Breathing under water 

Yes 2016 was the year I learnt to breath under water.It was a year many people hated, it almost was portrayed as a cursed year.
For me It started with my brother in ICU, I seriously didn’t think he would still be here to tell the tale but thankfully he is and I know he’s had a tough year but hopefully he too has learnt he can also breath under water.

It was the year Jake returned home for half of it due to his relationship break up and final stages of surgery. In may when he returned he looked broken but with the care, love and support a family environment can give he started to heal and I know he still has issues to resolve but I think with in time he will get there, I’m just mindful at the moment to contact him a little more often and plan visits, I guess it can be lonely starting life again in a new town and job, we have always been very close and I do miss having him nearby.

For me 2016 was a sabbatical year as far as my running was concerned, I had lost all enthusiasm and I think this had a lot to do with where we had moved to, it’s a lot more isolated and I don’t feel comfortable heading out alone across the fields, also I was tired, even though I had entered another marathon I didn’t have the strength of mind to train for it so I listened to my body and sort out other types of exercise and fell in love with spinning and boot camp style training. The addition of our new puppy has now given me another option as I have trained her to run attached to me, she’s up to 3.5 miles now and as she gets older I will be increasing her distance. It’s pure joy to be out running with her, a different kind of running as I’m not pushing my pace just running to enjoy.

With a new found enthusiasm I have now offered to help train with 2 friends who are both running their first London marathon and our first long run of 8 miles was just pure pleasure, I ran at ease and it felt great to know I still had s good level of fitness, also to support these friends during their training journey excites me, I remember how I felt during my first one and how much I’ve learnt, it’s extremely valuable knowledge and has made me realise I can do anything.

So jake has had stage 2 and 3 of his surgery and finally all is complete. It feels like a long 4 years but equally the time has passed at break neck speed and the Jess of the past now seems another life to me. I still miss her, as in the young Jess who was a happy go lucky child with a thirst for knowledge, the 2 1/2 year old Jess who was bouncing on the couch singing along to the spice girls, pointing out how baby spice had bunches just like her, the endless games of my little pony, along with the obsession with Snow White. I had a beautiful little daughter and I will treasure those memories within my heart forever.

I’m now making new memories with jake and I guess I feel I have a whole chunk of memories that I should have but are missing, the teenage years were tough and I so wish Jake had not experienced it and just had the privilege most of us never consider, to be comfortable in our own gender.

Who knows what this year will bring the only thing I know is I run marathons, I can drive to London, I can do anything, I can breathe under water.

Live life

It’s never dull in our house.
Just as you think life may settle to some sort of normality, crash it hits you gain.
Jake rang me yesterday to say he had a call from the hospital and they could do the final stage of surgery on Monday, so this is it, the end of what seems a long road but the end and the beginning of a new one.
After discussing all the logistics of travel Jake said he would be ok to go himself as he is in london for the weekend anyway, I know he is fiercely independent but I spent a restless night thinking of him going himself, so this morning text him to see if he wanted company to the hospital, of course his reply was only if you want to, which would have been my reply if I was in this position knowing that actually you wanted the company but didn’t want to put on someone. I told him I knew he was capable but sometimes things feel better when you have support, he agreed so I’ve arranged to meet him in London as I will travel there by train and then return once he has checked into the hospital. He’s my child still how ever could I not go?
I can still remember 4 years ago when Jess first told me….

 

As I listen to the words coming from Jess I feel fear, I don’t know what to do, how do you deal with this? Of all the situations I thought I may have to deal with being a parent, this was never in my thoughts. I look at the tears falling down Jess’s face, mine mimic hers, there is nothing else to do but hold her, just as if she is a little child again. It’s ok I say, I promise we will deal with it. How? I had no idea all I knew was my child was in turmoil, my love had no boundaries and I would do anything to make her happy.
I could feel her relax a little, it will be ok I reassure whilst in my head it’s turmoil, after what seems eternity I begin the process.

