Posts Tagged ‘HRT’

Do As I Say Not As I Do

04/02/2011 1 comment

I’m probably going to get a bit of shit from various people in my life over some of the things in this post. Probably deservedly.

Tale from a while ago- me and my (at the time) housemate were talking about gynecologist appointments, and specifically that she had never had a pap smear. We shall call her Housemate 1. Another housemate came in, and we shall call her housemate 2. Housemate 2 started giving 1 shit about being as old as we all were, and not ever getting a pap smear or any gynecologist appointments. She was talking about how even if 2 wasn’t sexually active yet, it is important to know health levels before getting involved with someone. 2 kept getting me and my sexual health knowledge on her side. Except 1 knew very well I have never had a pap smear.

I have never had a pap smear or seen a gynecologist.

Consider the quantity I talk about sexual health, many people are surprised by this.

This past week I went to my annual appointment to check in about testosterone and how my body is reacting. It was difficult enough for me to sit down and talk to an entirely new nurse practitioner about a bunch of stuff, and I do mean new NP as she was a student NP and working under people at my clinic. She brought up the pap smear, and later, when my doc walked in, he did to. Actually, when I emailed him about my most recent refill he said he wanted me in both for my annual check up and to talk to me about a pap smear.

I got an ultimatum. He said he would refill my T for the following year, to the day, with no problems. But no further. Push came to shove, if I don’t go through with it in the next year I either have to 1-find a new doc or 2- go off T.

Neither of these are really options for me. So, I’m going to suck it up and deal. Considering that I get STI testing on an annual basis, that I blog about sexuality all the time, that I talk about sexual health all the time, that I’ve been a peer sex educator, and everything else I do, it is rather surprising that this rather basic aspect of my health I neglect. Apparently, I come by it naturally. My mom’s gynecologist has to threaten her with no longer prescribing birth control to get my mom in for an appointment (as my mom has gone through menopause, to her this means getting cut off from hormones. We bonded over this.)

It isn’t actually a pressing issue in that I’m not what most people in the medical professions define as very “sexually active.” In medical terms, I don’t have penis-in-vagina sex. Of the types of sex I do have and enjoy, they haven’t happened all that often recently. For someone a sex blogger, I’ve had remarkably little sex recently. Then again, I’ve also blogged very little recently. One did not cause the other, more like they are two effects of similar causes, but I digress. I was talking about gynecological appointments and pap smears. Right.

I know the importance. I watched Buck Angel’s awesome “Public Cervix Announcement” last year when it popped up on YouTube. But it is damn hard to get me to set up an appointment for T, which I adore, let alone for shit I really REALLY don’t want to deal with. I’ve been without glasses for a year and a half because I’d need to set up an appointment to get a new prescription. How the hell am I supposed to deal with a pap smear?

My doctor is essentially blackmailing me. And he’s right.

It isn’t just things like body and gender dysphoria that keep me from dealing. That just makes it awkward. Beyond that, as much as I’ve dealt with shit regarding my past and sexual assault, a person I’m not involved with examining me triggers my anxiety. Thinking about it, gets me fidgeting. Talking about it, with my doctor, in a doctor’s office? I was twitchy, anxious, and unable to look at my doctor while talking in an attempt to keep my breathing regular and not deal with an anxiety attack.

In a bit over two months, I’m going to confront and deal. Maybe I’ll manage to stay calm. Maybe after I’ll need to go curl up in a small dark room, shaking, crying, and getting a migraine.

If he didn’t tell me he’d stop refilling my T I probably wouldn’t be dealing with having to get a pap. Even though the deadline is a year off the reality of the deadline spurs me to action. So, I’m dealing. And I have about two months to decide if I want him to get me a one or two pill script for anxiety meds. It says a lot that I am seriously considering it.

Yeah. For the first time ever I am seriously considering taking medication for what is technically a mental health issue (anxiety.) Time to deal with that thought as well.

1 Year In

02/03/2011 2 comments

One year in, and I’m amazed at the difference T has made. My wrists are still small, but my neck has grown into a size that makes nice shirts more easy to find. My facial structure has changed dramatically, and my legs are a whole lot hairier… well all of me is. I’m growing a decent amount of facial hair, even if it isn’t enough to grow anything fun, it’s still enough that I really do need to shave more than once a week. I revel in the newfound fuzziness of my chest, the furriness of my stomach, and the muscle definition in my legs. I’m ecstatic, and without regrets.

It’s also obvious that there is a long way to go.

I want to be able to be comfortable in my body. A year ago, there was a degree to which no matter how I phrased it out loud, this body was not mine. That is the main thing T did, my situation went from dealing with “this body” to dealing with “my body” in my own head. Except, it is still really uncomfortable.

