Friday, January 31, 2014


Final frontier achieved...and "T" update

My co-worker encouraged me to finally approach a barista at Starbucks and tell them about the name change. She was astounded, as well she should have been, that I hadn't told anyone there yet about it.

So I did it.

I approached my favorite barista "Kate" (funnily enough) and let her know that in August I had changed my name and gender and was now "Jake;" if she could pass the word on, that would be great.  She was very gracious and congratulated me and said she'd help me out.

So THAT happened today.

In other news, my levels were drawn a few weeks ago and they were through the roof.  I had been on six pumps since December.  I also lost about 30 lbs in that same time frame, so I think the combination sent my "T' levels skyrocketing.  Dr. Thorp was not super happy with the combination of super high T and kind of high liver function test, so she dropped me back down to five pumps. I've been doing that for a week and the changes have continued.

As of today, my voice is quite lower than it was even a month ago, and for sure lower than it was in May when I started. I did a voice recording for comparison.

May 26, 2013
January 30, 2014

So that's what's going on.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Testosterone update - seven months on T

On November 26th (at approximately six months on T) I saw Dr. Thorp. I started six pumps of 1.62% gel the next day. Six pumps is a lot of goop to smear on your body. Especially when it pretty much has to go on your shoulders in the area to be covered by a T-shirt. I asked Thorp about other potential application sites and she recommended the inner thigh, with the warning that I might grow hair there faster. Not something I'm worried about! :)

So...for the last month I have been applying two pumps to each shoulder and one to each thigh. Still no ill effects, it would seem.

At my Nov. visit my levels were still low-normal for a cis-guy, and she said she'd like to see my levels closer to double that. And she didn't want to see me for three to four months. 


I'm still experiencing some bleeding and cramping and she said that if that didn't stop before I was to see her, she wanted me to call and she would order tests of my estrogen levels and an ultrasound to see what's up. I can't say how frustrating the bleeding and cramping are.  It makes me feel awful. And I'm not relishing the idea of a vaginal ultrasound, but if we can figure out what is up, that would be great. Potentially the result could mean a hysto sooner rather than later, and I haven't figured out how i feel about that.  On one hand I feel like everything would be better if I didn't have competing hormones. On the other hand it means no more eggs and therefore no little mes running around. BUT I've never wanted to give birth to children. So why do I care? A little part of me wishes my genetic material could live on. I have pretty awesome genes.

So there's that.

In other developments, the major changes have included:
- more hair growth on my chest and stomach, back, and legs and arms.  Even my scars are growing hair, which is really exciting.
- my muscles keep growing w/o much gym activity from me. My biceps have grown over an inch, as has my neck.
- my shape continues to shift toward a more male silhouette.  I have lost about 25 lbs, which is helping with the shape business, too.
- I can't sing high or call for the dogs in a higher register any more.  My voice cracks when I try to call the dogs in my "normal" voice, so I am finding myself lowering the pitch so that it comes out okay and not squeaky.  A couple of people have commented on my voice changing, but I still can't really hear it for myself. Certainly I'm not "passing" yet on the phone or even in "the flesh." But it'll come. It's getting better.

I'm thinking about switching to shots, but I don't want to abandon the gel yet. Stay tuned for more info.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Testosterone update

I'm up to 3 pumps daily of 1.62% Androgel.

It is a lot of goop to spread on your shoulders, but it works out okay. I just have to time the application as I'm getting ready in the morning, so that the first layer has time to dry before the second layer.  My system will work for up to four pumps.  If I hit more than that I'm going to have to devise a new system. Or potentially apply T twice daily.

What's changed?

I am HAIRY.  That's a big change because I wasn't a particularly hairy person before; now almost every surface is covered in some sort of hair. Most of it is blond fuzzies, but much of it is on the darker side, and I anticipate that it'll just get darker.  Potentially I'll just be blond, though. How bad could that be?  It might be okay.  I'd rather have some darker hair, though.  But only time will tell what the T fairy will bring!

My upper register in my chest voice is GONE. I can still get there in my head voice (although it is tougher, and it cracks a bit) but I don't sound any different to myself with my every day speaking voice.  It is the singing voice that appears to have had the most effect from the T. I was a soprano to begin with.  I'll make a recording this weekend and see how it compares to the other two. Admittedly I have sucked at making voice recordings documenting the change to my voice.  I'm going to try to do a better job of that, making a recording weekly from now on. That may or may not get posted here. Haven't figured out how to do that yet.

