Archives for transgender

As I near my 3 months…

So, I’m about 3-4 days out from my 3 months on T (typing on a shiny new laptop as my other one almost literally exploded one me and proceeded to quite literally fall apart), and had the guy at the pharmacy not been extra cool about things — I’d feel like I had nothing to celebrate.

The whole “prior authorization” fiasco has gone from bad to worse, my Endo said she’d done it — but of course when I went to fill my prescription when the delay on my prescription finally kicked in — I was told I was going to have to pay a whopping 450$ for it. Because my Endo had apparently /not/ sent in anything at all. A quick call to the insurance verified this. I called her back to yell at her for beating around the bush serious-like, and all she told me was that I’d have to wait for Monday to roll around for her to do anything about it (which I already know isn’t going to end well, because she doesn’t come in on Mondays) even though it was midday on a Thursday. She sent in a temporary prescription for 5 patches — which didn’t end up happening — and of course we went in and were told we’d have to pay almost 90$ for about 3 of them. Then the guy looked at us, looked at my chart, and noticed the reason why I’m taking Androderm and how long I’d be on it (I.E. The rest of my life).

He took one look at my chart, one look at the expression on my face, pulled 5 patches out of a box — handed them to us for free, and when I get approved, we’re to hand 5 patches from the box back in and continue on as usual.

-cherubs sing-

Tuesday is my 3 month T-versary, and in celebration we’re gonna head out to a cool museum and I’m gonna run around in my wheelchair. I’m a little under the weather right now, so I’m only hoping I feel better before then.

I’ve decided to move forward on my research into top surgery. I’ve picked out 2 places I want to look into more than the rest — both in San Francisco. It’s a plane ride out, short hotel stay and plane ride back — along with a consultation fee — but this is a surgery I’m gonna live with for the rest of my life, so I may as well make it count. I’ve been on hormones since early April, I’ll shoot for giving them a call around 7 months, maybe the consult around 9 months, and then the surgery as I come up on 12 months. By then I’ll be in the best shape I can be, and far enough along that the bodily changes I need to see pre-surgery will have occured.

IN THE MEANTIME I’m carefully cataloguing each major change that happens as I notice them. I can’t speak to the internal or mental health type changes, as I’m sort of in a major depressive flux right now (completely unrelated). Instead of a huge list of bullet-points people will have to pick through, I’m splitting ’em up into categories — Hair, Skin, Shape, Voice and Other. I’ll also be putting up percentages as far as how often I seem to pass in person, and over the phone. Currently those numbers are at a whopping 0% and 0%, I’m hoping as time goes on — those numbrs will improve.

Speaking of mental health, I got some interesting news from the psychiatrist. It looks like on top of my Bipolar 2 diagnosis, I’ve also got Borderline Personality Disorder. That’s sort of a big, scary diagnosis that not a lot of people know a lot about (though some think they do, and boy are they off-base) — but apparently due to my upbringing and how hard my parents worked to raise me to be as I am, I’m in one of the best places I can be. She had been considering this as a diagnosis since I started going there, but some of the stuff that has happened in recent weeks pushed it from on-the-shelf to in-her-face. Luckily, my medication-regimend will not change, and since I’m already in therapy — I’m, again, in the best place I can be.

The only other stuff I’ve got to talk about are the little things I’m trying to change over time so that I can pass better and be more comfortable in general. I’m working on my posture while trying to learn to take up more space when I sit. When I walk, I practice keeping my pelvis more out in front of me and my shoulders a little up. I put a little sway to them while keeping my hips still — this is probably the trickiest part (which I’ve tried to do by observing other guys and emulate ’em). I’ve been working out more (which is SO much easier on T) and building up my arms slowly but surely (which will make pushing myself in my wheelchair a bazillion times easier) so they’ll look a bit wider and a touch more masculine. I’ve also been sure to keep my hair nice and short in a style that’s easy to maintain that I actually like — and though I should probably go out and buy some new shirts, I’m keeping my wardrobe loose and comfortable with a few nice pieces of ‘dress clothes.’

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading. A few days from now I’ll be posting my big 3 month update (the first big milestone in a transguy’s transition) with a list of major changes and a short voice recording with a before-and-after of the clip I did on my first day of T, and a clip I’ll record on day 91 of my transition.

2.5 months on HRT and sudden problems

TW: Swearing, anxiety

So, I’m down to the last of my patches as I near my 3 month mark. I had to throw a few patches away (they say if the adhesive sticks to the paper underneath without pulling away cleanly you’re supposed to toss it as a defective patch) so though I haven’t hit 3 months yet I’m actually behind by a few. I go to call in 2 weeks ago about a letter I got in the mail, this “Prior Authorization” notice, and tell my doctor that she needs to log into this website, enter in the reason I’m taking Androderm, and recieve a letter in the mail stating whether or not they’re going to continue to cover me (which they will, as Trans* hormones are covered under my medical plan and this patch raises my levels to just below the standard range).

Well, a week went by and I was nearly down to a week’s worth of patches — and I know how slow my Endocrinologist can be sometimes. I called in asking if they’d done the letter yet, to which they said no, and asked if they could put my prescription in before the 1st (when the Prior Authorization requirement goes into effect) to which they said they’d get it started.

A week has now gone by, and my pharmacy doesn’t even know a prescription for Androderm is on its’ way. They’ve been dragging their feet and doing nothing for so long that I’m now down to the wire and down to my last like 2 patches (one for tonight, one for tomorrow). Monday is the last day of this month, meaning as of midnight Monday night this letter goes into effect — and until we recieve that letter (which can take weeks sometimes) I’m not covered for my Androderm and I’m gonna have to pay 450$ for a month’s worth.

So now I’m panicking. I JUST started to see some changes, and there is no way in hell I’m gonna make my housemate fork over 450$ for a month’s worth of patches, and I just don’t know what to do. I’ve been in gender-related therapy for like 9 years, and have been eligible for hormones for nearly 5 years before FINALLY being allowed to start less than 3 months ago. Why is it that I have to work so much harder than anyone else? Why is the way that I do things always the right way, right before I get bitten in the ass for it?

Monday morning is when my doctor is willing to START this process, and I don’t even know if I’m gonna have a patch left for Monday night. If they don’t do this AS OF MONDAY I do not honestly know how long I’ll be without my patches, but any time at all is going to start to reverse all of the hard work I’ve been putting in, and might slow my progress down in the future when I finally start putting them on again.

I really wish SOMEONE in a position that can actually help me would move their asses and actually give a fuck for once and HELP me get this DONE. I do ALL the hard work, seeking out every possible professional I need, doing every ounce of research I can to make this process go as smoothly as possible for everyone involved, going through my Real Life Test for like 4 years out of the required 3-12 months, have been seeing my current therapist for over a year when they require 3 months, have been in gender therapy for almost 9 years when they require seeing this has been a problem for 2 years, and I just CANNOT figure out what it is I’m doing wrong. Now I get to spend the whole weekend in a state of nothing but stress and panic over something that I seem to have no control over. I don’t even want to post all the amazing results I’m starting to see, because in a week they may slow to a stop.

I thought nearing your 3 month mark was supposed to be your first major milestone and a huge joy in a transguy’s life. Mine seems to be nothing but misery so far.

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.

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!