Find your own place in the rainbow
|General Transition Progress 2005
This is a record of the general progress in my transition, including such things as deciding on my name and the procedure for transitioning on the NHS. These are the more noteworthy milestones, but more day to day events can be found in my LiveJournal: Ganimede - The Boy Inside.
January 9, 2005: Best Way to Spend My Coming Out Anniversary - Click here for a photo
It is exactly a year today that I admitted to myself that there was a possibility that I was trans. Doesn't time fly? I went to Leeds to meet up with my friends Ryan and Alex and also go to the T-Boys meet. Once we all arrived in Leeds, we trooped off to have a bit of a wander and see what was there. We managed to find the pub for the meet en route, so more by luck than anything else. We got sidetracked into M&S when hunger threated as it is wont to do with us, at least if Ryan and I are anything to go by. I think we spend most of our time eating. We went back to the Angel for the T-Boys meet at 3pm which ended up being a nice quiet meet because there wasn't that many of us! Alex had to leave at 5.30 to catch the bus home, so we all left then and walked partway together. Alex went off to the bus station while me and Ryan went off in seach of food. It was such a lot of fun though! I can't believe how much I've missed seeing the guys, it was so nice to just sit in a pub and chat.
January 14, 2005: My Non-Existant Transition
I'm feeling frustrated. I've not been able to really talk to anyone yet and it's almost a year since I had my initial appointment with my GP. Most of the people I've had to work my frustrations and thoughts out on have been the guys online, which is great, but still not as good as talking to a professional. They can listen and suggest stuff but it doesn't get me any further along. An indication of how far I've come is that I'm getting more and more ready for T whereas this time last year, I knew I wanted it but it would be way down the line because the idea scared me rigid.
I still feel like the first thing I want is to talk a lot of this through, and I know I want T but I don't think I'm totally ready for it yet. I know I'm getting there, I'm really wanting to go to work as male and now I've got a name nearly sorted I'm feeling more able to do that. I'm on the verge of going out and buying a suit for work. It's like I'm getting more mentally ready; I'm still scared, but I'm getting more excited about the possibility of things so my fear is receeding. In a small way I'm proud of me for that.
I was in the Yay for Queers chatroom earlier with some of the guys and they were discussing T and injecting and the results, and I felt so jealous and left out. It was a bit silly because I know I'll get there and after the major wibble fit I had on Tuesday when I was close to giving the whole thing up, I'm not sure I'm as ready as I think I am.
February 14, 2005: Notice From the Management
Attention! It's not Tate anymore, it's Nathaniel. Just so's you know.
March 9, 2005: Gender Clinic Appointment
I finally got through to the Claybrook Centre and got an appointment booked on April 11 at 3.30pm. Whooohooo!
April 12, 2005: Appointment at the Claybrook Centre
When my alarm went off at 8 o'clock, I could have quite cheerfully turned it off, rolled over and gone back to sleep. I'd been awake till about 2am for some reason - excitement? nerves? - so I was still tired. I got myself ready, packed my bag, made some lunch and left the house just before 9. I was afraid I'd get stuck in the traffic but it wasn't too bad. The train arrived, it was one of the new tilting trains and was called City of London. How appropriate. I spent most of the journey either staring out of the window or reading Stone Butch Blues. Mind you, the journey only lasted 2 1/2 hours, so it was super fast. I met Nic and Garvey at Euston and as it was a nice day, we decided to buy some lunch and eat it in Russell Square so we passed some time there till it was time for me to leave for my appointment. Nic came with me; we got the tube to Baron's Court (Nic told me when we got off that a girl who was sat opposite me had done a double take looking between me and the queer/trans badges on my backpack : ) ) and then walked to the Claybrook Centre. It was a little tiny building, seperate from the main hospital site. I announced my presence and said goodbye to Nic.
I was about five minutes early for my appointment so I didn't think I'd have long to wait, but I sat there and watched the clock move on towards 4 o'clock before my name was called. Dr Alison Charu was very nice, young and smiley and extremely friendly, I liked her immediately. She apologised for keeping me waiting but said that she was reading. I replied that I hoped it was something interesting, to which she responded that it was my life history! She didn't usually get one that was quite so long, but she said that it was good because it pretty much covered everything. She started off by asking for a snapshot of me right now and then we got to talking about how I was living and doing since deciding I had to do something about transitioning before working backwards as it were. She was easy to talk to and didn't ask me anything that I didn't really expect or feel uncomfortable with. The only thing she wasn't happy with was that I'm off sick at the moment but at least she understood why.
At the end, she asked if there was anything we'd not covered or if there was anything I wanted to know. To my surprise, the first (and only) question out of my mouth was "when will I get T?" She explained that their procedure was to have each patient seen by two different consultants, to make sure that the conclusion or diagnosis was the same and reduce the risk of any mistakes. So I'll be seen by a second consultant probably in about 6 months time (I don't know why I have to wait so long) and if they agree with Dr Charu, then everything is okay and I get my T! It makes sense, especially after the mess that RR has landed himself in at the moment, it's just the wait in between times that's annoying. After that, I can keep being seen by them for as long as I want so it doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as everyone has made out. Hopefully, I'm one of the lucky ones and I'll have a good experience there. The only bad thing about the whole appointment was what happened next. She filled out a yellow edged card and said that I had to go off and get blood drawn. I said that I'd had a blood test already but she said that they tested for more things than what Dr Williams had asked for. I couldn't really go away and get it done another day either which I suppose was good, because I really hate needles.
