Monday, September 19, 2011

Debra and Families of Choice

Dr. Kathleen Roberts wrote a short article titled "Family of Choice" in early September, 2009.  [Another good article is "Families of Choice" by Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT.] At the time she posted this article, I was in my second week of living my life as the woman I always wanted to be — after 54 years of trying to be the son, brother, husband, Dad, and man everyone thought I should be. It is not just GLBT youth who suddenly find themselves without the family structure they’ve always known. My wife, who remains a friend, and my daughter and my son did not want the me I truly am in the family anymore.  

It is my opinion that family, the support, continuity and love of those around you, is critical to good mental and spiritual health.  In the "Queer" community, where so many of us are denied the love and comfort of the family we were born into, "Families of Choice" are common.  For some it's a conscious creation and others just gravitate to a family of choice. But it's not just the Queer community.  Runways and disaffected youth, street kids form their own families.  And it has been going on for years.  Charles Dickens wrote of it in "Oliver Twist."

Debra and I at Tully's 2009
I muddled through with the support of people in my gender support group, the Washington Gender Alliance. In late October, a young woman, newly out, showed up at a meeting. She told her story -- she’d been locked out and disowned by her family the night of her 28th birthday. Debra and I connected and we would hang out at our favorite Tully's coffee shop. I would give her what wisdom I could and jokingly call it “Motherly advice.” We continued to hang out, txt, and IM for the next couple months. I told her that I kinda thought of her as a daughter and was that ok? And yeah that was ok — by the end of January she’s calling me “Momma.” At the time it was still a light thing and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I woke up one morning in February to a request on Facebook to include her officially as my daughter and I did, honored to do so. When I scheduled some minor genital reassignment surgery, she made it plain that she wanted to go with me to keep me company. Since that time there has been no question that she is my daughter and I’m her mom. When someone asked recently if we were related by blood, I simply told the truth, “She is the Daughter-of-my-Heart!”

My First Mothers Day
We have been through a lot together.  We have both been hurt by our respective families of origin and we've both been there for each other in those times.  She has had her setbacks dating and I've been there for her.  I have had my setbacks with finding work or with my hormones for my transition and she has been there for me.  When either of us is out late for some social occasion, we always txt each other "Home safe" when we finally get home.

I love to cook dinner for her and she loves my Chicken Adobo!  Debra makes the best enchiladas I've ever eaten.  We have had a lot of quiet evenings just watching a movie together, or she would do her cross-stitching or her scrapbook and I would write on my laptop.  I looked up at her on evening and said, "I love our little family."  And she replied, "So do I."

Oregon coast Road Trip
She's taught me to love Mexican food and we have both come to really appreciate a good Sangria.

We went on a road trip together last year to the Oregon Coast and almost never left the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  We watched my puppy, Xena, run all over the sand at Cannon Beach.  In August, we went to Leavenworth, Washington for a weekend getaway and had a marvelous time.

She was there for my first Mother's Day and my second.  We have shared Easter together.  We shared Black Friday, which was a tradition in my family, last year and will share Thanksgiving and Black Friday again this year.  She stayed overnight Christmas Eve and we watched "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," a tradition in her family. She spent Christmas morning and breakfast with me.  We are planning a pre-Christmas trip to Leavenworth together.

She asked me to go with her to San Mateo earlier this year when she had her Gender Confirmation Surgery.  And when I have mine next year, she will go with me to help with my recovery.

Through all of it, there have been all of the moments that make up family: the tears, the laughter, the heartbreak and the joy, the hugs, the smiles and, always, always, always, the love.

