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KATHY’S STORY.

PROLOGUE

For many months I have been on a vast learning curve. As my daughter puts it "You are like a young girl going through puberty, watching your body change, your breasts grow, experimenting with makeup and clothes to arrive at the woman you wish to display. One big item in your favour though is no Red Days"

At present I am more than happy with my development in all the above areas, and due to this I started the chain of events that are, Name change and of course culminating in Transitioning. The name change was easy on the 29th of October 2001, but I guess the Operation is going to be a little different.

What follows is an account in diary form that I hope you may find interesting from the time of the Deed Poll.

THE DIARY

29 10 01

I changed my name to KATHY ANNE NOBLE this morning at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. This was done by Deed Poll with the aid of Gina from ATSAQ. It was all over and done with in 10 minutes, due to the fact that Gina is known to the Court and had everything prepared, including me as to what to do. After this I took Gina home and then started attacking my list of people to be notified. All told there are 23 to visit, so the first was my Psychiatrist, who gave me the special letter on his headed paper for the Transport Department for my license to be changed. From there I have notified my Endocrinologist, Medicare, Medibank private, Chemist, Dentist, Centre Link and the NAB. I have been met with courtesy and understanding by all so far, and am greatful for that.

Officially at 9. 20am---Frank ceased to exist

30 10 01

Notified Doctor, Accountant, Financial Advisor and Westpac. Papers ready for Friday for the Transport Dept and have Friday appointment with Solicitor for enduring power of attorney and change of name on my Will. Citibank to send forms for change, and see Esanda tomorrow. Again no problems encountered, now have only to notify Telstra and Electricity. My Financial advisor will notify the 3 companies I deal with, and my Accountant will notify the ATO. This saves me 4 visits—great!

01 11 01

Notified Esanda personally as could not get through on their phone lines. Same thing in their office in Brisbane. In the end all done with the help of an understanding person.

02 11 01

License changed over without any problem. Young lady very helpful and said I can go back for another photo when I am not having electrolysis. Solicitor great, everything changed. She thinks that I am very brave for what I am about to do.

05 11 01

Again very helpful and courteous reception from the Redland shire Council and the Electoral office. Also had to phone the Lands Office for papers to change name on ownership of land. Papers sent back to Citibank after solicitor witnessed them. Have now received new cards from Medibank private and NAB—Good service.

08 11 01

Wonderful day as I have decided to forgo electrolysis until after Xmas. Yesterday hurt, especially under the nose—Trisha who does it agrees. This morning I went to Stefan’s for a hairdo and then to get ready for this evening and out with Meryl{Real lady} to see Pirates of Penzance. All went well, great dinner at the Lyric Theatre, walk beside the river and the show was fabulous. Have booked for the Royal Ballet{Swan Lake}on May the 31st. Lady next to me kept talking all through the show, totally accepted by her and others. With no electrolysis I can just shave what is left, so can now be Kathy 100%.

09 11 01

Solicitors for signing of Will and Enduring power of attorney, then Banks to pay into NAB, and get another card from Westpac, as the one they issued does not swipe. Great acceptance all round.

10 11 01

Shopping and coffee for the first time by myself, great –no reactions. Then to vote, some consternation as Kathy arrived to vote, but Frank still listed, all OK, and vote registered. I remember what Meryl said "you are a woman now, so you will be accepted, as you are so natural"—not the first to say Thos. really now want to be just that, "A Woman" and meld into the background. This will take away all of the pressures that have built up over the last few months. Will I be allowed to do it? My daughter, Debby agrees and said "We’ve heard enough about it for a year, now do it", I will. I have been amazed at the support and encouragement that I am receiving from all the "Real Women" I know, from friends to women I have to deal with, and of course Family. What have I done to deserve it?

11 11 01

Down the Coast to spend some time with Denise and Madeline before going to Church and dinner. Interesting how I picked up the heavy scent of Gardenia during Meditation—meant for lady in front of me.

12 11 01

Last minute legal papers to be returned to Solicitor with copies to Accountant and Financial Advisor.

