Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Butlins and life

Blimey, life has been so hectic recently what with Lucy's heart issues, our first grandchild arriving, GIC appointments, work being manic, Pinks (as always) to name but a few.

Yes, we became grandparents for the first time on 28th January to a lovely little boy called Arthur thanks to my eldest son and his wife. He is totally gorgeous and his nannies Avril and Lucy adore him dearly.

Lucy had her second operation end of January and is now on the road to recovery. She is still getting out of breath and using the GTN spray but she is miles better than she was. She has had to pull out of a 10k run she was planning on doing in April and I think she will have to do the same for the half marathon that she is due to run in May. I think it is highly unlikely she will be able to do this as she is not even fit enough to get back to refereeing yet let alone training for and then running/walking a half marathon.

The staff at the hospital for the second operation were great with Lucy and were very understanding. They made a couple of little slip ups but nothing major. She felt relaxed enough that she showed them pictures of us out and about and they were incredibly complimentary and friendly.

All the health issues means that Lucy being out to one and all has stalled. Our plans were for her to tell everyone by end of Jan 2018 but we had to concentrate on her health first and didn't want to be worrying about fall out from anything else. So now it looks like we will tell everyone who doesn't know by the end of May, just before we go away on holiday to Cyprus for 8 days. This gives time for her health to improve and for us to concentrate in getting everything ready for 'go-live' day. I'm still surprised people have not picked up the signs, they really are there for all to see if only they really saw the person in front of them. The only person who has made any comment is my mum who has now mentioned several times how much 'he' looks like a woman! She still thinks she is being derogatory but doesn't realise how complimentary she is being!

Obviously not being able to referee is costing us financially but also this was the main source of fitness for Lucy where she would be running more than 20km a week. It also means that by the time she gets back to refereeing she will be fully out so there are all sorts of other issues associated with that. We need to have conversations with the FA not just to protect her but also a plan of how they are going to assign matches to her. She is quite high ranking for male football (she referees woman's football too but these games are lower and won't be affected) and she believes she will lose her ranking when she is full time..... this shouldn't be the case as that would be discrimination. In any case these are things that need to be addressed.

For the end of February we had planned a trip to Butlins Minehead with our friends Jennie and Ethan and actually this came at a good time for us as we needed the break away and Lucy was well enough to go. We had never been to Butlins before and went to Pontins with the kids 4 years ago and we hated it - dirty, horrid accommodation and rubbish entertainment, so we didn't know what it would be like. Lucy was also nervous as we would be in an environment with lots of families as it was a family weekend and half term and didn't know what to expect.

First impressions were great. The staff were really friendly and the accommodation was simple but clean and not tired or worn. The entertainment was amazing and the whole place was huge but clean and well kept. We paid to have the premium food and the food and the restaurant was lovely. The first night we didn't sleep much as the mattress was awful and we we went to guest services the next day and the mattress was replaced with a brand new one with 40 minutes! No quibble. How amazing is that! We went 10 pin bowling most days and just enjoyed meandering around.

We had a great time. Despite there being hundreds of families staying (it holds 9,000 people) only one little girl looked at Lucy all wide eyed and watched her as she walked.... it was an amusing moment. None of the other children didn't even notice her. A chap was coming down some stairs as we were walking up and he just couldn't help but stare openly so much so he nearly fell over. There were a couple of adults who stared at us but once I started staring right back at them they would eventually look uncomfortable and look away embarrassed that they had been noticed. All bar one of the hundreds of staff there came over as transphobic. This barman kept calling Lucy 'mate' and was just downright rude. I went over and he served me and was friendly and polite and didn't call me mate so we knew 'mate' wasn't a term he used generally. On the last evening Lucy confronted him and he was very defensive saying he called everyone 'mate' but we knew this was a lie. In any case, we had his name from the bar receipt and have raised a complaint against him. On the last day as we were preparing to leave a group of builders who were working on site walked past us and then all fell about laughing. Although they are not Butlins employees their company is employed by Butlins so we mentioned it on the feedback form.

There was one woman though who needs a special mention as for us she wins the idiot of the year award. We were playing crazy golf with Jennie and Ethan and had reached the 10th hole waiting for the 2 women and 1 child ahead of us. The older woman (in her late 40's) turned round and looked at us and said to Lucy "are you an honorary woman for the day?" WTF??!!! Lucy was wearing leggings and a tunic top, Ugg boots, fitted jacket, casual daytime make up, and had her usual hair. What on earth made Lucy look like she had been dressed up for the day??!! Once we got over the shock (we were seriously gobsmacked) I turned round and said she is a woman, a woman every day! Well I'm not sure if she felt embarrassed or not, her friend did, but she turned round and continued her game and when finished ushered her son and friend away telling him to move on to let these 'ladies' finish their game. As with all things, you think of a billion other things you should have said, "are you an honorary idiot for the day" but this did upset Lucy and it was on her mind for the rest of the break away. I kept telling Lucy just to forget it as it was said in ignorance however in my heart there was nothing that should have made this woman say this so I understand why Lucy was so bothered. Let's hope this woman has learnt by this experience. 

