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!

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 15

Hi friends!

It’s Tuesday and, as you’ve come to expect, here’s my weekly hormone replacement therapy update.

This week, it’s less about outward-facing physical changes and more about hormone levels. Last week, I alluded to my doctor having blood work done to check my hormone levels, to see if my Estradiol dosage was going up.

Well, those results came back last night. My doctor informed me that my testosterone levels were very low (11, to be exact) and my estrogen levels were high. So, no need to up my estrogen dosage.

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Right now, there isn’t a huge need to up my dosage anyway, even if I physically needed it. Changes are happening more quickly than I anticipated, so I need to stay on my steady pace and not let my body get ahead of me.

Until next time, friends!

 

coming-out-at-work, transgender

Coming Out At Work: A New Feature

Hi friends.

I have taken a big step today towards living full-time as my authentic self: I told my boss about my transition.

The conversation was a quick one, and it went smoothly. I’m not sure what the next steps are (to be honest, I don’t think he or the company know either) but I’m glad to get such a huge weight off my shoulders.

To that, I’ll be documenting this part of my journey in a new feature on my blog called “Coming Out At Work“. I’ll be writing about my thoughts & experiences as I begin to transition in the workplace. If nothing else, it will give people a barometer on how they can navigate their transition as well.

Stay tuned…

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!

hormone replacement therapy, transgender

HRT: Week 8

Alrighty, then. After doing some backtracking, I figured out that I’ve finished week #8 of my hormone therapy. Ok, it actually just took going back and seeing that I had finished my second 30-day supply of spironolactone. To that, I say…

Derp, indeed.

Ok, onto the matter at hand. This week, I didn’t notice a whole lot going on other than:

  • Increased skin sensitivity: my face cuts way more easily now when I’m shaving, and my laser hair removal treatments hurt like crazy, as opposed to when I first started them (I hadn’t yet started HRT at that point).

Aside from that, I’ve been on a good streak with emotional progress. I’ve come out to quite a few more people (one is a very good friend I’ve known for a better part of a decade…if she’s reading this, hi!!!) and I managed to get myself out to a couple more public places with little-to-no incident. In fact, some guy asked one of my friends I was with that night “So, what’s up with your single friend?”

Granted, I have no intention of dating anyone right now…but I’ll take that as a compliment.

hormone replacement therapy, transgender

HRT: Weeks 5-7

Hi all! Been a little while, hasn’t it?

Wow, I’ve been caught up in all kinds of life events. I moved to my own place, caught up with old friends, working like a mad-woman, and have been performing like crazy lately. I’m not entirely sure how I keep balance of it all but I suppose the occasional cocktail helps. 😉

All that said, I’m here to give you an update on how my hormone replacement therapy is going. Here are the big things I’ve noticed:

  • Breast tissue growth: My chest has been more sore than usual, so I naturally assumed I was about to drop dead on the stop. Ok, kidding. One day, my arm grazed my chest and I could tell something was different. I felt around a bit (mind out of the gutter, you!) and noticed something that wasn’t there – a small “bud” underneath. OMG, they’re actually starting to grow!
  • Continued mood swings: The smallest things seem to get to me, even more so than before. I had my first instance where a small comment almost made me break down into tears. It’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and I go into a full-on Peter Parker-style cry-fest.

    A straight-up ugly cry.
  • Facial structure changing: I’m noticing that my face is thinning out a bit & features are getting just a bit softer. I’ll take it.

I’m coming up on two whole months of HRT next week (wow, who’d have guessed I’d have made it this far), and wondering if and when my doctor wants to schedule some follow-up blood work & assess my current dosages. He seems to be harder to get a hold of than the President, so I must be patient.

Until next time!