So last week I had my estradiol dosage jacked up and the big results so far are that I’m currently watching my free copy of He’s Just Not That Into You on Vudu… and enjoying it.
So seriously, as a feminist I’ve always tried to resist the stereotype of women being moody and emotional and everything, but ever since starting hormones I’ve felt like an emotional nutcase, and it’s just been crazy this past week. One second I’m all lovey and affectionate and everything, the next I’m catty and bitchy, and then next thing I know I’m curled up under my giant quilt scrounging through online video services on my PS3 looking for romantic comedies. I think I’ve only seen, like, 4 romantic comedies in the past 10 years, and all of those were because my girlfriend dragged me to them and made me promise not to make fun of them under pain of no sex. I watch horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and, when I need good cry, kid’s movies. (I always cry at the end of kid’s movies, hormonal or not.) I do not watch romcoms, or comedies of any kind, for that matter. However, pretty much everything I’ve watched in the past week has been a comedy of some sort. I’ve also taken to laughing like a maniac at them, which is something I usually don’t do. Usually when I laugh during a movie, it’s because of how bad it is.
Anyway, while I’m enjoying the mini-boobs and the fact that my ass has finally joined the rest of my body in the third dimension, I could really do without the moodiness. Also the having to pee 50 times a day. I’m not saying that I regret anything, it’s just that years of training in feminist philosophy have not prepared me well enough to know what to do or how to think when I find myself identifying with Drew Barrymore. Dudes, next time your lady is acting all moody and weird, cut her a break. Your hormones make you hit things and want to fuck everything you see, which is really a lot simpler than experiencing the whole spectrum of human emotion within a single 24-hour period.
So I should probably let you all know how things went at the doctor yesterday, especially since I haven’t talked to anyone since I got home. Honestly, I’m kind of having a hard time processing things. It was at UNMC, which is obviously a teaching place, so in addition to my doctor I dealt with her resident and a visiting med student from China who was shadowing her. I liked the resident and the med student didn’t say anything; at first I was worried because he was a guy and I have a hard time talking about trans issues around guys because I think they think I failed at being a man, but he was so non-invasive that I completely forgot he was there 30 seconds after we were introduced. My doctor was a tiny yet intimidating Eastern European woman. I think she may be Czech. I’m intimidated by Eastern Europeans because they seem incredibly blunt and forceful. It’s weird. I’m going to keep seeing her despite the fact that I’m worried that she is going to start hurling insults at me because she’s some sort of expert in transgender health, which is why she has people coming from around the world to shadow her. She also knows more about the issue than anyone else I’ve talked to: I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new, but I did. Apparently there have been rare reports of transwomen developing benign pituitary tumors after starting hormones. (She says she’s never seen it in her practice, but she does routine tests just to make sure.) She was actually quite complimentary: Part of the psych eval my doctors sent over included my GPA, and she was very impressed. Anyway, it was basically a two-hour interview session to make sure I was ready for all this jazz, then she cut me a prescription and took my blood for baseline levels so she could track my progress and check my thyroid levels (I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as a teenager and apparently that may be a problem). I go back in three months for another check-up. I need to have quit smoking by then. (I’ve already gotten on that.)
Anyway, I’ve been in shock since then. It just seems like things should be more difficult than they’ve been lately. I had a pretty hard time from 2007-2010 which pretty much resulted in me dropping off the face of the earth for a while, and now I’ve become conditioned to think that life is always shitty. These past two years have been so great that I’m expecting something life-shattering to be just around the corner. I don’t know, it’s kind of weird. I just hope I don’t become paranoid. Maybe things can get better.
There’s a lot more I want to say, but like I said, I’m having a hard time processing things, so I’m just going to leave it at that. Peace out. Thanks for your support.
So first thing’s first: I changed the domain name because I don’t like clunky URLs, so update your bookmarks if you actually still use those (I just use history; not sure if I’m a weirdo, though).
Now onto the excitement! Tomorrow is the big doctor’s appointment to get me some hormones. I’m stoked beyond belief. Really, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sleep at all tonight. I need to be up at 6:00 tomorrow in order to get there in time.
I understand that hormone replacement therapy is a long, drawn-out process, and it can take months to actually see any benefit, but still, the sooner I get started, the sooner I’ll start to develop more feminine characteristics. I did start hormones once before in 2007 before having to stop because of a severe bout of depression (the doctors say it wasn’t related to the hormones), and I started to notice changes about 6-8 weeks after starting. Mostly it was wicked sore breasts. Like, wicked sore.
I’m not sure what type of estrogen I’ll be on or if there will be an anti-androgen in the mix, but the doctor I saw last December said that she usually used estradiol and spironolactone. I’ve done some digging and there are people who swear by certain types of hormone treatments, but based on my research it all boils down to biology. Different people react differently to different hormones. I’m just going to go by my doctor’s judgment.
