Photos

3 Years on T

I hit three years on T yesterday. I don’t have much to say transition wise, so I’ll just throw up a couple of pictures.

I did post a little blurb on my Instagram here.

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I tried to grow out my facial hair for two months, but ended up trimming it for the interview I had about three weeks ago.

In other news, I finally (almost) got a job offer as a Lab Tech for the City of San Francisco. I’m just finishing up the pre-employment vetting process right now. I’ve sent them verification of my education and experience, and now I’m just waiting to get scheduled for a medical exam. I already put in my two weeks at Whole Foods, so I’ll be done with that shortly. And, my lease on my new place begins May 15th, so I’m free to move up there once that begins.

It’s funny how life works out. I had pretty much stopped applying to jobs within my field and was only applying to computer science internships. I actually got offered one internship and I’m in the running for two others. I will be working on my degree while working, so I’m confident that in a couple of years, I’ll be able to get a job as a software engineer.

Anyway, since I’ll be working for the city I’ll be getting pretty decent pay and have great benefits, including insurance. I’m hoping once everything gets settled, we’ll finally be able to afford top surgery for Alex and a hysto for me (and him).

Everything has been moving so quickly the last week or two. It’s been a little overwhelming, but I’m also extremely happy and relieved. I’m also sad at the same time though. I’ve become really close with people from my gym over the past 2 and a half years. It’s going to be tough to leave a place that I’ve called home for so long. They have been there for me for nearly my whole transition. I’ve gotten nothing but love and support from them. It’s going to be hard going to a new place where no one knows my journey and how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am now. I hope I can find a gym that is as welcoming as the one I’m at now.

I’m also leaving the city that I’ve lived in for 11 years now. I consider this place home more than the city I grew up in. I hope someday I can make my way back here (and Alex too!). I am glad to finally be making some progress career-wise, and I hope it leads to me being able to be with Alex soon.

On to new adventures though!

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2.25 Years and Counting

I saw one of those timehop photos on my Facebook page today. I look like such a baby. I’m amazed at how things have changed.

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I finally took some better one year post op photos! Though, they’re not as good for comparison since not from the same distance or angle, but it is what it is.

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Feeling pretty good about my chest. Still waiting on my scars to fade, but I think they’re getting better. I’m just impatient as usual.

Since I graduated and am no longer going to student health services, I finally got health insurance and now have a primary care physician AND endocrinologist. I saw the endocrinologist for the first time this week. I was very pleased with how knowledgeable she was on trans health issues and concerns. I didn’t have to explain anything to her. I talked to her about wanting to get a hysterectomy, and she said she would help me get it covered by insurance, basically. I’m really looking forward to this. I just feel like the knowledge that those particular organs are out of my body, uterus and ovaries, will give me peace of mind. I actually had a dream last night that I started bleeding again, which was annoying. I remember thinking in my dream that at least then I had a reason to have a hysto.

20 Months on T, 6 Months Post Op, and Looking for a Job

It’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted here. I didn’t realize it’s been so long… I’ve been in kind of a funk. I’ve been looking for a job full time for a little over two and a half months now. In that time, I’ve submitted probably around 100 resumes/applications, and I’ve only gotten a handful of rejection notifications, two phone interviews, and one in-person interview (which was preceded by one of the phone interviews). That in-person interview did not lead to a job offer, unfortunately. The reason they gave for not hiring me was that they thought that I’d want to be promoted too quickly, and they wanted someone who’d want to stay in the position for a few years… read: overqualified.

