1 Month Comparisons

So, as of today, it has been one month since I started T.  Since last month was a short month, the 4 week and 1 month mark happened to land on the same day.  I skipped writing a post last week as I wasn’t feeling like there was much change between the 2 week and 3 week mark.  That being said, when I compared the pictures, measurements, and voice recordings I took today and compared them to the pre-T ones, I finally started to feel like there’s some progress being made.  In this post will be the pre-T/first day, 1 week, and 1 month recordings of most the stuff.  But where should I start…

I guess I’ll go with my voice recordings first, since that’s the thing I’m looking forward to changing the most.  It isn’t a huge change, but after taking several recordings attempting to use the same tone of voice as I did for my day 1 recording and all of them coming out noticeably lower, I don’t think I can deny that there has been any change there anymore.  I still sound distinctly female, but not quite as much like a small child as I used to sound.  You’ll see what I mean when you listen to the recordings.

Day 1
Week 1
Month 1

I’ve made some good progress physically as well.  I’ve gained about 2.5 lbs from my pre-T weight.  Gained a surprising 0.75″ in my neck and chest, 0.5″ in my shoulders and biceps, 0.25″ in my forearms and thighs, calves stayed the same, and I lost 0.25″ in my waist and 0.5″ in my hips.  Most of those gains, not surprisingly, were more recent and the changes between pre-T and the 1 week mark were negligible, so will just keep it at comparing pre-T and 1 month.  Here are some photos, pre-T on the left, 1 week in the middle, and 1 month on the right.

Front Comparison
Side Comparison
Back Comparison

The things I notice the most are I seem to have more ab definition (or maybe it’s my imagination because I want more defined abs so badly, lol), as well as growth in my shoulders and back.  As always, it’s hard to tell what is difference in lighting/position in which I’m standing and what is genuine changes taking place.  For a little while I thought I was starting to get a bit of a muffin top going on, but I noticed when I poke at my sides, they are surprisingly firm, rather than the squishiness I would have expected if it was as much fat as I thought.  Not to say there isn’t a layer of fat there still, but I think there’s been some growth in my obliques, which also attributes to the it looking like there’s some overall ab definition developing there.  Again, I might be seeing things just because I really want to and there might not be as much definition as I think.  Even if that’s the case, then at least for the first time pretty much ever, I’m having a more positive perspective when I look at my stomach, which is just as good as there being actual definition there.  I’ve had a lot of very negative feelings in regards to my stomach for a very long time, so either way it’s a nice change of pace to feel a bit better about myself when I look in the mirror.  I have also been getting more and more comments about looking “jacked” when I wear tank tops lately (such as in the pictures below… which is with a sports bra, by the way, no binder), so I know there has to be some growth going on in my arms, shoulders, and upper back if others are noticing things.  This has been making tank tops my favorite shirts to wear these days since they show off the one part of my body that I’m actually really happy with.  I’ve been starting to take pictures of myself in some of my shirts so I can record the changes in how they fit as I continue to grow.

IMG_20150317_103635_739 IMG_20150317_103242_413

I think that pretty much covers all the big changes over the last month that are T related.  For those that were wondering, I did finally hear back from the pulmonologist a couple weeks ago about the ground glass nodule in my lungs.  The second CT scan showed that it hadn’t gone away as hoped, which means it wasn’t just the remnants of the upper respiratory infection that I had not long before the first CT scan.  The good news is that it is stable.  I just have to get it checked annually so they can catch it if it ever starts growing.  The doctor seemed as if it wasn’t something to be too concerned about as things are right now, but should definitely make sure I keep an eye on it.  I’ll bring it up, along with the potential thyroid stuff, to whoever my new doctor ends up being whenever I get in.  New insurance starts up in a couple weeks so getting a new doctor isn’t too far off.

2 Weeks In

So didn’t really have a chance to write this yesterday, when I actually hit the 2 week mark, but one day late isn’t bad, right?  There’s not a whole lot to report on.  My voice seems to have dropped the tiniest bit again when I compare recordings, but I think it’ll still be another week or two before it’s an actual noticeable amount.  As it is, it really just sounds like I’m saying it a little different.  I made several attempts to record my voice trying to mimic the tone of voice of the original recording and they all sounded a bit lower than the first one, so I think it did actually drop a little and isn’t just me saying it different.  Just the same, I want to wait until I have a more definitive change in that regard before I post any voice recordings.

