Month: April 2013

Distracted

It has been a few days since I had my first injection of testosterone. I thought that by starting transitioning that I’d be less distracted from my school work, but that is not the case. It’s all I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now, and I’ve only really shown up to class and nothing beyond that. I have a group presentation on Thursday, which I’ve barely started on. I’ve got the titles on the portion of slides that are my responsibility. This isn’t really that unusual for me. I’m pretty bad when it comes to procrastinating. Honestly, this quarter is the easiest quarter I’ve had ever, so that might be contributing to why I feel like I haven’t been doing anything at all as far as school goes. I also have a midterm in the evening after my presentation and a paper due on the same lab that my presentation is on due Monday. I feel as if I’m just anxiously awaiting to see some noticeable changes due to the hormones, and I keep looking on YouTube and through blogs to see what other people have noticed in the first few weeks after starting hormone therapy. I already know what to expect, but I keep looking anyway. Where’s the compartmentalizing that some guys claim they are able to do better after starting testosterone?

I guess I have noticed a slight change. I’ve noticed that I’m A LOT more sensitive in a certain area below the belt. This was even noticeable on the day of my first injection, and it has not become any less sensitive sense then. Another thing that happened was I started my period earlier (maybe 3-4 days) than usual. It was kind of strange. I usually can tell when it’s going to start, but this time it kind of surprised me. I kind of expected it to start later with starting testosterone, since I have slightly longer cycles than most. It’s more of a 33-34 day cycle rather than a typical 28 day cycle.

Other than that, I haven’t had any noticeable changes yet. Maybe now that I’ve got this out, I can actually start to work on my presentation.

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Day 1!

So, today I had my first injection of testosterone, but it wasn’t without its obstacles.

Yesterday, I had my follow-up appointment with my doctor to go over my lab results. All of my baselines were good. We then talked about the risks of testosterone: acne, weight gain, increased aggression, male pattern baldness, increase in RBC count, increase in liver enzymes, etc. There were a few more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. It was quite a list, but she will be monitoring these things by regular blood tests. So, she is then ready to “write” my prescription. I say “write” because this is actually electronic, and the doctor just selects medications from a drop-down menu in their system. Anyway, the injectable testosterone wasn’t in the system, and she had to call down to the pharmacy. Of course, they didn’t have any in stock. The pharmacy for student health services is fairly small. She had the pharmacist order the testosterone and told me to come back the following morning (today) at 9 to pick up my prescription and have a nurse show me how to do self-injection.

I was anxious/excited all day and night yesterday for this morning to come.

I showed up 10 minutes early to SHS, and the doors were still locked. When it opened, I immediately ran over to the pharmacy and asked for my prescription. It wasn’t in the system, uh oh. They told me my doctor hadn’t prescribed it yet, and the deliveries hadn’t arrived for the day. My doctor was in a meeting, so they couldn’t contact her. At that point, I was thinking to myself, “Of course, now I have to wait EVEN longer.” I went ahead and checked into the nurses clinic anyway because the nurse at the welcome desk wasn’t very helpful as I tried to explain my situation.

I waited for about 5 minutes before a nurse called me into one of the rooms. I explained what was going on with the prescription and the delivery. She looked up my information, and it turned out that my prescription was actually in the system. She called to the pharmacy to find out what was going on, and apparently testosterone is a controlled substance. So, my doctor actually had to write a hand-written prescription and walk it down to the pharmacy. I also hadn’t been prescribed needles to do the injections. We walked together to the pharmacy to ask about needles. I was VERY glad that she was the nurse I got this morning. She referred to me as August and used the correct pronouns, while the people at the pharmacy talked in hushed voices and called me she. My nurse told me to go eat and come back around 10. It was already almost 9:30 by this point, so that was just enough time and not too much of a wait.

I ate and returned to SHS. I checked in at the pharmacy, and they had my testosterone! During that time, they must have found my doctor too since they had no issues in giving me all my supplies. Then, the pharmacist took me over to my nurse.

And then here was the fun part. She showed me how to draw up the testosterone, change needles, clean the area, then injected it into my thigh. Ow! It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Before she stuck it in, I asked jokingly if I had to watch while she did it. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty nervous about the size of the needle. The needle is an inch and a half, and I believe an 18 gauge. So, it’s not insignificant. In two weeks, I will go in and give myself the second injection under her supervision and guidance. Yikes! I’m sure it will get easier, but right now, I’m pretty nervous about giving myself an injection.

Overall, I feel great though! I had no immediate adverse reaction to the injection. My muscle in my right leg is a little tight, but not any worse than any other types of injections I had in other muscles.

But now, it’s time for me to go be a student. Hopefully, I will have time to make a video tonight after class.

Minor Setback

I was supposed to have a counseling appointment today. I scheduled it maybe two or three weeks ago, but at the same time, I also scheduled a doctor’s appointment at student health services for a general check-up. A few days before I scheduled these appointments, I emailed the LGBT Resource Center on campus to gather information on the resources available to transgender students on campus. The director of the LGBT Resource Center responded with a lot of helpful information. Two of those pieces of information were regarding medical and psychological care. He recommended I make an appointment with the medical doctor who handles most of the transgender students on campus. I went to student health to have my appointment that I previously scheduled canceled and to schedule an appointment with the recommended doctor. The psychologist that I scheduled my counseling appointment wasn’t with the one he recommended, but he said the one I had was highly capable, and he trusted her. So, I kept my appointment with her.

