Happy Re-Birthday to Me! 4 years HRT and Post-Op
Happy Re-Birthday to Me! – (NOTE: Re-blogging because tumblr was stripping away all of the 2018 images but I have corrected it -Ari)
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 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!
Late 2017, 2018 photo montage:
Previous year recaps are below but in order starting with 2014:
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
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!
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.
- 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
Moved to a new apartment all by myself with no help.
I declare 2016 “The Year of Ari.” I was determined to allow myself to fully come out to the world.
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
Ari is now officially single again
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 )
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
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!
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!
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
Reblogged as now all of the 2018 images are included and fixed/resized for quality. -Ariana
** Once again.. DO NOT RE-BLOG ON FETISH AND PORN BLOGS **