Thursday, May 7, 2015

Another Crash ?

With all the health challenges I've had this year, I sometimes wonder if I am having a crash like the one I had a decade ago after another milestone birthday.

When I turned 40 I had a psychological and physical breakdown in which I started having panic attacks, terrible headaches and was convinced I had a brain tumor.  As a result of that crash I decided I had to start facing my issues instead of burying them inside.  I made a major leap of self acceptance, stopped my drug use, heavy alcohol abuse and started taking baby steps towards becoming myself (transition).  Soon I was out of the woods and on my way home.  Somewhere along the way I learned to love myself and actually care about the little things in life, like the promise of tomorrow.

This year is much different and not nearly so severe.  Still, there is something frightening about having things go wrong with your physical health, especially strange, unexplained things.  Psychologically, I'm better than I've ever been, so there is no crash there.  I have to believe that psychological strength will pull me through the physical ailments that have befallen me.  I know that I am going to be okay.  I actually want to be okay, and that makes all the difference.

When I break it down, this year's health "scares" are not so frightening after all.  I've dealt with granulation, which is a common and not so severe complication from GRS.  The granulation is finally gone but I still have a lingering feeling of slight pressure in my right labia when I do something like cross my legs tightly.  This was the area tested when I had an ultrasound a couple of months ago.  The surgeon thought I had a swollen gland and that it wasn't serious.  I guess my next step is to see a gynecologist and take the mystery out of it.  It was determined to be benign whatever it is. 

I've also experienced a cold this spring (heavens!) and now this mysterious (to me) Bell's Palsey.  This one is the most terrifying of all because it is a paralysis and it affects my face,  I have been pretty much laying low since I developed this palsy 18 days ago because it looks like something is wrong with me.  I am so fortunate that it is probably not going to be permanent and the paralysis wasn't caused by something like a stroke. 

The worst part about all these events this year is the cumulative effect they have had on my daily outlook.  While I am still generally very positive, I've had moments when my mood has been lowered or I have been irritable.  The absolute worst has been a couple of (fleeting) moments where the thought crept in (for one second) that I was going to die. 

This dark feeling of impending doom was a near constant with me between my teenage years and not that long ago.  In fact, as I have reported here it was only when I started taking hormones that the black feeling of dread left me.  So, I know that the pull of death I felt, romantically at times, was either hormonal or psychological but some of it would revolve around physical elements.  Or at least blowing physical problems out of proportion.  That's the only thing I have to fight this year (just a little bit) putting everything into perspective. 

I realize how lucky I am to have my (generally) good health and I am super blessed to finally have all the pieces falling together so that I can enjoy it.  I now have a sense of what paralysis feels like and I can really sympathize with anyone that has to deal with it on any part of their body.  Its a scary feeling and when it's on your face, something that can make you very self conscious around others.


*****

Update 5-5-2015


I went to see my "regular' doctor this week.  He took me off the prendisone, which I was on for two weeks, and predicted the Bell's Palsy would resolve itself.  In fact, his exact prediction was that it would be 75% gone in a month and completely gone in 2 months.  I don't know if he said that mainly to make me feel better or based that prediction on the typical experience of someone with this disease.  He also mentioned that the latest information on Bell's Palsy has it related to chicken pox, sort of like Shingles in that respect.

I have been able to regain a small amount of control of the affected muscles on the left side of my face.  Not enough to smile yet, but the face doesn't look as "droopy" and I can make small movements there.  I won't go back to the doctor until the first of July, when I'm going back for a full physical. 

This is also the doctor that started me out on hormones back in 2012.  I hadn't seen him a year so I told him about my surgery and getting my birth certificate changes, the last piece of the puzzle.  He had helped me get all my other documents changed by writing the necessary letters and he smiled when I told him I had finished changing everything that could be changed. 

"You are 100% female now," he said.  I'd have to qualify that by saying "as much as I can possibly be."  But yes, it does feel great to finally be the person on the outside that I am on the outside, and be accepted for being myself.  I'm just a little sick right now and will be relieved when I can be a completely healthy woman.  I'm not going to crash this time.  There's way too much to live for now!




The more life challenges me
The higher I will rise to overcome life's challenges.

TM