Whirlwind

January 18, 2010 dstevens11
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Today was a whirlwind. Not sure if there is a limit to the amount of words I can have on this blog, but this is probably going to be a long one. Have no idea where to start, so I’ll just jump right in. So many thoughts racing through my head, and I’m tired. I may go into some things in large detail, others may not. 

For starters, I told our therapist today about taking her recommendation that I start a blog. She was smiling, “has it helped?” I said “yes very much so, have received a lot of great advice and perspectives from some wonderful people.” It’s one of the only New Year resolutions I have ever kept. Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in our family and our situation, I really appreciate it. Your feedback has helped a lot.

I had recommended to my ex that he should probably come to the house this morning, and we could all go to the appointment/assessment  together to show support to Jamie. He said he couldn’t due to some work concerns “you know Monday’s are so busy for me”. I was dissapointed, I wanted Jamie to have an opportunity to speak to him in the car prior to the appointment. 

Jamie and I got in the car this morning, (so cold here in lovely PA!), and rode over to the appointment together. She knew the importance of this appointment, seemed a little nervous, but excited. “Dad is going to be there right?” she said.

I responded “Yes I talked to him last night, when he dropped off Drew, he is going to meet us there. ”

She went on, “Cool, this is when I find out about when I can start living as Jamie?” I said “we’ll see sweetheart.” I honestly did not know how things were going to play out today , I definitely need my ex’s support to pursue anything for Jamie. 

On the ride to the office she was real quiet, I said to her, “did you have any problems taking the nail polish off?” She said, “no not at all, but I left it on my toenails, I only had to do fingers.” 

I asked her “what going thru your mind?” She said, “I just want to move on and live my life mom. I just want to be me.”

“I know sweetheart. Make sure you are 100% honest with how you feel today.”

“I know Mom” she said. “I always am.”

“I know”

The agenda today, the doctor was going to see Jamie first, and then we had a choice, either my ex and I go in together, or one and one. I was going to leave it up to him when he got here. We did not have to wait long when we got there, Jamie went in, seemed ok. I said “good luck honey.”

I was sitting in the lobby for about 40 minutes, when my ex arrived. He looked extremely excited to be there….not! We kind of did our small talk, I asked him how the weekend went with Drew..etc. I said “Jamie is going to be awhile, do you want to get some coffee downstairs?” He said, sure. There was a Starbucks in the office lobby. 

I told him I wanted to make him aware of some things that are being discussed today, that he is unaware of. I told him about the events this weekend with Jamie, and he got ANGRY!

He accused me of using this weekend to put Jamie in a place to “feel” a certain way before today’s appointment. He said something like “you were suppossed to support and encourage  him being a male, allow the therapy to work and now you allow him to prance around all weekend long in mommy’s clothes, how do you think that is going to support him?” He kept on emphasizing the word him. “You were suppossed to support me on this! and you went behind my back” he said. “How could you actually let him go outside dressed like that??”

I said, “you have a very determined child, and all she wants to do is live her life, in the mind and body she feels is appropriate. Right now, she is broken inside. She needs help! She is your child, and you need to be there for her as a parent.”

I went on, “I have supported your wishes more then I have supported hers, it kills me inside to send her off to school everyday as a boy, or send her off to you on a weekend where I know she will be miserable. Not because she is seeing her dad, it’s because her dad sees her as a boy, and she’s not!”

“Even yourself told me in December that all she did was act like a girl. You NOTICE it too! Why didn’t you invite her to your football weekend? Were you going to be embarrassed with your friends or family? You always invite her. What stopped you this time?”

We were going at it pretty good. Not yelling or anything, but have quiet heated confrontation in the lobby. We raised a few eyebrows of a few of the seniors down there. 

He came back at me with, “hey even you at the start were angry at Jimmy for taking your stuff, even you said A BOY SHOULD LEARN TO BE A BOY, what makes you so sure?”

That’s how my ex is, always using my words against me.

I said, “That’s a perfect example for you, I did not know, and I wasn’t educated about this. Now I am, and you should be too. She is not going to change her position, and she needs your support. So does Drew. Our family needs it and needs you.”

