About a year ago I seriously began to consider doing something about my gender dysphoria. I have coped with it for since I was a young teen, or even a tween. Part of it had to do with pubertal gynecomastia. Another part of it had to do my bisexual orientation.
Perhaps diminishing testosterone levels that coincide with entering ones 40s and 50s had something to do with it. So almost exactly one year ago, I began talking with a therapist about gender issues. She wasn't a gender therapist, but she had experience in gay and lesbian issues, and was generally supportive. Actually, I had to explain to her what the term "gender dysphoria" meant.
I was getting a lot of good information off of Susans and other sites, so I felt I was perhaps more knowledgeable than she was on trans issues. It was hard explaining that I felt that there was a male and a female inside of me, and the female (Jamie) really wanted out. After about 6 or 7 sessions, she asked, "Do you think you want to be a woman?" There was no easy answer for that. What Jamie wanted were hormones and T-blockers to finish off her male alter-ego.
So I said, "Yes" with all the conviction I could muster. She set me up with a GLBT-friendly GP nearby, who I went to see for a general check-up, in hopes of scoring a 'script. He looked over my medical history, which included triple by-pass surgery and said, "You're going to have to take this slowly." I was already on a couple of meds to prevent clots from forming (Plavix, aspirin), so the risk of DVT was minimal. I was also already on Aldactone (spironolactone) as a diuretic. So far so good.
I started off with a low-dose 17 beta estradiol transdermal patch. (In keeping with the site policy, I'll not mention dosages). The plan was to increase the dose after one month, and then increase again after three months. The Rx was written for 3 months worth of patches. The nice thing about a patch is you can cut a larger patch down for a smaller dose. It saves a little money.
When it came around time for another appointment and to consider increasing the dosage (to two patches simultaneously) a couple of changes had taken place. I was off Aldactone. Also, I was a little alarmed at the "developments" taking place! Anyway, I got renewed at the former level and also got another AA.
So, what changes have taken place in six months?
The very first week, on the lowest dose estrogen, my boobs responded. I already had 38 A cups, ever since I was a young teen. I had glandular tissue beneath the nipples, about the size and shape of a half walnut or pecan. They weren't just fat boy boobs. The estrogen was like jump-starting a dead battery in a car. My girls roared to life. All the memories of developing breast buds flooded the carburetor in my brain. At times I had to hold ice cubes on them, just to stanch the ache.
The next thing I noticed was a calm like I had not before experienced. The dysphoria greatly diminished. And I was better able to accept, and understand, my bigendered self.
I have for some time really disliked body hair. I was never very furry, and thank god, I never had back hair. But I decided it had to go. I used a depilatory on my legs and torso (before hrt, maybe to prove to the therapist my intentions). I have noticed that the legs hairs have greatly diminished and grow back at a much slower rate. The hairs on the torso have become finer and also slowed. The face - no effect at all.
I let my hair grow out for several months, before getting it trimmed prior to the holidays. As a teen in high school, I had long wavy hair that for some reason the girls liked. My parents would only make me get it cut at the end of the summer, for school pictures. Now I'm letting it grow again. I just have somewhat fewer hairs than I did 40 years ago!
I've noticed a slight amount of fat redistribution. I never had a butt to speak of. Now my "boy jeans" are a little tight in the rear. I have also noticed a little pooch in the pubic mons area.
The biggest development were in the breasts. The glandular tissue has quadrupled in size. My areolas protrude. I have seen a change in their shape and size. When working out, I really have to wear a sports bra. I fit a 40 B or 38 C pretty well. The areolas were almost the size of a US quarter; now they are not covered by a dollar coin. The nipples are also visibly larger too. And very sensitive at times. I really like playing with them!
I got a new therapist - another lady who has other trans clients. I feel more comfortable with her, especially discussing issues of androgeny. She is not convinced that I have GID, by the book, but she is willing to listen, discuss, and make suggestions. She wants me to consider a more androgenous presentation. I picked myself up some black girls jeans - size 14. I'm hoping to lower that in the coming months. And really work on getting rid of the gut.
I had a big setback recently, though. I recognized I was having symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA). My endo was out of town, and the symptoms could have been attributed to my metabolic syndrome. I decided to play it safe a go to the local ER. A CAT scan revealed a minor brain bleed that was treated with platelets. But now I'm off Plavix and aspirin. I can probably go back on aspirin in about two months. The problem is that my DVT risk has gone up. I'm off the patch for the time being - and I'm getting really grumpy!
I liked the direction my body was headed. I have to lose about 50 pounds (what would that be my British friends - about 4 stones?) and lower my blood pressure. Perhaps then I can resume E. Just in the couple of weeks since my TIA incident, the dysphoria is creeping back, and I've got an Rx for Lexapro. A sad trade off, as far as I am concerned.
The best part of the last six months, however, are the people I have met here. After lurking since last spring and summer, I signed up in November. I can not express in words how much you all have taught me and how much you mean to me. I feel confident about the future.
With love and gratitude,