Saturday, July 31, 2004

Stop It

Where did July go? First I was off to Arizona with Amber for her SRS, then it was my birthday, and now it’s already over. Wow, it really flew by.

So, anyway, I sent an email to Andrea James of recently because, well, I was looking for some advice on a touchy subject and she has way more experience than I. As I told her, I planned the dog shit out of my transition. A number of years ago, I read her site and learned the ways one could go about having a successful transition. I understand that ‘successful’ means a lot to different people, but I wanted to be comfortable being me while also allowing others to see who I was. The basic formula, in my mind, involves letting your feminine essence shine through. For me, it involved breaking down a lot of male barriers as well as letting my essence shine. That also meant working on my presentation, voice, vibe, electrolysis, and finally facial surgery.

Now some say I had it easy by having facial surgery. They might be correct, but dangit, I saved up a lot of money and spent a number of years living in the shell of a man. It wasn’t easy, but I was patient. Some people aren’t patient, though, and suffer some of the pain that society can inflict upon the gender variant. Some lose their jobs, friends, whatever, because they don’t let that vibe and essence fully mature, or at least mature to a point where one can walk down the street and not get yelled at. Or they let that vibe mature in places where it shouldn’t.

In a forum I participate in, there was a T that said she was wearing some feminine items to work, even though she was still living in boy mode. Some of the people at her work were teasing her about those items. After asking her if she was going to work in boy mode, I sent the following response:

There was a funny skit on MadTV a few years ago. It had a woman talking to her therapist, played by Bob Newhart. In the skit, the woman told him that she kept doing different stuff and it caused her psychological pain. His diagnosis: "STOP IT". 
    The reason I asked if you were in boy mode or not is because you are causing yourself the undue stress. I know the bracelet and other items may provide that feminine feeling while you are making your way through boy mode at work, but STOP IT! Go to work as a guy and work - work - work! Try to use work as a haven to keeping your job. If they see you wearing girls stuff, or doing girl things, you will start to feel the usual jabbing. If you go to HR, you'll just be setting off bells, although that would be the best way to go. The best thing is to just stop wearing the girl stuff until you are full time. 
    I know you don't want to hear that, but it's one of the keys to a successful transition...unless you are living in a very tolerant area. 
    The guys at work knew that I shaved my legs...for cycling. And they gave me crap for my ponytail. And a few knew that I shaved my arms too, but that's all I gave them...nothing else.

So, I asked Andrea how she dealt with situations with people who addressed transition differently. There really isn’t a good answer, she said, but she did shed a little light on all of it for me. Anyway, if you are going through transition, read up on her site, especially this part about the workplace. And, please, don’t just show up at work one day wearing a dress.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Why so serious?

So, I received this email not too long ago about the company golf tournament. I thought, “Hey, it would be cool to go out and play from the red tees, but would it be fair to all of the other women?” But then I thought, “It sure would be nice to bring down those big shots who win it every year.” OK, OK, I’m not that good, but teeing off from the red tees would sure be an advantage to almost any team I’d be on.

I told all of this to my new boss (hmmm…when should I stop calling him my new boss, and just give him a name…OK, well, let’s make it today…his new name is just going to be L), and so, we have a little discussion on golf. I told him I used to play golf on the weekend because it was fun, macho, and it killed time on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Now, however, I have shopping!!! He just laughed and said I was too funny.

On a serious note, I read an article today about the French annulling a gay marriage that a rogue Mayor performed. It appears that even though over 60% of the French are OK with gay marriages, the politicians have decided to define marriage as that between a man and a woman. They say that the main function of marriage is having children and that marriage is considered the foundation of family. They also mentioned that children need a mother and a father.

Ya know, I still haven’t figure out what all of these people are afraid of. What’s wrong with gay people getting married? Who is it going to harm?

OK, so let’s take a look at it from the other side. So, if people can only get married if they plan on having children, then we should annul marriages in which people cannot have children. This includes any women who have had a hysterectomy and any men that are sterile. And any family that decides to separate will have to give up their kids to families that have both a mother and a father. Oh, and if one of the parents dies, then the kids must be taken away as well.

Now let’s hit the basic part of “marriage”…a union between a man and a woman. First, what is a man, and what is a woman. Do you use birth certificates? If so, then any woman born with Androgyne Insensitivity Syndrome would be at an impasse because she is XY instead of XX. And any woman who is XO, well, she’s neither, so can she marry? And what about a man who is born XYY or XYYY? Or how about an intersexed person that is born with both genitalia? Or what about transsexuals? So, can I legally marry a man or a woman? Believe it or not, I could legally marry a woman in Kansas and a man in California. Crazy, huh?

