Trans Survival in a Cis Gender World

No matter where you find yourself  in the coming out process, I am fairly sure along the way you may have encountered some resistance to changing genders. Mine came years ago when I was called a pervert in a women’s room I was using. Later on that same evening I was asked to leave the venue all together. From other happenings similar to that, I developed what I call “Transgender PTSD”.(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) On occasion, I still experience it today.  

How did I survive? Basically, everytime I had to go through extremely negative experiences, I shed tears and went back to the drawing board and tried to improve my exterior self to match my feminine interior self.  It was tough for me because I had very few feminine traits to build on after spending decades perfecting my macho act. Along the way, I still lived in fear of hearing the dreaded “Hey! That’s a man in a dress.” 

Gradually I did improve my appearance as I learned to dress for other women and to blend into where ever I was going. An example? If I was going to one of the upscale pub/restaurants I went to socialize I would wear a fancier outfit which would indicate I was a professional woman of some sort. On the other hand, if I was going to meet my lesbian friends at a sports bar we normally went to, I would wear a nice pair of jeans and top. All of a sudden, my life in the cis-world became easier.

When my life really became easier was when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). All of a sudden I went to the tipping point of no return. My face and skin started to soften as my hair began to grow along with my breasts. Relatively quickly I reached a very androgynous spot in my life. Finally cross dressing as a guy felt very wrong. 

I need to emphasize none of this was easy. I went through terrifying times all the way to feeling euphoric with my progress. Crossing the gender frontier could be a path I could follow after all. 

If you are considering following the same path, don’t go it alone. Find a therapist or a gender professional to monitor your bloodwork and hormones. Estrogen can be a good thing until it goes too high and can become toxic.

In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy the ride. Very few humans have the opportunity to experience both of the binary genders up close and personal.

When it happens for you, you too will be a true survivor.  

Finally!

Old Picture…Fake curves and Hair.

As I rapidly approach my upcoming endocrinologist appointment early next week, I happened to  observe a real improvement in my bodies’ feminine development.  My hormone replacement therapy path has been slower than most I feel because of an abundance of caution due to my age.

After starting HRT New Years Eve 2013, I was taken off hormones for six months shortly after and was allowed to resume my minimum dosage. Through it all, I still felt the changes were occurring. It wasn’t until recently I began to feel somewhat impatient with my changes. My Doc responded with increasing my Estradiol patch dosage. All of a sudden, changes began again. 

Most noticeable to me was the pesky hair on my arms began to finally thin out. Before it did, routinely I had to shave my arms which I am aware can make the problem worse over time. 

Circling back to yesterday, the weather around here in Cincinnati turned warm again and I had a chance to dress appropriately. I found my patterned light weight leggings and paired them with a three quarter sleeve tunic top which falls softly over my hips. Yes, I said hips. Hiding from me the last several months was how developed my hips were becoming.

For once, my transgender gender dysphoria took a break as I checked out a glimpse of the femininized  person I was becoming. 

Even though I know my dysphoria is a powerful foe, I take any small victories I can get and cherish them.

At the least my relief will last a couple days, at least until my Doc visit and go from there.  As you Cyrsti’s Condo regulars know, I was considering requesting injections to hopefully kickstart more progress but now I think I am content to continue the path I am on.   

Giggles

There are many reactions I have encountered over the years here in Cyrsti’s Condo. The most memorable being “Just another old guy on hormones.” When I wrote on starting hormone replacement therapy. 

Recently, “The Cat Lady” commented on another reaction…giggles:

“I’m sorry but you made me giggle when you talked about learning the ways of the bra. I guess since I’ve worn bras, off and on, since I was in my teens, I don’t even think about it anymore. For me, it’s like putting on a blouse, a tight fitting tee shirt or stretch jeans. You feel it at first but not until later in the day do you feel it again. Yes, I still feel the restriction at times but in reality it all depends on the bra.

Now on to you mentioning about cup sizes. I learned a long time ago that when transitioning our breasts will usually only develop to one cup size smaller than our mother’s size. I am a C cup and my mother was a DD cup. But here’s a little insight into womanhood, a lot of women will tell you that they are not satisfied with their breast size. They are either not big enough to be ultra sexy or too small for the same reason. That’s why plastic surgeons make so much money.

Here’s an article you may want to check out and talk to your endo about: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/104/4/1181/5270376

Just remember lady, being a woman is a complex situation that we all find somewhat confusing at times. Especially to those of us that didn’t have the luxury of learning in our younger years.”

Thanks Michelle and a giggle or two is fine, I am sure I have had much worse! 

