Hopefully getting back to normal

The last couple of days have been quite encouraging really, on Saturday I drove to Perth and back, we had a 30th birthday party to attend and did a couple of other jobs while we were there and given the foul weather we have been having I think we did well firstly not to get soaked and secondly after an incident just outside Bunbury on the way back we consider ourselves lucky to get home in one piece! As it is the subject of a Police enquiry I won’t go into detail but in short, after following two Police cars with flashing lights for a short distance,( we were the next car on the road) The van they were trying to stop then turned around on a junction and headed north on the south bound carriage way with no lights on at all, thankfully we were the only car on that piece of the road and were able to stay well out of its way but a scary moment all the same! The good news for me was that the drive went ok, I am feeling more comfortable sitting every day and managed with the help of a visit to the BP services both going up and coming home to stay very alert and not feel as though I would rather be at home in bed! I must say the Santa Fe seems to get better and better, it’s so comfortable and quiet and excellent on fuel so you don’t feel you’re breaking the bank with a trip to Perth and back as it doesn’t use much over half a tank. Having said that we were pleased to get home, it was such an awful night weather wise it not good to be out on the roads.

Today I have had a trip to Nannup to check on the block, our neighbour reported that we have had some storm damage, a couple of trees down and big ones at that, surprisingly one of them was a seemingly healthy Jarrah, a big tree but when you look at the roots there is not much holding it into Mother Earth and in the end it gave up. I’m sure there will be a winter’s worth of firewood in just that tree but it will Take some time to dry out enough to burn. The other one was mainly dead so as I took the chainsaw I spent some time tidying it up and even though it’s a red gum there will be some good firewood in it. I used a tank full of fuel and probably had the best out of the freshly sharpened chain so called it a day and the chainsaw will give me a job tomorrow to get it sharp for another day of course being careful not to damage my painted finger nails! On arriving home I decided to have a bath, first one since my surgery, I’ve missed them so much, I think when it’s cold and unpleasant outside there is nothing like soaking in a lovely warm bath to refresh your weary bones after some fairly hard work. The good thing is that neither days activities seem to have done me any harm so I must be on the mend, great news as it’s only two and a half weeks till we head off to the UK and I want to be fairly fit for that.

Stroke of genius!

After weeks and weeks of terrible sleeping there is some hope, in fact more than hope that an answer has been found! At my two weekly visit to my GP we talked about the sleep problem at length and she gave me a script for a tiny blue tablet called Endep, what a difference! The night before my visit was probably one of my worst, I was up 7 times, once every hour I was in bed, not good in terms of getting restful sleep! Just one 10mg tablet the next night reduced this to 4 times, still too many but a big improvement, next night 3 times and last night just once! Wow what a difference! And no notable after effects. The trick is definitely to take the tablet straight after dinner so it has time to get into the system before bed time which might be an issue if we are out but up to now has been easy. A true stroke of genius, I’m sure getting a good night’s rest will make such a difference to my recovery and general well being, thank you once again!

Yesterday I drove to Bunbury with my very good friend Chris, I wanted to call in and see two people who I have known for over 10 years, one who is an ex work colleague and the other who I met through my ex wife Julia, both work at Bunbury Nissan so after visiting McDonald’s for a coffee we went in to catch up with them. Now neither of them have seen me as Stephanie but both have been very supportive and have kept in touch with me throughout. We went into the showroom and I immediately saw Gary sat behind his desk in the parts department, he was on the phone so I waited until he had finished and said hi Gary, he got up from his desk and came across and gave me a big hug, I can’t tell you how much that means, it’s a small thing but somehow a hug from someone who before I would have shaken hands with seems very important in the whole acceptance thing. We talked for a while then George appeared, just the same reaction, it somehow makes me feel ten feet tall, they were both really pleased for me and wanted to know how I was going but then we talked just like old times, we talked about the motor trade, about the various products they sell, their merits or otherwise and the state of the industry at the moment. They were both very busy and had to keep dealing with customers but kept coming back to us to continue talking. After about 40 minutes I decided we better move on so there were more hugs and we spoke about keeping in touch and catching up again after we get back from the UK in September. As we were walking out of the showroom door I noticed a grey corolla pull up outside the showroom but didn’t think anymore about it, we had just about got to our car when I heard a voice say Steph behind me and turned around to see the two people who had been in the corolla had got out and it was George’s wife and youngest daughter who I haven’t seen for probably seven or eight years, it was just gorgeous, more hugs and more encouragement, people are so kind to me, it was lovely to see them again and we agreed to catch up properly when we get back in September.