Why can’t we just use love to define marriage…two people who love one another enough that they want to share the rest of their lives with one another? Think of the positive aspect of it. The marriage business would see a 10% jump in business, and who knows what type of boon it would be initially since we have a little catching up to do. That would mean an increase in catering, cakes, hall rentals, marriage fees, DJ’s, tux rentals, wedding dress sales, photographers…and such. And just because a government body allows gay marriages doesn’t mean that all of the churches must marry them. The law would just allow two people to become wed by those that would perform the ceremony. So, what’s wrong with it? Are people afraid of gay people? Who knows? Plus, I don’t know why they think it will affect the foundation of marriage, because there are plenty of straight people already doing that. I mean, seriously, what’s the divorce rate nowadays? OK, OK, I’ll get off my stump now…who’s up for a little golf or shopping?

Monday, July 26, 2004

The serious and not so serious sides

So, I was at my therapist’s for a session this afternoon, and we talked about my recent trip with Amber for her SRS. I talked about some of the things I have mentioned here in my journal, such as SRS being the best viable option for a life...yet that I was also scared to a degree, and she said it was good I was thinking about all of this. I also talked to her about moving on in life, but we ran out of time as we spent too much time talking about other topics. I think she enjoys our conversations…hopefully they are a little brighter than her typical sessions.

On a not so serious note, have you ever googled your name just to see what pops up? I have. It’s fun. It appears that the National Pork Producer’s Director of Communications is also named Kara Flynn. Now, stay up with me because there’s a little story here.

So, it appears this woman named Karin Robertson who worked for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) decided to change her name to in order to get people talking about vegetarianism. Those that are in the meat industry obviously weren’t too big on her decision. The spokeswoman for the National Pork Producers Council, yes – Kara Flynn, decides to state, “It sounds like she needs to get a life.” She’s probably right, but hey, Karin can change her name to whatever she wants, right?

This little topic ended up on a number of different forums, with someone bringing up the Pork Producer’s Kara Flynn statement. Obviously, someone did a little search on her to try to dig something up, and well, they found me. So, then they posted my link and made fun of the porky Kara, as well as me. This came up on a little google search, and since I’m one to have a little fun with all of it, I decided to post something as well…albeit a little late after the story was big.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


I had a set of dreams Friday night/Saturday morning that made me wonder what is going through my subconscious mind. In the first mini dream I was in a facility with a friend as she was going through her SRS slightly before my own scheduled SRS. In the next little dream, I was riding in my own car, except my electrologist was driving, and when I’d woken up from sleeping while riding in that car I found that she was sleeping as well, and that we were flying off the road and about to crash. When I either woke up from within that dream or moved on to the next dream, I found myself post-SRS, not due to the accident, but due to my own scheduled surgery. I felt down below and noticed the changes. Wild.

After waking up, I later told this story to my electrologist as she was drinking her coffee. I asked her why she crashed my car, and stared at her as serious as I could until I broke up laughing.

Looking at the dream, though, it does probably have its symbolic qualities…although I don’t quite know what the symbols or messages are.

Lucky for me, though, I have a Dreamer's Dictionary. (insert clapping, cheering, and whistling here) Let's see....

crash: Whatever it's origin or cause, a crash in your dream heralds an important achievement, and the louder or bigger the crash the more noteworthy will be the accomplishment.

automobile: The meaning of a dream involving a motorcar depends very much on its aspect. If the car was merely a means of transport, it has, in itself, no particular significance, and other details of the dream should be carefully considered. However, if the car was speeding, you can expect some sudden news from a distance; an accident forecasts recovery of something lost; if the engine lost power or stalled or if you ran out of gas, you could be embarrassed by misplacing your confidence and/or affections.

passenger: Easy success is the forecast in a dream of being a passenger in a wheeled vehicle, and the message contained in a dream of being a passenger on ship, plane, boat, rocket, balloon, or what have you is escape from worry and/or responsibility.

They didn't have 'electrologist' in the book, nor anything about having a sex change....well, actually they did, but I don't think it related to actually being a transsexual.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Day After My Birthday

Dawg! I’m tired. I went to bed around 1:30 and got up at 6am in order to be where I need to be for the second day of this class. Why was I up so late? I was out to dinner with Claire, Amy, Tyler, and the visiting Vivianne. We ate some very nice Vietnamese at Tao CafĂ©, although I could have done without some of the mint they added to everything. I think I must be the only one that doesn’t like mint in their food – even preferring that it not taint my chocolate, although I can tolerate it enough to get my cocoa fix.

Lucky for me, there was no mint in my Chocolate Decadence which arrived with a lit candle atop it. (My friends had mentioned my birthday to our waitress.) Before I knew it, or table neighbors had started up a very in-tune rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Since our neighbors didn’t know my name, they stopped right after “dear” at which point Claire became the only one who said (or was loud enough to be heard to say) “Kara” before they continued on. Claire became a little embarrassed when that happened, but she was cute in her solo performance before the rest continued on with the song. I then blew out the candle. Tyler asked if I made a wish, at which point I realized that I didn’t. So, I relit the candle, made a wish, then blew it out again. (what do you mean “that doesn’t count”…of course it does…it’s my wish dammit) I can’t tell you what I wished for because then it wouldn’t come true. I’ll let you know if it does though. I did tell Tyler, though, that all of my previous wishes were already coming true. I wonder how many TS have wished away GID or for the opportunity to be themselves?

