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9 weeks on HRT update

I got way sidetracked and haven’t been updating — no excuse really, just been preoccupied and not in the mood to blog.

Monday was my official 9 weeks on HRT! I’m gonna be posting updates from Month 1, Month 2 and the changes I’ve seen since my 2-month T-versary so that I have a basic timeline I can refer back to! I’ll do my best to post monthly updates through my first year, and then probably slow to every 3-6 months.

Month 1:

-Hair and Nails grew in faster
-Hairline had begun to come forward/fill in more
-Hair on my face began to grow in longer and become at least 3x more dense but remained blonde and soft
-Voice began to drop
-Jaw had squared more
-Neck widened
-Adam’s Apple began to drop
-Chest became slightly less dense/easier to bind
-Hips weren’t quite as wide, waist wasn’t quite as thin
-Periods became more manageable, but still there
-Leg hair grew in more dense, tiny happy trail had begun to grow
-Began to eat a lot more
-Gained and lost weight — lots of fluctuating
-Veins were more prominent
-Moods evened out — became happier, less depressed, and almost non-anxious or aggressive at all
-Energy levels a little higher
-Body odor began to change

Month 2:

-Hairline has filled in a little more
-Losing lots of hair whenever I brush or run my hands through my hair, but it is that time of year that this tends to happen
-Sideburns still blonde but coming in more and more prickly/longer
-Facial hair still soft and blonde, but slightly pricklier
-Jawline is yet more square and my cheekbones have become a little more obvious
-Voice has dropped further, cracks a lot
-Adam’s Apple is yet lower
-Underarm hair is longer
-Waist has filled in more, hips have gotten slightly thinner
-Periods have become yet shorter and more easily manageable — almost no cramps any more.
-Leg hair has come in more and started to appear higher and lower on my legs
-Weight still fluctuating a lot
-Muscle gain is a little easier but still disappears quickly
-Body Odor has continued to change

Week 9:

-Sideburns/facial hair are pricklier than ever but still relatively short and still very blonde and since I shaved, very slow-growing
-Voice has gotten QUITE a bit deeper
-Leg hair is growing in darker as high as 2/3s of the way up my thigh
-Mysterious pains that felt unusually like growing pains in my legs

The following is a clip of my voice as it sounded before and as it sounds now (though even now it’s still dropping yet deeper!) so feel free to listen and enjoy!

Still embarrassed about how I used to sound, but I’m much more comfortable speaking now. I might go so far as to say I might even sound passable — at least in person (over the phone I sound higher pitched).

HRT, surgery recovery and general updates

I may as well start off with the boring stuff — I’m still recovering from the shift in thyroid hormone, the scar still hurts sometimes and all of the sudden I may be experiencing sexual and romantic attraction where I wasn’t before. Yadda yadda yadda.

BUT THERE ARE FAR MORE PRESSING MATTERS AT HAND.

THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS! I HAVE /FINALLY/ STARTED HRT!

This last month has just been hell waiting for my endo to see me and it was one problem after another. March 18th, my Lilbro’s birthday, I went in to see my Endo and she really dropped the ball. I had my letter all filled out and signed, and I’d found her almost a year ago through a network that lists those that do HRT for trans* people through my insurance, but…she suddenly changed her mind, patted my head, handed my letter back, and told me to come back in 3 months for a thyroid checkup.

No.

Sorry, but no.

A week later I was in another Endocrinologist’s office, and I was shaking like crazy. I went in, handed her my letter, explained the situation and how many years I’d been in therapy (we calculated I’ve been seeing actual gender therapists for like…too many years) and she said all she needed to help me start was a set of lab results. So she drew some blood, I went back in a week later, and I got approval!

Unfortunately it would seem it’s been a while since she prescribed the Androderm patch for anyone as the one I took the prescription into my pharmacy for was discontinued about 2 years ago. So instead of being JUST healthy enough to be approved for the standard 5 mg patch (rather than the 2.5 mg patch those with health concerns are started off on) I, a week yet after that, was finally able to walk out of the pharmacy with my patches.

Today I am on Day 2 of being officially transsexual and on HRT. I’m wearing my third patch, as you change them out nightly at 10 PM (switching up what part of the body you stick it to) and I could not be happier!

 

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 12:30 PM

My “T Birthday”

Diaries are girly as all get-out, but Honey Badger don’t give a fuck. I finally got a call from the pharmacy saying my prescription was ready. To which I immediately rushed down the street and grabbed it quick as I could. I got home, ripped the box open, washed off my upper arm (even though I was gonna leave my upper left arm for Sundays, I’m switching things up) dried it off super well and then stuck a patch on. It feels sorta weird and sorta not at the same time — obviously I only just put my first patch on about a half an hour ago so there aren’t going to be any visible changes…but I’d say I can feel my skin responding to something. Sort of a very light tingle. Doesn’t hurt or tickle — it’s just…’there.’

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 8:45 PM

Patch #1

I put on my first patch earlier, I’ve had it on for over 8 hours now. No itching, no burning, only a few little aches and pains here and there out of the ordinary. It feels like a mix between warmth and numbness as it spreads throughout my body — the patch I have on now appears to be almost empty in its’ little chamber, and I put on a new one at 10 PM — the time I’ll put a new one on every day from here on out. The patch is virtually unnoticeable when I’m not worried about it coming off — it should stay on fine if I put it in the right place. The area on my arm I have it on now (upper left arm) is very fatty so I thought it best to start here — but it’s an area of my arm that bends and twists throughout the day, so the patch keeps trying to curl up at one side. I tried to stick it down with medical tape which worked okay — but now where the tape isn’t pressing down is creating a crease and I want to make sure I maintain as close to 100% surface contact as possible. There is a light bruise forming just under the skin where my first patch is — but that may well be from my having been pressing down on and touching the patch throughout the last 8 hours. When I put on my next patch in an hour an 15 minutes, I’ll be sure to switch arms (to my upper right) in order to make sure I don’t put too much stress on this arm for one day.

