transgender

GRS – 3 Surgeries and One Beautiful Nightmare (Part 2/3)

[Content warnings for graphic depictions/images of bodily functions, surgery, suicide, mental illness, swearing]

This is Part II of my little tale about having serious difficulties + complications with lower surgery, and coming back from the brink to make a better life.  You can find Part I here.

This isn’t an in-depth look into GRS, just a story of recovery, if you’d like me to discuss any part more thoroughly please leave a comment here or send a direct message on Twitter @unexpectedamy.


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Morphine is weird.

I woke up groggy as all heck, keeping my eyes closed for a moment until I felt an intense pain and an awareness of beeping.  As soon as I opened my eyes, a kind consult came to me, explaining softly where I was, that everything had gone ok, and asked what my pain levels were.  I imagine I was slipping in and out of consciousness, perturbed only by the pain, moaning about how much it hurt and that the painkillers hadn’t taken effect yet.  On the other side of the curtain I heard another patient also weakly moaning, after a bit of time the morphine kicked in so although I was in pain I was too wasted to notice it.  Apparently I spent a lot of time asking if things had gone ok and flirting the nice man who was there for me as I woke, trying to distract me with questions about life and music.

When I had regained some of my sense I got wheeled back to my room, high and exhausted.  I spent the rest of the day talking garbage in my inebriated state, sleeping, getting used to all the strange sensations of my body.  The Flowtron boots loudly massaged my legs, the heart monitor beeped, the world outside my room went on as my head spun and I just rolled with it because it wasn’t anywhere near as horrifying as I had feared.  At the surgery site was a big bundle of near bloodless bandages with a catheter leading to a bag beside my bed which began to fill as I was allowed some water.  I didn’t really have the energy to care or think “Oh wow, I have a vagina,” in fact once I calmed down I was more interested in continuing my research.  I wanted to stick to my regular schedule so much as possible to take some of the pressure off all the other changes happening, so I mostly just lay with my eyes closed listening to lectures and seminars.

The next few days were to do as little as possible, I was still exhausted, obviously couldn’t move, was being fed consommé as a substitute for food, and was pumped full of happy drugs, so my energy levels were low but my spirits were high.  I was incredibly fortunate to have a few visitors over the next few days, including people I had only spoken to previously online, met through this blog and Twitter.  With their support and the wonderful words of Twitter followers I was able to pass the days without too much concern.  The staff were mostly very nice and helpful, even Mr. Thomas seemed more personable when he came to visit.  The first few nights I sweat a lot, needing my clothes and sheets changed fairly often –  I do have to commend the patience of the staff for helping me so much whilst I was infirm.

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The sexy combo of mesh underpants and compression stockings.

The back pain and trapped wind is the worst – for as much as the surgical site hurt it was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated, about 7 at worst, I’ve had worse haemorrhoids if I’m honest.  I’m not used to sleeping on my back so from the second night I was able to lie on my side with the aid of a mountain of pillows, which was no easy feat, eventually letting out the most classically elegant farts I’ve ever heard. On Day 3 I was able to eat a little – toast, tea, and rice crispies – after nearly a week of tasteless food and fast I’m not sure I’ve ever been so enamoured by sustenance.  Things were going pretty well leading up to getting my bandages off and learning to dilate for the first time.  After a few days I was encouraged to get up a couple of times a day just to stand and sit in a chair, which is very difficult with a bunch of bandages containing a raw new vagina.

Unfortunately there was a medical error, I relied on the staff to provide my medications but for 2 days they forgot to give me my anti-depressant and my mood plummeted. I didn’t know why at the time, but when it came to taking off the bandages I was a total mess. A specialist came in with a nurse and they removed the dressings, one of the most painful parts of the experiences as they had been set on my pubes for a few days. After that they pulled the bandages out of my vagina like a clown pulls handkerchiefs from a sleeve, the feeling new, numb yet sensate, indescribable, unpleasant. I had been informed that my vagina was quite tight and difficult to work with because of a strong pelvic floor muscle, but it looked pretty good comparatively.

I was in no state to go ahead with dilation, crying my eyeballs out completely incensed in fear.  I did all I could but was so tense at the idea of having things jammed into unhealed flesh I completely dissociated and missed a lot of what happened.  I was miserable at my results, 3.5 inches of depth and too tight for the larger of the two dilators.  The next day I finally realised I hadn’t been given my meds which became a point of contention with the staff who didn’t believe I was as upset as I was.  Even after taking my antidepressants again for a couple of days I felt gaslit and now unsafe with the staff.

