Two weeks on T

When I found out the endocrinologist put me on a rather low dose of T (half of the usual dose), I was disappointed, annoyed and worried. How on earth would I see any changes at all on such a low dose? If ever?

But there was no helping it, and also, if this dose turned out to be too low, it would be upped in October anyway, so I figured I was not going to waste my time making a fuss about it. I’d just wait and see what happened.

The first “results” became apparent the next morning, when suddenly the loo became my best friend. I was not amused, but took comfort from the fact that at least the T was doing something.

A few days later I had some nasty, itchy zits on my back. Could it be I was entering puberty?

The next day, two zits appeared on my face, and even more over the next couple of days. Yes. I was most definitely entering puberty, and that at the ripe old age of 53. How many men can say that, eh?

I noticed other changes too. At first I thought the uncomfortable feeling in my throat might be the first signs of a cold. But no other signs of a cold developed, and I began to understand why in my language we say a boy has “the beard in his throat” when going through his voice change. It really sort of feels like I’ve got hair growing inside my throat. A very funny feeling.

Last Thursday morning, on my way to service dog training (yes, I am getting a service dog!), my voice almost cracked when talking to the taxi driver. I felt a muscle on the right side of my throat sort of slip and for just a fraction of a moment my voice became unstable. Then I was back in control. Having been a trained singer obviously pays off in situations like these.

Still I was unable to believe things were happening as fast as all this. Surely, the zits had some other reason? And I was really just imagining things about my voice changing.

Then, Thursday night the Junior Warrior phoned me and said my voice sounded deeper. I was still in denial. It was nothing. This couldn’t be happening yet. Not already. If something sounds to good to be true, it usually is.

Saturday morning and I had to know. So I sat down at the piano and did some vocal exercises. My vocal range used to go from A3 to D6. Now it went from C#3 to G5. Meaning my voice went down by over half an octave. And that in just two weeks on half the normal dose of T. That’s what I’d call Result!

Some minor, and I’m sure temporary drawbacks I noticed, concern the quality of my voice. Obviously my voice has become a bit unstable. Nothing to worry about, as it’s a normal part of my voice growing up, but right now I cannot control my voice the way I used to. It’s actually rather amusing.

Not quite so amusing is this: My voice used to be very light, agile and flexible. It’s neither of these anymore right now. But I’m confident these or other desirable qualities will return once my voice has reached its new range and I’m comfortable in my new voice.

If I had to make an educated guess about what my voice is going to be like, I’d wager I’ll be a tenor. After all my genes gave me a high voice, and I don’t think for one minute T will give me a low male voice. No matter how much I’d like to get a nice deep bass, that’s just not likely to happen. And I will be happy with my tenor. I don’t doubt that for even one minute. My male voice will be the voice that suits me.

I can hardly wait to get there.

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T-Day

Finally! Today is T-Day.

Yesterday the taxi picked me up at half seven – which is way too early for me, but that couldn’t be helped, as I didn’t fancy an even longer wait – and took me to my appointment with the endocrinologist. At 10 AM.

I got to the hospital early, but that was good. As this was my first visit to this particular hospital, there were some administrative chores to be taken care of, and that required time. And, seeing that this isn’t just some small hospital it took me a while to actually get to the internal medicine department, so in the end I got there only 20 minutes early, which isn’t bad at all.

In the waiting room I got Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” out of my backpack and soon I was lost in Shadow’s adventures with Mr Wednesday.

The endocrinologist got called away so by the time she called me in for our appointment she was half an hour late. Time I spent with Shadow, so I was never bored.

We had a lot of medical history to go over – over half a century, and quite some interesting diagnoses – and then there was the usual stuff, so that took some time. About one hour later I wheeled out of the edocrinologist’s office with my prescription for T, and headed over to the Vampire’s to get six (!) vials of blood sucked out of my arm. Hah!

By the time that was done, it was almost noon and I hurried back to the main hall, where my taxi driver came for me before I’d even had time to put on my coat properly.

I got home around two, had a drink and crashed in bed. I was thoroughly exhausted. Got up again by half past three, but still felt bloody awful, and worse with every passing minute. Stupid EDS. I could so do without that.

This morning I felt quite a bit better, though the fatigue is still doing funny things to my head and stomach, but that will pass. The important thing is, I am now officially on T.