Beyond that, the only real change has been below the belt.  The first couple days of week 2 it was very intensely sensitive.  Just the feel of my underwear moving when I was walking around was bothersome and driving me crazy.  By the end of this last week, however, it seems to have evened out or I got used to it.  It’s definitely still more sensitive than before I started T, but it’s not so sensitive now that I don’t want to walk around.  There has also been a undeniable size change since pre-T down there.  That pretty much covers it, I think in the next couple weeks I’ll have more exciting news since it’s around the 3-4 week mark that I’ve heard some of the changes start happening.

In other news, my brother visited this week, just dropped him off at the airport this morning.  It was really nice to see him, I feel like I don’t see my brothers enough, but it costs money for us to visit each other since we live a couple states away now.  I wish I had had more time to actually go do things with him, but he seemed pretty happy just trying out local restaurants.  Unfortunately I still had class this week, so that interfered with the amount of time I had with him, especially since I had two exams this week.  The chemistry one wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t need to do much for it, but the math one I felt very unprepared for and was behind on homework, which he collects on test days.  There were a couple days of trying to get that homework done when he was visiting, and I felt bad for but he kept saying it was fine.  When I took the exam yesterday, I went in feeling like I was going to bomb it (I’m not bad at math, but he rushed through a lot of stuff that I didn’t know because he assumed his students came from a class that already covered most of it, but I tested into the class so had not done that) but ended up feeling really good about it afterwards, so we’ll see how I did when we get the tests back next week.  Hopefully it’ll have been worth the time I put into it instead of doing more fun things with my brother.

I ended up signing up for the Crossfit Open last week after they announced the first workout and I realized it was definitely within my ability to do the male division if I do the scaled version.  It makes me feel good about my abilities to look at the leader board on the Open website and see how many guys are below me in scaled, knowing that most, if not all, have been guys all their lives and I just started taking testosterone.  It hasn’t even been long enough for me to start really seeing much strength gain from it yet, especially since the only thing scored so far is the first workout which was a week ago.  It sounded like strength gains are one of those things that takes around 3 weeks to start really seeing.  Planning on doing the second workout today.  Have to do that one scaled as well, I’m not good at overhead squats yet (you can decide with each workout whether to scale it or not).  I’m excited to see where I sit on the leader board at the end of this.  As long as I’m not in last place, I’ll be happy, but after the first workout I don’t think I’ll be near last place at all, even though I won’t be ranked very high either.  When I looked the other day, before the second workout was announced, I was on the second to last page so had a lot more people sitting below me than I expected.

1 Week on Testosterone

So, my first week of HRT has passed by faster than I thought it would.  There’s not a whole lot to report on at this point in time.  The second injection I did completely unassisted this morning, and went very smoothly, so feeling confident about giving myself those now.  As far as any changes I’ve noticed this first week goes, they are very small.  Things like noticing that my lower range is getting a little easier when I’m singing along to the radio in the car, and that the upper range is starting to tire my throat out more quickly than it used to.  In general my throat has felt a little tight or sore, particularly during the second half of the week.  My speaking voice seems to have dropped the tiniest bit, but one would only realize it if you hear my day 1 recording compared immediately to the recording I took today (took several to make sure I was saying it in the same tone of voice so that the difference wasn’t just me not saying it the same).  That’s to be expected though, from what I understand my voice changing enough that it becomes actually noticeable is still a little ways away.  Since the change is so negligible, I think I’ll wait until there’s a more definite change before posting voice recordings.

Hmm… what else… Oh man, the last couple days my metabolism seems to have really kicked things up.  I seem to still be okay waiting until after class to eat lunch on Monday and Wednesday, since I don’t wake up as early so there’s less time between breakfast and lunch, but Tuesday and Thursday so not the case anymore.  I get up significantly earlier on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the time between breakfast and when I get home from class is probably a good 3 hours longer than Mondays and Wednesdays and now I’m finding that I feel ridiculously hungry well before my classes are over, even though I get home at around the same time all 4 days.  Up until starting T, this wasn’t the case and waiting to have lunch wasn’t a big deal.  Definitely need to start bringing a lunch with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays now.

