Monday, 20 June 2011

Anniversary blog.

It does get better, I can vouch for that.
This is something of a milestone as the 200th. Posting, not something I ever envisioned typing all that time ago when I started out on my first curious investigations on the web.
It is now just over four years since we got connected at home, I was resistant for many years saying that my partner had no need since there was free fast connection for her at work and I had no need. In fact I had a strong need but was wary of taking steps not knowing where they might lead, knowing that I was probably going to find myself on a slippery slope with little chance of stopping!
My initial investigations were occasional and coldly scientific! I guess I wanted to find the perfect treatise on transsexualism online  which I had failed to ever find on a bookshelf and of course the web does not work like that! Snippets of information were gathered but it was a long time before I came across anything like a personal blog. I put this down to the fact that I was an old untrained person wandering about in the dark! Once I started to find some interesting people and stories I felt bad about being an anonymous reader, a voyeur! In two weeks time it will be three years since I got a web identity and started making comments, initially on Live Journal where after a few months I finally got up the courage to start writing my own blog.
It was not long before I discovered that Blogger was hosting more of the sites which interested me so I opened a mirror blog here only to discover that there was twenty times more commenting activity here!
Initially it was an investigation into my buried memories trying to reconstruct where I had come from, so many memories had been lost for decades. Eventually it became what it is now, the every day musings of an aging transitioner hoping that it might help those others out there who like me spent years or even decades imagining that there was no hope and their chance had passed them by.
It is also a year on from my finally going round friends and family to tell them exactly what was going on in our lives and wait for the sky to fall around our ears and watch the dust clouds rise as friends rushed away. What an idiot I was to doubt such friends and it must make a dull blog to continue to read of the almost total acceptance and support. Not everyone has rushed to accept and a sad and significant couple have been somewhat hurtful with their deliberate use of the wrong pronouns, which when used in new company whilst you are present wearing a skirt and nobody has had an issue with it up until that point, is a hard thing to forgive.
This weekend away illustrates how far I have come in one short year. We met several people who we have known well for several decades who had no idea who I was, one was an artist renowned for her observational skill who had been on a national committee when I was vice president and several of our meetings had taken place in her home, she swore she had never met me in her life!
Looking back on photographs from a year ago when I was quite pleased with how my appearance had become I can see the great changes in body shape as the muscles changed into buttocks and breasts and my face softened and filled out. Three months have passed since my last visit to Alison to electrify my few remaining stubborn hairs on top lip, chin and lower neck but so few all urgency has gone especially when she declared that I now had fewer than most of her natal female clients who came for various other treatments!
My dreams have never been interesting, mainly illogical and frustrating without being populated by anyone recognisable even myself who is a blank cypher usually in dreams. All that changed a few weeks ago when I realised that there was a curvy woman in the dream and it was me! It was still a dull dream but…
Life is finally fine, I can say that I am usually happy for the first time in my life. We get on with our lives and I am accepted and never give it a moments thought, I just am me. Life has not suddenly become exciting but all everyday life is so much more comfortable when you can finally be yourself.
UK health service is painfully slow especially in Scotland where there is no surgical provision at all, that’s right, no surgical provision at all! We have to accept a painfully small quota of little more than a handful of places in the south of England which last year were over subscribed so some of this year’s places were taken by those left waiting from last year! It can only get worse with financial cutbacks so I expect a long wait and hope I am still fit and well enough to take advantage if my turn ever comes around. My one consolation is that I had the orchidectomy so there is not much rubbish in my pants these days and I do not have to suffer any side effects from long term anti androgens. Tough on those who do.

May '09
That concludes my anniversary state of the life address.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A not so grand day out in Glasgow.

A day trip to Glasgow, regular readers will know that this means a trip to the Sandyford gender clinic. Just less than a year and a half ago I made my first visit and they confirmed that I was not crazy. Today I think that they confirmed my suspicions that the system we are held to is!

Happy with how I am in my new life and they did not even want any blood, in fact took a note to pass the testing on to my GP service just along the road from where we live and told me not to come back for another visit for about six months, just before the winter sets in should do nicely.
Do I have any questions? Well yes, where is the letter about funding? In the UK we have a national health service and don’t be fooled by the national bit, the system is broken into countless fragments each fiercely hanging on to it’s set own of rules. I can get to the major teaching hospital for this region without driving past more than about a hundred houses but they should not have applied to that area for funding but to one where we never go and facilities are so far away we would never get a visitor if admitted to hospital there! 

If this regional health board agrees to funding!?! IF! Then I move one place forward on the board game to a waiting square. How long to wait you ask, long enough for your clothes to go out of and back into fashion!
Six slots are allocated to Scottish patients each year and more than that were on the list last year so some took up the first slots from this year. It seems that English patients get treated differently and there is more flexibility in how surgeons time is purchased. It is actually cheaper to purchase the private slots than the regular ones they already pay for but our health boards will not pay up!!
Pay up and go private like the rest of us I hear you all chant in unison. I am sure there is an element of driving us in that direction involved in their thinking even though high taxes have already paid for our health care, it is only free at the point of care! They told me that the whole system is under review since they have noticed that it just does not work! A glass half empty exists for this situation and I am sure it costs a lot to treat the depression the situation puts people in but that is alright apparently, it comes out of another budget which is fully funded!
The irony is that if I had been sent to them directly when I first saw my GP in 2007 I could have been through this whole process and be writing about the post op joy of living but you may grow old and grey and never see that post.

I was told forty years ago that I would never get help in this lifetime and I am starting to believe that ghastly doctor was right.
Age, health problems and home situation may well make sure I never finish this process if the delay is too long. So if you take anything away from this post it would be don’t delay getting into whatever system you have to work through and don’t leave it till you are old and grey!