Sunday, 23 December 2012

Home for Christmas

And so now I am home.

The facial surgery in belgium went well.  I still have some swelling and bruising, as is to be expected, with some particularly fetching yellow hues around the eyes which makes me look like a dometic violence victim once again.

Ghent is lovely and my hosts, Karien and Patrick at 'Ins Inn' apartment were pleasant, helpful and accomodating but I am pleased to be home.  That should be it for serious surgery.  I just now have to plug on with dilation and de-epilation and hopefull a female summer beckons.

I am so pleased to have got to the point.  There were certainlt times when I didn't think I would, or didn't think I had the strength to see it through.  neither am I foolish enough to think that there may not be some tough times ahead but 2013 should be a gentler year, I hope.

Do come along for the ride.

regards and season's greetings

Robin White

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

And so to bed........Er,no, Belgium

Progress is marked by small advances.  I am sleeping a little more easily and yesterday was the day that I managed to wear underwear all day without the fire between my thighs making me head off to somewhere private for some ‘commando’ relief.  Just as well, really, as rather than catching up on my much neede sleep, yesterday I travelled to Belgium for the second part of my autumn surgery, tweaking the facial cosmetic feminisation surgery I had in the summer of 2012.
I am becoming acutely aware of the design of seating and the effect it has on my post-operation sedentary comfort.  Hard (unpadded wood or metal) is excruciating in any form.  As are seats that are significantly higher at the front than the back.  My South West trains seat from Dorset to London Waterloo was so raked and so by the second half of my two-hour journey I was in considerable discomfort, doughnut cushion notwithstanding.  By contrast, the Eurostar seat from St Pancras to Brussels was virtually horizontal and so was fine, as was the SNCB local train to Ghent.
Today I had my pre-surgery consultation with Dr Bart van de Ven, who I have to say I like very much.  When we met up in London last February he reviewed my surgery and expressed himself not satisfied.  So I am here without charge from him (just hospital and anaesthetist costs to pay) for some revisions.  Tomorrow he will be taking another small slice off the bridge of my nose, increasing the upper lip lift a fraction, doing some lipofilling of the vertical lines on my forehead above my nose and tightening the facelift I had to allow for the slackness which has developed since the jaw reduction and re-shaping I had done last time round. After some thought, I am also having my earlobes reduced in size as they are, on reflection, rather masculine.
I am staying in a pleasant apartment in the centre of Ghent within walking distance of Dr B’s clinic.  The hospital is some way outside the city and I have to be there at 7.30am tomorrow, so the taxi is booked to collect me at 7.  Fortunately this time I am only scheduled for 4 hours surgery, not the 12 hours I had before, so I should be awake by the afternoon.  I stay in hospital one night and should be back to the apartment on Friday.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Headless Transsexual

I am now at home, gently recovering.  Still rather sore, particularly from the secondary candida infection I suffered from but now able to look back on my trip to Thailand.
It wasn’t quite the trip I expected as I spent all of my month in the out-of-town district of Phuket which contained the hospital, my hotel, the supermarket and the shopping centre.  I had intended to see a little of Thailand on the first weekend but surgery was brought forward so that I booked straight into the hospital on arrival.  The alternative possibility at the end of my time was ruined by my secondary infection.  I have to admit that this, and the pain and sleep deprivation it caused, laid me very low for the trip back and tthe first few days at home.
One of the few impressions I really formed was how much smaller the Thai people are.  The title of this post records that in both the hospital and the hotel if I stood in front of the full length dressing mirror my head was not visible.  I should say that I am only 6 foot tall.  My hospital gowns were XXL size and they had to send out for some larger sandals for me to wear around the hospital.  One of the nurses jokingly called me ‘Miss Universe’.
Is the difference in height genetic or diet based, I wonder?
I also reminded myself how much I dislike air conditioning.  It is not just the noise but the sanitised nature of air-conditioned air.  Of course the alternative, with temperatures in the 30’s and it being at the end of the monsoon season, was to sweat into the bedclothes unpleasantly. Hmm.  I was glad to be home to temperate climes.
As for now, I am concentrating on recovery, thrice-daily dilation, and my trip trip to Belgium next Tuesday to tweak last summer’s facial surgery.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Monday, 3 December 2012

Home now

I am now safely home.

I have to say that the flight back from Thailand last Thursday was excuciating.  At the time I could sit comfortably for about 20 minutes at a time, so to sit for 12 hours ordeal.  I am grateful for the tolerance of the travellers sat next to me, who must have noticed that I was pretty constantly in motion and to the flight entertainment system  for the films and tetris game which allowed me to focus on something other my soreness.

I am enternally grateful to Dee Palmer who came out of no-where to drive me home from Heathrow.  Fortunately she was able to drop me at salisbury station for me to catch the train back to Sherborne allowing her to get back to Sussex before midnight.

It was rather a shock to the system to return from Thailand's 30-32 degree heat to about minus 3 in Dorset when I got home.  But I soon had the heating on and the blankets over my head.

I am still rather sore and so not sleeping entirely easily, which is a bind, but things do seem to be improving bit by bit.

I'll keep you posted.

Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Such a kind offer

Dee.  I would be delighted to take you upon your kind offer.  I was going to be very English and say, no, of course I'll be fine.... but the thought of being home at 10pm rather than midnight and withso much less hassle.  My flight from Bangkok is due to arrive at Heathrow at 1910.  Robin

Show methe way to go home

It is nearly 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday 28 November, my last full day in Thailand.
I can’t really say that I have enjoyed the past week or so.  The candida infection at the break of my thighs has been slow to resolve, leaving a sore area which has considerably interfered with sleep, as I tend to turn on my side as I drift off, so bringing the sore areas together and so wake me up.
This has also put paid to my idea to use one of my last days in Phuket to see the sights, tthe Old Town and the Patong clubs.  Can I say that I am very disappointed?  Not really.
I am a little concerned about the travelling tomorrow.  I have a 30 minute taxi ride to the airport, a 2-hour flight to Bangkok, then the 11-hour flight to the UK, a 45 minute coach ride to Woking from Heathrow and then a 2-hour train ride home.  This sounds like a lot of sitting.  Today I managed a 30-minute lunch with one change of cushion, but sitting is still easily painful.  Oh well, at least home is at the end of it all.
Now I just have to hope that I can get all the dilation and other medical paraphernalia into my suitcase.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Saturday, 24 November 2012

