Posts tagged medical

Medical intimacy

There is definitely a different ethos to female examinations. Medical examinations, that is, of the female body as opposed to the male.

This is the bit I had been waiting for. Almost three months post-op. So back down to Brighton to see the elegant Mr T and hopefully get the all-clear for swimming, dancing and even – horrors! – a bit of self-exploration.

The news on that front was not 100% positive. Yes: everything had healed much as expected. Better than, in fact. Nothing was now likely to drop out – and if I continue with the exercises and douching I should be able theoretically to have sex AND avoid thrush for most of the rest of my life. Oh. Impressed.

But not yet with the jumping about stuff. This, mostly, was due to the fact that despite the good result, there was some “polishing off” to do. Scar tissue and in some places, “granulation” – which I still don’t quite get, but which reveals itself as angry pink bubbling of the skin.

So Mr T attacked those bits with silver nitrate which will apparently burn off the mutant tissue and leave me with a smooth satin finish. Only there are two side-effects to this. The first, most inelegant, was that I spent much of the journey home desperately wanting to scratch, whilst simultaneously very aware that having a good scratch at my crotch on the late night train from Brighton was possibly not behaviour expected from your averaga middle-aged lady.

The second side-effect is that I am bleeding again. Only very slightly bu-ut…possibly not a good idea to go swimming in such circs, even in my local pool: one never knows when the sharks are circling.

Meanwhile, lying back on the couch, legs akimbo, whilst Mr T and Liz – his PA – turned on lighting that would not have looked out of place on a film set – and went diving down for a good look, I was struck by the thought with which I began this piece. Which is just how different my position – in every sense of the word – is now. Examining the male anatomy had always struck me as a casual, perfunctory sort of affair.

Unzip. Drop your pants if greater exposure is needed. Wave willy around at Doctor. Zip.

None of this intense focus: the lights, the gloving up, the application of lubricant and…well, mostly the helplessness of it. At one point Liz picked up a speculum and, for a moment, I thought that they were coming in for the kill. But no: “that won’t be needed”, as he poked with some other implement.

Jeez! It is so much more intimate. Which maybe comes with the geometry of the thing, but feels like something else as well.

Can’t QUITE put my finger on it (and no: that is not intended as mildly rum witticism).

This wasn’t my first intimate exam. I’m sure it won’t be the last. I don’t think I dislike the process exactly. But there is an emotion creeping in there that isn’t altogether jumping for joy. I shall sleep on it and I shall see.



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Medical matters (things to make you go “squirm”)

Of course, just because I write one piece that isn’t 100% absolutely about “the trans experience”, that doesn’t mean I won’t get back to it. And here, instantly after, is an intriguing question that arose yesterday.

As some of you may remember, I had my wrist slapped a week or so back for not taking my gp totally seriously and failing to go back for urine tests after they found traces of blood in ditto.

(We-ell: I thought he was just taking the piss! Ba-doom! tish!).

Turns out there’s a good chance it means nothing. But it also possibly means any manner of nasty stuff, from kidney stones, through to benign growths in or on my bladder, through to the really nasty one: an early and thoroughly ironic cancer of the prostate.

Don’t panic. There is absolutely no suggestion that it is the latter: just that they need to do the usual round of tests – this time involving my blood and far too many needles, in order to check it out.

The good news, as my new GP informed me, is that my current drug regime – finasteride and oestrogen – is pretty much what they would try anyway if it were the worst. So, for a number of conditions I am, adventitiously, already taking the right course of treatment.

Still, it set me to investigating. I hadn’t been sure whether my prostate would survive grs (turns out it will!): I was also interested in learning a bit more about the effects of hormones on that organ…and en passant, I turned up an interesting snippet.

Right now, my body is sort of at war. The oestrogen I am ingesting is carrying out a process of feminisation. Adequate, but not perfect: equally, though a pretty mild sort of medication. But various bits of my body are still stubbornly trying to pump out testosterone. Traitors!

Therefore, if the oestrogen doesn’t do the job, I either opt for early surgery or big league anti-androgen drugs. Those are far more potent, with many more potential side-effects. Much scarier all round.

Or – and I hadn’t really come across this before, but it makes sense: I could possibly opt for an early and separate orchidectomy. (That, dear blokes, is the removal of one’s balls. 🙂 Did that make you squirm?)

It is supposedly low-risk surgery…possibly doable under local anaesthetic and through a keyhole. (huh?) It aids early feminisation, negates the need for scary side-effect-prone anti-androgens and…well, sounds like an all-round good idea.

I shall be making inquiries (but am also interested to hear from anyone else who went down this track)


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