Thursday, 28 June 2012

I have now migrated...

You can find this blog at

See you there!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Comfort Zone

In the last week I think I have been pushed well and truly out of my comfort zone for a variety of reasons.

I had my appointment with Charing Cross, which went really well.  I saw someone before and that was really nice as I haven’t seen him in a while, and donated some binders to the MORF binder scheme.

My appointment covered the appeal letter which my doctor there has written, he has also been really good at keeping me copied in to any emails he has had with the PCT and was also firm with them when it looked like they were being reluctant to add his letter to my appeal.

He also added that in his opinion they were being especially difficult and that he would keep challenging them which did fill me with some hope.  It was also nice that he told me that I didn’t need to prove anything as I have a good case and I fit all the criteria’s that they look for.

It appears that in line with the cuts that they are clamping down. But also an annoyance is that they haven’t read my case properly.

I’m also getting my hormone levels monitored by the people at Charing Cross as well.  I had the pleasure of meeting the infamous Iffy Middleton, who really does live up to her reputation and is absolutely lovely. 

She gave me her card which had her mobile and direct email address as well, so that I can contact if I would like or need to.

For the next 3 weeks I shall be having blood taken to look at my hormone levels as my T-Cycle hits week 10.11 and 12.  This shall provide them with the correct data to see what my levels are and if I can start having my testosterone at weeks 9 or 10 instead of week 12 which I am currently on.

So this will be good to see how this comes out.  Also now that I am coming up for a year on T it is a good time to look at what my levels are with a good period of time to fall back on.

Right now I do feel exhausted a lot of the time. My moods have felt quite dampened by a lot of the stress I have been experiencing with all of this.

On Friday I had my second appointment with the surgeon’s nurse. It was quite a bittersweet moment.  She started off saying how excited I must be and how it isn’t long to go now until my surgery until I interjected that I had no date and my funding had been rejected.

She also seemed shocked and said that when things get to this case, this doesn’t usually happen. But I showed her a letter from Charing Cross as well as the PCT letter and she will get the surgeon to also write a letter for my case as well.

She also said that they will press ahead and make me a surgery date and apply a bit of pressure to the PCT. She did warn me though that this date might not go through, which I was aware of.

My friend K came with me to the appointment and I was very pleased she was there.  Having a close friend as opposed to a partner or family member can help take some of the emotion away from the surgery and also have a different perspective in terms of running through the procedure, the aftercare, how to prepare before and after and what I will need to do when I am healing.

She also informed me of possible complications and what I might need to expect in regards to scarring or possible nipple loss. They do have things to help if such a thing happens, yet at the same time it’s good to know and then have a realistic expectation of what will happen during this stage.

I feel really lost amongst all of this right now. I have no certainty so am not raising my hopes too much as I don’t see what the point in doing so is.

I can’t pretend to myself that everything is going to happen when I think it might as I have no guarantee on that.

I am just happy and grateful that I have support and medical support behind me against the obstructive forces that are the PCT.

I am trying not to take it personally that they have rejected my application.

The only thing I have against the health authority was calling me Miss Leng Leng for 6 months. That is something that they are at fault for.

The rest of Friday was nice, had some lunch then met with Fox, who appeared on ‘My Transsexual Summer’. His partner was lovely to talk with as well and I really liked his company.  I met some of his friends too and had a really lovely afternoon and evening, looking at some of his work, speaking with him and being in his company.

I returned to London later than planned but felt a nice energy coming from relatively positive outcomes at the clinic.

I went to bed as normal then a few hours later I woke up in agony.

I don’t think I have ever been in so much pain in all of my life (I am not being melodramatic either). I had a very sharp pain around where my diaphragm and liver is and felt like something was going to explode inside of me. It was so sharp and spiky that it was unbearable.

I wasn’t sleeping in the same bed as E that night so I had some water and went online to NHS Direct who after not being clear on what it could be (I was relieved it wasn’t the appendix as I didn’t know where it was) it said a nurse would call me in next 20 minutes. 

That time went by and I was still doubled up in pain.  I couldn’t sit up. I crawled to her room and asked her for painkillers as I didn’t have any in my room and she could see something was wrong.

I lay on her bed feeling more and more pain and in the end I asked her to wake up one of our housemates, H who is a nurse.

I would never normally wake anyone up but by now I was unsure what to do.  I didn’t want to call for an ambulance straight away as I thought that might be slightly over the top.

I wasn’t binding and I knew I was in incredible amounts of pain as the thought of her seeing my chest didn’t install a sense of fear or disgust I would usually have. She said we should go to hospital.

