Monday, 8 September 2014

An update, casual misogyny and no more compact discs

Well, after the post last week I thought an update was in order.

First of all I would like to say thanks to all of you for your kind words. I tried to answer them, but the text just wasn't coming so I thought I'd do one big update.

Dad is still in hospital, though as of yesterday he is allowed out of his room and he is walking around. The nurses have told him that he can leave the ward now, the door is open and he is allowed to go further than just the day room!

Where he went to watch F1 yesterday and today (he is where I get my interest in the sport from), but hasn't gone further as he is still too tired.

Which isn't surprising - he has lost more than 2 stone in two weeks (24 pounds / 13KG). But, the infection has gone and he is not in pain anymore and can start to eat again. All of which is great news!

He has to stay in for a few more days as they want him to start building himself up before coming home.

About the future - that has to be discussed on Tuesday with the oncologist. She agrees with the diagnosis that there is nothing to see on the scans and that he is probably free of the disease. But... She would prefer that he goes onto a somewhat lower (though how much lower we don't know) dose for as long as he can take it / mid November to make sure. He has said he is gong to try as they have removed one part of the chemo that was causing the most problems.

We'll see on Tuesday where or not he is home, but at least it's a positive update today, and for the last few days, from my mum.

How am I doing? Exhausted, though nowhere near as much as my mum is. She looks shattered, but also a lot better than 7 days ago.

This week I am off of work, not to go anywhere, but just to stay at home and do nothing. Friday 11am I finished my time for the week and that was that! We are going to buy a book tomorrow that has arrived at the bookshop and I plan to read it whilst the little guy is sleeping, or keeping himself busy.

Friday was also a party for the company where I work, it has existed for 15 years now and it was celebrated with current and past employees with a Robin Hood theme. A hog roast, archery buts set up in the school yard and most people dressed for the period. And, yes, the witch got anoher outing! No doubt there will be pictures coming as the professional photographer that we hired seemed to like my costume!

It was a great evening catching up with people that I haven't seen for a while, and some people I haven't seen before, say, December 2011... One guy was great - he came to the table where we were eating and asked if he could join. Then he introduced himself to me. I helped him remove his stereo from his lease car when he left :) I introduced myself but pointed out that he knew me, albiet a little differently. A wonderful look of shock mixed with realisation as he apologised for not recognising me (not a problem, I can't recognise me from the wedding photo on our piano either) and then a chat about it. There was someone else who almost didn't recognise me, but she has seen me since I transitioned. She came up to me whilst I was eating and tapped me on the shoulder, 'Stacy, it is Stacy isn't it? You look amazing!" Which when you consider I'm there wearing a raggedy cheap witches costume, and green eye shadow was a stretch :) But I'll take the compliment anyway!

The only problem was that the casual misogyny was also with the archery and hog roast. I was waiting to shoot with a couple of the guys that I work with, I got the bow in my hand (after being totally blanked by the guy running it a couple of time) and then he actually took it out of my hand to give to one of the other guys who were behind us. If it wasn't for the fact that raising a scene in the middle of the party wasn't my intention I would have said something.

And when I did get the bow the guy still totally blanked me and left me to it whilst he chatted to the other guys giving them tips and helping them use the bow.

The other was the hog roast, the guys in front of me got a nice slice of hog, then I came and got two tiny slithers, and then the guys behind got a nice slice again. I know I'm not the thinest person in the world, but really!

But, that aside I had a far better evening that I was expecting - I was really nauseated when I got there, as I am for any party without Mrs Stace. Self confidence is still not my thing!

And lastly, gadget news. I was going to be a complete geek for my birthday. Get a Raspberry Pi, with a HiBerry Digi+ sound card on it and download PiMusicBox to play Spotify from the net and FLAC files from our server. I've been wanting to get rid of the CDs in the living room for a while, but not whilst I could only listen to MP3s via the TV. Both a pain to use, and not the best sound quality - great for the background music but not to great for when you actually want to listen to something.

