Thursday, February 13, 2003

You think too much

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2003.

So, a friend of mine started telling me back in mid-December: "You think too much." Why do you suppose she would say that? Because I was telling her about what I knew about HIV and AIDS. Being an educated woman I try to make sure that I know what I'm talking about so that I don't end up talking out of my ass. Sometimes I do that anyway though... and sometimes on purpose.

Anyway, I recently had the opportunity to see "thinking too much" in action up close and personal. Shortly after New Years I started developing what I thought were "runaway zits" on my neck and chin. They didn't seem to want to heal, they were getting infected, etc. etc. After about 3 days of them getting worse, I decided to see the doctor. When I looked at the sores, they looked like little crop circles. I thought perhaps the aliens had given up on crops and had decided to start picking on people.

In all seriousness, I thought they might be a bug-bite of some kind. When I called my doctor, they wouldn't let me see him and instead wanted me to give them my pharmacy information so they could order a topical cream. I wasn't satisfied with that since it could have been anything. So I went to a CentraCare unit here in Florida. Basically, they're urgent care facilities to help reduce the non-emergency traffic at emergency rooms.

When I got in to see the doc, he said that they looked like "zosters". He was talking about the Herpes Zoster virus (Shingles), a viral infection of the nerve roots that typically results in pain and a rash. Bingo, doc. It's caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (herpes varicella). From WebMD:

After a person has had chickenpox, the herpes virus moves to and becomes inactive in the roots of spinal nerves. The virus is activated when a person's immune system is weakened (possibly through physical or emotional stress). This reactivation results in a shingles infection.

Now, I'm thinking, well.. it could be several factors... stress at work has been monumental, I've been sick three times in the past two months, they gave me prednisone for the last sickness which weakens the immune system, etc. The doc had asked me earlier why I was taking Spironolactone and Estraiol. I explained that I was transsexual and it was no biggie. But now, after having diagnosed me, he said, "When was your last HIV test?"

My heart leapt into my throat. I was fine until he said that. I understand now, of course, that he was probably just being thorough. But he didn't mention anything about stress, or medications or anything like that until AFTER I pressed him to find out what ELSE could cause Shingles. I mean... OTHER people get Shingles too, don't they? For other reasons?

The fact that he leapt to the conclusion that it was probably HIV disturbed me. Instantaneously, I felt like he had already pre-determined what my life was all about. Since I'm transsexual, I must be promiscuous. I must be at high risk. I was really offended at the perceived assumption.

He prescribed Acyclovir and Cephalexin to treat it and suggested I get an HIV test as soon as possible. I left and immediately began to freak out. I called my doctor's office back and told them what this other doctor had said. They got me set up for an HIV test and I pressed the issue of seeing MY doctor on the next Monday (this was Thursday).

I took Friday off and saw the doc on Monday. Between Thursday and Monday I was losing my mind a piece at a time. I began so much research into shingles, chickenpox, herpes, HIV, AIDS, etc. because I needed to know. Here is this unwelcome guest in my body (maybe more than one) and I know nothing about it. The more I read, the less and less convinced I became that it was HIV. I had not experienced any sero-conversion. I was not experiencing any of the typical symptoms that show up with HIV or AIDS. Armed with all this information, I was able to manage my fear. But at the same time there were lots of notes pointing to what the first doctor said, too. So I was still pseudo-freaked-out.

Monday came and I saw MY doc, gibbering on and on about what had happened, what I knew about the virus, what I knew about HIV, etc. After 10 minutes of calming me down, he reminded me that the stress I've been under plus the prednisone and the rash of sicknesses last year are more than enough to indicate it. He agreed that I should get the HIV test for two reasons tho. One: 33 is very young to get a shingles outbreak. So, the cause needs to be confirmed. Two: It's been 6 months anyway... time for a check-up.

Feeling a little better, I had my blood work done and spent the week working from home. Until the sores had healed up completely I was infectious to anyone who hadn't had the chickenpox. I was doing good on Friday and decided to go IN to the office. Spent the day there. Lo and behold, THAT was the day the doctor's office tried to call me about my HIV test results.

The answering machine simply said that I needed to call them back. Does this mean I have it and they can't tell my answering machine? Does this mean I'm fine and they just don't give out results to a machine? Does this mean I'm fine because they didn't ask me to come in?? ARGH! So now I have to wait through the weekend. My luck, Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day... a holiday. So it was a LONG weekend.

Finally, Tuesday arrives to find me on pins and needles. I just want to know so I can get on with things one way or another. 4:00 PM they finally get in touch with me. Everything's fine. No trace of the anti-bodies in my system. Needless to say, the rest of the day was beautiful. :)

The long and short of all this? Was I thinking too much? Perhaps. It's hard not to, tho. When a microscopic organism can ruin one of your ultimate life goals, shorten your life and make you just that much more of a social pariah... it's almost impossible, in my view, to NOT think about it! A tiny little critter that can royally screw-up your life... and one that can be totally avoided by a simple change of behavior. One would think we, as a species, could get kick this thing.