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 10:05 PM

Patch #2

I just switched patches for the first time! The first patch wasn’t quite as empty as I was expecting it to be, but I could see the difference in gel levels when I pulled out the fresh one. I’ll be curious to see how much I draw from each patch day-to-day. There was no skin irritation whatsoever underneath my initial patch’s placement — the only redness came from under the medical tape I had keeping the side that tried to come off down. The feelings of warmth and tingliness/numbness I felt were not constant, I’m realizing, but circulated throughout my body in waves. Right now I feel only the slight effects of the second patch even though I only just put it on 10 minutes ago — but in another 20 minutes the first wave will probably hit. It’ll be nice to know what to expect throughout the day — though the first patch I only kept on for 10 hours. Tonight and tomorrow will be my first real test-drive of what a day with the patch on will feel like. I’m excited!

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 3:15 AM

Morning-After

Today has been especially awkward so far between having very little food, a whole bunch of energy, a surprising amount of drive, and a healthy appetite. Awkward because a bunch of energy and drive get you nowhere when you have no stamina and your body hurts just from standing for more than 10 seconds — and because normally I’d have a bunch of food at my disposal, but we were supposed to do a shopping today and Nana ended up not having the energy to drive. Yet even despite all this, I find myself incapable of getting angry, upset, or depressed. More than that, it isn’t that I’ve stopped experiencing emotions — but that I can’t seem to get around this feeling of elation and joy and happiness and it’s starting to weird my friends out! Whenever I start to get upset or angry, it’s just a moment or two before the feeling fades completely and is replaced with this weird sort of bubbly joy. Like for once no matter what happens I’m just happy to be alive.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 2:20 PM

Just Woke Up

Had an okay sleep, wasn’t a very long one — longer than last night. Still have these weird feelings of elation, starvation, and massive amounts of energy I don’t have the body to support yet. The patch seems to have stayed on well on my upper right arm overnight — I moved the position forward just a tad from where I put the other one on my other arm. No outward changes due to the testosterone of course, those things take time, but my throat feels sort of funny — thicker, and fuller — and my face feels sort of tingly. I’ve now had this patch on for about 14.5 hours and I put on a new one in 7.5. It clearly still has some gel in its’ chamber, perhaps putting it on before bed slows how quickly I draw what’s in it out. I can feel it starting to release another wave of hormones — my arm is starting to get warm and slightly tingly/ever so slightly numb again. I took my Synthroid over 30 minutes ago, so I’d say it’s time to finish off that yummy pasta I made last night.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 10:00 PM

Patch #3

This last patch didn’t even start to try to come off until 1.5-2 hours before I was ready to change it out, which is nice considering the last spot was a tad come-offie even 5+ hours before it was time to switch. Only a slight pinkish shade to the skin underneath, disappeared within minutes (having a patch on for 24 hours might do that to you) so no sign of skin irritation yet. Tonight’s patch I’m putting on my upper left thigh — which means tomorrow I’ll do my right thigh, and Friday I’ll give my stomach a try. I have noticed that sitting crosslegged causes significant folds in the patch and may have to adjust the placement of my patch in the future — or not sit crosslegged on Thursdays.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 11:30 PM

The Leg! It’s Different!

When I had the patches on my arms I could very easily feel the warmth of the T as it spread around through my system– there was a slight numbing feeling that went along with it. With the patch on my upper thigh where there’s a lot of fat — I don’t hardly feel it at all. The “peaks” that would normally almost surprise me are barely noticeable at all, and I can’t tell if that’s because it has to work harder to soak in, or if it’s because it’s just a fattier part of my body.

Post-Thyroidectomy, Day 2

I’m not gonna go back through this, so I’m sorry for any typos — this was something I typed up while on a very heavy dose of pain medication.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014 – My Hospital Room, Hannon 272

4:13 AM

 

The Nova…pain stuff I was given when the other stuff stopped working is amazing. (I don’t think it was Novacaine or anything, I just can’t remmeber what she called it.) I’m a little dizzy, but my neck, shoulders and back have all stopped hurting. My little aches and pains around the IVs in both hands I’ve now smacked several times have also stopped hurting, as wall as the pains in almost all my joints and muscles. I feel at ease, my nurse just switched my sheets out and I was able to hit the bathroom. I’m urinating well, eating almost all the food I’m being given, and I’m soaking up Saline like a sponge. I’m drinking lots of water, teas and juices — and the nurse is beinging me some applesauce so I can continue to eat while I wait for our 8 am breakfast call. I think I asked for French Toast, Oatmeal and Cranberry Juice. Looking forward to it.

Since Friday I’ve been having them keep my room nice and cold. The thermostat can’t go any lower and I haven’t been wearing my socks or anything else under my gown but the usual. Finally today my heart rate has been comfortably slowed (95 beats per minute — later it went down to 75), my internal body temperature has gone down enough to allow me to snuggle up with some socks and a thin sheet over me. I spilled some water on them earlier — and when the nurse re-made my bed she fluffed my pillows just right, in such a way that I can keep my neck in the perfect position so it doesn’t put too much stress on my stitches or on my back. Ahhh~

They brought in a lady that was born in the 1920s who has apparently caught Pneumonia? I’m guessing her family had rushed her to the E.R. She was very irritable, wailing and screaming and crying and panting. They hooked her up with an IV and gave her a breathing tube that has been continually beeping for the last hour or so now, as she’s been taken in for some sort of surgery. They kept talking about all these medications she’s been on in the past, and how cranky and violent she was while she was on them. I guess even a lady that’s 90-something years old can be depressed and have a tolerance against sleeping medication.