It “only” took a little over two years, but I took my first dose of testosteron today. I can’t wait to see the changes.

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Still waiting

June has come¬† and I’m still waiting. Meanwhile I found out that age had not taken care of my shark weeks and I had the most horrible migraine I had in ages. Oh well. I guess that means my hormonal levels are back to normal and that’s a good thing when I get my blood work done. (Always look on the bright side of life, eh?)

And people continue to read me as female, which annoys me no end. I just want that low voice, the facial hair, and the muscles I should have had for decades already.

Muscles… oh boy, muscles. I used to have them, when I was much younger and had never even heard of Ehlers-Danlos. Back when I still went to jiu-jitsu training three times a week. I was strong. A strong young man, en never mind that female body. I did all the things men did except stand to pee.¬† But I never sat down properly either, as that just felt wrong, so I did something in between.

How things have changed. When I look at all the things I lost thanks to the EDS, it’s probably the strong muscles I miss most. I try to get at least some muscle back, but it’s extremely hard work, seeing that EDS and growing muscles are sort of incompatible with each other. I am succeeding, though at a snail’s pace. Getting out of the house in my wheelchair and pushing my limits helps. So I ride on grass. I take curbs. That kind of thing. Even if it helps only just a little, it definitely makes me feel good about myself.

 

Oh, and then I found this: 8 Trans People Deliver Emotional And Inspiring Messages To Their Younger Selves.

As I watched the video I kinda wished I had a message to my younger self, but what can I say? I’m still living in that female body. There’s no way I can use hindsight to encourage my younger self. Not yet. Besides, what’s the point? I live today. My younger self was in the past, and time traveling only happens in fiction.

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Waiting

Well, it took forever and then some more, but I have my T-letter. And an appointment with an endocrinologist, but… not until the end of June. Waiting lists and stuff. Bother!

I’m a little peeved, but what can I do, eh? Buy my T online?

Sure, I could, and would if I really had no other option left, but I very much prefer to take the official road. It’s much safer for me that way. With all of my medical issues I need medical supervision, or I might get buggered up big time. I’m not too willing to risk that. Not if I don’t absolutely have to.

And so I wait. Impatiently, sure, but I wait. Two more months won’t hurt me (too much).

Meanwhile, I’ve had my implanon implant removed so my hormonal levels can return to normal. That was yesterday. At first the gynaecologist couldn’t find the implant, but that was because he looked for it where it’s usually inserted. And where mine was inserted too, two years ago, but it had traveled down to just above my elbow, and as I knew where it was, I pointed it out to him.

The removal was quick, and thanks to the local anesthesia I only felt him doing his thing, but no pain. I got a pressure bandage, which I’m still wearing, but will take off later today. I wonder how much of a bruise I’ve got this time. Got a pretty good one when it was inserted, so I might have a bigger bruise now. No pain though, so that’s good.

I also mentioned to him that I’d have preferred removal of my uterus and ovaries over having had the implant, but his colleague didn’t want to do that unless there were pressing medical reasons to do so. The implant took care of my menorrhagia. I can only hope age has by now taken care of it too, or I’ll be back to bleeding half to death three weeks a month until I get on T and the T actually kicks in and stops my periods – which I know doesn’t always happen.

I also know I’ll be back at the gyn at lightning speed if all this trouble starts again. And since they won’t be able to put me back on female hormones now, they’ll have their medical reason to remove my tackle. There!

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Building muscle

Happy 2016 to all my readers! May you be happy and healthy, and may all your dreams come true.

Looking back on 2015 there were both good and bad times. There was a lot of misgendering and the problems with my first gender therapist, who I eventually sacked. There was the support of loving friends and family who consistently and lovingly called me by my chosen name and used the right pronouns. There was my new gender therapist who never doubted me for even one moment – or if she did, she never showed it – and has been supportive since our first appointment.

There was my new home. An apartment that I fell in love with the moment I walked in, but which was quite frankly one big dirty mess.

And there were surprises as well.

LookingGoodNot a pretty sight walking into that when you enter your home after having spent the night with friends.

But there’s an upside to tackling big dirty messes to make yourself a home. You build muscle!

For the first time in years I can now show off actual biceps. Not big ones, but they’re there, clearly visible, which is more than I could say before the move. So yay for all the hard work I’ve already done on my new home, and to many more hours of equally hard work.

