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Hormone (OMG I need more) Therapy

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We are officially stariting the next chapter of our son’s transition. ¬†I use the word we lightly.

ūüé∂ there ain’t no we – in hormone therapyūüé∂

Fun Fact: Repeat the phrase three times using a beat and snap your fingers.  DO IT!

I have terrible song writing skills I know, but this has been my survival song. Although a complete 180 from my preference to Opera, this Rap melody has kept me on track. ¬†Everyday I remind myself, this is not my life and I don’t get to make these decisions. Why?

IT’S NOT MY LIFE.

It has been suggested to me many times that as I am the parent, these are my decisions to make. ¬†It has been suggested I slow down the process for Josh. I’ve been told my child is too young, at almost 16 he can’t be given the profound responsibility of knowing who he really is. ¬†It has been suggested to me that hormones are dangerous and should never be messed with. If I could count all the times I have heard somebody say “well, my doctor told me…..”. ¬†I don’t know how many times I have heard “what if he changes his mind?”

Seriously?

Oh yes, and let’s not forget about what God might think about all of this blasphemy. ¬†For myself, Theology plays no part in my decision making process when it comes to Josh’s advancement.

Fun Fact: God doesn’t make mistakes people!

I have spent hours and hours and hours contemplating this stage of transition and the changes that are to come for Josh. Once again, we are venturing into unchartered territory. ¬†It’s easy to feel anxious when your child is transforming his physical and hormonal being. I have asked all the questions I should ask of every professional I have met with. I am betting you would probably ¬†consider our household conversations shocking. Oh if the walls could talk!

As a parent I have done my due diligence. Will I ever completely understand? ¬†Probably not, but again I revert back to my go to phrase….IT’S NOT MY LIFE. I don’t need to understand everything. I need to be supportive, loving, protective, caring and funny and for these acts I turn to my humanity, my faith. ¬†For this part of our journey I will compartamentalize all the information into the “scientific me” file in my brain.

As I woman I don’t understand why a person would want facial hair. ¬†Seriously for the most part, man or woman, don’t we all just want to wax or shave it off? ¬†I do however, understand my womanhood and I can turn that around and grasp the urgency of my son’s need to be himself. Let’s be honest here, I really only have one choice. Manhood is a drive pricklier than facial hair.

It would be abusive of me to deny my son his identity.  Personally I consider it a honour to be able help him in a way that only a few parents will ever experience.  We are unique.

With that being said……

Gas, Timmies…and off we went. (Typical Canadians, eh?)

Calgary bound, one of my favourite Canadian cities.

With Josh as our Road Captain we navigated our way to the Alberta Children’s Hosipital to meet with the Endocrinologist. ¬†Our previous specialist appointment was almost a year ago. Those past appointments were all for mental wellness. This is different.

The Alberta Children’s Hospital is a refreshing environment compared to most of the professionals offices we have been in. Ironically, most of the mental wellness facilities we have been in are dilapidated and depressing. ¬†This place is modern and state of the art. The building is wrapped with windows and everywhere you glance your eyes meet beautiful views. ¬†The walls and furniture are bright, cheery colours and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. ¬†Oddly, the happiest environment I had been in for quite a while was a Children’s Hospital.

By the time we arrived Josh was bursting at the seams with excitement. Josh has also done his due diligence and he knows exactly what to expect.

As Josh’s appointment began we met another fabulous specialist and began our new life lesson – Hormones 101.

I  took in a lot of information that day. This is not medical advice and I am not a professional, however here is my understanding of the Science of Hormones.

In every human there is a Hypothalamus Gland which gives direction to the Pituitary Gland. These glands are located in the brain behind the eyes. ¬†The Pituitary activates puberty when the Hypothalamus says “it’s time”. ¬†The job of this Pituitary is to send the message of Estrogen or Teatosterone to our male and female Gonads.

Fun fact:  Gonads is the term the professionals use.  Truth!

Visualize Estrogen being emitted as a wave. If you are into Theoretical Physics you could compare it to String Theory as that is where my mind immediately went.  Oh yes it did! Radio waves also travel in a similar fashion with peaks and valleys communicating their intent.

I have to admit as I was sitting listening to the doctor I actually thought…..”look at that wavy line, that’s why we are so crazy”. ¬†Another “Aha” moment perhaps?

Hormone Therapy for Josh will consist of three stages.

Stage one is to level the Estrogen wave.  I always thought the process involved removing Estrogen as the commonly used term for this stage is Blockers.  It is much simpler than that.  There is a new drug available now for transition. What this drug does is balance the wave of Estrogen into an eventual straight line by comminicating a different signal to the Pituitary. When the Pituitary receives the communication the signal it sends to the Gonads is levelled out.

Fun Fact: ¬†The Pituitary doesn’t discriminate!

The Pituitary doesn’t care which message it sends, it just wants to send a message and is capeable of sending both the Estrogen and the Testosterone message to anyone.

Josh will require three injections to completely achieve Pituitary Hibernaton. One 30 day shot, one 90 day shot and then one shot when he begins Testosterone injections.  These first three injections are very complicated and we will have to travel to Calgary for this.

As our lesson continued and the doctor detailed three or four pages of information outlining the risk and side effects of Josh’s treatment to us. Duh! I actually giggled and about page two I interrupted and said…

“Wait a minute, are you telling me, eventually Josh is going to turn into a man?”

Fun Fact: No one laughed. I thought I was hilarious.

