Boarding the Pink Rocket Ship

The military says no plan survives contact with the enemy…. Slow and steady, one step at a time, that was the plan. Now the avalanche has already started, it feels too late for the pebbles to vote.

Last night I placed an order for hormones from one of the offshore pharmacies, one that supposedly will ship them to you even if you never get around to sending them a copy of their prescription. (But don’t worry kids, it’s supposedly one of the legit ones, selling actual brand name drugs, not knock-off imitations.) You’re not human tonight, Marlena.

May I be the first person to say that self-medicating is probably a really stupid and potentially unsafe thing to do. And yet here I am. I may not take them, maybe just having them around will be enough to take off the edge. Or maybe I will see the endocrinologist in San Francisco, who’s well known for working with trans people regularly. One who doesn’t require a referral from your regular doctor. The good news is that he’s part of the same medical group as my regular doctor — meaning he’d have access to all my medical records. The bad is that he’s part of the same medical group as my regular doctor — meaning my regular doctor will see the visit in his records. Again, it might not actually involve getting a prescription, and he may/may not require a letter from a therapist to start hormones. But I’ve got enough questions about hormones and hair issues that it’s worth a consultation.

Yeah, but who am I kidding… I really want to try hormones. Now. They’re obviously not a sure-fire indicator, but enough people seem to find it helps them get a better read on where they’re at, that it I’d like to see if it does the same for me. I like the what people have said about the subtler changes it brings, even if the potential loss of libido scares me. And yes, I’d like the ways in which it would make my body less male and more female. I’d like to see the see if it takes the edge off. Maybe a low dose for the time being. Because I could really use that right now. I’m still not hating living as a man, being in a male body, but I’m…. I dunno… restless. I’m impatient with the wind, I’m waitin’ here for somethin’. Here we go again. You’re not human tonight, Marlena.

The rational part of me knows that probably some of this is because it’s been a rough week or so. Nikki died and the reality of it really started sinking in Tuesday when I got back from L.A. In some ways we were closer that my biological mother, who I talked to weekly and see a couple times a year. I saw Nikki every weekend and she called/texted me constantly during the week. Kind of drove me crazy, but I knew she was lonely. My electrologist’s son died a week ago Monday, in a particularly random and tragic manner, doing the sort of stupid shit college kids do, except this time it took a lethal turn. The MC for the monthly drag show I do had another heart attack. Not sure how she’s doing because she’s pretty secretive about her health. Several other acquaintances had deaths of loved ones. Yeah, I’m feeling my mortality a bit. That Valentine’s Day is coming up and once again it’s really hard because it seems unlikely I’ll ever find someone who loves me and wants to be with me. Now wait a minute, you’ve got plenty of time left. There’s someone out there for you, somewhere, sometime. Yes, definitely, amirite? You’ve got the wrong attitude, Marlena. You’re not human tonight.

I did my first consultation with a surgeon about facial feminization surgery on Monday. One of Beverly Hills’ surgeons to the stars, who’s supposed to be amazing with noses. The Great Man Himself was an arrogant SOB, in other words a typical surgeon. Not particularly receptive to some of questions I had about various alternatives. He very well be right, but, he wasn’t great about elaborating about why he ruled out these alternatives. He seemed to think my hairline was pretty receded and advocate a flap technique that he invented and is well-known for. It does seem to give good results, but it looks pretty invasive.

On the good side though, even though (as expected) he gave me the laundry list of all the things he could do — totally more than $60,000 — he was quite willing to prioritize what he thought what was important to do and what were nice-to-dos. They largely mirrored my own opinion. He did suggest (as a lower priority) something I hadn’t heard from the woman at Virtual FFS — something called a pre-jowl implant that would reduce the prominence of my chin by filling in the “dents” on either side of it, between the chin and the jowls. Something to look into, even if I’m not terribly convinced I needed it.

He’s still on the short list. Like sales people and lawyers, you don’t necessarily need to like your surgeon to work with them. Which makes me so different from a lot of people on the transsexual surgery forums I’ve been hanging out lately, where a number of people seem to have girl-crushes on their favorite surgeon.

It was also good to start getting a sense of the order of things. Nose and probably a brow lift would be first up, probably later this year. The latter isn’t entirely necessarily, but I like the way it would open up my expression. With this surgeon, since he’s got the forehead open, he’d do some grinding down of my minor brow bossing as well. OTOH, I’m not wild about a larger surgical incision, although it’s shorter than a full coronal incision — and he argued that’s actually not that much longer than endoscopic incisions. That said, I’ll be interested to talk with another surgeon here in the Bay Area, who does brow lift/brow reduction via incisions in the eyelids.

Hair transplants would be next — although a hair restoration regime seems worth trying first. One more reason to start hormones sooner rather than later. In the meantime, it’s still worth doing some consultations with some hair transplant specialists to get a sense of what the worse case scenario might be cost-wise.

Finally, after waiting to see what hormones do, I might consider a lip lift and cheek implants — the Surgeon God of Beverly Hills felt my face and declared that my cheekbones are flat enough that I’m unlikely to develop them on their own. May be true, OTOH, since both should be in proper proportion to my face, it makes sense to see what that new face looks like. Plus, the woman at Virtual FFS said hormone-related changes in muscle tone can affect the “mustache muscles” underlying the lip. And last but not least, the particular technique this surgeon advocated (lip lift with a bit of additional fat transfer) does leave you with duck lips for 3-4 weeks. So that’s a factor. If I do transition to full-time, I’d like to take three months off work, both to do surgeries (I’d probably get implants at that point), and to allow a “reset period” in people’s minds, so that could be a time to do it.

All of that said, do I need to do any of these surgeries? Not necessarily, I generally am treated as a woman, and while wigs can be a pain, I’m used to wearing them. But yeah, I’d like to do at least some them, for myself, for when I look in the mirror without make-up on.

Mostly, I just want to be done, even if I’m not sure what “done” looks like.. Before all of the past week’s events, I’d already decided that I want to see if I can add a third, and sometimes even fourth, electrolysis session per week. Assuming I’ve got 80 hours to go, that would reduce the remaining time from 10 months to 8 months or less. If I start estrogen and anti-androgens now, in eight months or so, hopefully I’ll be adjusting to being estrogen-powered, and getting re-centered. I’m trying to start speech therapy next week, even if it likely has to be once a week instead of twice a week as the therapist would prefer. But I’m not starting from zero, and realistically it may take longer anyway, since I’m having to switch between my masculine and feminine voices, rather than being able to use the latter consistent. But eight months of work is still likely to make some good improvements by September. Would I want to transition to full-time in late 2016 or early 2017. Not sure, I’d have to decide when I got there. But the blockers to doing so would be cleared.

Yeah, I seem to boarded the Pink Rocket Ship without realizing it, and now I’m watching the Earth starting to recede into the distance. I supposed I’ll need to pepper my Facebook page with pink butterflies and start wearing heels when mountain biking. You’re being snarky, Marlena. You’re not human tonight.