Living with cHRONIC iLLNESS

Last week I had had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours, which went well. It didn’t bother me at all during the night.

Monday my GP rang me to discuss the results and they weren’t great. He said my blood pressure was higher at night when I was asleep, which isn’t good as your blood pressure is meant to be lower when you sleep and slowly rise as your body wakes up. Due to all the medications I am on and all my health conditions and the fact I am under 40 (only for another 5 years lol) he’s going to refer me to a cardiologist, to get advice about medications and the check that there’s nothing more serious going on.

He prescribed me Amlodipine to hopefully reduce my blood pressure in the meantime and I’ve got to continue to take my blood pressure everyday.

Hopefully the new medications will help and there’s no underlying reasons for my blood pressure being so high. I really don’t need anymore health problems right now.

Peace out

Zak

Living with a Chronic illness

Having a chronic illness is hard work, especially at the moment, with the current pandemic. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I am classed a vulnerable and I’m meant to be staying inside for 12 weeks, but I’ve had to go out for various reasons.

Now I have finally been given a priority delivery slot with Tesco, which means I don’t have to go into any shops to get my food shopping. There’s also a service provided by the council where someone can pick up medication for me and do any other bits I need doing. Which is a relief as I was starting to get more anxious about going food shopping and collecting medications myself.

So now I have things in place for essentials I can relax a bit more, the only thing I’ve still been doing myself is walking the dogs as I need to get out an exercise as I’ve been really feeling the effects of not moving around as much as normal. I didn’t realise that just by getting out each day, doing general stuff like food shopping, going to hospital appointments, going to the cinema etc was so good for my physical health. In the last few weeks since everything has closed and I’m stuck in the local area, my joints have been super painful, especially my lower back and knees and my chronic fatigue has been much worse as well.

I’ve spent many years building up the strength in my legs to combat the chronic pain in them and same with chronic fatigue, I’ve spent years building it up to a point where I rarely needed to rest or sleep in the day time. But now I feel like I’m back at square one, which is really frustrating.

Now I’m have more clarity about dog walking, I’ve been out walking more, so I can build myself back up again, so I can feel a bit more human again and have a sense of well being.

Yesterday I had to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, as my blood pressure has been quite high recently. I think its mainly down to anxiety and possibly the change in testosterone. I don’t know why they haven’t prescribed propanaolol yet, it’s a beta blocker but also helps with anxiety. I get the results next week and I’m going to ask about the beta blocker as I think its probably the best course of action.

The blood pressure monitor went off every 20 mins, which was really annoying lol as I had to stand still when it was taking my blood pressure because it didn’t read it if I was moving around. Then in the evening from 10pm it went off every hour. I went to bed at midnight in hopes I would fall asleep before it went off again. I managed to get comfortable and I managed to get to sleep, I was conscious a few times throughout the night of it going off to take my blood pressure but apart from that I slept pretty well lol! The world could be ending and I still be asleep haha!

A couple of weeks ago they did an ECG which was fine and some blood test and only one flagged up as a not normal. Turns out I am borderline under active thyroid, which really makes sense, I’ve put on weight recently which I’ve been struggling to loose. They’ll repeat the bloods again in 3/4 months time to see if it’s still the same or its sorted itself out. Hopefully it will have sorted itself out by then, as I really don’t need anymore illnesses on top of what I’m already dealing with at the moment.

It’s been really difficult dealing with everything at the moment, but I am trying to keep a sense of normalcy. Each day is different, some days are much easier then others and that’s ok, just trying to go with the flow and trying not to push myself.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

Time is flying by super fast, I am now 2 years and 8 months on testosterone and 8 month post op top surgery. It feels like I spent an eternity waiting and waiting to start testosterone and have top surgery and now that’s all a reality, which sometimes still feels unreal but I feel so blessed and so grateful that I’ve been able to be living my life as my true self.

I’ve spent so much of my life not liking myself, especially certain parts of my body, its hard to start loving myself again. It’s all a continuous journey and I’m trying to love my body again, after all it’s served me well over the last 35 years, it doesn’t work as well as it could do, but I am still alive, despite the years I’ve spent not looking after my body.

Unfortunately because of the current pandemic the appointment for my second yes for lower surgery has been delayed, which is super frustrating as I am becoming more aware of the dysphoria I have around that area. But I am trying to remain grateful for where I am right now in my transition, as the dysphoria I experienced around my chest was just unbearable and made life so miserable. I was so self conscious of my body all the time, I couldn’t relax or even be myself.

