Archive for June, 2009

Hormones: One Week Update

June 27, 2009

I completed my first week on hormones, with few noticable effects. The main thing I’m aware of is the extra fat that has deposited on my chest. Its not breast development, per se. Its just fatty deposits in a different place than it would otherwise be. Not exactly the world’s greatest effect, but its something, I guess. One week down, only three to five years to go, to get all of the benefits of E.

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A Recap of June, with Visitors

June 24, 2009

I went to see my psychotherapist today, for my regular check in. This was my only June 2009 visit to see her, so I made a list of gender-related news to report, before I went. Here’s the talking points:

  • Had a frank talk with my wife at the end of May; let her know I was proceeding as planned. Gave her the choice of a six month reprieve and seperation or sticking by me as I moved ahead. She chose the later.
  • Went to see Dr. Wilson about hormones. Took a while to get to see him, since he was on vacation. Finally got in to see him. Started hormones June 19th, 2009.
  • Went shopping in the ladies department by myself several times, for perhaps the first time. Had to fight the anxiety, but the more I did it, the easier it got. Still not sure about buying lingerie for myself, per se, but I think I can handle a pair of jeans and a top at most places.
  • A big one – came out to my friend Melanie, then had friends Nicole and Melanie over to see me dressed. This is huge, since only my wife has ever seen me dressed in person. Coley and Melly did my make up, gave me some free make up, and even made my cheap ass wig look respectable. What a night.

From here, it looks like I’m just going to have to wait for the hormones to do their work, try and help my wife adjust, if possible, come out to siblings and my employer, and look into elecrolysis and eventually other surgeries, I may want.  The future is coming.

Now with Girl Juice

June 20, 2009

I started hormones yesterday, after telling my wife the night before. She took it well. All she said was that she couldn’t stop me, so I might as well get to it. Accordingly, I did, the next morning at breakfast.

My prescription calls for me to take 10 mg of Premarin (an estrogren)  and 10 mg of Provera (an anti-testosterone) each day. The Premarin consists of four pills taken twice daily, while the Provera is one pill, taken once daily. I’ve decided to take the pills at 7 AM and 7 PM each day, since I need to take them with food and keep them spaced out evenly. I usually eat breakfast around 7 AM and I’m usually home from work by 7 PM. So, my schedule works for me. It is sort of a pain that I have to wake up early in the morning on weekends and do it, but I’m usually awake then anyway, from routine.

Today is my second day on the pills. There are no noticable changes to report, as expected.

Visit to the Hormone Doctor

June 19, 2009

Yesterday, I went to see Dr. Wilson and get myself a prescription for feminizing hormones. This was the first time I have been to see Dr. Wilson since I first met him three years ago, when I first began pursuing transition, but before I gave it up briefly.

Dr. Wilson’s office is located in a majestic office building near downtown Detroit. He was previously located in a large, corner suite, with a big reception area and views of the city. Unfortunately for me, he recently moved his office to a much smaller, creepier looking suite. The new suite is painted a pale blue; its as big as my office (which is not very big); it resembles what I imagine an abortion clinic looks like; there are books full of surgery pictures on the table; and there are many, many signs that say you have to pay first. He really needs to move back to the other suite.

Anyway, I went in to see him. He said hello, then proceeded to read all the notes he had written in my file from the time I saw him before. He had written quite a lot of notes, so I waited patiently for a very long time. Then he began with some very short questions, like, “Do you still like girls.” Yes, I assured him. “Are you still doing your ‘grants’ thing [in reference to me working as a grant writer]?” Yes, again. “So what do you want to be?” He asked. I’d like to be content, I said, but failing that, I choose girl.

We bantered back and forth for a brief while. I brought him up to speed on my situation. He wrote me a prescription for Premarin, an estrogen, and Provera, an anti-androgen, then made a crude sexual joke I won’t repeat [honestly, you have to be odd to become a doc who helps people change sex]. I took the script to the front desk, they made a copy, and I was on my way. I had the script filled downstairs, on the first floor. Then I got giddy.

I have yet to tell my wife that I got the hormones, though she knows I was planning to do so. The right moment hasn’t happened yet. I’ve always said I wouldn’t start them without letting her know, so the bottle remains filled, in my dresser drawer. I hope to tell her tonight, if she’s in a good mood. Admittedly, I’m having some cold feet/second thoughts kind of feelings, as anyone must have when embarking on a life changing journey. Still, I am not deterred and I know, in my heart of hearts, this is a journey I must make, one way or another.

