Post-Op with No Regrets

by Ariana Danielle Wojcik  11/15/2018

You have probably seen certain headlines or heard certain talking points being discussed over the airwaves such as these:

“Sex Reassignment Doesn’t Work!”
“De-transitioners and Transgender Regret”
“Sex Change Horror Story”
et al.

 

Exactly one incredible year ago today, and three years after beginning hormone replacement therapy, I underwent gender confirmation surgery or GCS. My results and my story are the polar opposite of these frightening headlines that are part of a narrative being pushed by certain groups.

Folks, lean in close and listen.. it works!

My life is good, great, and wonderful with respect to my surgery and its results. If this surgery is in your future and you are nervous about it and have read the horror stories, know that most of us come out of it with the results we were hoping for. It is major surgery, so you have to expect a long carefully monitored recovery. For me, it was so very worth it. In addition, the common feared road blocks of transition from legal name changes, identity document updates, workplace transition, the disapproval of certain family members, dealing with the loss of loved ones, laser treatments, online attacks, disapproving stares, being purposely misgendered and dead-named, countless blood tests, injections galore, electrolysis (even in the nether regions before surgery), the nightmare of dealing with insurance companies and billing departments, were all things I had to face. I would still say despite all of that, it was all worth it!

There are many risks, just as there are with any major surgery. There are possible side effects that could cause life long issues. This is all known and will be explained to prospective surgical candidates in minute detail by any surgeon performing this operation. This surgery is never undertaken lightly and represents the end result of years of refinement and accepted medical practice.

This does not sit well with those who want to vilify not only transgender people, but their doctors, therapists, surgeons, and parents. Transgender people are under attack at every level and this includes a targeted effort on whether or not transitions should even be allowed. As an example, I suggest you search for information about the plan of attack of the anti-LGBT hate group ironically named the “Family Research Council”. The problem with all of the efforts from groups like the FRC is that their hatred and dismissal of the existence of transgender people is based on their own “beliefs” and not on reality. The medical professionals who actually study and understand this topic fully support the practices of hormone replacement therapy, and gender confirmation surgery for those that require either treatment. They do this because it is the right, and extremely successful treatment path for many transgender people. Transgender people exist and have been a part of the human condition throughout history. Attempting to erase us from history will not succeed. These groups like the FRC are wasting their time, breath, and money from donors who often do not even realize they are funding hate.

Many transgender women contact me every week asking questions about my transition and surgery, often expressing worry that surgery is a long shot to be successful. When external efforts to cast doubt and fear on transgender health practices cause confusion among those who deeply need help, it is time to speak up. I am writing all of this to try and address those concerns and to discount some of the stigma regarding this surgery and transition.

Can you find examples out there of people who regretted transitioning?

Yes, you can find a small number of cases of people who experience regret. In fact you can find those rather easily because those cases are purposely and inaccurately touted by motivated anti-LGBT groups as the “consistent and unfortunate experience” for those who have this surgery. This is not accurate. Thousands and thousands of transition related surgeries are performed every year by surgeons across the globe. There is a growing number of surgeons in the United States and the numbers of surgeries performed is only growing, not shrinking. My surgery was performed in Chicago, IL by one of the more recent additions to the experts in this field.

Do I worry that no surgery could ever make me a real (insert societal definition of a certain gender type here)?

Nope, not a concern. I underwent gender confirmation surgery because it was right for me. My doctors, (yes plural), my surgical team, my therapist and psychiatrist (a therapist and psychiatrist are both required by the WPATH standards of care) all agreed that this surgery was right for me as a medically accepted treatment for my personal health and well being. Who is anyone else to think they have a right to get in between that circle of people? My doctors, surgical team, therapist, psychiatrist, and I are the only ones that should have input into whether or not gender confirmation surgery is right for me. Every other person on the planet should rightfully decline from attempting to insert themselves into that discussion. To do so is to tamper with things they do not understand. This goes for people in government, religious institutions, water-cooler discussions at the office, people online, family members at Thanksgiving dinner, really anyone. Do not presume you know better than the true experts involved in a person’s care.  The surgeons who perform this medically necessary surgery should never have their professionalism questioned in the slightest bit.

