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3 Weeks Post Hysto

(Trigger warning: blood mention)

I’m three weeks post-op today! I was supposed to have a post-op appointment on Friday, but something came up and my surgeon had to cancel. I think I’ll be scheduling an appointment for two weeks from now.

I did, however, have an appointment with my primary care physician. I got my T levels checked out. It turns out that my T levels doubled from the last time I had them checked in August. So, it seems like the hysterectomy was certainly effective. My levels haven’t varied that wildly during my nearly 4 years on testosterone. I reduced my dose by approximately half (it’s hard to gauge exactly because the syringes aren’t graduated that finely – the particular syringes I have are only graduate 100 microliter/.1 milliliter intervals) starting this week, so we’ll see how that turns out in a few months, I suppose.

Back to surgery recovery, everything has been pretty great on that end. I will note that I was slightly freaked out due to the amount of bleeding that occurred. Up until now, I’ve only had very minimal spotting. However, last night, I did my normal nightly routine of taking Harry out for a 15 minute walk, then taking a shower. When I got out of the shower, I dried off and noticed some blood on my towel after wiping off. It was bright red too, so I knew it was fresh. At this point, it only started getting heavier. I spent like the next hour reading forums on my phone while I laid in my bed. I got up several times to see what the quantity of blood was. Fortunately, it died down within an hour, but I was kind of panicking about whether I’d have to go in to the ER and/or have emergency surgery to close up some sutures that opened up.

I’m back to “normal” now. It gradually reduced down throughout the day to what it had been previously. The best guess from what I read is that the internal stitching is beginning to dissolve, and that’s what caused the bleeding. I’ll definitely bring it up during my post-op appointment. If anything else comes up before then, I’ll likely write an email to the surgeon as well.

Given everything though, I’m still really grateful that I’m in a position to do this, and my recovery has been really easy compared to others I’ve heard/read about.

School started back up last week, and I returned to work today. I guess that means it’s time to get back into the swing of things while lifting less than 15 lbs for the next 5 weeks.

Quick Post Op Update

I’m a week post op as of today. Oh how time flies when you’re doing nothing, haha. I’ve actually had to force myself to not do too much. It’s kind of hard. This surgery and recovery has been really easy for me. I started taking Harry out for his walks about 24 hours post op with no problems. I’ve gradually been increasing the distances we go on our walks.

I honestly feel like I could go back to work tomorrow if I really wanted, but I don’t. Work has become kind of unbearable lately – not because of the work though. But that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, I think I’ll just stick to taking my three weeks off so I can take care of some stuff I’ve been putting off. Also, next week is the first week of school, so I can use my time off to get off to a good start.

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Oh yeah, the bloating is pretty much gone. Still waiting on the steri-strips to come off, though.

3.5 Years on T + More Surgery

In my last post (which was about 2 months ago), I mentioned that I had an appointment scheduled for Kaiser’s mental health evaluation and a consult/examination with the gynecologist who primarily deals with transgender patients. Well, the appointments had to be rescheduled because one of them had to cancel, but I finally had my appointments last week.

Everything went really smoothly. I spoke to the mental health person first, and he basically asked questions about my history, coming out, transgender stuff, etc. and about my support network here in San Francisco. Then, I was passed on to the gynecologist who had information from the mental health person and my primary care physician. She knew why I was there already, so we talked about my options for a hysterectomy and the risks of removing my ovaries, as well. She was basically ensuring that I knew that I would not be able to have biological kids if I had my ovaries removed and would have to stay on testosterone until at least 50 years old. All of this I’m completely fine with.

So, basically now, I’m at the stage where I need to talk to her office to schedule my hysto! Her office actually called me twice last week, but of course, I was at work. I’ll have to find time next week to call her office on one of my breaks from work. But, I think my surgery could be as soon as sometime next month! We’ll see how it all works out. I’d love for it to be next month, but I may end up going for the beginning of January, depending on if I can get approved for short-term disability from work or not.

