HRT: Six Months (a/k/a A Developing Situation)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whoa. It's hard to believe it's six months already. As I said about the one year anniversary of my decision to transition, it simultaneously seems as if it's both eons ago and this instant.

Not too much has changed since I wrote about my four month milepost. The emotional changes are still, by far, the most welcome difference. The simmering anger and turmoil that seemingly never abated are gone. I feel SO much calmer. And happier.

Which is amazing to me, as my current living arrangements and job situation have been more than a little stressful (see below). In the past, I would have been a wreck. Not that anyone would have known; I would have simply suppressed any bad emotions - after all, emotions are a sign of weakness if you're a man, aren't they? And then I would be baffled about why I was always depressed. Or sick. Or why I blew up at some jackass who cut me off on the highway.

Which is not to say that I dont have down times. I'm more than a little stressed out about my current situation, for instance; the difference now is that I can admit that. As a friend pointed out, I also realize I have to let those emotions out. OK, actually I *didn't* realize it. :c) She gently chided me for feeling I was dumping all of my angst on her.

You're *supposed* to let your feelings out, she reminded me. Men hold everything in and think they have to solve every problem NOW. We don't have to do that. We can't do that. 

And thank goodness for that. Letting myself be vulnerable, letting myself admit I need help, is a good thing. And hopefully others know they can ask me for help too. I might even be capable of emotional support! (For a nominal fee, of course. A girl's gotta eat, after all.)

Truthfully, I'm surprised I'm not more emotional. I definitely cry much more easily, and I certainly have a greater range of emotions than I did pre-HRT. But I've only had one of the mood swings I've been warned about (although it was a doozy), and I sometimes wonder why I'm not more emotional about things.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that he - the old me - is still hanging in there, thinking he has to protect us, in the only way he knew how to, for all those years. And that's by simply shutting down altogether. He's slowly ceding control to me... but it feels too slow at times. I know he means well... but I want to feel things. And to cry. And to simply be present, and not have my guard up all the time. Hopefully this will ease with time. Because I certainly like how far I've come already, even if it isn't quite where I want to be.

One other emotional change I've noticed: I think differently. And express myself differently. It's hard to explain, but I know it's true. The way I process things, the way I think about things, and, in particular, the way I write about them, is quite different now. The language I use is different. I'm not sure how... but it just is.

My friend F commented recently on how the floodgates seemingly opened up in terms of my writing output since I decided to transition. And also in terms of the depth to which I could go in that writing. I thought about it for a moment, and then the reply simply came to me:

"I found my voice."

And I had. 

At long last, I had. 

And not a moment too soon.


As far as physical changes, not much has changed since I last wrote. I'm proud to report that now I have, well, not really breasts, but pecs. Given how scrawny my chest (along with the rest of me) is, this alone justifies transitioning. ;c) They still hurt if I bump them, though. And given my predisposition to klutziness, this can be a problem. But its a small price to pay. No pun intended. :c)

Otherwise, and this could simply be my imagination, my hair seems thicker. I am fortunate that I had almost all of my hair when I started HRT. The one place where I had a tiny bit of hair loss - on the crown - seems to have not only stopped, it seems to have come back. (Or maybe it's just that my hair is thicker, so I cant really see it  it wasnt super-noticeable before.)

My hair, luckily, has always grown like weeds, and still does. The only problem, and its a trivial one, is that it's curly, so it's going to take forever to grow long. It didn't help matters that I had to cut it twice - once last December (after letting it grow for nearly nine months), and once again in March for the interview for my current job. As I now have to look for a job AGAIN, I really, really don't want to cut it again. Please cross your fingers that I can get away with letting it go.


As far as the job situation, well, unfortunately it reached the point of no return this week. My boss - who, I must point out, is wonderful, and totally sympathetic (although she doesn't know I'm trans) - told me that upper management has decreed that I have to go to the new office. Worse, the amount of work for which I'm responsible for the current project has nearly tripled since I started. (My deadline, of course, hasn't been adjusted accordingly.)

My manager works in another state, but was visiting our office this week. We went out to lunch on Thursday. As we ate, she commiserated 

My parents, atypically, have been very understanding. (I've come to accept that emotional support simply isn't part of the deal with them; it isn't how they express their love, much as I wish it were.) When I told them what happened, my father instantly replied, "You have to leave. They've lied to you repeatedly. This isn't about a job anymore; this is about self-respect. Jobs come and go - this one isn't worth sacrificing your self-esteem for."

And so, once again, I'm looking for a new job. This means I'm stuck at my parents house for the foreseeable future, which, in spite of their support this week, is not a good thing. 

