I did it.
Let’s back this train up, to before I took my pants down.
This morning I went to my doctor at Howard Brown. We went over my numbers: liver functioning great, cholesterol numbers awesome (being vegan works!), good blood sugar business, and my testosterone is pathetic and completely normal for a cis-gendered female–it’s floundering at 38. After all is said and done, I will level off at 400-ish, which is within normal cis-gendered male range. So my doc wrote me a script for the T and needles and told me that when I returned with my supplies a nurse would show me how to to do the injection myself, and I would have my first shot today.
I thought maybe they would give me my first shot, and maybe I would come back next week for a supervised self-injection.
After we talked numbers and my preferred method of delivery (intra muscular injection), I got the informed consent papers to sign, along with my Rx for testosterone and needles. K and I went two doors over to the pharmacy* and procured said goods. Then we went back to my doctor’s office.
We sat** in the waiting room for a few minutes while I mulled over my life up to this point. And I freaked out a bit. It felt surreal, as though I had no idea how I got to this particular moment: who was this person, this person about to put a needle in his (or is it her?) leg to change his looks and his gender and what the hell was I doing there? Who was driving this body?
I was driving. I already did all the thinking and deciding, back there, over the last few months, and it was the last few decades that put me in this particular room, at this particular moment. I was never female. I took a longer breath, and let a little air back into my thinking, and I felt better. Then they called us in.
The nurse took me though the steps of giving myself a shot*** and then handed the needle over to me. Although I wouldn’t consider myself needle phobic, I have never given myself a shot before, and never even watched someone else give me a shot. I always turn my head away: I just assumed I might jerk at the point of injection, so in order to not complicate matters for the injector, I just didn’t watch. So before we came in today I decided that when I gave myself my shot I would take a deep breath, count to three, and on three exhale and inject. Simple and effective. I knew I couldn’t ruminate on it, or I would chicken out or fuck it up. I just didn’t think today would be the day.
In this little room, I have practiced the process and understand the steps, and the nurse is there to correct me if I miss a step, but is otherwise just patiently waiting. I take the plastic tip off the needle used to draw the testosterone and…slip and poke myself in the palm of my hand.
So, the nurse had to get me a new needle because now that one was contaminated. Oh well, confidence unshaken, I carried on. Needle in hand, sitting on the examiner’s table, I told the nurse I just needed a minute to gather my thoughts. I took just that, a moment, remembered to breathe, took one breath in and stuck the needle in my leg. Then I exhaled.
“Wow, you just did it,” said the nurse.
Wow, I just did it.
I pulled back on the plunger, there was no blood, so I injected the testosterone. It was way easier than I thought it was gonna be, and I think I did pretty damn well for my first try.
So this guy is my new date every Thursday:
I am doing once weekly shots of .5ml. I think there are different ways to measure that, but I know this is, according to my doctor, a “standard American dose.” Please do not take anything I type here as medical advice. THIS IS SIMPLY MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, WITH A DOCTOR TREATING MY OWN PARTICULAR BODY AND ITS SPECIFIC CHEMISTRY. PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR FOR ANY AND ALL MEDICAL ADVICE.
After I stuck myself, the nurse put a band-aid on my leg, and left me to put my pants back on. K watched the whole process, as we both feel it important for her to know how to administer the shot also, although I feel it my personal responsibility.
As I was pulling my pants up, I noticed a funny feeling, it was of course, partially the endorphins, partially the elation, but I was also unmistakably happy. I felt, for the first time since I started thinking about taking hormones, that it was undeniably the right decision. I think that feeling of assuredness will grow stronger as the weeks march on.
Today was a triumph. I am delighted.
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
*For those of you not living in America, we believe it is our sacred franchise to protect and patronize markets who deal specifically in pharmaceuticals. We also believe it is one of our most important duties as citizens to incarcerate and punish any other citizen who purchases drugs outside of a pharmaceutical environment. We’re funny that way.
**K sat; I fidgeted. I flitted looks at the emergency exit. It occurred to me I could run now and never look back. It occurred to me I was going to put a needle in my leg, my perfectly healthy leg. I was sweating. I was panicking. So I stopped thinking about it. Your panic is of your own creation. What you allow into your head space is your own reality. So I put some air into my lungs and shook all that crazy talk out of my head.
***I will go through these steps in a later blog post.