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long time...

By Chrissy,

It's been awhile since I've written anything here - that was partly (largely) because of school and recovery. My recovery from GRS is going well, I've now been cleared for everything (including tennis and sex!), and I'm down to dilating twice a day (until the end of June). There was some granulated tissue, but that's been taken care of. And I've now had the delightful female experience of having my feet up in the stirrups for a medical exam! It doesn't make you feel at all vulnerable (sarcasm). I'm glad that my surgeon's staff is entirely female, I suspect that part of the process would have been a little more uncomfortable if her PA who was checking me was male.

I recently finished co-facilitating an 8-week support group for transgender people, this one was focused on those who had recently come out and/or were in the early stages of transitioning. The most interesting part for me personally was that going in I saw myself as in a very different place than the group members (since I've pretty much come out everywhere, and my physical transitioning is largely done), but there was definitely a common thread that made me very much part of the group (since it's a peer-run support group it was fine that I was sharing as well, thought I always made sure it was after anyone else had shared, I never took a priority position for myself). Specifically, the sense of alienation and rejection that people felt because of their gender identity, that's still definitely a very big part of my life - especially now that surgeries are done and I'm thinking more about the prospects of dating :-(

Update

By Chrissy,

Hi all!

So my recovery seems to be going well. I had my follow-up with the surgeon and they removed the packing and tubes. That felt so much better! They showed me how to dilate - wasn't too bad.

Yesterday I came home - I've never been so happy to be home! Recovery is easier in my own place with my own stuff.

For 4 weeks I have to dilate 4x a day for 20 minutes each. I'm still working on my positioning, it gets a little uncomfortable and tedious, but I'll survive :-)

Otherwise for now it's a lot of TV and reading. Barring complications I should be able to go back to school and my internship the week of the 23rd.

At a more fundamental level - as swelling starts to recede it's easier to see what I have now, and it's pretty awesome 👯 

More later!

Xoxo

Chrissy

 

GRS Part II

By Chrissy,

Hi again,

I wanted to post some more now that I've actually had my surgery (YAY!!!!), especially for anyone thinking about or planning the surgery themselves - everyone's experience is different, but this might give some things to consider:

Monday, Dec. 26 - I arrived in Philadelphia and checked-in to my hotel.  Went to a Target Express nearby to load up on food and beverages for the days after surgery when I'd be at the hotel, knowing that getting out for food would be tough.  Around noon I started bowel prep (Magnesium Citrate and Dulcolax, and a couple of other prescriptions).  That went on through the day, culminating in an enema at 4 a.m.  I unpacked and tried to set things up as much as I could to be ready for when I got back - then I packed my bag of stuff to go to the hospital (including Cinnamon, my new stuffed bear).

Tuesday, Dec. 27 - I had to be at the hospital by 10:30 a.m., and it's only a few minutes away from here.  I was still up early - nerves no doubt.  My brother called to check-in and asked if someone could call him when the surgery was done.  Around 9:30 I got a call from the hospital asking if I could show up early, Dr. Rumer was running early.  So I left and got to the hospital before 10 a.m. (Hahnemann University Hospital - it's affiliated with Drexel University).

I went through check-in - a bunch of questions standard for any surgery.  Got changed into the gowns they gave me.  Then the anesthesiologist came by and put in the tube (or whatever it is they put in). I saw Dr. Rumer and her PA quickly - people kept asking if I had any questions, but really I didn't.

Got taken into the operating room at 11:09 a.m. (they call it when the patient is brought in), and got moved to the operating table.  Next thing I know I wake up in another room.  They had called my brother at 1:40, so I know it took about 2.5 hours in total.  I called him around 4:00 when I was more coherent

I spent the next 2 days in a hospital bed, unable to get up or move much at all.  My only real complaint is that the bed had about a 2" mattress, which I think is way too small for being on bedrest for 2 days (I told the PA about that later).  The nurses were nice, but it took a long time to get almost anything.  I do know that I couldn't do their job, and they don't make enough money (I don't know how much they make, but it can't be enough).

So my new vagina is still packed, and has 3 tubes coming out of it - 1 going to a Foley bag (urine) and 2 going to smaller containers collecting blood.  The nurses periodically emptied them.  I had no hunger, which was good because the food was truly awful (how do you make scrambled eggs not good!?!?).

Thursday, Dec. 29 - I got discharged - yay!!!  It took forever, but it finally happened.  Before that I had to actually get up and start moving, which was so much harder than I expected - I did fine with it, but there was light-headedness and nausea.

They sent me back to the hotel in a taxi - and I've been here since.  Pretty much staying in bed except to go to the bathroom (including emptying the bags) and getting food.

I don't really feel any pain from the surgery - the biggest pain is my butt from the hospital bed, that's the main reason I've been taking the percocet since then.

On Tuesday morning I got for my follow-up, which is when they'll remove the tubes and packing.  Then I stay one more night (to make sure everything is ok after they take the stuff out) and go home the next day.

Emotionally - I won't lie, on Thursday I had moments when I thought I might be feeling regret, but it was entirely about how I was feeling and knowing that the surgery caused that - as I've started feeling more normal any such thoughts went away and I'm getting back to feeling thrilled about this :-)   (I think that will be complete when the packing comes out and I can actually see it)

More later!

xoxo

Chrissy

Hi everyone,

I haven't been able to write for awhile - I started school again in September and that's kept me pretty busy.  I'm in the MSW (Masters in Social Work) program at NYU (New York University), which is a full-time program and includes a 21-hour/week internship on top of classes (mine is with a drop-in center for people who are homeless).

Anyway, I didn't come on to write about that, but since the semester is over, and internship is over until late January, I have a little time.

The big update is that my GRS is happening this coming Tuesday!  I leave for Philadelphia on Monday morning, then the surgery is at Hahneman University Hospital with Dr. Kathy Rumer.  I'll be staying in Philly for a week and coming back home after my one-week follow-up with her.

I've already started pre-surgery prep - including stopping hormones a few weeks ago (that one hurt), and today starting an Arnica protocol (it's to reduce or eliminate bruising from the surgery).  Then on Monday I'll be on a clear-liquid diet and have to do some bowel prep (the glamorous side of surgery!).  I have to be at the hospital at 10:30 a.m. And luckily this time my insurance company didn't give me a hard time, they approved the procedure (they also eventually agreed to cover top surgery, which they had rejected initially - it's really good that I work/worked in New York where the state requires these things to be covered.

Since July I've been seeing my therapist twice a week - she provided one of the letters that I needed, and requested the additional sessions - which I think is great (I'm actually going to miss going twice a week, but I can't afford to keep doing that).  So we've talked A LOT about the process - transitioning generally, the surgery specifically, and now the post-transition period.  I used to say that I'd probably be transitioning until I die, but lately I've decided (for myself, others may feel otherwise) that GRS essentially marks the end of my transition - at that point I'll have done as much physically as I'm going to.  Now I'm in a period of "evolution" - discovering who I am - both as a woman and just generally.  It's already begun, and it's been a great process.  I find myself moving away from LGBTQ-specific things - not as a rejection of the community, but as an acknowledgement that I'm straight (as a man I was gay, but not now), so I needed to know that I can function in "straight environments."

So now that I'm more comfortable with school (I was worried a lot about whether I could really do it - now I feel much more confident), I'm going to try to write more.  I bought myself a separate journal to keep notes about GRS - I plan to write that first entry on the train to Philly, and then keep track of what happens, how I feel physically, and how I feel emotionally - I'll try to share some of that here as I go along, in case it's helpful to anyone (recognizing that the experience is going to be different for everyone - but there are still going to be similarities).

I also want to write more about my "evolution" - that was something that I (understandably) didn't focus on until more recently.  The physical transition is one thing, but as I felt myself living a more authentic existence it also became important to know how I wanted to live my life.  The benefits are already huge - I find that the friendships that I had are stronger than ever, and the new people I'm meeting are really good people (mostly social work students) - and none of this would have happened without that recognition a few years ago that I am a woman, and I am transgender.

I'll wrap this up for now - I know my attention flags sometimes on longer entries, so I'll stop taxing people's attention span :-)

xoxo

Chrissy

Top Surgery

By Chrissy,

Hi all,

So today was my top surgery! I had it done by Dr. Jeffrey Rockmore - I can't say enough about him, his staff, and the St. Peter's Surgery Center in Albany. Everyone was incredibly friendly, helpful and supportive, and the results seem really good! (they are still wrapped, and swollen, so I can't say for sure yet).

My friend Bryana went with me - we only met in January but she's quickly become such a good friend, and so graciously and enthusiastically took the trip with me (about 2.5 hours drive each way, and about a 2 hour wait while I had surgery). She did so much to relieve the anxiety I was feeling!

There isn't really any pain, just discomfort (I'm on percocet, but after my shoulder surgery last year there was still massive pain even with that).

Overall I feel even happier about this than I had expected, I feel like I took a huge step towards truly being who I want and need to be 😀

I'll follow-up again as the swelling subsides!

Xoxo

Chrissy

 

Message_1471649809847.jpg

Hi all,

Well, since last I wrote I have become unemployed – YAY!  It was by choice, I had been planning on going back to school part-time when my employer offered a reasonably generous “buy out” package, so I took it – this way I can go back to school full-time and finish in 2 years instead of 3 (I’ll be attending NYU in the fall, going for a Masters in Social Work).

So for the next 2 months, until Orientation on August 31, I am completely free. What I hadn’t considered was the “identity crisis” that would create – let’s face it, most people identify by their job, and I currently have none, and although I’m registered for classes, I haven’t really started being a student yet either.

That brings me to the main point of this entry!!! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now have GRS (or SRS if you prefer) scheduled for December 27. Because this is sooner than we had been discussing, my therapist asked if we could start meeting twice a week for a while – she’s (hopefully) writing one of the letters I’ll need, so she wants to make sure we cover what needs to be covered. I’m fine with that – I have the time, I like her, and I think it’s important work (I don’t like the fact that the WPATH standards call for more than informed consent for surgery, but I still think it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

As a starting point, I started a “list” of things that I think I should be aware of, considering, etc., in connection with GRS – I wanted to post that here and seek feedback – either additional items for the list, comments on the things I listed, whatever – and hopefully this can be of some help to others who are planning or even thinking about GRS J

So here’s my list – just bullet-point form, for now without any details on my thoughts - and in no particular order:

·         How will peeing be different?

·         How will orgasms be different?

·         Clothing will fit different

·         I will feel more completely – fully a woman

·         I’ve had a penis all my life – is it possible I’d miss it?

·         What will care and “maintenance” be like?

·         Are there new health issues to be concerned about?  And are any health concerns being eliminated?

·         There’s no going back = unlike other parts of transitioning which are, more or less “reversible”

·         I probably have a better chance at a relationship as a gay man than as a straight woman – and this removes being able to “present” as a gay man

·         Could I handle regret if it lasted long-term?

And I really, really want to emphasize that these are literally any thought or question I could think of – some of them seem more important to me, some of them barely register in terms of importance, but I think it’s necessary to address everything that you can think of. At this risk of sounding prematurely defensive, I say that just to preclude anyone from saying that “if X is really important you shouldn’t proceed with the surgery!”

Tomorrow is New York Pride! It's expected to be one of the biggest ever as a result of the emotional impact of the Orlando shootings - and there will also be an increased NYPD presence as a result of the shootings. I expect that they'll do a moment of silence for Orlando - they do it each year for those lost to HIV/AIDs, and it's always an incredibly moving experience - you're on the streets of NYC with thousands and thousands of people, and there isn't a single sound (otherwise it's almost impossible to be on 5th Ave. or in the Village in total silence, except perhaps during a snowstorm).

For me, this is my first NY Pride since I started transitioning.  Last year at this time I had "come out," but I hadn't really started transitioning yet (I went for a gender bending look at Pride). So this will also be the first time I'm actually marching and not just watching (I did also volunteer one year). I'm planning to march with Identity House, the peer counseling organization I volunteer with, which is what prompted me to march. In the past I've wanted to, but didn't really have any group that I felt strongly enough about to march with.

