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Testosterone Injection Update

Hey there, folks. Here’s the latest on my journey of becoming a real boy.

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I had my three month follow up appointment yesterday. They analyzed my blood test and everything seems to be on track. Testosterone going up, Estrodiol going down, aaaaand Cholesterol going up.

I was reminded by the doctor that if I want to freeze my eggs, I should do it soon. Which was a little awkward cause my new boyfriend decided to tag along with me to the doctor, haha! But it’s too expensive for me, and not nearly as important to me. I don’t care if they’re genetically mine or not, and that is something you, reader, will need to decide for yourself when that time comes.

The doctor discussed upping my dosage and changing my injections to be every two weeks instead of every week. This will create a greater hormonal change when I get my shot, creating a “peak” period and then drifting down over the next week. From what I gather, this is the way most people go at first UNLESS you have depression, anxiety, or other emotional reactions to the change in hormones or, in general, a history of such conditions. I don’t have those kinds of issues, so I’ve gone and switched to every two weeks.

My first injection at that dosage will be next Monday, and I’m expecting side effects again.

Between my last post and now, the side effects have been more pleasant.

  • I have to shave before work just about every day
  • My period didn’t come in June
  • I pass a little more frequently (This is in combination with a new binder that I’ll review at a later time)
  • More deep pimples, but nothing to run over to dermatology for yet!

 

I haven’t had any more cramps or bad dehydration. I’m always a little thirsty after the injection, but nothing like before, and it’s usually 80-90 degrees outside when I get it done.

Metabolism, I haven’t noticed being out of whack any more. It’s calmed down, but I’m still hungry. But I am by no means shedding pounds or packing them on. It’s just…there.

 

Some time after next Monday, I’ll have another FtM, trans update!

1

What I’ve Noticed Since Starting T

Okay, I’m two injections in. Which means I’ve had, roughly, a week and a day of increased T in my body. So, there isn’t much that I can say I’ve noticed except for:

One, I got a little less dehydrated the second time…but I was still dehydrated.

And two, I AM SO HUNGRY YOU GUYS. I know sometimes around THAT time of the month, I get overwhelmingly hungry, but this doesn’t sync up. I am just consistently more and more hungry.

At first, I was so confused and getting really disheartened about my diet because I’ve been trying to lose weight. And for a while I plateaued, and then a trip to Disney set me free! I dipped down another pound!

…And then this insatiable hunger kicks in?! My diet! My weight loss! The agony! But also…the stomach pain! ARGH!!!

Then I realized I’m also turning into a teenage boy and my muscles need more protein and that’s probably why I’m starving all the time. And I google something like, “Does taking testosterone make you hungry FTM” and sure enough yes. It sure can make you hungry. Some people lost their appetite (jealous) but it would make more sense to gain an appetite.

So. I’m less traumatized about wanting to eat everything in my path. I also updated my FitBit to male since I will be burning calories more like a male as time progresses and injections are had. Hopefully that will translate into my recording calories as- I am burning more naturally, please for the love of the Earth let me eat.

 

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First Injection

Til today, I haven’t had a shot on my butt since I was toddler.

Okay, it was the gluteus muscle right above my butt, but still. (hahaha butt jokes are never not funny)

More on that later now that you’re focused on my rear.
My referral pushed through from the therapist to Endocrinology. Endocrinology called me and said to get some lab work done, which meant a blood draw. It was already in the computer and all I had to do was walk in after a TWELVE HOUR FAST (this is in caps. Some of you know I’m a Hufflepuff, if you didn’t, you do now, FAST? ME?) and get poked with a needle. This is so the doctors have a baseline to refer to later- which I’ll explain further down.

Cool, done. Scheduled my appointment ASAP.

I already had my appointment with Endocrinology on Tuesday (April 11, 2017).
I wanted to wait until I had something substantial to update on.

My doctor, bless his heart, it was his first time working at a Kaiser clinic- since he’d from UCSD- and got into a minor car accident on his way to work of which I was his first appointment of the day. He was super sweet and really funny (and hella cute), and I wish he would just be a Kaiser employee, haha!

So my appointment went really well. Basically what happened is we went over some of the same questions I’ve talked out with my therapist before getting the referral to get an appointment with Endocrinology.

Examples of the questions I was asked were:
Have you started living as a man? (Doctor told me he usually recommends patients to do this for 6 months before starting testosterone).
Do you have support at home/family/friends/Trans support group?
What are your goals? (Rephrased as, what do you want and/or expect to happen while on testosterone?

I was also reminded constantly, and by two different doctors, to make sure I’m working out. Risk of cardiovascular diseases (among other things I believe were listed in my last post with all the paperwork) increase with use of testosterone. Especially if you have family history of such problems.

