Sunday, June 21, 2009

The First Injection

This morning I took my first estradial valerate injection. It turned out to be quite a mission though! It took a little research to figure out how to open the bottle, how to fill a syringe, how to administer an injection, and how to locate the right injection site. After all that, plus a lot of trouble getting the syringe to draw the medication out of the vial, I was finally standing with the needle hovering above my skin.

I was never really sure I would be able to do it. I've thought about it, and up until today, I could not imagine pushing a 1 and a half inch needle into my skin. And if it were for any other reason, I still doubt I could have. But for transition, I will do what it takes. The needle went in with very little pain and now, assuming I did everything correctly, I have 2 weeks worth of estrogen slowly being time released over the next 2 weeks. And I think the next injection will go much more smoothly.

The whole procedure had such a sinister feel to it. I really dislike needles. Pills seem so benign. A syringe full of liquid just seems so much more serious, so scary. I guess maybe if I had taken the time to go up and learn this process from a reassuring clinic nurse instead of figuring it out by looking online, it would have seemed less daunting.

I have so many questions too. The dosage particularly concerns me. Up until now, I have been taking three 2 mg estradiol tablets sublingually every day. Now, instead, I have 10 mg of estradiol every two weeks. Thats so much less. Of course this is a much more efficient delivery system than sublingual. But is it enough efficiency to make up the difference?

Really after a day to think about it the needle feels less threatening. This is the most efficient medication to take. My doctor recommended it. There's practically no pain either. And before I had to have 15 minutes that I couldn't talk waiting for the sublingual pills to dissolve. Now instead I just need one injection every two weeks.

In a way I miss the pills though. Taking them three times a day, there was always an assurance that they were in my system doing what they need to be doing. With the injections, I just have to trust that its doing what it is supposed to be doing. Guess change is hard, especially when its something important to you. I'm trying not to worry, but its hard not to imagine waking up two weeks from now with signs that testosterone is taking back over. its a very troubling thought.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Maximum Randomosity

Hi! Just random things going on today. My spironolactone prescription arrived in the mail! So tomorrow, I get to pick up everything and switch to estrogen injections instead of my very unreliable sublingual delivery method. Maybe transition will get faster! :P

In other new, I had the most awesome Halloween costume idea in the world today. I'm not telling what it is yet, but if things come out okay expect photos in a few months. For now I will say it involves some fairly complex sewing, some neat fabrics, and will be pretty wild. I'll probably order my materials soon. Exciting!

Also, after two more weeks, I'm going on a family vacation to the Yellowstone National Park area. Hours in a crowded truck, and a temporary living arrangement that's really going to cut into my privacy. But quality time with Mom, Dad, one of my nicer uncles, and perhaps other relatives. Should be nice!

And I finally found a combination of appliances, shampoos, oil and heat protectants that get me the glossy smooth hair I have always wanted. Always been frustrated that my stylist can make it happen, but once I get home it explodes into frizz! But now I finally figured it out. But on the downside, it seems I still may be loosing hair despite spiro, fincar, and estrofem. I'm not sure but maybe. Last year it would have depressed me to no end. But I'm learning to feel thankful for the blessings I do have and take things as they come.

Missing my support groups and friends all desperately. I'm happy, but a little lonely. Spending some time around the house to ease Mom and Dad into things definitely has its drawbacks. But I'm spending less money and catching my breath from the fast paced changes in my life. And I do enjoy time around my family.

I'll try to post something deeper and more meaningful soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suspenseful Days

For ages, I have waited for the day, when I am officially viewed as transitioning. I dreamed of a time when instead of sending away for medication from shady international pharmacies, I could walk into a real life brick and mortar pharmacy with my head held high. This week, I finally began to live that dream. But it was not the brief moment I expected it to be. Instead, it has dragged out into days of waiting and driving.

I am not complaining though! I got all dressed up for my first visit, and the CVS staff was very friendly and nice to me. Today I found out that my estrodial veralate is finally arriving tomorrow. The the only prescription left unfilled is my spirolactone prescription, because the doctor failed to include it when sending the progesterone and eestrodial prescriptions. Still the pharmacy has ordered everything, and when I receive my spiro prescription early next week I can go by and pick up everything I need to start my newly prescriped hormone replacement and feminization regimen!

The progesterone, I picked up yesterday. While I was in London, I again decided to get out in town en femme. The Wal-Mart greeter greeted me as ma'am without the slightest hesitation. I ate at a crowded Ruby Tuesday's and none of the patrons stared or laughed. The whole evening went very smoothly. I got to feel like just a normal girl about town. It was such a pleasant change of pace for me, as my home town feels more and more stifling.

Still, even in my home town things are going better. The kids are out of school, so no one is teasing me in the halls as I do my work. Most of my co-workeres ahve adopted to my current state and treat me well. The superintendent himself trusted me with the task of connecting his blackberry to our exchange server today!

Things are going smoothly. =)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And Finally the Results Are in

After a week of checking the mail anxiously after my therapy appointment, I got news today from UK!

My blood test results are in, and it all look very good. I was especially surprised to find that bad cholesterol is extremely low. Between my awful diet and my use of hormones, I have been worried about this all along.

But even better news, they mailed my prescriptions along with the results! Sort of. Somehow the nurses have left out my spirolactone prescription. But I have quite a bit left, so that will be fine. The new estrogen prescription is for injected estrodial varalate. Its a deep intramuscular injection though. Its going to feel weird, needing to buy needles and syringes, and I've never used such a thing. My doctor had advised that she would have the prescriptions left at the office for me to pick up anytime, and that I should get the nurses to walk me through the first injection. But through some miscommunication they got mailed.

