Anniversary!!! 5/26/17

I am 1 year on Testosterone and I am eternally grateful for the experience and privilege to be able to transition with relative ease.

I went on 5/20 to a concert of my favorite artist at a local club. I consider that my celebration because not only did I get to see him, I got some merch and got a shirt and a hat signed and also a picture with him. Now, my actual anniversary was a mellow event. It was on a Friday so I worked from 8am-5pm and went home to lounge. I spent it with my loves; my girlfriend of four years and my dog. We ate junk food and watched movies once she was off work herself.

I mentally reflected where I am now to where I was a year ago and I smiled, because I may not be where I want to be or how I envisioned myself in a years time but I am happy where I am, as I stated it’s a privilege not many people can receive.

I started to go to therapy earlier in the month of May to just talk and relieve some pressure I’ve been feeling in my transition and how it affects me, my partner, my family, and my friends. I do feel slightly better knowing there is an outside perspective with an unbiased opinion on the situation.

I had an appointment with my T doctor June 10th just as a year check-in. I’ve had my levels checked twice in the last year once on a Saturday morning where my levels were over 1000 by a dozen or so points and once on a Tuesday where my levels were sitting on the lower end between the 500 range. 

After explaining my symptoms (lethargy, irratibilty, and mild abdominal cramping along with a few others) and body progress has been stagnant for six months now, my doctor agreed and FINALLY decided to finally raise my dose from 40mg to 60mg weekly. Me and my partner told her we would update her in the coming months on how raising my dose changes my mood or if in need to dial back.

All in all I would say I’m in a better place than I was last year. I hate that I have to wear a binder for another year but I’m well on my way to getting that taken care of as well. I’ve already met with my surgeon of choice and I’m still waiting for approval but it’s looking good. Hopefully by the time I have my 2 year anniversary next year.

For now I will continue to take life day by day and hopefully I’ll see changes in the coming months. Here is my final photo pre-hrt and my 1 year photo.

Update 3/26/17

I am now 10 months on T and I haven’t done an update since my 5 months so here I am. ^~^

Last time I reported no change in much of anything and I stand by it to a certain extent. I had an appointment to get my levels checked on 4/4 and will have to wait the 2 weeks to know if I’ll get an increase or not. Though I’m not counting on it to be honest.

I had an appointment in February with my hormone doctor and they decided to not increase my dose again. As of  late, I’ve been experiencing mood swings, angry outbursts along with bouts of lethargy, and coupled with depression has me feeling less than normal.

I had a milestone appointment March 21st for a consult for Top Surgery! I met with Dr. Marie Claire Buckley at the University of Minnesota and I was both parts excited and nervous. This will be my first major surgery unless something comes up between now and my set date (I don’t plan on that to happen). Dr. Buckley was an amazing and chill doctor. She came and after all the pleasantries and introductions we got down to business.

I will be having double incisions which I figured and even if I did qualify for another procedure I would still want that one. Because of my weight she figures my scars will have to stretch back under my armpits to avoid dog ears. She’s pretty far booked out so hopefully when I start weight training I can lose some fat and hopefully reduce the length of my scars

I’ve spoken with my insurance company twice, yes twice, to confirm that any transition related surgeries would be covered, which they are. For those wondering, I have BlueCross BlueShield through MinnesotaCare. I had recently received an amendum to their policy to note that not only do they cover gender confirmation surgery  they also changed it from sex reassignment surgery.

Since I haven’t updated I am posting all of my latest update photos. Top left: 6 months Top Left: 7 months Bottom right: 8 months Bottom left: 9 months

10 months

5 months on T 10/26/16

5 months on T 10/26/16

Not much has changed within the last month.

My chin hair is growing to the point of minimal visibility in certain selfies and there’s minimal upper lip hair. Me and my friends joke that it’s not 5 o’clock shadow but more like 12:45 o’clock shadow.

No downstairs growth had been detectable which I don’t really know how I feel about it. Dysphoria hasn’t hit me in the lower region like it does in my chest.

My doctor is waiting on my blood work to see whether or not to increase my dose. I feel like my dose is still on the low side seeing as I’m seeing few results but my doctor wants to be sure I won’t be over dosing and converting it back to estrogen.

My doc also looked at my chest issue and said she’d never seen that particular occurrence with any other patient. I will be making an appointment with a doctor once I fill out the paperwork at a new primary clinic.

Complete cessation of a monthly cycle is deemed fitting. I have not seen hide nor hair of the blasted visitor since Sept 1st to the 5th. My doctor also thought it was odd that I felt pressure on my pelvis around the time my cycle should have appeared. I haven’t felt it since but if it happens before I make a doctor’s visit I will bring it up to them as well.

I’m still slowly working my way around the gym. I started walking to work, just to increase my cardio, so instead of biking 2.2 miles to work I work those legs more by waking the 2.2 miles. I also(at least try to) walk a good :45 mins to an hour on the treadmill each time I’m near my gym(M,W,F). But I mostly walk the 2 miles to work and 2 miles back. 

