A day in the life of a trans guy – 6 months post top surgery.

Time is flying by faster then I can keep up with, it’s just crazy. But today marks 6 months since I had top surgery.

I’m slowly starting to connect with my chest and slowly starting to realise that I’ve finally had this life changing, life saving surgery that I’ve been wanting since puberty.

Still struggling a bit with the gender dysphoria and recognising myself but I think its a natural part of being trans.

I don’t think I look at my chest enough, I don’t look at myself and appreciate my new body. I think I was focused on recovering from surgery and it going well without any complications that I wasn’t really present and I was pretty lonely during recovery as well, so I didn’t have anyone around to be excited about surgery with and to share it with.

Looking back at leading up to surgery and after surgery I was kinda disconnected from it and as I’m used to being in hospitals and I’ve had lots of minor surgeries before, I just kinda treated it like any other procedure I’ve had to go through. I was really excited on the day of surgery and just after but it didn’t last very long. I just came at it like something I had to go through and I do feel sad now that I was that disconnected, I feel sad that I didn’t have anyone close to share the excitement with, I feel sad that I had no support during the recovery period, I felt quite let down.

I’ve felt quite lonely during my transition, despite friends being supportive and being happy for me. Apart from 1 appointment last year and the friends who took me to appointments before surgery, who took me there, took me home and took me to follow up appointments, I’ve spent the last 4 years going to appointments alone. It’s something that still makes me feel really sad, more then I think people know. As its not something I really express as it can’t be changed now.

But moving forward, I know I need to try and spend more time looking at my chest and touching my chest, so my brain starts making that connection with my new body. I think when it starts getting warmer and I spend more time walking around the flat topless, that will also help as well.

I’m still really happy with the results and how well my scars look and I’m super grateful to have been able to have this surgery done. I do feel better for having it done, just its such a huge emotional experience and as I am a super sensitive person, I’m sure its something that will take me a while to process.

Here are pictures from today.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic illness – Hospital appointments

There are some things that came part and parcel with having a chronic illness and one of those things is having lots of hospital and doctors appointments.

I have a good GP whom which I get on well with, along with the nurses who I do my testosterone shot for me. I also have a good relationship with my Rheumatologist and his nurses and my Ears, Nose and Throat doctor. Usually I don’t find appointments too difficult as I always feel involved in my care and generally feel listened too and well looked after.

But yesterday’s appointment with a Rhematologist was the an absolute disaster. It provoked huge anxiety and anger. It was NOT a good appointment.

So I had made my way to my appointment, now if my Rheumatologist is busy, I will see one of his two nurses, who are both really lovely and I am more then happy to see. So I’m used to seeing one of those 3 people.

However when I turned up for my appointment, a nurse called me in to do my blood pressure and weight, she also needed me to do a pee sample. But she said that Dr Hopkins will see me soon… I asked who he was and why I was seeing him as he’s not my doctor. She couldn’t answer me.

It put me right on edge, it made me incredibly anxious and I wanted to leave. I then couldn’t do a pee sample as I was too tense, it was noisy in the waiting room, there was more people then usual there, which didn’t help with my anxiety.

I heard my Doctors voice, the one I usually see and I saw both of his nurses, who I see if Dr Marks is busy. In fact I spoke with Phoebe and she said I wasn’t on her list so I must be seeing Carole.

This wasn’t the case, I was led into see Dr Hopkins. At this point my anxiety was so high, I struggled to concentrate. He basically talked at me, he didn’t listen, he talked over me when I did try to speak, he didn’t involve me in the plan of tapering off my steroids, he basically told me what I had to do. This for some reason really triggered rage within me.

I held myself together as best I could but I was so enraged. How dare this person just bark orders at me, the guy doesn’t know, he’s never met me before, yet he was like well do it like this.

I walked to the train station as I need to get back for my counselling session, when I got to the station I rang the hospital as I needed to vocalise what had happened and how I felt and I wanted answers and to why the fuck I saw a random doctor and I also let it known that I did NOT want to see this fucking guy again.

The person I said to said some one would call me back, but as of yet I’ve heard nothing, so I will chase it up next week.

I think I was so triggered because it was an unexpected change and no one explained to me why I was seeing this guy, when my usual team where there. I also fucking hate not being listened too, I hate not being heard, it makes me feel so small and angry. I’ve spent a lot of time not being given the respect of being listened too. We all want to be heard and listened too. I also hate being told what I need to do regarding my own health and what I need to do with my medications. I’ve been ill all my life, I’ve been on medications for most of my life and I know my body better then any doctor ever will. I was more then happy to try and taper off my steroids again, but I didn’t agree with the way he wanted me to do it and I want to wait until at least March, as I’ve been really struggling lately as the weather has been so damp and cold, it’s just not the right time to start reducing my steroids.

The whole appointment was almost like a power struggle, he had all the power and wasn’t willing to listen about what I wanted to do regarding my steroids as I didn’t agree with his suggestion. I felt powerless, so ended up just agreeing with whatever he said so I could leave.