However we had such a great time that we are now booked to go back for an adult 80's weekend in November which also includes a fancy dress Halloween ball and again we have booked for 3 days in December between Christmas and New Year and are taking our youngest daughter M, Jennie and Ethan and their 6 kids will be going and now my eldest son, wife and their new son are also coming too. Can't wait!

Last week Lucy had her first GIC pre-op appointment. We saw the person we saw before, Vanessa Crawford. She is so lovely and we both feel very relaxed chatting with her. We updated her on Lucy's heart issues and medication and she has allayed our fears that it may hinder surgery. She has confirmed that Lucy will still be able to have surgery but just they need to be a little more careful with her. The appointment was really relaxed and went really well. She was horrified at the way Lucy was treated (as a transgender person) at the first hospital and mentioned that Dr Barrett would be more than happy to write to the NHS Trust but we said we felt we had it all in hand (more about this later). Lucy was told to think about whether she wanted her surgery at London or at Brighton and which surgeon she would prefer. There is no guarantee that you will get your surgeon of choice however there is a strong possibility you will. Apparently once referred the waiting time for surgery at London is 4 months and Brighton 6-8 months however the Brighton timeline is deceasing. We didn't have to make a decision there and then but we did indicate we would prefer London. From this you can tell she had no hesitation in giving 1st approval for surgery. The next appointment for 2nd approval is not until Jan 2019 with Gurleen Bhatia and as long as we get her approval Lucy could have her surgery as early as April/May 2019. Exciting! This also falls in line with our plan for a marriage blessing October 2020.

Straight after this appointment Lucy had her first voice coaching assessment session. Following this she will get 4 personal sessions and 8 group sessions. This was very interesting and despite Lucy laughing at some of the exercises she now has some exercises she needs to keep practising. The therapist was really good. I am glad I was there as I know what she should be doing and keep nagging her to practice! There is lots of humming going on in our house at the moment.

Last week she also had a scan on her thyroid due to the overactive thyroid she now has. Because of this she will need to see a local hospital endocrinologist so that could be an interesting discussion bearing in mind her situation. The scan went well although it did take the radiographer a few moments to realise I was not the patient. 

As for her treatment during her heart issues I contacted the trust PALS and without giving any details of any issue I asked them to provide me with a copy of their transgender patient care policy. After a week they came back and said that they don't have one and included another chap on the email and invited us to come in and be involved in the production of one. I responded that of course we would, however at this point in time Lucy had not had her second surgery and requested that they leave it a couple of weeks until Lucy was back on her feet. Well I did not hear anything for over a month so sent them another email:

This is a serious issue and Lucy's treatment (non surgical) contravenes The Equality Act 2010 and as there is no policy in place the presumption is that all treatment of transgender patients under the trust are more than likely contravening the Act.

Funnily enough I received a phone call within 5 minutes of sending the email. We are now liaising to get a mutually agreeable date for us to go in to discuss. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A broken heart...... a long story

Don’t panic! My heart is not broken…… This is a catch up on why there has been such a long gap in between my posts. It has all been a manic and emotionally draining time hence no posts.

I last wrote about chest pains that Lucy was getting which seemed to have been attributed to the change to hormone tablets. Lucy didn't get on well with the gel so reverted back to patches but these pains didn’t go away and increased in intensity and frequency to a point where over a 3 week period she was having 5 a day. The pain affected both her arms and made her hands feel so weak she couldn’t pick anything up and she was just getting so breathless just walking short distances. Reading back what I’m writing it all seems so obvious but our GP didn’t think so!

Four trips to the GP ensued (and a game of football which she refereed) where they seemed to be baffled even though her maternal grand parents had a history of heart problems and her mum had a heart attack at 50 (Lucy is only 46) and now suffers with angina so all this was disclosed. On one visit, it was a locum who said it was unlikely to be heart related and Lucy was diagnosed with acid reflux and given the relevant prescription. At one point our usual GP did a blood test and organised a heart check up with the nurse who did height, weight, diet, exercise and took results from the blood test, good and bad cholesterol levels (which were great) etc and gave Lucy a 1.8% risk of a heart attack.

In the meantime the pains still continued and I was getting more and more worried about her as she was looking really poorly. She wouldn’t let me take her to the hospital and booked another appointment on 21st December with the GP. I know Google is dangerous for looking up symptoms and self-diagnosis however she had all the symptoms of unstable angina so she went armed with this information. The GP didn’t seem too interested in anything she took and seemed unsure what the issue was however when he took Lucy’s blood pressure she had a pain attack where her pulse and blood pressure went off the scale and he was immediately on the phone to the hospital to get Lucy into A&E. I rushed home from work and took her straight to the hospital.