I’m still trying to find my authentic self, who I truly am on the inside, still trying to keep on speaking my truth but some days its so hard. I struggle to connect with my emotions, I’m always worried about being myself as that hasn’t won me friends in the past but I can’t blame that all on myself. I know I’m not perfect but I’m not a bad person, I always try my best but for some its not good enough. I think because of this I struggle to connect with myself and feel my emotions as I’ve been conditioned to think that my emotions are bad because they can be intense at times. Unlearning all that is really hard, especially at the moment with the social isolation and the strange situation we’re all in.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy

Where do I even start, I’ve been really struggling with this lockdown in many ways but gender dysphoria has been difficult, as I’ve got more time to sit around thinking about it and also certain experiences I’ve had hasn’t helped.

I’ve been out as male for a little over 5 years, I’m 2.7 years on testosterone and 7 months post op top surgery and I still feel like I am viewed as female, not only by strangers but also by friends who knew me pre transition.

Last week I was out walking the dogs and a creepy older guy stopped ahead of me and I think he did that on purpose so he could talk to me, he then continued to refer to me as my dogs mum. I was wearing jeans, hoodie, baseball cap and boots. I don’t think that in anyway did I look female. It really made me angry and sad, I know I’m only 5ft 3 but I don’t think I look like a female. I don’t know… It really fucking sucks.

Also in my mums infinite wisdom (although it came from a good place) made a family group whatsapp group and they decided to share pictures of each other when we were young. Which I wouldn’t usually mind but it wasn’t in my control and my transition isn’t even acknowledged or even talked about. It’s just ignored like its not even happening. Which makes me feel invisible, like I don’t even exist as myself. It only took a week for my brother to push my buttons and piss me off so I left the group. He’s exactly why I’ve not spoken to him for over a year, he’s such a prick!

Then a well meaning friend added me to an all girl group chat for a group video call. I left that group and messaged her to say that I’m not a girl and wouldn’t feel comfortable and her reply was I was the only boy invited but she understood. Which it really doesn’t feel like it, otherwise I wouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

I’m so sick of being invited to girly things and being tagged in stuff especially for woman etc, every time it happens it breaks a small part of me inside. I feel like I’m still being viewed as female and it fucking sucks! I am not female and I never was!

Not being seen as myself is so fucking invalidating, it makes me feel like the me I know I am doesn’t exist as people just aren’t willing to see it. I don’t think people realise how painful it is, even if something is well meant.

Like I said lockdown has been rough, being sat with my own thoughts is hard. I’ve been struggling with gender dysphoria, which I thought would go away, after top surgery.

For so long I was so focused of getting top surgery, I didn’t really have huge lower dysphoria although I knew I wanted lower surgery. But now that focus has shifted from top surgery, I’ve realised I have lower dysphoria, I don’t hate my female parts but I don’t connect with it and I think it is starting to cause a bit of unconscious distress.

The more I think about it all the more I want surgery, so I can just move forward with my life and hopefully it will help me feel complete. But my appointment for my second yes for lower surgery is obviously postponed at the moment due to the virus, which is frustrating.

I hope one day I’ll be seen as myself and I’ll feel comfortable in my skin.

Peace out

Zak

Coronavirus

Some years ago I met a lovely lady in a vasculitis group on FaceBook called Tracie Jayne Jacob. Even though we had never met she was always so lovely and super supportive.

Tracie was diagnosed with the coronavirus 2 weeks ago and on Saturday morning, she sadly lost her battle and passed away.

It’s beyond devastating and hits so close to home, she was only mid 40s’s and had a similar physical health condition to me.

This virus takes no prisoners, it doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, it will come for you.

If you think you won’t it won’t effect you, you’re wrong! eventually you will know someone who will be effected.

Please stay safe out there, do as the government advises you too, yes it sucks staying in and not hanging out with your friends, family but it will save lives. Especially those like myself who are at very high risk of this awful virus. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for those in your life who are vulnerable. Now is not a time to be selfish, now is the time to think of your community, to keep everyone safe.

Tracie, I hope you are at peace now, forever in my heart.

Rest in Peace my friend

Peace out

Zak

Gratitude Journal

Trying to remain grateful and trying to remain positive has been hard, but I’m still trying and I’m doing my best to keep going.

