Author Topic: The Blog Spot of Alice  (Read 7714 times)

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Offline RandiL

  • Call me Rayna. Formerly Randi
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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #100 on: January 15, 2022, 11:10:26 pm »
Alice, congratulations and I hope your healing continues to go well.

My smartphone thinks it's smarter than me. It's probably right.

Forging my new, best life as Rayna

My personal blog thread: Randi the lost traveler, finding the right road at last

My HRT thread: Randi's HRT Journal


Online davina61

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #101 on: January 16, 2022, 03:45:54 am »
Well done dear , may your recovery be quick and pain free XX
a long time coming (out) HRT 12 2017


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Know a bit about everything but not enough to be clever.
I get pushed out of shape and its hard to steer when I get rubber in all 4 gears (Beach Boys ,little deuce coupe)

Offline Devlyn

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #102 on: January 16, 2022, 04:54:52 am »
24 hours post operation.  All has gone well.

Veteran, US Army

Offline Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #103 on: February 11, 2022, 09:19:37 pm »
Hi all,

For anyone who missed it, I have the story of my surgery in another post here on the forums. see-> https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,258379.0.html

I have been working on my story while I have been recovering and will add the text to Chapter 18 to my blog soon however you can see it at my website.

It has been a wonderful experience and I am so happy with my surgery. Everyone has commented on how much I am smiling now. It is so wonderful to have my surgery completed.

Alice

Offline Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #104 on: February 12, 2022, 05:22:34 pm »
The Battle Within Chapter 18 - Setting a date for my surgery
(See full story at https://alicelloyd.wordpress.com/)

While a bit nerve-racking to walk into a new working environment being obviously transgender, I soon found I could relax with the people in the office very accommodating. After a few days of performing tasks associated with new starters, I soon learnt that I had some training that needed to be completed. While working in the office, my team was scattered throughout Australia, and I was sitting in amongst various other groups. My new boss called from Sydney to discuss the project and priorities until Christmas.

Christmas 2020 came at the wrong time. Having just started the new role, I did not want to risk flying through Sydney, which was in the middle of a Covid 19 outbreak. This year was the first one where I would be home alone in Canberra. On Christmas Day, I went to our local support group for lunch and a chat with everyone in attendance. The period between Christmas and New Year dragged on where I could keep flying and go for gentle walks. However, I found it challenging not being home with my parent, and my mental health suffered. I needed to talk through this period with my counsellor.

In early January, I finished my training and started my project work. While the project was interesting, it took me some time to understand the environment and the requirements. I should add that while the topic was interesting, the type of work did not suit my skills. I prefer to be working with data and code, but I was instead writing a large word document. While the document was technical, I still struggled with the words.

My hair continued to be a concern as I was still hated wearing wigs and wondered what it would be like post-surgery. During this time, I started to look at Wiglets to see if that made me more comfortable. For a short time, I also considered hair transplants to speed up the growth of my hair on top.

Late in January, there was still more controversy on the nature of being an LGBIT person. I was angry with the debate and wrote the following post.

With the significant controversy, this week in Australia had me thinking about my journey. As everyone knows, it has been a long one.

Before going full time, I would see a lovely skirt or dress and think I would like to wear that. I would then need to consciously correct that thought by rationalising that I was male and should not want to wear those clothes. It was not just clothing; I would have those same thoughts over anything feminine. Hair was the other big area that I always wanted to experience. Now I am full time as Alice, I can show my true nature. There is no need to correct my subconscious self.

I have had a great life as Alan. I travelled around Europe and Africa, competed in Triathlons, and enjoyed my hobby. But underlining it all was my need to suppress my nature and soldier on. Then came the period in my life in my mid-thirties when I could no longer take the weight. Through depression and anxiety, I finally told my family and friends how I felt and sought help that I desperately needed to navigate a complex journey.

I recognised that I was <not allowed> and set about figuring out what it meant for my life. Before my first transition, I was told to solve all other problems first and then solve the Gender problem. Unfortunately, we did not find my sleep apnoea until after my first transition. The hormones plus my lack of sleep set off an awful chain of events that I somehow survived (edit, where survival was the goal).

Through two transitions separated by 9 years, I finally was able to work full time as Alice in 2019 after a further 2 years on HRT. At last, freed from having to constantly correct me, I could relax and show my true nature. Everyone saw and commented on how my demeanour had changed. As a result of the change, I was promoted by my manager to a senior role within our team.

