Weird Energy

I can’t think of a more fitting title to my 2019 so far. This is not to say that it’s been an entirely awful time. In many aspects things are beyond excellent. But it’s balanced with things like health issues/chronic pain and strange interpersonal conflicts as well as the world at large collectively tripping from too much junk. Nowadays it’s never entirely clear who’s madness is seeping into where or whom.

As for myself, I’m holding but struggling. Blue Cross still hasn’t approved my Orencia and so I’m getting by with prednisone and NSAIDS. Doing my best and honestly the pain isn’t so bad because I have a medical card but… I want a more long term solution to my RA than freaking steroids!!! Prednisone is terrible stuff and really throws your body out of whack! I was hoping to start my infusions before I leave town this week and now… I don’t even know what the hell is happening *sigh*

Yeah, my Man and myself are going to Orlando to do Disney and Universal. We’re really excited and whatnot but we also both have to be careful not to overdo it during that five days. I just switched from Ritalin back to Adderall XR so I should be getting a few more hours of coverage so that’s certainly a plus with my fatigue being what it currently is. That’s the thing about RA, as well as the emotional aspect of the flaring and pain that REALLY grates on Me. The low dose steroid IS helping me but I’m also a basket case. I started getting hysterical two hours after I took the first dose of prednisone a few days ago. I have to accept trading a week of comparatively good mental health for relative relief*(with a price, of course). It almost always turns out to be a deal I wish I hadn’t made.

All this aside, I’m doing my absolute best to be a friend to myself. For so many years I just tore myself to shreds and just felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy. I still get down on myself sometimes but I snap out of it a lot quicker these days because I have a patient and supportive lover who knows how to talk to me and get me to lighten up or just see things from a different perspective. I mean, that, plus starting HRT before Christmas has taken an unbelievable amount of weight off my soul or essence or whatever your brain chooses to describe your being. I mean, I’m still awkward as hell and I get that a lot of people find me really strange but…. As I’ve slowly found my way through my transition I find myself with an unbelievable amount of love and support. Mostly, that is to say.

There’s still my relationship with my Dad which is….not great at this point but…. I know what he thinks of people like me and I don’t give a damn. My relationship with him has never been particularly strong and and I don’t see it improving. He doesn’t approve of how I live and frankly the feeling is mutual and it hurts but…… Whatever. Can’t please everyone.

But it’s alright. I don’t plan to 🀘

Deadnaming doesn’t happen a lot these days, at least socially and at work. Seems to hit me a lot harder when it does. That and vocal dysphoria are what’s really eating at me lately. I really need to get the name change done by my birthday. I need to find a less physically intense job soon and I’m really sick of giving the ‘explaining the duality of my current existence’ speech to potential employers. I know I need to do it but lately from the steroids all I wanna do is freaking cry and my composure has really been taking a hit.

Electrolysis is also high on the list. Perhaps a tracheal shave as well. This ‘in the middle’ stage is proving to be quite the strange trip. It’s good, though. I’m increasingly figuring out who my real friends are 🌷

I got things I need to do (LIKE FIND VOICE LESSONS!!!) now but I’ll have lots of photos and fun Disney stuff soon. Shannon got me some ice packs that wrap around the wrists and I’m gonna make the freaking best of it and enjoy my vacation!!! This dress will hopefully look a lot better after another year or so of estradiol πŸ˜‚

As ever-

L🌷

Lily Jane’s First time going to PRIDE part one: Pictures πŸŒˆ

Hey y’all! Here’s my favorite photos from Tampa Pride this past Saturday in Ybor! I’ll be doing a detailed account post a little later today but…. Here’s the favorite shots of the Day! My Friends Amanda and Kristopher and I had so much fun!!!! πŸŒˆπŸ€˜πŸŒ·πŸ¦„β€

