Momentous Days from Februarys Past

Thursday 6 February 1997.

I have taken the day off work.  I have dropped my youngest daughter off at College and I am driving to Sydney with the Letter of Referral on the passenger seat.  I am calm.

In October of the previous year I was at a very low point in my life.  The counsellor I was seeing was alarmed and told me to go see a General Practitioner as soon as possible.  My GP had been senselessly murdered earlier that year so I made an appointment to see another doctor at the same practice.  She had me in her consulting room for about 2 hours.  She read through my file.  (A top Sydney psychiatrist had confirmed I was transsexual in the early 90’s and his letter to my previous GP was on the file.)  She prescribed some anti-depressants “to keep my head above water”  and wrote a referral letter to the Professor, a leading Sydney endocrinologist.  I made an appointment with the Professor the next day.  The earliest I could see him was February 6 1997.  My depression started to lift.  I was doing something.

My appointment is in Bondi Junction in the early afternoon.  I drive to Strathfield where I park my car and and walk to the station where I catch a train to the city and then another to Bondi Junction.  I locate the office where my appointment is and then go and have some lunch.  I return to the office for my appointment 15 minutes early.

The professor reads the referral letter and has a long chat with me.  The Professor has seen most trans women in NSW over many years.  He writes out my prescriptions for androcur (anti-androgen) and injectable estrogen.  My life is about to change and I have no idea how things will work out.  I haven’t told my children.  Transitioning at work is something I don’t want to think about.  I have a huge mortgage and cannot afford to be out of work.  All these factors that were bringing me down.  But at last I am doing something.

Friday 14 February 1997.

Today is Valentine’s Day and at midday I have an appointment with my GP.  I fill my prescription and head straight to the GP’s offices.  I lower my pants (I still live 24/7 in male drag) and lie face down on the consulting room table.

“Isn’t this exciting” says my GP as she injects the hormone into my backside.  I have to agree with her although I still don’t know how it will all end.  My hormone treatment has commenced.

Monday 4 February 2002.

Today is the day of my surgery – almost 5 years after commencing hormone treatment.  I am happy.

My second daughter had driven me to Sydney on the Friday 1 February.  I had a presurgery appointment with my surgeon at his Epping office before both my daughter and I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law in Sydney’s west.

Yesterday (Sunday 3 February) my daughter, brother and sister-in-law had driven me to Westside Private Hospital which is about 300 metres up the road from the house I grew up in.

I had taken (as instructed) some medicine the night before which was to empty my bowel.  First thing this morning I am in the bathroom where my bowel does indeed empty.  A section of my colon is to be used to construct my vagina.

The surgeon drops by in the morning to check that everything is going to plan.  It is.  The anaethesist drops by end explains what will happen.

I am ready.

After lunchtime (although I have no lunch myself) I am put on a trolley bed and wheeled out into the corridor to the lift.  We leave the lift on the 1st floor and as I am wheeled towards the theatre, a nurse asked what operation I am having.  I answer and she ticks the boxes on her forms.

I lie on my side on the operating table and am given an epidural.  I then lie on my back and and am given general anaesthetic.  As instructed, I start counting “100..99..98…97…96….95….94……..93……….92”

I wake up.  It is dark outside.  I am back in my room.  I had been sick in the recovery room (apparently) and was feeling nauseous again.  I was given a needle to remedy that and was shown how to administer morphine.  I started feeling better immediately.

I am told the operation went very well.

I ring BFF and another friend and tell them my wonderful news.

I no longer have my birth genitals.  I have a neo-vagina.

Today.

So what about all those fears – telling the children, managing the mortgage, transitioning?

Shortly after I commenced hormone treatment, the Government of the day introduced a policy to outsource all government IT work and my department was to lead the way.  I was an Assistant Director of the Department’s IT Branch and had worked for the Government for over 25 years.  My position became redundant. I did my sums and discovered that I was immediately entitled to a lifetime, indexed pension which, while modest, meant I would never have to work again.  And my retrenchment pay was more than enough to pay off my mortgage and all other debts and have enough left over to cover any future surgery.  In August, 1997 at the age of 45, I retired.

In November I told my daughters and my mother of my transsexuality and my plans for the future.  A couple of months later told my brothers and sisters. All were very supportive.

In 1998 I commenced electrolysis.

In June I applied for  a job on the coast and at the interview advised the panel that I was TS and would be transitioning within months.  I got the job.

In October that year, 18 months after commencing hormone treatment and after 100 hours of electrolysis, I transitioned – ie I went from living 24/7 as a male to living 24/7 as a female.

I have never had any problems since.

I have had a number of interesting jobs, ran for Parliament, developed some amazing friendships, seen all my beautiful daughters married and delighted in the birth of my 6 grandchildren.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bernadette
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 08:33:59

    Hi Peta, wondered where you’t got to, welcome back 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story, it’s great to read success stories, gives the other girls hope.

    Reply

  2. Bernadette
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 08:35:51

    forgot to mention, the Proffessor is no long er practicisng, he fell ill last year and gave up his practice. I believe he has end stage cancer. Very sad, a lot of girls will be saddened by this I imagine.

    Reply

  3. Peta
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 14:47:54

    Hi Bernadette,
    I’m a bad blogger…can go quite some time without posting. 😦

    I told my story because it seems so different from others in the way I was treated. I always felt I was treated as an individual by professionals who were there to help me. I went my own path at my own pace. I never saw any of the professionals as gate-keepers. And also my surgery, using colon tissue, was not typical. (Dr H had been sued by a woman who complained that her vagina lacked depth. So when he took one look at my willy after almost 5 years of hormone treatment he decided there was insufficient tissue for penile inversion).

    Thanks for letting my know about the professor. I do feel sad. For 5 1/2 years I travelled from Canberra or Batemens Bay to Sydney every three months to see him. Six months after surgery he told me he no longer needed to see me. I felt I was losing a friend.

    Reply

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