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 🌷

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Lily’s 37th Summer 🌷

It’s not quite over yet but enough has transpired that I feel reasonably confident in doing a retrospective post here. I mean, let’s be honest, I live in Florida. Summer began a WHILE ago. Even after the season supposedly changes, I’ll still be here wiping the sweat as I walk my Dog until probably at least October or so. All that aside, it’s time to tell my story as long as the first estradiol of the day is pleasantly hitting my brain 😁

The two events that really marked the start of Summer for me were St. Pete Pride and seeing my Endocrinologist for a Six months follow up visit. The Doctor had some blood taken, gave me my gender dysphoria letter, and prescribed progesterone even though not a huge believer in it. He did decide to humor me and let me try it, though. So that was a very fruitful visit and I see him again in December. As I mentioned, St. Pete Pride was in June itself and a week or so after I saw my Endocrinologist. Around this time I had started working out every morning. I was planning to dress a bit scandalously and well, I wanted to look fit lol. Mind you I’d been on the Progesterone for a week or so now. Steadily losing belly fat and whatnot. It should be noted that I didn’t start on progesterone. We started with Provera(medroxyprogesterone)and for three days I was fucking BATSHIT climbing up the walls. Called the Endocrinologist and they switched it to the bioidentical Progesterone and I figured that was it because the new stuff made me far less nuts.

I’m not going into too much detail about St. Pete Pride in this post (though it was amazing and spectacular) because I’m planning to do a post specifically about that subject soon but a couple highlights included being quoted and described in the Tampa Bay Times Sunday paper article about Pride🌈, getting mad crazy compliments on our outfits, and meeting LOTS of cool people! 🤘

So all this was happening and it was really cool but…. I was starting to have massive trouble with anxiety and being spastic and jumpy. Thankfully my Rheumatoid Arthritis was relatively well controlled while all this stuff was happening. Dealing with that on top of the other stuff would have crushed me for sure. So I anxiously got through July and work being a basket case until… It was time for my Birthday Vacation…. To Ft. Lauderdale….. (Right after I saw my shrink and explained that I thought my meds were starting to crap out and ‘Could we add some Lithium pls?’ which he thankfully obliged.)

Off from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale we went To see IRON FUCKING MAIDEN ON MY 37TH BIRTHDAY (THANK YOU MUCH, METAL GODS💋)!!! The Trip itself was mostly fun… But verrrrry nervous (which I’ll get to)

Here’s my Birthday set list:

Iron Maiden: Sunrise BB&T Center, Florida – July 18, 2019

1. Aces High
2. Where Eagles Dare
3. 2 Minutes To Midnight
4. The Clansman
5. The Trooper
6. Revelations
7. For The Greater Good Of God
8. The Wicker Man
9. Sign Of The Cross
10. Flight Of Icarus
11. Fear Of The Dark
12. The Number Of The Beast
13. Iron Maiden
14. The Evil That Men Do (Encore)
15. Hallowed Be They Name (Encore)
16. Run To The Hills (Encore)

It was AMAZING. For the first track they had a replica Spitfire hanging over the stage, for some songs they had the Eddie tinged Iconography, Eddie came out and fought Bruce during The Trooper, and in one song Bruce had FLAME THROWERS on his arms! I had seen this Band once before so I had some idea of what to expect but..

They must have been really well rested or just done a bunch of speed because they fucking ROARED for every song in this show. Faster than usual and absolutely stunning technically. Best goddamned Metal show AND Birthday of my life from my absolute FAVORITE Band. When the last encore finished and people began to get up and move about and leave…. Well… I had fucking tears of joy and all I could think was how much I loved my Man for making it all possible and how unbelievably joyful I was in that moment. I’m literally tearing up just replaying it in my head right now 😢

So the show was incredible. And we had a lot of fun in the surrounding area since we were there for three days. Everything was pretty smooth coming back but as soon as I started working again my bipolar issues started raging. I started easing off the exercise, thinking that was making me manic. My man and I got sick when we got back in Clearwater. His cleared up, mine became pneumonia and around this time I finally stopped taking progesterone altogether because I was certain that was what was making me crazy. I was trying to get used to it for forty days until I was finally like ‘NO MORE!’.

Over the next week or two I slowly started feeling sane again and gradually less moody and hair triggery. Then I’m talking to a Trans Friend on Instagram one day and She said ‘You’re supposed to cycle progesterone ten days on, twenty days off. That’s seriously negligent that neither the doctor nor the pharmacy told you!” (Thanks again, Sophie Marie! ❤) .

So yeah, I took four months worth of progesterone in forty days. I feel like an idiot of course. But it’s true, neither the doctor nor the pharmacist gave me instructions and the bottle said to take daily. Even with established trans care providers, stuff like this happens. But whatever, at least I didn’t get so loopy I had to get hospitalized

I’m back to working out almost every morning now, but I’m going a little easier. I’m almost done with my second cycle of progesterone (now that I have the proper fucking instructions) and I’ve got an absolutely amazing new Trans Girl friend I’ve been having a BLAST 💥 texting and bantering with lately🤗🙏🌈. I wish I knew more people to do stuff with in Clearwater but I am indeed grateful beyond words for my online family. Facebook consistently pissed me off to the point of jumping ship but Instagram and WordPress were both far too dear to me to part with and still are.