It was just before 5 o'clock when I left the GIC. I went off into the main part of the hospital and found the blood test department on the first floor. From outside the door, I could see a big black woman sitting opposite and just inside the room was a little skinny woman who was reading a book. Obviously this was a very busy part of the hospital. The first woman looked up and saw me and told me to come in. She was very brusque and didn't really say much at all, apart from 'sit down', 'what's your name and date of birth?' and 'roll your sleeve up' which made me even more nervous. She didn't even hold back with the needle either, just jabbed it into my arm. I think she did the elastic thingy too tight though, because on the second vial, my arm was really hurting. It was all over and done in about five minutes though which was a relief.
I got back to Euston and didn't have to wait long for the train to be in. It was quite empty really so I got a table all to myself. The train had been 22 minutes behind at one point, yet we managed to get into Preston early - I haven't quite figured that one out yet. It was around 11pm when I got in. I was absolutely shattered and my arm was killing me. I took the cotton wool off only to discover a huge red and purple bruise about the size of a large postage stamp. I knew she'd done the thingy up too tight. I was glad to collapse into bed, even though it had been an extremely good day: I'd had a great time meeting up with friends and I was sorry that part couldn't have lasted longer. Now I have to wait for 6 months before I can go back again.
May 1, 2005: Coming Out En Masse - Click here for a photo
I went to the Pavilion tonight to watch my old amateur dramatic society's show. It was the last performance of the week long run which meant there'd be the usual after show party. When it was the interval, I went to the backstage door to see if I could find Alan. He was in his dressing room so I went in to say hi. He said I was looking pretty good and asked how I was feeling. I told him that I was shitting bricks, mainly because I'd made up my mind to come out to the society but didn't have the faintest idea of how to do it! All I'd thought of was when someone said "Hi, D!" to say "it's Nathaniel now" and take it from there. Alan said that the way
When the show finished, I went into the bar where the party was and was joined by Alan before too long. He asked how I was doing but I'd not had chance to tell anyone at that point. He said that he'd let it slip to the Chairman who said that he didn't think it would cause any problems, but that it would just be a case of seeing how it went. I didn't mind about that, it saved me doing it but I made a note to go over and speak to him myself later on. Geraldine, a girl I got friendly with during the last show I did, came out and said hi to me just as I'd decided to go and speak to the Chairman so I said hi back and went off to find Andrew. He was fine about the whole thing which was a relief, being the Chairman it's really up to him. I went back outside where Alan was talking to Geraldine; he then said to her "I don't believe you've met him, this is Nathaniel." She said hi to me and I said hi back before she went to join her friends. Alan said that when I'd gone, she said to him "D is looking different..." so Alan put her straight. He said he hoped I didn't mind but I was fine with it.
When it was time for the food to be served, I took advantage of people sitting down eating to go over and talk to my friends. That was mainly the altos, so it was just a case of saying how much I'd enjoyed the show and that I was going to be back next year to do Titanic The Musical but unfortunately they'd still be an alto down as I'd be sitting at the back with the tenors. The general response seemed to be "oh okay" and that was it. It was so easy and no one made any real fuss about it at all. Only one asked me if I was happier now to which I said that I was.
We had to leave at 12.45 so it was time for mass goodbyes as that's it for the season now till rehearsals start up again in September. One of the older sopranos suddenly noticed me and said "I didn't know you were here!" She then said "you're looking very.... butch" which amused me no end! Me, butch? Anyway, she asked what had happened to me because one minute I was in love and all feminine (*gag*) and now I was all single and butch apparently. I had to explain very quickly and simply about being trans and coming back in September as Nathaniel but I'm not really sure she understood it. She gave me a kiss and a hug and that was it. It was 1am when I finally left and I got home half an hour later absolutely exhausted. I'd had a great night though and so glad that it all seemed to go so well. The good thing about doing it now is that when rehearsals start in September, everyone will know and it should be an awful lot easier. I can't wait to get back into rehearsing, I have missed it so much.
June 17, 2005: Officially Nathaniel
October 5, 2005: Second Claybrook Centre Appointment
I was up at 7.30am this morning! I was all ready and off to the train station by 8.45 and actually got there early. The train was supposed to get into London Euston at 12.27 but it ended up being half an hour late, so I didn't get in till 1. For some reason, it didn't twig that I only had an hour to get to my appointment and I forgot how long it took to get there on the tube. By the time I got out of Baron's Court, it was ten to and I didn't think I'd make it in ten minutes so I had to phone them and let them know that I might be a little late. Actually, it only took me five minutes but I was glad I'd called anyway.