At that time I honestly didn’t know how we would ever get to this point today, I made a promise I didn’t know I could keep, all I knew was I would do anything to make her happy and here we are the final stage of this long journey that has changed our lives forever.
Never give up on your dreams, they can become your reality. X

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.

Audio

Saying goodbye 

 

I’ve meant to have been here a thousand times but I’ve found a thousand reasons not to be. I’ve had to put all my energy into staying the bright and optimistic person I generally am. Jake returned home and has been extremely stressed about everything. He wisely booked a GP appointment who then referred him to mental health, who unsurprisingly were astounded he had manage to achieve what he has over the previous few years without combusting. My job has been to make sure he is eating regularly, taking what stress I can out of his life and helping him to think ahead.
Whilst it has settled me in some ways to know I’m helping him through this it too takes it toll on me, I’m tired, I find some days it’s hard to be optimistic when I feel life has been so cruel to him. My inner angst has once again taken over, the swirl is constantly reminding me of how my life is but I’m hoping once again it will subside. I guess not being here has stopped me thinking too hard about what’s been occurring, if you don’t think too deeply it can’t hurt you too much.
Some good news now, Jake has gained his degree so is how the proud owner of a 2:1 BA (Hons) in business management. Something we as a family are extremely proud of, he has also secured a new job starting in September, which I hope will bring a happy new stage to his life, a beginning of new friendships.
We have been looking forward to his degree ceremony on the 18 th July, a proud moment when 3 years ago at the start of his course he almost didn’t make it, a day that took tremendous courage from him, until he received a call from the hospital to offer him the next stage of his surgery on the 16 th July, of course this is perfect to fit in with his schedule of leaving his present job, recovering and preparing for his new position, the only downside being he won’t be able to attend his ceremony, but jake said he didn’t work 3 years for a ceremony, how true.
As I mentioned earlier I’ve been struggling lately, just with lots of things but after a chat with a new client who is also a therapist, I guess I’ve been trying too much with everything, some of my worries would be ‘normal’ worries but I have the added twist of a transgender child. I’m worry too much and I must learn to let go of the past, Jess has gone and I have to remember I have a level headed son who has proved he can achieve but sometimes you wish you didn’t need to be strong all the time, that others realised things aren’t always rosy and even the ever optimist doesn’t know what to do. I know I’m tough, I put on a brave face but I’ve noticed recently how some friends just don’t ask, you know, don’t actually say ‘ how are you during through all this?, some I’ve not heard from, I know we are all busy but if I know someone is struggling I try to let them know I’m thinking of them or offer some words of comfort, that hurts and it’s been from some you wouldn’t expect whilst others have been great. Again I’m trying not to dwell too much.
Friday we are heading to London to do a few tourist things before Jake check is into the hospital and I will return home until he needs picking up, life goes on and this will be my final goodbye to Jess, all that was her will be gone and I need to move on.

 

We are all fighting for something

To think 3 years ago I thought my world had ended, to how we all are today is quite amazing , it’s like a parallel life, what it could have been and what it is.
I feel full of mixed emotions about this operation, even though, l knew it was in the pipeline I hadn’t thought too deeply about it, it was just part of the plan.
The more I think of what Jake has endured this week the more my emotions swirl. It’s a major operation, most of us would never have to comprehend what it entails, let alone it be your child. It’s  a recondite situation.
I guess I’m confused, am I mourning, once again, a final piece of Jess or is it the procedure he has had to endure? I’m not sure if I would feel more at ease being at the hospital, seeing for myself he is ok. A friend said it’s probably the finality of the situation that now makes it real, I didn’t feel confused like this after top surgery, that’s when I finally began to understand, for those new to my blog and haven’t read back here it is
https://transgenderandme.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/and-then-i-understood/
Maybe when I visit on Sunday I will once again understand. Matthew has visited and said he’s told him he feel more complete so I guess that’s what I have to cherish, to feel complete is something we all crave, in what ever form.

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.