NHS direct phoned and said I should try an out of hours doctor or go to hospital.  E called an ambulance and they put us in touch with the out of hours doctor who said to go to hospital.

They wouldn’t send an ambulance but luckily H had a car and she went and got it and her and E took me to The Homerton.

By that point I looked a right sorry state, I was in pain I was feeling awful, but given it was almost 4 am by that point it was relatively quiet.

I was seen quite quickly and put on a bed which was useful. 

The had a few things happen which was like my worse nightmare happening, but luckily the pain I was in distracted me from this.

First they had to take an ECG – where little sticky things were stuck all over my chest and on my breasts and under them and they attached wire things to them to take a reading of my heart.

I am glad all was well with that as removing them afterwards made me feel revolting.  I also felt compelled to explain why I had breasts as obviously all of my records read as Male and in I come with DD breasts. Nice.

Then I had to have a something in my wrist which really hurt so they could take blood and although my nurse was a lovely chap, squeezing some of my arm shut in the band thing to get a vein up didn’t help.

But the final thing which just made me feel at my absolute worst was having a rectal examination.

It was very uncomfortable, and that coupled with having my belly prodded and poked was just the final thing which made me feel well and truly vulnerable.

My bloods came back showing I had good liver and kidney function and my heart was ok.  Had a urine test and that came back ok so that that was a relief.

I was given gaviscon and that didn’t have much change. Had more pain relief and that helped.

They took x-rays which also came back clear.

They told me to make a GP appointment as I shall need referral for an endoscopy and then following that will rule out to see if I have a stomach ulcer or anything like that.

I have never had pains like that before, and I wasn’t worried, just wanted the pain to stop.

I also felt revolting afterwards remembering the ECG and how irritating it was having to feel I had to explain why I had breasts and having to have things attached to them was just my idea of hell.

The next time I want to be in a hospital is when they are being removed.

On coming home E was very lovely and gently stroked me and was with me when we went to sleep in her bed.  When I woke up one of the guests in our house made food for us and E was around when I needed her but also did ask if I wanted any space so that was nice.

I slept lots and felt a little better so H drove us to C’s house as she had some of her art up and saw K and then went home and slept more.

Rest of weekend was chilled.  Did make it out yesterday as wasn’t in pain, but only thing I have noticed is that I don’t have as much energy as I usually do.

We gently walked a bit, got some clothes for a wedding we are attending next weekend then watched football!

Was quite a novel thing, given that E and I aren’t the most football inclined of people, but it was fun and nice to be with each other and some housemates and we woke up curled around one another.

I came out to Essex today to do some work and that has been going fairly well I just feel a lot slower than usual and feel tired.

I have managed to get a doctor appointment for first thing in the morning tomorrow and I will be then coming back to Essex as I have an all day training thing happening here for some stuff to do with the Website.

I will feel better soon, I know it.  Just taken note to myself to rest a bit more and find ways to be a bit less stressed too as I feel stress has definitely contributed to a lot of what is going on right now.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I can't settle right now.

Finding it hard to sleep, or make myself feel ok as everything feels like it's taking so long.  I feel a mixture of determined, which sinks into feeling hopeless.  There is definitely a rollercoaster type feeling in place right now.

I feel like I need space, yet I want attention, but then I just don't know what to do with myself. The slight melancholy I am in right now is definitely rendering itself well to Dusty Springfield.

It's really odd but in some ways I feel quite lonely in some respects.  This is something that I think every person transitioning feels at certain intervals during transition, but I feel that some of this is also relating to changes happening as well.

I am 11 months into taking Testosterone, I am feeling far more physically male than before and therefore it is becoming quite distressing to find myself with some very female attributes that are there. I can't wait for the day I have sex where it doesn't feel almost like a male babooshka doll taking off many layers to see that I am now a male with large breasts.

It's gross. I find it hard to feel sexy sometimes when I become aware of that.  I don't always want to wear a t-shirt nor do I want to as I don't want to detract from the closeness and intimacy I have with my girlfriend. I also hate the sensation of feeling my breasts jiggling around under material.  That also squicks me out.

There is also a greater need not to feel that there are restrictions. I don't want to feel that there are parts of me that seem eternally no-go areas. It's not nice to feel that when I feel rotten that I become snappy or sensitive about someone coming close to me, when the very thing I want is closeness.  Especially with someone I love, trust, desire and want to have as close to me as possible in an intimate situation.

If a postman or builder comes to the door early in the morning I don't want to have to stuff my breasts under a binder or find myself hiding behind a door hoping they won't notice, and feel that I am having to sneak around for the fear they will notice and then feel that I am weird. 

