This has been yet another rollercoaster week for me and, indeed, for some of the people around me too! I have now found out quite how long I am going to have to wait now for my first appointment with the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in London. It’s a long time….
It was three weeks Thursday that I saw the psychiatrist who has agreed my referral and written a clinical assessment letter for me.
Unfortunately, secretarial staff shortages led to my letter taking nearly three weeks to be written and it’s now meandering through the local postal system to get to my GP. But at least I now know it’s been done and I can push it along at my surgery to get it sent to the GIC pretty pronto.
Knowing now that it’s a matter of days before they finally receive my referral, I rang the GIC yesterday to see if I could find out a rough idea of timescales and process. I spoke to J, who works with referrals and explained my current position being ‘in limbo’ while I am already socially and psychologically transitioning. She was absolutely honest with me about the current backlog of referrals they have and the waiting I would have to do to begin my physical transitioning once my referral had been accepted. I was pleased she was so clear and direct with me, even though it was not the news I wanted to hear to be honest. But she delivered the disappointing news in a kind and genuinely empathic way, showing that she understood I was eager to change physically as soon as I can now.
So, I now am aware that if my GP sends off my referral along with the completed psychiatric assessment in the next couple of days, it will arrive at the GIC and get logged. There is currently a backlog of around 2 months with referrals and so it’ll probably take until mid-April for my referral to be considered by a senior consultant. If it is approved then the funding has to be agreed. I have to research this bit some more but I understand that once funding is agreed I will be sent out an information pack with a form to sign and return. Only at that point will I be given my first appointment down in London. I think I am looking at possibly getting my first appointment around my birthday in November.
Of course the upside of this is that by then I will have been transitioning socially and psychologically as much as possible (for not being able to physically transition yet) for over a year. I feel that this will stand me in good stead for as speedy a treatment response as possible from then.
The downside is that I have at least one summer wearing a double binder and thick T-shirts so I am hoping summer 2010 is going to be somewhat of a cool one….sorry folks but I am going to melt and stew if we have another scorcher this year!!
At least I can now see the goalposts in this long, tiringly stubborn but beautiful game of life I’m playing in. I know I’ve got my team around me and I can rely on them to support me or tackle the opposition. Sooner or later I am going to score in this game. I’m looking forward to striking what will be the goal of my life. Rest assured when it finally comes it will be a real belter and I’ll have a very special on-pitch celebration just waiting for the occasion.