She had a wait in A&E but luckily nowhere near as bad as has been recently printed in the press and blood was taken, she had a chest x-ray and an ECG both of which were ‘normal’ however the ECG only shows your heart as it is at the time of the test and unless anything has happened that permanently affects your heart, it doesn’t necessarily show if you have had a heart attack. Lucy also has an Apple watch and as she wears this loads it recorded all the times she was in pain and showed the effect on her pulse and blood pressure. This was great to be able to show the consultant this data so there was evidence of the attacks - how clever and who would have known how useful this watch would have been! 

The nurses struggled and kept misgendering her but to be honest we just wanted her checked over. The consultant was great, didn't misgender her once, and moved Lucy into a private room in A&E where he checked for asthma as well which was negative. One lot of blood tests where they were checking for infection came back clear so he came and sat with us and said he was waiting for one more set of blood results to come back. If they were negative he would let her go home but book her in to the cardiac clinic so they could do 24 hour monitoring and hopefully find out the cause of the pain.

The final blood test was for a cardiac enzyme called Troponin which indicates damage to the heart muscle. The level of Troponin indicates the level and potentially number of heart attacks and the consultant explained that based on Lucy’s level she had been having numerous heart attacks over the previous 3 weeks, more than likely each time she had experienced chest pain, and that she would have to be kept in as it was too dangerous to send her home. It was estimated that at this point she had probably had 40 attacks, morbidly amusing that she had probably had 30 at the point the GP nurse gave her the 1.8% risk score and a further 10 or so after!

It was a long wait for a bed in a ward. While we were waiting a head paramedic came into the room, introduced himself and loudly pronounced that he had been appointed (we think he is some sort of self appointed ‘expert’) to come and speak to us and he has in his words…. dealt with many trans gender and non binary people, male to female, female to male…. This chap was in your face and so loud and just kept going on and on about his own ‘trans expertise’ and that he was there to discuss the ward situation. To be honest we were shocked at his attitude as although the nursing staff may have misgendered Lucy on and off, none of them had had any issues in discussing the situation with us so we didn’t see the need for him to be there as we would have been comfortable having the conversation with the staff we had already met. He told us that we had no choice of ward and that as Lucy was pre-op that she would have to go to a male ward just like it would be if she was sent to prison… that she would be in a male prison. I kid you not! This was the comparison and conversation! To be honest we were both reeling from what he had said and how he had said it (bearing in mind Lucy was also seriously unwell) and when we expressed concern about her being on a male ward with a female name above her bed he said that we could come up with a nickname she could use instead! Well the only nickname I have for Lucy is ‘babe’ and don’t think that would look great on a male ward so we came up with something derived from our surname to be used but that is not what Lucy is known as! At no point was any other bed option or individual room discussed.

It wasn’t until much later Lucy was moved to the ward and unfortunately the same paramedic guy moved her and when they arrived  announced in a loud voice that he needed to speak to the ward sister where he loudly explained Lucy’s situation which could have been overheard by anyone. She then loudly called a meeting of all the nursing staff and again indiscreetly related Lucy’s circumstances. Luckily this ward was full of deaf old men or every word would have been heard. Poor Lucy was cringing.

She was put in a bed next to the window with the chosen nickname on the board by her bed. The nursing staff tried but they kept misgendering her (probably as she was on a male ward) and one of the old men in the bed opposite Lucy chatted with another patient about he was sure it was a woman in the bed opposite and commented on how long Lucy’s hair was. As you can imagine Lucy didn’t feel particularly comfortable and I had to bring in the handful of male-ish clothes she still has as we just didn’t want to draw any further attention to her.

They did further blood tests (having problems in getting any blood out each time) which still showed the Troponin level as very high. The cardiac consultant said that she needed an angiogram but they also were certain that she would definitely need stents which could be done at the same time however this particular hospital couldn’t do the stents so she would need to be moved to one of 2 hospitals with the speciality to do this. No point putting her through the same procedure twice when they thought they knew what needed to be done. Neither of the 2 hospitals are particularly local to us (furthest was 25 miles away however that one is in the road next to where I work). In the meantime they moved her to a proper cardiac ward….. male of course! They were waiting for a bed to become free at either of the other hospitals and they said there was one patient in more need ahead of Lucy but it should be soon. Unfortunately days came and went, I was up the hospital every day spending time with Lucy, balancing life at home, doing her washing everyday (limited ‘male’ clothing) and making sure she had everything she needed but she still wasn’t moved and Christmas Day was looming.

