27 May 2009

On My Way To A Gynecologist

Well, at least my father seems to be getting help now. As a result, my mother is so much calmer than she was the other day. I don't know quite what will happen to my father, but it has to be better--for him and Mom--than what he had been experiencing.

Mom remarked that he was "seeing so many doctors" and "they were all pushing another drug on him." I think the last things in the world he or she want are more drugs and more doctors; although she was talking about Dad's situation, she could just as easily have been describing her own. The difference, of course, is in the drugs that were prescribed: no psychoactives or psychotropics for Mom. Even so, she's expressed her belief that the doctors were "just pill-pushers."

I feel so lucky. Today I went to what is--barring something unforeseen--my last visit to my regular doctor before my surgery. My experience with Dr. Tran--who insists that I call him "Richie"-- has been almost the exact opposite of my parents' experiences with their doctors: He actually seems reluctant to prescribe pills. That's how I prefer things, anyway: Even when I was slogging through my worst depression, before my gender transition, I didn't want to take medications, and I never did. Perhaps my own struggles with substance abuse made me wary of any sort of drug, even a legitimate one. Believe it or not, that was one of my self-imposed obstacles against starting my hormone regimen.

Isn't it ironic?: I abused alcohol and other drugs, in part, not to deal with my gender identity and sexuality issues. After recovering from my addictions, I didn't want to take any drugs or medicines at all, in part to assure myself of my virility. ("Only sissies need that shit.") Then, I was reluctant to start taking hormones because I didn't want to acknowledge the woman that I am. Now I've embraced her, and all she needs.

Soon she--I--will have another need, which my doctor anticipated. He prescribed an appointment for me with a gynecologist, which the receptionist/secretary scheduled for 27 July: almost two weeks after I return home from my surgery.

A gynecologist. Now there's a first for me. Of course, I knew that sooner or later I'd need one. But I hadn't thought about it; somehow it seemed even more distant than my surgery seemed when I set the date for it.

But there was something about the way Dr. Tran--excuse me, Richie--said "appointment with the gynecologist" that made it seem like a marker of some sort. Ironically enough, the calmness of his demeanor and the softness of his voice conveyed the significance of it to me: He knows that I'm entering what is, in some ways, still uncharted territory in spite of the preparations I've made to examine and prepare myself for it.

As I was making the appointment, I understood why it seemed like a line of demarcation: It was a signal that I was indeed on my way to entering the gender and world I've always felt the need to inhabit. I am now 41 days away from my surgery, but I feel that I moved even closer to it today than in the past few weeks. Not that I felt I wasn't progressing toward the surgery; rather, the leap I seem to have taken today alone brought me closer to my trip to Trinidad than everything I did during previous weeks.

A result is that I feel less like I'm leaving some things--namely, my rather long life as a male and a shorter time living as a transwoman, or a woman transitioning toward her surgery and the life that, I hope, it will enable.

Yes, I am on my way. (I hope!) The gynecologist's offices will be one of my first stops on the other side. I talked to three of her patients, who rave about her. So does Richie.

Everyone assures me that I have nothing to worry about: I'm on my way.