Now I have to decide if I want to save a trip to UK and do injections based on online research of the procedure. Or, find a day I can leave a little early to go learn from a nurse. There is definitely no one living around me I would ask.

I think I'll have the prescription filled this evening. =)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Dream Realized

Sometimes it seems like life comes in surges, like the tide.  I've had a dry few weeks lately, waiting for my endocrinology appointment.  But then its like something happened and  a swell of change, events and emotion suddenly came ashore with enough power to reshape the beach that is life.  Too much of a good thing? Not really.  I got dragged out to sea, but I found my way back to shore. 

As frequent readers know, I have been waiting for the fifth of June since April, when I scheduled my endocrinology appointment. And truly it has been a much longer wait. For I have dreamed of the  appointment many years before knowing the exact day.

I had a pretty simple plan. I have two friends with an apartment minutes away from the UK Clinic. I was going to leave work Thursday, then travel with them to the Richmond LExington area.  Then Friday the fifth I would have all morning to get dressed and primp for the appointment.  I didn't want them to take one look at me and decide I was making a mistake, so I wanted to really look my best.  After the appointment, I was to meet back up with my two friends and we were to head to Louisville. They had some business in that direction, and I was to be in a pageant.  But that, is the subject of another blog entirely! Ha!

So, Thursday morning finally came, I got my car packed and went to work. Then, I called my friends to confirm their plan and the tide started rising.  My Mom had decided something suspicious was afoot with all of us leaving town at the same time, and had called my aunt to tell her she felt her son and daughter in law were enabling me by traveling with me.  Apparently it was quite an emotional call and got my aunt stirred up. So she drove to my cousin's current place of employment and pulled him aside to basically insist that he and his wife not help me in any way whatsoever.

I was disappointed, and very scared. I kept thinking that something was going to happen before work ended and mom would try t find some way to stop me, or pull me into a confrontation somewhere.  But nothing happened. At the end of the day, I wrote a letter to mom and dad. It basically told them I was going to an endocrinologist, that I am sure I am a woman, that I will transition, that it is past time to debate, and that I will be back Sunday.  I appologized for not discussing it in person but explained that I just can't handle the fighting anymore, that I know what I need and I will do it.  I left the note at the house and began my drive.

Mom and I had some very emotional phone conversations along the way. She kept trying to employ guilt to turn me back. But I was so angry that she had tried to control me by forcing away my friends that I was past feeling sorry for the worry I cause. When guilt didn't work she changed tact and told me I was being controlled by the devil, at which point I hung up.

I was feeling pretty lonely and decided to call a few friends. Then things got much brighter. One of the calls I made was to Tina Jenson (yes, the lovely Tina Jenson of blogger fame :P).  I told her how things were going, and she decided to drive all the way up to Lexington to give me moral support through my interview!  Suddenly I wasn't alone and everything felt much better.  I ended up at a Super 8 near the clinic.  I called Mom and Dad to let them know I was okay. There was no more arguing.

In the morning Tina showed up at the Hotel as I was getting ready for the appointment. I showed her a few of the outfits I was considering for the appointment. In the end I settled on my favorite embellished stretch jeans and a cute little cap sleeve top with lace detailing.  I wore low heeled sandals along with it. The end effect was casual, unpretentious, low key casual.  

Eventually we found our way down to the clinic. Lexington is such a maze though. If I had been alone I would have been a nervous wreck.  Even once we found parking and got inside the clinic, find endocrinology was not easy.  Everyone there was very kind though, and soon I was in the waiting room with Tina, all the paperwork done, everything in order. It didn't feel real. I'd imagined finally seeing an endocrinologist all my life and now here I was. It was such a surreal feeling.  

They eventually called me back. The nurses were great and made me feel right at home. But I was still anxious about meeting the doctor herself. I have often been told that her predecessor, was very callouss and cold. In initial interviews with transgender patients, many clients he accepted thought right up until the end that he was going to turn them away.

The current doctor is not that way at all. She mostly asked me basic medical questions. Everything went smoothly and after a brief interview, she told me I could go to the lab and get my blood drawn, and that when the results were back, if everything looked okay I could pick up my prescriptions at my leisure!  The whole thing was very relaxed and she was very pleasant. 

I called the clinic today and it sounds like everything is in order. I am probably days away from starting on a newly prescribed hormone regimen, and I'll never have to send away over seas for meds again.

I never really got to relish the feeling though. After a lunch with chipotle I was back on the road. It was 2 hours back home, and a short night's rest, then back to work to set up for a high school graduation. Then about 2 it was time to hit the road again, this time for a 3 and a half hour drive to Louisville.  In the end I fit 11 hours of driving, an endocrinology appointment, a pageant, and lots of emotional fighting into a 3 day period. But when I got home, it was all worth it.

Mom and Dad didn't try to stop my second trip at all.  I think they are starting to see that I am not going to be stopped and that its best to just let me do what I must.  And they seem to be finding a level of acceptance. It has been a peaceful week at home so far.

I owe Tina so much thanks for being there for me. It would have been a hard weekend without her company. I'm missing my other friend's greatly but it can't be helped.  Sometimes we just all do what we have to do.  I worry that I have caused them a lot of trouble by using them for an alibi so often. I never dreamed Mom would turn around and make accusations like that to my aunt.  But from now on, everything I do will be out in the open.  I stood up to Mom and Dad and did what I needed to do, and our relationship is intact. I finally feel like we are communicating adult to adult, instead of Mom continually struggling for a way to control as though I were still a child.

The biggest victory is just finally getting to work with an endocrinologist though.  Its finally documented that I am transitioning. Its all legal and documented and I'm finally on my way. Feels wonderful!