An uncomfortable few days

By Thursday last the rash in the angles of my upper thighs hadn’t got any better so I called into the hospital first thing in the morning.  Dr Kunaporn saw me virtually at once and prescribed a zinc oxide cream.  Unfortunately it has gradually got worse over the past few days to the point where I got virtually no sleep last night.  Every time I came close to falling asleep I would turn over on my side and the irritation would be compounded and I would wake up.   I thought I would wait until Monday but wondered if the hospital would be working today, Saturday, so I called into Dr Kunaporn’s clinic at 1.30.
I have to say that the service was astonishing.  When I arrived there was just a receptionist and a nurse on duty at what was the end of the Saturday morning clinic.  Within 50 minutes they had called Dr Kunaporn at home. He arranged that I see the duty dermatologist.  The dermatologist took samples, worked them up for microscope study and identified an opportunist candida infection which he was able to show me on the screen attached to his microscope.  I was then prescribed and dispensed an oral anti-fungal and a topical anti-fungal cream.  I am so glad that I chose to stay close to the hospital.
It is now 10pm on Saturday.  It definitely is no worse, and it might be psychosomatic by I am certainly calmed and reassured and think it is on the mend.
Meanwhile, I am plugging on with dilation and I do seem to be more comfortable sitting down.  This all bodes well for the flight home on Thursday.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A little more progress

It is Wednesday 21 November. I awoke this morning at 6.30 in the middle of a violent thunderstorm with torrential rain.  That in itself was progress as I had fallen asleep about half past midnight and so slept for a whole 6 hours – the first such period for a couple of weeks now. 
Yesterday I obtained some Bepanthen from the local pharmacy to deal with the area of redness along my inner thighs which has persisted since my surgery and isn’t helped by the very itchy regrowing pubic hair.  But what a relief!  Able to lie quietly on my side again and sleep.
Another bit of progress was to be able to sit for my evening meal in a local (Australian?) chain restaurant called ‘Wine Connection’ and enjoy some well done beef.
I still had to shift position half a dozen times during the meal and the cloying constant distracting ache is still ‘down there’.
But a week today I should be packing to come home.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Monday, 19 November 2012

Cleared to fly

This morning I had my post surgery appointment with Dr Kunaporn.
I reported to the Aesthetic Surgery Clinic, which seemed to be highly polulated with thin Australian girls considering breas augmentation.  After taking my blood pressure (what is about that particular fixation?) I was walked down to the operating theatre floor below and helped to change into hospital clothes.  I was then stretched out an operating table with legs akimbo in stirrups attached to the table to await Dr Kunaporn. He was a little delayed but was pleased with his handiwork when he came and took some internal stitches out.  This last process was not without some pain. Dr K then went over the dilation regime for the next six months with me and that was that.  I collected my surgery certificates from the clinic counter and I was free to go!
I do still have 10 days before  I fly back to the UK, which is  probably just as well as at the moment, I can sit comfortably on the front edge or a seat or tolerably on my ‘doughnut’ cushion. Laying down is still quite painfulat times.  I get a little less sore each day and last night even got a tolerable few hours sleep.  The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Friday, 16 November 2012

Transsexual Oubliette

Medieval torturers worked out that if you imprisoned a person in a 4 feet square cell it was especially cruel as the prisoner could neither stand up nor lie down.  That’s a bit like how I feel now.  Sitting is very uncomfortable as is laying down.  The only really comfortable position is standing up.  Sleeping is  balance between the pain and fatigue.
I can feel the healing going on and there is progress all the time.  Bowel movements were very restricted until early this morning when an hour mostly spent on the ‘throne’ seems to show that the blockage has freed up – another sign of swelling going down.
Sitting is a bit of an issue as there is an 11 hour flight back to be ready for in only 12 days time.  At the moment I would have difficulty sitting down for take off or landing!
It is Saturday morning here and I next have a medical appointmenton Monday at 9.30 with Dr Kunaporn.  I then just have ti grin and bear it and get ready for my flight home.  I can’t say that either the bars and clubs of Patong, the old town of Phuket, or the other Thai attractions hold much attraction for me.  I’d raher be home.  So I’ll just grin, carry on reading my Kindle, and wait for Thursday week.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A change of scene

And so today I was efficiently discharged from hospital in Phuket and moved to the modest ‘Baan Suan Hotel’ a few hundred yards away for the second fortnight of my stay in Thailand.
|Regular readers may remember that my surgery was brought forward by 3 days, so my 10 day stay here will now be a fortnight.  Just as well, perhaps, in case of complications and given that it is an 11 hour flight back to the UK on 29 November and that sitting down is still a little problematical.  I feel absolutely fine standing up but finding a comfortable sitting of laying position has been difficult.  The fact that the thoughtful Dr Kunaporn has provided a ‘doughnut’ cushion for me confirms what I have gleaned from others who have been along the path before.  Sitting can be a bit sore for a while.
The hotel is fine, modern and fully furnished, if a bit Spartan.  But then who’s complaining for £250 for a 2 week stay.The local hypermarket is a couple of hundred yards away and a wander along this afternoon funished me with Alpen for tomorrow’s breakfast, after a KFC lunch and a macaroni and vegetable snack for this evening’s meal.
Then the evening dilation (still only comfortable up to number 3) and then time to update the blog before turning in.  I think I will have a further wander around tomorrow. The streets have a particularly developing world feel, with shanty cafe’s and chaotic power lines on roadside poles.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Road to Recovery

Wedenesday14 November, 8pm.  Third dilation of the day completed. Phew!
Still pretty swollen ‘down there’.  Urinating still something of an effort but easing each time.
Dilation fine – just methodical.  A matter of having everything laid out ready and working through the process.  Just a bit strange.
Hard to believe that tomorrow it will be a fortnight since I came here and a fortnight before I head back.  I believe tomorrow I should be moving from the hospital to the hotel for my second fortnight but no signs of it being organised today.  We shall see.
Sorry if this is a little short but quite a tiring day.
Robin Moira White

