Mark down another one for the unpredictability of life. One week ago I was having a very rough time, with nightmares, some of which triggered my PTSD, and much anxiety leading up to yesterday. One week ago I attempted a second silly suicide attempt which didn't get me anything more than some burst veins on my eyelids. Very smart and flattering indeed. I really needed a break. And yesterday I got a few of them.
Things started with a phonecall from a team of radiologists I had contacted before with the request to take a look at the MRI images I have in my possession. They had looked at them within the team, yet they couldn't and didn't want to derive any conclusion based on these images as they found them to be unclear and would prefer to see another set of MRI images using a different sequencing method. I'm contemplating paying up for another MRI scan which may or may not result in any new findings. May be worth a shot, though.
Next up was my dentist appointment. It was a twice-annual check-up and the dentist was pretty happy with how things looked, especially in comparison to the previous times. Getting to and from the dentist office was somewhat treacherous, though, due to the 5-10 cm of snow we had during the night. I nearly went down a few times with my bicycle :)
After lunch Pieter and I prepared to leave for Groningen for the UMCG hospital appointment. While Pieter was clearing snow off the car I was waiting inside the car when I suddenly got a phonecall. This one was from my new psychotherapist, who wished to make an appointment. January 7th is when my first appointment will take place. This will involve the EMDR treatment among other things. I'll see how this goes.
The drive to the UMCG was somewhat perilous, with lots of snow and ice on the roads, slow-moving traffic (40 km/h with a speed limit of 120), a few accidents with trucks and vans alongside the road and a trip which took 2 hours instead of the usual 1.5. Eventually we arrived at the UMCG where we met up with Engel Vrouwe.
We didn't have to wait long for the appointment to start. It started off quite difficult for me, as I felt so much disappointment and frustration while talking to professor Weijmar Schultz. After a few minutes we left for the radiology department for a meeting with the radiologist, Boogerts. He maintained his previous conclusion of the MRI images, truly seemed to believe that he interpreted them correctly, didn't seem phased when I told him about what I had heard from this team of radiologists, and I truly think he has tried his best. I just can't agree with his assessment that the black line on the MRI images (which he admits is air due to being black on both T1 and T2 sequences) is just air inside the rectum. Having the same volume of air in the same place during two MRI scans made one year apart is just odd, not to mention that I haven't seen a similar thing on any of the MRI scans from others. Except somewhat on those from females, where such a black line sometimes runs next to the vagina. On those from males small, much shorter black lines are sometimes visible, but nothing like on my MRIs. The radiologist will try to find some examples on male MRI images to back up his theory.
Next was the meeting with the geneticist, a woman. She seemed nice enough, admitted right away after being presented with a few more details about me that AIS definitely doesn't belong to the possibilities. She didn't want to do a chromosome check on a second tissue because she deems the possibility of me being a mosaic at this point unlikely, but when I said I would like to try anyway, it turned out she had the swab kit already with her. This test involves cells from the insides of my cheeks, as it's another one of the three primary stem cell lines during the development of an embryo. If this test also shows that there is nothing but XY chromosomes in these cells, then she can't think of another genetic test she could perform and I'd at least genetically be an unknown until some more advanced test can be devised.
A very interesting point which I stumbled across a few days ago is related to the prostate in male to female transsexuals. As it turns out the prostate in these people does shrink due to a reduction in testosterone levels (a technique also used in treating prostate cancer, by the way), yet the prostate itself keeps functioning, and thus even after gender reassignment surgery the transsexual person keeps ejaculating. Weijmar Schultz confirmed this, adding that the total volume of the ejaculate produced remains virtually the same. The interesting part about this is that before I started with the hormone therapy, the few times I did manage to ejaculate, the ejaculate had a thick, almost gel-like consistency and it would come out in one go, not in bursts. Now, after the hormone therapy started I do not ejaculate at all in any form. While I at times do produce some kind of fluid when in an excited state, it doesn't happen during orgasm, there is no feeling of ejaculating anything, and it's only a small amount of a clear, slightly sticky and completely odourless fluid. This points towards me either not having a male prostate (there's also a female prostate, used to be called Skeen's gland until quite recently), or something else being the matter.
The suggestion from Weijmar Schultz was to have this issue and the matter of the missing foreskin of my penis as well as the thin and fragile skin presented to a urologist. I intend to write down a list of issues and make an appointment at the local hospital with a urologist shortly. After this we parted ways, with Pieter and I returning home by car and Engel Vrouwe by train. I must say that I hadn't actually expected all of this to happen. I had expected a situation like at the VUMC, i.e. like talking to a brick wall, but this wall was soft, squishy and not very abrasive.
Making our way back across the snow-covered roads (5.15 PM to 7.15 PM), stopping to get some gas for the car once with Pieter enjoying a chance to talk in Frisian dialect with the person behind the counter of the gasstation and buying some chocolate to accompany us on the rest of the trip, me getting a phonecall from my mother who wanted to know how it went, we finally made it back home. Naturally Pieter only managed to eat half his pizza because he had been gorging on chocolate bars until mere minutes before we arrived home, but that was okay :P
After dinner I checked my email and saw that I received a response to my earlier email to a big Dutch national newspaper. They want to do an interview with me for an article. I hope to hear when the interview is today.
All taken together today was a pretty good day. I also learned that Pieter likes to slip-and-slide on snow/ice-covered roads, deriving an almost sadistic pleasure from it. I bet he scared a few drivers of surrounding cars :D