Sunday, May 27, 2012

Miracles Can Happen

This blog will probably feature TMI, so you may want to turn back now. You've been warned

The year started off worse than expected, not only for me but others I've spoken with as well. I spent the first quarter with health issues (non-threatening), family health issues (threatening) and fiscals issues (always threatening, LOL)

I have not mentioned it often other than to close friends, but after my gender reassignment surgery (GRS), I was in pain for a long, long time after. Unusual pain. Nobody else I knew or even read about had that same issues. Anything on my waist hurt, pants, especially jeans, hurt, lifting anything over five pounds hurt. I went through CT scans, MRI's and a colonoscopy but in 2010 my doctor sent me back to Dr Brassard in Montreal. After after few questions, like had I had an orgasm yet (no) , and he diagnosed my problem, Neuroma. My nerves had grown 'wild' and not as they should. Very common with amputations, hysterectomies and the such. Very rare with GRS. so rare I couldn't find any info on the web about GRS and neuroma. But as soon as Dr Brassard touch the key pain spots, we both knew instantly he was spot on with his diagnosis.

I was going to need to see a pain specialist and probably a neurologist to get the pain down and nerves properly retrained. Dr Brassard said with nerve pain, even Oxycodin wouldn't touch my pain. I assure you at times it was crippling. It also killed any or all sexual desires, plus the key spot was a dead zone. A one in a million shot.  I can't hit Powerball but I can hit the unlucky lottery.

After a couple of nerve blocks in a sensitive area of the abdomen, I would be improved for a few months, until I returned for another round of the same painful shots. I also believe it was killing the nerves to my clitoris.

In early May this year I spent the first weekend in bad pain again. I had stopped seeing the pain management doctor, but I knew it was time to go back. My doctor at my annual physical two days later agreed. He also wondered something I had as well, could a nerve have become trapped in scar tissue. He asked my to contact Dr Brassard in Montreal to see if he any any experience with such. They say neuroma surgery can make neuroma problems worse, not better. My doctor thought and I fully agreed, it was worth the risk. I could not live with the pain.

I booked an appointment with the pain management doctor for May 25. I wrote to Dr Brassard that evening and within a half hour, they wrote back inquiring if I could come up to Montreal to see Dr Brassard. I now had an appointment for June 1. Later I realized that was kind of dumb seeing if I have the pain shots first, I wouldn't feel anything Dr Brassard touched.

But on the Sunday of that painful weekend, I was out shopping when I realized how down mentally I was becoming again (see blog "Back To Basics") I needed to get back to my happy place and that usually was when I was maintaining my more comfortable feminine dress and "priss" appearance according to friends Michelle Lavigne and Linda Kimel. I should have known, because all of my life, that's when I was my most secure, most confident and most on a natural high.

The day I spoke at Southern New Hampshire University was the first time I wore a dress to work in nearly two years. I felt great and the honest compliments were non-stop. I felt human again. The speaking engagement went better than I feared and I latter got stellar compliments from the students. Again that made me truly happy.

The next day, I kept up my improved appearance and continued on for the days that followed. Mentally I was feeling like I was back at my peak again.I also noticed my pain stopped. No meds. No shots. I was physically feeling like I did presurgery. Only happier.

Due to my mom's health issue and the concern mentioned above, I cancelled my trip to Dr Brassard's and Montreal. I love going to Montreal, but I felt this trip was a completely unneeded, fiscally and physically. But I was also getting strange feelings "down there", good feelings. I almost was getting nervous because I was unsure what was going on. But mentally I was feeling awesome, looking better in my appearance, the nerve pain without any reason was gone and suddenly sexual feelings were entering my life for the first time since I had started  hormones in November 2005. But I will admit, at first I was not even aware that the throbbing and blood rush was a sexual feeling

Tuesday May 22, thoughts were entering my mind that had never occurred to me, not at least from this angle. Ever. And my crotch was alive. Like never before alive. What the heck was going on with me, I wondered. I finally tried to go to sleep, but due to humidity outside it was difficult to get to sleep and quite honestly, the humidity in my crotch and soul was no help either. Finally, before I internally combust, I said I have to try again, fully knowing I would end up in disappointment, but something was going on and I had nothing to lose. Unbelievably, it worked, To a charm. IT WORKED. OH MY GAWD, IT WORKED!

Without warning, my neuroma was gone, my sexual being was alive and my mind was finally 100% connected with my body. 52 months later it all connected. Granted the thoughts that got me there.....kinda shocked me. I believe they'll even shock my closest friends, but they certainly shocked me. Confused me even more. I discussed them the next day with one of my closest friends, Nicole. And she said she thought it was only natural and she expected it, even if I continuously denied any thoughts. She wasn't surprised in the slightest. I was never lying but I admit I'm shocked, but there had to be some merit, because these thoughts truly worked.

