Saturday, April 27, 2013

... like a bus with no brakes

So, you would think that in the lull between making my endo appointment and actually starting hormones that I would not have much to talk about ... but I seem to be babbling endlessly.

I never thought that a hectic Friday at work would ever be the beginning of 2 days of excellence.

I mean, the day at work wasn't horrible, but it was a bit hectic.  I had my trainees in class, and had the usual parade of drivers with questions and issues and of course the weekly reports ... the relatively useless weekly reports.  I think maybe I wanted the day to be over because Pam and I were going to dinner with our son Timmy.

I cherish any time I can spend with my son.

After I picked him up at his house I called home to let Pam know we were on our way.  She told me my niece would be going, too.

Cool ...

During the drive I told Timmy I had an appointment with the endocrinologist.

"Is everything ok?"  He didn't seem horrible concerned, but the tone in hos voice meant he connected my comment to the recent talk of lymph nodes and follow up visits.

"Yeah ... the cat scan came back clear."  I know he knows about the feminization, but I didn't want to blurt out the precise truth as it seemed a bit blunt and rude to me.  "It has to do with what we talked about last time."

"Oh."  I saw the realization on his face.  "OK."

We had been discussing Fallon Fox, the transgender fighter, for several weeks and are in very slight disagreement about whether she has a physical advantage over other women.  We both have a deep understanding of anatomy and physiology, so our conversations are incredibly fact based.  We bantered about certain details for a bit.

"It gives you the chance to use me for an experiment on me."  I glanced at him.

"You better get your baseline numbers now."  He picked up on what I was saying.

"It won't be scientific, but it will be interesting."  I gathered my thoughts for a moment.  "Maybe we can do tests pre-hormones for baseline, then repeat the tests at 30 days 90 days 6 months and 1 year.  I won't be doing any weight training, so it should be an unbiased and relatively accurate."

"Sounds interesting."  He smiled.  "Maybe we can go to the gym in the next week or so for the baseline."

So I have in essence turned myself into a human guinea pig for the sake of science ... or at least for civil debate.

We had dinner at Dominick's ... a local restaurant owned by a friend of Pam's family.  Wonderful food, people we know, public place and I sashay in in a women's top, pretty earrings, nail polish and carrying a purse ... how cool is that?

After dinner we all went down to Timmy's house and had such a wonderful conversation.  I do not have time, nor will I go into the dozens of facets of our chat, but it suffices to say that we were all enjoying ourselves.

At one point we discussed some family members.  I commented that my brother in law would likely never come back to our house.

My niece broke eye contact and said, "Because of me."

Timmy looked confused.  "Why?  Because you smoke?"

"That, and other things," she said.

"I guarantee you that more than one person in this room has something that your uncle dislikes," I said without thinking.  I was referring to my brother in law and named him by name, but out of respect I will not mention his name here.

Pam smiled.  "Why don't you two share secrets?"

My niece and I both hemmed and hawed for a second.  Timmy suddenly looked horribly confused and a bit uncomfortable.

"Well, your secret isn't completely secret," Pam said.

My niece was not upset.  "I thought maybe you would have figured it out with all the hints I've dropped."

"I did ... a while ago," I replied.

A bit of conversation ensued.  Pam eventually turned to Timmy and said, "She's gay."

"Oh, ok."  Timmy shrugged his shoulders.  "Whatever makes you happy.  So are we going to L.A. tomorrow to finish the project?"

My heart leaped.  I am so proud of my son.

"Now it's your turn."  Pam looked at me.

"Mine is a bit obvious, too."  I was able to maintain eye contact and not feel uneasy.  "I mean, hello.  Women's clothes, earrings, nail polish."

"I knew it was something in the gender identity spectrum ... " My niece seemed hesitant to say anything more specific. 

"I'll give you a bigger hint.  I'm seeing an endocrinologist at the end of May."  I leaned forward a bit.

"Ok."  She still did not want to use specific terms.

The conversation rolled on from there.  We joked and laughed and had a great time.  We stayed several hours later than we intended, but loved every second of it.

Today the group of us headed to Los Angeles.  It's only 50 or so miles away, but we generally go there due to the traffic and some of the people.  But today we had an errand to run ... well technically my niece had an errand to run, but we all made a day of it.

