Tag Archive | HRT

Life Goes On

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This is me on a trip into Boston shortly after dying my hair again. Even though I am a natural red head I like to make it extra red from time to time. My brother and I went into Boston to see our old High School perform “On the Verge” at the state finals of the One Acts Drama Festival. The theater teacher who works at the high school had a huge influence on both me and my brother as we passed through high school.

I am trying to get bits and pieces of my website updated as many of my pages are outdated. For example I haven’t touched my gallery in a year or two. Today I finished a much needed update on my breast development page. You can see my updated breast development timeline here (WARNING: Partial Nudity). I was pretty discouraged with my development until I saw my most recent pictures next to the images from when I first started. My breasts have grown a TON! Looking at my other timelines reveals that I have changed in many more ways than I thought.

I looked at this image of my facial hair before starting electrolysis and hormones and I cringed remembering what all that facial hair felt like. I still get facial hair, but I only have to shave every 2-3 days. That mustache and goatee are horrrrrible!

Anyways, I have been trudging through life without really doing anything. Weekly therapy, video games, netflix, and visiting friends is pretty much my whole existence right now. I have been selling collars on my etsy shop, which I got my business cards for! I am impressed by how well they came out. The cards themselves are durable and the detail looks wonderful. I am very happy with them. I opted for the premium double sided cards and it costed around $20-30, which isn’t too bad for 250 cards. You can get 250 for free from Vista Print. Check mine out below.

Business Cards

I am going to focus on my timeline pictures next and should have that up by the end of the week. In the mean time I am going to look at jobs and think about where I want to go from here. Depression has been beating me down lately and it is time I pulled myself out of it. The beautiful weather outside will definitely help. 🙂

Abbey

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Fifteen hundred seventy-six thousand, eight hundred minutes!

2013-09-19 13.27.37 2

The time I’ve spent popping estrogen pills.

That’s right, this is my 3 year anniversary since starting hormones, and now I have rent stuck in my head.

Quite a bit has changed in the past 3 years and I am genuinely glad that I made the decision to transition so long ago, even if I thought I was too old. Trust me, 21 is not too old. It is a daunting step, but absolutely worth it. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, which is partially what I am going to talk about today, but in the end I am still happy with the choices I’ve made.

The last time I gave a substantial update was around the beginning of the year. My girlfriend and I are still together, we are pretty madly in love, which creates it’s own set of problems. More on that later. Over the summer I did some more over-hire work at the music theater, mostly welding. I got to design an awesome set of handles for the gate into Oz (Thats right, we did the wizard of Oz). After that they did Cats, which I only helped on load in for. I was pretty off the wall about it because I am a cat myself. I was freaking out running around the super-sized set pieces and climbing up the steel cat perches suspended above the stage. On opening night I even had a confrontation with one of the cats in the aisle. I meowed at him and he froze, looking at me. I meowed again and as he slowly backed away I hissed. I am mildly insane.

2013-06-26 19.14.56(The handles I designed and built)

Speaking of insane, I am re-evaluating my mental health. My girlfriend recently went into the hospital and is now in Florida trying to get her life back together. Since we are so in love, being apart is wreaking havoc on my emotional well-being (especially with our particular relationship). While she was in the hospital here I had a few mental breakdowns because it was particularly triggering for me. I took a medical leave of absence to get myself figured out this semester. At one point I stopped caring and took a bunch of pills, including 40mg of Ambien. I woke up the next day with my mom sleeping next to me, wondering what the hell happened. Honestly, she probably should have taken me to the hospital.

This whole ordeal has been quite trying on my state of mental health. I am questioning whether the Zoloft and Wellbutrin I am on are doing anything at all. I need to be re-evaluated to determine what my problems actually are. I feel like my anxiety and panic attacks are the root of many of my problems. I’ve had an increasing number of panic attacks recently. I have had some incidents of self harm as well. 

