Monday, July 23, 2001

Heaven is just a moment in time

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001. Blimey... NERD ALERT!

Have you ever wondered what heaven would be like? Ever since I was little I used to have dreams about it. I used to wonder about it... that wide-eyed fantasy idea that children have about things that even adults can't really grasp. Over time, my concept changed. I'm not sure when it started to change, but it did. Today, my concept of heaven is sorta like something out of Star Trek: Generations.. the one where the two captains, Kirk (old generation) and Picard (new generation) meet. They met in a place called "The Nexus." It was a place where time, hate, sorrow and all that could not touch you. You could live in a place, a time, and in circumstances that you've always wanted... or re-live a past memory and change your destiny.

So, for me... heaven is a series of moments in time. Moments that are irreplaceable. Those mnemonic pictures inside your head of times past and goals forward that bring you closer to peace and beauty than what you've ever known. They're so very rare, but that's what makes them so precious. This weekend, this entire weekend, was a slice of heaven for me.

My support group meets twice a month. I love all the girls there dearly and would do anything for them. I sincerely consider them all to be family to me. But at the same time, I never have made that "connection" with any of them... and I've never really had someone I could look to as a "big sister" (of which age means nothing since I'm an old queen). But at this last meeting, I met two new girls that just shook me from toes to nose. I can't explain the feeling... I can't describe it other than an inner voice saying "I really need to get to know them better."

So, this weekend, the three of us got together. Different pairings at different times until Sunday... that's when all three of us got together... and it all just clicked into place... like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. One is very fidgety... the type that likes to get out and do things, see the sights, shock the locals, and paint the town pink. The other is reserved but not so reserved that she's withdrawn.. sortof a passive curiosity. And then there was me... probably the most conservative of the bunch... at least outwardly... but inside me is someone dying to jump out and do something... anything.

People in the group have asked me why I go to the group at all. They seem to think I have it all together for some reason. My answer to them and to anyone else is... it's the isolation that this life brings. I have lots of family and friends that love and accept me for who and what I am regardless. But no matter how great their love is for me... they will always be spectators in my life. I needed to find participants in this strange odyssey I've embarked upon. People who not only love and accept... but truly understand. People who are walking this road along with me.

But more than that, more than understanding, there is another level... one which few people ever really are able to match with someone else. It's hard to describe but I'll try. There are those people with whom you are such good friends that you can finish each others' sentences, know what the other person is feeling before they say it, see the pain or joy in their eyes no matter how hard they try to suppress it. It's a kinship that goes beyond friendship and beyond family... something that reaches further... it makes perfect sense and yet is completely senseless all at once. It is a completely irrational but yet very tangible thing. I can't think of anything else to call it but "the spark."

This is a very important time for me and my transition. It's a breakthrough into new ground and new territory in understanding and relationships in general. I have felt like Luis from "Interview with the Vampire," searching throughout time and space to find an answer... to find a kindred soul... someone whom I could connect with... someone ... like me... not just transgendered... but truly like me. However, where Luis failed in his search, I believe I have succeeded. Our backgrounds are so dissimilar it's laughable. But somehow there's a closeness that I can't really put my finger on... it's like... "I've been waiting for you... where have you been?"

We talked throughout the day and into the night about everything and nothing. As I listened to their stories and they to mine... it was as if we were family that had been separated for years, and finally brought back together again. We were able to recount so many things about our lives that were similar... and then watch how our lives grew apart and then back together again. It's truly an amazing experience... it's like taking your mind for a walk.

I simply wanted to share how much more enriched my life is after just spending one day with them. I went into work on Monday feeling like I could conquer the world... and nearly did. To my two new "sisters," if you are reading this at all, let me say "Thank you." Thank you for sharing your lives with me and allowing me to share mine with you. Thank you for being who you are, unabashedly and relentlessly. Your strength of will and character, your fire and zest, and your compassion and love all combine into two beings I am honored to call my sisters. I will always be here for you in anyway that I can just as I know you are there for me when I need.


Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Where there is light...shadow is close at hand

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001. I'd also like to add that although it could have been as bad as i'm making it out be... I doubt it. It's funny how we look back and go, "sheese... you were ridiculous."

I have recently experienced the creepiest moment of my life. It has affected me on several levels. First, I'll describe what happened, then I will elaborate on my feelings.

