FTM transition

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 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!

FaceBackArms CrossedFlexed

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.

IMG_20141022_091134_059-1

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.

10 Days Post Op

I just wanted to give a quick update on my recovery. All the pictures I’ve taken have different lighting and are from different distances, so it’s hard to make a comparison. I took the last picture myself (the first two were taken by Alex), so they should be more consistent from now on.

There is still quite a bit of swelling on my left side. I think it has gone down some, but I’m not really sure. It is getting slightly easier to move that arm though, so I think that’s a good indication. Also, the bruising seems to be going away. My nipples are looking more pink every day. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I also think the pictures make the scars look darker than they really are too. Everything seems to be coming along really nicely… I’m just really impatient about how long it seems to take the swelling to go down. Most post top surgery photos I’ve seen across the internet make it seem like they have no swelling at all. I don’t know if they make it seem that way to make it seem like they have perfect results or what.

I’m still having trouble sleeping. I think that will only get better when I can go back to my normal way of sleeping. I’m just glad that I’m not in school or have to study a lot for anything. That’d definitely make it more difficult.

In 10 days, I’ll get to go most of the day without the surgical compression vest. It’s getting pretty smelly. I mean, it was already smelly after 5 days of no showering and wearing it all the time, but I think it gets slightly worse. I’ll be really happy when I can wash it and not have to smell it all day.

10 Days Post Op

10 Days Post Op

7 Days Post Op

7 Days Post Op

6 Days Post Op

6 Days Post Op

14 Months on T

Yesterday was my 14 months on T. I’m a day late because Alex and I were on our way home, finally. I’m glad to be home. I’d do my normal photo update, but as I’m wearing a compression vest full-time (not to mention, I think there is still some bloating/swelling), it won’t really show much. Next month, I should be able to resume my regular photos. I’ll probably be posting more frequent photos anyway to show my healing progress.

Speaking of healing, my nipples are already looking noticeably different. They are gaining a more flesh colored tone, rather than looking purple. The swelling seems to be the same to me. It’s only been three days that I’ve seen my chest, though. I’m just impatient. When I push on my chest with my fingers, the right side is firm, while the left side is squishy. The only part that is itchy right now is where the holes for the drains were. The compression vest digs uncomfortably into my skin as the day goes on. I’m ready to be healed up and back in action. I’m hoping this time goes by quickly.

I’m feeling pretty exhausted after a week of getting crappy sleep. I’ve been waking up several times a night and not falling back asleep right away. This morning, I woke up around 6. I laid in bed trying to get comfortable enough to fall back asleep, but by 6:30 I got gave up and just got out of bed. Dr. Mosser said I could start sleeping on my side at 3 weeks. That should help some with my sleeping issues. He just wants to make sure the nipples have fully set into their positions. It makes me paranoid about any perceived movement I feel. The compression vest is pretty tight, so I doubt they move at all, but still. The lack of sleep wouldn’t be too bad, but it makes me concerned for my healing. I feel like I would heal faster if I could get some restful sleep consistently, but there’s not much I can do about it.

As far as transition updates, not much is going on beyond more hair. I think my acne is starting to calm down, with the exception of this past week. I think surgery and not being able to clean myself very well caused some minor break outs. I’m sure that will go away once I heal up some more.

Anyway, here’s a face comparison!

10 days on T

10 days on T

 

14 months on T

14 months on T

 

5 Days Post Op

Yesterday was my 5 days post op, and I had my first post op check up. It was nice to have the compression garment off after 5 days of wearing it. My fluid drainage was low enough to have my drains removed. Yay! I was expecting that process of removing the drains to be painful or strange feeling. They were stitched in place, and I felt the doctor cut and remove the drain on my right side. Then, next thing I know, he says it’s time to remove the other side. I didn’t even know he had removed the first one. Then, he removed the nipple bolsters. This took a little bit longer and was a little weird feeling, but painless.

After he removed them, I finally looked down at my chest. I was trying to suppress a huge smile, but Alex noticed and smiled at me. Everything looks really great. There’s a bit more swelling and bruising on my left side compared to my right, but it’s not too bad. It does make it feel a bit more numb, though. Dr. Mosser said that my nipples look really good, and the grafts are healthy. I’m really pleased with how it looks so far.

Finally, Dr. Mosser showed us how to change the dressings on the nipple grafts, which will have to be changed every day for 7 days, and sent us on our way. I was told to wear the compression garment full time for about 2 more weeks, and then part-time (at night) for another 3 weeks.

Alex and I spent some time wandering around in the city. I picked up some more button up shirts since I’ve grown out a few of mine that I bought earlier in my transition, and I won’t be able to wear t-shirts for some time. I’m going to try not to lift my hands above my head for at least another 5 weeks. I want to minimize as much stretching in the scars as possible, at least until I can start working out again.

It was really nice to walk around without the drains in. Since they were stitched to me, it sometimes felt like they were tugging on my skin. It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t comfortable either.

When we got back to my cousin’s apartment, I took my first shower in almost a week. It was kind of strange. My chest is numb in a lot of places, which makes it feel oddly heavy. It was also concerning because I didn’t want to accidentally jostle my nipples, but I made it out safely without doing any damage.

I was planning on taking some photos, but it was late by the time I got out of the shower. I just wanted to get back in the compression garment because I feel more secure moving around with it on for now. The numbness makes it feel really strange to move around without it on. Hopefully the feeling will return quickly. I’ll also feel better when the nipple grafts have fully taken at around 3 weeks post op. Dr. Mosser keeps emphasizing to take extra precautions with them, and it’s better to be safe.

Hopefully I will get some post op photos tonight or tomorrow to share!

Oh, and I just want to say that I highly recommend Dr. Mosser. He has done everything he can to make this as easy and pain-free as possible. He is super friendly and you can tell that he cares about the outcome. I have not seen any reviews out there for him on the internet, but I know three other guys personally that have gone to him. They are very happy with their results.