It’s kind of funny how relaxed I am right now. I know there are a ton of foreign substances in my body, I’m still on a beta blocker and 2 kinds of pain medications and they’re keeping me under close watch — but even though all of this would normally piss me off a little, I find it oddly comforting. I’m having them leave my door open tonight, even though my neighbors are being rather loud and rowdy. It allows me to pretend I have company, and that I’m not alone in my room. While it’s nice, having a room all to myself without needing to share, even I who loves my privacy am currently really appreciating it when the nurses duck their heads in just to say, “Hi.”

Anyway. Today should be my last day here at the hospital, so long as I continue to do everything right. My heart rate and body temp are coming down, my calcium levels are normalizing, my drain liquid is getting clearer and thinner and so long as I don’t feel dizzy or nauseous they shouldn’t have any reason to keep me. I finally asked the lady for a banana, she was able to find me one — the potassium should be a huge boost and help me heal. I’m looking forward to spending a few days with the family — I can’t even begin to tell them just how much I miss them.

I am now post-thyroidectomy!

TW: Hospitals, Surgery, Blood, IVs, Needles

(Picture: Me laying in my hospital bed about 30 minutes pre-op.)

Hey guys, many of you know that my thyroidectomy was coming up, but some of you didn’t. I just woke up (between blood drawings) on day 1 after I came into the hospital and while things are sore and stuff, I’m feeling pretty good~

No one has touched my bandages since I woke up right out of surgery — I have a tiny drain in that feels absolutely huge. During the surgery itself I lost very little blood, my heartrate didn’t spike, I didn’t go into a thyroid storm and there was only one very small complication. My thyroid was a LOT bigger than they thought it would be. I had a large goiter, but it wasn’t massive like some you see that come down to the collarbones and such, much of it had been pressed right up against my airways and only I was the one to really realize this. Because of its’ size, they’re doing a biopsy to make for-sure that there isn’t any cancerous material in it. If there is, they may give me one dose of radioactive iodine — but because the entire thing was safely removed completely, I doubt it.

Something that’s kind of funny is the moment I was up and given my own room, I was to start drinking water and eating jello — but a lady brought me in an entire tray of dinner complete with pasta roll filled with spinach, carrots, tea, a meatball soup, and an amazing orange cake<33 I started off by finishing off the jello — very slowly — I dove into my water, cracked open my tea…and then stole a bite of my cake. So amazingly good. I went on to finish off the soup’s broth and soft veggies, and then I ate most of the pasta shell and a few of the carrots. The nurses were STUNNED at how easily and completely I was finishing my first solid meal after surgery — but just to be sure, my surgeon had them give me a tums to keep it from upsetting my stomach.

I may end up staying another night — we don’t have the results of the biopsy, my calcium production’s a little low, my heartrate in general is still a tad high, and though no fever or anything, it took me about 9 hours of talking yesterday in order to be able to talk very quietly. When I first woke up I couldn’t make any sound at all, which was my only fear with this procedure. It’s really very routine, but there’s always the worry they could nick a parathyroid and lower my calcium production, or that they could nick one of my vocal chords and effectively render me mute. Well, I’m back to being unable to talk, but I’m assuming that’s just a mix of pain, swelling and such — I’ll be continuing to try to talk today even though it hurts.

I’m really glad I brought my own personal wheelchair, my laptop, and my 3DS. I even brought my headphones, though I’m trying not to use them as I need to be able to hear the nurses on a moment’s notice. I’m being relegated to doing only relaxing things, such as listening to music, watching TV, writing, and chatting with friends — until the beta blocker kicks in, they don’t want my heartrate trying to spike.

That’s about it really! I got here late yesterday, but they still took us. I was almost late in being taken in for surgery itself too — but I’m really glad as I got the chance to see my Mom and my little brother first~ They couldn’t stay through ’til I woke up, as it took me a while to wake up (probably because my initial IV fell out during surgery and they had to give me a whole ‘nother dose of sleepy stuff) but that’s okay as I’m hoping I’ll see one of them again today, and possibly all of them again tomorrow!

Hopefully I’ll have the energy to post another update tomorrow — we’ll see how it goes!

Appointments, Suppliments and Health-stuffs galore!

Wow!

All of the sudden I have a full schedule. As of today I’ve got my usual Therapy, tomorrow I’ve got my thyroid surgery consultation, Wednesday I’ve got an appointment with my new Psychiatrist, and the following Monday I’ve got Therapy again and an appointment with my new GP!

On top of this, I’ve decided to get back on my suppliments and vitamins and such. I’m back to taking Fish Oil, my Multivitamin, some D3, a Biotin, some Calcium with Magnesium and Zinc, some EFA/DHA oil, and some Probiotics every morning with Breakfast — I’ve got some HCL/HCL Activator coming in the mail by sometime next week or the week after. I’m hoping these will give me a new base so that as the medications I’ll undoubtedly be put on within the next 3-4 weeks (preferably including hormone replacement) begin, I’ll have a solid foundation. Plus I know at least some of these work, so I may as well get healthier doing it.

With my surgical consultation tomorrow (Tuesday), I’m one step closer to going thyroid-less, which means my heartrate SHOULD come down. I’m not sure if anything else will change, but so long as there isn’t so much thyroid hormone in my systems — and so long as my heartrate gives other people the optimistic view of my heart that I do. So long as it does, however, I may be back in the driver’s seat in terms of Scuba Diving than I thought!

With Psychiatry this coming Wendesday, I shall be yet one step closer to really beginning my transition too! I’ll be giving them my therapist’s number so that they can see how long I’ve been with her, and I can refer her to the other various bazillions of therapists I’ve been to in the past. Hopefully before the end of the year I’ll be given the second go-ahead, if not a prescription for SOME form of testosterone therapy (be it a pill, or a cream, or a patch, or whatever — then an estrogen blocker). Wouldn’t that be nice?

