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Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Don't Look Back (They Might Be Gaining on Ya')

Happy New Year everyone!                        

 I hope that no matter how difficult or how wonderful 2011 was, I hope that 2012 brings you all good things this year and to your loved one's as well.

I'm hoping for a much better year and am looking forward to a lot of changes for the good. Many of us make resolutions and plans for positive changes. Generally in years past I have not done much of that. It is the perfect time to make some changes and try to plan and anticipate what might happen in the next twelve months.

To that end, I am thinking of what the year will bring and what I would like to accomplish. I want to work on some health issues and have some medical appointments coming up. Most are not too serious, but it appears that I will need another cervical spine surgery in the near future to remove the plate that was used for my fusion in December of 2010. The first surgery was much more extensive than originally anticipated and was quite successful in relieving my pain. I have had serious difficulty in swallowing since and have had a lot of difficulty with weight loss. I've lost 25 lbs since the surgery. Up until the surgery, I, like most girls, was working on losing weight. Now it is quite a different story as I need to graze to keep my weight stable. This problem is caused either by the presence of the plate or nerve damage to the 10th cranial nerve. I'm hoping the removal of the plate will take care of the problem, but I'm not overly optimistic about it. I dread going through this again so soon (Here is the surgery you get, it's not the surgery you want) more because of it messing up my conference workshop schedule for the year than the surgery itself. I'm going to have to drop two conferences this year which I really hate to do. It will be a hit on my leave time as well. So aside from resolving my swallowing issue, I'm going to ask him to clean up whatever new damage he finds while he is in there. I have developed a problem on the right side of my shoulder, arm and hand.

I'm going to use the time off recouperating to work on the book I am writing on transgender care with the same theme of this blog; a therapist teaching other therapists and relating the transsexual phenomenon from this rare point of view. So that will be a good thing! The other downside to having to have this surgery will probably mean that I will have to delay my GRS and FFS that I wanted to have this coming December.

Other plans in the offing include the possibility of changing employment. I'm contemplating going to work for the Veterans Administration. The VA offers many attractive options for me. They pay significantly more than other mental health employers in the area, a better retirement benefit and an EEO policy that is trans inclusive that was newly implemented by the Obama administration this past year. There is a downside to leaving my present situation. I have been there 10 years and have a well established caseload with many long term patients that I have built a relationship with. Working for  the VA would preclude my continued work with them. Even more difficult for me is to end my work with the most comprehensive transgender health care program offered in Virginia that I created. I would not have the opportunity to help as many transgendered people directly as I do now if I am offered a position with the VA, although they are making great advances in providing treatment for transgendered veterans.

My other plans are more modest and are the kinds of things that most of us do; resolve to get more exercise, do more for others in terms of service work . That's one of the things that bugs me about not going to a couple conferences on my schedule; all the workshops I do are done as service work. I don't seek compensation for giving of my time and knowlege. The friends I have made through these opportunities has been greatly rewarding of itself. I've also resolved not to be such a harsh critic of myself. While there is always room for improvement, I don't really need to as hard on myself as I am at times. Partly, this is the result of being a victim of abuse over a fairly long period of time. One thing I have been working on in the last few years is forgiving the ones who abused me. This is not easily done, but I concluded several years ago that I needed to forgive them, not for them, for myself. For too many years I have carried too much anger with no where to direct it. I've made a lot of progress, there is still work to be done.

The last thing I have resolved is to make this a more fun year! I think that will be the best resolution of all! So what are your plans for 2012?

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