Detractors will try to argue semantics about whether or not this surgery actually changes a person’s sex/gender often interchanging the two as if they are synonyms (they are not). By now most people have probably heard the commonly used quips, such as the often tweeted “you can’t change chromosomes” (which of course is now widely accepted to be an inadequate single determining factor of one’s gender). We could spend time refuting every “argument” but I simply see no need for me to do so. Do you know why? I AM HAPPY. Now at age 44 as a “late transitioner,” my life is just one of many that are the ultimate refute to all of those who attempt to misinform and to spread hate regarding transition and surgery.

Four years ago, I was suddenly happier than I had ever been just weeks after beginning hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Having your body and brain in sync with the correct hormones alleviates so many of the issues that transgender people face. It is something that has to be experienced to fully understand it. I was more in sync after starting HRT than I had ever been as a human being. It only got better from there as the hormone replacement therapy advanced and slowly over time did its work to reshape my body. It is funny how many of the detractors out there do not even understand what hormone replacement therapy actually entails. Our hormone levels are closely monitored by our doctors and this means that at any given time we know our levels are the same as those of any non-transgender woman. With that comes the expected changes to our bodies. Yes, we do actually grow breasts and our body shape can dramatically change only with HRT. I have had people admit to me they assumed all transgender women get breast augmentation, not knowing that we “grow our own”. It’s a second puberty after all and a “body reset”. We experience not only the obvious breast growth and softer, thicker hair, but softer skin, changes in things like our overall temperament, sense of smell, sense of touch, range of emotion (such highs and lows now!), energy levels, and most importantly, we find a sense of peace within ourselves. It’s miraculous what finally having the right hormones for our transgender bodies does for us. The happiness I experienced was so palpable that it just flowed out of me constantly. Despite the difficult circumstances brought about in social transition, the physical transition is life giving and life affirming. Gender confirmation surgery, for some like me, takes all of that happiness to another level of magnitude. No regrets.

What were my reasons for having surgery? 

Was I “so gay” that I just had to have surgery so I could have sex with men?

Nope, it’s all about just being me. “Just be you,” became my mantra. Even if I never had sex with anyone else again, surgery was still my path. In fact, sex and future sexual prospects were of very little concern to me as I sought help. The gender (binary or non!) of any current or future sexual partners of mine is my business, but the point here is that a certain type of sex act was never a driving factor in the least bit in my decision to transition or to have surgery.

Was I some loser who could not cut it “as a man.”

Nope, I already had the “American Dream.” By American societal standards, I had it all. You would have known me then as a college grad with a successful career supporting a family on one income with a lovely house, two cars, a nice yard, and a garage. The problem was, there was the painful fact that I experienced all of that while not ever being free to be me. I stopped myself from being me because of fear and denial and eventually I had to address it because my health was starting to fail as I rotted from the inside out.

Was I a “pervert” that wanted to dress in women’s clothes because it excited me sexually, so much so that I would undergo surgery for the privilege?

No. Are you serious? Not even close. The stigma and hatred towards transgender women specifically gets a lot of fuel from the lie that we are perverts or sexually driven (As a side note, it is interesting how transgender men are not targeted the same way). Far right religious groups are nothing but consistent when it comes to attacking sexually driven behavior of all kinds. Please understand that I am not judging fetish driven cross-dressers here. I am merely pointing out that there is a difference between us. Heterosexual cross-dressers are men who choose to wear women’s clothing because it excites them. They can spend time enjoying that practice, but then they happily go back to their often very manly and very “normal” life. When people open up their minds and accept that people can be born transgender, then they can also understand that what is different about us is that we are simply wearing the clothing that is appropriate for our gender. I was actually being forced to crossdress in men’s clothing most of my life because I was not being honest with myself about the fact that I was a transgender woman. Nowadays, I regularly get excited about finding a super cute dress on sale and will tweet about it and post pics on Instagram for my girlfriends to see. “Look at the bargain I found!” They get excited and I get excited. I just don’t get that excited. Am I being clear enough there? It doesn’t turn me on. Get it now? The same goes for heels and tights. Nope, no heels or tights fetish here. I like practical boots and sandals. I work in an office you all, so wearing tights is called for with certain outfits, it does not mean I am a walking, quivering, mass of constant sexual excitement because I own and wear tights. I should be so lucky if it were that easy! Do some transgender women have a particular thing for heels or tights? Sure they do, but then any given human being regardless of gender can also have a “thing” for tights or heels or other things. All people have kinks, it’s a part of life. I am so glad we do, otherwise we would be a boring species. I am merely further pointing out that the stereotype that transgender women are by default fetishists regarding clothing and sex fantasies is complete garbage. We may have other kinks just like anyone else, but don’t falsely assign to me things that just aren’t there!

