Dysphoria

Strange how a brain tumour can put so many things into perspective and remove dysphoria.

I must be one of the few guys who have not had lower surgery that feels no dysphoria with his junk.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had made the decision to end my transition as I was unable to medically transition safely without increasing my risk of tumours. Best decision I have ever made, it was a decision for me and no one else.

I’m glad I have no dysphoria with my junk as I have major issues with lower surgery, the procedure and look. To me it doesn’t look realistic enough to justify the large scar on the forearm, though I am sure there are some really good ones out there, I personally haven’t really seen one.

Still, nice to be able to accept myself just as I am.

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The End !!!

I am not writing this expecting it to be read, more to bring closure on previous posts I have made.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that November 2012 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had surgery in December anyway, I decided following my surgery to bring my transition to an end. I had already had chest surgery due to breast cancer and thanks to chemo my monthly cycle had come to an end.

I realised following brain surgery that it was not realistic for me to think I was going to be safe taking testosterone no matter how much I wanted to.

As I couldn’t safely commence hormone treatment and dislike how lower surgery looks, there was little point in continuing to attend the clinic as there was nothing they could do for me regarding transition.

As my life is limited, I don’t think it is worth shortening my life even further just for the sake of a goatee beard and deeper voice. I’m sure some people I know will disagree with my decision but at the end of the day, its my life and I have enough health crap to deal with without adding to it.

Tiredness and Fatigue

Many people I know will read this and be able to identify with it. I am probably guilty of in the past taking my health and fitness for granted, as do many people who have been fortunate to never have had a debilitating illness or be disabled. I’ve never been an athlete, as I have always loved my food too much and not been as disciplined as I should have been in the gym.

Being diagnosed with Cancer back in August 2011 and going through the treatments of Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Herceptin, all of which involve at times debilitating pain and extreme tiredness or fatigue. I came to realise just how casual I had been about health and fitness prior to Cancer.

Those that know me, know I have now had three Cancerous tumours removed from my body and brain since the original diagnosis with the latest being December 2012 which was the craniotomy and probably the most life threatening. I’ve been on steroids now since November 2012 which are life savers in themselves but also cause problems with sleep and muscles.

I have been a gym rat for many years and have enjoyed many hours in the gym pumping iron or pounding away on the treadmill, well I say pounding, more of a walk and jog, but enjoyed it all the same. Now, I feel tired all the time, don’t sleep through the night, and doing the smallest thing like crawl up the stairs, or fold a few small clothes leaves me feeling exhausted for a few hours, not to forget the discomfort and aches I feel in my legs.

None of this however, stops me from feeling happy in myself as I can’t change what is going on with my body, I merely find it fascinating how our lives can sometimes change with the flip of a coin. Many people go through life with many different illnesses that make them feel excessively tired, or in a lot of pain etc and they just ‘get on with it’ with the thoughts of ‘this isn’t going to hold me back’ and I have a lot of respect for people like that as they share the same views as me, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or something like that.

Yes, sometimes the pain gets too much and nothing you take will take the pain away as it’s in the bones not the muscles, yes sometimes you feel so tired you could sleep for a week, yet when you try you are lucky to get an hour or so which is frustrating.

I once got told that we are only handed enough ‘bad’ stuff at one time that we can deal with, I’m yet to see that as being true, as at times it sure as hell don’t feel like that!

Dealt a bad hand in life !!

Well its been a long time since I have posted a new blog, though a lot has happened since my last one.

Basically around November 2012 I started feeling ‘strange’ which progressed to being sick daily and very regular painful headaches. Upon mentioning this to my Oncologist he arranged for me to have a CT scan on my head to have a look at what was causing the problem. Turns out he found a ‘shadow’ I think he called it and wanted me to have an MRI scan as there was every likelihood due to my past history a cancer cell had sneaked through the treatment and started to grow in my brain.

Not surprisingly the ‘shadow’ turned out to be a tumour an inch in size and the problems I was having with my eyes, concentration and ability to function was due to the massive swelling on my brain. Needless to say the steroids I was immediately prescribed on day of MRI was saving my life and basically keeping me alive. This ditty of information I got told my cool surgeon when I happened to mention my steroids were about to run out that weekend and I was looking forward to coming off them. His words were ‘if you stop taking them, you will be in BIG trouble’, even my senile feeling mind understood what he meant by that.

My surgery took place on the 4th December 2012 at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, which is a fantastic hospital in my opinion, the staff were fantastic and looked after me well and I loved my meals, well I love food and to be fed at regular intervals pleased me greatly.

The critical ward I was on was amazing, so much technology, it was like being in a science fiction movie. Surgery itself was a success and for the first time ever I was awake and ‘perky’ within minutes of waking up, which is always nice.

As a result of having a brain tumour I have had to surrender my driving licence for up to a year, though hopeful of getting it back at some stage. The main thing I have had to come to terms with and my heart goes out to my family more than for myself, is that I have been told I will never be cured of cancer and that I will always have cancer cells in my body that will become tumours at anytime. These tumours will appear in places I have had them before, ie chest, under right arm and now brain. My life expectancy is ‘limited’ as I have been told, to which has made me assess my life and how I see things.

I have laid to rest a few demons and I have no fear of death as I will be hopefully surrounded my family when the time comes, though like I say, my heart goes out to them as they are the ones who will have to care for me and see their child die before them, which is highly unfair for any parent to see that or sibling for that matter.