Next week on Monday I have my new GP — I’ll be giving him a FULL history of all of the shit I’ve got going on. I’ll be asking for an ultrasound or x-ray of my appendix, to see if the stones inside have gotten any bigger — then I’ll refer Little Company of Mary (the hospital I was in for 3 days while my appendix was being monitored. That shit can get real bad when it bursts) so they can chat or something.

I don’t remember if I did a post on my hospital stay but long story short — 2 or 3 weekends ago I was rushed to the emergency room for a pain in my side just above my hip. I asked a friend that had their appendix out — and they said that was just about the spot. I was kept for a total of 3 days, starved for about 50 hours straight and kept alive on pain killers and anti-stomach-acids, so that I would be prepared for surgery just in case. Ultimately they did a CT scan, several Ultrasounds and I believe an x-ray and the ONLY thing on that entire side of my body that was at all abnormal was my appendix — which currently has little stones in it. Because there’s no way to tell how long they’ve been there or for sure whether they’re causing my pain or not — the hospital refused to remove it. Even though my kidneys, galbladder, uterus, stomach, bowels, EVERYTHING else were perfectly fine and healthy. I may need to go in again, as it still hurts.

Other than that, I’m just sort of waiting for everything to kick in. I stay up all night through 8 or 9 am then take my pills and then sleep…but sometimes I actually fall asleep at some point — then get up by 2 or 4 am. Yay.

Thanksgiving, Loscon, and the Upcoming Holidays

Photo-intensive post! You have been warned!

Sitting out on my porch with the rain falling on 3 sides, thought I should blog about something fun.

And I do really love rain.

In all seriousness, this is the one part of the year I can curl up anywhere but directly in front of my box fan and enjoy a nice sweater or mug of hot chocolate. We get hail like once a year, but it usually stays above 60 — 50 at the least. This year we’re getting 50s, 40s, and even 30s — and boy do I love it!

Last week we had Thanksgiving. I went out with my grandmother to my little Bro’s house where we enjoyed a nice Ham and Turkey dinner. We had one friend with us, so it was just the 4 of us — and I took some cute pictures. My parents were out enjoying themselves for their anniversary, so we really splurged on the food. :B Below are some photos I took, enjoy!

Thanksgiving Dinner 1

DINNER YAY

Thanksgiving Dinner 2

DINNER YUM

Thanksgiving Dinner 3

PIE YAY

So yeah, Thanksgiving was fun. Immediately after finishing dinner we waited for my little bro’s friend to join us so we could head back to our place. It was a little cramped with all 5 of us sharing 2 beds and a couch, but we made it work.

The next day we got up and rushed to the con I’ve been going to for many, many, MANY years!

Loscon 40

So turns out this was like the 40th — I’ve only been going for about 12 which is pretty cool considering I’m only 20.

Loscon

Purty plants on the pool deck.

Loscon

Dramatic hammock.

Loscon

Purty plant on the pool deck,

The con was very dry compared to normal years. :c All of the life seems to have been sucked out of it with so many usuals in the hospital or dead or busy or just plain old. The cosplay was dry, nothing was impressive enough for me to bother stopping anyone in the halls over. I was in my wheelchair the whole time which was a real boon — I wasn’t in any unusual pain which for that much walking every day for 3 days straight — is incredible. The food was okay, the panels were boring, and no one was on the pool deck like I’d hoped (since our room was along the deck) as it was so heavily raining the first day. All in all, I guess there’s no where else I’d rather be — but next year I’ll be helping out to try to help keep it alive.

Last thing I’ll address in this post — the Holidays. Yes, what are we calling it this year? ChristmaHanuKwanzaakYule? Something like that.

I myself don’t really celebrate Christmas — but if there’s one thing I love to do it’s decorate a tree. When I moved out of my parent’s house and into my friend’s — it just wasn’t the same living in a place where they don’t decorate until like the day before (and honestly, ours are just /so/ much better XP) so I resolved to buying myself a tree the moment I made enough. Funny story: the batch that I have now (which includes 2 fake trees [one 2′, one 3″], an angel topper, a silver star topper, a string of silver pearls and 2 strings of my mother’s tree pearls, 6 or 7 different colors of plain ornaments, keepsake ornaments, tree skirts, strings of lights (mostly white — one rainbow) and such) only cost me about 75$ in total, and took me about 2-3 years to complete. It’s still not quite done yet, of course, but I work with what I’ve got.

Yule Tree 1

My larger tree, all decked out (except for my missing tree skirt) and ready to go. I keep this one more traditional — similar to the way my Mom does our tree every year (but I seem to have lost all of my red, white, gold and silver — which is what she would normally use)!

Yule 2

My little tree all dressed up (except for my OTHER missing tree skirt) and ready to go! I allow myself to go a little more crazy with this one — trying to use it to reflect my own spastic personality by using all the colors of the rainbow while keeping my ornaments more of a darker color.

As you’ve PROBABLY noticed I finally got my camera charged and useable but I’ve really had fun with it this past week or so. I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up — both of my trees (and my wreath) are all decorated and just waiting for the 24th to roll around but so far not much has really happened yet. That will probably completely change the moment the yearly family christmas party rolls around (which I’ve never looked forward to, in all my 20 years).

Until then, signing off!

Changing my name, my gender, and my legal identity.

This is gonna be a doozy so go grab a glass of water, pull up a chair, and get comfy.

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From the first time I said my name aloud, I loved it and I hated it. I’ve never been able to explain why — as I loved being unique and as far as I knew I only knew one other Taylor. “Taylor Michael Scott”, my parents knew what they would call me the moment they both said it aloud.

