It’s just the beginning….


Two weeks post op and Jake is now on the road to recovery. Surgery went well and after 2 nights in hospital he was allowed home so we drove to London to bring him back. He’s been fitted with a super pubic catheter and also a stent that needed to be removed by a district nurse one week post surgery and this was the first battle we came up against.
I contacted the gp to arrange a district nurse visit and all was booked in and seemed ok until the day arrived. The district nurse called Jake to say she couldn’t remove the stent, it wasn’t something they did on district and therefore she wouldn’t be out to change his dressings, he would need to contact urgent care or the hospital, when Jake reminded her he needed his dressings changed her reply was ‘ we only come out to people that are bed bound’ Jake replied he was whereby she confirmed she wouldn’t be out to treat him and put the phone down. He was distraught and said it was obvious why she didn’t want to come out. I contacted my medical friend who was in disbelief, obviously she said she could do the procedure but as a formal complaint should be submitted he needed to go through the correct channels, she also stated that even if the district nurse thought it was something she couldn’t perform, which of course it wasn’t, she couldn’t refuse to come out and change the dressing.
We went to urgent care and were seen relatively quickly and were treated with a complete professional manner, which always restores my faith in our NHS.
The practice nurse was in disbelief about why Jake was there and why the district hadn’t come out but at least he was seen to and all was healing ok.
Later on that day he started to suffer with lower back pain, which escalated quite rapidly and by early evening even his painkillers were not numbing the pain. The following morning we went back to urgent care where the dr thought he possibly had a urine infection so took a sample and issued some more antibiotics, we thought this would be the end of it but by mid afternoon Jake stated that the pain was so intense he felt like he was dying, it was worse than any surgery he had experienced. So once again after a quick chat with my friend we headed off to A&E.
Whilst registering some confusion occurred as the guy dealing with us, after reading his post surgery letter looked at Jake and said he couldn’t understand what surgery he had had, I pointed out it was all listed, once again he looked confused but tapped all the info into the computer, I guess you have to laugh at moments like this as it proves others seeing Jake see a young man and not Jess, I don’t think at the time Jake saw the funny side to it. We were seen after an hour which in A&E terms was excellent. The dr was confident the pain was not associated with the surgery and most probably a urine infection, he issued some alternative painkillers and stated that 2 days of the antibiotics and Jake should feel a lot better. Jake went to empty his catheter bag before we returned home only to see some crystals in it and his back pain had eased considerably. It seems he has passed a kidney stone which of course would explain the intense pain he was in and the instant relief.
I can tell Jake is feeling a lot better as he’s now bored and came up with an ingenious idea to allow him to actually leave the house without worrying about the catheter bag strapped to his leg becoming loose. He asked me to pick him up a pair of cargo trousers and had cut a hole in the pocket to allow the catheter pipe to pass through and the bag to sit comfortably in the pocket supporting its weight, well you do have a degree in business management I said!
The catheter has to remain in place until the 19 th August whereby we have to make another journey to Harley street in London and hopefully that will be the end of surgery for a while.
Emotionally it’s been draining to watch Jake in so much discomfort but I know the journey is coming to an end and he will have a body that matches his brain and once again I’m eternally grateful for the NHS and the journey we have been on with them.

Thankful

It’s seems so long since I’ve been here, is this good or bad?
After moving house at Xmas and having no home broadband I guess I just got out of the habit of reading the blogs I follow and updating mine.
Thankfully my brother, against all the odds pulled through and left hospital in early February, he still has on going heart issues but he’s still with us, so that has to be a positive.

We’ve settled into our new house and now have a new addition, a labradoodle, she kind of found us as I really wasn’t ready for another dog but sometimes these things happen and it doesn’t take long before you find another set of paws firming imbedded in your heart. It’s almost a year since Pepsi died and I still miss her, Dotty has a lot to live up to but she’s a lovely puppy and fitting into our lives as if she’s always been there.