In the end, I needed to show my hidden self and express my whole self to be happy and content. It has not been easy; there have also been many disappointments and still some more work to be performed.

I just hope people realise it is not a simple choice. These are difficult choices between 2 options I did not particularly like. However, I chose the one that would allow me to relax and enjoy my life. I hope to keep myself healthy, both mentally and physically.


I consider the above post my best short description of my life and often read it after writing it. It talks about the joys and struggles in my life. It also describes the length of time it took me to transition.

At the end of January/early February, I was a whole bunch of emotions as I continued to think about surgery. There were days when I thought about suicide and needed to talk to my counsellor. There was also a day when I was so sad that I got to my physiotherapist and burst into tears. It took me a while to regain composure.

I had an interesting conversation with the Physio as I showed him my cycle and how I always get a stiff back. Then, he showed me another circle which was:

Anxiety -> Flight or Fight  ->  Muscular Tension (Particularly the Thorax) -> Poor / Difficulty Breathing -> Anxiety

At the time my Physio showed me, it all made sense. As explained in chapter 14, I had always felt myself cycling. His explanation gave me a psychological and physical description of what I had been feeling for a long time.

This period was not helped out by ACT licensing stuffing up their system and threatening my license. It was not good to receive a letter that my license was suspended when I did nothing wrong. I had received a form for my eye test, filled it in with the required eye test performed by my optometrist, and emailed it back. Therefore, it was a shock to receive a letter that my license was suspended on a Friday night. I burst into tears and tried to calm myself while working out what to do next. I called ACT health for support and tried to relax as there was nothing I could do. While I did not sleep at night, I contacted the licensing department early in the morning, who confirmed that my license was not suspended. It seems they found my email, which I sent 5 days before the deadline after they sent the letter. I was not happy about this interference in my already unstable state of mind made worse by the lack of a letter of apology.

By the start of March, I was still a bunch of emotion and wrote the following in my blog.

I am a bunch of emotions today.

Today, one of my strong thoughts is when I knew I wanted to be female (remember, I only identified as female in my thirties). That answer to that question is easy. I remember an event when I was about 11 or 12, and from that point onwards, I wanted to be female. That strong desire remained until my depression forced me to look at my life and allow me to realise the truth.

If you have gender issues that hurt badly enough that they need to be addressed, then you must confront them. Talk about them to those you trust, hang on, pursue, learn, study and focus until you finally can decide who you are and what you want. Putting it off will only make things vastly worse. It is hard work, it is not easy, and it hurts to do this. But remember, it hurts anyway, or you would not be driven by your gender issues.

I read that statement all those years ago, and I must face it again. Today I had a quick thought that maybe I would not want surgery. That last for a second before I list all the reasons why I want surgery. I know I am female, and I want my body to match that to remove any remaining doubt. So I need to confront my gender issues again. However, this time I will not try and put off that which I know will help me in the long run.

So this year will be busy with all I need to do to make surgery happen. In truth, it is already started as I already had my Psychiatrist appointment booked. However, I may need to get a second opinion for the surgery. This is because I can not use my current psychologist (who is not a clinical psychologist) who I am seeing when required, which currently every 2 weeks.

These strong emotions were travelling through me at work whilst I was so busy working I should not have had any time to think about anything else.

While all of this was happening, I started the serious business of getting my letters required for surgery. Having heard about the letters for a long time, I always thought it would be a long and challenging process requiring multiple visits to multiple people. So I created a plan that was more about juggling the visits I needed than any answers. I already had a consultation booked to see my Psychiatrist. So I checked with the surgeon to see if my regular counsellor’s letter would be accepted. Given that she was a mental health worker, I needed another psychologist for my second letter.

I had my appointment with my Psychiatrist on the 22nd of March 2021. Having not seen her for a few years, I was nervous going into the meeting given the matter we were discussing. However, after catching up and having a short discussion on why I wanted the surgery, she told me she had no concerns. I was delighted with her response. I informed her that I required a letter from her to my surgeon, to which she agreed. Having worried about needing multiple appointments, it turned out 30 minutes was enough for my first letter. In part, her first letter read, “I have known Alice prior to her transition as Alan. I can see that as Alice, she is happier and more relaxed.” The letter confirmed my suspicion that she only needed 30 minutes to sum up my situation and confirm I am so much happier Alice.

