Author Topic: My Story has been Updated  (Read 393 times)

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Offline Alice

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    • The Battle Within
My Story has been Updated
« on: November 11, 2020, 09:27:24 pm »
Hi all,

For anyone who is interested, I have updated my story. It can be found within my Wordpress site: https://alicelloyd.wordpress.com/.

I recently added Chapters 11 to 15. I have one more chapter to write about my year as Alice Full Time.

I hope everyone finds it informative.

Alice 

Online Northern Star Girl

  • Previously Alaskan Danielle
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Re: My Story has been Updated
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2020, 09:41:17 pm »
@Alice
Dear Alice:
In addition to your personal story and Wordpress writings it would be great if
you could also keep this,  your new Member Blog, updated with some of the highlights of
your transition story.  That way your Susan's Place Forums followers can more easily
share and exchange comments with you and with each other.

I will be eagerly looking forward to reading your next chapter describing your
year as "Alice Full-Time"   
If you feel so inclined please post some of that material here on your Forums Member Blog.


HUGS and best wishes to you.
Danielle
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
Quit my male-mode job and relocated to a very small town in Alaska in January 2017
I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Offline Alice

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Re: My Story has been Updated
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2020, 01:21:34 am »
Danielle,

I will concentrate on finishing the latest chapter before working out in what form I will place them on these forums.

Alice

Offline Alice

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Re: My Story has been Updated
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 10:57:04 pm »
Here is my Latest Chapter about my full-time experience. It is my longest chapter:

After so many years of wonder, so many years of doubt, the overwhelming emotion after a year of working full time as Alice was that it Worked. The freedom just to be me allowed myself to unwind, and the result was significant. The main reasons for the conclusion are:
1.   There was less noise in my head.
2.   I was promoted at work with my boss day I had changed.
3.   I started to ride my bike more often and even started to ride to work
4.   I had some other small changes that cannot be explained any other way except I was more relaxed

It was not plain sailing, 2020 had lots of ups and down as had everyone with COVID-19. Let me explain.
My first time as full was Wednesday the 3rd of July 2019. Our contract was delayed so that instead of going to the client site, we were back in our office. In a way, it was an excellent introduction to Alice for the team as our office was small. We decided on my first day that we would go for lunch as a team. It was so lovely to sit down at the cafe and just chat, I could finally relax around my work colleagues. In the afternoon, I had a few pictures taken for my first day.

After about a week, we were back into the client site. Out of all days, this was when I was nervous. I was required to have a new photo taken with my old name. I wanted my friend to walk with me into the office, but in the end, I choose to walk in by myself. I had more photos taken for my first day on the client site. Everyone was happy to see my relax for the first time.

After another week, we had a morning tee to officially welcome Alice. This day I was a bit emotional as I reflect on my long journey to the point. I first intended to go full time at the end of 2008, and 11 years later, I had finally made it. We had a few speeches that day, and I thanked everyone in my team who had made it all possible.

It was within this period that I had dinner with a friend down from Sydney. My friend had known me for a long time, we first met at the Valley Girl Event in 2007/2008. It was nice to be out with her, and her remarks were that I was she could see the full time had worked as she could see the transformation that had already occurred.

As I settled in, it became clear that I was more content. I started riding my bike and was able to ride comfortably on the weekend. I decided in early August that I would begin my official name change documentation. I lodged my official name change document on the 13th of August 2019. I was up early that day and got to the office here in Canberra just before the office opened. The process was straight forward, I had my old birth certificate and other document required to prove my residency in Canberra. Being early in the morning, the office was very quiet. Still, the person taking my lodgement was very professional, and the task was completed in about 30 minutes. I returned to work after that appointment excited that my legal name change was on its way.

On the 30th of August 2019, I received my official Name change certificate. On the wear it purple day, I chose a purple dress and was able to pick up my certificate on the way to work. I showed the certificate to my work colleagues, glad that I did not wait my intended three months before changing my name. I went to AGA after work and was able to show my certificate and picked up a floral arrangement left over from a function earlier in the day.  I was thrilled to be legally Alice, but all the work was about to start.