The most noticeable change for me so far, besides the metabolism thing, has taken place below the belt, which seems to be pretty common from what I’ve read from others taking T.  I’m definitely feeling more sensitive there, as well as there seems to be a little growth happening already.  Nothing too drastic, but definitely more noticeable than any of the other changes going on so far.

I took some measurements today, not because I was expecting changes from T already, but because I’ve been doing an upper body program that one of the coaches at my gym has put together and I’ve gotten some comments on my arms/shoulders lately that I think has to do with that program, especially since all the change has been in my upper body.  While I’m eager to see how my body grows and how much strength I gain on T, I don’t expect to really start seeing any significant HRT related muscle gain for at least a couple more weeks, but it is nice to see the progress I’m making from other efforts.  I’ve gained about 1 lbs since the Whole30 measurements, and 0.25 inches in my neck, shoulders, and both biceps, as well as 0.5 inches in my chest.  My waist, forearms, hips, and legs all stayed the same measurements.  In addition to the change in size, I’ve gained quite a bit of strength in the upper body movements, such as pull ups, handstand push ups, and bench press, amongst others.  I took some pictures, but the only ones that show any difference are the ones of my back, which makes sense since I think it’s mostly my back and chest that have made the most progress, and my chest gets covered by my hands until I one day get top surgery.  So here are those pictures, 3 Feb 2015 on the left and 26 Feb 2015 on the right.  I’m only on my 3rd week of this upper body program, but definitely feel like I’ve made a ton of progress thanks to it.

20150203 Back20150226 Back

 

So yeah, that about sums things up for this post.  I’m sure I’ll have more to write about as the weeks go by and the changes start really taking effect.  I’m trying not to let myself be impatient about it or to start imagining changes because I’m looking so eagerly for them.  Easier said than done sometimes, but I know they’ll come when they come.

It Begins! Also, Thyroid Problems?

That’s right, I got my prescription and have taken my first T shot!  Driving home from the clinic was actually a very emotional experience for me.  I just kept thinking that I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, that they had written the prescription and that I’d be taking my first dose soon.  It’s been nearly 2 years since I came out to friends and family, nearly 2 years that I’ve watched August change through HRT and top surgery.  Sometimes it was really difficult because I was seeing August go through all these things that I couldn’t even begin until I got out of the military, and other times it was really exciting to be a part of this huge step in his life and to see him feeling so happy and good about himself as his transition progressed.  It’s been a rollercoaster, but I knew at the end of it I’d get to start my own journey, hop on to a different ride that I’m sure will be full of it’s ups and downs as well, but this ride will be mine.  So for 2 years my transition was just a concept, not a real thing, not until I was driving home from the clinic with my prescription and it finally hit me that this was really happening.

Yesterday morning I got a call from the clinic saying that my lab results were back and that the doctor wanted me to come in to go over the results with me.  This made me really nervous since I had a follow-up appointment set for a couple weeks from now.  I thought maybe something came back abnormal in the tests, then I started freaking myself out that if this was the case that it’d delay my starting HRT.  Well, I was half right.  They called me in because there were a couple things flagged.  My cholesterol was on the slightly high side (we expected that since I hadn’t fasted prior to the labs being drawn, so no big deal, the doctor knew that and said it wasn’t something to worry about).  The thing they really called me in to talk about was that my thyroid levels (levels of something in my blood that is supposed to activate my thyroid gland’s production of hormones) were a little high, “right on the cusp” is how the doctor put it.  I don’t know the full range of normal, but she said 5.5 is the high side of normal and mine came back at 5.8, which means my thyroid may be slightly under active is what she said.  Since I’ll be in there every 3 months for lab work to monitor things for my transition, she said they are going to keep an eye on that to make sure it doesn’t get any worse or anything.  I looked up the symptoms of hypothyroidism and I do have some mild symptoms (low energy level issues, difficulty remembering things, more difficulty concentrating than I used to have… though I feel like I’m still better at concentrating that others in my classes, amongst other symptoms), so it might be a good idea to look into this when I get new health insurance and a new primary provider once my military health care is over at the end of the month.  However, since the symptoms are mild and the levels are only slightly above normal and the doctor herself didn’t seem to think it was enough to keep an eye on but not actually serious at this point in time, I don’t feel overly concerned about it or in a hurry to look into it at the moment so waiting for better insurance isn’t a big deal.

