Late in 2012, despite having begun early and working steadily at sorting my files and personal possessions in preparation for leaving my home of 20 years, I did find that I needed to apply extra effort if I was going to be ready in time. As dance studios closed for the holidays, I began to have less commitments which gave me more time, though as I mentioned I did buy a bus ticket to go and consult with Dr. Allegretto in Edmonton on December 20. I also mentioned how in the summer I had asked to be put on the year and a half waiting list for the orchiectomy operation. Well, there was a cancellation, and I was asked if I could be ready for surgery on December 21. The solstice! Unlike the Adam's apple surgery, which as it became a definite possibility, I decided I didn't want it, after having put myself on the waiting list for the orchiectomy, I realized I definitely did want that operation. I had been reading about pre-Roman and early Roman transsexual priestesses, and imagining how castration for them was the culmination of their desire to serve the Goddess, and this surprise date was just too cosmic. I realized that my bus back from Edmonton arrived in Saskatoon at 7:30am on the 21st, and I had to report to the hospital at 9:30am, so I accepted the surgery date.
Despite all my efforts to avoid it, I have to admit I did suffer some stress. The midnight bus from Edmonton was late and we didn't leave until 2:30 am. I decided to relax, and put my fate in the hands of the Goddess. On arrival in Saskatoon I took a taxi to the hospital where I was admitted, undressed, and prepared by the nicest receptionists, nurses, doctor and anesthesiologist you could imagine, rolled into the operating room, took a few breaths in a mask, and the next thing I knew it was over and I was trying to wake up from the weirdest dream at the insistence of a solicitous nurse. My son came and I was discharged into his hands, and he took me to my new home which, though I had not finished moving in, is very close to the hospital.
I spent a few days recuperating, and though I felt very happy about the operation, several events made things difficult for me. My room, still in disarray, with piles of boxes, seemed very plain and small, as did the house, after my comfortable family home in a respectable historic neighbourhood. At my old home, I hosted my, until then, annual evening with old friends of my mother, to celebrate her life on the anniversary of her death, which was December 23, 2006. This event was marred by three of the old friends declining to come. One wrote a letter, detailing the reasons why she felt my mother would have disapproved of my gender transition, and as she put it, my "excessive makeup", "outrageous clothes" and my betrayal of my mother's feminist beliefs by being "a parody of a woman". Another was sick, and another didn't come I think because his wife, as I knew, didn't approve of my transition. I was spared family festive engagements, as my father had become outraged on hearing I was planning the operation, and cancelled our Christmas dinner. My siblings, who live in opposite ends of Canada, were also disturbed, especially my brother, who, in anger, said some very hard things to me over the phone. I shed some tears, but had a very peaceful and enjoyable Christmas, mostly in bed.
After Christmas, I got back to work at sorting and packing, trying not to exert or tire myself, as per doctor's instructions. I had planned to begin loading my van, which I did not normally use because of its excessive gas consumption, a little at a time. It was parked a short distance from the house, and when I went to have a look at it, I was dismayed to find that it had a flat tire. Warmer weather, only 10 below zero, was forecast for the days before New Year's, so I changed my plan and decided to deal with the tire, and loading, at the last minute. Foolishly, I decided to change the tire myself, to save money, but I had forgotten how heavy the tires, and the van were, and I hadn't anticipated how difficult the access would be, the flat being right against a huge, icy snowdrift. When I went to fill the tire with air, after struggling to install the spare, I found the tire had been slashed by vandals. That morning I was feeling as though I had a cold, but by the afternoon I realized I had an infection at the site of my operation. By the next day I was feverish, and phoned my surgeon, who prescribed antibiotics. On the morning of New Year's Eve I labelled my boxes, and phoned some friends, one of whom persuaded her boyfriend to come with her and help my son load the van, and unload everything into my new home. New Year's morning, still feverish, I was trying to clean my old family home. To my delight, two dance friends, two party angels who had been up all night, came over to help. Putting on loud music, they continued their festivities, sweeping and mopping and cleaning appliances and soon it was done. I left my family home and crossed the city to collapse in my tiny room in an unfamiliar house in a disreputable neighbourhood.