Was I ever suicidal?

No, I was not healthy though. Until I made the decision to finally admit to myself and the world at large that I was transgender, my health was at a steady drastic decline. By the time I finally began to accept myself, I was overweight (over 65 lbs lost by this point), with high-cholesterol and on cholesterol medication, considered pre-diabetic, and I was experiencing heart palpitations regularly. I reduced and eliminated all of those negative health conditions by transitioning and beginning to actually care about myself and my body again.

 

Eventually, staying in shape and being mindful of what I put into my body became easy once I began to accept and love myself for who I was.

 

You can see much more regarding my transition on my advocacy website and specifically you may want to check out my Gender Reveal Pictorial and my Full Timeline.

Other Questions to Address

Did you worry about dying alone and unloved if you underwent surgery?

No. Despite what people like Ray Blanchard think. The often quoted transphobe once tweeted “One social problem of MTF trans can’t be solved by legislation: Finding attractive men or women who want to sleep with them”. I did not worry about dying alone and I am very happy to report that dating has been an amazing experience since I began transitioning (both pre and post op). Dating is all about conquering your own fears about the act of dating itself, whether you are a transgender person or not. Also, people who are confident and comfortable with who they are tend to have the most success when dating. Aside from dating, I have built a large group of friends since beginning transition. Being happy with myself allowed me to connect with people more easily and through a purposeful effort of making social connections by attending events and joining groups I was interested in. I now have a much larger collection of friends than I ever have had in my life.

What should you do when you see a quote from someone with a PhD who detracts from the practice of HRT and GCS?

Know that they likely have a paper trail of transphobia or are part of an organization that is backed by known LGBT hate groups. Do actual research and see what is behind their statements, and you will likely find an agenda. My agenda in writing about this is not to promote “turning people transgender” as if that was even possible. My agenda is to speak out against the lies, stigma, and misinformation that for a long time prevented me from being myself and being happy living the life I was meant to lead, which I am now privileged to be doing. I made it through. I am a success story like many others who came before me. I have zero regret and zero shame about the fact that I was born a transgender woman. I also have zero regrets regarding undergoing surgery. Rather than falling silent and again hiding, I wish to clearly tell my sisters out there that they need to know transition and even the big scary surgery that is possibly in your future was all worth it for me.

At long last, I have achieved the basic equilibrium of self that everyone else in the world who is not transgender has a much better hope of finding. Most of you reading this had the privilege of being complete after your first puberty. It took me two, followed by an amazing surgical procedure to find that equilibrium of self. Other than those differences, we are all just people. Transgender people deserve the same level of respect that you would provide any other person. You may “not understand” us, but have you actually tried to? Are you instead believing the negative things being said about us? We do not seek special rights or privileges that take away from your rights. Our fight is about our safety and our basic rights (the same rights you hold to be self-evident) being protected.

How do you remain positive despite the climate in this country and in the world at large for transgender people?

It is amazing what freeing yourself from the concern of what other people think of you can do for your well being. Most human beings have a tendency to want to conform to what those around us expect of us even if it is completely contradictory to who we are as a person. Overcoming that fear of letting people know who we really are is a key part of every human being’s growth and speaks to their level of maturity as an individual. By overcoming that fear and beginning to transition, it is easy for me to project positivity because that just flows from me now. Being right with yourself is a major key to happiness. It makes you a better person. It makes you a better partner, parent, friend, boss, employee, and a better citizen of the world.

 

Do you still experience lack of acceptance from friends or family? 