When I was younger I swung from intensely boyish to intensely girly, and several times I asked to change my name in kind. From the times when I tried so hard to be girly that I wanted to be called “Crystal” to the more neutral times I wanted to create an identity for myself and desired “Kasoka” to the later and more confident masculine times I asked my friends to call me “Tai” and “Bo.” No matter the friend, whatever name they called me had some effect on what I said, how I acted, and our relationship as a whole. It was almost imperceptible to anyone but me and perhaps my family.

I found out rather quickly that I needed to be very sure on what I wanted to be called or I would really regret it. When called a nickname like “Tay-tay” I cringed and sought out something better — and every time someone called me something I wanted, I did a little dance inside. My characters have always had very carefully chosen names with meanings in various languages, and from “Crystal” on I never asked for a nickname unless I was absolutely sure.

8 or so years later I still have people calling me everything from “Tai” to “Kasoka” to “Bo” to “Tay-tay.” If I asked someone to switch nicknames they usually wouldn’t, and my parents were especially cross if I asked for anything but “Taylor.”

I can’t stress enough just how much names mean to me. How carefully they have to be picked, how much they effect the person, and how changing one can be critical. No two Annes may act alike, and an Erin and a Baxter might act very similar, but I really do believe what you pick is life-changing.

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I’ve had many therapists over the years as I began my transition which is still a long time in the making. Many of them asked me if I liked my name, if I planned to change it, and ultimately — why not? While I may not have liked “Taylor” I appreciated what was a good intention — something unisex for a boy or a girl, something that straddled the line with a distinct masculine flavor when introduced to my middle and last names — both men’s first names.

For the first time in my life, I’m seriously considering changing my name. I don’t want to jump into it, I don’t want to choose arbitrarily, and I don’t want to ruin the intention my parents were going for. The last thing I want to do is insult them by rejecting the name they chose for me! I thought about doing [NEW NAME] TAYLOR [MIDDLE NAME] [LAST NAME] or [NEW NAME] TAYLOR [LAST NAME] but I’m not sure how two middle names work — and my middle name is the name of my Uncle (and I don’t want to burn whatever bridge we have left since an awful fight we got into many years ago). I’m running names by every person in my life I can think of, trying to find the perfect one that will help me signal the turning point in my transition.

This name would be the milestone that shows me I’ve officially gone from a girl that feels like a boy, to a man that’s trying to do himself right. I intend to wait minimum until I have top surgery to change my name if at all, which requires a year on hormones once I find a psychiatrist to give my T letter to. Once I do or don’t do so — it’s onto possible bottom surgery (SRS) and finally the official legal gender change on my birth certificate.

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I know my Mom won’t be happy about it, though my Dad may not mind. I’m getting advice from other FtM that were in my position, as well as people I know that changed their name for other reasons. We’ll have to see what I come up with.

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Names I like so far: Caspian, Olliver

A Long Time In Coming.

So, it’s been a very long time since I last updated (like a month-ish) and I feel that enough has happened I should probably get down to the business of writing it all down.

 

First off, probably the biggest thing is that I now own a wheelchair. It’s on the cheaper side of things, being an 18″ Medline — it is lightweight, but I was able to get it marked way down — the total of the chair (+free cupholder), the legrests, the cushion, a small bag I can stow stuff in under the seat (perfect size for a laptop, a water bottle or two and some snacks), and a pair of padded climbing gloves (to keep my hands from getting torn up as I wheel myself around) came up to about 200$ — but I was also able to get a 5$ umbrella clasp for bikes/wheelchairs/walkers the just in case.

I am brand new to this whole world I have ahead of me. Quite literally, it’s a world of less pain, more freedom and more trips to places I love like the Aquarium and the Huntington Gardens. Before, I would sit all day at my computer all day because I knew if I got up to stand or to walk or to move I would be in pain for hours — now I have no excuse! I can hop in my chair, roll down to the store, have fun in museums, explore the aquarium and do all of it without regretting it for the rest of the day (and most of the time, the day after). What makes me so sad, is when other people pity me, or dislike the fact that I’ve gotten my chair. I am not sad that I have a chair, though I wish I didn’t feel I needed one, I’m really happy to finally have something at my disposal I can rely on in order to be more productive and get more done.

For whatever reason out of all of the problems that I have, my carpal tunnel bothers me the least! When I pushed myself in a very similar model to the chair I now own for several hours at the Huntington Gardens, I felt a tad sore — and nothing else. Normally I would’ve been begging to go home, limping and in extreme pain by about halfway through, where as this time I went last I was happy, upbeat, I felt no need to lash out at the people around me — and best of all I left completely painless.

The true test will be how I feel after the convention I go to every year (and have for the last 12 or so). It’s called ‘Loscon’ and while I’d never be anywhere else, the days are long, hard, and filled with walking. No swimming for me this year, even though I’m perfectly capable of getting up out of my chair, this year I’m going to really break my chair in and see how much more I can enjoy myself when I’m not in pain all the time.

I will not be using my chair every day, nor will I be in it when I don’t need it — but I find that if the absolute worst case scenario comes to pass and I lose most or all of the ability to stand, I’ll STILL end up happier in life than I would have otherwise. I’m carving myself a way out of Survival Mode and into the rest of my life, and I’m gonna make it the best one I can damnit!

 

Phew! Secondly, I am back in with a therapist. I REALLY love the one I was able to find, but her appointments are expensive enough that there’s no way I’ll be able to see her more than once a week. She’s perfectly happy and willing to write my T letter for me, but there’s little point in doing so now as I don’t yet have a new psychiatrist. None of the ones I’ve called so far are calling me back, but I’m  hopeful and optimistic!