With my legal name change, I had a long list of further changes, driver license, bank account etc. I quickly turned to update my account at work to try to avoid the system change lag that I knew was occurring. All of these updates took several months to complete. The only problem I had was with my passport.

During my period of transition, my teeth were causing myself some concern. My regular dentist noticed some concerning spots on my gums and sent me to a specialist Dentist for further investigation. My discussion with him said that high-stress levels can result in problems with my teeth and gums. The specialist cleaned my teeth thoroughly and showed me were I missing in my cleaning. The problem with my gum cleared up quickly with the extra help and my reduced stress levels.

Now I was full time tried to normalise everything else within my life. This included riding and swimming. I had started to ride on the weekend early in July firstly on my mountain bike. My early ride was on the bike paths and then extending into Mulligans Flat Reserve near were I live. The entry into the reserve includes a short start hill, named Heart Start on Strava, which I had to walk the first time before I started to ride it again. By the end of August 2019, I was riding comfortably for 50 minutes and ready to ride on my road bike.   I built up my road riding were at the end of October 2019, I rode my road bike for 40km in a time of 1hr 44 Minutes. I was thrilled to be able to build up to such a ride in a short space of time.

Swimming was always going to be harder to start again. There was the problem of which change rooms to use. I also had to figure out how to transform from Alice at work to the pool. I went to Civic pool after work one day to try and work out that change and say Hi to my old coach, who has seen me struggle for years. I had a swimsuit picked out that was a one-piece suit to cover my top, that was required after been on HRT for around 2 years, and bike style bottom.  I started to swim again on the 14th of October with a slow swim trying to re-introduce myself to the squad. I tried to build over the next 6 weeks, but events that I will detail later in the chapter curtailed that effort.
In the middle of September, I was invited to speak as a part of a panel on workplace change. The discussion was a part of a Canberra Together LGBTI Symposium.  I was asked by AGA to be a part of the panel as I had recently transitioned at work. The Symposium was a two-day event; however, I choose to just attend for the panel discussion.  The location for the event was close to my workplace, so I decided to just grab taxis between the two locations. I had created some notes for the discussion, but I soon found that my notes did not reflex the requirements for the discussion. I talked about my transition and how the legal framework here in the ACT helped my transition.

My blog at the end of October (see https://alicelloyd.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/four-months-full-time-update/ ) showed that everything was going smoothly. As I mentioned at the start of this chapter, there was one thing that happened that cannot be explained, and this is how I explained it in my blog.
I guess all of the things that happened after the transition, it is a small but unexplainable thing that is the most remarkable. Suddenly after the transition, the eyelashes on the bottom of my eyes have started to grow. For a long time, those my eyelashes have been very transparent. Now I can see a transparent tip but the base of the lash starting to grow. I cannot explain why this has happened. Still, I put it down to being less anxious and gives further validation about the decision to go full time. 

At work, there was an award given to my friend, who had helped my transition at work. I wrote a few paragraphs and submitted it for the quarterly Happier Human award. It was part of the culture with the company, and I was pleased that I could nominate her for the award. The award was presented late in October 2019, I jumped for joy when it was announced that she had won the award. I also spoke out about the importance of that recognition.  Later in the year, we had dinner, and she brought me a necklace and earrings.
With things seeming to go well I the sense of optimism was shattered in November 2019. It all started when I was required to help someone at work. This person was going through a difficult period and had an emotional breakdown in the office. I knew this immediately and went on to try and help over the next few hours. I was able to put all my experience to work and help this person with their situation. This included giving him phone numbers to call and following them home to ensure they were okay. Over the next 2 weekends, I also needed to help at their flat, including alcohol consumption.  Suddenly, my own mental health deteriorated as I was getting flashbacks to my own dark days wondering the “What Ifs?” questions. I let my team leader know that I was now struggling. I was so disappointed that I was struggling after a good few months and showing that full-time Alice worked. On the 13th of November, I wrote about this struggle on Facebook.