More adventures in chronic illness and absurdity

Hey y’all. This post finds me in a pretty rough state. That said I figured a blog post would probably be good for me as well as spare my friends a bit of my shitposting histrionics. So where does one begin? Well, most likely from being in a weakened state from my immunosuppression drugs… One of, but not the only scary sides of treating autoimmune disease. I am currently dealing with super happy fun time in the form of pneumonia. I am off work for the week and sitting around the house alternating between Theraflu and cannabis oil and various forms of tea. The first two days were mostly drinking soup and writhing in misery. As you might imagine, neither my bipolar disorder or my rheumatoid arthritis are on break for any of this. I had already quit my Kevzara injections. The last shot was due a bit over two weeks ago and I was already flaring like hell after the previous dose so I decided another shot was pointless. It’s actually really fortunate. If I did that last injection I’m certain the pneumonia I found out about a few days ago would have been way more intense.

As it stands, I thought I had a cold but when it got worse I walked to a clinic by my house and they confirmed what I was pretty sure of. I’m on a Z pack and albuterol. Also using mucinex and a few other things like cough drops and ginger turmeric tea to help with inflammation. The shit thing right now is that I’m on nothing for RA because I’m fighting an infection. My Rheumatologist wants to start me on Orencia IV infusions but obviously I have to get well first. So all I have right now is cannabis tincture, but I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR IT ❀

Infusions are a bit frightening to Me. It’s kinda the next level of treatment and… It tells me even without the blood work to verify(which I’ll explain in a moment) that my disease process is advancing. I’m what they refer to as Seronegative. Meaning my Rheumatoid Factor and C-reactive Protein generally look normal(these are the usual markers doctors go by for diagnosis, but NOT ALWAYS). In spite of that my symptoms are observable to the eye and I HAVE had one blood test that actually revealed something. The only one that really ever has- the Vectra DA(disease activity) panel. It measures about a dozen markers and gives you a numerical score which is worse as the number rises. The first year I was diagnosed my score was a relatively low 13. The next year it more than doubled to a 27. still not quite high, but concerning. After that I have no idea, and the reason is that I haven’t had this test in a long time. Because apparently with patients on Kevzara(sarilumab) like me, the results become completely distorted so we couldn’t use it. I’m off it now but I don’t know how long it’ll be until I can Vectra again. I’ll have to ask the Dr. next visit.

Anyhow, the major issue right now is my lungs being all gacked up. I’m steadily noticing the pressure in my head and chest easing off but I’m by no means clear yet. I’m just happy to have my appetite back as I’ve already lost nearly twenty pounds. My Man has been absolutely amazing lately and has been taking the BEST care of Me. I’ve been an emotional wreck lately because my burning fear of my RA becoming disabling seems a lot more plausible these days. Also, it’s the kind of thing where is the disease doesn’t kill me the treatment still could. I sob to myself sometimes when people tell me they think I’m brave or inspiring or whatever. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it or them, really. I just have a really hard time seeing it in myself. Sure, I’m a fighter. I’m not disputing that. But I am far from brave. What I am most of the time is absolutely terrified and freaked out. Sometimes I feel like all my confidence and determination is but a theatrical ruse to please my ego. I’m sorry if this isn’t what anyone wants to hear but….. I’m not giving up. I’m just being real about how afraid I am.

Things are in many ways looking up, in spite of the current happenings. I’ll be doing my legal name change hopefully by my birthday. Also, Iron Maiden comes to Florida on said date. How perfect is that? I have an amazing support network of family and friends. I finally have a medical cannabis card and don’t have to be treated like a criminal anymore. Things could certainly be worse, methinks. It’s just been a series of heavy weeks and I am unbelievably worn out. On a bright note: I finally told off a long time ‘friend’ who had been trying to convince me to stop taking all my meds. Good riddance!

But I’m doing my best to stay positive. I’m doing my best to be there for the ones I love. Most of all I’m doing my best to be gracious for all the love and support I have from my IRL as well as my online families 🌷

And in my head I hear the burned out voice of Layne Staley weakly breathe the words…..

‘Something’s gotta turn out right’

Take care, Y’all🀘

-Lily Jane 🌷

Year One, Complete!