And there are others that I now count as part of my family.  Johanna, Kayla and Amy will be with us for Thanksgiving.  Annabelle is new to the family but a dear place in my heart.  Maddie is my best friend.  Zoey is an original in "My Girls."  Lisa is a brand new sister to me.
Easter 2011

I am a survivor. I muddle through. But I have no imagination of how I would have come through the last 18 months, almost 2 years, without Debra. Recently, after I told an Aunt about Debra and what she means to me, my Aunt wondered how I could come to a place where this new person was equal in my heart to my two blood children in such a short time? Beyond simply telling her that my God, Poppa, brought us together, I knew I had to write about Families of Choice. For Debra and I came to a place where our hearts chose each other to be a family together.  And our family just is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Season to Reflect -- Thoughts On Surviving Suicide

August-September is a time for me to think back on many parts of my life.  

I was married to a wonderful woman in August many years ago.

My First Daughter, my Pride and Joy! who I miss so dearly, was born in September.

I separated from my wonderful wife in August 2 years ago to begin my life as my true self.

I went to the hospital to treat blood clots in my lungs in September 2 years ago.

And a young woman I had not yet met tried to kill herself because the men in her church told her she would be better off a dead man than alive as a woman. By Poppa's Great Grace, she survived. Many, too many, of us do not survive. In a study released this year, a little more than 4 in 10 transgender and gender-nonconforming people are suicide survivors. Survivors! I have not seen any statistics of how many of us did not survive. Sometimes I wonder how it is I survived.

I have never been someone the psycho/social professional community would classify as actively suicidal. But that community discounts or only gives passing acknowledgment that addictive, self-medicating behaviors are ultimately a form of suicide. There are other ways to die than to stop breathing or have the heart stop beating.

I am an addict. A recovering addict, but still an addict.

On another level, I knew I could have been actively suicidal. And I believe I would not have survived if I had made a physical attempt to kill myself. This is the very good reason I won't own a gun. It would be my method of choice to kill myself. I have imagined it too many times in my low points to have any doubts. I would put on a pretty dress, do my makeup, do my hair, put on my jewelry and my heels, sit down in my rocking chair, put the pistol, a military 9mm, to my left breast and pull the trigger. There would be a note, "Sorry for the mess I've made."

More than that, though, when my constant prayers that Poppa take this "curse" as I thought of it then, away and cure me seemed to be unfulfilled, my prayers turned to "Please take me Home!" I wanted to die. I asked Poppa to end my suffering, to end the suffering of my wife, to end the suffering of my children and help me die, to take me Home. I made this prayer to Poppa nearly every night for many, many years. And I prayed it almost as often during the day.

Poppa did not see fit to grant that prayer.

Sometime after I began to live my life as my true self, I met the young lady who had tried to kill herself. We became very good friends. She, Debra, became my Second Daughter. We have no secrets between us. I told her about my prayer and she made me promise never to ask Poppa to take me home again. She said she needed me for the next 30 years. And I promised.

So I have survived. Still, I sometimes wonder how? But more I wonder why Poppa has kept me here. What is it I do or have yet to do to show how much He Loves us?

It has been a very great Grace-thing Poppa has given me to have had a small part in Debra's very beautiful story. She's been every bit the butterfly!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One of those days in my life …

I am going into see my therapist later this morning. We will do some catch-up. It has been since early April since I saw her last.

But the big thing that will happen tomorrow is we will talk over my decision to have Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) and she will write a letter to Dr. Toby Meltzer recommending me for GCS. When that is done and I have sent Dr. Meltzer a down payment, I should get a date for my surgery. I should get a date to make my body right with my heart and mind.

This hasn't been a trivial decision. I do not need to have this surgery to continue living. I can, literally, live without it. But it would cost me. It would cost me a satisfaction with who I physically am. It would cost me the continued disconnect between who I am at my heart and the way I have to present. Yes, no one sees my penis anymore than the would be able to see my vagina. But I would KNOW! And I would like to live my day walking around and not remember, not think of what was between my legs... or not.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A difficult blog to write...