An overwhelming sense of sadness has centered itself around me. I’ve been feeling not good enough. Like I’m not doing enough with my life. It’s affecting my writing capabilities and my willingness to want to really do anything. I push through because in my line of work I can’t afford to walk around with emotional baggage. 

I don’t know what to do to get myself out of this rut. Speaking with a mental health professional doesn’t really help me. I don’t like talking about my problems. 

Correction: I don’t know how to talk about my problems. I don’t know why I feel this way. So I don’t know what to talk about to fix it. I hate it. I hate it so much.

I guess that’s what I should work on next.

Until next time, here’s my photo updates.
5 months

Pre t

3 months 8/26/16

3 months 8/26/16

TW separated by “~~~’s” can be skipped

3 months has come and gone. I haven’t felt or seen/noticed any significant changes in the last month besides my waist is slimming. I was fitting a size 40(the largest size I’ve ever worn) just four months ago. But just recently I noticed they were too large. It could also be because I ride my bike a lot more. I now can wear certain 38 jeans I haven’t worn in months and could even fit a size 36 Levis though it was extremely snug.

I also noticed I don’t cry easily. If hardly at all. For quite a long time I’ve been able to cry on cue if I wanted to but just these past few days a lot of mental strain fell upon me but I couldn’t get a good cry session going to alleviate it. And yes, I do use crying to alleviate stress. It keeps me from eating too much and I’d rather cry than gorge myself.

Energy levels are higher, I can run longer on the treadmill. A lot longer than I used to and with less rest in between. I used to run five minutes and be spent for another 10 but now I can run five minutes, walk five, run eight(personal best on 8/31/16). I’m slowly working to remove the need to walk  so long by restarting my run sooner and pushing to run longer.

I haven’t built much muscle but I do some light lifting to not overexert myself. Hopefully in the months to come I can build something up.

Another thing: I stink. Badly. If it’s not me sweating through my binder from biking to work. It’s me sweating just sitting in the heat. But working out is the worst! I make sure I have a change of clothes and extra deodorant, and body spray, because the sweat and all over body odor that starts to exude from my body reeks. Yuck. But I do work up a good sweat.

No facial hair. I’m a bit disappointed but it’s not unexpected. I’m looking to try a minodoxil treatment once my money is situated. A lot of Trans and NB folx on Facebook and Instagram have said it helps a lot, through its for your head it seems to work pretty well for their faces.

~~~~~
My libido is rising. Annoyingly rising. Not always where I want to have sex but where I need to alleviate myself because it will hurt while riding my bike. There isn’t much growth but it is a bit bigger than normal.

My boobs. Cue sad face. One of my boobs is smaller than the other. Significantly smaller. Like a full cup size smaller. It’s frustrating because now I’m self conscious that my left side is protruding out more than my right side. Granted I am left handed when doing physical activities so I figured the workforce would distribute unevenly. Hopefully going to the gym and spending an extra few minutes on my right side will help.

It does make me feel like complete shit though because I just want them to be as flat as possible in a binder and now my left puffs out more than my right. My depression sets in when I can’t wear certain shirts because I think they look bad. Or noticeable. Making my need for top surgery greater if this continues.

~~~~~

I’m still working on coming out to my job, client, and his wife. It seems harder and harder each time I meet someone new to remember to say my birthname and not Andrew.

I have met so many people under my birthname and I hate awkward situations, especially saying yeah it’s not …. anymore, it’s actually Andrew now. But it must happen sooner, rather than later.

3 months

Pre-T

2 months on T 7/26/16

2 months on T 7/26/16

I am two months on T and it has been a slow month. I will also be talking about my birthday this post as it was earlier in the month.

••••

I haven’t noticed many physical changes just yet aside from my stomach hair growth. I think look more and more like my father everyday though but that was to be expected. Sexual drive? Comes and goes like normal. have also started developing acne here and there. Not much different from my 1st puberty. 

Mentally I feel drained. I don’t think it’s because of the T solely, but more like everything is coming together and I somewhat feel like my life is closing in on me somedays. I feel anxiety more and more and just recently noticed that I have been completely withdrawn from my writings. I don’t even remember the last time I felt the need to work on my second novel(something that is completed but needs editing still).

My mental strain has also affected my working out. I sit at a cool 215 everyday with no loss or significant gain. I stay between the same five pounds, 215-220, everyday. I go to the gym and run on the treadmill for at least 20-30 mins twice during a four hour period at work, 3 days a week. Maybe I will schedule an appointment with my therapist and try to figure out my underlying problems. 

My family is becoming more and more supportive. My brothers and sisters all call me their baby brother now. It’s heartwarming. My mother is still coming to terms with it I think. She doesn’t call me Andrew but she does call me Lee, which was not only my nickname but also a part of my chosen name. My father, well… We’re still not talking and I doubt we have any intentions of doing so anytime soon. I did reach out and buy him something for Father’s Day last month but I never received a thank you. July 4th we were both at my brothers for fireworks and I interacted with everyone, including my mother without so much of a glance from him. My birthday a week later was without even a text. I will no longer waste time or effort on the subject, since I tried and apparently failed.

••••

My birthday was Monday July 11 and I turned 25 this year!

My birthday was a bland one. I worked 9:30am-7:30pm and scrolled through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all day.