CW: Surgical Stuff

This post is a couple days late but…. I made it through my first Year since I came out as a Trans Woman! It’s been a hell of an interesting journey and I figured a bit of reflection was in order as well as ruminating a bit on what the second year of transition will entail.

So the big deal initially was coming out a year ago on this blog(which I knew family would read) and Facebook and Instagram where I had been hinting as much for a good while. This became common knowledge where I work and fortunately I had and still have an extremely supportive work environment. This has been a huge factor in building my confidence to move forward with my transition to female. That’s not to say there haven’t been some exceptions but finding the confidence to be out at work and be secure enough to express my identity has spilled over nicely into the rest of my life and dealing with friends, associates, and family members. My friends were the least surprised of anyone when I came out and have been awesome across the board. My family has been really amazing. There have been some very awkward and tense moments but there’s also been some pretty superb comedy and for the most part everyone has been really cool. My Dad was less than thrilled when I came out to him in the form of a letter. Things are pretty tense and I’m doing my best. Coming out to him was a more recent hurdle I had to clear. It was in December, under the advice of my Gender Therapist. It was right around the time I started Hormone Therapy, representing one of the first really major steps I’ve taken in my transition. Also, my big Sister doubled down on her support by asking me to be one of her Bridesmaids so major love to her!

That was a bit of a time jump there, but this post is going to be a bit disjointed so bear with me please. Most of the first year I just slowly accumulated clothing and makeup and went to see my two therapists. The process of transitioning seems to vary greatly by state but I saw a gender therapist for a few sessions and he referred me to the Endocrinologist who prescribes my HRT.

Having a supportive partner has been immeasurably valuable to me and I love Shannon beyond words. When I first began to find myself he made damn sure I knew he would love me no matter what and he has been true to his word. I fully realize how fortunate I am for having him in my life.

So I’m creeping up on three months on HRT. So far I think it’s working pretty well. I’ve already seen a decent amount of softening in my general features and quite a bit of breast development as well. So as you can imagine, I’ve been pretty sore. Totally worth it 😎

I stepped down as the Administrator of the Transgender Metal Group I founded on Facebook. I really like the group, I just wasn’t comfortable with the role I put myself in with where I’m at with my mental issues and my transition and felt that my Moderator and Metal Sister Larissa Glasser was the logical choice of who to hand it over to. I have immense respect for her as a Woman and a Metalhead and am really excited about reading her book ‘F4’ which just arrived in the mail.

So as for future goals…. The legal name change as well as the gender marker are the next things in my crosshairs. I want to do surgery too, eventually. But not getting constantly deadnamed is currently a HIGH priority for me.

As for surgery, I’ve looked into the options and with my health issues I don’t think I could handle a full Vaginoplasty. The aftercare is really intense for one but… Since I have issues with healing and fighting infections I’m pretty sure I’d be happy with a Vulvoplasty without needing to construct a vaginal canal. As long as I looked anatomically accurate externally I really see no reason to put myself through all that dilation and aftercare. It’s mostly that I don’t think bowel complications and the like are worth constructing a vaginal canal I don’t feel I need that could cause a lot of problems with my health issues and the meds I take. Plus recovery time with a Vulvoplasty is usually much quicker.

So, not that anyone asked… But yeah. I want Gender Confirmation Surgery eventually. Hopefully in the next year or two. But the legal name change is currently my top priority.

I’m doing my best and I’m grateful for everyone who’s been looking out for me. In my personal, working and online life I have a small army of people who go to great lengths to build me the Hell up and help me believe in myself.