We went back and forth for some time. 

Then I dropped, “The other thing you need to know as well, because we may talk about it today, is Jamie is interested in boys. She has told me straight out, and talks about it all the time with Aly.”

He like “really?? he’s told you he’s gay?”

I said, “No she’s a girl! That’s what teenage girls do, they talk about boys.”

Here it comes. “Why would a boy ever want to be a girl? I just can’t understand it? What will his life be like? I knew this day was coming, and honestly I have tried to understand, but I can’t. He will never be able to have children, he will never be a father. Now you tell me he like boys. I just can’t take this!!”

We had it out some more, which was good, because he avoids these conversations like the plague. 

I actually felt bad for him, because I think he feels he failed as a father. I can relate, because from my point of view I have felt that way as a mother too before. But the more and more I learn, I realize it just who she is. 

You can tell he was frustrated. 

We headed upstairs and waited in the waiting room some more. He was frustrating me with his stupid blackberry, taking calls and checking e-mails. It was kind of tense. 

When Jamie came out of the office, you can tell she had been crying, she said hello to her dad, and gave him a hug. 

The Dr called both of us in. 

The doctor started out by saying “you have a very determined child there.”

I felt like sticking my tongue out at my ex, because I just used that same word downstairs. 

She had all the of the endocrinologist information and tests in front of her, on her desk. 

She said look, “we could look at this psychologically or medically, the bottom line is we are looking at someone in Jamie who as a strong female identity and disposition. There is no doubt that we can further treat this now, or eventually she will have to treat this later in life.”

She essentially re-capped the last few years all the way up to the events of this past weekend, the opinion of two other therapists, and so on. My ex interjected a few times, but was realizing he did not have much a leg to stand on.

She went on “Here’s the dilemma for you two to think about:”

“Jamie’s at a crossroads in her physical and mental development. She is at risk to have bone density or bone peak mass issues because of the prolonged usage of the Lupron therapy without a sex hormone, and she is getting older now and I’m concerned about her mental state the longer she spends in the pre-adolescent physical state she’s in. Jamie will need to start either a cross sex hormone, or will need to have to be taken off the Lupron therapy.

“My recommendation is to keep her on the Lupron to continue to suppress any testosterone and to start her on a low dosage of estrogen.”

“This way her body is introduced slowly to the female hormone and induce puberty. This will also have a growth inhibiting effect on her that she will remain in the female range in terms of height and puberty advances.”

My ex asked, “what if he is taken off the lupron altogether?” (I am thinking about screaming at him – EXCUSE ME ARE YOU LISTENING!!!)

“If we do that then Jamie will resume a male puberty, and all that comes along with it, but I highly recommend against that option. Like I said before you can treat this now, or wait until later and this could have severe consequnces to Jamie physically and mentally.”

She used a nice metaphor. 

“Have you ever had an abscessed tooth before?” My ex said “yes”.

“It hurt right?” —-“yes”. 

“A lot of people can ignore an abscess tooth and it goes away for a while, but when it comes back it hurts even more. You may ignore one more time, and boy does it really hurt now. The pain gets excruciating, that many people have to deal with it in an emergency situation or go to extraordinary measures to fix the problem.”

“At this point the dentist never recommends to you to brush the teeth harder, and floss more often, because those are preventive measures. At this point you need advanced help, and the abscess tooth needs to be treated now. Once the abscess is removed and the root canal is performed; the person feels so much better. Problem solved.”

“Jamie’s GID is like a gender abscess. She can continue ignoring the problem, but it really never goes away unless treated properly. She’s at the point she needs treatment, not more understanding of the problem.”

My ex’s head was nodding, but you can tell he was frustrated. 

“So what does this mean?” I asked. “When should we start the estrogen and what should we expect?”

“You can start it soon, I can give you a prescription today. We will only start with a small dosage of estradiol, just enough to introduce puberty tanner stage 2. (increased areola, breast swelling, breast bud growth, pubic hair growth)”

“With it being almost February, she can start it now, and will not see much noticeable physical development that can’t be disguised on this dosage and we can look to increase after the school year. She can continue going to school as is without disruption.”