My thoughts were turning to the date and when to book the surgery. I booked in to see the second psychologist in the middle of April. The discussion I had with the receptionist indicated that I may only need one appointment to gain my second letter. At my regular counsellor session, I decided to set a date for surgery. On Friday, the 26th of March 2021, I rang the surgeon’s office asking for a surgery date. I was disappointed that I had to wait a few more days while the surgeon came back to the office until the date could be set.

The weekend waiting for a date was nerve-racking. We had a significant scale day at the field, which helped me settle a bit. On Saturday night, I went to the club for dinner. A friend again said to me, “You are more comfortable in a dress”. I needed to wait till Wednesday 31st Match for the surgeon to call me back. Finally, the 12th of January 2022 was set as the date for my surgery. I was thrilled to have a date and proceeded to tell everyone, including my parents and counsellor, about the date. I also told a work colleague that I was planning surgery and had just set a date. I am sure she saw me jumping around that day excited about something. I was thrilled that after 40 long years, I had a date for the next phase of my life.

As explained in my blog on the 29th of March, I was very emotional while setting the surgery date. I want to explain what I was thinking by my reactions in conversation. I guess I was most stressed at work, where I needed to keep my composure. Whenever I needed to vent a bit or need a rest, I would go down to the coffee shop for a break. By this stage, I started to tell the people working there my plans for surgery. I talked to the waitress about my surgery plans, which was made easier after her recent shoulder surgery. When I discussed that I was planning my surgery, she told me it was a big decision. I instantly told her, “That decision has already been made”.

It was early in March that I ran into Shane again on the way home from work. We struck up a long conversation about how we were going, as it is always lovely to chat with Shane again. I was ready to tell him my plans for surgery, and instead of being relaxed, I shuttered and said, “I want it. I want it”. I had to relax and breathe before I told him, “The fact is I want surgery, and I am planning for it to happen next year”.

I felt comfortable talking about my surgery to my friends at the flying field. Everyone knew I was planning at this stage as I could freely talk about it. When someone said, “You know when you will be ready for surgery”, I instantly replied, “I am ready now”. After I said that, I wondered what I should do next and if I should try and qualify them in any way. I decided the words were best left alone, so I walked away.

In all these interactions with people, the words came out of my mouth so quickly I only had time to understand them once they had been said. There was no need to contain my feelings; they needed to be expressed loudly.

I talked to my counsellor regularly, and I told her that I did not want to lose my time early next year. I wrote the following in my blog of these events and how I was feeling

 I see my window of opportunity being next January as I hope my contract is extended to the end of this year. I know a lot of work is coming for our team in the next few months, so the contract extension is a strong possibility if I can keep working hard. If the extension is for 6 months, it would nicely fit into having surgery in January, recovering and then looking for further work.

 I had a long conversation with my counsellor on Thursday (remember she cannot sign off on my surgery) about why all this emotion is coming out now. I told her “I did not expect to be this emotional about the surgery”. We think one of the reasons why I am so emotional is the type of work I am performing. In all honesty, what I am currently doing is not my strength.  As a data analyst, I would prefer looking at data and code to create reports.  Instead, for the last 5 to 6 weeks, I have been trying to write a large word document, which I have not performed all that often in my professional career. I told my counsellor that I would be struggling at work whatever my state of mind. This undoubtedly creates tension and allows my emotions that I thought would be under control to come out uncontrollably. I talked to my boss on Friday, and she understands that I need some variety and will give me something else tomorrow (Monday).

The other thing I discussed with my counsellor is a lack of any decision.  With any significant decisions, I always discuss with her my options, but in this case, I just knew I wanted the surgery. I did not need to discuss with her the benefit versus the risk, I just knew. I always knew, which in a way is a good thing. I can relate that back to my early teens when I first wanted to be a girl.

I keep saying to my parents that I never want to be afraid of what I want anymore. I have known for a long time I wanted the surgery, and that thinking is now clearly stated in many conversations.  I told myself a long time ago I am not fighting myself over this desire for the surgery hence I am planning to ensure it is successful.