Not much else is going on as far as transition stuff is concerned. I am looking for a new job or internship. I had to do a video interview last week and decided to shave to look more presentable. Here’s a couple of pictures of my face after a week of growth:

Solidarity

Today marks two years since I had top surgery, but it seems so wrong to talk about my life when so many lost their lives. There have been so many mass shootings, and while they are very sad, nothing has quite hit me like the one at Pulse. I’m not going to talk much because so much has been said and in a much better way than I could ever express.

This one is the one that has spoken to me the most.

I moved to San Francisco a few weeks ago. About a week after I got here, I noticed that Pride colors were up ALL over the city, including right in front of where I work. Yesterday and today, the flags that are flying at Civic Center are half mast.

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View at Medium.com

 

Back from Sea!

I am back from sea! I went to Honolulu, where I spent nearly two weeks, then on a boat, up to the coastal waters of Alaska near Kodiak, then Sitka, and finally we arrived in Seattle after 34 days of sailing.

It was probably one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had, and that’s saying something. I got on the ship having no idea what to expect. I thought I’d work, eat, and workout, mainly. I brought a couple of books, TV shows, video games, and comic books to entertain myself. I even brought a book to teach myself some more programming.

At the end of this trip, I only managed to make it through two books and half a season of The Walking Dead. I was honestly surprised at how much I really enjoyed spending time with the other folks on the ship. We played card games, board games, watched movies together, and spent a lot of time just sitting out on the bow of the ship enjoying the beauty of the ocean, sometimes talking about random things, but also being perfectly content to sit in silence with our own thoughts.

I saw more sunrises than I’ve seen in my entire life, discovered I don’t get seasick, and bonded with people over the shared misery of being cold and wet, lack of good coffee, and being exhausted from so much work.

About half way through the cruise, I realized I had developed a pretty serious crush on one of the people aboard the ship. I didn’t think much about it… it was just fun to flirt, share some laughs, and brighten each other’s’ days.

When we finally got to Seattle, nearly the whole science party and ship crew got together at a local bar for post-cruise food and drinks. Every so often, I’d catch the person I’d develop a crush on looking at me from across the bar and smiling. I excitedly told one of my friends who knew about my crush, but chalked it up to me just reading into things. Eventually, a couple of us, crush not included, decided to head to Capitol Hill for Pride festivities. I met up with one of my old friends from the military. We all went to a bar, drank, and talked. Half way through the night, a crew of other people that were aboard the ship showed up, much to my surprise. I was genuinely surprised at how open minded and willing to celebrate Pride many of them were.

As the night was winding down, due to some being a bit too drunk and others just being tired and hungry, a few of us went for some late night food. And that’s when things got interesting.

I won’t go into the boring details, but suffice to say, I ended up spending the night with my crush. It took some convincing on the part of our friend, due to them being unsure because I’m married and trans, but we had an amazing night together.

As a side note, Alex and I recently decided to see how polyamory could work for us. The two books I read on ship were both on that subject: The Ethical Slut and Opening Up.

I spent the next few days trying to spend as much time with them as possible without trying to be smothering or overwhelming. We went to the Pride parade together with a couple of people, which much to my surprise, was very reminiscent of San Francisco Pride for me. I have a feeling I’ll be disappointed by San Diego Pride this year. We got coffee one morning, and then dessert later that night. And our last night in town, we ate at a delicious seafood restaurant. I walked them back to their hotel afterwards… and they suggested that I could come up to their room, if I wanted, or we could walk around elsewhere. I was an idiot and told them that I should head out. I was staying with Alex’s best friend, whom I hadn’t heard from much during the day, and I was staying with her for the night, so I thought I should probably figure that out. So, I said my goodbyes and walked off to wear I parked my car. I was feeling a little down at that point, and thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I had just done that. I messaged them and said, “I should have come up to your room.” They asked why, and I said, “because I really wanted to, but didn’t want to impose.” They then gave me the door code, and I promptly turned my happy ass around.