I no longer take things for granted and have become more spiritual in my thoughts, what my future holds, no one knows, live life for the now not for the future !!!

 

 

Time is a great healer

Its been a long time since I felt the need to write a post, as I’ve  not had a great deal to write about so I will bring things up to date now.

First, I had surgery once again to remove a lump from under my arm which had cancerous cells in, and is  currently undergoing tests like last year to see if it is still HER2 sensitive or hormone sensitive, either way my treatment may change.

Second, last week I received a letter from the Endocrinologist with a first appointment next month, Ive phoned my GP surgery to find out when they do blood tests and I plan on going in on Monday to get them sorted out.

The main reason for this post is to illustrate how my mind-set has changed over the last few months. I have gone from being desperate to start hormones to not caring if it is unsafe. Dont get me wrong, I still want to be on hormones, but should I be told it is far too dangerous to be on Testosterone because there is a very high risk it will cause cancer again, I can’t say I am bothered any more. What will be will be and I can’t change what the outcome will be, yes I am still happy to sign a declaration taking responsibility for my actions, but that said, if it is too dangerous to be monitored, then it is suicide to self medicate.

That is all !!

Whining !!!

I have many musings, and my latest musing is, like others, has flitted into my head because of something I have either been told or have read.

Whining, is it a human nature trait, male trait, female trait or even a trans* trait? Is it something you do a lot when things are going wrong, or so they are perceived, or do you whine more when you are ill?

I know I have done my fair share of whining, not from being diagnosed with cancer, no, but from dealing with the pain of Chemotherapy, and anyone who has experience chemo will know exactly what I am talking about when it comes to pain. I also was subjected to ridicule and back stabbing as a result of my perceived childish whining, something that wasn’t always done to my face, but like the CIA, I am good at finding things out.

What I find curious, and this is something I have done myself which has driven me to put pen to paper as it were, is how we compare our own problems or perceived pain to what others are going through, and come to the conclusion that we are going through something harder, therefore others are whining.

I have recently had a lump found under my arm where surgery was performed last year, and after being assured that the lump results was going to come back as harmless, I was in fact told cancer cells were present and surgery is required to remove the lump along with a CT scan of my thorax, abdomen and pelvis to see if cancer cells have got into my lymphatic system and moving through my body.

Considering this initially put me in a low mood, I have also had a week of personality self discovery and was informed that I have narcissistic traits, which sounded bad at the time, and I have discovered, to my amusement I can be mercurial too. It is probably my narcissism that has spurred me to briefly think that many things I read could be considered as whining, which is highly unfair as to that person, what they are going through is emotionally painful to them.

Hence my musings, are we all to some degree narcissistic, are we all whiners and is this something that we can embrace and rectify.

Now that I am aware of my narcissistic traits, I can sometimes see my behaviour or reaction to something and attempt to alter how I respond i.e the moment I read someone elses problem, not only did I firstly think, oh my, try coping with something bigger instead of whining about your life, to thinking, hang on, this is something big to this person.

In a Utopian world people wouldn’t get criticised for expressing how they feel, and people would be fully aware that their actions can be hurtful but we are not in a Utopian world and this crap happens. Perhaps all of us needs a personality check and be made aware of our faults a little more often, that way we can take a moment to think before we criticise someone for expressing how they are feeling no matter how small we perceive the issue to be.

Life’s Trials

Since it has been a while since I last wrote, I best do a bit of catching up with recent events as it were.

Firstly, I had a very short notice appointment with the Gender Clinic last Thursday, which brought about amazing and welcome news. I was officially on the ‘care pathway’ as they fondly call it, and had my evidence of living full-time as male confirmed. Upon confirmation, I was told I was going to be referred to their Endocrinologist, the fact that she can’t assess me fully for hormones doesn’t matter at this stage, it is one step closer to where I need to be.

Second piece of updated news was on Friday, following a scheduled review of my treatment and heart scan, I had a general body exam as well, and my Oncologist found a tiny pee sized lump under my arm. Ordered blood tests immediately and instructed me to attend the Breast Care Clinic on Wednesday, ie today, following my treatment for my Surgeon to examine me.

Naturally on hearing this, my instinct was to cry, which I managed to hold off till I was in the confines of my car. All I wanted was a hug off the person I care for most, next to family, and she was sadly busy. I did however get to meet a lovely new lady, who gave me the hug I was craving and a good afternoon was enjoyed by us both.

I then spent a few days thinking about what the Oncologist had said the lump probably was, and finally plucked up the courage to tell my mum, knowing it would hurt her. Once I had tried to reassure her that it was probably harmless, I got a mild bollocking for not telling her, and she seemed okay.

Today was the day I had my usual treatment of Herceptin, very early morning get up, thankfully accompanied by a close friend, who knows what I’m going through. I then made my way over to the Breast Care Unit, and was thankfully seen fairly quickly by both Oncologist and Surgeon. Both had a poke at the miniscule lump, and told me they wanted me to have an ultrasound on Monday to make sure the lump was nothing more than scar tissue or benign cyst.

As both me and my close friend discussed the body language of the two doctors, we felt fairly sure they considered the lump was more than likely harmless, and possibly a result of all the hard work I am putting in the gym, making  my body protest a little.

Since telling my mum everything regarding the lump, I don’t feel scared like I was on Friday, and feel ready to deal with what ever the ultrasound shows up.

 

Until Monday !!