Happy to be home!

We have been home just four days and have settled back well apart from a niggleing bit of jet lag which for some reason we are finding hard to get over. I think the fact that our entertainment screens on the last flight were faulty so we were unable to watch anything for 10.5 hours except the flight plan maps has had a hand in this, we both slept for 6 hours which on one hand was great for the drive home as I wasn’t tired at all but it has made the jet lag thing much worse. Anyway we are happy to be home and very happy to be reunited with the pets as we both miss them greatly.

Since getting home I have put a considerable amount of time into finding a surgeon who is willing and able to carry out my revision surgery, the response from WA surgeons has been disappointing to say the least, I was recommended to contact one in Perth by the practice who have looked after my transition, the specialist was actually on holiday but his nurse practitioner called him for me for a second opinion and came up with a man they have used in the past but when I called was told in no uncertain terms that he only does top surgery not bottom so no luck there. I have also contacted two others who claim to do bottom end surgery but neither has had the courtesy to reply so I decided to go further afield and have found a very helpful man in Sydney, not ideal as we will still need to fly for four hours to get there, hire a car, sort accommodation etc but a four hour flight is better than a 24 hour flight and a different country so it looks like he will be the one. However, he thinks that I should wait at least another 2 months then he will attend to the issue at the bottom and the issue at the top in the mons pubis area which is still very swollen. He has told me that the swelling is very common after surgery of this type and is reasonably easy to fix but in waiting two further months with no dilating I fear this will cause a further problem as by then I will have lost much of the depth, difficult decisions ahead I feel, I am going to try dilating in different positions and possibly with different shaped dilators to see if I can make it last until the six month time so will see how it goes. The problem is that I am actually scared to try now as it became so painful over the last few weeks of normal dilating and I’m not a great fan of pain!

On the bright side, we have both picked up work, I have got a list of little jobs to do for a lovely lady who lives just a few kms from us in Abbey, this is the sort of work I really enjoy as it’s very varied, a couple of leaking taps, some holes in walls to repair and repaint, some decking boards to secure etc. Denise has got bookkeeping work, mainly from existing clients but further work all the same and we also need to progress with the Nannup project. We have been to Nannup today, it was lovely to see it again and made me want to get on with it asap, there is such a tranquility there, lots of wildlife and peace and quiet, I can’t wait to get it finished!

The weather hasn’t been as warm as we would have hoped but according to the forecast it should improve this week, we have been lighting the fire every night but not until late so it stays in and keeps the house warm throughout the night. We brought some firewood back from the block today but most of it is either wet or green so won’t burn too well, hopefully we won’t need it until next winter! Sadly if I don’t have my surgery until the end of November I won’t be able to do much swimming in the ocean this summer which is a real shame as it is so inviting, anyway it’s more important to get things sorted and there will be lots more summers ahead.

Last night in the UK

Our last few days have been the perfect unwind after a very busy 5 weeks with a rather unexpectedly pleasant evening on Friday with my cousin and family. I have to say when I organised it there was a fair amount of trepidation as apart from an hour in 2015 I haven’t seen my cousin since leaving the uk in 2006 and to say a great deal has happened since then would be an understatement. We drove for one and a half hours from Amanda and Steve’s to Chiswick in Friday night rush our traffic and it was worth every second of it, Dave, Katie and their two lovely girls could not have been more welcoming. When we rang the door bell I have to say I was nervous as I have been seeing anyone for the first time since my transition to Stephanie but once we got over the initial uncertainty of being offered a hand shake which as always I turned down and went for the hug we had a most enjoyable evening. The dinner was excellent, the wine flowed, we enjoyed a full and frank discussion about my journey and I answered many challenging questions which is I think what I have found to be the best way to get my story over and to go some way to explaining how I have felt for the last 40 plus years so thank you for your support and love Dave and Katie, it was very much appreciated and I think brought us closer than we have ever been.

