My Transition Diary


January 23
Saw Dr. Spack yesterday. I heart Dr. Spack. And I met a new doctor who's working with him, whose name I forget but she's really nice. No invasive examinations (knock wood for the future), and I'll see him again in six months. And no blood work, which saved me some time.

He's fine with me lowering my dose and says that 2.5mg per day should be fine for keeping the estrogen and its effects away, but I'm still going to wait till after the True Spirit conference just in case. (He wants to hear all about True Spirit when I get back.) And I need to email him for a new prescription because I forgot that I'm going to run out in mid-March.

January 27
Beth was at the play last night. She says my shoulders are broader.

I think we need to make bumper stickers that say "Too good to be bio" or something so FTMs can identify each other on the road.

Or maybe something like those B&W oval ones, that say things like ACK and IRL. Why not make some that say FTM?

I've got rainbows plastered all over my car, but that's still just a generic queer car ... queer is good, but I'm FTM, dammit. I want FTM bumper stickers so we can go "FTM car! FTM car!" on the highway, and not just "queer car! Queer car!"

February 20
I dropped my dose yesterday after 158 days on 5mg per day (185 days total). I'm back to one patch, 2.5mg per day. I'll let you know if I feel anything. That makes today Day 186 of hormones.
February 26
Watched Cole's video and then sang with "Ragtime," so now my voice is really tired. I'm having a cup of tea. This was the first time I sang "Ragtime" straight through (well, I skipped a few songs, but it's really long), and it was kind of interesting. I really need to relearn how to hold notes and breathe and stuff of that nature. There were a lot of higher notes that I couldn't hit well anymore, and my voice cracked a few times (which it rarely does), but I did get some nice low notes. When things got hard for me up high, I could drop an octave (for the most part), so that's good at least. It's just kind of sad that I can't sing some of the high stuff anymore. I need to work on my range.
March 8
If I could have a hysto tonight, I'd go off of T tomorrow. I like where I'm at but I don't really want to go any further. I don't particularly want facial hair, I don't really want my voice to get any deeper. But I can't go back to that living nightmare every few weeks. I can't make myself live like that again. I'd go off the deep end.

So I guess all I can do is stay on the lowest dose possible and pray for a hysto ASAP (good freaking luck, it's going to cost more than top surgery and insurance won't cover it unless they find cysts or something), and once I have the hysto I'm SO going off T. I can take estrogen to keep my body healthy, and as long as I'm regulated and so forth and so on, stuff shouldn't reverse itself ... I mean, I might develop hips again (I never looked at them but I don't think they were too bad before), but once I've had top surgery, unless I take WAY too much oestrogen I shouldn't regrow a chest. Knock wood and all that.

I want to stand still, and I have to go backward or go forward. And I can't make myself go back there. I was depressed and moody and just in a shitty situation for one week in every five, and I won't do that to myself anymore. If I have to have freaking electrolysis in the future to feel comfortable in my body, I will, but I hope it doesn't come to that because it's really painful and really expensive.

But I don't really want a beard, I don't want my voice to get any deeper, I don't want my body to masculinize even further. I'm starting to reach the point where I don't recognize myself in the mirror anymore, and that's horrifyingly reminiscent of my childhood when I was living as a girl. I don't see myself, I see some bioguy who looks like me. I have to remind myself that it's me under there. And that's not cool, and it's not healthy. So in that sense, the more I go forward, the farther backward I end up.

This sucks. Can't I just freeze everything here? I don't want to be taken for male, and I was taken for male before I even started T ... I just wanted my voice to drop a little and for the monthly living HELL to stop forever. The rest was bonus, stuff I didn't really care about but figured would suit me just fine. And now I'm realizing that I don't want all that. I WANT A HYSTO so I can get off T ... so much of this is irreversible, I'm not going to have a ton of options ... but I can't make myself go back to the depression. As soon as it came back, I'd kick myself for ever considering going off of T.

I'm not in control anymore ... I can't make it stop. If I want to toy with my dose any more intricately, I'm going to have to go to shots ... and I don't fancy the ups and downs, even if I do it weekly instead of biweekly. But I don't want my body to change anymore. I'm starting to turn into something I'm not, and it's scaring me.

I feel trapped ... this wasn't part of the plan. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. Right now I'm okay ... I'm just scared of where I'll be a few months from now, let alone a few years. Who knows how long it'll take me to afford a hysto? (I may do it in parts ... just have the uterus removed initially to save money, and sometime in the distant future have the rest taken out.) Anyone want to donate to The Cause here? (At least I can have a hysto locally ... top surgery is gonna cost me a trip to NYC. But a hysto could cost upwards of $10,000, from what I've heard, whereas top surgery damn well be under $7,000.)

I don't regret going on T. The only thing I regret is not being able to afford a hysto NOW so I can stop, because I don't want to stay on T anymore. I got what I wanted and now I want out. (I also regret not having dropped my dose sooner, but I feel I had good reason ... I didn't know if anything would come back - it's still too soon to really know - and dealing with it at True Spirit would have SUCKED.)

What am I gonna do? What CAN I do? Plug along and keep my fingers crossed, I guess. I'm going to talk to my therapist about it on Wednesday, but I really really doubt that she'll be able to help me much. Same with the endo if I e-mailed him. If there's not enough T to counteract the estrogen, the monthly living hell will return. If there is enough T to counteract the estrogen, my body is going to change. The only thing that I can control, even a little, is the pace at which my body changes. So here we go, I guess.

Can't I just be me? (Hold on tight to me, you guys ... I don't want to disappear. And I think I'm starting to.)

March 10
Okay, I've decided on what the worst thing about T is. Forget the potential liver problems, increased risk of heart disease, all that crap ... this is by far the worst, and for me, one of the scariest.

I can't cry.

I freaking CAN'T CRY. People told me ages ago, over and over, that T dries up your tear ducts, and it's not that I didn't believe them ... I guess it just didn't register properly or something. That happens to me a lot. Blame it on ADD, blame it on my age, blame it on my personality. [shrug] All I know is, this past time watching the video (I'm on number 12 as we speak! Yaay ... ), at the end I really felt like I needed to cry and nothing happened. I just sat there and I was like, "Come on ... " And I felt it in my insides the way you do when you cry, but no tears came. I used to cry (at least tear up, not necessarily sob) pretty easily so this is just weird. And frankly, it sucks.

A lot of guys have talked about how they write, or paint, or do other things to get their emotions out because they can't cry anymore. But I want to CRY. It's a better emotional release than just about anything else. I write a bit (there are bits of a poem about True Spirit floating around in my head, but it's not ready to be written down yet), but it doesn't work anywhere near as well. Nothing does.

If/when I go off of T, I'll give myself a couple of weeks and then do something that depresses the hell out of me so I can have a good cry and feel better for it. But for now, I'm gonna have to figure out a way to cry. I still tear up all the time when I yawn, so there's something there ... maybe if I force a yawn I can get myself to cry. (Argh.)

Or maybe being on low dose will let me cry ... but it's been a few weeks on this dose, you'd think I'd have noticed the change by now. It only took a few days for my sex drive to go down, and I swear my arm muscles are a little less defined, which suits me. The lines along the muscles looked weird to me. Too bioguy, I guess.

Anyway, there's that. Thank you, anyone who's read all this crap I've been writing ... I just need to get it out and have people hear it so I'm not alone with it, and that's more or less what an online journal is for.

March 23
My endocrinologist writes:

"unfortunately, you can't have it both ways: enough testosterone to suppress menses while "freezing" effects elsewhere."

Guess I'm just staying on a really low dose of T until I can get a damn hysto, and God knows how many years that will be ... at some point I may decide that I can't take it anymore and go back to estrogen and just freaking deal with it. I don't WANT facial hair, dammit. And once it comes in, if I want it gone I have to get electro, and once you have electro you can't get it back if I change my mind 20 years from now.

If facial hair starts to come in I'm going to have to make a decision quickly. Until then, I guess I can deal with this.

March 26
I cried last night. Go me. Really cried, for a few minutes ... my eyes didn't just water up. Tears actually fell. And it felt really damn good.
March 28
Diane (therapist) and I talked a bit about hystos. She says there's a doctor in upstate NY who's supposed to be amazing, he can get everything out through laproscopy - which means MUCH shorter recovery time. And it's the same price as if I just had my ovaries removed through laproscopy (either way, it gets rid of the estrogen poisoning.) Then from there I'd take estrogen supplements and ditch the T, so my body mass would redistribute itself back ... but nothing else should go back - voice, jawline, etc. Taking estrogen also increases risk of some kinds of cancer (breast, ovarian, cervical ... ew), but I don't (to my knowledge) have a history of that, I don't know of any relatives who've had any of those kinds of cancers.

In terms of money, it pretty much comes down to my mother paying for it and me paying her back over time. Diane said it could be close to $10,000 - a little more than top surgery, which now is completely on hold. I can bind ... I can't keep going towards one extreme or the other with my body.

April 10
I'm out of T. I'm leaving this patch on until it bloody well falls off, and hopefully my new script will arrive within a few days. I'm a little nervous but hopefully things wouldn't wear off entirely that quickly. (I should think not, but low dosage on the patch ... who knows.)
April 18
Today is my one-year name anniversary (when the legal change actually took place ... I filed on March 28, the day I turned 18), and 8 months on T, day 244.
April 26
Some woman called for my mother today. Given the idiotic (yet quite common) mispronunciation of her last name (which is different from mine), and the brief delay between when I picked up the phone and when the woman started talking, I knew it was a telemarketer or someone looking for money. Anyway, she asked for my mother and I said, "Sorry, she's not here right now, would you like to try back later this evening?" because I get really tired of playing secretary for her, especially when it's really not an important call. And this woman - okay, it's a little after 05.00 (I think), and she's probably worn out and not all there - says, "Yes, ma'am, thank you ... " etc., and we hang up.


How in the name of everything holy did she get THAT?! She must've been smoking something that was laced with something else that had been sitting in the sun too long. Like, damn. Maybe 6 months ago, but now? I don't think so. So yeah, I laughed for a while after I hung up. That amused me considerably.

May 7
Got ma'amed on the phone again today when I called for a cab. "I can barely hear you, ma'am, can you speak up?" WTF. John's had considerable trouble hearing me on the phone too, even when I thought I wasn't speaking all that quietly ... either I'm on crack or there's something wrong with the phone. I may switch it with the one in my mother's room (bwahaha) if this keeps up.
July 19
I'm bleeding again. [does the yucky squirmy dance - y'all know the one I mean, don't pretend you don't]

Very little, like it's the last day of the monthly nightmare ... but there it be on my boxers each day. It's supposed to happen ... the deal is, it took 11 months instead of 1 for the crap to build up in my (ew) uterus [shudder], but now here it is and it's on its way out. But the T is slowing everything down so it's a teeny tiny bit at a time. Unless a few days from now it starts to build up force or something. I'll keep y'all posted.

This is the first time I've "bled" since September 2000. Shitfuck. As long as it doesn't build up any, I can deal with it ... I don't even have to wear anything to protect my clothes, it washes out of my boxers. But if it gets worse ... [shudder]

Anybody want to donate to The Cause so I can have my hysto with this really great doctor I heard about in upstate NY? (He takes everything, not just the ovaries, out through - ahem - a hole you already have, so he doesn't have to slice open your abdominal wall, which is really painful and difficult to heal because it's all muscle. At no extra charge. I forget his name and location, but I'll ask my therapist next month if I remember. Oy, something else to remember ...)

Make this madness STOP ... [more yucky squirmy dance]

[chants to self] Be glad it isn't way worse (knock wood) ... be glad it isn't way worse (knock wood) ... be glad it isn't way worse (knock wood) ...

August 18
Well holy shit, it's 18 August. Happy T Day.

I'm wearing my 365th testosterone patch right now. Tonight - at 8 or 9, if I remember correctly - it will be one year exactly since I put my first patch on.

I felt really reflective last night ... so of course my modem wouldn't connect and there was a thunderstorm and I had the computer shut down and unplugged, and couldn't post anything.

It doesn't feel like it's been a year. But when I look back, a LOT has happened while I was wearing these patches.

I was wearing my patch when I went to Disorientation at Wheelock, suffering from oestrogen poisoning and feeling like shit.

I was wearing my patch when I went to my first college class.

I was wearing my patch when I met Kael and Natasha for the first time in September.

I was wearing my patch when I saw Les Feinberg speak for the first time at Brandeis with Kael and Natasha.

I was wearing my patch when I met Becky, John, Josh, and Matt for the first time in November.

I was wearing my patch when I came out to my sociology class and they were really receptive and supportive about it.

I was wearing my patch when I went back to visit my high school and my friends commented about my "scary" voice and my broader shoulders, squarer jaw, and bigger adam's apple.

I was wearing my patch when I saw all my family at Christmas and wondered if they heard the difference in my voice.

I was wearing my patch when I hung out with Kael and John in January and met Ben for the first time.

I was wearing my patch when I went to True Spirit with my family in February and met Sebastian and Tracy for the first time.

I was wearing my patch when I saw Les Feinberg speak at Simmons with Kael, Barrett (whom I was meeting for the first time), and Natasha in March.

I was wearing my patch when the floors were redone and the walls were painted and I stayed in a hotel for a week in April.

I was wearing my patch when I fell in love, fell out again, and fell in again with someone else, on the day I got the world's greatest boyfriend and the day I lost him.

I was wearing my patch at SPACE camp in July, where the kids think I'm a bioguy but the administrative-types - and a bunch of my coworkers - know and are great about it all.

I was wearing my patch in Maine last week, where I met Gabriel, Mae and Rachel for the first time.

Today I'm wearing my 365th testosterone patch. HOLY SHIT.

August 30
4:57 pm - I just about killed myself with VERY locally concentrated pain. (Have I mentioned that T makes you WAY more sensitive down there?) I put two socks in my pouch to try to get used to packing until I can FINALLY get a fucking Tricky, and it keeps touching me - in a way that is not erotic in the slightest, so don't get any funny thoughts. It fucking HURTS when it brushes against me. I'm not sure what to do. I went to adjust it because it was brushing me a bit (sitting), and I moved it the wrong way, and SHIT ... it hurt.

I also think it's sitting too high. I'm hoping that's just the socks, given that when I tried it with Kael's Tricky in Maine everyone said it looked great, and it felt more like it was hanging properly when I wore it around my waist. I've got it way down around my hips right now just to try and get it to behave, and it keeps riding up. Dammit.

In somewhat related news, I read in an article in the FTM International newsletter that after a few years, it does get less sensitive. This guy wrote about how he couldn't use his dick at all sexually because it was painful if anything got near it, but now he can - and does - use it quite effectively. (This is without surgery.) That makes me feel a million times better ... if I thought I had to deal with this level of sensitivity for the rest of my life, I'd freaking hang myself.

5:24 pm - More breakthrough bleeding. This happened two or three months ago too. What the fuck. I hoped these cramps were something else ... anything else ... [sigh]

Supposedly, breakthrough bleeding is normal after about a year on hormones. But that doesn't make me feel much better. I want my fucking hysterectomy. Make this STOP. The thing that motivated me to get up off my ass and get on T was wanting this nightmare to end.

And now I don't have any briefs so I can't really do anything for protection. When this happened before it was a very small amount over just a few days, and it washed right out of my boxers, no worries. I hope to God that's the situation this time too - and every time. [sigh]

I do need to set up an appointment with my endo ... but if I tell him about breakthrough bleeding, is he going to want to - gulp - examine me? I'll refuse ... he can do an ultrasound if he wants but nobody's examining me there, nobody.

September 3
I'm having a hot flash. (Yes, I'm serious.) Menopause and puberty at the same fucking time ... can't beat that, yo.
November 22
Happy Thanksgiving.

Uncle Tom called me by my birth name. First time he's addressed me in a LONG-ass time ... like, years, literally. He has major issues with my transition and all that ... I'll go into detail if you ask, but my brain's too tired to lay it all out now. I didn't get angry though, or address it at all. I really don't want to fight it out with him, and it was Thanksgiving dinner and all. But I honestly wasn't angry. I know how he feels about it anyway. He's only going to look more and more ridiculous, because everyone from his kids to his parents is calling me Michael and making a really good effort with the pronouns. His loss if he can't appreciate.