Also, another potential risk factor is- polycythemia– a fancy term for too much hemoglobin, hematocrit, or red blood cells.

After all of that, I was told about the options for taking T. I already knew I’d be fine taking the shots, so I didn’t have to inquire further here- but I do know if you have problems with needles? You can get a gel that you apply to your shoulders every day. It’s a bottle that lasts a while, so if you need a change in prescription, you still have some odd amount of T left.

So, for taking the injections, and for me and my healthcare plan, going to the Nurse’s Clinic is free and I get the injection every week. There are other options to take it every two, three, four, etc weeks. But the doctor said most people go with every week.

Is there a difference between going more frequently than not? That would have been a great question to ask. However, I suspect, the reason the once a week option is so popular is because who ISN’T ELATED AT THIS POINT TO HAVE HORMONES. Give them to me every day, shit. It’s going to be like Christmas once a week.

Now, in about three months, I’ll have to go in for another blood draw. They’ll compare that to my baseline blood draw I mentioned before, to make sure my testosterone level is going up, my red blood cells aren’t trying to sabotage me, and my cholesterol isn’t trying to kill me either. Among other factors.

Kaiser Permanente kinda leaves this up to you. I’m supposed to schedule an appointment roughly three months from now, but my window is 2-6 months to get the blood work done, and then go to my appointment after it’s been processed. At that appointment I also let them know what’s changed or if things aren’t changing, ect. Like if you’ve been off your period for a while after taking T…and it suddenly comes back? CALL THEM. Make that appointment. Your Testosterone levels need to be adjusted. Don’t wait for your three month check up appointment.

Eventually the appointments get further out as you adjust to your levels of T, eventually to just once a year.

Cool! So the doctors let me go and I just walk my butt right over to the Nurse’s Clinic and check in and wait to get my first injection THAT DAY!

The nurse was super nice and cheerful and the shot hurt alot less that some other gnarly ones I’ve had. She was very helpful and made a note which side she did the shot on so that the next time I go in, we’ll do it on the other side. She ALSO taught me that if I put my weight all on the side NOT getting the shot? It’ll hurt less/be easier. I’ll remember that just in case my next nurse doesn’t tell me. Also why I’m passing it along to you guys!

After I got the injection and a bandaid, I was on my way to school. The only side effect I noticed (and looked into) was I was very dehydrated. I was drinking water and my protein shake up until that point and was fine before. When I looked into it, not everyone felt dehydrated, but some did. Just something to be aware of.

 

Also, starting now I’ll be taking pictures of myself every week to do a timelapse of changes the T has on my face. These will be slightly skewed because I’m also losing weight at the same time. But I’m sure there will be a notable difference.

I will also do a voice recording or vlog or something to track my voice. I’m not sure what the best way will be to do that without my accidently trying to make my voice deeper. My only idea, which would be a lot of fun, is reading the first few lines of Harry Potter once every two weeks or month or something.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Corrections? Insights? Always happy to have them. Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP. :)

3

Holy Progress Batman!

I have an UPDATE my little trans folks. Aren’t you terribly excited for this?
So here’s the summary of what’s happened so far- which will take me to today’s update without having to deal with a weird segue.

I decided to transition- called up my health care provider’s psychiatry number to schedule an appointment. Appointments were few and far between due to the lack of qualified therapists available to handle the number of transitioning patients.
I had to talk a lot about myself- this was to determine if I was MENTALLY in the right place to be making this decision for the right reasons, as well to see if I needed to be treated for depression and/or anxiety.
Lucky me, despite my relapsing self-hatred, I really am a poster boy of mental health. (?)

After I talked the therapists ear off about my crappy past (with a smile, which sort of unnerved her…and how well I’ve dealt with my past) and what I knew about transitioning from my own research she talked to her clinician supervisor. And together they talked about my answers. Then they filled me in on what I still needed to know as well as told me to go researching things.

Was still a weird segue.

But after that last appointment where I got to meet the clinician supervisor, she said she would be writing the referrals for me to get Testosterone (after talking to the ___ doctor) and TOP surgery.

I am sorry!! I won’t be discussing bottom surgery at any length, because it is not YET on my to-do list! Getting rid of the obvious femininity is more important to me than having a dick. For now. So if you came here for bottom surgery related things? I can’t help. ;~;

Continuing on.
I have yet to hear back from supervisor or the doctors whom the letters of referral will be sent to. So instead of talking about surgery or hormones, I want to share with you the documents I was given. These are focused on FtM not MtF, but I hope they will give you an idea of what to expect.

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THIS. Wonderful paper. Is my quick guide to what I will expect and when I will expect things to happen after I start taking hormones. In my case, testosterone. If you have Kaiser, they will have this for you. Also if you’re MtF? I’m sure they have a different, yet similar chart!

