Everything is now focused on next month: SRS. Because I’m ‘older’ they wanted a cardiac stress test. Now, I’m in pretty good shape and that, for a stress test, is bad news. It means they keep you on the treadmill longer, faster and at a higher incline (and keep increasing until you start pumping harder). The good doctor brought me up to heart rate required for the stress test, looked at me and said, “want to see what you can do?”. You know, I must be slow in the uptake or maybe I was just not completely taking in what he just said. Well, from my perspective, all hell broke loose – not supposed to run just walk fast, the darn thing was now a ramp to the ceiling – but, like a fool, I did it. Then he asked me again – I think my muffled huffing response sounded like a yes. Right after they had me lay down and they took sonograms of my heart – asking me to ‘hold my breath’ – I was like “WHAT” – that’s not fair and it’s impossible!! They actually can measure the thicknesses of the different walls, measure blood velocities, etc. Very impressive. Well, I passed – however – about three days later my entire upper chest was sore and I had what seems to be a muscle strained under my arm. It took me a few more days to finally connect this to the stress test. I was using my upper body – hands on the front bar of the treadmill – to do a lot of work. When I hike in the mountains I use hiking sticks that basically do the same. My legs are in the best shape because of the walking/hiking I do, but my upper body was not used to that. It’s now almost a week later and at last I’m slowly recovering. Wow – mental note – don’t accept a ‘dare’ from a doctor doing a stress test on you! Unfortunately, I had to work up at the summit the rest of that week – this really zapped me.
I was sent an invitation to a private FaceBook group for those that have surgery with Dr. S. in Thailand – and for those that have been accepted for surgery. It’s turning out to be a great resource. Everyone is helping everyone, lots of good advice, worries, complications, things around town and the clinic and doctors weigh in as well. So good sound advice. One person said they just arrived – about 20 others replied with where they are meeting for breakfast, who to see and what to do before hand. I joined the fray and said I would be arriving next month and already I have 4 other gals (two from here in Hawaii) that will be there the same time – we’ll be getting together! By far the best is to go back about 1 year and read all the questions and answers, issues real and those easily fixed, what to expect and how everyone else has fared. I have lots of good advice and perhaps an even better idea for what to expect almost each and every day I am there (one month).
One of the purposes of my blog site here is to help others, especially those that are older, to get the information they need to understand and know what this is all about. To that end, I plan on making as many posts from Thailand as I am able to. Some might be a bit detailed but I’ll warn you right up front – continue to read at your own …. whatever …. I’ll probably write the first one tomorrow – about planning and pre-travel.
On a different note:
I had a conversation with Lisa a while back. I was telling her about catching myself in unconscious automatic behaviors, feminine behaviors, behaviors that were not learned or made automatic by rote – how could they be.
We went out to eat at a restaurant in an outdoor mall (most of our malls in Hawaii have open air promenades). We had a wonderful meal and had strolled down the open air mall talking and admiring clothes and nick knacks in the store windows. On the way back to the car I mentioned that I had just noticed how I instinctively held my skirt down before a gust of wind suddenly blew and then smoothed it out. Then it struck me that there are many other instinctive automatic things I do as well – feminine actions that I did not learn and was unconscious of doing.
What is intriguing is the recognition that these behaviors or actions were unconscious and very normal – what I would describe as just being me. This is in contrast to before when I was presenting as a male – most of that had to be leaned and was deployed ‘consciously’. Having had to do this for the majority of my life, it sometimes baffles me to realize that most people have never had to consciously ‘be’ what society says is their gender. That for most people, suddenly realizing that they are acting authentically, is simply never seen or experienced.
I learned quickly at a very young age. I saw what happened to others, the harassment and bullying they endured and I was blessed with a quick intellect that allowed me to quickly assimilate their examples into a workable model for my own existence. I learned to keep my truth inside – not hiding from myself – but to present what was expected. It’s sort of like the cliches “pick your battles” or “work from within the system” or “know your truth and pick the right timing”.
The other fascinating aspect of this, was that I had a detached presence as I watched these behaviors unfold. That was what prompted the conversation with Lisa.
And, I thought I would include a response I wrote to an article questioning why a ‘man’ would ever ‘want’ to change into a woman, considering all the disadvantage:
I’m a transwoman, let me see if I can make some sense here – I can only speak for myself. I was born this way, this is not a choice or something I ‘want’. It’s who I am. The issue becomes how do I deal with this – not about which gender has it easiest. There are a lot of false stereotypes and beliefs surrounding this – that compounded the issue for me as well. As a result it took me until I was older to sort out what and who I am. Just like everyone else, I had to sort out what was real – then I had to accept who I am and then despite all of that plus, as you stated “the disadvantages of being a woman in today’s society” – to proceed and become true to who I am. The fact that there is so much against this should speak for itself. It has nothing to do with advantages/disadvantages, etc. For many trans* it is life or death (or even a living death) – makes the disadvantages seem moot huh. To have your core being at odds is very disconcerting. Ask yourself if you really know what it feels like to be a woman (or man) – I mean, do you really know? On a personal level the only way to know is to actually know the opposite. For a trans* person this is a daily and deep question: who am I – not what do I want to be or the relative merits of one gender vs the other. This was one of the reasons it took me so long to come to terms with and accept who I am. The mind does a wonderful job of trying to protect and therefore deny or explain away things it thinks will be harmful – especially in this case. I am glad that trans* issues are becoming better known and slowly things are getting better – especially for the younger trans*. I hope they don’t have to go through what I and many others have. My hope is that society will understand this better and drop all these pre-conceptions, stereotypes and false beliefs.
Thanks for sharing. I know your honest and articulate reflections will help others – both trans and those who love them and seek understanding. Keep us in the loop. You are often in our thoughts and always in our prayers.
Excellent post, Sifan. Yes, isn’t it interesting how much behavior is now automatic?
Will be good to see you after you’re back from Thailand and I’m back from diving in Indonesia.