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Early days of HRT


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So, I jumped on the "E" train last week and am about 10 days into my HRT journey. I have the tiniest patch available. I laughed when I opened it. "This little thing is supposed to give me more feminine characteristics?"

 

I haven't really felt much of anything so far, not that I expected to at this point. I am really, really tired but that may be other factors (like staying up too late to watch NCAA basketball every night). The one noticeable difference is that my libido seems to be a lot more subdued. Not that I am proud of this, but the big M was a practically a daily part of life for me. My daily comfort and way to get an endorphin hit or just deal with loneliness. The past week, though, has been, "meh." Is that the HRT tamping things down? Or just a normal down cycle for me? Not sure yet. Time will tell.

 

I have been very quiet about things overall. Only a few people know. No one in my immediate family. I fear the backlash I will get when they find out. Worst- case scenario, my daughters stop talking to me. That would kill me. I hope I can show them over time, "See, I am still me."

 

Met with my endo on Wednesday. He is good for me to up the dose when I feel comfortable. For now, I think I am going to stand pat and take things nice and slow. Of course, I could see myself tomorrow asking him to send in the script for the higher dose...

 

I keep asking myself, what is the end game with all of this. Unlike many on here, I don't have a concrete answer yet. I am not convinced I will "go all the way" and change my name and ID, etc. Part of me would love to soldier on just as I am but with a lot more feminine physical characteristics and a more distinctly feminine wardrobe. What does that make me? Non-binary? Not sure.  Again, I am just me, as unorthodox as that is...

 

All I know is that this is something I want to do. I am comfortable walking this path for now. Again, we'll see. As always, would appreciate any feedback the more experienced folks may have. Blessings to all! 

 

EasyE

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1 hour ago, EasyE said:

I keep asking myself, what is the end game with all of this. Unlike many on here, I don't have a concrete answer yet.

We're in the same boat in regards to not having a declared endgame. I think it's important to know that you want to take a step though, even if you don't know where the path will lead you. So congratulations for your decision!

 

My wife will ask if I "want to be a woman" and in her mind that means the ultimate surgery. In my head, wanting to be a woman is a tough question. Does presenting to the world as feminine make me a woman? If so, then yes I do. I am on a precipice, socially femme, but professionally still male (isn't it odd that just typing that makes me feel uneasy?). I feel this build up that's putting a lot of subconscious pressure on me. This feeds those evenings of anxiety and it will likely come to a head in an awful way.

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11 hours ago, MaeBe said:

We're in the same boat in regards to not having a declared endgame. I think it's important to know that you want to take a step though, even if you don't know where the path will lead you. So congratulations for your decision!

 

My wife will ask if I "want to be a woman" and in her mind that means the ultimate surgery. In my head, wanting to be a woman is a tough question. Does presenting to the world as feminine make me a woman? If so, then yes I do. I am on a precipice, socially femme, but professionally still male (isn't it odd that just typing that makes me feel uneasy?). I feel this build up that's putting a lot of subconscious pressure on me. This feeds those evenings of anxiety and it will likely come to a head in an awful way.

The same boat indeed... sometimes when I come on here, I read other people typing my exact thoughts... 😉

 

I think it was you a few weeks ago who wrote about your desire to "present feminine" and that turned a light on for me. That's it! There is this very strong urge in me to present myself as feminine to the world around me. What does that mean? That I am a woman or just that I have a strong feminine dimension to myself? I have long since understood it is about much more than fashion.

 

It has been this way since I started wearing girls underwear in grade school. I would dare myself to go to school that way, on the one hand feverishly trying to hide what I had on underneath my jeans/shorts (lest I get caught and totally humiliated). Yet, also proud of the underwear I had on and what it represented and somehow wanting the world to know. What a crazy world... 

 

Blessings to you @MaeBe! Thanks for the feedback!

 

Easy

 

 

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12 minutes ago, EasyE said:

What does that mean? That I am a woman or just that I have a strong feminine dimension to myself? I have long since understood it is about much more than fashion.