Well, I never thought I would feel like this again so quickly. I was going along so well until I saw a person having a breakdown and I have had to help him over the last 2 weekends.

Suddenly all of the bad memories have come flooding back to the point that my emotions are starting to show at work. I now I have to deal with my own mental health and get back to where I was before this all started. I hope this blows over in a couple of weeks.

The only saving grace is I had a ride today and was surprised at how well I went. I felt my ride home last week was a bit laboured, but today I could ride hard again. My swimming is also progressing slowly, last Monday was the first time I completed the session.


The person at work continued to struggle at work then was forced to take leave for a period. I was required to take on extra work to keep the team going, which I was happy to do, but I soon found I was not coping. There was a meeting at work were our team was in a discussion on the current situation, and I started to cry. I was very emotional and apologies for trying to help a mate that had caused what I felt were more problems. I had the reassurance that all would be fine, and we continued on till Christmas.

2020 will always be remembered as the COVID 19 year. My year, like so many around the world, was filled with ups and downs. I entered the year overly optimistic as I knew being Alice full time had worked. However, the year did not pan out as I had expected.

The year did start well as I was promoted at work. My mate decided to leave our team, which left a spot vacant as the technical team leader. I was sad and disappointed in the manner of his departure. However, I was hoping for the promotion into the role. I was felt I was well suited to the role having demonstrated my technical abilities over several years. In truth, I was disappointed and had quietly wondered why I was not promoted to the position in the previous 12 months. In my meeting about the role I learned the answer, I had totally changed since my transition and now was suitable for the position. His words were “I am not dealing with the same person from a year ago”.
My discussion with my team manager is that I was a lot more concise in my dealing’s clients. I put that down to a lot less chatter in my head. Before full time, I would always be wondering about who to tell, what would it be like as Alice Full Time and looking at clothes. Now, as Alice, none of that chatter was in my head, and I can focus on the tasks at hand.  My anxiety had decreased, which has a dramatic effect on my demeanour, and this was noticed by everyone.

As mentioned before, the only document that I had trouble with was my passport. I was getting a new passport because I had planned to travel to New Zealand with my mom later in the year. I had all of my document ready for the passport and lodged them in town. I soon learnt that the application was on hold because I needed a new birth certificate. I did not know I need to update my birth certificate as  I thought they would not update my birth certificate till after surgery. Anyway, I was able to go over the Queanbeyan and lodge my application. The brand new certificate had all the old details regarding my name change in the ACT. In the end, it was great to get all of those documents updated even though we did not go to New Zealand due to COVID-19.   

In March, I had a consultation with a Surgeon here in Canberra about Gender Surgery. I had made the appoint in October 2019 as I was thinking about the next steps given Alice had worked so well. I was extremely excited in the lead up to the appointment and was jumping for joy on the day. At the consultation, we talked about different types of surgeries, the complication and he answered all the question I had asked. My underlining thoughts during the consultation is why am I waiting till late 2021 for the surgery. I also contacted friends asking a few questions about their surgery, wondering if I should stay with the surgeon in my home town or look further away. In the end, I decided that when I was ready, I would go with the local surgeon.

The next few months were a series of ups and downs similar to what I had experience in HRT round one. It had started because I could not clear my nose. I always had a way of clearing my nose after my nose surgery. In this period, however, I found that instead of clearing my nose, I kept on getting further nose bleeds. I also had a few nose bleeds while at work, which of course was harder to manage as I needed to stop work waiting for the bleeding to stop. Unable to clear my nose, my sleeping and hence everything else was affected. I started to get my moods as before.