Unfortunately, I somewhat restricted by my Veteran’s Administration endo doc and what she can prescribe by the VA standards. I can say though she is learning quickly and is suddenly asking all the right questions about feminine results to my body. The link above refers to progesterone which will be an interesting conversation. As I have written before, my endo is concerned about my age when prescribing me meds. 

As far as all women and their breasts are concerned, it seems to me the “grass (or the breast) is always greener on the other side. I know my partner Liz (DD breasts) comments on hers are too big and a hassle.  I feel with my frame, D’s would be ideal but I can certainly live and be satisfied with what I have achieved. A “C” cup. 

When the Covid crisis lifts and we can begin to go out again, I plan on doing some serious bra shopping.

Obviously the model below is not me!

Transgender Essence

This week I had an appointment with the doctor who prescribes my bi-polar medications. She is normally very pleasant, business like and the visit only lasts approximately 15 minutes.

On this day though, she had a student with her and I guess needed the extra time with me.  I am happy to say I haven’t had many problems with depression or anxiety lately. She surprised me when she brought up my Mtf gender dysphoria being a factor in feeling better. Undoubtedly I said it was.

Then she questioned dysphoria as being a part of the essence of being transgender. About this time, I noticed the student staring intently at me waiting for an answer. Sensing a time to educate two civilians, I used part of my time to explain my problems with gender dysphoria during my life. Quickly I decided  trying to reflect totally on the true essence of being transgender would have bored everyone in the room. Plus, the truth of the matter is all of our essences are different. An example would be, we have two new attendee’s in our support group who are just coming out of the closet. Just think of all the exciting yet terrifying times ahead for them. 

I also told her the experiences I have had recently with compliments on my hair. And how Thanksgiving for me was a time to step back and reflect on the good things in my life. 

Finally, I pointed out I haven’t had any extreme surgery and aside from my HRT hormone regimen, what you see of me is what you get. Even though it has literally been years since I have received any negative feedback from the public, I still have a tinge of paranoia in certain situations and probably will have till I die. 

In order to wrap this up as simply as I can, I feel the essence of being transgender is living with the knowledge of being on both sides of the gender fence. As my doctor said this week, undoubtedly I have seen a tremendous amount of living in my life. 

Over the years, recently I have come to appreciate it!

More Blood Tests

Yesterday marked yet another trip North to Dayton, Ohio to visit my Veterans Administration therapist. Everything went well as my overall mental health has been positive since almost all of my major tests have come back positive. More precisely, my three heart exams and one lung exam. I still have the most difficult test of all coming up, a colonoscopy early next week.  As  Connie would say…a real pain in the rear :).

My blood test yesterday was extremely important in that it checked my body’s hormone levels. My endocrinologist wanted the results to see if it will be safe to increase my estradiol. I am very excited to find out the results. Estradiol by the way, is a form of estrogen.

My warning always is, DO NOT attempt to self medicate with estradiol or any other HRT medications. Doing so can be extremely dangerous to your health.

Thanks!

Thanks to those of you who commented on my health issues.  The Doc’s are checking my breathing this coming Thursday and I am still awaiting an appointment for extensive heart tests. It’s a good thing I don’t feel any worse than I do…I guess!

Actually, I am being a whiner. Outside of an occasional pain from my ankle, I don’t feel bad at all. However I do know the risk HRT brings to a person in my age range and am ready to go through more tests. 

On top of all of that, I still have had a busy week. Yesterday was a combined party for my grand kids at my daughter’s mother in law’s.Β  It went well and the Mother in Law managed not to mis-gender me through the whole party. Perhaps it was because I had my transgender feminine batteries recharged Friday when I went to my hair stylist. Quite frankly, I was feeling quite ragged before she worked her wonders on my hair. After she was done, I felt refreshed and ready to face the world again.Β 

Monday night, I have another transgender-cross dresser support group meeting. Tuesday I have two appointments at the Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration. The first, a visit with my hematology Doc and the second, my monthly therapist appointment.

Wednesday I have a tag a long appointment with Liz to one of her Doc’s. Which brings me back to Thursday and the breathing appointment. 

It’s a good thing I have a walking boot to protect my ankle!  I am supposed to get it  X-rayed again in two weeks.

One more thing…as I have mentioned before HRT and blood clots are nothing to play with. As Connie commented:

“I’m glad that you didn’t have a blood clot. Those things can be very dangerous and life-threatening. I know; I’ve had two of them. The doctors take no chances, and so off to the emergency center you go. My doctor must have decided that I was lying about not taking hormones, and so he ordered blood tests specifically for my hormone levels. That’s how I discovered that my testosterone/estrogen balance was very close to the average post-menopausal woman (whoopie!). Still, though, there was never any determined cause for the clots. Their only answer was to put me on blood thinners for the rest of my life, and HRT would, forevermore, be out of the question for me. When I got the first clot in my calf, my ankle and foot became so swollen that I thought my skin was going to burst open. 