A challenging week!

This week has had its ups and downs that’s for sure! On the up side we have had two very enjoyable sets of visitors for dinner, one on Wednesday and one on Friday, I so enjoy having people round and touch wood, we haven’t had any disasters yet, no one has complained so our cooking can’t be too bad! I also had a very enjoyable day on Tuesday cooking up some dishes for the freezer so we can have dinners with out a lot of fuss if we need to which is always a bonus.

On the down side, on Tuesday  I got to thinking I should make an effort and try to dilate with the next size up, now i don’t ever envisage having a relationship with a male but by the same token it really needs to work, after all that’s what I paid for! Anyway, I tried,  it not only wouldn’t go in but it wouldn’t go close to going in so I decided to send an email to the surgeon’s 2iC in Philadelphia to get her take on it. Bearing in mind that it was 4pm when I sent the page long email so 4am over there, imagine how surprised I was when I got several emails straight back, I expected them just to say that the office was closed and someone would be in touch but instead it said the Heather, the 2iC no longer worked for Rumer Cosmetic Surgery and that my enquiry/concern would be forwarded to another member of staff and dealt with from there. Now after my Skype consultation on Friday which was a little less than satisfactory I felt that she had been dismissive with me but that is generally her nature so hadn’t really thought much about it but in actual fact it is no great loss as she was definitely the weak link in the whole organisation, the only one out of the 5 who didn’t seem to work as part of the team so I’m not disappointed. I decided my next move was to call the surgery when it opened at 9pm our time but in the mean time sent an email to Kami, the front office manager asking how to proceed with my issue. The phone call went to message bank and so I sent another email just asking Kami when a good time to talk would be, she replied and asked me to forward the email which I had sent to Heather to her and she would deal with it. Shortly after, I got one back saying that Kathy would like to Skype with me on Thursday and 2.30pm which although meant 2.30am for us I thought would be good.

So there we were, 2.30am Thursday, sat in bed waiting for the call, it got to 2.40 and I realised that 2.30 pm their time would be Friday morning not Thursday!!! We would have probably been awake at some point during the night anyway so I wasn’t over disappointed but a little annoyed with myself! We went out for dinner on Thursday with lovely friends but we’re back in good time, headed to bed about 10pm and set our alarm for 2am so  I had time to wake up and make myself look presentable, however, I was up going to the bathroom about 1.20 and I heard an email come through somread it, it was from Kami who asked if Kathy could do the consult then instead of 2.30 so i quickly asked Kami to give us 5 minutes and we were set. What a difference to Friday, no dismissive attitude, just very helpful and kind, we were online for almost 20 minutes and at the end I thanked her for her time, she agreed to send a different size dilater and some medication to me and said if my GP has any questions she is more than happy to answer them which I thought was very helpful.

As we were entertaining on Friday evening there was shopping to do after meeting a good friend in town for coffee, sadly during that time Denise received a call from her daughter that her car had been broken into and a window smashed so this would need to be sorted as well today. On arriving home we got out her insurance documents and Denise made a call to them, it was soon clear that it wouldn’t be an insurance job as the excess would be more than the window but she did tell us where to go to get it sorted and how much it would be, it sounded a lot for a door glass to me so I thought I would make some enquiries of my own, after making a couple of calls I got the number of the guy who did all our windscreen repairs when I worked at the dealership and gave him a call. Now he only knows me as Robin so I thought this is going to be interesting to say the least. I will have known him for over ten years and he too is English so I made the call, told him my name and said I had got his number from a friend and told what the problem was, there was a short pause so I just said “do you know who this is?” He answered, I would recognise that voice anywhere! So I came clean as it were, asked if he had heard that I had transitioned to which the answer was no, I gave him a very brief explanation and he just spoke to me as if nothing had changed, called me Rob a couple of time and then apologised but was excellent, just no fuss, no remarks and he said he would price the glass and come back to me, this he did very shortly afterwards and the glass will be here on Tuesday. A perfect example of how understanding and wonderful people can be and I look forward to seeing him on Tuesday as Stephanie.