I started to be very concerned about the moods around Easter when I had a heads cold for 4 days that I could not clear. Around that time, I started to put together the pattern that had returned and became concerned. I began to be very conscious of my moods and recognise they were beginning to become uncontrol.  I wrote about them in my blog “Mental Health Challenges” (see https://alicelloyd.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/mental-health-challenges/).

Like when I was at my worst, I had my high and low points awfully close together. There was one day I can clearly remember feeling like this. I had my headset on, and I wanted to sing out loud. I knew I was feeling manic and this was not a good sign, so I let my workmates know the sign was not good. There was another day I went manic, so I told my workmate to expect a crash in moods. My control was gone, and I explained when I am like this, there is only high or low, nothing in-between. About 10 minutes later, it happened, and I crashed. I ran to a meeting room and began to sob while workmate tried to console myself. The sobbing did not last long, but the pattern of my mental health deteriorating was continuing, my challenging period had arrived.

I cannot tell how many instances of this pattern occurred over the last few months. Still, it reminded me about the period in and around my first transition when this type of pattern was at it’s worst. Needless to say, I did not like to remember those periods, let alone have all those same emotions reappear.


After Easter, my health continued to worsen. There was a day where I could not muster the energy to go to work and had to call in sick. I spent the morning in bed just so tired. Then there was one day when I got into the shower and just starting crying. I was so upset that day I finally had to call the mental health crisis line for extra support. Luckily I had a call with my doctor that day. However, all she heard was tears.

In parallel to all this occurring, I was also trying to fix the problem. I had told my doctor early on about my nose bleeds, and we made a specialist appointment that occurred on the 22nd of May.  I wrote the following about the meeting in the blog “Not This Again” (see https://alicelloyd.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/not-this-again/ ).

Well, it has been a busy week, and I had some unexpected news this week.

It seems like the septum within my nose, which I had fixed by surgery in 2010 has collapsed again. It may require another round of surgery. I have had a CT scan today and go back to the specialist in 3 weeks to work out a plan. I may need a sleep study before surgery. This potentially pushes back any surgery date as they are only now just booking the studies, they have been on hold since COVID-19.

The specialist took a look at my nose on Wednesday and gave me the bad news, but in fact, it explained a lot. I have been tired and getting ill lately and with one side of my nose closing it has been affecting my sleep and in turn, everything else in my life. Of late, I have been dealing with all the effects of my poor sleep, the main once being depression.

For now, I need to work out how to manage over the next few months. Do I fly when I am tired? How much riding/exercise can I manage?


As dramatic as it all sounded, it was not all bad news from the specialist. He did say that he wanted to avoid surgery if possible, and he suggested an oil-base nasal spray.

The week from the 15th till the 19th of June was a busy week with medical and other appointments. It is a week that I was back and forth to a Suburb of Deakin here in Canberra every day. I first went there on Monday night for my sleep study. Like so many studies, I was wired up to sleep with loads of electrodes. I did not have a lot of sleep that night and worried that there would be no data.  By the following morning, I was ready to leave. I was also disappointed that so much was happening in the week, and I could not rest that night as I would have preferred. Tuesday dawned in which I was off to home to wash off the stuff in my hair used to attach the electrodes before returning to work. After work that day it was back to Deakin for my regular counselling session. Wednesday I could relax all day and prepare for my appointment on Thursday with the specialist.

The news from the specialist was very encouraging. The oil-based spray was performing its task, and my nose was clearing. I did not require any further nose surgery. On my way out, the specialist indicated that my previous nose surgery was performed to a high standard. I was relieved that I could get back to what I had planned for this year, relaxing and sorting out my sleeping.  I had time to get back to the office before an announcement was made in the afternoon that would change the whole course of my year.

After repeatedly told that the new contract was on its way, all of a sudden we learned that the contract was not being renewed. I knew that could mean trouble as I had kept up with company policy which was not to keep people on during the COVID-19 period if they were not in a contract. Our whole team was shocked by the news as we return to our desks. We started figuring out what we would be performing in the 10 days we had left of the contract. I finished up a little of the work I was performing and tried to update our documentation. I tried not to think about the future as I absorbed the news about my nose and our contract.

