I went to my first Gender Odyssey convention and it was emotionally draining. Not that anything went poorly, but the emotional baggage around everything is so huge and it definitely took a lot of spoons.
The event started Thursday night. I got to a hotel to visit with my husband’s GRS surgeons to look at me. Just the week before waiting for the short 15 minute consult I was amped, Thursday got bad, especially at work, so by the time we arrived at 6:30 at night I was just jumpy.
The surgeon’s office has always been good surgeons, there was some bedside manner and after care issues, but I definitely recommend them for their skills. That is why I am going to them.
So they had me come into a hotel room where both surgeons are, along with three staff members. One of the surgeons is getting close to retirement I believe, thus finishing the training and getting ready to pass the practice to the second surgeon. Both are incredibly good though.
They sat me down and I told them what I want. I want FFS, especially hairline, brow, eyes and chin/jaw if possible. They listened for a couple of minutes and then leaned forward and started looking my face over in depth, including the requisite touching my face.
They said my hair is in real good condition. I knew that logically but it was a huge weight off my shoulders hearing a professional say that (yes the husband has always said it was good, but sometimes husbands do that to make you feel better).
They then thought the moving up my brow, with some cranioplasty would definitely give me a more feminine hairline, along with opening my eyes up. That along with the chin/jaw work and with the lip implant they suggested (and they are right, my upper lip is flat as any boy) I think I have a really good chance at this.
I left the meeting feeling both good for myself, and worried of course. What happened if something went wrong, how would I proceed. What if hubby saw me as too feminine and couldn’t handle it. What if I cost us too much money. All of these were thoughts, but were not true, not in the least.
So we went home and got some sleep before going to our single panel we were going on Friday. The day was worth it, but already costly emotionally and mentally. We knew the next day would be worse, as not much sleep to be had along with severe family obligations/pressure. I will cover the Friday in a different post with lots of details.
Well I guess that was a pointless worry. We did go up for the laser hair removal appointment and arrived early to meet my brother at a local diner… who was still passed out from the night before and didn’t show up. Yep, even after calling and texting we got nothing.
I guess that made it a real easy decision on what to say (as in nothing). So we had some biscuits and gravy and went on to the appointment.
The appointment itself went really well, they upped the laser wattage so it might be more effective this time, although it was pretty effective to begin with. We talked about electrolysis with the staff and just enjoyed the day.
We then came home and hung out in our bedroom. All in all a good day, and one that had a lot of needless worry going up to the leaving time.
Yesterday I went and saw my PA-c who will be handling my HRT. To be honest I was terrified she might be a gatekeeper, she might be judgmental, she might try and slow roll me.
I was wrong.
Colleen (I won’t use her last name just to keep some privacy until I come out publicly) was absolutely fantastic. She was funny, sarcastic and vaguely inappropriate in the right way.
She had no problem with the hubby being there and we all talked for about an hour and a half. She did ask me the normal questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. She was understanding of the situation and she didn’t even blink about starting me out on HRT immediately.
I did ask her about progesterone, she went over some of the most recent findings and after listening to her I had to agree I don’t think at least at this time I want to take that on top of the other two meds. She didn’t even start me on a half dose that I can tell.
I got estradiol 2 mg tablet x2 per day (for 4mg) and spironolactone 100 mg x2 per day (for 200mg). Those both seemed to be pretty in line with other ladies receive. I will come back in six weeks and get retested and see her again just to make sure everything is going ok.
We did end up going to the pharmacy that was part of her clinic and they were out of estradiol. They asked if we could come back, but since we don’t live in that city yet (that will be end of June/early July) we had them ship them to our normal pharmacy.
I am terrified about a lot of things right now, but not about what the HRT will do to me. I haven’t felt this sure about something in any of my life except for when I said yes to my husband when he proposed. The terror about everything else though will wait until tomorrow. I won’t worry about dealing with it. I have good news and that is what is important.
Today I go into my first HRT appointment, the initial labs are done and now all we do is find out how the primary care PA-c is. I am hoping she isn’t a gate-keeper, that will mean more doctors to look for so my fingers are crossed.
