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”

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) –

Goodbye Wales!

I leave this small seaside town in a couple of days, so as a last farewell my housemate and I have been doing a mini tour of the area, which has been great fun. The day before last saw me on a beach jumping into the sea again. Had to deal with a double whammy of trickyness:

  1. The beach was really busy at the carpark end. So we had to walk through droves of screaming kids, sunburnt adults, windbreak fortresses, sandpit traps, toddlers wandering aimlessly around in nappies and wet dogs running towards us and sniffing about. Got my anxiety cranked up a bit, but we kept walking until a quiet bit (which was only a 5 min walk, which no one seems to want to do).
  2. Getting changed on a beach. Already had my trunks on, so fine getting changed – although got a bit iffy about my chest; i’m looking forward to some changes with top surgery revision. Then afterwards I only had a tea-towel like piece of cloth to dry myself with- a few dog walkers straying outwards from the carpark end of the beach got a nice image of my arse.

NewB 220817 (5)

So quite emotional, I will now be landlocked, with no miles and miles of views to look out to every morning (im sure there is someone primeval about liking a good view, it feels good – like “hell yeh, im guarding my land”). But back towards my home town there is some beautifal places also, so long as I go out and find them.

Packing to move is as fun as always – so about as fun as petting a terrapin. I have brought vacuum bags for my clothes which is proving a nice distraction as I like to and watch the air get sucked out (simple things give me pleasure). Other stuff I am succeding in moving from one side of the room to the other. I now have spare time (my first free week) since I have finished my dissertation, so I can take time with things and enjoy not feeling like I should always be getting back to work. Although talking about “real” work, I need to start looking around to be ready post-surgery. Hopfully everything will slot together nicely.

Coming up is my pre-op, so will be updating on that next week. All a bit of a faff for some bloods, blood pressure and weight etc but hey. Needs must. Everything else transition-wise is going well. Nebido is working its wonders and everyday I add a new day to my “life as Seb” which I can look back on. Building up a history in a new identity takes time, but when you do it as an adult you appreciate seeing each new memory you create, it adds to a book that is paper thin at first, but soon grows! 🙂

Note: Please ignore the cheesyness

 

 

 

 

The end is nigh

August has come with the stark reality of the end of this Uni course. I will have finished most of my dissertation in about 2 weeks, and completely in 3 weeks. Then the pages have not been written yet. I can follow no course, instruction manual or guide to the following part of life. Without boring everyone, I basically am investigating a few avenues. 1) A 9-5 job, 2) Teaching abroad 3) WWoofing abroad 4) Hogworts.

I started writing this blog in the months of dark depression and leading up to being well enough to start a Uni course (albeit with high levels of anxiety). That was a huge leap, leaving the security of a flat, good mental health support, family, and an area I had grown up. I followed my gut back then, and i’m happy i’ve ended up here now. Maybe it’s time for another leap.

I find the idea of getting to midlife and realising I did not do what I wanted, and could have done, in my earlier years more terrifying than the actual decisons I am making now. I feel I need strong coffees, Maryland biscuits and lots of long walks to come to a firm conclusion.

Transitioning stuff

I went to the Doctors to ask about staying in Wales and transitioning and GIC stuff. After waiting 3 weeks for the appointment, then 45mins in the waiting room past my time, it was a bit shit. Well…nothing wrong, just she had no idea and said she would look into it. I get the feeling she will come up with the same answer everyone else has given so im not holding my breath.

It’s the monthly photo day today, and hopfully you can see the improvements of my facial hair! I have not trimmed it for 5 days just to see what it ends up looking like. It’s a bit scraggly but im so overjoyed that it’s coming in that I don’t care. I have seen no noticeable changes in body shape recently. Mentally I have had a bit of a boost, I believe due to the Nebido shot kicking in. At least i’m aware now of what to expect towards the end of each shot cycle – lethargy, bit of grumpiness.

I’m trying to get mentally prepared for revision surgery on my chest, now only about a month or so away. I hate the recovery time and faff, so it takes a while of getting my head in the game so to speak. I want it done, I just wish it was a “snap fingers and voila” type thing.

Anxiety

I have not talked too much about this recently, but I feel things are improving steadily. I am still seeing a CPN and support worker every week, doing stuff like walks and going to coffee shops, having lunch places, trying to meet people etc. It’s getting me out and about and gently challenging me, proving that I can cope in situations I thought I would not cope in. As always, it seems the key is just exposure again and again and again until it’s second nature. I really have to work at it, particularly now when I have nothing I have to go to in terms of work or lectures.

Damn it, I really don’t think you can see my stubble in this pic….maybe in 2020.