Until I was reading news about Sonos this week, removing the need for their bridge to work over WiFi. I'm not a fan of Sonos speakers as they seem really expensive and sound just about OK for a kitchen. But, their little Connect box has a coax digital out that can go straight into the back of our stereo and use the decent DAC that it has and my nice speakers for the music.

So... Wait for the Pi, fight it and struggle with setup but have the geek factor. Or buy the more expensive Connect and have it set up in minutes with a much more user friendly app to control it.

Hmm, I'm 38 now and I have to admit that sometimes the consumer option is just so much more appealing as long as it does the job. So after an amount of deliberation the Connect it was. And, yes, it really was 5 minutes from unpacking to listening to great music from the network!

So, a table full of CDs to take to the attic, and two days ripping the 20 CDs that we didn't have as FLAC yet (whilst annoying the little guy as he loves the computers and we would not let him near them :p ) and we are now CD free in the living room - and have listened to more music in the last two days than we have in the last 6 months, I think. It really is that simple!

Oh, and of course the little guy - he is doing really well still. He wasn't sure about mum the witch - I got some strange looks, Playing, crawling and desperately wanting to play with gadgets!

And being very nice to his parents - as I said, we have a week off of work, and I have woken up twice before him so far! May it continue for the rest of the week!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Still here

(Excuse typos this is not going to be much proof readong)

Without looking at the date of the last post I know that it has been a couple of months since I last posted. There are a few reasons, trying to cut down on what I am doing and spend time not looking at a couple of million liquid crystals (not really working), being exhausted and just really not in a place to write.

The last is strange really, it should be a good way of releasinhg the tension and yet everytime I have sat down...  Nothing, staring at a screen or looking at words that have been written and just thinking they are nowhere close to how I am feeling and what I need to say.

We're all OK in this house. The little guy is doing well, and still letting us sleep in a way that annoys my colleagues with children (for some reason complaing that he woke us up at 7am on a saturday morning is not appriciated by those people who count 6am as a lie in). Physically we are all in tip top shape.

My op has been delayed, yet again, for planning reasons unknown. The care given by the team at the VU is great, the planning sucks beyond belief. I have decieded that I'll beleive I am having the op when I am the table and not before - it's hopefully healthier than getting worked up (in a good way) only to be told that, nope, whilst we said August, very maybe September we are now saying very maybe October, but we don't know.

Work has settled down. I wasn't happy earlier and nothing is going to change the cause. But, I still love my job, I'm just no longer prepared to make myself ill for it. As I said to my manager great for my work life balance (I now try to work my 36 hours and not a minute more, rather than the 46 to 50 I was doin) and Christmas is going to be spent (outside of those 36 hours) with family, not firefighting major problems for 18 hours a day for 9 days in a row, as it was last year. This has also been said to my manager.

But those are not the issues either.

My dad is very sick. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year - about 2 weeks after the little guy was born actually.

It was caught early and should not have been a major problem. But it has been. Delays in getting the operation (more hospital planning screw ups) meant that it had spread locally before they could operate. They got everything, but it meant chemo.

And for more than a week now he has been feeling like giving up as the chemo has reacted very, very badly with him. In the words of the doctor who stopped it, it was killing him. He is now in hospital with a bad infection trying to fight both that and the remains of the chemo that has not yet flushed from his system.

And it's a rollercoaster. One day he is doing great, reading hundreds of pages of a book, and the next he is non-communicative and scaring the living daylights out of my mum.

The only good  news is that the professor at the hospital has said the emergency cat scan he had is clear. The bad news is that the oncologist still wants him to have more chemo and we don'tknow why, and dad is refusing it because of what the last lot did.

It's a very strange feeling, I look at the little guy and am so happy, and then I have this as well where I am crying on my keyboard.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Surreal

Well, after a various delays caused by my private life I have just called the hospital to say I am ready to go on the waiting list.

At the start of July I have to speak to a psychologist as you need to have spoken to one from the gender team less than 6 months before the operation and I have to have another appointment with the anesthetists as my last appointment was too long ago to be considered valid.