Unfortunately, in certain cases, yes I do. However, that sadness will never eclipse the happiness and overwhelming level of acceptance I have received from so many others, but most importantly, from myself! By the way, one of the best days in my life mid-transition was when after giving them many months to adjust by wearing only androgynous clothing, both of my children told me, “You can come pick us up ‘as yourself’ today!” One of the first things they said upon seeing me ‘as myself’ was, “Oh it’s not really that different. You are still just you.” Yes. They nailed it. Also, I have reconnected even with many friends from my past whom I had made the mistake of pulling away from before I transitioned.

Do you think there is an age that is too young to transition?

I would not for one second attempt to insert myself into that circle I mentioned before of doctors, surgical teams, therapists, psychiatrists, and their patients, and in some cases the parents of young patients. It is for them to decide on the best care and approach and timing. As a young child, growing up in such a different time period, I was unable to express what was going on inside. The explanations were all hidden from me back then and I did not know how to vocalize any of this. I learned to fear it all at a very young age. I could never have imagined the wonderful possibilities my life would hold at that young age or even well into my thirties when I was still fighting against fear, stigma, and self hatred instead of acceptance. You have no idea the damage that causes over time and the wonderful release of it all once it is gone.

How do we get past the stereotypes that stop us all from communicating?

I was able to transition in place while still working with my long standing employer. It is a company based in Alabama and I was at first worried about the attitudes and reaction I would receive from the people in my company who live down South. I have to apologize, because this was an example of me believing in stereotypes. I was so wrong to do that. Thank you to all of my co-workers for proving I was in the wrong to worry about that. We all to some extent can let stereotypes influence us, which is why I bother to try to educate the general public about people like me. Some day, I hope you all have the privilege of knowing someone who has transitioned. Chances are that you already do and may not know it. Please consider looking past stereotypes, misconceptions, and those using hate as a weapon and become a more vocal supporter of transgender people. You might just learn you are already a friend to one of us.

Well, at least now you know one. My name is Ariana, and I am Post-op with No Regrets!

jillheathers:

a-gay-woman:

itsanotherloveblog:

strangemocchachinoexpress:

pencey-fuhking-prep:

mxsicc:

louderthan-godsrevolver:

h-e-l-p-m-e-p-l-e-a-s-e:

juvia4life13:

kaydschaos:

bitchy-egg:

mrottobotto:

d-structive:

spazziebunnie:

helthehatter:

confessionistt:

@skeletonguys-and-ragdolls

@msitubeatz

@obviouslypancakes

That’s for you.

@punnynerdpower

@infinityonthot

@kan-hi-doodles

@mushrooms-iscat

@validkarlmarx

@kid-meme

@magicalmysticalbeing @mrcatimer @arcanedualitymyass @h-e-l-p-m-e-p-l-e-a-s-e

@juvia4life13 @lordfluffyness @knock-knock-let-the-devil-in @arcanedualitymyass @louderthan-godsrevolver @glittery-emo-ostriches @poptarts-have-feelings-too

@mxsicc @alicedresden @macherie02 @bringmethechemicalpiercedveil @scream-me-to-sleep and everyone else who sees this post

OMG♡

@parahive my cutie

@parahive @milo-the-alien @im-gay-for-mikey-way

@itsanotherloveblog

uhm,,, who gave you the right to come at me in my own home like this,,,

@just-a-smol-bean-in-a-big-world @sxflowerkisses @1000daintywombats @strangemocchachinoexpress @a-gay-woman @thelovemessenger @justforlove @exhaustedpeach @images-that-are-only-blessed and probably like 200 more but that would take forever

Thank you!!!!

@not-a-chain-of-daisies @festivealyssa @jillheathers @heartwarmjng

You are what the world needs more of right now. Thank you.

@a-gay-woman @ariana-tg @wannabericaleigh @authenticerica @jasonfreakinnelson

Thank you so much Jill, I would add @crusaderquinn to this list!

Happy Re-Birthday to Me!

Sorry this is a long post and you may have to manually load the later images due to post restrictions! I am adding onto the post I did last year at this time, describing how I have been doing as my transition and post-op life progress.


Today is the 4-year mark of me being on HRT. Halloween is my hormone-iversary! It just happened to be the day that my HRT prescription was first filled and available to me.

I am also only 2 weeks from the 1st Anniversary of my Gender Confirmation Surgery. Holy cow, already a year post-op!

