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Karen Carey

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When I joined TGP at the end of last year I wondered which route I was travelling. The conclusion that I had come to with the help of my therapist was that I was gender fluid. Now I am not so sure.  Mentally I am now spending far more time on the pink side than the blue and I am wondering if I am moving towards trans.  I drove to a therapy session a few days ago and, for the first time, went outside the house dressed.  My wife supported this ‘adventure’, and although she offered to help, I decided that it would be a step too far to go with makeup. (Next time!) What an experience. My therapist was delighted to see me and was very complimentary. I found the experience wonderful and freeing, if a little nerve-wracking. When I returned from the session I was less dysphoric, and wondered if dressing is as far as I need to go. A couple of days later, bang, back came the pink cloud!

 

Until now most of my thoughts have been just that - thoughts. I have decided that I need to get them down on paper, mapping out a possible route and all that I would need to do to achieve it. To achieve what? That is the first question I am trying to answer - the most difficult. Detailing a series of actions along a route seems logical, but how far do I wish to take them?  At 79 I consider it unlikely that I would go all the way to surgery, but I started covering all the steps to it that I have learned from the great people on this forum.

 

I will not detail everything, but the first thing that I would do is tell my adult children that I am on the trans spectrum. I have had mild, suppressed dysphoria all my life, but it has only come to the fore over the last 15 years. Their acceptance is very likely, but not guaranteed of course. I only have contact with my immediate family but I am close to my wife’s family in Scandinavia and would hope that traditional Scandinavian broad-mindedness would prevail. Then it would be my GP, followed by a private gender clinic. (At my age, the NHS takes far too long.)  Interestingly, legal name change is one of the easiest things to do here in the UK, but the administrative ramifications are daunting. And so the list goes on. Many people here will have gone through this process, and I have read their experiences. It is frightening.

 

So, what is my route to be? Cross-dressing and dreaming? Suppressing dysphoria with partial medical, without social, transition? Medical and social transition? Surgery? Of course, I do not expect answers, but perhaps advice how others have coped with these decisions. With the help of my wife and therapist I have to make them.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Karen      
 

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39 minutes ago, Karen Carey said:

So, what is my route to be? Cross-dressing and dreaming? Suppressing dysphoria with partial medical, without social, transition? Medical and social transition? Surgery? Of course, I do not expect answers, but perhaps advice how others have coped with these decisions

@Karen Carey Congratulations on your recent outing while presenting en femme. Your statement, “I found the experience wonderful and freeing, if a little nerve-wracking.” was exactly my experience too the first time I went out. You’ll never forget that experience. The nerve-wracking part diminishes with time and experience…and before you know it, en femme may end up being your preferred full time presentation. It happens sometimes.

 

As you mention, no one can tell you what’s next for yourself. Although, I will mention this….it’s very likely that your current mental image of what your journey will look like in 1 year, 2 years or 4 years is probably off the mark a little bit. For me, the first 4 years of transition was the most fluid part of my entire life. I made weekly annd sometimes daily adjustments to my timeline expectations. Some changes I adjusted for and others were made for me by powers greater than I (e.g. Covid) It’s not a bad thing to plan ahead but try your best not get disappointed in the setbacks because no matter how smooth a journey has been, there are always setbacks. Transitions of any depth are hard and then add in a constant changing environment with multiple variables to maneuver through both politically, medically, financially, etc… Take it slow to start because you have a lot of big choices to make early on. Set goals for yourself but don’t be afraid to change them as needed. After all, it’s your journey so you’re ultimately in control. Though keep in mind those you love. Communicate often and communicate well with them. Sometimes we tend to go faster than expected with the ones we transition alongside. Be mindful of their ability to cope with your physical & emotional changes. Well, that’s a little more advice than I was expecting to give..lol. I wish you luck with your upcoming journey in whatever direction it takes you.

