trans

11 Weeks Post Hysto

So, I never did have my post op appointment, unfortunately, and now I’m on the East coast. Nothing happened since the last time I updated. The spotting is entirely gone now! I theoretically would have been cleared to lift at 8 weeks post-op. Fortunately, that timeline worked out well with my move to the DC area. I had to move quite a few heavy boxes of books. I didn’t notice any discomfort or pain.

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13 Boxes of Books!

I start my new job (internship) on Monday. I just arrived to the area on yesterday afternoon. My road trip didn’t work out quite as I had planned, but luckily I left enough time for exactly that reason. My mom was supposed to drive with me, but something came up on her end, so I ended up making the drive by myself (with Harry, of course). It meant that I drove fewer hours per day.

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My copilot sleeping on the job

Anyway, my new job is covering health insurance for me, so I may try to find a doctor that will do a post op examination, but I’m not really sure it’s necessary. I’m not a medical expert though, so I don’t really know.

I am going to check out two gyms this week, on Thursday and Friday, so we’ll see how lifting goes. I’ll have to ease back into it since I’ve been out of the gym for 3 months now.

In other news, I finally get to live with my husband, after spending about a year and a half apart. I’m not really sure about living in this area of the country, but only time will tell on that front. I’m going to be a Federal employee, and the news that came out of the Trump Administration regarding anti-discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity has me really wary. I’m pretty visibly trans on my social media profiles, so I’ll have to really scrutinize any future co-workers who try to add me on Facebook and Instagram (since they’re connected). I don’t want to be stealth, but I also don’t want to be discriminated against.

I’m still hopeful though! Even though I lived in San Francisco which is pretty liberal, I didn’t like my job. I felt like I was wasting all my hard earned education and experience, so I’m glad to have this opportunity. At the same time, I’m nervous that I may not perform well. I’m fairly new to computer science and programming. I’ve done programming over the years, but for a class here or there, or small projects in labs that I’ve worked in. I’ve never done it as my sole job or within a team of other programmers, so it’ll definitely be an experience. I’m just going to work hard and do the best I can.

Speaking of, I need to get back to doing my homework. Another unfortunate thing about driving across the country by myself is that I didn’t get to work on my school work as I had planned, so now I’m a bit behind, but I have a few days to get caught up and hopefully get ahead.

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My face after the end of my road trip (finally)

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.

Hysto Complete

I made it home last night at about 7:30 PM. The short version is that it actually wasn’t that bad, not that I was awake to know, haha. I mostly just feel sore. I had a laparoscopic total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries).

I got to the hospital and started checking in at 9:45 AM. I spent most of the morning waiting around to be taken to the back to get prepped for surgery. Once I got back there, things moved pretty quickly. Various people (the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and a couple of nurses) came and talked to me before hand. I got asked several times which procedure I was undergoing.

When I got to the operating room, someone asked if I wanted to listen to music. I told them I wanted Hamilton, of course. I was out pretty much soon after that. I only remember a couple of words from the opening song. (I think this was around noon.)

Next thing I know, at about 4:15 PM, I’m waking up in the recovery room with the urgent feeling of needing to pee. I had a catheter in, so there was nothing in my bladder. Apparently that sensation is somewhat normal when you have a catheter in. In all my research, I didn’t see any mention of it though. There are a few different reasons why someone might feel the urge even if there’s nothing there: the body may not like the fact that there’s a foreign object in the urethra, the balloon that keeps the catheter in place could be putting pressure on the sphincter, or the bladder is just having spasms. The surgeon mentioned that she was planning on looking around in the bladder.

This was my biggest complaint really. It was just really uncomfortable. Every time someone asked if I needed anything or how I was feeling, I’d just say that I really needed to pee, haha.

After about an hour, they wheeled me off to another room to prep me for going home. This is where I finally got the catheter out! But first, they filled my bladder up with 300 mL of saline. Then, the nurse deflated the balloon and removed the catheter. The whole experience was pretty unpleasant. Before they would let me leave, I had to be able to void my bladder of half of the saline they put in my bladder. I think she intentionally made me nervous saying that if I wasn’t able to pee it out, they’d have to send me home with a catheter in for a few days. Fortunately, I successfully voided more than half of the saline. I probably would have done a dance if I hadn’t just had surgery.

On a side note, they also made sure I had three stable blood pressure measurements before sending me home and disconnecting me from all the wires and such.

After that, I was able to get dressed while they called my roommates to inform them that I was ready to go. The thing I was most worried about was making it up the stairs to my house. We live on the third floor, and my room is up an additional set of stairs. It was actually not bad at all getting up the stairs, though.

They sent me home with 600 mg ibuprofen, tylenol, and oxycodone. I only took one ibuprofen last night because I had a headache and was feeling slightly feverish.

All in all, I actually feel pretty good. Yesterday, it felt like some soreness with a crampy feeling (similar to like period cramps with pressure on the anus/rectum), but today it’s mostly just soreness and a bit of bloating. Oh, I should mention that I was expecting to experience a lot of bleeding, but it’s been pretty non-existent. There were a couple of spots yesterday, but that was about it. It goes to show that everyone is different.

I’m very grateful this is something I won’t have to think about anymore.

 

 

 

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.

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!

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.

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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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!