Lisa and I are spending Valentines day in Brookings Oregon. We came here to look for and buy a house that we’ll move into when I retire in about one and a half years. Very exciting!
However, it was a long flight over, then a 7 hour wait at San Francisco before catching a 1.5 hour flight up to Crescent City, then a car ride to Oregon. This plus all the driving around and looking at houses – which were mostly out in the mountainous forests – has really had an effect on me ‘down there’. I’ve been walking all around, up and down and in one case hiking around a 20 acre parcel. As a result, I’ve been bleeding from those granulations on my vestibule. This was a bit more than what has happened before, but at least I know what it is and where it’s from. As a result, I’m much more ‘relaxed’ about it although it means going through pads and liners and checking more often. And there is a general constant pain down there – had to take some pain medication twice already.
We found a house and made an offer. I can now rest a bit and keep things off ‘down there’ to help heal better. Wearing tights and at one point jeans was pretty hard on me. Perhaps having those two granulations right in the middle between the inner labia is why it seems like this is taking longer for me to heal and get off using the seat cushion. My third granulation is between the inner and outer labia and that seems to behave itself now. That was the one that always bled a bit. I’m hoping these other two will settle down as well.
Up until last month, the pain was mostly in the swollen outer labia and the ‘bowling ball’ then ‘golf ball’ hard feeling was just above the clitoris by the pubic bone. Although there is still some tenderness there, that has subsided for the most part. Now it seems the pain has moved down along the sides and sometimes around the intruitus. The nerve re-connections have diminished but I still have a sudden sharp but bearable quick pain now and then – not enough to make me jerk or jump.
I also have correlated my exercise walks or long rides or anything were it’s either bumpy for a while or where my legs are moving, with increased pain the next day. This also happens if I work at the summit for a long hard day. One time I was feeling pretty good, went around the block once, still felt pretty good so I wound up going around 3 times (it’s a big block with a steep section of about 60 feet up and down). I had to stay in bed the next day, nothing on, legs apart and on pain meds. That also happened after I had a long hard day at the summit too. Seems like I’m always slowly learning ….
I saw the endocrinologist and he basically said not to worry about the low levels of estrogen I had on the last blood test. As I stated last month it could have to do with any number of things. The levels were great on the blood tests a month before. I’ll have another blood test just before I see my GP and we’ll retest my levels then.
Last month I also said my breasts were growing again. Yup, they are. They are getting firmer (actually harder) and once again are sore and tender at times. I bought new bras that give me a bit more room and those help. I can’t wear shelf-bra camis any more without something underneath – rats – those were very comfortable.
I’m finding that I can cut down on my dilations a bit too. Instead of dilating once every day, I can miss one once in a while and not have any issues the next day. This is nice, especially when I have had a day that was hard on my new parts and left me bleeding (or ‘spotting’ as they say….). I always wear liners so at least I’m not going through panties. I remember at Chonburi, even with pads, I was going through a dozen panties each day – got them washed every day and repeated – what a mess. I still have a bit of discharge and will go through about 3 or 4 liners each day – but what a long ways from what it used to be. That is something I’m going to bring up with my GP – I’ll ask her about this discharge and make sure all is well. I believe it’s just part of the healing process, but want to make sure.
I’m making good progress on electrolysis – I’m supposed to stop shaving my upper lip starting on Wends now. I think after the next session I will have to stop shaving there completely. Already I’m not supposed to shave where my sideburns used to be and I think I will have to cut back shaving my lower lip this next time too. I’m going for 2 hour session every Monday and this is starting to make a difference! Oh that feels so good. Normally, on a flight to the mainland like I just did, especially with a 7 hour layover, I would be very concerned about a 5 o’clock shadow – now it’s only beneath my chin and that is almost all white and not that noticeable. It was always something I would worry about – where would I shave? Women’s restroom? – no way, and just about everywhere during a flight is somehow always in a ‘public’ area …. ack. At least now I don’t have that ‘urgent’ of a problem ….
I was a bit concerned about others’ reactions to me in southern Oregon. This is not the open and accepting Hawaii! It’s not exactly redneck either but it is more conservative here. And since this is where I will be living, hopefully the rest of my life – it is important for me to be able to be accepted and yes, ‘pass’. To my surprise even the most strident and conservative didn’t even bat an eye and I was met with ma’am, you ladies etc. the entire time. I’m just an older woman that looks a bit masculine as do most others that live in the woods and small towns around here. I fit in quit nicely.
