2 1/2 Years on T

Hello out there! Anyone still out there? I know it’s been a long time since I updated this blog with any regularity. Again, I am going to strive to get that back going more frequently. For now, I want to give a quick update, with another post following later tonight.

First off, here’s my 2.5 year voice clip: I hit 2.5 years on July 23rd. It sounds a little higher to me than the last one actually. I’m wondering if I had a cold when I took one in January or if I was just unconsciously speaking in a lower register. Who knows. It was a long time ago.

So, I’ve had some trouble keeping the blog up. I’ve had a tough few years, and I eventually gave way to a pretty steep depression. As much as I have had in my head that I wanted to get out here, it has been a struggle to get the energy up to write. But I know that it helps me a lot to do so, and I have a tendency to bottle things up, so here’s to take…100.

My transition is actually going quite well. I haven’t had any surgeries yet. I’m working on losing some weight before I take that step (and the weight loss is actually starting to go pretty well now too). My main struggle has been ulcerative colitis, a chronic illness I developed when I was 16. After the initial onset of the disease, I went a long time without symptoms. In 2010, a flare-up began which has continued until very recently.

My flare-up started shortly before I came out as trans, and dealing with the two together, especially at the beginning of my transition, was quite rough. I made it through about the first year running on fumes, but after that I started missing more classes, suffering more side effects, and just struggling. I took a few medical leaves, tried all sorts of medications, most of which made me sicker, and just ran out of steam.

It’s been tough to blog because I haven’t felt like I had anything to say about my life. The colitis had me spinning my wheels, stuck in one place for a long time. I’m finally at a point where I can start to move forward again.

“2 1/2 Years on T” by https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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2 Years on T

The first gaming console I ever had was my clunky Nintendo Game Boy.  I was around nine, and I loved Pokemon with the fiery passion of a gamer.  I don’t have the best memory when it comes to events or the little details of my life, but I remember vividly the screen in Pokemon where you enter your name when starting a new game.  In the first Pokemon game, you could only play a boy, but that didn’t bother me.  Though, in the second, when you had an option, I still played as a boy.  But beginning with the first Pokemon game I had (Pokemon Blue), I always used the same name in my games – Isaac.  I played male characters in all of my video games, but Pokemon was the only one where I used a non-fantasy/medieval-ish name.  I have played Pokemon on and off over the years, through different iterations of the game, and I always used Isaac as my in-game name.

Recently, I found my old game boy (not the original, sadly), and picked up Pokemon for the first time since beginning my transition, and legally changing my name.  Yet again, I came upon the familiarity of Professor Oak asking me for my name, and the screen in which to enter it.  It felt so wonderful to enter “Isaac” with my keypad and know that it was my name not just in a video game, but in the real world as well.  And I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying all the pixelated Pokemon world inhabitants calling me by my real name.

Today is my 2 years on T anniversary.  Even as I write this, it’s hard to believe today has already arrived.  Even now, I can still remember reading the books and blogs and livejournal posts about testosterone and its effects, dreaming of the day I would receive my first shot.  I can still remember impatiently rubbing my chin as the first few facial hairs sprung up, and demanding my housemates look to see how much had grown.  I remember the day one of my sister’s told me I should say my name in voicemails because she didn’t recognize my voice.

I still have a ways to go on my transition, but I am thrilled with how far I have come in the last couple of years.  I don’t have the beard that I hoped I would by now, but I still have quite a beard!  I can’t think of the last time a stranger misread my gender, and the slips by those who have known me for a long time are few and far between.  I have even had the opportunity to share my experiences with trans* people just starting on their journeys, as others did with me when I began my transition.

I’ve always appreciated that my T anniversary is so close to my actual birthday (Jan. 31).  Starting T on January 26, 2011 was the best birthday present I could ever give myself.  And the love and support I have received from my friends and family throughout this process are the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.  And thanks to anyone out there reading – the encouragement I have received from the online trans* community has been truly inspiring.

Here’s my latest voice clip:

2 years: 130126 Short Clip

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“2 Years on T” by https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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T Update: 102 Weeks

I know it’s been forever since I’ve done one of these, but I want to get back to it.  My two years on T anniversary is coming up very soon (two weeks away).   I always enjoyed that my birthday and my T birthday were so close together.

I have had a few gaps in my treatment, because of my health issues and some changes in how I administer the T, but as of today I’ve been on T for 102 weeks.  Nearly two years.  I really can’t believe it.