As for other side effects, Josh will never be at risk of breast cancer (especially after top surgery) and he will never ever have another menstrual cycle. ¬†He also may experience hot flashes, acne, mood swings. ¬†So……basically, there are going to be two of me in the house. The difference between us being…presently I have more facial hair.

Not So Fun Fact:  Total treatment cost for three injections is $1500.00.  The great news is these costs are covered through our fantastic health care system.  Thank you Canada!

Stage Two will be the state where hibernation of Estrogen production is achieved. This stage also includes the introduction of Testosterone. Stage two will begin on July 7.  Stage Three will of course be to advance the testosterone regime and we will learn more about this in July.

After a rigorous education, a physical for Josh and a trip to the pharmacy, Josh got his first look at his injection. He couldn’t wait to open the package and meet his new best friend. He carefully opened the container which was about the size of my IPad. We were all gathered around him like it was Christmas and he was opening his gift from Santa. ¬†He lifts up the lid and Suprise! ¬†That sucker was huge! You should have seen his face. For the guy who knew exactly what to expect he sure didn’t see that coming.

Fun Fact:  I told Josh to take it like the man he is!

You know those rare parenting moments when you get to sit back with a concealed grin on your face and think “ahhhhhhh, payback”.

That was me! Bahahahahahah!

The injection is very complicated. ¬†It is made up of two parts, a dry mixture and a liquid that must be mixed precisely based on Josh’s weight. The lovely nurse was kind enough to change to a smaller needle and Josh received the first dose of his new miracle drug.

Fun Fact: True confessions from a nurse…..Men are bigger babies then women when getting needles. ¬†This made me reevaluate my previous Fun Fact and now I was a bit confused. ¬†Should he take his injection like a man or like the woman he isn’t? Lol.

To transition hormonally from female to male is a simple process in explanation, but the science of it is surreal. Surreal isn’t even a good enough word to describe it. ¬† I am constantly amazed at the medical advances we have today. ¬†Science can actually change a person from a female to a male and back again. Science can pause the menstral cycle of a 5 year old girl and then restart it when the time is right. ¬†Science can help a woman who’s menstral cycle never stops. Science helps millions of men who suffer from low Teatosterone, Science can help my son be the man he is. ¬†Our bodies are biologically tuned to accomplish that and more with a little help from science.

Think about the global ramifications of this not only for the Transgender generation but for the human species as well. Like so many other beings on earth we too are capeable of altering our biology to ensure our survival. Isn’t that interesting!

Fun Fact: Hey ladies, if men go extinct we can just make us some more.

Can you believe it?

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit some nerves on my part but this isn’t an issue of faith or understanding. ¬†The first part of our journey was plagued with mental wellness issues and the hopelessness, griefand fear. The anxiety I experienced during that time was almost unbearable. ¬† This is science and I like science. ¬†Science is proven.

I trust science and most importantly, I trust my son.

To answer the interesting and catchy title I have written to entice you into reading my blog.

Hormone (OMG I need more) Therapy? Hmmmmmm do I?

Nope….I’m good.

I have a son, his name is Josh

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Balance Sheet of Life

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As income tax season rolls around again, I find my self eagerly searching for this mysterious Balance that seems to elude my life.

What is Balance? ¬†Why can’t I find it?

When I get a small glimpse of Balance it dwindles before my eyes just like my bank account numbers after payday. Seriously, just when I think I’ve got it together something else happens. As the saying goes….

It’s always something!

For me, Balance is an illusion. My accountant however, disagrees highly with this notion.

While I diligently peruse our corporations business activities to ensure our reporting is accurate, I am reminded of a year that was not only personally difficult, but professionally difficult as well. ¬†We are after all, an Oilfield family and the times….they are a changin!

Reconciling your past with your future is as important in life as the final numbers on my Trial Balance.

I have thought a lot about Balance over the past few years.  I have searched for this mystery friend. I have compensated for it. I have perpetuated it. I have denied it. I have yearned for it. I have worked hard to find Balance, yet everyday this everpowering word eludes me.

I don’t believe in the Yin/Yang Universe Theory, if I may call it that. ¬†You see, I emit Kindness and love from my soul on a daily basis, yet here I am, here many of us are, proof that this idea of what you put out there – you get back, is idealistically flawed. Why is it flawed? ¬†It is flawed because you cannot account for the unpredictable interactions of other people upon your surroundings. ¬† In other words…….

We have no control over what other people do.

How do we find Balance when we cannot control the actions of others?

I’m neither Luca Pacioli nor Pythagoras, but I have come up with my own calculations for the theory of balance and I’ve found it to be a successful formula to reconcile my life’s checkbook.

Here is my theoretical and philosophical calculation called The Mother Goddess Theory. I am Mother Goddess, after all.

worry (optimism Рrelief) + kindness = balance 

Let me break this down for you in Mother Goddess style using bedmas.

We begin with finding the sum of the brackets.  Both Optimism and Relief are a daily part of our lives. Most of us rise with an enthusiastic attitude for the coming day. We are an optimistic species and would not survive without hope. Optimism is a constant.

Relief touches our lives in many ways as well. For myself, I am relieved to wake up finding the kids have done the dishes from the night before. Relief can be simple and it can extreme. An extreme relief would be getting good news from your doctor regarding a major health issue.

To calculate your true bracketed value here you must deduct your Relief from your Optimism.  Although these are both positives, Relief is not a constant. Relief comes and goes and deducting this movement from your Optimism is necessary.

Now we must factor in Worry.

We all worry don’t we? ¬†We worry about our kids, families and friends, our jobs, our pets, our bills, our health….the list goes on and on. ¬†Worry is a part of life and it is always there. ¬†No one gets away without some level of worry inhibiting their thoughts. ¬†My personal research indicates that worry is a negative constant. Worry is perpetual.

