Amazing Day

I had a really good day today. My prof finished the material for the lecture early in my Orbital Mechanics class early and I had to skip my Mechanics and Fluids classes to see my endocrinologist.

My endo went over my bloodwork from when I first started HRT and even he was a bit surprised at the result. My Testosterone level before starting any medication was actually below the normal male range. I forgot to look at what units my results were in (I’ll find this later), but my T was listed as 30.1 and my E was listed as 50. I also got my Prescription bumped to 4mg Estrace and 300mg Spironolactone per day as well!

I stopped to get some groceries after having my prescription filled and I’m about 99% the clerk who rung up my groceries said “Have a nice day, ma’am” as I left.

Honestly, the only crappy part of today is the amount of homework I have to do!

September Update

I have been super busy over the last month! Schools started up again and I’ve been swamped in homework. I haven’t had time to update things here. I’ve updated my timeline with a bit more information, although there isn’t a lot to report on there. I’ve mostly been sitting around waiting for the hormones to work their magic.

I have an appointment with my endo on Sept 26 and hoping to have my dosage upped. Things have been happening crazy fast on my current (low) dosage, I can’t wait to see how things progress once I’m on my full dosage. I’ll probably post a bunch of pictures and do a much more detailed write-up of my experiences after my appointment on the 26th.

Third Laser Session Incoming!

I have my third session of laser hair removal on Friday. I’m pretty excited about this, although I don’t think I’ll see results that are as amazing as my first two sessions. My facial hair has gone from dark brown/black to a lighter, more blonde colour. It is also finer and less visible. While this is a very good thing overall, it also means that the laser will probably be less effective.

I’m being treated with a ND:YAG 1064nm laser which is supposed to remain effective on a larger variety of skin and hair colours. I guess there is still hope for another amazing treatment, I’ll resign myself to cautious optimism.

One thing I’m really not enjoying about the laser treatment is the “not shaving part”. I’ve decided to allow my facial hair to grow for 10 days prior to the treatment for two reasons. The first is that I want to get an accurate idea of what I have left, and the second is because my skin is very sensitive to shaving. I want to allow my skin time to fully recover from shaving before the treatment. I also find that my skin handles shaving a lot better when my facial hair is allowed to grow out first. This way I’ll be able to get the best possible shave prior to the laser treatment.

I also have to wait a week after the treatment before shaving again as per the care instructions. This is to allow my skin to recover from the treatment, but I’m not really happy about it.

I can’t wait for all this facial hair to be gone. To be honest, having my facial hair removed is something that I’d do even if I wasn’t transitioning. I’ve always hated the way it looks as well as having to deal with it. I’m really not happy growing it out for my treatments, but I have to because I know that is how I’ll get the best results. I’ve actually started to notice the feminization of my face (yay!) and having a beard just ruins that.

Vitamins, Lotions, and Oh My!

I’ve recently started to make a concerted effort to improve some of the longstanding issues I’ve had with the way I look. These issues aren’t really anything gender related, but I still want to cover them.

I’ve always had horrible skin and hair. My legs and back are covered in stretch marks, I get all kinds of ingrown hairs everywhere, my hair has always been a frizzy and unmanageable mess, and years of poor skin care and sloppy shaving have damaged my skin. I have tried to fix these issues in the past, but I’ve always ended up giving up because nothing ever seems to work. Now that I’m actually getting serious about my physical appearance I’ve decided to finally do what it takes to get all of these issues resolved.

Starting with my hair…

I’ve always had very curly hair and unfortunately, I’ve never really known how to deal with it. This has resulted in years of buzzcuts and generally bad hair. Growing my hair out has finally forced me to confront this issue and it turns out, my hair really isn’t that bad to deal with.

I’ve stopped using shampoo and started using conditioner sparingly (once per week). When I get out of the shower I use a towel to ruffle up my hair slightly and get rid of a bit of excess water before allowing my hair to dry naturally. I try and avoid using any combs or brushes at all. In addition to this I’ve started taking a Biotin supplement to help my hair growth.

The results have been amazing. My hair has gone from tangled mess to silky and curly. I’m still working on perfecting the process, but I really like where things are going. I no longer dread having long hair, I’m actually looking forward to it growing out even longer!

Dealing with my skin is proving to be a lot trickier than my hair.

I’ve always had horrible skin. I had severe acne while I was a teen, my shaving technique has always been sloppy, I got stretch marks when I hit my growths spurts, I have a lot of body and facial hair that tends to get ingrown, and my skin generally didn’t look or feel healthy. I tried to address these issues but I always gave up after not seeing any serious results.

I really want to improve the way my skin looks and I think I’ve come up with a solid plan to accomplish this. The first thing I’ve started to do is to use an exfoliant on my skin while showering. I use a more heavy duty product on my body and a more gentle product on my face. After getting out of the shower I immediately use moisturizers, once again making sure to use the appropriate products for my skin and face.

The other half to this approach has been to add in a number of vitamin supplements that are supposed to help with the problems that I’ve been having. I’m taking vitamins A, C, and D as these are supposed to help with skin problems. To be entirely honest, I doubt the vitamins will have a serious impact on my body, but I’d rather give them a shot and be proven wrong. I bought enough of these vitamins to last ~3 months so I’ll take them until I run out at which point I’ll reevaluate what I’m taking.