An appeal has been written and I shall find out tomorrow if it's been sent or not. I am excited about that, and I am trying to be as positive and forward thinking with this.  But this is starting to consume me a bit.  I know already that the panel meeting for June has most likely passed so the appeal panel won't see my case until some time next month.  Then following that it can take a long time before we are notified about what the outcome is.

I am seeing my surgeon's nurse this week, but again, the surgery there is hanging in the balance a bit in terms of when this can go ahead.

Then I think about people who don't have access to any of this, and have to live their lives in situations where they won't even get a chance to transition, and sometimes a slight guilt starts to happen.  I think that I should just shut up or grin and bear it as there are people far worse off than me and why should I be so selfish thinking about my situation.

I start feeling that I don't deserve things or that I will never be happy and then I start to feel depressed.

I just need to feel that I am 'me'. I keep getting closer to that, I feel that I catch glimpses but for all the progress I do make then I feel that I also seem to be taking steps backwards as well.

My sensitivities have been popping up again too.  I want to drink like a fish if I get the chance, but I do hold a little restraint at the same time, as obliterating myself or getting hammered isn't going to make anything better.

Luckily I only drink when in company, as I see it as a social thing. 

I know what I need to do and what needs to happen, but right now my patience is starting to run thin.  I like to plan and I like to feel safe in the knowledge that my plans can happen and that I can forge ahead.

There are some positives and that is I know that although things are a bit stressful right now, it is teaching me lots about life and how to apply better ways of dealing with something stressful for the future and for future situations.

The whole world isn't going to end and I am not going to collapse or give in too much to some of the negative feelings i am starting to have.

I have been making some positive progress with work stuff and new opportunities and ways of working things are emerging, so on some levels at least I feel one area is progressing and I am feeling something rewarding and motivating from effort put in.

The stuck in a moment feeling is just there a lot and I have to find ways to combat this as much as possible.  It's like being in a fabulous house but there is a tap dripping and once you notice that sound it starts becoming more and more irritating because you know it's there and the continual background sound at times can become distracting.

This is a moment which will be overcome.  I just want to feel at peace and that I don't have to be primed to push, fight and argue my case and in some ways to feel that I validate my existence.

I want to be me.  I am reaching the point where I don't want things to be in relation to how I am progressing my transition or moving forwards but to have time to enjoy and be who I am.

This day shall come and I will find ways to be more positive.

In the meantime, work, focus, exercise, move and find ways to get everything moving in the right place.

I won't crumble under this, I am determined on that front.  In my spare time I need to make sure that I make myself exercise more, or find positive distractions from this - I don't want to be anxious or turn into a miserable bastard.  It's not nice on me or anyone else around me either and for that I am aware of that.

I also need to make the most of my Mum being around. September isn't that far away.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Empty Tank

It's all been happening this week, had a very positive email exchange with my Psychiatrist from Charing Cross who forwarded me a very good response that he written in appeal to the PCT.

He has really fought my corner in a very concise and considerate way but doesn't leave much wiggle room on their part. 

In some ways it's a shame it has to get like this sometimes, but saying that unless they do get strongly worded letters that doesn't give them much of a leg to stand on then for the most part they aren't very obliging to give people the treatments they require.

Especially since The Cuts has happened.

We can debate until the end of time about Entitlement and what it means to different people but at the same time for most of my adult life (minus a few years for Uni) I was working.  During my time at Uni I also worked a bit too, and since graduating I have been working.  Whilst working I have been paying tax.

Therefore I feel that I have been making some contribution into the healthcare services that I am requiring some care from.

I also did all of my social side of my transitioning first. I wanted to leave the physical attributes of hormones and surgery last).

It's now at the point where I don't want to go past three years of binding my chest.  It's not who I am.  It was fun and exciting at first but now I feel that it is a chore. I hate having to feel that I need to hide who I am or if I don't bind, feel freaked out and repulsed by myself. 

I should have never grown breasts or had ones that were so big naturally. I feel like a biological mistake has attached itself to my chest and that is something I am reminded by every day.

To feel this level of discomfort sometimes does get me down.  I never hide that fact.  But at the same time it's also about working out how to focus energy positively to not become bogged down by the imprisoned feeling that also takes place.

I distract myself with thoughts of the future or things to be working on, stuff to, cookery, photography, friends, family, love, sex...yet there is still always a void that sometimes creeps in. 

I'm not quite the person I am yet and until that comes everything around me is enjoyed and treasured yet at times it's as if some elements of joy become hollow in some ways as I am still not quite connected to who I am.

