Monday, 28 June 2010

Response from ERI

Well I wrote a slightly more diplomatic letter to the Gender Clinic, and got a 5 sentence reply from Dr My. It makes you laugh, she never addressed anything apart from appointment hassle, NOTHING about mis-advice! In Dr My defence she said she would pass my letter to Dr K for her to reply, but alas 2 months later I am still awaiting a reply, although I did recieve 2 copies a week apart from Dr My???!!!! The the ERI is so wonderful, not. Since I can't really be bothered getting into a slagging match with Dr My I will not bother anymore, as I feel my life is more important, than an uncaring Dr and Gender Clinic.

Sadly I have a 18 week wait for the clinic in Glasgow, so hopefully by October I will have been. My GP is still great and backing me all the way.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What i Think Of ERI Gender Clinic, A Letter To My GP

Dear Dr M,

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you, but I thought it would be easier and quicker than in an appointment as I seem to have quite a few issues at the moment. And also allow you to have a wee think, and then just tell me I’m being stupid and hormonal. I had better point out I’m not the greatest letter writer and just type how I speak, so please excuse this.

On Wednesday 14th April I had my appointment at the Gender Clinic with Dr K, a senior psychiatrist, again she said she couldn’t comment on medical matters. The appointment lasted twenty minutes, so in total I have seen Dr K for approx forty minutes in total. Unlike me I thought I’m going to be prepared with things I’m concerned about. My list was five things mainly medical, but one mental one knowing that she is a psychiatrist.

1. Why is the oestrogen hormone level decreasing?

The answer to this was all is ok, you are almost with female range, and that’s good. Your testosterone level is great as it’s in the middle.

I was pretty amazed she said this, as the research I have done says that oestrogen levels in pre-operative transsexuals is normally kept well above genetic female levels to continue the feminisation effects, after surgery the levels are dropped to genetic levels.

2. Can HRT affect white blood cell count?

I was told no, it can’t and I probably had an infection and should ask yourself to do blood tests to check metal levels e.g. potassium, magnesium etc as you probably hadn’t done this.

3. Hair loss from my head, as I’ve noticed a lot falling out, when I shower brush my hair.

Nothing to do with HRT, but would put it past Dr My. She checked the crown of my head and thought it was a bit thin. Also looked at my hairline and asked if this had receded before HRT, which it had. Again I was advised to speak to you about this.

From my knowledge Finasteride can be used to decrease hair loss, and a side effect is lowering testosterone levels. This drug is used to treat pre-operative transsexuals in their HRT treatment, in place or addition of Cyproterone Acetate which am on. I had previously discussed this with Dr My on my first visit, I thought this drug would have been a better way of starting HRT, but was told no. I have read many who have done HRT in this way, as it decreases the male drive, stops hair loss and prepares the transsexual for the emotional/hormonal change with estrogen.

4. Growing sense of depression and anxiety?

I was asked about my life, I explained I don’t have many friends and keep myself busy with family, as I have a disabled niece and spend quite a lot of time with her. Dr K asked if I felt lonely, which I do at times. My support from family is great but they are getting use to me now and they probably don’t realise I still need support. Her reply was since I don’t have friends I only exist as Gayle and not living, and that to beat this I need to exercise and socialise, go to LGBT. I then tried to explain I didn’t want to be like this (transsexual) as I still have periods of shame and guilty. I also tried to explain that I had suppressed these feelings for many years through heavy drinking as it was the only way I could operate in life. I told her that we had talked about increasing anti-depressants to 40mg a day, but I didn’t feel this was needed. The solution is get a job, as I have many skills to offer, and that an increase in anti-depressants would have no affect.

I agreed with the solutions, but when I asked how, it was kind of well get on with it. When I worked in the bank, a customer would say I have debt problems, I couldn’t say well pay them off and that’s it, I would help them find a pathway to achieve the goal. Dr K just wasn’t going there with any help. She also said, it’s not your fault you where born with this problem so why worry about others opinions, and once you get to know people the transgender issue doesn’t matter. Well try walking down Leith Walk as a transsexual, it’s frightening as you don’t know who clocks you, and again quote so what if you’re the only transgendered in a restaurant? To me this was not helpful in the slightest, and was quite degrading to be spoken to like this.

5. What fat distribution happens? As nothing seems to have moved from my belly to hips.

I never asked, as I thought I’m getting nowhere.

During the appointment I had to fight my emotions and just felt like a total nobody and child in front of a headmaster. I really don’t mind being challenged but not in this way, it was just sound-bites, and saying that she couldn’t answer medical questions, well she did pretty well and seems to be asking Dr My just advice on one. Dr K said she would be writing to me for my next appointment in three months. During the appointment she referred to a letter sent to you regarding my appointment in December, I remembered you saying you had received nothing. In the past Dr My has also upset me, a year ago, there was no hello, how are doing? what have you been up to? It was first question when I sat down, are you have erections. Over the past year, I have thought does Dr My want to treat me? Not a great feeling from someone in charge of such a major thing in my life.