My memere (grandma) called me her boy! She calls everyone in the family, regardless of their age, "my girl" or "my boy," and of course I've always been "my girl." She switched names with remarkable ease but has a lot of trouble with pronouns ... she's trying though. I love her. Anyway, she was saying something to me and started to say "my girl," and fumbled for a second and said "my boy." It's the first time she's done that and it was SO COOL. Have I mentioned that I love my memere?

November 23
I've been thinking more and more lately about Dr. Brownstein. Not that Dr. Reardon is bad, but I've been hearing more and more about how people saw them both and then opted for Dr. Brownstein. A big factor that people mentioned was that Dr. Brownstein had a better bedside manner and was more personable and whatnot. I would definitely need keyhole though, because I'm really small ... I think I'm going to send Dr. Brownstein some pics of my chest and see what he says. (I think I'd need nipple grafts because mine are just a little bit big, but his scars supposedly heal REALLY well, and I don't care about nipple sensation beyond the fact that it'd be nice if I didn't go completely numb. So it should be fine.)
November 29
Got info in the mail today from Dr. Brownstein. $5,250 for keyhole surgery (that's $250 more than if I had it done before this coming New Year's, dammit), $1,077 for surgical facility fees, $800 for the anesthesiologist, and a pathology fee of $250. (WTF is a pathology fee?) So total it's going to be $7,377. (Double incision is $6,877, because it's only $4,750 plus fees.) His fee is due three weeks prior to surgery ... the other fees are due the day of surgery.

Here's hoping my mother doesn't take that money I have in the bank that I can't touch till I'm 21 (485 more days!) ... because that'd pay for it, but if I don't get it, I don't have a dime. *sigh* Either way, I need to save up so I have money for things like airfare, hotel (although I have a friend in San Francisco who is very sweet and maybe he'd let me stay with him *crosses fingers*)

He did send me this thing for "a special loan program for plastic surgery patients". Maybe I'll look into that.

Now I am going to fill out this little medical history form he sent me, and send it back.

December 25
Last night at my grandparents' was awesome. I am so a guy to the family it's not even funny (but it does make me smile REAL big). As soon as I walked in, my memere was like, "My girl, my girl, my girl," and gave me kisses. She is SO cute - she looks exactly like the grandmother on Everybody Loves Raymond. Like, people have approached her in restaurants and shit and asked for her autograph. And the way she talks a lot of times makes me think that she was a flamboyant gay man in a previous life. I imagine she comes off as loud and overbearing to a lot of people, but I don't care because I think she's a damn riot. Anyway.

So yes. She called me her girl when I walked in (everyone in the family, regardless of age, is "my boy" or "my girl" to Memere), but I didn't even care because she's so cute and wonderful and I know she's trying. And sure enough, the next thing out of her mouth was, "It's so good to see you, Michael ... Michael, I'm trying, I gotta remember ..." (this all with a big smile on her face, holding my hand). Then Pepere came in and gave me a high-five, which is the grandson thing - a high-five or handshake, whereas granddaughters get a hug and kiss. THEN, later, Memere called me her girl, then stopped and deliberately said, "my boy ..." and then went on with what she was saying. That meant the world to me. And then again, later, I and two of my cousins were in the kitchen with her, and she said something and finished with "my girls," and then quickly tacked on "and boys." I looked to see if one of my boy cousins was there (two boy cousins and three girl cousins were there, the youngest is 13), but no, it was me and two girls, which means she did that just for me. I felt like a million bucks. It's worth mentioning, too, that they have NEVER slipped up with my name in the year and a half that they've known, although they have to work a bit with pronouns. I LOVE MY GRANDPARENTS!

At the end of the night, my cousin TJ and I went down to the basement to crack hickory nuts with Pepere - a tradition - he has a hickory tree and always has a million nuts. He showed us his new way of opening them, by inserting a screwdriver into the crack in the shell and twisting, rather than just putting them in the vice like we always did before. So TJ and I had some hickory nuts. We checked the height chart on the wall by the water heater - TJ has grown over three inches in the past year. He's 13 years old and 5'9", and his voice is about as deep as mine and started changing before I even started T. I, sadly, have not budged from my 5'2" mark.


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