Friday, June 24, 2011

Updates on Electrolysis, Surgery Prep, and the HRC CEI

"Easy now, hush, love, hush;
Don't distress yourself, what's your rush?
Keep your thoughts nice and lush;
Hush, love, hush, think it through;
Once it bubbles, then, what's to do?
Watch it close, let it brew;

-- Wait, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett (Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd)

The updates are slow(er than usual), because life is simple and relatively routine. That's probably a good thing.

Another two hours of electrolysis down. I've started doing sessions every two weeks, instead of one, to allow some time for the dormant hair to cycle back in. We're still doing about 30m at the beginning of each session to re-clear my face, and the rest of the time on the lower area. So far I've logged just under 5 hours on my face, and about 6 hours down below. My electrologist still leaves the room while I change in to the towel skirt thingy, but it seems like a silly ritual at this point. All other pretense is gone, and she doesn't even pretend to keep me covered any more. =P

My insurance won't cover a physician checkup until August, so I'm still managing the pain with just an Ibuprofen or two, but I'm considering calling to ask if my doc will prescribe some EMLA (numbing cream) over the phone. Some electrolysis sessions, I feel like I can take about anything, and I almost fall asleep while she's working. Other days, the pain consumes me, and I start getting visions of that one Fight Club scene ("I tried not to think of the words 'searing', and 'flesh'." "Stop it! This is your pain."). =P

Speaking of surgery prep, I've still got a lot to do in the next few months. Besides electrolysis, I need a psychological evaluation and two letters of recommendation from therapists (one being a PhD/MD), I need to get HIV testing, and I need to work with my endocrinologist regarding my pre- and post-op changes to my hormone regimen.

The most pressing of these is probably the letters. My primary therapist has agreed to write the first, but I'm having a hard time finding someone with a degree and familiarity with GID to write the second letter. I've been calling various people suggested by trans friends, with no luck so far. I'm sure I'll find someone to write it; it's just another thing I want to get out of the way. =)

As I mentioned before, my set SRS date is in February 2012, but I'm on a cancellation list for November. When I scheduled, there were a lot of personal advantages to having my surgery done in November, but those pros are slowly being overwhelmed by the possible advantages of waiting until the scheduled date in February.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a major organization focused on the advocacy of BLTG rights (you've probably seen their bumper sticker logo: a blue square with a yellow "=" sign), releases a Corporate Equality Index each year. Basically, companies volunteer to send in a survey and information about their TGBL-related policies, and HRC scores each company on a 100-point scale. My employer has consistently gotten 100 points each year that they've participated (2009, 2010, and 2011).

As of 2012 however, HRC is changing the criteria by assigning 10 points for having trans-inclusive benefits-- health insurance that covers GID therapy, hormones, surgery, etc. Since my company seems pretty proud of their CEI rating, I've informed the powers-that-be that we are in danger of losing our 100, unless they add an inclusive insurance option by the end of this year. They definitely listened, but I probably won't find out what they've decided until around November. It's an off-chance, which is why we've been saving and planning for paying for it ourselves. But as the date approaches, waiting three more months for even a small possibility of saving twenty-thousand dollars is sounding more and more worthwhile.

We've also found out that Erin isn't eligible for family medical leave through her work until she's been there for a year, which will occur in January. She gets 40 hours of PTO a year, and at the moment, she has to save every minute of it to be able to go to Cali with me in November, which really isn't fair to her. Finally, waiting until February means the date is no longer uncertain, and gives us that much more time to settle the funds.

I was really looking forward to November, but logic dictates otherwise, and I think (hope) I can deal with waiting just a little longer.

By the way, if you want to see the CEI ratings, here are the 2011 results (ratings start on page 38):

And a few previous years:

Does your company participate? What's their rating?