Happy girl again!

Just back from the outpatients at Stamford. I have – embarrassingly enough – a small hernia. It will need surgery.

Earlier this week, i read the instructions on the hormones packet. It is advisable, prior to an operation, to come off hormones for 4 to 6 weeks.

Ouch. No: far more than ouch! i was devastated. OK. So after ringing round every friend in the book, they all told me not to worry. I probably wouldn’t need to do that for a hernia op…but still. The idea is terrifying. Worse than.

(Thank God the tabloid press hasn’t noticed that, yet! Hormones, for me, and for any trans women, seem to perform much the same role as an addictive drug. They relax us, make us feel good: we resist their removal to the nth degree; and i suspect would have psychological withdrawal symptoms if they were taken away.

Argh! Its a drug! Ban it at once).

But still…i went to my appointment after two mostly sleepless nights. I did my best to look calm, but i really wasn’t. !Is it OK to do the op without my coming off hormones?”, i asked as nonchalantly as i could.

“Of course”.

I burst into tears.

The relief!!!

So i’m scheduled for (hernia) surgery in July. Yippee!

An amusing conversation followed with the receptionist on the ward where i’ll be treated. Mostly about sleeping arrangements, and whether i would be put on a men’s ward. (No way!!!)

Other than that, all power to the NHS. So far, i have been treated wonderfully by almost every bit of it. Thanks to my GP, to Stamford Hospital, and to all the nurses and staff who have taken me and my foibles in their stride.

Thanks too, to the consultant, who turns out to be a very nice man indeed.

How strange that the one place i have so far felt put down, intimidated and generally not in control of my destiny has been the psych service and the Gender Identity bods. Maybe they don’t mean it…

…maybe it is no more than the difficulty of dealing with an issue that has been psychologised – and so my every experience of NHS gender services so far has been about challenging my understanding of my identity.

Very easy to see how those who start this process with less self-assurance are very quickly worn down by it.

Ah well…onward….



3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jennie Kermode said,

    I think a lot of what goes on with the psychiatrists in this area is a means of testing your reactions. There _are_ some people who mistakenly identify themselves as transsexual (usually as a consequence of a mental health problem rather than something like repressed homosexuality), but characteristically they don’t react in the same way to challenges to their gender identity. So what may seem like rudeness may in some cases be a means of shortening the time you have to wait for surgery.

    I should warn you that you will need to come off the hormones for a few weeks prior to GRS itself. This is essential because you’ll be out for such a long time. To put it in context, women using contraceptive pills also have to do this before serious surgery, and they too tend to feel like shit as a result – it’s par for the course when messing with hormone levels like that. You’ll be miserable, but you’ll cope, and it’ll be worth it.

    • 2

      janefae said,

      I think a part of my prob with the psych approach is that i studied psychology – albeit a long time back – and i am well aware how little empirical basis there is to any of the codswallop that Freeud and his ilk come out with. If Freud appeared today, bringing out his ideas in 2010, i suspect he would be exposed as the charlatan he was.

      As it is, psychiatry is mostly sanctified by the fact that loads of respectable men in suits all go around telling people how respectable they are. Its all circular. The emperor has no clothes. But as long as people believe he/they have…then we will keep going back to the psych boys.

      As for coming off hormones…i do know i will have to come off in the run-up to srs/grs…but as you say, it will be worth it.

      that is a very different proposition, though, from having to come off temporarily for an otherwise minor op.


  2. 3

    kerri said,

    jenny is correct in advice she is giving re-mental health, there are people who mis-identify themselves, who do present with underlying mental illness, not sure what UK services are like, but in australia having worked in mental health, they go by a criteria on their assessments , some people in obvious need of help, are sent away, mind boggling, and not assessed adequately, just ignore the rudness and stand up for yourself, your smart so, play the game and you will get what you want. hope everything goes well for your op….

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