 

I think this question is interesting, important, and potentially impossible to answer. In my case, at various times throughout my life, I have said to myself, "I want to be a woman", or "I want to live as a woman". Does that mean that, now I am 18 months into physical transition, I am a woman? All I can say is that sometimes I feel I am and sometimes I don't, and I don't know if that will ever change. So I try not to worry about it, and to focus on tangible steps I can take towards becoming more comfortable in my body: HRT, hair removal, hair transplants, voice training, tracheal shave, other surgeries which I may or may not decide are necessary. Also on how best to present myself so that I feel proud and happy and others treat me as I want to be treated. In my view, it is societal conditioning that makes many of us see transition as a journey from one binary to another, and I think many of us would be happier if we could let go of that conditioning.

 

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My endo still has me on pills, and sometimes my work schedule has me taking them there.

 

Now that I'm out to so many people there I sometimes feel like I should show them a dose and say, check out these little things that have been so big for me. 

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4 hours ago, MirandaB said:

My endo still has me on pills, and sometimes my work schedule has me taking them there.

 

Now that I'm out to so many people there I sometimes feel like I should show them a dose and say, check out these little things that have been so big for me. 

 

I totally get your excitement about it, @MirandaB.  But I would just add a word of caution about discussing medications or divulging too much info to non-family members. It's your choice, though.

 

Carolyn Marie

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I feel like I should show them in a totally not-really-gonna-show-them mode. 

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Congratulations! @EasyE!  Yes, it's early but you will know when things are really changing vs wondering.  I also had a big drop off in the 'need' for the 'Big M" (I think I know what you are talking about 🤔😊).  I actually found that to be very comforting. 

It took 2 or 3 months for me to feel the full emotional and biological effects (Yes!  Boobs!) and after a year that is still going on (but much slower and subtle now). 

 

I am not expecting I will do much of anything in the GRS area, BUT I do know I will never, ever go backwards wrt HRT.

 

Everybody is different ... so ... Enjoy the Ride!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the pharmacy for my first refill today. Has it already been four weeks? (I know, it is still WAY, WAY early in the process).

 

I still strongly feel this is the path I want to take. I debated asking my doc for the next dose up but decided to go at least one more month on the "beginner's" patch. 

 

Has anything changed? Maybe in a subtle way? Is my skin a little softer? Are things getting smaller down below? Do I feel more feminine? I laugh at myself just writing these things. I do marvel that I am adding a dose of feminine hormones to my body. Girl things! It feels right. And I like those days when I pretty much forget that the patch is even there, just quietly doing its lady-like business...

 

I will try to check in from time to time with updates, as I know folks (like me) appreciate learning about others' experiences. Got questions? Feedback? I'm here. 

 

Blessings to you all!

 

Easy

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20 hours ago, EasyE said:

I went to the pharmacy for my first refill today. Has it already been four weeks? (I know, it is still WAY, WAY early in the process).

 

I still strongly feel this is the path I want to take. I debated asking my doc for the next dose up but decided to go at least one more month on the "beginner's" patch. 

 

Has anything changed? Maybe in a subtle way? Is my skin a little softer? Are things getting smaller down below? Do I feel more feminine? I laugh at myself just writing these things. I do marvel that I am adding a dose of feminine hormones to my body. Girl things! It feels right. And I like those days when I pretty much forget that the patch is even there, just quietly doing its lady-like business...

 

I will try to check in from time to time with updates, as I know folks (like me) appreciate learning about others' experiences. Got questions? Feedback? I'm here. 

 

Blessings to you all!

 

Easy

 

When you are sure you want to continue your HRT journey and the best dosage for you, consider asking your doctor for a three month prescription cycle (90 days rather than 30). This can result for some in considerable savings. It definitely did for me...

 

I am at the 4 year 5 month mark for my estrogen patches and am so glad I made the decision to go forward. 

 

Best wishes!