Here’s my voice clip: 130111 102 Weeks

To my ear, it doesn’t sound different than my last clip, which was at 43 weeks, but I’d be interested to hear what you all think.  Maybe that’s because of some of the gaps in my treatment, or maybe my voice is as low as it’s going to get.  I obviously will love it if it drops more, but I’m still very happy with where it is.  Last night, a close family member, one of my dad’s cousins, called while I was hanging out with my parents, and I picked up the phone.  He asked who he was speaking to, and when he heard it was me, told me how much I sounded like my father.  It was a real treat to hear that, especially after years of being mistaken for my mother on the phone.

I switched from T injections to the subdermal pellets.  I only did one round of the pellets, as, according to my endo, there is currently a national shortage of them.  So, I think I’m going to be trying out the gel at least until the pellets are back in stock.  I’ll let you all know how that goes.

The process of getting the pellets was much more painful than I expected, but I still prefer it to the injections.  I handled the injections just fine for a long time, and then I just lost my nerve or something.  I couldn’t do them any more.  The pellets are more painful at the time, but just once every four or five months, instead of every week or every two weeks.  They also have a steadier release, without the weekly ups and downs.

I also feel like I noticed more changes on the pellets, but it may have been my imagination.

The big obstacle for me right now is losing weight so I can get my top surgery.  Obviously, plenty of people get the surgery even while overweight, but I would like to wait until I have lost some.  Unfortunately, the dysphoria does present a lot of challenges when it comes to working out.  There’s really no way I can go to a gym the way I am now without the dysphoria overwhelming me.  I sometimes think I should just get the surgery, lose the weight, and get revisions for the surgery, but I really would like to minimize the likelihood that I might need revisions.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Going to go back and listen to my voice clips again now.  Have a good day, everyone!

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“T Update: 102 Weeks” by https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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I’m Not Dead Yet!

I wanted to take a moment to explain my less-than-regular blog updates as of late:  

Okay, so it hasn’t been quite that bad, but I had a string of several very rough months.  I believe that I have referenced having some serious health issues, and they pretty much rose up and sucker-punched me pretty hard.  I have a chronic illness which onset while I was a junior in high school.  It was in remission until May, 2010, and I have been terribly ill ever since.  The last couple of years have truly tested my will more than ever before.  I am really only starting to recover, and there’s still a long road ahead.  I’d rather not bore you all with the gory details of my health issues, but if you have questions, please feel free to ask me privately.

I unfortunately basically had to put my life on hold to get my health under control.  I took my first year off during the 2009-2010 school year, mostly as a result of my unresolved gender identity issues, though I was not willing to admit that at the time. I had the opportunity to work for a fantastic employment discrimination law firm, and I learned a lot about myself during that year.  Toward the end of my time at the firm, my health issues became active again.   Ever since, I have not had more than a month of peace from my illness.  Things got considerably worse throughout 2012, and though I had a little relief toward the end of the summer, this past fall my health tanked again.  After five semesters of either barely scraping by, or having to take medical leave because of my illness, I was finally forced to accept that I could not push through the pain and the sickness and still succeed.  I needed to stop what I was doing, and focus my energy on my health.

I’m not someone who likes to stand still, and I am so looking forward to the next stage of my life – law school and beyond – so it was hard to accept that I had to press “pause” on moving forward.  But it was also discouraging to see the person that I had to become in order to survive this illness.  I have never felt more flaky or selfish as I did during the worst parts of my flare-up.  Though I understand that I did what I had to do, and that many of my troubles were not under my control, I still couldn’t stand it. That’s never been a part of who I am, and I hated having to live my life that way.

The last week or so have been a huge improvement, without much explanation, though I started to feel sick again yesterday.  I am seeing my doctor on Thursday, and hopefully making a change in my medication.  There’s no guarantee that the next tier of biologic medications will help me, but I’m feeling hopeful.

I am finally getting to a point where I feel like myself again, and I am excited to get back into blogging.  Any of you who are out there still reading my blog, I wanted to let you know that I am still here as well.

That’s all for now.  I’ll be posting pretty regularly from here on out.  Happy New Year, everyone!

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“I’m Not Dead Yet!” by https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Shameless Plug

Hey everyone!  I know it’s been a while.  Hopefully will have a new post up in the next few days, if not tonight.  For now, a good friend of mine just started a blog, and I wanted to share it with you all.  It’s not directly related to trans* issues, but he’s writing a lot of interesting stuff about politics, philosophy, sociology.  Obviously, these are topics that impact everyone to a certain extent.  But now, as trans* people are more often in the public eye and as we fight battles both legal and social for our own rights and acceptance in society, I think we have a lot of reasons to care about such topics.

So check out his blog when you have a chance: http://freeradioborealis.wordpress.com/.  I look forward to reentering the blogosphere now that my life has calmed down a tad.  A belated L’shana tova (Happy New Year) to you all!

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