We talked about home-schooling in the fall, and the possibility of my mother helping out. 

(I know many of the people who have sent me comments on this blog have talked about approaching the school’s administration, we are not for that at all. To be honest, Jamie really isn’t that type of person to attract that attention. She just doesn’t want it.)

Our doctor had a good suggestion, that if my mother (the doctor supports the home schooling) agrees to take on that challenge, that we conduct the schooling at my mother’s house. This way Jamie is forced to get dressed everyday and have a schedule and routine outside of the house. (I’ll have to figure the transportation out, my mom lives 20 minutes away in the other direction I work in. I’ll actually pass my exit on the way back going in to work, it would add 40 minutes to my commute.) I thought it was a great idea though. She also encouraged if we go that route, to pursue some after school activities. Keep her involved. 

She shared with us that Jamie is well aware of this next step, and would be devastated if not pursued.

She also said that we should continue pursuing to present herself more often at home, with a full-time target date of the summer if we agreed with the approach. She told us that Jamie volunteered all of her feelings, and how great a weekend it was this past weekend. She told us we should do more of that, and include Drew slowly. Drew should also be in therapy soon also to talk about it. 

She said that it is very important that my ex and Jamie have some one on one time, seeing Jamie’s persona. “You need to be more involved Dad” the doctor told my ex. “Jamie is aware of your disapproval, that just makes her ignore that abscess, but it still hurts. Your support is important to her.”

He wouldn’t volunteer anything. 

We talked some more of the detailed stuff, more about Drew and how to handle that, and how Aly is a non-issue but still needs to be included in therapy. 

My ex did ask some good questions, but you can tell was still struggling. 

When I asked him for his consent, he responded, “You gotta do what you gotta do.” He started tearing up. I hugged him.

“I don’t want to lose my son.” he stated. I said, “I know.” It wasn’t right for me to challenge him there, Jamie has not been much of a son at all in a very long time or ever for that matter. 

The moment  reminded me of the time when the kids were very young, right after Aly was born and you can see kids starting to build their identity. Drew was all boy, all sports, all rough and tumble. Jamie wasn’t, but from that early age you can tell she was smart well beyond her means. We used to say we had it great, we had the athlete and the egghead affectionately, if they could only put that together, they would have one hell of a scholarship. Little did we know or expect what was hiding in Jamie. 

We now have another daughter. 

Lots to think about. 

We ended the conversation that she wanted to see us and Jamie at the end of next month, that we should also follow-up with Jamie’s endocrinologist next month as well. She also said the next time she sees Jamie, she wants her to come to the appointment dressed as a female. 

She also assured my ex that we will re-evaluate and respect every upcoming milestone, that would include stopping the therapy if red flags occur. She recommended that we talk to Jamie about expectations, and a timeline, up to and including possible future surgical considerations.

I sat with the receptionist to schedule the next appointment, the doctor handed me a prescription of oral estrogen, and in that scribbled paper was Jamie’s future. 

In the hallway I asked my ex if he wanted to go out to eat with me and Jamie, and he said he needed to go back to check in with work. 

As we approached Jamie, my ex hugged her and said “you’ll be ok kiddo”. She smiled up at him, and said “I know Dad.”

I started crying and hugged my ex and just said “thanks.”

I know he wanted distance, and to be alone. So I just stayed back and hugged Jamie, and she started crying because I was crying.  

We did not say much on the walk back to the car, but I had my arm around her. 

When we got in the car, I said “Do you want to go get something to eat?” she said “yes, where?”

“Your choice”, she chose this chinese restaurant near our house she loves. It’s a nice sitdown restaurant.

When we got there I asked if we could get a table alone in the back, this way I can talk to Jamie in private. 

I sat there and looked (more stared) at Jamie, and felt happiness for her but also some sadness or remorse. It’s hard to explain. In some way I can’t believe this is happening. Like its hitting me now. 