Comparison Pic: day 21 vs day 560 (week 3 vs week 80)

 

 

The Creature & Darkness

Creature & Darkness

A creature steps out into the blinding light. Confident and aspirational, it soaks up the feelings of fresh air and a thousand possibilities. It’s shallow eyes and lack of lines the only indicators of a spring innocence, a lack of grasp on the firmness of the setting; the hardness. It trips. No problem, this creature is strong. It get’s up, a little shaken, but otherwise OK. The creature realises it should probably get moving..after all the light is blinding. Which way is out of the light? The door behind is shut. It starts walking, direction can hold no importance in a sitution like this. SLAM. It’s walked into a large metal lamp – the source of the light. What the fuck? The bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness steps up in an instant, feeding time. Before the creature knows whats going on, darkness folds itself tight around it, squeezing and pushing, trapping the creature in it’s cloak. Panic takes hold and a coldness sets in, a damp kind that mixes with fear to create a sweet, tasty dish for the predator. Darkness starts dragging the creature away, feet first, further and further into it’s home. It dumps the creature and casually and very slowly starts picking out it’s brains – not it’s phyical brains, for it has no need for flesh – it’s the mind, it’s very existence it craves. The creature feels a tearing.. a hopeless loss. It shudders. Sometimes it puts up a fight and screams and squirms against its bindings. After a while, it just lies there and feels more and more empty, more confused and disillusioned.

Suddenly, something is wrong – darkness is in a mood, quite clearly more than a little pissed off. It has reached a part of the brain it can’t get to. The creature is subconsciously doing some bloody gnarly psychological gatekeeping. More time passes and darkness decides to get out it’s “Mind-Meal Problem Solving – Series 1” book. The creature stirs – noticing a relinquishing of pressure. Everything is still pitch black, of course, but it opens it eyes anyway, looking all around. Slowly, very slowly, it picks itself up and starts crouch-walking – again, in any direction. It keeps stumbling, shit scared and having no idea why it’s running or what/who it really is anymore. A light flickers. The creature is so un-accustomed to it that it shuts it’s eyes, squeezing them tight. The light then comes on, and stays on. Through shut eyes it follows the gradient between shadow and light. SLAM. It walks into a large metal lamp. Something registers in the creatures mind – quick as lighting it lights a candle. The light bulb flickers, then fails – *pinggg*. Darkness swoops and swoops, attacking at all angles. The creature holds up the faint light of the candle and shivers. It starts walking – it still does not have a direction, or a purpose – but for now, as long as the candle stays lit, that’s all that matters. The creature has just survived it’s early twenties.

Windemere, UK

Transition stuff

Well, I stuck two needles in myself. Result! (I realise I might have weird concepts of achievement) Last week I got to inject my Prostap jab and my Nebido jab, which means I can now self-inject at home at my leisure :-). I found that I’m a bit strange when it comes to needles – shoving one in me does not phase me in the slightest, if anything I feel a bit detached from it – like i’m focusing on doing it correctly to someone else.

  • Prostap – easy peasy. You snap a seperater in the needle and a powder and liquid mix. You screw the needle on. You then inject at a 90 degree angle, needle going 1/2 way in. Takes about 5 seconds to inject, then leave for 5 seconds to make sure the last bits absorb a bit. I felt nothing – seriously, nothing. Afterwards the arm turns kinda achy numb for a while. No biggy
  • Nebido – more complex! You have to draw up the liquid from a vial, then change needle. Push air bubbles out. Locate injection site and wipe clean (top quarter). Tense leg……then relaxxxxxx leg. And then stick a pretty large needle 3/4 way in (intramuscular). It’s thick, so you slowly inject over 1-2 minutes. It’s a bit of a balancing act, trying to push it in whilst making sure the needle does no poke in too far whilst leaning round at an odd angle. Then leave again for 5 seconds for absorption. Then slowly pull out. And let blood start pouring out! (ok, its best if this does not happen, as it means you have hit a vein/capillary, but its not the end of the world). Was told not to aspirate (pull back slightly) at the start as its now not NHS practice.  First 3 mls went in ok, the last 1ml was a bit harder, like my body was going “no more I tell you!!!“.  Just aches a bit now.

I just need to get everything sorted now for next time, like needles, syringes, set up getting the medication etc. It’s kinda irritating because I think I may be changing GP surgery before the date of my next shot. But i’m pretty good at not worrying about things in advance now.

Facial hair is coming on well, and i’ll have an update pic up next week. Maybe it’s a deciduous plant that comes into it’s own in summer?

Foraging

This week has been one of those non-descript ones, where life just goes on really. Working on my dissertation, heading to gym, taking walks.

One thing I have done differently though is start a bit of foraging on the seashore. I have a type of support worker currently who I go and do stuff with, and they took me to the seashore for foraging a few weeks back, showing me some of the stuff that could be collected round here, so I decided to try it out myself. I’ve found its really relaxing, my mind can’t seem to get trapped in stress and panic when it’s searching out periwinkles, limpets, cockles, mussels etc.