Sure, there are some things I could do fairly easily to help myself be more comfortable. Lifting weights would probably be the first thing on that list. I’m always more comfortable when I’m stronger, when I’ve got more muscle. But that doesn’t change that when I look in the mirror, my eyes are immediately drawn to the shadow on my shirt showing that I have a chest. A shadow that is difficult to detect for anyone else, looks massive to me. Everyone else thinks I bind so well, enough that I’ve had people be surprised to find out I have not yet had top surgery (though anyone who has seen me with my shirt off would definitely notice.) I see breasts. I see between them, to my new chest hair and I smile a nice big smile. Then I look again at my chest, and so long smile. These are mine, in that they are attached to me, in that I can feel them, but they aren’t mine in that they don’t feel like they belong, they don’t feel like they have anything to do with me.

It isn’t surprising, my biggest body issue that I could easily put a finger on has long been my chest. Especially since senior year of high school when they just grew so much more.

Broader shoulders helps in some ways, but they still are there, still staring at me, and anyone else who sees me shirtless (or rarely, binderless.) Surgery is a thought for the future, not even something being planned yet, let alone something to count on. So, I work on figuring out how to be more comfortable in this body I’ve got. Part of me really wants to try to grow to be okay with my chest. The rest of me responds in a fashion of “Fuck no.” Or points out the irony that would be, seeing as way back when C and I were dating, when I first explicitly told her that I’d ideally prefer to switch name and pronouns (this was definitely not a high point in our relationship, on either of our parts) and she reacted poorly, but had suggested I get top surgery earlier in the conversation. Hopefully that sentence makes enough sense. I want to be able to be comfortable enough to do things like go to The Floating World next summer, and be shirtless in the dungeon. I’d love to go to CampOut and go swimming completely topless. The first, possible. The second, technically possible but highly improbable.

Yes, going on testosterone has done awesome things. The acne is even getting more manageable. But I’ve got so much more still to think on, to process, and to learn to tolerate about my body. In the meanwhile, I’ll go back to squee-ing over my rough cheeks.

No Really, I Haven’t Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth

11/08/2010 1 comment

S and I broke up. For a lot of reasons, I’m not going to go through the details on my blog. I’ll be writing of other things, but yeah that is a lot of why I haven’t written recently. There are a few things about it that I’ll write, or reference, but don’t expect too much.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of getting a mini skirt. I first voiced this out loud to some friends I was visiting over Halloween weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever actually worn one. But part of me really likes the idea, even though I usually hate wearing skirts of any kind, or shorts, because I hate my legs touching skin on skin.

T has been going. Acne is still a constant battle. The hardest part for me is remembering to stay hydrated. My skin always has broken out drastically less when I’m thoroughly hydrated, and when I actually get pretty dehydrated my acne gets a lot worse. So, I’m trying to remember to drink more water. My kidneys are probably thanking my skin for getting me to do this more.

My voice has leveled out. It doesn’t shock people every time I see them with how much deeper it has gotten, and I feel like even my grandmother has started to get used to the sound of my deeper voice. No more cracking (yay!) and it definitely passes. I like how I sound. I like that I haven’t changed speech patterns at all, just my vocal range has shifted downwards… but it also shrank. I have a lot less control over my tone of voice, which is to be expected seeing as I have little practice with my new range, but I also have a many fewer options of tone. I’m not just deeper, my range has actually shrunk which makes my range of expression different. I’m not intentionally more monotone, I just end up fading out a lot quicker.

Surprisingly, I really seem to like my newly coming in chest hair. Didn’t expect that. I was looking forward to darker and a lot more leg hair, and darkened arm hair. I’m still waiting for my facial hair to be something worth growing instead of just needing it shaved every few days. But chest hair? I mostly expected to feel neutral about it. Unexpectedly, I’m really liking it, and even looking forward to more. The genderfucker in me wants it darker and to wear my corset. Because honestly, I think it’d be damn hot.

I just started getting hungry again recently. After a few weeks of legitimately not being hungry and having to instill a pretty strict schedule to make sure I ate, I’m glad that it is back. It is strangely comforting, a sense of normalcy returning. Also, I just don’t like living that strictly to a schedule. I prefer being hungry all the time to messing up my schedule a bit and risk passing out from forgetting to eat.

I’ll be back to writing more often now.

Updates and Upgrades

09/27/2010 1 comment

Recent adventures have included my computer breaking. From my battery to my logic board (yes, computers have logic boards, and when they break the computer goes illogical) I have new parts and this is the most functional my computer has been since I got it almost three years ago. They also gave me a bunch of free upgrades in programs that I’d otherwise have to pay for, which was awesome.

Other adventures include tearing through novels like I haven’t since high school, and reading books on spirituality. No computer? I read. A lot.