I’m currently writing this as I sit on the plane on the way home. I’ve been spending the majority of my time trying to unpack my feelings. I don’t know where this will lead, if anywhere at all. I spent the first part of the flight drafting an email, that I haven’t decided if I will send or not. If nothing comes of our shared time together, I’d be pretty sad, but still grateful that it happened. I wouldn’t take it back, even if I do have to deal with some crappy feelings. I’m actually bracing myself for that outcome, because I don’t see how it can end any other way. I am having very strong feelings emerge, but I don’t know if they’re shared to the same degree. I mean, I obviously know that they like me, but to what degree? I haven’t felt this strongly for someone since I met Alex. It’s just very strange for me having to deal with these emotions when I thought I was pretty damned lucky to have even experienced this with one person, let alone two.

All in all though, even without the brief love tryst, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to sail the ocean and do science. After this experience, I’m seriously considering a career in oceanography. I can honestly say that this has been a real eye opener for me for what it’s like to really love the job that I have. I’m really hoping that some of my new contacts will pan out.

1 Year Post Top Surgery!

This last year has flown by! I’m really tired after as I just finished the busiest two days on the ship, so this will be short and to the point.

Photos!

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Or maybe just one… WordPress and my phone are disagreeing.

I will do a comparison photo set when I return home in a couple of weeks.

It feels great to have my chest as it is now. I got to enjoy Hawaii doing shirtless activities. Though, I got asked twice about my scars by strangers, and I just said I had surgery and left it at that.

I was a little self conscious about being shirtless around the people I’ve been working with, but not enough to not take my shirt off. No one I have been on the ship with has asked about my scars.

I probably have more to say, but it’s past my bedtime.

I will be in Seattle in 9 days!

2 Years on T

I can’t believe it’s been two years already. I don’t even know what to say.

I posted the following to my Facebook timeline:

I wanted to share with everyone the changes that I’ve gone through in the past two years.

I’ve been lucky enough to receive hormone treatment and have my surgery mostly covered by insurance. There are many people in my situation who are not as fortunate, so I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had.

The changes I’ve been through have been crazy and incredible. When I was younger, I never thought I could be as comfortable in my body as I am now. I’ve worked really hard, particularly in the past year and a half in the gym to change my body in ways I could never have imagined. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve worked even harder to accept and love my body the way it is.

I think it’s important to note that while I post these pictures, I think some more important changes I’ve experienced are the increase in my self-confidence and self-esteem. I finally feel like my body and mind are in alignment. I feel a lot more comfortable with how interact with the world and other people. I would have never been able to post pictures like this before. I would have been too embarrassed of the way I looked and felt about my body.

It took a long time for me to figure out that this was the path I needed to take. Part of that was because there just wasn’t a lot of trans representation. I didn’t even know that transitioning was a possibility. Then, one day, a friend posted a one year video montage of a transgender man’s transition. At that point, everything just clicked. I must have watched that video 10 more times that night. The way he described how he knew he was trans was everything I felt. I knew then that I had to transition. That’s part of the reason I want to share this with my friends and family. I think it’s important to have different experiences and perspectives out there. By sharing my experiences, I hope that someday I can help someone who was in my situation.

I have mostly kept to myself during my transition. I think I’ve posted two (three max) transition related posts over the past two years. As I said, I think it’s important to share my experiences. I’m fortunate enough to not feel in danger by sharing my transgender identity. So, the more that I can put myself out there and show people that transgender folks are just like everyone else, the better. I know trans people are all over the media today, but sometimes I think it’s hard to really relate to others unless you know them personally. I feel like if you know someone personally who has a different life experience than you, they will have a greater impact on you than just seeing someone on TV or in a news article.

Anyway, I think that mostly sums up my feelings of being two years on testosterone. I’m in a place where I really feel comfortable putting myself out there.

As an aside, I was completely stealth while I was working at Whole Foods (I just had my last shift last night, woo!). In some ways, I liked just being “one of the guys” without any caveats, but at the same time, it made it hard for me to really feel comfortable. There were a couple of times were I almost outed myself just in normal conversation talking about experiences I’ve had in the past or whatever, and I had to catch myself. I think it’s definitely something that should be considered on a case by case basis for me, depending on the comfort level I feel with the people around me.