Since they called me in early to go over the lab results with me, the doctor went ahead and wrote me the prescription for the testosterone instead of having me come back in a couple weeks for my scheduled follow-up appointment, so that was an awesome plus to having been called in.  I wasn’t expecting to get that until March 10th, so that really made my evening.  Took my first shot last night, recorded my voice this morning.  Couldn’t think of anything clever to say, so just said “This is my voice on my first day of T”.  Hopefully I’ll think of something better next time I record it.  I’ll post the recording on my next transition related post since I’ll probably have a second recording for comparison to see how it has changed.  That’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to, I usually am identified as male until I speak, so my voice dropping some will help reduce the amount of “Oh, I’m sorry” and trying to correct to female pronouns that I get at the moment.  Hopefully my voice will get to a point that matches my appearance better.  The other thing I’m looking forward is potentially growing facial hair.  We’ll see how that works out, I know not all guys, trans or otherwise, grow it very well, but hopefully I’ll take after my dad and the older of my two younger brothers, in that regard.  I figure since it has only been a couple weeks since the post-Whole30 measurements and pictures I took, those will work just fine as my pre-T comparison measurements and pictures.

So yeah, hopefully things will progress quickly at first, as they did for August, so I’ll have pretty regular updates to post for a bit.  I’m looking forward to the changes I’ll be going through, even though I’m sure some I’ll feel less excited about than others… like going through a second puberty, or body hair in areas such as my back that I’d rather not have too much of.  At this point changes of any type I think will be exciting.  Anyway, I’ll be documenting everything that I can think of and will post comparisons here as soon as I have some to post.

Edit: Talked to some family members after I posted this and learned that hypothyroidism does run in my mom’s side of the family, so it sounds like I’ve inherited that but caught it very early thanks to these pre-HRT labs.  Will definitely look into it more once I get the new health insurance and have a primary provider.

Whole 30 Results, Haircuts, and First Steps

So we finished the Whole30.  It’s been nice to do this sort of reset to start off the new year.  I feel like my energy levels are lasting through the day better.  As far as physical changes… well the measurements I took before and after, as well as the pictures (before on left, after on right) speak for themselves.

Measurements

FrontComparison

SideComparison

BackComparison

I think the measurements tell more than the pictures do.  I had a hard time getting pictures that weren’t completely blurry and were close to the same stances I had in the first set of pictures.  The lighting is also obviously different, given that one was a set of morning pictures and the other is afternoon pictures (I didn’t have time to take them before I left for class this morning so had to wait until after I got back home).    Ultimately, though, I do think I look a lot leaner.  I noticed my face in particular looks leaner, though it might be partially because I was in desperate need of a haircut during the first set of pictures.  I also think there’s more definition in my abs.  Overall, I lost inches where I wanted to and gained them where I was hoping to gain muscle.  We’re planning to stay pretty close to Whole30 as we continue on from here, though not quite as strict.  It was good timing for it, since there aren’t too many special occasions or holidays in January, so I think we might make this an annual thing.

So I mentioned needing a haircut in the first pictures… It’s been almost a month since I got it, but I got a new haircut.  I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it.  One girl at the gym told me several times in one gym session how much she loved it.  I’ve even gotten compliments from customers at work who don’t even know me or know that it’s a new hair style.  I’ve also been getting identified as male by customers a LOT, sometimes even after I speak.  I’ve been getting called sir and was referred to as a gentleman.  It seems to be mostly older guys that continue calling me by male pronouns after I speak, while younger ones and most women correct themselves.  I can’t wait for my voice to get lower.  Anyway, below are pictures of the haircut.  The first one is right after it was cut, and the next two were just the other day when I was particularly happy with how well it was cooperating.

IMG_20150120_070329IMG_20150126_131708_446IMG_20150126_131550_488

Final bit of news for this post is that today I have my first appointment to begin the process of starting my transition!  Today’s appointment is just an orientation at the clinic to go over transitioning to make sure I fully understand what I’m getting myself into, as well as the costs and such.  Next week I have an appointment to get blood drawn for the labs.  If the labs come back normal, which I don’t see why they wouldn’t, I’ll get my prescription on the third appointment.  I’m so excited!  As soon as I have that, I’ll start posting more updates with pictures, maybe even voice recordings to document that changing.  I’m really looking forward to this, it’s been a long time in coming.