I have been doing a mantra meditation course on an app called Oak – Meditation and breathing. Its a really good app and its actually been nice to have moments of peace and restfulness during these meditations. I’ve been trying my best to make time each day. I don’t know why I find it so boring, just the thought of meditation makes me feel like its pointless and a waste of time, but right now I’m not doing much else right now and meditation is just like sleeping or breathing, its necessary to find that inner calm, that inner peace to get through the day.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be super productive during this lockdown, which is adding unnecessary pressure, stress and anxiety, to an already stressful situation. I’m trying not to feel guilty about not doing anything and just sitting around. Some days I am productive and get things done but it ebbs and flows and I’m trying my best just to chill and go with it, without judgement and guilt.

Its a strange situation we find ourselves in, we’re all trying to navigate our way through it. There is no right way to get through this epidemic, some people will be super productive, some wont, some will get into fitness, some wont, some will be chill and cherish this time, some will really struggle. But whatever you do, however you get through this, we’ve got a worldwide connection, we’re all going through the same thing. We’ll get through this as a collective, keep loving and supporting one and other.

Peace out

Zak

gratitude journal

Another day another gratitude journal entry. Today was a bit harder to think of things to be grateful for, as I’m so fatigued my brain is a bit foggy.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

Surviving self isolation

Yesterday I said I was going to do a timetable of stuff to do during the day and as I was thinking about it, I realised that having a chronic illness makes a timetable a bit hard and feels too pressured. Also I can’t say how I am going to feel from one day to the next. Like I slept 11 hours last night, I went to sleep around 12:30am and I woke up at 11:30am, I must have needed it and all day I’ve felt a bit tired.

So instead of a timetable, I wrote out a list of things to do and divided into sections.

The sections don’t have set times, just go with whatever feels good. But its also important to remember its perfectly fine to do nothing at all.

Quiet time is always good to do regardless, its good to switch off and be still, its a god time to go within.

I haven’t done much today as my fatigue has been bad and that’s ok, to just rest and do what my body needs.

Peace out

Zak

Keeping busy during lock down

The last few days I’ve been pretty lazy and disconnected from life and not wanting to participate in life, which obviously hasn’t made me feel great.

My nose has been really stuffy the last few days and I think that’s because I’ve spent a lot of time laying down and sitting down. Which also isn’t good for my joints, I’ve been more achy then usual. Being on lockdown and having physical health and mental health issues is going to take a toll on both.

Today I got up at 9:30 am, did the housework, had breakfast, filled in my personal wellness journal, I had a delivery of food for the fur babies and cat litter which should hopefully keep them going for a while. I took the dogs for a wee, dropped them home and went to Asda as I needed to pay my rent and electric. I paid more then I usually do, so I don’t have to keep going out. I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medications and the line was pretty long but fair play to the staff working their asses off to make sure everyone gets what they need.

I weighed myself this morning and holy shit I got fat! I’ve been eating too much and being so freaking lazy! I’m 10st 12′ which is probably why my blood pressure is super high at the moment. I’ve decided I am going to loose this weight and usually once I’ve put my mind to something I will do it. I’ve started by intermittent fasting, which will hopefully help me to stop binge eating and eating when I’m bored. I’m also going to try exercise inside by doing a bit of Yoga, walking inside, using my weights.

I’m going to sit and write out a rough timetable of things to do everyday, so I don’t go insane lol! And so I make sure the fur babies and I are getting the stimulation we need, so our brains don’t turn to mush! I will share my rough timetable, which hopefully will give you guys some ideas of how to stay sane too.

I got myself Disney+ and NowTV Kids, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime I’m not short of things to watch. But I also need to get a balance of watching TV and having some quiet time to read, nap and listen too podcasts. I find I write better with the TV on which is weird.

I think before this day is out I may shave my hair lol! As going to the barbers isn’t essential and my hair is already starting to look a bit wild. I need to trim my facial hair and sort my eyebrows out lol! I will not look like a caveman at the end of this lock down! hahaha.

One thing that I am have done today is to keep my windows open, so I have some fresh air coming through, so I don’t feel so claustrophobic. It’s also good for your lungs and mental health to have a flow of fresh air, when stuck inside.

I’m definitely feeling much better today and I think actually getting up and doing stuff has helped.

I may write more a bit later,

Peace out

Zak

Daily gratitude

I’ve still been writing my daily gratitude list, it’s a great reminder to be thankful for all we have in times like this. Its also good to take time to sit, reflect and just be in the moment, rather then worrying about what’s going to happen over the next few days and weeks.

I’m going to continue to share my gratitude list, as it will give me the intensive to keep writing.

These next few weeks are going to be really trying, stay grateful.

Peace out

Zak