I’m also looking forward to finally getting on T. My gender therapist said I need to wait till March, to give both my mind and body time to adapt to my new life as a single parent living in my new apartment, but if all goes well I’ll get my referral to an endocrinologist in March.

New life, here I come!

 

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Changes

Has it really been two months? Well, what can I say? I had so much going on at once, I just didn’t feel like writing. Didn’t feel like reading either, and in fact didn’t use my computer or the internet very much at all.

And I liked it.

Meanwhile, as you’ll have guessed by now, things happened. A lot of things. So here we go.

I’m having a divorce. We both knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but we hoped it would be later. It became sooner, but it’s all for the best. We’re still best buddies and I sincerely hope we’ll always be. It’s just that best buddies don’t necessarily make a good couple. With neither of us being attracted to men, you can probably imagine what our marriage looked like.

Also, I’m moving. That too, happened so much faster than I could have imagined, I’m still flabbergasted and can hardly believe that cute apartment is really mine now. Yet I have the keys in my pocket, so it’s true. And I’m going to have quite some work to do before I can actually move in. Which will be by the end of this month.

Oh, and then there’s this thing called gender therapy.

Yup. That.

And the wanting to go on T. That too.

I have reason to believe it’s really going to happen. Soon. Ish.

My gendertherapist – the new one – has been supportive ever since we first met. To her it was already clear from the intake that I really am a guy, and I didn’t need to prove my identity to her. What we did need to do, was follow the standard protocol for my country, so I wrote my life story. We read it together and that already gave her quite a clear indication of why I never felt I could be myself until this late in life.

There was some testing, of course, which is also standard. This too, was actually very relaxed. I got to take the questionnaires back home with me, was allowed to fill them out whenever I felt like it, and then get them back to my therapist.

The tests confirmed what we already knew and again made it quite clear that – and why – I never felt safe enough to be my true self until quite recently. Also, I have a markedly male coping style. That put a smile on my face. It confirmed what I already knew, but I really needed that confirmation.

We’ve more or less finished the diagnostic phase. I just need to see one more gender therapist (just once) for a second opinion, which also seems to be protocol here, but my gendertherapist said that really just a formality and I needn’t worry about that at all.

So now I just need to move, get settled into my new home and after that, maybe January or February we’ll set things in motion. Second opinion first, then referral to an endocrinologist.

I’m beyond excited.

 

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Drag

Last Sunday I went to see my daughter who lives in another part of the country. It’s not all that far, really. Just a little over one hour by train. But it’s a huge thing for me, to go there all by myself.

I can’t take my wheelchair in the train, because there are no mobile ramps at “my” railway station and there’s no way I can pick up my wheelchair and just carry it into the train. That thing weighs a ton.

I can, however, take my balance bike with me when I travel by train, and that’s what I did. It’s very lightweight, so picking it up and carrying it into the train was not a problem at all. And because it’s an official walking aid, I didn’t have to pay extra for taking my bike along.

Of course, seeing that this was my first time travelling alone with my balance bike, I worried about a gazillion things. What if I couldn’t find my way to my daughter’s apartment? What if the 15-minute walk proved too long for me? What if…

But all went well. I still knew my way around perfectly and although the walk took me a little longer than 15 minutes I got to my girl’s apartment just fine. Tired, but in a great mood.

We spent all afternoon on the couch, reading, watching Hannibal, talking, joking, cuddling up together. It was good. We had absolutely delicious noodles from an Asian takeaway. We drank tea.

Then we decided I might as well stay the night.

Slight problem: I didn’t bring my PJ’s. No toothbrush, no comb, nothing. Oh well. My daughter is just a little shorter than me and we have more or less the same build. So she lent me one of her t-shirts. Plain brown and long-sleeved, which is good. But also tight fitting, with low neckline and so long it could easily be a dress.

I felt weird. Weirder than I ever felt during all those years playing at being a woman. In all its simplicity, this t-shirt was so utterly feminine it made me feel awkward. Thankfully it was just my daughter and me, and we were going to sleep, so neither of us would be seeing much of me in drag anyway.

Even so, I was only too happy to be able to put on my own clothes again the next morning. Thankful that I could be me again. Me, with teeth that needed brushing and wild, unkempt hair, but wearing proper clothes.

Next time I’m visiting my daughter I’ll be sure to take an overnight bag with me, just in case. I don’t ever want to go in drag again.

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