A few days ago I finally got to see a consultant dermatologist. As you know, for 18 months now I have had a bout of eczema on my face so severe that anything that touches my skin causes it to flare up in ugly ways, and that includes soaps, shampoos, makeup, even sometimes the medicines to treat it! Last time this happened in this way was in my 20s and, after lots of failed medical interventions, I was eventually advised to stop anything from touching my face altogether, which meant no shaving either. That worked as a remedy and took two years. This time I have tried the same and it was beginning to work. After a year, as an experiment, I took the resultant beard off for Sparkle 2015 as I wanted to see if my face could take occasional makeup. The answer was no, and I suffered quite a setback.
So now I am on a new regime of medication and soap substitutes for the next few weeks or months with some new patch tests early in 2016 to see if anything particular is causing it. I’ll obviously take my makeup foundation along for the tests (though I doubt it’ll cause a reaction as I used it without previous problems for years). The beard is off now but I will not be presenting as female until this is all completely cleared plus several weeks grace before I try normal soap again and then some makeup. For the first time ever, unlike all the doctors and specialists before who essentially shrugged their shoulders and told me to put up with it, this youngish doctor understood my plight and actually said: “This time we’re going to get you better,” which is the most positive thing I’ve heard in a lifetime of battling this problem. The downside is that I shouldn’t drink alcohol during this period. And in the run-up to Christmas this is hard!
So I still won’t be presenting as female for a while yet as my makeup is essential to me, but I do feel more positive about recovery. And when people say to me, “Sue, you could so easily go fulltime female”, or “Sue, you should have laser or electro,” this is one of the main reasons why I can’t. So often whether you can transition has got nothing to do with how you yourself feel or what might be best for you, but what reality throws at you.