19 July 2019
The first week of July was one that I had waited three months to arrive!
I didn’t sleep as well as usual and woke too early that morning in anticipation. Two appointments had been arranged, 8.30 and 11.30. I had booked the later but wasn’t quite certain how I had arranged the first. Well it was simple really, I hadn’t! What I had done was write to an endocrinologist I had first made contact with early in 2018 to ask for an appoinment now. I sent copies of all my appointments at Lyon to show that my next step at Lyon was with an endocrinologist. Unknown to me at the time of writing the letter earlier this year, enquires were now passed to a new doctor dealing with those seeking hormone medication and hence my mystery appointment. In short and due to a 4 year wait at Lyon where I chose to start my treatment, it was suggested by the surgeon at Lyon that I try Limoges. They were now able to offer the same treatment and most likely much sooner. So, understandably I opted for Limoges and wrote the letter to try and get things moving.
Early the morning of July 3rd I set off early on the 40 minute drive to the hospital. A fairly new construction with a modern and more than pleasant interior adjacent to the older hospital which I’m already familar with. I was surpised that I could park in the ground floor carpark and quickly found the where the secretary was and presented the letter for my appointment. She intially had trouble locating my details on her computer causing a little concern for me. Fortunately with the help of colleagues she was found them and life was good again.
I sat in the waiting area with two other women and was feeling quite relaxed. I think I was just happy to be there at last and hoped I would be able to move things forward a little further. The doctor appeared from an adjacent corridor and called out my name. She had a pleasant manner and smiled as I walked over and we shook hands. We entered her surgery and sat at the desk where she began with a few questions to establish some basic information about me. A process I had become accustomed to at each new meeting. We covered my age, nationality, marital status, my family and friends, when and how I got to the point of changing my life etc and then onto the more medical side. The questions continued: Did I have allergies, other health problems, had I used estrogen? And so on. I explained that from late in 2016 I had been taking an alterntive medication based on a plant root high in estrogen and about my visits to Lyon and onto Limoges.
Time for a physical examination!
I was fine and knew this would happen at some point. A little surprised that this hadn’t happened earlier in one of my hospital visits. I took off my dress and bra and lie on the couch. She remarked with a little surprise about my breasts and mentioned the pills I had taken of plant root had made them develop to a good size. She asked again if I had used conventional estrogen. I found that slightly amusing but complimentary. I realised afterwards that it had actually boosted my confidence from that day. She inspected my breasts asking if I’d had any pain and massaged each side during the examination. She appeared to be satisfied that everything was ok. Returning to her desk she picked up a pair of blue latex gloves. As she put them on, turned and asked me to remove my briefs as she approached to inspect my genitalia. Which was considerable different since taking the pills for 3 years. It was important that I mentioned I had mumps as a teenager and the effects it had on my testicles and that I was sterilised between 35 and 40. Again no unpleasant responses and all appeared to ok for the time being.
She began by explaining a few basics, the first time anyone has done that in such detail and I was grateful. There is a time scale that dictates the earliest point at which surgery becomes available under a no charge basis. Treatment can only be undertaken after two years from the first appointment with a pyshciatrist. In my case two years from March 2018. I am now required to be under the hospital psychiatrist to proceed further. We talked about other treatments I was eligible for and she gave me the name of doctors who can help with vocal re-education. The first meeting with the endocrinologist had been fruitful in many ways. I felt that at long last I was finally into the system to further my treatment and much nearer to home too.
Note: There are three hospitals mentioned in the article. The first is a large new modern building where the endocrinologist is. The second is a smaller hospital comprising of a number of individual buildings where the psychiatrist’s office is hidden away. The third is the old and original main hospital where the surgeon’s office is.
A coffee break to aborb the morning
Just before leaving her office she pointed out where the psychiatrist’s office was. Pointing at the window and on the other side of the car parking area by her office and an adjacent road was another hospital where I would find the office. My last meeting was a couple of hours away. With ample time, I decided to sit and have a coffee at the hospital café and absorb some of the information from that morning before setting off for the next task.
Once refreshed I embarked upon my short trip to the next hospital to make my appointment. On arrival I collected a map from reception which was really so bad that I had to stop and ask someone in an office for directions. Thankfully it was quickly located and my appointment made for October.
Next stop the old main hospital and a very slow check-in process. Take a numbered ticket from a machine then sit and wait until your number flashes on screen. Anything from 30 to 90 minutes can pass before it’s your turn. About 70 on this ocassion slipped by before I was able to make my way to the fourth floor for my appointment. Only to find that things weren’t running smoothly on the 4th and things were running behind! Eventually I got to meet the surgeon about 12.15 and imagined he may be be thinking about his lunchtime meal. He was actually very pleasant. The usual batch of questions followed by an explcit description of the surgical procedure and illustrations to ensure I understood exactly what happened and where it took place. It involves one week of hospitalisation and a period of rest afterwards. I have to say that I winced a bit at some aspects but must find the courage and strength to see this through if I really want to get to where I need to be for myself. My next appointment is in January 2020 by which time I should know if I am on hormones of not and will be under the supervision of the psychiatrist.
Now all parties involved are aware of my medical history and the question of hormone treament can be reviewed and considered seriously. I looked again at a letter from the cardiologist I received after my examination last year when I first sought his approval for hormones. He never rejected the possibility of stopping beta blockers to allow hormone medication for a trial period and hope that may be possible. I have also recently researched the side effects of the beta blocker and there are a number of adverse effects that I experience that I would be very happy not to suffer with.
Positive and uplifting
The day had an impact on me. Eventually getting to this stage after almost three years has been uplifting not to mention confidence boosting. A very positive day indeed.
It appears that the shortest timescale is generally a three month wait or more. I’ve now been back a few days from my week long visit to England have slipped into my French life. So today I remembered to make call and request a meeting with the doctor for voice re-education.
October is looking to be the next event month this year, I was given a meeting on the 9th for the voice coach. The psychiatrist on the 14th and I’ve since had a confirmation to see the endocrinologist again on the 23rd. Perhaps my appointments will continue to be close to one another from now one, I think I will call this the wave effect.
It would be really nice if you could rate the article at the top, thank you xx