aidenonymous: (sulu)
[personal profile] aidenonymous
Well, this is a very special day indeed!  Two years ago today, I administered my first dose of T.  It wasn't a decision I found easy, and I can't say I haven't looked back since, but it's been a lifesaving experience for me, and I don't see myself discontinuing it any time soon.  I've more or less been on what I'm going to call an ultra-low dose, aside from a brief period when I was on a just plain low dose.  Because there's still not a huge amount of information available for non-binary DFAB people considering low-dose T, I'm going to write a veritable novel in hopes that it will help someone else, especially if I get lazy about updating like I have for the past year.

I sought T primarily due to severe voice dysphoria (and a less severe desire for other changes, including body hair, ease of muscle growth, body fat redistribution, and facial/hairline changes).  Though I was in therapy, I obtained my prescription by way of informed consent.  I didn't fill the prescription for a few months, and I didn't start T until a few months after that.  Due to dysphoria, I didn't entirely trust myself to make good long-term decisions and wanted to wait until I was in a better head-space after the school year ended.

At the age of 25, I started T in the form of half a 2.5g packet of AndroGel 1% applied to my shoulders.  My pre-T total testosterone level was 21ng/dL if I recall correctly, and at my first levels check after starting it was 180ng/dL.  About a month later, I switched from splitting 2.5g packets to giving myself one 1.25g pump so I would get a more consistent dose.  Not long after that I switched to applying it to my hips and thighs instead of my shoulders because it was exacerbating the bacne I had pre-T.  At my next levels check, my total testosterone was 264ng/dL.

About nine months after I started, I felt overwhelmed by changes and took a break for just under three weeks before resuming because of worsening general anxiety off T.  A month after my first tranniversary, I upped my dose to one 1.25g pump of Androgel 1.62% because I was still having cycles and stayed on that for six months before taking another break from T due to feeling frustrated with the accelerated pace of changes without the benefit of stopping cycles.  I had one levels check when I was on the higher dose and had a total testosterone level of 290ng/dL, however my estrogen levels were practically off the charts at 262pg/mL.  I resumed my original 1% dose after not quite three weeks, again due to worsening general anxiety, and stayed on that for a little over three months before switching to injections.  My last levels check on the ultra-low dose was an abysmal 81ng/dL total testosterone and a more manageable but still high 73pg/mL estradiol.

It sounds a little funny, but I've been on T for two years and just got my first injection four days ago!  I'm starting on subcutaneous injections of 0.25mg Depo Testosterone 100mg/mL weekly.  I'd been planning this essentially since my most recent break from T because I became convinced my cis male partner was being exposed to my T.  I also felt that the responsibility of making the daily decision to continue T was a burden, whereas earlier on it was essential.  To keep myself from getting short-term mood swings due to rash decisions to skip doses (caused by short-term mood swings from skipping doses. . .), I decided injections would be appropriate now.  Part of me holds out hope that the cycles will finally stop, but I'm not holding my breath.

Since I haven't updated in a while, I thought I'd comment on some recent changes.

Acne
Since restarting T, my acne has been pretty bad.  My skin has a lot of oil on it all the time, enough that I can wipe it off with my hands and see my reflection in it.  I get a lot more acne on one side of my face/neck than the other, and it's the side that doesn't face the pillow when I sleep -- my hunch is that the pillowcase wicks some of the oil off my face so it doesn't feed the bacteria on my skin.  I've been dilligent with the topical antibiotic and retinoid that I've been on since the beforetimes, but it's not doing much to prevent the pimples from starting so much as helping them heal faster in spite of my picking habit.

Hair:
Last week when I put on a pair of shorts for the first time since the fall I noticed that my legs are a lot hairier than they used to be, especially on the backs of my calves.  My happy trail has a sort of entourage of hairs on my lower abdomen, some of which were torn off by the totally unnecessary band-aid I was given after my first T injection.  Also, I have a couple dark vellous hairs growing on my upper lip.  I'm taking it a lot better than the last time.

Fat/Metabolism:
Since dropping from the low to the ultra-low dose, my hips have taken on a more feminine shape than I'm comfortable with.  However, my old size 29/30 pants are all still too big, so I haven't changed size.  I've been ironically losing weight due to trying to eat more healthily to prepare for top surgery -- turns out I don't get much nutrition if I cut out all the unhealthy things I usually eat.  I'm struggling to keep weight on, but that's really nothing new.

Voice:
I kinda can't believe it, but my voice has noticably dropped since March, according to the recordings I've made every day I've been on T.  Side note: it's remarkable how much my face has changed in the past two years.  Since my recordings are videos, I can see how young I looked two years ago, how chubby my face looked after the first year, and how lean and mature my face looks now.  Also, I've been getting better haircuts since I moved to NYC.  q-:

Sex drive:
Ever since my most recent break from T I've been less horny, even after resuming T.  I don't have strong opinions about it, although my partner would certainly appreciate if I got that back on injections.

At risk of beating a dead horse, I considered recapping the changes I've gotten over the past two years.  I'm a little worried that in a few more years, I won't remember how things were pre-T, but perhaps I've already forgotten.  Anyone who's interested in the details will have to read through my tagged posts.  To the general reader I've never met, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about non-binary medical transition or just want to connect with a kindred spirit.
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