But back to the point about it being the first Pride since my transition started. That has prompted me to look squarely at my own ambivalence about being trans.  I don't mean that I question whether I am or not, any question like that was resolved LONG ago - I mean that at some level, at some times, I try to reject my identity as a transwoman, and "just" be a woman. Sometimes it's an affirmative thing, I'm affirming my gender identity as a woman, other times though it's a negative, it's me trying to not be trans.

This is kind of a hard thing to acknowledge here in particular - on this website - but I think that makes it more important to do. I went to the Transgender Health Conference in Philadelphia a few weeks ago and realized that I felt very uncomfortable. In my day-to-day life I'm typically the only trans person around, this was a rare situation where I was in roomfuls of trans people, and I wasn't comfortable, which upset me a lot.

I don't think it's unusual, perhaps others (many others even) here have experienced it - or something similar. There is an underlying wish - that is, I have an underlying wish that I had just been born a cisgender woman - and it can feel horrible to recognize that that will simply never be my reality. There is no amount of transitioning that will ever make me a cisgender woman.

I am taking a step to work through this tomorrow at Pride - I found a shirt on-line to wear, a pink tank-top that says "Trans Women are Real Women" :-)  I think it's important for me to take ownership of that message - keeping in mind that while I'm wearing it for Pride, I'll also be wearing it as I travel back and forth to the city, which means around an audience that isn't necessarily receptive to the message.

So I just wanted to - or rather, felt the need to - share that. I'll post some pics on Monday :-)

xoxo

Chrissy

As I mentioned in my last posting, I had a consultation in Philadelphia on Monday about bottom surgery - it went very well, I liked the surgeon a lot and liked the work that she showed me.  So I'm scheduled for December 27 :-)

I had anticipated waiting until spring because of school, but classes finish in the fall on December 23, and there's over a month before spring classes, so this worked out, and financially it's VERY helpful as it lets me get this under my current insurance, and in the same year as top surgery so that I have only 1 deductible to worry about.

I had a "gut check" moment while waiting for the surgeon - this time my gut's response was "leave me alone! this is good!" - so apparently my gut is getting a little annoyed at me checking-in too much. I drove down (hate driving, but it seemed easier), and the drive back was awesome - nothing about the drive itself, just knowing that I'm getting this done, that it's scheduled and before we start 2017 I will be just about as much of a woman as I can be :-) (physically at least)

Now I get to have the conversation with my brother in which I tell him :-)  That should be fine, we've already spoken about me being trans and he's totally supportive, just awkward having any medical discussions with him.

I see I haven't updated since April 28, so I'm behind on a few items :-)

My job - where I've worked for 10+ years now - recently announced employee buy-outs b/c they need to cut the budget.  Since I was already planning on going back to school, I took the buy-out and will now go back full-time (to NYU for a Masters in Social Work). Now I'm just here at work riding out my time until probably June 30 - it's SOOOO boring!!!

On other fronts - next Monday I have a consult with a bottom surgeon in the Philadelphia area - very excited about that!  And in mid-July I have another appt with the top surgeon in Albany - to finalize details, etc.  That surgery is scheduled for August 19 - one of my friends who is a student, and thus free during the summer, is going with me (you have to have someone with you).

HRT Update

By Chrissy,

Hi all,

I just had my endocrinologist appointment - my testosterone level is at 170 now - yay!!!  Typical male level is 270-1200, female level is up to the 60s or so - so I'm in "No Man's and No Woman's Land" currently - but it's progress!

I think the nicest part of the appointment was when he said he wished everyone who came to see him was like me - in this case meaning that he has no qualms about what I'm doing and giving me the HRT prescription, so that was nice to hear :-)

He did say I need to lose some weight - which I knew quite well already, I'm hoping hearing it from him will help motivate.

xoxo

Chrissy

Hi everyone,

So last weekend was the memorial service for my uncle who passed away in January - everyone was so spread out they delayed it to find a convenient time for as many people as possible. His passing was of course sad, but he was older and hadn't been in good health (mentally or physically) for quite some time.