At 7:30 p.m., the local TS support group that I attend had their semi-monthly meeting. It's always good to go and share experiences and stories with others who are going through similar circumstances. After the meeting, it's typical for some of the group members to go out to the local IHOP and enjoy each others' company over dinner. Tonight was no exception.

I was looking forward to it. This is one of the highpoints of my life. It's so good to be with others that know and understand the daily grind of life for someone who is going through such a major life change. These girls (and boys) are my kindred and I would do anything for them within my power.

We got to the restaurant and started to have dinner and began chatting about this, that and the other thing. All the while I am noticing this greasy, unkempt, beer-belly toting man watching me. He was one of the hired staff at IHOP and was there to clean the tables.

As the night progressed, we continued to chat and I did my best to ignore him... but I could still feel his eyes on me. Finally, he came up to the table and began to clear the dishes away. He also handed me a note. It was folded in quarters and read as follows:

First Fold: Hello Sexy, smile at me if you like it!
Second Fold: I'll be online tomorrow about 10 pm
Inside Note: Hi I'm ******. I would like to get to know you better. I work here at IHOP [time-frame deleted]. My e-mail address are [e-mail addresses deleted] You got any candy I can try?

As you can imagine... I was shocked, revolted and "weirded out" all at once. My friends are giving me looks like "what is THAT all about?" I kept it to myself. I felt that this man, however incredibly frightening he may be, he probably didn't have much means of supporting himself and I did not want to be the "cause," in his eyes, of him losing his job. Basically, I was scared out of my mind that he might become enraged. So, instead, I wrote him a note as such:

"Although I am quite flattered by your attentions, I am also quite devoted to my fiancé. Understand that it has nothing to do with you... and everything to do with him. Good luck and God Bless."

To me, that was the end of it. Situation handled, have a nice day. However this man took it one step further. I left with the others and, of course, spilled the beans and showed the note around. After the wave of creepiness had died down, we all hugged and said goodbye. I got in my car and left. My cell phone rang shortly after that. One of the girls called me and asked if I had noticed that the guy was standing behind the dumpsters watching me as I left. I said that I had not, in fact, noticed this... and instantly, my heart skipped a beat.

In my mind, I have officially been stalked. It's a queasy feeling and one that does not go away easily. It pervades your thoughts making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. I immediately called Rob and told him about the situation. He, of course, was (and is) very concerned for me and gave me instructions (again) about what to do if I think I'm being followed. Fortunately, this was not necessary. But it still has changed my outlook on my surroundings.

It's difficult to express how overly repulsed I am and how frightened I am. I've experienced situations where I've been observed by others due to my transition... but this is the first time that I have experienced a genuinely female fear. I was fearful not for being TS... but for being female. A new understanding of female issues and daily life has come to realization and I am awestruck at it's power over the person.

I have not yet decided whether or not I will contact IHOP representatives or management about this. I've often followed a live-and-let-live philosophy, yet there are cases such as these that may require a more definitive course of action. But regardless of the outcome, I am actually somewhat thankful for the experience. This revelation about what some females experience is another step in my transition. It's a scary one... but sometimes we need to be reminded that the world is not always a safe place. I was caught off-guard and unable to process this new situation. But I guarantee one thing... I'll not be so unfavorably positioned again. Take note ladies... be aware of all that is around you and how it all interacts with you. Be aware yet inconspicuous of the situations... and remain in control.

Will I go back to IHOP? I don't know yet. One voice inside me says, "be strong and confident. if the situation worsens deal with it through the system." Another voice says, "stay the hell away from there. don't put yourself in harm's way." Rob feels that I should not avoid it. I'm leaning to agree with him. But I know one thing for sure. I am going to learn how to defend myself... with lethal force if necessary. I've asked Rob to teach me how to fire a gun and the rules of gun safety. I've never been fond of guns in any sense of the word. But now more than ever I realize that the last thing I want to deal with is to feel helpless again. This experience comes on the heels of a nightmare wherein I was totally helpless and at the mercy of an attacker. Maybe somebody is trying to tell me something.

Thursday, May 31, 2001

My Champion

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001.

"The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I'm just the living legacy to the leader of the band." -- Dan Fogelberg

On May 17 I received a phone call from my brother that made my heart miss a beat. My father has had a condition called arrhythmia for a while. It's an irregular heart beat rhythm. On that Thursday, he went to the hospital to do a stress test. They attempt to create the conditions of a heart attack and then place an x-ray contrast dye in the blood stream to see how the heart is functioning.

