October 10, 2018 – A Bump in the Road

Hello everyone,

Well, it’s been another busy month. In the past month, instead of going straight to the shot we went to the max dose (my doctor is comfortable with) on my estridiol. That was before results for my latest blood work (on that dose) came in. It gave me my highest result yet, but we also did a testosterone check…my first since my baseline. In the past 7 months, it has gone up!

I was rather disappointed upon seeing that result. According to the soreness in my chest, I thought things were going well. Well, needless to say, we upped my spiro by half a dose. In the first week after doing that, oh how I became even more sore, tired, and cranky.

As a stomach sleeper, I’ve quickly learned that my back is my best friend. Why not my side? The answer is simple: gravity. The weight of gravity pulling down on the girl’s causes soreness. That’s beside the fact that, even though small, I’m still not used to having them even the slightest bit in the way. Work, cleaning, and even sleeping I tend to bump them accidentally, which causes me enough pain to notice.

To come to a conclusion, overall I am still happier than ever. I knew from the beginning that once I began transition it wouldn’t be easy. The path to happiness is never easy, and those that think it is won’t find a lasting happiness. There are up days, and down, but in the end I know what I am doing is right for me.

Love,

Andie

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September 10, 2018 – The Latest

Hello everyone,

So, another month passed, and not terribly much has changed. Then again, quite a bit has. Let’s get into this…

1. The Medicine

In the past month or so, I’ve gone from being on patches to taking pills. I actually like this change. No annoying spot on my body that I have to watch out for when washing, having it shift on me, or generally annoy me.

I’ve never missed a dose, but like the patch, my estrogen levels aren’t hitting where they need to be. I’ve even adjusted when I take my pill for the last blood draw (so it should have been higher), but I hit a low. I’m now taking the max dose my doctor would like, and if I don’t hit at least 80…we’re moving to the shot. We’re also going to check my testosterone levels again, since we haven’t since we got a base before I started HRT.

2. The Physical

These changes have been very subtle, to where most people don’t notice. I’ve had to go from large to XL in my sports bras, and from 12 to 16 in jeans (depending on brand I can fit 14). I’ve also shrank 2 inches in height, and I eat less but keep the same weight.

Also, I’ve noticed a considerable change in strength. I got winded carrying something in from the shed at work that I used to just toss on my shoulder.

3. The Mental

While my general persona is still the same, this is where the biggest change for me has been so far. Overall, I’ve felt much happier most of the time. There are only a few days a month that I’m not, which…PMS sucks! On top of that, like with ciswomen, not all transwomen experience cramps. I, unfortunately, do. The fun part is, the higher my dose…the stronger they seem to get. This last time, I felt them in my hip bones. My boss that first night was kind enough to give me space.

Anyway, this past month I was getting very close with an old friend. Not going to get into it, but if I decide to talk to her again, I will say thank you. I got to find out all kinds of new things about myself thanks to her. Mostly, the range of emotions I now have.

Before I started everything, I had 4 basic emotions: happy, sad, anger, and meh (indifference). All complete and separate things. Now…holy hell. One night I swear I felt 50 different things in 10 minutes. It felt odd, and was very disorienting for someone who has always kept complete control.

On another night, she even got to see something that almost no one has (including my children)…tears. That just doesn’t happen because of the control I’ve always had.

Well, I should probably get to bed as it’s 5 am as I write this. Hope you enjoyed reading this since you made it this far. Goodnight!

Love,

Andie

August 4, 2018 -General Update and Vent

Hello everyone,

I know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted, but it’s been a busy time being summer.  Overall, things are going well.  I’m happier (except for a few days a month), and finally feeling more comfortable in my skin.  Work keeps me plenty busy, although I have found that my now stepping away from being primary maintenance is a good thing.

The biggest change I’ve noticed in the past few months is my physical strength.  Having to lift a 50 lb (22.6 kg) drain tub for fry vats everyday gives me a good gauge on progress.  I’ll be the first to say…that thing is getting heavy.  When I started maintenance, I had been on a very low dose of estrogen.  Small changes, easy lifting with that much testosterone in my system.  Now that my primary hormone has really begun flipping, the struggle has begun.  I haven’t changed any habits, or routines, so baseline “should” be the same.  Thankfully, it tells me things are working.

