Friday, February 24, 2017

Latest Endo Update

I had my latest checkup with my endocrinologist a week ago today.  Of course they took blood and did other checks.  My blood pressure was 116/76 which is not bad for an older, overweight person.  LOL  According to the message my endo sent me, my testosterone was almost zero at < 20 ng/ml and my estrogen level is 141.0 pg/dl.  I would rather my estrogen levels were up around 200 but my doctor thinks that my levels and all my liver bloodwork are great so he doesn't want to change anything. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Wonderful Wife

As a transgender person, you know you have a great wife when hanging in your hall is your wedding photo with her in her white wedding dress and you in your tux.  While immediately under it is a picture of the two of you at another formal event many year later, her in a green velvet gown and you in a black evening gown with jacket.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

National Coming Out Day

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day and I posted this elsewhere.  I thought I would share it here for others to read.

Well, it’s National Coming Out Day so I’ll tell the story of the first time I came out to anyone and other experiences. It was Thanksgiving weekend and my fiancĂ©e and I walked down to the river at the back of the apartment complex where she lived. We sat on the bank and talked for a few minutes before I got up the courage to tell her I am transgender. Oh, we didn’t have that word back then and I have no idea what words I used. I was more frightened than at any other time in my life so what I said, I have no idea. But I was convinced I would be told the wedding was off and she never wanted to see me again. Also, I was taking a huge chance because I was in the Navy at the time and some of my buddies were friends with her roommates. So if it became known to them and that got back to my command, I would have been given, at best, a general discharge rather than honorable discharge. But none of that happened. She asked me some questions and I seem to remember her saying something on the order of, “You’ll quit this after we’re married,” which of course I agreed to. (If you’re trans and reading this, you know how well that always works out!) Over the years we have adjusted with, to be honest, me gaining and her accepting those gains. Now we are at a point that I know she hoped would never come but I suspect she knew it would eventually happen with me beginning transition. Over the years in between, I came out to a few people who I knew were safe eventually progressing to the point where everyone I worked with knew I was trans.
So that brings me to this year. Early this year, we mailed coming out letters to family regarding my transition and the results were almost all positive. Oh, it took some people longer than others to come around and I’m sure there is still a lack of understanding. I received beautiful messages, all addressed to Beverly, from my wife’s brothers. One family member who is very important to me, I told in person, or rather gave him the letter in person because I didn’t trust myself to be able to get through an explanation. His response was classic. Halfway through the first page of the letter, he looked at me and said, “You know, this explains a lot from when we were kids.” Halfway through the second page, “Why didn’t you do this years ago?” After finishing the letter, he turned around, hugged me and told me, ‘I’ve always loved you and I always will.” We were standing in the parking lot of the restaurant where we had eaten lunch and we each headed our separate ways, I suspect more to make sure neither of us started crying more than anything else.
This doesn’t mean it’s all been perfect. One family member whom I love very much as cut off all contact with me. And it hurts. Oh, I know this person feels betrayed, feels I lied to them for years and I understand that, I really do. It doesn’t make it hurt less but I do understand and it doesn’t mean I love them any less. So for those who are on the verge of coming out, it may go great or there may be some rocks in the road. But remember, rocks in the road are as much a part of life as a smooth freeway. When you come out, prepare for the worst, hope for the best and accept anything in between.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Different Vacation

During the years my wife and I took care of my mom, we rarely got a vacation.  Even when we did get one, many times it was just three or four days in a cabin in the mountains.  At the end of the month, we are heading for Fort Lauderdale for some fun times at Southern Comfort Transgender Conference.  I attended SC in 1997 and 1998 through 2002, I was a staff member of the conference when it was still held in Atlanta.  At that time, I facilitated, with a trans man, the Big Brother/Big Sister program which paired newcomers to the conference with experienced conference attendees.  In some cases, it was actually the first time out in public for some of the newcomers which was my situation in 1997.  There wasn't a program in 97 and it took me something like 2 hours and 5 attempts to even open the door and go down to register.  At the end of the conference there was a meeting for those who wanted to volunteer which I did.  A couple of months after that, I was asked by the conference chairperson to start the program which we originally were only aiming at trans women but then we added it for trans men also. 

