Monday, February 18, 2013

9 Months HRT, Testing Positive


It's time for an update here after 9 months of hormone replacement therapy.  I am feeling great and will be going back to the doctor week after next to check my blood and get new prescriptions.  After my doctor's visit I will post another update, but I feel like everything will check out ok and that I am making good progress.  On my 6 Month HRT Report I gave a lot of details on the effects of hormones on MTF transsexuals; dosages, timetables and so forth.  Things do seem to happen a lot quicker in the first few months because everything is new and perhaps because we are more acutely in tune to wanting something to change while noticing every little thing.  The first time you notice a little breast growth or softer skin is remarkable and validates that the hormones are working.  Over time it is possible that the changes occur more gradually or perhaps it is that we are already used to them; or they don't seem as fantastic and they just don't faze us as much anymore.  I hear this from almost all my trans friends and this is becoming my experience as well.  Having said that, some days I wake up and notice that things aren't the way they were not that long ago and I am filled with wonder and good feelings. 

Probably the biggest news since the 6 month report is that I have gone to a 36 B bra from a 36 A.  I have not grown a full cup size and I'm not a full B yet but the A cup bra has recently become too restrictive, so I had to switch to a B.  Things like this happen slowly over time and full breast development takes 2-5 years or more, but I do think I had a growth spurt a couple of weeks ago after several weeks of what seemed like a lull in new growth.  During that time my breasts got very sore and more tender than usual for a number of days.  I think its normal to have growth spurts and periods where it seems nothing happens.  Then you wake up one morning and there is change.  It is nice to move up in bra size and now I have something to work on/look forward to; filling the B cup. 

Something else that I have noticed since November is a reduction of shadow from facial hair.  I have only had one short electrolysis session since then, and that was on a small area, so I know it wasn't from electro.  The hair on my face has not gone away at all or changed much that I can tell (except on my upper lip).  It must be growing a little slower and be a little finer now though because I really don't have to use concealer under my MAC Studio Fix make up to cover it anymore.  This is especially true on my upper lip.  I had that area cleared once back in September and by November everything seemed to have come back like it had been before.  Now, with no more treatments, I have very little hair there.  At first I thought maybe it was a growth cycle but the hair there is still very light and splotchy.  This used to be one area I really had to concentrate on with concealer so this is definitely a big improvement.

My body hair continues to grow a little slower and seems to be a little bit lighter as well.  This is supposed to be the final effect of HRT to manifest itself, with the onset of this decreased terminal hair growth listed on the endocrine society's chart of feminizing effects, at 6-12 months.  Some have said they have noticed changes in my face and from going back and looking at old pictures this is probably true.  I used to wear a lot more make up back then but I do believe my facial features keep slowly feminizing.

I have gained a little more weight although most of it is in the right places.  My butt is bigger than ever and it is getting round and firm so hopefully it is a "good" bigger butt, lol.  I have added a little bit to the hips also with the only bad news being that my love handles are a little bigger.  It is definitely easier to gain weight and harder to lose it now.  I am sure that is due to the continuing loss of muscle mass, which I still notice happening gradually.  Females have a lower percentage of muscle so it is harder to burn calories.  I have heard that it is good for us to gain weight on HRT so that we can get curves but I do believe that one must train themselves to eat like a fit female and I have to keep reminding myself of that.  I really do not want to gain any more weight and need to lose some but I am scared I will lose some of my butt and hips so I haven't really tried yet.  I am trying to eat less and stop gaining weight and am hoping that fat redistribution will move it to the "good" areas and away from the bad ones.

Emotionally I am feeling the effects of hormones more than ever.  The last two months have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least, but that is due more to my life's events than to the medications.  The hormones just magnify my emotions much more and I can honestly say that I have cried more in the last 2 months that I did in all my previous years combined.  I am even crying now during movies but that doesn't feel bad and is not out of control like some of what I experienced in the weeks following my separation.  I was very close to an emotional breakdown then and I can thank the positive experience I have had coming out to my parents and the solid support of my boyfriend for pulling me through.  I never want to feel like that again.  Being able to express emotions is a beautiful part of having female body chemistry, but not being able to handle it when things get out of control can be scary to say the least. 

Testing Positive

Having completed 9 months of HRT, I am also very close to completing 2 months of living full time as myself.  This is also called Real life Experience or sometimes called the Real Life Test and recently I have personally experienced some of why it can be called a test.  Overall though I am having a very positive experience and there is no way I will go back to living as my old self.  If nothing else these first few months are a real learning experience and time of personal growth.  On another positive note, I have started shopping some again for the first time since Christmas.  The other day I picked up 4 new pair of shoes for a total of $101.37 and have also found some good deals on sweaters, tops, skirts and pants at thrift shops.

New Shoes
Passing has not been a problem for me but I keep working on my voice and overall presentation.  I am really just being myself and acting naturally but I try to make sure the outside world does not read me as anything other than female.  I get called ma'am even without make up and I think that will get even better over time with the effects of hormones and electrolysis.  Something I have had to realize though, is that being in this same small city that I have lived in most of my life, I will never be able to lead a "stealth" existence.  I have not bumped into anyone I know from the past yet and had them recognize me but being out with my father, who is getting a little senile, has proven to be an adventure.