Okay, that’s all! Just wanted to keep you posted! Peace out!
Friday is rapidly approaching and I’m wicked psyched! Despite having to haul my ass out of bed at 6AM during summer vacation, I really can’t wait. I went to my pharmacist to refill a prescription today and wanted to check to make sure they were trans-friendly, and she said that they don’t keep a lot of hormones in HRT dosages in stock since they don’t get much call for them, but they’d be happy to order in whatever I need.
I’ve also been experimenting more with my voice. For a while the best I could do was super-androgynous, but I’m starting to get much better. The first trick is to open your throat up like you’re yawning, which is how you get the proper resonance. That part I’ve got down and it’s actually starting to feel more and more natural as I use it. The next thing is to pitch it up just a tad. Too much and it sounds fake, but not enough and it’s wicked androgynous. That’s the part I’m having problems with. It takes a lot of concentration for me to keep my voice in the proper pitch range, and as I start focusing more on the conversation I forget to keep my voice pitched up and it starts to slide back into that androgynous zone. I just need to keep working on it; I’m sure the more I practice the less attention I’ll have to pay to it. Also, I’ve been trying to practice projecting, since that’s really hard to do when your throat is flexing in funny ways, but just now before writing this I was practicing and I’m getting better at being audible. Things are looking up!
Also, to all my friends who have been so supportive of me, I really want to thank you. You guys know who you are.
So I have my appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center next Friday, which is only 6 days away. I’m really excited. Like, really excited. Super-stoked. Anyway, in light of the fact that I’m going to soon be on massive doses of estrogen, I’ve decided to give quitting smoking a second shot. (More like an eighth shot, but maybe the eighth time’s the charm.) I’m doing it by cutting down my smoking by about 25% a week until I’m all done. I start today.
Also, I have been working super-hardcore on my female voice since school got out. This last semester was really crazy hectic, which cut down on the time I could spend doing vocal exercises and suchlike. It was really discouraging. But I think I’ve gotten the right voice now and I’m working on fine-tuning it. It’s really weird, because now I’m looking for excuses to talk to people just so I can practice it. To be honest, it’s much easier when I’m alone and only talking to myself, because then I’m not worrying about what someone else is thinking; when I talk to other people I find myself worrying about it and having a difficult time maintaining it. However, I think that problem will be solved as I become more confident with my voice.
All in all, this is shaping up to be a great summer. My transition is really going to take off, which has me super-excited. Plus, despite the fact that I was disappointed by the fact that this past semester was my worst grade-wise since going back to school, I realized that I still got a 3.87, which is still a ridiculously good semester average. At the very least, it’s good enough for the Dean’s List. Also, my dad is thinking of starting a web-based software/app company and wants my help with it, so this could be my in to the video game industry. At the very least, it’ll be a fun father/daughter business venture. Things are going pretty well for once.
So I’m officially 10 days away from my appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to see about getting started on hormone replacement therapy. I am super-psyched. I just got back from my doctor’s office, where I dropped off the release of information form so they could shuttle my records and such up to UNMC; the woman at the front desk said they’d have it there by the end of the week.
It feels good to feel like I’m making progress towards accomplishing a major life goal. I realize that HRT is a long and slow process and that I’ll be either popping pills or getting biweekly shots in the ass until I die, but still, it’s something I’ve wanted since I was a little kid. Hopefully I can develop an actual figure now instead of looking like a 2×4. However, I am a little anxious, because I have a history of depression and estrogen increases the risk of depression. Also, it increases the risk of breast cancer and blood clots, especially if you’re a dirty smoker like me. I think that just means I’ll need to make more regular visits to my doctor, though. And learn how to do breast self-exams. That’d probably be a plus.
All in all, it’s going to be a good summer. I’m on my third straight semester of having a GPA above 3.85, I’m starting hormones, and I don’t start my new job until August so I have all the time in the world to hang out at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Life is pretty good right now.
So, the semester is just about over (on Wednesday I’ll be done) and my life is calming down, which means it’s time to start hormones! Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland just got a new nurse practitioner and they have to train her on the trans health issues, so they aren’t taking any new patients at the moment. Apparently it’s causing a stir, according to a friend of mine. However, I found an endocrinologist at the Diabetes Center at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha who does hormone replacement therapy with trans patients and they were able to get me in first thing in the morning on May 18th! The main problem is getting to Omaha since I don’t have a car, but one of my friends graciously agreed to play taxi driver for me. I’m wicked excited; I can hardly wait! I’m pretty sure the anxiety will kill me before I even get my initial lab results, but oh well, it’s worth it. Stoked!