With everything going on I didn’t make energy to connect with my vagina, I looked at it and saw just bruises and blood clots, it felt good to not have a penis, but the pendulum didn’t fully swing.  The day before we asked to leave the hospital I had a discussion with staff and got the opportunity to dilate again, only after Mr. Thomas intervened as the staff were preparing to throw me out because I was upset at being minimized and told I wasn’t in pain.  For a couple of hours I lay with one of his consults crying my way through dilation again but this time learning what I needed to.

At some point I got the catheter out, a couple of seconds of absolute agony, and was allowed to pee. Of course it was different to any other pee I’ve ever had, the urine has a shorter route and it took a while to map that in my brain before pissing all over my wounds.  Next was taking a poo, it took a couple of days of smaller enemas and suppositories before I was able to go, but the process took hours and a lot of sweat since I couldn’t really push without risking bursting my stitches.  I was so relieved when it finally happened but I was not looking forward to going through this process again on a full food diet.

Before I knew it I was on my way home, doing all I could to tolerate sitting in cars, planes, and wheelchairs.  I finally got back to my family home and set up in the bed there.  The next 6 weeks were to be for rest, recovery and thrice daily dilation, there’s no time for anything else.  A typical day would be: wake up, get breakfast, dilate, wash, sleep, eat lunch, dilate, sleep, eat dinner, dilate, sleep; that’s it.  It takes a while to set-up everything needed to dilate in the start as it’s all so new and requires massive amounts of mental fortitude to keep up progress, I had come this far so if I wanted to keep my vagina I would do the work, even though I was dilating altogether 6 hours a day.

The biggest physical challenge I had for the first few weeks (aside dilation) was using the toilet.  As pressure from constipation built I eventually had to give myself enemas and suppositories, trying not to sit on the toilet too long, in my exhaustion not being able to concentrate on anything, it was horrible but when it was finally over I felt like how Rocky did running up those Philadelphia steps:

So, that’s my story, 6 weeks of mostly bed rest then slowly reintegrating myself back into life!  Only, this is where the real struggle began.  While the majority of folks are able to cut along this path, a few weeks in I noticed a complication, a small protrusion was forming where one of my stitches had melted away quite early.  I kept dilating, assuming this was just the bottom of my vagina healing, but each day the lump got bigger.  I stayed in contact with Nuffield who recommended watchful waiting, but within the first month the bulge had covered my vaginal entrance making it impossible to dilate, and then began pushing outwards – I had prolapsed, an unfortunate added risk for those who had been circumcised.  With that prolapse I would need another surgery, so I was stuck in bed, unable to stand or even sit most of the time, almost completely isolated from the world.

In this time, the few people who were actively involved in helping support me were people I barely knew, who humbled me with their presence and helped build a sense of hope.  Something I’d read and prepared for was the sad knowledge that one of the more difficult aspects of going through a long term medical condition is that those closest to you may bow out at a certain stage.  There were folks I’d known and chased for 10 years who wouldn’t make a 10 minute journey to visit me while folks I barely knew bent over backwards for me, it was a strange time, I reminded myself to try to stay thankful for what I did have rather than what I did not.  It seemed like a good time to scorch the Earth of my old life and take responsibility for myself; I had changed and needed to focus on my recovery rather than chasing an old fantasy.

This drastic measure cleared away a life no longer relevant to me, newly fertile ground ready to sprout the strong new seeds of a better life.  I may have been down, but I was working constantly on my mental health, creating a foundation for the future regardless of how these complications turned out, I don’t know how I did it, but lying in that bed, alone, I grew stronger in myself, and I refused to give up.  For years I was so lost and insecure that I just tried too hard, and relied on others too much, I was co-dependent, I couldn’t stand being by myself.  Having my world fall apart has so far been one of the best things to happen to me, I’m more authentic than ever, I’m closer than ever to what I want from life rather than what I feel I’m supposed to be.

20180129_152424Anyway, each day the lump grew bigger and bigger until a large egg sized piece of flesh was hanging outside my body with all its various stitches and healing skin.  As much as this was an unfortunate situation I figured to myself ‘at least it’s not a penis.’  I’d gotten used to something dangling between my legs for over 30 years so I could really tolerate this 6 weeks of waiting better than the 6 weeks of waiting for the initial surgery, even though I was losing hope for my poor busted genitals.  It was still difficult, but something had changed inside me.  Suddenly I was having dreams of rooms being cleared in my mind, great dusty boxes disappearing, leaving me clear spaces to build anew.  I no longer had to think about having surgery, I no longer had to think about the next thing I had to do for transition, most of the reinforced neural pathways of dysphoria no longer served a purpose, I was filling with new potential.  I wasn’t going to lose this opportunity just because I was stuck in bed, ironic since mental illness had me in bed quite a lot of the time before surgery.  I did have a few opportunities to get outside, the fresh air and sunlight have rarely meant so much to me, I was no longer taking for granted the simplest little pleasures in life, leaning into the changes to my physical capabilities.

