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SugarMagnolia

Small steps lead to big ones

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Bethany G

I think seeing a therapist is what I need :)  I just need to work up the courage and make the appointment , I'm super nervous and scared . But I need to it's the road to being me and happiness 

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Charlize

Bethany you are confronting the same fear many of us faced here.  Your not alone.  Relax, take a deep breath and remember making an appointment doesn't mean you can't cancel.  It's just a step.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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tracy_j

Sometimes Bethany I think with things I have done  - Others can do it so I can as well, and just do it! Yes it is scary, exciting as well, but nothing compared to the reward at the end

Tracy

 

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SugarMagnolia
16 hours ago, Bethany G said:

I think seeing a therapist is what I need :)  I just need to work up the courage and make the appointment , I'm super nervous and scared . But I need to it's the road to being me and happiness 

Working up the courage is the hardest part, I think. I was amazed at how respectful and matter of fact setting up my initial appointment was once I took that first step.

One thing that helps meet sometimes is to try and envision in detail whatever it is that I'm afraid of. Usually, if I think it through, even the worst case scenario is not deserving of the amount of anxiety that I'm giving it.

Charlize is right on with her reminder to relax. Remember that you're in control and it's OK to go at whatever speed is right for you or even to change your mind if you're not sure about something.

You're doing great, Bethany, in accepting yourself and thinking about your next steps. Keep it up!

Hugs,

Julie

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Bethany G

Thank you so much Julie for being here for me and all the great encouragement. It feels so awesome to have all of this support. 

Hugs

bethany 

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SugarMagnolia

90 days on HRT have come and gone now. I haven't posted any updates since just after starting because a lot happened in my life separate from HRT and I just haven't had the time to be online.

In non-HRT news my entire team at work (about 12 people) was laid off. It's a large company and we've had many rounds of layoffs over the 16 years I was there, but I'd always survived until now. That was a stressful, but I was blessed to find a great job only two weeks after my last day at my previous employer. I've been there about a month and am loving it. I should have made the jump years ago. The only real issue is a bit longer commute and a different medical insurance plan neither of which is a big deal other than having to find a new therapist and doctor. 

On the HRT front, it's been wonderful. I've been so much more even keeled and relaxed. Prior to HRT, I was always a little guarded and defensive around other people, but now I feel more open and relaxed. It's lovely. :-)

After the latest round of labs a few weeks ago my doctor upped my estrogen to xxxxx transdermal. I've really had no side effects other than the Spiro making me a bit groggy for the first couple of weeks. That seems to have gone away, thankfully. In terms of physical changes, my skin has softened, my leg hair is a bit lighter, my fat distribution has changed a fair amount (belly to thighs mostly), and breast growth has been reasonably steady although not noticeable to others yet. I've also noticed some definite loss of muscle mass.

However, the biggest change in all of this is my thinking on my gender identity and my transition. Prior to starting HRT, I was nervous but fairly focused on a complete transition to presenting full time as a woman. Now, I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin that I'm thinking I may be more gender fluid than I thought. I'm not sure how to describe it, but instead of being so focused on "passing" and swapping one set of prescriptive gender behaviors for another, now I feel comfortable just presenting as me -- whatever that may mean on a particular day.

So, I'm just taking one day at a time and focusing much less on some roadmapped transition goal/timetable and more on just enjoying the ride and looking forward to finding out where I'll end up. I guess it really is a roller coaster ride. :-)

Edited by CyndiRae
removed dosage info per T & C

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CyndiRae
On 12/16/2016 at 10:48 AM, SugarMagnolia said:

but instead of being so focused on "passing" and swapping one set of prescriptive gender behaviors for another, now I feel comfortable just presenting as me -- whatever that may mean on a particular day.

 

What you describe above is a good place to be. It's like why trade one box for another ?

Liberation and joy...

Cyndi -

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Briana

First, I'm glad you got a new job so quickly after your lay-off.  It's not fun getting laid off.  While I've never been laid off, I've had to do it and it's always one of the most painful things for me.  It's not like separating someone for poor performance or behavioral issues.  These are generally good people and WHAM!  Sounds like your changed ended up being a good thing thankfully.

And as far as HRT and gender front, sounds like you are also in a good place for you.  That's always a good thing.  :-)

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Guest

Good for you. I definitely learned that I'm much happier when I'm embracing it rather than fighting it, go figure. LOL

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Bethany G

Seen my therapist yesterday for the first time and it went awesome!! I have this huge mountain lifted off my shoulders finally, I feel so happy . I start seeing my gender therapist every week starting next Friday, and group therapy once a month, I'm so excited ? 

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Timber Wolf

Yayyyy!!!? I'm happy for you, Bethany!

 

Lots of love,

Timber Wolf?

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Jani423

Very good!

Jani

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SugarMagnolia

Another 90 days (or so) have gone by, and wow, what a roller coaster ride!

In January, I started getting scared. Even though my small amount of breast growth wouldn't have been noticed by anyone, it started to scare me because I didn't expect anything to be noticeable. And I realized that I was feeling out of control...as though the hormones were taking me where I wanted to go, but MUCH faster than I had planned to get there. 

So, I paused my HRT with proper medical monitoring. 

Fast forward to last week and the anxiety, irritability and discomfort from my "normal" levels of testosterone were back. That answered so many of my questions. I know now that some level of hormone therapy is essential for me to feel whole and happy.