What I do want to do now is establish my overall physical/mental makeup. I would post a picture, but I am not ready to come out in case my employers at a very conservative agency come across it. So I will discuss with you.
I am 46 years old, 6’2” tall and built like a linebacker. I weighted 300 at my last doctor’s visit on 3/5/18 and was pretty depressed. Within a week of that I came out to my husband about being trans with positive results. It is now 4/3/18 and my last weigh in is 288lbs last week. Maybe that is a good sign to begin with.
I have muscular legs, but am pretty soft and chubby around the middle with a not hugely developed upper body. I have hair I have been growing out since last November and it reaches the back of my neck from the top of my head. It is that really untidy stage. My hair is fairly untouched by grey, I have a tiny bit on each temple, but only a few strands. My beard is different, it is streaked pretty heavily in grey, but I keep it shaved and started laser hair removal on it two weeks ago.
I am covered in tattoos, full back, most of one arm and part of another with a small one on my chest. I do plan in increasing those tattoos, but I think I want more feminine looking tattoos. I don’t have any weapons or human skulls, although I do have one rat skull representing my husband (I just got that a few months ago). I do have a lot of pretty demon and angel ladies on me. I think I will augment the tattoos and add to it though.
I have incredibly dry skin, we are talking Sahara Desert levels of dryness. It results in a lot of itching. I hear that my skin will get softer and I am weirdly enough really looking forward to that.
I currently have a broken foot so I can’t workout, but I really do want to start doing exercise bike and swimming. That will start in four weeks if I get this boot off.
I used to eat constant candy, bag a day type thing. My husband pointed out it has gotten worse over the years and my depression has too. I suspect they are definitely intertwined. He also pointed out that since I came out about three weeks ago I haven’t eaten anything candy like except for one brownie he made me because he wanted one. The weird thing is I haven’t craved it at all. I used to crave sugar all the time, now not so much.
My measurements are as follows 4/3/2018
- Weight 288 (down from 300 on 3/5/18)
- Neck: 19 inches
- Waist: 47 inches
- Hips: 49 inches
- Chest: 49 inches.
I think I will eventually add other body parts, maybe later this week to see what impact it has. I do have a lot of muscle, so I am worried as the muscle melts away will the weight just go away or does it just become fat? We will have to see about that.
Mentally I was incredibly depressed. I didn’t really like to go do anything away from my computer and if I had a bad day I would just crave a lot of sugar.
I am sure part of the depression is that I work at a job that just drains my soul. It pays very well and helps paying down our debt, but the more I work in a day the more I just want sugar. Since coming out I haven’t had nearly as strong urges for sugar, and only when I am working. Otherwise if I am hungry a Yoplait light yogurt does all I need.
I do have a fairly feminine outlook. I do a lot of feminine stuff and dislike a lot of masculine stuff. I like to bake, read romance novels (urban fantasy or fantasy/sci-fi). I dislike working on cars, houses, etc.
I have the hardest time keeping my attention on one thing, I tend to a lot of escapism and I have a set of blender tutorials that have been mocking me (that I haven’t started). I tend to be hungry when bored or depressed and pretty uninterested in doing anything.
Right now I am not physically active much, a lot of that is my broken foot. I do really want to work out, at the very least I want to do an exercise bike or swim. I do plan getting out of the boot and maybe doing a weight circuit to record my capabilities and then every few months do it again on HRT and see if I can tell a change. I wouldn’t mind keeping a portion of my strength, I don’t have huge muscles on my arms to begin with so maybe that will be possible.
Currently I do not dress femininely publicly at all. I am still stuck in the closet as I can’t afford work to know, and to be honest I still very much feel like I am horrible looking when I see myself in a mirror in women’s clothing.
This is just a very scattershot list that I will eventually put on a page that I can keep track of any and all changes. I am incredibly excited, but also there is a lot of anxiety of not being able to get past the middle. I know if I don’t make it, that doesn’t mean I am any less deserving or beautiful, but it still makes me anxious.