Of course then, Dr Green was running late, it was about 2.15 when he called me in. It turned out that they hadn't recieved my deed poll which I'd sent about 6 weeks ago, so they still had me listed with my birthname. Dr Green started off by asking who I'd seen last time and what we'd accomplished. Then he wanted to know what I'd done in the past six months, so I said I'd changed my name and come out to the rest of my immediate family.
After that, he asked about my sexual and relationship history. I was struggling to work out exactly what he was after from me, he worded questions in a very strange way which made it hard to answer and I was rather wary that I wasn't making a good impression. Once we'd covered my recent relationships, he then asked what the procedure was for gender reassignment. I said that after chatting to psychiatrists, the first step was to start on hormones so then he wanted to know what effect hormones would have. I listed as many as I could think of but he went over them all anyway which made me feel like he thought I had no idea what I was getting into. He asked me what came next, so I said chest surgery and then any other surgeries as required.
After a brief discussion of surgery, he suddenly asked if I had ever had high blood pressure which I hadn't. He asked if I smoked (no), how much alcohol I drank (very little) and if I'd ever had liver problems or yellow jaundice (no and no). He checked my file to see who my doctor was and then said that he was going to write to her and get her to do some more blood tests. If they came back okay, then I would be given an injection once a month, probably by the nurse. He then said that before every injection I had to get my blood pressure checked. This was such an important thing, he told me three times in a row as if he couldn't stress it enough. My mind was already reeling from the concept of getting a shot every month but I still found it odd that he had to enforce the idea of getting my blood pressure checked. He said that I'd be on a dose low enough to stop the icky monthly bleeding and we'd see how I got on after a 3 or 4 months. I was told they'd send me out another appointment and that was it. It had only lasted half an hour and I left with a big grin on my face but feeling completely baffled at the same time. It had been a totally bizarre appointment but somehow I left after being told in a very casual and offhand kind of manner that he was going to start me on T. I couldn't believe it! I wanted to text everyone I knew all the way home but the reception was practically non-existant so I couldn't.
I've got an appointment with Dr King in mid-November; last time I saw her she said that would give the letter from the Claybrook time to get to her. I have no idea how long it will take for the blood test results to come back, I think it's usually about a month or so, which means I won't actually start T for at least two months. That's okay, it will give me time to get used to the idea!
November 14, 2005: Doctor's Report
I had an appointment with Dr King today to discuss what happened at the Claybrook Centre on October 5. She actually had the letter through from them and it confirmed pretty much what Dr Green had told me, which is that I need to have a blood test to get baseline levels and then once that's come back, I'll be able to start on T. The letter also said that I had to have my blood pressure checked before every injection so she checked it then and there (it was 121 over 89) and said that she wants to see me again in 4 weeks time. She'll check my blood pressure again and if it's okay, then the shots will start. I have an appointment for my blood test Thursday morning and I can phone up for the results a week later. Dr King decided that as well as checking red cell count and liver function, she'll also check my kidneys too because Sustanon can change your sodium levels.
So that's that sorted. I have to wait another month yet. I'm still okay with waiting because I guess I know I'm nearly there. My doubts regarding T don't seem to be 'omg, am I sure? is this right for me?' but more 'I don't want to go bald and get super hairy!!!1!!1' which is quite a change.
I've also got to let Dr King have a copy of my stat dec and a basic outline of the letter she needs to write to get the name and gender marker changed on my license and passport. I need to get the latter done asap, especially if I want to get my surgery done in San Francisco in the near future!
December 8, 2005: Top Surgery Scheduled
A date to put in your diary: March 28, 2006. At 11.00am on that day, I will be having surgery with Brownstein.
December 12, 2005: Follow Up Appointment
I had follow up appointment with Dr King this afternoon after having had my baseline bloodwork done a couple of weeks ago. I had already had the results and found out that I was slightly anaemic. I hoped that this would not be a problem. Initially Dr King wanted to postpone starting me on testosterone until she realised that Sustanon actually increased the red blood cell count and therefore it was better to start on a slightly lower level. She gave me a prescription for 6 ampules of Sustanon 250mg, one to be taken every four weeks and told me to make an appointment with the nurse for the injections. She warned me that the chemist probably wouldn't have Sustanon in stock and I should make my appointment for early next week which I did. To my surprise, the chemist did have it, so I changed my appointment with the nurse for 11.50am tomorrow. I am very very excited! It seems a little unreal though, I can't believe this is finally happening.
December 13, 2005: My first shot!
I was slightly nervous when I went to see the nurse this morning. I was actually a bit shaky while I was waiting for her to get things organised. She asked me if I'd had these injections before so I told her that I hadn't. I expected to have to lie down on the couch or something as I'd seen other boys have their injections that way, but I ended up having the injection while I was standing up. It rather took me by surprise which was good in a way. It didn't hurt a lot, it felt rather like a sharp sting. Later on, the whole of that side of my arse was sore in an aching kind of way. It went away after I'd walked about a bit though.