But my birthday celebration started 2 days earlier on July 9, a Saturday. I went to Duluth and saw Lake Superior for the first time ever.  We hung around town, sight seeing but mostly swimming. We went to Enger Tower and the Glensheen Mansion (though we didn’t go on the tour). We ate at a pizza shop, Vitta Pizza, and watched the ships come in and out the canal. 

 🤓 
  Family portrait 

I’d also received two new binder in the mail on Friday July 8, one fits perfectly fine. The other, not so much. Which is weird because they’re both the same size and style binder, just different colors.

As I reached 25 I started to think more about my life transition-wise, I’m going to work on changing my name and coming out to my job and my clients(which should have happened months ago). I work for a small company as a PCA and though my client and his wife are extremely accepting I can’t help but to think of his mental health and mine. As I’m on T longer and longer dysphoria about being referred to as female kicks in, which is weird cause I’ve never had it before. My client has dementia and I would hate to confuse him more. They’re like my second family.

I’ve also been looking into my health insurance and making sure my top surgery will be even partially covered. I have state insurance and I know transistion related care is covered under the law but will they really follow the rules applied or will my gender identity still be scrutinized like many of my other trans and non-binary folx?

••••

The day after my birthday July 12 I went to a checkup, I wasn’t able to see my regular doc but the one I saw was a great woman. She upped my dose. I’m now .2 instead of .1 weekly. I’m happy about that. Hopefully I’ll start seeing changes between now and my next appointment in October. I’ll be 4 1/2 months on T by then. I have yet to see where my T levels are and I will be calling my clinic and seeing if I will be receiving those results online. 

As stated I’m working on changing my name, but mostly it’s getting the proper paperwork set up. I’ve heard in a few groups here and there that changing your name could possibly mess up your voting status cause of how long everything takes to get through the systems so I’ll be holding off until after Election Day.

I’ll be six months by then and will also be setting up appointments for consultations with doctors for top surgery both in and out of network. I want to have price ranges and after me and my partner debate on whether we’re staying in our place I want to start saving.

Hopefully my first choice, because of location, is in network. They’re a part of the queer community and I’ve heard/seen exceptional work on quite a few folx, plus I hear the staff is phenomenal. Not to mention they are right over the river at the UofM in Minneapolis. 

If not them, then there are a few other doctors I want to look into that I know will be out of network but are nothing but a few hours by car or train.

All in all my second month was dull aside from my birthday and starting to look at my writings again. As always I look forward to the changes to come.

2months 1week on T; full body shot.
2 months

Month 1 6/26/16

Pretty big day over the weekend. Not only was it the Minneapolis Pride festival, it was also my one month on Manniversary.

Updates:

No changes physically, at least my girlfriend hasn’t noticed anything. And I look in the mirror daily so I wouldn’t notice much.

I’ve had a sore throat since Friday 6/24/16, after my 3rd shot. I now also start weekly shots henceforth. I’m still afraid of the needle even though I know it doesn’t hurt. I also realized I can’t get shots from my girlfriend like I thought I would be able to. It just hurts too much. I realized this after my second shot, I tensed real bad and reacted negatively to her shooting me and had to be stuck twice.

Mentally I’m exhausted. I’m waiting on results and it’s making my anxiety and depression flare up, not to the point of crippling me again but it makes me check every mirror, to search for changes. I just want to look like how I dream of looking.

My depression that I’ve been battling has shifted from not knowing when I would get approved for T to more what is next. Name change? Top surgery? Bottom? I have no idea where I want to begin because money is tight.

I’m a bit more lethargic when it comes to waking up in the morning and it almost takes me a full 20 minutes to get out of bed on the weekends. I don’t usually take a nap because I work all day during the week and sleep in late on the weekends. Since starting T, taking a nap sounds more and more appealing.

I started a diet to help lose a little weight, it’s not much but it’s a start. I’m on a low calorie diet, 1500 a day which is hard for me since I’m so used to eating what I want when I want. I don’t snack throughout the day and night, except when I’m low in calories for the day. Then I’ll eat something high in protein like some nuts or boiled chicken or some fruit if I have any.

I’m not as active as I’m trying to be — I ride a bike to work, 2.2 miles both ways. — But I have also added a light home workout until I can get another gym membership at the gym two doors down from where I work.

All in all my first month has been a bit of a dull one. Just adjusting to the hormonal change and waiting for possible changes. 

  1 month, couple days on T   
Final Pre-T photo 

 
  

Self-medicating

Self medicating is battling temptation everyday of the week. You just want to take your next shot as soon as you can.

I take my shot Thursday’s. And for the first month I have to take it every two weeks. My doctor wants to make sure I’m not allergic to it. Then I can go every week there after. It sucks that I can’t do every week yet. I want to. I stare at the box all my medicine and needles are locked in and say, “what’s stopping me from doing it weekly?” Because my doctor said so? What would she know? She wouldn’t.

But I would. And would I really be able to live with myself knowing that I disobeyed her direct order of my safety just to try and receive faster results?

The answer: No, not at all.

So here I am waiting four more days til my second shot.

Oh the joys of self-medicating.