For a number of reasons, it's  an unhealthy place for me. Again, my parents are doing their best, but I have absolutely no privacy. I haven't been able to dress as myself for over two months; I haven't even been able to shave my legs, chest, or anything else. (My body hair has started to become finer, but I still have far too much of it, alas. I suppose it's the trade off for having it on the top of my head?) They have literally been there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It's growing increasingly difficult to look in the mirror and see yet more reminders of... him (sigh), but I can't really do anything at the moment. I think next weekend I'm simply going to check into a hotel for a night so I can be myself, at long last.


One piece of good news, though: I switched doctors. I liked my previous doctor a great deal personally; he's a fellow Bruce Tramp (that is, he's a fellow Springsteen fanatic - what, were you thinking something else? :c)), and, simply, a nice person.

But - and it's a big "but  - he was impossible to reach. I was literally down to my last pill on several occasions, simply because neither he nor someone from his office were returning any of my increasingly frantic phone messages. His cell phone had no voicemail, and his office phone system had no options to speak to a live person.

The last straw came after my last visit. He ordered additional blood work to make sure my fatigue wasn't anything serious, promising to call at the end of the week.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then waited some more.

I finally began calling the office and leaving the same message, every single day, on every option the system offered. If they wouldn't call me out of professionalism, perhaps I could simply wear down their patience until they finally became annoyed enough to call me back.

One month - yes, one full month - after my visit, he called to tell me the results came back. Everything was fine, but he wanted to increase my hormones to get my levels where he wanted them.

That settled matters for me. As I told M, my therapist, in the long run, one month of treading water in my transition won't make a huge difference. But right now, this is the most important thing in my life. And the only reason I was forced to wait a month was because he and his staff, as nice as they are, simply did not do what I am paying them to do.

So I began to research my options near my current location. As I mentioned before, I'm close to a city with some of the best medical facilities in the world. It's a main factor in why working in the new location is simply a non-starter.

One facility immediately jumped out at me. Their focus is on the LGBT community, with a particular emphasis on the trans community. And when it was recommended, independently, by three people, all of whom offered raves... well, it was an easy decision.

I had my first visit on Wednesday evening. (Yes, they offer evening hours!) The facility is less than three years old, so everything is state of the art. And my new doctor is wonderful. (She loves Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and Pearl Jam; I asked. I hesitated to get her opinion of cows, for fear of needlessly pushing my luck, but the trend lines are encouraging.)

She explained that the staff meets weekly to discuss new patients and whether to accept them, but that in my case, as someone who is already transitioning, this was simply a formality. (She also personally knows my former doctor and M, my therapist. In fact, when she saw M's name on my form, she immediately exclaimed "Oh, we all *love* her here - she's wonderful!" Don't I know it)

I also inadvertently realized that, in spite of being on hormones for six months, I didn't actually have my letter from M stating that I was ready to start HRT. She and my former doctor knew each other personally, so she had simply called to tell him I was ready to start. 

So I called M, who agreed to write the letter and fax it as soon as she could to my new doctor. And, of course, to mail it to me. In fact, I'm hoping it's in the mail when I get home. :c)

My visit concluded with my doctor saying that, if all goes as expected, she'll call next week to let me know she got M's letter and my records from my previous doctor, and to set up my next appointment.

Best of all, she gave me the instructions to access their internal web site, which will let me contact her directly, ask for prescription renewals, set up appointments, and so on.

I left the office really happy. It was the one thing that went right last week. But it was the one thing that, in the long run, will really matter. I'll find a new, hopefully better job, and hopefully find it soon. I'll get my own place, again hopefully sooner rather than later, where I can, finally, have some privacy again. And I can focus on becoming me.

I have a lot to do - electrolysis, working on my voice, figuring out a good look ("artsy chick" seems to be the general consensus), and more. But now I feel as if a major piece is in place. It's something on which I can build.

So I will! :c)


Heres what I listened to as I walked home after writing the first draft of this post today. It's a surefire energy booster for me as I near the end of my walks. I simply can no longer pull off some of the epic treks in which I used to partake before I started to transition. I've tried, and I'm utterly drained physically afterwards. I still want to do as much, but now I'm willing to admit that this girl needs all the help she can get for inspiration. 

So without further ado, here's a vintage live performance from Neil Young and Crazy Horse from 1970 at the Fillmore East - a ferocious, fourteen-and-a-half minute version of Cowgirl In The Sand, most of which is a furious, raging guitar battle for the ages between Young and Danny Whitten. (He's the unfortunate inspiration for "The Needle & The Damage Done" and Tonight's The Night, two of Young's most enduring works.) Listen, and be awed.

Fun trivia: Neil Young wrote Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River, and Cowgirl In The Sand”… in the same afternoon. That is simply staggering. The mans muse, which is prolific by any standard, was clearly in overdrive that day!


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