I made a Battle Purse too, and am proceeding with my pink Battle Outfit project too🤘

In other news, my Man finally saw his Physician. It had been like a year. His Doctor is transitioning to male and He gave us the number of a local lawyer who does transition related legal stuff pro Bono so I’m waiting for a call back from her office about doing my name and gender change SOON! The cool part is, I’ve been looking for a new Trans friendly primary care Doctor because I’ve been just seeing specialists for the last year or so. So I’m going to see about getting an appointment with my Man’s doctor because he’s local and I think he takes my insurance 🤘

Grateful for having my RA under control. Trying to do a bit of work on the rest of Me💋

Cheers!

-Lily Jane 🌷

Lily Languishing?

It certainly feels that way at times. Sometimes I really wish I could have started transition when I was 22. Instead of coming out when I first began to bloom I let myself be crushed by social pressures for another thirteen years. Nearly all of that time I was hopelessly bipolar and was hospitalized several times. I still am bipolar, of course. But things have been much more approachable and manageable since I started transitioning socially and ESPECIALLY since I began HRT. Gender Dysphoria nearly crushed Me but getting on Estradiol and Spiro literally saved my life.

I’m still struggling with my employment. It hasn’t been a great season on the beach and my RA was absolutely freaking out(since i had to go off meds for about six weeks!)after I had pneumonia over spring break time. Today is my second Orencia infusion and I’m happy to say things are slowly but surely leveling off and calming down with my joints since I began. No reactions to the infusion and it only takes about half an hour.

As much as I love working on the beach, I’m thinking it may be time to move on. It’s just getting too hard with my joint issues and it’s just not really suiting me well these days. Which actually makes me upset because I love the people I work with and for. But I can’t deny that I’m slowing down from the RA fatigue as well as losing strength from HRT and I’m simply reaching a stage where I need to dial it down a bit and find something a little less erratic.

I don’t mean to sound all melodramatic, really. Things are not THAT bad. But I’m in the weeds pretty hard nonetheless. I’m just not making enough money to pay for all my regular obligations and not one but now two therapists who don’t take my insurance. That in itself is about an extra 175 a month. This is fine when the beach is going well but that’s not the case lately.

I’ve got my sights on something entry level at the local hospital. I think it’s achievable since my employment history is a bit more solid these days and I have a medical card to justify a positive cannabinoids test which for years was the only thing really stopping me. So putting together a resume and applying for a few positions is DEFINITELY on my agenda today.

Speaking of the medical card for a moment:

Saw my awesome Cannabis Physician yesterday morning and had a splendid visit. He is an Internist who doubles as a Cannabis Clinician and a Family Doctor, absolutely wonderful fellow. He hadn’t seen me in six months and was like ‘Wow, you’re getting some amazing results from the HRT!’. Anyhow, he added my recommendation for smokeable flower so I’m happy about that for sure. I just wish insurance would help with some of this stuff. On a side note, both the Doctor and the nice Lady who brings my mail told me I looked gorgeous around 9am yesterday so I was pretty much riding euphorically high on that little cloud all day.

HRT is seriously the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and one of the main reasons I refuse to confirm the question posed by the title of this post. I am not failing. But my blooming process has been extremely long and painstaking. I’m honestly barely even halfway there. The HRT has shown me that I can be comfortable within my own head without needing my mind to be completely drugged into submission with stuff like zyprexa or thorazine. I’m honestly amazed my twenties didn’t kill me. I think of all the pain, anguish, hopelessness, and crushing despair during those years and it truly helps me grasp and appreciate how much better my life is these days.

Hormones take a long time to do their thing but the immediate relief to my wounded psyche from the first few days was absolutely ASTOUNDING to me. There are the obvious effects to be expected like of course breast development (at almost six months in I’m around a B cup) and softening of facial features. Some of the most pleasing personal things I’ve noticed so far include a DRASTIC reduction in my body hair. I was never a very hairy person and I always hated the little bit I got. I’m still pretty dense and bushy in the pubic region as well as the armpits but my chest hair and the hair on my legs have pretty much completely disappeared. I used to get terrible dysphoria from shaving my chest and whatnot so it makes me so happy that I no longer need to. I haven’t shaved my legs in three weeks and the stubs are so much more wispy and less coarse. Even at three weeks of letting it go my legs still look mostly smooth. The only area this hasn’t helped with is facial hair. Still going to have to get that zapped eventually.

The other funny thing is that I’m sort of shrinking. No, not THAT(AT LEAST NOT YET LOL), but height is what I mean. I used to be one inch taller than my Man at Six feet. Now we’re dead even and he’s looking awfully smug 😏

One thing HRT doesn’t do is help one with vocal troubles. I’m hoping to eventually look in to getting a vocal feminization surgery which is where a small amount of the voice tissues are shaved to alter the pitch. My boyfriend offered to pay after he heard that wouldn’t be able to speak for a month after the fact. He’s a funny Man but I don’t think he’s joking this time😄

I was set to do a voice class soon but it got canceled. I was pretty upset about that because vocal dysphoria hits me pretty darn hard sometimes. I look a lot more feminine than I did early on but I feel like my voice really throws people off.

I see my Endocrinologist in a few weeks at which point I am hoping to secure letters for legal name/gender marker change/surgery, get on progesterone to further breast development and aside from that, just trying to stay on target😎

Not languishing, just fighting like hell the way I do.

More as it develops💋

-Lily Jane

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 😂

As ever-

L🌷

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 🌷

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 link💜

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 Jane💜