My Transition Diary

2019

16 June
I've now been on Testopel for four years, still inserting ten pellets every three months. You will pry it out of my cold dead hands. I'm a complete convert, even though there were some bumps in the beginning.

For the first couple years, the insertion site was getting infected nearly every time. This caused fluid to form in the area where the pellets were, and as the fluid slowly came out over several days, it took a pellet or two with it. (On the plus side, that meant that I got to learn what the pellets really look like. They really do resemble grains of rice, and are not capsules with stuff in, which is why you don't have to worry about them bursting or anything.) My urologist started prescribing me a five-day course of cipro (ciprofloxacin, 500mg, twice a day for five days) each time we did an insertion, which we still do every time. Problem solved.

I asked my PCP to run a bunch of labs for me a week after my most recent Testopel insertion, since my urologist only does labs when I come in for an insertion and therefore is only ever getting my trough levels. So here are those results:

Hepatic profile:
Total Protein: 6.7 g/dL. Standard range: 6.0-8.9 g/dL
Albumin: 4.4 g/dL. Standard range: 3.7-5.1 g/dL
Bilirubin Total: 0.6 mg/dL. Standard range: 0.1-1.3 mg/dL
Bilirubin Direct: 0.1 mg/dL. Standard range: ≤0.6 mg/dL
SGPT (ALT): 15 U/L. Standard range: 2-60 U/L
SGOT (AST): 17 U/L. Standard range: 2-50 U/L
Alkaline Phosphatase: 106 U/L. Standard range: 20-125 U/L

Lipid profile:
Cholesterol: 144 mg/dL. Standard range: ≤199 mg/dL
LDL Direct Measure: 78.4 mg/dL. Standard range: ≤130 mg/dL
HDL: 50 mg/dL. Standard range: ≥40 mg/dL
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 2.9. Standard range: ≤4.9
Triglycerides: 78 mg/dL. Standard range: ≤149 mg/dL

Hormone levels:
Total Testosterone: 1367.4 ng/dL. Standard range: 123-814 ng/dL
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG): 30.3 nmol/L. Standard range: 14.6-94.6 nmol/L
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): 15.22 mIU/mL. Standard range: 1.27-19.26 mIU/mL
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): 5.95 mIU/mL. Standard range: 1.24-8.62 mIU/mL
Testosterone, Free: 369 pg/mL. Standard range: 47-244 pg/mL
Testosterone, Bioavailable: 884.9 ng/dL. Standard range: 130-680 ng/dL
Estradiol 17 Beta Serum: 43 pg/mL. Standard range: <15-34 pg/mL

Obviously my T levels are high, and it's aromatizing to estrogen. My urologist had said that was probably the case given my trough levels, but given that it's not affecting how I feel and it's not causing any physical problems (no, I'm not regrowing breast tissue), I shouldn't worry about it. I'm entirely fine with that.

I'm both amused and saddened to see that my FSH and LH are back down where they should be. Seems like my pituitary gland has realized that no one's out there and it's given up trying to make contact. Poor little thing.

21 June
I'm in the process of changing my birth certificate, and I can't find my name change court order. I requested a new one from the county probate court, and had the same issue that I had the last time I needed a copy: I don't have the docket number, because I don't have a copy of my name change, which is why I'm requesting a copy, but I don't have the docket number, because I don't have a copy ...

I called the court, and when I finally got through to a human being in the Name Change department (their phone just rings forever if no one's there - no recorded message, no voicemail), she was utterly unhelpful. I told her that I needed to request a copy of my name change but didn't have the docket number, and it didn't exist in the digital records at http://masscourts.org/. (I changed my name in 2000, but I had dared to hope that they'd digitized at least some of the old records.) Her response was a slightly snarky "That's because we didn't keep digital records then". I said that surely they still had it even though it wasn't digitized, and she said of course they did, but somebody would have to actually go and find the piece of paper, in a tone that made it clear that she had no interest in doing so. (The last time I had this issue, about 11 years ago, the woman on the phone was really nice and actually got up and went to the damn filing cabinet and looked for me.) She told me to just put my old name and new name on the request form and leave the docket number blank and it would be fine.

Big surprise: it didn't work. I just got all my paperwork back, along with a note that said:

This letter is to inform you that we found no record of this person. Please contact Vital Records and Statistics at [phone number]. Their address is [address, with the wrong zip code]. Ask them to find you a Docket Number and make sure that your file is a [county] County case.

Obviously they didn't even look. They saw that no docket number was included and immediately decided they couldn't be bothered.

I've now called Vital Records and Statistics, and spoke to a very nice woman who told me that they can't give that sort of information over the phone, but if I mail them a note, they'll be happy to send me the docket number. No form or anything, just send them a note.

All of this is to say: If you lose the docket number for any sort of court order, and it's not available via public records online, getting your hands on it again is a total pain in the ass. When you change your name with most institutions, they send the court order back to you, but it's worth getting a copy that's just for you and keeping it somewhere safe.

 

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