Wow, a lot has happened since my last post and the continuing grief and loss I have over losing my Keahola (beloved) Lisa. I haven’t written about my transition for such a long time, mostly because Lisa’s passing has completely overwhelmed everything else in my life. Perhaps that is good, as it seems a lot of the worry I had before about transition had been replaced by this loss and my thoughts about transition seem to have simply vanished.
At this point in my transition (is it still a transition?) everything for me, being a women that is, is very much normal and almost taken for granted. I used the word ‘almost’ because I can never take this for granted after all I’ve gone through – what I mean is that daily activity as a woman is not questioned by me nor looked at with this “oh wow – I’ve made it” type of wonderment. Back in 2013 I wrote a post about wanting to feel ‘nothing‘ – meaning everything is seen, felt and communicated – gender wise – correctly and not with extensive disphoria. That is where I am today.
There are occasional disphoric moments, for example, seeing a reflection of myself when my hair is blown back and my face seemingly looking too masculine or interpreting a look from someone as evidence I’m not “passing”. These are rare and for the most part I now walk through life with the assumption that everyone’s first impression of me is as a female. In other words, I have a confidence now. In situations where there are people that know that I’m a trans-woman, I have no issue being open and sharing, as long as they respect me ‘as a woman’! And that is the norm – yayayayay!
The picture I chose above is when I addressed a gathering of over 300 people in remembrance of the shootings in Orlando at an LGBT* nightclub. This was put together by the Maui Pride organization which I was elected to as a board member. Just one of the things I’ve been doing since Lisa passed away. And, a biggie for me, I was accepted into a Womyn’s group. Another was being inducted into the service organization of the Rotary. In all of these I am out and known as a trans*woman and accepted as a woman.
I also have the opportunity to help a teenage youth, FtM, gain confidence as he transitions. I’ve given him a tour of the summit observatories and did some stargazing while we were up there. It’s so very rewarding to watch him gain confidence in himself and move forward in life. He was a co-speaker at remembrance for Orlando as well. As he started to read the poem he wrote especially for this event, he had a hard time getting started – so I went around and came up behind him and placed my had on his shoulder. That was all he needed and his confidence was back! He is now engaged in a lot of activities on the Island and is becoming known as the youth spokesperson for Trans*. This is so awesome. I’m very proud of him and honored to have been able to be a part.
Both of us were on a radio talk show here on Maui to discuss being trans, some of the misconceptions, and generally more information about trans* to help set the record straight. It’s an hour long but I think very good. Suzanne (the host) did a great job of asking the right questions. At one point even I did mix up the terms, placing sexual orientation words in a statement I was making about non-binary gender identity. So embarrassing especially after just talking about sexual orientation is completely different from gender identity! I know it’s long but please have a listen to the entire recorded show here on my YouTube site. My mic was quite soft so you might need to turn up the volume to hear what I had to say.
I have been able to do so much and come so far, but all of this has been possible because Lisa had passed away. I would not have gone out and got involved if Lisa was still alive. I would have continued as we were, together, in love and always in each others company. This troubles me a lot and is another source of terrible grief. I remember Lisa telling me how badly she grieved after her brother died. Lisa was the estate executor and she would say over and over again how she would rather have him be alive then have part of his estate. I am now in the same situation, I have accomplished so much in the last 15 months since she passed away. I would much rather have her alive and the two of us quietly sitting at home, together, enjoying life than everything I’ve accomplished since. It’s painful. I knew from the first day after she passed away that I had to get out there and be a part of everything I could: Maui Pride, Hiking Groups, Maui Adventures, Womyn’s groups, Sunday brunch groups, Rotary and the list goes on.