I never expected to be in this position of desperately searching for a job. I thought I was doing all the right things, I went to school after I got out of the Marine Corps because I thought it would make me more employable. I worked hard and got good grades (3.3/4.0 for both undergrad and grad school). I worked as a lab assistant and a student researcher while I was in school to get additional, relevant experience. I made good impressions on my professors which resulted in letters of recommendations for my admittance into the M.S. program. And then I graduated in June with a Master’s degree in nanoengineering. I thought I’d find a job quickly with, in my opinion, pretty awesome background. But here I am now, with Christmas only a week away, and I’m still applying to jobs. I feel like I’ve been doing the right things: writing targeted resumes and cover letters for each job posting, attending job fairs, went on a tour at a facility for a company I’d like to work for, etc. I’ve even resorted to applying to jobs which I think I’m overqualified for, jobs in locations I’d never wanted to live in, and even jobs at local Whole Foods Market. Pretty soon, I’ll just start applying to any part-time job I can find.

It’s pretty depressing for me to apply to jobs that I’m pretty sure I could have gotten without putting in the effort of obtaining an engineering degree. I know there are lots of unemployed and underemployed college graduates, but I just assumed that those people didn’t have a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees.

And then I think about the plans that Alex and I made to save money while we had two incomes, but instead our savings has been shrinking, not growing.

I don’t want to make this into a self-pitying post. These are just thoughts that have been going through my head over and over again, and I’m hoping that by writing them out I’ll be able to let go of them and think more positive thoughts.

I still have been going to CrossFit and making progress in my strength and fitness levels. I don’t know what kind of mental space I’d be in without the positive vibes of all the people in the gym, the highs of hitting new PRs for my lifts, and just the general feeling of well-being from getting in a good workout. I have also been trying to do some organizing/cleaning around the apartment, cook more meals, etc. so that I at least feel like I’m at least being useful and productive while I’m unemployed. I also have been able to do some reading (both professional and leisurely reading) and pick up a new programming language in my free time.

All in all, I appreciate the things I do have. I know people are in much worse situations than I am. I still have a roof over my head, food to eat, basic amenities, internet, etc., and I know that not everyone has that. I have family, friends, and a partner who love and support me. I have a partner that doesn’t make me feel bad for not having a job yet. I’ve been able to undergo medical transition in the form of HRT and top surgery. I’m determined to keep pushing through, and someday I’m sure I’ll be employed in some capacity. I hope that I’m able to be grateful for the things I do have and not concern myself about the things that I don’t.

A week from now, it will be 20 months on testosterone for me, and today is my 6 months post op. I sent an update to my surgeon two days ago. Everything looks really great to me. I have some very minor dog ears, but Dr. Mosser said that is a very easy procedure to fix, if I want sometime in the future. I only really notice them when my arms are at my side, if I raise them up a little or have my arms slightly behind me, then they’re not there at all. I don’t think the scars have faded much since the last photo update. It’s hard to tell though since I think sometimes the lighting, angle, and position is slightly different from one photo set to the next. But either way, I have posted the newest photos below.

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As far as additional changes from HRT, the only really noticeable changes are more hair on my shoulders, face, and chest. I haven’t seen any changes in fat distribution, etc. I have noticed growth in my muscles, particularly in the chest region, but I think that’s more from working out than the HRT by itself.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

18 Months on T

I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half already. Time is definitely going more quickly now. I’ve been keeping myself busy with looking for a job, and this week was particularly hectic on that front. I attended a couple of workshops for resume writing and how to get recruited, a job fair, a tour at a company I’d like to work for, and had a phone interview for a job that I didn’t apply to. This is definitely the most productive week I’ve had since I’ve started looking for a job. I finally feeling like I’m making some progress. Up until now, I’ve just been applying online to job postings and not hearing anything back. It feels good to finally have some sort of contact instead of just sending my resume into the black hole that is known as the “applicant tracking system.”

I will admit though, it’s nice to have only one thing on my plate. I finally feel like I’m at a point in my transition where it’s not something that I’m thinking about constantly. It doesn’t take up valuable mental and emotional space that would take away from my job search like it took away from my ability to focus on my classes while I was in school. There are still things that I would like to do, in regards to transition, such as a hysterectomy/oophorectomy and possibly metoidioplasty. However, those things don’t weigh on my in the same way that waiting for top surgery did. If they happened within the next couple of years, I’d be happy, but I don’t feel like it’s a necessity.