On the 27th of June, we held a dinner to celebrate my 50th birthday.  We gathered were 12 months ago we celebrate Alice starting to work. There few short speeches on the night, but it was a low key affair as I had not put any thought into the planning.

My birthday itself was a strange day. We had planned to go out for lunch to celebrate the end of the contract (and my birthday), but our team leaders were too busy handing over our work. We instead went to a local café where I had a nice lunch with my closet friends within the team. At night I went to the local club for a quiet dinner to reflect on my year.

My birthday itself was a strange day. We had planned to go out for lunch to celebrate the end of the contract (and my birthday), but our team leaders were too busy handing over our work. We instead went to a local café where I had a nice lunch with my closet friends within the team. At night I went to the local club for a quiet dinner to reflect on my year.

The following day we were back at the office for our employer. We were given the bad news that if they could not find us any new work, we would be made redundant. Our whole team was worried about our jobs as we started on some further training. Over the next 3 weeks, I studied for and passed an exam for Azure certification. However, as I had guessed, my time at the company was coming to an end.

My last day of employment was the 5th of August 2020. When driving to work, I thought I had two weeks left. I was called into a meeting and was told the bad news, I was immediately being made redundant, and I had two hours to finish my work. In that meeting, I did hear some praise for my transition. They said I was courageous in my transition, and they were surprised how well I handled myself. Of course, I was terribly upset at the news that I had now lost my job. I had just passed 50, and I thought it would be hard to re-enter the market.  I called my parents and counsellor to let them know and then wrote the following email to my former colleagues.

Well, I thought I would have more time to write this email, but it has ended faster than I thought. For myself today it is farewell from the company.

I want everyone to know you have helped me on my Journey towards Alice. I had known for a long time of my need to transition, and everyone here that has helped me to make it happen. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support during this period. It meant an awful lot to me; I have proved what I had known for so long.

Farewell, everyone, I will never forget your kindness.


I was so happy with the way the company had handled my transition.  They had helped me prove that I functioned well as work as Alice. In fact, they had promoted me in recognition of my transformation. It was a pity that the contract ended during the COVID-19 period, and I could not continue working with them.

Unemployed, I started looking unemployment benefits in case I was long term unemployed as well as continuing applying for jobs. Being unemployed also allowed me some time to do other things like riding my bike and completing my story. There were, of course, a few dark days when I doubted, I would be employed again and needed extra help of the support line to get me through.

Early on, after losing my job, I went back to get the results of the sleep study. The results were not all that surprising as the doctor recommended that I start CPAP again. Even though I did not get a good nights sleep, there was enough data to show I needed to use my machine. I began to use my CPAP machine, this time with some success. While not using it every night, while unemployed I would use it for about 4 hours a night. Some night I slept through the night for maximum benefit. It has been the first time I have been able to continuously use the machine for several months. I also have not noticed any bloating, the main reason I stopped using the device.

I had not started my riding since Christmas, and I thought that now I had more time I had time to start and ride two to three times a week. I began to walk and ride each day, and in early September, my riding started to gel. I tried to keep to my intended schedule, and I successfully built my riding back to a ride of 60 to 90 minutes. I was so happy with my ability to ride again. In the whole, I road throughout my period of unemployment and enjoyed my time on my bike.

After a few months, I continued to write up my story. I had worked on my story for some time, mainly over Christmas, to write the chapters. I had the chapters mapped out, but now I had the time to complete my story regarding my second transition. I also edited my earlier chapters to make them easier to read and update my website, adding pictures to the relevant chapter. I was happy with the result given I had a lot of time to edit my chapters.

