Friday, 28 October 2011

Burned Out On Life

After nearly seven years I finally have most of the medical answers I have been looking for. To be honest I'm not really sure what to do next.

I know why I had to get those answers and the recognition for my intersex condition: to understand and come to terms with a disastrous puberty and surrounding years during which my body turned into something I could not understand, with mixed male and female secondary developments taking place and my emotional side being caught completely off-guard.

I was twenty-one years old when I started with this. I'm now twenty-eight. Seven years just seem to have vanished. Years during which I not only got lied to and brainwashed by Dutch hospitals and psychologists, but during which I also got raped, sexually assaulted, abused, harassed, beaten up by the police and refused by various Christian family doctors for being intersex. I'm now looking at the last years of my twenties with severe PTSD, DID and an urgent need to leave the country which has inflicted this upon me.

I know all this, and yet I am powerless to do anything about it. I know roughly what my options are. Struggle through a year or more of searching for a job in Canada or so directly, go via an EU branch and hope I can get relocated to Canada, or hope for a miracle. I also know that such a job search is the last thing I am capable of. Why?

For nearly seven years I have had to defend myself and my situation against physicians, psychologists, politicians and regular people. Not being trusted is what I know best and am the most afraid of. In this regard a job search is far too similar and thus places far too much emotional stress on me. Just at the thought of a job search I feel like crying uncontrollably. I'm not good enough...

I'm trying to ignore my lack of a future at this point by focusing on my work, but I know quite well that my chances of getting out of this situation on my own range between negative and very, very slight. I just have to consult the dull headache and feeling of weary exhaustion I carry along with me ever since I returned from Germany. Typical burn-out.

No time to recover, though. No chance to get my PTSD treated. No chance to live. Just got to fight and make more compromises while ending up with less each time.

I can't do it any more...


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Trudging Forth On The Path Of Infinite Regrets

One can not live without accumulating regrets about past decisions and past events. Many of them are relatively insignificant, like whether missing that date with that one girl would have made any real difference, or losing that winning lottery ticket for a grand total of $100 or so. Others are far more influential, especially medical issues, as they literally touch upon the very core of our existence.

Emotionally it's not been easy for me since I learned the facts about my body. Before the surgeon told me what he found there were so many possibilities, some of them better, some of them worse than what I ended up with when this waveform of possibilities collapsed into the basic truth. I had been right all those years, but also wrong. The Dutch physicians and psychologists have lied to me and attempted to brainwash me through elaborate deceptions. I do have a vagina, but its development got stuck on a relatively early level and isn't usable. I am essentially without genitals, as apparently both cell lines, XX and XY, fought over control when it came to developing the genitals and both lost. That's why I only have a hybrid clitoris/penis structure which is neither, and a vagina and prostate remnant. It's also why I had undeveloped testicles and have never been fertile as either side.

I am a freak.

Such a simple word, with so much pain and anguish behind it. The treatment by my very own country is something I simply can not comprehend let alone deal with at this point. The many regrets about having been born like this, with such a questionable body. Being without genitals. Being infertile. Having to get additional surgery to have an artificial vagina created to allow me to still have some semblance of genitals and the possibility of a sex life. The emotional mess which is a result of growing up like this.

So much left to do before I can maybe become happy.

I feel beyond disgusted and horrified at what my very own country has done to me and I really can not stay here any longer than absolutely necessary. Whether it was sheer incompetence or malevolence which drove them to trample my human rights like this I do not know. All I know is that they won't fix it and I can't fix it.

*takes a deep breath*

The positive news is that the wounds from the surgery are healing quite well. Yesterday I also visited my lawyer regarding the official gender change and progress is being made there. All that is required now are a confirmation from the surgeon that I am fact infertile now thanks to the orchiectomy and more annoyingly proof that he is an approved physician as that's required by law to testify that a person is intersex. More annoying delays.

My lawyer is also going to help me find another lawyer who can help me launch a case against the Dutch police and the various hospitals here who have caused me so many grievances, both emotional and physical in nature. I'm very grateful that she's doing this for me. Hopefully I can find some closure that way.


Friday, 14 October 2011

The Joys Of Surgery, And I'm Not Done Yet...

It's 10.45 PM as I'm typing this in my hospital bed. I went to sleep around 8 PM and even took a sleeping pill, but I have been sleeping almost constantly since the surgery this morning so now I'm quite awake. Sadly I do not have internet - it's only available if you pay extra - so no one but me will read this post until I put it online early next week.