I haven’t been on this skincare regime for very long, but I’ve noticed some improvements. I’m sure there is more I could be doing, but I’ve done all my budget really allows for.

Estrogen Addiction

So I’m pretty sure that I’m addicted to Estrogen. My doctor started me on 2mg/day Estrace, it’s a low dose to start with to make sure my body can handle it. My problem is that I constantly crave mooooore! It’s getting pretty hard to stick to the dosage, I really want to be taking more.

Coming Out

This was a disaster. My mom’s work took her to Ontario and she brought my youngest brother with her as a bit of a vacation. They ended up coming to Ottawa for a weekend so that we could have a bit of a visit. I actually wasn’t originally planning on coming out this weekend, I was sort of forced into it. I had gotten quite tired of my mom giving me grief over being “not manly enough”.

She was constantly berating me about my weight, admittedly it is a bit low at 130lbs. Still, my younger brother actually had a lower BMI than I did.

There was also an incident where we went out shopping. We went to a Sportcheck to get my bike tuned up and while we were there we looked for a new rain coat. I tried on a couple of coats from the men’s section before coming to the conclusion that even the smallest men’s size was too large for me. The clerk suggested that I try the same coat in a women’s style as they are smaller with the only other real difference being a tailored waist. I was understandably enthused at this, although my mother was glaring daggers at the clerk for even suggesting such a thing. I tried on a number of different sizes and found that I easily fit into a medium while still wearing my hoodie underneath. I could have fit into a smaller size if it weren’t for the fact that the length of the jacket was too short. It didn’t really matter in the end, my mom wouldn’t entertain the idea of buying a women’s style jacket so we left after paying for the bike tune up.

There were a few more incidents like this, so I finally decided to spill the beans in an effort to get my mom to stop. This is where things really took a turn for the worse.

I ended up spending almost two hours in the shower building up my nerves and shaving my body. There were still a few other people in the place I’m staying when I finished, so we ended up going out and doing a few things before coming back. I didn’t really want strangers listening into this conversation. It was late in the evening when I finally pulled my mom and brother aside to tell them.

My little brother was really great about it, he basically said “cool, let’s get back to watching TV”. My mother had a lot more questions. A lot of it was pretty standard faire, stuff like “why didn’t you tell us sooner?” and “what are your plans for the future?”. I thought everything was going quite well up until this point. I asked my mom and brother not to tell anyone else because I thought I should be the one to do this. At this point my brother started watching some TV, my mom disappeared from the room (I thought she was going to do some work), and I loaded up EverQuest 2 to get raiding. A few hours later my mom comes back into the room crying. She won’t tell us what was wrong, but I don’t think it’s all that hard to figure out. We end up going to bed.

The next morning she pulls me aside to have a private conversation. It turns out she was talking to my dad the night before and both of them are pissed at me. To tell the truth, I am kind of confused about this. My parents have always been very loving and supporting, they even frequently asked me when I was still a teen if I was gay because I never had any girlfriends growing up. They said they would support and love me even if I was gay. One of the questions I heard frequently from the doctors I have seen was asking me how I thought my family would react to me coming out as trans. I always gave them the same answer, “My parents are great, I’m sure they’ll have no problem with it”.

The conversation I ended up having with my mom was basically just her going through a laundry list of every reason that she thought I should stop HRT and just forget about being trans. I won’t list out the entire conversation, but here are some highlights:

  • You never acted girly as a kid.
  • You’ll never be loved.
  • You’ll be miserable forever.
  • You’ll have to have sex with gay men because no one else will want you.
  • You should just find a gay guy who will accept you for who you are so you don’t have to transition.
  • You should wait until you’re married and do what your partner says.
  • You’ll never be a real women / have monthly cycles / get pregnant.
  • You’ll never have children of your own.
  • You’re way to young, you should wait till you’re in your 30’s before transitioning.
  • You’re dad worked with a guy who did this when he was 35 and you’re nothing like him.
  • You have anxiety issues, you should deal with those first.
  • You’re probably only doing this because some crackpot doctor in Ottawa wanted to make you a girl to try and fix your anxiety.
  • You’ve just read something online and now you’re convinced you’re trans without thinking it through, go see more doctors until one of them tells you that you aren’t trans.
  • You’re going into a male dominated field (engineering) so you’re going to have a horrible time.
  • You should wait until you have an established career before transitioning so that everyone know you’re actually a man.
  • I picked your name and I expect you to keep it.
  • You betrayed us by doing this and not telling us sooner.
  • You’re ruining all my memories of you by doing this.
  • This is going to cost a tonne of money and you won’t be able to afford it.

I had a conversation with my dad the next day and he basically went over the exact same list with the added bonus of threatening to cut me off financially if I continued with treatment. My parents still pay my rent and a  few other bills that I have. I know I am a financial burden on them and I truly do appreciate all that they have given me.