We asked one set of nursing staff if there was any chance Lucy could come home for a few hours on Christmas day. They didn’t think there would be too much of a problem as she was now on all sorts of medication and although still getting attacks they were less frequent and less intense. They said that they would need to speak to a cardiac consultant and let her know. Christmas Day came and Lucy had a Christmas Dinner at lunchtime before we got there. Yum!

I went to the hospital with our daughter and took some presents, Christmas hats, tinsel, games and bottle of Bucks Fizz. We had to make the best of a horrid situation. We again asked the nursing staff on duty if she could come home for a few hours and they said that they couldn’t let her go without a cardiac consultant’s agreement and that was never going to happen as none of them would be available until 27th Dec due to staff absences. Lucy was gutted as you can imagine however we had no choice and I wanted her to be safe but we did feel the previous staff should have just said no rather than raise our hopes. I couldn’t take all her presents up to her as they are all girlie however I did take up Lola the Lion which was a large cuddly stuffed toy she had been eyeing up when we had gone Christmas shopping and I had gone back and bought. Lucy loved her and she became her hospital mascot and was with her all the time.

This was a completely frustrating and draining time. The Christmas period came and went and we made the best of it under the circumstances. We were both worried….. what if there was a big attack just waiting round the corner, how bad was the damage to her heart (we wouldn’t know until she had the angiogram), the surgery carried a risk of further heart attacks and stroke…. what if she died……. The emotional impact on us both was huge and I missed her so much not being at home. In 17 years together we have not spent much time apart and if you know Lucy, she is a larger than life character so left a huge hole in our home life as well as an empty side of the bed. Despite all the misgendering one of the nurses was very friendly and had asked Lucy some questions so Lucy showed her photos of us out and about. She was very complimentary.

Eventually Lucy was moved on the evening of 27th Dec over to the hospital next to my work with a view to them operating the following day. She was blue-lighted over in an ambulance and arrived in the cardiac ward, male of course, with Lucy written on the board above her bed…… she got that changed before anyone noticed and the nickname was back. The misgendering continued but by this time we were just shrugging it off. In the morning I popped in before work to see her. She was quite distressed as they had tried 5 times to get a cannula in her arm but they had been struggling and due to the continual blood tests her arms looked like bruised pin cushions and her tummy was just as bad as they were giving her a blood thinning injection every day. She was scared about the operation, I was scared for her too but managed to hold it together until I had left her….. so many tears had been shed by us both…….

Eventually on the 6th attempt the cannula was in but she did not get taken down for surgery until late in the afternoon. When I turned up to see her she was still not back so waited so I could be there for her. About 45 minutes later she was wheeled back. It had all been done with a small amount of sedation she was able to watch it all on a screen. What was amazing was that all of this had been carried out via a 5mm cut on her right wrist where they had fed a wire (and stents) up into the arteries of the heart. Bloody amazing! She had 2 stents put in 1 artery however needs to go back in 4 weeks (25th Jan) for another stent in another artery which they did not do at the time. While I was there they came and did an echo (heart scan) which was amazing and I could see all the valves of her heart and watch her heart pumping away.

A nurse came and said that there was a possibility that she could go home later that evening once the cardiac consultant had given the okay. Well that was the news we wanted to hear and I was back at 8.30pm to bring her home.

The day after she come home we had our Christmas dinner. Not the same as having a Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day but made sure she had everything and all the trimmings. 

She is also on so much medication I have bought her a tablet box so she knows what she is taken and when. Trying to make it as easy as possible.
I would like to say she is out of pain and feeling better but at the moment she is still getting pains every day but generally only once a day and no where near as bad as before. She has a GNT spray that stops them developing into anything else but is still very breathless and not sleeping well despite taking sleeping tablets. We are looking forward to 25th January where hopefully the final stent will resolve these issues however any recovery goes back to day 1.

It is hard to tell if all this has been caused by her being on HRT, is genetic or is just one of those things. She came off the patches while she was in hospital but is back using them again now. I just want her to get back to full health.

And yes, we are going to raise the subject of how to treat a transgender patient with the hospital involved......

Friday, 8 December 2017

Hair, hormones and Transliving

Lucy has been growing her natural hair for nearly a year now. It is longer than shoulder length and VERY curly! So curly in fact that it is growing out sidewards rather than down. This is mainly because she has not had it cut at all so it has no shape or style. I know the feeling when you want to grow your hair and don't want to cut it but it would look so much better after a trim. She is also constantly wearing baseball caps to try and hide it - she must have 15 of these piled round the house. I have to admit I'm really not a fan of her wearing these, they just flatten the hair on top to her head and make it even more bushy on the sides. They will also be rubbing her hair which is not good when you are trying to grow it!

I have been nagging her to have it cut. She could have used my hairdresser who has her own hair salon at home but Lucy was worried about her reaction (I'm sure she will be fine) and also she may say something to her son who goes to the same school as our daughter. 