Monday, 12 November 2012

An amazing day

Monday 12 November didn’t start well. As well as the rawness I was suffering from yesterday I didn’t get much sleep last night as my pubic hair, shaved over a week ago now, was now re-growing under the medical tape covering the operation area.  The result was excruciating itchiness which I endured all night long and until the doctor came to see me at 10.30 this morning.
Oh! The relief when the tape and bandaging was peeled back and the catheter, drain and packing were removed.
But, of course, more than that was the first sight of my new genital area.  Swollen for now but worth all the time and trouble.
It was nothing short of amazing to stand in the shower shortly thereafter for my first shower in over a week and to know and feel that I now have the anatomy I have wanted for so long.
The rest of today has been rather restful, reading and watching TV. There is plainly a bit or re-learning to do because the skin that has been re-used still has its nerves attached and I have to relearn the stimulus relative to the new structure.  I suspect that will take a little time. 
There is a little concern that, although I have been drinking steadily during the day, I haven’t yet used my new urinry tract exit.  No panic, at least yet, I think.
Tomorrow is to be the start of learning to dilate, the process which will keep the neo-vagina cavity open and healthy for future use.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Sunday, 11 November 2012

3 Days in Purgatory

It is six at night on Sunday 11 November and I’m feeling pretty low.  Since the skin graft on Friday I have been confined to bed.  Dr Kunaporn has visited me every morning and the graft seems to be going well.  The packing appears to be holding it properly in place and all is apparently going how he would expect.  That’s what I am trying to hang on to. 
The problems are that the perenerial area is well taped down with the medical equivalent of duct tape and round the edges of that my skin feel pretty raw and sore.  Finding a comfortable position to lie in is difficult.  On my back with legs 30 degrees apart if most comfortable for that area but after an hour of so I get lower back pain.  If I change to the foetal position in which I normally sleep, the pain from the tape increases.
On top of the above, I haven’t had a bowel movement since Thursday evening and although I eat healthily on Friday and Saturday I now have little or no appetite as my digestive system must by now be pretty well backed up.  I ordered a BLT sandwich for lunch today which looked great but I couldn’t face eating it.
And then there is the general frustration of being stuck in a hospital bed unable to do much for yourself.  I haven’t wanted the aircon on as the temperature is warm but fine and I find the noise distracting but every once in a while one of the nurses switches it on and I have to use the call button to get one of them to come to switch it off.  I also dislike bed baths, however competently they are performed but I long to stand under a shower on my own.
Apparently, most of this gets better tomorrow when the neo-vaginal packing is removed.  I do hope so.  Just 12 or so more hours to bear, not so much after 48 years, I suppose.
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Skin graft complete - I think?

I was woken at 6.30 this morning, Friday 9 November,  to be got ready for theatre, in particular for a drip line to be put into my right hand and for my temperature, blood pressure and pulse to be checked for the umpteenth time.  I asked for this to be put off until7.30 so I could have a stand-up wash in my little en-suite bathroom –much more refreshing.  There was much concern whether I had done ‘poo-poo’ during the night.  I had not, so I dutifully tried again but with no results.  I had extensively ans expressively opened my bowels the previous evening, so no real surprise there.
Of to theatre at nine, all prepared for the op including face mask blowing oxygen and then ......nothing.  At half past nine the anaesthetist appeared and rather pre-emptorily and uncomfortably pulled off the mask and said ‘we need to wait!’ to the world in general.
I was then on the very flat operating table for the next hour with my legs strapped down but with a rather menacing pair of leg stirrup stands standing waiting either sides of my thighs.  Lower back pain was mounting and fortunately the theatre staff unfastened my legs and allowed me to move to a more comfortable position.  I wonder why I was taken to theatre about an hour earlier than was necessary?
The delay did allow me to notice that theatre lights were not focussed on my nether regions but on a side table where a technician was clearly working on something pinned out in a plastic tray – my skin for grating.  I was reminded of O-level frog dissection.  Whilst the other staff were chattering away in Thai she was clearly very focussed on her work.
At about 10.30 Dr Kumaporn appeared, announced ‘Let’s start!’ and everyone sprang into action.  I have no memory beyond the anaesthetist going into action until I woke up in recovery at 12.30.
Its now 2 and I am back in my room. I have a dull ache in my nether regions but am otherwise fine.  Things are still well bandaged over with a urinary catheter and a drain emerging from the bandaging, so as to the result, I am still not clear.
Back to the TV and my books.

Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Patience is a virtue

Not much to report today, Wednesday 7 November.   Visited by Dr Kunaporn the morning, who is happy with progress and says we are on course for the skin grafting session on Friday.  This means that tomorrow is likely to be another uneventful day as well.  I am on a gentle mixture of antibiotics and painkillers.  Today they added a laxative, as I haven’t opened my bowels since Saturday, although I have been eating well, is conservatively, since then.  Apparently this is not unusual when ‘down there’ has been affected as much as it has, and nothing to get concerned about.  The result, this evening, was the first ‘movement’ with some difficulty – so that’s OK as well.
On my wander rounds this afternoon (I did about a mile of so along the hospital corridors at a steady pace) I stopped at the nurses station for a chat with the head nurse.  Apparently, quite unusually, I am the only reassignment patient in at the moment.   All others are here for breast augmentations, tummy tucks and the like.  Also unusually, I am the only western patient.  It is apparently unusual not to have some Aussies or New Zealanders if not a Brit of two.  So much for bringing scrabble with me!
I got a bit annoyed this afternoon,  A solicitor from the UK for who I had conducted a procedural hearing in the week before I came away seems to have been given an incomplete report of it by his member of staff who came to the hearing and seems miffed I can’t sort that out from 10,000 km away.  And I had made plain what my timetable was.  That is notable in contrast to the wonderful understanding I have generally had from my professional colleagues.
Ho hum, back to my book.....
Robin Moira White