Perhaps more importantly, I've re-affirmed to myself that transitioning to presenting as female full-time is what I need to do. So, I'm back in the saddle, on HRT, and really focused now on therapy to help me deal with the fears that I know will rear their heads.

So much more to say, but I'll save it for another post. Just wanted to give an update since I think that sharing our ups and downs helps us all feel less alone! ^_^

~ Julie

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VickySGV
11 hours ago, SugarMagnolia said:

Fast forward to last week and the anxiety, irritability and discomfort from my "normal" levels of testosterone were back. That answered so many of my questions. I know now that some level of hormone therapy is essential for me to feel whole and happy.

HRT has become a diagnostic tool for at least one GD possible cause, and it looks like you have that cause going on.  There are people who feel nothing and no improvement from HRT and who go on to live lives without it.  Your  quality of life seems to need to do it.  Keep the good work up,

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SugarMagnolia

Hi @VickySGV,

Just curious, but do you have any references for that "diagnostic tool for at least one gd cause"?

I'd like to learn more if you remember. Otherwise, Google can be my friend. B)

 

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VickySGV
12 hours ago, SugarMagnolia said:

Hi @VickySGV,

Just curious, but do you have any references for that "diagnostic tool for at least one gd cause"?

I'd like to learn more if you remember. Otherwise, Google can be my friend. B)

 

I have seen HRT mentioned in several places over the last 5 years about it being used as a "diagnostic tool" but I do not remember a specific resource unless you count two IRL friends who were given HRT  under that that plan.  One of them is on HRT years later and happy with full transition, the other found more problems with HRT, but still is living full time in retirement from a job.  I was the one who appended the "at least one gd cause" without a reference really in mind, but I am aware that there is a long list of ideas as to how gd is caused, and a longer list of discredited sources for it.  I might add that the discredited sources do  not stay that way for long and keep cycling on and off the "source list".  I was being a bit dry there.

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SugarMagnolia
3 hours ago, VickySGV said:

I have seen HRT mentioned in several places over the last 5 years about it being used as a "diagnostic tool" but I do not remember a specific resource unless you count two IRL friends who were given HRT  under that that plan.  One of them is on HRT years later and happy with full transition, the other found more problems with HRT, but still is living full time in retirement from a job.  I was the one who appended the "at least one gd cause" without a reference really in mind, but I am aware that there is a long list of ideas as to how gd is caused, and a longer list of discredited sources for it.  I might add that the discredited sources do  not stay that way for long and keep cycling on and off the "source list".  I was being a bit dry there.

Thanks, Vicky! No worries. I just find the subject of "gd cause" to be fascinating in that it's so multi-faceted, varies so much from person to person. It's like the wild, wild west for theories. :-)

 

Edited by tracy_j
Removed probable unwanted strikethrough format

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SugarMagnolia

Wow. It's hard for me to believe that it's been 10 months since I last posted in this thread. So much has happened, almost all positive, and I understand the "roller coaster" metaphor MUCH better now! 

 

I'm out now to the most important family and friends in my life and that's gone better than I could have ever imagined. I sometimes think that being open about who I am has made just as much difference in my quality of life as HRT has. Not having to hide is an incredible relief and feeling more able to express my inner self has been life changing.

 

A slow transition is part of my process, and what's been interesting is having to wrestle with feeling non-binary, gender fluid and MTF at different times in the process. I think I've come back to the MTF camp, but in a more nuanced way in which passing is de-emphasized in favor of being comfortable and authentic. 

 

I will admit to struggling with the concept of being a woman and whether or not that's truly possible in the absence of so much shared experience. That's one difficulty with transitioning at 50: my own internal "guy" rules are hard to unlearn and so many formative experiences of growing up female in our culture are lost to me. I'm trying to examine this through a lens of intersectionality and that's helping, but it's still difficult to feel like I'll ever get to the point where I feel comfortable calling myself a woman and feeling completely authentic.

 

What has been truly amazing for me, though, is becoming more politically active. I'm now the volunteer coordinator for a fantastic woman in my area that's running for US Congress, and she's totally supportive of my journey. I'm also now on the board of our county's Stonewall Democratic club and feel truly blessed to help represent the LGBTQ community in our political process. Through these activities, I've met the most incredible women, some of whom I'm out to and some not, but all of whom make me feel like a million bucks and with whom I feel incredibly accepted. The friendship of strong, intelligent women is so life affirming!

 

So, yeah, there's a lot on my plate including trying to keep a good relationship with my wife intact throughout all of this. But, I feel more alive, vibrant and impactful than at any other time in my life. It's up and down sometimes, but I'm truly enjoying the ride!

 

Hugs,
Julie

 

P.S. If you want to check out my candidate go to http://www.bateson4congress.com/why-i-run/. I hope that doesn't violate any T&Cs!

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Charlize

It was lovely to read about your journey Julie.  Thanks for sharing.  I remember thinking that when i finished transition(is that even possible?) i would need to be fully "female".  After being male for 63 years that has simply not been possible.  What i've found instead is that i'm comfortable being a somewhat unusual woman.  I work a farm, drive machinery, work hard doing what my mother would have considered very unlady like tasks.  The fact is i'm simply being myself.  Accepting that has given me some peace as far as both gender and life in general.   

It sounds like your life is falling into line as you find your own path through the gender maze.  Maybe that is the best we can hope for.  For me simply being content, at peace, with myself is amazing progress.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Jani423

Good news Julie.  Thanks for the update.

 

Jani

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SugarMagnolia

Thanks, Jani and Charlize. One day at a time works for many thing! :D

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