In the lead up to Friday, when I wanted to set the date, I was determined to see the date set. I was never going to select a date before my counselling session on Thursday night. All of Thursday, all I could think about was, “I will date a date by this time tomorrow”.  I waited till just after 9am Friday morning before making the call. The receptionist said she could not set I firm date till the surgeon returned to the office next week. I discussed with her I still want a date in January 2022 and now I am waiting for her to inform me of the date (or dates) that I can have the surgery. I was disappointed that I did not have a date but that was outside my control.

On Friday afternoon, I received my letter from my Psychiatrist, which confirmed my suspicion. In part, her letter said, “I can see as Alice she is looking happier and more relaxed”.  My Psychiatrist has known me since my first dreadful transition. She only needed 30 minutes to sum up what everyone knew.


April was a significant month, with so much happening in a small amount of time. One of the things that affected me and drove me toward surgery was that I was starting to visualise my post-operative life. I am unsure when they began in earnest, but I kept thinking about what it would look like after my surgery. I knew there was no going back. My brain was focused on what it had wanted since my early teens. I thought back to when I first wanted to be a girl years ago and recognised that those yearnings never wavered. Having received the paperwork for my surgery, I completed what I could. There was still another 9-month wait for surgery.

Early in April, I had dinner with my friend Gary at the club. The club is becoming an important social outlet for me, with everyone seeing and accepting Alice. It is always lovely to be there having dinner and talking to friends. Gary came and saw this on that Friday night when I could just relax and chat. I had chosen a lovely skirt and heels for that night as something extra, which I know I enjoy wearing. The following day Gary sent me a message which said in part, “I have not seen you that happy and content for years. Maybe ever”. As someone who had known me since the mid-1990s, that message meant so much to me. While planning my surgery, my more relaxed nature as Alice was showing through.

In a case of bad timing, so much happened all at once in the middle of April. The first thing that happened was my eyes started to have problems. I had eyelashes drop off and fall into my eye, causing irritation. I needed to go to an eye doctor to help remove the eye last and sort out the cause. I was about to fly in a competition which did not help my emotions.

The flying competition happened the weekend preceding my appointment with the second psychologist. The pressure that weekend on my flying was not helped because the plane I was flying was not ideal for the task. Even though it was one of my favourite planes, it was too fast to suit pattern flying. I was also after a promotion score that would lift me from the sportsman class to the advanced class.

This meant I was so emotional I was unsure how I would fly on the weekend. I was very nervous on my first flight and was shaking on the sticks. After the flight, I kept telling my friends that I knew at 11 I wanted to be female and needed a cry and some walking to settle down. On the way back from my quick walk, a dog was aggressive as I walked too close to it, eating a bone, making me cry again. After that emotion was let out, I started to think about my first flight. I decided to rectify my most significant concern of the first flight; I flew way too high. I told the person calling for me that I would set the height for the second flight. That really helped, and I started to relax and had a better flight. We had a few more flights as the day continued, and I felt more confident. The following Sunday, it was time to go back to the field and finish the competition. By this stage, my focus was on getting the promotion point I had come for; nothing else mattered. I flew well enough in the last flight; my calling informed me I was being promoted. I chucked around my plane in celebration. After an emotional weekend, I had succeeded in my primary goal of the weekend.

Monday came, and after working till the middle of the afternoon, it was time for an even bigger goal. I would be seeing the second psychologist, who did not know me, for my surgery letter. I was even more nervous than the previous weekend. Despite being told I would only need the two-hour session, I still did not know what to expect. The conversation was similar in talking to my Psychiatrist. The psychologist needed some basic history for me. We discussed the interesting subject of autism and how it may have affected my life. The second psychologist seemed to have two primary questions to support my surgery.

  • I was well supported through the whole surgical proves and
  • I was not making a bad decision under pressure.
   
The fact that my first transition did not matter in her thinking. It was easy for her to see I could meet the criteria required for surgery, and I was relaxed at Alice. She informed me that she had supported most people for surgery in her years of supporting transgender patients. One of her conclusions in her letter to my surgeon was.

It was my clinical impression that gender affirmation surgery was clinically indicated as the next step in Alice’s transition and essential for her ongoing quality of life and mental wellbeing


The month of April ended in another essential step for my plan. My contract was extended till December 2021. My goals for surgery in early 2022 was taking shape. I informed my boss that my surgery date of the 12th of January 2022. She advised me that the surgery would have no impact on any future contract renewal.

May was a lot less packed, but I had my usual ups and downs. I was so excited about a significant IDAHOBIT day function at our department. I was at the event early and met some fellow members of the LGBIT group. We had a guest speaker Hanna who I was lucky to meet after speaking and answering some questions. I was probably was the last one to leave.

In May, I was also able to go on a shopping trip with Nina, a friend from a previous worksite. It was nice to get out and shop for some casual clothes. I brought some jeans that I needed to wear as casual clothing, something I would need when I was full-time post-operation. It was also great to catch up with a good friend. 

As with anyone planning a surgery, I had my bad days wondering what all the fuss was about. I distinctly remember needing to go for a walk at lunchtime that I wondered what it would be like not wanting the surgery. It only took a few seconds my mind came back with all of the reasons I wanted surgery and wanted to feel like one person.

My primary social outlet was the local club, where I would go for dinner and a chat during this time. It allowed me to discuss my life with many different people. I told everyone about my life story and how I was looking forward to my surgery. One phase I remember saying to everyone was, “I cannot change my brain to match my body; I need to change my body to match my brain”. It was a simple statement that represented the journey that I was undertaking.

The toil of planning major surgery in the middle of a pandemic sometimes shone through. For example, there was a day when I needed to go to the dentist, but I soon as I got there, I just burst into tears. After a big cry, I made another time for the appointment and went to the local nurse-led walk-in centre to discuss my mental health. They indicated that I was doing a great job coping, given the strain I was under.

While June was relatively quiet, there was some joy in my life as we went to Temora to see the real planes fly. Our social group of friends, 6 in total, took the 2 hours each way journey on an overcast day. Unfortunately, as there was an extensive cloud cover, several planes we had hoped to see did not fly. Nevertheless, it was nice to see the aviation museum and spend time with a beautiful group of people.

In June, the other significant event was my house thoroughly cleaned. I had been concerned about getting my house clean and keeping it clean for my surgery. But, again, I wrote about it in my blog.

So it has been another big week in the life of Alice but a big concern for surgery next year has been solved.

I knew I was concerned about the cleanliness of my house for a long time. I had been looking for a house cleaning for a while. Unfortunately, a friend of mine who is a house cleaner did not have time. One of my friends recommended a company that cleans her house when I mentioned it at work. After the recommendation, it did not take me long to book a whole house clean. After all, it has been around 18 years in my current home and about the right time to get my carpets thoroughly cleaned after 6 years.

The cleaning happened today, I am so please with the results. I am also surprised about how much emotion has come out wanting it done. I keep telling my friends I do not want to be in the hospital after surgery, worried about the cleanliness of my house where I need to recover. I also did not want my parent to worry about cleaning when I was in the hospital recovering. So I plan to have a monthly clean of my house to ensure that situation does not arise.

July came with an increased Covid risk and my first Covid Vaccine Jab. While Covid was worldwide with the Delta strain, Australia and Canberra were relatively free. However, there was a large outbreak in Sydney, and we knew it would eventually come to Canberra. So I discussed the AstraZeneca jab with my GP and booked an appointment for my first jab. At the time, the advice for which jab to get was changed in Australia. Anyone over the age of 50 was advised to have the Pfizer jab. So I cancelled my booking for the AstraZeneca jab and made a new booking to get the Pfizer jab at the mass vaccination hub. My first jab occurred on the 11th of July 2021. Initially, I had no reaction to the jab. However, 6 days after the vaccine, I felt tired and ran down. We had dinner booked for Saturday night, but I knew that I needed to turn around and go home once I arrived. I was ill from Monday, the 19th of July, until Wednesday. My time was spent in bed or talking to my GP about my headaches. I started to feel better after those days and continued in my work.

Work was going relatively well at this stage. After I had finished my important document, I was transferred to a team where I could put some of my Java skills to the test. Being part of a large project, I thought it necessary to tell the leaders of my impending surgery. While I was nervous about letting them know, I felt so supportive once they knew my news. In fact, one of my managers was so supportive I thought I could call and talk to her whenever I needed a chat. It was so lovely to be in such a good environment.

With the Covid cluster in Sydney continuing to grow, we knew a lockdown would occur here in Canberra once it arrived. That day came on the 12th of August 2021, the last day I would work in the office before my surgery.