Last October, when I had to go on insulin, I asked my endocrinologist [for my diabetes only] if I could go on estrogen. He sent me to an Everett Clinic hematologist who ran like $3500 worth of labs on me to determine why I had blood clots before and if it would be likely I would get them again if I was on estrogen. Most of my blood tests came back clean. We discovered that I am heterozygous [the only way I am hetero] for a gene that promotes clots in the veins or Deep Vein Thrombosis [DVT's]. That means that of two genes that I could have that would increase the likelihood of DVT's I only have one. That translates to a increase of 2-8 times the probability of DVT's compared to people who don't have this gene. The hematologist was not concerned about this and any estrogen therapy I might start. She was concerned about an indication of particular antibodies that can cause blood clots in the heart which are much more likely to travel to the brain and cause strokes. Antibodies can go away. We tentatively scheduled a retest for the Spring of 2011. I have no medical insurance and a lot of my health issues took a hit this year to save dollars; this test was one of those things that got put off. August 10th [my Mom's birthday] I went in for my lab draw for this antigen test. I was told it would be 3 to 5 days before the labs came back.

The weekend of the 13th, my 2nd Daughter and I went to Leavenworth, Washington to have some time just us and get away from a lot of the things we'd been busy with at home. We had a fabulous time! In the middle of all this, I haven't been sleeping really well and when I would wake up at night, one thing I do is check my email on my smart phone. Sunday morning, I saw that the labs had been posted. I looked at them and wasn't really sure what they said. Back to trying to sleep. Around 4, I woke up again, checked my email again, and checked my labs one more time. I was pretty sure I understood what was there and again went back to sleep. I'd tell my daughter in the morning, before I said anything to anybody else. I was ok. No big deal. I knew this was a possibility.

I got up and cleaned up and waited for Sleeping Beauty [or is it Rapunzel?]. She was up and got her shower and was getting ready for the day when I stuck my face in and told her the labs were back. She had a concerned look on her face and I told her, "I can't go on estrogen, the labs were positive."

She said, "I'm sorry, momma."

I replied, "Doesn't change the woman I am. I've been post-menopausal for a year and a half. Doesn't make me any less your mom."

"No, it doesn't."

Have I said that I love this child?

So I let her get back to making herself pretty [which is as redundant a statement as I can think of] and I go and sit down on the bed.

And started to choke up.

And I started to sob.

The things my heart doesn't tell my head …

As I am weeping for my loss, these strong, warm, loving arms wrap me up and and her head lays on my shoulder and she holds me like I'll die if she doesn't. And she let me sob my heart out.

I didn't know …

I really did not know how much I had hoped to go on the estrogen!

I had no idea how much that hope meant to me!

And it was gone …

On Monday, I called the hematologist to confirm what I read in the labs. She told me she really, Really, REALLY could not recommend I go on estrogen therapy! She did tell me if I decided to go on estrogen therapy, she would Insist! I go on the blood thinner, coumadin. I knew beforehand coumadin therapy would not be a guarantee that I wouldn't have clots and has it's own problems. She left it up to me.

It is surprising how painful no-brainer decisions can be.

I knew that Sunday when I told my daughter that I couldn't go on estrogen that I would have to blog this. I have so many friends pulling for me wanting to know how things have gone. I would have to say something! But it has taken me ten days! to get to a place where I can write about it. And even now my eyes are brimming with my tears. Hope dies hard!

I am a 58-year-old, post-menopausal woman. I will not be dieing to have my estrogen. I can _live_ with this. But it hurts.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Tangible Step...

The consultation with Dr. Meltzer went very, Very well.

Once I got there.

No one at the conference knew anything about any consultations that Dr. Meltzer might or might not be doing. This was actually a good thing for my nerves. I could get a little miffed at the snafu. Eventually, the Gender Odyssey people told me that Dr. Meltzer was doing consultations at his hotel. By the time I got to his hotel [a couple of blocks away so no big deal] my nerves were a little jangled again. I call and am told to come up to the floor and they'll call me when they're ready. So, I'm just about to settle in to this incredibly plush chair and continue reading my nook [A Game of Thrones] when a woman opens a door and calls my name.

