Adventures in Flowering Part Two

Howdy, y’all 😸Today is a day off for me and I’m feeling kinda reflective and sort of trippy and surreal all at once. This is not at all to say that I’m feeling bad, just in a deeply contemplative headspace. I’ve been out as a Transgender Woman officially since 2-19-2018. Ten months later after seeing my Gender therapist a few times I began feminizing hormone therapy. It’s already done quite a bit at not even nine months yet but more crucial than any physical change it’s given me (don’t get me wrong, I freaking LOVE my Breasts🌷) is what it’s done for my mental health.

I struggled with mental illness in my early years and teens, but it was mostly functional until after high school. I was diagnosed bipolar when I was 22. After getting taken to the psych unit by the police. Yeah. I had first really started feeling trans(though I didn’t really fully understand what I was experiencing at the time) around this time and basically I allowed collective social pressures to push my inner girl back into the closet for nearly thirteen more years.

I was in and out of hospitals a lot in my twenties and I was a freaking MESS. Gender dysphoria clearly wasn’t the only thing messing with my head but it was damned sure a major factor. The first few years I was with my boyfriend I know my mental illness was pretty frightening to him. But he and so many people I know have told me that they have seen a remarkable change for the positive in my psyche in the time I’ve been on HRT. My therapists have also made similar comments. Before I was transitioning and on HRT my boyfriend wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to handle me long term but he’s been a truly amazing and supportive ally on this journey. I’m still bipolar and bad days are going to come but things are nowhere near as dark and hopeless feeling as they used to be. In many ways it feels like estradiol has sort of rewired my brain. Some things that seem trivial absolutely cut through me with explosive force now. It really doesn’t take much these days to make me cry but….I’m slowly but surely making more sense of my emotions and my weird impulses.

So what’s changed? My breasts are up to a B cup though until just a week or so ago I hadn’t noticed the nipples getting much bigger, hopefully more progesterone will help 🌷), my skin is the absolute softest it’s ever been, Estradiol has virtually eliminated most of my unwanted body hair and I’m definitely noticing a little more ‘Girl’ in my face these days. I over analyze the hell out of that last part. I just have a lot of anxiety about it sometimes because I doubt I’d ever be able to afford Facial Feminization Surgery and I’m hoping the HRT proves to be sufficient. I feel kinda stupid admitting that but yeah, sometimes I think ‘Am I ever going to look convincingly female?’ I hate to say it(because shit like that just reinforces bullshit stereotypes)but I take a lot of shit and sometimes I just long so hard to blend in a little. I know my femininity is adequate enough and so am I, but my voice still clocks me instantly, face is a little better at almost 9 months.

Still, even with Spiro making me dumb and confused and loopy, life is a LOT better than pre Transition. I used to freak out and be obsessive when I couldn’t find something or whatever. Nowadays I’m just like ‘Oh well’. The main thing messing with me right now is my working life. Not really making enough money on the beach and not wanting to get too involved with looking for jobs until I have my legal stuff signed in blood(I’m sick of how awkward the name thing makes interviews). Anyhow, that stuff IS moving along as I have a phone appointment with the lawyer TOMORROW. I mean, I’ve at least made it this far, which I never thought possible. My family hasn’t thrown me away. In fact we’re pretty tight these days! Things aren’t great with my Dad but… We shall see. I’ve lost some friends but the ones that stuck by me are closer than ever as well as many new ones emerging. I haven’t yet made it through but I’m staying the fucking course here. I still have moments when I pause and just start weeping joyfully because I’m actually fucking out of the cage I spent 35 years in🤘

I’ve been trying to find some way to get involved with activism. I guess I need to call Equality Florida again, they never called me back about me volunteering. It would also be good if I started going to Metro in Clearwater. I am HURTING for some local community or at least a few local friends.