I am still stuck in the breast suit.

I feel happier than I was when I was legally female, but I know I need to push on to get further to who I actually am.  Having delays to this process makes me feel a little bit odd.

Not exactly a sad or depressed feeling, but it's more of a tired feeling.

I want to get some of this waiting phase over so I can concentrate on being.  Living, feeling a sense of completion.

I like consistency and a clarity.  Feeling uncertainty yet again just isn't helping right now.

Yet I know there are people with much worse situations, and that at least my case is being appealed and that I should remember every day that I should be greatful for the air I breathe or that I can progress on my journeys and reflect on travels but today I feel a bit battered by all of this and in some ways a little sad.

This is my life and not other peoples.

At the same time I will be making sure that I not only fight for my own rights but will make sure relevant complaints and letters are written so that for others this process gets a little bit easier, as other people have done before me.

I don't forget what other crap other people have had to go through with transitioning over the years and there is a bit more progress happening.

It's just that right now is a stressful time.

I have too many things occupying my mind.

My head is full of Work/thinking strategies for that/making things happen there...followed by thoughts surrounding feeling comfortable, positive, being a good friend or partner or child, learning, remembering to read more stuff, remembering to have fun and live a little, to work ways out of certain negative routines.

Eat healthily, work on keeping trim...

Life really is an endless to-do list.

Oh and to be kinder to self when week 8/9 of testosterone cycle happens, like right now.  My levels feel a if they drop and I find myself feeling somewhat lethargic and empty. My body feels a bit lost, as T usually gives me a certain level of energy and when it drops I do feel it missing somewhat in my system.

My hair is also bad right now so I know that when I do more stuff that makes me feel happy that helps.  Alongside knowing tomorrow is Saturday and I can have a mini lie-in.

I need a bit of peace and quiet so I can resume my busy levels.  Not only am I busy physically but a lot of this is busy mentally as well.

I sometimes feel that I want to put my brain in cold water so that I can chill everything down, but that right now is not an option.

The awful weather that we are beseiged with here in the UK is also not helping either.

Still not long until more adventures happen or more things are clear so that will be something to look forward to.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Walk The Line

A lot has happened over the past week. In some respects I wish I was still back in Vietnam, as I felt happy, full of sunshine and free in some respects.

I feel a mixture of many things right now. I feel positive and determined to fight my case with the PCT as I know I have a good case on my hands. I also emailed my psychiatrist at Charing Cross Clinic to inform him of the situation as I have an appointment with him next week, but thought it might be good to send in the letter to him so that he is aware of the situation.

I sent him a scan of the letter and he has said he will write to the PCT with an appeal and will also point out a few important factors that look as if they have been misunderstood or disregarded by whoever looked at my referral in the first place.

My GP is back tomorrow so am seeing her tomorrow as well.

I still intend to write to my MP as I think that there needs to be a better system in place when looking at cases that are sent in for referral that they are looked at by someone who knows what they are doing or in the very least have some understanding about what it is that a GP is requesting for a patient.

My letter stated that a masectomy was being requested yet it referred throughout to 'male breast reduction' which is a different procedure altogether.

There were a few other things that didn't make sense.

At least if it is appealed (which they are in process of doing so) it shall mean that the entire panel there will be looking at my case and not just one or two people.

This is what I think should be challenged, as in the long run it would be a bit more time efficient if the relevant people were looking at something correctly in the first place.

I don't feel stressed by it as much as I did. I just feel weird.  I feel as if I have failed somewhere along the line or that I am not going to be granted my surgery. With everything that has happened with the cuts I know that the NHS is different to what it was.  Therefore fighting and the right letters and the correct categories and even post code is required now all the time.

These are hurdles everyone has to face, I will fight as much as I can, but at the same time I intend to make a little noise about it as well. It's not about getting what I want from the situation but also to give something back. I want it to be simpler and less stressful for people in the future.

To be able to have a passport and hormones in my hands now are a positive sign and also someone else before me fought to make sure that I would have the access to these things and I try not to forget about things like that.

I would also like to see in the future better systems in place so that people like myself don't end up with embarrassing and incorrect names stuck to their medical records for 6+ months either.

This is one thing that is in process and such as many other situations in life, it means it is subject to waiting. I feel life is one big waiting room right now, and in order to progress its like being a living and breathing work in process.

I feel lonely once more.

I always get this feeling once changes are stagnating or that I have a stressful situation on my hands. I feel stuck in a body and life that isn't quite yet my own as someone else has power over what they shall assist me when it comes to my destiny and life plan.