Offline Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #105 on: February 27, 2022, 02:01:16 am »
So I wanted to provide a bit of an update as I feel like it has been 4 weeks since my last proper update.
While physically, I am on the mend, I feel like I have a lot to catch up on mentally. I was joking to myself, I am just over 50, but I feel like I am a teenager again with so much to learn and figure out. In a way, the analogy is accurate. I am only 6 weeks post-surgery and there are still lots of changes occurring. I am also starting to wonder what I should wear when I exercise, both walking/running and on my bikes.

I guess we should start with last Wednesday (24th February 2022). I had my 6-week review with my surgeon Dr Hart. He was pleased with my progress and the way I was healing. He told me

  • To use Bio-Oil to help the top of the surgical crease to help it heal.
  • That I can lift heavy stuff and exercise as usual.
  • I can go back to working full time.
  • I only need to have my baths once a week/fortnight to keep everything clean.
  • What I saw as swelling may be a little bit of fat leftover from where my previous parts were attached.
  • Dr Hart read my story about my surgery. I was so grateful to know he had taken the time to read what I had written.

I wish it was as easy as flicking a switch, but I feel it will be a long process of discovery. There are a couple of things making me feel it will not be that easy. First, Dr Hart knows I am still using Panadol for the pain. I tried to cut back to 4 a day, but I was uncomfortable. Then, when I was taking fewer painkillers, I noticed that I was a little sore at the top of the surgical site where the muscles were cut as part of the surgery. I increased it back up to 8 a day earlier this week, and I felt a lot better. I feel like I need to find the right balance of that over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, after seeing Dr Hart, I went to have lunch and shop with Amelia, my friend. She had surgery 2 days after my surgery. She also had her 6-week check-up with Dr Hart right before my appointment. She waited for me at the Café downstairs, and once I had finished, we decided to go over to Woden for shopping and lunch. It has been lovely to be out shopping and catching up with a good friend. With Covid and myself being careful, I cannot remember the last time I went out just to shop. In fact, it was so lovely to be out shopping that I went out again today and brought some nice feminine tops to wear.

This week has not been easy physically or mentally. Let's just say I had a few toilet problems where I felt I needed to pass some stools, but they there too big to come out. Earlier in the week, I had another joke that it would send me back to the hospital, but that joke wore off very quickly. By Tuesday afternoon, I was distraught and promptly made an appointment to see my GP. I was grateful she could see me Wednesday morning. She confirmed I was constipated and had lots of stools to be passed. She informed me of the correct remedy. Once I got home and had some time to relax, I applied the treatment and passed some stools 30 minutes later. I was totally relieved but felt mentally drained and had to take the rest of the day off work. I am glad I called out something that felt so wrong and wondered how to avoid repeating what had occurred.

On Wednesday, before seeing my GP, I sat down with another patient of Dr Hart for Coffee. She had her surgery after I had left the hospital. Still, it was lovely to chat with her about our surgeries and lives.

The last two weeks have been equally up and down. I was getting so tired that last Sunday (20th February), I was happy to be home relaxing after a week of working part-time. I had planned to see another friend for lunch on Sunday, but I was glad when we agreed to cancel. Sunday afternoon I just needed to lie down and sleep. On that day, I wondered if I was feeling some post-operation depression. It certainly felt like it, and I was glad I could hide at home once I had finished my grocery shopping.

Flying on Saturday 19th February. As I said in my previous post, I was physically there but felt I was not fully engaged in the activity. I know I was tired, but there is more to the story than that. I was too passive in my flying, I looked okay in the air, but that hid some lack of direction. On two of my landings, I let the plane go way too far downwind, and as a result, my approaches were awful.

It was funny when I came home yesterday. I saw my beautiful planes, and I wished they were not there. I have 2 planes that need a test flight, but now I do not feel like flying them. I am considering asking someone to give them a test flight. Maybe a few weeks or months before I feel like flying again. But, for now, my focus is somewhere else.