The way she treats you is that if you’re doing okay she gives you an entire hour of just talking it out, but if there’s work to be done for any reason, she gives you 35 minutes of talking it out, and 25 minutes of a really calming meditation CD where she hooks a band up to your head and plays music that align your various energy centers and help you heal yourself from the inside out. Many people may not believe in it, or think it works, but I’ve already seen a difference in my ability to remember things, and the quality of my sleep. I may not be sleeping any longer at night, but I’ve at least fallen into a more deep sleep during the time I get in the morning.

 

Thirdly, I’ve discovered I have some serious issues I need to work out. The main one would be that whatever it is that used to happen to me when I got into a car after my 3 accidents has progressed into full on panic attacks that leave me a shivering, shaking, unhappy mess. I get flashes back to all three accidents, even the one that wasn’t as bad (though it was my first), and find it extremely difficult to concentrate on driving — so I’m gonna have my therapist help me work on that as a priority.

Until I realized what was happening wasn’t normal, and really took a long hard look at what was happening to me, I had no IDEA they were panic attacks. Kinda scary when you’re suddenly experiencing one and you don’t know why or what is going on.

 

That’s all I can think of for now, I’m gonna go do some cleaning and make room for my new chair in the middle bedroom. Here’s to hoping everything goes well!

The Work-In-Progress Man, Step #1!

I’m getting ready to take the most serious, permanent, and life-changing decisions any FtM Transman can take! As such I need a solid base of people and professionals I can rely on and talk to when I begin the next step, and whilst I monitor myself.

My last therapists have all been awesome, and the past 3-4 have all written me T-letters I never used. I guess I just wasn’t ready, but in turn each one moved away or stopped answering my calls, or I myself moved out of the feasible range to continue seeing them.

The only psychiatrist I’ve ever had was part of a big complex facility that was beyond impossible to get ahold of, harder to keep up appointments with, and constantly cancelled and moved around on me — good riddance!

I’ve just called the only psychologist and the only psychiatrist on my insurance’s plan that has a transgendered specialty and has evening appointments — it was kinda like fate was saying something there. I didn’t realize it was the Sunday of a three-day-weekend, but I get good feelings about both of them — and one even answered when I called!! This is in STARK contrast to the loads of others I called, sometimes 5 in a day that never called me back.

I’ve done more research into not only what processes and surgeries would make me happier, but which I need to undergo to become a legal male in the state of California. They require top surgery (double mastectomy) AND a hysterectomy (the former which you can only undergo 1-2 years after starting Testosterone, the latter you can only undergo 2-4 years after starting Testosterone) for some, and yet some get away with only undergoing top surgery. Frankly, all of the health concerns/sterilization/my distaste for periods/desire never to have kids involved with the uterus once you start T make it so I wouldn’t mind removing it BEFORE I have a problem. And certainly there’s never been any question as to my distaste for my chest. Worst-case scenario, the only other surgery I’d have to undergo to become legal would be a phalloplasty, so that even when completely naked — my body would only look male. I’d have a permanent addition to my nether regions, an actual skin-made penis shaft I’d be able to pee through. Some also ask for a stiffening rod you can pump to give yourself a pseudo erection for sexual play (and I hear it works quite well). While I never considered this before, they look better than they ever have before and only continue to work better, not to mention in the very worst-case scenario they cannot deny my changing my gender on my driver’s license if I get this far.

The only reason I’ve taken the process so painstakingly slow is mainly because I knew I wasn’t ready to jump in 110%, and I always thought of T as a means to an end. It’s the start of the process, and starting something always takes the longest. Scary things, beautiful things, wonderful things — all of these can be caused by T if you wait long enough. I’m worried, as someone who’s been diagnosed as Bipolar 2, that T will change me in some horrific way. I know about the mood swings post-T, but who knows. Maybe T will mellow me out. I don’t have much of a sex drive now, that will be a willing change (as a person I do love sex, I just find myself frustratingly never in the mood). The rest, only time will tell!

Things to look forward to: Within 3-4 months, most transmen see a HUGE voice drop while on T. It’s amazing, really! 6 months to a year, you see the facial hair and fat redistribution. In 1-2 years, gaining muscle will become easier and any last little inklings of height you have left will eek themselves out — and some guys even experience a gain in 1-2 shoe-sizes!

This post will feel short because I’ve talked myself out of blogging for its’ long and time-consuming posts. I may keep them a tad shorter (but just as informative) like this, in order to keep myself blogging more often.

Minecraft updates!

Disneyland:

The world so far:
– The Front of the park [Nearly Done]
– Main Street U.S.A. [Started]
– Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the Walt Disney Statue [Not Started]
– Adventureland [Not Started]
– New Orleans Square [Not Started]
– Frontierland [Not Started]
– Critter Country [Not Started]
– Fantasyland [Not Started]
– Mickey’s Toon Town [Not Started]
– Tomorrowland [Not Started]
– The complete Train Track around the park [Started]

PMC URL: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/minecraft-disneyland-1775883/

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Lyoko (Code Lyoko):

The world so far:
– Forest Sector [1/10 Waytowers Complete]
– Desert Sector [1/10 Waytowers Complete]
– Ice Sector [1/10 Waytowers Complete]
– Mountain Sector [1/10 Waytowers Complete]
– Fifth Sector [Not Started]

PMC URL: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/lyoko-code-lyoko/

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Amity Park + The Ghost Zone (Danny Phantom):