*sigh*I really wish HRT appointments weren’t six months apart. I wanna ask my endocrinologist about switching to injectable estrogen, and find out about referrals for surgical consultation for at least an orchiectomy because this spironolactone stuff is REALLY cramping my style(and basic reasoning). Time to make a list of things to ask the doctor in DECEMBER *sigh*

So aside from all that stuff I’m doing pretty well with the RA stuff lately. Relatively low pain though still a bit fatigued lately. I have an infusion Thursday followed by lunch with my Man and Mom and Aunt Mary so YAY! That’ll be good fun 🤘

As y’all can see, my new hat is still extremely new and exciting to Me 🤣

Anyhow, I’m going to go enjoy some of my fabulous medical cannabis now and have Me some quality time with my Darling Man😍

With copious amounts of Morbid Flower Girl Love:

Lily Jane 🌷

Adventures in Lunacy

What else would you expect from me? Seriously, my Summer started off bland and miserable but things are steadily getting more interesting and less morose. As the day of my Man’s return flight creeps closer my heart gets a bit lighter and more pleasant. I’m still a bit weepy day to day but it’s getting better. What can I say? I’m more than a bit emotionally and sexually frustrated. That pent up horny will drive a bitch crazy, trust me. Anyhow, all my weak attempts at repartee aside I’ll throw out a few recent highlights:

Work is going pretty well. I’ve been doing my best with my Server training. Still got a ways to go but it’s going well. It’s a chance to make better money and less physical labor so I decided for the sake of my joints I HAD to give it a shot. My boss told me he would like to have me bus and barback two days and serve three. I think it’s a good development and I’m going to keep at it. 

My health issues are… my health issues as usual, nothing terribly earth shattering. I’m strained and I have been since my lover left town. I’ve frequently thought to myself that if the Bipolar stuff doesn’t get me the RA stuff probably will. That said the RA is currently responding well to the combination of weekly methotrexate pills and Enbrel injections. I’m actually going to do my injection after I finish this post. Perhaps I’ll turn it into a hilarious live stream. Think of it: FLORIDA MAN PUNCTURES SELF WITH BIOTECH 😉 All joking aside I’m having some mild aches today but I think it’s because I’m due for both of the meds. Work is still going to mess with my joints as a Server  but not to the same degree as Barbacking. Mentally I’m hanging in there. My brain has kind of made peace with being out of sorts. I’m doing a lot better than I was the first six weeks. I still cry every day for at least a few minutes because I miss him terribly or I’m just stressed out at the time. Hard to stay on point with so many elements and variables. 

My Birthday is in a week. Going to the local Irish Pub with a group of friends. I hope against hope that I get a Iron Maiden T-shirt with tour dates but if not I’ll just have to freaking buy one 🙂

I’ll be alright. Sometimes it feels like I’m playing with a stacked deck but I just keep trying to make the best of it all. I’m in a diminished state and have been for quite a while. But I only have fifteen more days to go until my heart returns. I can freaking do this. 

That’s all for now.

-Thom

Of distance and longing

To say  I’m having a rough time of late would be quite fair. The usual physical and mental troubles plus the fact of my Darling Man being in Alaska for two months. I’m almost two weeks in and my public face is still pretty good, though it has been wearing on me something fierce. I’m going to work, taking care of our Dog and two Cats and just going through the day to day motions. At some point every day when  I’m alone (usually when I get home from work)  I curl up in our bed and start sobbing. It passes quickly enough, but every day without fail since he left.

I’ve been flirting with escapism, wanting to delete this blog, my facebook, my myrateam.com account and I haven’t done so. Why? Because I know it’ll not really accomplish anything outside of worrying people. I realize that a lot of people care about me but when  I get in a depressed state  I just want to shut out everything under and including the Sun. I know that that’s when  I need to reach out and  I’m slowly getting better about this.

Apparently RA can cause or exacerbate depression. I read this and  I’m like ‘Oh joy.’. I have to at this point stress that I am mostly alright, just having a rough go of things. My joint issues have if anything gotten more pronounced in the last year but they haven’t stopped me yet. I am especially fortunate to have discovered myrateam.com , it’s a really good resource for people with RA. It’s nice to have a place where  I can vent among people in the same situation who  can relate and offer insights and or encouragement. 

