I’ve finally scheduled the initial appointment for my hormone replacement therapy! Taking arguably the biggest and slowest step in my transition is pretty exciting. And pretty nerve-wrecking, to be honest. There’s a whole lot to think about–and that’s just on my end as this transition is not just my own.
Doubts – Health
I think everyone goes through similar thoughts, in this case. To start off with, there’s health concerns. There’s likely increased risk for venous thromboembolic disease, cardiovascular disease, lipid disorders, liver disease, and gallbladder issues. There’s possible increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and prolactinoma. And, of course, a reported yet inconclusive chance of increased risk of breast cancer. Fertility and libido are also concerns to address.
Most of these are usually addressed just by taking care of yourself, and working with your care team to check your levels and contacting your doctor if you notice or feel anything unusual. You know, the stuff you’re supposed to be doing as a responsible adult. So going to the gym more often, drinking water more, and watching my potassium will definitely be crucial. The end result of this is that I’ll also be taking better care of myself and likely get in better shape… alright!
Fertility tends to return after a while of stopping hormone use, and can return with mature enough gametes to reproduce if that’s something we ever want to do. As for libido, I don’t have a huge amount of that now as it is so I might not see a difference. That all said, with my family history I have a few concerns that they may hold off on giving me a prescription for the time being. The manager there reassured me they would rather work with patients to benefit their health as well though, so I may just get extra “homework” instead.
Doubts – Social
We’ve been doing a pretty good job of building up a solid support network. Almost all of our friends, those we speak with on the regular anyway, know. My Mom knows, most of Nikki’s coworkers know. I’ve not yet told my coworkers nor my Dad because I’m leaning on their reactions being less than great. One day my Dad at least will have to know but uh… he tends to be pretty oblivious to slight changes so he may never be able to tell.
One of Nikki’s coworkers mentioned the requirement for real life experience for hormones, which concerned her greatly. Fortunately though over here we’re able to go through an informed consent process and skip a lot of the more awkward old-era gate keeping. I’ll be able to present as male around coworkers and in environments where I might not be totally safe to let loose for likely the foreseeable future, unless I roll a d20 on genetics. And even then–it shouldn’t be too much effort.
I think my issue right now is one many trans folk face. “Am I really trans enough?” Like, will I pass whatever tests are needed by the staff that’ll be supporting me? I have a bunch of more masculine-leaning personality traits and thanks to how I was raised and my work environment I come off as manly. It does quite the number to your confidence when you’re trying to convince yourself that it’s okay and that having masculine traits doesn’t make you less of a woman then someone says, “Maybe you’re just NB” or a friend goes, “It’s hard to she/her you because I’ve always known you to be so manly!”
I know the latter meant well enough, but still, daggone.
On the other hand, starting along the process of one day seeing myself in the mirror is amazing. When I look in the mirror now, I can acknowledge that face is mine. But there’s no emotional attachment to it. It’s like, “This is my body” instead of “This is me”, even if I’ve used both phrases before. Or as another example, the entire world and my body have been telling me that my right shoe goes on my left foot. I’ve been made to accept that as normal, and now I get to start putting my shoes on the correct feet–even if no one can tell on the outside for a while.
I’ve gotten used to a life outside without air conditioning, and am perfectly content with this. Now I’m going to be slowly bringing my body into an air conditioned building. Each correct pronoun. Every learning experience. So many more chances for this stupid silly, uncontrollable grin to mark my face. As a final example, say the chromosomes made my body’s initial blueprint. Now I get to make additions, customizations, and can paint the walls and add furniture!
It’s not that I was ever truly unhappy before. I’ve been blessed beyond reason; I’ve got good parents who raised me well, the best SO ever, fantastic friends, and am part of a community that can turn me into mush in seconds. But I do want to explore these steps, one at a time, and take the ones I think will make me even happier–at our pace, as Nikki’s just as much a part of this as I am.