Last week we both took a day off for Christmas shopping and spent the day together. We went to Lakeside Shopping Centre which is a huge shopping complex about 45 mins from home (it took 2.5 hours to get there on the day but that's another story). We were walking around and we saw a Supercuts salon and we hovered outside for a bit with Lucy umming and ahhing about going in and having her hair cut. I could see she was nervous, even though the salon was empty. Anyway she chickened out and we walked away. She admitted that she had been really tempted but was feeling very nervous. About an hour or so later we found ourselves back at the salon where she plucked up enough courage to go in. We had a rushed whispered conversation where I told her she needed to tell the stylist her situation as the last thing she wanted was a 'mans' cut after spending all this time growing it. The receptionist said that they would take off about an inch and we both said' noooooo' and that the smallest amount needed to be cut off.

The salon was still empty and she sat down in the chair and an older stylist came to cut her hair. I saw them having a whispered conversation and knew that she was telling the stylist her situation. This lady gave Lucy a really lovely cut and style and there was minimal hair on the floor. It now looks so much better and she is wearing the baseball caps less when I am around which is great. It has a lovely style to it and I know she is pleased with it. 

I previously mentioned that the GIC had now taken over the hormone treatment using shared care with our GP. She was switched from patches which her skin was reacting very badly to, over to tablets. She has been on the tablets for about 6 weeks and last week started to suffer severe sleeplessness and was waking up in the night with bad chest pains and pain in both her arms. As you can imagine we were both really worried about these episodes. She made an appointment with her GP this week who checked her out. He didn't seem to think it was heart related as it was not happening when she was being active (she referees football several times a week and carries around all the dj gear although her muscle strength is not what it used to be) and he suspected it was a reaction to the tablets. He has now prescribed gel which she has been on for 4 days now and the chest and arm pains have gone, and she is sleeping a bit better. She has a full medical check up next week as well which was already booked. It was a bit of a scary time.

This is a UK based international support group and lifestyle magazine for the cross dressing and transgendered community, TransLiving International is an established group within the Transgender community with members all over the world. They publish TransLiving magazine in printed and digital format on a quarterly basis and have a regular feature called 'Partners' Corner'. 

A little while ago a friend of mine (thanks Amy!) noticed they were looking for a partner to contribute for their next edition and she thought it would be something that would interest me. I messaged the editor to find out exactly what they were looking for and I was given a very brief outline. Basically anything goes, they just wanted something from a partners prospective and wanted 1,200 words. 

I was more than happy to do this but wasn't sure how Lucy would feel about it. As we now have quite a few people we actually know in real life that read my blog now I am more careful with what I write. For me it is writing about our situation and our life together but for Lucy this is private details about her life and transition I write about. She does read all my blog posts and so far has been okay with everything but I just want to make sure I don't step over the line. I wrote something up and actually had problems getting the word count down, unlike the essays I used to write for school where I always had trouble reaching the word count required! In the end after cutting it down it was 1,300 words but I was assured by the editor this was fine and then he mentioned not to forget the pictures.... pictures??.... no one had said anything about pictures! Lucy read it over and was okay with what I had written. Then I dropped the bombshell that they wanted pictures....... we have hundreds of pictures on both our Facebook profiles however only friends can see them and we have the odd one or ten (!) on the Pinks official photo page but nothing else out in the public domain. This was a big deal....  I'm the identifiable person and Lucy looks nothing like the male mask she wears but would be identified by association with me .... what if someone we knew but didn't know about Lucy saw them..... but thinking realistically if someone we did know saw the pictures in a transgender publication, to confront us with them they would have to out themselves. I think the risk is minimal and in any case she is going full time in the next month or so.

So, the digital TransLiving magazine edition 58 was published yesterday and is available, for a fee, here. Page 70 is Partners' Corner. You can also subscribe to to one or more edition in digital or paper format. My printed magazine should arrive next week. Lucy has downloaded already and her reaction was 'oh gawd'!

Friday, 1 December 2017

So, my boys met Lucy

As you are aware, my final 2 sons and their girlfriends were eager to meet Lucy. We sorted out a date when we could all go together to Pinks and had hotel rooms at the Doubletree next to each other.

Due to work commitments they arrived much later than we did so by the time they were ready we had already been out for a meal at TGI Fridays with our friend Paulette. We made our way back to the hotel bar to meet them all where they were all waiting, drinks in hand.

Lucy peeked through the window and waved and they all got up and came to meet her and gave her a hug. It was quite an emotional moment but also very euphoric. We all sat together chatting and they were introduced to Paulette and once all the drinks were finished it was time to take them to Pinks.

When we walked in there were lots of people we knew and we introduced everyone. We showed them all round the place and of course the famous pink room and they all thought it was great. We ended up back down by the open fires for a bit and Lucy sat with the girlfriends who were asking some relevant questions and having girly chats. It was nice that they were all interacting with Lucy like they had known her forever (well they have, but just not looking like Lucy).

