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Friday, August 17, 2012

schrödinger's cut

At present am involved in finding out whether or not the outlook for surgery might have changed. Essentially that means whether I can go for anything more than an orchiectomy. It's difficult because what I'm likely to be faced with is either a direct 'no', or a 'not at the moment',or a yes but the odds, re serious complications, are x.
Living with cirrhosis means that you're automatically put in a 'no unnecessary surgery' category. When I broke my leg a couple of years back I was told that there was a high risk of not being able to walk too far without a lot of pain, in a few years time, if they didn't operate. They impressed on me that they still really didn't want to operate and were very relieved when I went along with them. Bad coagulation,and the fact that most pain killers are liver toxic in some degree are the minor problems.  The possibility of infection is one of the potentially fatal ones. On the other hand my readings have been better than previously, though the underlying condition persists, so from what I've heard there might be a small chance of being able to have GRS.
So questions as to whether I want / need surgery and how much of a risk I'm prepared to take are hovering about my consciousness at present
Insofar as I had thought about it before transition it was with an automatic 'of course' answer to the former. It felt dissappointing to realise that my body morphing didn't somehow just include that detail. But the problems of getting it seemed insurmountable at the time, so I've tried to block myself from thinking about it at all until now. Haven't had total success with this. It goes with the mixed up thing of not having had body dysphoria until after starting transition.
To be clear, if the normal risks and expense and pain were what I could expect from a somewhat below  average healthy person of my age, then there'd be no problem at all and I'd happily sail off into a post op sunset. There are the obvious practical advantages - I really do miss saunas,swimming etc. Sexually it would be likely to be a significant  improvement, though at the moment having moved to more full body orgasms is quite...entrancing. Certainly I'd be more relaxed in any sexual situation if post op. Being bi with a main focus on women it's maybe not quite as important than if I was straight, but it would ease interactions.
Then there's the validation. Because I can always look back at that sudden shift of being, that seems to affect me less than most ts people, but it still is annoyingly there. There's the thing one can occasionally still glimpse, that shadow lurking at back of the mind, the one that whispers that maybe none of this is wholly real, that you're perhaps being indulged in some foolish play of presentation. To look down and always see a constant reminder that you're not as fully a woman as you could be does suck in that context. The one good thing about putting on weight is that that view tends to be mercifully truncated, as it were, and shrinkage obviously helps.
On top of that there seems to be something else : a body image confounded, or a neural map with strategically placed fuzzy zones, maybe. Or perhaps something that comes with a posture, the normal cultural specific ways a woman holds her body, which accentuate the de trop nature of a penis. Or maybe it is true, that feeling as your body changes in it's sensitivities, that surgical change simply allows for that process to complete.Telling the difference between these, however, is something I often find difficult to accomplish.
And then there are the motivations I don't have. I don't seek my validation as a woman in surgery. I don't see it as anything other than a climactic moment in presentational change. I believe that attempts to view it as anything different in kind to simpler forms of presentation are fundamentally nonsensical.That's not to say that many can't find it a climactic moment, but don't believe that that springs from the surgery itself as much as from it's place in the individual's narrative.
( For a variety of reasons I do think it's a worthwhile enterprise to establish correlatives, that are more than simple assertions of identity, as to elements that constitute male and female. I certainly don't see those as related to anatomy but rather to cognition. Because I'm neurologically intersex, something that embraces much of my consciousness, rather than wholly desperate for a superficial change in body form, for whatever motives.)
I don't see surgery as a personal completion and nor, thanks to geography, is not having it any bar to official changes. Certainly no-one who knows me more than casually is going to alter towards me through believing I'm somehow more authentic. Whenever I talk to cis women about the attitude that surgery should be a qualification of sorts, the reactions are simply disgust at the genital essentialism behind it. And joining in status games played by the older casualties of the transitioning process has zero appeal.
I think that not having GRS would be unlikely to lead to anything as dramatic as breakdown or suicide in my case. Older surgical essentialists of the most rabid kind will still have lived with the knowledge that they were mismatched with their body for a couple of decades before surgery. I've only done about 4 years so far. Depression, yes, I can see that as likely but in envisaging that I'm leaving out a key factor : whether or not there are reasonable spaces where accommodations can be made, positive possibilities. There, I do have a certain amount of room : it's hardly as if I've spent my life looking to transition and all it's ramifications. Not being bound to an emotionally highly invested image of myself as a woman does help.
On the other hand I do still feel that my present body shape constitutes a handicap of sorts. Internally, socially, in relationships, every which way I'm a developing woman with this single anatomical exception. If the situation does persist, I'm not sure how exactly that might impact on identification. Not so much in terms of gender but more in terms of relationships. From the viewpoint of a bi oriented woman, it would probably accentuate the attraction towards other bi oriented women.Anyway, whilst technically bi really don't see myself wanting a relationship with a guy. Within that sort of possible spectra of gendered relationship, ambiguous anatomy would certainly trend to being something relatively innocuous. The practical aspect of being non op as regards sex actually isn't particularly problematic for me. I always used to get more pleasure from my partners pleasure than the norm and that's now satisfyingly far greater still.
There's also the age thing. Anecdotally, at least, there does seem to be a growing percentage of younger transitioners who are happy in at least postponing GRS. Despite celebrating my 15th birthday this May, body age sadly trumps mind's second adolescence as a factor : and the possibilities of getting some degree of use out of this particular body mod, slim though they may be, are in rather too rapid decline.
When it does come to making any sort of decision will any of these ruminations make any real difference to how I feel ? Not sure...
On a more general level,I'm sure there are many who share problematic health issues relative to GRS. There's the fairly stupid myth put out by some HBSers and the like that there are only a very few conditions which automatically preclude surgery. And in a way they're correct, in terms of abstract conditions per se. In the real world though, there are many conditions which, if present in a more severe than average form, negate the possibility of surgery, not to mention  the situation of people at the intersection of various such problems. As a group, because of  the frequency of problematic and stressful lives and the frequent occurrence of IS type physical abnormalities, trans women are significantly more prone than the average to these sorts of surgical dilemmas. Minimising this group, or simply jeering at peoples 'excuses' for not having GRS is one of the most unpleasant aspects of voices in the trans blogosphere.
And finally, I wouldn't like to feel that I'm in any way supporting a specific standard narrative. I went into transition because I was clearly female, in terms of neuro-hormonal realities. From the initial self realisation I've sought to go from that primitive girlhood state to becoming a woman. I've encountered many changes both internal and external and I've tried to keep growing as well as I can. Because that process for me involves an attraction to GRS does not, and should not, in the slightest way invalidate the narrative of someone trying for similar processes who doesn't share that attraction. 
If a sister leaves for a desired trip to Thailand, I'm happy for her. If a sister is happy exploring life sans Thailand then I'm happy for her too.
Simple stuff.

Postscript. The above was written a couple of months ago. Initial indications are that my health surprises both myself and doctors in terms of readings. That means something like an orchiectomy or penectomy wouldn't be a problem. GRS might be different but still quite possible. Won't be sure for a while exactly how it works out, but for hours - make that days - make that weeks -  my first thoughts were about this subject rather than it being good health news generally.
And I think this will be my last post on operative status for a fair while. Never particularly fond of using those aspects of transition as material .With my specific uncertainty of status it's been rather difficult to read about others surgical journeys and consummations so I don't think I want to join in that myself.                         

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