Afterward, a majority of us went for drinks at a bar over on Polk Street, and like dinner, I found front row parking. And just like last year, I got my drink for free without even mentioning my birthday. Of course, it was only a cherry Sprite.

After a slightly emotional sendoff to Vivianne, I dropped the other two rugrats off at BART before heading home…crashing at 1:30. At least on the way to class today, I heard an alternative version of Tomorrow – yes, the same song little orphan Annie sings – except this was covered by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. It wasn’t as alternative as I thought it could have been, but it was enough to give me a little smile to start tomorrow today.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

It’s my (birthday) party and I’ll cry if I want to

Yep, I’m 34 today. Wow, 34!!! I’m getting older and older every year. Duh. I think it’s just the rationality of the physical number change. Time is fluid, yet birthdays are not. They let us, ok me, know that we are, indeed, mortal creatures. Anyway, I’m old. OK, yeah, yeah, I’m young compared to some, but to others, I’m old. I guess it’s all relative.

I check my email on my old boy account here and there just to make sure that I’ve transferred everyone over to my regular email, and when I do I get a few people that IM me thinking I’m someone else. I established that email address way back in 1993, so it uses very common words. Now I get these kids that think I’m someone else because they are either boneheads who have written down AOL instead of something like Yahoo, or their friend gave them the wrong screen name – whatever. They’re always asking me who I am. When I tell them that I am not who they think I am, they don’t believe me. I tell them that I’m not in high school and I am, at this time, 34. I could basically tell them anything else and they wouldn’t believe me, but when I tell them I’m in my 30’s, they do. I think their logic is based on the concept that “why would anyone lie about being in their 30’s, or being old?” I think it’s funny.

What’s really funny, though, is that new people that meet me in person or see my pictures after FFS seem to think I range around my late 20’s. Even my new boss guessed my age at 28. Ahhhh… nice, huh? Some have a hard time believing I’m 34 now. OK, well, they don’t have that hard of a time. It’s nice looking like I’m in my late 20’s, but I still feel like I’m in my mid 30’s. Ouch – I’m now mid 30’s instead of early 30’s. Anyway, yeah, getting old to me has meant more about my body being sore, my hair turning gray (which started in college for me), and just not having the energy that I used to have…but it’s nice to look younger – especially since the girl inside is way younger than she looks.

So, I’m not a work today, but then, I’m not off either. I’m in a 2-day training class. I was starting to doze off earlier so I decided to write an entry between the important parts of the training. The instructor is obviously a former machinist, as are two participants in the class, except they are current. The bad thing is they keep bashing engineers even though they know Robi and I are engineers. It took a little while, but I think the older male instructor has taken a liking to Robi and myself. I guess he likes pretty girls. Earlier, I was thinking about the dynamic of two girls in here being “smarter” than the boys, but I didn’t want to seem like a bitch. I’m sure over time that the treatment of intelligent women, or just women in general, by men, will get annoying with time, but it’s been ok today. I think some of it was because I was passively intelligent while also trying to be warm and charming. I don’t know what type of trouble that can get me into, either with the instructor, classmates, or a female coworker, but I can at least ask the coworker on the drive home….or, then again, perhaps I’m overanalyzing things.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Be a Man

Last week, I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It had been a while since I’d made one because the lid to the strawberry jam would not budge for me. Since my roomie was in the kitchen as well, I handed it directly to him and said, “Here. Be a man.”

Ha ha, the male ego is so fragile. Here it was presented with a mission…a possible obstacle in which to show it’s proud might, even with the slight possibility that it could fail and be labeled a wuss. Mike strains and strains. He pauses, then resumes his attempt to open the jellified jar of jam. Go Mike, Go!!! The top begins to move, and his ego breathes a sigh of relief. Yeah, he’s a man!!!

You know, I kinda like this aspect of being a woman. I don’t really know how to describe it, but there is the, of course, unwritten dynamic to the male-female world. Given an obstacle, a man must overcome all challenges to prove that he is a man…that he is worthy of the woman he desires. OK, OK, Mike is not my desire, nor am I his, but you get the general drift of things. A man has to be a man. Ahhh…they fall into my little trap every time. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility…so, I’ll have to be sure to use that power sparingly.

This is very similar to another situation this past weekend. After the tourney, I called up a friend who was helping another friend move apartments. I caught them on their final trip and sorta helped them load and unload some of the items. During the unloading portion, I told them I could only carry so much because I was tired from that day, plus I was wearing non-moving clothes at that time. I also didn’t want to break a nail. Ha ha!!! Just kidding. But it was rather funny that I’m standing there telling Blair that I can’t lift anything really big because I might hurt myself, and I might get dirty. OMG…did I actually say that? Four years ago “the boy” probably would have slightly mocked any woman who said that, or at least jovially teased her, but here I was saying it now.