So yeah, I’m not going anywhere, as this blog is a major stabilizing factor in my life. I’m hanging in there. I’m in the weeds, and  I hurt. Sometimes terribly. I try not to be that flaky person always bitching and moaning about something be it physical or mental. But if this blog was intended for anything it’s precisely this. More than anything it’s for me to help with sorting myself out. I tend to be a person who suffers privately but  I’m trying to get more open with other people about what  I think and feel. Because sometimes people want to help me. What’s more, sometimes I want to let them 😉

I promise to keep doing my best. 93

-Thom

Trexin’ along

I’m feeling a bit rough but not terrible considering the fact that I’m T+16 hours from my first weekly dose of methotrexate. I’m trying to stay conscious of how low my dose is, because it could be more harsh as one gets higher in the range.  But yeah,  I’ve been riding it out on the couch and taking it easy. I’ve had some heavy fatigue and mild queasiness but nothing like all the hype I’ve heard surrounding this treatment. Aside from an icky sweaty night I feel mostly alright.

Part of this was a strategy on my Doctor’s part. He resubmitted my Humira prescription after I  added Arava and Plaquenil to my list of failed drugs. The main reason it was initially denied was the lack of having tried other things. I’m hoping the nice people at Prime Therapeutics see it his way this time. Everything I’ve read says that the most effective combination for fighting RA is a synthetic DMARD plus a biologic. 

Anyhow,  I’m happy to say that at least for now the big bad methotrexate isn’t such a big deal.  This may change,  but it’s totally workable for the time being. As long as I stay diligent with the folic acid the side effects should be relatively mild. Really,  it’s nothing a bit of medicinal THC can’t handle. Hopefully now I can stay the hell off the damned steroids for a while. They take care of the swelling very well but cause trouble of their own. 

I’m done with Facebook permanently,  of this I am certain.  However I still use one social media network,  albeit a much smaller one than FB or Twitter and what have you. It’s called MyRATeam. The social network for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I’m not as active as some but I find it an excellent resource for information about treatment options as well as a fun place to interact with others. All I was really doing on Facebook was messing around in groups pertaining to my health issues anyway. I just decided to cut the excess bullshit away and keep what I wanted. Between here (WordPress ) and myrateam.com my itch to socialize online it pretty well covered.

So in all, I’m feeling quite optimistic about the current course of action and looking fondly to the future. In an hour or so I’ll be doing breakfast with my darling Lover and there’s no telling what the day holds in store. 

That’s all for now. 

-Thom 

Everything in time.

I’m trying to exercise some patience and be more receptive to change. Part of my therapy is trying to break out of old patterns and identify bad habits. I’m thinking a little extra proofreading is in order for this post as this is my first time using the voice feature to blog. I’m trying to get myself what break I can in my off time. Prednisone is helping with the swelling joints but now I’ve entered night time and the steroid is starting to wear off. Gentle little prickles of pain are becoming gradually more noticeable. I thought of taking the steroid in the afternoon or something but I have to sleep at some point, right?

This voice blogging is kind of weird but not terrible. Actually I rather like it now that I’m starting to get used to it. However punctuation and things like that are a little more Awkward. I’ll go through this later and see what I missed to be sure.

I’m in the process of wrangling myself a sooner appointment with my rheumatologist. I don’t believe the Arava which I’ve taken for several months is doing me any good. My guess is the next thing to try is methotrexate but my doctor may have something else strange up his sleeve. We shall see I guess. I’ll probably start getting some relief soon as I have another Humira shot on Friday. If it’s anything like what it was before I stopped using it I’ll be in good shape.

Work goes well but I’m worried about how long I’ll be able to stand up to the physical nature of my job. I know my inflammation will only get worse as the cold gets more intense. At least that’s how it happened last year. On the other hand I wasn’t on DMARDS last year. 

Anyhow,  gearing up for Christmas and immediately regretting jumping back to typing this post on my android.  Thinking a bath with some Epsom salt is in order.  I want off the prednisone but right now I’m thinking that I should keep it up until I get seen again. Pls Pray for Thom.  

In spite of pain and stuff it’s been a wonderful day.  My man got me strawberry pancakes this morning and the rest of the day was quite pleasant.  