Well, Daddy got on the treadmill and just after he finished, collapsed with no heart beat. It took them three or four tries with the paddles to bring him back. When I heard this, I told my brother that I'd be on a flight out the next day. After I hung up with him, I promptly fell apart.

My dad is probably the most important person to me, in my life. I'm not sure if he really realizes the impact he's had on my life. I love all of my family, but I always strove to be daddy's little girl... even when I wasn't a girl.

After I came out to my family, it was rough going. It was hard for them accept, hard to assimilate this data into what they knew about me. And it took time and love to bridge the gap. When I told them, I knew I had to be "ready to lose them" .. but that was the last thing I wanted. I've always gained strength from my family, especially my parents.

Nowadays, my dad is my champion. No one says shit about me around him and gets away with it. I would do anything for him and hence, the very next day, I was on a plane. Why not THAT day? Because I still had some bases to cover at work... and I knew Dad would be upset if I just dropped everything and left. No Ramsey leaves their friends, family, or co-workers in a lurch.

By the time I had gotten there, they had moved him out of the ICU and into the CCU (Coronary Care Unit). It was so good to see him. They had planned a catheterization lab for the upcoming Monday, to see what was going on inside his ticker. I stayed with Mom, which was good for her I'm sure. Being alone in the house where you've lived with your husband of 40+ years can be very lonely and scary.

As the days went by, I spent a lot of it with Dad and some with the rest of the family. It had been a while since they last saw me and so they wanted to spend some time with me too. I've already planned another trip home with Rob under better circumstances. On Sunday, Mom asked me to play the piano for her. So, I sat down and started playing some hymns and other tunes. Then I switched to some of the quartet music my mom had left on the piano.

My parents and my two brothers Dick and Dave used to sing in a quartet at church... and they were quite good. I played piano for them when I was old enough. While I was playing one particular tune, I heard my dad's voice in my head so strong and clear... and I just started crying again. I know I will hear him sing again... but it just made me weep.

On Monday, they did the cath-lab and found that one artery had been completely blocked. That artery fed a section of the heart that had moderate to severe damage to it. Apparently he had had a heart attack at sometime in the past and didn't even know it. That's a particular Ramsey trait tho... high tolerance to pain. Sometimes good... sometimes (as in this one) bad. The other arteries were fine so they did not see the need to do a stent. However, the doctor did eventually decide to install a defibrillator.

A pacemaker is used to slow or weak heartbeats. It helps the heart keep up. However, in my dad's case, it was going too fast at times. The defibrillator monitors the heart's rhythm. If it gets out of control, it delivers a 500 volt shock to the heart to get it back into rhythm. Other patients have said that this feels like a "kick in the chest." I'm sure my dad will describe it the first time he experiences it. When they tested it in surgery, it kicked his heart right back into a regular rhythm again where it stayed.

My family and I can't begin to be thankful enough for all that happened. The fact that this happened at the hospital instead of while he was out working in the yard, the fact that the doctors were so quick to respond and found the problems, and also how it pulled the entire family together again. I personally thanked the doctor for saving my dad's life. I have no idea how to repay someone for a life saved, but if there's a way to do it, I will.

I also send my thanks to all those who prayed for him and for us during this time. Prayer cover works and God's presence and calming assurance was definitely felt.

Daddy, my personal note to you is this. I love you more than I can possibly write, say, or show. You are a part of me and always will be even after you pass on (which hopefully wont be for a long while yet). The last verse of the song I quoted at the beginning of this tribute says it best I think:

I thank you for the music, and your stories of the road. I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go. I thank you for your kindness and the times when you got tough. And poppa I don't think I said, "I love you," near enough.

I love you!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Pills, pills, pills

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001.

Hormones are part of the game. That's all there is to it. I'm not going to try to cover everything about hormones today, but I'm gonna say a little bit about it. Mainly, I'm just amazed at the number of pills I pop per day these days. I feel like an old woman who has all these medications that the doctor has prescribed. But it's really not all THAT bad.

When Dr. Matas gave me my prescriptions for healing after my breast augmentation surgery... wow, that was pretty much a lot of pills on top of what I normally take. I added an antibiotic, hydrocodone and valium into the mix. A walking pharmaceutical experiment.