Using bedmas again, take your Worry and multiply it by your net Optimism.

Finally, you must credit yourself by adding in your Kindness value.

For the most part we are all kind. We aren’t perfect, but I truly believe as humans we are inherintly kind. We are kind to our children, family and neighbours. We are even kind to the inanimate objects in our lives to perpetuate their value. ¬†Heck I’m going to go out on a limb and say I am even kind to strangers and animals. ¬†Like you, I try my best to live a kind life. ¬†Kindness is a positive as well and although our kindness is not a constant, ¬†it is exponential.

If you are striving to find this balance that is supposedly “out there” getting “thrown back at you”from the natural universe, look no further than your own life chequebook. ¬†Balance is already here. It exists silently, lurking in my formula of The Mother Godess Theory. ¬†Sometimes the Worry value is more predominant then the net Optimism value but you can always counteract the equation accordingly by increasing your Kindness factor.

As I finalize my books and reconcile my prior year I realize I can easily make an adjusting entry to any of my formulas variables to keep my life on course. Manipulating the factors of my equation will always result in Balance.

Although Balance itself is a constant, it’s not necessarily tangeable.

Does Balance really come from the forces of our universe? Is the Yin/Yang actually the higherarchy for my calculation of The Mother Goddess Theoery? The answers to these questions are as unknown to me as the results of my auditors reports after I have enetered my final journal entry of the year.

As I complete my review of our company records I am pleased to report my Trial Balance is in check after all. Is this due to hard work, or is it a miracle?

Perhaps it is just The Mother Goddess Theory at play.

Hmmmm…..I might have to increase my Kindness exponents a bit more and test my theory further.

Just sayin’.

The Binder Assignment

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I scored an F on the Binder Assignment, if you consider my lesson today, you can get an A+.

As a parent I do my best. ¬†Don’t get me wrong it has been a roller coaster ride, but I do my best. ¬†My husband and myself, like any other parents have spent hours and hours discussing, worrying, hoping and second guessing ourselves while we try to do what is best for our son during his transition. ¬†We have received the education a lifetime, and we are forever learning.

Presently we are playing the waiting game. We are waiting to begin Homeone Therapy 101. ¬†We are waiting for Josh’s name and gender change. ¬†I remind myself that everything takes time and the system has a purpose. The time for adjustment and learning is carefully thought out by our professionals and well, it’s called Transition for a reason.

While we wait I reflect.

No ruminating here, just reflection.

As I reflect I always start by thinking about the good things.  I reminisce on my successes.  I remember the times when I showed support for my child even when I was questioning every word he was saying.  The memories of the good choices I made always have to come first and then I can move forward and forgive myself for my bad ones. I use a two part grading system.

F, stands for “What the f…. Was I thinking?

A, stands for ¬†“Yeah! I effin nailed it”! ¬†For me the “thin line” quote applies to my life once again, as there is no in between.

Not every decision I made during our first year of transition scored the highly coveted A and I am at peace with that. As a parent lost in the realization that we suddenly had a son, I tried to be accommodating. We supplied him with all his manly needs, but I fought back hard when he asked us for a Binder.

A Binder in Transgender terms is basically piece of clothing similar to an undershirt, used a chest flattener for those transitioning from female to male.

It was news to me that a Binder wasn’t a organizational tool that holds my notebooks!

I told my child I understood he was a guy and not a girl. I said I understood he wasn’t supposed to have his female parts. ¬† I like to think I am a leader in most situations, but for some reasons I became “Anti-Binder” as I followed my fears and held to my convictions. ¬†Honestly I just didn’t get it, I really didn’t understand and with no text book to learn from I held fast to my irrational and uneducated thoughts.

As a women I cited my fears of horrible diseases like breast cancer and other health problems as an excuse for my Binder ignorance. I used my parental leverage to convince him that “my way” using sports bras and loose clothes would give him the same assurance and confidence he needed. ¬†I had no idea how important that Binder was to my son’s physical and mental health.

For the most, part my son has followed my guidance and trusted in my opinions and decisions as a parent. Even when he knew I was wrong, he wore the sports bras and the loose clothing with respect as he waited patiently for me to understand. He sent me reliable links and articles of information and he waited, and waited and waited….

Then one fine morning I happened to glance in the mirror as I squished my wobbly bits into my body slimmer and it hit me like a tonne of muffin top fat.

I am a total hypocrite!  Wtf? 

My son had been waiting patiently for me to understand the needs of his identity and a quick glance at my reflection was his salvation.  I get it now.  For my son, getting his first Binder was as important as me getting my first bra. It is not only essential as clothing, but a significant and necessary tool for transition to his next stage of life.

I’m sure you can guess the rest of this story. I immediately apologized to our son and we ordered Josh the proper Binder he needed and within a few days it arrived. ¬†As usual, to purchase a great product we just followed our sons advice as he had already done the research. Duh!

Here is a link to a reliable site we use that offers clothing for transition. gc2b

I’ve learned that my son’s flat chest is as important to him as my cleavage and my need to disguise¬†my muffin top are to me. ¬†Trust me when I say that your son will come home and rip that thing off ¬†just like we all shed our underwire bras and body slimmers at the end of our day. ¬†A Binder is no big deal and has turned out to be the least of our worries.

Funny story on a side note…I was discussing my blog with my hubby and as I was reading it to him we both started to giggle. He agrees. A Binder was the least of our worries. I’m glad we can laugh and accept at our mistakes. We have definitely learned from them!¬†

I scored an F on The Binder Assignment, if you consider my lesson today, you can score an A+.