 

Warmest Regards,

Susan R🌷

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What i tried to tell myself as i finally began to go into the worlds myself was to do a bit more on each excursion to see how i felt and how others might react.  What i found was that i preferred living as a woman.  I kept trying to tell myself to simply relax and enjoy this part oof my life.  I wasn't really sure if i wanted surgery.  I simply wanted to be myself and at peace in the world.  In time i started HRT and eventually chose to get an orchiectomy as much to be able to control T as for any other reason.  I guess i kinda sat back and went with what came or was allowed.  Health and age as well as my relationships influenced the trajectory but i have relatively peacefully finally found comfort in simply being me.

Enjoy the journey!

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Susan R and Charlize.  Thank you both for your thoughts; I value them a lot.  Words of encouragement really help. I am certainly going at a slow pace, and am considering my loved ones above all else. However, I am conscious that time is against me. My wife is the only person to know so far and is so supportive, even though she does not fully understand my

cross-gender feelings.  Hopefully, with her help, I will soon see my road ahead. 

 

Thanks again and best wishes.

 

Karen

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Hi, Karen.  When I transitioned, I found that I got the biggest relief from social transition.  My weekly outings to the trans support group in a known safe space were very encouraging. 

 

When I was having doubts as to whether I could go full-time, an outing to the city, spending a full day as Kathy, walking around stores, talking to sales people, eating in restaurants, reassured me that that was the way I needed to be.  The purpose of the trip was to discuss my doubts with my therapist, but by the time of my appointment, I no longer had any doubts!

 

The physical transition was good and important for me, but it was the social transition that I really needed.

 

Your path forward is something for you to decide, of course.  But that was my experience.  I started at age 62.

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6 hours ago, Susan R said:

“I found the experience wonderful and freeing, if a little nerve-wracking.” was exactly my experience too the first time I went out.

This was my experience too.

I now live full-time fem, but probably no surgery because of my age (72) as well.

I had fought it for most of my life, but once I accepted who I was, things began to fall into place.

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Thanks to all for your comments and advice.  They will help me with the decisions that I have to make.

 

Karen

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Thank you Karen, for starting this thread.

 

Best wishes, stay positive, and motivated.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️💖

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  • 4 weeks later...

I can empathize. I have wondered all my life what I was. I recall the first being being told I had the best of both worlds. However, in the binary world that dominates our species and civilization, I believe it is easier to be in one world or the other. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I started this thread two months ago wondering which path I will end up taking.  Well, I have taken a couple of steps down the road of exploration.

 

 After much thought and discussion with my therapist and wife, I have come out to my GP.  I have known him for many years, but I was still worried about doing so: I need not have been.  We had a long face-to-face consultation and he could not have been more supportive.  He agreed that the NHS route would probably be far too slow at my time of life, and offered to support me in an approach to GenderCare - a loose association of NHS gender specialists in private practice (gendercare.co.uk).  He wrote a referral letter for me, and, together with a long assessment from my psychologist, I sent them to GenderCare requesting a consultation.  I have one with the lead psychiatrist in two weeks, by video.

 

We will see where it leads. It is now becoming very real, and scarey! 

 

Thanks to all for your advice.

 

Karen

 

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5 minutes ago, Karen Carey said:

He wrote a referral letter for me, and, together with a long assessment from my psychologist, I sent them to GenderCare requesting a consultation.  I have one with the lead psychiatrist in two weeks, by video.

This sounds good.

I hope it goes well for you.

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4 hours ago, Karen Carey said:

I sent them to GenderCare requesting a consultation.  I have one with the lead psychiatrist in two weeks, by video.

This is a great update Karen,

 

Just be honest with everyone involved with your consultation, and see where it goes.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had an online consultation yesterday, 1 Aug, with a GenderCare psychiatrist. I was a little apprehensive, but I need not have been. He was so easy to talk to.  He diagnosed me as having gender dysphoria, and, after we discussed my hopes and the options open to me, he recommended my starting on low-dose hrt. This would hopefully ease the dysphoria, leaving me open to travelling further down the transition road in the future.