The best compliment I received was from Lisa after seeing me standing next to and talking with our Realtor (a guy named Tiny and of course he was huge). Lisa could not believe how perfectly and normally feminine I was. She said I looked like a relaxed, casual woman. The best part of it was that I was just being ‘normal’, I was not putting on ‘airs’. Now, compare this to any situation before as a man where everything was posturing and every situation analyzed and having to act appropriately as a guy …. Now, not a thought is placed, not a posture imposed – I’m just letting it flow, being natural and being my true self. Oh this is so nice. Feeling more as myself, being comfortable and being accepted as is. This is part of what this transition was all about!
I had mentioned before about ‘owning’ my new parts. The clinic in Chonburi had mentioned this a number of times: “You need to stop treating your new parts as a surgical wound that has to heal and instead ‘own’ it, know it, let it become part of you”. Well there are levels of understanding this. When it’s sore and painful, requires lots of attention and every little change, regardless of how minor but especially if major, causes great concern and worry, it’s very hard to treat this as anything but a surgical wound requiring the utmost of care, attention and paranoid cleanliness! And of course this is a ‘catch 22’ – the more care and attention the more it’s a surgical site – the more it hurts or causes pain the more care and attention … It’s inspected daily, it’s carefully cleaned at least twice a day, etc. That is one level of the meaning of what they said – know it.
Another level is slowly letting it ‘become’ me. Now this part is tricky: on a very visceral level my body knows this is me, so does my head. I think others have had problems adjusting to this change of anatomy – I have not – it was immediately acknowledged by my entire being the moment I came to after surgery. For me this is more of an issue with the constant low level, almost chronic pain that causes me to still see this as a surgical site. This will take time and the acknowledgement that so much progress has already been made. And I have previews of what it will be like. When I’m on pain meds (which is not that often now) I have a wonderful taste of what life will be like with out this chronic pain – and it’s awesome!
I’m finding yet another level to their saying as well. Even though this was also told us and is in our ‘care’ booklet – I never connected it to ‘owning’ my new parts. They highly encourage us to ‘get to know’ our parts. And they don’t mean the names for all the parts and pieces – they mean to explore, touch, feel and experience all/everything there is. See what does what, what feels what, how different parts react and what does not.
I was amazed: last month I talked about how dilating was separate and didn’t have anything to do with where the pain was (thank goodness….). But in exploring around I’m finding out a number of things. One is that everything ‘down there’ is pretty tough! Even though there is pain – everything is still sensate and can take quite a lot and just like dilation – it has nothing to do with the pain areas. Not only that, if there is too much stimulus, instead of hurting, it slowly shuts down – not quite a numbing effect – but sort of dulls out gradually. Even the granulations behave! This does connect me with my new parts in a way that I had not contemplated and is allowing me to fully accept this as ‘me’ – to own it!
This is not something new – this is advice that is given to every woman, not just transsexuals. Very few women understand or know themselves and as a result accept this essential part of ourselves. Too often it is looked upon as a handicap, source of pain and constant care and cleaning: paranoid cleanliness (I’m starting to understand my mother’s obsessions with cleanliness…).
This last bit brings me to a wonderful production I just saw: “The Vagina Monologues”. The stylist I see invited me to come along with her and 5 of her friends. Seven women sharing our experiences, stories and emotions during this show. We laughed, cried, cheered and clapped. We shared pride, horror and commonality with all women. We connected and were inspired. This is a wonderful way for ‘any’ woman to reconnect to our being, to bring us up out of the oppression and taboos surrounding our Vaginas and to celebrate that which is a part of us and to ‘claim’ it! So very powerful, so necessary and so inspiring. Mahalo nui e’ tita!
A good friend of mine was part of this production. She and one other transsexual woman performed a ‘monologue’ on transgender. Beautifully done and well received by everyone in the theater. This has inspired me to write a monologue. The entire way home that day I came up with verse after verse. When I got home I quickly jotted everything down. When I finish I will post it here and place a link to it from this post.
In summary, this was a major surgery – like any other, it is taking a very long time. Progress is slow, but progress is being made. My unique process of ‘owning’ my new parts is taking a new and deeper turn. This combined with experiences both with public acceptance far from home and acceptance and sharing on a deep and personal level with women at home in an inspiring production of the Vagina Monologues has allowed me to be a natural, casual, relaxed woman. It is so awesome to be authentic!
With much aloha,