The slideshow below is another packet which goes more in depth about what to expect from taking these hormones. There is also a checklist of understanding. This will help you to decide if you’re ready to make that step!!

Mostly? It’s health concerns. You’re trading in your female health concerns for male ones (or vice versa). Also, your body composition is going to change.

If you are obese you CANNOT take testosterone!***

(***Aletrick left a comment for me stating that this isn’t the case with his Healthcare Provider! Please make sure you check with your doctor about the requirements. I can only speak for Kaiser Permanente’s rules for getting your prescription. Every doctor will have different requirements before you are allowed to take T. So don’t be afraid to ask questions!***)

Your fat will start to store mostly in your stomach/torso. If you are obese, and your weight moves, it can cause serious health concerns! And I’m worried about you, okay? So if this is your situation, please message me!! I was on the cusp of obesity, but luckily I have some AMAZING friends and motivation that got me moving around and losing weight. I would LOVE to help and encourage you and offer you advice as much as I can!

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If you have any questions for me, please message or comment or whatever you’re comfortable with. I’ll answer the best I can!

 

And a special thank you to the Hogwarts Running Club for being supportive and the cool Slytherin looking out for her friend that gave me the motivation to stop being a lazy HuffleButt and give you all a REAL update!

Next time? I hope to update you on testosterone and/or social issues!

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The First Appointment

For those of you following the blog to figure out how to be trans and the hoops you need to jump through…Here’s the boring first day.

They walk you through what will happen over time. In my case, we skimmed over that surgery would be in the Los Angeles area, because they have the most experience (I live in San Diego county). We talked a little about the options of Testosterone and how much they would cost with my insurance. We scheduled my next appointment, which is due to be 90 minutes long, full of a lot of questions I need to answer. We talked a lot about me, my past, how I decided this was right for me…kind of a getting to know you day.

Because remember if you don’t like your therapist…GET ANOTHER ONE. No matter WHAT you are seeing a professional for! If you don’t like them ASK FOR LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE.

I like my therapist- she’s recently trained to work with the transgendered clients, and I’m one of her first patients. So, I will be learning as she learns as well. I’m okay with this- others might want someone more experienced. I think it’ll be fun for us both to learn and ask questions.

Next appointment is January 30th! So you’ll probably here from me around then. :D

(Mind you, my appointments are REALLY few and far between because..there’s…like three therapists at my Kaiser who are qualified to work with Transgender. It’s hard on them too, until they train more people.)

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Coming Out Continues

I’m hosting a game on Facebook that no one is quite sure I’m playing. I’m leaving hints. Any posts I make are all related to Female -> Male. I’m enjoying myself, and that’s all that matters. Mostly close friends all know now.

Family however is TRICKY.

I had to come out to my biological dad over Facebook. We’re not always on good terms. I could really care less about what he thinks or does…but the saint that is my betrothed is forcing me to stay civil. So, for the wedding, I decided it would be good for him and that part of my family to know who I am.

There are many ways and words I could use to describe my dad. Supportive is not one of them. However he is strong. While he did take it upon himself to kidnap my brother and I and lie to the court about my mom’s capabilities of being able to care for us after the divorce was finalized…he was able to support us. He took the responsibility of raising us and we were fed, clothed, and had a roof over our head.

Most of the time, we lived with family. Most of the time, it wasn’t food that was healthy for us. We never saw our dad because he worked to pay back the family that was helping us survive. But he got the job done. But when you raise a child, it’s not as easy as The Sims needs meters…There’s a SOCIAL aspect too.

 

**EDIT: At this point I went on a rant and deleted it. This wasn’t meant for me to gripe and bitch about how I don’t like him, however true that may be. Here are the FACTS.

  • I had restrictions on the color choices and gender of clothing.
    • No boxers, despite the fact I got and wore them anyways
    • No black clothes, because it implied I was Satanic and/or depressed (ACCORDING TO THE SCHOOL whom informed my parents of their assumptions)
    • More blouses, less T-shirts, and less/no choice of what the clothes looked like.
  • No attempt at communication
    • Dad set up a therapy appointment to find out what “makes [me] tick”. Instead of listening and trying to understand. Because he spends more time telling me his expectations than caring about what I think of those expectations
    • Due to frequent moves across the united states because my dad wanted to desperately to raise us, I have the social adequacy of a slice of bacon in the middle of a vegan restaurant.
      • Basically, if you want to know how I’m feeling you have to drill and ask questions and be fucking relentless. Otherwise I will answer you “Great!” “Fine!” “Not much!”. I share my feelings with no one. Not even my Cutie waifu.
  • No physical presence
    • Even if he was a communication expert, the fact is he was never at home and always at work.
    • Time spent together was usually me being scolded for:
      • Not cleaning something, complaining about my step-brothers for a NUMBER of things, being online/computer, something I wrote to a friend in a private note stashed under my bed…

I wish I could be making the last set of bullets up. But these are most of the memories I have with my dad are him or step-mom being angry at me for not being adult enough. I was 16 when I moved out. From what I can remember, these behaviors started when I was probably 12. I was just…expected to be an adult because they weren’t around/at home as much as I was.