Jake continues to just get on with his life. At the moment it seems he’s buried deep in his final dissertation as he will graduate this May. It’s incredible to think how quickly those 3 uni years have passed. Remembering back to that first day, which can still bring tears to my eyes to where he is today ( which also brings tears to my eyes but different ones) so much has changed.
Even though I now see Jake as male as Jess has long gone, I still have many memories that tug at my heart and make me think of how much easier life could have been for all of us.
Mother’s Day is a particular reminder for me, it’s a day that I now feel is blighted, yeah I know I have a child that’s happy and all that but even that sometimes isn’t enough to repair the damage with in my heart.
Seeing the constant updates on social media of ‘ look what I got for Mother’s Day from my wonderful children’ just really grates on me, because it’s just all show, why do people feel the need to basically brag?
To me, as a mother of a transgender child I’m just thankful they are still alive, thankful they had the courage to tell me, thankful they knew that they are loved unconditionally.

I’m thankful that living through this experience it has made me more understanding and one day I may be there for some one else that may think theirs lives have ended. In fact it felt like our lives were paused for a while and now have been restarted.

A million years ago…

When you are presented in life with situations that are completely foreign you can either sink or swim, three years ago, myself not particularly a good swimmer but compared to the majority of woman my age, a strong runner, I chose to hold on tight and bloody well run.
I didn’t know what was ahead of me, how I or my family and most of all my child would cope, all I knew was I couldn’t give in no matter what. To stride forward in life and use what ever I had to solve to problems we would all face. It’s been tough I won’t deny it, there were times I felt I didn’t know what to do, times I sat alone sobbing, wondering why this had happened, laughed at myself to think I had it all sorted, as so far in my life it had been rosy, even during the turmoil of a divorce, that hadn’t phased me as much as what I had at the time with Jake. I am an optimist and I guess I will always be the kind of person to take what I have and make the best of it but has it changed me?
I think it has, it’s made me more appreciative of what I do have, my family that have stood alongside Jake, the friends that I had around me but have found a new stronger friendship evolving and some lovely new friendships.
I’ve never judged somebody on what they have or who they are but this has made me more emphatic towards others, to try and offer help and advice where at times I may have stepped away.
Somethings I wish for the carefree life I had, without the swirling angst but then I think of Jake and realise what I yearn for didn’t include a happy Jess, the carefree days of a young Jess were wonderful and I will always treasure those but those teenage years I wouldn’t wish upon anyone but I have to take from that experience and use it to help others, one day it could be a friend that finds themselves in the situation I was or maybe someone I haven’t met yet but what I know is I’m prepared and I will take their hands hold on tight and let them walk with me until eventually they too can run free with hope and happiness in their hearts.

Just another manic Monday ?

What a day it’s been.

A day filled with all kinds of emotions.
Guilt, because I couldn’t be there, even though I could do nothing but sit and wait.
Fear, of all that could go wrong with such a long operation.
Sadness, for my child having to endure this just to feel themselves.
Grief, yes that old one reared its head again, another farewell to Jess.
Concern, to how he will cope with the pain and recovery.
Exhaustion, because 3 years of the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve been on does take its toll.

Jake wasn’t scheduled into theatre until after 12 noon and with a 9 hour operation ahead I knew I was in for a long day. He checked into the hospital the day before and I spoke to him that afternoon, he didn’t want to discuss the operation as he was beginning to feel anxious, so I just reassured him and let him know I would be there to see him as soon as I could.
Matthew text me today to let me know when he heard any news he let me know.

So today was all about waiting, I’ve had no concerns about him having the op, he’s always been adamant he wanted it and I guess it the final piece in the jigsaw, I just didn’t want him to have to go through this, it seems so unfair.
I managed to sail through work, my ever optimist self, my clients today knew nothing of what I was feeling, of my angst swirling inside, threatening to erupt at the slightest moment. I stayed focused and was thankful it was a relatively early finish at 4 pm.

A few friends messaged me to see how I was and if I had any news and once I was home I had a moment to myself whilst I cleaned out the cats litter tray, when ever was there a better time to sob whilst inhaling the delightful smell of cat poo? See life can get worse!

Matthew text me at 8:45 pm, Jake was awake, that’s all I needed to know, he was awake again. Now the long haul of recovery begins, but that’s the easy bit for me, I can help him during this time and at last my son can begin to feel at ease with himself.
Matthew is visiting Jake tomorrow so hopefully I will know more and will see when I can call him.

