1 Year 9 (ish) months on Testosterone

I feel like I have not done a “summary” transition post in a while, so here we go. Part of its for me (records),  part of it is for others starting out transitioning on testosterone to check out what the future could hold (despite it varying wildly from person to person).

  • I am finally feeling happy with the way my facial hair is coming on! For months and months and months it seemed to tease at coming out more, but since being on Nebido progress has stepped up and I now have visable hair on my chin, upper lip and sideburns.
  • I am never misgendered – although most people think i’m roughly 10 years younger than I actually am.
  • My voice has stabilised and I really like it.
  • I have not yet grown to 6ft 5in and morphed into the terminator.
  • If I put in a bit of effort I can build muscle – before it was almost impossible.
  • My hair has receded – I have “devil horns” (very fitting). Sometimes I get anxious about it receding further, sometimes I don’t give a shit.
  • I have dark hair on every part of my body – this is still progressing and I think will get thicker and thicker over the coming years until people start calling the police because they have found the Yeti.
  • Testogel resulted in really stable moods. With Nebido I get a bit tired and emotional during the week before injection. I am hoping this gets less as Nebido builds in my system and I have less big hormone dips.
  • Chest in healing well from revison surgery N#1. Revision surgery N#2 should be to the end of this year. Surgery helped a shed tonne with my confidence.
  • I get hot so much quicker, and sweat so much quicker (and more). I smell more.
  • I have fewer food cravings – in fact I have less general interest in food, however this could be unrelated to testosterone.
  • My mental health has come on leaps and bounds, however this can’t all be attributed to testosterone, lots of others factors in here as well!
  • I am essentially the same person – testosterone does not make “you” disappear, nor does it change your values and/or feelings towards people.

That’s about it. My short term goal is to make it through my shift today without getting desperate enough to find a way to “slip” near the counter, crack my head and go unconscious for a while. My medium term goal is to look like Father Christmas before Christmas Day. My long term goal is to travel to the other side of the planet and start a profession with only instinct and (hopefully) some common sense to guide me.

Work continues to bore the pants off me, I have the weeked off though so will have chance to recover and hit the gym for the first time in ageeeeeeees.

Comparison pic: day 21 vs day  644 (week 3 vs week 92)

Self-injection

For those of you new to my blog, I have been on testosterone for almost 2 years (started on gel). It is normal for nurses to give Nebido (testosterone) and Prostap (hormone blocker for estrogen) injections, at least in the UK. I however, requested to be able to self-inject to allow more flexibility with travelling etc in the future.

This week I injected both Nebido and Prostap at home for the first time!

  1. Nebido – Success!

This involves 2 x needles, 1 x syringe, 1 x vial of Nebido, 1 x sterile wipe, 1 x sharps bin, and a mental technique of ignoring the fact your going to stab yourself with a needle for 2 minutes. Basically, you draw up the Nebido with one needle – slowly. Then get rid of that needle (incase it was blunted / contaminated from vial lid) into sharps bin. Put new needle onto syringe. “Quarter” your arse cheek (mentally or with a pen). Swab the top left corner. Tense then relaxxxxxxx your glutes. STAB!!

Ok, so at this point I had a slight complication. It got only about 1cm in then started to really f***ing hurt. I tried pushing in more but was hitting a block so had to pull out. Blood came out, indicating I had hit blood vessel. So – by this point shaking like a leaf – I stabbed again about 2cm down from the first spot – thankfully this went in fine and I spent the next 2 minutes with the growing ache of 4ml of thick liquid being injected into my muscle. You really have to push hard, its damn tricky to keep your hand steady and push all whilst reaching round your body. Finish injection – pull out, needle cap on, into sharps bin. Cotton bud on injection site & press. Then plaster 🙂

    2. Prostap – hummm

This was a wee bit trickier. You would think not, as its a pre-set up injection. Basically you have to push the plunger on the syringe until it gets to a certain line – at this point the powder and liquid combine, and you tap it a bit to mix them up thoroughly. Now, I read the instructions and took them to heart – it says not to be too vigorous as you may get bubbles (=bad). I only tapped it around a little, then injected. I noticed in the syringe there seemed to be a bit of white powder left – and as the needle came out of my skin some white liquid came out too. I them looked at online videos and most people seem to shake it much more! Lesson learned for next time. Hopfully it will not affect me too much for the next 3 months.