Rewriting History...errr...Herstory

A fellow runner at work stopped by my desk earlier this week and said he was gearing up for a big marathon in Hawaii. He’d run like a 16 miler this past weekend around a 7 minute pace. Pretty good. I asked him what his fastest marathon is, and, like me, he said around 3:17. I also asked him if he was prepared for the heat in Hawaii for the marathon, and he said they started it pretty early. I told him I ran a marathon in the Midwest that started early in the morning that was pretty warm to start with, that I ran the race without a shirt on.


Hmmm…a girl without a shirt on. Doh! OK, so I will have to reword that in the future…so hot, I ran with only a sports bra on. Oh hell, I ran without a shirt. If people ask, I will just tell them I was wearing enough to not get arrested. Anyway, before I continued on, I paused and said, “In the old days, of course.”

Google This

This past weekend I played in a little informal tournament between a few companies. We played Google, Cisco, Genentech, Oracle, and LookSmart, and although we only won one game, I still had fun out there. One of the requirements of the tournament was that at least one girl had to be playing all of the time. Another girl and myself rotated in to be the one girl. At some times, we both played, simply because some of the guys needed a break as well. I didn’t make all of the games, but I did get a chance to get out and play again. I showed up halfway through the game against Google, and although we were down by quite a few when I showed up, we stayed pretty even with them from there on out. OK, OK, you’re thinking, hey, if Kara is out there as the girl, then she has an unfair advantage. Well, I’m not fully recovered from the surgery and being away from athletics for 1.5 months to recover didn’t do anything to help either. It’s been a slow road getting back to my athletic condition before surgery, plus the combination of getting older along with the effects of the hormones hasn’t helped anything. Anyway, Google had 3 really good women on their team while, before I showed up, we only had one. She was, I would say, very tired since this was her second straight game of playing all of the time. I didn’t run as fast as I could have, so I stayed pretty even with the other women, but I did score a few of the points while I was in there.

I’d just come from electro, so I was worried that I might not look entirely female while playing. So, I threw on a little makeup and wore a pink shirt, as well as one of those open air women’s visor hats. As far as I know, there was no question to my gender. Some of the guys messed up once in a while, calling me by my old name or slipping in the wrong pronoun, ‘he’, once or twice. Luckily, my old name is androgynous, with a slight lean toward the feminine side, so it didn’t really matter. Funny, I still get the question “why did you change your name?” If you want the answer, Google the following three words without quotations: "karaflynntg presented Scooby."

After the tourney, our team kinda sat around chatting, drinking beers, and waiting until there was enough energy in our bodies to walk back to our cars. As we did, I watched a large number of very fit women head down to the area we had previously played. One of the girls from Google went down there as well. It appeared to be a semiprofessional team that was practicing. They were really good as I watched them warm up and practice drills. It would be nice to get out on a team sport again and, perhaps, make a few new friends while having fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


I’ve been in a rut lately. I thought last week’s “vacation” would help recharge my batteries, but I’m still feeling pretty blah. I think some of it is coming down to my career. Currently, I perform a job that most engineers would be able to handle. Fortunately, I’m in this position because I have a lot of experience in the manufacturing side of it, which is the far less glamorous side of engineering. The nice thing about this side is that it pays fairly decent. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I want to stay in this field…especially as a woman. I think my career goals and aspirations have changed over the past few years from doing things that I thought were expected of me to finding what I want to do in life.

Recently, Google had an ad up on one of the local highways. It was sort of a challenge. Once that challenge was solved, it gave another challenge to be solved. When that was solved, it led to a website to apply to work at Google. I read about some people who spent time writing programs to solve the challenges and I looked at all of these fascinating areas that Google Labs wants to move into. I can remember programming as a kid. As a sixth grader, I was one of those special kids that was allowed to work on this new thing called a computer (the beginning of what became a long friendship with Apple computers). I had fun programming and learning new things. Unfortunately, there were too many distractions growing up that I soon fell far behind on the computer aspect.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to school and start all over again on what I want to be when I grow up. Now, it feels like there are, again, too many distractions. Transition has taken a lot out of me the past few years. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel though, and hope I can move on with something in my life. Hell if I know what that something is. Right now, I just try to put in a solid days work and live for the weekend when I hopefully have hair removal. I’m counting down to SRS. It’s bouncing around in the back of my mind, but at some point I hope I can focus on my career objectives.

Of course, I guess life is one big distraction…keeping the mind busy long enough before it knows what hit it.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Still Rusty

Mmmm…back to the grind today. Today was also my first day back playing sports with some of my co-workers. There were no issues at all, and everyone was happy to see me back out there. They even used all of the right pronouns and didn’t slip when calling me Kara.