And with that I’ll end this post with photo comparisons!

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23 Months on T, 9 Months Post Op

Just a quick top surgery/transition update.

Top Surgery:

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The top two are from 3 months post op, and the bottom two are from 9 months post op. Not much change in scar color, but I think they’re about as thick as they’re going to get now. Some parts of them have definitely flattened out and feel pretty soft, but other parts are raised and could definitely use some massaging. I’ve started using Mederma on them recently. I used Kelocote in the beginning, but when I ran out, I stopped. We’ll see if it makes a noticeable difference.

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I posted this photo comparison to my Facebook timeline the other day and received an overwhelming amount of support from my friends, family, and fellow CrossFitters and weightlifters. It was a pretty good feeling. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve been making the past few months since top surgery. I’m also excited to see my future progress. But more importantly, I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable in my body and I’m actually less concerned than I used to be with how I look. I still think about it, but it’s different now than it used to be. I’m less worried about looking feminine or having wide hips or a big butt or thick thighs, and more just think about being generally healthy and working towards being able to lift more weight. That can be kind of a rabbit hole too, because I get in my head comparing myself to other guys, but I can at least look back on my old lifts and old PRs and see that I am making objective progress.

Face:

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Left to right, top to bottom: 8 months, 17 months, 23 months on T

My hair is definitely starting to fill in and some is even coming in on the cheeks now. I think in a couple more years, I’ll have a pretty nice beard. The last 6 months I’ve definitely noticed quite a bit of growth.

In other news:

I got a temporary job that I’ll be starting soon that’s sort of in my field (it’s at least science related). I’ll be happy to spend less time at Whole Foods, but I’ll continue working there on the weekends. I’ll still need my job there once my temp job is over. It’s only for 3 months, sadly, but I hope it will boost my resume a little bit.

I don’t know if I’ve just never noticed this before in my daily life, or if it’s just the people I work with, but the people there use very gendered language. My coworkers say “sir” to the guys all the time, even the guys say it to each other. It’s also a very boys against girls atmosphere. It actually makes me really uncomfortable sometimes. I don’t think I’ve been that oblivious to gendered language and such in the past, so I think it may just be this particular environment. I guess I’ll find out when I move on to other jobs. I just wanted to make a note of it to reflect on later one.

22 Months on T

And 8 months post op!

I took this picture the other day, and I have to say that I’m really happy with the way I look now.

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It’s amazing to actually feel good about my body. I still have my bad days when I think that I haven’t made enough progress or I have too much fat, but those are definitely outweighed by the good days. It also helps when I make comparisons to older photos. It’s hard to see the progress that you’re making when you see yourself everyday, but when you look back at the way you looked a few months ago, the differences definitely stand out. Sometimes I think I’m being vain when I take so many photos of myself, but it has helped a lot with my self-esteem in regards to my body.

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I also think that the image of myself in my head still hasn’t caught up to how I actually look. I think it’s still lagging behind. I’ve noticed this a lot lately since I’ve started working at a place where no one knows of my transgender status. I think I still have this idea in my head that people perceive me as more feminine than I really am. I haven’t heard or seen many people talk about this sort of thinking. I’m wondering how long it will take for my brain to catch up to reality.

In other transition news:

I’ve been tying up some loose ends with my name change the last week or so. I’m hoping pretty soon everything will have my correct name. The last things in the works are my passport and car and motorcycle registration (that I know of). I think getting all the documents changed has been one of the more tedious processes of transitioning. It’s awesome when you get the court order, but then contacting all the businesses you deal with is really a pain in the ass. Sometimes, they don’t really have any idea what to do with your name change request, but for the most part, people haven’t even batted an eye. Or maybe they did, but since most of my contact was through the phone, I don’t know if they did.

Beard progress:

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of my facial hair in the daytime, which is when I have the best lighting. However, I’ve definitely noticed that it’s filling in really nicely, and there are more hairs creeping up on my cheeks and neck. I’m excited to think that in a couple more years, I’ll have a really nice beard going on.