We all went round to the various dance floors and settled into our usual ground floor spot where we partied away the rest of the evening. Drinks were flowing and it was really fantastic to see everyone relaxing and having a totally fun time. My youngest sons girlfriend has only been seeing him for a year and a half and it was the first time we had seen her truly let her hair down and what a fun girl she is, so perfect for my son, just like the other girlfriend and wife of my other 2 sons. We just had great fun with lots of laughter, dancing and of course lots and lots of pictures and videos.

This was probably one of the best nights we have ever had at Pinks along with the times when my eldest son, his wife and my daughter came with us. I am so proud of all their reactions and positive attitude towards to Lucy. Of course I will take a little credit for the adults they have turned out to be and I am obviously so proud of them anyway with the achievements they have made in their own lives, but also credit to them all personally for being the open minded, non judgemental and loving people they are and for picking partners who feel the same.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Lucy so far....... 13 months on HRT

At last the GIC have written to our GP. It took quite a few weeks from the last appointment back in July and the further delays as her GP wanted her to come in to discuss the treatment and have her blood pressure taken. It was easy for this GP to blithely tell Lucy to make an appointment but trying to get one with any specific GP at our practice is a nightmare and if you are lucky you may get one in a few weeks time. After 2 weeks of trying to get an appointment with the specific GP, Lucy rung him and said that she had be unable to get an appointment with him and was desperate to get the new medication. Lo and behold he sorted out an appointment for the Lucy the next day.

After the GIC appointment she also had a blood test and the results were great and have put her in well into the ranges she was looking to achieve. I'm still waiting for all the big mood swings that everyone keeps talking about but she seems to be exactly the same as she always been with the exception of a couple of spiky moments which are not too bad.

Lucy had asked the GIC to prescribe oestrogen in tablet format (6mg) as she was having reactions to the patches. It didn't matter where we put the patches they would end up irritating her and making her skin itchy and sore plus she did have a habit of leaving a sticky residue anywhere she sat when she wasn't dressed. We had a few friends advise that tablet was not the best format and that patches (or injectable format which is not available in the UK) were better but due to the reaction she was having tablets was her preferred option. The GP took her blood pressure and all was ok and Lucy walked away with her tablets.

There does not seemed to have been any effect on her changing the hormone source. Everything is continuing to change at the same pace and the changes are still happening. She has got herself into a routine with taking the tablets at the same time every day so at the moment everything is all good. Roll on February 2018 for her pre-op consultation.

Lucy has also started her electrolysis and laser hair removal treatment on her face and has already had 2 sessions of each and a third session tomorrow. She hates the fact that she cannot shave for 24 hours before and what doesnt help is the hair on her face is one of the things she is most dysphoric about. As she has both treatments on the same day and shortly after each other, she manages to have a cup of tea and a shave before going for her laser treatment. She purchased the emular cream which has to be put on her skin an hour before the electrolysis which she says does help however she finds the electrolysis so far to be much less painful than the laser treatment. Apparently it is something to do with the density of the hair root which makes the laser painful. This makes sense as at home we have an IPL that we both use on our faces and I have it on the highest setting and it gives me no pain at all whereas for Lucy she cannot use the highest setting as it hurts too much so we are presuming that my hair root is less dense (I would just like to point out that I do not have a very hairy face, just those odd irritating hairs that you get).

Her hair is getting very long and curly. The longer it gets the straighter the top bit is probably partly because she wears baseball caps during the day and her hair comes out sideways underneath. The thinning patch is disappearing although the new hair is still quite fine and a lighter colour to the rest of her hair. I had been on at her for ages about letting me dye her hair as it would make the patch less visible and she eventually agreed. I bought a dark brown dye as her hair is naturally quite dark (or used to be) and put it on for the required time. I have been dying my own hair for years using professional dyes and quite often dye my friends hair for them so I knew what I was doing..... or so I thought! I had forgotten that as this was the first time her hair had ever been dyed and was virgin hair (ooeer) that it would take very well and of course it did. Only problem was that it was so dark brown that it almost looked black! It certainly was a bit of a shock when we first saw it but as I had thought, the thinning patch was even less visible so that was good news. She was worried about friends and people at football noticing however it has been over 3 weeks now and only 2 people have said anything and none of it bad. It has also faded a little and now looks a very dark brown which to be honest matches the hair colour of the hair she uses anyway and we have all got used to it. It couldn't have been that bad or there would have been more comments especially when she was refereeing. It will need to be done again soon however she wants something less dark so watch this space.

As her hair is now so long and full-time is looming (date yet still TBA!) this does mean we can start looking at the option of extensions to give her the look she wants. I'm not sure how she will cope with them as she struggles to brush and wash the wigs she has without my help and it will be harder when it is extensions attached on her head. She also does not have a lot of patience and gets defeatist when it is not going how she wants.