After that it is simply a case of waiting for an operating table. Sometime over the summer is the expectation. It could be as close as 5 weeks, or as long as 11 weeks away.

I have set this in motion now and it seems very surreal, and has freaked me out somewhat. Not as it did last year but more a 'Holy crap, this is actually happening...' way.

To be continued as the saying goes!

(PS Sorry if this makes no sense, I don't have the ability to think straight right now!)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Scary realisation

This is a bit of an emotional post, it may ramble. Sorry.

Something happened this week that has made me realise I have been answering questions a little wrong over the course of my transition.

The little guy is fine (actually, more than fine - he is wonderful :D )

And there is nothing to worry about, so please don't get too concerned.

Something happened yesterday at work that has totally thrown me. Totally. Nothing to do with the transition (I hope), but something that has made me really start to question things.

This caused me a huge amount of stress, and a few tears and a lot of anger. Not things that I am wonderful at boxing in.

I was shattered yesterday from it all,, and could barely stay awake before going to bed.

In bed was a different thing, I couldn't sleep, yoga breathing techniques were doing nothing to help and I was just in free fall.

And then I bit my finger very hard.

And then I started to think if that is a normal thing.

It's not really is it?

This morning I have done some searching and it does seem to be classed as self-harming. Which is something that I have always said I didn't do. Turns out I did - I have often done this to my arm and fingers before starting the transition as a way of coping.

Not that I wanted to punish myself, or that I felt I deserve pain, but more because it just took my mind off of everything else.

I only really thought about it last night when I did it and realised that I had not done it in years.

I'm expecting a call from my boss today (he called earlier, but I was changing the little guy and so couldn't answer the phone). We'll see what he says...

Update: had the call, made things worse :(

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wow, customer service...

I just got off of the phone with my cable provider as a very happy bunny. (How often do you hear that!)

Our cable recorder just died on us. First it turned off, then it wouldn't turn on. Even after being physically removed from the power for a couple of minutes.

OK, then 15 minutes...

Woot, it starts. But now my EGP has two entries for a lot of channels, and for those channels when I press the channel number it goes to one that says 'This channel doesn't exist any more - retune your decoder'

Fine.  Menu. Systems.  WTF - the option to rescan the channels has greyed itself out!!!

So I called the cable company as they provided the box and after a wait got someone on the phone.

I said who I was, gave my address and was told:

"I see that this account is in the name of your husband."

Ah, yes...  A couple of years ago when I tried to change my name and title here I was told that it could only be done in writing, and I hadn't got around to it...

"Er, no. It's in my name. It's a bit of a complicated story"
"OK, can you give me your date of birth then"
Sure
"OK, and that is *your* date of birth"
"Yes, like I said there is a story behind it"
"Well, do you just want me to change it to Mevrouw?" (Dutch for Ms, Miss or Mrs)
"Er, yes please!"
"Done"

Wow, I wasn't even expecting my decoder to be fixed - I certainly wasn't expecting someone to be able to fix my customer record.

Result.

Oh, and with a bit of a collaboration between him and me we got the decoder working again :p


Friday, 16 May 2014

Finding yourself

Life is streaming past at the moment and it seems that every time I sit down to write one of two things happens.

1) My brain shuts down and says enough computers already
or
2) I find that I don't have the time to actually do anything and end up hating what I have written.

So let's see if this one gets finished!

Lot's has happened over the last few weeks. The little guy got his first illness, the fifth disease. Normally this is not a problem for children. They get 'slapped face' syndrome, maybe a fever and feeling a little under the weather and then they recover.

When the patient is 9 weeks old doctors get nervous and concerned.Which in turn gets parents very nervous and concerned. Lots of temperature checks, lots of making sure he is comfortable. Lots of him going to  sleep in our arms rather than in his bed.

