Journal

Welcome to my online journal, which I started in December 2002 after several very persuasive hints from friends. Although I obviously don't write about everything that happens in my life here, I hope it'll provide an insight into who I am and what's happening in my life - whether good, bad, happy or sad.

All cried out

Posted by Anna at 23:45 on Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Just a quickie today I'm afraid. Last night I finally cried myself out and fell asleep about an hour after writing the last journal entry. It still hurts, but I guess it always will to one extent or another. You just can't walk away from a life together without it hurting.

Some good news now. I was working at home today as I had a psych appointment this afternoon. When I went in I was told by my psych that as far as he was concerned, I didn't need to come in anymore - I'm now officially sane!

Anyone want to buy a used straightjacket, cheap?

I spent this evening catching up on emails (I get so many these days!), and watching Red Dwarf I on DVD. Before you know it, it's nearly midnight...

GPs and their unwillingness to prescribe the treatment we need

Posted by Anna at 20:04 on Friday, January 24, 2003
Fed up, tearful and annoyed. That's today in a nutshell.

The reason? No matter what I try I still can't get my GP to take on my prescription. The main problem is the lack of licencing - as far as I'm aware there aren't any hormones licenced for the treatment of transsexualism in the UK. Considering NHS treatment has been available here for over 25 years, that's diabolical.

The post I wrote in the TS Chat Community last night describes the situation:

    Hi everyone,

    I'm hoping someone might be able to answer a question that's puzzling and irritating me at the moment.

    A bit of background first for anyone who doesn't know me (as if!). Those of you who saw my original post or have visited my website will know I'm a 36 yer old pre-op who's just started RLT. I was diagnosed in August 2001, and after failing to get an NHS referral in late 2001 (it turns out my HA was operating a ban on funding) I found out how bad a reputation CHX has with patients and eventually (in May 2002) gave up and went to see Russell Reid. His regime suits me perfectly.

    He prescribed Ovran and Oestrogel (a common combination then), but in the Summer Ovran was withdrawn so I had to change my prescription. I was given two recommendations - Ovranette or Yasmin. Yasmin has the benefit of also being anti-androgenic (I really don't want to start on Androcur) but is hellishly expensive if obtained privately.

    After receiving an undertaking from my GP that she'd be willing to take on the prescription after 3 months, I did indeed start on Yasmin, though I had to pay for the first prescription myself (�182.50!). It suits me perfectly, so I don't want to change again.

    When the 3 month period was up in December I went back to see her to find out what (if anything) I needed to do next. She went away to consult with her partners in the practice, but a week later called me to tell me that she couldn't prescribe because the North Hampshire PCT wouldn't fund gender reassignment treatment.

    I contacted them myself (and by this time I was in a terrible state) and told them in no uncertain terms that their policy was unlawful following the High Court Ruling against NW Lancs HA in 1998. I also got my MP (Andrew Hunter) involved.

    Some time later (after trying for some time to contact them) I finally got through to them and was told that they'd changed their policy (!) and that whether my GP prescribed was now a matter for her and her partners. I honestly thought I was home and dry.

    However, when I contacted my GP today she told me they'd decided they couldn't prescribe because the drugs I was being treated with are not licenced for that use.

    So, my query is - exactly WHAT drugs are licenced in the UK for the treatment of transsexualism? I couldn't find anything in the BNF, which seems particularly nutty when you consider the NHS prescribes the same hormones through consultants without any qualms.

    The more I dig into NHS provision for our treatment, the more despondent I get. It's a mess, and it's about time some heads were knocked together to sort it out.


Well, since writing that I've got precisely nowhere...I spent most of today either on the phone or crying...neither of which is particularly good considering I was in work today. I've been in touch with my MP, the Primary Care Trust, the Strategic Health Authority, NHS Direct, the Community Health Council, the Patient Liason Advisory Service, two GPs, the Practice Manager at my surgery and Press For Change.

So far, I'm getting nowhere. The only other thing I can think of is to contact the Gendys Network, the Parliamentary Forum and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence....but I won't give up. I'm not going to let it put me back where I was before, but it really hurts to run up against unnecessary brick walls like this.

I've been tearful and unable to concentrate at work for the last two days now, which isn't fair on anyone around me. The whole system is a mess.

Other news now. I've lodged my appeal with the CSA, so now it's time to wait before the inevitable rejection happens.

The one good thing that's happened this week was the support group meeting in Reading I went to. As it's about the only socialising I do right now it's rather important to me, and there are people there who mean a great deal to me. It's good to be among those who really understand.

Caught in a lull

Posted by Anna at 23:17 on Monday, January 20, 2003
I feel strangely empty today, and I can't really explain it other than to speculate that maybe I'm feeling that I'm caught in the lull between changing role and rebuilding my social life. I guess that brings out the loneliness a bit more at times too. I do miss friends ringing up and asking if I want to go out.

All in good time.

