aidenonymous: (gender)
I had my second consult with Dr. Fischer today and wanted to post something quick, even though I've got a couple drafts of actual content floating around that I should finish.  The good news is that I'm still borderline for peri, but now a slightly better candidate than I was last year, so we are going ahead with the surgery!  I was scared because my chest is kinda inflamed right now due to the whole cycles not stopping thing.  Dr. Fischer was very confident about it, which helped put me at ease.  She said there was really no benefit to building a bunch of chest muscle now, although I'll still try to get to the gym some time soon.  My pecs are already well-defined enough that she didn't think I'd have any problems with nipple position, which is kind of hard to control with peri.

I got all the pre-op instructions and clarified some details.  After I explained my history of a bleeding disorder, they're not going to force me to stop T but did recommend I discontinue it for the week before surgery.  Normally they'd recommend stopping for two weeks before and at least a week after, and going to a half dose four weeks before (ha, joke's on them, I'm on the lowest metered dose and couldn't halve it if I tried).  They were happy I warned them that my medical clearance would have that on it before they saw a red flag like that.

The bad news is that they billed my insurance for the out-of-network rate even though we went through a ton of trouble to get it counted as in-network because my insurance company is tiny and doesn't have anyone who does FTM top surgery in their network.  So they quoted me three times what they should have for my contribution, which is about $1000 more than I can actually pay right now/  I have until mid-June to pay it, so that's enough time to save up some more if necessary, but I'm still hoping I'll be able to convince my insurance company to cough up the rest given the paperwork we painstakingly completed.  My partner's still out of work but will probably have a job by July, so I'm hoping I'll have secondary insurance to help with whatever's left over.

I hung out with three friends from college afterwards.  Two did not know about my transition, and one of them figured it out and was cool about it.  But those two obviously weren't people I'm especially close to, so the stakes were low.  I have a big meeting with my thesis advisor tomorrow about my qualifying exam and the status of my work (which was going really well until a few weeks ago when things kinda fell apart), so I should go to sleep.  I mostly wanted to squee about how this is actually happening!
aidenonymous: (gender)
Today, for the first time since the summer, I felt like I was actually approaching some sense of being "post-transition."  I had a pretty average day at work, aside from the part where I forgot my phone at home and actually chatted with my officemates during lunch time and after a talk we all attended.  I got this strong feeling like I belonged there, something I usually can't feel because I get hung up on how awkward it is that all my colleagues seem to know I'm trans (if they even acknowledge me as male at all).  While I do feel a little guilty that this sense of being normal was facilitated by the fact that I work in an overwhelmingly male-dominated field and literally did not interact with even one woman all day, I kinda just want to bask in the feeling of being one of the guys again, instead of the outsider I've felt like since I came out.
aidenonymous: (gender)
I've had a roller coaster of a week and really didn't want to write this, but I'm hoping I'll feel better getting it out.  tl;dr I've once again blown an opportunity to have gender not be a big deal in every aspect of my life and am not happy about it.

cut for abusively negative self-talk )

I did a lot more self-care today though.  I cooked two (vegan) meals for myself with enough leftovers to get halfway through next week without spending too much money and eating things I said I wouldn't.  And I got a new binder that's a lot more comfortable for long days and looks like an undershirt so I don't need an extra layer under my grown-up clothes in the heat.  I'm going to go to work tomorrow because I know being a badass at science will make me feel better about myself.

EDIT: update )
aidenonymous: (gender)
That's me alright.
I made a decision today. )

I also picked up my inhaler from the pharmacy today.  My endo sent the script electronically because albuterol isn't a controlled substance, and I didn't see until today that I'm supposed to use it four times a day.  My previous inhalers were either for emergency use only or twice a day, so either this is a different concentration or my asthma is way worse than it was before.  Also, I used it and didn't feel immediate relief.  I'm still coughing up mucus all damn day and apparently making a wheezing sound when I do it.  I'm going to try to make an appointment with my GP just in case my endo was wrong about the congestion, since that's a problem I'm more familiar with.  I guess I have trouble believing that the feeling of not having enough air in my lungs is caused by constricted airways rather than fluid build-up just because that's happened more to me over the past four years.