My lesson today……

JUST BUY THE BLOODY BINDER! 

I have a son, his name is Josh.

Just sayin.

Let’s Talk

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Today in Canada it is Bell Let’s Talk Day. A day where we take to social media to support awareness of Mental Health issues facing our society. 

So Let’s talk. 

I am depression! 

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At 53, I am positive, happy and well adjusted and yet I am here talking to you today about the subject of Mental Health, in my case, depression. 

I don’t look like depression, do I? 

Depression like many mental health issues, is as individual as the people it affects. Many people suffer their whole lives, debilitated by depression. For others it comes in waves that make you crash and then it disappears leaving only ripples of emotion in its wake.

My depression originated with a traumatic event in my life (a few actually, all piled up end to end which caused the storm of the century) I became overwhelmed and I was drowning.

It’s hard for me to talk about my depression. I don’t like the fact that I am or ever was in need of help from anyone. I was not brought up that way. I was brought up to be independent, self sufficient and well adjusted. I am The Giver. In fact, for me, needing help was almost worse then being depressed. Almost. 

For me, receiving compassion from anyone, a friend, family member, complete stranger, would trigger a huge emotional crash. Suddenly I was not only fighting depression, but I was fending off an emotional breakdown as well.

I would have rather been left to suffer alone than share my problems with others. Who needs to hear my crap right, everyone has stuff going on in their lives.  I would rather not talk about my depression, but like many others, it is in my quiet times that my darkness prevails. My silence feeds my darkness and my darkness feeds my illness.  My darkness was not so much the thought of killing myself, but a desperate need to disappear. Perhaps they are the same. I’ve never made a plan or contemplated the action, yet many people do.

A thin line separates love from hate, success from failure, life from death, a line as difficult to walk as a razor’s edge.”  -Somerset Maugham- 

It took professional help for me to find my way back and anyone who is suffering needs to understand this. It takes a qualified professional to guide you back to life in a safe, timely and productive manner. If you are suffering from depression you need to learn the skills to survive. When you are suffering you need to learn your triggers and how to cope. You might need medication and your survival could be a simple as a that. Only a professional can treat your symptoms.

I love to promote conversation and awareness of Mental Illness. I have been surrounded with depression and anxiety for many years. I have a child diagnosed with Anxiety and OCD, plus I have a Transgender Son, who is also flamboyantly gay! With that being said, I have shared many a bottle of wine with my friends while I talked and cried and I am forever greatfull for their love, but sometimes friends and family are not enough.

If you are suffering, you need to know your friends may not realize how you are really feeling because you are hiding your truth. You need to know that you are not a burden. You need to know that you are worth it, that you matter. You need to know it’s ok to cry. You need to know you are not weak. You need to know you are not alone. You need to know it’s ok to share, but most importantly, you need to know…

It is ok to allow someone to listen. 

For those who are listeners, beware, you may not even recognize all the hidden signs. Even in my darkest of times I still had a smile on my face. In fact, the darker I became on the inside, the bigger and brighter my smile became for those around me.

For those who listen, be cautious because depression turns its victim into a master of illusion. I was stuck in a water spout that sucked me down as my mind whirled, telling me not to bother others with my petty problems. Ten seconds later, in a complete 180, I am overcome with thoughts like “why doesn’t anyone see what is happening with me?” I hid many of my signs, but some just couldn’t be hidden and those recognizable changes in my personality and my lifestyle were evident to those close to me.

I still have those days, those days where I open my eyes first thing in the morning and depression is there waking up with me. Depression will spend the whole day by my side, picking away at me, constantly and relentlessly depleting my self worth. Depression will live in my nightmares and follow me around like a shadow but eventually I win. 

I win every time and everytime I win my next battle gets easier.

I’m here today because my friends and my loved ones chose to give me their ear, but they also helped me to get my conversation going with someone who is trained to guide me back from the abyss I was drowning in.  My Lifeguard so to speak.

Today as you reach out to support those around you and say “Let’s Talk” remember, as you are listening…..

It is very important that you hear. 

Just sayin. 

My Significant Six

My Significant Six.

For Mark, thank you for your guidance and for keeping it real. 

I haven’t written in months, call it writers block, I don’t know…I kept hearing my sweet Gramma Lil whisper in my ear…..”If you don’t have anything nice to say then…” Well, you know the rest. 

Sharing my personal journey will be the last hurdle of my recovery. 

I have been silent while in my isolation. For the most part, I have held my tongue and cried my tears alone, trying to spare my family, parents, friends and readers from yet another emotional roller coaster ride involving “Yours Truly”. I guarantee that anyone who I did share my tears with was only given a tiny glimpse of my grief and desperation.  

A few months ago, ironically about Six, my very existence was rendered insignificant by a small group of people whose love and respect I value. Not all Six had a voice in this decision but the decision was made and effectively, I was disowned and abandoned by those I trusted during what I would describe as “my darkest hour of need”. 

I played a part in the creation of the scene that set my stage, but I begged for a different ending to be written. 

I have never begged before. 

If you want to feel true humiliation, beg for something and then have it refused. 

I have never felt insignificant before. 

Realizing I didn’t matter to My Significant Six was a life changer. You see, even though I am irrelevant to them, those Six will forever be Significant to me. Even after all this, I would still give my life for any of them, without question. 

How do you let a love like that go?  This is where my life becomes difficult, because I can not let that love go. 