The date for my second surgery was February 28th, my birthday.  The first thing that hit me at the hospital was the smell, being there wasn’t so bad but I’d really rather not, at least I had a lovely view of the snowy Downs.  The energy was a bit strange this time, it didn’t feel right, I wasn’t nervous, just aware of it.  Everything was much the same as the first surgery, the idea of having surgery at all was a lifelong fear of mine up until a few months ago, but for this second surgery in two months I just let go..

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Ready to go again..!

Part III coming soon!

Thanks for reading,

Amy Xx

 

 

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hrt, identity, transgender

Wait, I was transitioning? (15+ months HRT)

The Prostap Nightmare

I spent the first 14 months of HRT living a nightmare.  The T-blocker I was on (leuprorelin acetate sold as Prostap SR) crushed and suppressed my already failing mental health.  I have read stories of people who take it for endometriosis and other ailments who have had their lives destroyed on it as I have.  Some people react fine to it, all things considered as a t-blocker it has less side-effects than the others.

Now I am on Spironolactone, a 100mg tablet, twice a day.  All of a sudden the dark clouds have been lifting around me and I begin to reassert a sense of personal identity.  Some people conversely react as badly to Spiro as I did to leuprorelin, so I am saying to you now, if you have a blocker and your mental health is failing for no discernable reason, please look into it.  Furthermore, I already pee quite a lot, and Spiro exacerbates this to the extent that I can barely make a 90 minute car journey without having to stop at least once to pee.  In my case it seems I’m actually allergic to Spiro as evidenced by the rashes and hives I’ve been getting since starting.  Anti-histamines help but I’m asking a lot from my body to process all these drugs.

Changing a male bodied physiology in terms of removing testosterone is asking a lot of the mind.  On top of the depression, my libido was castrate – let me clarify, it wasn’t a low sex drive, it was a complete removal of a sex drive.  If you know unfettered male bodies then you’ll know that quite regularly it will make sexual demands and get frequent erections in anticipation of the natural release. This is much less likely to happen on HRT, as such one’s neurology has to play catch up to the new information it is being fed against the template it was set at birth.

On Spironolactone, my sex drive is coming back, very slowly.  It’s different now, visualization is an insufficient fantasy – there has to be a story, there has to be a connection.  When it comes to sexual activity I can no longer just get ‘up’ and go.  This works fine for me because as a demisexual I am only attracted to people I have a close connection with.  This experience is not universal, some trans women experience a significant increase in sex drive as they are now free to experience sex more honestly.  Pleasantly my infrequent erections have ceased to become as painful as they were a few months ago, though not necessarily from any change in my behaviour that way.

Surgery as a stick where the carrot should be

The grossest impediment to gaining a healthy sexual functioning (aside recovering from personal experiences of abuse and betrayal) is the configuration of my genitals.  Not long ago I had my pre-op consultation with Mr. Thomas from Nuffield Hospital in Brighton.  This process involves filling in a lot of forms, and speaking with a nurse who will be offering first hand care, who provided information sheets about the many things that must be done for GRS to be a success.  She showed us the dilators which aren’t as big as I feared, although try telling me that after the operation.

Next, a meeting with the surgeon himself.  He makes a brief explanation of what will happen in surgery and the likelihood of complications.  He offered an 80% of things being fine, 15% acceptable, and 5% of something going wrong.  For 100% of people, things can and will go wrong randomly, especially if you don’t follow procedure to the letter.  He asked me to lie on a bed, take my trousers and pants down, put a sheet over my genitals and left the room to allow me to do that.  He came back in, removed the sheet and handled my genitals so he could know what he was working with.  We continued our conversation as he was touching me, so be prepared for that.

Then came the hammer blow.  Because I am circumcised there is less material to work with in creating a vagina, therefore I need laser hair removal on my scrotum to give him more material.  Those who are uncircumcised may not need any hair removal at all.  As a consequence these women already have dates for surgery less than 6 months later and I am back in limbo after thinking I was so close to getting this whole process over and done with.

