Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Off to the See the Wizard



When we got on the road Friday morning, heading to Raleigh Durham International Airport for our flight to Montreal, I posted a selfie and captioned it "Off To See The Wizard."  Those words came to me as an off the cuff remark but they may be fitting in a way.  I was leaving on a quest to find a missing piece of myself, and I was not alone on this journey.

Our flight had one layover at LaGuardia Airport in New York where we changed planes for the final flight into Montreal.  Our total travel time from Raleigh to Montreal was about 5 hours and we were in the air about half that time.  Mama and I had not flown since 911 so we'd never dealt with all the TSA checkpoints but I have to report that we had no trouble going though any of the security and customs checks in the USA or Canada. 

The last three days in Montreal have been amazing.  It's been a whirlwind (pre surgery) vacation in a fascinating city that has a decidedly European feel.  I think the travel up on Friday and all of the walking Saturday tired Mama out, so Mitchell and I have left her back at the bed and breakfast to rest for the last 2 days as we've continued to tour the city.  Mitchell has barely been able to keep up with me as we have done so much walking between points of interest.  The Metro (subway system) has been our only means of mechanized transportation.

We've done so much since we arrived here that I really won't be able to cover it all in this blog post alone.
  I'm also having computer and internet connection issues so I'll have to wait to post more of the pictures.  Today I'm staying close to the bed and breakfast and preparing to go to the hospital tonight at 7.  My GRS will happen sometime tomorrow and I wanted to take a little time to post this update on my thoughts and feelings as the big event draws near.

*****

Last Thursday night, the day before our departure, I woke up early in the morning after having a dream that inspired some degree of trepidation as I lay in bed with Mitchell.  When he woke up we talked about things and I felt that familiar sense of calm come over me again.  I remembered that I was not alone and all of my fears flew out the window. 

I've actually felt very little fear over the course of the last week but I have felt a lot of happiness, much of it related to the upcoming surgery and my decision to come to Montreal and Dr. Brassard's clinic.  A couple of days ago someone asked me how I was feeling and the answer that came to mind was that I was exuberant.  I really believe I have come to the right place at the right time.

Last night around midnight, just before bed, that feeling of giddiness came over me again.  Even though I am getting a little nervous right now as I know I will be in the hospital in just a few hours, I feel at peace.  I just know everything will be alright and I'll come through this surgery just fine.  The other side is not so far away now and it cannot get here fast enough.

There is another girl here at the B & B who will also be having surgery tomorrow.  There were two more here Sunday who left for the hospital last night and are having surgery today.  These are all young women, 20 somethings from other provinces, who have their surgeries paid for by the Canadian government.  One of the girls that left last night kind of adopted my mom and dubbed her "The Ambassador of Awesome." 

The two of us took a long walk yesterday to get Mama some stomach medicine and something mild to eat.  She has such a bright, positive attitude and sort of reminds me of myself in that way.  She doesn't really know many details of what will go on at the hospital and doesn't really want to know.  I guess she will find out soon enough.  Maybe I know too much, having done so much research and talking to so many others who've been here.  It hasn't scared me away though but I still don't know how any of this is going to feel physically.  I guess I will find that out soon enough. 

*****
The first night here at the B & B I had another dream.  In it my daddy was alive and he was very happy.  In that dream I remember seeing him laugh and get in the car with a man who was driving him around.  In this dream I was also making plans to spend more time with Daddy but I cannot remember what any of us were doing.  When I woke up I did have the feeling that my father was with me, here in Canada and also in the rest of my life and journey.  It's very comforting to know that he has not left me.

I lit a candle in remembrance of Daddy yesterday in the grand Notre Dame Basillica of Montreal.  Mitchell and I took the Metro yesterday to visit that church, take a walk and have dinner in Old Montreal.  We took the twenty minute tour then spent a couple of hours in the church.  It was a great place to meditate on where my life has brought me and what lies ahead.  We said a prayer together, shed a couple of tears, and lit that candle for Daddy.  Both of us felt a distinctive presence, spiritual in nature, as we sat on the pews of that grand cathedral. 

Whether you are religious, spiritual or none of the above I would highly recommend visiting the Basillica if you are ever in Montreal, as the place has such a positive vibe that lift up your soul.  I will take the memories of the impressive images I saw there, as well as the inspirational feelings they gave me, into the hospital with me.

*****

Today marks two weeks off all of my hormone medications.  This period hasn't been as I thought it would be although in the last few days I've felt more  of the effects.  I haven't exactly experienced hot flashes but my temperature seems to be running hot most of the time.  For example, I was walking around Montreal yesterday in a light jacket of just a 3/4 sleeve tshirt while the locals were bundled up on the blustery day, the first day of Fall. 

It seems my facial hair is growing out faster and I'm feeling some of the other effects of the return of testosterone to my mind and body.  I've had some moments of irritability but I'm just thankful the dark dread didn't return, especially with what I am facing this week.  In a way it's almost fitting to feel one last little blast of testosterone before it's source is eliminated tomorrow, once and for all.  This will be a reason for celebration so have your champagne or cigars ready.

*****

I want to thank everyone for the good luck and best wishes that have been sent my way.  I've been too wrapped up in this trip and this leg of my journey to fully respond to everyone but just know that I appreciate your thoughts and will take the positive energy from you all with me to the hospital tonight and onto the operating table tomorrow.  Recovery will be long, painful and difficult but hopefully it will afford me the time to write more of my experiences here and the feelings they have inspired.  It has been simply amazing so far!

I will try to post a little something as soon as possible when I wake up after surgery.  I'm getting very emotional sitting here thinking about it, but in a good way.  Yes, I'm very lucky to have the people I love with me and the support of so many others, but ultimately this is a very personal journey.  In your heart and your mind you have to be ready.  I've told you all before that you have to believe in your dreams before they can have a chance to begin to come true.


.....Remember, the Wizard only gave them what they already had in their hearts.