After making excellent time into the valley we exited the 101 and headed north of a surface street.

"The place is just a bit past Vanowen," Timmy said from the back seat.

"OK," Pam replied.

About three miles later we started to discuss whether we had gone too far.  We were all laughing already, but the silliness had only begun.

Another three miles and we were almost at the 118 ... ummm ... way too far.

We had decided to not bring our Garmin because Timmy knew the area and we were staying on major roads.  Well ... at least that was the theory.

We finally arrived at the first stop ... after we drove past it one more time.  After a few minutes we picked up what had gone there for and was ready for the next adventure.

"OK."  Timmy huffed in mock disgust.  "Turn left.  After we cross under the 405 we're going to turn left," he barked out the street name.

So we drove ... and drove.

We passed the Van Nuys airport and commented on the planes.  We drove past a big sidewalk sale, a 99 Cent store, a myriad of small shops and restaurants and brand name businesses.  Eventually we drove by the Bob Hope airport ... in Burbank.

Oooops.

"How the hell did we go so far?" Timmy exclaimed from the back seat.  "Did I fall asleep or something?  You all just didn't wake me up?"

We all bust out in hysterical laughter again.

We finally backtracked to the second stop.  After a brief wait we purchased the items my niece needed and headed back to Ventura County.

We had so much fun.

As we got off the freeway Timmy asked, "You want Olive Garden?"

Well, duh!  Of course we want Olive Garden ... it is yumminess second only to Dominick's.

So now I'm in a frilly tank top, my hair down, my new earrings and my sandals ... oh, and of course my purse.  I could sense a bot of uneasiness with the waitress because my beard and mustache are dark and visible again, but she was very nice ... she just avoided any gender tags for all of us rather than guessing wrong with me.  

I didn't care.

We all had another great dinner and two wonderful days in a row.  I am so blessed.  My beautiful wife Pam ... my incredibly awesome son Timmy ... and now my wonderful niece all know me and support me.

Life is simply fabulous.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's doctor visit ... ...

So I had my follow up visit after my CT scan today.

I was a bit apprehensive because something always seems to be discovered other than what I'm being checked for ... but I needed to be checked.  In fact, prior to the whole "hey, there's a huge mass in your chest" issue they were checking my appendix for possible appendicitis.  One of the issues they discovered was inflamed lymph nodes and I was told it may be lymphoma.

Yeah ... I was nervous.

So I dressed a tad bit more fem for this appointment.  I figured it can't hurt ... the doctor already knows, and the staff already knows I'm being referred to an endocrinologist ... and that I had a hormone panel test.  If the doctor didn't tell his staff, and they have not figured it out, then we will have some fun discussion on a future visit.  They are all so nice.  I would be flabbergasted if anybody there was not supportive and caring.

So Pam and I arrived at the office a bit early and signed in.  We brought our obligatory bribery of peanut butter cookies along with our co-pay.  The office staff loves Pam's cookies ... and we love the staff.  I carried my new little purse, wore one of Pam's tops ... a pair of my favorite earrings ... and my clunky and ugly shoes that I wear to work.

I must find some work appropriate shoes that are a tad more feminine.

After a week of perfect blood pressure at home Anna (the nurse ... and Dr. Mcbreen's wife) took it at the office ... ...

140 / 88 ... shit!!

How freakin' depressing!  Why is it always so high at that office?  The doctor walks in and takes a seat ... the usual chit chat ensues.  Just another day ... an ordinary visit.  He pulled up my file and looked it over.  "Your scan came back normal.  No mass in the chest.  A bit of scar tissue.  All the swelling is gone. And the lymph nodes are all normal."

I felt like I exhaled for the first time in a week.

"Did you make your appointment with the endo?"  A short discussion ensued.  "I have a story to tell you about the good Dr. Chochinov."

"It's not something that's going to scare me is it?"  I giggled.

"No ... This is actually quite funny."  Dr. Mcbreen proceded to tell a story about a Trivial Pursuit game between hime and my soon to be endo.  It turns out that Dr. Chochinov had bought the Canadian version of the game as a joke ... and the game went on for a while before they both finally gave up.

I loved the story ... ... I loved it the first time he told us 4 years ago too, but the fact that he joined in the normal conversation really put me at ease.

