Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Personal Story (Being an AIS Person)

Just want to share this to my readers. I used to hide my real medical case to anyone because of fear. But this time, I’ll just go out and accept the truth.

This personal story is originally published online on my then anonymous page using the pseudonym Aisgurl

Here’s the original link : http://www.geocities.com/gemmyla27

Read on and give some comment :)

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For almost all of my life, I had been haunted by unknown fear. As I recall every story happened to me, some makes me smile and some still bears the pain that hiding in my heart. What really makes me hold on to life is that the people that I love, they give me strength to have faith and hope for my GOD given life. Most of the time, I ask myself why I was not born “normal” as the societies’ standard. Why I cannot be me, as I wanted to be? I had lived all my life labeled and acts as butch lesbian. Because it is the best way, I can be more comfortable.

This quest to discern the truth about my own sexuality brings me mixed emotions. Feels like I am facing a blank wall. It was Year 2000 almost a year when I started to be acquainted with the World Wide Web or better known as internet when I gathered enough courage to research online the word “Hermaphrodite” it yielded result but the best that captures me is the word AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). I am so anxious to know what causes to that condition and when you are a suspected AIS patient what are things to consider in obtaining medical attention. The truth was painful but still I pursued. I may head to the best answer to my long years of self-doubt. However, first let me share you some story about me on how I became the person what I am now....

I can remember vividly the things that happened to me during my childhood life, on how I struggled to live a life as normal as I can be within the life’s standard. By hiding my genitals what it really look like. There are times during my childhood years when my mother’s friend visit us in our small "nipa" hut home in a rural southernmost part of Luzon Islands in the country. When those visitors see me, they ask my mom if I am the girl with an odd genital, and my mom answer with a nod or smile. I am thankful enough if they will not request to my mom that they want to see it. It is almost an everyday ritual of my life and really affects my behavior. Some of the kids in our neighbor get even with me by dragging me in a spot where no one can help me and they pull my pants so that they can have a better view of my genitals. Sometimes I pick up fights for I have nothing to do to avoid it especially when they are making fun of me. Those times I want to scream and tell the world that I am also human who needs some respect. People in town who knew me calls me “boygurl” because they cannot categorize where in the human species I should be.

When I reached grade 1, my very first day in school is very much memorable. A boy from my neighbors’ and my classmates called me freak in front of hundred kids while were having snack during recess. Feel humiliated, I pick up a stone big enough for my palms to hold and thrown it without battling an eyelash. I was blessed for hitting most of my targets. The stone landed on the boy’s temple, noticing that there is a blood gushing out because of the stone, I ran towards home left my things inside the classroom. As I reached our house, I hide under our dining table and never came out, not until an hour later when the boy, his mom, our teacher and a police officer was outside our house looking for me. They told my mom that I am the one who started the trouble by throwing stone to boy that earned him seven stitches. Learning their side of the story my mom look for me and pulled me out of the table and she beat me with a broom on wherever part of my body until she get contented. When the unexpected visitors left, I was laying on the floor bruised, beaten and helpless. No one wants to hear my side of the story so I just kept it myself. However, I feel no remorse for what I have did since the boy humiliated me. That incident prevented other students to be acquainted or be involved with me. I am always alone in school, playing and doing my projects.

The only person who never relent any negative comment about me was my father. He said that I am unique and God made me such for a purpose. I love being with my dad he is the best person of male being that I know. Although I reared as a girl, I am fond of doing boy’s chores, only that my dad prevents me from lifting heavy things for my groin area swells if I do. The doctor’s finding is that I have hernia. When it is weekend or no school, I see to it that I can help my father gathering firewood in the mangroves and, he sell it to a town’s bakery. It earns him some money good enough to buy food for the family. July 13, 1985 when my dad passed away due to septicemia infection. Were not able to send him in a nearby hospital for we do not have money. I almost lost my life purpose for I lost my dad and my best friend. Then, I retained from school, I blamed God for what happened to us and by taking my father’s life. Due to my dad’s, demise my mom suffered from trauma. To be able to live, I acted as father and mother to my younger brother and sister for our two older sisters are living with our relatives so they can continue their high school education.

I used to be a scrap buyer, vendor, and porter in the town’s market As well as all around worker for those who can pay me enough to buy food and other stuff for the family. It lasted for two years… I am on and off in school so that I can provide for the family. After those two long grueling and obstacle coursed years, my mother remarried and I cannot accept it since I want my mother only for my dad even the latter passed away.