Lisa wanted to retire back to Oregon the second I turned 66 – my full retirement age. We had even put an offer on a house and had it accepted. We were waiting for the inspection report before finalizing – and that is when she passed away. The day she passed away I had to call and cancel that offer. I have now come full circle – I have just purchased a home on the beach in Oregon – a huge dream of hers (and mine). I will be retiring there on the 1st of Jan, 2017. During the first two weeks that I stayed in the new home, I could feel Lisa’s presence in the chair next to me. I could feel her happiness. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have felt that and her acceptance of this home. The irony is, she would not have purchased this when she was alive due to her bad knees, but she would have enjoyed this immensely in our retirement.
Back to transition ….
Once again a caveat … this is meant for those that are following me in transition, others may consider some of what comes next as TMI (too much information). You have been warned!
Most everything has stabilized. It is very hard to lose weight and so very easy to gain it. This is very different from before hormones. As a result, I’m up about 10 pounds from when I had my surgery. My breasts have grown perhaps just a little, my aoreolas are more pronounced and I definitely need to either wear a bra or ‘peddles’ to conceal my nipples under a top. I would also say I have some curves in the right places that I didn’t have before.
I still wear liners. For one, panties go a lot longer. I have a slight continuous discharge, not from the vagina but from the upper areas close to the clitoris. My doctor told me that was normal for a lot of woman and due to estrogen. This slight wetness keeps everything clean and healthy. When I shower I don’t use soap there: I rinse thoroughly with water under the shower, making sure to get into all the folds (after surgery for a number of months I used soap). At first I had the ‘cheesies’: deep in some of the folds a yellowish cheesie deposit would form and this did not smell very nice. Again my doctor found and showed me where and how to clean. This has not happened for quite a while now.
I still do not like to wear jeans or anything tight down there, but I am able to tolerate that longer now. However, if I take a long arduous hike, etc., I’ll notice that it will be tender and sometimes sore. Once my liner had a slightly pink color – so something bleed a little. That was after a pretty hard long hike in the mountains here. A few months after my surgery I had what felt like a bowling ball directly under my clitoris – very hard and sore. It was only after that went away (shrunk and then disappeared) that I was able to sit without using a cushion. Well, once after a difficult all day hike wearing tight jeans, this came back – maybe only marble size, but in the same place and with the same soreness and tenderness. It went away withing 24 hours, but I thought that was noteworthy as it was almost the same thing.
And orgasms …. I have not had any ‘over-the-top’ knock down, blows one’s mind out orgasm (yet). I will have these mini-orgasms that will peak but will go away quickly. These are full body and wonderful, but very short and perhaps not so intense. One of my problems might be that when they happen, my mind kicks in with ‘oh wow’ and then ‘keep going’ – all distracting from the event itself. Others that have transitioned the same time as me have figured it out and others still have not even had one, just like in the normal female population. I consider myself fortunate to be able to have this. Plus I think I’m placing too much pressure and ‘thought’ behind it. I have to learn how to let go even more. I really wish I had a partner in times like this …. I remember how totally awesome it was for Lisa.
I have noticed that I have synchronized with the other women in the office. For about a week each month, I bloat up only to loss all the water weight all at once over a 16 hour period – using the restroom as often as every 45 mins or so, with a large volume each time.
It’s just before this week that I have any inclination or wish for stimulation (what a huge difference from being a male!!). I am really grateful for that actually. As a male, testosterone imparted this almost constant drive that I hated. As a women, I knew that was not part of me and I hated how that had effected me. This is another one of the many parts of disphoria – a disconnect between one’s self and one’s body.
Dilation is not a problem at all any more. I dilate once a week, but there have been times when I missed – and had no problem the next time. I know others that can not miss a week without having trouble getting to depth or having tightness. I’m lucky. There was a discussion within the forums about switching to using a dildo or vibrator of the same width and depth instead of the lucite dilator. So, well, I bought one! It certainly makes dilation a lot easier! But it’s not as rigid as the dilator, so I alternate to make sure I keep the depth and width.
