It’s a bit confusing to label my blog posts: I will have my 7th testosterone injection tomorrow, so I have only been “on t” for 6 weeks. Actually, it’s not that confusing. Nevermind.
I type this post from my desk in my new apartment! K and I moved a week and a half ago, and we just love the place. We have a lot more space, sweet built-in bookshelves, a good amount of sunshine (when the sun is out, right now it’s raining like crazy), and our landlords and neighbors are great. But…our bedroom window opens out to the alley behind our building, and there has been a dump truck making all kinds of noise…every morning…before 8 am. I get off work almost every night at 11, so it’s going to take me a while to get used to sleeping through that kind of racket. Which is why it’s 8 am and I’m blogging.
Anyway, enough of my bragging/complaining. Here’s what you all have come to see:
-I had my first post-injections appointment two weeks ago (at the one month mark) to check my T level, liver function, and red blood cell count. Dr. J* was pleased I wasn’t having any negative side effects, and so the appointment was fairly quick. He and I spoke for a few minutes, he told me he could hear my lower voice from the reception room before he saw me, and we chatted about some previous concerns I had that have since dissipated. His nurse drew some blood from me and I was on my way.
The following morning a different nurse called to tell me my blood and liver functions were great, but my T level was a little high, so we lowered my does from .5 ml/weekly to .3 ml. I feel neither happy nor sad about the adjustment. Some dudes get upset when they have to lower their dosage, but remember, lads, when there is too much testosterone the body converts it to estrogen! Dr. J wants me in the 400-800 level range for T (just as a matter of reference, I was at 38 before the injections, which is a normal level for a female body). The blood test revealed I was sitting at 1100. Ouch! That’s high, even for a cis-gendered dude. But not to fret, this is a trial and error period so we just test and adjust, test and adjust, until we hit a good spot for my body’s particular chemistry. I go back in a few weeks to see if .3 ml is the sweet spot, or if more tweaking is necessary.
-My voice continues to crack and lower and my sex drive is still high but seems to wax and wain. I’m happy about both of these changes, and they are shifting at a rate that feels comfortable to me.
SOME NEW DEVELOPMENTS
-While the voice and sex drive changes have been ongoing, a few new things have popped up. For one, I have been noticing a headache that is more irritating than debilitating, but that won’t seem to really ever go away. It come and goes, but never completely dissipates. It’s hard, though, to parse out whether this can be attributed specifically to the testosterone, or whether it’s from the stress of moving and the concern of being on testosterone. How do we pull our lives apart and say, yes, there, that one feeling or malady is caused by a higher lever of testosterone in our system? I am always surprised by the trans guys that can parse out their lives to such a minute degree that they can attribute this or that sensation or thought or emotion to testosterone. I can’t do it. So I’m trying to relax a bit, because thinking about this all the time, trying to keep such a close eye on my changing body and mental landscape, might be giving me a headache. 🙂
-I’ve also been a bit more irritable lately, and again, I don’t know if it’s from the testosterone, or if it’s just from moving and lack of sleep thanks to my new daily, 7 am rattling dumpster alarm. Either way, it’s no fun.
-Speaking of a changing mental landscape, I think I am noticing my first non-physical, lasting testosterone change. So, normally I’m a pretty chatty person. I have a tendency to over explain, which makes me a good teacher and a condescending co-worker. I like to talk, and as I get older, I am starting to actually enjoy listening too! But recently, and for the first time in my life, I have had the impulse, on many occasions over the last, oh, two weeks or so, not to say everything that pops into my head.
It’s a strange feeling, really. I will be having a conversation with K, for example, we will be considering a new floor lamp to buy, or deciding what to have for lunch, or talking about something one of us read, and while I am engaging in the conversation a point will come to mind, and I will dismiss it. I don’t really know why. But I have never not said something for no reason before. Who knows, maybe I’m just maturing and this new filter has more to do with my age than it does my hormones. But I have been noticing a budding silence in me that, in and of itself, does not feel harmful. But when I think about it as a mental change due to the testosterone, it scares me. It scares me because I don’t know how else T will affect my mental faculties. I am pretty fond of the person I am now, and I don’t want to lose parts of me because my brain is awash in a new hormonal mixture.
This reminds me of something Karen reiterated from her son, Jacob. I can’t find the exact post to link to, but I think Jake had said something to Karen about looking forward to testosterone quieting all the noise in his head. And I can relate to that. I wonder if testosterone will quiet the inner critic a bit, will dull all the chatter in my brain. That would be a good thing. Most of the stuff in my head is garbage, anyway: lots of harsh self-criticism, too many unforgiving observations. Am I so cruel to myself because I have never been able to reconcile my appearance with my internal identity? Or is it because I have been socialized in a culture that teaches female bodied people they are insufficient? I don’t know, but I am going to try to let go of the fear (a healthy does of which our culture also instills in women) of how I am changing, and instead try to observe it from a reasonable distance. How I will do that, who knows. But I suppose I will start by trying to be okay with the not knowing. This whole process is one new corner after another, and this is just the beginning. Now is a good time to try to get used to letting go, because as time goes on, I will be letting go of more and more of the old me, and finding new parts of myself pop up to replace what is missing. But that’s true for everybody, right?
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
*My doctor at Howard Brown. He deals with all my hormone/trans medical stuff. He is rad.