Here's what I take now. Spiranolactone (100mg tablets twice a day), Estradiol (2mg tablets once a day), a Women's One-A-Day™ tablet, extra Vitamin C (500mg tablets twice a day), and Vitamin E (1000 i.u. tablet). The Spiranolactone is generic for Aldactone, which is a diuretic drug (makes ya have to pee a lot). But it also increases breast tissue in males and is a natural anti-androgen (blocks the androgen produced in testosterone). I have to make sure that I'm careful with my water intake and get plenty of it. I also have to be sure I'm near a bathroom most of the time, LOL.

The Estradiol is a synthetic estrogen. I used to take Premarin, however I'm not pleased with how it's produced (Premarin is a composite word for Pregnant Mare Urine... and the stories I've heard about how they get these urine samples is absolutely horrific... I won't be a party to animal cruelty). Estradiol is completely synthetic and is actually closer to the real thing than conjugated estrogens. While the Spiranolactone blocks the natural androgens from getting to my system, the estrogen has "free roam of the park." What has it done for me? Softer skin, changes in hair texture, fat redistribution (mainly to my BUTT it seems), and the occasional "mood swing from hell."

I take the multivitamin simply because it seems like a wise thing to do. Same with the Vitamin C. Bacteria thrives in warm weather so I just try to make sure that I help keep any germs at bay. The Vitamin E was prescribed by Dr. Matas after my initial healing had begun on the breast augmentation. Vitamin E works as a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells of your body, including red blood cells and helps protect unsaturated fat from the destructive damage of oxygen. It also may help fight heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and improve your immune system, but this is not known to be a fact. I had no idea of the all the benefits it provides until Dr. Matas requested that I start taking it.

Be forewarned that taking TOO much of certain vitamins is not good for you. I suggest looking at Thrive Online's Vitamin Guide for more info on vitamins and what might be good for you to take.

Anyway, that's a 50,000 foot level view of this stuff. Want more info? Check my gender links section for links to other sites that talk about hormones and other chemical goodness.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Weighty Subjects

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001. I'd also like to add that I was obviously a dribbling idiot when I wrote this entry.

My transition astounds me sometimes. I'm am SOOOO becoming a woman, it's not even funny. As you know, I've recently had breast implant surgery. Well, after such surgery, when one feels well enough, they're eventually going to look in the mirror to see what they look like naked. It's inevitable. Well, I'm fat. Yes, I'm fat, don't try to tell me I'm not. My belly sticks out as far as my boobs do. What the heck is that about?! I just weighed myself... 152 pounds. And it's all butt, belly and boobs. So I've decided that it's time for a diet. Ugh. I hate diets. I went to the other day and checked out what some of the more popular diets are. Most of them are "not recommended." Well... if they're not recommended... a) why are they so popular and b) why do they even exist? If anyone has any "good diets" they want to share, let me know!

So, I'm having a "wake" for my junk-food life and becoming a rabbit-food eating woman. I have 2 2-litres of Mountain Dew left, one bag of Wavy Lays potato chips with french onion dip, and one bag of oreos. Once they're gone, it's off to the fat farm with me. It all comes down to bathing suits; which is silly since I never even go to the beach. But I don't want to look bad in a bathing suit. Why? I dunno! Because I'm becoming a woman! That's why!

This is not an easy subject for me to talk about. After all, I don't want to end up anorexic or bulimic. I simply want to look good naked. So y'all are gonna have to pray for me and my endeavors. Giving up fast-food, junk food, 7-11 hot dogs, McDonald's french fries, Long John Silvers' clams, BREAD... just makes me want to cry. But I know I can get to where I want to be.

Another weighty subject... the ta-tas themselves. Oof. They're heavy! Heavier than the forms I was wearing. My back has been killing me. Normally I can just twist and pop it... nope... not now. I try to twist and the muscles over the implants say, "oh no you're not... not for a while at least." It's truly medieval torture. But I'll get by somehow. I'm sorta rambling here now, but sometimes it's important to let the stream of consciousness just flow like water. I'll try to get my thoughts more organized next time. Until then, ciao.

Sunday, April 22, 2001

Bruises: Nature's way of making you go "ow!

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001.

I'm feeling particularly wordy today, apparently, as I have written quite a bit today. I've got the new section on my breast augmentation up and running on the menu (the "New Software" link) and here I am writing some more here in my transition journal now. The past few days have been arduous. The week at the office was brutal because it was so short. Everyone was trying to extract as much information from me about what I do there as they possibly could... all in one day. On top of that, I had to somehow keep everything going. There are times when I really don't fathom how I keep myself together. Regardless, I still seem to be in once piece.