Best day yet

If I could just sort the sleeping problems out I’m sure my recovery would be swift! Sadly another broken nights sleep which is doing neither of us any favours but in today’s case it was followed by a productive and very enjoyable day. We didn’t get up very early due to being up for some time, several times in the night but once up after a breakfast of porridge I headed into town to do the weekly shopping. I have plans this week which is good, we are entertaining on Wednesday evening so there is the catering for that to do plus as I’m feeling more like doing things I have in my head a whole list of things I would like to achieve, one of which is stocking the freezer with home made “instant” meals, so shopping today involved getting supplies to make some things tomorrow while Denise is at work along with the rest of the weekly requirements.

Although town was busy, probably due to it being the last day of the school holidays the supermarket was not too bad and as the weather was good, sun shining, not cold, everyone seemed in a good mood. Particularly in my case, if the sun shines I feel so much better in myself and although we haven’t really had any cold weather since we got back from the States we have had some dull miserable days which I find remind me too much of my time in the uk and how depressing the weather is there. I took my time in the supermarket, going up and down the isles fulfilling my shopping list plus a few extra things which took my eye. Disappointingly there were a few basic items out of stock which I needed for cooking tomorrow so after packing the stuff in the car I decided to walk to Woolworths to get them from there, as is usually the case I found some other things which were on special so finished up with a basket full from there as well. I drove home in the sunshine and unpacked the groceries, had some late lunch and decided to chop a little bit of kindling as I had run out and would need some to light the fire later, that turned into splitting a few logs, which turned into splitting a few more and before I knew it the three alcoves which I put firewood in were full. While it may sound like a strange thing to enjoy, I absolutely love chopping wood, there is a nack to it and it’s certainly not hard work if you work smart, I even attempted to show Denise how to do it as she was concerned about my over exerting myself but that wasn’t too successful so she just carried the chopped ones into the store. I can’t tell you how much satisfaction it gave me, the surgeon’s 2iC said on Friday it was ok to do some light exercise so I wasn’t too concerned about doing any damage and touch wood there has been no reaction to it but in terms of how good it made me feel it has been incredible, like I’m almost back to normal, I have done a few little jobs since and am excited about my progress. Even dilating tonight wasn’t too painful, it’s still uncomfortable and the thought of having to do it for the rest of the year at least doesn’t thrill me much but as it gets less painful it’s not too bad. I would like to to have thought that after a day using some energy I might have slept better tonight but here we are again, 1.30am and wide awake, before you say or think it, I know writing this is not going to help me sleep as it only stimulates the brain but it fills in the time while I drink my tea! Bring on tomorrow!

Slipping into womanhood

Today has been a great day, after a very ordinary night sleep wise we didn’t rise very early and would probably have stayed in bed longer but for receiving a message from my very good friend Nick asking if I would like to meet for coffee, it’s always a pleasure so I accepted and arranged to meet just over an hour later so it was a case of quick breakfast and get ready. It was great to see Nick and we spent a lovely couple of hours chatting then another quick change and head to our property in Nannup. We haven’t been over there for almost two months but all was well and it was good to see it all again and rekindled my desire to get on with building the house. We then went to visit our neighbours next door to drop off a carton of beer (as we always get offered a drink or two it’s good to have some in hand!) and a vase which had some beautiful flowers in that they gave me at my party, now I hadn’t had much time to get ready and didn’t give much thought as to what to wear but picked a really nice Zip front top and nice jeans, the first thing the neighbours said was “you look lovely ” it really made my day, I so love it being Stephanie, it has all become so natural, I don’t wear much makeup and don’t want to do, just a little eyeliner, mascara and lipstick and that’s me. To think that I stressed for years worrying about how hard it must be to “pass” and how people would stare at me and ridicule me for what I looked like but “slipping into womanhood” has been so easy for me, it just goes to prove that this was how it should have been, I should have always been a girl. Part of me regrets leaving it so long before doing anything about it but in reality, the time was right, everything fitted, I’m in the right head space with the right people around me, I have had the best support imaginable whether it be from health professionals or my wonderful circle of friends and my amazing partner and soulmate Denise who I love more and more each day, 2017 was definitely the year to become Stephanie!