I go in and there are two women working at lap tops at the desk and a third woman who gets up and greets me. Then I'm introduced to Dr. Meltzer. He is a very pleasant presence and I am put at ease right away. We sit down and tell him a bit about what I'm thinking and my concerns about my blood clots and my diabetes. I tell him that my PCP feels my diabetes will not be an issue when I get my A1c under 8 and that my clots aren't an issue either. He tells me under 8 is a good idea and that for patients with a history of clots he keeps them on a low dose of heparin for longer after the surgery. He hasn't had a patient with clots after surgery for years. He is very, very easy to talk to. His staff seemed extremely efficient. They had a package ready for me before I left and I will get an email package later in the week.

And it was over.

I was not nervous at all when I was talking to him. But going back down the elevator my feelings came back full force. Not from being anxious, but from relief and hope and joy and a positive expectation. Had I been at home instead of the lobby of a posh hotel, I would have come unglued and sobbed my heart out. Sometimes I am as surprised as I can be to find I have been keeping feelings under lock-and-key, hidden away from even myself. Before the consultation, I would have told you that GCS was something I wanted but I would have said from a logical point-of-view that I can live without it, just fine! And I would have believed my own words. After today, I know how much I want this. I know how much I need to be right in my body. I need the confirmation of this surgery. There is still a strong yearning? an ache? in my breast from the consultation and the hope I now have.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yesterday's Pride Dance

Yesterday was really fun! I went to a workshop "How to Look and Feel Sexy." I came away from that with a lot more confidence and put it to work almost immediately. I picked up a friend of me in Lynnwood and we drove to Bellingham for the 4Women Women's Pride dance, [B'ham has their Pride Parade today] I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to dress up and do my hair and makeup for the dance. Because of the time constraints, I got ready for the dance before the workshop. At the workshop I received really good feedback about my style and how I carried myself, including several comments from the other women there about how they wished they could move as well as I did in the high heels I was wearing [3.5-4"]. That felt really good!

From there I picked up my friend, Sam and we had a really good conversation while going up to Bellingham.

We walked into the room and I really felt good and confident. It has been a long time since I felt that positive going to the dance. I got on the dance floor by myself and just started to flow with the music. There was one other woman on the floor and she looked at me with this expression, "Hot Damn! Work it, woman!" expression and I danced over to her and we finished out the number together. I felt so confident, so positive! during other dances I would glance over to the crowd sitting off the dance floor and see these big smiles from people I didn't know watching me. And they weren't laughing-at-me smiles but I could feel their approval and happiness? for me.

The whole night went like that! I had a really good time! There isn't going to be jeans-tennies-and-T for for this Femme at the dances any more!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Half a bottle of Port

I should not finish off half a bottle of tawny port by myself ...
I do not drink often
I don't make good decisions when I drink
but I do love my port

but being tipsy or more
is not a good thing

it has made the hunger
for touch
and the ache in my arms
and my breasts

to become a need,
to become the aching, starving cry

for someone

to hold me
to cradle me in their arms
to rock me

to make the hunger
to make the hunger go away

this is not about a lover
this is not about a partner
it is not about sex or making love

it is about
being touched
it is about

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To be who I truly am ...

My favorite quote is from e. e. cummins, "It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are."

For a very long time I knew that who the world saw when they looked at my life was not who I truly was in my heart. And when I heard the e. e. cummins quote I was ashamed. Ashamed because I knew I didn't have the courage to be who I really am. But I clung to the quote and it has been in my .sig files for 15+ years.

Today ... today, some would say I've "turn(ed) out to be who I really am." But I have not finished my journey. Everyday is a struggle to be who I really am. Everyday I fight the desire, the siren call, the need to be who others want me to be. There is safety there. I don't have to be brave anymore. I don't have to stand in the fire. Yes, it calls to me!

But I cannot go back! "Back" was an unreality. And "Normal" is something that I can never reclaim without going into hiding. Where do I hide from my self? It is a lie that the pain I feel now will be gone. The specific pains? maybe, but there will be pain and hurt still and the shame that I turned my back on who I really am.