My dad is having a hard time remembering to call me Tammy.  I am alright with that because I know he has increasing memory issues and at least he is making the effort.  He was having an especially bad memory day last week and this is the day it dawned on my that my life now is a test, a Real Life Test.  He has always called me by my (male) middle name.  This doesn't sound too bad when he makes a mistake, as it is a name that is sort of androgynous.   It sounds a lot better than something like William or James.  So we were in the doctor's office waiting area and a couple of times he called out to me with my old name.  The worst thing was when he tried to introduce me to someone (this happened twice) as his son.  One of the times he did this when we were sitting next to each other he corrected it to daughter after I tapped his arm. This must have really confused the old man he was introducing me to, lol.  

The next day we went to a Chinese restaurant to order take out and I got inside before him and made the order.  He came up behind me and the lady told him that she had already made the order and he just needed to pay for it.  That made me feel good because that was a day I was not wearing any make up and I knew she read me as female.  Well he walked right up and said "did he order yet" and then looked to me and said "son did you make the order"...Uh oh!  Oh well, even if being out with my dad means I will be constantly outed I am happy and proud to be able to go out anywhere with him.  He does consider me his daughter and that is what really counts.  After all, this is a test for me and I think I am passing, even though there will always be people in this town who know what I am and was.

The only other negative experience I had was earlier this week when one of my old (so called) friends found me on Facebook and sent me a few messages.  I took some time, via text and Internet messages to explain what is going on with me and come out to him.  At first he seemed semi supportive, then got negative and downright rude.  Finally he said that he loved the old me but could not "follow me down this path".  This is an ex friend that I have mentioned in earlier posts as one who I basically kicked out from coming to my home 2 years ago.  His problem is a combination of being a redneck and quasi fundamentalist religious zealot, as well as a self admitted asshole.  In the past he said I was going to hell for drinking, drugs and listening to devil music.  Now I am going to hell for transitioning.  His wife said that I would be better off on the drugs so that is the type people we are dealing with. My last message to them was that I did not share their beliefs and "Good Luck". 

Female No Matter What

A couple of years ago, when I was making the decision, or coming to the realization, that I had to transition, I was walking around a mall and saw a handicapped lady about my age walking towards me.  She was using metal crutches and I think she had been in an accident or had some form of permanent disability.  She could have used a wheelchair but she was walking alone with the crutches even though I could see it was big challenge for her.  She may have been in some pain.  The thought occurred to me at that moment that if something/anything like that happened to me I still had to transition.  I needed to be female no matter what.  If I was burned, got into an accident or got very sick there was still no other way to go for me.  I wasn't trying to win a beauty contest or lead some dream, glamorous female life.  I needed to live the rest of rest of my life as a female, the way I am supposed to be, no matter what life throws at me.

Recently I went through the ordeal of finding a skin cancer next to my eye, having it removed and going around with a swollen, black eye and big bandage on my face.  There may even be a small scar there after it heals.  I am very lucky that it was not any worse than it was and that the surgeon got all the cancer, but this again made me think back to my decision to be a female no matter what.  It wasn't really a decision or an impulse but something that was necessary for me to go on with my life.  The key here is that now that I am full time I couldn't hide this thing.  I had to go out in the world and live my life just as I am.  In the past I probably would not have gone out presenting female until this place had healed.  Now that I am full time there is no choice.  This is not just a real life test but it is real life and life goes on no matter what.  Sure, I would rather not have had this place on my face but I felt a lot better going out with the black eye and bandage than I would have going out as a male, with or without the black eye and bandage.


2 weeks after skin cancer surgery, it was a lot worse the week before.
It has been a great journey so far and even though I have related some negative experiences today, and you all know what I went through initially with my separation, it is and has been a positive experience.  I had a very good afternoon with my ex the other day.  We walked the dogs in a park, went to lunch and went shopping.  I was wearing the lightest make up possible but was called ma'am in the restaurant and stores.  She doesn't seem to mind being out with me now and our shopping experience was awesome, just like 2 close girlfriends.  Having gotten two cards from my mother referring to me as Tammy Ann, she asked me about my new middle name.  I told her that mom had given it to me the day after I came out to her and that I had told my mother I would honored if she gave me a middle name.  My (ex) spouse still doesn't call me Tammy but on this day she did hint that eventually she might call me Tam at least. 

If this is a test I would say I am testing positive.  It has been said that if you don't put 100% into transition you will fail somehow.  I am putting 110% into mine and I will not fail or fall back.  My next goal is getting my name changed.  I am running into some challenges out here being full time and still having a male name.  For instance, at the drive through window the other day when I was depositing my check and the lady said to me "Ma'am, is (male name) in the car?"  I told her yes and she asked me if she could see him.  I looked right at her and she finally recognized me from the picture.  Thank God I updated it a couple months ago when I already had long hair.  It's just another part of the real life test, but it will get better when I have my name changed.  It always  gets better....