Month: September 2013

5 Months on T

This month’s update feels more obligatory than any leading up to this post. I have been excited to write the updates until this point. I took photos of myself this morning before running off to lab, but I was mostly disappointed by the lack of changes from last month. Of course, if I compare them to earlier months, it’s fantastic. I’ve been doing CrossFit for a month now (I started a day before my 4 month mark, actually), and I thought I’d make these huge changes in body composition, but it appears to have stayed the same. This, of course, coming from my slightly skewed perception. On the other hand, I have noticed changes in my strength and ability in CrossFit, so that’s a plus. I hope by the time my one year mark comes up, I will be doing male weights instead of female weights.

I don’t really have much to report in the way of changes, just more of the typical changes I’ve seen others experience: growing more hair on my upper thighs, sideburns are coming in more now, more chin hair, a little in the stomach region, etc. I’ve noticed that the frequency of me getting identified as male by strangers has increased, also.

I’ve been on my new dose/frequency (80 mg/week) for about a month now. It’s been a really nice change. I’m not anxious at all like I was when I was doing injections every 2 weeks. It kind of sneaks up on me, and I think to myself, “Wow, it’s time for another injection already.” With that, I also feel like my emotions are much more stable now and less like a roller coaster. I get blood drawn in two weeks, so we’ll see if this new dose has had any negative effects or if things (RBC, liver enzymes, cholesterol, etc) are remaining the same.

Finally, on to the pictures. (Next month, I may do a side-by-side comparison for fun in my regular monthly photo update for fun.)

20130925 Back

20130925 Full Body 1

20130925 Full Body 2

 

Issues Involving My Name Change and Financial Aid

I’ve been trying to sort out my financial aid situation over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been checking my student account regularly to make sure all necessary paperwork has been completed. I noticed that I had a bill for a few thousand dollars. As an undergraduate, I never actually saw a billed amount because financial aid would automatically take care of my bill, leaving my account balance at $0 all the time. It came as a surprise to me when I logged into my account one day to see that I actually owed money.

Immediately, I checked my financial aid tab to see what was going on. It said all my paperwork was complete. Well, I leaned towards the overly cautious side since the bill was due in two weeks or I’d get a late fee on top of the already ridiculous amount of tuition I owed. I went into the financial aid office and found out that I just had to get my department to notify them of the amount of support I’d be receiving, even if it was no support. I got that all taken care of quickly. Then, my account updated to reflect that I needed to sign a promissory note to be disbursed a loan amount. I went to the financial aid website and filled out all the paperwork. It reflected my old name, so I contacted them to ask about getting it changed to my new name. They informed me that I had to get it change through the school, which I had already done. At this point I thought everything was taken care of, but I continued to check my account daily (if not more) to make sure everything went through.

A week passed, and still the promissory note hadn’t been checked off on the to-do list. Today, I decided to go into the financial aid office again. I went in and it was packed (since classes officially start on Thursday). They called me back, and I explained that I had already filled out the promissory note, but I recently had a name change so it reflected my old name. The lady, Beth, seemed genuinely surprised when she saw that my old name was April. She went to go check with someone. She came back and said that I would have to get my name change through the US Department of Education and sign a new promissory note since the only name they have on file for me now is August. I told her that I already contacted them, and they told me that I just had to change my name through the school. This went on for a couple of minutes until the associate director of financial aid, Esteban, came in and introduced himself. Beth explained the situation, all the while using male pronouns (yay! I was worried after she saw my birth name that she’d revert to female pronouns). Esteban told me he’d look into, gave me his card, and sent me on my way.

As I was heading out, a lady was opening a door for another student, and she told them, “Let me just let him through first (referring to me).”

Despite the frustration of having issues involving my name change and having to out myself to others who would have otherwise known no different, I was pretty happy to be correctly pronouned and such even after they found out that I am trans. I’ve noticed more and more that people are reading me as male (or just avoiding assigning a gender to me at all).

At the end of the day, I got a call from Esteban (he left a voicemail since I get poor reception in lab) saying that everything was taken care of, and my account would be updated tonight. I was really happy with the quick response. I want to email him and thank him for getting it taken care of so fast without me having to jump through hoops.

TL;DR: Word of advice for those changing their names while in school, make sure you stay organized and on top of getting required paperwork handed in. Don’t just assume that it will be taken care of on its own. There may be special circumstances. Well, even if not in school, changing your name requires you to be more organized than the average person.

Name Change Complete (Mostly)

I made a trip to Austin, TX over the weekend to visit a close friend. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since beginning my transition. He surprised me at how well he did at calling me by the correct name and pronouns, especially. Pronouns seem to be the thing that’s hardest for people to switch, in my limited experience.

Anyway, my new birth certificate finally came the afternoon that I left for Austin (Sept 5th)! That was the last major part of my name change to be completed. Now, all I have are some minor accounts to change over still which I’ve been slacking off. But, I feel pretty good now that all my major identifying documents now have the correct name and gender. Pretty soon it will be much easier and cheaper for transgender people to get this done in California. Yay AB 1121.

My transition is coming along smoothly. Today marks 20 weeks on testosterone. I listened to a recording of my voice that I made today and one from day 7; the difference is pretty incredible. I could not stand the sound of my voice before, but now I actually like the way it sounds. Another thing I’ve noticed since switching my injections from every two weeks to weekly is that I haven’t been anxious for the next injection like I had been previously. I feel like the more frequent doses have leveled out my hormone levels which result in more stable emotional states as well.

Life of a grad student is very busy. I feel like I’ve been slacking on making regular updates, but I will keep trying. Until next time.

Binder Problems

I thought it was pretty awesome when I first got my binders. I got two binders, both in the same style. but different colors. I would fasten all the fasteners and then pull it on as you would a t-shirt. It was amazing how it felt wearing the binders. That feeling has worn off as time has passed. Now, the binders are more of a nuisance. I honestly wouldn’t even both wearing them anymore, but the more I physically change, the more self-conscious I feel about my chest. It’s probably because I care too much about what other people think of me; this dude who is just sprouting facial hair, gaining muscle mass, and voice is deepening is walking around with size C breasts when not binding. It’s awkward, for me at least. I’m not sure what other people think or if they even notice, but the only thing I can think about is trying to hide them when I’m not binding.

This is where my problem comes in. I’ve been gaining a lot of muscle since I started testosterone and ramping up my workouts, so much so that it’s nearly impossible to get into one of my binders. (I have two binders which are the same size, but one is significantly smaller for some reason). Once I get the damned thing on, the sweating begins. Not only is it just annoying to be sweaty while binding, it makes it feel like it’s digging into my skin. Not to mention, no matter how much I try to adjust the breasts underneath the binder, it definitely doesn’t look like a male chest to me. At the end of the day, I come home and take my binder off, which can take me 5 minutes or more. I struggle so much that I’ve come to the point several times now that I’ve been about 2 seconds away from grabbing scissors and cutting it off.

I’d buy another one, but I’m worried that in another couple of minutes, I’ll just run into the same problem. I’m not sure which is more uncomfortable… the physical discomfort of the binder or the mental discomfort of having a visibly female-bodied chest.

Oh how I can’t wait until next summer when I can take enough time off to recover from top surgery.