Another year come and my mom gave birth to my half sister. This time I ran away from home… It was very painful experience in my part for I left my brother and my younger sister with my mom. I do not know what will happen to me the moment I stepped away from my town. I made a promise to myself that I’d be back to pick up my brother and younger sister when the time comes that I can provide enough for all their needs if I got a good job anywhere I can. (This never happened L)

It took me three days to reach Manila, hitching rides and begging for food. I thought living in a big city is a pleasure as I can see in movies. It is not the life that I dreamed of, not easy especially for a teenager. I got a job as a cigarette vendor; in return, my employer gave me a night shelter and everyday food requirements good enough to live. Then, I become a bartender, a Disc Jockey in a nightclub. Due to my loneliness and everyday longing for my family back home, I engaged in drugs. Knowing that it is not a good habit but still I cling to it just to hide what I really feel, longing, guilt, and fear.

After almost five years of roaming around Manila, I decided to visit my oldest sister whose that time married and settled in the southern part of Manila with her husband. When I reached their house, My mom managed to open the door. She already changed, the moment I ran away from home. She talked to me full of love and understanding for a long lost daughter. Then I forgive my mom for whatever dreadful wrongdoing she did for us that I refused to remember. She encouraged me to head back to the province and continue my education. Which I did…

I enrolled in high school, and I was the oldest among the first year students but it doesn’t bother me at all. I focused myself in studying to finish high school and earn my diploma so that I can have a decent job. I took me much effort and hard work for my entire high school life. By 1997 I graduated number one on the class, that was one of the happiest moment in my life for I proved to people who knew me that I can still earn honor in my life even they think that I am a freak. That hard work earned me scholarship and I admitted in University of the Philippines. Again, I am far away from home, living alone, and decisions made only by me. No one in the family can support me financially but still I pursued. I was hired in an Internet business just near the campus when I am in my sophomore year. I was acquainted with computers and the Internet that time. My salary supplemented my scholarship, and the job helped me a lot in researching whenever I need it. However, not all the time things can get along well. It is difficult to divide my time between schooling and my job because of tight schedules, I lost my scholarship and I quit the university to focus more in my work.

The only consolation is that I learned how to do computer graphics even without formal training. Until after three years I felt that I am not growing in my work I feel my life is stagnant because of my meager salary. I hunt a job in Manila and luckily, after a month I was hired as telephone operator. Being a butch lesbian (as what I prefer to be) is not easy especially in the place populated by people who hate gays. My job lasted only for a month, after receiving my salary I filed my resignation due to forced unannounced homophobia of my co-workers. After three months of job hunting I was landed in a job as a Telemarketer. I thought I could settle with my newly found career but the company ceased its operation after a month. Unemployed again, I spent my time sending résumé’s. After a year and a half of job hunting and thousand distributed résumé’s that earned me some interviews, I felt exhausted, drained and unable to accept the fact that no one wants to hire me. I’d stop my job-hunting scheme. Moreover, I devoted my time writing essays, poems and short stories. I can count those times that I go out and socialize. I just feel I do not want to, and again I felt different from other people.

I begin researching online about my being “different” until I gathered enough courage to look for the word “hermaphrodite”. It yields many results but only one catches my attention that I focused much, it is “AIS” (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). I learned that I must have been having PAIS (Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) or CAIS (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) since the description of its representation is very much similar to mine. I decide to submit myself into medical attention after 29 years of aloofness to doctors.

I contacted Dr. Garry Warne of Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia who is one of the most trusted doctor in AIS cases and its similar conditions. He referred me to Dr. Carmencita Padilla a practicing medical doctor as well as clinical professor based in Philippines that heads the Institute of Human Genetics and specializes in AIS cases in the country.

Although I feel that I hate the world, I look forward for a new start of my life… By understanding, what really I am and how I become a suspected AIS person.
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That was the last line of my written personal story and I pursued the process of discovering it due to the support of my then relationship. But, in the middle of discovering it all, I found myself alone again and abrogated the idea of submitting myself into medical attention.

As of now, I am finding light to lead myself into the discovering the real identification of my case. But, I just don’t know where to start again in the _nth time.

Any form of help from the people who understand is very much welcome.









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