At the moment I feel that this clinic is not for me, as there have been problems with appointments not being booked, double booked, changed, letter to you not being sent, being advised medically by a psychiatrist, not seeing Dr My for a year, being talked in an uncaring way, with no help in solutions. I also did some research on Dr K and it seems she hasn’t been involved in Gender very long as last year she was working in the borders, also there are articles referring to her as Dr Blonde (seriously) as she is a 60’s styles singer in Edinburgh, at the age of 31, I can’t take this seriously, it’s my well being and care. Do you think your patients would respect you in a short shift dress with killer heels white/black leopard skin, in December I thought she was dressed for a night out clubbing.

Well I think I have found a solution to my problem, The Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow, they have quite a team including a counsellor in transgender and support organisation. They will also see anyone in Scotland, and only when surgery will they then look for funding from your local health board. I can also self-refer myself or through you. Perhaps you could check them out for me and give me some advice.

If you feel I’m being daft with myself, please just tell me. Once again a huge thank you for all your help and time you take looking after me, it really is appreciated and is a joy to see you all. I know that what I have said here will be kept confidential, as I don’t want to be seen as complaining, just trying to get the best care for myself. Sorry if I’ve gone on a bit.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bad Blood

I got a call from the GP yesterday, my white blood cell count is very high, and need to have a new blood test when I see her again. DUH. Of course I google'd what this could mean, and I don't really like what I read, lets just say "Big C", although if I have an infection the count raises, hence the delay in re-testing. But I really feel ok, just my usual niggles and moans. The next 5-6 weeks will be a little stressful, but to be honest I'm not worried too much. I think I will have a small party to myself for the next wee while, nothing takes your mind off things then a few drinks, and pizza.

Friday, 26 March 2010

The Disorganised NHS

3 weeks ago I was suppose to have a final appointment with the Speach Therapist, but alas she hadn't put it in her new diary, so a wasted trip to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Then on Monday I got a letter changing my appointment with the Gender Identity Clinic, and also the Dr I was suppose to see. Since last August I have had an appointment not booked, an appointment not sent to me, a double booked appointment meaning I didn't see Dr My, but a Disco Queen Dr I couldn't take seriously. Then this change to the Disco Queen Dr, I was tempted to email and complain, and demand that I see Dr My, but after speaking to my GP Dr M today I decided to go with the flow. Dr M said if I was unhappy with Disco Queen she would write to Dr My with concerns as I have not seen Dr My now for over a year. Personally I have been considering asking to be referred to Glasgow, as it seems a much bigger unit, and that would hopefully mean better organisation and care for patients.

It really has amazed me at the different levels of care in the NHS, my GP Practise, is absolutely brilliant, the local Minor Service Hospital brilliant, but the minute you go to ERI it falls down. Do I really want my medical needs looked after a place I have no trust or respect for? But I can't afford to go private, and the private specialist is Dr My, who seems just to be a money making machine, ripping of Transgender folk. Oh, I'm sounding very political, and I don't mean to be, it's just observations.

On a more positive note BP was looking good, 114/86, wayha, it's normal, Dr M was very pleased. Going back to the NHS, and I don't know if she was being serious, she said "This better be good today as 1st April is when the stats are collected for the year". Maybe she gets a bonus if she heals folk in a year? We also did a full range of blood tests, results in a week or so. I haven't to go back to see her for 6 weeks, ain't I good and got my shopping list of pills to get at Boots.

Today when I was out it seemed everyone you wish to avoid was about, a whole year of school kids walking along the street when I was getting my car. Police nosing about in my street when I got back, and a neighbour cleaning the stairs in the tennament I live. But there wasn't any funny looks that I noticed, just head held high. Starting to feel that at last my body is matching how I feel and I suppose this comes across. Anyways back to the electrolyis tomorrow, joy oh joy, can't wait, £45 for extreme pain, I could think of better ways of spending £45 a week.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

What I've Felt Like

Over the past few weeks I have been wanting to write down how I felt, and well it just wasn't coming and probably will still come out all junky.

My body hasn't been feeling itself since the turn of the year, I suspect it's all the drugs I take. The digestive system is very unperdictable, weeks of not working then a few days of catching up. This is making me feel really bloated and rundown, and then great for a few days when I feel normal again, then it builds up again. Over the months I haven't change my diet or lifestyle so who knows, but is abit worrying. On my last visit to see my GP Dr M I kind of mentioned my weight problems to her, she was to the point as usual, "You'd look silly thin", what a great doc. Totally no preasure from her, and she did say that HRT usually increases weight. Also my strange dreams are still going with the occasional fantasy situation, but still a stressful situation, which is kind of making a good night sleep quite difficult. The good old number lottery of my BP has increased a small bit, so I need to watch that again. Breast development has also increased, which is great and hair removal is going well and painful as usual.

These things have really made me abit rundown, but I'm trying to force myself. Simple things like cleaning out my car thisweekend have really cheered me up as it was bugging me. I must remember what I learnt at Life Coaching, clear the small things and it's easy to address the large issues. This week I want to do a small thing each day, like file paperwork, clean out a cupboard etc, simple isn't it, I wish, motivation is tough.