The point of this entry is the fact that this is the first time I've seen many family members since I transitioned. About 10-12 people knew (the most direct of my relatives - my brother and sister and first cousins), but most of the rest didn't, so on top of being a sad occasion I had to basically "come out" at it - it was an interesting balance, obviously it's a funeral so it's not about me, but it's not like my transition is a subtle thing that nobody will notice if I don't mention it! And going as a guy was out of the question (one of my friends asked me after if I thought I would have been more or less comfortable if I had presented as a male for this - I told him I don't really know because I can't even imagine doing that - he liked that answer).

Anyway, the first issue was that the first group of people I saw were more distant relatives who didn't know about my transitioning, and it occurred to me that i hadn't thought about how to "introduce" myself. I introduced myself with my current name, but several times added "formerly _____" so that they would know who I am.

I didn't have any negative incidents - there may have been a couple of people who avoided interacting with me, but those who did were all perfectly friendly. One of my cousins (who knew already) commented towards the end about how much happier I seem (and that's at a funeral!)

So after a lot of stress leading up to it, it ended up being a good experience.

xoxo

Chrissy

Finding Peace

By Chrissy,

Ok people, so this isn't technically - or at least not fully - about being trans, but something I need an outlet for.  It might be a bit meandering.

I've been going through a difficult stretch, including a series of "endings" that have left me feeling - well, I don't quite know, but I know a thought that has crossed my mind several times is "when will I find peace?"

The endings - (1) I'm applying to grad school and on Friday got a rejection from one of them - the one that was by far my first choice; (2) the drag queen who often lets me guest perform is no longer doing her show at the bar I go to; (3) my 2 best friends are about to move to California; (4) one of my favorite uncles passed away in January; (5) ... I know there are a few more, but I'm blanking right now.

This is all on top of having a job that has gotten progressively worse over the past few months, and there is absolutely no sign of it turning around anytime soon (or ever).

So how do I find peace?  I used that line in therapy today and she asked me what that would look like to me, peace. My initial answer was that I would have a job that I didn't hate going to every day and didn't cause endless annoyance and stress. As I thought about it on my way back to work I know that that was too specific an answer, but a good lead-in to maybe figure it out.  Because it's not about getting things to be happening the way I want them to, it's about getting me to think about things differently.  I think the serenity prayer is always a good baseline - give me the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think this is related - but keep in mind I did say I might meander :-)  Every Wednesday I go to a supervision group for the volunteer organization I belong to, and last week (at our last session) I made a comment about how this group, for those 2 hours a week, allow me to feel completely comfortable with my complete identity.  It's not that they accept me being trans, it just is. And I thought afterwords that if I can feel that way in the group, i should be able to feel that way anywhere :-)  Just knowing that I'm capable of feeling that way makes it possible.

To relate that back to the broader theme - I'm capable of accepting difficult things, so I should be able to accept any difficult thing.  Ok, that's just a starting point perhaps.

One final point on the grad school thing. Being rejected by my first choice school actually hurt me a lot more than I expected.  I think that although I harbor some doubts about being able to do it, I assumed the choice would be mine (I'd be accepted and then decide if I want to go).  But this really was crushing - I got home from work the day I got the rejection and literally cried for about an hour (and even thinking about it right now almost makes me start again). It became really clear that "coming out" as transgender finally made it possible for me to realize where my passion lies, and to have that set-back on the path to fulfilling it was very painful.  It doesn't end things, I have a couple of other applications out still, but those options would be more difficult - but probably worth pursuing.

So thank you to anyone who got this far - and if you didn't, well you're not seeing this now so there's no reason for me to say anything to you - but I understand :-)

xoxo

Chrissy

I had my weekly therapy session today and she confirmed that she had faxed the needed letter to my surgeon to authorize my top surgery - yay!  In this case insurance doesn't actually require it, but the surgeon does - needed a letter from a therapist confirming gender dysphoria. I called and confirmed that they got it, and they did - tomorrow they'll be contacting the insurance company to start the pre-authorization process.

It isn't happening until August, but I still was happy to see it moving forward :P

Dress up time!

By Chrissy,

This past weekend we hosted a moot court competition at our school, and as Moot Court staff administrator I was very involved in the planning, and naturally attended the Saturday night reception for the event.  It was my first real opportunity to "dress up" :P  The picture below is me (on the left) and 2 students.

