First emergency and Drexel hill

This morning I had my first real emergency, after a very poor nights sleep due to getting up 6 times because I thought I needed to pee but when I got there virtually nothing came out which makes it even more frustrating, we were laid in bed thinking about Anna and Niki and how they were getting on when the pain in my bladder suddenly became intense, so much so that I thought I would be heading back to hospital pronto. Denise called the clinic number and listened to the list of options, selected the one which said you need assistance and this lady answered it by saying Dr Rumer’s office how can I help. Now bearing in mind that the reception is on the floor below us directly under our suite we were confused by the fact that even though she is technically working for Kathy, she didn’t know where the clinic was, tres bizarre! Anyway she said that someone would be in touch shortly, I quickly ate two biscuits and took two painkillers, they are definitely the type to need food in your stomach as even then they are severe. We heard nothing so Denise called again and shortly afterwards Heather called back, she was already at the clinic doing a procedure so gave us a list of instructions to alleviate the problem, the first being a 20 minute plus shower with the warm water running down my belly, after 30 minutes in there, the water was turning cold and I wasn’t getting any success so the next on the list was to drink lots of water and walk around the apartment, that didn’t work either! The painkillers had got well on the way to dealing with the pain but I still couldn’t wee and it hurt if I tried, so I decided we would need to get some attention and thought I’d better make myself look something like presentable and as I’ve still got some beard growth thought I would start there, stood in front of the mirror in order to have a shave and that was it, thankfully I had my nappy on but it was soon running down my legs, what a really  strange sensation, but it worked so I will know for future or certainly short term. After getting cleaned up we started the packing, now I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than 5lbs so am a little useless at the moment, in fact that is the case for the next 5 weeks also! I checked my phone and Heather had sent me an email saying that if a wanted to be checked over before leaving she was more than happy to do so. I love that, they are so caring! Dawn showed me into a consulting room and suggested I took off all at the bottom and said Heather would be in shortly, it was actually 20 minutes but I didn’t mind, she obviously has the same theory as my GP and believes in giving people plenty of time. She checked my over, we talked about the reason for the spasms and she gave me a script for an anti bladder spasm drug to be on the safe side then took me back into reception and we said our thank yous and good byes then she turned to me and gave me such a big hug! I can’t believe these people, they are so kind, and yes I know I am paying them but some people just go that extra mile or two to get a satisfied client and that is definitely what I am.

After leaving the clinic we went into town to fill the prescription and have a coffee at Panera bread, a coffee shop we both like and they do lovely food as well so we indulged in a sticky bun each!

We drove to the new accommodation in Drexel Hill, unfortunately the cleaners were still there so we had to wait a little while but it was worth it, the house is very comfortable (bed too!) spacious and clean so will be home for the next 7 days then we will see how I am progressing as to where we go from here.

Day five, Saturday

When I woke this morning I felt a good deal stronger than the day before which was a great start, I got up, emptied my “bag” and did the rest of my bathroom jobs as it were, I am still a little bit wobbly when I first get out of bed, I think that is as much to do with my back as any thing else but definitely felt stronger.

Today would be a day of communication, I wanted to call my Aunt and Uncle in Yorkshire, we had a FaceTime appointment with my Brother and Sister in law booked for 10 am and a list of other people who we thought it would be nice to check in with.

The weather outside looked lovely and it disappoints me that I can’t go out in it but I am assured that bed rest is required for swift healing and with Denise policing it there was little point in even mentioning it at this stage. I am so looking forward to getting my drains and stuff out on Tuesday, it will hopefully give me much more independence and more movement, I’m also hoping that in removing the packing I will be able to sit down without feeling there is a cricket ball being forced between my legs, I guess time will tell! I’m thinking that it probably won’t be a pleasant experience any of it but it’s all part of the journey and we are on the downward slope now so all is good.

The day of communication went on well into the night with Skype or similar calls to lots of people, some planned and some not but all very enjoyable, interspace with some small sleeps and some time to eat that was the order of the day. Once again I am humbled by the number of people contacting me through the various mediums all wishing me well and a speedy recovery, thank you all of you xxx


Day four and a few changes

In today’s post instead of just relaying what has happened daring the day I am going to do something different. I am going to deal with some questions, some that have simply been my wonderings, some that Denise has asked and some that one or more of you have asked, please bear with me, there could be some which fall into the “too much information” department but all relevant I believe.

Firstly, do I feel any different “down there” since the op, well at the moment it’s all a bit numb, I can certainly feel that there are some bits missing, it’s a strange feeling really but for me it’s a nice feeling, knowing that I am now how I should have been right from the start and as much as there is a long way to go in my healing process physically, I am feeling some relief mentally in knowing that I will only get better, it will be gradual but it will all be in the right direction.