Of course over the week, I've had to maintain the practice because I needed to make sure it wasn't a fluke (it wasn't) and Dr Brassard did say that the nerves needed to be retrained and since they were finally corrected, I need to make sure they maintained their current training. Of course. I cancelled the pain management appointment. There was NO way I was losing any sensation to the nerves any time soon.

Yesterday at Star Speedway I attempted something that for the past four years would have left me doubled over in nerve pain for days. I carried two tires that were already mounted on wheels, at the same time, one per hand. I made it probably 30 yards before I had to drop them. Not due to nerve or abdominal pain, but because the rims were cutting into my now softer hands. Twenty four hours later.....still no after effects of carrying that weight, that long.

As far as as the abnormal thinking......doubt it'll ever be acted upon, but there certainly is something to having a female mind and body in sync. As Linda & Michelle told me repeatedly four years ago, you paid and suffered for this have to at least try using it properly.......................Seven days ago, I would have fully

Yes, I believe in miracles.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Reviews From My Talk at SNHU

Although I'm always scared to death going into my talks at SNHU, once I get there I feel fine and things usually just flow. Generally I leave regretting things I meant to say. In fact this year, I was up all night AFTER remembering things I should have added.

Generally, I just try to speak about why people like myself are normal, not freaks and throw away the stereotypes Hollywood,  sensationalized media and extreme right wing wackos throw at you. Usually every year, I get a few positive remarks. But it appears SNHU has a new digital bulletin board. I got overwhelmed with comments. All positive. And they all listened and got the simple message I was trying to convey. These comments, though I have no clue who said any of them, it doesn't matter, made it all worth while. I'm truly happy.

Without any editing from me or the professor, Traci., I present the awesome words of the students.


I’ve not doctored these…

I also think people should be more comfortable in their own skin. Cynthia is a great example she is who she wants to be and was able to keep most of her friends and family. The people who stayed are people worth keeping around. Also she has met a lot of people from the sounds of it. People that were going through the same situation as she was and gained many new friendships along the way.” 

“Cynthia was a great speaker and I enjoyed having her come in to share her experience. I still find it hard to understand if she liked girls to begin with then why would she want to give up her penis and become a self made Lesbian? Either way I am happy for her. People should do what makes them happy and she must have known that the surgery was right for her.” 

“I noticed that when we had our guest speaker Cynthia come in, the men in the classroom did not ask any questions and I was just wondering why?  Was it too uncomfortable for them?  Did they feel like if they asked a question they would look homosexual?  Was it to awkward for them in general?” 

“Thank you for posting this! I felt the same neutrality toward individuals who wanted a sex change before this week's class. Listening to Cynthia's story was both eye-opening and inspiring to hear. I also admire Cynthia's journey and wish her the best. The most important thing that I took away from hearing about her experience was that gender and sex are two very separate issues. What gender you see yourself as has absolutely nothing to do with who you are attracted to. “ 

“Great point, Stephen. In addition to helping other transgender individuals, I also think that people like Cynthia, who are willing to share their stories, help educate uniformed individuals. Sometimes meeting someone and understanding their personal journey is enough to change minds and beliefs.”

“When I first read the article I was intrigued by the struggles she underwent to do what she felt she needed to do. After meeting her and listening to her tell the actual story I realized how emotionaly painful this process was for her. Not only do I  comend her for the challenges she faced but her ability to open up and help others so much. It must be difficult I can only imagine the treatment she must have had from others. “

“I totally agree with you at first I was unsure of what to say to her or how to act. Mainly because I was not sure of how she would be like but after listening to her and having time to see what she was like I realized how wrong I was for being unsure she is just a regular person like the rest of us.” 

I found Cynthia to be an incredible person based on the story she told to us. It must have been so difficult coping with all of the problems she had as a child and young adult and even today with having people not quite understanding her journey. I was fortunate enough to hear her story along with everyone else in the class but I wish that others could understand because it opened my eyes to a whole other side of things."

“I just wish that Cynthia had the opportunity to change before it got to the point of almost suicide. Back even just 20 years ago, people were much less accepting of different types of people which must have been incredibly difficult. I am so glad that she found her comfort and I wish her luck in all to come.”

Before Cynthia came to class to speak about her journey to become a woman I never gave much thought to individuals who wanted a sex change. I didn’t have a negative or a positive opinion on the subject but to hear how she felt and what she needed in order to be fulfilled in her own life makes me question why so many are willing to judge others and quickly dismiss their personal problems as phases. 

I admire Cynthia for coming into the class to speak to us. I have now formed an opinion that life is too short to live unhappy and we should always follow what our heart tells us. I am assuming that John had an innate feeling that he was born in the wrong body and nothing he did felt right. 

