changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

chemo and a VIP November 28, 2012

Filed under: cancer — eclectic chicken @ 9:16 pm
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First chemotherapy session today… having been quite blase about it all I woke up this morning terrified, not just about an unknown process but the after effects, side effects etc etc.

I was jolly glad my daughter was coming with me to hold my hand and drive the car… 6 hours is a long stint.

We set off jolly early becuase of the ‘official opening’ of the hospital by Wills and Kate… but as it was we pretty much drove straight in and started early… so early the lady with the consent form hadn’t had a chance to arrive… but I forgive them and I’m not likely to turn up for a treatment I’m going to refuse am I?

But as it happens… the actually having the chemo was a doddle… no adverse reactions…. they gave me a corned beef sandwich (i handled the picking off the tomato bit quite well)… we ate some jelly babies, some Minstrels and some Bourbon creams.

And you could tell when the royal visit was close by the fact that the nuses all started emitting high pitched noises and wanted to take their breaks.

They’d just finished the long drip into my arm… the bit I may have had an allergic reaction to and started the hands on injections of various other fluids when our ward got visitors!!!!!

A big hat came through the door…. followed by another… and then I was the first person he came and talked to….

gosh he’s tall….

not sure where he got his people skills though…

he was busy telling me how he’s had all this cancer business… I should do as I’m told and never give in…and keep a sense of humour and how they took his bladder away 6 years ago…

..he then ended by telling my cancer nurse she was lovely and doing that cheek squeezy thing to her that you do to 5 year olds.

So thats the Mayor of Peterborough.

Somewhere in the newly opened (in actualite 2 years ago) Peterborough City Hospital there are probably nurses still emitting high pitched squeaks and wetting themselves at the memory of Wills and Kate visiting their ward…

In the Oncology day unit it felt a bit like second prize in a raffle.

(it may have been fifth prize…. its possible other wards got other local digitories).

Any way… after all the excitement we finished injecting all the chemicals… sorted my drugs to bring home and even got the ‘pink wee’ effect from the cherry lip red concoction before going home.

I think next visit…. I’ll get dropped off with a book, a bottle of water and a snuggle blanket and use it as valid down time. It was mostly fear of the unknown…

Oh and in other good news I’m a stage 1-e.

Stage one is early doors and the e is to denote the lymphoma is presenting outside of where they’d usually expect it to present… the downside of this is that I’ll have to go back for a lumbar puncture tomorrow to have some sepcial chemo put into my spinal ‘thing’… its late… all my big words for the day are used up and I’m off to bed…. on my SIDE!!!!!


chick and chocks away! September 18, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 9:23 pm
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My eldest chick has flown the nest again for another year at Uni… this year even more than last year feels like her really leaving home. Although I miss her company I like that she’s gone – becuase she’s happy being independent. She is well ready for it and yet (I hope) still knows where to come if she needs something.

Knowing her she won’t need much….she’s resourceful and can cope with most things life throws at her… though sometimes she needs to take a step back..have a good ponder before getting her head down and getting on with task in hand.

Nice to to see that student houses haven’t changed much over the years… its a bit rough and ready. But thats fine… she’s lived in rougher and not so ready. Strange for her generation she grew up sans central heating and mostly televisionless… though I think she might pine away and die now if her playstation or computer doesn’t work.

The trip up to Sheffield went well… we drove a car each and it made me hark back to our early days of cycling where I’d cycle behind her and pull out earlier as a human buffer…we drove the same way… me pulling out and making a space for her to fill. I missed her being in the passenger seat as we do good car journeys together… she can even read a map.

It was a bit of a shock to find that my hand-brake really wasn’t operative as I pulled up at the first hill top roundabout and attempted a hill start…. teatime traffic crawling out on the long uphill road out towards Glossop really wasn’t fun… I shouted quite a lot at people who thought I’d stop for them to pull in…. or school kids thinking I might stop for them crossing.

Luckily our final destination was only on a slight hill… and like any decent student house there were a couple of bricks in the front garden as a riot starter kit…or handy chocks for my wheels.

Being the only girl in the house she brought a coffee table and rugs to the house…. and coloured crockery….a food mixer… tea pot…. cake stand… yanno… girly touches.

Catastrophe soon soon hit in unpacking the first box in the bedroom… she forgot it contained her sea monkeys and was distraught to upset it and to see them sinking into the carpet along with their watery home…


…and a housemate ran for a spoon whilst we watched them wriggle into the carpetty void.