I work hard with the stuff I physically work on, but unfortunately that is also in early stages so it's not going to yield me enough pennies straight away to be in a position where I can give two fingers to the NHS and go private.

If I had that kind of money available to me then I would do so in a heartbeat.

Still this has been a valuable lesson and a good awakening to work extra hard in life.  The harder I work, or more money I make sure I earn will mean I have more choices when it comes to what I do in terms of life changing plans.

My testosterone levels feel a bit like they have dropped too, and the weather isn't helping my moods.  I feel a bit low. Part of me wants to curl up into a ball and cry, whereas the other part of me feels like I have been walloped around the face.  There is some spark left in me and what motivates me is the thought of fighting and making myself feel strong again.

The more I fight the more motivated I feel, it just requires energy which I feel a bit low on. I also want the lonely feelings to stop because in reality I have friends around me, some family and a partner.

It's not like I am completely alone so I am trying to identify where these feelings are coming from.

I am processing at the moment that in a few months my Mother will be moving abroad in next few months. I felt a bit odd about it at first, but at the same time if I was in her shoes, I would do exactly the same.

I will miss her, but at the same time I know that this is the right thing as well. I also know with how much I like to travel and will travel, that I don't think it's right that she stays somewhere she isn't happy when she has much better opportunities for her that are further afield.

It would also be massively hypocritical of me to try and stop someone doing something to improve their life and feel happier just because it would fall down to convenience as to how close they are physically to me.

I am almost 30 years old and I think I am old enough to stand on my own two feet.  Also, where my Mum will be shall make visiting the Far East and rest of South East Asia a viable option and a great stop off point.

I am very excited for her.  Especially given my recent trip to Vietnam and a night in Singapore.  I felt closer to her in some respects and definitely felt like I understood her a lot better in others.

She spent some of her formative years in Malaysia, with frequent visits to Singapore and Hong Kong.  In some ways I see her leaving as a homecoming for her.

I found myself thinking that with transition it gave me the opportunity to be the person I always felt I was and fundamentally it has left me feeling happy and has appointed me a sense of freedom.  It has also reminded me that if there are some aspects of life that you aren't happy with then we do have the power to change it.

You just need the right motivation to do so.

I used to be fat but now I am not.  I used to be female and this is no longer the case.  I wanted to change these things about myself so that I could live a life that I felt is who I truly am.

It is scary sometimes but at the same time living and feeling that I am being true to who I am is much more liberating that feeling I am weighed down by layers of bullshit.

I am far from being anywhere perfect but at the same time where I have had situations whereby I have messed up, caused pain or felt pain I have tried to learn from that experience. I loathe hurting people and therefore have found ways to learn and grow from past mistakes.

Of course I might make mistakes in the future but on the whole I try and keep a positive awareness of my actions and not to cause crap wherever I go.

I have zero respect for people that make the same mistakes continuously (that hurt other people) or cause the same drama and same upset to people on a continual basis. This reeks of laziness.

It takes guts to look at oneself and not just try and please the ego with what we see.  It leaves me feeling quite speechless as to how egotistical some people can behave and how unwilling they are to change their ways and approach to others even if it means that they start behaving in a negative way or continue to upset people in their very own cycle of destruction.

I don't understand that.

Maybe I am being a bit judgmental but so be it. I respect the ways of others but I also keep my own opinions and principles too. 

This is after all what makes us all different and diverse to one another.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I landed last night and feel as if my head has been spinning ever since.

My last days in Vietnam were a bit difficult.  When I returned from Halong Bay to Hanoi I started to feel a bit unwell. My last night there was memorable for all the wrong reasons.  I had stomach cramps, temperature spikes and an achy unwell feeling coupled off with a night on the toilet. I went over 12 times and felt rotten.

I had some coca cola and Berocca and ate super plane before going to Singapore where we stayed in the most amazing hotel ever! We got upgraded as well which was a doubly nice thing to happen. In Singapore I ate very plain but clean food.

It was a shame we were only there for a matter of hours as it's a very interesting place, and one that I would like to go back and visit.  Especially for the food.  It is a melting pot of Asian influences and cultures.

I loved the buzz of Maxwell Market which was advised to us by the Singaporean family that we were on the cruise with.

It's also dirt cheap and not filled with tourists which made me very happy.

The rice also made it so I could hold that food down and fly ok the following day.

I have had electrolytes and some tablets but if nothing changes soon I will have to have a trip to the doctors.

I can't quite shake off the listless and out of sorts feeling I have.