Life is normal in my doctor's office despite the impending changes.

"Did you get the blood test results?" I asked out of curiosity.

"Let's see."  He scrolled through the screens on his laptop.  "Your estrogen level is high and your testosterone is low." He gave both numbers and talked a bit about the levels.

So even before HRT my estrogen level is above the normal male range, but it is not quite to the average female range.  My testosterone level is lower than the average male level, but not into the female range.  I find this interesting, but I'm not sure if it is good or bad news for entering HRT ... I'll find out in 35 or so days.






Monday, April 22, 2013

The top ... ...

I decided to not to post the number of days until HRT ...

That's why I added this widget  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --->>>

**Giggle**

I had a lot to think about this weekend.  Suddenly it seems like everything is moving very fast no matter how slow I want it to go.  With another (but not final) laser treatment in just over 2 weeks and the impending call from my HR department I feel like I'm at the crest of the biggest hill on the roller coaster and am about to go for a ride ... ... But I love roller coasters.

I decided to not go overly fem when I went into work Saturday despite the fact that Nanette knew about me ... ... but she didn't show up.  She wasn't avoiding me, but was busy doing personal things so we didn't get to talk ... but I did get my work done.

The highlight of Saturday was going with Pam and my niece to see Jurassic Park in 3d.

My niece came out to my wife ... she's gay, but we kind of figured that out a while back.  The problem is she hasn't officially told me ... and I haven't told her about me ... she's sharp enough to figure it out.

I have enough of my beard shadow returning that I really don't feel ladylike, but there were a couple of people ... workers at the theater that called us ladies.  We had the theater to ourselves, literally.  Afterward we came home, enjoyed a glass of hard cider and a little chit-chat.

Sunday was a day of rest ... much needed rest.  Especially since I started the day breaking a nail.

I had chosen a top and pants and hung them in the bathroom.  I was planning on changing after Pam and I prepared the pork for our dinner ... mmmmmm ... Kalua Pork!  The only problem ... 6:00 pm rolled around and the pig wasn't in the slow cooker yet.

So much for dinner.

I did remove my purple nail polish, trim my nails while rescuing what was left of my left index fingernail.  I asked Pam to apply a nice blue that she found in her stash (our stash).  30 shades of pink and a nice blue ... that turned out to be purple ... pretty much the same purple I removed earlier.  But at least it looks nice now.

After a restless, constantly interrupted night of sleep I didn't want to get out of bed.  I'm really tired of being tired every Monday.  Somehow, something needs to change ...

I staggered to the bathroom ... the top and pants were still hanging there.

I stared at the top.

I debated whether I should wear it to work ... and what would happen if I did.

So tempting.

I decided that it was not appropriate work attire ... not the top is inappropriate, but it was not a work shirt ... and definitely much more feminine than anything I've worn to work.  Maybe after HR helps me ... guides me ... after I come out to my coworkers, but not now.

So as I watch the upcoming weeks come toward me much in the way a bug sees a windshield fast approaching I can't help but hold my breath a bit.  I need to keep track on some of my personal goals.

Weight loss for the week ... Acceptable, not spectacular, but I am alright with it.

Exercise for the week ... Well, does shopping count??  Otherwise I really didn't do much.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What if ... ...

I had an interesting day ... an interesting week at work, but I've talked about much of that already.

Today was another stressful day, which is becoming all too typical ... and it started with a phone call.  Another incident, and Maggie (the manager) is out sick ... so I get to handle everything.

Shit!

I pulled into the bus lot.  It was going to be a long day, and it was just starting.

I saw a car parked by the office.  "Nanette!"

I've known Nanette for 20 years or so.  We've worked together, I've trained her to drive a bus, we've played softball together.  Now she is the manger at one of our sister yards, and although we don't talk nearly as much, she is still a friend and I trust her.

Nanette worked under Maggie before Maggie transferred to our yard.  With Maggie going through some very difficult times, Nanette has been around a lot more often ... helping out at my yard ... training new payroll programs ... and just being there for Maggie.

Today she helped me.  She ran the interview for the investigation and took a lot of the pressure off me.  Later we talked.

