Epilogue, part one

Like Chris says, many bloggers are using this time to reflect on 2007 before it disappears forever. I’m sure there’s some selection bias at work, but I see a lot of entries about aftermath: a radical change in expectation and its effects. I’m coming back to blogging after more than a year of absence punctuated by the occasional post–even less consistent than I thought.

I am spending the day inside. I let my shoes disintegrate while I was travelling, and so there’s a little soreness in one foot. (One of my resolutions is to learn how to take care of an injury.) It’s the sort of thing that I can either keep trivial or make serious. I am watching a Project Runway marathon, all alone in the house. I will probably have some pie later. It’s exactly how I want to ring in 2008. Tomorrow, I go to parties on my new feet.

It’s been a whole year since I started re-transitioning. It’s a little bit of a shock to realize that. In fact, it’s been a little bit more than a year. I’m not sure I marked December 15th in any way.

What was I doing this time last year? On December 31st, 2006, I had been officially off testosterone for two days. (This milestone doesn’t exist in a real sense, since bodies have their own timetables and set points. I dated it from exactly two weeks after my last biweekly shot.) I was spending a lot of time sitting around the house doing nothing at all, but that interregnum wasn’t anything like this one. The hours crawled by. Back then, I’m not sure I remembered what it was like to lose a whole afternoon in trashy TV.

I was having some trouble eating, even with a houseful of holiday sweets and two parents who kept cooking and bringing me food. I remember feeling exhausted and restless, cornered–as many people do when they’re seriously upset, I was unwittingly doing everything in my power to short-circuit any distraction or palliative routine. Didn’t paint, didn’t read, didn’t see my friends. I was not sleeping well at all–and again, I have no idea how much of that was related to hormone levels. I had quit drinking coffee perhaps a week earlier, as well, because it was making me anxious. This probably didn’t do much for my equilibrium, either.

I would skip a final post-op appointment about a month later, and then see my surgeon four months after that, when my breasts had already started to redevelop.

Who was the first person I told? Probably my doctor, about a year and two weeks before. He’d never done much to inspire confidence, but his response to my big announcement was downright comical. It even helped me feel a little better–I just about broke down in his office, but even I was all, “Dude, calm down. It’s not the end of the world.” He was stammering and twitching all over the place, and his reaction–I’m paraphrasing, but really not much–was as follows: “Oh. Wow. Well, you’ll…you’ll probably go on to live a long and happy life. You’ll never look exactly like you did before, of course, but, there are things that can be done. I can’t deal with this right now. I thought this was a checkup. I have other patients to see. I’ll call your therapist. Would you like some antidepressants?” (I said no thanks.)

And so he called my other doctor, my therapist–I’d called her myself, but apparently didn’t convey much urgency–and she called me immediately. I made some crack about scaring him, and she was all, Yes, yes you did. So I suppose she was the second.

My mother would have been the third. She was sanguine–worried about me, not about re-transitioning. I went down for the weekend. We shared dinner and a couple glasses of wine. I did a little bit of light cleaning. She told me not to feel bad. I didn’t end up telling my dad until several days later. I called my mom many times over the next couple of months; she was very gracious about it.

This time a year ago, nothing had changed, or changed back. I was warned to expect some mood swings, and remember hearing something–not from a professional–about furious skin, but I honestly cannot say to what extent my mood was affected by my hormone levels. Selection bias again, but I certainly didn’t notice anything specific. I didn’t notice any changes at all. I felt–and certain of my friends agreed–that nothing would ever change.

But by New Year’s Eve, the hours had begun to clump together into whole days. I don’t think I was capable, right then, of thinking in terms of one year or even one month–until late April, I was dividing time into two-week segments. I’m not sure quite when I lost count.

4 comments for “Epilogue, part one

  1. December 31, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Have a relaxing New Year.

  2. ilyka
    January 1, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I can’t deal with this right now. I thought this was a checkup.

    I have heard, not that exact line, but close variants, from so many primary care providers, so many times. Of course when they’re dictating they’re trying to paint themselves in the best light, but you can still tell:

    “When I asked the patient how she was feeling, I didn’t expect her to tell me that her eldest son committed suicide last Tuesday, or that her husband had filed for divorce, or that her house had developed a termite infestation, or . . . .”

    Well, what the hell kind of primary care provider are you if you can’t deal with the part where your patients are real human beings with real human problems, not all of which are strictly medical?

    I’m damned glad you survived that guy. And I still worry about all the people who wind up feeling so sorry they ever opened their mouths, that they vow to say nothing next time–for fear of upsetting their doctors.

  3. piny
    January 1, 2008 at 12:43 am

    I was about to post, Oh, he wasn’t so bad, but you know what? He was a complete douche. I got reassigned to another primary-care physician not too long afterward,* and the difference is striking.

    And, yeah. At least he called in the real professional to deal with the situation, right?

    *I found out that he had left because I called to make a physical-therapy appointment or something minor. I had to see him first, and the lady on the appointment-service line was all, “Okay, I’ll make an appointment with your primary-care physician, Dr. Someone Else.” And I was all, “Who? Never heard of ‘im.” She assumed that my records were all screwed up, and gave me another 800-number to call to get them fixed.

  4. January 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Just remember, none of us lives in a vacuum. Your process taught us all a lot… if it wasn’t for you, your hard-won gender-knowledge and accompanying astute observations, I’d still be thinking there was something to the Janice Raymond faction. ;)

    LOVE YOU! ((kiss))

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