Category: May 2012


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…

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Just to make myself feel REALLY old this week, I looked up a few dates. It turns out that I was 17 when email became widely used, 22 when texting was invented, 23 when one of the first blogs was published, 25 when Hotmail was introduced, 28 when MSN messaging was rolled out, 30 when Yahoo Groups were first spawned, 32 when Facebook hit the general population, 33 when YouTube starting shaking up the world, and 34 when Twitter was launched. Ouch.

The thing is, as I did not start trying to find out more about my gender issues, and considering transition, until my mid to late 30s, I had all of the above to help me find out information, get in touch with people in similar situations, chat about my feelings, look at photos, explore different viewpoints, etc. etc. I’ve heard (often younger) FTMs state that the internet has ‘saved their lives’ in terms of being trans, and coping with that, and whilst I do not want to belittle the strength of feeling they’ve expressed, I’ve always argued that the diverse communication channels we enjoy these days simply make dealing with an age-old problem easier.

Whatever contact I have with other trans people via the internet/texting/etc. I still crave real human interaction with people like myself. Even just a little bit like me. However, this is often easier said than done.

The problems a lot of trans people have, in my experience, particularly transmen, is that there aren’t THAT many of us and we’re pretty widespread geographically. Another important factor is that many transguys choose either not to identify as trans at all, or to remain ‘stealth’ (that is, not ‘out’ as trans) in their everyday lives.

Currently in the UK there are a number of FTM groups that meet – not just to sit discussing Testosterone and surgery (though of course it’s always helpful to swap notes). Mingling over a cuppa and a jammy dodger, or a pint and pasta is, for me, something that gives me strength, and more importantly, helps me remember I’m not just a freak.

The first time I went to the FTM London group was mind-blowing – I’d never been in a room with people who were even a *little* bit like me. We were all different ages, outlooks and attitudes, with some far along the transitioning road, and some only just starting to think about that route. But it worked, and that (trans)human contact is what keeps me going along. But then I am fortunate, and I am able to travel to London easily. That’s certainly not the case for everyone, which leaves a lot of people isolated.

Up in the city where I live, I know there’s quite a few transguys. I know a handful of them – some by chance encounter, others via friends, and some from initial contact online. The thing is, of course, is that it just isn’t done to walk up to someone and say “excuse me, but are you by any chance transgender?” Even at the few trans gatherings I’ve attended, when there have been a large number of transwomen, and then maybe just myself and another guy I didn’t know, you can’t sidle up to that person, and say “so, I believe we have something in common”. I’m more shy in real life than I am online, and besides, I don’t want to get punched.

My city doesn’t have an FTM social group. I believe there once was one, but don’t know the history of what happened to it. For a long time I’ve thought about trying to start something, but felt that I wasn’t at a point in my transition where I could give very much. Perhaps, though, the time has come. TG2012, a conference for transgender people, is taking place in a few weeks at the local University. I’m thinking of having some flyers printed for distribution there, asking for input on starting a new group locally. Is this the way forward in helping those who identify as FTM in the area, or am I biting off more than I can chew?

The internet is a marvellous thing, and has opened up the world, with all its warts, for all to see. But I still feel we need to be able to meet face-to-face, even just occasionally, to feel less alone.

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Well, this is the first time I have tried to write a blog from my mobile, so please forgive if my efforts are not as pretty as usual, and fall victim to the stupidities of predictive text. Ah, and it would appear I don’t have a ‘return’ facility, so prepare yourselves for one long paragraph! I shouldn’t complain…I love the fact that I can sit writing my blog on a phone the size of a postage stamp (but probably not worth as much, these days) miles from my computer. An iPad would be handier, though. Any rich people out there want to buy a gift for me?? I only ask because that worked for James Darling recently, when a fan of his Tumblr bought him a camera after he happened to mention he wanted one. So it’s worth a try, though I suspect I have less mass appeal than the lovely James…ANYway, the subject of today’s post is simple. Nebido. I went to see my doctor yesterday following a few months of increasing dysphoria surrounding using Testogel, as explained in an earlier post. He is happy to recommend Nebido to my GP, at least to give it a go. He has warned that I may experience fluctuations in mood and energy while my body is adjusting to having a 3 monthly shot rather than my current daily gel. Also, things like my (already bad) acne may worsen. Well, I’m willing to risk upsetting the apple cart a little to ease the psychological stuff that has been so unexpectedly caused by the gel. I should be starting with the Nebido in the next 2 or 3 weeks, so watch this space. And anybody with any experience of switching from Testogel to Nebido, I’d be really interested to hear from you.

I started writing this blog to reach out to family and friends about the changes I am going through, and the reason why I have made these decisions in life. It was also intended as a useful way of me committing my thoughts to print for my own future reference. I’ve never been any good at keeping diaries, so a blog seemed like a pretty good idea.

My blog has by no means gone global in the usual sense – I haven’t had any calls from newspaper or magazine editors or funky online zines begging me to contribute, and my viewing numbers, whilst steadily rising, reflect a fairly small audience. I average around 280 post views a week, as opposed to 100-ish a week this time last year, which makes me very happy.

I have gone global in a different sense, though. On February 25th this year, WordPress started providing bloggers with information about what countries their views come from. It makes really fascinating reading. The picture at the top of this page shows all the different countries where people have sat at a computer, and viewed my blog since Feb 25th. The list runs downwards, rather than across. Everywhere from Jersey downwards has just had the one post view, but all others have had more than one.

I’m no egoist (though some might disagree) but the thought that my blog has been read so far across the world, and in such diverse places, is exciting, and a little scary. This isn’t just me talking about my boobs for friends and family any more.

Now I’d be the first to admit that it is unlikely every one of these post viewers was looking for information on the trans experience. It’s clear from what search engine terms people use that actually they’re looking for p*rn, or advice on swollen ankles. However, I like to think that for every misdirection there is another person who has found exactly what they needed. For every “what on earth have I found??” there’s an “It’s not just me, then”. Whether that’s in Worksop, Walnut Ridge or Warhapur, that makes me very happy.

The internet has opened up the world, there’s no doubt about it. Arguably that isn’t always a good thing, but in the case of linking up trans people across the world, it can really affect quality of life. In places where people experience no support from family, friends or the wider community, reading a blog, watching a YouTube video or chatting to someone via Messenger, or using Skype can mean that you feel a bit less alone. Whether the person you’re in touch with is on the other side of the world, or in the next town.

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The map below shows all the countries where someone has looked at my blog from 25th February 2012 to the present.