It catches me funny sometimes when I think about it, but I am -PROUD- of who I am!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Hard Day

It was not a very good day.

Some relationship issues and then I had to withdraw the last of the IRA I've been living on and sell off the stock I had hoped to pay for my surgery with. Coming home from that, I contacted a friend who has been following my application for work. He said they'd hired everyone already and my application didn't get a look. Had a very long sad cry about that. I guess I didn't know just how much getting a job there had come t mean to me. Almost three years without work just because I told my supervisor I am a transsexual. They fired me for something else, of course, but it was because I came out.

I am hurting really bad. So many losses the last couple years! I didn't feel like it was an emotionally safe thing for me to do to go out tonight. So I stayed home and watched Harry Potter.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Harm's Way

Today and this weekend is an anxious time for me.

I am going camping near Rainier with a Car Camping meetup group. For the first time. I am not out to them. And after the rejection of Wednesday, I am very hesitant to put my bruised heart on the line again. I have had three meltdowns this morning. Why do I have to put my heart on the line? Why can't this be easier? I deserve better than this treatment! Why can't people just let me be me?

ALL! All I EVER! wanted to be was the "Girl Next Door."

I like the nickname SweetShannon because of the alliteration. But mostly it is who I want to be. I want to be a sweet and gentle woman, perhaps a lady, that everyone is comfortable with and, hopefully, somewhat attached to.

And again, I am putting my heart on the line and I am scared. I don't do rejection well. And I do not want to go there or hide safely in my shell. But I cannot live without putting my heart in harm's way. And I pray Poppa is with me and keeps my heart safe if not unbruised.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Just Want To Be Me!

It has been a disappointing and painful afternoon for me. I am .. was .. a member of a meetup group that was about dealing with empty nest syndrome. After I came out, separated and divorced, I have only my adopted daughter for family. It is a bittersweet thing to see her growing up and into her life. I am proud of her. So I sought out this group for support. I was not out to them. At least, not that I knew of.

At last weeks walk and talk, one of the women commented on my children that don't talk to me, "The children that you bore!?!?!" I responded, "uh, my flesh and blood." But I was immediately uneasy. Carrying and bearing a child is [or should be] a privilege and an honor to my way of thinking and I had not earned that honor. I haven't born any children. It seemed wrong to me to let her think so.

We came to a place where we could stop for a moment and I asked everyone to let me get something said. I came out to them. It seemed really good and ok the rest of the day. I got some good questions about my life and my process. I answered them as straightforward as I could. Everything seemed OK.

Today I got an email from one of the organizers asking me to not come back. I was making people upset. And she had already removed me from the group. It hurt .. hurts like when you've been dumped for no good reason just as you were beginning to like the guy. Hurts a lot.

I know, in my head, that it isn't really about me. For all their money and education, they don't know much of anything and even less, how to ask real questions about life.

Where I am really struggling is in my Pollyanna world I want to go where I want to go and be able to be me. If no one knows my history, fine. If someone asks about my history, I'll let them know. But if I am going to get rejection? do I out myself first and change all assumptions about me? or do I go stealth and take the chance after I fall in love with the people, the event, the whatever, I would get rejected like some poor relation discovered with a bad birth defect?

I just want to be me! I've paid a price to be who I want to be in this society. I paid my taxes, I voted, I raised my kids to be people who take care of their own responsibilities, I served my country in the armed services. I deserve better than this!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A letter to my cousin ...

My Dad's side of the family has been having a reunion every 2 or 3 years since the middle eighties. This summer they are having another reunion. I have decided not to go. My cousin in California, more-or-less the Patriarch at this time, has been gently talking to me about coming to the reunion.

