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. www.sandyford.org

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.