Frantic scooping and some fresh water and we saved a couple of sea monkeys (both with egg sacs) – so hopefully her sea monkey empire will grow once again.

A cup of tea… and time to leave her to it.

Chocks away!!!!… and the journey out of Sheffield was luckily all downhill.

Home and tired…. and unable to just eat ‘instant food’ I made noodles and smoked tofu with pak choi… dry fried with soy sauce (thanks Annie)… it was yummy… the sort of thing I’d have thoroughly turned my nose up at before… but now?

Lovely stuff.

I’m becoming scarily vegan 🙂


Not so busy as expected…. July 1, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 12:28 pm
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This weekend was all set to be hellish busy, I was due to pick my daughter and the bulk of her stuff up from Uni in Sheffield and then on saturday had a wedding reception to go to down in Brighton.

It started off to plan, I arrived, met daughter just back from a days digging (she’s an archaeology student) and we sat and had fish finger sandwiches to fortify us for the task ahead…. a small room it appears can hold an awful lot of stuff and in the name of getting in with a chance of getting her deposit back the communal kitchen was in need of a lot of cleaning (it seems the knack is not to be the last to leave… or don’t give a stuff about your deposit). She isn’t the last to leave…. quite…. but both being concientious and of a mind that £150 is worth a bit of elbow grease… we set to.

We managed to fit everything in the car – just. Bearing in mind I removed several boxes two weeks ago I have no idea how we did it in one car load last September. I carried all the light stuff as my back has had a hard couple of weeks strimming the garden… and my daughter managed to do the hefty final boot slam that pushed everything into place.

First year over.

The car had been making a funny squeely noise on the way up… and on the way back  I got daughter to listen to it too and her solution was almost identical to mine…. shut the window and put some music on… thus rendering the worrying sound inaudible and therefore a lot less worrying.

It was way passed midnight when we landed home… and my back hadn’t enjoyed the drive… this act then went on to free up the rest of the weekend as I know of old to listen to my back (if not my car)…. there is a way of shutting the windows and turning on the stereo for my spine… its called co-codamol and diazipam… but I try and avoid getting to that stage.

So having winced my way round a woodland walk on saturday morning, my daughter hazzarded that I may not be up to driving to Brighton and back in a day (have you seen how expensive hotels are at the weekend in Brighton)? And I had to say I felt relief at her thoughtfulness… especially as it meant she’s miss the wedding too as she didn’t feel up to dealing with the M25 and Brighton traffic solo.

I rang my apologies to the groom, went for a pint of cider down the pub with my daughter and then watched the technological wonder which is a live streamed wedding on the internet… from brighton to the relative comort of my own sofa.

Today, I’m taking it very easy… and a gentle dog walk later today… the last thing i want is my back to go properly which would lay me out or a goodly chunk of the school summer holiday….

oh…hold on….

where’s all that rubble that still needs shifting 🙂


delayed reaction and a sensible move February 26, 2012

Filed under: home stuff,trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 4:43 pm
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I’ve been a cow the last couple of days. In part a grumbling ear infection… but also the run up to ‘that’ documentary.

Jane and Tash have been riding the media waggon and I’m not having any of it. Where we were half a year or so ago when the filming was done feels a million miles from where we are now… onwards ever onwards… but then in some ways it feels like personally, of late, i’ve taken a huge step backwards. Suddenly i’ve been launching some serious anger at Jane.. triggered sometimes by the smallest things.

What made me feel slightly more sane last night was reading a blog (the trans gentle wife) by another woman with a transitioning partner – our time lines are very similar.  She describes hereslf as a ‘delayed reactor’ recently signed off work due to the stress she has built up over the last couple of years. I feel so much better knowing i’m not the only one…. (aren’t we all?)..or maybe this long term reaction is normal for the partners of transitioners.

As lucy, whose blog it is says… she’s taken care of everyone else and now its time for her.

Watching the rough run of the documentary thats how i felt. I looked like a woman still in shock… I think i’ve already described it as ‘away with the faeries’. In every shot where support is needed for Jane, there I am. I did the first public 0uting with her, first shopping, first appontments, talks to schools, stayed with her in Brighton, stuck up for her when the going got bad, background researched the icky bits and overly formal bits she couldn’t bear to engage with, checked her new vagina (nearly fainted), drove her round, went to counselling. I think my role is summed up in the docuimentary in a shot of Jane recovering in hospital… I’m out of shot, except for my hand stroking Janes back.