I chickened out on picking up my prescription for T.  I have about a month's worth of 1% gel left in the pump, plus over a month's worth in packets.  When I got to the pharmacy, I asked if I had refills on the 1% pump and they said yes and started filling the prescription.  My insurance apparently thinks one box with two pumps is a 60 day supply (when it's actually a 120 day supply), so they won't let me fill the prescription for the higher dose until late August, after I move.  I should be excited about starting the higher dose, but I'm actually really nervous.  I feel like I have a good thing going here and don't want to fuck it up by increasing the dose.  I can fill one and then have the other mailed to me in NYC but haven't yet decided which to fill first.  I've had enough difficult decisions for one day so will deal with this one tomorrow.

Oh, also, I told my Ph.D. advisor-to-be that I'm transferring and he's happy for me!  He didn't even ask me to terminate my contract.  I feel badly about spending his start-up-money when he's not getting a Ph.D. student out of it, but he didn't take up my offer, and I could really use the cash right now.  He had some advice about who I should work with, and I'm glad that it was advice I was already taking.  He actually wanted me to get started with someone there right away, so that's what I'm going to try to do!  I was actually drafting an e-mail for faculty at the new place before I heard back from my advisor, so that's a good sign that I'm not totally incompetent, right?  Okay, actually going to sleep now.

Correction

Apr. 9th, 2014 04:49 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
Aah, another entry that I meant to post before I fell asleep last night!

cut for boring )

Bizarre

Apr. 6th, 2014 11:40 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
I think I just got hit on by a guy as a guy for the first time.  I don't really have any hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened.  I didn't like it any more than being hit on as a girl to be honest, but maybe it was the context.

In other news, I've been applying my T on an every other day basis since Thursday.  My voice was really ridiculously low on Thursday night, so I didn't apply it Friday.  I did apply it Saturday, and both Saturday and Sunday my voice felt really strangely deep.  Have I said "really" enough yet?  Anyway, it's not that I don't like where it is, but I'm kind of concerned about it changing so much at the inauspicious time of ten-ish months on T after previously seeming to settle down.  I know there's no "right time" to come out, but it will be a significantly better time once the semester ends.  I've already reached the point at which I can no longer pass for female at work, and my voice going into overdrive is not going to make the next month any easier.  I am not, however, considering taking a break again.  That was no fun at all.  So, ummm, awkwardness?
aidenonymous: (genderqueer)
I kinda fell off the internet again.  I was really burnt out and barely made it to Spring Break.  I restarted T the week before break because I was a nervous wreck.  By then, I'd been having negative effects from stopping for about two weeks, and I couldn't cope anymore.  I'm going to make a T update kind of post about the whole thing, but the short version was that it was not pretty.  I basically got to the same point I was at when I started, unable to function without it.  I'll admit though, the first ten days or so were a valuable and hardly excruciating experience (that I have no plans to repeat any time soon).

I slept through most of the break and basically got nothing done but felt somewhat refreshed at the end.  I'm pretty much abandoning the project I've been working on for the past six months, which puts me at risk of not being able to take my comprehensive exam at the end of the summer, but I don't feel like I have much of an option.  Right before break, I made an appointment to talk to the head of the grad program and explained the problem.  It's not that I don't have time for research.  It's that I have only a few hours each day of peak mental productivity, and I can hardly get anything done like that, at lest not on something so abstract.  At our meeting, he told me that my advisor had just contacted him asking if I was alright, and he'd told her to go easy on me.  It's not what I want, but it may be what I need.  I don't know if this is awkward or expected given how I came out to him, but we have not said a word about it IRL and barely a reference has been made in e-mails.  Related: I need to write a coming out letter to my advisor and have been putting it off for almost two weeks. . . another thing I need but don't want, apparently.

words about my chest )