 

It is a relief to have the diagnosis with an outcome that allows gentle progress with later options. I now have to arrange an appointment with an endocrinologist.

 

Karen

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

The journey continues.

 

Today I came out to my children (53 and 47). I didn’t think that there would be a problem, but I was a bit anxious.  I need not have worried - they were so accepting. My Daughter said that we will be on HRT together and that she was looking forward to seeing my wardrobe! My Son was a little bemused at first, not being familiar with trans terminology. But he said that if he asked questions or used words that seemed insensitive or wrong, it was only out of ignorance. Both assured my wife and me of their love and support. What more could I ask for?

 

Talking to them seems to have opened the way forward. While I have been scared stiff of socially transitioning, I now feel more sanguine about it. I won’t pretend that it would be easy, but it does appear less daunting. We will see.

 

Now for blood tests and a consultation with the endocrinologist in November.

 

Karen

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8 hours ago, Karen Carey said:

Today I came out to my children (53 and 47). ...  I need not have worried - they were so accepting.

 

Congratulations, Karen!  It takes courage to come out to your loved ones.  I am so happy for you that they are mature and supportive about it.  Onward!

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Thank you for sharing your journey with us Karen.  You are certainly well on your path.  I found that as i share here about my journey i help myself while at the same time i'm helping others.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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It feels good to not have to hide who we are from our loved ones.

Some of my adult children are very affirming, some merely tolerant, but none actually hostile.

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15 hours ago, Karen Carey said:

I won’t pretend that it would be easy, but it does appear less daunting. We will see.

This is a great update Karen,

I know that you'll feel so much freedom and stress free. You don't have to hide your thoughts and feelings.

 

Hugs as you move forward,

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

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23 hours ago, Charlize said:

I found that as i share here about my journey i help myself while at the same time i'm helping others.

 

I so agree. I have found so much good advice here so I hope others can benefit from reading about my journey.

 

Karen

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  • 2 months later...

The journey continues.

 

I had the first consultation with my endocrinologist this week. From my psychiatric assessment he knew that I am hoping to start HRT to see if it tames the GD. It seems that, before starting HRT, it is normal that name change and social transitioning are underway. However, I have made it clear that only limited social transitioning has taken place, and will not proceed until I see how HRT affects me. This has been accepted, so I am starting HRT in the next two weeks. The dosage and timings have been set, and I will discuss the endo’s report with my GP shortly.

 

To put it simply, I see one of two things happening.  Either it calms the GD down, allowing me to continue much as I am, or it fires me up to push on down the transition road.  Of course, there is no way of knowing, but I should have a good indication in a few weeks.  I have read of many HRT experiences on TGP, but I know that we are all different in our reactions, so I wait and see.

 

Karen
 

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I'm so excited for you, Karen!

 

I'm also interested in hearing how it works to tame your GD. While mine is fairly in check, it rears its beastly head without warning. My therapist has suggested HRT as an option, or anti-depressants to deal with the occasional depression. I really hate the thought of the anti-depressants but remain intrigued by the HRT possibility.

 

Best wishes on your journey!!!

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Congratulations @Karen Carey - I started that way and it took longer to decide if the HRT tamped down the GD and to get yourself regulated. Don't be in a hurry as all good things take time. Be in touch with yourself and trust working with your therapist. Also it is absolutely wise to work closely with your endocrinologist and GP. Making sure you adjust as needed will protect you health-wise and that will go a long way towards helping decide if HRT is enough or if you need or desire more. Good luck and best wishes.

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On 11/25/2023 at 10:01 AM, Heather Shay said:

Congratulations @Karen Carey - I started that way and it took longer to decide if the HRT tamped down the GD and to get yourself regulated. Don't be in a hurry as all good things take time. Be in touch with yourself and trust working with your therapist.

Karen, I agree with Heather.

 

Congratulations.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋👩🏻‍🦳

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