I couldn’t sleep, I cried all the time. I couldn’t function in public. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t function at all. I couldn’t play my piano or my guitar. I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t write. I couldn’t take care of myself or my family. Everything made me sad. I had nothing left inside. 

Nothing! 

What was the point? 

I was completely incapacitated. For months, everyday I wanted to die because my heartache was so bad. After all my years of muddling through life – loss, guilt, shame, fear, regret, bitterness and despair finally caught up with me. Stuck between wanting to die and being overwhelmed with sadness, I was officially at my lowest. 

I give my First Thank You of Six to My Significant Six, who very effectively taught me how it feels to be suicidal. 

No joke! 

I’ve said for two years that suicide is my worst enemy. It has attacked many of my friends, my family, but I never thought it would attack me personally. I don’t fit the profile. I’m well adjusted, happy, outgoing, positive…..yet I was plagued with darkness. The farther down I spiralled on the inside, on the outside – the self I portrayed to others, ironically, showed a steady incline. All my loved ones that were worried about me were tricked into submission. Don’t ask me how I am, because I will never tell you the truth.  Why?  Because you can’t handle it. 

Suicide will forever be my shadow. This silent stalker never goes away.

You know how they say you can’t really understand something until you experience it yourself. It’s true. I was given a small glimpse of what my son and so many others feel every single day and at 53, with all my life experience and maturity behind me, I could not deal with it. Nobody is safe from suicide. I completely understand dread now and for that insight….I am very thankful. 

I had previously dealt with my guilt and shame as we transitioned with our son over the past couple of years. During my own counselling sessions I could immediately recognize those behaviours and with a little work I was able to keep those feelings under control. I can’t be guilty about something I didn’t choose, but I certainly was ashamed. 

Shame is another silent stalker. I felt shame for things I did when I was 10 years old. If I forgot to take out the garbage I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I was unable to silence my dark stalkers. I had to find some professional help…and I was ashamed of that too. Shame weighed me down.

How could this happen to me? 

My Second Thank You of Six is for helping me to realize IT IS OK TO ASK FOR HELP. Ironically, I had reached out for support, but I had turned to the wrong people which in the end left me broken and deeply scarred.  
Trust is everything isn’t it? 

As I worked through my sessions, I learned a new term. Rumination.

Rumination became my best friend and my worst enemy…..either way I kept it close. For months, every second of every day, I silently re-played my past over and over in my mind.  

I couldn’t stop! 

What if I had done things differently? How could I change this? How could I fix that? What if I wouldn’t have said this? What if, what if, what if……Even though I had not made the decisions that devastated me, I blamed myself and I tortured myself every day. 

Once I realized what ruminating was, I actually used it to help me free myself. The outcome of my months of ruminating led me full circle to the conclusions I already know.  

I have tried my best. I am only human. I am certainly not perfect.  

During this process, I also discovered something amazing about myself. Even though I was taught a lesson in the most vicious way possible. I discovered I am able to forgive. I had forgotten that I have love in my heart. But my biggest discovery of all….

I like who I am…. I’ll say it again. I LIKE WHO I AM. 

This is my Third Thank You of Six. I am thankful I could embrace my past and remind myself that at 53 I love my life, my family, my husband but most importantly, I love myself. 

My relationship with those who abandoned me is lost and I mourned that loss. I will continue to mourn until I draw my last breath. I will especially miss what could have been with the Significant Two who didn’t have a say, but I will cherish the memories I already have. For now, those memories will have to be my lifeline. 

Number Four of Six is a huge for me. Thank You My Significant Six, for reminding me that my heart is full of love and hope and compassion and understanding. I could have chosen to travel with my dark stalker…..I could have chosen to turn bitter, sour and spiteful, but that is not in my nature or in my future, ever. 

As I left my Counsellors office for the last time and the door closed behind me, I also closed another door. I closed the door to my past. I will no longer revisit or question my personal history as I am good with it. Today my weight is lifted and I hold my head high.

I am ok with where I came from and I am definitely ok with how I got here! 

My Fifth Thank You of Six. Thank you for giving me a reason to allow myself to leave my past behind. It feels fabulous and I am forever grateful and I am moving on. 
I will survive this. You see I was scared that I would lose hope. I was terrified that I would lose my love and interest in others. I was afraid I would never recover my zest for life……my significance.  

Instead the exact opposite happened. I looked into my past, I faced my shame and my demons head on. I realized my past experiences are where my strengths and my inner beauty originated and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
Thank You Six of Six is for reminding me of the one thing I had let myself forget in my grief….

I am a strong woman. 

Today as I share my story, I realize that although I was rendered insignificant by a few, I have something of value to share about life and my heart is in the right place. My life is full of love and I feel it every day. Finding the good in life is what I do, and when that ability was lost to me, I was lost myself.  

My journey back wasn’t easy, life never is, but I did the work. I faced each of my challenges head on and slowly and surely I came back to life. I was able to sit at my piano and find my song again. I cried for four days, but it did it. I picked up my guitar. I cleaned my house, balance my books. I cooked my family their favourite meal. I talked to my friends. I tackled every job that I had let slide while I was in my abyss. 

I still hurt everyday. The loss and grief I feel will never go away. It is a situation I can’t resolve and it will haunt me forever, but when I look at myself in the mirror at the end of each day….I like who I see. 

With or without My Significant Six…..somehow….

I STILL AM. 

Just Sayin…

Can we fix ’em?

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Is anyone else out there scared? 