So. Needless to say. Things got a LOT better when I moved out. My life did a 180, I learned how to be responsible and to be held accountable at my level of competency. I was responsible for the same things a 16 year old should be responsible for. I hated it. I was tired of being an adult. But it helped me grow. It helped put me where I am today. It also gave my dad a lot of time to reflect…on me being a lesbian. *cough*

Some point after not talking to him for…years. We talked over Facebook and we built a little bridge. It’s a flimsy bridge on my end at least. But at least he was willing to try and understand. Even if I know he doesn’t like it. Which is still hurtful.

I didn’t want him to come to my wedding and expect me to be something that I’m not. I’m not wearing a dress. I’m not a girl. I’m not his daughter. He’s not walking me down the aisle or having a dance with me. I know this hurts because I’m the only girl among my siblings. But it’s hard for me to lie to my family. So I told him in the NICEST POSSIBLE WAY…that I’m trans.

That was a little over a week ago. My step-mom, who has been more supportive than my dad and more so since I’ve left home, sent me a message a day after saying that she supports me and dad is coping with it.

I am not surprised or upset.

I feel like people think I should be, but my relationship with my dad isn’t strong enough for me to care much more than just being nice to him over Facebook. He made sure I didn’t die and taught me how to be an adult starting first grade when my parents divorced. If he’s accepting, I’d be shocked. I may build a stronger bridge. If he avoids it and doesn’t come out for the wedding? I won’t be surprised or upset. Because that’s what he’s taught me to expect from him. He’s not a part of my life. And the moment he’s finally out, I can stop addressing my step-dad by his name…I try not to, but sometimes I feel that I have to clarify…

(Fun fact, to show their support, my mom and stepdad watched a lot of LOGO tv and Big Gay Sketch Show…I love them.)

I’ll keep you posted on how my dad responds. If he does. We’ll see.

 

Expectations are set low so I’ll either be pleasantly surprised…or things will go as I expect.

0

Trans-How-To: Get the Ball Rolling

I’ve been absent for a while. The biggest update I have so far?

I got an appointment at Kaiser and went through the intake process at the psychiatry department. Now, I feel qualified to teach you how to do it.

Wait, WHY DO I NEED TO DO THIS?

You want your hormones, Trans-Fam? You get the doctor. You can DIY it, but it’s a better idea to be supervised. So if you’re going the doctor route and you have Kaiser, this is exactly how to get started. (If you have another medical company? Probably the same shit, different name)

 

For me, this was the scariest part. Not the impending surgery, the changes in my body, learning to put needles in me…

Making. A. Phone. Call.

It was scary because I had no idea what I was doing. Like. What do I say? How do I put it? So here’s what I did (because some people like step by step things. Like me. And I couldn’t find step by step things):

I called the appointment number. Just. Kaiser’s general appointment line number to make an appointment. I’d post that number, but it varies by region. If you’re a Kaiser Permanente member, you can find it easy on their website. It’s probably on the back of your medical card too.

Just press the button to talk to a person right away. Don’t fuck around, you’re wasting your time. It won’t let you make an appointment for the psychiatry department without talking to a human being. So get ready!

They’ll greet you and you tell them you want to make a psychiatry appointment. They’ll direct your call to that department.

That department will greet you and ask you some questions. You can open up with why or be shy and awkward, however you feel comfortable, but you need to get out the following (and do it better than me):

I’m calling to make an appointment for….
(I said gender things. THINGS. Not transitioning. People don’t be as lame as me. I can’t undo this.)

And they’ll ask you some very standard questions about your mental health and if you’re coming because it was court ordered or work related. Naturally, this is not the case, but they have to ask. So don’t get weirded out.

Then you get an appointment! Yay!

The first appointment is literally just an in-take. They’re going to get surface layer into things here, but it’s this person’s lovely job to rate your depression and anxiety and find you the best fit for a therapist that can guide you along the way.

They’ll probably ask how much you know about transitioning or if you’re starting from the ground up. That’s just to give them an idea. You can know nothing, it’s okay. They aren’t expecting you to know everything.

And then they’ll call you later when they have a therapist selected and you get to make an appointment with your actual therapist!

YOU DID IT!

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