With my flying, there were ups and downs. I was generally happy with the way I flew. On the plus, I was flying very well and confident in my ability. I entered a pattern competition in October and was happy with the way I flew earning myself another promotion point. However, that same plane was destroyed in October by of all things a mid-air crash. The day itself I was very poor. I told my flying friends that I was feeling bad, and I had intended to just fly high. I took off when there was only one other person in the air, and I was flying well when suddenly, our planes collided. I was surprised when my plane was continuing to fly as the other plane ploughed into the ground. As my plane flew towards the strip, I turned in hoping for a soft landing near the strip. It, however, dived to the left into the group once airspeed had been lost. I had two-thirds of a wing, and the fuselage was damaged beyond repair. I was angry beyond words that I had lost my favourite plane and totally lost my cool. On a day when I wanted an easy day of just flying, my plane was now destroyed by bad luck. In all honestly, I never knew or had a sense of what was about to occur until I heard the bang of our planes colliding. It was a spectacular crash with bits of planes fluttering down to the ground.

My reaction said it all, once I got the wing back a smacked it on a table breaking it in two.  I quickly packed my car and threatening to go home. My friends tried to calm myself down, saying everything will be okay as it was just a plane. My anger, however, boiled over, and I said a few horrible things indicating that I was struggling with depression and my moods. After a while, I settled down and was able to sit for a while. I then flew my other plane in rage to get out the anguish I was feeling.

At the end of October, I had another where I was feeling awful at the flying field. It was a quiet Saturday morning, and I got to the field early.  As there were not many people there, I set up my plane and waiting for a spot, so I could fly by myself. I found a quiet spot, and I flew my plane very well. I actually had a nice landing, but I was still unhappy and sat down for a while. Given my state and feeling like I was going to cry, I quickly packed my plane in my car. After saying farewell to my friends, I left for home, glad just to relax. I was so tired; I am sure it would have been too dangerous for me to continue to fly.  I knew from my riding the previous day that my nose was blocked, and I had started to clear my nose as shown by my specialist earlier in the year. 

An interesting side note, in and around October, I was trying to read the book called “Why we Sleep” by Matthew
Walker as recommended by the speech pathologist. It said that there is a clear link between lack of quality sleep and having unstable moods. A paragraph in the book stated that:

Related, the REM-sleep gift of facilitating accurate recognition and comprehension allows us to make more intelligent decisions and action and a consequence. More specifically, the coolheaded ability to regulate our emotions each day, a key to what we call emotional IQ, depends on getting sufficient REM sleep night after night.

Its link could be the story of my life. Indeed now whenever I find I am upset, the first thing I look at is my blocked nose causing sleep issues. Sometimes when I get tired, and it takes me several days to work out it is happening again, but at least now I have a way to clear my nose.

While I was unemployed, I was always Job searching. I had 4 job interviews, 2 online and 2 in person. I thought I had a job in September when I recruiter asked for referees after a job interview. For several weeks I was left hanging waiting for an offer, but that did not eventuate from the company. In October, I was notified that I had been successful in gaining a contract for a prominent government department. The contract was for six months with a possible six-month extension. I was delighted with the outcome as I did not want to be on unemployment benefits and longer as they were just starting to kick in. The pre-employment checks took a few weeks to complete and late in November we set a start date of the 7th of December 2020.

Knowing I had at least some employment, my thoughts turned to surgery requirements. My feelings were that the six months would be a bit short for my needs. However, if I could keep the contract for 12 months, I could plan for surgery in early 2022. I started by making an appointment to see my psychiatrist who I had not seen for some time. When I made the appointment, they said I had not seen her since 2015, I thought it would be of been a lot longer in the time since had seen her. Maybe I saw her last to let her know I was again starting HRT. Given the event of my first round of HRT, it was essential to have her input into my decision.

Before starting my contract, I filled my time with online training, riding my bike and flying my planes. It was nice to be able to relax for a little while before starting my new role. I start my new position a bit nervous as I would be going into summer needing to wear my wig for as long as possible. This is the first time I would be stepping into a work environment without people knowing my former self, all they would see is Alice.


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