Be well-

Thom 

Taking it easy 

I have today off from work as well as tomorrow.  This fortunately coincided perfectly with today being Humira day. I haven’t noticed much in the way of ill effects, outside of one thing. After the first round I woke up the following day feeling REALLY strange. I can’t really describe it beyond that. 

I just got home from about a two and a half hour bus trek to acquire this week’s Humira Pen from the Rheumatologist’s fridge.  Did my shot on the left side of my belly with no trouble.  It did sting a bit,  but that’s only noteworthy because generally speaking I barely feel it. 

I’m feeling some definite relief from my current meds (Arava and Humira ). I’ve not needed prednisone since I was in Alaska.  Since I started the injections I haven’t been taking ibuprofen at all which is great for me, one less thing stressing my liver. I’ve been watching the news about obamacare with some nervous agitation.  My plan appears to be safe for now but my premium is probably going up. I’m glad my plan is as good as it is. It’s so worth it not having an HMO. 

As I mentioned,  I haven’t noticed any real issue with the Humira,  though it could take a long time to really kick in.  I dunno,  I’m pretty resilient when it comes to putting up with medications and side effects as a general rule.  A few meds have really rubbed me the wrong way but most I used without issue. I’m not really worried,  as long as I stay vigilant with blood work I’m all good. 

The thing that concerns me now is avoiding getting sick or infected. The drugs I take for RA are immune suppressants so there is an increased risk for fungal and or opportunistic infections.  I’ve already gotten a flu shot and am going to ask my Doctor about the pneumonia vaccine.  Last year I wasn’t on anything for RA and I got a respiratory infection that lasted six weeks and made me miss my Sister’s wedding.  

Anyhow,  not hurting too badly and enjoying life today. I’m not trying to be paranoid about getting sick, just being realistic and taking precautions. 

Chance favors the prepared mind and all.

Um… back to normal I guess 

Back at my old job on the beach.  My brief foray into other employment was lousy and fairly non-lucrative. I’m just lucky I texted my old boss when I did. This kid at my work was my main competitor for bussing shifts and he serves now.  I just happened to come back to my beach job just in time to swiftly grab the lion’s share of the daytime shifts.  Honestly that’s the only reason I left in the first place was that I wasn’t making the money. I had a bit of a hypomanic depressive episode while I was away from the beach and I’m glad to be back up to par.  

I’m not sure what is happening with Humira still save for it being in the appeal stage. I’m going to keep getting sample pens until I get cut off because why not? I’m doing my injection some time tomorrow afternoon and I will see what my Rheumatologist might  know about this in a few weeks. 

My pain level has been relatively low since starting the Humira.  Some flaring up day to day is perfectly normal as my hands are crazy busy all day, but the pain hasn’t been lingering after work much lately. The combination of Arava and Humira is effective enough that I haven’t been taking much else for a while.  

As far as morning stiffness it’s usually fairly brief but intense.  I’m doing alright as far as my hands,  but my feet have been giving me some hell lately.  My metatarsals in both ankles have been pretty sore, especially when I climb stairs or walk uphill.  People think RA is all about the hands but it has effects on the entire body including the feet.

I’m bumming a ride to my Rheumatologist’s office tomorrow from my best friend Matt. I have not seen a whole lot of him lately and am looking forward to catching up with him. Nothing says ‘Let’s Hang out ‘ like picking up a round of injectable biotechnology. Whatever.  I laughed. 

Aside from that,  I’m calm lately.  Calmer than I’ve been in ages. Things are relatively good right now.  I don’t miss Facebook,  that’s for sure.  I no longer care about all the fuss. I have my books,  my music,  my sewing and some freaking peace of mind. Sweet, that.

I have the next two days to do whatever the hell my heart desires. I mean,  I gotta do up my shot but that’s quick and easy.  I think I’m going to surprise my Man with some sort of tasteful dinner. Yes, we eat more than tacos and burritos and quesadillas.  Honest. I’m thinking maybe a really killer stir-fry. I’m doing this. Oh ja.

Until we meet again, 

Thom