 

Astrid 

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On 4/14/2024 at 9:59 PM, EasyE said:

I still strongly feel this is the path I want to take. I debated asking my doc for the next dose up but decided to go at least one more month on the "beginner's" patch. 

I am on a three month review cycle for dosage. Do you have a plan with your doctor? I didn't discuss overall strategy when I got my prescription, it was a very long appointment. I was able to ask via web message to get a better idea; we'll check blood every 3 months and titrate accordingly. I don't know if we'll change labs to 6mo after a year or not, but that's where I'm at now. I, too, was like "is this enough?" at the start. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but I've seen positive results during the months at a lower dose and continue to notice changes. For instance, my skin sensitivity is much higher. I always wondered why my wife was so ticklish, but I'm starting to understand why. I'll bet I am 20-40% more sensitive to touch than I was before; gently tickling my arm (I would wake up doing this sometimes, up and down my arms) now makes my fingers tingle...in a good way. :)

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I'm at 11 months and definitely feel much better! I did go through rollercoaster of emotions. I'm looking forward to year 2 and hopefully fill out more. congratulations on making it this far and you are correct that you are in the early stages.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It has been about six weeks since I started the HRT journey. Today I officially "upgraded" to a new level of patch. I can't believe how giddy I was when A) the doc responded so quickly to my request for a new prescription, as I thought as I was going to have to wait a few weeks for my current one to run out; B) the pharmacy filled my new prescription so quickly -- in like an hour from when the doc emailed; and C) when I got home and put the new patch in place as quickly as possible...

 

Six weeks in and I would say it is subtle changes at best. But there are changes. They are just hard to describe... Sometimes I get these little rushes of emotion or mini-euphorias. Is that the hormones? I am emotional anyways, anger included ... I've noticed very subtle changes in my chest, like are my areola getting bigger? Or is it just my imagination? Are things getting smaller downstairs? Again, or just my imagination? I feel ... different ... yes a little more feminine...

 

I think it has surprised me how much I actually want a female chest. I keep checking it out all the time. That is brand new! But it's like I look down, notice what appear to be some changes and I say to myself, "This is going on with my body, and I like this! A lot!" Nothing ceases to amaze me anymore. I am such a mess, lol... 

 

I feel like this patch upgrade is going to bring about more noticeable changes. Like I am really in the game now. Like the first part was just a warm up. Maybe not. But that's what it feels like.

 

So far, no problems with the patch itself (aside for forgetting a couple of times to take the old patch off when I put the new on one. I went a whole day once with a double-patch). Internally I think I am so ready for the next step... Externally, I feel like I am continuing to poke a hornet's nest, a den of scorpions and a mama bear all at the same time.

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Congratulations @EasyE on your continued progress!
I think it was about 6 - 8 weeks for me that I truly started to notice (and feel!) the changes.  They were not enormous (no pun intended) but I could notice my breasts were starting to plump up and my hips also. 

 

fyi - I talked to my Provider a couple of days ago and based on recent labs agreed that I could start progesterone.  I did a LOT of research and after expressing any concerns with my Provider we both felt confident in starting.  I have been almost a full year of estradiol and I think my breast and other body changes have started to settle down.  Hoping the 'P' will give them another jump start.

Thank you for sharing your progress.  I think you're going to be Happy with with the next couple of months brings :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

congratulations easyE. :)

I'm guessing with declared endgame will hover m maybe reconsider end game as they, we go along

 

congrats dear. I'm happy fir you

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I am two months into E therapy as of this week. What can I say? I am now a busty blond supermodel who doesn't look a day over 25. This stuff is amazing!

 

OK, so I exaggerate, lol ... Seriously, the effects have been subtle so far. I would say very slight "plumping" in the chest region. More pronounced feelings at times (especially anger, which I don't necessarily like). The downstairs feels ... different...  I can tell something is going on to affect that region. Things come and go. I do feel overall ... different. Still dealing with fatigue though not as much as last week...

