Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ooops, forgot to mention...

  Last December, Kaiser stopped being able to get my injectable estrogen.  Just wasn't available.  As in, "Oh, that's on back order.  Try back in a week".  Because, you know, trans women don't actually *need* their hormones to be maintained so, no big deal, right?  I did a bit of research online, including going back to some forums I didn't feel were a great fit some time ago.  And found out that indeed, the manufacturer for whatever reason pulled the product.  But there was still some left on the market.  So I contacted my endo to see if she could help.  First, she didn't appreciate that I was acting like I knew more about the situation than she did.  So she assumed that it was simply still on back order an put another request through.   When I spoke to the pharmacist and told her what I knew, she did some research and confirmed it.  But she also said we could try different concentrations as it looked like they were still available.  So, back to my endo.  She was still put out so instead of helping me grab some of what was quickly becoming a dwindling supply, she simply cancelled the change the pharmacist requested, leaving me with nothing.  A few emails later and she informed me that injectable estrogen was no longer available and I should try the patch instead.  Now, her predecessor (the guy who felt me up) had said that patches were useless for trans women because I'd need to have them covering my whole body to get a sufficient dose.  My current endo (who I've never met, btw) disagreed and told me the only other alternative was oral and that oral is hard on the liver.

  So for three months I was on the patch.  It was miserable.  Within a week, my sensory issues came back.  I couldn't sort out someone talking to me from background sounds.  My sleep was off & all of my old food sensitivities came back.  And my mood went south.  Far south.  Basically, everything connected to serotonin reverted to the way I was from puberty until I was 39 when I started hrt.  And I repressed and became so depressed I just didn't care anymore.  I'd given up on living as me.  And just when it couldn't get worse, the lichen planus I had in my 20's returned (think incredibly itchy bumps on your skin).
  Then my wife decided-without-knowing-it that she was done trying to get me to repress.  Or whatever happened.  And I got just enough motivation to contact the new regional center at Kaiser for transgender care.  And made an appointment.   When I walked in and saw the bulletin boards and posters, I started crying.  The place was so incredibly positive and affirming!  At times I could hear the staff talk around the corner or in the back hallway and it was clear they 'got' trans.  They simply accepted each patient's identity as fact, and that was that.  In my appointment, I found out that while estrogen valerate was off the market, estrogen cypionate was not.  After the appointment it took a few days and emails and essentially cutting my old endo out of the loop, but I was back doing my shot once a week.  And it was good.  It's clear it is not quite the same, it feels like maybe half what it should be, but the trans specialist doctor said we have far more leeway with dosing.

  Oh, and just last week when I went to pick up my needles I found that the endo who'd messed everything up, the one I've never met?  Yeah, she'd cancelled the prescription for my syringes & needles.  Luckily the pharmacist did a workaround and was able to get some similar but shorter needles approved and I left happy.

I'm still here.

Well look at that; my last post was in December 2012*.  And I'm still here.

  Around the start of the new year my wife decided to be supportive of my identity and need to transition.  She won't talk about why, but that's okay, I guess.  She may not even know why herself.  I do know that she didn't do so until I'd repressed to the point I was at  eight years ago, before I remembered who I really am.  About the only difference was that this time I had a name for it, and because of that I couldn't block everything again.  Intellectually, I knew who and what I was even if I could no longer feel it (or anything else, for that matter).  Although I'm pretty confident my wife would never do anything like this consciously, my guess is that at some level she had to see that I  would put us and our family first.

  I still work at the same small company owned by a Southern Baptist couple with the employee ranks mostly filled from the local SBC congregation.  But I wear my hair long and really, my body has changed enough on 6+ years of hrt that people mostly assume I'm not the same as them (I do wear a binder, which is not comfortable physically or emotionally).  Don't ask, don't tell is apparently the acceptable solution.  I'm stuck there for the time being for various reasons despite there being other, probably better paying, employers out there for what I do.

  So, I mostly pass in public when I am myself - mostly because I've been working on my voice.  And my wife is supportive.  She wore a bracelet for weeks to remind herself to use the right pronouns.  Our kids have a name they made up to use so they don't have say, "Dad," as it bothered them to do so.  And my daughter recently outed me to her school (I wasn't quite ready for that...but at least the office staff and teacher were incredibly positive).  But I still have to be [male name] five days a week.  And if we spend the weekend at home, it's like seven days a week.  I'm trying so hard to find and feel my true self again but it takes days to shed the false persona I wear for work (and wore for decades).  And the longer I go between being myself, the harder it is to allow myself to do so.   I know I'm an introvert, but I can only get the experience as myself and the reinforcement I need by being out and about.  But it's not happening.  And so I am not learning how to be me.  I'm not re-finding who I am.   I'm still stuck, just farther uphill, I guess.  I've fought off depression over this so far, but it's sitting there, just above my head and off to one side.  Not sure what to do to move forward anymore.  Everything is so...different.  All I can do is continue to "live it" and see what happens.

*Not really.  I created a few  in 2013 and 2014 but left them in draft status.  I'll retro-post them soon.