An interesting day in the end!

After a fairly uninteresting day we headed into town to attend our first ever LGBTI get together,I thought since I satisfy 3 out of the 5 categories I would be sure to find someone to talk to!.  I went with a very open mind, with no idea what to expect but had a feeling it could be a very unorganised affair, badly attended and with no real structure but was completely wrong. We arrived at the Goose just after 4 pm went into the bar and ordered some drinks, there were a group of people to our right at some tables, the multi coloured balloons gave away the fact that this was the group we were looking for, we took our drinks over and we’re met by very friendly faces, at this point I wondered, as they don’t know us from Adam as it were, how did they know to get into conversations with us but it soon became a very friendly chat and as a bonus the girl I was speaking to was from Newcastle, just 100 miles north of my home town in the north of England. It’s always a great conversation starter and very easy to pick as the accent is strong. From that moment on I was in constant conversation with someone, everyone made us feel really welcome and I was surprised how many people attended, there must have been the best part of 50 people there over the evening, the other surprise was that there was only three guys and the rest were girls, of various ages but we were probably among the oldest. Everyone was sharing stories and I indeed shared mine with several people. Denise had made a b-line for two of the guys as she had been told they were from Wales, indeed very close to where Denise was brought up so after I had sort of finished my conversation with someone I thought I would head over to her and introduce myself, firstly to Andy, what a lovely guy, we chatted for some time and it came out that we had both been in Philadelphia at the same time, I thought Denise would have explained why we had been in Philadelphia but obviously not and after some time Andy asked me what made us choose Philadelphia as a place to holiday, he was quite blown away when I told him the reason why we had been there and wanted to know all about my experience. He mentioned that his partner was a landscape gardener so when he finished talking to someone and came over to us, I introduced myself and we got talking about the job, I explained what my business was and we had I lovely chat about each of our businesses. I can’t say I have ever been to an event where I have instantly made so many friends, what a revelation! Invitations to stay with people, immediate Facebook friends and just a great evening. Sadly I am not at full strength yet by some way and being on my feet or sat on hard stools is not very comfortable for me at the moment plus the fact that we had arranged to FaceTime my brother later meant the evening was not over long but such a good night and we will definitely go to more, there were so many friendly people there I’m sure I could have made a night of it if I had been fully fit but there will be many more occasions like it I’m sure.

We returned home and it had come in quite cold, fortunately I had lit the fire before we left so was confident that the house would be warm when we got in, what a lovely feeling that is when you walk through the door and a lovely warmth greets you, a wood fire warms your home like nothing else, sure there is some work attached to it getting wood, splitting it, making kindling, cleaning the ash out and not to mention the dust but it is all worth it ten fold so I just gave it a rake, added some more wood and called my brother and his wife. It would have to be one of the positive FaceTime calls we have had with them since telling them of my decision to transition in January, for the first time they both seemed really interested in how I was doing, in how my party went last Saturday and how life was in general, we in turn asked about their weekend last week as it was Polly’s birthday and about the triathlon they are doing between them next weekend so all in all a lovely end to the day. On the down side I was in quite a lot of pain when we got home but it soon went and I was feeling ok.