Anyway, I don't want to go into this unless I'm confident I won't regret it, even if my regular doctor, endo, and therapist are falling over themselves to write me a letter.  I don't know what I'm going to say to the surgeon when we meet, but I have six weeks to figure it out.  Maybe the surgeon will turn out to be a really good salesperson and totally win me over.  In the meantime, I should do that work I was doing before it occurred to me that I'd think better after getting this out.  I'm hoping I'll have enough spoons to catch up with folks here a bit this weekend.
aidenonymous: (gender)
So I convinced myself that I was okay with shaving for the long and short term future and would teach myself after this week, when there's a break.  I planned to start T again on Friday. . . and then I didn't.  I got into the loop of "but I don't need it" and got stuck.  I miss feeling sure of myself.  I've been so swamped with work because I'm unable to set priorities and get anything done.  I can't seem to get out of it and don't like the idea that T will help.  On the other hand, I remember that feeling of calmness that I got when I first started T, like all the noise in my head of panicking over every little fucking thing was finally silenced.  (I can't even focus enough to write, here or in my paper journal.)  I've been feeling really terribly about my body for the past week, in part because I'm bleeding, although I like to think I usually handle it better than this.  I want that peace back, but I can't seem to make a decision about the cure for my indecisiveness!  If I'm not enjoying this break from T (and I definitely am not), why can't I just end it?  I'm gonna go hate myself offline now.
aidenonymous: (chekhov)

Who's spending eir evening drinking and grading?  This guy, that's who.
why )

Violence

Oct. 12th, 2013 11:20 pm
aidenonymous: (gender)
Today I committed an act of violence.  I went to work today and didn't realize I'd left my bike lights at home until the sun started to set.  I threw on my helmet and completely forgot that there had been a football game today and that I might have trouble getting back.  I was approaching the steepest incline of my commute when three bros on the sidewalk attempted to get in front of me to block my way.  One of them shouted something about getting my ass.  The smaller one who'd threatened me attempted to use his body to keep me from moving forward, so I plowed right into him, getting him right in the 'nads because he was positioned to straddle my front wheel.  I was destabilized from the impact and did have to get my feet on the ground for a moment, but I just got back on my bike and sprinted the rest of the way home.  I heard him yell in pain as I made it up the hill and thanked the ether that his two larger friends were too stunned to run after me.  I did not report the incident to the campus police; arguably, I was in the wrong for inflicting bodily harm on others for simply being verbally threatened.  In retrospect, I believe they weren't trying to threaten me with violence.  I think it's more likely that they thought I was a woman and were attempting to sexually harass me.  They probably got the idea from my helmet, which hides my hair and is also pink.*  That the provocation was based in misogyny makes me even more proud of having hurt someone, however, I'm also left scared that I'm going to need to work harder to assimilate as binary if I don't want to become a victim of something beyond a verbal threat.  Perhaps it's time to get a new helmet.

*Why a pink helmet? )

About Time

Oct. 12th, 2013 01:17 am
aidenonymous: (gender)
Today (okay, yesterday) was a day I'd been anticipating since I started T, the first time someone I didn't care to come out to with no knowledge of my gender identity noticed a physical change.  There wasn't anything awkward or uncomfortable about it, although I didn't really say anything that would have made me feel awkward or uncomfortable.

I had a brief meeting with a professor for whom I grade, who for the record has heard plenty of my voice pre-T and throughout the past five months.  As soon as I started the conversation, he interrupted me to ask if I was okay.  I replied in the affirmative and asked why he had asked that question.  He asked if I was sure I was alright, and again I responded in the affirmative and gave him a quizzical look.  He said my voice sounded like I was sick (a cold was implied).  Smiling, I repeated that I was fine and got on with the meeting.
aidenonymous: (gender)
It feels really good to be writing this now.  I've had a rough few days.  I've spent so much time on the phone sorting out things for my upcoming travel that I haven't gotten anything done for work.  My passport was finally mailed out today and should arrive tomorrow, and it will have a male sex marker.  And it will expire in two years, giving me that much time to get my name changed and update it without any additional fees, and I'll have at least some ID to use for everyday things in the meantime.  When the State Department called me to give me the update, they referred to me as "Mr. LastName," something that's never happened to me before and hadn't come up in previous conversations with them or anyone else in this process.  I was happy but unsure exactly what I was feeling at first.  Even though I write about it a fair bit, it still took some thought to determine it was recognition.