The week from the 7th till the 14th was similar. Now I know my sleeping was extremely poor, and as a result, I was getting exhausted and emotional. I should have seen the warning signs on Wednesday 9th February when I cried to a friend on the phone but the debate on the hill got me off track. I was angry and tired. I tried to concentrate on what I needed to do physically to recover, including my baths twice a day and forgot to look at everything else. It was only on Monday 14th February that I noticed my blocked nose and started to treat it with the usual nasal spray. I was lucky to have another GP appointment to review the previous week. She did not see the worst of how I felt that day as I was going to the appointment. I remember getting to her practice and just slumping down on the chair and crying. Lucky, I had a wait a bit before she saw me, but once I got into her room, I had another cry. Having seen me the previous week, she was obviously very concerned and needed to ask the usual mental health question. But I thought I would be okay with a little more time by that point. I had hoped to increase my working hours, but I knew I had to deal with my tiredness first, so I kept my hours in line with the previous week. By the end of this week, I felt so much better and wished I could continue to work, but I stuck with the hours I had arranged to ensure I got plenty of rest.

There have been plenty of good days, with two that stand out. The first is the beautiful picnic we had last weekend. We had 3 of us at our picnic, which we started last year through lockdown and has been a wonderful place of support. We had a good chat where we talked about my surgery and everything to do with our transgender lives. It was so lovely to laugh with like-minded people where I could just relax and be myself.

The second stand out was finally going back to the raiders club. It was so lovely to walk back into an environment that has been so supportive. Everyone had wondered how my surgery had gone, so I was so happy to show then all had gone well. Everyone that night just commented on how I was smiling again.

So were to from here?

I think I know what I want to concentrate on for a few weeks/months. There are

  • Getting back to working full time. I am glad I have slowly been able to gradually increase my working hours, but now I want to dive back in. It is the distraction/focus I need now, and the type of work required within our project will be something I will enjoy. I will be back to java programming developing new data.
  • My posture. I hate the slump that has always been there, and I know it needs to be corrected. I need to look more relaxed and upright.
  • Concentrate on my breathing and build up my exercise. At the moment, I am focussing on walking to build up my fitness. However, I miss being able to go and enjoy riding my bike. I miss running and the feeling of being fit. I miss being able to pull myself through the water when swimming. I know I need to be careful and wait until I am fully healed before engaging in these activities. However, maybe now I have a chance to relax and enjoy them again.
  • Getting out shopping and enjoying times with friends. I have been isolated with Covid, working from home and being safe before surgery. Hopefully, now I can be less careful and enjoy life without Covid being so restrictive.

Flying feels like it is missing in my priorities, and it is a pity I think this way. Everyone has been wonderful and supportive throughout the last 9 months while I get my head around surgery. I know my help in teaching new pilots would be appreciated, so I would like to repay that support in any way possible. But I need to be fully engaged in the activity to provide the best aid to new students. There are also other flying goals, such as flying my new planes and practising my pattern flying for the advanced level of competition. Hopefully, I will feel like picking up these activities soon.

So I will try and look after myself while I continue to navigate my post-surgery life. I will discuss when it is appropriate to return to full-time work with my GP. I am aware of my low moods, but I hope they will pass very soon once I get back to normality. By the end of March, I will be returning to the office, where interacting with people in person should help with my moods.

Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #106 on: March 20, 2022, 05:58:48 am »
So I am sufficiently recovered so I can start to swim and ride. They both have their unique challenges.

I am so happy with my walking. Today I did a 4km walk in just under 50 minutes. It was possibly a little long as I got tired towards the end, but I was still moving well. I was a little nervous as I have only recently stopped all my pain medication, but I feel okay this afternoon. I am still getting tired towards the end of my working week, so my build of swimming and riding will be a very gradual process.

Riding seems to be the easy one to start as I can do that by myself starting next weekend. I am not sure how I will go sitting on the seat with the obvious extra pressure it may place on the surgical site. I will start with 15 minutes and work from there. It will not provide much exercise, but I need to start to work out how comfortable I am on my bike.

Swimming means I need to interact with people like I have not done before. Changing, swimming, and changing again will take a while to get used to post-surgery. I am considering using any disabled rooms for extra privacy in the short term while I get used to the swimming part. Also, my lack of hair on top will make me nervous in the change room. I always knew this would be difficult.

On the positive side, I am back flying my planes. Yesterday was the first time I felt ready to take my glow engine plane. Taking a heavy flight box with fuel was one reason why I have not felt confident in taking them to the field until now. Before I start instructing again, I want a few more weeks while I work out if I will use the bench or ground to start my engines. I also need to my posture while flying to ensure I am relaxed and breathing.