Monday, 5 November 2012


Tuesday 6 November, midday and just back from theatre after my second general anaesthetic to have the packing inside my new neo-vagina changed.  Presumably it would have been rather traumatic without the anaesthetic.  As before I was on nil-by-mouth after midnight.  At 7.30 the nurse appeared to put a line into my left hand and then at 9 the gang appeared to move be from my bed to one trolley to go down to the first floor which has the operating theratres and transfer to another trolley outside the operating theatre and finally transfer to the table.  Now they spread out both arms and set up blod pressure monitoring on the right arm, a mask over your mouth and nose and then......oblivion.
Next thing I know is waking up in rehab alongside the ICU and then back to my room for a late breakfast at midday, a dip into my new book ‘Winter of the World’ and ‘The talented Mr Ripley’ on HBO movie channel Asia.
If the rest of the month is like this, I am coming out for reassignment every year!
I have an awful feeling that there must be some pain on the way, but I don’t see it yet.
Robin Moira White

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Phase 1 complete

It is now 6pm on Sunday evening in Phuket and I have been in bed all day!
I don’t have much of a memory of yesterday, Saturday, as they came for me at around 9.30 am and then off to the operating theatre. (Look away now if you are squeamish, or male, or both!).  What I am told happened while I was in theatre was the removal of penis and testicles, creation of the new vaginal canal and reservation of the skin for the re-grafting stage, probably to be carried out on Friday next.  There certainly is ‘less’ down below than there was but it is thoroughly bandaged, so nothing to see yet.  I woke up back in my room about 5pm.
I have a urinary catheter and a drain emerging from ‘down below’ and I have been encouraged to keep up my fluid intake.  I have not been moving about much but I haven’t really had any pain, just a bit of discomfort, rather like bruising.
I have been reading the new ‘what if’ historical novel ‘Dominion’ and there are enough English language channels on hospital TV to keep me interested.  A disappointment was that one network was showing the Bond movie ‘Quantum of Solace’ but unfortunately it was dubbed in one Asian language and subtitled in another!
I am told that I will be allowed out of bed for a short walk tomorrow.
Bye for now.
Robin White

Friday, 2 November 2012

An interesting start to November

I left home just after 1pm on Thursday and made my way by train and rail-air coach to Heathrow.  I then proceeded to eat my way to Thailand !  As there were no travel difficulties I was in the departure lounge with a good two hours to spare. I filled this with a French-style evening meal enlivened by the head waiter cannoning into one of the other waiters who was carrying a tray of drinks and showering the lot over a poor couple heading off on holiday.  Then I caught EVA Airways flight BR068 leaving at 21.20 and flying through what would have been my night to Bankok.  Unfortunately, largely due to the passenger I was seated next to’s constant movements, I got little sleep but I did get to watch three films; Amelie, Inception and the Bourne Supremacy, and a National Geographic Channel programme about the American National Security Agency.  Funny how an American-made program about cryptanalysis referred in the historical section to the WW2 breaking of the German Enigma code as an ‘Allied’ success with not a mention of the pioneering work done the Polish Government pre-1939 and the bulk of the work being performed by Bletchley Park in the UK!  I should say that EVA air fed us with a three course evening meal, a 3am snack for those of us awake and a 7am breakfast.
As we were flying over a work turning towards our direction of flight, dawn was at 3am London time and arrival in Bankok at 8.30am London time but 15.30 local time.  The 1730 connecting flight to Phuket was a little late, but not without a three-course airline meal  on a flight of just over and hour !  The taxi driver organised by the hospital was reassuringly waiting for me, and I arrived at the ‘Phuket International Hospital’ at 9pm. 
After some initial confusion as to why I was here, I was soon plugged into the admissions process and have had my blood pressure checked three times; a chest X-ray; had my perenerium (look it up!) expertly shaved with a cut-throat razor and an enema (yuk!); and finally a consultation with Dr Kunaporn in advance of tomorrow’s operation – all between 9 and 10.30 at night. Not bad going.
So the end of 2nd November finds me happily installed in a private room and looking forward to getting my head down in advance of the operation tomorrow, which kick’s off with the pre-med about 9 and should have me back in my room (but bed-ridden by about 5).
Just remember that the time here is 9 hours ahead of the UK.
I’ll keep you posted !
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Just a week to go

Oh my gosh!  Just a week to go.

This time next week I will be sitting at Heathrow about to catch the 'plane to Thailand for my re-assignment surgery.

How do I feel?

Well, its a bit strange really.  I think I ought to be scared or concerned but I'm not.  It makes me think about practical things like the ease of wearing nicer lingerie or tight jeans in future, or the ability to go to the swimming pool in future without causing consternation in the changing room.  Or of not being forceably reminded of who I am not when I get ready for bed or take a shower.  And then, of course, there is, or may be, sex....

But I can't say that I am particularly worried about the process.  I am fit and healthy and (just) the right side of 50, and Sanguan Kunaporn, the Thai surgeon, comes with the highest possibnle reccomendation.  I have taken advice about what to wear, what to take and how to prepare, in particular from two very sensible folks who have been along the road ahead of me..

And I am READY for this.  I worked out that I was trans aged 12 or 13, I think.  I dipped my toe in the water in my leat teens / earlt 20's and was not ready for this enormous step then.  But I have tried the alternatives and they either do not work for me, or I can't live with them.

There is no magic wand.  My transition will not be as complete or as effective as if I had done it when I was 16 or 26.  But it offers me the best chance of a liveable life for the next 20 or 30 or who knows years.  And that is worth having.

Follow my next steps.

I'll keep you posted

Robin Moira White

Friday, 19 October 2012

The schizophrenic bedside table

And then something happens which makes you burst out laughing.

I was staying away in a hotel a few days ago and had a (rare) evening when I didn't have too much work to do.  I called into the local WHSmith to get myself a magazine or two to while away the evening.  When I lined them up on my bedside table the combination struck me as hilarious.  They were 'Cosmopolitan', 'Steam Railway', and 'New Scientist'.  A pretty unlikely combination, you will allow, and one which still had me chcklimng on the way to court the next day.