Yesterday was the day of my 6 week post op Skype appointment with the team in Philadelphia or Heather to be more precise, it was fairly short and sweet really, we had sent some photos over the previous week so she had had a chance to check on my progress and seemed happy with it, I had a few questions which she answered very easily, has given me the ok to do some light exercise and have a bath which I have really missed. We also spoke about the dilation schedule, I had mistakenly thought that after my 2 months of dilating three times a day it was scaled down somewhat but I read the schedule before the appointment and to my dismay, it goes on much longer than I thought, after the 2 months of 3 times a day there is three months at twice a day then 6 months at once a day (just in case you have lost count that brings us to 1 year after the surgery!) then after that I goes down to once or twice a week for a while then even less but never stops for the rest of my days!!!!! I am hoping that when I am fully healed it will become less of a chore, maybe even a little pleasurable? Who knows but it certainly goes on for longer than I thought! At the end of the day, it’s not a problem as it is all part of my being a girl and that so outweighs any negative things even now when it’s quite painful to do. I can honestly say that never in my life have I felt this peace within me, I just can’t wait to get out there fully fit again, working and building the house at Nannup but above all being Stephanie, the person I have wanted to be and should have been from the start!

A small rant and hope

Let’s start with the rant! It’s only a small one but one which really annoys me a great deal. At the moment I probably have more spare time than most, it’s not because I want to have as I would much rather be at our block in Nannup building my house. There are a hundred and one jobs which I could be doing but due to the fact that most involve a degree of lifting or stretching are off limits at the moment, thankfully I have my 6 week post op Skype meeting with the surgeon on Friday night and I will hopefully get a better idea of what I can and can’t do and when I should be safe to get back to full strength jobs although I have lost so much condition over the last 6 weeks it will take some time.

The rant is about people who never return your emails or messages, the most frustrating one is in the middle of a backwards and forwards series of mails or messages and the other participants just stop, no explanation and it leaves you wondering what you did wrong. The other one is the one who tells you they are a little busy over the next couple of days but will get back to you straight after that and that is the last you hear from them and you just think, if you have a problem with me or what I’m doing then at least have the balls (excuse the pun) to say so and talk about it, don’t just not ever reply it is just rude. The problem is that none of the three people I am aiming this at read my blog I don’t think so it not going to do any good but just as a warning hey! So if you have a problem let’s talk about it, problems don’t usually solve themselves without some discussion at least and it’s good to talk!

On a much happier note, this afternoon we visited a very pleasant young lady in Provence who specialises in hair removal, something which is a real issue to me as the lack of testosterone doesn’t seem to be doing much to deal with my facial hair and I have tried the home use IPL system, it bloody hurts and doesn’t seem to have done much good either. Anyway this is clearly a much more sophisticated method but using similar technology, the best thing is that it doesn’t hurt so I have had my consultation and my patch test which doesn’t seem to have caused a reaction and am going for my first treatment on Friday. I’m sure it will take a number of treatments before I notice any real improvement and our trip to the uk is going to upset the timing a little bit but any improvement is good news as far as I am concerned and the fact that it doesn’t hurt is a bonus! I know what you are thinking, no pain no gain but I am assured it works and today, although only a test was totally pain free, whether it will be a bit different on my face I don’t know but am optimistic. Will post after Friday’s session, it could be a big one as I will also have my consultation with the surgeon to report on!

It only takes one person!

After what I can confidently say was my worst nights sleep since getting home today was always going to be a challenge, I’m not sure why I didn’t sleep but it felt like the longest night ever, up and down to the bathroom and I just tossed and turned all night. I had lots of little jobs to do plus coffee with Alison and some shopping for Denise, I was to have had a meeting with the bank to deal with my name change but it was canceled and re booked for Thursday.