For the vent portion of this,  it’ll be short.  Yesterday, I went school shopping with my kids and grandmother.  Towards the end of the trip, we were shoe shopping.  I knelt down to check size on my oldest’s  foot…and my pants ripped right beside the back pocket (forgot to add start of bigger hips and booty to list of changes lol).  So I mentioned maybe I should grab myself some new pants.  Grandmother (who I’m out to), kept trying to push me over to the men’s section.  I ended up not getting any pants, because it was easier to say I wasn’t worried about it than to argue over shopping sections.  So, today I’m getting new pants.

Have a good day everyone!

Love,

Andie

June 15, 2018 – Explanation

Hello everyone,

So, I realize that while I have talked in snippets here and there about HRT, I’ve never really talked about its effect on me personally. Now that I have started month 5, I think I can explain it. Keep in mind, this is only how I’ve been affected. It in no way reflects anyone else’s experiences.

Fair warning, though I will censor quite a bit, be warned that below there may be some details you don’t want to know. You have been warned.



For those brave enough to proceed, here we go…

The entire experience I’ve had so far can be broken down into a few sections:

  1. Realization
  2. Friend Reaction
  3. Family Reaction
  4. Physical Change
  5. Mental Change

Realization

This took me the longest time to figure out. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s you had 4 main sources for common knowledge on transgender people: 1) Rocky Horror Picture Show, 2) The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 3) RuPaul, and 4) Tootsie. I realize RuPaul and Tootsie aren’t trans in the sense of what I’m talking (HRT, ect), but they’re lumped right into previous knowledge.  I realize how limited that it was, but with so few choices, I didn’t really identify close to any of them.  Although, one of the three main characters in Priscilla was trans…as I recall it was portrayed as self-hating and regretting the drugs and surgery.  Very interesting, but hard to identify with.

Fast forward until about 10 years ago.  So, at this point I was a single father of two, living with my mother, I’m watching TV…and on pops something about Chaz Bono.  I watched with great interest, and re-watched (yay DVR) just to make sure I understood exactly what was going on…what was being discussed.  Finally, it was something I recognized.  The opposite way, but everything finally made sense.  This is what I had been looking for:  a realistic representation of the way I had been feeling all my life.  A positive role model for what had been locked in my mind since prepubescence.

Friend Reaction

At this point, I should say that coming out is never easy.  For some, it gets easier after a few times.  For me, I’m an absolute wreck almost every time.  I’m sure it’s mostly to do with my anxiety issues, but each time it’s been just as hard as the first for me.

On a brighter note, my friends are awesome.  The first one I told (irl) was a girl I consider one of my closest, and one of the longest lasting.  Her initial reaction?  She seemed almost excited.  Since then I’ve go friend by friend, and co-workers.  It’s all been positive responses so far, or at least as far as anyone lets on.  Although, I imagine anyone who disagrees just won’t talk to me, which isn’t a big deal.

Family Reaction

I chickened out on this one.  My mother passed many years ago, although I’m 99.9% sure she knew.  She only would have been worried about my kids, which I took into consideration before finally coming out to everyone.  My grandparents were the only ones I personally contacted.  The response I got was a text saying that they love me.  As for the rest of my family, I’ve heard from grandma’s sisters, as well as my step-mother and sisters.  All positive.

Physical Changes

This is where it gets to the slight censoring.  Overall changes haven’t been drastic.  As you saw in what I called my 4 month post (the beginning of is what it was), facial fat has move slightly.  Thighs and buttocks are about the same.  My skin is definitely softer, and I do bruise more easily.  I’ve lost some muscle mass, and I can tell how much by how hard my job is starting to get in certain aspects.  Lastly, breast development is…interesting.  Slight growth over the past few months, but Tylenol and ibuprofen have become my best friends.  What I don’t get…how can there be so much soreness/tenderness with so little growth?  Men really don’t get how much women go through starting at puberty.

Mental Changes

Finally, the most complicated simplicity.  Honestly, it just makes me feel normal.  The only thing I’ve really noticed is that my temper is more mellow overall.  Other than that, emotionally I don’t feel any different, but it’s still really early in the process.  Although…I have noticed that I’m a little more squeamish while watching House during the surgery parts.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, and I really need to get to bed. Lol, so I’ll be off for the night, have a good one everybody.

Love,

Romy J.

June 9, 2018 – Summertime

Hello everyone,

As we hit mid-June, I sit here at the lake and think to myself, “Am I really going to be able to do this?”

I look out across the swimming area and see all sorts of people: kids splashing around, parents watching intently, some older folks just having fun with their grandchildren…and me. I just feel like, to reference an old story, the ugly duckling. I realize that I shouldn’t, and just throw myself out there…but it’s harder than you think.

