It has been weeks, ok more like months, since I last sat down to type. Some of you have even reached out to see if we are doing ok, since you haven’t heard from me in awhile. The answer is yes, we are good…we are more than good, we are wonderful! I can only blame my absence partially on writer’s block, the rest I have to blame on life. There are never enough hours in the day, and by evening after the kids are in bed all I want is a glass of wine and quiet time with Laine.
Our biggest current piece of news is that the home we were building, which was projected to take 4-6 months to build and estimated to be move in ready around February…we moved into it two weeks ago. Much to our surprise, the week of Thanksgiving, I opened an email that informed us we would be closing before the end of 2015! Bittersweet. (NEW home SOONER than expected…YEAH!!! Moving ONE week after the holidays…ummm…really???) This meant the house we were currently living in needed to be prepped for sale and put on the market. (Anyone here ever had four kids home on winter break, while trying to keep the house spotless just in case a potential buyer wants to drop in…I don’t recommend this process.) We are still waiting for that house to sell, but we are all moved into OUR new home and life here is good. (It is even better now that the 4 dogs figured out how to use the doggie door we had professionally installed…if I had to listen to them chop a hole in our brand new wall to put the damn thing in, the least the dogs could do is USE it without me tossing them through it!)
Dead in the middle of the holidays, packing, moving fiasco, we had to suddenly deal with every parent’s (Ok, at least THIS parent’s) nightmare…LICE! Our oldest daughter (11 years old) came to me one evening saying her head itched. I thought very little of it due to the fact that her beta blockers have always caused quite the case of psoriasis on her scalp. So I started checking her scalp thinking I would need to get a treatment for her psoriasis in order to stop her from scratching her scalp…and then I saw it. A little tiny brown bug in her hair. WTF? So I dug deeper…I said a few choice words…and then I freaked out. Full blown case of lice! AGH!!! This discovery took place after the other children were in bed asleep, so I took my phone as a flashlight and started performing scalp checks on the other children. Our son was clear, but both of the younger two girls, carriers as well. I said a few additional choice words and then began rapidly Googling. I left a message for the Lice Knowing You in Scottsdale and hoped they would call me first thing in the morning, preferably before the mommy melt down set in too deep.
We couldn’t do too much over night so the next morning began the process of washing and hot drying EVERYTHING! And anything that could not be put in the dryer went into the freezer for 24 hours. I haven’t ever done that much laundry in a single day before in my entire life! Fortunately, the girls at Lice Knowing You called me by 8:30 that morning (keep in mind this is December 23, meaning Christmas Eve festivities were scheduled with family the next day…I had to get these kids cleaned and cleared or else Christmas was going to be shot to hell.) The girls at the shop got ALL of us in within an hour or two. All three girls were treated and our oldest, myself and Laine had scalp checks just to be sure we weren’t carrying any stow-a-ways as well. (This isn’t a cheap service by any means, but it was well worth it, since those girls stand there and comb every single nit and louse from the kids’ heads and then guarantee their work for 30 days.) Due to the fact that the kids all have split schedules between our house and my Ex’s homes (two go one direction, two go another) that meant three households total had to be checked, cleaned and cleared of these pests. (Oh and did I mention we also shared our lice with the neighbor who is like a sister to our kids…sorry Jess!!!)
Here we are almost a month later and the youngest has an outbreak at Preschool. I had to go pick her up early on Tuesday due to the fact they found some nits in her hair during a random classroom check. Thank goodness for that 30 day guarantee at Lice Knowing You! Even though it wasn’t their fault the suckers came back, they still treated her again free of charge. I found out later that 5 other kids also got called for pickup this week just in her class. And 5 classrooms total right now are red tagged with Lice infestations. Have I mentioned I would homeschool if I would have been given the gift of patience and a higher (or maybe it would be considered lower) level of sanity???