As much as anything it’s my own fault, I should have known, I should have been privately getting hair removal for the past two years and this wouldn’t have been an issue.  See, the GIC won’t sign off on funding for hair removal until the surgeon makes his assessment, and when the surgeon makes his assessment he is ready to operate as soon as his conditions are met.  Since, I have liaised with private laser therapists and electrolysists.  The woman who lasered my face at a private clinic as I was waiting for NHS facial hair removal was happy enough to zap my scrotum, however she needed to know what the surgeon wanted. ‘Three fingers from the base of the scrotum’ Mr Thomas said, although he has pretty thick fingers so I’m saying four.

Now I’m on the NHS pathway and counting down the weeks. 6 weeks until consultation, followed by 6 sessions of laser spaced around 6 weeks apart. 42 weeks. Then, most likely a further 12 weeks with an electrolycist to clear up the remaining hairs. 54 weeks.  Another YEAR of waiting.  If you want to be sure you are smooth down there, electrolysis alone will take two years.  Some time can be saved however.  Mr Thomas said to get in touch with his secretary for setting a date when hair removal was ‘nearing completion’ and I know some people try to set the date so that surgery comes just a couple of weeks after the last hair removal appointment and the area has had time to heal.

I really have always hated my balls, they’re disgusting things, and to feel held hostage by them, to feel my destiny is in limbo because of hair on them is extremely frustrating. More people have seen my genitals in the past few months than lovers do over years, although it’s only uncomfortable if you make it uncomfortable.  Getting my balls lasered was nowhere near as painful as getting my face done, in a sick way it felt a bit nice, and for a change I could have a conversation with the consultant without screaming due to the big laser in my face.

This is the biggest miscalculation I have made in my transition so far, so if you are circumcised and want GRS then you may want to consider starting genital hair removal no sooner than 2 years before surgery is anticipated.  Be wary though, some women have had GRS and been left with patchy hair patterns because they removed too much hair.

As a result of all this I’ve had to be a little more forward with the GIC, because it’s not just the waiting, t-blockers are poison.  I let them know of my anger in putting trans folk though so much unnecessary medical treatment.  The general health of a trans woman is considered to be better post GRS due to not having to take extra daily medication (I actually think that a large part of the elation after GRS is the rejuvenation of health from not having to take blockers).

I told my GIC therapist that ‘a friend’ who attended the clinic had been feeling depressed and was scared to bring it up in case they were denied service.  She reassured me and I was able to then admit that it was me who had the problems.  For any stories I’ve heard of her stopping medication she informed me that this mostly happens when a patient is clearly in a place of extreme distress.  In explaining my situation calmly she had no reason to deny me.  The next appointment I admitted to her that it’s possible I have Borderline Personality Disorder and she has offered to help me with it, because it is separate from my experience of being trans.

The medical stuff is hard.  It’s important to put the fears of ‘transition takes years’ into perspective.  Yes, this all takes a long time, slowly chipping away at the physical characteristics and growing into a new way of being.  Throughout all that is a comfortable window in which to come to terms with your situation and take care of whatever legal issues you have as well as figuring out how you feel you want to socially transition and then doing it, in earnest.

Oh yeah, wasn’t I supposed to be transitioning?

So, what does that social change look like after over two years out and 15 months on HRT?  It’s not what you likely expect, it’s much much less than that, depending on perspective.

You are already you.  First you let go of what you’re not, then do you on a radical scale.  That may or may not look like very much internally or externally, but for an adult trans person there is a body of work that will take years even if it just simmers.  Understood and cherished concepts may go completely out the window as you come to learn about the experiences of life as another gender in a world where men and women are kept separate in the extreme.  For non-binary and some intersex people comes yet another layer of awareness to the complexity of our gendered constraints.

Personally, I still don’t get the whole thing.  I’ve been in too vulnerable a state the past year that I haven’t actively done anything to ‘transition.’  The good news is that regardless of HRT, transition happens automatically as you gain lived experience; every day brings a new experience, lesson or challenge of belief that locks you further into your identity, if you so choose.

When I buy clothes, I’m not transitioning anymore. When I put on make up I’m not transitioning anymore.  Transition may last forever but there is nothing I’m actively doing aside allowing the concrete to set on my identity.  Honestly, I just don’t care that much about presentation, I mostly wear jeans and a t-shirt – I can’t afford lots of female fit clothes and I still have plenty of good male clothes.  Obviously I look more masculine wearing the male clothes but it doesn’t seem to be an issue because people are looking at my face and hearing my voice.