The second question was one from well before the surgery and one I was asked by lots of people, will I miss my “bits”? well, the main answer is of course no I won’t, as much as I have had an amazing life up to now there has always been something missing or wrong and my “bits” are the main issue so as much as they have given me little physical trouble and lots and lots of pleasure there has always been the moments when I have looked in the mirror and said either out loud or to myself “I wish I was a girl” and done exactly what Eddy Redmaine did in “the danish girl” pushed them between my legs to see what I would look like if they weren’t there so, in the days before the surgery we had a long talk, I thanked them wholeheartedly for the pleasure they had provided me with over the years, getting me into trouble on numerous occasions but on the whole it had been a good relationship and went on to explain that they were now, or most of them, simply surplus to requirement as it were and that I was moving on to bigger and better things in order to fulfil my life’s dream, I hope they understood, quite frankly it’s too late if they didn’t!

The next thing I want to talk about is the increasing amount of attention that people born intersex like me are getting. Now there are two ways of looking at this, on one side is the fact that medical intervention is still happening and it is just plain wrong, I don’t care how you look at it, being modified before the child has a chance to show which side they are truly on just can’t be the right way to handle it. Every day there is some country apologising for what they have done and vowing that it won’t happen again and I guess I would just like someone to recognise that it happened in my case, someone to put their hand up and explain it to me, what the thoughts of the time were and how much flexibility if any my parents would have had in the process. The down side is that every time it comes up it just brings it all back to me and distresses me no end, there are literally dozens of stories out there like mine, I have read three today, there are lots telling of people with massive mental problems much worse than mine were. In contrast although I always knew I was on the wrong side I managed to well, manage it with some help from the medical profession at times but mine manifested itself in my hormone levels leading to the gynecomastia when I was 12 and then in various ways in the following years and if it weren’t for the persistence of my GP would probably never have come to light. I certainly think I am one of the luckier ones, possibly my degree of intersex was less than others, possibly I have just had help from the best people but the main thing for me is that the practice stops, everywhere!


After a short wait in the waiting area we were ushered upstairs to the 8th floor of Hahnemann University Hospital.   I was shown to my bed and the curtains were pulled around.  My first thoughts were “This is serious”.  Then the first of a seemingly endless line of people came and asked me all the usual questions – name, date of birth, what I’m here for.  After about the fourth one, I was introduced to the first of the Anaesthesia team who asked the same questions, then the second and finally the third.  The second, Christine, then inserted the cannula after her third attempt.  I was then allocated a Prep nurse called Jan who explained what was going to happen next.  Christine came back and gave me a shot of what she called a sedative.  Denise and I said our goodbyes at 8.10am and I was wheeled into the Pre-Op area.  I don’t remember arriving there, in fact the next thing I remember was someone calling “Stephanie, are you with us”.  Now after 56 years of answering to Robin it took me a while to cotton on that they were talking to me through my anaesthesia haze but eventually I opened my eyes to find lots of people around the bed.   The next thing I remember was being put in a lift up to the 17th floor and taken to my room.  When Denise wasn’t there I asked someone to call her – she was sitting all the while in a Waiting room on the 9th floor; no-one had told her I was out of surgery.  The time by now was about 1.30pm. The rest of the day was spent drifting in and out of sleep.

Stephanie’s first Saturday in town

I have been looking forward to this day with some degree of nervous excitement! A visit to Noni B as they have a sale on (again!) then coffee with Alison and Alisha then my appointment with the optician remembering that I made the appointment as Robin and am filling it as Stephanie, not easy for people to contend with and I have to say they were outstanding with me, every one I had interaction with was perfect, very helpful and kind, one of the girls even said she thought what I am doing is amazing and everyone should follow their dreams.

We then went back up to Bunbury, me to return the gym ball I bought the day before as it doesn’t hold the air in and Denise to return some shoes which do not fit as they should, both were really positive experiences, no hassle and lovely people.

Dinner this evening was at the next but one neighbors, always a very enjoyable affair, lots and lots of laughs, good wholesome food and as a bonus we booked woodlands retreat for new year, it’s the first time in years I am so looking forward to it, new year usually doesn’t do much for me , last year we were in Esperance which was good and to have this year organised so early has to be a good sign.

Momentous day!

So today is the day we travel to Perth to lodge my gender reassignment application, the first step in being recognised as the true person I am. I have to say I was a little nervous, we were later than I had planned setting off and the traffic was worse than I expected but we arrived at the office, it was quite a challenge finding the door but we managed and took the lift to the sixth floor as directed. We only had a short time to wait and a lovely helpful young lady came out and took us into an office where she went through the paperwork we had brought and seemed happy with it. The plan was to then take a copy of the application to the attorney general as you have to lodge it with him as well but the kind lady said she would do that for me and I duly signed the stat dec and off it went. To say it felt like a huge step was an understatement, it all adds to the feeling of how real it is now and also to my excitement that I am soon going to be the person I want to be both physically and officially.

We stopped in Bunbury on the way home to do some shopping and it feels so good to be able to go into shops and interact with people as Stephanie, it just feels normal now.