I will not be tapering my steroids like he suggested, I will get down to the bottom as to why I saw this guy and I will push to see someone from MY team soon and I will make it very clear that I do not want to see this doctor ever again.

Advocating for myself is something I really used to suck at, but as I’ve got older I won’t tolerate shit like this and I will let it be known. It’s fucking exhausting constantly advocating for myself and making sure I am being heard and that I am getting the care I need and deserve.

Note to any Doctors or nurses who maybe reading this, your patients know their bodies better then you do, especially those living with a chronic illness. Listen to your patients, they are the experts of their illnesses, you may have qualifications but they live it every fucking day! They know what works and what doesn’t, they know how they feel.

As much as I’m not always connected to my body, I know my body better then anyone else, I don’t think sometimes Doctors understand and respect that. I know its something my usual team of doctors understand, but this guy certainly didn’t.

It took me the rest of Wednesday to calm down, I’m glad I had a counselling session that afternoon, so I could let off steam and talk through it. It was quite funny as my counsellor had out some tuning forks which she used near me and she was like woah your body is having non of this and asked me if I was feeling angry and I was like I am furious. It was nice to have a safe place to express myself and my feelings.

I am feeling a bit calmer now about it all but I know its something that I will ruminate on now for a while. It’s hard not too when something provokes such a huge emotional reaction. I’ll get over it eventually.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Gender Dysphoria

I’ve noticed recently that I go through periods of taking selfies and then long periods of not taking selfies and focusing more on taking pictures of stuff around me.

I love taking pictures so much, looking at life through a lens. It helps me remember what I’ve done and where I’ve been, I just love pictures.

Looking back through my pictures of Facebook, I have loads of pictures of myself, being ridiculous and making stupid faces and just generally being silly! lol.

But since starting testosterone I have less pictures of myself and I think a part of that is still not being happy with my reflection and still not having a connection to the person in the mirror. Which is weird, I would have thought that testosterone and top surgery would lesson that disconnection between myself and my reflection.

Maybe its something that will take time, I’m still learning about myself, who I am, where I fit etc so maybe it just takes time to fuse myself and my reflection.

I’ve spent so many years hating my body, hating how I look. It’s no wonder I don’t recognise/like my reflection. I’ve never felt connected with my reflection, I’ve never felt a connection with myself.

Maybe I need to spend a bit more time looking at myself, so I can learn to love the person looking back.

I think sometimes there’s a lot of expectations put on the physical transition side of things and I’ve just kinda hoped that testosterone and top surgery would just ‘fix’ the low self esteem and gender dysphoria.

Whilst it has definitely improved the dysphoria it hasn’t ‘cured’ it so to speak, I think that comes from learning to love myself and the body I have.

Like I mentioned I’ve spent so many years hating my body, ever since female puberty hit. I hated how my body changed and I hated feeling like I was the only one that didn’t like my body. It was a really lonely time, I felt so odd and just I don’t know its really hard to explain.

I think having a chronic illness has also impacted on the lack of love I have for my body. Because I’ve been ill from such a young age, I felt like I was robbed of the life I wanted and I resented my body for that. I have found peace with that to a degree but I do still struggle with it a bit.

I need to start celebrating my body more, after all it’s got me this far. My body is amazing, I need to start feeling more comfortable in my skin.

It won’t change overnight, but I think it is something I can change and I want to change.

I’m 6 months post op top surgery this week and it still hasn’t sunk in, I am that detached from myself, it’s almost like I know in my brain that I’ve had the surgery and I can see my scars. But I’m still not emotionally connected with it.

For the first few weeks after surgery I felt euphoric on and off but that soon disappeared. I want to feel that again, as that felt amazing.

I have so much self work to still do, so much to unpick and untangle. I’m slowly getting there and I think in the last year I’ve made more progress that I have done in the last 10 years. Which feels a bit overwhelming but also feels good.

I’ll get there eventually, I just need to stop rushing the process and thinking I should be further along that I am.

I am perfect and exactly where I am meant to be.

Peace out

Zak

SAD lamp review

I bought a Lumie SAD lamp about 10 days ago now and I’ve been using it every evening. I either have in on while I am writing my blog, gaming or just watching TV.

In the last week I have definitely seen an improvement in my energy levels and generally feeling a bit better then I have been. Although I have still been feeling exhausting occasionally but I don’t think any amount of light from the SAD lamp will cure my chronic fatigue.

I’m really glad I finally got around to getting myself one, I have noticed something that I wasn’t expecting… I have noticed that my 8 year old miniature Yorkshire Terrier has benefited from it as well. She’s definitely had more energy when we’ve been out walking, she’s been running around and not waiting for me to stop and pick her up so she can have a rest.

I googled to see if they are good for dogs and to my surprise you can get special dog SAD lamps.

So it was definitely worth the money, as not only am I benefiting from it, my baby girl is as well, which is amazing.