"How are you doing?" she asked.  The conversation had gone all over the place.  We had talked in the recent past about my depression and how tough it could be to deal with.  "Last time we talked you said your depression was pretty bad.  You seem a lot happier now,"

"I know you and Maggie talk."  As usual, I didn't make eye contact.  "And if you already know this ... if Maggie told you I don't care.  I mean ... the depression was because of something personal."  I paused.

"I figured it was something personal," she replied.  "I mean ..."

"There's only two other people in our company who know this.  I trust you, that's why I'm telling you."  I leaned forward on my chair.  "I'm transitioning to be female."

"I know," she said.  "Back around the time of your surgery I asked Maggie.  I've noticed a lot of the changes."

I felt relieved.

"You need to do whatever it takes to get yourself to that happy place."  She smiled.  "It's going to be a tough road."

We carried on for a bit.  We both have to go to the office tomorrow to complete a project, so we were trying to coordinate our times.

"Hey ... I'm glad I told you.  Now I can wear one of Pam's tops and not feel self conscious."

"It's still going to take time to get used to this," she said, smiling.

We both laughed.

On the way home I began to wonder ... ...

*** August 1974 ***

I was excited about going to summer camp.  It was a Christian camp, and my older brothers and sisters always raved about how fun, and how nice everyone was.

After lunch on the first day we had our free time.  The boys ran to the pool and to the play field for a game of kickball.  The girls ran to the cafeteria for arts and crafts and to the pool.

I waited.

Sheepishly I walked into the cafeteria and sat at a table to play with the clay or the finger paint.

Not so politely, after a short while it was suggested that I should be playing with the boys.

I wasn't a boy ... I'm not a boy.  I went down to the creek and skipped rocks.

What if I had said I was a girl then??  How would my life turned out??

*** April 1984 ***

My friend Richard had come out to me that he was gay.  My feelings were mixed, but I figured he might be the ally I needed if I was ever going to pursue my transition.

We had only known each other a short time, but formed a close friendship playing volleyball and working for the college together.

When he opened up to me I tried to not show my shock.

I asked questions ... I accepted him and our friendship grew closer.  After a few weeks we were driving some place ... although if I thought hard enough I could probably recall the destination, it is not important to the story ... the conversation is what shaped my life.

"What about people who get a sex change?" I asked.  It was in line with what we were talking about, but still a bit out of the blue.

"That's wrong," he said.

I was baffled.

"God made them men.  Why can't they just be men?"  He became visibly uneasy.  "They need to just admit that they're gay and have sex with other men."

He continued to rant ... I crept back into my shell.

What if I had stood up for myself?  What if I had told him I was a transsexual back in the 80's?  WHere would I be today?

I could easily rattle off many other times where my desire to be me was squashed by friends', family's or society's expectations.

I do wonder sometimes ... but if I had transitioned when I was young, I likely would not have met my wife, I would not have had the privilege of raising our son, I would likely not be in the career I am now.

I will never know, but I do wonder ... What if??

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just rambling ...

So I in the doldrums ...

I've made the appointment with the endocrinologist, now I wait ... but I still have things to do ... ... and I have accomplished a couple of things.

I informed my HR department of my transition.  The area rep is so nice ... she kept the conversation discrete, which was a clue that she was in the office with someone.  The end result is her researching what the company is required to do or provide for me ... and I have taken the biggest step toward coming out at work.

*Small happy dance*

I stepped up my feminine look at work just a tad.  Slightly more feminine earrings ... and definitely more obvious color on my fingernails.  A very pretty purple with an opaque, pearl topcoat.  I love 'em.

Now people notice ... but only a couple actually talk to me as far as the changes go.

One lady did approach me after a driver meeting today.  "That color really isn't for you."

"I like it."  I smiled.

There was a brief conversation conversation.  I could tell by her body language that there was something she was holding back ... then finally.  "OK, I've got to know.  Are you just fucking with people's brains? ... Why suddenly the nail polish and the girly earrings."

Hello!!  It's not suddenly.  I've been building to this for over 2 years.  I would love to have said that out loud, but I was polite.  "I'm not messing with anyone."

"Ah, just exploring?" she quizzed.


