Kieryn Darkwater

933 posts

The Feelings Part 1

Shit has been rough.

Up until last week I was able to use school as a distraction from the mystery that is rampaging my body. I sent out letters to everyone over last weekend saying I’m dropping out but staying around until the end of the month to tie up all the loose ends. I have since lost most of my fucks for meetings which is both good and bad. Good because it keeps us moving along and productive, bad because I forget that this is entirely new territory for the rest of the student cabinet and I want to be much more patient than I feel like I am. Although, people have been thanking me later for my tension diffusion skills so maybe I’m just really hard on myself.

I am really hard on myself. I’m even harder on myself now that I’ve dropped out of school, as if dropping out somehow nullifies the health issues that required this decision in the first place. I’m not instantaneously better after removing the stress of school (which is obviously a ridiculous expectation), and I feel like I’m getting worse. But is it worse because it’s worse or worse because I’m finally staring at it?

I think some of this is that since since I’ve removed my consuming/enabling distraction the only option left is to look this problem in the face and confront how bad it really is.

I feel like I am losing so much that is important to me. Even though it’s my decision, it doesn’t feel like a choice (which in a way is its own progress). I’m so tired of fighting for e v e r y t h i n g only to have it fall apart.

I’m losing my memory, and it’s gaslighting. I can’t remember a story I heard, or a story I told 10 minutes ago. I can’t remember words or how to give directions clearly, I can’t remember where I am in space or what I was going to do 10 seconds ago. I’ve always had this occasionally, but it’s been really bad lately. I’m frustrated with myself because I see these things happening and I am unable to stop it. I can’t remember the word that’s on the tip of my tongue, my body and my brain are so disconnected right now.

I haven’t slept well in ages, which is likely a contributing factor to the memory and spatial reasoning. I’ve also been in a CPTSD flare for months that is really hard to come out of, because the dietary restrictions I have now taste like the cult. I want to take the test for a motorcycle permit but I don’t feel like I can rely on my memory for a quiz right now. That’s how deep in brainfog and fatigue I am.

Meanwhile, every single test we’ve run so far has come back normal. I have lovely, photogenic, nonproblematic organs that literally cannot digest food without immediately making me nauseated if I forget to take an enzyme.

As much as I hate it, my body is at least proving dropping out so I can navigate this shit was the right call. I have so much anxiety about all of this too, but that’s another post entirely.

Pause

I sent all the emails on Friday that told everyone who needed to be told that I’m dropping out for my health.

I’m too sick to be in school and on campus so I’m dropping out. I have been stuck in a shame fueled depression since I made this decision even though I know it’s the right one. School has been so hard but also so good. I miss it and I feel lost. I have other projects but my depression ate my motivation and I need it back.

Most of last week I spent trying to come to grips with it, and talk about it in a way that wasn’t utterly depressing. Everyone at school has been super supportive and not angry at all, which is the anxiety that was eating me alive. But I’m still really sad and really devastated about it.

I don’t have the energy to get into those feelings right now, but the words will come soon.

Stepping Away

As you may or may not know, my health has utterly tanked since finals last semester. I was hoping that the summer would provide some answers but instead it resulted in surprise trips to the ER, more questions and specialists, and to be honest, none of that is letting up. I’ve been candid about the impacts being on campus has had on my health since I started the machining program in 2017. Getting the signs changed on the single stall bathrooms would have enabled me to eat and hydrate throughout the day; but as you’ve probably gathered, things move pretty slowly on campus. In the 2 years I’ve been working on it, my health has deteriorated exponentially – apparently the stress of school/grades/homework combined with not being able to eat because there is no conveniently accessible and safe bathroom to use will completely annihilate a person’s health. 

So it is with a heavy heart that I have realized I need to take a break from school to focus on my wellbeing. To be completely honest, writing this is devastatingly hard and I was hoping all summer that I would be able to avoid this very moment. School has been fulfilling and life giving in as many ways as it has been a trigger and a nightmare. I take solace in the fact that I’m leaving it better than I found it. Starting the Laney Queers and bringing it to a place where it can continue on without me is something I’m super proud of. 

Pres. Gilkerson has committed to getting the signs changed and installing gender neutral restrooms in all new buildings. The next year of Brunches is already scheduled and paid for, the Lavender Project is already working with our sibling colleges on next year’s queer dance. Coming Out Week next month is a joint effort with all of the schools and will be amazing. I have full confidence that the Laney Queers will carry on just as well (if not better) in my absence. We, collectively, have created something big and powerful and amazing on campus, and even in the district. We have made a space for ourselves to exist and be, and we aren’t going anywhere. 

I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to organize the ICC and spend some time in the Student Government. I’ve learned so much and made so many friends, I’m really sad to close this chapter of my life to deal with the agonizing process that is our healthcare system. But as many many people have reminded me, this is just goodbye for now, not forever. 

ASLC Special Meetings 8/23, 8/26 & 8/30

On 8/23 we appointed our ASLC Secretary, Alycia, and on 8/30 Zach was appointed Club Affairs officer. At both meetings we discussed ideas for fall events, which will be followed by an internal brainstorming session.