The day started slowly with a fairly relaxed dilation, I don’t enjoy any of them but the first of the day is always the worst, however, it has to be done and it was, I then got ready to go into town to meet Alison and do the shopping. Catching up with Alison was good, we had a good chat and nice coffee, then I did Denise’s shopping then a visit to Coles. I don’t mind supermarket shopping, I enjoy picking up stuff which is on special and there was plenty today, I didn’t want a lot so only used a basket but it was full by the time I had finished. As all the self check outs were busy and there were a few people waiting I looked to see if there was an ordinary check out available, the one at the end was the best, one person just putting her last few things on the belt so I headed that way. On arriving I noticed it was my favourite check out lady but for some reason I have not bumped into her since I started going out as Stephanie back in April so when it was my turn I said hello ……… how are you, she replied but I could see she didn’t really recognise me so I said “long time no see” she looked at me again so I said “I haven’t seen you since I swapped sides” she looked at me and flung her arms around me, gave me the biggest hug and whispered in my ear, you look amazing, are you happy? To which I obviously replied “very” she gave me another complement about how I looked and asked how my family had been with my transitioning, I told her that Denise has been amazing as had all my friends. You could just tell she was so happy for me, she gave me another hug and it absolutely made my day! It didn’t matter how tired I was I felt ten feet tall, so happy, that’s all it takes, someone to be happy for you, I almost cried! I went back to the car and just sat and thought how lucky I am to have all these people giving me love and support and above all being happy for me. The rest of my jobs in town went very easy, I was in such a happy frame of mind, yet another example of how people have been with me, so blessed!

My paperwork manager and the post office

My paperwork manager (Denise) has been putting in some long hours sorting out all that is needed for the various organisations which need to be told of my change of name and change of gender, the important ones being passport as we need this to travel to the uk in August and driving licence as it is the main form of photo ID. Both of these are done through the post office and I have to say I am not the biggest fan of post offices! In the past I have had a few issues, not major and more so in the uk than here but today’s two visits were just perfect. Firstly, both ladies we dealt had no issues with the gender change thing, it’s easy to tell if someone has, we witnessed it at the name change place two weeks ago, that roll of the eyes says it all but today there was no sign of any bad feeling at all. I guess it helps if you have all the right paperwork and we certainly had that and as a bonus the post office was not busy so we were attended to almost straight away, driving licence first but only the initial part of it as we needed the old licence to do the passport, it all went very smoothly, the lady who did the passport felt she had made an inappropriate comment by saying obviously I haven’t done one of theses before and apologised straight away, I hadn’t even faulted it but she was very apologetic and decided that to be on the safe side she would call the passport office and check that she had done everything correctly before we left, she had indeed done it all correctly and as a lovely parting comment wished me well in my new life as Stephanie which I really appreciated. The second part of the driving licence involved having my photo taken, she actually took it three time before she was happy and was quick to say if I don’t like the photo I can have it changed at any point which I thought was a nice touch.

i have also had a visit to my GP today, she was lovely as always, we talked about both my physical wellness and my mental/emotional wellness as well, I have to admit that before the surgery I was pretty blasé about the whole recovery thing, I wanted it so so much that it never even crossed my mind about how I would feel after it, I had read numerous articles and blogs and some which talked about waking to a world of unbelievable pain but I just thought that i would deal with it as it came and when I came round from the surgery I felt nothing at all in terms of physical pain I thought the rest of the recovery would be a breeze. Sadly it has not quite been that way, the physical side of things is easy to deal with, I have a very good supply of painkillers and thanks to my GP an excellent plan for dealing with it, the mental/emotional side of things has been totally different and I had not even given a thought to how it would probably mess with my head. I am blessed to have Denise by my side to talk about the things which have come to light and the way the surgery has affected me but it’s totally unfair to load all this on her, she has more than her share of emotional issues of her own to deal with to do with my transitioning but in typical Denise form has always been there for me. I hope one day I will be there to help her in a similar way as I simply couldn’t have done this without her, Denise you are pure gold xxx

Wow, wow, wow!

So much has happened over the last few days that I just haven’t had the time or the energy to keep my blog up to date so I sincerely apologise for that! Firstly there was Thursday when I received the certificate for my official name change, it was a strange moment when I opened the little door on the PO box, there were 2 letters inside and I was expecting a large one with the certificate in but in reality it was just a normal size envelope but when I looked at the name on it a really strange feeling came over me, I gripped Denise’s hand very hard, my first mail addressed to Stephanie Vaughan! We hurried back to the car and set off home as we had Jessie and Anna coming round for morning tea and didn’t want them arriving at our house and us not be there, I asked Denise to open the letter as I was driving home and it was indeed my certificate! A warm feeling came over me as I realised it was one of the major steps completed. The certificate itself is a bit brief to say the least, not sure what I expected but I suppose it says all it needs to say and at last I am officially Stephanie Rachael Vaughan. Morning tea was a particularly lovely occasion and included a gorgeous chocolate cake and some very pleasant bubbles to go with it along with some beautiful conversations with two beautiful young ladies whom I feel very privileged to have in my life.