"No, not exploring."  Part of me wanted to tell her the absolute truth, but I feel I need to wait for HR to ensure everything is done properly ... and the fact that she is a prime gossiper would not do me any favors in maintaining what little discreteness is left.  "I am just comfortable this way.  If anyone wants to ask me about anything they are more than welcome to ask, but I'm not changing.  I finally reached a point in my life where I don't really care what people think, but if they feel it is inappropriate for me to dress this way they can contact the right people and let them know.

So I chickened out a bit, but I did make a definitive statement.  And if anyone calls HR on me they will be surprised to know that I beat them to the punch ... and that they cannot tell me how to dress or act.

So it is another step toward coming out at work.  By now most should not be surprised when the announcement is official.

Our customer also saw me in person for the first time in nearly a year ... he stared a bit, but did not say a word.

And, yes ... that is another step.  I should be nothing but happy ... but  ...

My disgust level with my company is increasing ... ...

I won't bore you, nor do I have time to tell you all the stupid little things that have been piling up.  I will merely comment on the latest and shittiest.

The company recently ran a safety contest pitting bus yards of similar sizes against each other.  The yard with the fewest accidents and injuries would win a luncheon.

We tied for first in our division.  I've posted everything, kept the drivers updated, kept everyone excited, and even announced today at the meeting that we tied for first.

My area director of safety called today to congratulate me and my drivers ... and to tell me that corporate backed out and is not providing the luncheon for anyone.  What chicken shits ... and what a chicken shit way to handle this.

Seriously!!  Drag you corporate baboon ass to this yard and you tell the drivers that you are welshing out on the deal.  Why am I stuck telling them??  Bullshit!!

I get in trouble ... I get a failing grade on an audit because I "fail to meet expectations" but the morons who are grading me don't have to do anything they are supposed to.

What a fucking downer ... I want to cry.  A bit of estrogen in my veins and I probably would.

One of the other things that's been eating me is the followup to the inflamed lymph nodes ... I had my cat scan today ... and now I wait.  Whether something is wrong or not is not the issue.  It's waiting to hear.

The stress I feel about this test is exponentially compounded by waiting to hear from the doctor ... and the stress I feel about waiting for the doctor is exponentially compounded by waiting for the hormones.

Life goes on and I will survive.









Saturday, April 13, 2013

So what now?

As I start to type this entry I have 47 days 13 hours and 20 minutes until I see the endocrinologist.

http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/generic?iso=20130531T1045&p0=885&msg=The+next+step

So what now??

Do I blog every day how Impatient I am?  Do I say that there are not noticeable changes because, DUH, I'm not on hrt?  Do I just tell stories that really have no bearing on anything?  Do I talk about what color nail polish I'm wearing or the earrings I bought?

Well ... ...

As I recall, quite a while back I mentioned that I wanted and needed to lose weight and get myself back into running or biking shape ... so ...

I've made a couple of modifications to this page ... A slight title change ... a background to the title ... a description.  I will be adding some report of my "Training" ... I put it in quotes because it is not actually training until I have an even to train for.  I will also be adding a weekly update regarding my weight loss ... no specific numbers, more of a "good loss"-"small loss"-"no loss" type thing.  I am not looking for extreme weight loss.

Starting when I begin hrt I will be adding progress photos ... wearing a t-shirt ... I don't want to gross anyone out ... Both front view and side view.

The journey ... the transition will still be the focus of the blog.  I just want to make this blog about my life ... and my life includes running, bicycling and swimming.  It includes successfully completing a marathon, and an ironman triathlon ... and other challenges that may grab my interest along the way.

Consider this my first update:

Weight loss - Pretty good.  Safe number, and enough to know that it isn't just false low that you can get from home scales.

Training - I've gone out of my way to get in extra walking every day (except today).  It is clearly obvious my cardio is well below what it was just a couple years ago.

I am tentatively looking at the San Diego Rock n Roll marathon 2014 to complete that goal.  It will also be a great way to celebrate 1 year on hrt.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A realization and some goals

Yesterday I Got to work at 5:00 in the morning, and for a few hours ... a few hectic hours I didn't think about what I was going to do later in the day.

Then the time came.

I called the endocrinologist.  After a brief computerized / choose the number moment, I chose the "make an appointment" option.

"Oh crap ... Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!"  My brain started spinning.  I was so scared ... but I didn't hang up.  In the brief moment after pushing the button all the what ifs I've built up over 40+ years crammed into my brain.