I couldn’t sleep last night. Yesterday I was involved in a road rage incident with a man while heading home during rush hour. Full Story Here

While I lay in bed with my brain whirling over the hate and violence in the world I started to feel ashamed.  I felt the disappointment in my own actions encumber me like the starlight that was slowly seeping through our patio doors. This is not how my parents taught me to behave. Heck I’ve only heard my dad swear once in his life.  This is not how we teach our children to act.  I’ll admit we can all drop an F Bomb no problem in our house but to act with disrespect and hatred towards another person, never! 

Yet somehow, that is exactly what I did.  I acted with hatred and disrespect for another person and,as I found out later, his young son as well.  Sure I didn’t start the altercation, but I allowed it to happen and I contributed fully. I snapped, just like the driver.  I am ashamed to say, the worst part is……it felt good.  In fact it was liberating to scream at a complete stranger. 

I know I screamed at the wrong person and for the wrong reason. I am terrified! I don’t know how to fix this hatred and I don’t know who to vent my anger towards.  I feel like I am going to explode!  Perhaps the other driver was feeling that way as well. Frustrated with the world.  How can we make this better? Is love the answer, or a revolution?  Religion isn’t helping, and while our governments are doing their best (I just threw up in my mouth a little) there seems to be no hope for change. 

I am reminded of our grade 10 Pshychology class all those years ago (ahem) where we did a project on subliminal messages.      In this case a newspaper ad shows a glass of some alcohol which has a picture of a naked lady hidden in it. The ad then triggers your subconscious to want that product. I compare this trend for violence to a bad recessive gene rooted subliminally in each of us. We have all lived with some form or hatred and bigotry in our lives.  How we behave is what is important. 

Yes I snapped, but did I go home that day, grab my registered restricted handgun of which I am fully trained and licensed to operate (gun laws work people) and go on a horrible killing spree that would devastate the world? 

No! Of course I didn’t.  

I was not brought up that way!  

My subliminal past wasn’t perfect but the messages I received were words like respect, equality, understanding and compassion and of course, love. Those are the words that made me who I am today. 

Perhaps we should start a Secret Subliminal Message Society.  A Society devoted to secretly infiltrating worldwide communications with subliminal messages like LOVE YOUR NEIGIHBOUR, hidden in the hardware store ad, or WE ARE ALL EQUAL placed during sporting events on TV.  ALL LIVES MATTER could be used during the prime time network shows. 

It’s a radical “If we can’t change ’em – fix ’em” theory but I’m desperate for change. 

I have a son.

His name is Josh.

Just sayin

Look At That Smile

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It’s been a while since our coveted trip to the Psychiatrist and my mind is finally starting to cease it’s incessant chatter.  Somehow the left and right side of my brain have agreed to agree so I can take a break from my thoughts.  Let’s just say that six 12 hour days of yard work is great for the mind and the soul. My body however, not so much. Im a little stiff today but I have a keener sense of what is to come and the peace of mind to accept it. The bonus….our yard and garden are going to look awesome! 

Josh’s journey has lasted his lifetime and his excitement for this appointment was exhilarating. Seeing my child smile is the best feeling ever and for that reason alone we will push forward. 

Never forget Rule #1) Suicide is my worst enemy.  

We didn’t really know what to expect upon our arrival to the Foothills Medical Centre. We were walking on new ground.   We have heard several versions of how this appointment might go. The most popular version: We arrive and get evaluated then move on to see our assigned professional. I anticipated more forms and paperwork to be filled out and to my surprise the only actual chore was finding parking and that was my husbands job. 

We were seated in an unassuming waiting area while we waited for our time with Dr. Raiche (with a million well deserved letters behind his name).  The waiting area was like many other waiting rooms we have experienced this past couple of years. It was in need of a remodel, but had a welcoming feel about it. There were the usual posters for support groups and and pamphlets for other mental health needs.  There was a stack of stress colouring art ready to calm someone’s anxiety and this colourful artwork was displayed about the room. 

Josh had his appointment first and an hour later we joined him as a family. There was no evaluation, no other specialists, no paperwork and no stress.  It was awesome! 

During our family meeting we really didn’t have any new or unanswered questions regarding Josh’s transition with the exception of what happens next. 

Dr. Raiche guided us with ease. 

We learned that there are currently 15,000 Trangender kids in Alberta.  That’s a lot of overwhelmed parents. 

He told us the two most common questions from parents are:

1) Did we do something wrong?  

2) Is this just a phase? 

Even though we already know the answers to these questions it was nice to hear it from a specializing professional. The answer is no by the way. I’ve said it before. This is no ones’s fault and it’s not a phase. 

We thoroughly discussed our next step which is hormone therapy.  Our appointment for this will be in about three months with a hormone specialists. At that time Josh will start a regime of “blockers”.  Blockers essentially stop puberty all together. Josh will remain on blockers for a period of time and then he will begin taking testosterone.  No biggie, lots of men take testosterone, but there is no turning back once he gets started. 

Dr. Raiche shared some study results with us where groups of Transgender people were followed over many years through their transition.  Of all those who transitioned only a very small percentage had regrets. (I think it was 1 percent)  Interestingly enough, the regrets felt by that small percentage were not due to transitioning. The only regret reported was remorse for hurting family or friends who did not accept their Transgender Identity.  I don’t dwell on transition or testosterone anymore. I realized a while ago I do not have a say in my child’s gender identity. It is that simple.  I let those worries go.  

The best part of the appointment was saved for last.  Josh got his letter from the Psychiatrist and we can move forward and officially change his name and his gender.  Yippee!  I like moving forward.  My personal goal was to see Josh enter high school officially as Josh and I can now see this through. Check one more item off “The List”.