When I speak I am very much still transitioning.  By all accounts my voice seems to be ‘good enough’ – I’m trying to be objective here…I can deduct that it’s not a male voice even though I kept my masculine parlance; it’s not really a gender neutral voice, because people’s brains assume gender automatically and the brain is seemingly only wired to say ‘male’ or ‘female.’  I work passively with my voice – through simple awareness of speaking – as an option because I spent 8 long months of intensive daily practice working on it and there is still a lot of fine tuning to do.  The fun thing is, as soon as someone has that automatic assumption of your correct gender, it can take quite surprising amount of obvious male gestures to get them to question it.

I am constantly carrying out overt and covert social experiments to understand the boundaries of layman gender understanding.  Maybe it’s a dangerous game but I seem to get away with it.  I am often quite cocky in public (I’m a total poser), even alone, I walk often with a masculine gait, and I think that confidence deters people who are determined to involve themselves in my day.  That and wearing pretty scruffy clothes that leave little room for extreme gendering.

I can do this because I know how lucky I am.  HRT has done wonders to feminize my face, and since it is many people’s first identifier I have an advantage for an easier life until society catches up with the notion that a woman, or a trans woman, shouldn’t be judged for her looks (see Mia Violet’s article Transgender Liberation Means an End to “Passing”).  Also 15 sessions of laser hair removal over the last 2+ years has made a massive difference.  If so inclined I could count problem hairs on my face and they would number less than 100, which is more than enough to make my face smooth.  When I finish laser some hair may eventually start to grow back, then it’s either top-up laser or electrolysis.  I can go a couple of weeks without shaving, even then it’s only because of those few little hairs annoying me.

To illustrate these changes I took a photo of my face every day for my first year of HRT. For your awareness I already had 7 laser treatments when the first photo was taken.  Here are the results:

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Attractiveness isn’t exciting

Around 14 months HRT I had to make the conclusion that in general I look like a woman, and it’s a pretty good feeling, though it is relative.  It doesn’t do anything to improve my life however, in fact I find it quite annoying at times.  My looks have become a focal point of praise for who I am, and I just don’t think my looks are an interesting topic except as a study into human behaviour.

I ‘pass’ most of the time now, in fact I haven’t been misgendered in quite a while, somehow.  The infrequent odd looks I would get from people don’t happen at all really, although people stare at me for acting weird the same way they did whilst living as male.  What I have noticed though, is that the rare times I do go out wearing a dress or a little bit of make up it’s almost exclusively men, not looking, but staring at me…if I was more confident I’d say they were checking me out.  On the one hand I can strongly assume I’m passing at that time but on the other I have all these guy boring their eyes into me.  I can totally see why some women get annoyed at the sense that these men are not just objectifying, but almost trying to impose ownership on women’s bodies.

Aside from a blatant sexual assault over the summer (a story for another time) I have guys coming up to me in bars and other public spaces.  I forget that I’m not being seen as a guy; they aren’t coming up for a chat or a fight, they’re coming for a woman, and if they can get away with it, to impose on my personal space.  It’s jarring to have to live this experience I’ve seen from the outside with apoplectic anger since I was a teenager.  Women aren’t oppressed? Try being one.  I’m still waiting for the first decent man to come and talk to me, aside friends of friends.  I was imposed certain principles of what a man is growing up – it was somewhat misogynistic but with honourable intent, as in respect for all people, especially women, to protect women, and to not touch them without consent.  Even in general, you don’t get into someone’s personal space ever without their permission.  Just another perspective on the puzzle that is people.

Body changes happen also in the mind

On a more pleasant note, I have been noticing the changes on my body more and more.  Now it’s my body I look at in the mornings rather than my face.  My breasts, though still not ‘dropped’ are much bigger than I ever expected they would be and I actually feel a weight behind them.  They look very small but they feel much bigger, and personally I’m satisfied, all I have to do is wear a bra and there’s no dispute that’s they’re probably breasts.  I’m almost pushing a C cup, surprising since both sides of my family have pretty small boobs.