I took it easy, but got in a few spurts of my old speed and agility. I’m definitely rusty, though, but it was nice to get back out to play. I think running 5 days straight in the desert really helped out in trying to get back into shape. A combination of the surgery, hormones, and getting older has really slowed me down, but I’m slowly coming around.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Ripped Skin

OOOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! Damn…the trouble with long nails. As I was putting away clothes from my trip, I reached down to pick up a pair of shorts and caught it on the edge of my dresser. As I did so, I felt instant pain in my nail on my fourth finger. I guess that’s one of the downsides of having long nails. In this case, I bent my nail back a few millimeters into where it connects on my finger. It also started bleeding from the portion where it ripped clear of the skin. I saw a piece of wood under my nail as well, and feared that I would have to pull it out, but it was just sitting under my nail next to my skin.

Speaking of ripping through skin, today is 6 weeks from when I had my ears pierced. I can, supposedly, now take my studs out as long as something is in the hole for the next 6 months. After talking with Amber a little about it, she suggested just leaving them in longer to ensure the hole has healed up properly. Sounds like good advice. Plus, I don’t have too many other options that are as small as my studs…so I guess I’ll just leave them in a little longer. My mom asked me for gift ideas on my upcoming birthday, and I told her I could always use more earrings and jewelry.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Hot in Arizona

4:29pm – Dawg!!! It’s hot here in Arizona. Amber and I walked around the 5th Avenue shops in the Old Scottsdale area after we ate out for lunch. Now, I’m back in the airport – with plenty of time to spare. The week has really flown by, and I wish I could stay a bit longer. It’s nice to go home, though, back to cooler weather.

I’ve learned a lot during my stay with Amber through SRS and the initial recovery. Don’t start back with solid food – go liquid before building into the solid stuff. Bring plenty of baggy clothes or long skirts. And finally, be prepared for a lot of bruising and swelling.

Amber let me look at her surgical site a few times, basically so I can understand and see all of what has happened. It’s not a pleasant sight to see, just in general. It’s almost scary, but I know that once the swelling and bruising subside, her new vaginal area will look pretty good. It’s still wild thinking that she no longer has her male reproductive organs. They’re gone. Forever. Early next year, I’ll be experiencing the same thing. Wow. It’s still quite amazing. I think this is going to hit me much harder than FFS, or then again, I could blow through it just like FFS. I knew what I was getting into with FFS because I’d seen a few friends go through it and turn out looking pretty decent – after an ugly period of sutures, swelling, and dimples, of course. Amber is the first person with whom I’ve been able to experience SRS up close and personal. I haven’t seen the results of other TS who have been to Dr. Meltzer, but most have told me they’re very happy with their results.

He’s really a nice guy though, as we chatted while he was making his rounds today. He’d biked to the surgery center and changed into scrubs to check in on everyone. He said he had a Trek bike, just like Lance Armstrong. I, myself, have a Cannondale that I bought several years ago when I got into riding to compete in triathlons. When I thought about my bike earlier today, I realized that I’ll have to get a new seat in order to ride it after SRS. They basically make a seat with a little opening in the area where the – well, you get the idea.

Anyway, it’s been a fairly relaxing vacation, except for the anxious time I spent worrying how Amber was doing in surgery. I didn’t get out much around the surgery center since it was way too hot. I figure I can do some walking around next time when the temperature is a little milder. The only downside is that I’ll be a little sore from SRS.

So, the next time I say hello to Scottsdale, I’ll be saying good-bye to my penis and hello to the rest of my life.

Friday, July 09, 2004

1:30pm – On the drive back to the hotel last night, I realized yet another thing that has tumbled through my mind for quite some time now. As I drove from the surgery center north along Scottsdale Rd., I saw all of these people eating out and having a good time. There were couples – young and old – as well as plenty of single people. They were all having a good time, socializing with one another – and just enjoying life.

Enjoying life – what does that mean to me? Up until now, I basically floated along the path that was most likely expected for me. I had one girlfriend in college for about 5 months, and only a few brief encounters with another woman around my early 30’s. I’ve never been in a real relationship – I still have so much of life yet to experience. It’s sad – I’ll be starting life basically at 34. It’s hard for a little girl waking from her 30-year slumber to find she’s closing in on middle age – rapidly. It sucks. But at least I have something to hopefully look forward to after SRS. A new life? A new beginning? Or just a new chapter? What do I do with my current life – meld it into the new one? What do I do with my memories – times shared in a different life. Can people see the old me? Do they see the new me – a reflection of the person I used to be? I’m still me, but people may not understand that the person they knew before was just a shadow; a caricature; an approximate replica of the person – the little girl – hidden away inside the mind of a boy. I think people that know me now realize this was the best decision for me. They may not all agree with that decision, but I’ve had no one argue to my face that I’m worse off as a girl than I was as a guy. Those that meet me now sometimes don’t recognize that I was ever a man. Even some T’s are amazed that I’ve only been full time for basically 5 months. I guess that’s what a year and a half of living part time will do for you. It’s definitely made it easier for me to move straight into full time.