After a quick group selfie request from our daughter who said “Hey what do you expect I’m 16 year old girl?”,  we left the appointment feeling whole again.

Vindicated by a professional, I am now ready to attack the future with the unique flare of our family dynamic.  Although I’m nervous, I remind myself of the alternative and greet each day with a smile as I remember that this could have been so much worse. 

I have a son. 

His name is Josh and he is smiling…..

Just sayin.

Handsome as F***

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I  have written about my feelings and thoughts throughout our journey of transition and today in honour of our wedding anniversary, this story is about my husband. 

Ahhhh my husband.  The least appreciated person in our house who deserves the most appreciation. I am the luckiest girl in the world. Let me brag about him for a minute.  Ok times up I did my bragging in my head. I will just say this to all the haters out there who said we would never last….guess what?  We did, we are and we will! 

My hubby is the main provider for our family and while he is working hard he misses out on many of our transition conversations and lessons. With this being said he was a little behind the rest of us on the acceptance scale. Don’t get me wrong, there is no problem with that. We are all unique and move forward at our own pace.  We are the lucky ones, even though our pace was out of sync, our days were always filled with love and laughter. This was mostly due to my husband. 

My hubby is a thinker. He is smart. He can build or fix anything mechanical or technical.  He is a oilfield man, a farmer, a trucker and a hunter to name a few. He uses his skills in life with ease. He is my safe place. 

As I try to be good parent today, I’ve learn to rely on 2 essential behaviours. I need to be very open minded and most importantly, I need to laugh.  

   
This brings me to a funny story about my hubby. 

It was during our pronoun transition period when I noticed my husband having difficulties.  Every word and phrase we had used for our children revolved around the feminine.  Beautiful, pretty, daughters and girlies were our go to words.  For myself, finding replacements for those words was the hardest part of transition and I could see him struggling as well.  He was away working while we were all practicing the pronoun change and he was falling behind. 

One morning as we all met in the kitchen to greet a new day, Hubby joined us with his usual boisterous and cheery greeting. “Good morning bootifuls” he said in his slight Cartman style.  Well……

I still feel sorry for my husband when I think back to that morning and what came next for him. 

He was immediately bombarded by all of us. “No guy wants to be called beautiful”, “You can’t say things like that anymore” and “Dad…..you’ve gotta try harder!”  were just a few of the phrases aimed at him like weapons of mass destruction. 

I realized I was on the wrong side of the conversation (I still don’t know how that happened) and switched teams immediately, sighting forgiveness for my one true love as habits are hard to break and we were all struggling. 

Now I’m pretty sure that if my day started in that fashion it would be ruined not only for me, but for those unfortunate souls around me. My husband being the “good farmboy ” that he is, held his ground, put a smile on his face and belted out his new and improved early morning greeting for his son. 

He spoke in his most manly voice….

“Morning Son, you are Handsome as F*** today!”

We all roared with laughter.  Once again my husband managed to diffuse a tense situation with humour and turn it into a memory we will cherish forever. To this day that phrase makes me giggle.

Happy Anniversary to my husband and my best friend. He has filled my heart with love and laughter and I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way. 

Oh and by the way, it’s Handsome as Fred people……..Handsome as Fred! 

I know what you were all thinking! 

But Wait, What If?

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I can’t get out of my own head lately.

In a few short weeks we will finally have our first visit with our Transgender Identity Psychiatrist. We have waited over 400 days to get this appointment and right now the key to our future lies in the hands of a complete stranger. ¬†But, wait….

What if this appointment is a complete disaster?

There is no guide or advice on maneuvering the professional system when you come out as Transgender.  There is no Transgender Pamphlet available for parents. In order for our family to progress we have had to rely on information from friends in the LGBTQ community.

Josh has successfully completed any requirements we anticipate as criteria to move into the next stage of transition.

Most importantly, Josh has lived his true identity for one year.

Happy One Year Transiversary Josh!


I find myself filled with anxiety over this coveted appointment. I have nightmares that we find out our child is not Transgender at all and we are just terrible parents. I compare it to my final math exam where I went home confident that I aced the test, only to find out I had failed miserably. Unlike grade 12 math, there is no do-over option for us. I think we have nailed this, but wait….

What if we have been wrong?

We have spent the last year doing our best to provide a healthy and happy environment for our child. I like to think we have been in charge. I like to think we have made wise desicions this past year, but wait….

What if we didn’t make the decisions at all?

When I reminisce of our past year my memories are of us stumbling blindly behind our child doing everything we can just to keep up to him. We have followed his lead, weighing our actions on a teenagers inner most feelings and instincts, but wait….

What if he is wrong?

I’ve read research and listened to doctors and counsellors who tell me there is no cure and there is no official diagnosis for us. ¬†Then a new article comes out claiming a cure considered effective by intense therapy during early childhood. ¬†To me, this sounds a lot like brainwashing, but wait….

What if there is a cure?

On the other side of the “what ifs” I worry about legal name and identity changes and hormone treatments and blockers and top surgery. This is where stage two of our transition begins and we can not make these decisions lightly, but wait…

What if these are not our decisions to make?

As my anxiety over the “what if’s” consumes me, I can only imagine how my son feels.

What if this esteemed professional isn’t prepared to let him move forward?

Every move our family has made for over a year has been to prepare for this one appointment. While Josh has obsessed over starting Testosterone, I have obsessed over the “what if’s”. ¬†As this important day approaches I realize that ultimately my anxiety is based on one terrifying thought…..

What if I have to give my son back?