Thankfully he never managed to get to the 38 degrees, if that had happened then it was probably going to be a hospital case, even though he got very close at one point. But, he soon dropped back to normal and started to get his normal personality back, and lost his slapped cheeks.  Phew. We were beyond stressed.

He has started daycare - and is coping far better than us :) In fact he is enjoying smiling away at the nursery nurses there!

Me? I've been cleared for my operation, from a laser point of view anyway. I saw my surgeon for the first time this week. He seems a very nice guy, was very personable and actually spoke to me, not about me. Anyway, he has told me that as far as he is concerned everything is good to go, though not to cancel my last appointment in a few weeks :)

I told him I was terrified of the operation, not the results, but the operation itself. I liked his response. I would be more concerned if you told me you were not worried.

There is another delay, but I am not really ready to go into it just yet.

So the title. Nothing really to do with the above, more to do with changes in me. Obviously being a parent changes you. And in ways that I could not imagine, and can't put into words.

One of the things that has changed is that I now go out more without make-up. It has more happened from lack of time, but previously I would have been late. Now I just go out without it.  It's a very stupid thing really, and yet it's not small...

One of the other things is that I have started to look at clothes more from what I like, rather than always asking whether or not people will be asking if I am trying to hard. Literally everything in my wardrobe was brought with that question not just in the back of my mind, but on my lips. And there have been well meant comments in the past. Not saying there was something wrong with what I was wearing, but more saying I didn't need to wear it. I always steered clear of dresses. I assumed I didn't have the body shape for them, and so didn't wear them.

Until Christmas when I got a lot of compliments on my Christmas party dress - or more my wedding reception dress (for the wedding we couldn't go to in the end because of the little guy). And so I tried another just as a day to day dress. And liked it. And so I went a little OTT and have a new style. 50's a line dresses feature a lot.

And I don't care any more. I like them, I think I look OK (as good as a personal opinion is ever going to get for myself) and I'm wearing them.

Now to unwind on for the final of Master Chef! 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Time flies when you are simply looking at your son and smiling!

I may not have much time to write this - as I type I can see my son waking up on the video monitor. I think that he wants to watch F1 qualifying with me :p

Well, it's been 6 weeks now, and things are still going well. He is healthy and has learnt to smile - and there has been nothing in my life so amazing as having him smile at me when he wakes up in the morning!

He's being very kind to us at night, only waking up once for food - and last night that once was 7 hours after he went to sleep. From what others have told me, we cannot complain at that!

We are starting to get into a rhythm during the evening but over the daytime he is still doing his own thing. Poor Mrs Stace struggles most with that though as I have to go to work...

And that is really how much time I have as he is starting to get upset!

Oops, I seem to have turned into someone who only talks about their children! (I hope that is acceptable when they are so young!).

One final thing before I go, I managed to get a new dress recently. I saw it on

...

Ok, a few hours later and he has let me get back on the laptop for another couple of minutes!

So, I saw a dress on a fashion blog that I read, I read them normally to see what can work, what not and what things I would never have thought of appeal to me.

This is the first time I actually clicked through and bought something. Though I was rather scared when I did. The fashion blogger is a very pretty, short, thin read had. The closest I get to that is red(ish) hair. But, the dress was not a couple of hundred pounds from an exotic shop, it was a 35 pound dress from Tesco's online clothing shop. (I didn't even know they had one!)

So, a look around and we got some baby things as well (really cheap 100% cotton clothes!) and ordered them. A couple of days later they arrived - we ordered some things from a Dutch site on the same day and the delivery from Yorkshire actually got here faster; well done Tesco! :)

On Friday I tried the dress for the first time and...  It has paid for itself in compliments and self confidence! Almost everyone commented on it positively (one person did complain that it wasn't summer yet, and didn't get the point when I said the warmth was fine, it was the slight breeze that was the problem...) and I felt great in it!  Not bad for the cheapest dress I own!

http://www.foreveramber.co.uk/2014/03/birthday-dress.html
From Tesco's Site



Right, time for a cup of tea and then I think that someone may want to get up again!