I need to be in some sort of program, and yesterday I was evaluated and referred to a partial hospitalization program, where you are at the hospital from 9am-3pm doing group and individual therapy. I think it will help me, but I am not sure if I actually need inpatient. Last night I had a particularly bad panic attack because I was thinking about all the people I would have to be around in the program. I eventually started scratching myself but had enough willpower to stop myself before any significant damage was done. It scared me a lot. Hopefully I end up where I need to be.

On a more positive note, I have been trying to take this time off from class to do things I’ve always wanted to do. I am trying to expand my Etsy store and this past friday I took a blacksmithing workshop and had a blast making this forged “S” hook and pointer.

2013-09-20 22.11.24

On an even brighter note, I have a consultation on the 19th of November with Christine McGinn in Pennsylvania. I am going to be talking to her about FFS, breast augmentation, as well as GRS. I am making a strong effort to get the procedures covered under insurance. Chances are I will focus on the FFS and breast augmentation first because they will have a greater effect on my self confidence.

Anyways I will try to get some answers up to the Ask Abbey questions that have been piling up in my inbox, sorry to those who haven’t had their questions answered! I am also going to update my face and breast development timelines soon.

Until next time,

Abbey Kat

AA: HRT Advice

Here is a recent Ask Abbey question that I got, my hope is to give a broad understanding of the process and hopefully get others on the right track.

Q: Hiya abbey.

I wont take up to much of your time. I just want to ask  you, my doctor started me on 2mg of esteofem daily but wont give me anything else because they really don’t know what I have to take. She told me to ask around hence why I am here. The esteofem has yielded good results so far(boobs are growing fast and my waist is getting curvy) but want to be taking the right things. I have done some research and apparently I should also be on “spiro.”

Can you advise me on what else I should be taking so i can inform my doctor.

Ashley
X

A: Hi Ashley,

The estrofem is a good start, after being on it for a while you may raise that dose a little. The average estrogen dose can be anywhere from 2mg to 8mg per day.

You are correct about Spiro, it is an antiandrogen called Spironolactone (Aldactone): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spironolactone

What it does is block the effects of testosterone on your body and effectively lowers your blood testosterone levels. Estrogen has some antiandrogenic properties alone but it is far more effective to pair it with Spironolactone. My advice for your doctor would be to start you on 50 or 100mg/day of spironolactone for a few weeks to make sure you have no adverse reactions, then increase your dose until your testosterone is sufficiently suppressed. The average dose is around 200mg but some people take up to 300 or 400mg per day. There are some other antiandrogens out there, but Spironolactone is by far the most commonly used and tested and has the fewest side effects.

Now when seeing an endocrinologist They will usually run blood tests before adjusting your medications to determine if you need to increase your dosage or not.

The tests my doctor runs are:

Estradiol, Ultra Sensitive, LC/MS/MS
Testosterone
Prolactin
Potassium
Lipid Panel
TSH
Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy

The first 4 are the most important, the lipid panel, TSH, and Vitamin D are more for general health. The prolactin level is important to watch at first because HRT can increase those levels, especially in someone who already has elevated levels. If you have high prolactin levels before hormones it could be explained by a Prolactinoma, which is a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. They can be treated with medication or surgery but are not an immediate cause for alarm. Spiro is a Potassium-sparing diuretic so it can cause elevated potassium levels in your blood. It is important to monitor your levels for the first year or so to watch out for Hyplerkalemia but

as long as you are not eating a bushel of bananas every day you probably won’t have any issues. I can still eat bananas and be fine.

Now for the your testosterone and estradiol levels.

For a MtF person on HRT the target blood Estradiol level is in the range of 50-150 pg/mL. The ideal testosterone level would be below 100 ng/dL.
Before starting hormones my Testosterone level was 184 ng/dL and my estradiol was 24.02 pg/mL
After starting hormones my Testosterone levels are 27 ng/dL and my estradiol is 68 pg/mL
As you can see, my numbers are quite different now.