After I had my surgery and the doctor removed the packing, he inserted the dilator and showed me the initial depth – it was 6.5 inches. However, every time after that when I dilated, I measured 5.5 inches. Now, in the last couple of months, I have reached the 6.5 inches! So for me at least, I was able (after almost 2 years) to get back to my original depth. Not that his matters – I don’t have a partner and even if I do find someone – a new partner would almost certainly be female. But, as another trans*sister put it – you paid a lot of money/pain/effort for this …
Every now and then I wake up in the middle of the night and adjust the blanket – taking it off a bit because I got too hot only to put it back on later because I got too cold. For a while I thought this was outside temperature changes (in Maui I have all the windows and the sliding door to the lanai open in my bedroom – Lisa and I both loved the fresh air). But this was happening too often for this to be that. It’s night sweats – mini hot flashes. Cis women that I know that are post-menopausal have said that ya, they never really go away. Not as intense, but still there.
I’m still having electrolysis. The only part left is under my chin/neck and that is more than 1/2 way finished. I do not shave above my jaw line at all any more – I only shave part of my neck. That is a huge YAYAYAYAYAY! I can not wait to have this completed. I have electrolysis twice a week – 2 hours each time. Since I’m moving to Oregon in Jan. I’m hoping to have this completed by then.
I also had electrolysis to remove the hairs on my back as well. I didn’t have many, so that went pretty quickly. Now, I’m having laser on my front and finally getting that under control. I’ll have electrolysis on anything that is left on my front (just below the bikini line up to the neck).
In my experience, hormones did not have very much of an effect on my back and front hairs. I had to shave/wax both all along (about twice a week). However, the hormones did effect the leg and arm hair. Mine are now much softer and much less. I shave legs and arms perhaps once every three weeks to a month. Just under my knee caps is the only place where it’s noticeable.
The heath provider from work just removed Divigel (estrogen – very very critical for me) from their formulations – meaning I no longer pay the $20 co-pay for it but now am charged $75 !! What an increase! I want to fight it, but omg what a mess that is. In 5 months I retire and will get a medicare plan that will cover it. I could just wait. But I think I want to fight this – at least for others and those coming after me. So we’ll see. This will be difficult as there are so many other things that need to be done before I retire. Messy ….
Well, there you go – finally got a post out! I’ve learned not to promise when the next one will come – but I’ll try. Things seem to be getting better now.
With much aloha,
Thanks for the news and the update. Julia and I look forward to seeing you in Oregon. Glad things are going well for you, at least mostly.
Mahalo Mary! I can’t wait until you and Julia can come and visit in Oregon. Hugzzz!
You’ve come a long way, lady. I will miss seeing you once you move west.
I know Robyn – I’m going to miss you and everyone here. This is a very hard move for me …. Hugzzzzz
Sifan…I did not know about your blog and I was told by Barbara that I should read this. I am so glad I did. You have no idea how much respect I have for you and your journey. I know it has been so difficult with the loss of your beloved but you have done so much in spite of that.We will definitely have to visit once you are on the mainland. I love you and miss you.
I’m sorry I had not mentioned this to you before! Mahalo nui Barbara for pointing Cris to this! In the rest of the blog is pretty much my entire journey from ‘confirmed’ acknowledgement of my true self up through now. At the time, there were very few older people that had their journey through a transition and sadly little for me or others to guide and advise. Even though this is extremely personal and sometimes hard to write, some of the comments I have received confirm that it has helped others – not just those transitioning but also for everyone else being able to perhaps understand better what this is all about. Plus I want to leave a journal for my grandchildren (on both Lisa’s and my side) so that they can understand (when ready).
I’m so glad you found this!!
Oh, I really hope you can come over to Oregon to visit. I would be soooo happy to host you!!
Oh Wow, thanks for being so brave to share your progress in details.
I still from time to time watch Lisa’s videos and miss the joy she imparted through there.
She left us a great legacy. Wish she was still here though.
You are very welcome, hope it helps. And Lisa is constantly on my mind, in every moment, every action or thought I have. She gave a lot to the world. So many miss her – what a tribute!!