Testosterone Update

Hello friends!

I’ve been just working and enjoying the summer here in Chicago.  After a few days of sweltering heat and humidity we’ve gotten a break and today is looking to be a beautiful one in the high 70s.

So what’s up?

Well, I’ve noticed an uptick in my anxiety levels, so I went to Josh over at Howard Brown.  We talked about SSRIs, and I tried one (Zoloft), but decided I was jumping the gun with meds.  I want to try to control the anxiety with more cardio, some morning yoga, and some meditation and breathing exercises.  Also, I’ve started back to my therapist once a week, instead of every other week.  I don’t have a good routine down yet for all these methods, but I do notice I feel a little relief after practicing each one.  And so that is encouraging.

I also asked Josh to lower my testosterone dosage: .3 ml was keeping me in the high range of normal–I thought maybe my body would feel more comfortable going through these changes at a slightly lower pace.  So I started .2 ml injections this past Thursday, and will return to Josh in three weeks to have my levels checked again.

Remember boys, your dosage, and your pace, and your whole transition is in your hands.  If you don’t feel good, or something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor, and tell him what you are comfortable with and what you are uncomfortable with: if he doesn’t listen, he’s not the right doctor.  Fortunately for me, Josh is a smart guy with good suggestions, so when I told him I wanted to lower my dosage, at my own suggestion, he was very receptive.

So, what prompted me, exactly, to lower my dosage?

Well, I’ve been sleeping terribly.  I’ve been having anxiety-related chest pains pretty regularly.  And heart palpitations.  I’ve been feeling light headed.  These symptoms and I have a long history together, but of course Dr. J took a listen to the ticker to rule out any other more serious cardio condition first.  So my heart is healthy, and the symptoms, unsurprisingly, are anxiety-related.

Really, I think as I go through this transition, I will be jettisoning some old fears, and those will be painful as they leave my body.  I think I am digging out some soreness and letting it go and that is a difficult process.  Healing always hurts.  But I am confident I will feel a lot better on the other side of this transition.  Or rather, out of these particular woods, because as I am learning, my transition, your transitions, are never really complete, are they?  The bodily changes the testosterone is causing may peak and level off, but I will always be an evolving human, and so will you.

I’m also realizing that I can do all the yoga and meditation and exercise I want, but until I look at my history, and the pain and trauma it has caused me, the anxiety symptoms will always come back.  Until I get to some trans support group and talk about how painful it was to hide this part of myself for so long, and make some friends who are having the same social and psychological problems I am (and release some of this internalized transphobia), until I go to some Al-Anon meetings and work through the pain my mother and her alcoholism has caused me, I will never be rid of these sleepless nights, these chest pains, these feelings of inadequacy and timidity.

Wish me luck, and be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

Legal Name Change in IL: Some Tips

So, last week I* went to the Daley center and filed some papers and paid a whole lot of money** to get a court date to have my name legally changed.

In Illinois, there are multiple legal-type forms to fill out, multiple steps to take, and the whole process is a little intimidating.  I’m a baby, and so I would have been pretty scared if it wasn’t for…drumroll please….The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois!

Yeah, for real: the last Friday of every month, there are FREE LAWYERS, courtesy of TJLP, hanging out in the Daley Center, just waiting to fill out all my paperwork and help me file it for free.

FOR FREE.

Well, I still had to pay the ridiculous filing costs, to the tune of multiple hundreds of dollars  (for both modesty and clarity sake, see the specifics here).  So if you have lived in Illinois for at least the last six consecutive months, and want to change your name for trans reasons, check this out!

My lawyer, Elizabeth (big thanks to her!), was really friendly: basically she just asked me all the necessary questions (name, SSN, felony status, birthdate, etc), filled out the forms for me, took me up to the counter to do all the filing, took me over to the other counter to publish the change, and all I had to do was shell out the dough.  Ouch.  It burns me up a bit that it costs straight people Target cashier money to change their name when they get married, but it costs me stripper weekend money to change mine to what it should have been in the first place.

Cest la vie.

So my court date is at the end of August, where I will appear and will hopefully have a judge that’s cool with it.  Elizabeth says some judges are hostile: in that case I would ask for a continuance and get another date with a different judge.  She also said some judges are great, and get a boner just thinking about how awesome they are to be so benevolent and understanding of our weird tranny shit.  I just hope mine is over it and bored and says, “whatever you want kid,” and signs my papers.   The best part is that I won’t be alone: TJLP will have a lawyer there waiting to go in with me, and if they notice trouble, will let me know.  I have never been in a court room, and am not sure I would know the difference between a hostile judge and a stuffy one.  I’m glad they are there to help us poor trans folks in Illinois.  I hope other states have similar organizations.

Happy 4th friends!

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

* Actually, it was me and K.

**Actually, I could not have paid these fees without a generous grant from my fiancee.

-Eli