That pretty much covers the basics, some people also take progesterone, but the results are very controversial as to whether they do anything or not. They are usually claimed to help in breast development and increase sex drive, as well as make you more moody. Not surprising because it is the hormone that spikes during a females menstrual cycle during and after ovulation. My doctor does not prescribe it so I do not know as much about it, but if you do decide to research it and try it, do so after you have your estrogen and testosterone levels where you want them.

Abbey

Day 640 – Round House Theater

Hello everyone,

It’s been some time since I’ve really touched my blog. I blame it mostly on my new job. A new job you say?

Thats right! I am working at a music theater in the round. This is a picture of the stage, graciously taken from google. I mostly do carpentry and welding in the scene shop but I do some work for my brother in the sound department as well. It is my first time working in a theater and I have been enjoying it quite a bit. The hours are long (35-40 hours) and it can be exhausting, but it is very rewarding and I am getting a lot of experience that could be helpful down the road.

This all started during my birthday party on the 6th of May, my girlfriend and I were talking with my brother Andy and his girlfriend Maria, who both work at the theater. Somehow we got on the topic of jobs and they said they could always use extra hands during load-ins at the theater. Over the next few days I thought about it and by the end of the week I was taking a look at the theater and meeting my soon to be co-workers. My first day was the Monday after.

Growing up my brother would always talk about theater so I’ve had some background knowledge in it for a while. I helped out a few times at my high school’s theater, but I never thought I would end up working in one! I even get to go up in the catwalk above the stage 😉

All I’ve really done for the past few weeks has been working and sleeping. working from 8am to 7pm doesn’t leave room for much else, but the 3 day weekend is a plus. This past week has been especially exhausting because Hello Dolly! opens on Wednesday. That means I have worked at least 4 hours every day for the past 8 days, awesome!

That just makes it that much more exciting that I have tomorrow off because I have my 6 month checkup appointment with my endocrinologist! I am excited to see what my levels are at and make sure that they are in the proper range. I feel like things should be in the right place because I have seen a decent amount of progress since my last appointment, but it can’t hurt to see. On that note, I will be posting an updated batch of measurements this week and possibly give an update on my breast growth. I will tell you now, they seem like a healthy A cup, or a small B.

Anyways I have to get ready for bed so I can get some much needed sleep,

Until next time,

Abbey

Day 528 – Good news everyone!

 

After months of waiting I finally heard back about my name change and I have a hearing scheduled for the 13th of this month! After that I can go ahead and get a new license with my new name and an F marker, as well as change my name with the school. It will be such a relief to finally leave my old name behind and be recognized as Abbey by anyone, wether they be school officials, law enforcement, or my bank. I am very excited that I am finally making the next major step in my transition.

I am planning on taking a new set of measurements within the next week or two to see how my body has changed. Breast development seems to have slowed a bit, not surprising considering I’ve been on hormones for nearly one and a half years. I am considering gaining a little weight or increasing my fat intake to see how it effects my growth. My weight has been pretty steady at around 185 for the past year and I could probably do with a little more.

I recently read an interesting article about the use of progesterone in MTF HRT regimens. I was tempted to try taking progesterone myself but all the medical evidence I have seen points toward it having no effect on breast development. In fact the only information that is circulated is mostly rumors and misinformation spread by people who have no medical qualifications. Whatever your standpoint may be on the subject, you can read the article here. It’s only a few pages and is quite informative.

Dr. Richard Curtis seems like a respected member of the transgender healthcare field and works in a clinic in London. The clinic’s website can be found here.

Lately I’ve been getting back into making chainmail jewelry and I am going to try and actually sell some this time. I put in a big order from Theringlord.com that just shipped today and I am excited to get all kinds of colorful and rubbery rings to make beautiful bracelets out of! The necklace above is a piece I made last week after being inspired by another artist’s scale collars. I will probably post some more of my work once I get my new materials.

Anyways I hope everyone is having a great March!

Abbey

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