This may seem like a silly and senseless worry for many of you and it goes to show you how deep my obsession lies.

What if I am not capeable…..what if I’m not right…..what if I am right……what if I let somebody down….what if I break down….what if I say no…….the list goes on and on.

But wait……I ¬†have learned alot about myself while working through my “what if’s”.

I’ve learned I am capeable, that it is ok to be right and it’s ok to be wrong. I’ve learned I don’t usually let anyone down but if I do, it’s ok because I am doing my best. I’ve learned it’s ok to cry. ¬†I have learned that not everything can be my sole responsibility. ¬†I have learned it is ok to say no to those expecting too much from me.

Our first year of transition went very well and our decisions have been sound. With that in mind, I have decided to set my “what if” obsession aside with my doubt and my fear. ¬†From this day forward I will turn my penchant for second guessing myself into a positive.

I will begin our second chapter concentrating on one single thought…..

What if……

Everything is going to be ok!

I have a son. His name is Josh.

Just sayin

 

The Firsts

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Transgender, is that all?  Peanuts……I got this. 

It has been a year since we began our journey of transition. A year ago I was thankful for the word transgender because for the first time our issue wasn’t suicide. I thought peanuts but the truth be told, for the first time……

I HAD NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING!

I didn’t realize that Coming Out Day would also be the start of a year of firsts.

The first time we said the words our child is transgender out loud.  The first time we told our family we had a son. The first time we told our friends. The first shopping trip for boys clothes. The first trip to the public washroom. The first medical appointment. The first haircut. The first birthday and the first day of school. The first school pictures, the first sports tryout and the first gym class. The first visit with our next door neighbour after a long winter. The first time we bump into a casual acquaintance. The first time saying the words Josh and he and my son.  

Then of course, there was THE WORST FIRST EVER!

The first time I realized a stranger was staring at my child and making fun of him.

Ugh, there’s that knife again, but it’s in my heart this time. 

The first time I took Josh shopping for men’s clothes was a tough one for me.  I was trying hard but I was still in limbo. While we were brousing in the store, I overheard the sales lady approach him and direct him to the women’s section.

That was a first.  Usually you can’t find help when you need it, but has anyone ever approached you and suggested that you were looking in the wrong department?

It was during this shopping trip when I had my first revelation brought on by rudeness.

I realized these firsts for our new son are as important for his development today, as those first baby steps were all those years ago.

I had to do more. I had to make a plan and this plan needs to be for me. For the first time I was experiencing anxiety.

What do I say to people?  How do I react to questions? How do I book appointments and what name do I use?  Do I start fresh or do I explain this transgender thing to every person in my life?

I needed to get control. Not a first.

I decided on a scale of priority to help me navigate our daily routine.   For example a family member, all the profressionals and bestie’s of course, are Priority 1.

Priority 1: I keep it real and honest with these people.  These people have value in our life and we are of value to them. These are my “go to” people.

A friend is Priority 2 and the P2’s are as important to us as the P1’s and we work to maintain those relationships.

Causal acquaintances are a P3 and they get information on a need to know basis as I see necessary.

Then there is Priority 4.  You know the ones….those people who are cold, mean, gossipy and negative……the rude, the racists and the ignorant. A P4 is the person that makes you want to turn around and walk the other way when you see them coming.

I don’t like labels and I felt almost hypocritical…but this was working for me. For the first time I had seriously prioritized each one of my relationships.

LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.    (I’m singing opera style again)

With my new priorities in mind and a few rehearsed answers to the questions I expected to get, I was now prepared.  I could now embrace the firsts like we embraced those first baby steps all those years ago. For the first time I had my sense of confidence back.

But…..wait for it….

My plan was about to be put to the test.  We were at a school function and a Priority 4 was headed our way with a deep determination.  My instinct was screaming at me….P4 Alert….P4 Alert.  It doesn’t matter how much I try to avoid the 4’s they always target me like a heat seeking missile. My defences are usually down, but for the first time I was prepared.

As she was making a B Line to her target I was silently rehearsing my prepared responses.  No problem. Peanuts…..I got this.

But….wait for it….

The first words out of this womans mouth were not questions about Josh or the health or well being of our family. Her words were not about school or her daughter or her recent vacation. Her words were not even about the weather.

Hint to all P4’s:  If you have nothing nice to say you can always talk about the weather. 

This P4 made an effort to seek me out for one purpose only.  That P4 hit my bullseye as she said the one sentence that left me speechless. She said.”Wow, you are really starting to show your age.”

PEANUTS MY A**.  Wow, that was a first! 

That one rude comment from a P4 made me realize I can’t be prepared for everything.  I can’t predict all the necessary variables. I realized that each of our firsts will be filled with praises from our loved ones and criticisms from others.

It has been a year and I still use my system.   I have added a prepared response for the P4’s in life. I have a comeback. For the first time I have a response that should apply to almost every negative situation.  For the first time I will put on my biggest and brightest smile and reply…..

“I was just thinking the exact same thing about you, but I am too polite to say it.”

Who am I kidding, I’ll never say that because I am too polite!

But, I can think it! 

I cherish the memory of every new first our family experienced together.  Ironically, this time around our son is making leaps and bounds into his new world with confidence and strength and we are the ones taking baby steps with unsteady legs.

With this year of firsts coming to a close, I have outgrown my weakness and my doubt, just like our toddler did all those years ago.  In a few weeks our family will be moving to the next stage of transition which I am sure will bring us a whole new set of firsts. I am a little more confident now so I say bring it on…

Peanuts…..I got this? 

I have a son.  His name is Josh.

Just sayin.