I did realize on Friday night as I was packing up for the next day that I had never really dressed in plum before, so I didn't know what color make-up to use - fortunately Google exists and I found that lavender works perfectly!

Overall a very fun night!  My next opportunity will be the Law Review Banquet on April 1 - of course I just wore this dress, so I'll have to come up with something else for that occasion.

 

 

Wagner Reception.jpg

New path

By Chrissy,

Hi all,

It's been awhile since I've been able to write - very busy at work, and outside of work (the outside part is all good, but tiring).

In a prior post I wrote about an "exit strategy" from my current job, and that point has advanced substantially.  Several weeks ago I had breakfast with my electrologist (her appointment after me had cancelled). I was telling her about my job issues and half-jokingly asked if she knew anyone who was hiring. She replied that I was asking the wrong question, and that what I needed to ask (myself) is what is my passion, and how can I make a career out of that?

It took virtually no time at all to figure it out once I had that question in mind and I've decided to try to pursue an MSW (Masters of Social Work) and try to become a therapist. Long ago I had thought about pursuing that career, but never followed-through. Looking back now and realizing the impact of gender dysphoria, I think that it was impossible (or at least improbable) that I could have figured out what my passion was, much less follow-through on it, until I came out as transgender (which, BTW, was a year ago this month).

Earlier this year I started volunteering with Identity House - a group that provides peer counseling, support groups, and therapy referrals for LGBTQ people in the NYC area. I've never done anything that has given me as much personal satisfaction as this! So at this point I've applied to 2 MSW programs, that might be about it, I had to choose based on some logistical constraints - but one of them is Rutgers University, which has a well-regarded MSW program.

xoxo

Chrissy

Surgery

By Chrissy,

Last Thursday I went to Albany, NY for a surgery consultation (Surgeon who does breast augmentation + surgeon who works with transgender patients + takes my insurance = go to Albany).  The surgery won't happen until August, I have to be on HRT for a full year before insurance will cover it (they'll cover it if I'm "not comfortable with the growth that occurs after a year on HRT"), so it's tentatively scheduled for August 12.

I got the basics down - it's an outpatient procedure that will take about an hour.  He took measurements and photos so that we can work on size issues later.

But most important!  As I waited in the exam room for the surgeon I took a moment for a "gut check" - periodically when something is becoming "more real" I like to stop and reflect on how I feel in that moment.  This time, as with every other gut check moment so far, the feedback was "great!"

I am still checking around for other surgeons - even if I go with this one I know I should talk to more than 1 (I did like him though)

xoxo

Chrissy

This is basically part 2 of my previous entry about work issues.

I totally agree with everyone who followed-up suggesting holding out until surgeries are done, I can't imagine starting a new job and then telling them I'm going to be out for X weeks, so better to do it now, which also lets me get more experience.

The problem is that that's an "exit strategy," but it doesn't address how to cope on a daily basis with a job situation that I find basically humiliating.  I don't like the idea of trying to just see it as a job, but that might be the only way.

The other important piece that I came across recently involves performing  - and doing something that I feel passion about.  As some may know I have done some performing during a friend's drag show (earlier I would say that I was doing drag, but that isn't accurate anymore).  A couple of weeks ago I did this and after I was done thought I had decided that it was time to give it up.  The issue was that while I kind of enjoyed doing it, I didn't feel like I was bringing enough to it to warrant it (I don't sing, I can't dance...what else?).  But then last week I was at her show - not performing just to see it - she had another guest so at one point she says "I'm going to do one more song and then bring up my guest."  I had a strange feeling of excitement.  I knew it wasn't me, I wasn't performing, but I still for a second reacted like I was.  That's when I realized that I do still want to do it - I just have to find my angle.  So yesterday I signed up for a beginner's jazz dance class :-)

Passion is definitely something that I'm missing, so I'm excited to pursue this possible venue!

xoxo

Chrissy

I could almost think it's something about me, but it's not.

