin, estradot, proscar and novo-spiractalone for one week.

This is another way of saying "my biochemistry is flipping from grrl back to boy-with-a-y."

Not fun. But necessary.

It is also the last time I will ever have to do this. If I ever need to be cut open, I might have to quietly cut estrogen in the future, but it won't be combined with charging my body with testosteone.

Last time I did this gradually, and only had to be clear for two weeks; this time suddenly, and for three, so I can really feel it.

I have had an estrogen withdrawal migraine for five of the last seven days. As far as migraines go, it's not that bad, but it makes physical exertion painful.

The presence of testosterone has filled the streets with strikingly attractive lasses. They might be in snowsuits, but I can still tell. I do not understand how exactly this works: how it is that T allows me to unconsciously follow sniff out clusters of sexy.

I think my verbal skills are a bit muddled, much as they were when I started this.
Tomorrow is the last day that I'm on Novo-Spironoactalone.

As in "Last Day Ever."

Novospironoactalone (AKA "Spiro" AKA "Mr Agnew.") does the following things:

1 - antagonize androgens, diminishing prostate inflammation if you take a little, shutting down testosterone production if you take a lot
2 - make you pee
3 - make you tired
4 - drop your blood-pressure (which can complicate surgery)
5 - make it a bad idea to drink some potassium-rich artificial sweeteners and that no-sodium table-salt (or so I infer)

I shan't miss it.

I will miss its ability to quash boy-hormones. But only for three weeks. Then my nuts come off, and I will never have to take it again.

Another milestone
Every week, usually on a Tuesday, I ask myself the same question:

My lips are cracking, especially in the corners. I wonder if I'm getting enough vitamin B

And I answer the same way:

Given that my classmates comment on my fondness for leafy greens. And given that this problem shows up only on Tuesdays. And given that Tuesdays are the day after electrolysis. And given that electrolysis involves a heated needle being poked in and around my lips. Perhaps I can conclude that the problem is not a lack of vitamin B.

At least until next week.

Feeling less sick now, trying to get all the MSP business in order.

Hi, I saw Drs. Robinow and Knudson for an appointment on July 9th. They said that everything was fine and that they'd pass on approval to MSP and I should hear from them around now, but Carol McNeill at MSP emalied me saying that she hadn't received any such paperwork regarding myself. Do you know if your office has sent it off?

Imagine being a health care provider and fucking up.

Now imagine being a trans health care provider and fucking up, then having one of your equal-status nurses or doctors  explaining to you what this was like for them and how this must be for your patient. (This is an important feedback mechanism.)

I think of a scholarship program for people involved in transgendered activism/advocacy (whether they themselves are trans or not) who go into medicine.
Yeah genital surgery. Three weexs after getting through the last barrier and I guess it's hit me. This is both good and bad, and dreams back this up.

Good Dreams:

Bad Dreams:

It's the right thing to do. Consider:
I'm getting genital electrolysis done as a prior-to for surgery. And I gotta tell you, it sucks.

I'm using Lydocane, a by-prescription-only topical analgesic: it numbs the surface of my skin and it still hurts. Aftewards the combination of hot needles and hair removal and genitals and a topical analgesic (Is it strong? Well, high doses "can interfere with resperation") and after an hour, this leaves me wandering around in a half-associated daze, moreso than any playing I've done before.

Then it's off to class.

Every Tuesday.

It's worth it though.
People keep telling me that I'm good at things, especially writing, politics. A variety of people, but especially those who make a living in these fields. And it's intimidating. Now I understand that I appreciate the compliment, and the advice. But the suggestion bothers me, because it tires me. Not so much the writing, but the politics. All the suggestions that I seriosly run for office, and their disappointment or irritation that I really really don't want to - not right now, please.

Or, as I did not say, but hinted at last week: I could run with you, but I would crumble in the campaign and were I by some miracle elected, would die in office

Politics is a lot of work, and all I feel right now is tired.

It's been a long haul. Gender and school and work and volunteering - the latter three a means to cope with the first. Like pumping a bike until your legs are tired, and only then just cresting the hill and resting in the slight decline, I have burnt out and am now coasting. The next few months should be a lot lighter.

The last ecstatic experience I had said to go be a normal person for a bit. "A bit" being perhaps two years. I guess a normal person is someone who tries to live their life first, then do other things. Whereas I was doing other things so that I did not have to live my life. Of course, a good leader is one who lives first and leads from that.