Laine’s transition is progressing smoothly overall. It has its ups and downs, and fortunately there have been more ups than downs. I could sugar coat it and tell you that it is always 110% perfection, but that would be lying. If you are here reading this, then you probably want the truth and the facts right? There are moments, and yes sometimes even a day or two at a time where Laine falls into a dark place of self doubt and frustration, one that I don’t and won’t ever understand. Those days I feel helpless because I can’t always bring him back as quickly as I would like. I have to give him the space, yet the support, he needs in order to pull through those moments. Somedays I am better at that combination than others. Space is a hard thing for me because I want him to always be happy and present. When he falls into those dark moments I just want him back NOW. Hormones are powerful, they change how he reacts to life. They create mood swings and sometimes inconsistencies. It is no joke when they say the first year of transition is comparable to being in puberty. Watching it happen from the outside, I can see the moments Laine swaps from a 52-year-old man to a 14 year old teenager and back again.
Some of this hormonal conflict may be due to his Estrogen levels still fighting his Testosterone. At his doctor visit this past week we got results from his most recent blood draw. The blood results showed us that yet again his estrogen isn’t shutting down. His doctor expects that his body should be in a forced menopause by now due to the testosterone, however its not. There is no monthly physical cycle, but hormones are still functioning at a normal “female” level. (In conjunction with a normal “male” range of hormones as well.) Between those results and the results of a recent abdominal ultrasound where two fibroids were found to have grown in only 6 months’ time, he has a consult with our GYN next week. (That appointment right there should make for a great blog post…although our GYN is totally on board with the transition process and she understands it, there is always the staff we have to explain things to 15 times, beginning with the receptionist on the phone when I called for his appointment and had to explain the legal name change since last visit and the girl still continued to call him “her” and “she” a dozen times…stay tuned for that potential circus.) We are discussing a full hysterectomy. Laine’s is looking to be medically necessary, which means insurance will cover it, which is a bonus. Everything else reported from the blood draw looks good. His blood donation every 8 weeks is keeping his red blood cell count at a normal level and preventing it from getting too high. Being on the T, there is still always the option that the levels will rise and he will have to donate every 4-6 weeks (or more often) instead of every 8 weeks, but the doctor has already said she will write the script for this procedure if we decide its necessary in the future. All blood tests will be repeated in 3 months to continue to follow Laine’s overall health.
Therapy has been very beneficial for Laine throughout this process. Laine has learned how to better cope in those (hormonal) moments and for the most part how to redirect himself when his hormones get the best of him. This is part of the reason he has remained loyal to therapy on a monthly basis instead of only completing the bare minimum required per doctor’s requests. I can’t imagine how others navigate this process without that monthly (or more often) check in with a professional. He always seems to come home after a session with a new outlook on things. She gives him things to think about and new ways to process. She is real with him when he needs to change his thinking and look at things from a different perspective. Changing your life and everything about yourself at ANY age must be difficult. At the age of 52, the life experience which is built up can only make it more difficult. Although I have always had a therapist aversion, if I could clone Laine’s therapist and give a copy of her to everyone, I would do it. She doesn’t fit in my past experience mold of therapy and counseling and I’m so grateful she is a key player in Laine’s transition process.
Ending this post on a happy educational moment story, Laine needed a notary to transfer some paperwork to his daughter about a week ago. The paperwork was under his birth name. We weren’t sure how the notary would deal with this issue and if it would indeed BE an issue. So he took the paperwork, both his old and his new ID, and his legal name change document with him to the notary. The first thing the man behind the counter said when Laine placed the document on the counter was “Who is Joyce?” Laine then had to “come out” and explain the situation. The guy behind the counter, who was a retired PD office, was very cool about it and said “ok, lets figure this out.” Laine was the first transgender individual in which he had an interaction like this with. It was an educational experience for the notary and it was an educating others experience for Laine. All it takes sometimes is one simple conversation to educate others.
This only begins to touch on the past two or three months of our lives, but I figure this is enough of my rambling for today. 🙂