13 11 01

Frank’s day—this was the day for his "wake", being part Irish. He spent the day with friends and family and now goes to rest. The mind—mental capacity and knowledge are still there and always will be. The learning about life over 66 years cannot be erased, it is just that the outer casing is different, with of course certain changes mentally in place, so it will be new learning patterns to absorb and blend with the old. I can never really lose Frank, he has been good and has allowed me to emerge whilst he has virtually killed himself off. I owe him an awful lot and will always be greatful for what he has done for me. I have wept several times because of his generosity in making Kathy a reality, I will always love him for it.

14 11 01

Well today starts the change. I have packed and repacked several times. Yesterday was Frank’s day, today is Kathy’s as is the future. I start the day with housework, take Cookie my dog to kennels, then get ready to be taken to the Gold Coast Hospital by my friend and ex collegue, Clive. He volunteered to do this, as did several other friends. I consider myself very lucky. Have arrived and booked in, now starts the tests. BP not bad considering I am a little nervous but then again excited too!In room 419 which is above my last room. Fluids only tonight, plus the "Fleet" for the clean out. All details checked and the "Fleet"begun—results soon follow with regard to the clear out process. Anaesthetist came and described fully the proceedures and that I will have an Epidural which will stay in place so that pain relief should be sustained at 95 %. Clear out complete so now for some rest as on at 7. 30 am.

15 11 01

Awake at 4. 15am, I have slept well. I will soon start getting ready, Hipiclense, stockings, theatre outfit—sounds glamerous but this is a different theatre, and I will be there for 4. 5 to 5 hours, then time for recovery before coming back to my room. At present I am neither excited or worried, that is behind me. I woke with the feeling, "Well Girl, this is the day you have waited so long for, lets hope all goes well, and you will soon be complete". Procedure has been explained several times and I have read about it, now comes the time for the procedure to become reality. I will write more as soon as able to. If anything happens to me, then I have left full arrangements with everyone concerned, I can do no more and place myself in the hands of the Surgeon and his Team. Surgery started late as Surgeon had not sent his consent. In at last at 7. 45am—nothing more until recovery room. Problems with legs due to Epidural and they are not coming back quickly enough. Finally back to room at 3. 30pm, all now OK. Nothing to do now except lie back and relax. Peter, my Surgeon came in and is satisfied all is well. Great care from all the Nurses. Have met some from when I was in in September for facial surgery.

16 11 01

Slept most of day, still on fluids only and changes of dressings. Not really much to write about today. Everything OK and most probably epidural out and can get up for short time tomorrow . First solid food today. Phone calls from Meryl and Debby, Juanita and Denise. Very tired, so not doing too much

17 11 01

Bad night, in and out of sleep. Nice breakfast just like I have at home. Epidural to stay in for another day, am full of wind which will lead to some embarassment later. Phone call from Val just checking and will be coming in on Monday. I tried to get out of bed with staff there but my right leg was like rubber and would not respond. Did get up and sit in a chair just before Debby and Brendan came in, followed by Sue and her son Anthony. What a great kid and only 7, wants to be an astronaught, a lot different to when I was 7. Gave me a drawing of his pet rat and Sue brought me some flowers and a card from the firm of Accountants. Also given Woman’s Weekly as an indication of what I should be reading. They stayed for 1. 5 hours then left as I was feeling tired. Debby returned to find me sound asleep so left a note and some drinks. When I woke I realised I had made rather a mess down below as the epidural and the fleet residue had really relaxed me. Up, unhitched from everything, shower, then more cleaning as I had not done a very good job. Wendy the nurse was excellent and put me back together again. No control, as it feels like wind but it is not. Not hungry since breakfast, so have missed meals, but that’s no problem. Settle down for the night and hope for a better night.

18 11 01

I slept 6 hours straight which is great for me, but then I was in and out of sleep and this induced memories of my family going back to the 30s. I have to write a Family history for the kids and all of my family, most of whom are dead, seemed to realise this. It was a fantastic experience and brought back memories I had forgotten. I will write the story. Also caused me to talk to family that were dead and were trying to get me to join them, I got halfway, but came back to Kathy as a small girl. Finally things are happening, drains out at 10. 30am still no word on the epidural. The catheter has to stay in. Getting there slow but sure. Must ask Peter what depth was achieved?Later in day the epidural is finally out and have been given some Capadex for pain relief. Watched a thunderstorm which I enjoyed.

