Saturday, 12 December 2015

On vacations and uncertain futures

Last Friday was the last working day for me this year, with me being officially free to do and go as I please until early next year. Considering how few days I have taken off so far this year, it feels kind of weird to not go to work come Monday.

I wanted to take off next week so that I can finish building my new computer system, the one I have been working on - or waiting for - since August this year. Currently I'm still missing the last monitors for the triple-monitor setup, the speaker stands and a new UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to replace the current APC one I have.

Problem with the APC UPS is that it's a non-PFC one, meaning that it doesn't output real sine wave power (AC), but stepped square wave (approximated sine wave). Even though APC (misleadingly) advertises this UPS to work with computers, the reality is that it does not, and they will not honour their warranty if you do use it with computers or other PFC-enabled equipment.

As replacement I thus have purchased a CyberPower PFC-capable UPS. It's my first time purchasing from this brand, but the reviews seem to be really positive. The particular UPS I bought is technically not 100% sine wave output, but it approximates it so closely that there is no significant difference. It is also guaranteed to work well with PFC power supplies like those in computers.

This should be a welcome change since when I hooked up my speakers (both self-powered) to my current APC UPS (Back-UPS Pro 900), the UPS shut down with an error (F06) on its display, which came down to 'Relay Welding', or basically the relays which normally switch between battery and mains power having failed and are 'welded' in place. In short, stay away from APC and use CyberPower's PFC-rated UPSes, who at least seem to do honest marketing.

Finally, I am also awaiting a new mounting set for the heatsink in this new computer build, as there is a problem with new Intel Skylake CPUs and some third-party heatsinks physically bending the CPU due to too much force. Fortunately I got a Scythe heatsink, and their customer support was right on the ball, offering free mounting sets for customers using Skylake (Socket 1151) processors. I should have my replacement set next week.

So, in short, I should be able to finalise this computer build just in time for the new year :)

Beyond computer building, I will also be geeking out with my electronics, FPGA, programming, AI and gaming projects over the coming weeks. I definitely will have a hard time feeling bored, I'm sure.

Casting a bit of a shadow over all of this is the medical experimentation which will also be running over the coming weeks, if not months. Basically with me being off hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the determining of my natural hormone levels for the first time in years, and the uncertainty over the possible findings as well as what I may experience without those artificial hormones in my system.

As I have mentioned on many occasions over the past years, what I have been trying to do - medically - is to figure out the facts about my body. Not being certain what reality is like is frightening. While on HRT I could just ignore the questions about what would happen if I were to not take HRT. Now that I no longer am, the question looms of how much my body is like that of a normal woman, hormonally.

In addition to this, there is my mind completely over-analysing and working on convincing itself that a new betrayal is imminent with regard to medical help. So far almost every doctor and related has made a 180 after initially appearing to help me, so why not this time? Why won't I get written off as just another crazy transsexual bloke this time?

No matter how positive things may look on the medical front, one doesn't simply shake off eleven years of what one can only interpret as deception, brainwashing, lies and ignorance, aimed at completely destroying any sense of self-worth I may have possessed. I am not stupid and can see that my body is not that of a male, yet I get told over and over by doctors that that's all I am: a transsexual male.

Even as I struggle for more than two decades with a painful period and apparent menstruation. Even as I develop physical symptoms which would be impossible in a male body. Even as it's been clear that my hormone levels have never been normal, and a surgeon has declared that I am a hermaphrodite... it's all not enough, apparently.

On a more positive note, it appears that I did in fact have too much female hormones in my system, and was suffering from PMS-like symptoms. Now that I am off HRT for a couple of days, I can feel that the pressure on my head is fading, which is a good indication of such symptoms, along with a stabilising of emotions. It's possible I didn't notice that I was getting PMS-symptoms because my body started producing more hormones on its own this year only very gradually.

With a couple of weeks I should hopefully learn what my hormone values were while on HRT, to see whether the estradiol level was indeed off the scale and into PMS territory (300+ nmol/L, if I recall correctly, which normally should be ~150). Based on that result I can then decide what to do about the dosage with the HRT, how far I should scale it back, or omit it completely.

In summary, this appears to be what my vacation the coming weeks will look like. Thrilling, isn't it? :)


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