Actually, I’ve noticed that nurses don’t say that anymore when they’re administering injections or taking blood. Did they really miss that double entendre all those years, or was it completely deliberate…a bit of anarchy in the GP surgery? Either way, being told “You’ll just feel a little scratch” isn’t quite the same.

I spoke in an earlier post about the problems I’d been having with Testogel. As I was at pains to point out to Dr Curtis, my issues weren’t that it wasn’t working (I think this blog is testament to the fact it works jolly well) or even that I was finding putting on gel every day particularly inconvenient. Most of all, the daily dose of Testogel was a big hard reminder that I HAVE to have artificial hormones: that my body DOESN’T produce sufficient testosterone for me to be comfortable in my own skin.

Now, I’m a practical(ish) pragmatic kind of person, and I never imagined I’d get so hung up over this issue, but I did. I assumed that it was ‘just me’, that I’d ‘get over it’, that I ‘shouldn’t be so silly’ and even that I should just ‘Man Up’ (ironic, that one). You see, I’m my own worst enemy at times. Then I came across a YouTube video of someone my own age expressing exactly the same feelings, so I started asking around. It turns out quite a few people feel this way about testosterone administered in a daily form. Which made me feel less of an ungrateful baby.

Dr C was happy for me to give Nebido a go – this is a 3 monthly injected form of testosterone. As it’s slow release it comes in an oil base, so has to be given by a nurse (or someone else qualified to inject oil, I guess!) Apparently there are some issues connected with transferring from Testogel to Nebido, namely the possibility of mood changes, and break-through bleeding. Neither of which sound like a picnic, but I’m an adult, so I figure if it doesn’t work out with this, I’m mature enough to admit defeat and go back to the gel packets.

Knowing that a letter had been sent to my GP, I went to see her, intending to talk through the change, get my Nebido ordered and make an appointment to see the nurse. I wasn’t prepared for her to say that as the surgery has a small stock of the stuff in anyway, she could fit me in with the nurse in the next few minutes. Well, I wasn’t going to say no, was I?

Fortunately, I was with a nurse who knows me. I went to her a while back for a smear test, which she did sensitively, kindly and with understanding of my body issues. So when she asked me to drop my trousers and expose the top bit of a buttock, it wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as it could have been. Despite a quick mental survey of whether I had my good pants on…

A lot of people talk about how painful the Nebido jab is, but I assumed they meant the actual injection. Not the case (for me, anyway). The jab was quick (quicker than it should have been, I suspect) and easy, and I was trousers-up, striding out of the surgery with a cheesy smile in no time. It did feel fantastic, and I was overwhelmed with the thought “It’s INSIDE me!” Now logically, I know that the Testogel got into my bloodstream very efficiently, but somehow, in my head, having an injection was so much more potent. Funny thing, the human mind.

At the time, my bottom and the top of my leg felt a bit achey, but that was nothing to how I felt next day. My backside felt like I’d been kicked by a donkey, and moving my leg was sore. Not so sore that I felt I needed to go back to the doctor, but painful enough for a lot of swearing, and to require painkillers. That lasted for a couple of days, during which time I winced every time I stood up or sat down, couldn’t sleep on one side and woke myself up whenever I rolled over in bed. No bruising, though, or redness, or swelling.

Still, if this is making me sound like even more of an ungrateful so-and-so, don’t worry. Pain or no pain, I am still hugely grateful for the opportunity to move away from a method of taking T that was increasing my dysphoria, to one that allows me more freedom, and the chance to just forget for 3 months at a time that my testosterone isn’t self-generated. I figure a sore bum 4 times a year is worth the peace of mind.

So far, getting up in the morning and NOT having to do the testosterone smearing ritual is lovely. I don’t seem, so far, to be getting as much ‘flushing’ as I would get with the daily dose, but it’s early days yet. Mood-wise, I’d be lying if I said I’d not had any grumpiness. The last few days I have felt a little bit emotionally closer to the edge than I like to be, but I was expecting that, and can deal with it accordingly. Time will tell how going through that 3 month cycle will affect me, mood-wise, though I have been warned that towards the end of the 3 months, I may have some lack of energy, and be on a downer. No bleeding so far. Fingers crossed for never, as the logistics of dealing with tampons in a gents loo are too fraught to think about.

No form of artificial testosterone will be perfect, though from my limited experience, what is available is pretty good. Every method is bound to have its downside, and I know that I need to find the way that is best for both my head and my body. Watch this space…