Traveling to the clinic on Thursday was no big deal, other than the fact that German intercity trains use a seat numbering system akin to airplanes, which was a tad confusing at first. I arrived safely after about 4.5 hours of travel time. The reception was good and warm, even if very few people here speak English. Dr. Pottek does, fortunately, as do his secretary and a few others I talked to. It's kinda fun to use a mixture of English and German with the personnel here.

After arrival I first had four ampuls of blood taken, then talked with the anesthetist, who had not been informed on the details surrounding my case yet. It was kinda confusing, but it was a nice, younger guy. I ended up giving him my business card so that he can take a further look at my case. Both Dr. Pottek and his secretary have read my website, which I still think is amazing as never before has a doctor or even hospital personnel shown any kind of interest in the person behind the patient. I think that Dr. Pottek is very friendly and attentive, even if at some points he still very much is a guy.

After the anesthetist appointment I had a chat with Dr. Pottek. His first remark was immediately that he didn't think I have a vagina, thereby instantly triggering my traumas and making me feel kinda sick. When he fetched his laptop with the MRI images, however, things became a lot more nuanced. There is a structure there, but he was unsure how useful it could be. During the surgery the next day he would open things up and see what he could find. An ultrasound of this structure and the testicles were made.

Having been shown to my room after all this, I was basically free to do what I wanted until surgery at 8 AM the next morning. I had a room to myself, which was quite sparsely furnished. For some reason I got a lot of flashbacks regarding the time I spent in jail as well as other flashbacks and felt really quite terrible and haunted. I got a sedative for this, and the night nurse gave me a sleeping tablet as well. I don't think I got much sleep that night, though.

Surgery itself took about 50 minutes, during which I was completely unconscious. It was nearly 10 AM when I came to again, and it was later that afternoon when I heard from Dr. Pottek how things had gone. As expected the orchiectomy was a breeze, though I have drainage tubes installed which are rather annoying, to be honest. The exploratory surgery showed that while there is a structure underneath the skin, it's too underdeveloped to be useful as a vagina and thus the opening was closed up without any further surgery. What I will likely do, as suggested by Dr. Pottek, is when the now empty scrotum has finished shrinking in a few (4-6) months time, to have it used to create a vagina and labia with. According to Dr. Pottek I have the abdominal space for a vagina this way of about 12 cm deep.

I know I have said that I do not wish for an artificial vagina, but now that I'm this close to having one of my own and just missing it, I think it's the right choice to undergo this vaginoplasty using the otherwise useless scrotum skin. This procedure would then probably take place in Canada, assuming Google accepts my application there. It's also so that in terms of reproductive organs I ended up with so little. No womb, or ovaries. Scarcely developed prostate and testicles. Just a penis which is wired up like a clitoris. With the primary erogenic zone for me being the location of the vagina, this second surgery is the best way I have to get a satisfying sex life.

Just one more reason to hope that I do get hired by Google or similar soon, so that I can build up my life, have that last, 5-hour surgery and then at long last be done with it. Dr. Pottek noted that they have a good center for plastic surgery in Ottowa. I hope that I can go there early next year...


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Why I'd Really Want To Work At Google Canada

As suggested by a certain someone at Google+, I'm hereby composing a list of items why I would be more than happy if Google Canada offered me the chance to work at one of their offices.

For me the crucial point at this time is to get the heck out of the Netherlands after many highly unpleasant years caused by the disconnect of the government and medical system here when it comes to things like my intersex condition (hermaphroditism). The resulting struggle has led to various traumas on my side which make it impossible for me to stay much longer in this country. I really need to move to a place where I can be myself, and of course work at a company where this is possible as well. Google does seem like a company where such tolerance and freedom exists. Canada is also the kind of country where this should be possible.

Furthermore, I'm a long-time software developer, starting back in the early 90s as a hobby, to make it my profession early this century. I love new, never before tried concepts and projects as can be seen in my portfolio to some extent. Innovation and imagination is in my blood. I think that Google, being such a young and ambitious company, is probably one of if not the best environment for a person like me to work in, especially considering their policy of letting employees work on their own projects using company resources. That's the kind of thing I really like.