The serious point, if there is one, is that I have no intention of throwing away or denying the parts of me which have made me me and which I enjoy.  There is no prospect of my taking up cross-stitch or flower arrangeing in the near future.

Oh yes - and now it is less than two weeks before I head off to Thailand for my reassignment surgery.  Wish me luck.


Robin Moira White

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ups and Downs of Trainsition - Downs

But there is always a cloud with every silver lining.

I don't always 'pass' as perfectly female and there are still a few idiots out there.  A few weeks ago a member of staff at a small west country hotel at which I was staying, believeing that I was out of earshot, shouted along a corridor that 'she, he or it' had come to collect their room key.  Does being transgender make them think you are deaf? 

When I spoke to the hotel owner, she was mortified to find out that I had heard what the member of staff had said.  When I arrived back late that evening a very nice card of apology was propped up against a bottle of wine on my bedside table.  Full marks.

By contrast, having been through two levels of complaint at the BBC and now about to complain to the BBC Trust, this august public corporation thinks that it is OK for a character in a satirical show at 6.30 pm on Radio 4 to say that 'you should not call people 'it' unless they are transgendered or hermaphrodites and want to be referred to in a gender-neutral way'.  Crass idiots.

I was before, at least as far as the world knew, a white, middle-aged, middle class male.  Discrimination was something that happenned to other folks.  Interesting how your perspective changes.


Robin Moira White

Ups and Downs of Transition - Ups

A couple of linked posts on the ups and downs of transition.

Ever the optimist, lets start with the ups.

I am fairly happy with my 'look' now, or at least as happy as I can be at over 6 feet tall in anyuthing but bare feet!

Only the other day I was in the quefor the supermarket checkout and in front of me a lad of 7 or 8 was playing up to his Dad who had been sent out for some last minute Sunday morning shopping, it seemed.  He was told to behave or they would be delaying the 'lady' waiting behind them - that was me!  I am sure I wasnt being given a second thought by either of them.

It is now 14 months of so since I started living full time in the female role and I now couldn't imagine doing anything else.  Skirts and blouses are entirely natural and reverting to a shirt and tie would seem very weird indeed.

All just as well, I suppose, as I have been approved for reassignment surgery and am off to Thailand in about 3 weeks now.  It all seems a bit unreal but I am sooooo looking forwards to 'downstairs' matching the rest of me.  I will try to blog regularly during my time away.


Robin Moira White 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Ding, Ding, Round 3 !

Its been a bit of a tough week.

No, not a reference to the Olympic boxing, but to round three of hair transplants. (Rhetorical question - am I alone in wondering how boxing can really be a sport, when the intention, however dressed up or disguised, is to beat your opponent into a pulp.  The women boxers I have heard from in the last few days do nothing to improve my view... but I digress....)

On Monday last, 6th August 2012, I had round three of hair transplants at the Wimpole Clinic in London.  I was still not satisfied with the density achieved so far and so went back for a third go, to (hopefully!) eliminate the thin area on the crown and just behind it.  I am really, really happy with my generally lengthening hair and cannot see this area myself, without some contortions and a mirror, but I knew it was there.

This seemed like the toughest session yet.  All was fine on the day, with Dr May and his team doing their usual professional job.  The donor 'slice' off the back of my head has been very sore.  Perhaps this is not surprising as two previous slices have been taken and the skin stretched each time.  The top of my head, where the 1000+ insertions, over 2000 individual hairs, were planted, has also been quite sore.  On the day after, Tuesday, I was, unusually for me, very nauseous indeed, which made keeping the painkillers and antibiotics down very difficult, in fact impossible, which didn't help.

As usual, I couldn't wash my hair for three days, which is quite unpleasant in itself and a great relief on Thursday when I could wash all the congealed blood out of my hair - yuk!

Recovery over the following days was slow and I have had to make a concerted effort to get some sleep and not to be too grouchy.  Still, I tell myself that it will all be worth it, and from what I can feel, it really should have made a big difference, filling out the final thin areas once the growth cycle has got underway.  I am hoping that I have the usual good fortune with my strong hair that most of the grafts don't shed and regrow.  It will, however, be some months while the grafts grow to a useful length before the full effect can be judged.

Fortunately, I have a week's paperwork this week, so I can be grouchy to myself.....

I could have waited to do this third round next year but I am SO desperate to have everything over with by 2013, that it was good to get it done now.

I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Out in the sun.

British readers of the blog will know that last week, after a very disappointing start to the summer, we had a week of hot, dry sunny weather.  Fortunately for me, I had a stack of paperwork to do for a major client and was able to take it to my holiday home on the Somerset coast.  I am very pleased to say, that for the first time, I now have nicely tanned legs, or at least the start of them.

Previously my white male legs made brief and shocking appearances on holiday in the summer and were then hidden away (quite rightly) for the rest of the year.  Now, after all the laser treatment, they are quite regularly seen, but usually in tights.  This side of November's surgery, tights are quite helpful in keeping 'everything' tucked away and under control. (Oh, what a joy it will be when that is not necessary anymore!)  So what could I do?  Well the solution was relatively simple.  I cut the legs off a few old pairs and they were able to provide the same 'support' but leaving my legs free and able to breathe.  What a treat!

It is rumoured that we may have a little more summer again in September, so my legs will be out to play again then, and next year I am wondering about a week away early in the summer or late spring with reliable sunshine to banish the winter pasty-ness.

I'll keep you posted !

Robin Moira White

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Strangers on a train.

Not really a lot happening at the moment.  Hair a little longer. (I can feel it on the back of my neck now.)  Weekly electrolysis sessions a little shorter - coming down towards 100 insertions. (Thank you Margaret, Jannine and Emma.) And round 3 of hair transplants on course for Monday 6 August.

But the REAL story is that the time towards my trip to Thailand and reassignment surgery ticks ever away.  Only 15 weeks now.