I've been considering whether this will be my last T-versary.  My plan was to stay on T through the summer and re-evaluate things before classes resume in the fall.  I'm not entirely sure what I was looking for, but I wanted to check in with my mental and physical health, my partner, and to what degree it was needed, because I delayed starting when it was only wanted.  It took a couple months before the novelty wore off enough that I could focus on other things again, my health has if anything improved aside from the acne, and my partner's had no trouble going with the flow.  The last thing I wanted to check is a bit more complicated.  I'm so pleased with the changes so far.  The biggest thing is obviously that I hear my own voice when I speak (though I still hope it keeps deepening, ha!), but there's more to it than that.  In my daily voice recordings, I've described it as stability and steadiness -- it just feels right.  For the most part, I don't think about changing my dose anymore, and at this point, I can't imagine discontinuing T in a month -- that would definitely be more of a disturbance than quitting when I'd vaguely planned to (derp, wrote the reverse of what I meant) continuing even when my ambient stress level increases.  I don't care whether that means it's needed or wanted because I've finally internalized that I am free from that condition.

Blur

Jul. 1st, 2013 12:03 am
aidenonymous: (gender)
I rudely walked out of playing games with people today because I couldn't handle them referring to me by my birth name (there are exactly three people in this town who do that, due to meeting them before I decided to go to school here) and making jokes about me not having a dick.  I am in a weird place right now where I'm wallowing in isolation, but taking every action to isolate myself further.  I've been having recurring dreams about my dead friends.  Why are so many people I cared about dead?  I'm sleeping a lot but not really aware of feeling depressed.  I feel a lot of pressure related to my research and a lot of fear of having to teach again, but I can't identify other sources of stress in my life right now.  I'm just more interested in escaping real world problems than facing them head on.  It's like the better I feel about my body, the worse I feel about everything else.  I got drunk two nights ago, for the first time ever, just to see what it was like -- a balance between fun and uncomfortable -- and am glad no one but my partner was there to see it happen.  That was the day after I made the conscious decision to indulge irresponsibility and flake out on a commitment without reason or warning; no one called me out on not cleaning the kitchen on my assigned night at the house, but I apologized today nonetheless.

EDIT: I can't honestly claim I was drunk, just drunker than I've ever been before.
aidenonymous: (gender)
I feel guilty that I haven't been posting recently.  I've been tyring to let work take over again but I keep getting sucked into mindless web browsing (mostly Reddit).  I'm feeling really unmotivated even though I'm consciously excited about my work.  I've also been dealing with my best friend outing me and trying to repair the damage to our relationship and my relationship with his parents.  That's really a matter for a separate post.

I also filed my passport application yesterday, although things hardly went as planned.  The postmaster didn't even notice that I'd checked the M box and never asked for my letter.  He also didn't notice all my ID was expired and made sure to comment on how "pretty" I am and address me as "miss" at least once per sentence.  I called the State Dept. afterwards and they said they'd contact me if anything was missing, and I'm worried that it will delay my passport application by enough that I can't go.  The silver lining is that I was approved for funding for the trip.  /-:

The past week or so has been awful for dysphoria.  I've been down on myself about my body -- I'm not gaining weight, but I am gaining body fat due to not getting out and doing anything. The rate of misgendering has skyrocketed, although that could be due to a combination of office drama (and horrible officemates who love reminding me that they think I'm female), the process of changing documentation (and interacting with godawful bureaucrats who don't even notice the sex marker I select because I'm so obviously female to them), and a general loss of confidence (which has led to a feedback loop).

