Moving, 'Mones, & The Mane Thing

Sunday, February 25, 2018



Greetings all.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. It's been one of the strangest winters I can recall here in New England. We started off bitterly cold and with well above average snowfall through mid-January, followed by nearly a month of above-average temperatures.

Then, in the past week, we've twice gone from several days close to 80 F (26.6 C) to snow - in the first case, eight inches (20 cm) of snow the same night(!), all of which was gone barely 36 hours later. Even by New England standards, that is strange.

Just thought I'd post about a few unrelated items. Follow along below the fold for all of the details. :c)




First, some news: I'll be moving into a new apartment in mid-March. I've been staying with my sister since just before my surgery last September, so this is welcome news (for my sister in particular, I'm sure!). :c)

It's in the same town where I lived the previous five years; in fact, it's literally a five minute walk from both of my former residences there. While I'm not crazy about this area in general, given the painful memories I associate with growing up here, I genuinely like this town. I'm not quite ready to talk about my long-term plans yet, but I'm pleased I get to hang my hat here for a little while more.

It might sound funny, but I'm most looking forward to having my own bed again. I had to get rid of my previous bed, which I loved, when I moved (long story). The bed in the room I was renting was somewhat uncomfortable. Since I had to move on very short notice, I had to take what I could get.

The bed in my the guest room at the house my sister is renting, however, isn't a bed at all; it's a futon - an old, worn-out futon. It's rock-hard, with no give at all. I don't sleep well at the best of times, and sleeping on this has been very difficult. (Note that I'm beyond grateful to my sister for letting me stay with her; I certainly don't expect her to purchase a new bed for me in a home she's renting, needless to say!)

Unfortunately, it's also affected my recovery from my surgery. I still have significant swelling and soreness, five months after the surgery. I saw my doctor a few weeks ago for a followup, and she confirmed that my discomfort is likely being exacerbated by the bed (and my chair at work), along with dilating twice a day. (She also said it's nothing to worry about, which is a relief.)

Anyway, I plan to shop for a new bed one evening this week; I'm already looking forward to my first evening sleeping in it. It's been a long time coming. :c)

***

I mentioned my doctor's appointment. It was a distinctly weird experience to have my first exam, I have to say. Not painful, or even uncomfortable; just... weird. (Once again J, my doctor, has commented on my unusually high pain tolerance level, as did Dr. Brassard in Montreal. I guess it's unusual, since they've mentioned it several times each.)

She kept reminding me (kindly - she's a wonderful doctor) to relax. I did my best, and she managed to complete her exam, in spite of my tenseness.

"It will be a lot easier next time, Cass," she assured me as I sat up and gathered my clothes. "And I have to tell you: Dr. Brassard does great work. Your labia looks fabulous."

"On the list of things I never expected to hear growing up, J," I replied, "That is very close to the top."

She threw her head back and laughed. "Well, if you think of anything that comes ahead of it on your list, please let me know, OK Cass?"

I assured her I would. :c)

***

During the visit, J also ordered some blood work, the first I'd had since my surgery. I'm happy to report that my testosterone level is finally, at long last, where it should be (the very low double digits), after remaining extremely high my entire time on spiro (the testosterone blocker I was using).

My estrogen level was somewhat lower than J wanted, so she increased my estrogen prescription. (I'd only been taking a third of the dosage I took pre-surgery.) She said we'll stay at this level for two months, then check my levels again and boost it again if need be. (I suspect it will, given what friends have told me about their recovery processes.)

My energy level has been quite low since the surgery - although J noted that this is relative, given my normal activity level. That said, the increasing exhaustion I felt as the week proceeded was unusual for me.

However, after looking at the lab results from my blood work, J noticed that we'd neglected to account for the huge drop in my testosterone level.

"Most women have already dropped to the normal testosterone level for women before their surgery, Cass," she said. "But yours was so high (nearly 800, believe it or not!) even after five years of HRT that it's no wonder you're struggling. Your body is trying to recover from major, major surgery and cope with suddenly losing all of its testosterone at the same time. No wonder you feel so tired all the time."

J assured me that all of the steps we're taking - increasing the estrogen level, getting a better bed, and, simply, the passage of time - will eventually pay off, and my energy level will return. And once the weather is better, and I can exercise regularly again - even start running again (woo hoo!) - will make a big difference.

For now, she recommends getting as much rest as I can and take things slow. So I am, much as I want to go full-throttle again. It's important to keep the big picture in mind. I have a lot to look forward to; I want to feel 100% as I approach new adventures. :c)

***

Finally, I thought I would end on a fun note. The picture at the top of this post shows one totally unexpected result of my surgery:

My hair has been growing like weeds. lol (I took this shot about two weeks ago.)

I mean, like crazy.

I didn't really notice it at first. I usually wear my hair up, to keep it out of my face (and prevent myself from inadvertently chewing on a mouthful when eating my breakfast). When I saw J, my stylist, in mid-December for the first time since my surgery (about three months), she gasped when I removed the scrunchie from my hair to let it down so she could start working on it.

"Oh my God, Cass, it's gotten so long!" J said.

"Really?" I said.

"Yes - look!" she said, holding up a mirror.

"Whoa!" was my typically articulate reply.

 When I went for my next appointment a few weeks ago she told me it had grown even more in the intervening seven weeks.

"Usually after major surgery like this, your hair loses some lustre, and you even lose some hair for a while. But your hair has gone into overdrive!"