But now I'm feeling the effects of all the bruises caused by my recent surgery. The worst part about all this is... I have to massage the area where the surgery took place. Now, this doesn't sound like that bad of a deal... until you realize that the skin in that area is bruised as all hell... OW! This is simply a precursor tho...a taste of things to come. After all, I'm sure that when my SRS comes up... well... I'm sure there will be plenty to discuss about that when it happens.

It's not so much that's bruised... it's that it's bruised, I have to wear a bra around the bruised area 24/7 for three weeks, and I have to massage the area 3 times a day. And yes... I know ... "Well, you asked for this!!" That's another discussion altogether. Anyway, as you can see I'm rambling a bit. If you wanna find out the whole story, check out the new section. Until next time, peace, popsicles and poppies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

I'll take a window seat please

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001.

I went to a support group meeting a few weeks ago. Tonite was another meeting, but I didn't get the chance to go. This week has been brutal since it's a short work week for me. Anyway, while I was there, someone asked me what my biggest "issue" was with my transition. That was easy for me to answer... the feeling of isolation. When I started my transition, I knew several people on the internet and had met a couple of friends in the area in Sarasota. Stacy became my best friend and dear sister to me. But since I have moved to Orlando (December 8, 1998), I've felt this ever-present feeling of isolation. "Does anyone out there actually FEEL like I do!?"

This transition is one of the most daunting transitions one could attempt. Whenever people transition in life (single to married, unemployed to employed, husband/wife to father/mother, etc.) there are always people around them, close to them, to help them through it. During this transition tho, I don't have people helping me through it.... I seem to have spectators. People watching from the outside, commenting on the process and lauding my courage and wherewithal.

It's a lot like being in solitary confinement. I just want a window! A friend to talk to, a sister to journey with, a mother to guide me, a confidant who really knows what I'm going through. Someone who's been there, done that, or IS there and doing that. But, for the most part, I've had to stumble around in the darkness by myself.

I mean no offense or otherwise to any of my friends online. I would probably be going completely stir-crazy without them. But it's just not the same as having someone there who REALLY knows. Rob tries so hard to be that person... but he doesn't walk in my shoes (which is a good thing as I doubt they'd fit). He's a DEAR friend to me, but he can not possibly understand the "innerspace" that I deal with day in and day out.

Why am I writing all of this? To give you some insight into the loneliness that every transsexual goes through. Loved ones like my parents, my family, my friends, my co-workers make life in generable bearable and at times quite enjoyable. But none of them can "see within" like a true sister can. Someday, I hope to find that sister. Whether she be just starting the journey or has traveled on before me matters not. Just someone to hear me scream, weep, laugh, vent, etc. about the things that make t-girls so... "special."

Monday, April 16, 2001


Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2001.

This morning finds me a tad apprehensive, but mostly excited about this week. On Thursday at 8:00 a.m., I will be falling asleep via the admission of anesthetics into my body. Why? Breast augmentation. This is something I've thought about, and thought about, and thought about even some more. I've weighed the pros and cons heavily in trying to decide if it's right for me or not. That's when I remember that life is supposed to be a series of choices, not decisions.

Many have stated that I should wait longer to see what the hormones will do over a greater period of time. Although this may sound rash to some, I'm tired of waiting. The more I wait, the more stagnate I feel. It's time to press on. Based on what I know about what hormones can and can not achieve, I believe I have realized my full hormonal potential at this time. This may change, of course, once the natural source of androgens is no longer available to my body. If it changes drastically, well.... there are surgeries to correct that too.

In most transsexuals, confidence is what generates believability in others. That reaction causes more confidence to form and the cycle churns until it's as natural as breathing. This has also been the case for me. However, there are times when, in order to promote that confidence, one must take another step toward their immediate goal. They're called milestones.

In the software development world, milestones are set to keep the programmers from going nuts. If one tries to view the entire picture all at once all the time, one will get overloaded by the amount of work there still is left to do. Milestones are set to keep focus and to create relief. For one a milestone is completed, a genuine sense of accomplishment descends upon you... like an opiate. The trick is not to fall back on your laurels. The next milestone is approaching. This surgery on Thursday is my next milestone. While in the overall grand scheme of things it is but one step... by itself, it is a monumental achievement.

I'll discuss more about the surgery, what it's going to entail and the preparations involved later. But I needed to get at least this much... off my chest... (in order to make room for other things, I guess).