They don’t look great but they work for me, the same as when I do look at the changes in my body I do it with the affirming knowledge that I have a woman’s body, on a male frame.  That’s what being trans IS.  You must, at some point, come to a place of acceptance of your born state.  Even though I envision myself as looking indistinguishable from a (certain kind of, cis-) woman naked, I still allow myself the peace of what I am, what I have strived for, rather than what I can’t change.  My hands will always be suspiciously large, my shoulders will always seem a little broader, my feet may seem larger than is expected of a woman in the cis world.  Again, we’re talking centimetres here, that is the difference between male and female bodies, not whole worlds.  In reality this isn’t something I think about often, I’m just trying to explain what can happen; I’ll give my breasts a little squeeze at the end of the day and glow in the light of my determination.  Regardless of how much you may know you need to go through all this, it takes a special human grit, and we all have it in us regardless of circumstance, remember that!

I am in the market for a slimmer waist, a fairly unreasonable goal.  As much as it hasn’t gotten slimmer at all, my hips continue to grow, further creating the illusion of a narrower waist.  That said, some mornings when I look at my body before eating I become shocked by the extent of apparent changes.  With the presence of my breasts it creates a figure that I would find attractive in a woman, so I concluded as humbly as possible that therefore I can be attractive.  Sometimes I still don’t like my body, especially with, you know, a penis in the mix, but that’s totally normal.  It means I’m at the point where my sense of body image is dependent on my self-confidence, not the sense of my own inevitable masculinity.  I could compress my waist with a year or more of corseting, but corsets are deeply uncomfortable and remind me too jaggedly of the aspects of transition I don’t really need to achieve that badly through struggle.

With so long to wait still until surgery I’m trying to put it out of my mind for now.  Soon will come a time where I must get stronger, healthier, fitter and happier to maximize my chances during recovery; quit smoking, come to terms, prepare etc, but that isn’t now.  All I can really do now is keep working on my voice and keep learning, every day.

Misery doesn’t have to stop transition

Finally, I know I don’t post much, I have a lot of topics aside these general updates that I really want to write about, but to be honest, I’ve been in a very bad emotional state for a long time.  A large part of it was down to the t-blocker I was on.  I thought it was just how HRT worked, that I could tough it out, and I have no idea how I coped with it for so long.  However the root cause is personal experience, a really horrible dragged out ending to a relationship with my first love over two years ago, and foreknowledge about losing the best job I ever had, coalescing to become the catalyst for me to realise I am a transsexual all happening within a few weeks.

Transition ironically became moot to me, it was something I had to do that I have invested the minimum amount that dysphoria directs me to do – by that I mean I have been assertive in organising transition related appointments for as soon as possible and going to every single appointment no matter how inconvenient, whilst letting every other aspect of my life fall apart – but I’ve been dying inside throughout the whole process with a broken heart and broken dreams.  My mental health is improving, but I still don’t have any reason in my life, and while that is the case transition just hasn’t been a priority.  I’ve still done all I could to speed up the process because I just want to clear the path to deal with these more pertinent issues.  Being trans isn’t everything, it’s one thing.

Transition has never been the top priority in my life, and I’ve done it with a constant intense feeling of hopelessness for the fate of my life that severely depressed people go through.  I’m trying to be kinder to myself, and I have a better chance on the new t-blockers, but the life I want to rebuild isn’t as a woman, it’s as a successful person.  What I’m saying is, you can still feel awful through transition, you can be totally broken, and you can still do it as well as you want to.  I haven’t had the motivation or the reason to do anything for over two years now, there’s no joy in it for me, but somehow I just kept allowing my dysphoria to push my journey and it has worked out.

I was lucky enough to have a relationship with a woman this year – it didn’t last because frankly I’m just too messed up (we’re still on good terms), but she showed me that I really can meet someone who treats me right, who respects me, who listens to me.  For all the shock of transitioning, it’s such sweet solace every time something or someone grounds you back to reality in a way you thought was lost, to the point now where I consider myself as secure and unconcerned with my identity as a woman as I was with being a man before I had my realisation.

On top of everything, I have a fantastic network of incredibly supportive cis and trans friends, and my immediate family are amazing.  I’ve spent my life investing in my personal relationships so much as I am able, and the payoff is loving friends who stick by you, regardless of the adversity you face together as transgender person, and public ally.

I’m a very lucky woman.  And if you’re preparing for this journey, or on your way, you can feel this way too.  Just keep going and it will come, in your own way, for you, to share with the people you love, and who love you.

Amy Xx

P.S. If you would like to see some of the physical body results, or are just a pervert, feel free to visit @wrathoftran on Twitter.  Here I post about body and sex issues, so it has a few nude photos of me that I have posted for education and my own satisfaction.  Be warned this feed has a lot of swearing and potentially undesirable content on it. Or visit my main Twitter @unexpectedamy for trans information, experiences and affirmations almost daily.

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