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Talked to the lgbt coordinator at the va today for assessment for gender dysphoria and told her my story. Found out it’s similar to many others she has had. Talked about programs available through the va which includes hrt, and prosthetic devices such as wigs and breast forms. They also have a transgender clinic that they run and a dedicated primary care for us. I have an appointment Monday with the primary care to discuss hrt and hopefully start hormones soon! I’m excited for this next step. Also they will use my

preferred name and pronouns only as I want them to which is also great. Many, many vets are trans, possibly as high as 20% and so the va is very progressive with treatment. Anyway, if you ever decide to use the va health system it truly is good. At least where I am!

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Very good for you Rachel!  I wish you all my best.

Is that clinic in Manchester or Concord?  

 

Jani

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I have found the care at my VA Medical Center to be excellent as well.  My therapist is the head of the LGBTQ+ care team at the hospital I go to.  My Endocrinologist has been great, even finding a serious medical condition my PCP missed.  The prosthetic department has been top notch, and I am beginning laser hair removal through the VA this month.

 

In the early 2000's, when I originally began to transition, it was a different story.  They have come a long way in the last several years.  Now they only need to change their policy on Gender Affirming Surgeries.

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My VA here in the Seattle area is pretty good also.  My only complaint is they are a long ways away, and most of their care is offered in house only.  I am going to them for voice training, and I really like the SLP I see.  I would happily go to them for more things, but the drive is too long, and they do not provide services beyond what TRICARE covers.  

 

I completely agree with the gender affirming surgeries comment!

 

Take Care,

Jane

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Cheyenne VA hospital is great as far as I am concerned. I have had no troubles at all. My Dr's are fantastic. Unfortunately they have no endo. I will be seeing the one down at the Denver VA. Good thing I get travel pay. Just recently found out that I can claim travel for any appointment at VA based on my disability percentage. My GYN's nurse found out for me.

 

I feel totally safe when I am at the VA. I use the ladies room. dress how I feel.of course girly.

 

Kymmie

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Wow I have never gone to the VA. After reading things here I may have to go see if they can do something for me as well. I am on HRT. I will be on HRT for the rest of my life. I had my testicles removed as part of my transition. 

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Miss Night definitely go see what they can do for you. Even if you have co pays they will be cheaper than your insurance I’m sure

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New here and you all just tickled me. I have my 1st appointment t Women's Health next week down in Los Angeles and to hear talk of breast forms and laser hair removal? Got me misty eyed here because finances are tight, I'm on unemployability and SSDI so expenses are so daunting!

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Even down here in Arkansas, the VA is quite serious about helping veterans who are trans. I say "even" because Arkansas is not exactly the most progressive state.

As my gender therapist pointed out to me, if someone in the system isn't properly respectful and helpful, they're going to get a good talking to by their senior rater.

TA

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  • 1 month later...
Michelleisback63

The VA here in Florida, is really great when it comes to helping LGBTQ vets. From what I've found, all the hospitals and clinics have support clinics that seem to make one feel so welcome.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/6/2020 at 7:30 AM, MiraM said:

I have found the care at my VA Medical Center to be excellent as well.  My therapist is the head of the LGBTQ+ care team at the hospital I go to.  My Endocrinologist has been great, even finding a serious medical condition my PCP missed.  The prosthetic department has been top notch, and I am beginning laser hair removal through the VA this month.

 

In the early 2000's, when I originally began to transition, it was a different story.  They have come a long way in the last several years.  Now they only need to change their policy on Gender Affirming Surgeries.

 

Laser through the V.A.? Seriously? What about electrolosis? I have gray hair that laser won't touch.

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On 2/6/2020 at 7:18 PM, Bree76 said:

New here and you all just tickled me. I have my 1st appointment t Women's Health next week down in Los Angeles and to hear talk of breast forms and laser hair removal? Got me misty eyed here because finances are tight, I'm on unemployability and SSDI so expenses are so daunting!

 

Ditto on the IU and SSDI...every bit of cash the V.A. can save us is quite welcomed.

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TommieAnne
On 5/10/2020 at 4:37 AM, Wichita said:

 

Laser through the V.A.? Seriously? What about electrolosis? I have gray hair that laser won't touch.

I asked about that. My therapist said if I knew of a VA clinic that was provided laser, to not circulate that. They're officially not supposed to. Yet.

Can't hurt to ask.

If they say no, they may say yes in a future time.

Since I couldn't cope with all this fur, I decided not to wait.

But it costs a good bit.

TA

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1 hour ago, TammyAnne said:

I asked about that. My therapist said if I knew of a VA clinic that was provided laser, to not circulate that. They're officially not supposed to. Yet.

Can't hurt to ask.

If they say no, they may say yes in a future time.

Since I couldn't cope with all this fur, I decided not to wait.

But it costs a good bit.

TA

 

How much have you spent, if you don't mind me asking?

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TommieAnne
12 hours ago, Wichita said:

 

How much have you spent, if you don't mind me asking?

Slightly less than an economy car.

But it is full body, and I'm amazingly covered in fine, dark fur. 3 - 5 hairs per follicle.

Very decent, reputable salon (national chain called ideal image) which also offered interest free financing, so I said what the heck.

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On 1/4/2020 at 11:38 AM, Rachel76 said:

Anyway, if you ever decide to use the va health system it truly is good

That's great news, Rachel! and great information about VA.
I probably cannot start HRT until I relocate to back to US, but from your post I decided to look up VA in my future home area and found one only a couple of miles away.  yeah! ?

best wishes on the next step

Kay

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10 hours ago, TammyAnne said:

Slightly less than an economy car.

But it is full body, and I'm amazingly covered in fine, dark fur. 3 - 5 hairs per follicle.

Very decent, reputable salon (national chain called ideal image) which also offered interest free financing, so I said what the heck.


Yikes. I don’t think I’m quite that hairy...but I still have a bit. I am so not looking to the costs of these things.

 

I am, however, looking forward to the effects. 

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TommieAnne
3 hours ago, Wichita said:


Yikes. I don’t think I’m quite that hairy...but I still have a bit. I am so not looking to the costs of these things.

 

I am, however, looking forward to the effects. 

The effects. Oh yes. Before lockdown I was in heaven over how smooth I was. The with everything closed, the fur returned with a vengeance. I have just been all over the place emotionally. I've been pretty anxious and upset over the hair, fortunately the salon is reopening and called me today to get my appointment scheduled. So I'm back in business.

Have to warn you though, it's a pretty ouchy process. So be ready for that.

TA

Sitting here in my studio feeling at peace.

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1 hour ago, TammyAnne said:

The effects. Oh yes. Before lockdown I was in heaven over how smooth I was. The with everything closed, the fur returned with a vengeance. I have just been all over the place emotionally. I've been pretty anxious and upset over the hair, fortunately the salon is reopening and called me today to get my appointment scheduled. So I'm back in business.

Have to warn you though, it's a pretty ouchy process. So be ready for that.

TA

Sitting here in my studio feeling at peace.

 

I've had 2 rounds of laser on my face, but it was 15 years ago. I'm kinda looking forward to the pain. Pain means progress.

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  • 3 months later...
On 5/14/2020 at 5:47 AM, KayC said:

I probably cannot start HRT until I relocate to back to US, but from your post I decided to look up VA in my future home area and found one only a couple of miles away.  yeah! ?

Hiya Sweethearts --

First, intake questions? Check. No problemo. Second, teleconference. Going there now. I'll let'cha know....Third ... Went through the same generic set of intake questionnaire twice with two different shrinks in the Mental Health dept. Ah, the VA. It's a wonderful system, but only if I can fall back into the "military mind-set" to cope with the cluster--expletive- of the moment. Just be another cog in a vast, complex bureaucracy only briefly connected with its component parts. But, at least I think I've got "mental health clearance" for some other Doc to Rx HRT. ... Maybe. Gotta' love it or implode with frustration.... Smarter just to go with the flow, I reckon. 

~~Love ta' ya'll, Leah!~~

 

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2 hours ago, Leah said:

Hiya Sweethearts --

First, intake questions? Check. No problemo. Second, teleconference. Going there now. I'll let'cha know....Third ... Went through the same generic set of intake questionnaire twice with two different shrinks in the Mental Health dept. Ah, the VA. It's a wonderful system, but only if I can fall back into the "military mind-set" to cope with the cluster--expletive- of the moment. Just be another cog in a vast, complex bureaucracy only briefly connected with its component parts. But, at least I think I've got "mental health clearance" for some other Doc to Rx HRT. ... Maybe. Gotta' love it or implode with frustration.... Smarter just to go with the flow, I reckon. 