The world so far:
– The Human World
– – Fenton’s Neighborhood:
– – – FentonWorks [Nearly Done]
– – – Tucker’s Apartment [Not Started]
– – – Dash’s House [Not Started]
– – – Sam’s Mansion [Not Started]
– – – Valerie’s Apartment [Not Started]
– – Casper High [Not Started]
– – The Nasty Burger [Not Started]
– – The Movie Theater [Not Started]
– – City Hall [Not Started]
– – Axion Labs [Not Started]
– – Amity Park Mall [Not Started]
– – Amity Park Park [Not Started]
– The Ghost Zone
– – Skulker’s Island [Not Started]
– – The SplitZone [Not Started]
– – Walker’s Prison [Not Started]
– – Klemper’s Realm [Not Started]
– – Pariah’s Keep [Not Started]
– – Clockwork’s Headquarters [Not Started]
– – Ghost Writer’s Manor [Not Started]
– – Technus’s Home [Not Started]
– – Aragon’s Kingdom [Not Started]
– – Realm of the Far Frozen [Not Started]
– – Observant’s High Council Tribunal Headquarters [Not Started]
– – Warehouse [Not Started]
– – The Acropolis of Athens [Not Started]

PMC URL: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/danny-phantom—fentonworks/

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Tartarus (Persona 3/Persona 3: FES/Persona 3: Portable):

The world so far:
– The outer facade [Nearly Done]
– The inner base floor [Nearly Done]
– The First Block/Thebel [Not Started]
– The Second Block/Arqa [Not Started]
– The Third Block/Yabbashah [Not Started]
– The Fourth Block/Tziah [Not Started]
– The Fifth Block/Harabah [Not Started]
– The Sixth Block/Adamah [Not Started]
– The Basement/Monad Depths [Not Started]

PMC URL: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/persona-3-fes—tartarus/

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Inaba + The TV World (Persona 4/Persona 4: The Arena/Persona 4: The Golden):

The world so far:
– Junes:
– – The Rooftop [Nearly Done]
– – The Third Floor/The Electronics Department [Started]
– – The Second Floor/The Clothing Department [Not Started]
– – The First Floor/The Grocery Department [Not Started]
– The rest of Inaba [Not Started]
– The TV World:
– – The Main Hub: [Nearly Done]
– – Mayumi Yamano’s Haunted Apartment [Not Started]
– – – Inner Mayumi’s Apartment [Not Started]
– – Saki Konishi’s Twisted Shopping District [Started]
– – – Inner Konishi Liquor Store [Not Started]
– – Yukiko’s Castle [Started]
– – – Yukiko’s Dungeon Levels 1-8 [Started]
– – Kanji’s Steamy Bathhouse [Started]
– – – Kanji’s Dungeon Levels 1-11 [Not Started]
– – Rise’s Marukyu Striptease [Not Started]
– – – Rise’s Dungeon Levels 1-11 [Not Started]
– – Kubo’s Void Quest [Not Started]
– – – Kubo’s Dungeon Levels 1-10 [Not Started]
– – Naoto’s Secret Labratory [Not started]
– – – Naoto’s Dungeon Levels 1-9 [Not Started]
– – Labrys’s P-1 Grand Prix [Not Started]
– – – Inner Labrys’s School [Not Started]

PMC URL: http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/persona-4—junes/

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Plenty to do, and lots new pictures to take since I can’t even log into Planet Minecraft long enough to pull my pictures off.

Mumbling, shuffling, and stuff

Super special awesome short blog post because it’s 2 AM on a Saturday and all that 4th of July pizza has given me a stomach ache.

So, apparently, my eyesight and hearing have gotten a little worse without my noticing over the years. As someone who doesn’t blast music, doesn’t read using super bright lights, and generally tries not to abuse these abilities, I find myself having to ask people to repeat themselves, turn the volume up louder, boost the brightness, and beef up the font size to keep things comfortable. And did I ever mention just how freaking similar the colors green and red seem to look now?

I really should call up an audiologist and an optometrist, but I’ve been so down on the idea that anything else could go wrong with me that the last thing I wanted to admit was that I was having more trouble seeing and hearing things.

Does the idea of wearing hearing aids in both ears sound attractive? No. Does the idea that I might be shuffling around with a white cane in a decade or two sound fun? Absolutely not. Part of me wants to ignore it for as long as I can–and if it goes away, great! But as someone with a lot of other physical health problems, I know that’s a bad idea.

What’s a guy to do?

A shiny new DSLR, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and…scuba diving..?

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, things got a little crazy out here.

I’ve got a new camera! It’s a Nikon D3100 Digital SLR, so it takes REALLY nice quality photos, when I use it right. I’ve got about 40-some photos on my SD card, but I forgot to pick up an SD card reader while I was out, so I can’t pull them off just yet.

I got the 2-lens kit with the 18-55, and the 55-200 zoom lenses. They’re pretty darn good for a kit I got on sale for 220$ off.

Right now I’m not doing anything fancy. I’m still getting used to being rather delicate with it, and I rarely switch menu settings. I’m most comfortable in Aperture priority mode (A, from the P, S, A, and M modes), but I can still take photos fine in Auto and guided mode. I can definitely tell where a nicer lens will come in handy, but I already spent 800$ of my own money on what I have so far (the base, 2 lenses (+1 hood), UV-protection filters on both, 2 batteries, 2 SD cards, and a big ol’ case for it all, as well as a cheap tripod with its’ own bag–on top of the SD card reader I will need to go buy soon), so the 50mm prime/standard, 300mm macro/telephoto, and fisheye lenses can wait. (As much as I now pine after them. -sighs-)

I’m going to be getting a year-long pass at the Aquarium of the Pacific! I live roughly 15-20 minutes max away, and it was SO much fun when I went with a friend to one of their Discounted Late Nights a few days ago. I bought a (rather expensive, but worth it) micro jellyfish painting by a local artist by the name of Dean Bardos. (Well done, dude!) It’s no more than 2″ x 1.5″ in size, so. Pretty tiny.

I hope to take a million and one lovely photos with my new camera, and get out of the house a little more often. I do so little and get out of the house even less that I feel a bit stifled.