19 11 01

Slept well until 3am again, then the pain relief had worn off so change of pads and more tablets. Back to sleep until after 6am. This morning has really been the day of my transition. I was mentally attuned before the OP, went through what we call transition, but that did not happen until 6. 30/7. 00am today. Several things occurred, realisation of now being Kathy totally, message from Daughter-in-law in Sydney saying I sound different and more relaxed, everyone here in Pindara telling me "you are Kathy and do not need to explain anymore, and they all love me for what I am". Weepy, I have after a very long journey arrived at my true self. The 3 phases had to come together. Pre Op-OP-Post OP. Pre OP is finding yourself, recognising who you are and then starting down the track towards that final day. OP, this is but stage 1 of the transition, the body now fits what you think it should be. Post OP, this is what happened today, with the realisation that transition is complete and Kathy is both mentally and psychically a woman in her own right. The love, understanding, compassion and support to arrive here have been fantastic and beyond comprehension. I have arrived. Rest of day have been running a temperature, but will be OK. Dr. Widdowson said catheter out in 2 days followed by packing, then home on Friday. Raised with him and Sue, a senior nurse the possibility of a Support Group to help others who may not have any support or friends to visit them. This will be put to Hospital management of course, but idea well received, we will see!

20 11 01

Temperature up to 39 again then down to 37, back up and down all day. Packing fell out after shower. Have been under 1 sheet with air conditioning full blast, butterfly back in and injections, but still it goes up and down. My room is an ice well, but the air conditioned corridor feels like it is heated in comparison. Meryl came in and spent some time with me after work. She is a very dear sweet friend. Spoke with Margaret and she is all for the support group, so now it is up to Dr Widdowson to write his letter and push the idea. Still in the ice well.

21 11 01

Ice well all night, temperature down so back to warmer, then off we go again, see what the rest of the day holds. Well, up and down all day and still no results. Starting to get a little bored now as cannot concentrate on what I want to for very long. Peter came in and put new packing in and said that the temperature fluctuation is normal.

22 11 01

Woke up in the night in a real state, complete change. Temperature still up and down. Had a good shower this morning then went back to bed and slept for 2 hours. Margaret has finally taken out the catheter and I have lost my dog{catheter holder}when we went walking. Temperature stabilised, packing out again so leave it out this time. Now need to get mobile. Got my certificate for my "first sit down pee" presented by the staff. I am very proud of it and will frame it. This was helped to come about by Julie one of the staff, who insisted on making me relax by relaxation or a piece of 4 by 2!!. She realised I was so tense and saw what had to be done as my final step. Since then it has happened several times and we are trying to decide where the signal comes from, as this will be helpful for the staff. My Doctor came again and said that all being well tomorrow I can go home on Saturday. More phone calls, more visitors and the staff can’t believe it, as most of the "Girls"are on their own. The staff who will not be on again before I leave said Goodbye, but please come and see us, as the others are too far away to do this. Hopefully they will be seeing me quite often, as Dr Widdowson has written his letter to Management about the Support Group. I think it will be great to see staff regularly, and to help others in their journey. Transition is now complete.

23 11 01

Never be scared of the path behind

This is the one we know

No need to be scared of the path ahead

As we only have to learn it.

Another weepy morning it just happens, but at least I am in tune with my feelings. Peter in early, can go home tomorrow. Debby coming. Still a little sore in the groins where there are still stitches. Passing water OK—seems to create pressure when ready to go. Have decided to sit me in a hip bath for a salt water bath. Can start driving again on Monday. Val and Wil will help if needed. First follow up next week.