If your struggle throughout the winter months I highly recommend getting a Lumie light. It won’t cure your winter depression but it will help elevate it and give you a much needed energy boost.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic Illness – Ordering Meds

Every single time I order my Prednisolone they give me the wrong dosage ones! Despite having been on the exact same ones for most of my life!

It’s infuriating because they’ve wasted money as those wrong meds will not be given to another person. It means I then have to go to the GO for the thousandth time and sort it out!

Just organising 10+ medications + hospital appointments is like a full time job, which can be so stressful when I’m not being listened to continuously even though I know exactly what I take and when.

It may seem like a small thing to most people, but it gets beyond infuriating. It wastes everyone’s time.

I do see my specialist on Thursday, so I’m going to get him to write my GP a letter to say exactly what dose pills I am meant to be on and have always taken. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion, which started when I started tapering off the steroids last year, but I had to go back onto them when I had surgery in August.

Anyway hopefully this ongoing problem will get sorted soon.

Peace out

Zak

Binge eating – Getting back on track

So this subject is something I’ve been avoiding even really acknowledging as it is 100% on me and something I’ve always struggled with on and off. But its not seen as a mental health issue by mental health professionals, which is ridiculous.

I’ve written before about my struggles with binge eating without the purging before and its something that seems to be a reoccurring issues. Winter seems to be when it’s at its worst.

But I decided to write about it again now, as its something I need to recognise and sort out. I need to have more of an awareness of what I’m shoving in my mouth,

Just to jump back the reason its not recognised by mental health professionals is all about BMI, if you aren’t below your BMI, then you don’t have an eating disorder. Now I’m not saying I have a eating disorder but my eating habits aren’t “normal” if you like. I will eat even if I feel sick because I’m still full from eating. It is something I have brought up with the mental health team before and just got brushed aside and at the time there were other more important things going on. So its something I’ve always just dealt with, but the spectrum of eating disorders needs re looking at and re classifying as this area is so important and they are failing so many people.

Anyway, right now I’m feeling full, feeling bloated and generally cannot stand the fact I have let myself put on so much weight. I know I’ve put on over 14lbs, I haven’t weighed myself recently because I can feel in my body and just looking at myself that I am fatter then I would like to be.

It started back in December, when I think I was a bit low, struggling with anxiety and all I wanted to do was hibernate and eat and that’s exactly what I did. But now we aren’t that far away from March and I am still hibernating and the overeating has gotten out of control.

I am just eating for the sake of it, partly because I’m bored, partly out of habit now. I know I can control this behaviour, as I have done it many times before. I know I can loose weight if I need too, I know how to eat sensibly.

I think I’ve had an awareness over this binge eating since probably the start of the year. I knew it was getting out of hand and continued to let it happen.

But I think I’ve been having such huge emotional revelations during counselling, that my binge eating hasn’t been something I’ve actually spoken about as I know I can easily control it. But I’ve been quite emotionally overwhelmed that eating has just been a go to comfort, while I try and make sense of everything.

Now I’m starting to feel sick from being full and over eating, I know I need to get on top of it. I can’t carry on binge eating, I need to stop. It won’t be easy and will be a shock to my body but I need to find a balance again.

For the first few days I’m going to only eat breakfast and dinner and no snack in between and try and drink more and replace drinking water with eating. So every time I want to eat, I have a drink instead and make a more healthy habit. Also make portions smaller too, so I’m not putting so much in my body.

Also intermittent fasting has really helped me in the past as well. Helps get me in the right mind set about it. I never call it being on a diet, because diets never work.

I need to get out and walk a bit more too, in between storms and the rain. But I need to move more and get rid of this belly, cuz its making me feel so gross! It’s not helping with the gender dysphoria as well, just makes me feel shit that I’ve let myself go so much.

I shall post more in a few days and update everyone on how its going. Hopefully I can get in the right frame of mind and get my eating back to a more ordered way to get myself a bit healthier

Peace out

Zak

Braving the weather

This weekend most of the UK was hit by storm Dennis… we had a storm last Saturday as well. I’m getting fed up with such shitty weather. I’m so looking forward to the spring/summer. I much prefer being outside then stuck in all day.

I live close to the sea and yesterday it was so grim, the wind was just howling and the rain was non stop. I did manage to get out for 20 mins in the morning to take the dogs for a quick walk/wee but the rest of the day was an absolute wash out.

I made use of my time, makes some cakes, marmite and cheese swirls. I had to entertain the fur babies, with playing indoor stuff like bubbles, laser pen and fetch. Played on the PS4, watched some stuff on Netflix. So not too bad.

But today the wind and the rain had calmed down a bit so I decided to take the dogs out for a walk.

I’m so glad I did as it made me feel a whole lot better. It was cold, really windy and it did rain, so we all got soaked. But it was much needed exercise, especially for me and scrappy lol!

I thought I would share some pictures of our adventures by the sea

I always struggle to get out in the first place, but once I’m out I feel so much better. Especially with such gloomy, cold weather. It’s just been relentless this winter.

Anyway I hope everyone stayed safe this weekend.

Peace out

Zak