Before starting transition, I found it hard enough to go swimming with a lot of people around. Now that I’ve started developing? It took me being out by the boat buoys before I’d take my shirt off to relax in my top.

I don’t think people realize just how difficult it really is to be trans. It’s not like you start all your drugs, have a little therapy, and *poof* all better. All your old anxieties are still there, and then some new ones. It’s no secret that I really don’t care to deal with people, but now it’s also a bit of fear mixed in (along the lines of what happens if they don’t like that I’m trans? Will they hurt me or worse?). Then, of course, body issues. Yeah, as if the dysphoria weren’t enough trying to find a suit that will fit and disguise…pain in the ass on a tight budget. But…whatever.

Maybe I’m just in a down mood today, because I was planning on a happy post. Had my 3 month checkup the other day, and that went great. Results are in, and I’ll be raising my dose…which could be interesting.

Anyway, day at the lake and setting camp has exhausted me, so I think it’s time to go lay down and chill for the night.

Love,

Romy J.

Sunday, May 20, 2018 – Four Months Later

4mo

 

Hello everyone,

So, I’m not much of one to post pictures of myself…anywhere, let alone take selfies.  However, since I started on my patches back in February, I’ve tried to take a picture at least once a month.  I find it a nice way to see myself as I progress, since I see myself everyday.

This being the start of the 4th month, I’m really beginning to see a change facially.  I know I haven’t really gained any weight between now and then (maybe even lost some), but there is quite a difference between the two pictures.  Besides the fact that I’m now becoming more comfortable with myself, I can just see more of a twinkle in my eye in the newest picture.  It’s kind of nice.

As far as everything else, it’s slow but steady progress.  The general aches and pains from being my age, as well as general “chest” pain.  I’m having a good time at work, and things are going pretty well there.  I finally took a giant step for me also…I posted about being trans on my old Facebook.  Shockingly, no one deleted me, and more people than I expected either commented or liked the status.  It’s kind of nice to just be out there now, although I am a little wary of people around the area.

Well, it’s time to go get some things done around the house, and get my youngest back over to her mothers’.  Have a good day everyone!

Love,

Andie

April 18th, 2018 – Still Going

Hello everyone,

I missed last months post, but I’m back early this month to fix that.  Things are changing, but yet they’re not.  In the past couple of months, work has been something else.  So, we’ll start there, and I’ll get to other stuff afterwards.

This past month at work has really flipped a lot of stuff on its head.  To start, in the past couple of months we’ve seen a lot of staffing changes.  Granted, it’s McDonald’s…but still.  First we lost a couple of managers, and half the closing staff.  All of whom know about me, and I trusted enough to answer absolutely any question they had.  Anyway, so they’re gone, and I got one night to train my replacements on nights because I’m now the primary maintenance person.

Now, while I don’t like the fact that I got to barely train my replacement, I have to say I love the new position.  I just don’t get how the guy I replaced had such trouble, and pretty much all the managers mad at him.  McDonald’s maintenance has changed since I last did it, but it’s still a cake walk.  My only issue is that most days I have everything done before 10 am, if not faster.  That leaves me several hours of boredom, because (I guess) I’m not really on the floor unless they’re short-handed…sometimes not even then.  With all my extra time, I’ve pretty much caught up everything that was slacked on before I took over.  The only real drawback to it all…I think I have one manager that just loathes me.  I took her old man’s spot when I took over, and on the mornings we open together she’s constantly getting in the way.  It’s whatever though, cause I’m good at my job, and everyone else seems almost ecstatic of how quickly things get taken care of now.

Secondly, it’s wonderful to have actual internet back in the house!  Sure, it’s 3 MB/s DSL…but they don’t have fiber optics here yet.  It let’s me play my online games, write here, and I’m even working on starting up an internet radio station again.   That latter one has been a real chore, but I’m going to try booting it up tonight to test the first 6 hours of programming.

Finally,  things are going slow and steady on the trans front.  I’ve noticed that I am starting to slowly lose some of my arm strength.  Lifting certain things has become a little more difficult, and punching boxes to break them down doesn’t work quite as smoothly, but I manage.  The box thing is more to do with watching where I hold it to do it though.  If I don’t hold it “just right,” my chest lights on fire.  Both good and bad there, cause I don’t like the pain but it tells me that the meds are working.  I’ve also noticed the slower growing body hair (not like I had much to begin with), and my skin has gotten softer.  I actually ripped into a couple of knuckles pretty good the last two days, when in the past it would have barely scratched me.