“So how did it go?” I asked her. She told me the doctor asked her like a million questions, “every question I answered there were like 4 or 5 follow-up questions. But I told her everything, even abut boys and stuff, I even started crying. But I was ok. It’s always good to let it out.”

“How was dad, he was real quiet leaving?” she asked. 

I said, “He’s ok, he is having a tough time with it. But I think and hope he will come to peace with everything, I have faith he will, as I keep saying in time.”

Watching her, much like I have commented, she is so feminine in her movements. 

“Jamie, I want to talk to you about next steps for you, I know the doctor talked to you about it, I just want to get and understanding of yours feelings and concerns.”

I showed her the estrogen prescription.

When she realized what is was, she made a squealing noise. “Mom, REALLY, OH MY GOD!! THANK YOU!!” Does dad know?”

I said, “dad had to give his approval”

“Is he ok with it?”

I said, “he’s dealing with it.”

She looked down at the prescription…”Mom you have no idea…..” she started crying. I came around the booth and just started hugging her and said “I know honey.” The waitress didn’t know what was going on, but knew something was going on since we have asked for a back table for a reason. 

Here come the tough questions.

“These pills will start making changes in me, right?” she said. 

I said, “Yes but they are a small dosage meant to start introducing estrogen to you. You will see subtle changes, things like your areola’s might get a little bigger, breast buds will form, you may see some swelling of your breasts, the doctor said you may start getting a little more emotional. How does that make you feel?” (Me)

“Mom I am so excited, I want to grow up  like you, I want to be a girl and be a woman. When will my breasts grow and hips get bigger?” (Jamie)

“The intention is for you to finish your school year this year, so we do not want to go real fast anyway. Then in the summer increase your dosage, from there as we have talked exploring a homeschooling option with grandma in the fall. How do you feel about that?” (Me)

“Yeah I would definitely want to finish school this year, I would be ok going as a boy for a few more months. So does that mean like in June I can start taking more estrogen?” (Jamie)

“Yes” (Me)

The million dollar question is next.

“When do you think I will have to start wearing a bra?” (Jamie)

I lost it when she asked that, and started crying. 

“I’m sorry mom, I was just asking” (Jamie) Now she came around to hug me, we must have looked ridiculous to anyone in the restaurant.

“I don’t know honey, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.” (Me)

Too much going on right now 😦

“When can I start?” (Jamie)

” I can fill the subscription tonight” (Me)

“Awesome” (Jamie)

Eventually our food came. I told her I expect (slowly) more from her in terms of Drew and her dad. She has to stop hiding. I told her to think about it in terms of a field, she is on one side, and they are on another. I said in order for this to work and get better, you both have to come to the middle of the field. They own a big part of the acceptance, but you have to show them who you are with confidence. The more and more you do it, the better it will get. You will have to take some dings and arrows along the way, but keep your head high. It’s who you are, be proud. 

I kind of had an epiphany, I said the way to acceptance to your father, may be thru Drew. We may have looked at it the other way around. Once Drew feels like it is no big deal, your father may follow suit. 

I told her I would talk to Drew in detail on everything that is going on this week, and want him to continue therapy as well. 

We kind of went on, we actually got into a real interesting conversation on building a wardrobe, again told her we would take it slow. But in talking to her about what she likes, we have similar tastes. How many mothers and daughters can say that??? Not many of my girlfriends with their daughters 🙂

On the way home we stopped at CVS, filled the prescription.

Came home. Mentally exhausted. Ordered pizza for everyone. Jamie must have been spent as well; was asleep in the TV room.

Drew came home and gave the goofy wake-up call we all needed “What the hell is a matter with everyone? What’s going on?”

“Nothing honey, how was your day?” as I have him a big hug.

Life is certainly going to be different. 

Jamie came to me around 7:30 and asked about her pill. We went into the bathroom, the instruction was to put it underneath the tongue and let it dissolve (not sure why).

She took the pill, (smiling ear to ear) and  joined the estrogen ranks of the Stevens household, leaving Drew as the lone testosterone ranger. 