Fast forward to today, I was expecting to receive an email for pre-counseling forms I was supposed to fill out. It was half an hour before my appointment, and I still hadn’t received the forms to fill out yet. I gave the counseling and psychological services office a call to find out why I hadn’t received the forms yet. Apparently, my appointment was canceled. I think that perhaps the nurse canceled my counseling appointment instead of my medical appointment when I was trying to reschedule my doctor’s appointment with the recommended doctor. I’m kind of bummed, but on the bright side, I was able to schedule an appointment with the counselor that the director recommended instead. However, this appointment is three weeks from now, which seems like forever away. Hopefully the time goes by fast. It’s about mid-quarter at school, which means I’ll have a presentation and paper to work on over the next two and a half weeks. I’m sure that will keep my mind occupied.

I still have my follow-up doctor’s appointment to look forward to on Wednesday morning. We will go over my blood test results and hopefully I will get my first prescription of testosterone.

Pre-testosterone photos

To document the changes that will be happening over the next few weeks, months, and years, I decided to have some photos taken of my body pre-testosterone so that I have proper documentation. I actually had Alex take them. I don’t know what I’ll do when he’s gone, but I’m sure I can engineer something.

20130421 Full Body

20130421 Back

No Need to Worry

I had my doctor’s appointment yesterday.  It went great.  My doctor had been tipped off by the director of the LGBT Resource Center since I had been in contact with him.  So, she just started asking questions about what my goals for transitioning were and questions about my mental health, physical health, etc.  All in all, she was very friendly and knowledgeable.  Of course, she didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know since I’m the kind of person that has to research EVERYTHING.  From the sounds of it, I should be able to start testosterone fairly soon.  I will be getting a blood lipid test to establish baselines on cholesterol, red blood cells, maybe liver enzymes.  These things are are affected my testosterone.  I’m going into student health first thing in the morning since this test requires fasting, and I want to be able to eat something before my lab at 9:30am so I don’t kill my lab partners.  Anyway, I have a counseling appointment on Monday.  The school psychologists are not able to provide letters for surgery, but I’m sure they’ll provide a referral to an off-campus therapist.  Then, on Wednesday I have another appointment with my doctor to go over my blood test results.

All in all, I’m really happy with the progress this week.  Still need to consider how I will come out at work and school.  I’m really concerned about this, but hopefully talking to the counselor will help me out with this aspect of transitioning.

Doctor’s Appointment

Tomorrow I have my first doctor’s appointment.  I’m so anxious for this.  I don’t know how to say, “I’m transgender and would like to start hormone treatment as soon as possible.”  Is it as easy as that?  I don’t know.  I guess I’ll find out tomorrow when I’m sitting in a chair across from the doctor.  From the sounds of it, this doctor will be extremely helpful in this process of transitioning.  I have been in contact with the director of the LGBT Resource Center at my school.  He has been nothing but helpful in giving me answers to every question that I have had.  Top surgery and hormones should be covered by my school insurance which is just incredible to me.  Along these lines, I had a break down this weekend.  I am so ready to transition that the thought of having to wait until I could donate my eggs so that Alex could get pregnant was eating away at me.  I couldn’t bear the idea of having to wait until after his deployment, then going through the whole IVF process.  Who knows how long it would have taken for him to actually become pregnant?  I finally told him how I was feeling about the whole thing.  I was feeling extremely selfish for wanting to throw away our plans because I want this transition so badly, but of course, he understands.  We are now discussing adoption, which seems like a much better option for both of us, both personally and financially.  He wasn’t exactly thrilled about carrying the baby and having to put his transition on hold either.  Adoption should be cheaper than the particular type of pregnancy we wanted, so it seems like a win-win.  We even did some research on the adoption process in California and looked at some agencies that worked with transgender people.  It all sounds very promising, and it definitely seems like the better decision for our situation.

All in all, I’m excited/anxious for my doctor’s appointment tomorrow and hopefully will come out with a clear plan for the next couple of months.  I wish that I could just get testosterone tomorrow, but I know that won’t happen.

Settling In

It has been two and a half weeks now that I told Lauren about how I’ve felt for so long. In that time, we have both been able to express freely to each other how we feel. He is now going by the name Alex, and I am going by August. I have slowly been coming out to my friends and family. Some may not understand the implication of me adding them on Facebook as August, but I have told the people that are really important to me how I feel and what it means to me to be known as August and as a male. With each email (Email is my preferred mode of communication. I have a hard time expressing myself fully when faced with either face-to-face conversations or phone conversations. I think email allows me the time to really think about what I’m trying to convey.) I have written, I have been extremely anxious, but I have had nothing but positive responses. It has felt pretty wonderful to finally be myself. The anxiousness I have been feeling for a couple of weeks is finally starting to subside as more people accept my friend request on Facebook. I decided to make a completely new page because I didn’t want all the old pictures of me to be linked to my new identity, but I was also reluctant to just erase everything that I was. We haven’t told our roommates yet. It’s a little awkward as we are referring to each other as August and Alex with respective male pronouns, but when they’re around, we call each other April and Lauren and use she and her. Hopefully we’ll get the courage soon to bring them in the fold and there’s no negative reaction.

Alex and I have slowly been building out wardrobes as men. Luckily, not all of my clothes were women’s clothing. I have only recently (within the past 2 or 3 years) started buying women’s clothing. Slowly, I’ve been getting removing clothes from our closet that shows off my feminine figure. It feels like such a relief. I never liked those clothes on me, despite everyone saying that looked great on me. Every time I saw myself in them, I just thought they looked horrible, like I was a guy in drag. Well, I guess I was.

We bought our clothes that we’ll be wearing to our wedding which was pretty exciting. Hopefully, we’ll get some nice pictures from the legal ceremony coming up next month.

Other than that, just been trying to do some weight training to build muscles. Obviously, it will be hard until I can begin hormone therapy, but at least now, I won’t worry about looking too manly! =D