Recently I discovered this to be untrue. There are two reasons I was concerned about whether HIV had found me. First: a violent crime perpetrated against me in October. I haven't had the desire to write about it here yet, but I may do so some time in the future. Second: A hasty choice made out of lust in November.

It was this second one that got to me again, recently. The person I had committed this act of biological stupidity with was talking with someone else I knew. In an excerpt of a conversation between the two of them, he made it clear that not only did he already know that he already had HIV, but he considered himself to be "thinning out the herd" by not telling any of his sexual partners about his condition. All at once I felt sick, angry, shocked, mortified and scared all over again. Here was someone who was basically ADMITTING to several counts of attempted murder, and *I* was one of his intended victims! For what??!

Now, thinking it through, in order for my immune system to be as depressed as it was to get shingles, if it were caused by HIV, it would have had to have run it's course for quite a while. Shingles, when related to HIV, is usually a physical indication that shows up after blood-work has confirmed infection. In my case, it was not HIV related. But the still small voice in my head says, "you still need to check up on yourself again in 3 months... and then again in another 3 months."

Although I will, of course, have myself tested and checked out, I am not overly worried about the results now. Even with someone who is HIV positive, getting infected is sorta like Russian Roulette. The gun may fire, and then again, it may not. The chances are thinned a little based on the details of my altercation with him. A. I did not bleed. B. He did not climax in any orifice. But when we're talking about a microscopic organism, there are always possibilities.

Now, what does all of this mean? I've considered this to be a gift. An awaking to the fact that no-one is immune (not yet anyway). A realization that there are those out there that don't know or don't care about it. These things are well known facts, all of them. But facts are never truths to the individual until they are experienced. My experience had a happy ending. I can only hope that those who read this have the same happy ending or heed my warning and do as I did not.


Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Broken Valentine

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2003.

10 days.... 10 Days to Black Friday. The infamous Valentine's Day. Blah. Ya know... I looked him up. St. Valentine, that is. I looked up the reason for the day and all that. Some dead martyr. The reason it's a lover's holiday? Because it seemed that birds tended to pair up half-way through the second month. All this over a bunch of horny birds.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Cleaning out the Gene Pool

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2003.

So, I've been wondering what my first update of the year would be about. And lo and behold, once again the people of this "enlightened and more civilized time" have provided me with enough content to rant for a month.

The gene pool has already been polluted. I'm not sure how long ago this occurred or who's responsible. I'm not really sure that that matters either... but what is disturbing is that no-one has taken the initiative to clean out the gene pool. It's just getting worse out there folks... and I have some examples for you today.

I'm going to share the more subtle example first. I had been chatting with this particular guy for about a month. He and I seemed to hit it off almost right away. He bore a lot of the qualities that I was looking for in a potential partner for a relationship. He was a little young and too eager to hop in the sack, but otherwise a decent guy. But then, one fateful day, during one particular chat, his true colors were finally displayed for me. Take a look:

*********: good afternoon..............
FloridaGirl TS: hey cutie... ;)
*********: how ar e you? and how have you been?
FloridaGirl TS: doin' alright, I guess
FloridaGirl TS: and yourself?
*********: just alright??
FloridaGirl TS: well, I'm broke... but managing
*********: I'm sorry~
*********: you're still employed right???
FloridaGirl TS: yes
FloridaGirl TS: just light in the pocketbook...
*********: gotcha
*********: so how is the new place coming along?
FloridaGirl TS: gettin' there... I'm procrastinating at the moment
*********: Oh I see....
*********: well when you're done I'd love to see it ;-)
FloridaGirl TS: and I'd be happy to show it to you with it's all done
*********: well hurry hurry
*********: remember the sooner we get to be alone the sooner you get your long awaited full body a candle lit room, with soft jazz playing in the backround and massage oils that smell lovely.
FloridaGirl TS: right.... lol

(His eager-beaver nature is quite apparent, no? LOL)

*********: unless you don't want to anymore........ ;-)
FloridaGirl TS: no no... I'm still up for it... just need to get everything all straightened out
*********: I know cutie......
*********: well I just wanted to say hello. you seem busy. Enjoy your day.
FloridaGirl TS: I'm sorry... I got held up in the chat room
*********: that's ok
FloridaGirl TS: they stole my attention... lol
FloridaGirl TS: now I'm eve too poor to pay attention! lol
*********: lol
FloridaGirl TS: so what have you done with yourself today?
*********: worked alittle
*********: I'm home now
*********: can I ask a silly question?
FloridaGirl TS: lol... sure
*********: Were you a man at one time?

(I'm thinking... this is an odd question to ask after a month)

FloridaGirl TS: a man... well... I've never really been a man... I was a boy... I'm genetically male... but I don't feel I've ever fully completed the definition for "manhood"
*********: but you have? had? still have? a penis??
FloridaGirl TS: still have
*********: so I almost hoped into bed with a man????????

(Presumptuous... unless he only meant a massage, but somehow I doubt it)

FloridaGirl TS: Wait a minute... you didn't know?!
*********: No!
*********: I never read your website

(A month without seeing my website or noticing what chat rooms I frequent...rriiiigggghhhht.)