I will let you know when I get back what happened.
Yesterday I got my informed consent letter from a very good mental health counselor. This is what is needed for the doctor to prescribe HRT and any possible surgeries under the coverage of insurance.
I hadn’t realized how worried I was about it until I woke up the morning of the appointment with only two hours of sleep. I get anxious with bouts of insomnia but that was pretty bad.
I really don’t know what I was fearing exactly. I have been this way since I was a teen, but I think it is only now that I am willing to push forward. He confirmed everything I had thought, and it got rid of that stupid fear that maybe I was misreading myself. So for that alone the appointment was worth it.
I still feel like an imposter wearing the clothes when I look in the mirror, but having confirmation from both my counselor and my husband reinforces that the worrying is just in my head and it isn’t real. I also know that many other trans have that same feeling of being an imposter (I have been told directly from others) and I know logically for me it is a wrong feeling just like it was for them.
I was also worried maybe I was going to fast, the hubby is always reassuring that I am not being unreasonable (we went fast on his transition), and the counselor echoed those same thoughts.
It means next week I get to go in and talk to the doctor about my HRT, take my tests and do all the medical stuff necessary to get started. I am still a bit scared, but not because I think I might be wrong. I know in my head what I feel, and have felt for decades. I am just worried about the external consequences of going down the path.
I avoided the path as long as I could because of those externalities. Now I get to see first-hand, not just as a spouse, what they are.
I am very fortunate in my situation. I live in a state that has a lot of transgender protections, including requiring insurance companies to pay for transgender care. The only negative right now is I work for the Department of Defense which as we can all see is rolling back things due to Trump, and they are the only employer that can supersede the state law for medical care.
That being said, I am leaving the DoD at the end of June. My hubby is starting a new job with good medical (actually same medical we currently have, so we will just be transferring our insurance plan). So I don’t have to worry about any transgender “riders” on the insurance.
Our current and soon to be current insurance does assign people a transgender case manager to help with all the hoops you have to jump through. We have been assigned a very wonderful lady named Rae. The incredibly great part about this is she is the same one that helped my husband through his FtM process, she is the sweetest person and will fight to get you what you need.
She has already set me up in the system, and gave me a referral to a mental health specialist. This one disadvantage is the insurance company requires me to get a sign off before they will pay for HRT, voice training and implants. The implant possibility will happen two years after I am on HRT. This is to see if enough growth has happened, and if it hasn’t they will approve it.
The insurance may start covering other things like facial feminization, and laser hair removal in the future and while I will probably have my beard lasered off before then, I want everything else. I am still debating SRS at the moment (bottom surgery) but I want to see how things progress before making that choice.
Rae has just been on it for me. She is so great she even gave me a list of specialists that are in favor of informed consent. Not all are like the advertise and I will complain about that in a future post.
Informed consent means you are given HRT once you have shown you understand the possible consequences of receiving it. You are basically just acknowledging you understand what its effect on you may be and you give permission to proceed.
A lot of specialists still require you to have endless sessions and they still may decide not to approve you for a variety of reasons. This is a form of gatekeeping to determine if people are “trans enough” and unfortunately a lot of times their decision isn’t based on the person they are caring for, but their own outlook. I don’t want to waste my time doing this because someone needs to get inside me and know me deeply. I only allow my husband inside me… or maybe someone really cute.
Dear god, I am 46 years old. I have been like this my whole life.
So I have gotten an appointment with the same specialist that worked with my hubby and who believes in informed consent. The specialist was awesome to hubby, and the specialists is already being awesome with me. If things work well, I will go a week from Tuesday (the 27th) and an hour after that I will have the sign off so I can make an appointment with a doctor to get HRT.
Oh, another cool thing that Rae has done is set me up for voice training lessons, even before I saw the counselor. This caught me off guard as the speech office called me up and asked when I wanted the appointment. At first I had no idea what they were talking about until they explained what was going on. That made my day right there.
I am pretty excited (and anxious) so much is happening so soon, the insurance process has started!