The only issue I have now is mostly with the pharmacy keeping my drugs in stock so I can get them on time than getting the doctor to send out the script.  Let me just say, I thought I understood female hormone fluctuation before…experiencing it is a whole other thing.  I get about as moody as when I run out of cigarettes (which is really bad).  Although, I have noticed that my temper has changed from explosive to a slow boil.  That’s a good thing, because I knew how scary I could (sometimes) be before.

Well, six paragraphs later, I had better close this out.  I’m going to try to get back on schedule by posting again next week on the proper date.  Until then, take care of yourselves!

Love,

Romy J.

The Month of Starts

Hello everyone,

Have I mentioned that I have a fear of needles? Looks like I’m going to have to get over that! This month has flown by, and lots of positive changes have happened. Let’s go through them:

  1. I’ve come out to more people. It may seem small to some, but to me it’s a huge deal. I’ve slowly been telling more people at work, and so far all the responses have been positive. One girl said, “I’m proud of you,” while another wants to plan a party. Yet another, whom I have been hanging out with, set her ringtone on my phone to something about best friends.
  2. The doctors got going faster than I thought. It’s nothing against them. I’m their first trans patient at this hospital, and expected them to go much slower. I also expected many more hoops to jump through for the same reason. My first contact was back in December, and after being jabbed with needles 3 times so far (with another Monday) and a psychological evaluation (with a NP who has known me since I was a teenager)…
  3. I’m on my way to being (physically) me! Thursday I started spironolactone, and yesterday began my estridol patches. The needle jab Monday is to see how quickly half-doses have dropped my testosterone on the spiro, as well as keeping an eye on my potassium. Although, looking at my baseline blood work…surprisingly (or not) my T was on the low side for an adult male.

That just about covers things for this month, although I do have 2 side notes: 1) the euphoria effect even hit me, and I’m almost always a pessimist, and 2) I actually took a selfie yesterday, and plan to take daily ones.

I’ve always hated pictures of myself, but I’m actually curious about how quickly all of this will effect me. Especially now knowing just how low my T is from the start.

And before I forget, a quick shout out to both my doctors nurses. The one I’ve known since we were teenagers, and for finding out from my chart…took it well (especially when she hollered back as she left the room “new name doesn’t matter, you’ll still be Duck to me”). Still supportive, even after all these years.

And to the nurse for my prescribing doctor, who actually remembers my mother. Our last visit, she mentioned how I seemed familiar, and after mentioning my girls it clicked. She was working her tail off for me before, but she seems to be working harder (if that’s at all possible) now. In an email exchange, she had mentioned she was trying her hardest to get the ball rolling for me. I’d say success achieved.

Nurses tend to get a lot of flack for what they do, but please always respect them. They work harder than you think, and they are the primary point of contact.

Well, enough rambling for this morning. I’ll update again next month…especially now things are going my way!

Love,

Andromeda

Two Posts, One Night

Hello everyone,

One more short post here. I was just reading a post on WordPress about another trans person finally feeling the mysoginy (sorry for spelling) that most ciswomen feel all the time.

Tbh, the way she describes it, it actually heartens me. Why? Because where I’m from…it tells me that I will be treated the same way I always have been. The outcast, the one, the underdog…something that I am used to. I like keeping the very few that I call friends just that. It’s hard to get to know me beyond the public persona…and that is all most people get. Even those that think they know me, they don’t. The last post is proof of that.

I can count on both hands how many I count as true friends…which is great. It tells me that the core is actually greater than the whole.

Anyway, I shall digress before I get all sappy…

Love,

Andie

Feeling Alright

Hello everyone,

I know I’m a bit early posting, but I just had to tonight. Last night (Thursday), I was chilling with one of the girls from work that I am out to. I took my nail polish over, so she could see what I have and do her nails. In the midst of it all, I answered a few questions that I thought she may still have about what I’m dealing with. Then I mentioned that I had a custom ringtone for her boyfriend, but I couldn’t decide on hers…and to pick her own. Keep in mind, I don’t hand my phone to just anyone…but the one she picked is pretty fitting.

For those that have been reading for a while, you know I’m pretty much a loner. Which is why I got such a big grin at her ringtone. It’s “That’s My Best Friend” by Tokyo Vanity. Hilarious, yet true. Don’t get me wrong, Kat and co., are still tops…but for someone who just found out recently to pick a tone like that on her own…she deserves a bf title.

Love,

Romy J. a.k.a. Andie