Do you know how you broke your ankle? I don’t want to alarm you, but HRT can also cause one to lose bone density. You should have a test for that, as well. Osteoporosis may not kill you like a blood clot can, but it can sure affect your lifestyle.”

Ironically, the ankle problem could be a result of an old football injury. Plus, I was tested for Osteoporosis in the past. I’m sure they can do it again! Thanks!

Doctor Day

This afternoon I go to my new primary provider at a local Veteran’s Administration Clinic which happens to be nearby. A “primary provider” is similar to having a family doctor. I haven’t been to one in over two years.

Since I have been feeling very lethargic recently, I thought it was time to be checked out. My Mom had heart problems in her seventies before passing from heart disease. I’m not having any telltale chest pains but I figure it would be safe to have it checked out.

Also, since I seem to be experiencing all of a sudden this insane period of being mis-gendered, I probably will have to explain to a new nurse and doctor my proper pronouns are she and her.

Let’s not forget too it’s time again (after five years) for one of my most favorite procedures…a colonoscopy. If you haven’t been through one, I will leave the fun details out. One way or another, it’s better than the alternative, which is colon cancer. I just had a close friend pass away from it.

I’m also paranoid the Doc is going to find a reason to take me off my HRT hormones or simply mother time is catching up as I approach seventy.

Maybe too, my bi-polar

meds are causing me to feel too lethargic. We will see!

Doctors, Doctors and More Doctors

Yesterday I went with my partner Liz to her Doctor’s appointment and felt good. The wait is normally short and I fool around on my phone and people watch.

For a change, my Mtf Gender Dysphoria was at a low point, so I felt good about myself presenting as a trans woman in public. One would think, as much and as long I have lived full time, all anxieties would begin to diminish. And, for a change, they have.

For the most part yesterday, my interactions were all with other women since Liz’s Doctor is in a University of Cincinnati women’s health center. For all I know they could have thought I was there for any number of issues except pregnancy. However,  if I don’t continue to walk and control what I eat, I might be looking like I am pregnant anyhow.

Speaking of women’s health issues, I better get my mammogram scheduled. My maternal grandmother passed from breast cancer in the 1950’s so a precedent has been set in my family to get it done. My latest excuse is we are down to one car and I have to be careful to schedule it around my other medical appointments, as well as Liz’s.

Again the whole deal is part of being a woman and I need to get it done.

Finally, I have not heard back from my endocrinologist concerning the possibility of increasing my HRT.  I did how ever, receive an extra dosage of Estrogen (Estrodial)  patches from the VA, so maybe I have been approved but just not told yet.

What is Visibility?

Since it is our local Cincinnati Transgender Day of Visibility, perhaps it’s time to discuss what visibility really means.

Many would consider me to be really visible since I live full time as a trans woman. Sometimes I am and sometimes I am not. When and if I am successful in blending in seamlessly as a woman in society, I am not visible at all. Then, at other times I am in and out of another person’s reality so quickly, I am barely visible to them either. Maybe later they think there maybe have been something a little off kilter with their encounter with me. By that time though, I am long gone from their reality.

How about you though? Can you be visible and still be in your closet? Sure you can. Maybe you bide your time and support silently pro LGBTQ political candidates and laws. Who knows when you will need them? Plus, what about the gender fluid kids who are new in the system, they need our help.

Finally, is the church you go to anti gay and transgender or do you still support businesses such as Chick – Fil – A or Hobby Lobby who are actively involved in erasing our very existence.

You see, there is plenty to do to stay visible even though you may not be in the public’s eye

Endo Appointment

My endocrinologist appointment is coming up on Monday after Sunday’s Transgender Day of Visibility.

Hopefully, I am not expecting a whole lot of drama. I think I might ask to have my estrodial increased a little bit which I don’t think she (the nurse practitioner) will do until she sees a new set of blood labs. But I will still try.

I have written before how I think I have pretty much “hit the wall” with my feminization process.  I believe too, with the time I have been on HRT (approx. five years) I could have reached my maximum expectations as far as feminization goes.

It’s my personality though to keep asking for more. Primarily in my hips. I also think my overall body hair has made a slight rebound which of course I don’t want.

HRT

Actually, I am just whining and I think this is all coming along according to plan and I know too the whole process can take up to seven years. I know also, much is dependent on me to lose a few pounds again before summer to give me a better overall figure in a couple of my fave form fitting maxi dresses.

I will let you know how it all goes.