Work

Groan. Improvements? Now working on my own, so I feel I have more flexibility to move stuff around or have a cheeky sit down on the foot stool for a minute or two. Also feet/legs are recovering quicker – although they still ache a lot by the end of shift. Unchanged is the sheer bordem, the relentless repetitive music, the bright lights, dust that makes my eyes turn red, the tacky heat of the stock room and the underlying anxiety of trying not to need the loo making me need the loo.

I have also noticed a subtle shift in the way management approach me now. We have a new bunch of newbies – so I am no longer classed as one. This means I am expected to know what i’m doing, where everything goes, and all the infomation required. Hahahahahahaaa. They are no longer so blasé about me not meeting targets and don’t spend as long going through stuff with me. In the past I would have felt like this is all my fault and I should be on top of everything – HOWEVER – now, I just acknowledge this as a flaw in their training and management style. Im working Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues before my next day break – think i’m going to need to start injecting myself with caffeine.

Life

I can exercise now, so I am cycling to work, back into sit-ups, squats, weights etc. It’s giving me a much needed mental boost. Anxiety meds are on the decrease again, but I seem to be doing fine with that. For now, it’s my day off, so going to do a bunch of Japanese learning, have a nice lunch out with my Mum, and sleep/chill.

Signing off with a random joke I saw on twitter  which got me chuckling:

“A man decided to visit a zoo and was disappointed to find there was only one animal there. It was a dog. —— It was a shih tzu”

Gender clinic app and BIG news

A big piece of news I have got recently – I have been accepted into a company where I will be teaching English next year – IN JAPAN!!!!!!! Sometimes words don’t convey emotions properly, and I don’t think that exclamation marks fit the bill, so imagine me jumping so high that I smash my head on the ceiling and spend the afternoon concussed. I have not been talking much about this, as I did not dare believe it could happen, but I have the email in front of me, its real!. With regards to this blog and the future, I want to continue writing it despite how tricky it may be at times, because I think I can give an angle which I can find hardly anything on: Being a trans forgeiner in Japan.

Takeshita Street

As you can imagine, my mind is ablaze with question marks over how to deal with several “trans” issues in Japan. Firstly, there is the issue of hormones. Japan does not prescribe Nebido. If precribed T in Japan (possible) I would have to travel to a dedicated clinic once every 1-4 weeks to get a doctor to inject a random type of testosterone. Hence doing everything in my power to go out there with it! Here is my experience in the UK so far – some things will be similar for any foreigner though.

Hormones:

  1. Approached GP – said NHS won’t provide a year’s worth. Told to think private or contact GIC and see what they say. Cue handy GIC appointment!
  2. Yesterday I made the sluggish journey half way across my country to get to the GIC (gender identity clinic). The consultant was extremely helpful, and is writing a letter to my GP asking pretty please can you precribe Seb with a load of Testosterone and needles etc.
  3. If the GP won’t give out bulk at least my parents can pick it up every 3 months and post it to me *cringes inwardly at cost of shipping*
  4. I will need to apply for 4 seperate “Yakkan Shoumei” certificates – Nebido, Prostap, needles x2 sizes (more on that in future posts).

Other topics I will be addressing:

  • Cultural attitudes to being trans in Japan
  • Onsen
  • Bathrooms
  • Teaching
  • Monitoring and general health care (including insurance)

Thats all I can think of for now, but if anyone has other suggestions feel free to comment  :-). I will probably comment on how my anxiety is doing from time to time – by the time I am out there I will be totally off my anxiety meds. *gulp*

Going back to my GIC appointment – basically everything is going fine. My T levels are on the low side but adequate. Chest is healing and can exercise next week. Feeling great in my transition. Want to create Abs and build up chest and shoulder muscle again!

Work – For now I slowly rot away at work. I have taken some tips from you guys and have been stretching before shifts, which has helped take away a bit of leg pain. I also sit my feet in freezing water after every shift to cool them down. I do “work” related activites with great enthusiasm –

  • Pissing off customers by not knowing how to do returns, enquiries, gift cards, accounts (in fact anything).
  • Walking round in circles whilst smiling and mentally drowning the singers of the repeated tunes playing.
  • Unfolding perfectly folded clothes – then refolding them a bit shitter
  • Breaking stock taking machines
  • Carefully arranging the bottom shelves (which, Oh! just happens to give me an oppurtunity to sit down for 5 minutes!)

At least now I have Japan in my head to remind me this is not permenant! Next week I do my first self injection of Nebido at home – should be an interesting experience. Will let you know how that gets on!