I’m off to bed. Life goes on tomorrow. Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: gender identity,gender variance,hormones,trans youth,transgender,transgendered,transition,transsexual

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. loriannetucson  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Oh Dana, you shared so many monumental events in such a single post!
    I saw how your husband is grieving the imminent loss of his son and tears flowed from my eyes. I can also clearly see how you are having to find strength to get you through all this, too, and I pray you find renewed strength each and every day to forge ahead.
    I hope you congratulate Jamie on this momentous occasion from one woman to one girl entering into womanhood. Let her know she’ll get there, and she’ll have others rooting for her every step of the way.

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks Lori, I will let her know. My ex is having a tough time with it, talked to him briefly tonight, not good. We appreciate your prayers. I also appreciate all of your support, you have no idea how helpful it’s been. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Love, Dana

  • 3. Stacey  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Dana:
    Thanks a million for sharing!
    You are so courageous. It looks like you understand what it means to a trans-child to have the support of their mother. I know my transition (at 24) would not be possible with out the support of my mother.

    • 4. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Stacey for your comments. Your explanation was very helpful. Congrats on your transition and having a great mom. Make sure you let her know your appreciate her everyday! LOL Thanks for the support. Love, Dana

  • 5. Stacey  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:46 am

    FYI — Estrogen under the tongue.
    If the Estrogen is swallowed it has to pass through the liver before entering the blood stream. This greatly reduces the amount of estrogen that enters the blood stream, and a liver enzyme that causes blood clouting (not good) is released.

    By letting it dissolve under the tongue, you avoid the negative side effect, and get the proper does of Estrofen in the system.

    I hope this make sense…

  • 6. Abby  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Dana, thank you for sharing this momentous day. All of your emotions – the elation, the joy, the fear and anxiety – make sense. Change is difficult, even the change we desire.

    Your ex took some big steps himself today, too, and I am hopeful that he will decide that Jamie’s happiness and mental and physical well-being are more important than his image of what his life as a father would look like.

    The road ahead will not be easy, but it seems clear that you and Jamie are on the right path. Please give her a hug for me and tell her, “Congratulations! Welcome to the sisterhood.”

    Blessings,
    Abby

    P.S. The reason for dissolving the tablets (presumably, estradiol, which is identical to the strongest form of estrogen produced in our bodies) under the tongue is as follows. When taken orally, estrogen (and any other medication) must first pass through the liver before entering the blood stream and the parts of the body where we want it to do its work. The liver responds to estrogen by releasing an enzyme that increases the blood’s clotting ability. As I’m sure the doctor told you, one risk of estrogen therapy is blood clots in the deep veins of the legs (aka Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT), which, if they come loose, can travel to the lungs and/or brain and cause life-threatening complications. The risk of DVT, however, can be reduced by using non-oral methods of administration. Thus, estrogen patches, gels or creams, and injections are the best in this regard, since all of the estrogen delivered by those methods enters the blood stream and travels through the body where much of it is utilized, thus reducing the amount that eventually passes through the liver. By dissolving the estrogen tablets under the tongue (i.e., sublingually), a large portion of the estrogen (the exact percentage is uncertain) passes through the mucosal membrane in the mouth directly into the blood stream. So, although sublingual administration is not as good as injections, etc. in terms of reducing the risk of DVT, it still reduces that risk substantially and is, therefore, the preferred route for oral administration.

    One other thing: at her age, Jamie has a very minimal risk of DVT. That risk increases substantially for women age 40 and older. For women in that age group, like me, injections or patches are generally recommended, instead of oral estrogen. Your doctor is, therefore, being cautious in recommending sublingual administration of the estrogen for Jamie, which speaks well of her.

    Usually, non-oral administration of

    • 7. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Abby, I will give her that hug for you. I agree with you as well, the road hasn’t been or won;t be that easy, but it is the right thing to do for Jamie. Thanks for the detailed education on the medication. I called our endocrinologist today, and he said the dosage she is on now is fine orally, but as her dosage increases he recommends injection with also use of the creams you mentioned. He explained to me today about the sublingual administration as well. Your exlpanation made more sense to me 🙂 Thanks, and thanks for your support. Love, Dana

  • 8. Samantha  |  January 19, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Wow, you are amazing. And I’m kind of jealous in a way. My Mom was fully behind me, but my Dad was violently against us. So I couldn’t live my life. Jamie is going to be fine, she’s going to grow up to be a nice, normal teenager, and one day, like all teenage girls, she yell you’re the worst parents ever because you have no idea what the real world is like.