Thanks so much πŸ’‹ It’s been an absolutely amazing year, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds🌷

Love-

Lily Jane πŸ’œ

Adventures in Blooming

Hey there, Dear Readers. Everything went great with the nice Endocrinologist and I have been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for about a week now! It was pretty rough getting to this point but the relief was immense and immediate once I began. I’m still dealing with some difficulties like getting very few hours from my job and struggling to find another one. I had an interview last week that seemed promising but they decided not to hire me. Was a bit bummed about that but in general I have drastically better control over my thoughts and emotions. I feel much calmer than I ever have in my life. Things that used to make me get anxious or crazy no longer agitate me nearly as much. I’m just mellow, level headed, and wishing I did this about fourteen years ago. Better late than never though. I hate begging but I set up a GoFundMe campaign to help me get through the next week or two and my appointments/obligations until hopefully I find a new job or my existing one picks up. Copious amounts of gratitude to my friends who have donated or shared the linkπŸ’œ

https://www.gofundme.com/help-lily-stay-afloat-while-she-hunts-for-work

Aside from that I am really excited about doing my 2018 retrospective post as this is the Year of Lily Jane!!! I’m also grateful for the fact that my rheumatoid arthritis is currently very well controlled since I added twice daily Plaquenil to the kevzara injections. I flare a little when it’s cold no matter what but generally speaking I am in very little pain lately.

I had a health scare recently with my Cat which really tore me up emotionally and she’s doing better but I’m watching her carefully because she seems a little sick again today. Just going to have to watch her carefully.

Aside from that just trying to maintain. I’m under pressure but I feel so much more able to deal lately it’s ridiculous. Generally speaking my mental health has been profoundly improved by transitioning. Here’s my tree btw. I can’t wait to see what I look like in a year! 🀘

Wishing you all a Happy and Stress free Holidays,

-Lily JaneπŸ’œ

Lily’s First Holiday Season

Like many seasons before, it’s proving to be a kick in the head. However, this year is a little different. It’s been about nine months since I came out as Transgender. This is my first season presenting female and if all goes well I will be beginning Hormone Replacement Therapy in a bit over two weeks from today. I’m seriously ready for this and I can hardly believe it’s finally actually happening. I will be seeing an Endocrinologist just to be on the safe side with figuring out dosage and all mostly because I have an autoimmune disease (RA)and don’t know what variables that might pose.

My Gender Therapist has been really amazing about helping guide me through this process. I really like the guy (He’s a Trans Man) and he’s super involved with Equality Florida. I saw him at the ‘We won’t be erased’ rally in St. Petersburg and last night he was a speaker/presenter at the Candlelight Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Mayor of St Pete and many other city officials were speakers. I cried at various points. Listening to the names of the(confirmed) Trans People lost to violence cut me to the core. One of the slain shared my last name.

The night before the vigil my Man and I went to pick up a pizza. On the way there a jerk teenager started screaming and threatening to stab me. We kept going the other way and he didn’t follow us. I was freaked the walk back and had my mace ready. Thankfully the trip home was uneventful. It drives me nuts when people (Mostly Republicans) go around talking about people like me wanting special treatment and say things like ‘Its 2018, Gays are in absolutely no danger in the western world!’. Even though I was talking about TRANS PEOPLE. Nice subtle form of Erasure, eh?

I exist and sure as hell plan to assert it. The religious right doesn’t own America and they sure as shit don’t own me. I’m trying to detach myself from the news cycle and public outrage to some extent but with the ruling administration waging war on LGBT people I for one refuse to just roll over and let these lunatics erase us.

I’m not becoming ‘hateful’ or ‘screechy’ or whatever the latest word du jour is for people who don’t want to let billionaire narcissists do whatever they please. What I am becoming is simply no longer afraid to fight the hell back. I’m as sweet and reasonable as they come but that ends when you start stripping people like Me of our civil rights to housing and employment and education and healthcare and threatening to define us into legal and literal oblivion.

Anyhow, the transition goes well. Got my Gender Dysphoria diagnosis letter sent to the doctor, my hair is finally starting to look good, and I’m building a huge Trans family online. I still only know a couple of local people because I’m incredibly slow to approach people but I’m working on it. One thing my therapist advised is to not do any sort of body modifications until I’ve been on hormones for a long while because often the changes from the hormones prove sufficient without altering anything plus if you do something early in HRT the results can be unpredictable. So yeah, still taking things nice and slow.