 

Flexi-age

I have a suggestion. I think all transguys over about 20 who transition on testosterone should be legally allowed to change thier age to somewhere between 5 to 10 years younger. No one believes your real age anyway. I am now 27, and going back into work has made me realise how young people think I am. Most thought I had just come out of GCSE’s, and was 16/17 years old. Yep. I was asked several times what my “secret” was – ofc them meaning skin care, health etc, I dont think any of them have a clue im transgender.

A benefit is people give you more slack to get things wrong etc. Cause, well, your only young right? But a negative is that it’s harder to be treated seriously. Anyway, I don’t “feel” 27, whatever that means – so maybe I should start stating i’m a tad younger?

Getting back into work

Stressful –  nerves – totally different environment.

It’s really draining, being polite and “alert” and facing customers and colleagues all the time. And then learning all the new processes, being worried about f***ing up a customers orders, remembering passcodes and locations of offices. Oh and I am not used to standing for 5/6 hours straight!! My calves and feet feel on fire by the end of the day. I am developing a shifty “lean in” technique where every opportunity I get I casually heavily lean on the counter like i’m trying fulfill some sexy cashier role. Anyone got any tips on how to cope with all the standing? Does the body get used to it after a while? I think for the next two weeks I need to focus on “being in the moment” and not thinking about everything at the same time!

Good news is despite another (slight) reduction in my anxiety meds, I have not come close to having a panic attack or running out a room. I’ve been shaky at times, and have had the odd stutter as well as feeling a bit hot around the collar when there has been several people looking at me whilst I talk/ answer questions. But you know, this breathing thing helps (who would have guessed?) just breathe, breathe, breathe.

I have 5 hour shifts with no breaks – has a couple of issues. One is often a shift will span lunch, like 10 till 3 – so you have to change your whole eating pattern. Two (which will apply to me soon once I am no longer “buddied”) is that you are the only person on your floor, and you are no allowed to leave it unmanned. Which means you can’t run off to the loo without calling and asking someone to cover you. This second one gets me anxious. A tip a girl gave me was to make good friends with the people on the floor above so they are cool with covering!

Ahhhhhhnd breathe. I’m doing it, I have not quit!

The choice of anonymity

I was having a chill walk round my neighbourhood the other day, when I heard an:

“Oy, mate!”

I turned around to see a car had pulled up beside me with a young man and woman in it.

“You know where Beech Street is??”

I paused and just stared at them for a 5/10 seconds. Reason being, this was my cousin, and her partner with whom I had been in the same form at school with for about 4 years. And they did not recognise me one bit. I have not seen that particular cousin since before I started to transition, so it’s no wonder. I’m guessing she would have heard through the grapevine that I was transgender and therefore so would her partner. But I suppose there was nothing to suggest to her that it could be me who they was talking to. I must have gone bug eyed staring for a bit, totally not concentrating on the question before:

“No sorry mate, no idea”

Looking back, I had a rough idea, but my mind was in such an odd place that thinking of location was the last thing on my mind. I made me think though, number one about how much i’ve changed. It’s stange because it’s been so long since I started to take testosterone, and with my brain nothing has changed, it feel like just me. So I often forget that I am unrecognisable from my previous self. I am effectivly anonymous to past friends, family and acquaintance unless I tell them its me and/or they see me often enough to see a gradual change. I can choose to be lost in people’s world, even when I pass right by them, or even talk to them.

It also made me think of the freedom and happiness I get from being seen so completly as the gender I am. Btw, no I did not mention it was me, I just did not have time to think it all through!

Job

I have a job!! I had an interview yesterday, which turned out to be a relaxing and fine experience. Two hours later I got a call offering me a role as a “Click and Collect Assistant” at a major high street retail store :-D. It’s a Christmas temp role till the end of December but should keep me busy and get some money in. I have a 25 hour contract spread over 5 days, so not often will I have 8 hour shifts which suits me.

A bit nervous, yet excited. I’m 27 and this is the longest houred contract I would have had. Between Uni and mental health issues I have not held down anything near full time. Hopfully though the time is right, it definitely feels more right. I start on Monday, so it’s all happening pretty fast (I’ve told them I can’t lift till mid October). I just need to keep in mind the bigger picture! My next journey begins.

Time for comparison pic – Now 1 year and 9 months on testosterone! You would have seen more chin hair if it wasn’t for having to trim it all down for my interview. Chest is healing well. Stiches still all over the place.

