When I last wrote a blog post, I did not expect the entire world to be upended as much as it had. Like everyone else, I sat back and watched as life screeched to a halt. As an introvert, who was already self-employed and semi-retired, the pandemic did not affect my life as much as most. Yet, it still has had its impact.
My weekly gathering of friends to play pub quiz trivia had to end as they shut all restaurants down. My other weekly gathering with friends to hang out and watch geeky television also ended, as quarantined at home. The stress of watching the news as things kept going from bad to worse also brought my creativity to a screeching halt. My writing faltered as the words failed to flow as they once had.
I am approaching my three-year anniversary of the start of my medical transition. Due to the past year of forced isolation, many of my friends and acquaintances have not seen me beyond the occasional social media post.
Gender transition happens gradually over several years. So, when interacting with others regularly, the changes don’t always register. However, if I do a photo comparison of myself from before my transition, to one taken less than a month ago, the changes are noticeable.
In 2020, I had hoped to publish my third novel. However, due to various circumstances and events that happened across the world, I made the choice not to complete the novel I had been working on. It was another gay erotic romance, as my previous two had been. However, it dealt with an alternate universe scenario that I felt was insensitive to the troubling times we were experiencing.
Instead, I opted to gather several other stories I’ve written and publish a collection of short stories instead. It’s still in the editing phase and going through rounds with beta readers. I will have it published later this year.
Besides that, I continue to publish non-fiction articles on Medium, fanfiction on Archive of Our Own, and I’m working on an episodic story for the new Kindle Vella platform. If I’m writing full time, I figure I should take advantage of as many publishing opportunities as I can.
I haven’t written about my dogs in a long time. Sadly, in October 2019 I lost Joey to cancer. A year before he passed, I took him to the Colorado State University Animal Hospital, where they have a leading veterinary cancer center. He had developed a lump on his head, and they diagnosed him with osteosarcoma. They gave me two options: treat him which could extend his life and also reduce any pain the cancer was causing, or let the cancer run its course and only give him pain management medications.
The cancer was growing so fast that he had maybe one or two months left, if left untreated. Because the treatment would also ease his suffering, I opted to move forward, despite the expense. They gave him radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which shrank the osteosarcoma to almost nothing. For the next year he lived as a happy, healthy dog, only going in for occasional bloodwork. It almost looked like he might even go into remission.
Sadly, by September 2019 the cancer came back with a vengeance and within a couple of weeks it spread to his lymph nodes. Once again, they gave me options, but after spending over $20,000 on his earlier treatments, and no guarantee any further treatments would ease his suffering, I decided it was time to let him go. I called a vet who specialized in-home euthanasia. Joey passed quietly in my arms, while I was surrounded by friends and his sister Lexi.
Lexi is still with me, having turned ten years old in 2021. Her health is good, and she is not showing any signs of getting older. She has always been a bit of a spoiled princess, and she very much is.
In February 2020, I also adopted a new pupper that I named Bailey. For a long time, I had said that after my last cat passed, I would replace him with a cat-sized dog. After losing Joey, I felt it was time to add to the family again. Lexi needed a companion and I enjoy having two to three pets at a time.
The interesting case with Bailey is when I found him through an online rescue, I was told he was a Pomeranian/Sheltie mix. It was hard to tell from the blurry photos they had of him, so I took them at their word. However, the day I went to pick him up, I could tell almost immediately that he was no Pomeranian. However, they put him into my arms and ushered me out of the door and locked up.
Thankfully, Bailey seemed happy to be in my arms, so I took him home. The first couple of weeks were fraught, as Lexi did not seem to like the new interloper. I had a trial period with Bailey, and I nearly opted to give Bailey back. I was sure he was part Chihuahua, which is a breed I didn’t want. He was also not housebroken, despite being nearly a year old. The poor thing was clearly traumatized by being re-homed as well, and if he and Lexi couldn’t learn to get along I wasn’t sure what else to do.
I was almost at the end of my rope when I caught Lexi playing with the pup, almost like she was a pup again herself. She had finally accepted him into our little pack, and with that I was willing to put in the work to train him.
The poor guy was terrified of everything at first, especially the dog door. So, initially I had him in doggie diapers until I could get him trained to go outside and use that door. It took eight months before he finally was able to use the dog door and consistently go to the bathroom outside and on walks. I was so proud of him when he achieved that and he’s been a wonderful addition to the family.
I also had his DNA tested, and I was right. He is mostly Chihuahua. He does have some Sheltie, Border Collie, and Chinese Crested as well, which have tempered his personality. While he still has the skittishness of a Chihuahua (with lots of uncontrollable trembling), he has none of the aggression. He’s such a sweet little boy, and I’m glad I kept him.
Since I had Bailey tested, I decided to also test Lexi. When we adopted Lexi and Joey, we were told they were littermates and were an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. Since they had been born on a reservation and we didn’t know for sure, I thought it would be fun to find out.
It turns out that Lexi is a complete mutt, in every sense of that word. She has twenty different breeds in her DNA, the most prevalent being Chow. That was not something I expected! She has so many breeds on her list, I can’t even fit them all into a screenshot.
The past almost year-and-a-half has been interesting! Since I don’t blog nearly as often as I should, please follow me on social media (Kleineganz on most platforms) to keep up with me. If you want to track my transition, you can check out my YouTube channel. I have been posting there a little bit more often.
For whoever is reading this, I hope you are staying safe and healthy!