10:39pm – It’s my last night in Scottsdale and I’ve crashed back at the hotel. It’s amazing – this week has totally flown by. Tomorrow, I fly back to the Bay Area, back to home, and eventually back to work. I’ll turn 34 in a few weeks, watch fall return to the Bay Area, see the start of a wet winter, then return here for my own SRS. What then? I still need to figure that out. Amber and I discussed that tonight – what happens after SRS? I compared it to a marathon that I previously ran. I trained for months in order to run it, then once it was over I took a little time off to recover. But after that, I just sat around wondering what to do. I didn’t have any goals established beyond the marathon.

Anyway, Amber’s recovery is still coming along quite nicely. She’s up and about, hardly losing a step. Yeah, her mobility is far less than before, but she can at least walk around easily. Her bruising is finally showing through, spreading down her inner thighs. It looks worse than it actually is. She is also quite swollen around the groin region, enough so that her skirts and loose clothing still do not quite fit.

So, my journey here is almost finished…this time. I’ve been able to share in part of Amber’s experience and help her through recovery. I’ve also been able to learn a ton and see what I’ll be going through next year. It’s an amazing experience. She still has a week of new experiences to live as her packing is removed on Monday, her catheter and plug a day or two after that, and, of course, almost continual dilation. She has a couple of other friends visiting on and off, so hopefully she won’t get that bored.

I’ve also left a book at the recovery facility. There is the Red Book at Cocoon in San Francisco that allows people to write about their FFS experience, and I figured it would be nice to have one for SRS as well. So, now there is a Purple and Green book at Greenbaum. Everyone that was still there before Amber’s surgery wrote in it, and the secretary at the nurse’s station said she would pass it along. I left a note in there telling people that they’d better write something because I want to read about it when I get back here.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


1:23pm – Amber was up and walking around when I arrived shortly before 10 this morning. Surprisingly, she’s moving around pretty fast being on her second day post op. When we first showed up on Monday to say hi to Elisa, both her and Amy were waddling around pretty slowly. Amber’s been cruising compared to them, and she’s days ahead of where they were. Amber’s also not taken any oral pain killers, simply stopped once the PCA was taken away. She barely used the PCA as well, which had been set to administer a small amount on its own without having the button pushed. I hope that I’ll be as lucky as her, but I doubt that I will.

Amber and I also ate lunch with Elisa and her mom today. It was their last meal before checking out of the surgery center. I think she’s feeling a lot of emotions that I was feeling when I went home from Cocoon. It’s hard leaving the place you grow to know as your own little protective corner of the world.

OK, so let’s see what I’ve learned so far. Dilating and having the packing taken out is a whole new experience with your body. Pee goes everywhere when urinating after SRS. I told Elisa about “the secret to peeing” (as explained to me by JoanB) by keeping your legs together and leaning forward, but Elisa says it hurts quite a bit to do it that way. Both Elisa and Amber also tell me that capping off the catheter and reconnecting it to the foley bag has this weird suction that goes all the way back into the bladder. Fun.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Day After Amber's SRS

6:50am – Amber woke up around 11pm last night – probably the consequence of being asleep much of the afternoon and evening. Her throat was still quite sore (most likely from the intubation) and dry. She also seemed to be going through a little worse nausea. I think I got about 5-6 hours of sleep on the fairly uncomfortable fold out chair. When I asked her if she got any sleep, she said “not really.”

Last night, though, after eating dinner across the street at Oregano’s and seeing too many young beautiful women, and as I was looking through the pictures of me that Amber has taken with her camera, I realized something that I think I’ve known for quite a while. I’ll never truly be happy. Yeah, hopefully I’m at a place where I’m comfortable being me, and I “pass” as female to most people, but I don’t think I will ever “pass” to myself. Inside – my soul, energy, essence…whatever…is female, but the physical aspect of transition can be difficult, especially as I grow older. True, I’m young in the MTF world, but some of these girls in their teens and twenties will get a far better reaction to the hormones than I. I’ve done OK so far, but I have a streak of perfectionism in me that comes out on things dear to me. Sometimes I have unreal expectations on things, such as how much I can get out of the hormones, but sometimes one has to set their goals high…and be prepared if they don’t reach those goals. It’s OK, though – transition has taken away most of the GID – left me numb to feeling most if its ill effects, but I’ll never fully be who I am. Yeah, I’ll have SRS because it’s the best viable option to living any type of life in the future – and always hope that something better becomes available in the future. Perhaps I can hope that one day I will be happier – until then, though, I’ll manage along.

8:11pm – Over the past few days I’ve come to see all of the maintenance and problems involved with SRS. One can have yeast infections, UTI’s, etc. – then there is dilating and douching for basically the rest of my life. It’s easier having a penis. I just mentioned all of that to Amber and she said, “yeah, but it gets in the way of a lot of things.”

“Yeah,” I said, “it gets in the way of life.”