This is my response to him:

I have -never- doubted your love and support. And it pains me to not be there. My Poppa knows my heart, [1 Samuel 16:7] and He knows I am pretty much who I have always been. And He knows that I love Him and I love my Brother, the One Who Loves me. It pains me that I am not able to give my family the opportunity to see me and know me spirit to spirit. But now is not the time. My children are not able to see my heart right now. And there are others, and we both know who they are, who wont ever see my heart or know my spirit. The latter, I am just sad for. Sad because the god they worship fits in a box they have defined. And my God, my Poppa, is bigger than any box they can imagine.

My children, though, I have decided not to push whatsoever. And it is hard. They are not ready to open their hearts and see with their Spirit that I am still their Dad, the Dad they have always known. I miss them terribly. I am very lonely for them.

Again, though, Poppa has provided. Poppa brought a young woman into my life who had been disowned by her parents. We became friends, then good friends. I told her once that I thought of her as a daughter. Within the month she started calling me "Momma." It was light and tongue-in-cheek at first, but Poppa knew our hearts and our needs. She is the Daughter-of-My-Heart, my Daughter-In-Love. We have gone through a lot together. I have told B and J of her because, no longer needing to keep my true self secret, I really don't like keeping any secrets and the subject of my Daughter-In-Love felt like a secret. But my adopted daughter takes nothing away from B or J. And I am Dad to them as I am Mom to her. Sue and Jodi met her when they met me as Shannon the first time. Someday I would like for her to come to the reunion, too, but it is in Poppa's hands. Oh! in the original picture that I sent you, she is to my right.

Again, thank you for your love and support and understanding.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The dance

It's not a good night. Just plain, not a good night.

- Forgiveness is the scent the Rose leaves on the heel that crushes it

Sunday, May 8, 2011

But Never A Mom

Mother’s Day 2011

Dedicated to Poppa and a special young woman….

For a long time I have wanted to be a woman. In all those years, with all that longing, I never considered being a mom. In the early years, I thought about being a wife to a husband. But never a mom. As I came to understand myself better and understood that a woman could be a partner to another woman, I thought about being a wife. But never a mom. At my age I have been reluctant to be involved with another woman with a child at home. I could not see myself as a mom to another woman’s child. When I began my transition, when I began to live a real life, full time, all the time, I had simple visions of what my life as a woman would be. But in my visions, I was never a mom.

Very shortly after coming out and beginning to live a life true to myself, Poppa introduced me to a young woman who had lost her parents. We became friends. We drank a lot of Tully’s. I would encourage her, be a sounding board, and when she needed advice, I gave her the best advice I could give.

We grew closer over time. I found myself thinking of her as a daughter. And I told her so. Soon she was calling me momma. It seemed a little bit of a joke between us but it became a real connection very quickly.

Sometimes I feel that it takes a lot of nerve on my part, a lot of presumption, for me to claim to be a mom -- I am a woman untimely born. I did not think of being a mother or a mom growing up like most girls. But I have found myself loving this young woman as a daughter and parenting her as best I know how. If my spirit is in fact a woman’s spirit and I have been a parent to her, then I guess maybe I am a mom.

Poppa has given me with this young woman to love, to be the daughter of my heart. Only by His Grace am I a woman. And by His Grace, forever a mom.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Crevasse

hanging near the end of my rope
in this dark place
an unseen crack in the world
heart-numbingly cold
and hands
and arms
and every muscle
aching with the effort to hold on
fatigued with the
that wraps it's fingers of ice
around my battered
dying heart
looking down into the consuming blackness
that promises to end the pain that hope brings
no whisper
of a ghost
of a vision
of rescue
to desperately grasp
and hold on for

Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting to long needed chores

I've closed the bank account I had at the bank my ex banks at. I hadn't been active with it for a long time and it needed to be closed. They are good people and they saw me go from a man to a woman. They never failed to treat me as a woman. I just wasnt comfortable banking there because of my ex. She never gave me any trouble about it -- it just felt like "her" bank.

And now I'm opening a new account at a major credit union. "Michael" used to have an account here years ago. I will gradually shift my banking here. Their services are better than the bank I'm currently doing most of my banking. But the credit union is large and it isn't as personal as my current bank.

