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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.