And now it is back. So I’m back.

T is interesting. I’ve grown a lot. My feet jumped a size, or a size and a half. I’m a lot broader now, no longer so scrawny. As in, my shirt neck size went from 13 1/2 to 15 1/2, and my sleeve length got longer as well. On the upside, this means I fit into regular shirts now. My sideburns are starting to come in. I really do need to shave more than once a week now, though much of the time I’m still lazy and only do it about once a week.

Still endlessly hungry. Still have a kicked up sex drive. I’ve adjusted to the second, but the first is being a much larger problem than it should be.

But one of the most interesting changes for me throughout transition is that my reactions to pain has changed. The way I feel pain, when S bites me (or when my friend bites my arm and leaves a bruise for a few days) is completely different than before. Not just more or less, but an actual different sensation that is really hard to explain. Stingy pain hurts so much more, as well as very different. At the same time, despite the fact that I’m processing pain differently and needing to completely relearn my limits and thus am far more sensitive than I would be if I knew how things would feel, I’m still needing the pain just as much. But I also like causing pain. About two and a half years ago I realized that I couldn’t date someone who wouldn’t give me pain, and hooking up would be difficult. About a year ago, I realized I couldn’t date someone who couldn’t take pain, and hooking up would be even more difficult than the former. I like pain. Be it the bite marks on my arm, or the scratches on someone else’s back, pain is really important for me. Which makes being so unclear about my own reactions to pain really damn frustrating.

And not frustrating in the fun way either.

Eventually, I’ll figure out how things are working with my body.

Tales from Travelling

09/19/2010 Leave a comment

Travelling is always a bit of an experience, especially when flying and having to deal with airport security. This is what I wrote while sitting in an airport without wireless last week while travelling:

I’m, not big on flying. It isn’t the airplane part, minus the motion sickness and tendency for my ears to kill with pressure changes regardless of how much stupid gum I chew. I’m not afraid of flying, but I really am not big on traveling that way. Or perhaps I should say “this way” as I am presently sitting in an airport.

The government has new delightful ways to invade a person’s privacy as we travel through security. Laptops must be out of bags. Shoes must come off, leaving us to walk through security in socks or bare feet. To travel with film, you need to ask them to hand check it, giving you lots of unfortunate looks (And yes, even though TSA claims that the X-Ray machines don’t expose film under 800 ISO, it does. So really, get it hand checked if you happen to be like me and still do film photography.) Metal detectors are no longer enough, not anymore.

What happened to the country of Franklin’s “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither.”

Oh wait. We never lived in that country. At least, it hasn’t existed here in my entire lifetime.

Now though, instead of a simple metal detector there is a backscatter machine. Step inside, and blurry images of people without clothes pop up. Apparently the images are “stored in an off site location” even though they claim that said images are “not saved.” On so many levels, this machine made me uncomfortable, so I opted out. Yes, there were signs saying anyone who wants to may opt out, and that is what I did. Glad I made it to the airport with plenty of time because opting out meant waiting a bunch while they got the guy to pat me down.

Opting out meant a pat down, a very close, personal pat down.

So this older TSA guy was patting me down, and first got very confused as he touched my upper back (I travel in a Frog Bra over a binder, because airplanes are uncomfortable enough without my binder digging in) and once he got to my waist, he finally walked over to where my ID was and looked at it carefully. He called to someone else, and they both looked at my ID, then back at me, then told me to wait a moment. A few minutes later, a girl walks over, and says, “I’m sorry about that.” What are you sorry about exactly, that a male patted me down when I am legally a female? I really was tempted to say something, but bit my tongue and sighed instead. She then said that the pat down would be more extensive, and would go over “sensitive areas” so she would use the back of her hand. Interestingly enough, the guy never said this, even though he was going to be touching similarly sensitive regions. Apparently, ass and groin aren’t “sensitive” areas on a guy, but they are on a girl?

So, she pat me down. Extensively. Back of her hand and everything.

Turns out, I managed to forget a pencil in my pocket, and the TSA agent needed me to unroll my sock for said pat-down, just to make sure that there wasn’t anything hidden in my rolled up sock.

And the most uncomfortable part of all of this for me? No, wasn’t that some random guy was patting my ass (in the name of security) and it wasn’t even the change to a female TSA agent. It wasn’t even the realization that apparently as a guy, my ass and crotch aren’t sensitive areas that was the most uncomfortable, though that was probably the most confusing. The most uncomfortable was the moment that I had a very attractive female kneeling in front of me and touching me up from the ankles up to my waist. Because know what? Yeah, that made me feel fucking awkward.