I also have no problems working in teams, as long as things are done fairly. I will quickly speak my mind about things I'm not happy about and think that by doing so I'll do everyone a favour. This also seems like it's in line with how Google operates :)

Most importantly for me is of course that I can permanently escape the Netherlands and settle in a more friendly country, but I'm also willing to give a lot back to whoever makes this possible. I'm someone who keeps her promises and I vow that if Google helps me in this matter, I'll repay them with equal fairness. Even if I am made to program in Java :)


Heading Out On A Journey Of Many Firsts And Many Questions

First time I'll undergo surgery. First staying the night at a hospital or clinic. First time a surgeon actually does his job. First time my life is changing for the better.

Uncertainty about whether the surgeon will decide to proceed with the introitoplasty. Questions about what the result will be if I do get the introitoplasty: what will this vagina of mine be like in terms of development? It still feels so strange to even be talking about it as a real thing.

By the end of tomorrow I should have at least the answers to the most essential questions, and know whether the introitoplasty will be performed. The surgeon will be doing an ultrasound for the orchiectomy as part of the standard procedure, and a transrectal ultrasound to examine the possibility of an introitoplasty. To be honest I no longer want to think about what it's going to be. I know what I'm hoping for and I know what would disappoint me greatly. One would mean a happy ending to the medical side of the story, the other would mean the continuation of this hellish nightmare.

Main reason why it would end the nightmare is that the introitoplasty would mean the ultimate evidence of me being intersex and a hermaphrodite. Without it people, including physicians, will keep questioning whether I'm intersex at all and ridicule me for thinking that I actually could have female reproductive organs. It'll maintain the doubt and possibly even worsen things if I know it's there but can't be operated upon. I'm not sure how I would handle that news.

Hoping for the best here... See you guys at the other side.


Monday, 10 October 2011

The German Surgery Appointment As An Elaborate Fake: Fact Or Paranoia?

There's nothing I would love more than a happy ending to my medical drama in less than a week, but if the past seven years have taught me anything it is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. I'm facing the same thing with the upcoming surgery appointment in Germany. Note that I'm not trying to accuse anyone of anything here, I'm just trying to spell out my doubts and questions here.

First of all I have never had contact with the clinic itself. I have sent them emails with requests for general information about what to expect at the clinic but not received a response. My surgeon, Dr. Pottek, said he would forward my questions as well, which brings me to the next point, namely that I have always communicated with this Dr. Pottek via an email address not connected to the clinic, but a personal email address at a German internet provider. I got this email address via my friend Sandra, who I have never met in real life and of whom I can not say that she is a real person or not.

My fear is that I'll be arriving at the clinic in Hamburg on Thursday afternoon, ask for Dr. Pottek (who is a real doctor at the clinic) and be told that there's no record of anyone with my name being expected at the clinic. So far there's nothing I can put against the earlier reasoning, and nothing which could ease my doubts. At this point I do have the faint hope that it is all real and not a hoax, but so many people have set up schemes like this for me in the past, regular people and even physicians, that I can't help but feel completely justified in thinking that it is all yet another setup, aimed at hurting me.

The clinic actually responding to my emails would help to ease my doubts, but I'm very doubtful... I really hope that I'm just paranoid, but trusting people is no longer possible for me.

I'll be over there, bracing for the pain of yet another massive disappointment...


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saying Farewell To The Child, Or: How Deeply My Country Has Betrayed Me

In four days time I'll be traveling to Hamburg, Germany, where I will undergo the very first surgery ever in my life and also likely the most important one I'll ever have. With a bit of luck I will not only lose the little bit of true masculinity in my body (semi-functional testicles), but will also gain the last bit of female sexuality which has up till now been hidden and denied to me. This transformation goes far beyond the mere physical. With it I'll also leave behind the last part of the child inside me: the boy who wasn't a boy.

While the mental scars won't fade right away it'll still mean that at long last I have won the war to regain my real identity. In order to win this bitter-sweet victory I also needed outside interference. Part of me still can barely believe that it may really happen this time, that before next week the struggle for medical help and acknowledgement finally ends. I was twenty-one years old when I finally discovered what was going on with my body, and I'm now twenty-eight, with both physical and mental scars to show for it.