This is part of why I am thinking of moving away for a bit. The person I am here is not someone I can be anymore.
It was fast and easier than I figured. Samonte came with me, bless him. A (medical?) student named Adrian observed. And in the end, we're good to go.

Question/discussion sequence:
- fill out this questionnaire with basic medical background
- mind if I record this
- this assessment is about "stability"
- history of assessment over time
- future plans
- family
- childhood and gender incongruity
- coming out
- sex
- transition to date
- loss of father during childhood (uh... he's been dead for awhile, and was gone before then)
- facial feminization surgery
- my boobs
- the awkward silence when a medical professional calls me "him"
- you're good to go
- Montreal; $1000 two-weeks accomodation at the recovery centre, early 2009 probably? That's a lot better than what I expected: $5000 for short-term accomodations, booked for sometime after the Mayan apocalypse.

I'm getting a haircut.
I go for "assessment" at ten tomorrow morning. This involves getting interview by two psychiatrists at once. They form an opinion as to whether Sexual Reassignment Surgery is warranted in my case.
Whatever you call it, I'm very happy that I will be going for it at some point soon.Some aspects of this still annoy and intimidate me
But there are things that make this easier
Remember that post on why I think the process for being approved for sexual reassignment  surgery sucks?

Someone wrote some pretty strong objections,  then vowed never to return. Well enough, but I wanted to take this space to respond. Normally I don't engage in flame wars - and this is no exception. I'm writing this because these are the usual round of objections that I hear over and over and over. It's not the first time I've heard them and it won't be the last. And at some point, you may hear them too. So I see the need to process them publicly.

I've seen too many people walk on the RLT half way through.

It separates the women from the men. And hat if they had got what they wanted first, then decided it didn't work?

Its there because in the early 70s there were a lot of quacks handing out SRS to anyone who could pay, and there were suicides. A lot of them.
People got srs who shouldn't have. Closet homosexuals with religious guilt who though surgery would make them straight women. Transvestites who confuse their comfort of dressing with their core identities, mentally ill patients with dissassositive disorders and other identity issues, and even criminals on the run.
A year to be sure is NOTHING. Noting at all. From the time I told my therapist to the time I hit the table was 18 months. It wasn't that difficult. You spend your life knowing this is what you need, but you can't wait a year to be sure? If you are having a hard time with a government system don't count on a state system, or a national health to help you. It won't. We are supposed to envy YOUR health care system, what a joke.
I hear so many cry "BUT I WANT IT NOW" "I CAN PAY" they sound like straight male crybabies. There is a reason you can't buy drugs that will hurt you, or of you are unfortunate enough to live in Canada, play with dangerous toys. You may think you know, but till you are THERE you don't KNOW. You may think you do, but you don't.
This is a one way trip, and there is only one way to be sure. living it for a year clears the doubts. You need to see what its like when its not a game or a costume. That's what the RLT is. And if you cannot see that you are a close minded child who wants his lolly NOW.
I have an appointment to be assessed for sexual reassignment surgery. AKA "the big switch." AKA "genital surgery."

I am glad that I have an appointment, but I'm pissed off that I have to go through with assessment.  Really pissed off. As in having-trouble-sleeping-so-I'm-writing-it-down pissed off.

The present criteria for assessment for genital surgery, derived from the Harry Benjamen Standards of Care (or HBSC) are as follows:

And here is what pisses me off:

1. I have already gone through this, and don't see why I have to do it again.
2. This system is billed as "making sure we do what's right for the patient" but is mostly designed to cover doctor's asses.
3. This system is arbitrary
4. No. I mean really arbitrary
5. Really, really arbitary. Or should I say "homophobic?"
6. The in-role period makes no sense
7. This process is gratingly slow.
8. The assessment criteria are buggy
9. Many assessors act like jerks.
This is wrong. I don't like it, and I don't want to enable it.
I cover my eyes and jerk them away. Holy shit - it's changed!
    And then I eagerly put them back again, enjoying the shift with every digit.

FFS doesn't so much feel as "a good idea," so much as Oh, I did that? You mean my skull has changed? This is new, isn't it? Well it's right, so I'm damn glad I went through with it. Proud even.

There will be progress photos, but I want to be able to get a good survey over time. Probably going to be a few months
This review of Greg Bear's sci-fi novel Legacy is juxtaposed to the next-to-sci-fi experience that is Transition because it is the neatest metaphor I have found to date.