** DO NOT REBLOG TO FETISH AND PORN BLOGS *** Sorry, I hate having to add that, but such is life.

—–2018—– Current Year Recap Since 10/31/2017

The Good:
The end of 2017 was spent in full on recovery mode. My surgery that was performed on November 15th of last year caused me to celebrate Thanksgiving with just my Mom present while I laid and watched Harry Potter movies 🙂 There were many short posts with quick health updates along with pictures of me laying about and looking ahead to brighter days.

Other than a scare where I had to be rushed back to the ER due to an issue with stitching and bleeding that would not stop, my surgery and recovery went very well. Being all alone and unable to move about normally was something I had to get used to, there were many moments I had to just cry and relieve the stress my body was under. I have a healthy view of crying though.. it is like a release valve. Recovery was not easy by any means, but I did my best to keep my thoughts on where the pain and downtime were going to get me. It has been so worth it! Thank you “past Ari” 😉

I have had a fun saga of playing around with hair color and my colorist and I have determined that blonde suits me the most. That is probably going to always be my default, but I will occasionally shake things up. Over the past 18 months, I have been blonde, back to brunette, to auburn, to deep mulled wine, to red, to VERY blonde for the summer, to peachy pink, to pink, and back to blonde!
Have guts in regards to your hair, it is wonderful to try new things!

I have been dating, a lot.. well a lot for me anyway! As mentioned in the 2017 recap below, I had several dates sprinkled throughout 2017, but those did not really go anywhere. It had much more to do with me still feeling like I was a work in progress. It was hard to see myself in a relationship at the time because my focus had to be so laser tuned to making sure everything was in line to make my surgery happen. I let things go only as far as I felt comfortable, which was not very far at all. This year has been different, I am “all in” when it comes to dating and finding my person 🙂 To that end, even though I had a few dates without doing so, I finally bit the bullet and signed up on a couple of dating apps.
The response and level of interest on those dating apps frankly shocked me. There are far more people than I thought who really don’t care that a person is trans. As it should be!! I do not yet post a lot about the details of my dating life. I might someday soon, but for now I feel like it is enough to simply say that I am being treated well, with both respect and genuine interest. I have had some picture perfect dates with amazing goodnight kisses, some tender, some exciting, and some a little awkward but sweet 😉 I have had some moments where I was disappointed when a person chose someone else and went on their way, but that is okay. I want to be with someone who thinks I am the absolute bomb and I want to feel the same way about them. That takes time to find.


* Soap Box Moment * – I am going to take this moment to mention that transgender people are not fetish material. We are to be treated as anyone else you would date and have an interest in. We are not meant to be anyone’s secret fling or fantasy. We are worth much more than that. I only date those who are clearly looking to treat me as I truly am, just a woman who took longer than most to be who she truly is.

I am currently very happy to report that I am seeing someone that I really click with and I am excited to see where it goes!

Work Life: Transitioning in place at work was a big concern for me in the past (see past year comments below). I fully came out at work in 2016. Since then I have been switched back to the team I was with before my transition began. That was a bit trippy 🙂 However, they are all wonderful people and I love my job and I am very happy where I am at.

Friendships: I am so very grateful to have been able to build a group of friends that I can always be myself around. I had an amazing birthday celebration in June with a bunch of them showing up. Seeing as it was my first actual birthday since being post-op, it was incredibly special to celebrate it surrounded by friends who get me. Love you all!!

Hobbies: Can you believe I actually have been able to get back into hobbies that I enjoy? That does not sound like much, but transition (especially the year of surgery) can consume every ounce of free time you have. I am once again enjoying several of my hobbies.

My Kids: My children are amazing. They get me. They unfortunately at times have to walk a line with being in conservative circles with my ex, and yet my kids never hurt me and love me very deeply. Both of my kids are healthy and they are becoming incredible young adults. I relish spending time with them and even simple car rides can be laugh filled fests with them.

My Health: I have swam more and biked more this year and have stayed in the best shape of my life since the age of about 19, when I was playing soccer non-stop.

Support from all of you who follow and encourage me: I am crying as I write this. THANK YOU. In 2017, when I was just nearly there in being able to plan for my surgery costs, I knew I was still going to fall short. I had expended every possible financial source I had to get there and it was not going to be enough. I put up a YouCaring page and YOU all did the rest by donating what you could. It was literally JUST BARELY enough to make it happen. I will NEVER forget that. I will NEVER just disappear and stop trying to be a positive, visible, out transgender woman. Hear this transition success deniers.. “I AM POST-OP AND INCREDIBLY HAPPY WITH ZERO REGRETS!!”

