Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Good things happen to us, bad things happen. Life washes over us and we move from one event to the next. Some events are momentous and life changing; graduating High School, coming of age, partnership or marriage, the birth of a child, moving state or country to somewhere new. I've done all of them. They often mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of something utterly new.

When I began my blog it was with the intention of looking at my life and exploring the events that influenced my journey towards transition. Now it seems, with incredible suddenness, I'm there. I'm left at the end of the chapter with only one page to go, reviewing the events that lead to that sudden change.
A looming event about which you are nervous can seem to hover on your horizon, absorbing all your mind and stressing you incessantly. You rehearse things out in your imagination. You draw on everything you know from friends. Sometimes the reality when it arrives s a little different.

I travelled down to London on April 9 on my way to surgery. I arrived at the same time as another Trans woman and enigmatically we were told there was no room at the inn: Charing Cross had no bed for either of us on Marjorie Warren Ward that night. We were whisked away in hospital transport to Hammersmith Hospital where we were accommodated in neighbouring studio accommodation. We spent the evening walking into East Acton and eating out in Lebanese restaurant. Even so, I slept very very little. We had been told to be outside waiting at 5:30 am when a taxi would take us back to Charing Cross Hospital. By 6.15am there was no taxi!

We got our own taxi and by now it was late and time was ticking fast. In a whirlwind of activity I met my anaesthetist and was rapidly told what would happen. I met my surgeon; he in cycle shorts. Enema, stuff my things rapidly into my bedside locker, gown, remove jewelry....I didn't have time to turn around and think. I was walking out of the ward when my nurse spotted my heart necklace; a Mother's Day present from my daughter. It was a brief hiccup. I had expected to be wheeled up to theatre. Instead I walked up with a nurse, taking the lift to the tenth floor. Within a few minutes Mr James Bellringer himself was fitting my cannula, I was hearing about risks from the anaethetist, I was agreeing to my irreversible op, my anaesthetist was counting......

Coming round in recovery I was glad at first of Patient Controlled analgesia; a shot of morphine every few minutes. Not long after I found that it made me incredibly sick. Through my haze, I think I spent that whole day with a huge smile on my face; aware and relieved that I was the other side of a watershed; one which had dominated my life for so long. I simply couldn't sleep and chatted to my Ward Buddies; the most amazing Trans ladies like myself and a dear older lady whose catchphrase 'Lovely Jubbly Gorgeous' resonated through the bay were we all lay in bed.

Over the next few days I haemorrhaged a good deal. Compression bandages went on top of compression bandages. I was wrapped up like a Christmas present but felt very little pain. It became upsetting to see my Ward Buddies have their bandages removed and begin to mobilise whilst I had to take yet more bed rest. Soon I was the only one left in bed and more than a little low. The talk between us helped pass the time; hearing each other's stories, discussing catheters, leg bags, constipation and yes, farts. Recovery is a messy icky business yet full of emotional uplift at where you are now.

The journey from Wednesday, the day of my operation to Sunday when they removed my bandages seemed so long but it was well worthwhile. After they removed my catheter and taught me to dilate on Monday I was told to go douche and shower. Gazing in the mirror and seeing the new me naked for the first time I began to tear up and cry and cry. I just couldn't stop. It seemed so right and such an incredible relief after many years of longing. It was hard to believe that I'd arrived at my final stop :D

Except, as we all know it isn't quite like that. Huge changes are often new beginnings and involve hard effort to make them work. I'm home now and on my 4th week post-op. Dilation of my new vagina is for life: not the 3 times a day I do now but certainly once or twice a week for keeps. Dilation is essential. It keeps your vagina from shrinking and contracting, it safeguards all that careful surgery for good. Staff suggested I think of it in terms of orthodonture; dilation and your stents are your 'retainer'!