The next thing to start working on is my voice. Luckily I found a nearby Trans Wellness Center that has vocal training classes. Definitely looking into this. Anyhow, I’m still fighting holiday stress as per usual. I’m a little nervous about getting awkward questions over the holidays from relatives who haven’t seen Lily in person yet. Doing my best to be good natured. There have been awkward moments, sure. But my family has been mostly super cool about my Transition. I love them and I pray like HELL that we keep political discussion to a minimum for the sake of decorum.

Aside from that, just enjoying the Facebook group I started (Transgender Metal People 😫)and loving and appreciating the living daylights out of my growing Trans Family. If y’all are reading this YOU mean the absolute Universe to me 🀘

Anyhow, despite my troubles at least my anxiety meds work and I had tacos for lunch! Today has been pretty good and I’m feeling pretty awesome about Lily Jane (and planning to start taking some Martial Arts classes 🀘).

Happy Beginning of the Holidays, folks. Enjoy this photo of me at the Trans Rights Rally. More to come.

I am just getting started 😘

The Chronicles of Lily Jane Part Two

Sometimes it’s so freaking astonishing to me how far I’ve actually come. For many years I was way too terrified to go out in public presenting as female. It’s coming up on Halloween and one year since I finally began to force myself to deal with my inner turmoil. I still struggle with RA and Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes immensely. But ever since I realized that I had been absolutely suffocating my inner self and just let go… Things have been gradually improving. So allow me to bring you up to speed on the latest happenings:

I have one more session with the nice Gender Therapist I’ve been seeing in Pinellas Park and I’ll have a Gender Dysphoria diagnosis letter to take to the Endocrinologist I’m scheduled to see in early December. I really like this therapist and may continue to see him after I’ve gotten my hormones started and whatnot. For some reason we’ve just really clicked right from the start and believe me, good therapists are worth hanging on to.

I’m doing alright healthwise. Still having breakthrough flares since quitting Sulfasalazine. That stuff just made me too damned ill. I’ve been on Plaquenil for about a week but my Rheumatologist told me it’ll take a couple months to start working. Kevzara injections are pretty effective but they weren’t quite covering me for the full two weeks so hopefully Plaquenil will help me get slightly better mileage than I was.

I should have said my PHYSICAL health has been decent. In the magickal Bipolarcoaster of my head things frankly haven’t been so cheerful. I woke up a couple days ago to a New York Times article saying that the current administration is trying to legally erase transgender rights and protections and define us into nothingness. I’ve been hysterical for days. I feel sick and absolutely demoralized. I’m getting by on little snippets and scraps of absurd laughter and it’s somehow sustained me this far.

It freaking figures. Barely make it through my twenties and early thirties and when I finally find the courage to assert my femininity the federal government decides to wage war on LGBT people. I’m still living and breathing and existing. I’m just terrified by hearing our President openly call himself a Nationalist and calling people like me an angry mob as they begin to systematically strip us of our rights and protections and civil Liberty. Everything might seem normal to you, but in the queer Community the fear is very real and tangible. I carry pepper spray and a knife whenever able, I don’t go out after dark alone, I’m afraid to lock eyes with strangers, I don’t go off the main roads and by all rights I guess I got my transitioning wish. Living as a woman and everything that comes with it. That includes mortal terror.

Still, things could be far worse. I’m becoming more politically active (mostly out of a sense of survival imperative) and I have a fuckton of support in my life. My amazing friends as well as my family have been as supportive as humanly possible. Except for my Dad. I’m scared of that conversation. But I won’t stop living my truth. I just have to hope for the best. I fucking refuse to go back. The psyche of Lily has become like a hospital for the tortured wreckage of Thomas. A name and an identity I never had a say in. I still have many elements of my old life or precious memories or whatever that I carry in my heart. As profoundly difficult as it’s been, since I began living as Lily I’ve been doing my best to heal my being, to let go of Thom without resentment or shame. To forgive him for being so miserable all the time he was hiding out not being able to comprehend what was happening to him. I’ll never forget the time a few days after coming out where I had a moment of reflection. As I grappled for the words tears began streaming down my face and all I could manage to say to myself was ‘Thank you so much for letting me out of my cage’.

I don’t intend to stop now or in the near future 🀘