Earlier this year, seven months ago, I wrote that this blog was done. I wrote that I have moved on. I wasn't wrong. Sometimes you have to accept that, as a public service, information needs to be shared.
This post comes as the result of an online chat. Coline and I were talking about hormone therapy. She has noticed something interesting and potentially valuable that we need to share so I went along with her idea to write a post here because it is clear she is right. This is information that our sisters in the community could benefit from. I did mention that few and maybe none of the sisters stop by here now, but, well, how can it hurt to post this? So, here we go!
Both Coline and I use Estrogel for our hormone therapy. I've been using it, at various dosages, daily (apart from a month around my surgery) for over five years. It is the only method of delivery I've used. Coline started out on estrogen patches. She says she hated them. They always left a dark area on her skin from clothing sticking to the adhesive. Mostly they were hard to get off, but sometimes they would just fall off and not be missed until the evening.
A surprising thing that Coline has noticed - if you let the canister of gel sit for a week after it seems to have given its last, it will give you another pump of gel. In fact, one of hers has yielded a whole extra pump for nine nights in a row! Considering the cost of this product, that is quite a large saving.
There was a post featured on T-Central a few weeks ago now about hormones and their effects. What I think needs to be said is that the effects of hormone therapy are different for each individual. Coline, for instance, has found that she feels more emotional since starting it. As she said, "After nearly sixty years I was finally allowed to let the tears flow." I have always been able to weep in emotional times, but have found that getting away from Mr.T(estosterone) has allowed me to act in more considered and calculated ways. I can still get angry - really angry - but flying off the handle is a thing of the past.
As expected, my breasts grew and were very tender in the nipple area. Growth happened in spurts for both of us. I noticed a hard area just below the nipples that only stopped hurting a couple of years ago. The tissue has become so natural and soft that when I had my first mammogram last month it didn't hurt at all, in spite of warnings by friends and family to the contrary. Lucky me!
Both Coline and I have noticed softer skin and a redistribution of fat. Areas that used to have well-defined muscles (arms and legs, especially) are quite smooth and soft now. Very pleasant results.
Temperature control hasn't been an issue at all for me. I have always perspired freely, and that hasn't changed. The extra weight that I'm carrying now hasn't helped at all. