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I’ve been trying to make sense of my life for the past few days, and as I’ve been working on making a list of things that I need to take care of, I discovered that I don’t have quite enough T to get me through the move. While I don’t think Dr. Rodgers will have a problem helping me out with one more month’s worth of T, I’m a little worried about what will happen when I get to Buffalo. There’s a list of trans-friendly doctors on this site, but I’ve been warned that many of them aren’t taking new patients. I’m also worried that my having been on T for a year won’t be sufficient “proof” that it’s medically necessary.

I don’t like the idea of relocating for this reason. It’s a stupid reason, because you’d think that if you had a longstanding medical need you could just find a doctor. Such is not the case. I’m also concerned that I won’t be able to find a doctor who is laid back enough to understand that just because the medical literature assumes that I want to be a man doesn’t mean I actually do want to be a man.

I’m going to make some phone calls tomorrow to see if I can set up any initial consultations when I get to Buffalo. I hate that this has to be such a major thing.


I went to the doctor today for a complete physical and more testosterone-related bloodwork.  And a pap smear (shudder).  I chose to go with my usual physician — the one who’s prescribed me testosterone — because I didn’t feel like explaining my situation to a gynecologist.  That worked out fine, but the big surprise is this: I weigh 150 pounds.

I don’t look like I weigh 150 pounds.  In fact, I weigh 150 pounds and look better than I have in ages.  I was warned that I’d gain weight on testosterone, and at first I was unsure about that because in the first month I actually lost weight — almost 10 pounds of it.  In fact, it seems that it works like this: you lose fat.  You gain muscle.  So it’s a leaner 150 pounds.

Still, I never thought I’d get this heavy.  To be fair, I haven’t quite topped out at 150 — I’m only a half-pound away though.  That’s like, a good meal and I’ll be at 150.  It doesn’t concern my health care provider, so I guess it shouldn’t concern me.  Still…where is it hiding?

I started hormone replacement therapy three weeks ago.  I’m only on a half dose (2.5 grams a day) but it’s amazing that I’ve already been seeing huge changes in the way I look and feel.  I started even noticing changes as soon as two days after I started using it.  I’m continually amazed and terrified at how much about our bodies we can manipulate with only one chemical.

The first dose of testosterone was intense.  I have Androgel, which is a topical alcohol-based gel that evaporates quickly and gets absorbed into the skin.  It’s funny because it came with all this packaging about how you can “get back the T you’ve been missing!”  I got home from the pharmacy and rubbed the stuff on my upper arm.  In a few moments I felt flushed, filled with warmth, a little dizzy, euphoric.  A knot formed in the pit of my stomach.  Once the high passed, I felt what I can only describe as normal.

Eventually the euphoria became a lot less intense with each dose.  I still get a little dizzy from it, but I guess that’s a normal side-effect.  Two days into the therapy I got hungry.  I haven’t been fully very much or for very long in the past few weeks, and I’ve also been losing weight.  I usually don’t eat very much, but lately I’ve been going through three or even four whole meals a day.  It’s kind of cool.  Also, expensive.

About a week ago I started getting angry.  Not angry at anything, really, but just angry.  Little things have been setting me off, like people who take too long to hit the gas at traffic lights.  The guy who cut in the cafe line at Ikea was lucky he didn’t cut in front of me, because I probably would have punched him out.  I’ve been jumpy like that, and it’s kind of funny, but it’s also kind of scary.  I do a lot of swearing behind the wheel of my car, and I’m sure it doesn’t help that it’s welcome week, but still, from time to time I have to step back and realize my reactions are ridiculous.

I started growing more hair on my legs.  Ever since middle school, when my mom convinced me i had to shave my legs, I haven’t had any hair on my legs at all, much to my chagrin.  It’s been a source of frustration and confusion, but the fuzz on my shins has grown a lot longer, thicker, and darker than it’s been since like, sixth grade.  It’s coming in coarser than it did initially, too.  Pretty manly, eh?

And, as I’ve been warned many times by many people, I’ve gotten uncontrollably horny.  Uncontrollably, like I’ll be walking down the street and stop being sure what I’m doing because I’m so fixated on sex.  Horny, like I have to, uhm, take a break while helping Ariel move in because I can’t take it anymore.  It’s kind of awkward.  But also kind of neat.  I don’t know how anybody could cope with starting testosterone without a for-sure booty call lined up, because it just seems like you’d lose your mind.

The thing of it is, of course, I can’t help the fact that I want to eat everything in my path, get in fistfights with bad drivers, and have sex all day.  It’s funny to be such an exaggerated caricature of a pubescent boy, but I’m starting to understand a bit better why I thought so many of those kids in middle school were such tools.  I mean, some of them just were tools, but some of them were also just dealing poorly with the fact that they wanted to eat all day, fight with everyone and screw everything in sight.

It feels kind of good.  It’s also embarassing.  Can’t I be better than the typical male stereotype?  Sure, the biology isn’t my fault, but what I do with the biology is.  I think I’m dealing with it pretty constructively — I haven’t gotten into any real fights, for instance, and I have decided I’d do a lot more cooking this year — but sometimes it bugs me that I’m slavishly falling into this trend.  And what will happen when I go on the full dose (5 grams)?  And when will my body even itself out?  I hope the touchiness settles down a bit soon, at least.  I don’t really want to get in a bar fight.

When I used to work at a far lower-paying and less-dignified job, there used to be this regular with whom I’d talk about the mysteries of time with while I made him his latte in the morning.  “Time just goes so fast,” I’d say, and he’d laugh.  “Just wait until you’re my age.  Screw having fun, it’s living longer that makes time really fly.”

I’m not sixty yet, but why does every year get faster and faster?  I feel like I just got off the plane from China, and really just got off the plane to China, I feel a little like there was snow on the ground last week and I had a neck brace on.  It just occurred to me that my car accident took place five months ago.  I still feel it in my bones and my subconscious like it happened five weeks ago.

So it’s nearly fall again, and probably — hopefully — this will be my last fall in Michigan.  There’s something uniquely magical to fall in southern Michigan, the way the air smells reminds me of the least happy but most beautiful times in my life, when I would sit in the backyard after school filled with the mortal fear of something.  It seems like an odd thing to romance, but it’s not hard.  I realize now that the things I worried the most about then were just my brain’s way of feinting around the real problems.  The smell’s always there though, and was there last year, when I would ride my bike to my first class from the farmer’s market on Wednesday mornings with a pint of apple cider in my messenger bag.  Or two years ago, when Brendan and I stayed up all night painting our room and cleaning our house.  Or three years ago, when I moved, terrified, into South Quad.

I don’t know how exactly to explain what’s happened to me in the first half of my twenty-first year.  Going backward to January, these are the earth-shattering things that happened to me: I started testosterone; I started seeing a real physician; I fell madly, deeply, irrevocably in love; I took a long, trying trip to China; I flipped over a car and nearly died; I became a full-fledged adult.  The bits of my life that didn’t make any sense before are starting to fall into place.

This year is so different.  There is a sense that it is the beginning of the end.  (My predictions for November: McCain.  Unfortunately.)  There is a sense that it is the end of the beginning.  (I need to take the GRE in October.)  For me there’ll be more than a chill in the wind.  The leaves are already turning and I don’t know if I’m really ready for all of this.

This fall I’m sure I’ll be updating more.  I really want to leave a log of my transition, and a log of the progress toward a scholarship for transgender students at U-M.  I want to leave a little mark on the internet about what it means to be gender non-conforming in academia.  More about my testosterone therapy tomorrow.


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