    And she’ll go on from there. Give her lots of love and let her find her way and she’ll be fine. Before you know it your Ex will be camped out in the living room with a rifle in one hand and a machete in the other to answer the door when her boyfriends come over. But Dad he’s JUST a friend and we’re only studying. Dad, I like him as a friend, but not THAT way!

    She’s gonna be great, she’s going to have a life most of us could only dream of, and from there the sky’s the limit.

    You are doing something awesome. You are awesome. So I want to thank you. And in spite of my Dad, I turned out to be nice normal woman my Mom is proud of. And the horror of it, I grew up to be just like her. And me and my Mom, we have similar tastes too. You and your daughter are so not alone.

    Hang in there, it’s going to get easier as things settle in and she just gets to be herself. At this point all your lives it will be like treating asthma or something like that. She’ll take her meds, do what she need not to have another asthma attack and you’ll all get on with life and the living of it.

    And of course I have to give a shout out to my friend Lori who pointed me to your blog.

    • 9. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Samantha, Thanks for your comment. How is your dad today toward you now, has that gotten any better? I worry so much that the two of them will have a productive relationship in their life. I think a fathers love is so important to everyone, especially a young adult (teenager). I was very close and still am close to my dad. I value that relationship a lot. You machete comment was funny, because my ex is like that, he just never envisioned that with Jamie. God bless us when the boy interests take off, have no idea how to handle that under the circumstances. One milestone at time. Thanks for the support. Love, Dana

  • 10. Rebecca  |  January 19, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I’ve been following your blog pretty much from the first post, and I’d like to thank you for sharing your lives with us. I have the pleasure of knowing several teenage girls who were fortunate enough to have a supportive mother like you, and so have been able to avoid the hell of male puberty (as so many of us had to.) The gift you are giving her is tremendous, and a real testament to your love for Jamie.

    I’ve been blessed with pretty much the same dynamic you’re witnessing with your daughter, but in the opposite direction. I transitioned at 38, when my daughter was 18. She was fully supportive of me from the start, but also went through a bit of the mourning that you are feeling now. Now that my body has had some time to feminize, we have found that we look very similar in many ways, and are often actually mistaken for sisters. Quite often, our fashion tastes match as well.

    I’ve been praying for your family, and will continue to do so. I have no doubt that everything is going to turn out wonderful for all of you. There is obviously a lot of love there, despite how stressful the situation can be at times. I wish that I had had even 1/4 of the love and support you are giving Jamie, when I was her age. My life would have been quite a bit different….

    • 11. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Rebecca, Thanks for your comments. That must of been a pretty wild ride for and your daughter. That’s so awesome you have her support! Sounds like you were blessed with a great kid. I have so much admiration for all of the woman I have met on here who have transitioned as adults, it’s truly an inspiration. I have no idea how you get thru it. Its tough enough from the side of the fence we are on. I am hoping we have spared Jamie of that pressure, so she can just get on with her life and get past this roadblock. She is on the right road. Thanks for your support. Love, Dana

  • 12. Christine Elaine  |  January 19, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Your post touched me on some very personal levels. As someone who never transitoned it gave me a peak into the life I could of had if I had only been truthfull with myself and others. As the old saying goes, time heals all wounds, I hope this will occur inside your family. Your family will continue to be in my thoughts. Christine Elaine

    • 13. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Elaine, Thanks for your comments and thinking about my family. I love that saying and use it a lot, I truly believe in time thing will heal. Thanks for your support, Love, Dana

  • 14. Sharon KathyJo  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Dana,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us! I hope all of you can stay strong and especially hope that your Ex and Drew will open themselves up to the joy and wonder that Jamie is and will continue to blossom into. The losing of a son / sister must be hard, but gaining a daughter / sister will be so rewarding if they will embrace her.