What if they know me?

What if they don't believe me?

What if they ask why I'm calling?

What if they can't help me?

What if ...

"Thank you for calling, how can I help you?"  an unfamiliar voice chimed in.

"I ... I need to make an appointment."  I'm sure my voice was cracking.

"Are you a new or existing patient?"

"New."

"What's your name?"  Her voice seemed monotone and rehearsed.

"Ummm ..."  I choked a moment, then gave my legal name.

"And why do you need to see the doctor?"

A strange numbness flowed through my body.  In my brain I was forming clear sentences, but I am sure the receptioness heard, "glurrr, flrpty ... mlommm fupter schnedd."

"OK ... but what is the reason you are making this appointment?"

"I'm male to female transgender."

Then it hit me ... I do not believe I had ever said that aloud in my life.  And I am positive I have never said that to any person in my life.

Why?

I felt like ... I felt ... well, I felt a bit shocked.

The conversation continued, but suddenly there was a different tone to the receptionist's voice

I made the first appointment ... on May 31 ... Bummer, wish it was sooner.

"We will have to use your legal name on all your documents and prescriptions," she said.  "But if there is a name you would prefer us to refer to you we will note it in your chart if it will make it easier."

Wow ... They'll call me Tiffanie if I want.

On the short drive back to work I questioned why I have never said, "I am a male to female transgender" out loud ... or at least out loud to another person?  How have I managed to go through nearly a year of therapy without saying it?

I laughed out loud.

"I am male to female transgender," I said aloud.  "I am a male to female transgender woman ... I AM a male to female transgender WOMAN."  I giggled as I pulled into the parking lot.

Basically I have 7 weeks until my appointment.  So ... In the interim I am going to accomplish a few simple goals.

1 - 1 more laser treatment.  The few dark hairs which are mostly on my upper lip and chin are a real bummer.  I must get rid of them before my appointment.

2 - Doctors say weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week average is healthy.  Because of how heavy I am, I can safely lose 3 pounds per week ... 21 pounds before the appointment.

3 - I will start to exercise regularly.  Build a bit of a cardio base.

4 - I will think of one positive thing to come from this appointment every day.

If I spend my free time moving toward the goal ... helping the next steps to become easier then I will have a better chance to succeed.

7 weeks ... 52  days ... What can I accomplish??  We will see.




Sunday, April 7, 2013

One year ago ...

*** April 2012 ***

I had traveled this road before ... many times before.  

I had stood at the same fork in the road and had to decide which way to go far too often.  I had never traveled one of the paths, but I knew the other path would simply loop around and bring me back to the same spot.

I had traveled that loop many times.  Sometimes it took a long time to return to the fork ... other times I was back far too quickly.  The last time I chose that path it nearly cost me my sanity ... I hit bottom.  I fell into such a deep depression and couldn't find my way out.

Here I was again ... the same for in the road ... the same choices.  I knew what I had to do, but I was so afraid.  I had to travel the unknown path ... I had to truly face the fact that I am female.

I had been wearing women's panties and other women's clothing for a few years, and that did ease some of my longings for a short time, but that is akin to wanting to restore a vintage car by simply giving it a new paint job.  If you don't repair the engine, replace the tires or put fuel in the car it will never truly be restored.

As I started down the path everything I sought seemed so far away ... out of reach, but I took the first steps.  

Slow, clumsy ... like a foal trying to gain balance for the first time, but I started.  The only question was whether the love of my life, my soul mate, my wife would want to walk with me.

I found support on Facebook ... too many friends to name and not enough time to tell them how deeply indebted I am to them for their support and comfort.

I vented my frustration and fears. 

They listened, calmed me and nudged me forward ... even when I resisted.

I inched my way down the path ... every step wary and filled with anxiety ... every milestone so seemingly far away, yet I crossed them.  I knew what the destination was, yet I was so unsure of how to get there.  Walking, stumbling, falling along the path ... wanting so much to return to that fork in the road I knew so well ... I felt I was going nowhere ... making no progress.

I started counseling in May.  I can remember sitting on Catharine's couch, numb, frightened, shaking ... but trying to act so calm because that's what a man is supposed ... but that was the issue.  By the end of the appointment I felt like I had reached out from the dark hole where I was buried for the only hand I saw extended.