I have also made arrangements to pick up my neice on a tuesday night and my youngest nephew on a wednesday night. It's great to spend some quality time with them, and then when I drop them off I get to see my sister and partner as well. So, socially this gets me out of my flat 2 nights a week, good result, and feel I'm doing something useful. Just need to build a social life away from my family, that's a bit harder.

Bye xx

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Just A Quickie

I haven't written anything in ages, sorry. Today I was at electroylis, (I wonder how many ways I can mis-spell) it was sore, but M managed to almost clear my lower lip, so it's been really good the last few weeks. It seems if your tired the pain is greater, the last month or so, I have been feeling tired constantly, with sleepless nights and possible the changes in my body as well.

Got some appointments next Friday so will write them up next weekend.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Colonic Irrigation

On Monday I had a case of self-induced colonic irrigation, heehee, I laugh but it was rather scary. I'm pretty sure it was caused by food poisoning, which was also self-induced, duh. Kind of thought I was going to pass out during this episode, which I found very scary, it's the worst thing about staying on your own. No-one to care for you, unless you can get out and drive yourself somewhere. Anyways after 2 days in bed I was back to normal, even a little slimmer. Have to try and keep it off.

Things have been pretty mundane to be honest, boring. Just the usual routine, Saturday hair removal, Monday-Friday some work, and entertaining myself with my new television in the evenings. I really should be getting into my music at home, as I have a few ideas, so next week a big kick up the bum is required. i have really enjoyed watching politics this week, Obama's State of the Union address I thought was very good, and Blair's Iraq Hearing grilling was interesting, they both certainly got my grey matter working for different reasons. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Strange Dreams

Over the past few months I have been having really strange dreams and I would love to know what they mean. In most of them I re-live situations I have been in, mainly at work, they are stressful episodes. When I was either in discusions or threated by people. After the dreams I wake up in a real panic and sweat, and then can't get them out my head. Very Strange. It's causing very sleepness nights, and at times grumpy days. There must be an explanation to them, too many different pills I take, trying to come to terms with things, I just don't know?? Any ideas? Answers on a postcard to me, please.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Good News This Week

I'm really pleased this week, for a few reasons.
1. I've made contact with a couple of old work mates I hadn't seen for a year. On Saturday it was really great to get a few texts from Susan, and then I thought, I wonder if Christine is on Facebook? You've guessed, yes she was and I got a really lovely message yesterday from her. Hopefully over the next few weeks we will all meet up. Most of the time I feel "why would old friends still want to see me?" They and their husbands are accepting of what I'm going through, it is a nice feeling.

2. Finacially things having taking a great turn, I recieved some money for royalties, which I worked on 12 years ago. This has enabled me to put my emergency fund back to where it was a year ago, I was getting stressed not having a cushion of money, and having to rely on my parents. It be quite degrading to ask for money help, although my parents have been to awesome and have helped me so much, but I do like to be independant. Also, for the next 2 years I know I will recieve benefits, I find it hard to think as myself as disabled. Although I know I would have problems with work, due to my depression and anxiety problems, let alone gender, I hate mental illness stigma, and I don't think my gender issues are mental illness, it's all very complicated.

3. Well, I was bad, in a good way, I love gadgets and had really behaved myself over the last few years. On Sunday I ordered a new flat-screen television, I got it at a superb price and well I wasn't expecting to have the spare cash, so I did it. My life has changed so much from a few years ago, I use to be out pubbing and clubbing alot, spending too much, now I don't my entertainment is at home. So I nice television will be fabby for the sport, concerts and documentries I watch.

4. Hair removal is really coming along nicely, just a small bit on my chin to clear, and then it's serious time on my upper lip. This will be rather painful, but no pain, no gain, and it's great to be getting away from the same area. We have been doing the odd hair on the lip, it doesn't seem to dense, hopefully perhaps a few months will clear it.

So all in all a nice week so far, and after a ropey start to the year, it certainly has picked up. I know I have to keep pushing myself and have been considering doing some therapy again, as the build up of stress at Christmas wasn't really very good. Need to watch this happening again, when I am thinking about it I think I need just to tell someone what I'm thinking in a controlled situation again. Going to give it a few weeks and see how things are. Remember, anyone who actaully ever reads this, can drop me a message anytime.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A New Year, And Hopefully A Stronger Me

Haven't blogged for a while, christmas, new year and small episode of depression kind of knocked me for six. I found christmas difficult this year with a lack of money, and my family spending so much, it kind of made me feel inadequate. Although I managed it, and quite enjoyed christmas, just too much good food. This year in Edinburgh we have had a very long spell of snow and very cold temps, I think it has lasted about 3 weeks. Snow is always nice for a few days, but it really gets boring after a week or so, you get cabin fever not being able to do your usual routine, and things are so dependant for me being to use the car. So the last week has been great with no snow. By the time new years day came, I just had enough, and for the first time never attended the family meal. It was strange, but I needed the time to myself, just to think, by the 4th I had kicked my bum into gear and got out and about.

So what's going to happen this year? Heehee, just wait and see.