24 November, 2008

my dad

my dad was away all last week on business, so i didn't get a chance to talk to him about coming out to the extended family. today i finally got a chance to talk to him...

he gave me his opinion without screaming at me or degrading me and basically said think about what you're doing and who you're coming out to - if you love these people, come out to them, but know that not everyone is going to react positively. he said that it didn't really matter what he and my mom thought and that at the end of the day i need to do what i need to do.

we continued the conversation and he was saying that it is hard for him - he has good days and bad days and slips up on names and pronouns and that it's going to take some time. and he also commented that my mom is definitely having a hard time with everything.

it's amazing how much easier this conversation was with a rational human being...not that my mom isn't rational (well it seems this way to me at times...) but, i guess in many ways i feel way more respected as a human being by my father than by my mother. and in this way it's a lot easier to have conversations with him than it is my mother. i really appreciate his honestly and i suppose that my mother was honest too because she told me her opinion, but nothing is ever straight forward with her, she'll never just come out and say "look this is how i feel" - everything is smoke and mirrors with her. so i guess that's that.

i suppose i'll be sending some letters out soon - now if only i had the addresses...
if people are interested i'll post my letter in my blog.


21 November, 2008

holy nipples batman!

so the steri-strips, which i guess are really just fancy pieces of surgical tape, that were around my areola fell off in the shower last night - but only on the troubled left areola/nipple. and i freaked out, i almost fainted and had to sit down. man i don't really mind seeing gross stuff, but when that gross stuff is on YOUR body, it's weird...suddenly i become effected as i realize it's my body and not some stranger's from the tv. so i have holes around my areola, like where it should be CONNECTED to the rest of my chest. the one hole is small, but the other one i can fit the head of a q-tip in - i didn't actually try to do this, but was able to guess the size when i was putting on the antibiotic cream on.

so i took pictures and sent them to fischer, along with an e-mail and she called me back while i was at work today. she assured me that it actually looked better than it had before and that the holes would fill in and to continuing using the antibiotic cream. while i have faith in my surgeon, it's difficult not to freak out when i see holes in my chest. my biggest concern is that my areola and nipple are going to fall off and while i don't think that is going to happen, i'm still paranoid it will.

anyway. just my paranoid rant.


20 November, 2008

National Transgender Day of Remembrance

i feel a bit bad i'm not doing anything special today for national transgender day of remembrance, like going to a vigil or something. but i'm going to take some personal time this afternoon to meditate on what today means. i hope others are getting a chance to get out and be part of all of the activities taking place today.

i know HRC doesn't have the best rep. with trans folks, but they made a cool video:

here's another, longer video:


17 November, 2008

moms, work and awesome surgeons

tomorrow will be two weeks post-op for my top surgery. i'm going to take pictures sometime tomorrow and post them on my website. my right nipple and areola look great - a bit of swelling and bruising, but overall the right side looks awesome. my left side still looks gross. my nipple and areola are black, but i'm fairly confident that it's a scab. there's a bit more swelling and bruising on my left side than on the right - but overall there isn't much swelling or bruising. i massaged my scars where the drains were tonight for about 5 minutes each - i can already feel the scar tissue, so i want to make sure i take care of them so they heal properly.

i was worried and still am about my left nipple and areola so i was able to speak to dr. fischer today. first off how many people get to speak directly to their surgeon? she assured me that my nipple/areola would be okay and that it is most likely a scab and prescribed some silvadene cream that's used to treat infections. so i'll use the creme twice a day and it should help my nipple/areola. we were also talking about how we didn't get to see each other before i left because when i went to get my drains out she was in surgery - and i told her i wanted to thank her and that the surgery meant a lot to me and what she's doing means a lot to me and many other people. she said my words meant a lot her and she was happy to be what she's doing. she said she feels like it's her calling in life. dr. fischer also mentioned that she's going to court next week to help an FTM get his gender changed on his birth certificate. i thanked her again and she thanked me again. wow, just what a great, inspiring, and passionate person. she's my hero.

today was my first day back to work (i work in retail selling camping equipment). i was a bit worried about standing around for 8 hours, but it wasn't that bad, i was pretty tired and am tired. i told my one boss about my physical limitations and he was cool and my other co-worker was cool with doing some reaching for me today and cool with me sitting down for a bit. but, of course i wouldn't do anything i don't think i should physically do. so mondays are pretty uneventful days and i thought it would be the perfect day to come back. but around 3 pm the ceiling near the main entrance and stairway started leaking water and it leaked for about 30 minutes. and once it finally stopped leaking the paint on the ceiling started falling off. so i had to block off the main stairway and help clean stuff up...it definitely made for an eventful afternoon.