My first go I came back with a load of periwinkles which I soaked for 12hrs, then boiled. Had a fun time getting out the little snails with a pin.

Periwinkles 3 (2)

They tasted not bad, a bit rubbery. They look disgusting. I only ate the first one after watching a video of ~9 year old eating them on youtube. I was like…well this must be safe to do…and soon got into it. I’d give them a 6/10, and one i’ve already foraged for again.

Also got some limpets which I oven baked in a lemon-garlic-pepper-butter sauce first time round. That was alright, I’ve had them again and boiled them, and they taste a bit better – less tough. There are mussels everywhere but i’ve been warned not to eat them near settlements, and it’s a bit dodgy in the summer months. But maybe if foraged far away from habitation…thats possible here. There are also plenty of crabs, and i’ve just brought a crab reel – so will update next week!

I still love it round here, i’m making final enquirys to see IF I did stay here, then what would happen with my transgender medical care, mainly the gender clinic. I don’t think it will be funded, and I still need to be with them for now. I can’t see a GP till the start of August though (good old NHS) so it will be a while till I have more info.

My top surgery revision op (stage 1) is in a couple of months now, (just got the letter through), which is scary cause by then this Uni course would have ended. It does keep me tethered down, which may be a good thing, otherwise straight out this course I could well end up on an impulse flight to Taiwan or something random. I feel more ready for this course ending than I did with my undergraduate course though. Back then, I kinda assumed I would get a grad job straight out of Uni, easy. Now I am more realistic, knowing I join the scrap of many unemployed graduates, all like me, fighting to get the first step on the ladder of employment, whilst trying to blank out debts of 10’s of thousands of pounds, a sudden drop into the rental market, bills, battling back stress and depression….. sorry, getting away with myself.  It’s all good, everything is going to B-E-A-Uuutifal.  But yeh, so revision surgery 1 is round the corner.

I really want my 2nd Nebido jab now, and it’s still a week and a half away. I feel like testosterone is loosing momentum in my body – I need a re-fuel. This is going to be something I need to get used to, the peaks and troughs of injections which I never had on gel. It is hard to explain but I really do feel like I can tell my levels are starting to decrease. On that note, I need to start watching a few videos on self-injecting Nebido so i’m all swatted up when they come to teach me on my next shot date. Maybe I can practice by injecting Nutella into me? I would love to be powered by Nutella.

 

 

P.S. No comparison pic to end with! Feels weird after all this time.

 

Moving home! 引っ越しする!

Today i’m finally moving out of this tiny, cramped, windowless room and moving into a reasonably large airy room with a double bed and a window with a view to the sea!

Things are a bit crazy, I’m writing this surrounded by boxes and loose items flung around the room, and i’m mid way through cleaning surfaces,  floors, cupboards and sills. Tucked in the corner is my dissertation and module work from the 1/2 inch of desk space i’ve been doing my work on. A “man with a van” is coming at some point, not sure when yet, and hauling this stuff about 5 minutes across town – with me helping (to make it cheaper), so let’s hope I don’t do my back in. It’s a forced move, the landlord wanted the property back, so I had to find another property for only a few months whilst I finish off Uni here. Least the new place looks like an upgrade.

In two months time, no more studying, no more dissertation, just….life. Work. It’s really strange. The job hunt continues, and i’m getting a little bit more edgy to find one every day. A bit concerned that my top surgery revision is going to be around the time that i’m planning on starting a job. But for now, there is nothing I can do about it.

It’s something that is really a pain in the ass with medically transitioning, all these appointments and recovery time don’t sit well with the modern world. These days you can’t take time out and not expect it to impact on your job/work. The only way to lessen the impact is to go slow and time it well, so your not at your worst when you need to be at your best (although cancelled/delayed apps/ops are always a possibility).

I had my bloods taken this week to check my levels now i’m on Nebido. It’s the 8 week mark. And I need to get some more done in 4 weeks for the 3 month mark when I have my shot. I’m hoping everything is going smoothly, i’m so busy I really can’t deal with adjusting stuff. It’s fine. I’m sure.

I have come to the decision to stop posting weekly pictures from the 1 year 6 months on testosterone stage, which is next week, and just start posting a picture once a month. I think it’s got to that stage now where stuff is so slow only monthly (if not more) pictures will show any difference. Hopfully I will have other interesting pics to post!

I was meant to go on another group walk this week, practice my socialising! But it got cancelled cause of the weather (I get the feeling this might be a reoccurring theme), and I can’t have my usual meet with support worker this week because of the move. Things should get back on track next week.

Transition wise, facial hair progress is really making me happy. I continue to rub in 0.5ml of Minoxidl every day, and more and more stuff keeps sprouting out – most of it light and fluffy peach fuzz – but a few are starting to turn darker. No other noticable changes.

Comparison Pic: day 35 vs day 525 (week 5 vs week 75)