hormone replacement therapy, transgender

Estrogen Patches vs. Pills: My Experience So Far

Hi friends! How are you? You look great. Have you been working out? Is that a new outfit?

As I alluded to in my previous post, my new doctor recommended that I switch my estrogen medication. His experience w/his patients had shown a far larger success rate with pills, versus transdermal patches.

Well, I took his advice. On a busy afternoon, I stopped by the pharmacy and picked up my new prescription. For safety’s sake, he’s starting me on a low dosage of 1mg a day. For reference, I was previously on a dosage of four 0.1mcg patches, twice a week (the maximum dosage you can have prescribed).

One of the key things I’ve noticed is something my doctor also pointed out: consistency. Patches can often have variances in how the estrogen is absorbed through the skin. This is important when you’re trying do things like stop or reverse male-patterned baldness (and slow down facial hair growth), or keep your emotions in control. I’m finding he is dead-on about at least two of those points. My mood has been much more stable over the past few days. I’ve felt more alert, focused and less prone to mood swings. Even after a pretty lousy Friday evening, I was able to shake it off and say “meh, those days happen.” I’ve also experience a more-consistent slowing of facial hair growth.

Of course, there are pitfalls. It’s been said that your liver has to work extra-hard to break down the hormones in pill-based estrogen. I had a few trans women tell me exactly that before I started HRT. However, that often depends on which doctor you talk to. My doctor has told me has rarely come across a client who had significant liver problems as a result of oral hormone treatment. In my specific case, I should be fairly worry-free since my liver is already in good shape (thanks in large part to a low-carb lifestyle I’ve led for awhile now).

So, all in all, pills have been a welcome change for me. I’ll be reporting back in a few weeks, once my doctor ups my dosage, to report on any new effects.

Ciao!

hormone replacement therapy, transgender

My 9-Month HRT Follow Up

Hi hi!

Today, I paid my doctor a visit to evaluate my hormone levels after 9 months.

I actually hadn’t seen the lab report from my 6 month follow-up, so I was interested in seeing how I was doing. After a little chit-chat and catching up, my doctor prints out my report and breaks things down for me.

The Good
The report mentions the “reference interval” range of testosterone for average adult males up to 40 years old is between 348-1197. Mine, by comparison, is at 8. So, my testosterone levels are minimal. I joked “doc, I could’ve told you that before I transitioned.” *rimshot*

The So-So
My estrogen level was at 46.5. My doctor tells me that the average range for women needs to be in the hundreds, so I’m being bumped up from 2 patches, twice a week to 3 patches, twice a week. To think I was moody before…

The “Let’s Keep An Eye On It”
The most notable thing my doctor pointed out was that my prolactin level was at 26.3. As a preventative measure (he assured me it’s rare that someone at that level would show anything concerning), I’m being sent to get an MRI. This is to ensure that my pituitary gland looks ok and has no abnormal growths. Am I a little nervous? Sure. However, he assures me that there are plenty of options for treatment should anything arise.

As a bonus, my doctor rewrote my prescriptions with my new name. That was nice.

I’ll be posting another update once I hear the results of my MRI back. Until then, be good to each other and GO SHARKS!

transgender

8 Months

Hi friends!

First up, cue up this song on Spotify. It’s appropriate for this post.

Have it up and playing? Good. Let’s begin.

It’s not quite 6AM on a Monday. I sit here huddled up on my couch with my laptop and a strong cup of coffee, reflecting on the 8 months on hormones that have gone by. It seems like I recall my 3 month HRT anniversary, then 5 months. The rest seem like a bit of a blur. As time goes by, the daily doses of testosterone blockers & the bi-weekly swapping of my estrogen patches become a routine part of my day, no more than my coffee in the morning or figuring out what’s for dinner.

The changes keep on coming, too, but they become “little victories” as opposed to these “it’s finally happening” sort of moments. The other day, I had noticed that my bottom lashes had finally grown out too, to a fairly significant length. My reaction? “Great. Now I won’t look like my eyes are half done every morning.” HA! I’ve noticed my figure begin to fill out a bit more now too, though, so my clothes are starting to fit a lot better.

That all said, it’s easy to take the road I’ve taken for granted with each passing day. I’m lucky to have the friends I do, to remind me that I should always be thankful and appreciative. My friends Jason & JD got me a little gift to ensure that never happens. As a gift to commemorate my legal transition, they went out and got me this piece of artwork. It’s fitting they used one of the first photos ever taken of me looking most like the woman I am now.

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Even more moving is the inscription on the back of the frame. It reads:

This is to remind you how truly beautiful a human being you are; inside, outside, all over. You inspire, you entertain, and you radiate happiness. Be you, always.

Those words are a loving reminder of who I’ve become, and the work it’s taken me to get here.

Every time I see this painting, I can’t help but ponder the road behind me, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve helped by sharing my experience, and the road that lies ahead. I suppose that’s what art is supposed to do: move you.

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I walk by it every day.

hormone replacement therapy, transgender

HRT: Week 24

Hi folks!

Here we are again. After a few weeks of switching things up on my blog, let’s get back to basics with another weekly update on my hormone replacement therapy.

I seem to have hit a growth spurt of sorts. Things I hadn’t felt since a few weeks after starting hormones, like pain in my hips & sore chest, suddenly came back. More importantly, I seem to have finally reached the point a lot of trans-folk refer to as “second puberty”. Aside from STILL being constantly hungry, I’ve noticed a sudden change.

That change? ACNE!!

Not only did it sneak up on me, it hit me with all the force of a sixteen-wheeler. The breakouts are more than a little embarrassing, and now I have to kick my skin care game up a few notches to ensure my face doesn’t feel like a pizza.

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My complexion, right about now.

I’m REALLY hoping this subsides in a few months. Meanwhile, aside from proper skin care, I may need to slow down on my performances just so I don’t abuse my face with heavy makeup.

And I had such a nice complexion too. Ugh. Well, until next time friends!

hormone replacement therapy, out-and-about, transgender

HRT: Week 21

Hi friends!

I’m a day late here but I can’t forget to keep my readers updated on what’s going on with my journey.

So, after a long while, there’s something new happening!

  • Restored hair growth. I actually didn’t believe it, but my father commented that he noticed I was regrowing hair in places where I had already gone bald. (Note: he doesn’t know about my transition yet, but will soon).  I’m actually considering seeing my doctor about possible ways to promote any further possible hair growth. The day may come where I may no longer need to go out with a wig.

My other victories these past two weeks have been more mental & social. I came out to one of my work colleagues, and I’ve basically started living my life full time (outside of work).

Speaking of, my new boss is about to find out about me too. More on that tomorrow…

 

hormone replacement therapy, transgender

HRT: Week 12

It’s been three months since I started. No, really! I think this little guy’s reaction says it all.

Yep. Me too, my little furry friend. Me, too.

Rather that report on whatever changes I’ve seen since last week (because there haven’t been that many, to be honest), I want to send out a profound and heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who’s supported me thus far. This includes you, dear reader.

I’d also like to share a graph that seems to make the rounds on Reddit, showing the average rate of specific changes in transgender women who undergo HRT:

Of course my mileage will vary, but it’s fascinating and a little exciting to see when I can start to look for specific things to happen. It’s even more interesting to see how my changes differ from this chart. A few of the effects have already started with me, others have yet to begin.

Until next time, friends!