Stresses at this time – 2018:
One of my closest family members has still rejected me completely

Fighting repeated billing issues regarding my surgery well into 2018: Thankfully my HR department at work saved the day here, the VP of HR wrote a letter explicitly defining that our company plan covers transgender health care because the insurance company had a different story from every person I spoke to there. If HR had not stepped in on my behalf, I was looking at entering a useless appeal and fighting a legal battle and financial ruin as the hospital, various medical instituions, and my insurance company were all over the map on paying out for the surgery (which I had an insurance coverage PRE-APPROVAL letter for by the way!). It was a nightmare, and I just recently got ANOTHER bill for an insane amount of money from the hospital claiming they never got paid. That mistake is still being worked out as the insurance company has documents showing it was paid.

Societal and Political Nonsense Driven Stress: Being used as a policital pawn by the far right is getting very VERY old. But honey, I #WONTBEERASED.

Financial Debt: Surgery, uncovered transition costs, divorce, bankruptcy, and the long road back just to financial equilibrium, have all defined a certain level of constant stress in my life. I am still here, I am still climbing out of that bad financial pit I was in. I watch my credit score like a hawk and have raise it 300 points since it first tanked after my divorce and subsequent court recommended bankruptcy. I am now in a situation where I am entering the first shades of light at the end of the tunnel. Assuming my health holds (and I do take very good care of myself), I will continue to get to a more stable financial place.

The future for Ari.. skies the limit baby!

Thank you for reading my 2018 recap, please continue below for a photo montage from 2018 and read on from previous year recaps if you wish to know more!
-Ariana

Late 2017, 2018 photo montage:

Previous year recaps are below but in order starting with 2014:

—–2014—–

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The Good – 2014: 

Since February of 2014, I began to be much healthier after deciding to finally accept and address the fact that I was transgender and planned to share that with other people. I took it slow, but I immediately started to care about actually taking care of myself and my body once I had finally forgiven myself for being transgender (it sounds ridiculous I know). By the time the photos above were taken, I had already lost about 30 pounds and would eventually lose over 65 pounds.

By October 31st, I had visited the Howard Brown Center in Chicago multiple times and I got my first HRT prescription filled on Halloween (it just happened to be that day – easy to remember though!). My plan at that point was just to be on HRT and hope that it helped me with my dysphoria. It turns out it was a night and day difference and in a matter of weeks it was as if the lights were on for the first time in my life.

Major Stresses at the time – 2014:

  • Out to my spouse, only one friend, and one family member
  • When I come out to my spouse, she tells me she can’t be with a woman, so I do not view fully transitioning as being in my future
  • I had to go to Howard Brown and seek help on my own because I am desperate for the dysphoria to be addressed
  • I feel utterly alone in dealing with all of this and along with suffering massive guilt at the same time because I blame myself even though I should not

—–2015—–

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The Good – 2015:

I spend the first part of 2015 becoming more androgynous.

I am out to my children, but I switch back to guy mode whenever I am around them to give them time to adjust.

Being out and about finally as myself, I begin to make friendly acquaintances with some employees at grocery stores, salons, and clothing stores I frequent. 

My hair is slowly growing out but my signature curls are already in full effect.

Also – I finally like Halloween, now that I feel like myself under the costume! So, yay for costumes!

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Major Stresses at the time – October 2015:

  • Over 5 months of marriage counseling failed to do anything about the fact that I was and would always be transgender and my spouse did not want to be with a transgender woman. The decision had been made in September to get a divorce and knowing my marriage is over I decide to begin working towards fully transitioning.
  • Moved to a new apartment all by myself with no help. 

  • Dealing with being surrounded by smoking neighbors in my little one bedroom apartment (YUCK!!).
  • Supporting two households on my one income.
  • Going through painful electrolysis on my facial hair.
  • Spending time still attempting ‘boy mode’ when with my kids and parents so they can have time to adjust.
  • Being gendered as male or female on any given day while out shopping, just living my life.
  • Being regularly misgendered by my parents and siblings during visits and one of my closest family members has rejected me completely
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—–2016—–

I declare 2016 “The Year of Ari.” I was determined to allow myself to fully come out to the world.