I feel stuck between time zones and just don't feel myself.

Upon returning to a cold, rainy and rather gloomy feeling UK (the Jubilee party seemed to zap everyone's energy this weekend) I got a letter back from the PCT.

They have declined to fund my chest surgery. My GP wrote to me and attached the letter and has said that she is appealing their decision and assured me that every document that discussed my case and gender was enclosed with her application.

Only it seems that they aren't keen on funding me on the basis that it would be a private operation and apparently they are willing to accept other information which in their words:

"Should you feel that there is additional clinical information which would demonstrate that this patient is significantly different to the cohort of males with a similar condition, or that would demonstrate that this patient would have a considerably greater health benefit from this intervention, you would be welcome to re-submit an IFR application on the grounds of exceptionality which would be viewed by a full IFR panel".

In all my records it clearly states from assessments had with psychiatrists that having a large chest size causes me distress, and that since being a teenager is something I have never liked.  It's also a bit bonkers for them to think that me having a chest that is DD size would actually want to keep my breasts.

All my records state that I hate having them so what more evidence do they want.  Shall I just send them a picture and remind them that page 3 size on a bloke is wrong...if it isn't his choice to have them.

It is fate being a cruel thing to afflict those who hate breasts on them with large ones when there are people who would love massive ones.

Every day I feel like a failure because they are still there.  I can't stand having to hide them and hide in changing rooms and constantly think of concealment and if I did a good enough job if someone glances on my chest. The way I have to dress in a changing room is a bit odd, especially if there is nowhere secluded. Men will comfortably take off their shirts and change more as I can't in this setting which limits some of the sporting activities I would like to do.

I hate having to creep around and avoid being detected and feel repulsed by having a something that is literally stuck to me. It's unbearable sometimes and right now is one of those times.

Since experiencing massive discomfort whilst being away, it has galvanised to me that they really do have to go. I feel really tense at the thought of spending another year wearing a binder. I don't want to have to bind for 4 years.

The more male I become hormonally, the more I feel trapped in a body that isn't quite fully my own.  Being a planner, having a set back makes me anxious.

I will be assisting in the appeal by writing a personal statement, writing a letter to MP, having follow up appointment with my GP (she is away until 11th when I have an appointment) and I also have my next Charing Cross appointment coming up on the 20th, someone who works in LGBT mental health has offered to write a supporting statement for me and counsellor has also agreed to write a letter too so hopefully these elements shall help.

I am also reviewing what my legal position is within this is another rejection happens.  As there was an anomaly on the form.  My doctor requested a masectomy and is titled with what was requested yet the document keeps referring to a 'male breast reduction' which is a bit open to interpretation in the form of are they reading this as a cis-male wanting a moobjob?

Yet it states I was assessed under the transgender protocol to which I fit that criteria that the protocol is saying it is looking for. Hence why there is a bit of confusion and even my doctor said herself in her letter to me that she was surprised about the outcome and has lodged an appeal straight away.

She assured me a while ago that she would fight on my behalf and it seems she is true to her word on things, but we'll see how the next round pans out.

On the 22nd of this month I have an appointment to see the surgeons nurse as well so this shouldbe interesting.  They have told me that the PCTs cause delays to processes all the time so not to be too shocked if this happens.

It still sucks though and I feel crap on the back of this. My options are right now keep fighting and hopefully get funded or come up with around 7 grand. I don't want to take loans or have debt if I can avoid it as when I was younger I had debt problems and I hate anything that reminds me of that time.

I can't bear feeling like this. All my energy has been wiped out in a single blow.  But it shall return and I don't think feeling physically under the weather or having jet lag is helping this either.

There has also been other news too and that is someone who is very close to me shall be moving overseas and this will be a lot sooner than I expected.

It will be a great opportunity for them and there are many pluses to it.  I see that and I don't have any side of me saying to them "don't go" because if I was in their shoes I would do exactly what they are doing.

There is just a strange feeling I have emerging that now I sort of will be alone.  Even though I am surrounded by people, the closeness I have with this person is different.  I have known them all of my life so therefore it will be different.

But at the same time I know how I operate.  I am already starting to process. It has just taken me by surprise slightly and that is all it is. 

I will have a wonderful new place to visit, just a pity that it isn't on an Easyjet flight path. For the hours rather than the cost...honest!

Life does change though, that is something my transition has taught me and change is sometimes a scsary thing but at he same time if you don't push yourself or even test your own boundaries then life would be very boring.

As long as someone cares for themselves and is making positive actions in their lives and others I don't see what the issue is with shaking things up once in a while.  Especially if it means a person will be happier as a result.