Tomorrow we head for the airport to start our journey back home. On the whole our trip has been good, yes the weather could have been kinder to us and yes I could have done without the two negative reactions which I experienced  but we have caught up with over 80 people which I think in the time we had available was a tremendous achievement, sadly there were people we didn’t manage to see but we are back again in April so they will be at the top of my list of visits. One of the best highlights of the trip would have to be the party which Yvonne and Stephen put on for us, it was just perfect, I cought up with so many people I have not seen for years and would not have done so without this event, I can’t even remember the last time I saw some of them but I really appreciate all the support and love we were shown, I also met some for the first time like my gorgeous great niece Darcey which was a lovely bonus, I hope to see lots of them again next year when we are over.

So, it’s back to Australia and the challenge of finding a surgeon who is willing and able to sort my revision issues out, sadly the one I was hopeful of being able to help hasn’t replied to my enquiry so I’m guessing that he is either too busy or not interested in helping but time is short so it will be the first job when we get home. There is always the option of going back to Philadelphia but realistically it would be a huge challenge, one which I just couldn’t contemplate this year so would end up being a bigger job as I would need to be opened up as well. Hopefully we can find someone nearer home willing to take on the job, it has been a big blow to me but I’m sure it is sortable.

Down to earth with a resounding thump!

After a great number of emails trying to organise it I finally managed to sort my three month post surgery consultation with Dr Rumer, it was actually 15 weeks but don’t think the outcome would have been much different if I’d had it earlier. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to dilate and it’s not hard to see why when you look closely and the disappointing result is that I need further surgery and as soon as possible. Unfortunately as we are still in the UK it will be difficult to do anything about it until we get back next week but I either need to find a surgeon in Australia who is both willng to take on some revision work and capable of putting it right or make the decision to travel to Philadelphia again, not something I would look forward to as which ever way you look at it, it’s a bloody long way to travel and then find somewhere to stay for however long it takes to heal enough to travel back not to mention the cost side of things, flights, car hire, accommodation etc so in reality I don’t think I will go that way but guess it will depend if I can find someone at home willing and able to do the job.

To say I am disappointed with having to have further surgery would be a massive understatement. I probably naively thought that if I did everything right as instructed by Heather (Dr Rumer’s now departed PA) I would breeze through the surgery and my recovery would be swift, she said I needed to be my optimum weight, be fitter than I had ever been and as healthy as possible and I followed her instructions to the letter, policed by Denise who carefully monitored what I ate in the final month to ensure I didn’t inadvertently have anything which might cause blood thinning, I have never felt better and I’m sure my pure excitement showed. In reality I never actually gave my recovery a seconds thought, I was so focused on the 30th of may that it just didn’t feature. In the scheme of things I should have given it more thought I know but anyway it is what it is and now I need to focus on putting it right even though I have no intention of ever using it for what it is meant for it really needs to work for my own peace of mind.

Today is our last day in Wales, tomorrow we head east back to Guildford where we are to spend the last few days of our trip. The good news is that it has to be the most relaxing place to stay in the whole of the uk, Steve and Amanda are just beautiful people so it will be a lovely end to our trip. Thankfully we are traveling business class back to Australia so the flights should be almost enjoyable, we are so looking forward to being back home, back in our own bed, own shower, Busselton and all our friends.

The story so far

With our UK trip well into the second half, our time in Yorkshire is coming to a close. We have so many lovely catch-ups with friends from various stages of my life or career and today has been no exception with friends going back over 30 years. Yesterday would have to go down as one of the most enjoyable days of my journey. Back in June I wrote to some friends of my parents to see if they had shared anything with them regarding my condition when I was born, not in my wildest dreams would the response have been as amazing as it has turned out to be. This couple, Stephen and Yvonne Prescott have so embraced Stephanie and welcomed her and Denise into their lives it almost brings a tear to my eyes, not only welcoming us into their home to stay with them but hosting a very enjoyable party for us to allow people who we would probably not have had the chance to catch up with to come and meet us, many of these people I have known all of my life but lost touch with for one reason or another, others I have met in the course of my career at the various dealerships over the last 35 years but every one of them had something in common, they were all happy for me, happy in the fact that I am now at peace with my inner self and am finally the person I have wanted to be since I was 12 years old. One of the most amazing things about the group of friends present at the party is the age range of the people there, quite incredibly the age range was from 89 years old down to 16 months and as much as my beautiful great niece would not remember much about the afternoon it was lovely to meet her and I am very greatful for every single person who made the effort to come and meet us. It will be the highlight of the holiday for me and something to remember for many years to come.

