Let’s get right into it. Wondering what it’s like when you take Testosterone, or as us users call it, T. Just kidding, I still just call it Testosterone or hormones for that matter. It’s a rollercoaster the first year, that’s for sure and it’s really important to make sure that you are taking the right dose. Too much doesn’t make things happen faster and can actually cause more problems in the long run. Every person is different so the rate at which changes occur will be different for everyone but it does happen and sometimes, changes creep up on you.
I currently give myself a shot of Testosterone once a week. I’m at 80 ml each week, down from 100 ml when I first started.
I had been seeing my therapist for around four months when I first when to see the doctor in Ann Arbor. I was nervous as hell – what if she said I couldn’t do it or that I wasn’t ready? My wife went with me and when we got to the office we checked in and there was some paperwork to fill out while we waited. The doctor called us in and she was soooo great.
We talked a while and she asked about me, my life, how I felt, and what I wanted. All the while she was looking me dead in the eye, nodding, smiling – being accepting. It was apparent she had seen this all before. We talked for about 10 minutes and she said, “I definitely think you’re ready, how about we do your first shot today?” I had to pick my chin up off the ground because never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go to Ann Arbor and leave with my first shot of testosterone flowing through my body. I said, (anxiously, hesitantly) “ok.”
The next hour or so was kind of a fiasco because we had to find a place to take the prescription and the coupon we had for it. We had to see if there was anything insurance would do to help offset the costs. When we finished all of that, I had the bag with two little boxes in it and we returned to the office. When we got back to the office, a power outage had occurred so I thought well, maybe today isn’t the day; but luckily for me, they had offices with windows and enough natural light to see.
I’ve always been afraid of needles, hate shots and avoid them at all costs. I would never have believed that it would be a part of my life forever. So when we got there she started to talk me through how to do it and I said, “oh no, my doctor at home says she’ll do it for me each week.” The look on her face was like, ummm… yeah no that’s not gonna work. You have to do this yourself – what about when you travel? I said I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 🙂 She asked my wife if she’d like to give me my first shot – she looked a little apprehensive but said yes.
So, Dr. Kaufman showed us how to clean the top of the testosterone bottle and wipe the area of the arm (three fingers width from the top of my arm) and told her to just stick it in there – “you know, kinda jab it deliberately.” My wife took that a tad too far or else she was getting me back for something because the way she gave me my shot was like she was throwing a dart at a target. She pushed the top of the syringe, SLOWLY – testosterone is thick and takes a minute, until it all went in. The doctor said to hold a finger over it for about 3 seconds just in case any of it tried to ooze out, and that was it.
I HAVE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE. IT WAS HAPPENING. I DID IT.
When she was done, she said don’t worry, his muscles will be popping out so big after a while that you will be able to easily find some muscle to put it in. That was also the first time a person other than my wife and therapist had said the correct pronoun. Not gonna lie, it was kind of weird and kind of amazing.
For the first few weeks, I insisted that my wife do it because I just couldn’t bring myself to stick myself.
I finally did it though and it happened because the night before, my wife and I got into an argument so when I woke up the next morning, I was really in a “I don’t need you type of mood,” and the rest is history. Now, it’s just something that I do – it rarely ever hurts (unless I’m in a hurry), and I’m actually pretty good at it.
One thing that kind of sucks – buying needles. Believe it or not, the pharmacy you fill your script at might not connect the dots and actually stock needles that their patients need. So that’s annoying – and more often than not, the people working don’t know where they are or what you mean. I try to usually buy 10 at a time and that includes the syringe and two tips: 1 18 gauge to draw the testosterone out and into the syringe and a really short baby 25 gauge to actually stick myself with. Sometimes you get lucky and the syringe and 18 gauge tip are attached so you’re only buying two things. They are cheap though, .25 cents each.
(Are you asking yourself why I don’t just buy like 50 of them? Right, now that I’ve actually written that, I’m asking myself too.)
So here’s what you can expect – I’m coming up on my two year anniversary of taking T this February 2019.
You will “see” little change but you will FEEL big change. I think a lot of it is mental and emotional but having the opportunity to do something that gets you closer to feeling like yourself, works wonders for self-esteem and confidence. It did for me. I swore up and down every week that I could see changes and I asked people all the time. They would just say, you look the same. That wasn’t super great but it didn’t matter, I felt different.
Things definitely started to change for me – emotionally for sure. I could cry at the drop of a hat or fly into a rage just as quickly. It was hard for me to deal with all of the feelings and it was hard for my wife to deal with me. Physically, a few little whiskers started to pop up and around month six, I feel like I hit the kind of swollen phase. Where I just looked full and round. (Picture below).
Months four and five were definitely super intense sexually for me – like hot like fire all the time! The old ball and chain didn’t have too many complaints with this part of it… just sayin.
This is when awesome really starts in my opinion. I had a decent shadow over my lip and a few on my chin. It was cool. My face had gotten more square and my shoulders were filling out a bit.
I coasted along like this for quite some time and then the weight started coming off.
See the previous blog: The Testosterone Cancer Scare
By the middle of 2018, I was starting to really look and feel like the me I was supposed to be. I have a decent beard now that I keep trimmed – working towards a goatee and my face has taken on a good shape. My body weight has shifted a bit as to where I carry the majority of it.
I have always been into clothes and dressing nice but I distinctly remember times where I would have something on and I would say to myself, this is a good outfit but it’s fake. You only wear men’s clothes but you’re a <woman> – is that weird to people? And I don’t think that’s what it was, I just think when you have gender and body dysphoria, it’s difficult to really see yourself how others might. I have been wearing men’s clothes for as long as I can remember and that was just me – I remember sometimes when I would be shopping, I’d pretend like I was shopping for someone else if anyone was near. It really, really sucks to feel that way.
By Fall/Winter of 2018, so months 19 and on, I was down three pants sizes and because of my top surgery a shirt size. It’s great. Be prepared though because people will ask you if you’ve been working out – and I haven’t really – so you decide how you want to answer. To people I know, I say it’s the hormones. To people I know but don’t want to talk to about it I say, “it’s the stress diet.” ha. At least it’s believable.
When the changes finally happen and some people don’t recognize you – that’s when you know it has really happened. There was one moment in mid-2018 that I looked in the mirror and said, “wow, I see me now.” That’s only happened a couple times through this because we look at ourselves all the time. When you do catch a glimpse of what you actually look like, hold on to it, stare at it, memorize it, LOVE it. I did.
Now I’m almost to Month 24 and I’m excited about what is to come. I am certainly more aggressive than I was before and that can be difficult, but I’m still me. I just think that this me is a better version because it feels ok to be in my own skin.