Well, Amber’s done pretty well today. She’s been alert for most of the time that I’ve been around. I’ve run back to the hotel to exercise and shower this morning, escaped with Elisa for a fruit smoothie next door, grabbed a sandwich for supper in the same shop, and have run down to some of the other rooms to say hi here and there, especially when Amber gets a call or needs some private time.

I was here, though, when Dr. Meltzer stopped by a little after noon. They went over a few of Amber’s questions and concerns, including a very sensitive clitoris. Dr. Meltzer seems like such a nice guy, and his aftercare, along with his staff’s attention to the other items, makes me comfortable in my decision to have him perform my SRS.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Amber's SRS

1:27pm – It’s a waiting game now. Amber is in the OR undergoing vaginoplasty with Dr. Meltzer.

We left the hotel a little before 10am and arrived here at Greenbaum a little before her scheduled 10:15 appointment. She filled out some paperwork then registered at the desk. She was off to the prep area when they told me they’d let me back with her in about 30-45 minutes. I was allowed back to sit with her around 11:30 until she was wheeled off a little after noon. She was doing surprisingly well. I think I was more emotional about all of it more so than herself. (I cried after they wheeled her away – barely able to make it outside so no one would see my emotional mess.)

Besides Amber’s endless conversations about food (she was hungry after not eating anything the past day and a half), she pondered if Destiny brought us here. I don’t know. What I do know is that I knew I would be doing this for a very long time now. I’ve always wanted this, and yeah, I guess Destiny will bring me this way in the future. I'm still scared, though. I guess that’s one reason I’m so emotional with all of this. I’ve gotten to know Amber fairly well the past couple of months. Deep down, we’re very much alike. To see her going through SRS – I’m very happy for her that she has reached this point. I’m realizing I can finally grasp something that was only a dream. Can anyone remember a dream they had as a kid – something that later came true – like a baseball player getting called up from the minors to the big leagues, or an astronaut finally rocketing into space. Some dreams do come true. What happens after that dream? Life? A new beginning? Amber says that this isn’t a new beginning – going full time was the new beginning. This is like the sequel. Perhaps this is the sunset that so many sail off into.

On a lighter note, I think that tiny bit of Magnesium Citrate from last night caught up with me this afternoon.

4:30pm – Dr. Meltzer just came out into the lobby area about 5 minutes ago to tell me that things went well for Amber. He said there was minimal loss of blood and that the surgery was very routine. I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness sweep over me when I heard she was OK. Claire and JoanB had both called within 5 minutes of each other during the past half hour – before Dr. Meltzer came out to give me the good news. He also said that she’d be wheeled up to the room in probably about 45 minutes. Looks like I have another waiting game – but this one will be much shorter.

6:20pm – Amber’s been up here in her recovery room for a little over half an hour (they wheeled her in right at 5:45). She’s in remarkably good spirits, although, still slightly out of it because of the anesthesia. She’s cracked a few jokes here and there – even telling me to “go rob a bank.” I told her previously that I was here for her. She asked if I was her “slave,” but I again reiterated that I was here to help her whenever she needed it.

She’s had a few ice chips thus far and felt a bit nauseous. I think she has ice on her groin as well and the same type of blood drains that I had for FFS, except hers are obviously down below instead of coming out of her mouth. She also has to blow into this contraption called a spirometer. And no, it doesn’t measure Spironolactone. She doesn’t like blowing into it – which she says makes her nauseous.

9:36pm – Amber’s been asleep since basically the last time I wrote in here. They’d just hooked up the PCA machine so I think she’s been pretty drugged up with all of it. Hopefully she’ll get a good night’s sleep and be feeling pretty good tomorrow. I’m spending the night with her tonight – sleeping on the very stiff fold out chair that they have in the room. The nurses were very kind to provide me with sheets, blanket, and a pillow. I figure I, too, will be crashing soon.

Monday, July 05, 2004

The Day Before Amber's SRS

Well, here we are – the night before Amber’s SRS. The summary thus far: We flew in Saturday afternoon then checked into the hotel. We found a little place in ‘old town’ for dinner that night then caught Spiderman 2. Sunday, we were off to visit Amber’s friend, Chuck, for lunch. Chuck is one of those TS that has fully transitioned, but for a number of reasons, has decided to de-transition.

Amber and I then mulled around for a bit in downtown Phoenix. I found one of those small photo-booths that takes 4 pictures...and talked her into sitting through it. That was the first time I have ever done that...perhaps reliving a little of my lost youth. We grabbed dinner at Uno’s in the Arizona Center for her last solid meal as she chowed down on a large burger. We then caught a spectacular fireworks show at park north of downtown. Their music was far from the best, but the show was definitely worth it. The hard part about being out for the show was the heat. At 9:30pm, it was still pretty warm even though the sun had been down for over an hour. It was the only time I’d sweat so far. Today, I was up early for a run (at 7am with the sun well up and bringing the temperature up with it) then we went over to Dr. Meltzer’s office for her pre-surgical visit. We caught lunch at a Japanese restaurant where I had a bento box while she was able to have miso soup, but only the broth. We visited with Elisa, who I had previously met in Chicago, at Greenbaum for a few hours. She was recovering from her SRS six days earlier. When we first arrived there we had to wait as Janet, one of Dr. Meltzer’s nurses, was “showing her a new trick.” In other words, it was her first dilation.