I felt I needed to blog this immediately, even though it seems some what bland, my brain isn’t really functioning, but it’s all about how I feeling during this stage, I’m sure my emotions will once again tumble out onto my iPad.
But today has ended on a positive note and for that I will be ever thankful.

The angst is back

On Thursday, whilst I was working I saw jakes name flash up on my phone, the usual reaction to this is my heart plummets as there must be something wrong, he only rings when there is a major problem, text is the normal communication with him. I immediately was taken back to the beginning of his transition when he would call me sobbing, saying he felt he didn’t want to live anymore, I would then have to remain calm and talk to him to reassure him that eventually he would get to a good place, quite often he would be 100 miles away in London, looking back I wonder how I remained outwardly so calm.
As I couldn’t take his call he text me to tell me he had a date for his next surgery, it’s next week. I replied and said I would call him later as I was with a client and asked if he was ok about it, yes was his response, just a bit shocked. I on the other hand have gone into an internal melt down, knowing what a huge operation this is and it being in London so I can’t just pop in to check on him has sent my angst into a tsunami again, just like last year with his top surgery. It’s not that I think he shouldn’t go ahead, he has made it clear he needs to, it’s the final step, it’d the fact my child will be in pain, my child has to go through this just to feel comfortable with in their own body. Once again I just want to wrap my arms around him to protect him and once again I have to put on the brave face and be strong for him.
I guess as things have been fairly settled for a year I hadn’t really thought how I would feel when this day came. I want to scream and cry until I have nothing left within me and then I will run, to switch off my emotions, to take some respite, even if only for a short time.
I have to have faith in the surgeon, the nurses who will care for him and remain positive, life is just so unfair sometimes.

Stop crying your heart out .

I was recently looking through my photos on my iPad, I have an album named Jake, not Jess but it contains all the pictures I have taken of them over the last 7 years, it still hurts me to look at them, it stirs lots of old memories and adds fire to the angst that thankfully has settled now to the pit of my stomach and rarely churns on a day to day basis.
I now see two different people, the baby years will always be just that, a time where I nurtured and loved my child until puberty struck with a mighty fine blow and Jess became unhappy and I begin the long term relationship with my angst! Then follows the Jake years, there’s only been three of these so far but what a turn around we all have seen. Jake now smiles, his confidence has blossomed, I think he is finally beginning to feel comfortable in his own skin.
When I now look at these pictures it is hard to believe it’s the same person, the changes are incredible, the pictures of Jess and Matthew at her prom still bring tears to my eyes, she looked beautiful, she never wanted to go but changed her mind at the last minute, I wonder now how uncomfortable she must have felt but was trying so hard to desperately fit the mould she had been given. My wedding photos 4 years ago where she reluctantly wore a beautiful evening dress, I can see from the photos she didn’t want to but she did it for me and that would have been the last time I ever saw her dressed as Jess, a beautiful young woman.
Now I have a handsome son emerging, his featured are becoming more chiselled, he’s lost his womanly curves and looks lean. Although he looks young for his age at the moment I can see the man Jake will become emerging slowly, a man with integrity, passion and the drive to conquer the world! Ironically this is what I used to say to Jess when she was talking about the lack of equality in the world, that one day she would change it, look out world is all I can say!
I guess where I’m going with this is to say to those out there that are struggling on this path with their child, it does get easier, acceptance of the new image that emerges becomes the norm, gosh I would be completely shocked if Jess walked back into my life now as Jake has now become my normality.
I think sometimes we tend to hold on so tightly to what we know it makes it harder to see what’s happening around us. Change can be difficult but from experience holding on to something’s only makes other things harder to accept, you need to make room in your life, let some things go and allow others to embrace you.
I was running on Sunday, the end of my marathon training is finally here, I only had to do 8 miles, only I say but after 20 miles at the end of already doing 15+ in a week it’s a welcome relief, and oasis ‘ stop crying your heart out’ came on and I reslised that’s what I needed to do, I know that there will always be a Jess locked away in my heart, which I will always treasure, but she wouldn’t want tears as she’s left plenty of room for Jake to fill it, it’s time to let go. And stop crying my heart out.