And it can't come too soon.  The nice thing about my regular train journey up to London, apart from the great scenery, is spotting a nice 'fit' serviceman getting on or off the train at Salisbury (where the HQ UK Land Forces are based).  The thought of proper, straight, enjoyable sex with a man grows larger and larger in my thoughts (and helps me stick to my diet) and helps me be very, very certain that I am doing the right thing.  Just the other day, there was a LOVELY chap in a 'camo' uniform with a Major's crown on that tab velcro'd to the front of his jacket as is the style these days, who seemed to be heading up to London.  He certainly featured in my dreams for a couple of nights after that.

Just imagine how it has been, for as long as I can remember, to have had to hide my real thoughts, so difficult, so dangerous, so unfulfillable, away as deeply as I could and now to be able to contemplate a time when........well, I'll leave you to fill in my imagination.

Thank goodness for 21st century medicine.

Robin Moira White

Monday, 25 June 2012

Longer and longer!

Transition is not the easiest process in the world but boy! (sorry, I mean girl!) are there benefits.

I dreamed for so long of letting my hair grow and now I have been able to.  It is not down to my shoulders yet but it is certainly on the way - I can tuck it behind my ears now, if I choose.  It makes me so happy!

I had my 6-month check up with Dr May at the Wimpole hair transplant clinic a few days ago.  What a transformation, looking back at my old photos.  There is now just a little thinness at the crown and just behind / below it.  I can't see it without performing gymnastics in front of the mirror but I know its there and want it gone, so I will definitely have another 1000 transplants in a couple of months time to completely eliminate this.

Now I have started to look at hair accessories in the supermarket.  Wonderful!.  I find that I am naturally a little wavy or curly, so just some careful brushing in the morning and I have a style I am quite happy with.  Oh! What a change from a trip to the barber and debating whether to have a number 1 or number 2 cut.  Poor barber - he must have wondered where I disappeared to a couple of years ago.

Only a little over 4 months now until my trip to Thailand for the 'big op'.  I can't wait.  I lie in bed at night and dream of the final result, of being on my favourite beach in Cornwall in summer 2013 in my swimming costume with 'nothing to hide'.  I am so excited!

Do stay with me for the ride.

Robin Moira White

Monday, 4 June 2012

Escaping the dalek and the throttled frog.

Its been a rather strange Queen's Jubilee weekend for me, starting to get used to a new voice.

I had my surgery on Tuesday morning and was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.  By Thursday I could manage speech on a single high frequency - rather like the monotonous daleks that kept us hiding behind the sofa when Dr Who was new.

By Friday I had improved to a 'throttled frog' in time to visit Gary Wood, my speech therapist and work out some exercises to improve my range. 

Things have been improving virtually hourly, as wth hoarseness and swelling subside in roughly equall measure.  It is hard to predict quite where things will settle down but my resting frequency certainly sounds markedly higher to me than it did before.  Of course, you are not usually the best judge of your own voice, as you don't hear yourself as others hear you, so I am looking forward to hearing the reactions of others in the next few days and weeks.

Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cricothyroid Approximation

The 'cricothyroid approximation' - it sounds rather like a Robert Ludlam novel but in fact it was a trip to the Wellington Hospital in London, yesterday for an operation by Professor Cheesman to 'up' the pitch of my voice. 

I am generally quite happy about appearance now.  Body shape is good, hair long and lengthening, balding area now pretty much covered by regrowth but then I go and open my mouth and ruin it all.  My voice pitch is low - 'R nought' (as the speech therapists say - of only 87 Hz.  Low even for the male range.  I have put my time in on speech therapy but the therapist and I decided that some surgical help was indicated and so yesterday morning Prof Cheesman sliced across the front of my throat, pulled had on my vocal cords' mounting and stitched me up again.  I am sure he will hate that explanation, but it did for BBC Radio Somerset on Monday morning when I dropped in on the Emma Britain show to keep them updated  (lovely lady).

I am a bit hoarse, and do look rather like I have tried to cut my head off with a hunting sabre, but no doubt it will all settle down soon.  I'll let you know what the results are.

You may be able to watch them for yourselves because the BBC west country current afairs programme 'Inside Out' having been investing some time filming me for broadcast shortly, so fingers crossed for a good result.

The next step is a visit to the speech therapist in London on Friday.

I'll keep you posted!


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Bits and Pieces

I always said that I wouldn't post unless I had something to say, but it probably is time for an update in a number of areas, and a few followers have asked so.....

I passed a useful facila electrolysis milestone yesterday - the first weekly session where the number of insertions was below 200, just at 198.  Yes, I lie there counting them!  This also means that I am down to half an hour and my skin recovers really well - within the hour, mostly.

Tomorrow is another laser session for lower legs, buttocks and small of my back, and that is going really well also.

On Thursday 24 I am speaking on transgender and workplace issues at the national Employment Lawyers Association conference in London - a rather larger audience than I have had before, but a good opportunity.

Perhaps the biggest bit of news is that my voice operation (cricothyroid approximation) at the Wellington Hospital in London has been brought forward to 29 May.  I am really looking forward to that as voice is the big unsolved area for me at the moment.  This balances my worries about doing anything to affect my voice which is, of course, a big part of my working life.

Oh, and I picked up three pairs of white loafers from the good folks at 'Theatrical Shoemakers' in Docklands, so I have a decent range of casual shoes in my rather larger sizes for the coming (hopefully) summer.

And lastly I am now on a pretty strict diet and exercise regime as I want to be down to 12 stones and fit before I head off to Thailand in November to give myself the best chance of a smooth ride through the surgery.  Nothing especially arduous but I am pleased to find that I still only have to tweak the regime a little and the weight strats to come off.

That's all for now!


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Simple pleasures

This has, in personal terms been a tough couple of years and the coming 12 months have some bumps in the road, I would expect but I am often struck by how it is the simple things which give me comfort.

On Monday I had to travel up to London and as I the train came in a gentleman and I were waiting on the platform approximately level with the same door when the train stopped.  He opened the doors with the button and they - gallantly - gestured for me to get on the train first.  So nice.

