Posts Tagged ‘trangendered’
She strode confidently to the front of the room and set her traveler’s mug of coffee and a chestnut satchel on the table by the lectern; exactly like a person who hadn’t mysteriously disappeared without a word months ago. She drew a fat notebook from the briefcase and placed it on the lectern, then flipped it open to today’s lecture.
“Okay, let’s get started, everyone.” Finding her place, noting the surprised murmurs, afraid to look up at the class to see who had stayed.
She looked up. Most had. Good.
See that thing up there? That purple date? That’s when I’m scheduled to have Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS*) with Dr. Pierre Brassard and Dr. Maud Bélanger in Montreal…that’s in Canadia, you guys, our frozen, but warm-hearted neighbor to the north! I just made the appointment a few days ago after weeks and weeks of scurrying around like a secretive, paperwork-collecting little mouse.
I started scurrying in mid-April after discovering that I could borrow most of the money from my retirement account. The place I work has a program where you can loan yourself the money and then pay yourself back over time at a low interest rate (it’s just over 2.5% right now). When I started looking into it, I saw that I could take out a loan for around $15,000, which is most of the cost of surgery these days.
Finding out I could get the money was major big thing. Like, I had always planned on having surgery at some point in the murky, distant future, but the cost made it seem like it was effectively out of reach, especially while I’m still in graduate school and paying off a car loan. Which was unfortunate because after one boyfriend, I decided I’d had quite enough of pre-op intimacy, thank-you very much. And I love intimacy! I had resigned myself to an unhappy/bitchy chastity, so, believe me when I say I was really excited about the money thing.
I emailed the two most well-known surgeons in North America (Dr. Marci Bowers and Dr. Pierre Brassard) and asked about their fees and wahtnot. Dr. Bowers’ rate is $22,500 and Dr. Brassard charges $18,040 (Canadian). Honestly, I chose Dr. Brassard for his lower price, but he has an excellent reputation as a caring and experienced surgeon. There are more affordable options in Thailand and in the United States, but the choice, for me, was always (and only) between those two.
Along with the price quote, Dr. Brassard’s office sent a welcome packet which contained his list of requirements for scheduling a surgery date. Basically, I had to submit a letter of recommendation from two different therapists and one from my endocrinologist (who’s also my GP and primary care physician) and a health history questionnaire. I already had one therapist and we had discussed her crafting a surgery letter for me from the start of our sessions together. While she worked on my letter, she referred me to another therapist for the second letter.
Seeing the second therapist sucked. A lot. It had been a long time since I’d discussed anything major with my primary therapist (and I rarely see her), but I had to resurrect everything for the new therapist over one, 90-minute session. I’m generally happy with where I’m at in my life right now, but that session made it seem like things were mucho shitty-o up until a few years ago. And they were! But I guess my powers of repression and survivor’s optimism are terrible and mighty; it’s always been easier for me to look forward. I wasn’t raped or molested or raised in an oppressive religious environment, but I’ve had very little real stability in my life (combined with some epically bad parenting) and it’s always been easier for me to burn bridges and reinvent myself…for lots of reasons.
With that ordeal out of the way, I collected my GP’s letter and emailed the whole shebang up to faraway Montreal on June 30th. And then I waited. Ugh. I fucking hate waiting, you guys! I mean, I guess most people do, but I’m pretty sure I hate it the most…or I’m at least in the top ten. Probably.
Moving on…I received my first date offer two weeks later. November 20th, 2011. Holy crap, I thought, that’s in 4 months! (I was expecting something in the next 12-18 months). And then I thought some more. That’s in the middle of Thanksgiving week, about three weeks away from the end of my school semester and two months away from the end of this year-long major work leadership thing I’ve been on (oh yeah, I guess we haven’t talked about that). I’ll need to take about six weeks off of work, and twelve of those days will be spent in Montreal. I rejected that date the next day; there wasn’t any way to make it fit. Also, my sister said she wanted to be there with me (aww!), so I tried to think of a date that worked for both of us. As it turns out, her school has the weirdest schedule, and there was literally only one acceptable week between now and December 2012, and they’re “on standby” that week, whatever that means. So I picked the next best week: May 9th, 2012.
I think it’s a good date. I’ll be out of school for the summer and I should be able to work from home for the last of the six weeks (give or take) I plan on taking off. My sister won’t be there with me the entire time, but that’s ok; I’m hoping my mother will be there for the rest.
It seems like a long way off, but it’s not even a year and I think it will go by fast. There’s still a lot to do, but I think I’ll have time to get my passport, lose weight/exercise more, and finish all the 1,001 other things I have to do without feeling harried.
Now that that’s all done, I’m feeling all of the feelings, you guys. Like, I’m happy that I can close out that last part of transition, but I’m also worried about almost everything. Surgery is dangerous and it may not “fix” anything. Recovery will take a long time and there’s still so much left to do. Oh, and let’s not forget about the money! THE MONEY! I’m guessing those are the reasons that I’m feeling like there’s a green cloud of creeping dread that’s slowly choking the life out of me right now. I’m sure it will pass, but so far, not cool, brain. Do you think all that’s a good enough reason to get a Valium prescription until then? How awesome would that be? THE ANSWER IS SO AWESOME!
Anyway, consider yourself updated, old blog. I’ll post more here or on tumblr when something else exciting happens. Until then, please distract me or buy me some ice cream or something, ok?
*a.k.a. Genital Reconstruction Surgery, Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), gender confirmation surgery, sex change, vaginoplasty, etc.