It's not totally quiet at least. On Wednesday I'm going to a Beaumont Society gathering (buffet and lots of chat) in Reading. It's actually the only transgender type socialising I've done so far - I've never been to a TV/TS club or anything like that. That aside, I've no plans for the rest of the week or the weekend.

Mundane stuff now. I had the car serviced today so it's fit for another few months (and I'm considerably more overdrawn as is usual after the car needs feeding).

On Wednesday afternoon a lady from the CSA is coming over to discuss my (doomed) appeal to have my medical costs taken into account. I'm so glad they agreed to send someone here as I really wouldn't feel safe in the Unemployment Office. I may be quite self-assured, but I'm still very nervous of people I don't know - especially guys.

Once my appeal's been rejected, I'll leave it in my MP's hands. Although I don't really expect anything to change for me, hopefully it'll make a difference for those who follow.

I've been invited to a reunion! Some good news from my PCT too...

Posted by Anna at 13:12 on Thursday, January 16, 2003
Things are fairly quiet right now, although a handful of things worthy of mention have happened.

Firstly, there's a bit of a reunion (between me and old friends in the area) being organised for Saturday 1st February. Earlier this week it was quite amusing (and heartening) to watch the emails bounce back and forth, with the "To:" list getting longer each time. I actually met up with a couple of old friends on Tuesday night too - it was wonderful to see them again. In a way, it almost seems like nothing's changed.

I've had some heartening news on the hormones front. On Monday I finally got through to the Primary Care Trust, and they now say that whether my GP prescribes or not is a matter for her and her partners! (a complete U-turn, if you hadn't noticed). Even if she proves to be reluctant to prescribe, that can only be good news for anyone in this area seeking help in the future.

On Monday I went to the speech therapy appointment (which turned out to be an introductory chat..the first real one is on 10th February), and I've started practicing a bit more seriously again. As usual, as soon as I open my mouth to speak to someone everything I've learnt goes out the window and I'm back where I started. I hope the appointments will help me to overcome that...just as I've already done with my singing voice.

I know I can do it. Time to dust off the dictaphone again.

Starting to settle in

Posted by Anna at 20:00 on Saturday, January 11, 2003
Well I�ve been back at work for a week now and I�m starting to settle in. Finally being able to be myself openly at work actually feels rather odd�but very special. I keep pinching myself to make sure I�m not dreaming!

One thing I�m getting more and more conscious of is my voice. Although I know all the techniques I need to do (courtesy of Melanie Ann Philips voice training CD) I haven�t been able to bring myself to use that voice around anyone yet�to my ears I sound like a caricature. Having said that, my singing voice is doing very nicely, so I know I can do it. Hopefully the speech therapy I�m starting on Monday will help.

On Wednesday I was off work while my phone and internet connection were (finally!) being installed. It�s nice to be able to chat to friends again. Speaking of which, I've rung a couple of old friends and I'm going to pop over and see them on Tuesday evening.

Letters from various organisations I�ve contacted about my name change are slowly arriving, and with the exception of one or two minor hiccups, it�s all been easy so far. I still have to apply for a new drivers licence though.

On Friday evening I had a meeting with my MP to discuss my concerns over the inconsistancies in the way we're treated by the NHS and CSA, and he was very helpful. Hopefully he can make something happen - if not for me, for those who will inevitably follow me. Later that evening Tracy stopped by and we had a wine and doritos session...

This afternoon (Saturday) I had the kids over for a few hours. I don�t know if it�s just me, but I find it very difficult to think of places to take them at this time of year, so they end up coming back to my room where I�ve got some toys they can play with. It�s nice to be able to cook for them too.

I�m just hoping that I�ll continue to be able to do about that as one of my housemates complained about them visiting today�wait and see I guess. I really don't want to go back to the way it was before I moved here.

My first day back at work as Anna

Posted by Anna at 17:26 on Monday, January 06, 2003
Well, it's the end of my first day at work as Anna, and everything went just fine. I'm relieved, and happy!

I must admit to some butterflies when I arrived this morning, but everyone has been fantastic and accepting...in fact, it's almost as if nothing's changed. One of the girls even sent me an email congratulating me on how good I looked! I think a little celebration is called for tonight...

After leaving the Internet Caf� on Saturday afternoon I took a tube to Marble Arch and went to visit the Wallace Collection (which I�ve always planned to do, but never got around to). It�s fantastic � not only is there an incredible collection of medieval and renaissance armour and weaponry (including that stunning gothic suit you see in all the books) but all sorts of other treasures�including several paintings I�ve really fallen for. One day I�ll have to see if I can get some prints. Go for yourself and see if you can guess which ones they are!

When I got back I had a lovely surprise waiting for me � a letter from the DSS informing me that my records were being updated, and a similar one from one of my pension companies (Merchant Investors). Hopefully the screw up with the date on my deed won�t matter too much � wait and see (where�ve I heard that before).

On Sunday afternoon I had the kids over and we spent the afternoon playing together. It was lovely...I miss them so much.