On a walk tonight, I was thinking about what I could be scared of, what is causing me hesitation. I could lose my job; so what. I could lose my family; that’s a big one, but I’m prepared, should that happen. I could become physically amorphous; that one worries me quite a lot, but I need to remember that stigma is what others feel toward me – its not my problem, per se. Perhaps most troublingly, I could have sexual function problems. I like sex and all that it entails quite a lot, so this one is a big one. However, if my libido crashes while on estrogren, I don’t suppose I’ll be upset at not wanting sex, since I won’t want it. It will be more the loss of a pastime, I suppose. And, thinking back, some form of sex has been my pastime for, let’s say about 13 years – nearly have my life! So, it would take some getting use to.

I guess, honestly, I just have some nervous apprehension that things won’t go smoothly; I’ll lose family, friends, my job, my self-confidence, and my libido. These are unfounded and irrational fears, that I must crush. Its more likely that I’ll find the real me on my path of self exploration. Its more likely that I’ll really like what I see, when I look in the mirror at the girl me. Then again, life is a big experiment and we can’t possibly know the conclusion, without collecting the data. So, off I go…

Clean Up in Aisle Me

June 16, 2009

I don’t recall the first time I went shopping for clothes in the ladies department, but it was definitely an internet transaction. My earliest acquisitions, though, were  from goodwill bags in my parents garage, particularly those recently deposited there by my slightly older sister (how lucky is that?). I mostly scavenged for feminine attire until I was 24, finding odds and ends here and there, wherever someone would leave something of value behind. In hindsight, some my finds were probably not exceedingly sanitary, but I suffered no ill health because of them, as far as I can tell.

Once I came out to my parents and went to a therapist, I was on doctor’s orders to get myself dressed as a woman as often as possible. My therapist told me early on that the best way to figure out if I was indeed a transgendered woman and not just a cross dresser or closet homosexual was to spend long periods of time in women’s things and see how it felt. I remember the first day I spent dressed; it was a Sunday and  everyone had left the house for the day. I put on jeans and a sweater top that I’d scavenged from a goodwill bag in the garage. Then I sat and waited.

I watched tv, logged onto the computer, and generally spent time trying to think and act as feminine as I could. Suddenly, memories of my early childhood came rushing back to me – I recalled how it felt to want to play in the kitchen, not roughhouse with the boys,  in kindergarten. I recalled how I felt when I snuck into my sister’s room and threw a tea party by myself. I recalled how it felt to slip into my mother’s heels. Before that moment, my earliest identification with transgendered feelings had been at 14, when it all came to me out of the blue. At that moment, though, everything crystallized and I knew then that my fancy feelings were no passing fancy.

Soon, I began shopping online for women’s things I could have sent to the house. I didn’t know much about shopping for women’s clothes, so it was a process of trial and error. I bought some pajamas from JC Penny’s. I bought some pants and tops from Newport News (how unstylish I was). I bought a cute pink henly from Urban Outfitters (ok, I had some taste). I bought a wig, I bought shoes, I bought make up. All of it came to my parents house, when I was at work or school. My mother, slyly, after I told her it would all arrive, hid the packages under my pillow, for me to find when I got home. My siblings had no idea, my dad didn’t really either – though he knew, in theory. Even my mother, I suspect, didn’t really know the contents of the packages. She did what she had to do and that was that.

Sadly, those things are all gone now. My entire collection, which comprised six file cabinets in my closet at one point, was trashed when I asked my wife to move in with me. I thought I had things figured out; I thought my brief run at transitioning the year before I met her was the only run I would make at it. Within weeks of her moving in, I knew I was licked. I knew I would have to go shopping again. I knew I would transition.

Today, I am rebuilding my wardrobe. Something is different now, though. I’m shopping in stores. Not blatantly and loudly, but I’m beating my insecurities with a little concious hypnosis, “Anxiety comes from within.” My fears are my fears and they are unfounded – few people suspect I’m buying things for me, so why should I worry. Its for my wife, I’ll say, if they ask. What do they know? It could be. Why should I care, anyway? Well, as tough as I try to be about it, I do still care. So, I walk gingerly in the lingerie department, briskly when I make a grab for a top.

I shop early or late, never mid-day and I’m still stopped dead in my tracks when I see a pretty woman shopping beside me. I can take shopping with a middle aged or older woman – they’ve seen it all and are no threat to me. But I do still like girls, very much, and shopping next to an attractive woman is usually tough for me. What will they think of me? Am I unattractive to them? Will I ever have a successful relationship with a woman if I transition?