Next came Friday, the start of preparations for my stepping out party but not before our visits to the gorgeous Linny for pedicures, eyelash tinting and eyebrow shaping and tinting, how I love having my feet pampered! It’s just the best and most relaxing thing, add to that the none stop conversation with Linny and you have the recipe for a gorgeous 2 hours. The whole eyes thing is of course all new to me but as I am not very proficient with the mascara it makes life much easier, the silly thing is if I had known about the whole eyelash tinting thing I would have started having them done years ago as my eyelashes have been clear for years and virtually impossible to see. Anyway it all adds up to being a beautiful experience!

On arriving home it was a quick change as the start of the transformation of our outdoor area for the party was due to start around 1pm with the arrival of Chris And Alisha with the marquee, followed by Alison who soon knocked us into shape and pointed us in the right direction for assembling the said marquee. This turned out to be a fairly easy job, it fitted perfectly in position and after a small fabrication job was secured in position, side walls fitted and the whole thing is taking shape in time for the big do tomorrow. The outdoor area was emptied in preparation for the furniture arriving Saturday morning and I’m getting excited.

Saturday morning arrives and this is the big day, I’m a little nervous to say the least, there will be people at the party I have not seen for some time, lots who have not seen me fully Stephanised as you might say and most of the guests have not seen me since I came back from Philadelphia so won’t know what to expect, also I planned to make a speech, a speech I wrote while we were still in the recovery suites in Ardmore after my surgery and I have to say, I have revisited it more times since than I care to remember as I have thought about saying different things adifferent orders but at the same time I am excited. The furniture arrived at the arranged time and was duly unloaded and the job of setting up began. Straight away I was concerned that there was too much seating and the place soon looked too fussy and crowded, I voiced my opinion and some rearranging was done, some bits removed and I was happier.

In the afternoon it was another visit to Linny’s beauty spot for makeup hair and nails, nails first then to Linny’s very talented daughter Megg for my hair, I am literally blown away watching as my hair is carefully styled like never before, Megg you are a miracle worker, I am so impressed, I go back in the where Linny was doing Denise’s makeup and they too are blown away, I just love it, so much volume and style like never before, just amazing! Makeup was next and another transformation takes place, I’m starting to think people won’t even recognise me anyway at the party. By the time I get home the caterers have arrived and things are really taking shape, the outdoor area is looking perfect, bar stocked, punch made and decorations in place, the only slight down side is that it is cold so the patio heater was lit and all would soon be good.

By the time people start arriving I have completed my look, even put in my earrings which after 5 weeks of being absent I thought there was no way the holes are still going to be open but in they went and I was very happy.

The whole night was perfect, my speech could have been better as I missed bits out and got things a little out of order but I don’t think anyone noticed so all went well. Once again I am struck by the amount of love and support given not just to me but Denise as well, after all this whole journey has almost been as difficult for her as me as it was Denise who had to do most of the organising, all the driving over in the States and be responsible for me while I was under the weather. Also she had the most difficult job of worrying about me while I was asleep being worked upon during the surgery, after all, I only had to turn up and go to sleep, Denise was the one answering all the questions, getting help when I needed it and the one there when I was having issues of any kind. All in all a beautiful occasion, I felt very special, I was truly honoured that my GP joined us, it gave me an opportunity to thank her for the amazing way she has looked after me and continues to do so, I know an arranment of flowers is a very small gesture for all she has done for me but I think it was appreciated even if I was temporarily in trouble for doing it! I had thought going on previous days that by 9pm I would probably be struggling to stay awake but I think I was running on adrenaline as I managed to stay awake all night and didn’t hit the sack until probably 12.30am and when I did go to sleep it was with a very warm glow inside me knowing we have so many beautiful friends.