~~Love ta' ya'll, Leah!~~

 


That’s how mine went, too. I’m just finishing up month 2 of HRT.

 

Though, to be honest, after what I’ve endured in other, non-transition departments...I’m not exactly upset they don’t do “actual transition surgeries.”

 

My experience in other departments tells me having the VA do...”those” surgeries would leave me worse off than “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

 

No thank you.

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40 minutes ago, Wichita said:

My experience in other departments tells me having the VA do...”those” surgeries would leave me worse off than “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

6 steps forward, 5 steps back?

I've gotten way more from the VA than I ever gave to the USAF. They've saved my life twice for sure, maybe also a third time I was in the ICU. And I like the people, very much. Fellow vets, brothers and sisters. They genuinely do care. But it really does take remembering a military head space for me, although much less rebellious. [I was in during the Nam time-frame, but I got to visit scenic Kwang-ju Korea AFB. We lived in tents.] As I grew up, I mellowed out....

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

6 steps forward, 5 steps back?

I've gotten way more from the VA than I ever gave to the USAF. They've saved my life twice for sure, maybe also a third time I was in the ICU. And I like the people, very much. Fellow vets, brothers and sisters. They genuinely do care. But it really does take remembering a military head space for me, although much less rebellious. [I was in during the Nam time-frame, but I got to visit scenic Kwang-ju Korea AFB. We lived in tents.] As I grew up, I mellowed out....


Oh I’ve had good docs. Dermatology is amazing. Mental health was...so-so. But primary care? Urology? Absolutely horrendous. Urology last year all but demanded I let them scope my bladder to further investigate my issues, at the threat of discharge from their clinic if I refused. And after what ended up being a horrific ordeal...I was never even told the results. Not until I began seeing endocrinology for HRT and, concerned the diuretic effect of spiro would worsen my issues...I was reminded I hadn’t heard from urology for almost a year. 
 

Primary care, despite me all but screaming about “blood pressure/fainting spells” I’ve been dealing with still doesn’t seem overly interested in getting to the bottom of it. The doc actually said “there’s not much I can do about that.” 
 

So...I guess I will have to wait until I pass out and hit my head hard enough to end up in the ER before someone will do something. The problem there is I live alone. So if that day does come...no one will even know I’ve hit my head for days... or longer.

 

Dermatology and endo? Awesome. The rest? Well...let’s just say there’s a reason I’ll be signing up for Medicare the millisecond open enrollment starts this fall.

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In the late 1990's and early 2000's I had nothing but problems with the VA as a whole, and stopped all medical care.  I never went to another doctor at all until 2014, and that was a private doctor.  When I was laid off in 2016 and moved back to NC, my mental health issues were out of control, and I also needed a primary care doctor for my blood pressure and cholesterol issues.  I got into the primary care clinic first, and was pleasantly surprised at how I was treated.  My PCP put in a consult with the mental health clinic right away.  I was very nervous about this because my major issues with the VA previously had been with that clinic, and a specific doctor there.  They wanted to give me the same doctor this time, but I told them I wanted someone else for personal reasons.  The new doctor was great, and I still see her for some issues.  She gave me my consult to endocrinology and also a referral to a gender therapist (who is also the LGBT patient care lead).  My experience with the mental health clinic this time has been exceptional.

 

As far as endocrinology goes, my HRT consult caught a very serious problem.  My endo didn't just talk about HRT with me and make sure I knew about what I was wanting and the possible side effects.  He did a full exam and noticed an enlargement in my thyroid.  After ultrasounds, biopsies and surgery, I was diagnosed with a fairly rare form of thyroid cancer.  If his attitude had been like those I experienced previously, and he had just rushed through the consult, I would have never known about it until it was too late.

 

I have been to several other clinics as well for various issues, and have never been dismissed, and have been treated with nothing but respect, and communication with the providers has been excellent.  I understand that there can be issues with care in a system with so much bureaucracy, but since returning to the system, I have not experienced anything negative.  Maybe it varies from facility to facility, but the VAMC in Durham, and the Raleigh CBOC's have been fantastic (they are all part of Duke Health Care).

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