Part of coming to terms with these 'lost years' is somehow dealing with the treatment by my own country, the Netherlands. As I have documented in a very detailed fashion on my site and blog, there has been a constant denial of my intersex condition and a constant push to have me accept the lie that I had to be transsexual and was just one sex-reassignment surgery (and 3+ years of 'therapy') away from happiness. Here I can only draw two conclusions, based on the saying "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" [1].

Either the Dutch physicians, psychologists and politicians have acted out of malice, knowing very well the damage their brainwashing attempts would do, or they are so clueless and ignorant that they kept at their misguided attempts to 'help' me even as it became abundantly clear right from the start that it was the wrong approach. Whichever is the case, or whether it's a combination of both, the quick acceptance and help in Germany shows clearly what the right approach is like. If I had lived in Germany back in 2005 when I discovered the issue, I would probably have had medical help that same year and not had to suffer all these years of agony. I am more than just bitter about the way my country has and still is treating me. I feel completely betrayed and abandoned by them and regard the Netherlands as a lethal risk.

I would very much like to change the Netherlands or at least make it easy for intersex people to flee from it to safe country, but I'll need to recover from my ordeal first. Here is to hoping that I'll soon get hired by one of the Canadian companies I applied at or otherwise find my way into that country, or another country where I can be safe and feel welcome.

Now that I have finally reached this point it'd be kind of silly to have to admit defeat and commit suicide or so, right?



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Things Really Don't Have To Be So Difficult

A short while ago my German physician, Dr. Pottek, informed me about his findings with regard to the MRI scans I sent him. He basically confirmed the findings of the first German clinic who did the initial MRI scan and analysis. To quote from the email in which he describes some details:

"in one of the MRI files one can see something that could be the vanishing vagina.
I watched one of the interviews you have poste on your website where you told that you feel something with your fingers.
If this is the anatomical pendant to what I see in the MRI, it should be easy to open it and form an introitus.
We would have to compare these findings with the pictures of a transrectal ultrasound examination we will do here."

An introitus or introitoplasty is essentially using the scrotum to form labia. The inverse of introitus is scrotoplasty, whereby the labia are turned into a scrotum.

I also got a letter from Dr. Pottek to be forwarded to my insurance company. In it he confirms that I have an intersex body and that the orchiectomy is medically indicated to make the supporting hormone therapy easier. As described in the above quote he also wants to check out the vagina and notes in the letter that if he deems the introitoplasty possible, he will perform it together with the orchiectomy (castration). Depending on whether it is only the orchiectomy or both items which I will undergo during the surgery I will have to stay 3 or 5 nights.

Within a few hours all of my dreams, everything I have fought for in terms of medical recognition could become a reality.

It's such a wonderful feeling, even though there's still the lingering fear that it will all come crashing down again.

Tomorrow it's just one more week until I travel to Hamburg. Friday it'll be just one week until I find myself in the operating room. All I want to know is whether the introitoplasty is possible and if so, in how far the vagina is usable. Maybe I'll need hormone therapy to develop its development. I'll see.

Keeping everything I can cross crossed until the end of next week...


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Why My Situation Is Little Different From Physical Torture

A few moments ago I had a brief email-exchange involving sex-reassignment surgery. This brief exchange contained sufficient triggers to make me feel warm/cold and to develop a sensation of hurt, of wanting to get away from it, to forget about it as it was hurting me and I had to get away from something that unpleasant. Last night I was communicating with the German surgeon who I'll meet next week. During our email exchange I experienced something similar.

The reason for this isn't so hard, of course. I got a lot of traumatic disorders which are bound to make me feel horrible when I'm reminded of something unpleasant which for me is almost with everything at this point. It's only the extent to which it makes me feel horrible which differs, like how getting slapped in the face isn't nearly as painful as getting punched in the face. There are gradations in emotional pain. Yet how far does this pain go?

According to a fairly recent study [1] there is no distinct difference between emotional and physical pain, making the pain experienced by test subjects in this study equivalent regardless of whether its origin was emotional or physical (8/10 on the pain scale), with fMRI scans showing that the same brain areas are activated. Short conclusion is that experiencing emotional pain, whether it's from a break-up or traumatic experiences is virtually the same as experiencing physical pain. Hereby the gradations play a role, of course.

This brings me back to the title of this post. Thanks to the whole host of traumas I have experienced and still am experiencing combined with the constant triggering of those traumas because I have to keep re-experiencing them while I fight my way out of the situation I was forced into. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which I also have, is characterized by the amygdala [2] basically going crazy as the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are unable to regulate it down [3]. This leads to an extreme emotional response, which also leads to very painful memories and experiences being remembered or imagined.

