Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Minutes to valentine's day

All day the snow falls
 the world turns suddenly white
 hibernating under duvet.

Not the world’s best haiku but it took me six decades to write one… Sums up today as non stop snow has been falling since nine am and has brought my tidy garden plans to a halt for a while. No matter how hard you try to stretch and exercise indoors nothing beats having to constantly bend to prune and pick up  round the garden. Last year was a disaster with strict instructions not to exert myself during February, March and April then going away for much of May and June when it started to rain… I handed a key to the vegetable garden to a neighbour but rain and rushing off for family emergency meant that he did not keep the weeds down as hoped for and little in the way of vegetables grew. My home tutored garden help for the past few years has been on a pre college course and has now been offered a place at a prestigious London music school so she has not shown up much either and may now be lost to us… I need all the time I can get in the garden to 
get it back in order.

After weeks of hardly sleeping and being up until the early hours of the morning I am now getting sleepy in the late evenings and going to bed earlier than I have for decades and getting up early. I would not mind if this became permanent because I really like the early quiet hours of the morning when the sun comes up but usually miss it because that is when I get my best few hours sleep. If I post comments at 8.30 am now it is because I have not long got up not because I am about to go to bed!

New sleep schedule fits in better when we have guests stay and this last weekend The spare bedroom was heated because we had a visit from our friend Louise who at this time last year stayed over after rescuing me from the airport sixty miles away after  I flew home after my Brighton operation. How quickly that year has flown by and though I do know that I had some small persistent problems for the first month or so with wound healing all memories are fading fast. I still find it remarkable just how little suffering was involved compared to what I had imagined. What I do remember with absolute clarity was my utter calmness once I had arrived at the hospital and been admitted to my room. Not a single doubt crossed my mind.

This journey we undertake many of us no longer take completely alone. The net brings many of us together for sharing knowledge and experience, something almost impossible to find out about even in the recent past. I was lucky enough to have two friends step in to visit whilst in hospital 500 miles from home and provide a relay service to help on the journey which I feel we have to make a little too soon after surgery. So thanks once again to Lucy and Louise who will be friends for life.

If I have any regret it is that it took until so late in life to make my change. To be an old lady with a bus pass is better than I ever hoped for and has become so normal that ever being other rarely comes into my mind. To have lived like this in my forties and fifties would have been so wonderful and I feel bad thinking of those loosing out on a chance to enjoy those very years…

Much of my muscle has turned to belly fat, my doctor laughed when I spoke about it, price paid for being an old lady. My attempt to reduce the bump is slowly starting to take effect and I am wearing some old warm trousers which I have not been able to fasten for several years, it is a start. The hope is to look and feel good in this year’s holiday photographs.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

A post I never imagined I would be writing...

Well when I started this blog over four years ago I never imagined that one day I would be writing a one year post op post…

Forty years on from realising that I was not the only one with my problem and that a few hours surgery could repair me to be able to live a life congruent to my overwhelming self image I woke reborn in a hospital bed in Brighton looking out on a beautiful frozen landscape.

Last supper with Lucy one year ago.

I had imagined that once I had safely arrived and been admitted that I would have had some emotional outburst of relief but instead I felt nothing but absolute calm finally being within reach of what had been denighed me for so long.

Tapping in the second paragraph did bring it on though in a chest crushing flood of tears at my subconscious realisation of a whole adult life lost to medical and societal hypocrisy. 

I have had a wonderful year even considering the obligatory months required to recover from surgery. So good in fact that I considered such thoughts of regret to be a thing of the past. The real regret is that I am not alone. There are uncountable numbers of us twisted and pained playing out lives as  prisoners inside a hated shell. Only when released do you realise just how bad it was. To live a damaged life has a ripple effect upon those around you, unable to ever contribute fully to family, work or society as so much energy is wasted with angst and self loathing and despair... 

I recently answered a questionnaire about my life, easy enough until I reached the last section asking what message you would give your younger self. I held back from answering because my honest answer would have to be “You have forty years of misery ahead of you with no real place in society or means of employment so don’t resist those urges to end it all”.

Thankfully for many of us, but far from all of us, a few steps have finally been taken towards helping us overcome one of nature’s cruel jokes. There is still a long way to go before logic will win out against bigoted prejudice in our treatment but if you step forward these days there is a good chance that you will get through to the chance of a contented life on this other side like me.

Not the joyful celebratory post which I imagined it would be. Transition has brought a better life than I ever imagined possible. To wake each day and just be your true self is a joy impossible for the billions who have lived their lives without doubt about who and what they are could possibly comprehend.

Yesterday was a girls night in with a few friends round to eat and today friends are treating us to a Sunday lunch. These past few years change hardly ever impinge on everyday life as the new me has seamlessly integrated into everyone’s lives as just another older woman...