FloridaGirl TS: I see
FloridaGirl TS: Well, there's no need to freak out. I apologize for not mentioning it... I only hang out in transsexual chat rooms, so I assumed you knew from that or that you saw my website.
*********: well I'm not freaked out just disappointed you're not a woman

(Now this was just rude. I was really insulted by that comment, even though I didn't play it up as much in the chat.)

FloridaGirl TS: But, your feelings about it are clear as day... so don't worry about a thing. Good luck to you and your life.
FloridaGirl TS: I resent that statement, actually.
FloridaGirl TS: There's no need to insult me.
*********: I'm sorry -
*********: I really don't run onto TS everyday

(TS? The last time a guy who "didn't know" asked what TS meant, he told me he thought it stood for "Too Sexy" yet this guy throws it out there a little too quickly to not have already known what it meant.)

FloridaGirl TS: You never know... you might have and never knew it. We don't stand out in a crowd, draw attention to ourselves, etc... we blend in... the ones that stand out are glory-hungry drag-queens... which I have no use for.
*********: I see
FloridaGirl TS: but, as I said... it's all good... it's not like it's the first time I've gone through this little scenario
FloridaGirl TS: good luck to you and I hope you find happiness out there
*********: hmmmmm thinking

(I've often jokingly said that it's dangerous to see a man thinking... and this was very dangerous.)

FloridaGirl TS: careful... it's not wise to venture into areas that you're uncomfortable in... especially when it involves another soul... in my experience.. it usually (not always) but usually ends up with both parties being hurt
*********: I'm sure you can do things that females cant

(In hind sight, other than impregnate someone, which I think it also out of the question now, I don't know anything I can do that a girl can't. Also in hind sight, this is getting obvious now... most "newly enlightened" guys just run when they find out rather than hang around and ask questions.)

FloridaGirl TS: the ability to do something doesn't necessarily indicate the willingness
*********: true
*********: well I'm sur eyou know more about men's anatomy than most females

(I was really getting irritated now. But should I be irritated at him for digging his own grave, or irritated at myself for believing the bullshit, or just irritated at the circumstances that have put me here in the first place.)

FloridaGirl TS: well... this much is undoubtedly true
*********: ;-)
FloridaGirl TS: but see.. the problem is still the same... I'm not a "fulfiller of fantasies" and I'm not a "living doll" ... I'm just me... looking for love in the world the same as anyone
*********: I understand
*********: well maybe we should part ways

(Amazing. He's tried for almost a month to get me to go out with him, finds out I'm transsexual and decides that I'm not good enough to go out with, but good enough to pleasure him, and when I won't do that, off he goes. Sometimes it's all I can do to hold back my natural urge to beat the living crap out of people.)

*********: I apologize
FloridaGirl TS: Nothing to apologize for
FloridaGirl TS: other than the "not a woman" comment... lol
*********: sorry
FloridaGirl TS: I sincerely wish nothing but the best for you. Good luck and God bless.
*********: same to you!

I've deleted from this post a really lengthy snippet of two guys that were talking about the pros and cons of "dating" transsexuals. It was like watching the movie "Kids" in the way they hooked up, used and threw away the girls they came across. I was appalled.

I've heard from some men that the trans-women are as much to blame for being labeled as "living love dolls" as anyone else. To some extent, this is true, I'm sure. However this same type of generalization is no different than talking about blondes, red-heads, or various racial or ethnic groups of women. Assuming that all are alike, that they all follow the same patterns, act the same way, want the same things, etc... this is folly, this is childish, this is not something anyone looks for.

I'm sure a certain amount of it is kept in perpetuation simply due to the emotional maturity of your average t-girl. I myself am not emotionally mature yet, but I'm getting there. But these men should be within the mature zone by now. Some of them are still young, yes, but to the guys that are in their mid-thirties and up... get a life, treat others with respect, and grow the hell up!

I could rant about this stuff for hours and hours but it would just get boring (if it hasn't already). The point of this was to try and display some of the concepts that are out there about trans-women. This stuff is contagious and breeds presumption about what trans-women want and presumption within the trans-woman herself about what men are about.

So be careful what you say out there. Think before you speak. Communicate, don't just chatter. You never know who might be listening/reading. :)


Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Happy New Year

Editor's Note: This entry is backdated from my old website I had back in 2003.

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone had a fun, but safe, time over the holidays. Now the task is to get back in the swing of things. My new year has not started out all that great so far. The first weekend of the new year, my car battery died. I had to get the car towed back home because it was just totally DEAD dead. $75.00 later, new battery, all good.

Also in that same weekend, I received a scorching case of shingles. Lovely. To anyone else who has suffered this, I commiserate with you whole-heartedly. I was even luckier that the particular nerve spiral that was attacked... was on my face and neck. So for those of you expecting new pictures soon... keep waiting... maybe in a month or two I'll be able to have some new ones taken, but right now, cameras are not my highest priority.