Three(-ish) Month Update

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'll begin this by noting that I received my confirmation letter from my new employer this afternoon, which I promptly signed and sent winging back via cyberspace. OK, fax. Close enough. Anyway, I'm officially employed again - which merits another "Yea!!!" methinks. :c)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post. No major revelations in this one (I can hear the sighs of relief already); I just thought I'd blather on a bit about the changes I've noticed after three and a half months on HRT.

The most obvious change is the sense of calm I've heard so many others describe after starting HRT. It was subtle - in fact, it wasn't until my therapist M mentioned it about a month ago that I even noticed it. She pointed out that my body language was much freer, and the sense of anxiety that was always lurking near the surface seemed to have dissipated greatly. I realized she was right.

I also figured out that I was experiencing the absence of something - anger. It was always there, and I never really understood why, or where it came from. All I knew was that it was exhausting. I recall one blog post theorizing that it's because MTF trans folk have, in essence, a female brain that is under constant bombardment from testosterone. Needless to say, it simply can't handle this. I'm not sure if that's the case, but it seems to make sense. I certainly don't miss that near-blinding rage that could spring up, unannounced and unwelcome, at pretty much any moment.

In terms of physical changes, I really didn't notice anything at all for the first two months or so. However, in the past six weeks - the last three in particular - that has changed.

First, my stamina has definitely decreased a bit. I'm pretty active, and have a lot of energy. I exercise nearly every day, and would routinely exercise for 90 minutes at near the top level on aerobic and cardio machines at the gym. And I would often go for walks that could stretch to four or five hours, sometimes longer.

Well. I think those days may have come to an end. :c) About five weeks ago, I was about 3/4 through my usual workout at the gym when it was like I hit a wall. I managed to finish, but it was an epic struggle. I wrote it off as one of those low-energy days that happen from time to time. 

Then it happened again the next day. And the next. And it hasn't changed since. I could do what I've always done, but it would take every ounce of energy I had, and I would be wiped out afterwards, not energized as I would previously. So I've adjusted the levels at which I work out accordingly.

I've also noticed that my body thermometer seems to have gone awry at some point in the very recent past. :c) During a recent walk on a relatively warm, sunny day, I was suddenly shivering, enough so that the barista at Starbucks commented on it. Later that night I realized that I suddenly needed a hooded sweatshirt while sitting in my living room chatting with a friend. And even then I couldn't get warm.

I mentioned this to M, my therapist, at my most recent session, remarking ruefully that my years of mocking my mother for being cold all the time seem to be coming back to haunt me. And then I  suddenly realized that now I was hot - moments after being freezing. M, trying in vain to suppress a smile, simply said, "Welcome to the club." Oh well. :c)

And last but not least, two physical changes I've noticed in the past week. First, my nipples are suddenly tender to the touch. Second, in the past day or two my skin seems noticeably softer. A friend commented on this tonight in fact, when she handed me a cup of coffee, so it wasn't simply my imagination. Given my usual pre-cadaverous pallor (we Irish are a somewhat pale people, it's fair to say), I *think* this is a good thing. At least now I'll have an excuse not to lift my shirt when people ask to white balance their cameras. For that alone transitioning is worth it. ;c)

Oh, wait - I just thought of another one! Again, this is the absence of something, which is why it probably almost slipped my mind - in this case, my sex drive. It's gone WAY down. It took me a while to notice this, as, again, the absence of something you take for granted is a bit harder to pick up on. This is not unwelcome, I have to say. I haven't experienced any extreme emotional mood swings, but I've been assured/warned that they are on the way. I have, accordingly, strategically placed caches of Kleenex all over the Eastern seaboard. So if Kleenex stock skyrockets unexpectedly in the next few months, this blog author humbly accepts your gratitude for this early stock tip.

Anyway, and all kidding aside, this has been an exciting few weeks as I'm beginning to see noticeable results. Hopefully future changes won't result in me needing paramedics on call when I go for my daily constitutional, but we all have to make adjustments, don't we?


This video has absolutely nothing to do with my post; it's just a really killer tune from Delta Spirit, who have a new album due out next week. I saw them for the first time last summer and was absolutely blown away. Watch and see why. Enjoy!

Their lead singer, Matt Vasquez, was also a member of Middle Brother, a way-cool side project that also featured members of Dawes and Deer Tick (both of whom are also pretty great). Here they are at the Newport Folk Festival last summer.

 Hope they reconsider and make another album!


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