so my mother. ugh. i don't even know where to begin. so i've been wanting to come out to my extended family for quite some time now, but keep thinking there is a better time or get scared. but lately i've been thinking a lot about why i'm waiting and really there is no reason. and how it really sucks being in the closet and not being honest with myself and with those i love. so i told my mom that i wasn't asking her permission to come out, but asking her if she wanted to be a part of this, if she wanted to support me through it. i wrote a letter a few days ago and have been editing it since then and read it to my mom. she told me it was "too graphic" and that there was too much in the letter. i wanted to write a somewhat detailed letter because i know people will be confused about things and want to try to make sure that there isn't too much confusion.

and then she asked if i wanted to tell my grandmas and i said yes, but wanted to write separate, more simple letters for them. she told me that she didn't want me to tell her mom and that if i did tell her the news would kill her. she actually said that, she said that i would kill my grandma. i couldn't believe she said this to me and i told her that i couldn't believe she would say that to her own child. and she replied that she thought it was true.

she went on to say that my dad's family is really conservative and that they wouldn't understand. i told her that i wasn't expecting everyone to be accepting and/or understanding and that it was important for me to be honest with myself and with others. then she told me i'm trying to change people, to which i replied that i didn't think i was going to change anyone, but looking to challenge people, yes. she told me that they didn't want to be changed or challenged and that they didn't care what i had to say. i replied that challenging people was important to me and to human beings because if we're never challenged, we'll never change and we'll never progress if we never change.

she then told me that i'll never see most of these people again anyway, so why did i have to come out to them. i reiterated that it was important for me to be honest with myself and with others. she repeated herself - that i'll never see most of these again, so what's the point? i told her that she didn't know if i was going to see them again or not (what about a funeral - i gave my dad's mom as an example and she told me that she thought that i wouldn't go to her funeral anyway....wtf...) and then she kept repeating herself. i got so frustrated i asked her what she was scared of, what she was so scared of that she didn't want me to come out to people. she didn't say anything and i asked her again and asked her if she was scared of losing friends and family. she said yes and then i asked her if she would really want to be friends with someone who thought her child was "fucked up". she gave me a weary no.

my mom then went on some rant that i hadn't listened to anything i said and that if i was all about preaching tolerance, i wasn't being very tolerant. i reminded her that despite my yelling (i couldn't help but yell, i was pretty worked up, not necessarily angry yelling, i'd like to think of it as passionate yelling) i had listened to what she had to say and reminded her that i wasn't asking permission. i also told her that i was disappointed and discouraged about what she had to say to me. i knew this wasn't going to go over well, but really did not expect the horrid responses she gave me. i told her that she was my mother and i loved her and look up to her, but was really surprised by what she was telling her own child, that those words would come out of her mouth. honestly i am pretty appalled by what she said, i really just can't believe she would say some of that crap. she's a smart woman, but damn she said some ignorant, close-minded and pessimistic stuff. i'm not disappointed in our conversation, but more disappointed in her. i feel like sometimes we hold people to such high expectations and make them out to be people they aren't.

i'm sitting here on my couch topless. i must say it's pretty awesome, no shirt and all. enough for tonight.


13 November, 2008

6 months

i almost forgot that today is my 6 month anniversary since starting t - wow....where has the time gone? i don't think i made too much progress this past month, especially since i was off of t for about 2.5 weeks. the most noticeable changes are my facial and body hair growth (definite increase), my jawline (continuing to look more masculine) and my weight (i've put on about 15 pounds, mostly muscle, since september). so that's all i'm going to update here, i'll post a more detailed update on my website.

i updated my website a bit today - added some pictures of my chest, some trip photos, costs...i'm hoping to add more pictures tomorrow and some stuff about my experience. i'm feeling better today, more energized and a bit more like myself.

i saw my therapist today (she's awesome by the way) and i was talking about coming out to my grandma (this subject will be its own entry...quite a long one) and she brought up harvey milk, whom i've never heard of. she talked about one of the speeches he gave, where he inspired people to come out. so i searched him on youtube when i got home and watched this 1.5 hour video on him - he was an intriguing and inspiring man. the video i watched is a 10 part video entitled "the times of harvey milk" - definitely check it out.