I'm sure it's not helped by the fact that I haven't even had the spoons to bind regularly -- I'm small enough at this point that it can't be the biggest reason why I'm not passing, but it must contribute -- and have been going home early just to get out of having anything more than an undershirt on.  Just having anything on my chest is making me think about it too much to focus on anything else, and as long as I'm alone and not moving, I don't even notice that anything's wrong with it unbound.

On top of everything else, it's been really hot here for the past week, to the point that I'm arriving at work drenched in sweat.  If AndroGel can't be washed off for 5 hours after application in order to be fully absorbed, I'm pretty sure my effective dose has decreased.  This could explain my voice plateauing higher than its lowest so far (although definitely lower than when I started), something that's been bothering me a lot and contributing to the problems of the previous paragraph.

I ran the idea of doubling my dose by my partner, and he was really not happy about it.  He thinks I've had more emotional issues since starting T.  I was afraid he meant anger or mood swings, but he clarified that he meant my ADHD has worsened and I've been practicing more avoidance of responsibilities.  I talked with him about it and he was reasonably understanding, mostly because double my current dose is the same as the dose I was actually prescribed, but he still wanted me to wait until I talked to my therapist.

However, today was especially difficult due to having to interact with my peers in my home department, and the dysphoria was keeping me from getting any work done.  So, starting today, my 51st day on T, I'm taking the full 2.5 g.  Since today is also my 9 year anniversary of dating my partner (yeah, we got together really young, definitely not expecting this relationship to last so long), I wanted to talk with him first and make sure he could handle me doing this now (and he said he'd be okay), so the doses are about 8 hours apart.  Until it cools down enough that my sweat won't immediately wash off a decent fraction of it, I'll be applying two pumps in the morning. 

Grounded

May. 17th, 2013 11:12 pm
aidenonymous: (sulu)
Okay, that really good feeling is coming back.  I just saw the new Star Trek and am feeling euphoric again.  Yes, it exceeded my expectations and was actually really good (and sufficiently nerdy), but what was really good was hanging out with someone from work that I have not been getting along with lately because I think we moved past our problems and can almost maybe be friends.  And that was enabled by me functioning socially at a level I rarely achieve.

I'm no quicker to find words, and I'm not much better at knowing when to break into conversation.  I don't exactly feel more confident, but something is different.  The word that comes to mind is "grounded," and I've never felt it this strongly before.  The last time I felt anything like this was when I stopped shaving my legs and underarms in 2008; suddenly I was connected to the immediate surroundings of my brain, namely my body.  My limbs became an extension of my head, and then I felt like I could do things with them, and that's when I started doing yoga, because I had posession of a body capable of it for the first time.

Now, it's more than just an immediate connection to my body, and in fact that's not really consciously part of it at all.  I think it might be a connection to my voice, and since hearing is an entirely different sense and making sound is its own sensation, I guess that's why I'm experiencing groundedness in a new way that's manifesting socially.  I'm not really feeling much social anxiety anymore, even though I'm still perceived as female among most people.  I honestly don't know if it's because I no longer care how I'm treated. . . I'll have to think about this more.

My roommate made a reference to me being on T to a housemate and her girlfriend, in my presence, and I didn't mind at all.  I don't know when people from work will notice my voice, since it's changing remarkably fast, but I'm not feeling anxious about it.  I mean, I should have a plan for what to tell them, but I'm not sure I want to do some kind of formal coming out.  I already go by a gender-neutral name, and I've all but disappeared.  I don't think I'll necessarily mind feminine pronouns if, if, if I'm not sure what, but I think I'm approaching it on this path, although I don't know at what distance.  I just feel right in a way I can't recall feeling before, and I'm okay with other people knowing.  How to get that knowledge to them in a way I'm comfortable with is something I really should think about, because I'm pretty sure it's not going to be easy.  But that's a problem for another night. 
aidenonymous: (freddie mercury)
Hey, everybody!  I'm back after a long hiatus and owe all the friends I've made here over the past two and a half years a big apology for disappearing and missing out on your lives.  Over the summer, I lived in a house with very flaky Internet service and got out of the habit of doing any personal websurfing.  As it turns out, that's a hard habit to pick up again, especially when in a new place and trying to integrate into a "real life" community.  Though I feel a lot more secure in my place as a member of the local community, I also have a lot more work to do, all the time, due to being a first-year grad student.  I literally went two months without checking my personal e-mail account! 