13 months on HRT and counting.......

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

My children

After being officially told about Lucy it seems all my sons want to come out with us and meet Lucy properly. This is amazing. My eldest S and his pregnant wife C came out with us last month for BNO at Pinks. We got them all booked into the Hilton Doubletree hotel with the room next to us. We all got changed and prepared and were going out for dinner first but before that of course they had to meet Lucy properly!

Lucy was understandably very nervous. We messaged them when we were ready and they met us at our room door. They were totally amazing with lots of smiles and hugs and of course lots of pictures. We went off for dinner together where we had a really lovely meal. They both asked lots of great questions and Lucy and I answered everything. It was quite emotional as they were both really very interested and were very keen to understand and support Lucy. Bearing in mind how new this was for them both (well not that new as they had known for well over a year) not once did they use the wrong name on incorrect pronoun. Actually since finding out S uses the name Lucy all the time. Her dead name is dead to him and his wife which again is amazing!

Off we went to Pinks where it turned out our daughter in law had forgotten her ID (she is 28 and pregnant) and after a fraught few minutes where we didn't think she was going to get in, they did let her in after a discussion with the head of security called by one of the main doormen who is a friend of ours (unfortunately for some reason the doorman we were dealing with seemed to have an issue with us). They came and met many of our friends and were happily interacting and chatting with everyone without batting an eye or being surprised at any of the people they met. It was great showing them around to all the different places that make up Pinks.

Bearing in mind my daughter in law is pregnant, they both stayed out til gone 3am which is late for them at the best of times. The friends of ours they met they seemed to hit it off straight away with and S and C said they had an amazing time. All in all a great night.

For Oct BNO my son S decided he wanted to come again but this time with my daughter B (who has been a few times before). As we were already booked into the Doubletree we got 2 extra rooms, one for S and B and another for one of my friends (who has also been before). We always check in online and therefore we can get the rooms all next to each other and generally near the lift so we don't have to walk far.

As we had all managed to get the Friday off or a half day we left early which got us up to Milton Keynes early. This was great as it meant we could go shopping in the shops right by the hotel. There is a Primark there and as usual Lucy found a dress in there and despite the numerous dresses she had brought with her, she ended up wearing the newly purchased dress.

Again we all went out for dinner and met up with Paulette and her lovely girlfriend Lorraine and after made our way into Pinks with no issues.

This particular night was the busiest we have seen Pinks for very many years. It was totally rammed with all sorts of people but more importantly we saw so many of our community friends together for the first time in ages. It made for a totally great night and S and B had a great time and have now virtually met most of the important people in our life (except one very special couple Jenny and Ethan which we will have to sort out). My friend also had a great time. She has not been out with us for over a year and seemed to be getting on with a couple of friends of ours rather well......

When we got home and Lucy started to unpack she realised that we had not checked the wardrobe and she had left all her other dresses in there. A frantic call to the hotel and a wait until Monday, the dresses were confirmed as being safe and arrived this week.... phew! Sadly this is not the first time she has done this!

This now leaves my other two sons, J and N, they and their girlfriends who are all booked to come out with us for November BNO at Pinks which they all seem to be looking forward to. B and S have also said that they have had such a great time out with us that they also want to come again. S had better get in before the baby arrives ;) The only thing is that our youngest daughter M is quite envious that she is unable to join us on these events but we have promised her we will take as soon as she is 18 but that is a while off yet. We will still be going as we have always been party people and that won't change! :)

We have also booked a holiday for next year. Emma our nail lady has a villa in the Turkish part of Cyprus which she rents privately. It has 3 bedrooms and holds 6 people and has a private pool. Totally perfect for us so we have booked to go end of May/beginning of June and both daughters B and M are coming as are my son S, is wife C and the new baby. We all just can't wait!

The acceptance of my kids has been amazing. I keep saying that I always knew that they would be accepting as I knew how I had brought them up but their attitude has far surpassed anything I/we could have imagined. Knowing they are not just accepting but super supportive of Lucy makes me so incredibly proud but also will help tremendously with the journey we have ahead of us.

All this support and acceptance just makes it hit home how hard it must be for those people who don't have a partner or a supportive partner and those whose families are not supporting them or who have disowned them however we try to be super supportive of all our friends and those that have met the kids so far have also felt the love from them. We are under no illusions about how hard the road ahead will be but with all this loving support it can only make it an easier ride for us both. As much as I love my wider family, it is my immediate family unit that is the most important to me and that unit is Lucy, my children and their partners and our impending grandchild. I only hope that when we tell Lucy's sons that they can draw support and acceptance from their brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

My youngest sister and my brother in law

I am the eldest of 4 children. I have 2 sisters and a brother. As I have already written we are a close family. My parents and my brother live relatively close by, my 2 sisters live 40 mins or so from each other and the closest, my youngest sister lives just under 2 hours away.