Whole30 Day 2

Okay, it’s more like day 4 since August and I started, but I’ve only started keeping track of exactly what I eat yesterday since our gym is doing a Whole30 challenge that started yesterday. The way they’re doing it is you get points for following the Whole30, exercising ( only get points for up to 5 days a week to encourage people to take two off days), getting 8 hours of sleep, and spending 20 minutes doing something relaxing that does not involve technology (reading, napping, mobility / stretching, so long as it doesn’t involve electronics in any way).  You also get a point for any new personal records (PR) you set on any major fitness category, such as the weightlifting movements or mile runs.  What they did last time, and I suspect will happen again, is they did a WOD the first day and did that same one again on the 30th day to see how much people improved.  At the end of the 30 days, they total up the points from all the good behavior and they are planning to give prizes to the individuals that did the best.  A fun way to encourage people to pick up better habits, not just in their diet but in their overall lives.  I really like that they give points for getting an adequate amount of sleep and for taking some time to do something relaxing every day.  It’s a great way to help people do things that will better help them manage their stress levels and just be healthier overall.  I’m also fond of having a maximum amount of points for working out every week to avoid people over training themselves just to get more points.  Off days are just as important as the training days themselves.  So yeah, anyway, I’m participating in this since August and I were going to be doing a Whole30 this month anyway.

Yesterday, day one of the gym sponsored Whole30, I got pretty much everything that I could get points for, despite spending 6 hours at work.  I had eggs, bacon, and onion for breakfast, put a paleo sriracha sauce that August made on the eggs, so good!  Then had a single cup of coffee with homemade hazelnut milk in it.  I miss my heavy cream in my coffee because it made it so thick and creamy, but I can deal with this for 30 days no problem, hazelnuts were meant to go with coffee.  Then I brought left over paleo chocolate chili that August made over the weekend, and added a little homemade olive oil mayo to it, which has a similar effect as putting sour cream in chili so was a good replacement.  I also brought an orange with me for lunch.  I used my 30 minute lunch break at work to read while I worked, so got my technology free relaxation time in.  Then I went to the gym as soon as I got off work and did this terrible WOD:

“Fortius Chipper”
– For Time –
100 Double Unders
70 KB Swings
60 Wall Balls
50 V-Ups
40 Goblet Squats
30 Burpee Pull Ups
20 HSPU
10 Muscle Ups

[30 Minute Cap]

O/R: Singles, Light Russian, 8/4#, Situps, Air Squats, Burpees, Box HSPU, Ring Rows
Beg: Singles (3x), 35/26#, 14/8#, Burpee Jumping PU, Box HSPU, Ring Dips
Int: 53/35#, 20/14#, Ring Dips (2x)
Adv: 70/53#, 20/14#

For those that don’t know, double unders are jump roping in which the rope passes under you twice each jump.  I basically did it at the male beginner level, which means 300 singles (I can’t do double unders very well yet), 35# kettle bell for the kettle bell swings, 14# ball for the wall balls, and did hand stand push ups (HSPU) from a box… I can do HSPU but not a whole lot at once yet, and definitely not after all the stuff that came before that part of the workout.  I did normal burpee pull ups, though, instead of the burpee jumping pull ups, so that was the one movement out of the workout I did at intermediate level.  I just finished the box HSPU when time ran out, so didn’t make it to the ring dips.  It was one second for every missed rep, so that put me at 30:10.  Looking forward to seeing my score on this next time we do it, I have a feeling I’ll improve a lot.

When I got home from the gym, we had dinner, which was citrus-garlic marinated steak that turned out really delicious and tender!  We had a mixture of veggies with it: bell pepper, carrots, and kale.  For the fat we just drizzled a little olive oil over it.  That was the hardest thing for me the first time I did a Whole30, making sure I got enough fat in my meals.  Too little and you end up hungry again real quick, but if you get enough it’s easy to make it to the next meal without snacking.  Despite a couple things waking me up in the middle of the night, I got my 8 hours of sleep.