First date as Stephanie

Wow! What a day today has been! We always planned to have Stephanie and Denise’s first date and I thought about very little else all day with an amount of apprehension but mostly with absolute excitement! This is what I have been waiting for and looked forward to so much! The bonus came out of the blue! Jill had asked us if we could drop off some plums to a friend who has a glassware business in town, well just out of town actually so this we did and were blown away by the products she made, mostly jewellery and Denise wanted to buy me something and did, a beautiful pendant and earrings set which started the conversation about when could I have my ears pierced, the answer was today!!! And so I did, I was petrified! We went into a chemist, there were several girls behind the counter, all lovely! Two of them duly ushered me to a corner of the shop after choosing some sleepers and proceeded to sit me down, do the necessary cleaning and sterilisation duties and on the count of three it was done, both ears at the same time so as not to risk me getting up and running away! It was hardly painful at all and I earned some Jellybeans for being a brave soldier!. They look amazing! I can’t believe how they feminise me! Perfect for our first date!.
After visiting the supermarket for some supplies we headed back home for a snack type of lunch and started the journey of getting ready, now this will need to be refined over time as it seemed to take an age but for a first date it was ok, shower first, taking care not to upset my new ears! Then do the watering of the gardens before hair, makeup and dressing, I looked so feminine! We had the obligatory photos and headed into town, a little late but not too bad, I was still a little apprehensive but excited at the same time, was I going to pass is the big question and a resounding yes is the answer, or I think so anyway!. The final act for the day was to Skype mum, as Stephanie! For 86, almost 87 she is just the most amazing lady, took it all in her stride and was I think happy for me.

Two more positive people told

Today was always going to be a difficult one, town was heaving! We had shopping to do but only after an early drive to Nannup to check on progress at the shed a pay Hamish. The shed is looking great, there is quite a lot for me to do and I’m excited about it, lots of new experiences which will be good for the house build as well. Denise had an appointment with Linny at 11 so we drove back, had a coffee and off she went, I did some jobs around the house until she got back then we headed into town to do some shopping, it was manic! Anyway we got what we needed to and came home, it was warm, 32 degrees and quite humid which takes it out of me so we made the salads for our visit to Chris and Alison’s then went for a quick nap before we needed to get ready, as is usually the case, when we woke up we both felt “stoddy” and I just knew we weren’t going to be there on time, still we were only 15 mins late and in the scheme of things it’s no big deal but I don’t like being late!!. Tonight was the night for telling them about Stephanie! I have stressed about it for ages but it went really well, Alison had already figured it out but let me tell my story then gave me the biggest hug and told me that nothing would change, they were there if one or both of us wanted to talk and they loved us both, it was such a relief, they are probably two of my closest friends and it would have hurt if they had been negative about it, we had the most wonderful meal, talked a great deal and left feeling very full but happy.

Delicate discussions

Today I went over to the block again to check on progress, I drove over in just a vest top and shorts, it was going to be a hot one! On arriving in Nannup I decided to pay a visit to the toilets and chose the ladies as I was dressed accordingly, I didn’t see anyone, there were people around doing various maintenance but no one close enough to give me a second look. After visiting the plumbers, answering a few questions and taking some progress photos I spent a little time sorting to caravan then headed home, again via the ladies!, my confidence is building day by day!. I decided when I got home to get changed and call in to see Alison, she is like a sister to me, like the sister I never had but longed for, I really want to tell her and Chris but don’t know how to and how to handle their 14 year old daughter, I personally think she would be fine with it but want it to be their decision as to who actually tells her. Anyway we had a good chat stood under a tree on the road side, we didn’t just talk about me, we discussed her mum whom I know well and her brother who I know even better and have done since I was twelve. The decision was that she would talk to Chris and then to the daughter and ask if she wanted to be part of the discussion, anyway we are having dinner with them on Friday so will see how it goes, these are the most difficult people I have had to tell up to now, I so desperately don’t want to upset the friendship I have with Chris, I’m sure Alison will be fine but time will I suppose tell!.

Busy but great day

What a day! Today has been a day of appointments with one very big milestone! It started with my weekly piano lesson with David, always an enjoyable experience and today was no exception, we covered “what a wonderful world” then looked at “I hope you dance” which we will work on further next time. Then came my 7th appointment with Hayley, this time I had lots to discuss including my planned surgery, my realisation that my journey is a massive opportunity which far out ways the negative side of the last forty plus years and we discussed Jessie and my relationship with her and how important it is to me. Next came coffee with my best friend Chris, back from Europe for Christmas and how I wish he wasn’t going away again in January!. After lunch came the milestone, I decided to go to my speech therapy lesson as Stephanie, my first outing in daylight fully dressed as a female and I can’t tell you how much it meant to me, Leah was amazing! She complemented me on how I looked which was a big confidence boost and I felt just so comfortable. Leah is a really lovely person who is so obviously enjoying being part of my journey and is putting so much into my lessons. After driving home I went to see a potential house painting job with would be great to get even if I would rather be building at Nannup then out for dinner with Bernie and a view to telling her but when we arrived there were 4 settings at the table and she announced that her house mate would be joining us, a lady called Cindy who we had not met before but really nice so after dinner I decided to tell my story, there were shocked to say the least even said “you’re joking aren’t you ” at first but after I assured them I wasn’t I told them the full story are they were both interested and supportive which in general is how everyone has been up to now, I know that will not be true of everyone I tell, there are going to be those who have an opinion and won’t be supportive, hopefully I will have gained enough confidence to handle those people and if they no longer want to be part of my life then I have to look at it as their loss not mine.