Has anyone reading this ever experienced this post-surgery? It does seem pretty unusual, although I'm certainly not complaining! lol I sure don't take any credit; it was part of the original package I received at birth, so the manufacturer gets the credit. :D

Anyway, it's pretty crazy to see it in the mirror each time and think, "Hey, that's mine." Very strange, but very satisfying. :c) I need to get back into fighting trim (no real exercise for five months has taken its toll), but I know that once I'm back running and walking regularly I will. Can't wait. Life is good. All of the hard work has paid off. I can't wait to see what's next. :c)

***

I thought I'd end with a song or two from a favorite local songwriter of mine, Mark Erelli. I posted something from him previously, a thoughtful, quietly moving song called "Look Up," written during a songwriter retreat. (The narrator of the song's verses, in order: a janitor at the Sistine Chapel; Michelangelo; and... God). Check out this clip to see a lovely live performance of it; you'll be glad you did.



Before he became a professional musician, Erelli received a graduate degree in evolutionary biology. Because of that background, he was invited to take part in the Darwin Song Project, which brought together a group of songwriters for a weeklong residence to compose songs based on the work of Charles Darwin.

His contribution was a remarkable song called "Kingdom Come." It's sung from Darwin's point of view as his response to those who struggled with the bleakness of his theory of evolution. The performance below is the first time the song was performed in public, at the end of the residence.


Erelli was good friends with the late, great Bill Morrissey, a New England songwriter and one of my all-time favorites. The veteran Morrissey took Erelli under his wing when he was starting out - a major compliment, given Morrissey's stature in the folk community. (He nicknamed Erelli "Grasshopper," an affectionate tribute that took the puzzled Erelli several years to figure out. :c))

After Morrissey's untimely death at age 59, Erelli released a lovely tribute album to Morrissey called Milltowns, covering some of Morrissey's finest compositions. (Although the self-deprecating Erelli notes wryly that he included one original - which he then proceeded to use as the name of a tribute album to another songwriter.  :c)) Here's a great performance of a track from Milltowns, "Long Gone."


Bill Morrissey is sorely missed, but it's good to know that Grasshopper is carrying on his legacy. :c)

8 comments:

Calie on February 25, 2018 at 9:20 PM said...

It's sure nice to hear that you're doing so well, Cass. You sound so happy and secure. I'm glad you have your own place again.

And, the hair!!! I so love your hair, girl! I've always loved your hair but now I love love love it! No cutting it for a while!!

Love,
Calie

Cassidy on February 25, 2018 at 10:34 PM said...

Thank you, Calie! I'll miss my sister (and C, her pup lol), but it will be great having my own bathroom again after 18 months! (My new landlord said, "Two women and one bathroom? No *wonder* you had to move!" lol)

Oh, and I promise: no haircuts! :D My stylist makes me promise every visit not to cut it either. ;c)

Be well, Miss C! Hope to see you on this coast soon!

Hugs,
Cass

Rhonda Darling on February 25, 2018 at 11:57 PM said...

Amazing! Cass, you're amazing. It is so great to hear you finally settling in to your new 'you'. I can only imagine e the pleasure of seeing yourself in the mirror and realizing that it's your body, and it matches your mind and self image. A sublime feeling, I'm sure.

Be well. Your energy level will return as your body heals and you adapt to essentially no T in your blood.

BTW, the hair is movie star quality. Yea!

Best, Rhonda

Jenna on February 26, 2018 at 2:07 AM said...

I love your hair. Mine never got that long and my hairdresser made me promise that if I ever wanted to get it cut then I would talk to her first and not go off and have some random hairdresser do it.

Glad that you are well on the road to recovery. I remember my post-op check up. The examination was certainly eye popping :-)

Enjoy the new place xx

LL Cool Joe on March 1, 2018 at 3:32 PM said...

Great head of hair.

Nothing like having a nice bed to sleep on, enjoy it!

Cassidy on March 5, 2018 at 6:54 PM said...

@ Joey: Thank you, Joey! You'll be happy to know I bought my new bed on Friday evening. Less than two weeks 'til I'll be sleeping in it! :c)

@ Jenna: Eye-popping is certainly the right word. lol I'm looking forward to more of them - only under different circumstances. :D

@ Rhonda: Thank you so much for the kind words, hon. xoxoxo It truly is amazing to look in the mirror and finally see everything in alignment at long last. As far as my energy level, I'm planning to start running again once I'm down to one round of dilating a day in a few weeks. I cannot wait!

And to you, Jenna, and Joey, thank you for the kind words about my hair. :#) You know how to make a girl feel good! xoxoxo

Hugs,
Cass

Halle on March 13, 2018 at 6:35 PM said...

Hey Cass! Sorry about that, being so late to the party. I definitely need to look at my blogroll more often!

So happy to hear you are getting away from the futon; no idea how you have managed and not at all surprised you have had swelling because of it. Only having to dilate once a day is wonderful; only a few more days for you.

I shouldn’t even mention how wonderful your hair is; I am SO JEALOUS!! Seriously, you look fab as always.

See you soon!

Big Hugs,
xxoo

Cassidy on March 14, 2018 at 12:50 PM said...

Thank you, Miss H, and no apology needed! I was equally guilty at reading your most recent posts too!

Just three more evenings until I get to use the new bed; cannot wait! I bought new pillows as well, and am looking forward to using those too.

Finally, thank you for the kind words! They are very much appreciated. :D See you in a few weeks!!!

Hugs,
Cass

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