It contains spoilers and probably errors.

This analogy occurs to me in reference to transition - A process I feel that I am now mostly on the other side of.

Stunned; I spent a lot of time in that other place, and it was killing me. I think. Was I actually there? It seems so distant. But I remember when I think about it, and it slips out in conversation.

"Here" is a strange place; not quite what I left  more than half a lifetime ago, but it's familiar. Both it and I are changed. I thought about here often, but thought I'd never get here.

So being here is good.

But it's even better to not be there

- - -
I was sure I was gonna die down there.

Is this real? Did this really happen? I suppose so.

Am I going to wake up tomorrow and have all this stripped from me?
I don't see how. And if that loomed, I would not let it.

But the threat seems real, just having lived with the alternative long enough.

I guess I get used to it, and learn how to live from here.

I mean, what else do you do?

Some people see me and, in surprise exclaim "Wow. You look really different." or even "Yeah - you look good."

Others say "You had surgery? I can't see any difference."

I am getting more reactions from strangers that indicate that they see me as female

All this is fine and welcome, but what is important is that I can see a difference. Moreover, I can feel it.

I look in the mirror and see a subtly different face, but, as I hoped, my mind quickly integrates the image as "that's me." I'd even go so far as to say that there's less surprise than before.

Only when I think about it - that this is not the same reflection that I am used to, do I get a moment of weird.
I'm not sure what to blame for this fatigue. Or credit it. You see, I don't mind this state of exhaustion.

It could be going back on hormones. Or rather androgen-blockers: upping their dose made me tired before, and now I'm going from zero to full in the matter of a week.

It could be jet lag.

It might be a delayed reaction to anesthesia.

It almost certainly has something to do with recovering from surgery. There are wound cavities in my head, measurable in square inches that are now knitting themselves back together.
Or it could be an end to my work. I walked into my old office and saw someone at my desk. It wasn't until a couple hours after that that I felt truly spent. I don't think this the main cause, so much as the trigger: I have the feeling that I was holding back on resting until I felt my job was done, which it now is.

It is good to take a break.
And I'm back. It's all done. The sutures are out, leaving little blood-dotted tracks across my forehead like a map to I don't know where. Flakes of hair shed around the suture line. Hope that stops soon. A shallow grove runs under my nose. In my mouth, tangles of dissolvable/edible sutures slowly recede across two streak-like lesions.

This knocked me on my ass. I can walk, and run short distances, but I get tired easily. No heavy exertion for one month. No contact sports (or other roughhousing?) for four. The restrictions are not due to fatique, but rather due to the potential fragility of the sutures.

I clean the sutures once a day with hydrogen peroxide, trying to break up any scabs or flakes. I give them neosporin twice per day. I sleep on my back, with my head elevated. I bind my jaw with an ace bandage, Jack and Jill style. Anesthetic mouthwash.

I'm healing quickly. My cheeks are less swollen each day. Thisis good. First it relieves the surprising strain my neck bore by carrying them around. Second it makes it easier, or just possible, to eat. Third, it makes me look less like a guy - my swollen jowls gave me a kind of "sleazy landlord" look. My skin is still tight and sneezing on coughing pulls across it to draw on sharp sutures. But I can see that there has been a change for the better.

My jaw, or at least the bone, feels in place now. I touch it and think, yeah, that's about right. Ocular ridge lines up. The distances are right. The bone is right.

This also means that I no longer have to take special measures in bright light, or have to manage my hair to avoid the bald streaks.

This is good.

Yes, I am glad I did this.

FFS +5 Days

May. 5th, 2008 10:02 pm

Small children stare at me. Men offer me their seats.

Today (Monday), I can now eat my food, rather than mushing it. I still can't chew much, so  bread has to be soaked in soup. My lower face has de-swollen enough that I can use my voice - the one that sounds like me: it could be female or unisex or maybe like a T-Boi who just shot a little T, depending on who you ask, but it sounds right. I didn't realize how good it would be to have that back, or how hard it would be to use it.

The nerves in my scalp and lower lip are re-connecting.
It's hard to tell right now what the final results will be. I can feel that the bone has changed, but trying to find my face amidst the swelling is not easy.
The swelling is going down now. I can close my lips now, which makes eating not just easier, but possible. Everything looks like it's healing fine. Just under the swelling, there is a visible difference.

Yeah. Good choice.

Looking forward to being on the other side of this.



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