Hi again! Last time I talked about how we legally changed our names (click here to check that out) but this time will be about starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We (my husband Chris and I) actually started testosterone or “T” twice. I will take you back to the very beginning, a long long time ago in the year 2013.
Chris and I were wanting to get married, but we wanted to start our life together in marriage after we started taking T. We realized that with the short amount of time before the wedding, it wasn’t going to produce any noticeable changes, but it would be a step for us. A step towards our future in marriage vows as well as transition. And so we started looking for a doctor.
I had just started working for a company whose insurance covered transgender related treatments. A friend of ours was seeing a doctor about an hour away from us and recommended we check him out. Since the insurance covered it, I immediately set an appointment. The first appointment was a wellness check such as vitals, blood check, etc. Then, the magic mixture was given to us.
We weren’t immediately given a testosterone prescription and sent on our merry way. Nope. We had to go back to the endocrinologist every two weeks for the next SIX MONTHS or so before we were given that luxury. He wanted to monitor how we responded to the medication in order to either increase the dosage or slide it down. Honestly, it was a good thing he did that because come to find out I am allergic to the sunflower seed oil used as a suspension in some brands of testosterone. The doctor switched me to Axiron, which is a topical way to receive HRT. I used this for about 8 months until I reached the year marker. I had pretty good results from Axiron, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the financial means to get it (this medication is crazy expensive).
Then, things hit the fan. I lost my job, good pay, and most importantly the insurance. For the next three years I couldn’t find a job that had good enough pay and insurance to allow us the ability to get back on HRT. I lost my facial and body hair. My body started to soften again. I had some of the worst dysphoria I’ve ever experienced in my life. I still passed for the most part, but it was like I was stuck as an “in-between” and I struggled to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t until I found a job in January of 2017 that finally things started to turn around.
I was able to find a new doctor (Planned Parenthood) that took our new insurance. Our old doctor skipped town in the three years we were off. We were prescribed testosterone the first day of our appointments in April of that same year. We have officially been back on HRT for 1 year and 8 months. I finally have some facial hair growing back. My body hair has become ridiculous, and I couldn’t be any happier. Chris never lost his facial hair despite going off testosterone the same amount of time as myself. We aren’t sure if he just naturally has higher T levels or what.
This post was a bit all over the place, but I wanted to put our experience out there. Things aren’t a straight line of expectations when starting HRT. Unfortunately things can block your way and it can feel like your world is falling apart. If there is anything to take from this post, it’s don’t lose hope. Don’t give up.
Until next time,
Alexander Mason Burchnell