No, I am not talking about watercress finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and a steaming pot of Earl Gray. Nor am I thinking about a round of golf here in Michigan or anywhere else.
I am referring to testosterone; “T” as it is familiarly referred to by those transitioning from female to male. “T” is what will deepen the voice, encourage facial hair to grow and build muscle mass. It is the magic elixir that will help to transform a trans boy into a man.
For two plus years our son has anticipated this moment. After coming out to me as transgender (female to male) more than a year and a half ago, one of the first things he said was, “I want to go on T.” At that moment, life came to a screeching halt. There was so much I didn’t know, didn’t understand, didn’t want to hear. Hunter had been doing research; he did all his homework and knew exactly what he wanted.
Yesterday was a big day. Yesterday, Hunter, my husband and I drove together to DMC Children’s Specialty Clinic and rode the elevator in anticipation to the Pediatric Endocrinology department housed on the third floor. Long-term, injections will be given by us, at home, on a weekly basis. The first time, however, is a required teaching session with our endocrine nurse.
Over the last few months, I’ve had numerous conversations with two of the nurses. They have been immensely helpful, kind and understanding through some very frustrating situations. I felt like they were trusted friends. While waiting for our “lesson,” the exam room door opened and in walked both nurses. They, too, felt a connection to us and to our journey.
“We just couldn’t wait to meet you,” they exclaimed, practically in unison, as if they’d rehearsed.
We’ve had so many hurdles to get past in order to get to this day, it really was especially meaningful that the nurses were there to cheer us on. And then it was down to business. I think we were attentive students; I know that I, for one, didn’t want to miss a single moment of the instruction — this was not a time to lose focus.
By the time we left, we had truly bonded with our nurse. We knew that she was a wife, a mother, a daughter and a breast cancer survivor. We knew that she cared deeply about her job and the children that she’s able to help every day. We knew that we had made a new friend.
So, here we are. Our journey — Hunter’s journey, has taken a new path. I have been very comfortable with where we were; perhaps, a bit too comfortable. Honestly, I am not sure that I am prepared for the road ahead of us. When will his voice start to change? What will it sound like? When will I feel stubble rather than a soft, smooth baby face? What will it be like for Hunter to go through puberty (again)?
We are hoping to document our weekly “T” times so we can track Hunter’s transition during this part of the journey. I am optimistic that at some point, down the road, I will once again feel comfortable with where we are.
I should finally qualify for new healthcare with Starbucks this week or next. They have a very inclusive program I hear–and after I put the car into my name come January, I am willing to do the long drive, if necessary, to find a doctor to put me on T and change my license gender marker. I just have to save up a bit to change my name, too—going with Cal, I think, instead of Carl?—after I make a couple of payments on my new MacBook (which I need for school, don’t get me wrong, need it before school starts, and I can change my name while school is in session; hard to study computer science without a computer!).
The more weight I lose, the more androgynous I am looking. New coworkers at work know I identify as a guy and have no problem with it.
Make sure to take pictures along the journey, too. Not to show others, but for him to document his journey.
Thank you for your comments, Cal. I like the name change. Keep me posted on your transition and journey.
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You will feel comfortable again. It might take awhile. Kris going on T was one of our roller coaster rides. It was a bit of a trip watching the changes- really the voice, redistribution of fat- less feminine curves, and the hair… Add the second puberty to the mix. Wow! For me, it’s the voice that’s the hardest. I’m not sure why. Even after 2 years. I think what made this easier to accept was seeing how happy it made Kris. His delight with facial hair…. It was hard not to smile. 🙂
What happened to his hair?
I had to look at my reply- when I first read your question I was like- what DID happen to his hair? I meant the facial hair. Lol
From the “insider’s perspective”…just know, really know that you are doing the absolutely proper and loving thing. I cannot even begin to describe the relief and congruence that simply “came” when I started on hormones. It was like my brain receptors all sighed and said “at last”.
It isn’t that it is this earth shaking visceral “ABRACADABRA”…but simply the growing “rightness” of the world and me and my place in the world.
Those things that are your son will intensify, remain, gain significance and depth and power, and those things that are not will sort of slide away like the old shell of a crab when it molts and gets its next one.
As to the changes physically, well the truth is like always…the things most easily seen are usually just signifiers and signposts pointing to that which signifies, and far less important by comparison. Most likely there is an inverse relationship there…the more noticeable the less important.
May you be blessed deeply and richly for your true mother-heart.
Success and failure in life come to us all, and often times it’s a crapshoot in terms of outcome. What remains is the WHY of things…the why of our choices…the values, reasons…and when it all boils down? Whatsoever we have done in the name of Love will see us thru.
With my best wishes and prayers…
Once again your words are an immense source of comfort! Thank you.
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Soo so welcome
The pictures will be an important resource for those times when he feels the T isn’t working.
When you see the same face every day it’s hard sometimes to see the changes. Pictures don’t lie.
I went to Mount Sinai Beth Israel in NYC for my first shot last Saturday. I was feeling good—till they gave me a flu shot, too. 😂
I don’t know if it’s the T or still psychosomatic at this point—or maybe a fusion of therapy and the injection—but since then I’ve been feeling less tense and anxious, more upbeat and laid back, and for once a member of the brotherhood.
My attempts with O’Connor in Morristown, NJ never worked out. Found through buddies and my gender specialist places in NYC I could go to (because I’d be taking the train—no way was I going to fight east Jersey traffic, or go to Philly because I was not familiar with the city at all nor knew of how to get there via public transit). It was either Mount Sinai or Callen Lordes, as moth had major LGBT centers for this kind of thing. I wanted to go to a center instead of a private endocrinologist.
And thank heavens for Starbucks. Their health insurance covers everything!
Cai — so happy for you. Hunter’s confidence soared when he started “T.” Thanks for updating us. This is really awesome.
Right now I’m at a Starbucks a block away from the hospital that administers and checks my blood work. Going for my second shot in the next hour or two! 🙂
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Can you give it yourself?
Right now since I started I guess we’re keeping it in-house so they can keep an eye on my blood work, any side effects, etc. I have no problem going every two weeks for now–gives me an excuse to get out of the house and go visit the sites and sounds of NYC before and after my appointment.