New Insurance

I feel like it’s been ages since I did a transition update. I’m finally getting settled into some semblance of a routine here in San Francisco. I just finished my first semester of my computer science education. Work is going. It felt routine after about a week or two. I’m not happy with that fact, but it is what it is. I’m hoping there will be a chance to learn new things in the near future, but only time will tell.

One of the really great things about my job is the benefits (and stability). I don’t pay a penny for my health insurance, though there other ways in which they take my money (10% for retirement, yikes). But, that’s besides the point. The insurance plan itself is fantastic.

A few weeks ago, I got in to see my new physician and got set up with my testosterone prescription and lab work. I got a supply of 100 syringes, 2×100 needles, and a 10 mL vial of 200 mg/mL testosterone for a really low price and no cost for the visit.

I should mention that I was thoroughly impressed with how knowledgeable, considerate, and genuinely caring my new physician was during my exam. It made me really happy and comfortable to know that I didn’t have to explain anything. She knew what I was talking about and knew the steps that needed to be taken to get my prescriptions and whatnot.

I mentioned my desire for a hysto and told my new physician I was still on the fence about bottom surgery (though I’m leaning heavily towards a metoidioplasty if I do. I have no desire to have a huge scar on my forearm or any other donor site). Anyway, she instantly gave me referrals to their mental health services and a gynecologist.

Bleh. I feel like I shouldn’t have to jump through these hoops, but according to Kaiser’s online treatment cost calculate, I’d only have to pay $35 for a hysto and my plan will pay the remaining $25,429.

So, I’ll gladly do their little dance for that kind of savings. Under my old insurance (that I was paying for myself through Covered California), I would have had to pay quite a bit more.

I couldn’t find anything about what my out of pocket cost for a meta, but I imagine it would be along the same lines as a hysto. In fact, I think they work with Dr. Crane’s practice here since Kaiser likely doesn’t have any doctor’s themselves who’d perform the surgery (or surgeries).

I’m set up to go see both of them on the same day in less than two weeks. This is all moving a lot faster than I had imagined. I don’t even have sick days  accrued at work yet or PTO for that matter.

But yeah, my job isn’t exactly what I thought it’d be, but after struggling to find one for so long and with the added benefit of their insurance plan, I’m definitely not complaining (too much). It also gives me a chance to focus my effort on my studies, so I can get a better job at some point in the future.

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 story at Medium.com

 

Name Change Folly

It’s been nearly 3 years since I went through the legal process of getting my name changed, and I’m still dealing with getting documents updated.

For my pending job offer, I needed to submit verification of my high school diploma or GED, college transcripts, and work experience.

I couldn’t find my high school certificate, so I sent in a request along with copies of my court order for my name change. I got a call when they received my request saying that I’d have to send my court order somewhere else to be approved to update my name. I said fine and just asked if they could send my certificate as is so I could get on with the employment process.

The person who contacted me then sent me an email with information on what paperwork I needed to get my name updated and where to send it. One of the pieces of documentation was a note from my doctor indicate my name and gender change. 

Now, if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re wondering what my gender change has to do with the name on my records.

I responded:

I do have a question about the doctor’s note. My original doctor’s note was submitted to the court when I filed my petition for a name and gender change; therefore, I do not have a doctor’s note. Also, the doctor that wrote the note worked for Student Health Services at UCSD. I’m no longer a student there, and she no longer works there, so I have no way to contact her. Shouldn’t the court order be sufficient?

And here’s where things get ridiculous (her response):

Would you have copies of your doctor’s notes, that you may have kept for your reference, before you submitted the originals to the court. Also, wondering if you could check with the hospital where the surgery was performed for some type of documentation. This will come in handy for your future needs as well.

Please let me know.

Thank you and have a nice day!

It took me two days to muster a response that wasn’t just me going completely off on her. I still get extremely mad just thinking about it.

All my other legal documents are updated, to include my social security card, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc. All these documents already indicate the gender that I am. I am completely dumbfounded at how this would even be necessary for a high school equivalency certificate. My college degrees don’t indicate gender on them, so why would a high school certificate?

And then there’s the issue that she implied that surgery is necessary for a gender change. I don’t know if it’s just plain ignorance or lack of training or what? But the whole situation is beyond my comprehension.

I responded to the best of my ability, and we’ll see what comes of it. I also sent an email asking about the process to update my name to an email address I could find which I think belongs to the person who will actually be approving my name change.

I can’t wait until my old name is gone for good. I still need to update my DD214 (military discharge papers), but up until recently, I thought that it wasn’t possible.

 

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!