 

Back story: I had treatment for head and neck cancer 20 years ago. One surgery removed a tumor in my lymph nodes. They took out a whole bunch of stuff from my neck that was anywhere close to the tumor, including part of my shoulder muscle on the left side. Since then, my shoulders are lopsided and things (i.e. my chest) tend to sag on that side. I have long joked that I had a "uni-boob". Well, maybe the other side is going to catch up a little? Right now, I wouldn't pass for female upstairs except for the uni-boob (and the fact that I keep everything shaved). 

 

I nearly quit HRT last week. I have been pretty discouraged overall with my life, career, relationships, direction. I feel pretty rudderless at times, and nothing seems to be going anywhere. For a day, I just felt like HRT was going to add to the misery: who is going to want a "man with boobs" (I still really crave the affections of a female, which is why a lot of this is very confusing). But those feelings seemed to have passed or at least are on simmer... For now I will keep going. 

 

I just don't think I can ever give up wanting to dress female or desiring to have a more feminine body shape. Where that leads, who the heck knows... What a strange life this is turning out to be ...

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Just now, EasyE said:

I nearly quit HRT last week. I have been pretty discouraged overall with my life, career, relationships, direction.

Easy,

I have felt the same way, not quite to the point of wanting to quit but sitting there one dosing morning and thinking "what am I doing?". I am in a crazy place right now; family is moving across the country, I am being laid off for the first time in my career and have to find a new job, and I'm in the middle of this gender journey that seems like it makes everything harder than it could be. I'd always been a "man with boobs", even when I was in my 20s and really skinny I had breast tissue, and now I'm accepting of that and want more but in a different way--I don't want to be a man with boobs, I want something different. I am something different, but it's hard because of nearly a half-century of social programing. So I empathize with your struggle, very directly.

 

I haven't dressed "male" for nearly six months and I just volunteered at a conference with my femme nickname and she/her pronouns on my name lanyard. The whole experience was great, I didn't feel a minute of anxiety or worry. That stuff comes at home, when left to my thoughts. Which is more telling? The comfort being Mae in public or the doubts and worry in private?

 

When I look in the mirror and see this more feminine me, it calms down the doubts and worry, so I'm starting to allow myself to trust in the former.

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7 hours ago, MaeBe said:

I'm in the middle of this gender journey that seems like it makes everything harder than it could be.

Bingo for me!!. In some ways I wish it were more cut and dry. Like some folks on here who knew when they were 2 years old that they were a girl (and everyone else around them knew too). I don't have that. I do have a fascination & enchantment with the feminine that started very young. It is both something I am attracted to (like tonight at Target I couldn't keep my eyes off all the beautiful females in my midst) and something I aspire to be and connect with at a deep level. 

 

For me, there has always been a drive to express this feminine dimension outwardly through clothing. I can see that thread from all the way back when I was a kid. I have always wanted to wear girls/women's underwear. And I have always pushed the boundaries of wanting to wear girl stuff under my clothes, though I've known that if I ever got caught (in high school, on my swim team, by my wife!) there would be hell to pay...

 

This drive continued through college, into adulthood, into marriage (even though I thought that would solve it because I could finally be intimate with a woman and it not be a "sin")... I always felt such shame about this part of me until about two years ago I finally started asking myself, "what is so wrong with this?" Once I gave myself permission to explore this further, and with the help of a therapist who for the first time validated my experience instead of shaming me, my "egg cracked" and the embers were fanned into a wildfire (sorry about all the mixed metaphors, lol)... 

 

Now I have a whole closet and drawers full of women's clothes (many of which I only wear when I am alone), I am separated from my wife, my kids have an inkling of my feminine side but not much more than that, and I am two months into "covert" HRT wondering when/if there will come a day of reckoning when it becomes obvious what I am doing... 

 

I guess deep down I just feel like a misfit and that my life could have been/could be so much more impactful and that I am a giant disappointment to everyone around me... 

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Just now, EasyE said:

I guess deep down I just feel like a misfit and that my life could have been/could be so much more impactful and that I am a giant disappointment to everyone around me... 

