Surgical consultation

Just had my surgical consultation for top surgery with Mr Peter Kneeshaw at Spire Hull. In the middle of nowhere, the hospital is a lot smaller than I expected but seems quite well equipped.

We arrived in plenty of time and I’d just got a drink when I was called in early. Mr Kneeshaw was very friendly and professional. He checked my referral and we discussed what surgery I was hoping to have. He examined me and took photos then explained the procedure (bilateral inframmamory fold with free nipple grafts known as a double incision or DI). He went through all the potential complications and gave me the opportunity to ask questions. He booked me in for the first available slot on April 28th 2020.

The operation will require a two day stay in hospital and I will be discharged with drains which will be removed at a post-op appointment ten days later. My plan is to stay in Hull for the whole period rather than risk travelling with the drains in. I was concerned about my weight but he said that he’d operate on me tomorrow if he could and that he wasn’t concerned about it. I explained that I was trying to lose weight and he said that was fine but I didn’t need to go mad!

Due to my age and family history of breast cancer he wanted me to have a mammogram to make sure everything was OK. He said this was precautionary as he hadn’t felt anything during the examination. I had the mammogram straight away. It wasn’t physically painful but made me incredibly dysphoric and uncomfortable in my own skin (this lasted for several days and I found it really difficult to get over). Mr Kneeshaw rang me a couple of hours later that evening to let me know that everything was OK with the scan which was very reassuring. Mr Kneeshaw said that the cost would be included with the procedure but the technician mentioned that I would be charged approx. £180 for it.

Surgery referral

Went to see Dr Myskow in Edinburgh today. With one thing and another it’s been a year since I’ve seen her but she was satisfied with my blood test results. She’s happy to refer me to Mr Kneeshaw for top surgery in time for my consultation with him in December. We talked about getting a Gender Recognition Certificate and she’s agreed to complete any of the paperwork required.

Always

In the news this last week, Procter and Gamble have announced that they’re removing the venus symbol from the packaging of their sanitary protection products in an attempt to be more inclusive of non-binary and transgender people who menstruate.

Personally I don’t really care about the packaging and it’s certainly nowhere near the worst thing about having periods but boy have the bigots had a field day. Social media has been swamped with bullshit and insults which is rather depressing, especially from people who you thought would be more tolerant.

I’ve been a bit disappointed that a couple of my co-workers are among those who’ve been sharing offensive memes and posting small minded opinions. I don’t generally get involved with this sort of thing online so I’ve just been unfriending people to avoid being sucked into all the negativity. However, it’s made me uncomfortable at work but it’s something I can’t talk about to anyone.

It’s debatable whether P&G were actually trying to help LGBT+ people or whether it’s just a cynical marketing ploy but either way it’s exposed a wide seam of transphobia and intolerance within society.

Turning a corner?

I went last week to the gym and booked an induction with one of the personal trainers for the following day. He gave me a program of exercises to develop my upper body strength and hopefully provide definition for surgery as well as contribute to the weight loss efforts.

Starting this week I’m going three times a week to do the following routine.

Chest press 3 sets of 12
Shoulder press 3 sets of 12
Lat pulldown 3 sets of 12
Deltoid row 3 sets of 12
Leg press 3 sets of 12
Bicep curl 3 sets of 12
Tricep dip 3 sets of 12
30 minutes of cardio (treadmill/bike)

Had my first session yesterday and it felt good. Feeling a bit more positive about things so hopefully I’ll see my mood improve.

New Year, same me

A fortnight into the New Year and I’ve hit a bit of a slump. Maybe it’s just post-holiday blues but I’m struggling with my mood.

My eating habits are terrible and I just can’t seem to get my head back in the game. I’ve put weight on and not only can I feel it at work it has made me super aware and self conscious about my body – ramping up the dysphoria to pretty much unbearable. I feel so tired all the time and despite a thousand good intentions I haven’t been to the gym since Christmas. I need an injection of positivity but I haven’t found it yet. 2019 was meant to be my year but so far it doesn’t seem all that different from any of the last few.

I’m wallowing in a sense of hopelessness which seems to be turning into a vicious circle. I feel tired so I can’t be bothered trying to eat properly and exercise which is making me feel even more tired. My goal of having top surgery early next year was supposed to be the incentive to commit to losing weight and developing my physique but that has been derailed by financial pressures. A new boiler and water pump at £2,500 wiped out everything I’d saved so far for the surgery. The house almost certainly requires more maintenance this year to sort out the plastering and floorboards and having done 180,000 miles the car is likely on borrowed time so the ability to pay for surgery feels even more remote. Why bother losing weight and risk accentuating my chest if I can’t then get the surgery?

I can’t see how things are going to get any better at the moment.

Giving Blood

My latest round of blood tests revealed elevated haemoglobin levels which is a potential side effect of the hormone treatment.  I need it re-testing in the next few weeks but in the mean time to reduce my levels I decided to give blood.  This was more difficult than I imagined it to be.  I registered on the website but couldn’t find any appointments within 20 miles for three months.  I rang them to see if there were any drop in sessions and they managed to squeeze me in at my local centre.  The process itself was quite straightforward and took about an hour (most of which was hanging around).

They have an Android app which records when you donated, when you can next donate and lets you book your next appointment.  It also told me my blood type (B positive!) and I got a text saying that my blood has been sent to Manchester Royal Infirmary.  I thought that was a cute thing to do because it makes you feel part of something important and useful.

Glamping

The missus and I have just returned from a few days away at Gorsebank Farm in Dalbeattie near Dumfries. It was our first attempt at glamping and was great. The site facilities were excellent and the camping pod we stayed in was clean, warm and comfortable. The hot tub was just an indulgence but satisfied the primal urge of man makes fire.

We went walking through the forest which borders the farm picking up a couple of geocaches along the way. The scenery is stunningly beautiful especially in autumnal colours with the added bonus of the occasional red squirrel.

The farm also has four fishing lakes and on the last day I had a couple of hours fly fishing, which I haven’t done for years.

These few days away brought into sharp focus how the last few years have sucked the life blood from me with very little respite. It has been wonderful to remember and re-engage with all the things that used to give me pleasure – getting out into nature and soaking up the peace and tranquillity.  It has re-energised me and rekindled a desire to enjoy my life, spending time with my wife doing more things that give us pleasure.