I'm going to talk to Worksource this week about getting work they are supposed to have a program to help with getting on with Boeing. And then ... and then I have to just start dropping off apps.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Evergreen Way,Everett,United States

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Second Wednesday

Yesterday didn't start out so well. She had problems peeing and for a time it seemed she' d have to have the catheter re-inserted. Emotionally, this would have been a major set-back and we really struggled through the morning. She decided to wait and see how the day worked out. Peeing was never easy but it did get better. Her outlook improved as the day went on and it turned out to be a good day.

She dressed herself really nice yesterday; first time since before surgery. Skirt, makeup, did her hair and. of course, her heels. She looked great!

She took me out to lunch at a restaurant I'd found close by, Mimi's Cafe. It has a nice atmosphere and the food is good. She gave me a very lovely card for my birthday. [I still choke up over it just thinking about it.] It seems Mimi's doesn't make much on their lunch menu that doesn't have bread or wheat in it and Debra had to send things back, until they got things right. We had a nice time...

When we got back to the hotel, she received a text from the young woman who had been to Dr. Bowers the day after her and had been a housemate at Gwen's. Johanna wanted to now if we'd like to meet them for lunch! At Mimi's! :-) I suggested that maybe they would like to come over here for dinner? I was planning for Tuesday or Wednesday evening to make my chicken adobo. So last night I made my adobo on a glorified hotplate and we sat on the4 beds, talked and had a really good time.  Debra opened her champagne and we dished up the ice cream and berries they'd brought for dessert. We toasted the new girls and enjoyed. It was a very good evening.

We both slept to almost 8 this morning. She didn't sleep that well and was up several times during the night. The beds and, particularly, the pillows here are ... not really comfortable. And she is still healing and dealing with body issues. I asked her how the peeing was and she told me it is more difficult than most of yesterday, but she's working through it. Some of her friends online told her it can be more difficult in the morning. She has woken up with a really great attitude! It is so nice to see her smile and hear her laugh again! She's singing with her Country and Pop [actually it's her Coping playlist: Trans themed and working through life] while she's making herself prettier [she's always, always pretty to me]. When it's my turn, I'm listening to my Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary [and not the ones in the Bible, either!].

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning, 7:30AM -- One week later

Today seems no different than any other day, and yet, today seems like a different universe. This time a week ago they were taking Debra in to surgery.

She is up showering this morning. She woke at 7 and did her dilation. She slept ok most of the night, but woke up with some headache pain around 4 and her bladder isn't comfortable. She feels like she needs to pee but is having trouble actually passing water. Hopefully, this will be better as the day goes on.

Today is my 59th birth day. The last year has been amazing!

A little over a year ago... <sad sigh> the divorce with my wife of 29 years was final; our love couldn't sustain us one way or another through my gender conflict. She is an amazing woman! and still my friend. Her friendship is a gift I am very, very thankful for.

In February, I became a member of the Everett United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming congregation in Everett, Washington. It has been a pleasure to serve Poppa and The One Who Loves Me, Jesus, in worship with the rest of the congregation at this loving an wonderful church.

A year ago, I had a gender reassignment surgery, no caps because it is not the Gender Confirmation Surgery Debra just came through. A bilateral orchiectomy is considered valid for legal gender reassignment. No longer having any testosterone has made me post-menopausal pretty much the same as any woman in her late 50's.

In April, I bought a puppy, a feisty little black ball of fluff I named Xena, Warrior Princess (in training). She has been a great joy, especially once she calmed down enough to figure out she likes cuddling on my lap in the evening.

Last year, I decided I was going to get back into hiking. I found a Meetup group of people who hike at my speed [a step or two faster than a banana slug] called PNW Leisure Hiking. I wasn't able to do all the hiking I wanted to do but I had fun when I did go and thoroughly enjoy the Gryph! I hope to do more hiking this year.