Now, I'm going back to the conference as a trans woman beginning her transition rather than the part time person I was back then.  I'm so looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people like Sarah McBride who spoke at the DNC this year.  It's going to be an amazing week!

Monday, September 5, 2016

How I talked to the doctor about the orchiectomy

I realized I never talked about the initial conversation with my urologist about the orchiectomy.  He had been treating me for orchalgia (chronic testicle pain) and had done a nerve block to see if that would stop the pain.  The night of the nerve block I was saying crap that hurts but the next day was fine.  While it worked for a few weeks, the pain came back.  About a week or so after the nerve block I had my appointment with the therapist where she recommended the orchiectomy along with HRT.  She was going to recommend me to a surgeon here in town who will do the orchi with a therapists letter but I mentioned I wanted to approach my doctor first.  At the previous appointment he had said something about having to do a removal of part of the testicle if the pain persisted.  I made the comment that, at my age, I wasn't that worried about it which is when he said, "Yes but your wife still wants a husband, not a sister."  I was laughing so hard I was about to fall off the table and my wife was giggling.  So I decided to use that as my opening at the next appointment.  I asked if he remembered the remark and he said he did so I launched into my explanation of being trans and that my wife has long had a "sister" so to speak.  I told him the recommendation from my therapist for the orchiectomy and that she was going to refer me to another surgeon but I wanted to speak to him first.  We talked about it a little more and he agreed, with a letter from my therapist to do the surgery.  One thing we did talk about was insurance.  He said he would write it up as high cancer risk in the right side and a chronic epididymitis, a chronic inflamation that sometimes has no known cause on the left side, both of which were true.  Antibiotics would clear mine up for a week or two but then the pain was right back.  But writing it up this way for the insurance company and not mentioning transgender would allow insurance to pay for it.  And they did.  Out of a several thousand dollar bill for surgery, a surgical theater and recovery, I think I paid less than $100.  Not a bad price considering a local doctor charges something like $5000 and doesn't take insurance!

The day of the surgery, we got there about 8:30, I was in for surgery 10:30, woke up in recovery around noon and leaving around 1.  I was hungry and not hurting so we stopped and got something to eat.  To go of course since I really wasn't up to going in for a sit down meal but we did sit at the table at home and eat with no problem.  Although I did sit down gingerly.  But I sat and ate before I went and laid down.  One thing that apparently comes with castration is leakage from the incision. You'll be wearing a maxipad for more than a week.  I really NEVER thought I would hear my wife ask me if I had check my maxi-pad and if there was too much blood, had I changed it?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hormone Replacement Therapy

I started HRT on June 2 with estradiol twice a day for now.  I will see my endocrinologist in a couple of months at which point he will increase my dosage.  But it's amazing the effect the hormones have had in such a short time.  It's like my emotions have been unchained.

For many years I have buried my emotions deep within me and very little affected me other than occasional anger. Deaths of very close relatives were met with just the usual day to day feeling nothing.  A lot of that was caused by being my mother's caregiver in her home for years.  In an eight year period, I probably spent less than four weeks away from the house with the biggest break being a one week trip to Ireland.  So I learned to bury my emotions including my gender dysphoria and feel basically nothing.  I'm sure I was depressed during some of that time; I mean what do you have to look forward to when your day/week/year consists of getting someone up, making sure they get dressed, fixing breakfast, getting them settled, preparing lunch, getting them settled, cooking dinner, getting them settled and finally off to bed.  My wife was still in our home in another state working so she commuted on the weekends and would give me a little break from cooking.  Thankfully I am retired from an airline and she could fly space available.  And even after mom and my brother were gone, no emotions.  Until last fall and then it was a crash.  Now with HRT, the day seems brighter plus my wife says I am much happier and more affectionate.  It's made a BIG difference.