Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Importance of Support

Donelle was not post-op. I personally believe that someone going through the transition process needs to have close contact with support psychologists. The argument of community support presupposes that counselors are available and being used. But unfortunately, just having counselors is not enough. Having a supportive family environment lends to the emotional stability and the groups that I mentioned in my previous post are creating allo-families for their members.

When it comes time for surgery, before the counselor writes that letter of approval, she needs to do her best to make sure that all the co-morbid conditions have been addressed, and that the patient has learned how to deal with the issues in a healthy way. I met one girl in Thailand who didn't seem at all ready, really seemed to lack compassion for others and everything was all about her, that everyone should do the same things she did.

All of the post-op women I have met have issues, but none require seeking continuing psychotherapy, with the exception of the one I just mentioned. What they need is to exchange experiences with other people in the trans community. What they need is family.

There are some who after surgery want to hang on to the trans label for the rest of their lives--and that is a personal decision that should be honored. I don't consider myself transsexual anymore; I consider myself an ally who has been there. Unfortunately, I had to label myself as a "post-operative transsexual woman" when reporting a Ross store manager to corporate over an incident that happened last weekend in order to be completely honest. He has been disciplined, but I don't know the extent of the discipline and whether it was satisfactory or not.

After standing up, reporting him, contacting the local trans activists and encouraging a boycott, I had an emotional meltdown on Tuesday. I began to fear that all other people saw was a man in a dress and I was deceiving myself to think otherwise. I reached out to my friends, 2 natal women and a long time crossdresser. First was my best friend and then a woman I know in the complex while we were hanging out at the pool. Finally, Deborah came over as usual, and I was completely over the meltdown, since she has only ever pictured me as a woman.

I didn't turn to Deborah first, because trans hurt. Trans was the source of pain. I turned to my women friends that accept me as one of them first. I needed to feel beautiful again, and they helped.

Then, yesterday, I started cramping. I didn't have an estrogen injection and thought it very ironic that the android app for menstrual cycles said it was the day I was supposed to ovulate. Meanwhile, the support staff from Dr. Suporn has been suggesting that my cramps are psychosomatic.

I had never heard of anyone cramping every two weeks before and I decided to look it up on Google. What I found is that 1 in 5 women suffer from ovulation cramping that lasts anywhere from a few minutes to one day. I was dearly hoping that it would last only a few minutes. But what I didn't understand was how I could be having ovulation pains when I don't have ovaries. And what I found was interesting. The pain is usually caused by the fallopian tubes contracting after the egg was released, that it is possible for women to have cramps if they have only had an oopherectomy (the ovaries removed). The pain was finally gone this morning.

So I have learned 3 things:
  • My psychosomatic condition is pretty accurate with regards to things I don't know about.
  • The frequency of my cramping is not driven by estrogen levels in the bloodstream, but is on a hard-wired clock, occurring every other Wednesday.
  • The intensity of the cramping, on the other hand, seems to be positively correlated to the amount of estrogen in the blood.
I am on a temporary overdose of estrogen. A couple of weeks ago, my estradiol count was 748 on a scale that only goes up to 500, because I was still taking bi-weekly injections after surgery. I am now waiting until a full 4 weeks between injections, and letting the estrogen starve slowly out.

But today is my birthday, and I haven't figured out what I want to do yet. So far, I'm just hanging out.

Hugs and God Bless,


  1. You're the second person I share a birthday midnight with, (I'm on the 15th),
    hope the estrogen diet goes well