We have just one more couple to see while we are in Yorkshire then it’s down to Chelmsford to meet up with a very good friend who I have known for over 30 years but not before catching up with another near Leicester whom I have also known for a similar length of time on the way south. As with most of the people at the party they have known me as Robin but have yet to meet Stephanie, they have however been very supportive over the last 6 months or so and I am very much looking forward to catching up with both of them. From there we travel to Wales to spend some time with Denise’s Mum, hopefully the weather will be kind to us so we can make the most of the time we have there taking her to visit various people and catching up with a few jobs around the place which I always enjoy. A brief stay at West Chart will follow that, always a pleasure and a relaxing time in excellent company so a very pleasant end to our holiday.

By the time we leave the UK we will have met up with over 70 people, virtually all of these have met Stephanie for the first time in person so I guess to have just two or possibly three negative reactions is not too bad an average.  It’s still disappointing that there are any (especially one who should have been the most supportive of all) but as the psychiatrist said “it is their problem not mine” so I will let it go.  At the end of the day I am happier than I have ever been in my life and I’m not about to let anyone spoil that.


Posts have been pretty few and far between recently I know, this is because we are flat out catching up with as many people as possible before we go back home to Australia and unfortunately there will be lots of people I would have liked to have seen that we just simply won’t have time that see so I apologise for that in advance. We are however back in just over seven months so it won’t be too long to wait.

On the whole most of the people we have caught up with have been lovely, today we had coffee with some ex colleagues from Drakes which was just lovely and there have been lots more enjoyable experiences over the last week or so. Sadly there have been a couple of disappointing ones which for what ever reason haven’t been as positive, one in particular caused a considerable amount of distress and upset by claiming to have been my mother’s best friend and that there couldn’t possibly have been anything wrong with me when I was born as she would have known about it, well obviously she wasn’t as close a friend as she thought because I can assure you I didn’t make it up, firstly i had the scars to prove it and because they are no longer there I did take photos of them just in case something like this ever came up, secondly I have a letter from my specialist confirming that I was born intersex and thirdly I went through a very unpleasant grilling by a psychiatrist on several occasions to make sure transitioning was the right thing to do so I certainly didn’t take kindly to being accused of making the whole thing up. If that wasn’t bad enough the same person then asked me why at 18 I then started dating girls if I wanted to be one, once again this is a prime example of ignorance, the confusion of gender and sexuality, the two are just on different pages and so many people don’t understand that and spout forth in ignorance. As one of my very good friends told me, gender is who you go to bed as and sexuality is who you go to bed with, the two are completely different but so often confused for one reason or another. One thing for certain, if she had been on my Christmas card list she certainly would not be now!

That said, I have had some really positive reunions over the last few days so will not let this uneducated person cloud my holiday and I’m sure the rest of the people we are meeting with while we are in Yorkshire will all be positive. One thing my psychiatrist taught me is that if someone has a problem with what I have done it is exactly that, their problem and I simply don’t need them in my life, thankfully I have not had a single negative reaction back home in Australia so as we spend the vast majority of our lives there that is the most important thing.

One of the most surprisingly pleasant experiences has been the banks, both here and back home I have had the most amazing treatment. I have already posted about my experience at home but the people who have looked after me at Santander both In Driffield and in Guildford have been amazing, the Driffield one sorted the whole thing out with a minimum of fuss and in a very pleasant manner. If I can find  a place to give feedback when I get the online banking set up I will certainly mention both of them by name as they have been an excellent example of how to look after customers.
Continue reading “Catch-up”