And then yesterday, as it was likely to be the only really fine day this week I took a trip up to Wells in Somerset, that delightful medaevial city.  When the sun shone it was really quite warm and it was so pleasant, in a sleeveless dress, to feel the sun on my arms and legs.  My traditional male summer wear was short-sleeved shirts which has left me with a noticeable tan to my forearms and lower half of my upper arms, and contrasting whiteness above.  That was quite visible last year.  It was pleasant to note that things have evened out a lot, and a few more fine days and some very gentle tanning should see that sorted.

Last night the weather turned markedly worse - high winds and driving rain.  At about 4 in the morning I was laying awake listening to the rain being driven against my window and thinking how comfortable I was, snuggled under a thick duvet in my bed.

Later this morning I will get to watch the west country scenery from the dry safeness of my train as I travel up for a conference with clients in Chambers in London.  Always and interesting journey, especially with a coffee and a Kit-Kat from the trolley steward.

So many simple pleasures....

Robin White

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Up, up and away.....

Big, big step today.

I booked my flights to and from Thailand for November, for the 'big op'!

Have been wonedring for the rest of the day what to write about how I feel about that.  After all, it is seven months away still, less a day or two.

Truth be told, it can't come soon enough.  I am fed up with being reminded in bed, in the shower, when getting dressed, etc etc, who I am not.  Phuket, here I come.

And then there are the other reasons for the op......but then, this is a 'family' blog, so I had been leave those to your imagination.  Mine is certainly fairly active!

Robin Moira White

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Out of Africa

The useage monitoring system for this blog occasionall springs a surprise or two.  Since I started I have had nearly 7,000 'pageviews' from folks in the UK, over 2,000 from the US  and then quite a lot of others spread across the globe.

In the stats for the last day or so, 30 page views have popped up for Nigeria.  I understand that to be a heavily religious country and I guess that 'difference' is not much encouraged or tolerated there.  If you are the lonely soul who has come across my blog, do send me a message to tell me a little about yourself.

kind regards

Robin Moira White

The Chrysalids - John Wyndham

Its funny how you can be transported back to your childhood in a moment.

We have had a new bookshop open here in Sherborne in the last few weeks (yes, really!) ande whilst mooching through the High Street yesterday I thought I had better have a look.  It replaced the most dire of our three fish and chip shops, so could only be an improvement.  (Advert moment - the best of the three is 'Pisces', hidden in a housing estate to the west of the town.  My knowledge of that fact may explain why my weight loss programme is working, but slowly.)  Anyway, back to the new bookshop.  It was bright, cheerful, includes a cafe area (every third shop in Sherborne includes a cafe!) and seemed to be well stocked.  I thought I should buy something to show support and then I spotted a book I havent read since I was 16 or 17 - 'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham, now released under the 'Penguin Classic' label.

Instatntly I was back to my confused period in my teens when I knew I was the wrong gender but couldn't do anything about it or talk to anyone.  The story is about an agrarian community living many years after a world nuclear war where 'mutants' are killed with religious fervour to attempt to maintain genetic purity as the world gradually recovers.  A small group of teenagers find that they can telepathically communicate between themselves.  So they are outwardly normal but inwardly mutants, and when the community discover them - the trouble starts.......

It is a great read and the parallels with my circumstances at the time will be obvious.

Gosh, how different the world is now.

At the moment I am back to a waiting game.  Head hair gets steadily longer and denser, hair elsewhere fading gradually, voice surgery in July, reassignment in November.  I just have to be patient, patient! PATIENT!

At least, with the warmer weather, I'll be able to catch a little sun this year.  But it will all be so much easier in 2013.

I'll keep you posted

Robin Moira White

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Watch me on the web!

In Febuary, Dr Bart van de Ven brought his videographer to London with him and made a short film with me about transition and the legal and practical position of folks transitioning in the workplace.  You can view it on his site at

For once this will be a very short post as the video should do the talking!


Robin Moira White

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The talking transsexual

On Tuesday I am delivering for the fourth time now, an hour-long talk entitled 'Transition in the workplace - the inside view'.  This time it is in Derby, arranged by the solicitors 'Bradley & Jeffries.  The talk is aimed at employment law solicitors, human resources managers and other 'people' managers in businesses who might have to manage a transsexual's transition in the workplace.  It is quite a personal session, following my personal journey closely and openly, and has been very well received.

I hope that by being open, and saying how well my transition and the interactions in my working location have gone, it will help lay the pathway for more successful transitions in the future.  Oh, and participants have said the session was fun(!) as well as informative.

The 'big one' for me will be when I give the session at the Employment Lawyers Association annual conference in May, probably to quite a large group - eek!

When I have given the talk in the provinces, local media seem to have readily picked up on it.  BBC local radio interviewed me in Taunton a short while ago and on Monday (12 March)  BBC Radio Derby are calling me at 08.15 so that I can join them on their breakfast show.  Listen in via the web, if you like.

Well that's barristers (trial lawyers) for you, we just love the sound of our own voices.....

Robin White

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blowing my cover?

A firm of solicitors a few doors along from my chambers had a social evening last week. They have some connections in the motor racing world, so gave the evening a 'Formula One' theme. Partially this consisted of some interesting photographs around the Walls and partially was created by the 8-lane 'Scalextric' model motor racing circuit set up in the middle of the room. I had spent an hour or two with my 'Scalextrics' in my youth, so I had a go and laid down quite a fast lap.

A couple of hours, several glasses of wine and some nice chat later I found myself being called forward as one of the 8 fastest lap times to take part in the final! This would consist of eight races with each of us driving each car/lane to even out differences of car, corner sharpness etc. So there I found myself, in compsny with 7very determined-looking 'suits'. Round we went, with the testosterone-fuelled suits crashing and spinning off at the corners! Meanwhile, 'steady Edwina' drove round at a fast but sustainable pace. Crucially, I finished, and scored points in every race.

And so, much to the good-natured chagrin of the 'suits' I found myself collecting the hamper of 'Carluccio's' Italian food, and very nice it has proved!

I am bait concerned that I have blown my cover, though. Or perhaps, because I proved myself to be a good and careful driver, have I perhaps enhanced my female status?

