Northern Exposure

It’s snowing in Chicago.  It’s like a light fluttery show, but the flakes are huge.  Of course, for a southern girl, any snow is a big deal.  I like Chicago.  The people seem nice, and helpful, and there is such an ignorance of all things Texan.

I’m sitting in the hotel dining room, looking out the window, and I’m wearing a black hoodie with the word “Whatever” displayed across the front.  My face is bruised, bandaged, and I’m just a little high on painkillers.  All in all it’s a great time.

It’s my first day out of my hotel room in almost a week.  It feels really great, and I just needed to see that the world was still revolving around.

At this very moment outside of the window, I witnessed two snow plows drive by and with an awe that a kid might have the first time he’s at the zoo whinessing an elephant trumpeting his trunk, I’m simply in awe.

My dr has been by every day.  He’s fast at everything.  He speaks fast, he walks fast, his visit is even fast.  But, I really get the impression that he enjoys his work much like an artist who sculpts beauty from clay.  His sweet comments of honey, sweetheart, and sweetie all make me feel like I’m some dainty little flower, and whether he knows it or not, it goes a long way.


My care taker, a woman I paid to stay with me for the first 24 hours has long since gone, and returned to wash my hair and show me how to do the God awful massage that I must complete three times a day for thirty minutes each time.

Out of all the things I’ve done in this great endeavor to become physically how I see myself in my mind, the surgery around my face is the scariest and most impactful of all.  So many unknowns filled my head and I had this dreadful feeling as I left Houston that I would never return.

But, I will return, I’ll return looking different, and the last details of the old physical me will be erased, and I can finally move forward in confidence and grace.

Oh sure, I feel that I was making strides in those departments for a while.  Practice in voice, mannerisms, fitness, look, all come together to express an identity that many people have come to know as simply me.  But, I really think this final stroke of the brush will really bring it all home.  And from this moment on, I hope the last physical attributes of a body which i had at least a moderate distaste for will be gone.

I’ll always have that boy deep in side of me.  I don’t regret that, and I have pride in the man that I was.  But, now that I’ve seen my path, and I’m climbing higher on that mountain, it’s all making such sense, and the blessings I feel are almost overwhelming.

My flight to Chicago was uneventful, just a few second glances after showing my ID, but the professionals that the airline hires handled it like a champ.  The very first time flying first class spoiled me.  The hotel staff has been wonderful.  The car staff which seems to be run by Bulgarians, is pretty amazing to me.  My driver Kusco, organizes all the Bulgarian folk festivals and I look forward to at least trying to make the one in Chicago in the spring.

Even the target close to a mile a way, and not a bad walk, was a wonderful experience as i stocked up on groceries, clothes, and an oversized bag to carry it all back to the hotel.  I met a special person who went on and on about how he loved buying those canvas bags and after a short chat, I realized that God is everywhere and all will be ok.

It was 5:45 am on Tuesday when my driver dropped me off at the clinic where my face would forever be changed.  The staff was wonderful, and everything was explained in great detail.  The surgeon, nurse, and anesthesiologist all had their pep talk and game plan outline in the room with me standing there, and I surely appreciated it.

Soon, I was on the table, looking up at the lights, and as I felt the fuzziness over take me, I realized this was it.

The surgery turned out to be about 9 hours.  I had a broken nose which I hadn’t known about.  Surely, a result from years of football and rugby.  But it took a bit to fix.  I also bled a little as I was told.  All of this made for an exceptionally long surgery.

After the fuzziness the next thing I remember hearing was “She’s waking up” and sure enough there I was, tube still in my throat and the surgery was over.


Still under the effects of the anesthesia I remembered thinking that everyone was working in warp speed.  It was almost impossible for me to process the speed that people were moving and talking.  I simply focused on the light, took deep breaths, and finally the hose was removed.

With the nose work that I had done, the absolute worse part of recovery was the mucus and blood build up in my throat and in my lungs.  It was like having melted cheese stuffed into your mouth.  It felt as though I was drowning.

Stay calm I kept telling myself, but the pain wasn’t bad, and my breast surgery was much worse.

It was 11 pm when we got back to the hotel.  Such a long day.  And I was flat out exhausted.

Thank God for pain meds!!

On day 3 when Lisa, my caregiver came back to finally wash my hair, we had a great conversation.  I know that some of you who read this blog have had bad experiences with the church, and with that, it’s easy to make that experience about God,  but this entire trip has been nothing but God everywhere to me.

Lisa and I spoke and she told me how she had moved away from the church.  How their thoughts on transgender people, people who were her patients, were not accepted.  I told her my beliefs,  and how I think that no man speaks for God, and it’s so easy for me to see how everything is moving in the way it’s supposed to.  Sure I fight things, sure I’m unsure of what I should do, but the funny thing was she told me how her church is her motorcycle.  It’s when she feels closest to God.  At that moment it struck me.  My bicycle is the same way.  It’s me, it’s my mind, my soul, and God.  It really was amazing.

The rest of the time we were like friends at a slumber party.  She showed me how to do my massages, and when I got excited at hearing the fluids move, I told her it’s like the monkey in all of us.  It’s like popping paper, or grooming or popping a pimple, and I was so excited.  We died laughing.  I guess there is a little bit of monkey in all of us, and we all have that grooming in us.  It’s primal I guess.

Finally it was time for her to go.   The only person who stayed with me, my friend Lisa, and she promised she would check on me, and off she went.


Today a woman named Rina came to give me a massage that I’ve never had before.  It was a bit strange but I trust, and it involved inflatable bags around my legs, and some suction cups around my neck.  She’s a former patient of the Dr, and we had a great discussion about her path and also identity theft.  You just never know what people can tell you if you just take the time to listen.

Since then It’s been me and a fairly nice hotel room.  I’ve had a very little appetite, and I’m hoping that will drop some lbs, and when I get home and have my first pizza it won’t reset all of the starving I’ve done while I’m here.

Incase you wondered.  Pudding, apple sauce, and gatorade are all we need to live in life.

I miss Houston a lot now, and I can’t wait to get back.  I want desperately to be in my own home, but I know healing is important.  I want to be diligent in all that I do, and I want things to turn out as perfect as possible.


I’m going back up to my room now.  Maybe a nap, maybe some facebook.  Who knows.


One thought on “Northern Exposure

  1. PaulaKay says:

    Having followed your blog for a good while, I am SO happy for you! I hope to meet you sometime soon!

    Warmest gentle hugs,


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