Who knows. I sure don’t. But something else has changed in my life in the past few years: I don’t care if I can’t have that dream relationship; I’d rather be a woman.

A Date with Destiny

June 10, 2009

I’ve scheduled an appointment for next Wednesday with Dr. Neal Wilson, a plastic surgeon, who specializes in transgender care. My intention is not, of course, to get plastic surgery, but to get a prescription for female hormones.

This will not be the first time I met Dr. Wilson. I actually met him before, in 2006, when I made a brief run at transitioning before. My recollections of his office in Detroit’s historic Fisher Building are few, but vibrant. His is a small, private office, hidden behind a nondescript glass office door, the kind you see in movies from the 20’s and 30’s.

Inside is a long table of beauty magazines and a small smattering of chairs, usually filled with a handful of strange denizens. The front desk girl is poorly trained and says little, though an office manager, perhaps the doctor’s daughter, brightens up the atmosphere for those in the waiting room.

My anticipation regarding my next visit is high, though its tempered by the reality that my marriage doesn’t probably stand much chance, once I start taking estrogens. Sex will undoubtedly be affected and sex is an important part of any successful marriage, as far as I can tell. There is some hope, I suppose, as many couples stay together without sex. But the reasons we may have trouble in the bedroom are much different from couples where a spouse has been injured, for example. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.

I am looking forward to the softening of my skin and the lessening of my hair growth; the development of a sensitive chest, then breast buds, then breasts themselves; the rounding of my backside; and the changing of my cheeks and facial fat. I must remain focused on the fact that, no matter how hard this is on my relationship, these feelings of cross-gender identification will not go away, no matter how much I sometimes wish they would. I will not be denied my personal wellness and happiness, in order to please others (though I’m often tempted to do so).

Status Report: June 2009

June 7, 2009

For posterity’s sake, I think it would be beneficial to post a general status report, indicating what’s been done and what needs to be done, as far as transition, at this stage in the game. So, let’s look at the big things:

  • Self Acceptance – This is probably numero uno on the checklist for every tgirl; you must recognize that you have a problem, that it isn’t going away, and that, yes, you can become a member of the opposite sex, despite how insane that seems. I’m pretty far along this road, though its taken a long time of grappling with it. I still think about self acceptance issues on a fairly constant basis, but my focus seems to have shifted somewhat since I started on the road toward transition. I’d say I’m 75 percent of the way there, with the remaining 25 percent to be dealt with as I physically transition.
  • Style and Appearance – I’m rebuilding my wardrobe, after a purge in the summer of 2007. That means I have quite a bit of stuff I need to buy, despite my total lack of funds. I have got the basics – underwear, a couple of tops, a couple of bottoms, a pair of shoes, minimal jewelery, a purse, some breast enhancers,  a wig, and some basic makeup. However, I’m very light in each of these categories. My makeup skills are improving dramatically, I think, but I’ve still never been able to figure out eye liner. Also, I need a brow wax. Let’s say I’m 10 percent in style and appearance.
  • Coming Out – Parents know. Spouse, her family, and her friends know. My three closest friends know. That leaves siblings and extended family, extended friend network, and work colleagues to tell. I’d say I’m more than half way there on this one – 55 percent.
  • Hair Removal – Haven’t started. I think I’ll make a run at this once I’ve got a month or two of hormones behind me. Like many parts of transition, hair removal is permanent, and I’d hate to be stuck with its effects in the event I couldn’t make transition work. On the other hand, I hate my facial and body hair, so…the real delay involves money. Zero percent on this one.
  • Hormones – Again, I haven’t started, though I did leave a voice mail for the hormone doctor, indicating that I want to set up an appointment. If all goes well, I should get some scripts in a month’s time or less. Again, zero percent.
  • Voice – I practice my voice periodically when I drive to and from work. I think its coming along, but it has a long way to go. I’ll say 10 percent on this one. Part of that 90 percent, though, is appearance. If you look good, who would question you??

I think those are the big ones. There are a few others – walk, for example – but I feel that, if I accomplish the big things, the little ones will all be easy. Notably, I didn’t add plastic surgery to this list. I’d like to see how things go with the basic stuff, before deciding my need for surgeries. I’m interested in Facial Feminization and maybe breast augmentation. Depending on how things go with my spouse, I could be interested in the full nip-tuck. I mean, I am, but that’s a big step for a long way down the road.

