On the 5th of April this year, I went down to Brighton, to the Nuffield Hospital at Woodingdean, to see Mr Phil Thomas for my pre-surgical assessment. To say I was nervous would be an understatement, but I was determined not to let that get in the way. This was the start of something that I have been building up to all my life, something that, forty years ago, I would have never thought possible, a dream that would never be fulfilled but I was about to start the process that would see that dream become a reality.
When I first realised I was different around the age of five, I’d never heard of gender, nor were the words transsexual or transgender in my lexicon. I was vaguely aware of the differences between boys and girls and from this I knew, with an absolute certainty, that there was something wrong with my body. What I saw and felt didn’t fit with what my mind said it should have looked like and how it should have felt. Over the years this conflict has been at the root of so many problems but, soon, it will be resolved.
The journey down to Brighton was uneventful. Being used to long train journeys, I managed to keep myself occupied (I had my laptop) so I didn’t get totally bored. I was looking forward to arriving in Brighton as a friend, whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time, was meeting me to take me to the hospital. Arriving at Brighton, big hugs were in order when I saw Sam waiting on the platform. It was lovely to see her in real life again, rather than through the internet. We jumped into her car and off we went.
Arriving at the Nuffield, I was a bag of nerves. I was thinking to myself, ‘If I’m like this for the assessment, what am I going to be like when I do finally arrive for surgery?’. Once inside and booked in the nerves faded. I was taken upstairs to a room with several other women and given a very thick form to fill in. Afterwards, I was taken through the procedure and what to expect during my stay in hospital. I was also informed about post-surgical care, including dilation, how to do it and shown the dilators that are supplied. After that I was weighed and then went to see Mr Thomas. I had to strip from the waist down and he had a look. He decided, to my relief, that I didn’t require GHR (Genital Hair Removal), which would have added almost a year to my waiting time. Afterwards he and Liz (his head nurse) had a chat with me. I was told he had no objections to performing the surgery as I was a good candidate but, he wouldn’t give me a date until I had lost at least 10kg and brought my BMI down to at least 29 or lower. The reason being that the surgery is easier for him and recovery will be better and faster for me. It was all I could do to refrain from punching the air and shouting “YES!”. Compared to GHR, having to lose weight is far easier. I walked out of there on a cloud, my feet barely touching the ground.
Sam was almost as excited as I was when I told her the news. Finally, I was on that last mile. The end was finally in sight.
Sam dropped me off at the station. Unfortunately we couldn’t take time to catch up properly as she was in the middle of a house purchase. So we said our goodbyes, knowing that the next time we met in Brighton it would probably be for my surgery.
The journey home was almost as uneventful as the one there, although I suspect that my fellow passengers were wondering why I was constantly grinning inanely.
As I have been writing this, I have also been filling in the surgical consent forms to send back to Brighton. They’re all signed ready to send. I thought I may as well do them now as they weight is already falling (101kg on the 5th, 98kg today). Some changes in what I eat and how I live, small sacrifices to enable a massive change.