When I told Pam we were coming back from a nearby town.  I didn't actually intend on breaking the news while she was driving, I did not know how distraught she would become ... but the opportunity was there, and I had already missed out on other chances to talk to her.  Consumed by fear ... every word a struggle I managed to utter a sentence or two ... silence ...  then the moment of realization on her face.  I was ready to jump from the moving car ... I couldn't cause her this sort of pain and grief ... and I couldn't bear the thought of losing her ... ... "I'll stay ... Even if you want the surgery ... I want you happy," she said in a shaky voice.

I wondered why I was pursuing this ... 47 is not the typical time of life for transgender women to pursue transition.  I looked over my shoulder ... the fork in the road was so close behind me ,,, it would not take much to just step backwards ... but I stepped forward, but just one step.

In June I told my manager.  She had always suspected something, but was never sure.

"I'm back in counseling," I said while twisting in my chair.  "For issues that are a bit more personal."  A brief redirect of the conversation ensued before I pushed myself back on point.  "Do you know what I'm talking about?"

"If I were to guess I'd I'd say either you don't want to want to be married anymore," she said.  "Or, that you're gay."

Oh my god ... she didn't know!!

Many times we had talked, joked, politically incorrect bantering ... and many times over the years I had made references (often accidentally) to my issue ... to being transgender.

"Actually ... no.  I want to stay married."  I took a deep breath and stared off to the distance.  "It's more gender related."

Silence ... Likely a mere moment, but it seemed like an eternity.

It was obvious the truth caught her off guard, but I respected her ... it would not be right to not tell her.  I trusted her and knew she would not tell anyone ... and I would need her support at work to see this through.

"No ... I wouldn't have guessed.  But now certain things make sense."  She was very calm, caring and accepting.  "You've got a tough path ahead of you ... but if anyone I know can handle it, it's you.  You know I'm here for you."

Despite the the hurdles I had cleared ... despite the truth being out in the open and some of my fears eased, the journey seemed so long and arduous.

This endeavor is not like finishing the half marathon ... it's not like the 100 mile bike ride I completed.  In those events the course was clearly was clearly marked and you knew how far you had to go ... and just as important, how far you had gone.  No ... this is entirely different.

Over the years I have met in person and online many transsexual women.  So many seem so very feminine ... so truly female.  Others have seemed so uncomfortable or awkward in their own skin ... as if they were trying to convince themselves that they were female rather than just being themselves.  It was obvious ... it was distracting, or more accurate, it drew attention to the fact that they were not comfortable ... and that made it hard to accept or recognize the gender they were portraying.  It was almost as if they were rushing their transition ... maybe to prove something ... maybe to make up for lost time ... I don't know.

I did not want to be that girl.  I wanted to ensure my transition was slow, stealth and I was comfortable every step along the way.

Slow and steady wins the race ... but it's not a race.

In July I had a consultation with a laser hair removal facility.  "I want my beard removed ... beard and mustache ... everything."

"You are a very good candidate for laser."  The tech smiled while she twisted my head one way and another under the magnifying light.  "You have very dark facial hair and fair skin.  It will work good for you.  Why do you want to remove it?"

My heart stopped for a moment.  Do I tell the truth or do I sidestep ... ... "I just want it gone."

Sidestep.  Damn.

In August I started my laser treatments.  I started with my neck, under the chin ... slow, comfortable and not horribly obvious.  During the session the tech asked, Are you transitioning?"

"I'm sorry?"  I cannot even describe the terror I felt at that moment.

She sort of stammered through the question again, but I didn't let her finish.

"Yes."  I felt numb.  "Just barely starting."

"Good for you."  She seemed relieved.  "We have many transgender women who come here."

The relief I felt was incredible.  Another big step down the path taken, but yet the ultimate goal still seemed out of reach.

My interaction with my Facebook friends ... my family ... my sisters allowed me to live vicariously as Tiffanie, but that was no longer enough.

By the end of August my clothing choices had changed drastically.  Even though I was wearing primarily women's clothes for a while, I had stayed with mostly unisex, androgynous choices.  I started wearing more colors, more lacey, more feminine tops and bought a couple pair of women's shoes.