In my previous position with the school I provided administrative support to the Law Review (a student publication).  Under the original faculty publisher I had a lot of responsibility, and it grew over time.  Then a new faculty publisher came in and suddenly I found my position gradually (though not slowly) being diminished.  She never bothered to even learn what I did and started giving the students more and more responsibility which had formerly been mine (and responsibility that they really couldn't handle given their schedules).  So I felt like I was effectively demoted without changing positions.

In September I moved to the Marketing Department and immediately loved my new job, my new responsibilities, and my new boss.  At the time I reported directly to the Vice President of Marketing, and she gave me quite a bit of autonomy in my position (maybe too much, who knows).

In December the VP left.  In the interim her management responsibilities were split between another VP and a manager in our department (I took on some of her non-management responsibilities).  So for the transition period I knew that I was working under that manager.  I wasn't thrilled by that - I like her, but she's not a very good supervisor (her communication skills are seriously lacking).  But I figured I could survive, and they were pretty quick in finding a new VP, so all seemed good.

Then in early January the Dean sent an email to the entire school announcing the new VP.  At the bottom of that email he also mentioned that the manager I had been temporarily working under had been promoted to Assistant VP, and among her responsibilities was supervising some of the Marketing Dept., INCLUDING ME!!!  So, I had been once again effectively demoted (adding a new person/position directly above you in the chain of command is a demotion), and only found out about it through an email that went to the entire school.

I decided over the weekend that there really isn't much I can do about the situation except start to develop an exit strategy.  I've only been in this position for about 5 months, and it's a new role, so I definitely need to hold out longer and learn more.  I'd also like to get through my surgeries while I'm still here rather than having to deal with that with a new employer (especially GRS since it will involve a longer recovery time).

While it's nice to have an exit strategy in mind, it doesn't help much in terms of getting through day-to-day.

So anyway, I just needed to get that out somewhere :-)

xoxo

Chrissy

It's been almost a year since I first openly acknowledged to myself, and then my therapist, that I am transgender (it was sometime in February).  That got me to thinking last night about gender dysphoria.

Early on I had read many accounts of people's experiences with GD, and I was having a hard time relating - most included comments about "knowing from early childhood that I was a girl trapped in a boy's body," etc., and I didn't really have those memories (I also recognized that at 48 years old I don't have a whole lot of any childhood memories).  Then I started seeing other stories - including Janet Mock's - that resonated quite soundly with me!  It was more about experiencing being the "wrong gender" as opposed to consciously knowing it.  So I settled down, and the road has been much smoother since then.

Anyway, on the point of GD.  The best evidence that I now have that I had it is that I clearly no longer have it - it's in it's absence that it's most noticeable!  On that day last February when I came out, a lifetime of depression and malaise lifted immediately and has not returned (not that i don't have down times, but it's not the same existential crisis that it used to be).

I get really annoyed/angry when i hear about those who question if GD is real, or how serious it is - I know what my life was before and since, and my GD was very, very serious, even if I didn't recognize it as GD (for a good part of my life I don't know if the concept of GD even existed).

Just some thoughts on the approach of my anniversary :-)  (well, one of my anniversaries - I just have to figure out what date it was)

xoxo

Chrissy

(BTW, I'm trying out "Chrissy" as a nickname)

Top Surgery

By Chrissy,

On February 8 I have an appointment with a surgeon to discuss top surgery :P

I'd have to wait until August for insurance to cover, but I wanted to start seeing what's involved.  He's in Albany, but that's not too far and he's in-Network for insurance.

 

Unrelated - today in Jersey City

 

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Insurance update

By Chrissy,

I got some relatively good news from my insurance company today (I don't think I've ever written or said that before!).

They definitely cover GRS - after I pay a $1500 deductible (which is fine, they cover 100% after that).

Initially I thought they didn't cover breast augmentation as it is listed on the "exclusions" list - but then after the agent said that it should be I found a later reference in the document saying that if, after 12 months of hormones, you don't feel they have grown sufficiently to feel comfortable for your gender, breast augmentation may be covered.  I think since I didn't start HRT until 49 yo it's likely they won't grow that much from hormones alone, so this will probably be covered as well.

318

By Chrissy,

Hi all,

I've been a very bad TGGuide citizen, the new job has kept me much busier than the former!