She (A) is the one who probably looks the most like me apart from her red hair, and we have much in common despite the 7 year age gap. We have daughters the same age, 21 and 15, with only a few weeks gap between each of them and obviously this meant we were pregnant at the same time. We both have other children but our girls are particularly close and although they are cousins they are in many ways like sisters.

During the summer holidays I arranged to go and spend the day with her and our 2 youngest daughters. My other sister was away so was unable to come too but it was lovely spending quality time with A. We got there early and had a great time catching up and then went to walk her dog before we headed off to the shops and for lunch.

We were on our own as the girls had stayed behind as they were far too busy and having so much fun playing Just Dance to come with us. Whilst we were walking the dog we were talking about future plans and the mood was just right so I told her that we had some great plans for 2018 and that recent job changes and ‘him’ starting a new business were part of that plan. She was curious about what it all meant so I just blurted out that ‘he’ was transgendered.

She said that she was surprised but not shocked. She thought that 'he' had hidden it very well and understood at the way 'he' had portrayed himself to be something he wasn't. She was unexpectedly very understanding and supportive and asked several questions about Lucy and the situation and what the future plans were. She was very much of the attitude that you should live your life how you want to and not worry about everyone else. I showed her some pictures and she was amazed and said how you would have never have known this was the 'man' she knew and Lucy looked great. Lucy's birthday was only a few weeks away and she was adamant that she was going to send a female card to her and said there was no point sending anything male oriented as it wouldn't be right. Actually her support was amazing and we spent the rest of the day having snatched conversations when the girls were not in earshot. This gave me the opportunity to really convey how I feel but also explain this hidden part of our life. When it was time to go I did ask her not to tell her husband as I needed to tell Lucy I had told her first. 

When I got home Lucy guessed that I had told A and I then told my sister Lucy knew she knew. This sparked some lovely texts from A to Lucy which was great. Lucy said that it was unfair to expect her to keep such a big secret from her husband M and said she could update him......

Over the years Male Lucy and M have had a brilliant relationship. Very much a bromance and a mutual admiration and deep friendship full of laughter and drunken antics. Our families have holidayed together, as adults we have been to the adult only Warner holidays and we have had lots of fun times together and M is always asking after 'him' (because male Lucy does not go to many family events as 'he' just does not feel comfortable).

I'm not sure what sort of reaction we were expecting. Up until this point everyone who had been told had been really supportive and accepting. We knew that this couldn't continue.....

For a while we were on tenderhooks knowing that A was telling M and we kept checking my phone for messages. Eventually A messaged..... M had taken it very badly.... he was absolutely devastated and had likened the loss he was feeling akin to a bereavement. He was mourning the loss of one of his best friends and the relationship they had had and was physically very upset. We were shocked and very saddened at the feelings M was having. Having not met Lucy, M could not know that she was exactly the same person inside, it was just the outside appearance was changing. The messages we were getting were that M was trying to be accepting but needed time to come to terms with the situation and in time he would feel in a position to meet and communicate with Lucy. I could see what this situation was doing to Lucy.... she was upset too and then all the self blame started to surface and she just felt so bad that her situation was causing so much distress.

We didn't hear much for a couple of days until my sister messaged me again to say that M was still very upset, so much so she was worried that their youngest daughter thought the cause of the upset was that they were splitting up and she asked if they could let her know the situation followed by their other 2 older children. The problem we were faced with was that we could not be sure that their children would be able to not say anything to anyone about this huge secret. Whereas my kids and our daughter knew, we knew they would be more discrete as it involved their parents.... this would not be the case for my nieces and nephew. I did message her back with a long explanation as to why we felt uncomfortable about them telling their children and the worry of them outing Lucy before 'go-live day' especially as we still have Lucy's 2 sons to tell but I did end it saying that if they felt they had no other choice then it would be their decision as their parents to make.

To this day we do not know if they have said anything. It is now nearly 2 months later and we have heard nothing from A or M on this subject. My sister has chatted about other things but still nothing has been said. We have no idea how M is doing either. We just hope that he has found a way to accept Lucy. One of my sons who has had a 'last man standing' competition with male Lucy on many occasions was laughing the other day saying that he would now win it by default as Lucy would be the last woman standing!

The reaction of M has been quite eye-opening. Male Lucy has 3 other very close male friends who have the same sort of close relationship with 'him' as M did. It has made us wonder how they will react.... each of these 3 are macho males and enjoy a similar bromance relationship with 'him'. Lucy says she wants to tell them all at the same time whereas I would prefer to stagger it as it could all be just as emotionally draining as the M situation just 3 times worse if dealing with the fallout from 3 friends at the same time. Watch this space!