The Wayfinder and Latinx clubs were chartered and re-chartered in time for club rush on September 5th.

We are currently in the process of re-evaluating our regular meeting times and location as the 3rd & 4th floors of the student center are closed for elevator repairs.

On the 26th we had a special meeting with President Gilkerson to discuss possible locations for ASLC offices and meetings while the Student Center is inaccessible. In the meantime, Follow me on twitter or watch this page for updates about when/where the next ASLC meeting will be held!

Semester No. 5

My semester begins tomorrow. I’m very anxious. My body has been tense all day…all week, really. I’m not anxious about my classes – I’ve re-evaluated them thrice now and I’ve taken my health and spoons into account so I’m only doing one in-person class (US Government), and two online classes (English 5, and Cultural Geography) in addition to my Student Government & Laney Queers organizing and my independent study (which is essentially writing down what I learn in the student senate).

I’m anxious because this is the first week of school and on Wednesday I get snake cameras and sedation instead of doing fun Welcome Week activities, on Tuesday I meet with my department chair and have my first class while on a liquid-only-diet and then get to drink the colon cleanse “juice”.

I think I’m more irritated that my first week as a senator is going to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it than anything else. I’m realizing a lot of my life is going to continue to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s really just…. quietly devastating.

That knowledge hangs on me like a heavy jacket twice my size. It’s with me every moment of the day. It envelops me when I struggle to put together a meal because I can’t get out of this fatigue and brain fog regardless of how long I close my eyes. I’m quietly haunted by my own ghost that I can’t figure out how to release.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next semester. I don’t know if my body will hold together or if I’ll have to drop out. Everything feels so precarious and I’m so so exhausted.

So tonight I managed to make myself some Gluten-Free low-ish-fodmap peanut butter energy bites so I can at least have something to munch on during the days I can eat solid food. Doing post colonoscopy Kieryn a solid.

ha.

ASLC Meeting 8/16/19

Today we held a special meeting off campus at 2044 Franklin street (my default-world office). We appointed Armani Taylor to the position of Vice President, settled among ourselves which of us will be tabling during welcome back week next week and when, and designed a welcome back week survey that will guide our priorities for the year.

We will be distributing the survey on Thursday during the party on the quad! We’ll also be holding our regular meeting on the quad rather than our room on the 4th floor of the Student Center.

Welcome Back Week will feature a movie night on Monday, Taco Tuesday, resource fair Wednesday, and the party on the quad on Thursday.

I will be on the quad Monday morning from 9-10, and that evening from 5-6:30, Tuesday from 12-2, and Thursday from 12-2! Come say hi!

ASLC Meeting 8/2/19

Today we voted on allocating funds for Welcome Week, sponsoring students to go to the Congressional Black Caucus in September, contributing to the Peralta District training in two weeks, and approving Queer Brunch for the 2019-2020 school year!

On Monday, August 5th, we will be meeting to discuss what materials to get for Welcome Week, and that Thursday at 12pm will be the next regular ASLC Meeting.

Whirlwind

Everything has been a whirlwind since school let out for the summer and it starts up again in 3 weeks but I am still reeling.

The rug was pulled out from under me in June when I went to the ER and was diagnosed with Colitis but couldn’t see a GI Specialist until the middle of July. As it stands, I have an endoscopy & colonoscopy scheduled for my first week of school when I’m supposed to be doing Senate-y things, but it was the soonest they had available so here we are.

My new PCP is helpful and working with me on the diet changes through this process, I am emailing her a weekly check-in on symptoms which is very helpful considering her next available appointment for a followup is in September.

I have learned that, apparently, what my body needs right now is to be Gluten Free, LowFODMAP, and vegan….which feels impossible even though it isn’t actually. I was miserable all last week because I stopped eating normal bread, but on Sunday I found some ($$$$$$) Gluten Free bread mix (and then had a minor breakdown because needing to be GF is breaking my budget). The bread I made (with this recipe from the bag and some rosemary) turned out surprisingly well and now I need to acquire better baking equipment and supplies so I can get through this semester in one piece.

On top of that fun health spiral, my degree program is unlikely to survive, and all of my degree classes were cut for this semester. Additionally, Peralta is not doing well financially so most of this week I’ve spent in a mild panic talking to Deans and coming up with a plan for graduating by next December.

I even made a spreadsheet for it

After talking to the Dean of the department I’ve decided to switch majors from Labor Studies to Political Science, this way I can get my AA and transfer to a 4-year that has a Labor Studies equivalent.

My next steps are: Meet with a counselor to get an updated SEP, and then meet with the Department Chair to go over both an Independent Study plan and figure out how to get my LABST classes to count towards my Political Science degree.

Aug 1 is my first day of being an ASLC Senator, which is a 2 semester term. I’m having a lot of feelings about changing majors, and being a senator, and gender feelings about how my problem was immediately addressed without my having to over explain the situation entirely because I was being read as male, and being sick and how that’s going to go down this semester (and how am I going to get through the first week of school while doing colon prep?), and and and…. I want to write more about that later but I am too exhausted and more importantly….