It was very hard to listen to all of this. Fortunately transitioning wasn’t something I rushed in to. I had a lot of time to think about all of the things my parents brought up and ultimately they didn’t say anything that I hadn’t already considered. I was able to respond to all of their points and eventually convinced them that I wouldn’t be stopping my therapy. They aren’t happy about my decision, but at least they respect that this is my decision.

Things calmed down a bit during the last few days my mom and brother were in Ottawa, but things it was still pretty tense. My parents demanded that I proceed with complete transparency, that’s actually why I started this blog. It is a way to keep the people in my life informed about what I am doing.

I have only came out to my family and the medical professionals who are helping me transition. I hope to keep things this way for as long as possible. Transitioning is hard enough as it is, I don’t want the extra pressure that comes from an non-accepting society.

 

Some Information

This is here mostly for the benefit of my highly misinformed family. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all things trans*, but it should be enough to provide a basic knowledge of the subject. I highly suggest reading all of these links as thoroughly as possible.

An Introduction

My name is Kate and I am 22 year old transwoman. I have known that I should be a girl for most of my life, I have a lot of memories from when I was young that were all about wishing that I was a girl. Perhaps the clearest of these memories was from New Year’s Eve, 1999. I remember going to bed wishing that I would wake up the next morning as a girl. I had thought the changing of one millennium to the next would be the best time to try and get my wish granted. It is truly unfortunate that I didn’t share this wish with anyone, it just might have been granted. Not telling people what I am thinking has been a constant theme in my life and it has caused me a lot hardships.

I had frequent dreams and fantasies involving turning into a girl throughout my teen years. There were also plenty  of times during my day to day life that I simply imagined myself as a girl. These thoughts always seemed natural to me, like something that everyone would have. I never thought that there was anything abnormal about what I was experiencing  because I was never told so. Once again my problems communicating with other people have prevented me from getting the help that I needed.

I have struggled with anxiety and depression for my entire life. I first started receiving counseling for these issues in grade school, but nothing made any real difference. After being forced into a number of social situations I did make some friends, but I never had any real desire to maintain these friendships on my end. If my friends were to stop interacting with me I wouldn’t have done anything to try and maintain those friendships. When I moved to Alberta for the beginning of high school I lost contact with the group of friends that I had and I haven’t made any new friends since. During high school I did have some people that I was friendly with, and I guess that was enough for my parents to think that I was “cured” of my issues.

I now realize that many of the social issues I face may be rooted in my Gender Dysphoria. I never really participated in many social activities while I was young. I had fun for a while playing Hockey and Soccer at the insistence of my parents, but playing sports never really captivated me the same way it seemed to captivate other young males. I ended up quitting the sports teams that I was on when they stopped being fun for me.

To tell the truth, I’ve never really enjoyed any “male” activities. I would often find myself retreating to books, TV shows, and video games while the guys my age were out talking about cars, girls, or whatever else it is that guys talk about. Some of the TV shows that I would watch were the Men versus Women kind of shows on the Discovery Channel, the ones that dealt with the different ways that men and women think. I always found that I tended to think more like the women on those shows than the men.

I never really got to experience any traditionally “female” activities due to the social barriers involved. I have experienced constant bullying and harassment throughout my life, the last thing that I wanted to do was add to that. As a result I repressed and rebelled against my feminine side in order to try and be “more of a man”, but that never worked. The only thing that happened is that my anxiety and depression worsened.

My lack of social skills as well as my mental health issues caught up to me in university. I found myself unable to operate in the university environment and as a result I failed numerous classes. I ended up having to take one and a half years off before starting again at the 2nd year level.

It was during this time that I stumbled across some information online regarding transgender people. What I found immediately clicked with me, things started to make sense. I had a problem though, I didn’t want what I was reading to make sense. I thought that there had to be a mistake because I didn’t want to be trans. I started looking for an excuse, any excuse at all, as to why I couldn’t be trans. Everything I found only reaffirmed the conclusion that I was trans. At the age of 20 I finally admitted to myself that I was undoubtedly transgender.

I now knew that I wanted to transition from male to female. After a lot of research I came up with a plan that would allow me to transition at a comfortable rate while still giving me plenty of time to change my mind “just in case”. I decided to wait a year while working on things like my voice, getting in shape, and removing my facial hair. After that year I would start with professional counselling before moving onto HRT and a gradual social transition.

This original timeline put me on track to start HRT during my first semester back at University. I was hoping to start the process of transitioning in time for my 22nd birthday in December. Unfortunately things rarely go as planned in my life. Due to the pressures of my academic career I didn’t start to seek counselling until my second term back. I ended up in months of visits to various doctors and therapists and it wasn’t until the beginning of April that I was put onto a waiting list to see a specialist in Ottawa.  It was two and a half months later, on June 27, 2013, that I was finally able to get a prescription for Estrace and Spironolactone.

The day that I started HRT was easily the happiest day of my life. I was grinning like an idiot during the one and a half hour bus ride to the pharmacy near my house. When I was finally handed my prescription I had to resist the urge to start popping my pills on the spot. It was another half hour before I finished walking home. I knew immediately after taking my first dosage that this was the correct path, this was the start of my life.