I have restarted one of my hair medications which I did not think I would need post-surgery. It is one of the first medications I used when I started to regrow my hair 5 years ago. I was surprised when my GP brought up some guidelines indicating that the medication could still be used post-operation. It was probably me being tired, but my pictures indicate that my hair may have slightly thinned. When my GP indicated that the medication would not hurt the decision to start the medication again after my blood tests was easy. I will only stop it if something indicates I should not be using the medication.

Things are much better post operation, but there are still the expected challenges.

Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #107 on: March 30, 2022, 04:07:42 pm »
On this day, the word transgender day of visibility, I want to remind people how importants of this day. All of us who are transgender have our struggles. Working out if to transition and to what degree to transition always occupies our minds. Surgery cost and recovery will always be critical parts of planning made more uncertain in these covid times. All transgender people must deal with mental health while they way up how they will live in the future.

I always have thought the most challenging part of being trans is living with sadness. I was reminded of this last week when my mind turned on me again. Last Friday was the worst day of depression I have had in a long time. Yes, I know it was over something simple like hair, but it feels so important. I knew for a long time ago hair growth would be essential, and I wrote the following about it in my story

Early on in my planning, I had 2 conditions that had to be met before I transitioned as work.

1.   HRT needed to be successful the second time around and
2.   I need to grow on top of my head.

While not the whole reason HRT failed the first time, I distinctly remember hating the thought of having to wear I wig every day for the rest of my life.  I knew I would be more comfortable if I could somehow regrow my hair.


There are no truer words I have written. For the whole transition to work, I would need to get to a place where I was more confident and comfortable than the last. I know I would be more comfortable if my hair grows out. I never wanted to go from a pre-surgery situation where I was uncomfortable to end up in just another awkward spot. I want the whole package so I can just relax. It is why my hair has been so important to me. So last week I was trying to process the thought of ending up a situation that I have been trying to avoid for the previous 5 years. It got nasty for a few days, but I got through again.

The positives post-surgery has been amazing. I have been comfortable enough to wear feminine clothes out in the shopping centres, with or without my hairpiece. Until now, I have always felt the need to wear a wig and makeup when interacting out in public. Of course, I still hate being called sir when out shopping, but there is nothing I can do about people trying to be polite in the short term.

My breathing in posture has improved. I believe my focus on breathing and posture will provide long term results. It is still a work and progress and last week was a step backwards. In general, I am happier and relaxed. Even people who have not seen me since surgery comment on how happy I am looking.

 I have started to ride my bike again last week. I did my first ride for 15 minutes. My main physical pain was sitting on the hard seat again, I had no discomfort at the surgical site. However, it was weird knowing I was sitting on my changed anatomy. It will probably take a few more rides until I am entirely comfortable with that. I have decided to ride every 2 weeks until I get confident and then build my kilometers.

I have been out flying and feel I am in the very early stages of getting my head around that activity. My interest so far has only been lukewarm. I have taken my older plane out and have mainly flow flat figures of eights. I have no feelings of wanting to do anything else, like getting out my good planes and flying hard. Last Saturday, I did not feel like flying at all and packed up after one flight. When I thought about having another flight, I started to cry, so I just had to come home.

I know I have been through a lot since I came out in 2005 as a transgender person. My first transition in 2008 was a particularly difficult period in my life. Now I am glad that I have endured those hard times and gotten to a period where I can “relax”. I have met and made friends with many people both locally and nationally. I still chat with my friends online who live all around the world. We are everywhere, either hidden in the closet where I was for 30 years or out in the community. We come in many shapes and sizes, so never assume who is or is not within our community.

Alice
« Last Edit: March 31, 2022, 04:00:17 pm by Alice »

Online Northern Star Girl

  • Previously Alaskan Danielle
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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #108 on: March 30, 2022, 08:39:19 pm »
@Alice
Dear Alice:
Thank you so very much for sharing from your heart regarding your transition successes,
and also your trials and tribulations....
....concluding with your successes and victories regarding how you now view yourself
and how you feel about yourself and the transgender community at large.

Your words ring true in my heart and also most likely many of your readers and followers.

Thank you again for sharing.
HUGS and continued 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 42

Offline Alice

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Re: The Blog Spot of Alice
« Reply #109 on: March 31, 2022, 04:15:31 pm »
@Northern Star Girl

Danielle,

I am glad you appreciated my post. I always appreciate it when you write on my blog to let me know people are reading what I am writing.

Alice

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