3.08.2013

Strange Post-Surgery Side Effects

It's been 5 weeks since my surgery and I am doing pretty well. I have had a few issues with healing and likely it is because I feel ok and then do something that sets me back.....like shovelling snow. I worked from home for two weeks then did half days a the office before returning to full days this week. I am still experiencing some bleeding and a bit of pain on my right side which may or may not be related to the surgery.  For the most part I feel like I can do most of my regular activities and because I feel ok I think I do things that I maybe shouldn't.

Just last weekend I went out with a friend to chase down the aurora for an all night photo shoot across one of the ice roads. I waited three weeks to start driving again just to be sure I didn't over do it. But there have been a few weird little glitches that I didn't count on the most significant being the return of migraines.

When I was about fifteen, I remember getting a brutal migraine on the bus on the way to school. Before I could even make it to my first class I was in the bathroom on my knees puking my guts out and wishing someone would take the axe out of my head. I remember thinking there was no way a headache could be this bad and that a person would survive. I remember this all happening right around the time I started taking the birth control pill and after a few months of random headaches they went away. I didn't have another headache until I was in my mid twenties and went off the pill. Now, I've had my hysterectomy and again the migraines are back.

I actually had my last migraine the same night my buddy and I went out chasing the aurora – just a week ago. I had to have a him drive me home from work because I had lost a significant portion of my vision, kind of a dangerous thing if you are driving. I left work early and took an anti-inflammatory as soon as I got home. Then I lay down on the couch with an ice pack on the back of my neck and waited for the headache to run its course. By the time we were supposed to leave (about six hours later), the pain had mostly dissipated. I still had a pretty good headache but I just took another pill, washed it down with coffee and let the cold air and fresh air soothe the ache.

I remember reading somewhere that migraines could be triggered by changes in hormone levels and I was anticipating headaches after I started taking testosterone but they never happened. Now I am convinced that they are linked to my estrogen levels. I don't know if there is anything that I can do in the meantime besides avoid stress and stay healthy, get enough sleep and be aware of any prodromes (pre-symptoms) and keep a record of when they happen. 

It's been a while since I've experienced a migraine aura which are actually a lot like aurora borealis...sometimes they are faint and hard to see, other times they are really bright and overwhelming. Both aura and aurora move and flicker, both are unpredictable in when they appear, and while the aurora borealis is beautiful and breathtaking, the visual aura of a migraine has it's own odd beauty.

Has anyone ever had migraines as a result of their HRT or had experiences with migraines after having a hysterectomy?

3.04.2013

Why a man in a dress is just not funny.

The long standing joke of a man in a dress is becoming a drag. Literally. How often have you heard of a man losing a bet and having to put on a dress? The implication being that it is humiliating for a man to become a woman, that a woman is still somehow less than a man. A woman in pants is not even worth mentioning and would pass only as simple fact or description and likely without any gestures or innuendos about her sexuality either. How many really really bad movies have men even as recently as last year where men dress up as women in the lamest effort to be funny? That these movies are geared toward young men is not an accident and without question helps to perpetrate the idea that a man in a dress is hysterical. But If you stop for a moment and really think about it........is it that funny? And if it is funny, can you pinpoint exactly what you are laughing at?

The photo to the right is gorgeous. It is poignant and relevant at this moment in our history where transgender people are fighting hard for recognition and equality. It was shot in a photography workshop by a student and was one of the few images of the man in the dress that was more serious and I think that gives it power.

The background story goes like this:  When the scheduled model called up to say she was running late, this amazing and courageous young man stepped up and stepped into the dress to model for his classmates. He was not afraid to stand in and allow the other student photographers in the workshop to photograph him in a dress until the "real" model arrived.  This photograph was later posted to a Facebook page and generated a lot of comments most of which were positive and supportive:
  • Awesomely creative! Love it! 
  • this guy is awesome 
  • Your expressive face, with all your hair pulled back so we can see every dramatic emotion, the joy at finally being allowed to wear women's clothing in public. 
  • He rocks that dress better than a lot of women would...and with much more confidence as well!
But sadly many of them were the same old rhetoric :  
  • Hard to drink her pretty!  
  • Nice dress .. Hhahahaha  
  • Horrifically awesome is an apt description! poor guy..
  • ...........no comment................
  • Yikes! 
  • this is just wrong
I debated whether or not to post a comment of my own and finally decided I would because I want to change the way people see transsexuals. I want people to look beyond the clothes and see the beautiful, brave souls wearing the skirts and the shirts and ties. I think it is time to bring awareness about transgender issues back into the collective consciousness so that we aren't falling into the trap of just repeating old tired rhetoric. It's time to be thoughtful and kind and fight with those who still don't have the privileges afforded others. I know it is a hard fight, particularly now in this time of garbage they call news: fear-mongering gossip and titillating sexual scandals. But let's at least try.

How many transgendered women are beaten, raped, or murdered because they are seen as "a man in a dress"? How many LGBT youth are bullied, disowned by their families or commit suicide because it is less terrifying and painful to die than to carry on living as the butt of some tired patriarchal joke? Some people will say I am over reacting and I understand it may seem like it is a little bit out of proportion with the content but where is it you start to draw the line? A stupid comment? A hate speech? Bullying? A physical assault? Rape? Suicide? Murder? Until no person is being killed for the clothes he or she chooses to wear, I will continue to try starting a conversation to help people understand the challenges faced by transgender people. Education is one way to alleviate fear and hopefully by talking about gender identity we can stop to consider the implications of these old jokes on the people who suffer the consequences.

It is time for this joke to end because really, this is no laughing matter.