The job search continues…

I had a moment of sheer terror at work today. I was going about getting ready for closing when I look up and see the grad student that I worked closely with for a year and a half during the end of my B.S. and part of my M.S.

I hid. I couldn’t let him see how much of a failure I am (at least that’s what I thought at the moment). Guilt. Shame. All those feelings. He spent all that time teaching, training, and mentoring me and here I am, working at Whole Foods.

I’ve been working really hard to not feel these feelings constantly. I’ve been working to gain more useful skills. I’ve had friends revamp my resume. I just got accepted to a Master’s program for computer science. But with all of this, I still feel like crap for not having a “real” job. The job market is tough. I should feel lucky I even have this job.

It’s kind of embarrassing to have a Master’s degree in engineering and be handing out bread to people who treat you like an idiot. Like, what do other peoples’ resumes look like who get interview after interview? Did I just not do enough while I was in school? I feel like I worked my ass off, but apparently not enough. I just don’t understand, really.

Ugh, I’m sure things will turn around at some point. I’m just going to keep working at it. Time to accept my admissions to and work on getting some internships.

I had what I thought was a really good interview a little over three weeks ago. I was told that they had one more person to interview and were going to contact my references. Then, they’d get back to me in the following week. Well, that week has passed, and there has been not a peep. I sent two follow-up emails. One was just for thanking them for their time, etc. And the second was when the week passed that they said they’d get back to me checking to see if there was an update, but nothing. It’s kind of disheartening.

I applied to a few jobs last week, and I actually heard back from a couple of recruiters. I’m just waiting to see if any of the hiring managers would like to interview me. I’ll try to put in a few more applications this week and start trying to see what internships I can apply to once I’m a student again. I’m actually really happy that I got accepted in the program I applied to. I’ve been working on some online courses for a few months now (intro to computer science, data structures, algorithms, etc.). Now, I can have some check in the box that employers like to see.

I’m just trying to stay positive, and if not, just keep persevering and taking steps to get myself more employable. And playing Fallout when I need a break from life.

It’s been a while

It’s been almost six months to the day (plus a day) since I last posted. Alex has been gone for five months now, and my temporary job ended in November. My old boss failed to do anything about getting me hired permanently, and I’m not going on the cruise that starts in a couple of weeks like I thought I’d be. I picked up a job at Whole Foods again. That’s the quick rundown of what’s been going on.

Life update:

I’ve honestly been battling depression during this time. I’ve been meaning to make some blog posts, but just haven’t been able to mentally find the energy. I’ve been setting small goals for myself in regards to my job search and making myself more employable. I search through job boards weekly looking for jobs in the San Francisco and DC area, save ones that I think I’m somewhat qualified, then apply to them throughout the week. I’m signed up for a computer science class, and I’ve taken a couple of free courses on edx.org in computer science and water treatment. These things drain about all the mental energy I have these days. Doing much other than that is really difficult. I’ve probably been spending too much time watching shows/playing video games, but I can’t always be on the job search. It’s depressing enough as it is to apply to so many jobs and never hear anything or just hear rejection. I feel like if I put more effort in with the same results, it’d be even worse for my mental state.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I have heard back on two jobs I’ve applied to in the San Francisco area. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to take written exams for both positions. I took one about two weeks ago, and the other one is coming up in two weeks. I’m really hoping I do well and make it to the interview.

I’ve been making back up plans in case I end up not finding a job in my field by a certain date. I applied to an online graduate program in Computer Science, and I’m also seriously considering applying to become a police officer either in the SF or DC area.

Transition update:

Everything is pretty much the same old as far as changes are concerned.

I was anticipating going on ship again, so I requested to be switched to Androgel because I didn’t want to deal with injections again on a ship. It was very difficult to find space and deal with the rocking of the ship. However, my insurance initially said they wouldn’t cover it. I ended up filing a grievance, and I actually received a letter in the mail yesterday saying that they finally agreed to cover it. I will be picking up my prescription tomorrow. I’m looking forward to beginning Androgel. I’m getting a bit tired of doing injections. I definitely don’t look forward to it like I used to.

In other news, I got an awesome tattoo to cover/camouflage my top surgery scars. I’m in love with it.

I saw my endocrinologist this morning. My levels are good, and I’m relatively healthy (my cholesterol is a little high). We talked about setting me up with a surgeon for a hysto. She recommended trying to get it done before the end of 2016 due to the uncertainty of the Presidential elections.

Overall:

I think things are looking up. I’m feeling like I’m breaking through this depression, and if all else fails, I’m planning to move to the DC area, so I can at least be with Alex. I miss him. I’m looking forward to my lease ending in August.

 

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.