In other news, I finally got a suit that I feel comfortable in. It’s probably the first time I’ve looked at myself in whatever articles of clothing I’m wearing and the first thing that came to my mind wasn’t the fact that I hated how wide my hips were. That’s definitely an improvement for me.

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I wore this to the job fair I attended on Wednesday. It was a little stressful since it was only my second time tying a tie (the first being when I got married almost a year and a half ago, and I did a horrible job that time). Not to mention, I only attempted to learn about half an hour before I had to be heading out the door. I think it ended up turning out pretty good though, all things considered. I was definitely one of the better dressed there at the job fair, so that’s a plus.

Anyway, I thought I’d post some comparison photos from pre-T to now.

Front Arms Crossed Pre to 18

Back Pre to 18

This last one is just over 1 month post op to just over 4 months post op. It’s definitely nice to see the changes from working out are becoming more apparent.

Front Post Op 1 to 4Hopefully I get a job soon and be able to share some insight into the process while being trans. I am slightly concerned when it comes to background checks and having to answer if I’ve gone by any other names. I’m sure it will work out. I wouldn’t want to work for anyone that would be a problem for… but at some point, I do have to pay my bills and start paying my student loans.

Until next time.

17 Months on T

Top Surgery:

Last week, I hit my 3 months post op mark. I’m feeling really good about my results. I’ve got all my mobility and range of motion back. For anyone that is worried about their outcomes/swellings immediately after surgery, I can say that it does get better. I was worried for a while about whether my swelling would go away on its own, and it did for me. Now, I think I just get to play the waiting game of the scars to fade. I ran out of Kelo-cote, so I’ve just been massaging the scars with some Eucerin lotion.

I’ve recovered from my time off due to surgery and have even set some personal records as far as my workouts go. It feels good to be back into it and know that I’m getting stronger and faster than I was before.

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11 days post op vs 3 months post op

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Face:

I haven’t done an update of my face/facial hair in a while. My beard is definitely filling in along the jaw line, and I’m getting hairs on my cheeks sprinkled about my face. It’s really hard to get good comparison photos, by the way. I tend to give people crap in my head for people who post comparison photos where they look nothing alike, but after trying to take photos for an hour or so that are like a photo that I’ve taken at earlier dates, I take back all the crap that I give, even if it is only in my head. Anyway, it’ll be nice to see what happens in another 9 months or so.

8.5 months on T vs. 17 months on T

8.5 months on T vs. 17 months on T

Life:

Last week, I had my last therapy session. My student insurance will be ending this weekend, and honestly, my therapist and I both agreed that I don’t really need it anymore. The real reason I even started going was so that I could get a letter for my top surgery. I will admit though, it was nice to have someone to talk to on a regular basis about my anxieties regarding transitioning. I have never had doubts about transitioning, but I have had anxieties about it, mostly dealing with the people/social aspects of transitioning: who to come out to, when to come out, which bathrooms to use, etc. Despite the difficulties and awkward situations, transitioning is the best thing I could have ever done for myself. For so long (basically my whole life), I could not figure out why I was unhappy. I used to think that I didn’t have a reason to be unhappy, so maybe I was just damaged in some way and would be unhappy forever. Don’t get my wrong, I still have my ups and downs, but overall I’m happy with my life and myself. Transitioning doesn’t fix everything, or maybe it doesn’t even fix anything, but it allows you to be who you believe you are. When you get that out of the way, it allows you to tackle the other things in your life. Anyway, I’m able to go back to therapy if I like at a later time. I also mentioned that in the future I may want to have bottom surgery, and my therapist is happy to see me if that’s the case in the future.