24 11 01

Over night the gremlins returned to my waterworks, so I have decided to stay on for a couple more days. Salt water hip baths and more medication to ease out the pain when trying to pass water. The need is there, but it takes up to 5 minutes to let down. One of the nurses has helped again with practical ideas. Ironic, that after all the years of squatting I now have to partially stand to pass water!!. The pain is decreasing and localising around the vaginal area, this is to do with the new outlet and gradually it is recognising the route. Also the bruising and swelling are going down, so this is creating less tenderness as the areas are becoming more normal to the touch as the stretching dissipates. Hip baths help immensly. My temperature when taken via the ear is usually 1 up due to my wearing hearing aids, from when it is taken orally. Am walking well now and doing several circuits per day

25 11 01

Ten days after and the difference, now that the temperature has gone and the body is beginning to relax is phenominal. My waterworks are OK and just minor adjustments which vary person to person. I, as you may notice do not refer to Kathy, as I am she totally. Tomorrow is home for sure.

26 11 01

Given OK to go, so am being picked up at about 10am by friends. I have to come back on Wednesday for my first follow up with Peter at 11. 50am. Picked up and arrived home after doing some shopping and collecting mail. 56 E-mails, most of which are rubbish, but some to answer from friends. Also my invitation to the March wedding of Karen and Peri in Wellington, I am going. Sorry to leave as I miss the staff who have been fantastic, but will keep in touch via the support group. Very tired but that is to be expected. Now to get on and enjoy the rest of my new life.

27 11 01

Went out shopping by myself to test my resistance levels. Drove to shopping centre and checked out cost and availability of flight to NZ in March. Lasted well for an hour then home to relax and sleep

Will enjoy being driven down the Coast, these men are so domineering!!but it is oh so welcome. Need an energy boost from somewhere, early days yet

28 11 01

Down the Coast for first check up, my friends are taking me again as they will not let me drive. Peter said everything is going well but there is some swelling that is causing discomfort when I let down, this will diminish. External bruising and swelling going down, but remember this has been major surgery, so the return to full energy could take 2 to 3 months. Another check up next Wednesday the 5th of December at 12. 45pm. Again staff at Clinic are very helpful and Jenny very interested and asked questions-all to help her understand better. Thank goodness that Wil and Val did take me there and back as at the end of 5 hours I was exhausted and just rested from 3. 30 pm right through to 5am next day

29 11 01

Feeling rested and not so tired. I see what Peter means and I can relate back to my Heart attack in 1988. Then as now I was totally drained and it took from September to early December before they deemed I had enough strength for Angioplasty. Yesterday was my nadir, now I can only go up and better

30 11 01

Feel much better more relaxed due to the fact that I can now discern between tightening and relaxing down below. Having a pee is more comfortable, so this will aid recovery. Am trying to get back to normal so have sent all my Xmas cards and today am going for a session on my nails, eyebrows and eyelashes. When a little stronger then I want to buy a couple of Summer outfits. This Girl is begining to feel her oats!!!

01 12 01 to 27 12 01

This has been a period of just resting and resting as I will not be back to full strength until mid January. However I am going to enjoy my time and am going to a Seahorse Xmas dinner on the 8th church on the 9th at the Gold Coast another evening on the 12th at ATSAQ. Also I have arranged the change for my Passport which should be issued in early January. Had one more check up on the 20th and all is well, no more until the 27th of March. Am having some trouble with dilation, but this will get better as the last of the swelling and bruising goes. Had a great Xmas with my Daughter and others. Happy new year to all.

EPILOGUE

Out of hospital does not signal the end. We now commence follow ups and dilation these in their selves being very important. I transitioned on the 19th of November as per my diary. I am now adjusted to being 100% female and intend to enjoy the remaining years. I am making my plans for the NZ Wedding in March and hope to spend about 3 weeks there meeting friends.

Transitioning was not about closing a book, a chapter maybe, but we have certainly opened a new chapter on life. This is the second life and I believe the one I always wanted. All my Lady Friends, which includes the Hospital staff say "You are Woman, you are Kathy, go for it and enjoy her life to the fullest possible extent". I can only promise that I will try. What happens at the end is in God’s hands.

My Father who died in 1976 comes to me in dreams and once in an out of body experience after my heart attack in 1988. He has been consistant in saying "we don’t want you as you have things to do". Never once has he indicated what they may be but now I feel I know what they are, and thank you Dad for giving me time to learn and adjust. I will use my new life to do just that, to help others if I can, as I feel that is the road you wish me to travel.

Kathy, with love to all.



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