I HAVE ADOPTED A FURCHILD.

Peridot the cat sleeping on my bed

Peridot is a 2 year old tabby mix who was described as dog-like and is utterly perfect. Peridot even has an instagram so go subscribe for some good catte content: https://www.instagram.com/peridotfiercewater/

View this post on Instagram

Yarnz r mine

A post shared by Peridot Fiercewater (@peridotfiercewater) on

30 Months on T

Last March I wrote a 15 month synopsis of what it’s been like on HRT:

I wanted to write another in December when I hit my 2 year anniversary but that occurred over finals week and never happened, so here we are. 30 months on T!

Weight Changes:

After my Hysto I lost about 4lbs, and have been hovering between 104lbs and 110lbs since, partially due to my testoterone being too high. I really don’t like being this weight. I’m trying to gain but can’t put any on – although that is not entirely the testosterone’s fault and may have more to do with whatever is behind the colitis diagnosis I got in the ER last week.

Mental & Emotional Health Changes:

I’ve continued to become more at home in my body in some ways. Getting my uterus out did worlds of good for my dysphoria. It was like this war that I had always been fighting suddenly ended. This introduced me to another war that I didn’t know I was having between my body and my brain and trauma which is good, unrelated to testosterone, and really difficult. But what is amazing is having a base-level of okayness with myself that I’ve never had before.

I see myself as objectively hot, and kind, and confident, and smart, and capable. Which are things I struggled to see myself as before when I was so caught up in how wrong I felt. I don’t have that as much anymore, and it’s wild and liberating.

Puberty Changes:

My voice deepened by at least 3 octaves after my hysterectomy. Apparently removing all your estrogen making components will do that to you. My skin has also become rougher and dyer (which also makes it greasier, weirdly?!). The angst is also a thing that comes and goes and is really irritating and sometimes jarring.

Hair

Immediately after my Hysto, while I was taking 150mg of T a week, my hair spontaneously created cowlicks e v e r y w h e r e. It became utterly ridiculous to shave. After dropping my testosterone this year, the cowlicks have calmed down a bit and now it’s only the usual bit of unruly instead of intensely absurd. Overall, it’s also thickened quite a bit (I didn’t think it was possible but here we are), and my beard is coming in nicely. It almost reaches around from my ears to my chin, but not quite. There’s also a set of patches on my cheeks that are trying to be mutton chops but haven’t quite figured it out yet.

All the rest of the hair on my body has also intensified. When I shave my legs or pits (never super close bc the growing back period sucks) it looks like someone has sheared a poodle in my bathroom.

Muscles

I dropped out of Ballet before midterms but, damn my legs. My body grows muscle like no one’s business apparently. Just doing floor and barre stretches for 6 weeks really strengthened my core and my legs in heels are fantastic. Most of the growing pains have subsided, though my hips are still trying to shrink.

Junk

I have zero tits to speak of. I keep thinking they can’t get smaller and then they do. I can actually get away with going topless which is wild.

My dick can reach things now(!!), and I have more pubic hair than is reasonable. I am actually considering laser on some of it because it’s just….not okay.

Voice

Listen to episode 1 and episode 38 of Kitchen Table Cult and you will understand.

Perception Changes:

People almost always see as a dude and it is still a mindfuck. Probably time for another post on that soon.

Dosage Changes:

After my hysto I started dropping my dose from 150mg/wk to 120mg/wk, then in February all hell broke loose because we never checked my hormone levels after removing the estrogen producing organs. My doctor at the time put me on a schedule (after initially making me drop from 100mg to 50mg) to drop by 20mg every two weeks starting at 100mg. I literally couldn’t show up to school more than half the time for like two months. In May I found a new PCP who has me dropping by 10mg every 6 weeks. I’m currently taking 80mg/week after self-dropping on my own for two months based on what felt better.

I was unable to gain weight because my body was just feeding on the testosterone and I wasn’t feeling hunger. So I’ve been using “feeling hunger” as my signal about whether or not the dose I’m on is low enough. 100mg turned off the hunger feeling, so I dropped to 90mg and stayed there until I stopped feeling hungry, and now I’m at 80mg.

I still desperately need to switch to patches, that’s what started this whole thing to begin with. I’m hoping to talk to my PCP about that at our next appt.

Injection Changes:

I’ve been having friends do my injections for the last year and a half. This is why I desperately want to switch to patches, but in the meantime, I’ve been using 5/8″ needles (basically insulin needles) and doing an IM injection into my thigh because I have zero fat. This has stopped the nerve poking which has also made me realize that I’ve had chronic leg pain unrelated to shots which is it’s own thing entirely. Such fun.

Tips:

  • ALWAYS CHECK YOUR TESTOSTERONE especially if you remove both ovaries
  • If you don’t do close shaves, you can have all the joy of less hair without the aggravation of it growing back
  • Moisturize