I’m currently looking for jobs. I’ve only been doing it about 30-40% effort so far. I’ve been working my student position through the summer part-time, but that position is ending for me as of tomorrow. So, starting next week, I’ll be doing the job hunt thing full time. I’ve put in between 25-30 applications so far. I’ve only heard back from three of them, and they were all messages saying they would be pursuing candidates that better match the skills/qualifications they are looking for. In all honesty, I was applying for jobs that I didn’t quite meet the qualifications for because it was in the industry that I thought I wanted to be in. I was applying for biotech jobs, but I’ve expanded my search to work in materials science as well. I am definitely learning from the experience. I’ve begun reaching out to people who I know that were in the industries that I want to be in, asking for advice and such. We’ll see what comes of that. I’m also thinking about hitting up some job fair or networking events. I’ve been looking at some defense contractors where my military experience would be an advantage for me. The only thing that makes me nervous about that is my DD-214 has my old name on it. Technically, they’re not supposed to discriminate based on gender identity, but it still makes me kind of anxious.

Anyway, hopefully something comes up soon on the job front. It does give me more time to work out and take care of myself until I do find a job, at least.

6 Weeks Post Op

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IMG_20140730_070230_689I sent these pictures to Dr. Mosser this morning. Everything looks really good to me. Now that the swelling/fluid is gone, I’ll just be waiting for my scars to fade. I should be cleared to go back to my normal workout routine and such today. I’m planning on going to the noon class at Fortius today. I’ll probably be taking it easy for a while though since lifting my arms still results in some tightness/stretching of the skin, but overall, I have my full range of motion back with no pain.

I did CrossFit today. It felt pretty good. The only movements that resulted in some trouble (tightness in the chest) were strict press and pull ups. I took it easy on those, but everything else felt really good. I’m going to be easing myself back into over the next couple of weeks. I hope my scars don’t stretch too much, but I’d rather get my fitness back up than spend time worrying about how my scars look.

I’ve been using Kelocote on my scars twice a day since 3 weeks post op. I’ve also been massaging the scars as I’ve seen suggested through a Google search.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how everything looks. Now, only time will tell how the scars will end up looking.

15 Months on T

I went to SD Pride last weekend with Alex. It was a huge contrast compared to the way I felt after last year’s pride. We participated in the 1st Annual San Diego Trans* Pride and March. For me, it was pretty overwhelming, in a good way, all the support I saw from those just passing by or looking on. Granted, we were in the “gay” neighborhood, but still, it’s something. We also got to see Laverne Cox give the keynote speech at the Spirit of Stonewall Rally. As she was leaving the stage, they brought out her biggest fan, Ryland Whittington. It was really nice to hear such focus on trans* rights this year. I know last year was a huge win for marriage equality, but I’m glad this year the focus has shifted.

I realized just a few moments ago that it has been three months since I’ve done a proper picture update. Honestly, not much has changed since then, except that I’ve gotten more hair on my face and body. My body shape seems to have stayed the same in the past 3 months. Part of that could be owed to recovering from surgery and not being able to workout though. Assuming my Dr. Mosser approves, I should be able to resume all normal activities starting Wednesday (6 weeks post op). I’m looking forward to being able to put on some more muscle and hopefully lose some more body fat.

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As far as top surgery recovery goes, it seems to be going really well. My swelling/fluid build up has pretty much all cleared up now. It was like magic after the three week mark. I’ve regained a lot of my range of motion. The only thing that is still pretty tight is reaching above my head. I’ve been avoiding doing it too much, but I had to reach something way above my head in the grocery store yesterday. It was tighter on the left than on the right, probably due to the longer time it took the swelling to dissipate.

Dr. Mosser has expressed concern about stretching of the scars by lifting the arms too much, but I think I’m more concerned about regaining full range of motion. I hope that I can find a middle ground. It is my body after all, and I hope that my scars will fade enough that the size of them won’t really be an issue. I’ll probably be asking about regaining full range of motion versus scar stretching in my follow up next week.