All through this friends have told me to think of myself.. let rip with some anger and all manner of other sensible bits of advice. But its not been in me… i’ve had a partner who needs my love and support more than ever and so thats what i’ve done.

But i think in doing that its delayed my own reactions…. that grieving process I know i’m going through… sometimes i think i’ve been through it and then other days i realise i’m nowhere near.

Two years has been long enough for Jane to transition, ‘start’ to ‘finish’. So its heartening to know my timescale for dealing with it isn’t out of order.

The same thing on different days can cause seriously different reactions in i say above the impending documentary is stressing me out and i’ve been taking it out on Jane (after all it is ALL her fault) with everything else (ie the rest of transition)- I didn’t want, initially, to be in the documentary but once they were in the house it was such an interesting and gentle process it felt right to join in… after all to have an invisible partner is in televisual terms like having no partner at all (it works in soap operas where you keep referring to a character to keep them ‘live’ but only if the audience is already connected with them – see- I checked that option.)

I worry about Janes daughter too… she’s happy grabbing the publicity, (it could keep her in wine and fags for several weeks if she’s lucky)… but it worries me that she may be even further behind the curve than I am. She is a great ‘head in the sand’ person and still misgenders Jane.. doesn’t even try… just says its too difficult. No-one else in the world gets away with misgendering Jane… even my mother who is in her mid eighties and very forgetful makes a go at it, mixing Jane and john and he and she fairly randomly.. but she tries.

I think its easy (and a way of hiding from really having to deal with something) to say you accept someone or something… but acceptance is really about walking the walk. (you know… its the ‘but’ syndrome… ‘i’m not transphobic but they should just do it behind closed doors’ ‘i’m not racist but i’ll stand here as opposed to sit next to that asian gentleman’)

I’ve found walking this walk to be all clunky at times..its been very very difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but by trying its taught me how the walk should go and now it’s getting easier… easy enough for me to let out some of the other emotional baggage i’ve been keeping locked away. What makes it hardest of all… is  ‘i’m not against someone transitioning but it’s difficult having a partner doing it’. That seeming hypocracy can sometimes feel very prickly.

The balancing of the political (and we are a VERY political household) and the personal makes the prickliness really hurt.

Janes transition has been so public (the documentary is actually a teeny tad of the whole), i often wonder how it would have been for us as a family if it had been a more private affair… (not to mention at a slower pace)… but that brings another dilema in that I don’t think given the chance again i’d choose it to be any differnt way bacause I’m incredibley proud of the work Jane has done over the last couple of years, not just in the tranisphere but in all manner of other places.

I guess i’ve been thinking about the documentary like the surgery was last year…. once its over..its over and we can get on with life. Though  in the case of the documentary (unlike the surgery where we hadn’t really thought about the after effects, after care, etc) i’m more prepared for the documentary…I’m  going away for a few days to avoid the furore, the phone calls, and any fall out that may ensue… and THEN (i thought) we can get on with life….

But slowly it dawns on me that this IS life with Jane… when one big event is over… the next one starts to loom. I guess the excitement is just another thing i’ll have to get used to.


Buying books and sharing experience. February 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 4:11 pm
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When i was pregnant i read books….every book i could get my hands on.  I absorbed the wisdom of earth mothers and drank raspberry leaf tea until i was sickened of it. I read mainstream gestational bibles. I even read midwifery manuals….the best of which was a 1930s one in which it described in horrifying detail how to cheesewire a dead foetus to bits in order to get it out.

Faced with anything major in life….thats what i do….i research…i absorb information. What i don’t tend to do is talk to people, talk around things…and that i’m finding extends to reading books about experiences.

Not when i’m this close to the subject matter.

One persons experience is never the same as anothers, we can find common reference points in anothers experience, but are as likely to look for differences as for similarities. The differences can even extinguish the similarities for me.

So, I’ve been buying books.

First up is Man into Woman the transformation of the painter Einar Wegener into Lili Elbe in 1931. The worlds first sex change.

I’m part way through this its compiled from Lili’s own manuscripts and letters and is fascinating.

Second is the Dresscodes of Three Girldhoods – My Mother’s, My Father’s and Mine.

This one i’ve read before, i read it about a year ago. I read it cover to cover and hardly put it down. I remember it made me cry and i remember when i finished it askingJohn if he’d got it from the library for me for a reason. Was there something he wanted to tell me?

I also remember him saying it had been a random choice off the shelf as he often does for me at the library and that it was also several months before he clicked about his gender issues.