Recovery is an ongoing and continual process. It is one of gradual healing, cleansing, caring, dilating, douching and restoring balance; of learning like a teenager about your body; marvelling at how it all works as sensations return and intensify. It's proved like that in my life too. Having reached this point I realise, with a little regret, how I've had to live a life feeling numb; hating sensations which others found sensual and at odds with a body I felt had let me down. Paradoxically, some of the cutting and self harming I did down there to help me cope, hurt far more than this does now. I can only observe that pain with no hope of release sucks; pain and rebirth hurts infinitely less because there is pain but also joy and achievement. I'm home at last.

So what of my Blog now? I've reached the end of this journey, fast rewound my life and started over. Do I start a new Blog? I'm considering it already. My concerns now are life, love and relationships. I find the idea of sex and intercourse scares me a little because it is the new unknown. I feel more than a little vulnerable. It won't stop me going there though......so wish me luck.

Hugs, Jane xox


  1. Fab blog - thank you for your continued honesty and for explaining the highs and lows so well! I was wondering how it had gone, so was pleased to see this blog appear! I for one hope to continue to hear from you :o) x

    1. Hi Rhiannon, thanks. Yes I will continue to write. I guess that as I recover more there'll be new experiences to taste and a changed future that will bring its own sweet challenges. I feel like writing 'and she lived happily ever after' as its how I feel right now. As a child I always wondered whether it might be a little boring for the Princess when it all came right. I didn't really think about sex back then if I even knew what it was. I dare say having secured the man of your dreams then there would be a lot more adventure quite unsuitable for a child's fairytale! And I still have to find the man of my dreams....there is so much left to write!

  2. What a scary start! Not every recovery goes without hitch, mine didn't but that is soon forgotten...

    " Having reached this point I realise, with a little regret, how I've had to live a life feeling numb; hating sensations which others found sensual and at odds with a body I felt had let me down." That rings true for me too, hope that you feel as happy with your new body as I do with mine.

    Good luck for the future.

    Caroline xx

    1. I am so happy with my new body Caroline.....the phrase 'Gender Euphoria' kind of springs to mind. As I've healed, experiencing my new anatomy, new sensations and feelings, it has been like being the teenager that I never was. I never experimented much because I hated my bits...now I feel good about myself and can (gently) explore and get to know how things feel :) Its perfect.

  3. Glad you are on the mend. Physically and mentally

    1. Physically is good. With surgery the focus is always on physical recovery. With this operation, the mental and emotional changes have surprised me. Before my operation I was continually telling my therapist that this would change me little, it is just the last jig saw piece. Actually it is one enormous jig saw piece that was missing from the puzzle. I feel complete and whole; at one with myself and balanced for the very first time in my life. It has been a long time coming but believe me it was so worth the wait. This is everything I ever dreamed it would be :)

  4. Once again, the prose and story are a complete delight. As I've said, I think your time home would be the start of a screenplay or novel, then flashback interspersed with scenes from your new life... I'm thinking, perhaps, a new blog is in order. This blog is marvelous, and should be kept online - I hope you've saved the writing to another machine or device... New life, new blog, more great times and writing.

  5. Hi Ed. You are such an incredibly supportive reader of my blog, you have always encouraged me to turn my writing into something more and I don't forget encouragement like that. I'm working on planning it out.

    Yes the writing is all saved elsewhere. I did it when I realised what a valuable chronicle of my life it is. I like your ideas, they are very much along the lines I'm sketching out. In the meantime I think I may need a new blog to chart the course of my search for relationships and love. The old one will stay up with a link to the new blog. All I need now is a name :)

    Hugs, Jane

  6. A wonderful blog, Jane, thanks for sharing this with me and everyone. I recognise a lot of the things you say from my own recent stay, although sometimes they happened to other people.

    It's a tremendous journey and it was lovely reading your thoughts.

    Chat soon, take care

    Emms xxx

  7. I was in your place two weeks later, on the 23rd April, and my experience was almost exactly the same as yours - no beds, come back later, Mr Bellringer in his cycle shorts... organised chaos is the best way to describe it, I think.