Coming Out: Telling My Parents

June 3, 2009

Revealing my transgender tendencies was a very hard thing for me to do, as it is for so many like me. I was aware of my feelings and the likely outcomes they would produce, throughout my teen years. By age 24, however, I was still the only person in the world who knew about those feelings and outcomes, except for a few random people I had anonymously traded instant messages with over the years. Coming out for me was as much a physical problem as it was mental; I just couldn’t bring myself to start the conversation.

On New Year’s Eve 2005, I was home alone, feeling incredibly burdened by my deep desire to transition from male to female. My siblings were all away from the house that night, either working or partying, as it was a holiday. My parents had gone to dinner, leaving me home alone with my troubled mind. I remember listening to “I’m Not OK,” by My Chemical Romance and rocking neurotically in my desk chair, while trying to beat myself into a confession of my feelings. Several times in recent weeks, I had started a letter, explaining my situation, but I’d always ripped it up and thrown it out before revealing my inner most secrets to anyone. That night, though, I was at my wit’s end and I was seriously contemplating coming out to my parents.

I knew instinctively that if I wrote the letter and left it out for them to find when they arrived home, there was a good chance that I’d cave in while waiting and fetch and destroy the letter before they arrived. There was only one thing to do, then. I typed the letter, sealed it in an envelope, left it on the kitchen counter, and got in my car and drove away. If I wasn’t there, I couldn’t stop them from finding it.

The letter itself was a simple, one page explanation of my troubles and the proposed solutions. Generally, I started with, “there’s something you need to know about me,” and moved to, “I think I have Gender Identity Disorder and need to seek treatment.” I always hide behind the clinical diagnosis, so I don’t have to admit to people subtler aspects of transsexualism, like, “I would love to grow breasts,” and “Panties are so much better than male underwear,” and “Isn’t that a cute handbag?” Men don’t say these things and, as long as I look like a man, it’s a little hard for me to say these things, too. After all, I have a brand to manage.

I left home, with the letter neatly placed in the center of the kitchen island, and went to the gas station. On my radio, I played some Oasis rather loudly, feeling both nervous and weird and strangely free of my past troubles. As I pumped gas, I looked around at the other customers, thinking about how none of them knew what I’d just done and planning where I could go to stay away from home long enough for my plan to unfold. I decided to head downtown, as the drive alone would take 40 minutes.

Once downtown, I did the only low cost thing I could think of: I bought a 50 cent fair and road the People Mover around the city. If you’ve never been to Detroit, the People Mover is an elevated monorail that circles the central business district endlessly. Anyway, I was riding the people mover and glancing at my phone, to check the time. My parents should be home soon, I thought. They’d find the letter and…

The phone rang. It was home calling. I hadn’t really thought this far. Should I answer? What would I say? How awkward would this conversation be? Was I ready? The truth was out, obviously, so I’d better be ready. I let it ring through and go to voicemail.

Immediately, I listened to the voicemail. It was my dad. He was very calm and told me that, no matter what was the matter, they would love and accept me and they just wanted me to come home and talk to them. It was a relief to my ears, but I started to feel badly. I felt badly that I hadn’t had the courage to face them directly and badly that they’d probably thought the worst when they came home and found the letter. Two minutes later, Dad called again. This time I answered. I told him I was fine and that I’d be home soon.

When I got home, my dad was sitting in his recliner in the living room, my mom already retired to her bedroom for the night. I came in slowly and made little eye contact, though I knew we had to talk. I sat adjacent my dad, on the small couch to his left, keeping my eyes on the tv as we started to talk. He wanted to know how long things had been bothering me; why I hadn’t mentioned it before; and what I planned to do about my transgender issues. It was all news to him; he’d never thought out transsexualism a day in his life and he certainly hadn’t considered that one of his children might be dealing with it. I’d always kept my feelings and thoughts to myself; I’d always hidden away while dressing or researching or doing whatever I was doing in pursuit of my little hobby. He told me he wanted to get educated about things, so he could understand what I was facing.

I went up stairs and found my mom, for a much shorter conversation. She pretty much reiterated what my dad had said; she loved me unconditionally and, as her child, she would do what she had to do to support me. Was this news to her? Yes. Did she know anything about it? No. We exchanged smiles and I went to bed. I was out to my parents and one step further on the road to womanhood.