I talked to my oncologist, and…
the good doc said my previous diagnosis poses no additional risk! It seems I had an adenoscarcoma, and those cancers don’t respond to testosterone. So, she has no problem with me going on testosterone.
Aaaannd, most female reproductive system cancers are responsive to estrogen, and so, testosterone might actually help me avoid future cancer issues. There is no science to back up this claim, just some educated assumptions, but at least I know my previous diagnosis doesn’t put me at an additional risk.
Are you fucking kidding me? Hilarious.
In retrospect, it appears my body produced just enough cancer to put a hysterectomy on the table, but not enough to make me sick in any other way. It chose to make the kind of cancer that would get the uterus out of my body, but allow me to explore testosterone later in life. In fact, after my hysto, the surgeon said my body had created a polyp around the cancer, as a way to cut off blood flow to it and to keep it from metastasizing.
The doctor I talked to at Howard Brown said he often sees elevated levels of testosterone in trans guys, pre-HRT, and said of it, “the body knows what it wants.” I believe this is my body knowing what it wants. My body knows an estrogen-based hormonal system is wrong for it, and a testosterone-based system is right. It knew I had to get that uterus out, and it apparently also knew I needed it out via a means by which insurance would pay. My body is super smart.
Before getting ahold of my oncologist, I was bummed. I spent a few days moping around, feeling like a misfit, like I might not get to fully realize what I believe to be my true gender identity. But that sadness was very reassuring to me. It made me realize how important hormone therapy is to me. When I felt my chance to take testosterone was being taken away from me I felt an emptiness that can only be described as depression. You can’t learn a bunch of stuff about yourself only to be turned away at the penultimate page and be told that’s the end of the story. I needed to see this through.
I feel pretty sure taking T is the right decision.
Pretty sure? Yeah, pretty sure. I am still changing my body’s chemistry in a substantial and foundational way. There are not any long-term studies out on the health risks of doing this. But, I am certain I am male, have always seen myself as male, and want to present as male.
I am a little concerned about the unknowns–but that’s life, right? I don’t mean to sound flippant about this very serious choice, but I do want to be level-headed here: with any major health decision, there is bodily risk, and this is a bodily risk that will be closely monitored by the health professional I have in place. I have a loving and supportive partner, a therapist I have been working with for over three years, a solid oncologist and a gender specialist who has been in the field for over 13 years. I feel prepared and supported.
I will minimize my risks: I will continue to eat well, and tighten up my diet a bit (cheating on dairy occasionally, my terrible sweet tooth…I’m looking at you guys), I will continue to exercise (and maybe up the time I am at the gym from 3-5 times a week to a consistent 5 days, with some slightly longer sessions when I can fit them in [up to an hour from 40 minutes, ideally]). And I will be in contact with my doctors should any red flags appear.
And between all that, I will try to fit in some good times.
My next step is a gender advocate appointment at HB. I am on the waiting list for an appointment in January. After that is the final appointment with the doc to go over my blood test results and get my first injection. So in time for Valentine’s day, I should be well on my way to a deeper voice, bigger muscles, and male pattern baldness.
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli