Thursday, January 29, 2015

1-29-2015 Entry: The Doctor's Appointment


Hello all! I’m sure some of you have been wondering how my Doctor’s appointment for HRT went, so I figured I’d pop in and give an update. I am pleased to report that my wife did, in fact, attend the appointment with me and although she seemed a bit… hesitant before the appointment (I’m sure she was coping with the realization that everything was about to get very real) I think by time it was over she was in a pretty good place with things.

Spouse aside, I think the appointment went really well. I really liked the Doctor and found her to be very friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. There were quite a few questions asked about me and my desire for HRT, both by the doctor and by the nurse, which I suspect are just standard protocol questions for this sort of visit. If I hadn’t already been 100% certain this was something I wanted to do, I think these questions might have felt a bit invasive or difficult to answer, so if anyone out there is thinking about going on to HRT, then I want you to be prepared for some rather personal questions. Some of the questions that the doctor asked were:

 

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how female do you believe you are?” (she further clarified that she always asks this question to make sure that HRT is the right solution and that other methods of treatment aren’t more appropriate)

“When was the first time you felt like you might be something other than your assigned gender?”

“What expectations do you have for the HRT Process?”

“What concerns do you have about the HRT Process?”

“Do you have any current or future plans for Gender/Sex reassignment surgery?”

 

Those are just a few of the questions I was presented with, but as you can see, were I not already in a state of certainty about my gender identity then these questions might have been difficult to answer or might have felt like an attack of sorts. I believe that my time spent with my therapist exploring this gender identity issue really helped me mentally prepare for these kinds of questions, so if anyone reading this is considering HRT then I highly suggest you see a therapist a few times beforehand. It’s very important to be 100% sure that HRT is the right path for you, because it isn’t for everyone.

Among the questions I listed above there was actually a great deal of discussion about fertility and desires to procreate. As one might have guessed, HRT can have a serious effect on a person’s ability to procreate and may even permanently close the door on that depending on how the body reacts to the hormones. From what the doctor explained, by going onto Testosterone blockers and estrogen 1 of 3 things will happen:

 

  1. My ability to have children will not be drastically effected
  2. My ability to have children will be diminished but still possible
  3. My ability to have children will be permanently destroyed

 

Upon discussing these three possible outcomes the doctor suggested that now might be a good time for my wife and I to bank some of my *manly-contribution* to the baby making process as an insurance policy for future procreative efforts.

As for the examination itself, it’s hard for me to say what was done for the purposes of HRT and what was done because we suspect I might have another ulcer. I can tell you that my blood pressure was taken, my heartbeat was listened to, my lungs were listened to, my internal organs were felt up (lol) as I lay on the examination table, and my lymph nodes were checked for any type of swelling. After the discussion of the previous questions/items I listed above, the doctor suggested that I go on to a Testosterone blocker for a period of 30 days, after which I would return to see her for the prescribing of estrogen. In the meantime a handful of blood samples were taken so that tests could be run on them to ensure that I was healthy enough for the HRT process and that there wouldn’t be any avoidable issues.

I was asked if I’d want to start the process that same day, to which I said yes, and was prescribed a testosterone blocker that I was able to pick up a few minutes after the appointment. I have now been on said T-Blocker for 2 days and I can tell you that the effects of the medicine could be felt almost immediately. The first dose of the medicine actually made me quite drowsy and it was difficult for me to stay awake at work during the first few hours after I initially took it. In addition to the drowsiness I experienced something that almost goes beyond my ability to describe. I could feel the change in every cell of my body and was left with a very surreal experience.

Forgive me, I know that doesn’t really tell you what it was like, but I’m struggling to find the words to describe the experience. It was almost as if I stopped feeling so… manly. What I mean by that is that I felt lowered state of aggression, a lowered state of sex-drive, a lowered state of confidence (not in a bad way, but the regular male-driven bravado was gone) and a decrease in my anxiety. I don’t know if I felt happy just because I mentally knew that I’d finally begun the HRT process or because I felt relief from not having the very powerful and sometimes pesky hormone testosterone coursing through my body. In many ways that hormone never really felt right to me. Being “manly” was never something that I understood or even liked, so in the times when my T levels were at their highest, my own self-appreciation was at its lowest.

Moving onto the estrogen. So, I haven’t gotten the Rx yet for estrogen, but the doctor did tell me that there were a few different methods of getting the hormone into my body. Her suggestion, and the one I found the most likeable, was the patch. Much like the birth control patch, I could essentially put a square adhesive bandage-thingy on some part of my body and my skin would absorb the estrogen directly into my body. The alternative methods are in a pill form, and in a liquid form that requires a needle to inject into the body. Hopefully my insurance will cover the patch version and I won’t have to stick myself with a syringe all the time, but I will have to find out what my insurance covers and what it doesn’t. For anyone wondering, my T-blocker only cost me $5 for 30 days’ worth after insurance.

Well, that’s about all there is to tell about the doctor’s appointment other than to say that I am very happy with my decision to start this process. I know that in the coming months my body will change and will begin to better reflect who I am on the inside, and I cannot wait. I am just so happy now, and at such peace. I know everything will work out for me.

 

-Emma

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