I have gained weight.  This is due in part to my constant hunger. Not sure if that's related to T or not, but it is troublesome. Because I'm so hungry all the time, I'm not watching my caloric intake. And I haven't been exercising as much as I should be.  Those two things in concert, even without the T would make me gain weight.  But I do think the hunger has something to do with the T. That's just my experience, though.  I am not craving red meat like some people have claimed has happened to them. But, as in all things, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).

My weight has shifted around.  My face is a little squarer; my hip and butt fat has moved around. All my weight is carried in front now. That's not super different from where it was carried before, but the weight has shifted away from my hips and my butt and is definitely ALL in front now.  Fun stuff.  Makes it clear to me that I need to a) eat differently and b) get to the gym!

I think that covers most of the changes I've seen so far.  No issues with anger or irritation like I've heard from people who take intramuscular T, so that's nice. No hormonal/mood ups and downs, so that's great, too. I like where things are going. I'm a little impatient, but not TOO impatient!

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's a boy!

My new birth certificate arrived on Friday.  Oh happy day!  This means I'm official.
Now I just have to address all the pesky other, smaller, things that are on my list of things to do.

I can't say enough how fantastic everyone has been through this process. Tons of understanding medical professionals, government employees; a fleet of understanding family members and one amazingly unbelievably understanding soon-to-be spouse have all made this transition possible.

So, thank you to all of you who have been there for me, from the MN Trans Health Coalitions Transmasculine group to my partner and everyone in between and beyond. I am beyond lucky and beyond honored to count all of you among my acquaintances, friends and family.

A special great big humongous rib-shattering thank you hug and a kiss to Brandi, too, for making possible what I never thought would or could happen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Social Security card achievement unlocked

On Friday September 20th, I received my not-so-shiny new Social Security card in the mail.
It actually took about 14 days for it to arrive, just as the gentleman at the SSA office said it would.

Let me warn folks who want to change their Soc. Sec. information to take at least a half day, if not a whole day to do it.

There is only one Social Security Administration Office in the metro who handles new SS cards.  It is on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis and it is HOPPING!  I got there at 2 and didn't leave until close to 4:30 thanks to the masses of people there to get their cards.  They have a separate card office around the back of the building (with plenty of parking back there) which is different from the part of the building where you access your benefits, so that's good. But there were probably 100 people in there when I got there.

When my number was called, I presented my old Social Security Card, my name change order, my drivers license and yellow renewal slip, and that was it.  He changed my name and gender in the computer; showed me the printout so that I could ensure it was correct; and gave me a receipt to take home with me proving that it had been changed and that my card would arrive in 14 days, which it did.  No fees or anything.  Easy as pie. 

Still waiting on the DL to arrive - should be here soon.  And the kind folks at the Connecticut State Vital Statistics Office are processing my request as we speak. So that should arrive soon.

I suppose I should start to change my name in all the other places - bank, medical clinics, etc...That sounds tedious and hard, but I'm all over it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Birth certificate

Package to State of Connecticut re: birth certificate

The check is in the mail!

Well, the letter and documentation and money order addressed to "Treasurer, State of Connecticut" are in the mail; headed to my new friend Maria Colon at the CT Department of Vital Statistics.

She emailed me the necessary forms to change my name and gender on my birth certificate and after getting the surgeon and my therapist to both get affidavits signed and notarized and sent back to me, all the required documentation is in the envelope and it is on its way!

So, for those Yankees out there who need to change their birth certificate, here's the skinny:

Call Maria Colon at the state vital statistics office and get her to send you an email with the forms in it (or contact me and I'll get them to you). Those forms include the birth certificate order form and two affidavits, one from your surgeon and one from your licensed therapist (psychologist, psychiatrist or LCSW). Get those filled out and notarized (most banks have a free notary service available to you) and then mail them, the filled out birth certificate order form and a money order made payable to "Treasurer, State of Connecticut" for $30.00, along with a current photo ID. I had to include two photo IDs because I don't have my new MN driver's license with my new name on it yet, but I do have a government issued work ID.

Connecticut amends your birth record. It will not take three months to process (the recorded message at the state vital statistics office says requests are being processed in three months, but Maria Colon - my new friend in CT - stated that it would not take three months to process). They will seal the old record and hide it away forever.  A new birth certificate will be issued with the new information on it. It will not be marked "amended," which is a nice thing that the state is doing for trans* people.

I'll post again when I get the new birth certificate with an update of how long it took for them to get it back to me etc...