My impression of Cynthia when she was talking to the class was she seemed very caring, compassionate, honest, and there wasn’t anything “freakish” about her which is a stigma often attached by ignorance. I wish all her dreams come true and that she is able to live a happy life now that her physical and emotional well being are aligned.”

 Sometimes people, especially when dealing with a situation like Cynthia was, need to hear about others who are like them so they don't feel so alone. If people like Cynthia didn't open up and share their story, then many transgender individuals or people thinking about becoming transgender would feel lost and lonely. And this doesn't just go for things like transgenderism, but for just about anything that makes someone feel like they are the only one dealing with that problem. When someone feels like they aren't the only one dealing with the issues that they are, it allows them to act out more freely.”

 “I really enjoyed hearing Ms. Tebbetts speak about her experiences this evening. She clearly has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share, and I'm happy to have had an opportunity to learn from her.” 

Excellent job, Cyn, excellent job!!!! (and no, I’m not hiding negative comments. There weren’t any.) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting Back To Basics

Years ago I was told by female co-workers to stop setting a "bad" example by dressing up for work. We used to have to dress "business" five days a week. Then in the early 1990's the company president gave us casual Friday's. Still need to dress appropriate, but no ties etc. But clean jeans, sneakers and shorts would be allowed. In the later 1990's, we went to business casual five days a week.

In late 2006 when I went "full time", I was dressing  more like "business" at work, much to they dismay of my female co-workers, even on Fridays. Their comments were tongue-in-cheek basically "If we lose casual dress because of you, you're in deep shit" , but strangely enough I set the bar higher and everyone in the company started noticing the girls started to step up their wardrobes considerably. But I was also told that I'd get sick of dressing up and it wouldn't be long before I reverted back to sneakers, jeans and collared shirts. A charge I denied. They were right, I was wrong. Completely.

The only time I had slipped back in to 'boy mode' was for 24 hours in late March 2007. I was still working in racing and was sharing a hotel room with two other officials. My status and gender intentions still unknown to the racing community, I had to go back to that awful 'boy mode' for the weekend. It sent me into a bad depression for a week afterwards. That was a major mistake, but at least I learned from it.

As time went on I did go back to jeans twice a week, at least, more often in the winter. Especially the further time passed from my surgery, the more comfortable I got without skirts, heels, make-up etc. I became "one of them", not that they don't dress nice because they certainly do. But not my standards, but I became complacent and lazy.

Shopping in Montreal this past March with Diane, Karyn & Jennifer, I noticed the girls in Montreal dressed so much nicer than the girls in New Hampshire, despite the cold and snow outside. No matter the age, size or shape these girls were all well put together. They looked spectacular. I'm still not sure if it was jealousy or my self made lesbian tendencies coming out. My friend Jennifer, that I had met in Montreal in 2011, at some of  or girls night out gatherings, was dressing more like I used to and she always looks great.  In the back of my mind I was getting jealous. Well not jealous per say, but I kind of knew that's where I needed to get back to. That was a big part of who I became. That was also when I was my happiest.

Due to the long, cold winter, family medical issues and personal illness and medical issues, fiscal issues, I was very much in a mental and physical rut. I really wasn't happy with where I had progressed to in four years post-op. In fact, I hadn't progressed at all. I was depressed and not at all happy with where I was in life. I'm still not granted. LOL

But one Sunday out shopping, I was down and having neuroma pain. I was miserable. And I thought to myself what happened, I was happier not much long ago. And it dawned on me. I need to get back to when I felt good. To when I was happiest, which was probably five years earlier. When I presented myself better, I felt much more confident. Much happier. Now I'm not talking about dressing like RuPaul or a drag queen, just like girl that's more commonly found in Boston, New York or Montreal. I had to get back to square one.

Tonight, I'm doing my fifth annual lecture at Southern New Hampshire University. Hard for even I to believe this is my fifth year and that my first one was done exactly 23 days after my surgery. That one seemed like the easiest one too.  But I was going to dress normal for work and change before heading over to SNHU. But my friend and co-worker Nicole convinced me to just dress for the day, seeing I have an office job anyways.

For the first time in probably nearly two years, I wore a dress, heels and tights to work and I'm happy to say that I haven't felt this good or upbeat in a long, long time. And the positive comments have been non-stop. All it took was to get me back to square one. Back to when I was happiest. Very much influenced by Jennifer's presentation and Nicole's prodding, I believe the real me is back. I'm truly back in a happy mode. Thanks ladies. :)

Sometimes you just need to stop, look around and think how you put yourself in the funk and where you were when you found you happy plateau and make a little effort to get your back. Sometimes it's not all that difficult.