But really, my gender is now identifiably on demand any time I fly because I will always opt out. I will always take the pat down over the backscatter machine, for political reasons I really don’t feel like typing out. And anytime they happen to notice that yeah, I have an “F” next to gender on my license, I will have a woman patting me down and that can put me at physical risk. Because I’m not changing that gender marker until I will not need any future medical procedures that health insurance will only cover for women, so I am putting myself at physical risk every time I fly. Maybe it is paranoia, but for my gender to be put out there in such a public manner throughout the USA is not safe.

Yeah, that was my gender filled moment on my trip. Other than that, I do believe it was the first time I flew when the person taking my boarding pass didn’t apologize for calling me sir at first.

Current Pet Peeve of T

07/19/2010 Leave a comment

The first time through puberty I got incredibly lucky. I had great skin, from day one through the bitchy days of middle school and the angst-ridden days of high school. Acne was never a major problem, except sometimes on the backs of my arms. But my face? I rarely got zits. My back, never. So here is a demonic duck to express my frustration.

I knew that acne would come with T. I knew that, I had been told that, and naively thought because I got so lucky the first time through that it would be the same this time. S and C are probably shaking their heads, laughing at me, because even though I have been dealing the worst acne of my life, it isn’t that bad. I haven’t felt the need to go to the dermatologist, so long as I scrub my face a few times a day with acne wash, and every other day with a deeper exfoliant.

No, the pet peeve are zits just inside my nostril. They hurt. Moreover, I have pretty terrible allergies, and so every time I blow my nose, it hurts even more.

It drives me crazy. It annoys me endlessly, or at least until it goes away again. I know I’m lucky, I’ve never needed Accutane, and I still barely get break outs on my back. My arms have also been calm this time through, so that’s better than last time. I know I’m lucky but it is still driving me crazy. Because it isn’t angering, it is incredibly annoying, constant, and every time one goes away, within a week another one appears at my nostrils. Recurring, highly frustrating… yup, pet peeve of T.

Generally speaking, acne also makes shaving a pain in the ass. Or perhaps more accurately it is a pain in the face, as it makes cutting so much more likely. Shaving is difficult enough, but adding painful bumps I have to dodge just makes it worse. At least I have some whiskers to shave, right? Still…


Six Months on T

07/13/2010 2 comments

And what do I have to show for it?

My voice dropped into nice, low, masculine ranges. My neck sized increased, which greatly affected the shape of my face, even more than the more subtle changes on my face itself. My clit increased size, my sex drive shot up, shot up again, and then dropped a hair to a nice, steady place. I’m hungry all the time, but figuring out how to handle it, and making sure I eat at least mostly healthy food.

I’m in a surprisingly healthy relationship. Surprising because healthy relationships have been so rare for me, and it has been a really pleasant surprise. She sees me for who I am, not for my body, but also does an amazing job at being careful about what I want with my body, how I exist within my body… and how in many ways it isn’t mine.

My clothes don’t quite fit right anymore, I need to go shopping. In the last six months, I’ve moved, gotten a new job, met some amazing people, and found some awesome things. I lost friends, and found friends in places I had not even thought about.

I’ve been heartsick, and crushing. I’ve been freezing and melting into a pile of liquid xMech from the scorching heat.

I’ve stretched my comfort zone, gone to play parties and allowed penetrative sex. Hell, I’ve started asking for it more than ever. I’ve broken down mental barriers, and brought myself to the point where I can slap S… though still not on the face. I’ve marked her again and again, bites, bruises, hickies, handprints, and been marked in return. I’ve entered male bathrooms and confronted some of my ableist tendencies and language. I started relooking into religion, pushing myself past the “I don’t want to do this, I can’t examine this” and into books and articles on Judaism, Buddhism, Neo-Paganism and all kinds of alternative spiritualities. I’ve accepted that I can’t keep friends forever, and strove to rebuild my own mind.

But what do I have to show for it all?

No matter what I do, for me it will never be enough. Part of me loves that, loves that I always want more from myself, never to be static, always growing, looking for new connections to help me grow and change. I’m a person of becoming, not being, and I love it. But no matter how I contemplate Nietzsche, I am tired of never being enough for myself.

Years ago I realized I couldn’t keep a promise I made to myself, so instead I completely reoriented my life. I started to strive to become the person others saw me to be, to become the person my friends, family, lovers, and teachers saw in me, or at least saw that I could become. And it is never enough. Not because they tell me that, in fact they usually tell me the exact opposite, but I see how awesome they are, how much they deserve…

and after all these changes in the last six months, or six years… I still wonder what do I have to show for it?

A few whiskers and ill-fitting clothes just don’t quite seem to cut it. About only one thing does: I’m genuinely happy. And that is more than enough to show for anything. Just need to manage to get my mind around the concept.