I began to feel happy, but still something was missing.

In my last posts I mentioned telling my son and talking to my doctor.  Now everyone who matters is on board and supporting me.  I cannot describe how lucky I feel.

Now it is the eve before the day I call an endocrinologist ... and I will make the call.  Pam offered to call for me because I am busy at work, but this is another step I must take.  I am nervous, yet excited.

I just looked over my shoulder ... that fork in the road seems so far away.

How did I come so far and not even realize it?

I still have many hurdles to cross, but the biggest will be gone and far behind me.










Thursday, April 4, 2013

A day that will live in ecstasy ...

I will never cease to amaze myself with my ability to make mountains out of flat ground.

I spent the last week, and the last few days going absolutely mental because I was going to see my doctor over two issues ...

1 - I never followed up with the doctor about the inflamed lymph nodes which were discovered at the same time as the growth in my chest.

2 - DUH!!  What have I been babbling about for 70+ posts??  Even if I decided to seek hormone therapy on my own my doctor would eventually figure out my secret.

Last night I was at my worst ... I was so wound up ... I wanted to back out of the appointment.  It would be easy, I would just be too busy at work, or I could simply cancel the appointment.  Only one problem ... I told my boss at work, I told all my friends on Facebook, and I told Pam that I needed to do this.

OK - That was three problems.

I know I slept last night, but it was restless and dream filled.  The alarm went off way too soon.

Strangely, I felt very calm when I got up.  I don't know why.  The workday went well ... very lighthearted, almost fun.

Pam picked me up and we headed for the appointment.  An awkward and tense silence began to build ... I was starting to feel nervous, but there was more ... I just couldn't put my finger on it.

My blood pressure was a bit high, but not as high as it normally is while I'm at the doctor.  Anna, the nurse, asked why I was there today ... I gave a vague answer.  As we sat in the room, Pam and I joked and laughed ... it was fun,  Then the door opened and the doctor walked in.

The nerves go through the ceiling.

"So what brings you here?"  He sat on his stool.

I stared ... probably like a deer in his headlights.

"We were just wondering about the inflamed lymph nodes that were found on the scan back in October," Pam chimed in.

"I've had a few pains, but it is not the constant pain that it was back then."  I think I finally started breathing again at that point.

The doctor started searching his laptop ... and complaining about the wonders of modern technology.

"There's something we need to discuss," Pam blurted.  She had a playful smirk on her face.

"Go ahead," the doctor said.

"You once told us you have a photographic memory."

He nodded.  "Yep ..."

"Then you remember the conversation about three years ago when I grew a beard, the shaved my beard ... You told us that people change their physical appearance because they are unhappy with their situation.  And since we cannot always control our situation we change things that are in our control."  I paused.

"That was a theory."  He continued to peck away at the keyboard.  "I remember that."

"What I don't remember is if I commented."  I was suddenly having trouble maintaining a coherent thought pattern.  "I would have said that sometimes people change their appearance because there is something about themselves they do not like."

He spun on his stool and stared at me.

"My body and brain are in conflict."  I couldn't look at him.  "My body is obviously male ... I ... I'm not sure my brain is male."

"So what do you intend to do about it?"  He seemed very caring and sincere.

I felt very at ease talking with him.  He was very straight forward, asked many questions ... and told me he knew something was going on.  He noticed that I was transitioning, and was going to ask me today.

Wow!!  Even if I hadn't brought it up, he was going to ask me about my changes.  Incredible!

The end result ...

1 - I will go in for a cat scan to check the lymph nodes.

2 - I am being referred to an endocrinologist to begin hrt.

After lunch we went to see my therapist ... basically an awesome visit.  A lot of things were talked about, but basically just an affirmation that Pam is with me for the long haul ... regardless of what my decisions are she will support me and stay with me.

I learned a few "girl rules" ... the "borrowing the clothes" thing and a couple others.

It was a fun, upbeat conversation.

On the way home both Pam and I felt great ... we continued talking ... very open ... and she told me she was nervous about the appointment with my counselor.  That is why she was tense all afternoon.

I know this is not easy for Pam, and today was a very difficult day for her.  I am the lucjiest lady in the world.  Everything seems a bit easier right now.