So far today I’ve had eggs scrabbled with onion and kale and I mixed together the sriracha and homemade mayo to make a creamy sriracha sauce. Naturally, I had another cup of coffee with hazelnut milk in it.  Plan to go to the noon crossfit class today and today’s strength is max testing the clean and jerk, so should get a PR for a bonus point today.  I probably won’t post about every day of the Whole30, but I’ll be sure to update every few days or so and to link any recipes that were particularly delicious for those that want to check them out.

New Beginnings

As it always seems to happen when I sit down to write, I realize it’s been quite a while since I last wrote a post.  A lot has happened lately.  I finished my first semester of school, got out of the military, and started a new part-time job for a little extra money while I’m in school.  Two of the three months have passed since the CT scan that I wrote about having gotten in my last post, so one more month until I get another one to make sure the ground glass nodule they saw is going away and was just related to me being sick a little before the first scan.  With all the good changes happening, I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping that health concern out of my mind and focusing on other things at least.  So about those other things…

As I said, finished my first semester at the community college I’m going to and did pretty well despite having to balance 14 credits worth of online classes with long days at work.  It was especially stressful when the replacement for my boss who had just retired came in and decided we weren’t leaving until a certain time, regardless of whether we had actual work to do during that time or not.  That resulted in frequently being stuck at work doing absolutely nothing when I could have been home working on schoolwork.  After he got there, I had a lot of 9-10 hour days there.  But that’s not something I have to worry about anymore.  My military days ended just in time to start the new year as a civilian.  I’m excited that I can focus on school and work my new job around my classes rather than my classes around a job I don’t intend to stick with.  This will be the first time I’ve been in a position in which I’m truly able to make school my top priority.  I’ve always had to work full-time and deal with family chaos when I’ve gone to school in the past, so I’m really looking forward to this new semester starting up and having so much less on my plate this time around.

Then there’s the new job, a certified technician at a retail store.  Nothing terribly special, but allows me to put my technical skills to use while I focus on school.  The best thing about this job is this:

Featured image

It’s only been a couple days since I started this job, but it’s so nice to be able to go by my chosen name at work.  It’s like a weight has been lifted off me, no longer having to worry about if the people I work with figure out I’m trans, no more having the knowledge hanging over me that who I am is banned where I work.  When I told my new manager about it and that I intend to start transitioning in the near future, he seemed genuinely excited for me and congratulated me on getting out of the military and being able to transition.  He also made sure to tell me that if anybody gives me a hard time about it to let him know immediately.  I feel pretty good about this new job for that reason, for being so easy to work around my school schedule, and for how low stress it is for me.  Even with both this job and school, I’ll have way more time off to do whatever than I’ve had in a really long time, so much more time to unwind and get chores and such taken care of.

Speaking of transitioning, I think sometime in the next couple weeks August and I will be going to the clinic to start the process to get my transition moving along, as well as to see about August’s needs as he continues his HRT.  From what I understand, as somebody that hasn’t started any treatment at all, it’s about a month from when you first go into the clinic to when they actually give you a prescription.  I’m not starting as soon as I had originally been hoping, but it’s still so close.  It seems so unreal that I’ll actually get to start sometime soon!

So I started the new year off as a civilian and with a new job in which I can be myself.  In addition to that, August and I have started another Whole30.  It seemed like a good idea to get back on track with healthy eating after the holidays.  I did get pictures and measurements to compare at the end of the 30 days, but will wait until then to post them.  I’m mostly just wanting to get back to good eating behavior, as well as back into working out regularly now that my schedule allows for it.  That was another thing that suffered with the long hours at my old job, especially after the last couple months.  It feels good just knowing I’m in a position to better take care of myself again, and I’m sure it’ll feel even better as I continue on with this plan and improve my health.  Hopefully I’ll be back in good enough shape to start looking at doing CrossFit competitions again before I know it.  The one I got to participate in before was a blast, and I really want to do more.

So, that catches you up on most of what I’ve got going on right now.  Hopefully I’ll have more to post about and make more regular posts now that I’m not so busy, but we’ll see how it goes after school starts up.  At any rate, 2015 I think is my year.  I’ve started it off well already and still have so much to look forward to this year.