I have spent too many years in an unhappy state and therefore I will strive at everything I can to be as happy as possible and to live as positive a life as I can.

I don't want to be seen as someone who constantly needs looking after or supported all the time. That isn't me.  I appreciate the support I have received as well as the kindness and love people have bestowed upon me as well. I think it's important not to forget things like this either.

Especially on a day like today where it's easy to slip into the habit of thinking the world is bleak and horrible because on a grander scale of things it isn't.

It's just not ideal circumstances right now.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Heat is On

Greetings from Hanoi!

It's been an eventful week and a bit to say the least. The common denominator in all of this has been heat. I say this because before leaving London I felt stressed and really p*ssed off with the PCT. 

The day before I left I had no letter from them regarding their decision on my funding for Top Surgery, so I called them.  From being told they would write to me, I was now informed that they would be writing to my Doctor and then she would either call or write to me and this could take up to two weeks or up to a month.  That was irritating enough without what followed.  The person on the phone told me that she could see on the computer that a decision had been made.  I asked if she could tell me and she said that it wasn't policy and that I would have to find out from my GP.  This was after she had asked me for my NHS number, date of birth, address and other personal details.

I respect that there are policies in place, but at the same time I want to know why I am told that I would be written to from them regarding the decision and then suddenly a change occurred within that. I did challenge, politely that I had been told that I would be informed from them but she was very adamant that they inform the GP who then informs the patient.

I get that.

I was irritated (and still am) that she knew of my result and seemed to be getting a kick out of being able to enjoy her little piece of power. I wouldn't have left someone dangling like that nor inform them that I knew but wasn't going to tell them.  A much better approach would have been to just say that once a decision is made the GP will be written to and then the patient would be informed.

I forgot to add that once she had attained that the decision had been made, she muted me whilst she discussed it with a colleague. So that too irked me knowing that two people knew yet I couldn't be told.

On that note I was pleased to get off the phone, curse a little and finish packing to go to Vietnam.  She may have had a bit of power but at least she could sit and rot at her desk for the following 2 weeks as far I was concerned.

She also didn't give her name, which again with hindsight I should have taken from her so that I can make a complaint or find out who is higher up at the PCT.  People I know that have had dealings with them have had to speak to upper tiers of management, so when I return if there has been no word or progress I might do that as I have quite a tight timetable for June.

On the 20th I have an appointment with Dr Lorimer at Charing Cross, then on the 22nd I have an appointment with my Surgeon's nurse in Brighton where she will discuss the operation with me and if a PCT decision is finalised by then I can then discuss workable dates with Dr Yelland.

I've also got loads of work on with my other company to plough through and other bits and pieces happening.

It's all go, go, go! But I am determined to make my surgery happen.  I'm so close I can almost taste it and from being in Vietnam, this surgery is necessary.

When we booked we thought it would be high 20s and early 30s in terms of temperature, but most of the South of Vietnam which we started off in has been in the 40's! Which has been almost unbearable at moments when having to wear 2 binders, as they at the best of times are like wearing a thermal vest, but couple that with this heat and it is like experiencing heaven and hell all at the same time.

Yesterday when in Hue, I sweated so much that my stomach was tricking sweat out of my belly button and down my pants that it felt like I was wetting myself.

I hope the scales upon my return are kind because I feel like I have sweated out at least a few pounds in body weight.

Feeling too hot and too sweaty all the time is really uncomfortable after a few days.  Still I do put things in perspective.

This is a beautiful place that I am thoroughly enjoying being in.  In the run up to here I worked very hard to be able to come here, it's also given me lots of time to think and positively reflect on a few things happening in life and helped me to resolve a few matters of the heart and soul to some degree too.

It's also confirmed to me that I really do have no relationship with the breasts that grew on my chest.  They can go in the bin as far I am concerned once they are removed.  I should have never been born with them and I can't wait to experience a world where I don't have to hide underneath a binder.

I have an old binder I wear under a rash vest so I can swim without people knowing I have breasts which is liberating but there is a side of me that feels that I am still having to hide and feel uncomfortable so that no one knows and I don't freak out making myself feeling more dysmorphic than I already do.

When September comes I would have been binding for 3 years.  That is a long time.  I am reaching the stage where I actually can't bear it every day, having to make sure I have aligned myself correctly and not squidged one breast too far from the other so that I end up with a wonky looking chest or a strange monoboob.

Sometimes my binder slips and then I notice cleavage and I feel like a failure and sometimes a fraud.  I also end up feeling revolting and just want to hide when that happens.