After a particularly rough ~100 hour workweek last week, I sort of burnt out and made time to catch up, simply because I had no way of getting my work done in such a state, and I expect I won't have time to catch up with everyone here for about six weeks when my winter holiday begins.  Probably by next weekend I'll post a few mini-updates I wrote off-line over the past few months just to get things off my chest.  In the meantime, I can best be reached by e-mail at ilan.the.first@gmail.com (and if you got this far, please feel free to drop me a line).  Also, I want to be the sort of "grown up" who sends people holiday cards (mostly because a certain friend's inspire me every year), so feel free to let me know if you'd be interested in getting one (with no obligation to send anything back in return).  I hope everyone is well and wish you all a Happy Halloween!
aidenonymous: (Default)
I haven't been on here in far, far too long.  Internet at my house is shitty, and I've been really uncomfortable with the idea of doing personal stuff in lab, even if it's not on my work machine.  During last week's heat wave, I got the bright idea of going to work one day each weekend and not doing any work, just to enjoy the air conditioning and leech deliciously reliable wi-fi.  So, here I am again, hopefully checking in at least once a week for the rest of the summer.  I'm going to be posting old updates I wrote off-line at home for the next few hours and doing some serious catching up on my friends page.

Also, did I totally fail to notice posting my two hundredth entry?  Derp!
aidenonymous: (Default)
It's been five days since I got here, and I have to say, I'm a lot happier than I expected to be.  I love love love the house and the people in it.  I had really high expectations, and they've pretty much all been met.  The other folks like me, too, and they're working on finding a way for me to continue living here next year. . . but I'm still not sure what's going on with my partner, whether he'll want to move here at all if he can't live in an apartment with me.

I know the town is different in the summer when no one's around, compared to during the year when it's swarming with drunk undergrads, but I've found a lot to like.  There are lots of locally-owned coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, and the downtown actually feels like a real downtown in terms of density.

Work is another story.  After dealing with a bunch of administrative bullshit (which I believe is normal for a school this size, no hard feelings, really), I'm finally starting to run into problems with my name on departmental stuff.  I'm okay with the government, doctors, and banks knowing me by my legal name, and I thought I'd be okay with my department being in that category, too, but I was wrong; in essence, this place is too small for me to isolate work from everything else, and I don't want to have to cave and give up being myself the rest of the time.

There are still a couple social issues I need to work out at home, namely that everyone seems to have made up their mind to use feminine pronouns for me, and I'm going to have to make some kind of announcement to get them to stop.  Aah, I knew there were drawbacks to not having an unambiguously male name!  Anyway, the name itself is somewhat of an issue because two people who work in my department also hang out at the house, and I've been failing at having an actual conversation with them for a couple days.  What I want to do is ask them to call me Ilan in the house and by my birth name at work, should it come up.  The real answer, I think, is to just be open about things at work, letting the faculty and other students know that I'd prefer to be called Ilan or that I may go by either name depending on the situation. . . so I'm going to talk to the director of the Pride Club here and ask for advice tomorrow.
aidenonymous: (Default)
Woah, okay, I am owing this thing a huge update.  I've been getting my fair share of good news from grad schools, and I got a second job in addition to the one I just started last week.  I've also started seeing a health coach, mostly because it's half the price of therapy, and I found free therapy instead, so I'm still spending half what I'd saved up for mental health stuff anyway and hopefully I'll be eating better and continuing to exercise sufficiently.  Right, and then today I just heard back from the free therapy, which, did I mention, is free, and they apologized for technical issues that made it take so long to get back to me.  So, I've got lots of stuff to do all the time which is quite different from my usual problem of having nothing to do but wallow in self pity and give advice on tumblr.  Anyway, I will probably make a more detailed, friends-locked elaboration on this update some time soon.

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aidenonymous: (Default)
aidenonymous

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