To briefly summarize it, what I experience on a daily basis is no different from experiencing severe physical pain. It's been over five years since I began to suffer from PTSD. During that time the emotional distress has increased and increased. Day in. Day out. With regular shocks: rapid increases in this distress. Suffering chronic pain can drive one to insanity and suicide as the pain keeps gnawing at him, without any respite or relief. Euthanasia is the preferred option by terminally ill people suffering from chronic pain, such as during the final stages of cancer.

I can feel the pain gnawing at me. Deep inside, where I can't reach it. During moments of what one could term insanity I find myself hitting my head as hard as possible. To drown out the pain inside it. To try to end the pain. It's always there, never giving me much respite. I never got used to it, I just learned to endure it.

If someone gets beaten up on a daily basis, people would obviously consider this to be a heinous act and demand to stop it. Why would it be any different when the victim is suffering from severe emotional pain? The fMRIs say that it's the same thing to the person in question, meaning that to the victim there is no difference except for the presence or lack thereof of physical injuries.

Meanwhile, today I'm also suffering yet again from a strong pain in my right knee, as a result from the physical beating I received at the hands of the Dutch police. The foot is numb, with occasional stinging pain. The knee area is almost unbearably sore and painful to the touch. The pain from this kind of blurs together with the emotional pain.

I guess I literally am limping along now, both physically and emotionally, while hoping for salvation...



Monday, 3 October 2011

Having To Cancel My Surgeries Due To The Costs...

Feeling quite shocked right now... just heard the costs for the orchiectomy and the vaginoplasty of which at least the former will be performed this month: EUR 3,500 and EUR 7,000. If my insurance company doesn't pay up and/or the surgeon doesn't want to file a request with them, I'll be absolutely, totally, flat broke, or I'll have to refuse the surgeries and be back at square one... Just... T_T

I don't even have the means to pay for an orchiectomy, that's the short story... which means no legal gender change...

Why am I even trying any more? I know I can't win...


[update:] Got a positive response from my surgeon. He will send me a letter for my insurance company tomorrow. I just hope that my insurance company accepts it...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Switching Between Stress Modes, Pain And Nausea

The thing about focusing on one thing at a time is when that one thing finally seems to resolve itself and one gets a chance to look up, all the other things to be done are still there, waiting. Rebuilding my life is one of those complex undertakings. Now that the medical situation finally seems to have found an apparent solution with the German physician, other issues come popping back up with a vengeance.

One of those things is the major medical question I have been walking around with. Back in 2007 a first German clinic concluded based on MRI images that I have a closed-off vagina and it probably could be opened via reconstructive surgery (creating labia). A second German clinic confirmed this in 2008. Now with an apparently cooperative surgeon prepared to do things for me I would be crazy if I didn't discuss with him, right? I have suggested this to my friend Sandra as well, but so far I haven't heard a response on this yet. I think that it is something which should be discussed the coming weeks before I head off to Hamburg, Germany. If anything the physician can take a look at the MRI report and scans and tell me his thoughts. If I'm really lucky I'll be heading to Hamburg again then in a month time or so for the labia reconstruction. Maybe. Luck hasn't been on my side so far. It's just another source of stress now.

Since yesterday I have had this severe headache, nausea also while lying in bed, sudden strong pains - especially in the lower-right abdomen, where the undescended testicle is located - which instantly knock the breath out of me, and lots of pain in both hands due to the nerve damage. I'm feeling restless, agitated and apprehensive. I also feel like it's all moving too slow, that the help I was expecting to help me escape this country isn't forthcoming as I had hoped and basically that it's all just slipping away.

I guess I really don't feel like I'm part of reality. When I'm waving at people to get their attention they just can't see me. I'm just like a ghost. Already dead but still in denial of the fact. So very insubstantial.

And of course that I ended up like this, with permanent nerve damage, severe traumatic disorders and no prospect of a future is all my fault. As someone put it recently to me, it's all my deserved punishment for what I have done.

With the lack of help there is the distinct possibility that this statement is true. I really must be a horrible person. Right? I deserve the worst punishment imaginable. I should see everything around me crumble until I end up taking my own life while crying out the last drops of regret for my horrible actions.

Any other explanation defies reason.