On April 11, I am scheduled for my sex reassignment surgery (SRS). The two week mark is noteworthy because, if I am to suffer a meltdown it would be happening around now, as it did before other major transitional events.
I now have been off hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for seventeen days. If I am going to feel the physical effects of that, when my estrogen drops and testosterone rises to pre-HRT levels—to those of a genetic male—I don’t look for it for at least a few more days, and more likely not for more than a week. So far, nothing feels different.
Yesterday, I took my daily aspirin for the final time before surgery. I now need to keep off all medications which might thin my blood. So much for taking the 81mg aspirin to keep me from having a heart attack! (Thankfully, despite having two heart stents, I am healthy and have no significant concerns about it.)
Ever since my vocal cord surgery on January 19, I have been eagerly anticipating my SRS. I also had eagerly anticipated the vocal cord surgery, as I had also been excited to get my name legally changed last spring. But, with both of those—as with other major steps along the way—I suffered very serious misgivings.
This has been my transition. Every time I have taken a step forward, I have fought it. Everything which is me—my lifetime as a male, my position in life as husband and father and brother and the like—has caused me to fight to remain male or, after I got well into transitioning, to resume living as a male.
Indeed, early on in transitioning, I resumed living as a male. That was just over two years ago, fewer than two months into my first attempt at the Real Life Test, which is the effort to see if a person can live in the desired gender, and to see if it works for the person.
Mine was working, but everything weighed on me. I fought it so hard that I attempted to ditch it. On April 29, 2015, I went public about my gender dysphoria. I tried to use my going public to strengthen me in my effort to remain male.
That was a totally naive idea on my part, but I was desperate.
When, that July, I resumed the Real Life Test, it worked for me. I went public in mid-August, that I was living full time as a female. I have done so ever since, even as I had short term hiccups along the way, when I tried to go back to living as a male. Always, when I did, I suffered the experience that I first recognized early in 2013. When I was Greg, I wanted to be Gina, but when I was Gina I did not want to go back to being Greg.
And still I fought.
Applying for my name change in February of last year, I was tremendously happy to file the paperwork and couldn’t wait for my May 2 court date. Two weeks before it arrived, the old struggle reared its ugly head. It got so bad, I wondered if I would survive it.
I experienced a similar situation before my vocal cord surgery. By the day after Christmas, I was pondering stopping my transition. Surely, the thought of permanently altering my voice, mixed with a natural concern for surgical complications, was playing on me. Add to it that Julie and I were to mark our fifteenth wedding anniversary on December 30, which found me daydreaming about being the man I always wanted to be with her, and the one she certainly deserved.
The day after Christmas, I told Julie what I was experiencing. I talked it out and cried it out. By that afternoon, I was in good shape. I went through the final three weeks before surgery without a blip in my attitude.
Since the surgery, I have grown much stronger. I have the very tangible sense that I will not suffer a meltdown in the next two weeks. How can I say that with confidence? I can say it because it has been decades since I felt as good as I have been feeling the past two months.
A strong indicator of how I am feeling is seen in what I posted, yesterday. The only reason I could go dress shopping by myself is because I experience myself as Gina at the deepest level yet. I realized a few weeks ago how easily I find myself giggling. How often I smile at myself in the mirror. How I daydream about my upcoming SRS and get as excited as a kid looking forward to ten Christmases at once.
Since my vocal cord surgery, I have been counting down the days to my SRS. I number it as weeks and days. So, today, I am saying, “My SRS is in two weeks.” Tomorrow, I will say, “My SRS is in one week and six days.” And, when I wake up in the middle of the night—a common occurrence, usually followed by a trip to the bathroom, and everyone in my age group is saying, “Yup, me, too”—the first thing I do is look at the clock and, if it is after midnight, which it always is, I immediately change the weeks and days to the new day.
And I do so with great joy.
Even with all of this—even as far as I have gone in my transition and as near as my SRS is—I continue to pray, to seek the Lord’s good and gracious will for my life. I pray Psalm 25:5: “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior and my hope is in you all day long.” I pray, “Lord Jesus, please show me your good and gracious will, and help me to follow it.” I pray, “I am your servant. Use me to glorify you.”
As much as I have rejoiced that my transition has provided me with healing, with wholeness of being, and as much as those produce the lovely side effects of peace and contentment and happiness, my greatest rejoicing is in the Lord, that He has remained faithful to me in all of His promises, that my faith in Him has never wavered, that I find myself stronger than ever in my confession of every Christian doctrine.
In the end, nothing else matters. While it is natural to desire good health—not to mention prosperity and a happy family—this body, this life is temporal.
I love how I feel, and I thank the Lord more than once a day for it. Even more, I thank Him that I belong to Him. I remind Him of His promises, like this one, that nothing in all of creation will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
In Christ, I have everything. Alleluia and amen!