Other thoughts:

While I’ve been having really good thoughts about the way my body looks, I’ve really been struggling to stay positive in regards to my job search. I think I’m on the borderline of depression. I am grateful to have a job at all, but when I think about all the work (and money) I’ve put into getting two bachelor’s and a master’s degree over the past seven years to only be able to land a job that I didn’t need a degree for at all… I don’t know. It just wears me down a little bit more every day. I’ve gotten a couple of rejections in the past couple of weeks that have made it even harder because I’ve basically been told I didn’t have enough of the right experience.

Also, it’s been a lot harder to focus on looking for and applying to jobs since I’ve basically been working full-time at Whole Foods. I’ve been exhausted by the time I get home and don’t want to do anything at all. Not to mention, my hours have been all over the place, so my sleeping has been all over the place. It’s been about a month now, and I’m finally getting used to it, so I hope that I’ll be able to devote more energy towards looking for jobs in my field.

I do have an opportunity to do temporary work on a research vessel from Hawaii to Seattle. I’ll glad take the opportunity to network and add some skills to my resume even if it’s only work for 3 months. I’m also hoping that I’m capable to do the job that I was told they wanted someone with more chemistry experience.

Ending on a good note:

Alex started T last Thursday! I’m excited for him since he’s been waiting so long because he was in the military. I will admit that I will be jealous when/if he gets as strong or stronger than I am. He’s already at the same strength that I was nearly a year on T. We’ll see how that pans out. Maybe it’ll give me motivation to work harder. I’ll also have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other people anyway. It’s easy to get down when I start doing that.

I’m hoping I have some better news to report on the job front soon. Until next time!

16 Months On T

At this point in my transition, the number of months that I’ve been on testosterone aren’t nearly as exciting as they used to be. I remembered this morning that it was my 16 months today, but by the time I remembered, I was already dressed so I decided not to take my monthly photos. I suppose I can’t call them monthly photos anymore since I’ve missed a couple of other months as well. I think my plan for that is to just update on the 18 months mark and again at 24 months. Then we’ll see what happens after that. I plan to take photos of my workout progress, but I will probably only post them on my Tumblr blog since that’s more geared towards my workouts.

Some exciting things have happened this month, though. I was able to return to CrossFit at my 6 weeks post op mark. I’ve been going pretty consistently for the past three and a half weeks now. I nearly have full range of motion back now with all overhead movements. The only time I feel a little tightness is when I’m trying to dead hang from a pull up bar, but it’s probably 1000x better than three and a half weeks ago.

This weekend, my gym hosted a swim clinic. It’s the first time that I’ve really been topless in front of people besides Alex. It was a really good feeling. No one looked at me weird and life continued on as normal. Alex and I also went stand up paddleboarding this weekend where I was able to go topless. It’s such a nice feeling to just be able to take off my shirt and jump in the water. No worrying about adjusting my swim suit top and making sure things don’t fall out, etc.

My voice may still be dropping. I’m not sure. Alex made a comment about it the other morning. I’ll have to record it and compare it to some older videos. I didn’t really expect much to change at this point, but who knows, I’ve heard of it happening to others.

Not much else exciting happening as far as changes really. I’m getting more noticeable hairs on my chest, but they may have been there before. I didn’t make it a habit of inspecting my chest pre-top surgery. Now, I tend to look at it when I’m massaging the scars at night.

I think I’m at a point now where I’d consider myself “post-transition.” Bottom surgery has been on my mind, particularly a hysterectomy, but I don’t feel it to be as necessary as top surgery was to me even from before I began transitioning. I have seen quite a few photos and stories about metoidioplasty. I really like the results I’ve seen from that surgery, it’s honestly not a feasible option at this point though with how expensive it is and whatnot. If someday in the future, we have enough money, it’s definitely something that I’d like to invest in.

I still have some unhappiness with my fat distribution. Some days, I really hate it. Others though, it doesn’t seem so bad to me. I have a lot more good days than bad days in that regard. I feel like I’m moving in the right direction as far as changing the way I think about it.

But yeah, that’s my 16 months on T. Until next time.