30 day post-op thoughts

I am one month post-op today. I have a vagina. It hurts.

  1. Recovery is hard. 
    I am not sure I was prepared; I certainly wasn’t prepared.
    I feel like I set out to climb a mountain with a bottle of water and a sandwich.
    That being said, I wonder if I could ever have been prepared. I don’t know what more I could have done, even with hindsight, so I suspect the message is simply if you are considering this, be expecting a mountain.
  2. I feel more validly a woman.
    I feel a little ashamed by this point as it is the dictionary definition of cis-sexism (men have penises, women have vaginas). It also underscores my privilege at being able to have this operation with the top surgeon in the world. Yet despite the above, somehow I feel more able to comfortably and assuredly say I am a woman.
  3. I feel free of a tension I wasn’t aware of.
    Social transition had exorcised a lot of demons. I felt free of sadness that I had carried all my life. However I now feel free of some internal struggle about what I am. I have had this body part that I have had such an uncomfortable relationship with and it’s gone. I look in the mirror and don’t see someone between two sexes. I just look and feel right.
  4. I have some doubts.
    Was it all worth it? The positives in the last two points suggest it was and it will be. But right now I don’t really have a vagina. I have an absence of penis, which is great. But it’s not yet much more than a wound. It is ugly and painful and delicate and uncomfortable. Apparently the recovery will be harder in months two and three. I have a suspicion that my cosmetic result will not be great, possibly necessitating another trip to Thailand. It’s a lot of stuff. I am happier, but right now I can’t just simply say “yep it was all worth it”, because recovery dominates every horizon. Ask me again in six months.

Six effects I experienced when cycling progesterone

I’m having transgender periods. Now that I’ve got that Daily Mail sub-headline out of the way – I’ve been cycling progesterone for two months now as a part of my hormone regime. I’m just in my third cycle and wanted to share my experiences:

Disclaimer: I am not advising you to take any medicine that your doctor has not prescribed. Hormones, when used incorrectly can kill you. It's that simple. I am merely sharing my experiences mostly for my own posterity and a little for the few interested people that read this blog.

Why use it?

This post isn’t supposed to be an in depth analysis of the risks and pros and cons (I may write that another time), but I’ll share a few of my reasons for incorporating it.

Progesterone is the female sex hormone responsible for readying the body to carry a baby. It is present throughout pregnancy but is also a significant part of the menstrual cycle. There is evidence that final development of the breast tissue that makes them potentially functional is caused by progesterone.

Progesterone is a controversial component of HRT because there is a lot of medical dogma based on old medical studies done on the use of a synthetic progestin called hydroxprogesterone on cis women. This cousin of progesterone has horrible side effects and risks (including increased risk of breast cancer).

There has been no study conducted on the effects of natural progesterone on the development of transgender women, so there is just a lot of opinions whirling around.

However there is a growing community of trans women that advocate the use of natural bio-identical progesterone because, unlike it’s artificial cousin, it can actually decrease the risks associated with long term HRT (such as breast cancer). There is anecdotal evidence of it helping to help with breast development and general curviness (bum – I’m looking at you here). Finally it is a part of the female endocrine system, it is meant to work in concert with estrogen and arguably the effects that it causes are a part of the female experience.

What am I taking?

I am taking Prometrium in capsule form, which is micronised natural progesterone. I’ll not share the exact dosage as I haven’t yet resolved my position on advising people on medication and the ethical pros and cons.

There are two approaches some people take it continually and others cycle it. There are pros and cons to either approach. I cycle it because I think this reflects the natural female cycle most closely and I think much of the feminising effects that people speak if is actually related to cycling it.

I do three days at a lower dose, four days at a higher dose, another three days on the low dose again, then take 18 days off it to complete a 28 day cycle.

I may, in the future, switch to injectable progesterone as that is obviously more effective in that it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system and doesn’t strain the liver in the same way.

So what results have I experienced?

Continue reading “Six effects I experienced when cycling progesterone”