Robin Moira White

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lady in comfortable shoes

One aspect of female dressing which I have sttruggled with over the past year is shoes.

I have large feet for a lady.My left foot is UK nine and a quarter (Continental 44) and my right foot is perhaps nine and a half (Continental 45) and they are reasonably wide with it.  This has meant that even shoes from the shops which offer larger sizes have tended to be too narrow for real comfort, unless they are sandals.  Size nine's are just a bit small, and size 10's generally too large.

The contrast with my previous male shoe comfort has been considerable.  I used to wear 'Dr Martins' shoes with big soles which were very comfortable.  I started on these when I worked for the railways and had to head off along the track on occasion but also be smart in meeting the public.  When they became a bit too 'loutish' for my legal practice I switched to 'Airwair' shoes which were smarter but almost as comfortable.

When I used to dress occasionally as female a tight pair of heels were fine for an evening but it all a little different when you are sloggiing from the railway station to the hotel or to the court.

The solution for me has been to go to a wonderful little company called 'Theatrical Shoemakers' based in London's Docklands.   They normally make shoes for film or theater, and so are used to 'unusual' commissions.  Want sandals for a troopof Roman soldiers?  Want boots for a tribe of dwarfs?  They can oblige.  So after having a last made, they have produced me 2 pairs of boots, 4 pairs of court shoes and 2 pairs of loafers, allin smart black leather, suitable for court wear.

Wonderful!  comfortable shoes at last!  Perhaps not as comfortable as my air cushioned soles but a great step forward.  Thank you 'Theatrical Shoemakers', I will be back next winter for a suite of smart casual shoes.

By the way,'ladies in comfortable shoes' is English idiom for 'lesbian'.  I don't know where it comes from (do send me a message if you know), but that's not me,as I continue to look at the male population with increasing interest.  Roll on 2013....

Robin Moira White

Friday, 13 January 2012

A new voice for a new life?

For me, voice is very important.  As a barrister (trial lawyer) it is one of my principal working tools.  And my present voice is very definitely male.  The mean normal pitch of male voices is around 120Hz, and for female voices is 220Hz.  Mine is 90Hz.  So low, even in the male range.  I have been working with a speech therapist on this for some time (Gary Wood of the London ENT Hospital) but my difficulty is that I need to retain power and authority in the voice for use in court.

We have come to the conclusion that I will not achieve a female voice with which I am happy without surgical intervention.  This used to be terribly risky and not well understood but matters have moved on in past years. (I am grateful to those who have gone before.) And so in February I am off for a consultation with Anthony Cheesman at the Wellington Hospital to discuss a 'Cricothyroid Approximation'.  This is an operation which increases the tension on the vocal cords and so ups the pitch, hopefully by 60 Hz or so, getting me into the lower end of the female range, and also helping with the pitch of vegetal sounds, such a coughing.

Scary?  Yes!  But I am fed up with the pause when I ring my telephone banking service or they ask me 'Are you calling for someone else?'  I want every aspect of my presentation to be female and to support the other aspects.  After all, what chap will want a girlfriend with a deeper voice than him?

Facial electrolysis is going well.  Now I am down to 45 mins a week, with the therapist spending some time searching for the next hair at times.  Today we cleared everything with only 262 insertions of the needle, which compares with over 1000 per hour (for 3 hours) when I started 18 months ago.

Thank you to those of you who sympathised with my problems over Xmas with heating and hot water at home.  It is now fixed but it did take 15 days - an appaling service from Nationwide's 'Home Emergency' Service.  I will let you know what comes of the letter of complaint.

Oh gosh, and now its only 9 months and 22 days before I head off to Thailand for the 'big op'.  Time does seem to race by.  I was looking at flights the other evening........I'll keep you posted.

Robin White

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Christmas - mixed blessings

The GOOD news this Christmas holiday was that I had my second round of hair transplants on 23 December.  This time they did 1,102 to add to the 1,742 last Christmas.  Last yea they aimed for 1,500 and this year 1,000 but apparently I have densely packed hairfollicles and so the harvested skin from the back of my head provided more than they bargained for.

Last year I can't remeber anything much after 'you'll just feel a sharp scratch....' until being brought completely round to go home.  This year I seemed to be rather more resistant to the anaesthetic and so although I must have been well out of it for the skin harvesting, I was pretty much awake later and was able to look at the technicians dissecting out the hair follicles and could feel the 'planting' process.

And the result?  It great!  Even though the 'planted' hairs are short - about 7 or 8 mm - and so feel a bit 'spikey' if you run your hand over then, they have filled in the small remaining thin patches on the crown and just behind on my head, and that's before they grow longer.  Wonderful!  A full head of hair!  Now I just need it to grow to match the rest and for it all to be down to my shoulders which is where I want it.

Thank you so much Dr May and your team at the Wimpole Clinic, Manchester Street, London!  Such a confidence boost to have a full head of hair and not to have to bother with those 'Toppik' fibres to fill in the thinning.

And the LESS GOOD news?  The boiler which provides my home hot water and heating failed on 21 December, just before I had my transplants.  I have 24 hour 'Home Emergency' cover provided by the Nationwide Building Society, so 'no problem' you would think.  NO WAY!  It is now 4 January and it is still not fixed.  A combination of poor communication and poor service and the shut downs of normal life over the Christmas and then the New Year holidays have meant me being excluded from use of my home over this period.  It might get fixed tomorrow, 5 Jan, but then I have been told that four times before and the engineer has visited twice previously, so I am not holding my breath.  Worst of all, I was expecting it to be fixed on the day that I was having hair transplants and only found out on the train home that it was not, which left me trying to sleep in a freezing cold house in quite a lot of pain.  Only through the generousity of relatives and friends have I had somewhere warm to sleep and been able to have a warm bath or shower each day through the holiday.

I am very, very angry and disappointed.  The letter of complaint is drafted, I am just waiting for the problem to be finally fixed to express my displeasure to the Nationwide.  So far I have told 32 folks about my displeasure, and now you know as well.....

Still, 2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year, with 5 November pencilled in for 'the big op'.  Do join me for the ride....


Robin Moira White