They may feel disappointed or aggrieved, but that's on them. It's on society really.

 

In the end, who should really care other than you and the higher power(s) you believe in? I haven't been a willful volunteer at all in my adult life (if ever), I surely did so as a youth but can you consider that willful if you're required to? Since allowing this part of me to shine I have been more active in the community, volunteering and participating in society in ways I never did before. Perhaps you'll feel the same when you allow yourself to.

 

My wife and my kids all see me and how I've changed. I haven't hidden it away from them, but I realize I may have lucked out with their general acceptance. Where the struggle comes is from my internal fight with putting it out in the world. "What are your pronouns? Have you changed your name?" are all asked of me and it feels like a lot when I just want to be me, but I understand where it comes from. That is why I resolved to register as my nickname and use She/Her at the HRC conference, because I owe it to myself to have permission to embody who am I. Now it's just finding a new job as this person that I am and not the person I thought I was--not eschewing the past, but realizing that there's no reason to feel that that was a better me.

 

It wasn't.

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On 5/21/2024 at 12:28 AM, EasyE said:

In some ways I wish it were more cut and dry

Me too @EasyE.  But we are ALL on our own unique Journey.  That's what makes it both Difficult and WONDERFUL.

Your Journey is SPECIAL - Only you can experience it and appreciate it.  Speed On, Dear EasyE!!

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As a side question, when you start E (I'm only doing E. no blockers), does T fight back? (Insert "Empire Strikes Back" theme music here, lol)

 

For awhile, things downstairs seemed very subdued. This week, not so much. Kind of like back to pre-E days. Just curious.

 

Did labs yesterday so that should tell me something when I get results...

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Just now, EasyE said:

As a side question, when you start E (I'm only doing E. no blockers), does T fight back? (Insert "Empire Strikes Back" theme music here, lol)

I'm the same (estradiol, no blockers) and for me, after 4 years, T levels naturally *decreased*. I'm at E&T levels of a postmenopausal woman.

 

Astrid 

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On 3/29/2024 at 11:13 AM, EasyE said:

feedback the more experienced folks may have

It took me less than 6 months, in how my body quickly responded to hormone therapy, I was once a 40 jeans size, and now I'm comfortably wearing 12 to 14 sizes. Estrogen can speed things up and can slow things down in order to make adjustments. Seeing a treating doctor is very important to monitor the hormone levels to avoid possible side effects later on in life. 

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3 hours ago, EasyE said:

As a side question, when you start E (I'm only doing E. no blockers), does T fight back?

I've not had a lot of involuntary action in that department and I'm 6mo in. After 3mo. my T was under 30. My doc wanted labs mid-cycle (3-4 days after my shot) oddly, but I am going to insist on getting trough numbers to determine if T is pushing back when serum E is low. I almost felt like I was going to have MW yesterday morning when I woke up (day of my shot), so I get where your thoughts are on the subject. It would be good to know how long that suppression lasts, not that T&E levels are complete indicators--my doctor doesn't seem to have any plans to check for the broader spectrum of metrics I see a lot on forums like SHBG, etc.

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      Good morning everyone,    I had a lot of catching up to do here today. I’ve been away from social media for nearly a week camping at a Bluegrass Festival at Bill Monroe Campgrounds in Beanblossom, IN. Father’s Day gift from my son was that he and my grandson broke camp and readied the camper for departure. My daughter shipped me a tablet or phone holder and a supply of French Lavender Sachets for my drawers and bathroom. She is my biggest supporter and understands my situation in transition.    Hugs for y’all  Monday after vacation sucks.   Mindy🌈🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋    
    • missyjo
      delcina..thank you. i keep naively thinking the road to tolerance n acceptance goes by way of sharing experiences together n realizing the gender issues become smalle4 n smalle4 each time..but that doesn't work if they don't wish to see us. shrugs. oh well..it happens I guess. thank you   .indy..good for you. thank you. I'm trying to learn that.    hugs to all 5hat want them
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