    Hugs!
    Sharon

    • 15. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Sharon, thanks for your comment. Well said, I have hope and faith they will embrace her as I hope our extended family and friends do too. She’s a great kid@ Thanks for your support. Love, Dana

  • 16. Jerica  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Hi Dana

    I found your blog because of this post. There was an excerpt on another friend’s blog and I just about cried when I read it.

    Then I read the whole post and cried my eyes out. I can’t describe how thankful I am that there are parents out there like you who are really searching for the answers instead of being stuck in your own comfort or wishes…but truly wanting what’s best for your child.

    This was a hard reminder that my own parents have disowned me and don’t want anything to do with me because I am “living in sin”. Your ex’s comments really drove knives deep into my heart because they were similar to what my parents have said. And yet I can relate to Jaime’s happiness at starting on estrogen too. I had the same exact feelings when I started a couple months ago and I am 28. So reading this brought both sad and happy tears.

    Thanks for sharing your life and struggle with us. I can’t thank you enough for being so open minded despite the hardship.

  • 17. Sherry Ann  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Dear Wonderful Dana,

    I want to add my tears of joy to those of the many who are following this blog. I doubt that you can grasp how forceful and compelling your (Jamie, you and family) story is as you so competently write it. Your ability to relate what you are going through is, in large measure, a part of the story. You touch on all of the emotional and logistical issues of gender transition that anyone could relate to; the confused brother, the threatened father, the strong but worried mom, and the little sis who is supporting and fine. I would think any parent would be moved by, and gain from, reading your blog, even if they do not face an issue of this magnitude. It is not just a roadmap for parents of trans people; it is a call to moms and dads on being strong and courageous in parenting. You should find a way to publish this more widely, especially since there are new chapters to anticipate. You should consider writing about it in a broader format, and more expansively. You have the talent.

    I could write a couple chapters myself about the events of the weekend and Monday, but you have said it all and othrs have given beautiful and support input. I have no way to thank you for the gift you have given others, including myself, who have stories of our own; some triumphant, some tragic. But I hope you know that you have opened a Pandora’s box of your own. You have become an icon for many; the mom we didn’t have for whatever reason, and the personal story you tell is the affirming voice we continually long to hear. I am certain that was not the anticipated reaction when you started the blog, but what your therapist suggested as a tool for you has become a gift for so many others. It is a story within a story.

    I have so many other things to say but will leave it alone for now. Just one comment I just have to give you. You did such a marvelous job yesterday. Be so very proud of who you are, and the kind of mom you are to all of your children. Oh, by the way, you need to copyright that “Lone Testosterone Ranger” phrase.

    Sherry

    • 18. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Sherry, you are always so flattering with your comments. It’s funny for me, I don’t know if it comes off in my entries, but I just talk (rant) to the keyboard 🙂 That’s my writing style you speak so fondly of, I have zero experience in writing anything of any substance. I do write a mean memo though. To volunteer a little about myself, I never had any schooling past high school. I just came from a family who valued work, and not really education. My ex husband was a Penn state grad, and has his masters degree. I often kid that’s where Jamie gets her brains from. So when you say that stuff again I am extremely flattered. I am glad the thoughts in the blog have helped other people, but selfishly my intent was really to help me. Someone said to me early on, writing a blog is cathartic. They could not have been more right. It’s not a subject you can just talk to with your friends and family, so what outlet do you have other then therapy? So really I have no aspirations to write to a broader format, I really have no skills, just a situation people can or can’t relate too. Whoever reads it I am grateful. I am also grateful to know there is a such a big support community out there for Jamie for whenever she needs it. Again I had no idea. As always thanks for your support. Love, Dana

      • 19. Sherry Ann  |  January 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

        Dana,

        Education can help skills. Talent you are born with. You have talent. I know you have so much going on right now, but later, after you write the chapter about Jamie graduating from college, you may want to take a stab at it.