I could see so much of the person i loved in this book.

I’ve bought it this time for his daughter to read as its written from a daughters perspective. A daughter in her early teens when she was let in on her fathers cross dressing secret, a daughter who in her early twenties accompanied her father to the hospital for final surgery.

I hope our daughter can find something in the book to help her through this…even if its just that changing gender can make for a happier and more loving parent in the longrun.

I skimmed this book when it arrived last week….it now doesn’t have the same resonance for me. I’m looking at the differences not the similarites.

Which brings me to She’s not the Man I Married. I was so looking forward to this book, to savouring it, to finding common experience, to all sorts of things. Its hailed as THE book written from the perspective of the partner of a trans woman.

A couple of times in the first couple of chapters i stopped reading and cried at some very perceptive points but then i realised Betty (the trans in focus) is still ‘just’ cross dressing.

There is no ‘just’ about it really but cross dressing, even cross dressing full time doesn’t start to scratch the enormity of ‘crossing over’.

I wanted to read someones experience of partnering someone through transition….not someone partnering someone ‘thinking about it’ whilst dressing full time.

I suspect at her present rate the author (Helen Boyd) will wring at least a half dozen books out of the process. Sort of a JK Rowling of trans experience books.

That may be unfair….i did give up on the book part way through and just dip in and out of the back half  to see how it ends.

But as i wrote at the start of all this…everyones experience is different.

I know my journey with Jane is atypical in that there wasn’t a slow build up of cross dressing…

What i’d like to read is less a book of ‘personal experience’ more a handbook, that ties in with the medical process and all the researchy stuff i love to absorb. The hardstanding guts of process is what is common to us all regardless of personal experiences.

I want chapters on ‘my partner cross dresses’ next to a chapter on ‘my partner never cross dressed’.

I want the world to make sense.

I want there to be a book that next time someone sits down to break the news of  their transness to their partner they can hand it over and it can become a guide.

Not a grasping for shared experiences amongst personal outpourings but a guide…with an index….a contents page and further reading.

Books like Helen Boyds and blogs like mine are fine from the outside of the experience but when you are on the inside you just want help making your new reality make sense.

As an afterthought i might add that having read every pregnancy manual under the sun i went on to have two children both by ceasarean section…. the one chapter i used to skip becuase ‘it wasn’t going to happen to me’.


catch up January 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 2:23 pm
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Things happen so fast, that a day away from the blog leaves a backlog….but i suppose the mad and hectic happening days are bound to be the ones I don’t get to sit down calmly at a screen and order my thoughts.

All close relatives on your side now in the know…. your sister who we thought would be ok…seemed to be ok. Though not sure about the vote of confidance in us when you asked if she could guess what your news was she guessed we were splitting up… followed by ‘are you getting married’.

Interesting also the first questions people come up with. Shamefacedly i have to admit my random first question whilst flailing around trying to make sense of your news was ‘how big will your tits be?’ (ok…i’m a blokey yang to your delicate yin).

Your sisters question was ‘how will you do sex together?’

It made us smile.

Other than that….. your daughter having said she has no problems with ‘this’ obviously has and is talking of moving in with her mother. You can’t make someone understand or accept… but staying, dealing and trying to work through this  as a family would have been a positive we could work with. Running away is never a real answer (says an inveterate runner-awayer).

Or maybe she thinks if she threatens this it might change your mind…much as in the occassional moment i  toyed with the thought that if i fall at your feet and beg you you might change your mind.

With me, that thought was brief and fleeting and i realised this is too big for that….this is more important to you than me. Hard to admit…but once accepted actually makes things easier.

With her….its much harder, she hasnt the maturity to make that leap, she’s still too close to being a child and perhaps having a Galileo moment discovering she is the one with the orbit to run and that her father, the centre of her universe, is the one who actually stands firm.

Yesterday was possibly my first real low day on your transition. That first week of almost euphoria was as much a bounce from months and months of thinking I was losing you as anything else. The bounce hit its nadir yesterday, it just meant i needed some time on my own (in a deep bath listening to the Carpenters) and then i get back up and get back in step.

I know there will be downs as well as ups…for both of us….hopefully we won’t coincide downs to often and can keep the support bouncing between us.

I love the new emergent you, sometimes the loving her scares me more than anything else.

Sometimes it would be so easy to do the running thing and sit on the normal bus and ride away.

You’re too important though, i love you too much for a little thing like gender to get in the way.



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