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The Good – 2016

In March, my Kids tell me I can pick them up “As myself.” From that moment on.. no more boy mode! In May, I complete my official name change! I was also totally out at work by this point but I was working from home so I only see co-workers occasionally for major events or work trips. I have been out swimming again in both one and two piece (but still mid-riff covering) bathing suits. I published my first article as a contributor to The Huffington Post. I switched from electrolysis to laser hair removal on my face. By the start of summer, I have begun to see a therapist with the intention of meeting the WPATH guidelines for gender confirmation surgery. By focusing on being more social and going to meetups (thank you Meetup.com!) throughout 2016, I have built a network of friends in and around what I now consider my home town. 

In the fall, I began streaming on my Twitch gaming channel – but not at all on a regular schedule.

Major Stresses at the time – October 2016:

  • Divorce nearing the end phase and dealing with lawyers and legal speak is not something I handle well.
  • Under major financial distress
  • A shortage in Estradiol medication causes me to have to switch from injections to patches and my numbers drop severely low. Dysphoria hits me hard for a solid month.
  • Still being regularly misgendered by my parents and siblings during visits and one of my closest family members has still rejected me completely
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—–2017—–

Ari is now officially single again

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The Good – 2017

My relationship with my kids is as amazing as ever and my teenage daughter and I connect in new ways and have lots more to discuss 😉 After all, we are both going through puberty at the same time! My son and I are also doing great and you can occasionally witness us playing games as a team on my Twitch channel (though he is off camera).

My divorce was finalized at the beginning of 2017.

I declared this the Decade of Ari, because one year was not enough 😉

I am once again working in the office two days a week (I am actually enjoying it!), though the rest of the week I work from home.

I am pretty much “there” as far as facial hair removal goes, but I still deal with some slow growing colorless hairs on my chinny chin chin (these hairs are by-products of earlier electrolysis that laser won’t help with). I want to have electrolysis on my face soon to finish off those little buggers.

I went mostly blonde! At least for a while 🙂

I have begun dating again!

I am streaming on Twitch on a regular basis.  

Thanks to donations from many of you, I received just barely enough assistance to make my surgery happen. My goal has not been met, and there is still a large financial burden I am having to meet. (if you want to help and can, here is the link: http://youcaring.com/helparianaout )

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Major Stresses at the time – 2017:

  • Preparing for Surgery (so anxiety inducing) – planning, calling, managing, attending appointments, more calling, more managing, and more calling, more appointments…
  • As a pre-surgical requirement, I had a mammogram and in doing so also had a breast cancer scare (it turned out to be nothing after a followup mammogram and an ultrasound, but for 9 days I suddenly began having to think that my surgery might never happen and I might have to instead begin to battle cancer).
  • Three long sessions of electrolysis performed on my crotch for surgery prep = enough said!
  • One of my closest family members has still rejected me completely

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Thank you for taking a look back with me. I am sorry for monopolizing your dash for this long post. I am very grateful to my tumblr community though and I wanted to celebrate this with you.

A hormone-iversary feels like a re-birthday to many of us who transition and it is special.

You may notice that I smile a lot and I try to maintain a positive attitude no matter what is happening in my life. It has been the central key to getting where I am now. It helps that through all of the trials, simply being able to be myself brought out so much happiness that I could always find that feeling again. 🙂

I am also grateful for every donation I have received. As I mentioned, there was just enough donated (by the slimmest of margins!) for me to be confident enough to move forward with this. 

On to surgery and on to seeing what 2018 will bring!

-Ari

For more about my story and for my transgender advocacy website: http://arianadanielle.com

For my Twitch channel: http://twitch.tv/maidenariana

I almost forgot!!

What would a Halloween Hormone-iversary be without Costumes! 

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Yay! I love dressing up for Halloween now that I can finally be me while doing it!

Happy Halloween everyone!

#RE-BLOGS OKAY ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT A PORN BLOG

Happy Re-Birthday to Me! 4 years HRT and Post-Op was originally published on Ariana Danielle