        It is a revealing twist that you did not go to college and are the open supportive parent, and your ex has a masters and is so resistant. I makes me more of a Dana fan.

        Thank you again for what you are giving to so many; your children, others trans people and their families. You are a special mom, woman and person.

        Sherry

  • 20. Sarah Jane  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I hope that Jamie’s dreams were filled with sugarplums with spices and everything nice.

    I believe that you have managed to create wonderful school options for next year, letting her dress as a girl is a huge solution.

    It seems that your husband is coming to terms with Jamie in his own way. As you described how he took care to hug her as he left, he is gradually letting his son go and will realize what a special daughter Jame is become.

    Your relationships with your family is amazingly strong.

    Sarah

    • 21. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks Sarah, it’s been a rough couple of days. I talked briefly to my ex tonight, he’s still not in a good place. As I keep saying, I hope time will prevail. Thanks for your comments and support. Love, Dana

  • 22. Amanda  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I am glad that things went well at the psychiatrist, even if they could have gone a little better.

    Your ex will someday realize that he didn’t lose a son. Jamie was never a boy, she was always a girl. When he sees her blossom into her true self, I hope that will help ease his misplaced mourning.

    You are truely a wonderful mother. I hope that you are taking care of your own feelings during all of this.

    I look forward to reading each new entry that you make.

    • 23. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Amanda, I hope your right. Appreciate the your comments and support. Love, Dana

  • 24. Lisa  |  January 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Wow what a great blog. It had my full range of emotions on show!
    You are such a wonderful and open mother.
    I am sure your daughter and you will be just fine.
    I wish you both well on your journey.
    Lisa xx

  • 25. Lisa  |  January 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Wow what a great blog. It had my full range of emotions on show!
    You are such a wonderful and open mother.
    I am sure your daughter and you will be just fine.
    I wish you both well on your journey.
    Lisa xx

    • 26. dstevens11  |  January 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Lisa – Thanks for your comments, really appreciate that and your support. It is greatly appreciated. Love, Dana

  • 27. Anne  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Dana!

    It’s really important that Jamie never swallows the pill at all. If I may get a little technishnical:

    The reason for placing the pill sublingually (under the tongue) is because if it is swallowed then the estradiol will have to pass through the liver, which will filter it out. If that happens, then no estradiol will get into the bloodstream and nothing will happen. Almost everything we eat has some naturally occurring estrogens and the liver filters it all out so they have no effect on our bodies.

    Estradiol can be taken three different ways:

    1) By injection, which is painful and carries some risk of infection, and is a bit of a hassle to do.

    2) Dermally, either by creme or transdermal patch, both of which are not very reliable because the amount of estradiol absorbed through the skin is not constant and it seems that the skin may eventually block absorption. The dosage is pretty difficult to control.

    3) Sublingually, where the estradiol passes through the thin skin into the blood vessels under the tongue and then directly into the bloodstream. it seems that the sublingual method is easiest and offers the most thorough absorption, other than by injection.

    Birth control pills have an unnatural form of estradiol that the liver cannot filter out called ethinyl estradiol, so they can be swallowed. But they have some negative and potentially dangerous side effects, especially in the amounts required for hormone therapy, apparently.

    I’m kind of wondering why this wasn’t explained at all. It’s really kind of important.

    *hugz*

    Anne

    • 28. Abby  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      Anne, I did explain all this in my comment above. I disagree with one point that you made, however.

      The liver does *not* “filter out” all estradiol if the pills are swallowed, although a portion of it is eliminated in the liver. Instead, the primary reason for taking estradiol by other than oral means is to avoid the increased clotting risk that estradiol can create. All the details are explained above.

      Abby

      • 29. dstevens11  |  January 30, 2010 at 6:21 am

        Thanks for the clarification Abby, appreciate all of your information and support. Love, Dana

    • 30. dstevens11  |  January 30, 2010 at 6:20 am

      Hi Anne – Thanks for the information, really appreciate it. They explained the how to, just not the why. Love, Dana

  • 31. melissa  |  March 7, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Amazing! Its actually amazing article, I have got much
    clear idea concerning from this post. melissa


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