I remind myself that I am not a freak but sometimes it's hard not to feel that way.  Especially when the rest of the time I console myself with what I am doing, that it's right and that I can adjust to a new life but the reminder of being born with incorrect body parts just makes me feel trapped.

I know that some people (no matter how liberal they may appear) have their own judgements and reservations and even assumptions as to how trans people live or should live. Because for some they don't understand and some feel uncomfortable about it all, and that is fair enough. I just wish sometimes that some people weren't so faux positive when that isn't really representative as to how they feel.

The crux of the matter is that a trans person tried to adjust and make changes in his or her life so that they can be as representative to the person that they should have been born as in the first place.  In some ways it's like literally being born again.

Choosing a new name, identity, altering ones appearance and becoming closer to what you've always felt inside yet weren't born that way isn't easy. But its part of a journey that some people choose to take and have to take in order to feel that they are alive.

I say this because in what feels like a previous life I wasn't happy at all. There was potential but I felt I spent a lot of my life living a lie.

I despise dishonesty and I don't want to feel I was lying to myself or the people around me.  The only expectation my Mum ever placed on me was to be the person I felt I was. As well as to make her cups of tea on demand even if she forgets about them and leaves a trail of cups wherever she goes...but then she does have the dirty nappy all mothers use!

The main thing I feel now is determination to make more changes happen and to do so from knowing without any shadow of a doubt about anything.

Being here has allowed me to recharge my batteries and seeing all of the amazing sights around me and sampling a different world and culture has given me back some much needed fire that I had run out of.

I have dreamt of coming to Vietnam since I was a teenager but am pleased that I was able to make this happen.

I was determined that before I was 30 I would travel to lots of places and not just because I wanted to be gay, fabulous and cultured...but there is an element of that too if I am honest.

I grew up not having holidays every year like a lot of my friends did. Because my Mum had to struggle for a lot of my childhood and I don't forget the many Christmasses that she had to do loads of shitty jobs so that I could have a present. 

We didn't have a supportive family nor did she have many opportunities growing up either. When she met my Step Dad things did change, and I will always be grateful to him for a lot of things too as without him, I wouldn't have got my education nor many of the other opportunities afforded to me.

It is sad that they aren't together anymore, but at the same time I know I can maintain a relationship with them both and at the same time not forget all the good times and things that have happened from that union.

I also have discovered that I am in fact in love with a country.  Vietnam has definitely stolen my heart and I can't wait to return here and explore more of the rural areas. Particularly Sapa and the Surrounding areas and the Central Highlands. Ho Chi Minh City is scooter tastic (and turns crossing the road into an extreme sport) and the city as a whole can make one feel like it's all a giant hustle in a lot of places.

People here aren't too corrupt...we haven't encountered too many hustlers here.  But then no where is as bad as Morocco in my opinion for that.  Here, it has been really obvious if someone is dodgy as they have been either trying to feed us false information (such as a guy in Hue telling us the citadel was closed for the next hour but he would ride us around - I didn't believe him and was pleased that my gut instinct was correct!) and another guide we had at My Son quoting us a one day trip to Hue with a car for 160 dollars when the going rate is about 75. But again he was too pushy and we gave him the brush off and all was well. He was also a very lazy guide so there was a part of me thinking why on earth people would want to hire him privately based on his lack of interest and passion in the tour he was currently working on. Still, these types of people exist wherever there are tourists, and it's just a case of working through what you want from a place,

Going to Hue with just a driver and no guide was perfect for us.

Hanoi is very pleasant but again the scooters here are a bit scary.  Hoi An is just heavenly.  I could easily stay around that part for a long time. We had a lovely man take us to Hue who was one of the sweetest people I think I have ever met.

We also saw the ruins in My Son too which were beautiful (shame about the dodgy guide), yet sad at the same time.  They had a lot of damage as they were bombed heavily during the US War. There is still a feeling of rawness here over what went on, but I admire that there doesn't seem to be much of a bitterness.  Same applies to the attitude towards the French too.

Vietnam is definitely transitioning within itself. It's also a very affordable place to visit - the greatest expense you would have would be airfare.  Accomodation, food, transport and internal flights are very reasonable.

Most meals we have had which have included a tip have not come to more than ten pounds for two.  We haven't been drinking very much so that too is something to remember as well. Beer is about a pound anyhow so it doesn't exactly kill the bank and the place we had nice cocktails at worked out at just under 2.50 a cocktail.

My wallet won't be crying as much as it would be if I was in Europe, lets put it that way.  I have been making sure I have been tipping well though as I think that is only right.