After talking with Elisa, she said the surgery was 'basically going to sleep and waking up with a vagina'. She’d just had the packing out and said that the dilation wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. She did, however, say that the surgical site looked really bad and that it smelled even worse.

Seeing Amber going through this and visiting with Elisa, who is just recovering, has brought out some new emotions for me. I’ve dreamed about this moment for most of my life, although my moment is still to come. But this moment for Amber brings with it a sort of completion. Amber and I have had some good conversations about SRS the past few days – but it basically boils down to this summary:

SRS is currently the best available option to moving on with life.

Although some people do de-transition and find a way to live, living as a man is not an option for some of us. It was too hard not being me. I also don’t think I can live as a tweener – someone who lives between the two genders, even though, of course, some people might call me that anyway. With SRS and a new “vagina,” I can try to live a fulfilling life – to be whole – to be me.

SRS, though, is not the most fun thing to do, as I have witnessed thus far with Amber. We spent most of the day having her drink a glass of water every hour, followed by the Magnesium Citrate about 5:30pm this afternoon. She said it didn’t taste too bad, so she left a tiny amount in the bottle for me to taste. She’s right, it wasn’t that bad. She really tired of the continual water though, and dreaded tonight’s suppository. About 9:30pm, she inserted it into her anus. I knew this because she exclaimed, “Oh my God – that is the worst feeling in the world having something shoved up your ass.” About 30 minutes later, she was off to the throne for Round 1, and recently, about 1.5 hours later, was off for Round 2. Hopefully she doesn’t have a Round 3.

Amber seems to have made it through all of this in decent shape so far. She hasn’t liked the bowel evacuation and prep thus far, but she’s done well on the emotional side. In fact, I may be more emotional than her. She’s also done well with my teasing/flirting. Yeah, I flirt with a few T-friends, but they all seem to like boys. I, myself, am keeping my options open.

Anyway, I think we’re off to sleep soon for her big day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Independence Day

From the pages of my written journal

Two hundred and twenty-eight years ago, the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. We cut the umbilical chord/leash around our neck. No taxation without representation – we the people – with(out) liberty and justice for all. It was a brave move – a daring move – but one our country needed to make in order for the people to live fulfilling lives. It wasn’t necessarily a choice, but it was something inevitable that had to occur in order for the people to be free – free to live their lives.

I’m tagging along on another journey of independence – Amber's independence. Hers, of course, is still two days away, but like our forefather’s trek, her journey is inevitable in order for her to be who she is. She’s debated that last 5% that questions her decision to have this surgery and if it is necessary, and every time she comes to the same conclusion – she doesn’t see any way to live without having SRS (sex reassignment surgery). I told her that IF she does decide to back out that she would lose no face with me. I’m here for her. And if she decides not to have it, then we’ll just turn it into a relaxing vacation.

We went to Spiderman 2 last night. In the first movie, the message was “with great power comes great responsibility.” In this movie, the general message to me was “we all have dreams, but sometimes we’re not able to pursue those dreams – we just need to be ourselves.” Peter Parker finally came to the conclusion that he WAS Spiderman – he would always be there to fight against evil. His dream was to marry MJ and be this regular guy – to be normal – but he realized he’s Spiderman. I chatted with Amber about the moral of their story – “What part of our life is reality and what part is a dream?” I dream of a normal life without GID, without surgeries to change from one sex to the other, with a family – but, unfortunately, that’s not who I am – I’m Kara. I’m a transsexual. I wish it were the other way around, although it sometimes seems like it, but it’s not. The GID could never allow me to live my life as a man.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

From the pages of my written journal

So, the journey begins….for Amber, not myself. For me, it’s a chance to basically walk the path next to her. Her path may be a little more torturous, but mine should be pretty smooth this time.

We’re flying cattle-call into the middle of the desert, but things have been pretty nonchalant thus far. While Amber has been talking non-stop to the married guy next to her, I’ve been asleep next to the side of the plane. It’s funny, they (the wife is across the aisle) keep asking fairly private questions of Amber since the wife actually works, via another company, with the company that Amber works for. And since it’s the two of us together, it’s a lot easier to read us as T, especially since I’m without makeup and with over 4 hours of electro in the past day. He’s also been very inquisitive into why we are going here and what we are doing. Amber’s basically said that we’re just visiting. They’ve also been talking about job and career stuff, and when he said, “You’ve got your changes and I’ve got mine…,” I just had to laugh inside. If Amber were to tell him that she was traveling here for sex reassignment surgery I wonder what he’d do. OK….about to land.