Also, as the title says, I am attempting to get into Scuba Diving. My Dad and his sister both scuba dive, both for pleasure and my aunt for work. When I saw a job opening (starting off as a volunteer, of course) at the Aquarium. When I looked up what I would need to do to become PADI Rescue Diver certified I immediately tugged on every string I could find to dig a little deeper. It turns out, a friend of the family instructs as a scuba diver at a local dive shop, and the prices are more than affordable (you know, for scuba diving).

The problem? When I went to fill out the paperwork, I had to admit to the fact that I am Bipolar and take medication for it.

Normally, it’s no problem. You take it to your GP, they sign that you can safely dive with whatever it is you’ve got, and you take your class. But when I began to earn the 1,500$ I would need to pay for the class and my own equipment, my doctor told me she refused to sign off, because of my resting heartrate. According to her, at between 120 and 140 resting, there was no way she was going to sign off. Only days before, I had gone to another doctor I see sometimes, and he wasn’t going to sign off either–but all he said was, “Hyperthyroid.” So, now that my second opinion has also denied me the right to scuba dive, I’m in the process of getting a bunch more blood work and a thyroid ultrasound done…but it looks like we’ll need to have my thyroid surgically removed after all. The hope is that it will slow my heartrate back down to a normal range (below 100 and she said she’d sign), and stop this intense influx of thyroid hormone it already produces. So…now I have to wait about 6 months (in order to save up for it, schedule it, get approved, and have the surgery), before I can even take the time to recover, and perfect the dosage of thyroid med I will need for the rest of my life, in order to function vaguely normally again.

What a world. Atleast there is some form of hope, in the shape of a surgery and a tiny little recording device. Maybe eventually I can use these two things to make a living.

The Britain Experience! – Transportation and a funny story…

Welcome all to the second in a long series of blogs I’m making, dedicated to my time in jolly old England!

Current alcohol count: Beer, Cider, Sake, and Wine!

Onto more pressing matters.

In the US, most of what you see on the road is personal cars. You see the occasional smattering of school busses and public transit busses. You never even see a subway unless you live in the heart of the dingier side of LA, and supposedly only businessmen and shady characters take them. Oh and, trains? What are those?

Here in London, that is another matter entirely. Not only are roads smaller and more packed, but a large portion of what you see are double-decker busses. There are many entrances to the Subway, lovingly named “The Tube,” and many of those who ride are children, the elderly, businessmen and women, foreigners, and those who simply find riding the Tube to be cheaper and easier than driving a car. In fact, the Tube in the UK is so much more organized than the one in the US, as well as more convenient. The best part about these two forms of transportation is that one can easily find a seller of “Oyster Cards” that allow one to just slide it in front of a small scanner any time they want to ride. It charges a small flat fee of about £1.50 per bus ride, regardless of how long you stay on–but require you to swipe at beginning and end of all Subway rides. I have yet to see a bus specific to schools–it would appear children and adults get to school or work the same way. They drive on the opposite side of the road as in the US, and the steering wheels are on the other side, but what really got me was this: Pedestrians never have the right of way.

You heard me. To those of us in the US, Jaywalking is both illegal and dangerous–but if someone hit you, they would be held responsible. Here in the UK, Jaywalking is neither illegal nor discouraged, but you have to be MUCH more careful so you don’t get creamed. Even at the edge of crosswalks where you have an all-clear light, they tell you whether to look left or right, because it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t get hit by a car.

That isn’t to say walking around in the UK is the easiest thing in the world. Here in London, you can sometimes find yourself on a street–and not have any ice which it is. In the US, every intersection and driveway that lead onto a new street are clearly labelled, where here in London, you could be walking for several minutes before you find a sign that says “Ashburnham,” or “King’s Road,” and sometimes even when you do find them–they may be on the right or wrong side of a building (to show drivers what they,re about to turn into, and sometimes to show what you’ve already turned onto.)

The other major thing I see is a large amount of bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds. If they don’t drive a tiny ‘green’ or fuel efficient car, they run or walk from place to place–and since everything is so close together, this is easy and convenient. In the US, you only see those with a large amount of money driving something like a smart car, and no one rides mopeds. Bicycles, only in a large riding group or near bike trails. (Compare and contrast the US: It’s a 5-15 minute drive to anything nearby–restaurants, work or school, with; The UK: it’s a 2-10 minute walk to anywhere you might need to go except for work or school.)

Now, these simple changes cause a large difference ever ween how we as 2 cultures live day-to-day. To the US, drinking for or before lunch is something only alcoholics and those out of work do, as we have to drive ourselves everywhere and hold alcohol up against a certain light. In the UK, most just board a bus or the Tube to go back and forth between work, food, and home–if they don’t simply walk there on foot. The drinking age is younger, as alcohol in general is seen as much less taboo than over in the states, and yet! Even with their thinner, windier, tighter streets, you don’t ever see anyone get hit by a car (inebriated or not.)

One of the things that this does NOT explain was a strange little experience I had with my family down At the little “Co-op” (grocery store) just down the road from our flat. We were stopping in to pull out a few pounds (called pound ‘notes,’ compared to our ‘bills’ for those of us new to British culture) and grab some of the most amazing strawberries I have ever tasted. I waited outside, as it was nice and cold, when a scuffle inside caught my attention. Going on right behind my parents was a small tizzy between a customer and one of the store clerks. The customer was a man with a very bulky looking jacket on, and a few bags of things he had paid for in his hands. After some prodding, the store clerk reached into the man’s jacket and pulled out a ginormous lamb flank, about the size of my calf! The young store clerk, probably only 18 or 19, held onto the man’a arm until a few other clerks went through his pockets and made sure he didn’t have anything he hadn’t paid for.

The thing that I find craziest about what happened was the fact that the guy had two full bags of stuff at he’d purchased, after which he apparently went back into the main part of the store and shoved ions of the largest portions of meat I have ever seen into his jacket.

Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

Part 3 on its’ way!