But my relationship with my Daughter-In-Love, Debra is the high point of the last year-and-a-half. I must! give Poppa all the credit and Glory and Praise for bringing this young woman into my life. I have had very big holes to fill in my life. Poppa knows this. It would have been very easy for me to try to fill them with an inappropriate relationship, a relationship I really am not ready for. So Poppa brings a young woman who needed a parental figure into the life of a woman in need of someone to love in a healthy manner. Our relationship has grown so much and has been the source of great comfort, joy and laughter for both of us. Well, actually, she just loves me for my Chicken Adobo.

I don't know what Poppa has for me this next year. I hope to find work and have enough income that I don't have to live on my Dad's inheritance anymore. I also hope to receive medical benefits with any job I get. The cost of my diabetes meds are really killing me. I want to do more hiking and camping. I want to do more photography. I would like to go fishing more often. And Gender Confirmation Surgery is something I'd like to have done if I can pay for it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As my girl sleeps

I am sitting in a hospital recliner/lounge chair watching her try to sleep. She has come through her surgery, the surgery that confirms the gender she has always been. That's why she calls it Gender Confirmation Surgery rather than some variation on "Reassignment." she had some nerves to deal with before we left. Not many or great issues but some. But she has been very calm for the most part and always composed. I'm watching her with the mix of emotions that a parent has when their child is in some pain going through a transition in their life that the child has to go through. There is fear for the unknown and fear for the pain. There are sympathetic pains, too. There is the swirling feelings of hope and concern for the child to pass this test and be stronger and more whole. I am struggling with the helplessness of not being able to do more. Of not being able to make her all better right now. Of not being able to take the pain for her. And I am so! in awe of her. She has had a serenity through all of this that I have never felt in myself and she is moving through all of this like she walks in her 4-inch heels! She hasn't missed a step! and is graceful beyond any word-picture I could try to paint.

This is so right for her! She never was a boy!

This woman who has adopted me as her mom... This woman I have adopted as my daughter! She humbles me! It is only the hand of Poppa! I want to ask what could I have done to deserve such a rich Blessing? And it feels like the Grace Poppa has given me through His Son, my Brother, Jesus. It feels that deep! that rich!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

To San Mateo

We are at 30-something thousand feet in a Boeing 737 about half-way between Seattle and Sn Francisco. Debra is reading Glamour across the aisle as calm as she could be. She is very ready for this. She has been fired up to get her Gender Confirmation Surgery since she went with me to Portland when I got my orchiectomy. Tomorrow she has a pre-op appointment with Dr. Bowers and blood work to do at the hospital. She will be doing bowel prep tomorrow evening. Tuesday morning she goes in and they give her the vagina she has wanted for so long.

I am not so calm. I have lost my confidence, my faith in myself. I know that the life I live now is the life I should be living. It is right for me to be a woman, to live as one. Make me sit down and think about it and I know I'm in the right place. But there is this nagging, niggling ache of uncertainty from moment to moment. I know that some of my doubts come from my financial situation. I am not good and holding to a budget. And I _need_ to live on a budget now. The concerns about my finances change if I can find work. Especially work that pays medical benefits. But I am scared. I don't like to do job hunting. I never have. I can't take the rejection. I cannot deal well with the being told I'm not good enough.

And I simply hate my social situation! I am ok, sometimes embraced, sometimes tolerated in the community of women I hang out in. But I feel close to no one but Debra and Danielle and they have their own lives. I've never been particularly outgoing. I need to really work on meeting people and hanging out with people.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

So it seems I have some clotting going on …

So it seems I have some kind of clotting going on. Whether it is old clots or new ones, they don't Know aright now. They need to find and compare some old scans. I am currently waiting to see my doctor. They may have found something new behind my knee. I am scared. I really cannot afford this. But I am more afraid to face this by myself. It makes me know how vulnerable and fragile my life is. I have my Second Daughter to fall back on for emotional and moral support. But she has her own life and challenges.

What I'll probably do is put a brave Face on things and just keep on Keeping On. I am a survivor. I always get by.