Thursday, 10 December 2015

Starting HRT

On Monday, for the first time, I placed a tablet containing 2 mg of estradiol hemihydrate under my tongue and let it dissolve. I found myself thinking: Huh, I guess I'll probably be doing this every day for most of the rest of my life.

The pills taste slightly sweet.

Honestly it doesn't seem like nearly as big a deal to me as I once would have expected it to. I'm certainly very happy about it, but it's less of a giddy excitement and more just a calm, contented sense of peace. (Though, perhaps not unusually for a girl at the beginning of puberty, I do occasionally find myself wondering how long until I have boobs, lol).

I'm DIY-ing things for now. I saw a doctor at a walk-in clinic in August: he put me on spiro but wouldn't give me a prescription for hormones until I saw a psychiatrist. And the psych's waiting list was nearly a year long. So I faced a choice: start HRT without medical supervision, putting myself at risk of liver damage and thrombosis; or wait a year, putting myself at risk of self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide. Those are two very different types of risk but it seemed like the odds of me coming to serious harm in either case were roughly equal. Given that, I of course chose that the option that involved not being completely miserable.

And before you start worrying about me, let me assure you that I'm being very careful here. I made sure to get a blood test done before taking the first pill so that any future doctor I see will have access to what my natural hormonal levels were. I intend to get another blood test after one month— (I haven't quite figured out how to get the referral for that yet, though I imagine that simply going to a walk-in and explaining my situation to a doctor is worth a try). I'm not taking a high dose, 2 mg/day is on the lower part of the recommended range for someone like me. And of course, I will try to get proper medical supervision as soon as possible. I just think it will be easier start HRT first and then find a doctor I can work with, rather than having to convince a doctor to let me get the treatment I need.

I've heard several trans women say that they didn't know for sure that HRT was right for them until after they were already on it. I'm only on day four so perhaps it's no surprise that I haven't had any such magical moment of clarity just yet. At this point what convinces me that I'm doing the right thing is how horrified I am by the thought of stopping— I don't even think I could. But now that I think about it, that's how it's always been for me. When I started presenting in a more feminine way I had doubts whether that was right for me until I considered going back to my old presentation and I realized I wouldn't even be able to. Likewise my horror at the thought of asking people to call me by my old name again is, more than anything else, what convinces me that I need to go by Ashley. And the thought of going back to a male hormonal mix makes me feel the same way.

Huh. Maybe that is my "magical moment of clarity." And it happened just now writing this. I guess that's why I'm a blogger. :)

Well anyways, time to start thinking about the next step: banking my sperm before they all shrivel up and die. I'm not 100% certain I'll want biological kids some day, but I am 100% certain I'll at least want the option. Better get on that posthaste!

1 comment:

  1. There is a part of me that is really happy to read this post, it's been a long time coming! But, there is a part of me that is really concerned as well. You are obviously aware of the high risk of self medication but to my understanding, taking too low a dose can also impact overall development, for example your breasts may not grow as much as they could if you were on the correct dose.

    My main concern of course is for your health, please be careful and do not take any chances. I am happy for you getting to do this though! Good luck! :)