Comparison Photo: day 14 vs day 616 (week 2 vs week 88) –

Nips and feeling S***

Hey guys,

I am back living with my parents, after a stay at my brothers and a birthday trip taking in a few sites in London.  Problem is, I think I over did things in London, my immune system went on holiday and a party of viruses piled in. So now i’m ill, with a clogged up nose, a raspy voice that makes me sound like Barry White, and a head stuffed with cotton wool. I have to admit i’ve probably been way too active since top surgery only about 2 weeks ago. Anyway, I am sat feeling sorry for myself, fed up that I can’t have a bath because I cannot soak my stitches and trying to sort out a generic CV.

In terms of top surgery, the plasters are off, and I see my nipples! I am very pleased with the results, and with the amount of leftover breast tissue taken out. Already it is making me less dysphoric about nipple size. They are full of stitches though. Literally. Stiches. Every.Where. (cue song of the week, Foo Fighters: Gimme Stitches). Which, although normal, slightly concerns me as I really don’t want to tug them accidentally. This led to me wearing extra plasters at night right up to yesterday. Now i’m just trying to be careful. Also a couple of stitches each side at liposuction entry point. Movement range is pretty much normal, just the odd “tug” feeling. No pain, just can’t lift heavy items..ah yes, that issue. Story time.

So on Monday (my Birthday) I was travelling from my brothers house, to London, then in the evening London to Yorkshire. With a heavy case – an issue. This led to some quite time consuming and irritating situations that made me really feel for disabled people!

  1. Brother has to park up at train station, take case in with me, ask permission to get onto station to help me, get bag on train for me – then he almost got trapped in as the guard shut the door, hence a bit of panic.
  2. I had to have friend meet me at other end – but I did not know the platform I was coming into until the train arrived, so had a quick texting flurry, whilst smiling awkwardly at the cleaning staff as I hung around the empty train near my bag trying not to look suspicious – which ofc im sure made me look suspicious (I was very aware of the recent terror attack on a train just 4 days earlier in the city) .
  3. On the way back my direct train was cancelled leading me to have to explain to about four different members of staff why I could not take the replacement train which required a train change half way through (no one to carry my luggage across). Everyone pretended to know the answer – no one knew the answer. After criss-crossing London Kings Cross for 20 minutes at about 8pm, tired, ill, and wanting to just collapse, curl into a ball and start crying while someone else sorted out my problems, I got onto a train. I could not relax the whole two hours because I was not technically allowed to be on it – I was going to rely on a kind train conductor to understand my issue and just let me stay on. Thankfully no conductor came round, and after having my parents meet me on the other side and get my luggage off, I vowed mentally never to travel on a train whilst not being able to lift ever again.

And I woke up the next morning wanting to do away with my oesophagus.

I have being slowly making progress on sorting out my CV. I can only apply for select jobs (at the moment) that dont require lifting. I think next week should be OK for going for them all though, and just saying at an interview I will be a couple of weeks until I can lift. I’m not going to mention my next surgery (which I already have a consult date for in December).

I keep forgetting I am on reduced meds, which is a good thing! Only side effect I have is that I am slightly more shaky. Anxiety wise…well it’s been pretty low recently. Lets hope with job stuff creeping up that it stays that way! Now I am off to fall asleep zzzzzzzzz

Recovering

This will be short and sweet, im tired and grumpy!

I’m currently in the South of the UK seeing my brother and his partner for a little while and recovering from top surgery. I feel like i’m in the middle of a rough patch at sea, where I feel like there is no solid ground and everything is a bit of a jumble. It’s great doing different things, but with so little certainty to go on with regards to…well, what i’m doing with life, it can be hard to keep a larger overall focus. You end up tangled in a million small threads and have to keep cutting back, walking a distance and seeing the bloodly big rope. If you did not, then all the little threads would slowly trap you and drag you into a fluffy mound of fabric.

Not exercising is hard – its my release and it’s time where I do my thinking and take different perspectives. Only one week into non-exercise sabbatical and I yearn for burning thighs and back sweat. At least there is progress, as my dressings can come off this evening, allowing me to see my new nipples for the first time, and the lipo work thats been done. Although if things dont look ready i’m shoving a plaster straight back on – kinda nervous about damaging a nipple!

My laptop goes in for servicing today and I dont get it back for 9 days – so my next blog I will attempt from my mobile phone for the first time! Hope everyone is well. To anyone else currently in the rough waves, I am the crazy person in the boat in the distance waving frantically.