I had an appointment with my endocrinologist yesterday - my testosterone level is down to 318 now (from mid-400s last time) - so it's getting there!  He increased my estrogen prescription to 3mg/day, and said to go up to 4mg in a couple of months, then I'll see him again shortly after that :-)

On the less medical side, I had 2 medical professionals (my endocrinologist and therapist) both say to me yesterday that I very definitely seem more comfortable with myself - that's exactly what my therapist said - the endocrinologist was a bit more wordy, he's a doctor, it's hard for them to get to the point :-)  And I very definitely feel that way!

I've started to explore top surgery, hopefully to happen this summer (I'll have been on HRT for a full year in early August).  It helps a lot that our insurance provider confirmed that they are covering transition expenses now (in compliance with New York law), though they clearly haven't figured out what that means yet. I should get more detail in the next few days.

xoxo

Christie

Happy Holidays!

By Chrissy,

Hi all,

It's been a busy few weeks so I haven't had a chance to read or write here - I hope everyone is having a nice holiday season!

My year is ending on a nice flourish.  First, I went back to Social Security with my new doctor's note and they've now corrected my gender in their records - and the woman I dealt with was extremely nice - possibly because she knows that what happened last time was so wrong.  She also referred to me as "ma'am" several times :)

I got my new birth certificate the same day.

Sent holiday cards to all my family and friends, including a note about my transition to anyone I hadn't told yet, I want to start 2016 with everyone knowing. I've already gotten a very nice note of support back from my cousin Betsy.  My brother's card (no doubt written by his girlfriend, based on the handwriting), included "Ms." before my name on the envelope :)

On a broader front - NYC recently reaffirmed a law it passed previously that compels instance companies to cover transitioning costs!  There is no doubt some wiggle-room for them, but it's a positive developement, and one that could save me much money down the road.  I wrote to our HR person to see if they have more information.

Finally, as the end of the year approaches I thought it would be good to reach out to people who have been especially supportive and encouraging over the year in my transition - so far that includes my therapist (yes it's technically her job, but she's been especially good at it), and Pattaya - the drag queen I regularly see and who let's me perform now and then - I have no doubt that performing helped move me along quicker than i might have, presenting as a woman in front of a bunch of people in a "safe" space.  The pic below is me with Pattaya on Tuesday night - I performed Debbie Gibson's "sleigh ride"

 

And thank you to everyone here :)  this is a great community, providing lots of love and support and great practical inormation!

Finally, for anyone out there going through hard times and feeling alone - please know that nothing is permanent. As I wrote above about the positive things in my life I was fully aware of the bad that had come before, and I know it will come again, that's just reality, for everyone.  I wish I had a nice quote to close this off with, but I'm a prose writer not a poet :)  Just know that no matter what, this is your one and only life, even if you can't pull off optimism right now you can again sometime!

Love,

Christie

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Hi all, a couple of quick recent anecdotes...

1. On my way to therapy the other day a random guy on the street (a contractor I believe, waiting outside a building) said "hello gorgeous" to me as I passed :)  I smiled at him, said hello and carried on. The downside is that it put me in a really good mood ... on my way to therapy!!! That doesn't help :) 

2. I may have met someone the other night when I was out ... well, I definitely met someone, but it could be "someone" - I may know more tomorrow, we're getting together - the novelty for me is that the person is a she, so we'll see if I really am lesbian (or bisexual)

As I walked home today, I was behind a person who ran into someone he knows and said - quite loud - "men trying to become women, that [bleep] burns me up."  He was ahead of me, so I don't know if it was directed at me (he may have turned and noticed).

Anyway, I didn't confront him (I don't make a habit of confronting random idiots on the street, seems like a wise course), but my thought was "well that's not right, i'm not a man trying to become a woman, i'm a woman no longer trying to be a man."

I channeled it more "productively" on twitter with the following:

Transgender 101: "Transitioning" isn't going from woman to man or man to woman, it's going from fake to authentic. #GirlsLikeUs

If anyone is on twitter i'm ChristieCNY :)

It was nice taking a negative and going positive in response. I'm so much better as a woman than I ever could have been as a man :)