12 November, 2008

back, back, back

arrived home yesterday around 5:30 pm. it was only about a 5 hour drive from new jersey, but i was just super tired and not that comfortable. not to mention being in the car since about 10 am (it was about a 2.5 hour drive from MD to NJ - liz drove). but i'm glad to be back in vermont and be around my friends.

i'm feeling super tired today. i took a long nap this afternoon, which didn't seem to help. i'm a bit worried about starting work on monday, that my body won't be ready for 8 hours of standing around - but i'm going to try to rest up as much as i can these next few days.

i took my first shower since the morning of surgery this morning. it definitely wasn't as great as i thought it was going to be, but it was nice to clean up. the nurse told me yesterday to take some of the dressing/padding off in the shower and it made me kind of nauseous because it just looked really gross, along with my left areola and nipple looking gross - so that wasn't fun. but my chest is looking good for the most part. my right side is great, really no bruising at all, the areola and nipple are already a natural pink color. the left side is a bit swollen and the areola and nipple are bruised and pretty indistinguishable at this point.

i got my drains out yesterday morning. shannon, one of dr.fisher's nurses, took them out for me - she's been a great help throughout this whole process. getting the drains out didn't hurt really, it just felt strange really, it's difficult to describe. the only thing that somewhat hurt, more like stung, was when she removed the sutures that were holding the drains in place.

overall, i'm not in much pain - like i've said before just tired and uncomfortable. my chest has been really tender the past few days and i feel really protective over it. i think if someone went to touch it, i'd want to punch them or something. it's just really tender/sensitive and want everything to heal okay.

oh yea, big props to liz, my good friend who took care of me the whole time in maryland.

nurse liz

hopefully i'll be feeling more energetic these next few days and update my website.


10 November, 2008

quick update

post-op day 6
i was hoping to be able to go home today, however i spoke to dr.fishcer's nurse this morning and she said i could get the drains removed tomorrow if everything is looking good. i can't wait to get the drains removed because they're just bugging me now and it feels like they're tugging on my skin all the time where the enter underneath my armpit. the left side of my chest definitely hurts more, but i'm really in not much pain, just mostly tired. so if all goes well i'll get the drains out tomorrow and be on my way back to vermont. thankfully i don't have to be back at work until next monday, so i have the rest of the week to relax. i'll update later this week.


08 November, 2008

post-op day 4

i think it's post-op day 4....my memory is a bit foggy because of the drugs. fortunately i haven't had to rely on the drugs - i'm still on antibiotics and i only take a pain reliever and sleep aid before bed (i've discovered that taking the two together makes me incredibly incredibly dizzy, delusional and fall asleep in record timing).

everything has been going well so far - i've been feeling well, no pain really, only discomfort and i've been pretty tired. i've been sleeping a lot and mainly sitting in front of the tv, which is getting boring (i'm not much of a tv person) and i'm looking forward to my recovery so i can increase my activity. the weather down here has been great, not too warm, not too cold. i went out the past two days and it felt great to get out and get some fresh air.

my drains (placed in the bottom part of my chest -in order to drain any fluid and help healing- exiting underneath my armpits - i'll post pictures later to better explain), both left and right, have been draining about 25 ccs of fluid a day the past two days, which means that i'll hopefully get the drains removed on monday. i'm planning on leaving on monday, however that's all dependent on if dr.fischer will remove my drains then. if not, i'll probably only have to stay an extra night. thankfully the compression vest isn't too tight and only covers half of my torso, but it is definitely getting annoying. it has been shifting on me and the elastic on the arm holes is somewhat cutting into my under arms - just mostly uncomfortable.

i also gave myself my t injection yesterday! i'm so happy i was finally able to do that - the nurse suggested waiting 72 hours. i'm hoping i'll be feeling better with more testosterone in my system now. i updated my website a bit yesterday and plan on doing a lot of updates when i get home, so make sure to check it out.

i think i'm going to try to shave and wash my hair today with the help of liz. i'm feeling a bit greasy and i think cleaning up will make me feel better.


03 November, 2008

surgery is...tomorrow!

one last blog before surgery...
finally arrived in timonium, maryland last night around 8:30 ish. i left vermont around 9 to pick up lizzy b. in new jersey (dirty jersey...the armpit of america...). after a twenty-minute detour and a missed bus, we met up around 3ish. we had to pick up liz's car and stop for coffee and gas, so i don't think we were on the road until sometime around 4. then there was a horrible accident on 95 south and it took us almost 2 hours to pass it....so i spent the WHOLE day in the car.

this morning i went to dr. fischer's office to get pictures taken and get fitted for my post-surgery vest. i was supposed to have my consultation this morning, but it got changed to tomorrow morning before surgery because dr.fischer is out of town today. the nurse also explained the drains and liz got a little green, but i'm sure i'll be fine draining them myself. got the prescription for pain relievers also, so everything today went smoothly and bonus that the nurse was a) super nice and b) cute as hell.

we found a wegmans (for those of you unfamiliar with wegmans, it is an awesome grocery store, they have their own brand, their food is amazing, their stores are huge and there is always lots of freshly cooked food)! totally the highlight of my day and we went grocery shopping because we have a kitchenette (large fridge, microwave and two burners). not much to say about timonium - lots of strip malls.

so tomorrow i'm going in at 7:30 am for my consultation and then surgery. i'll update later this week. don't forget to VOTE!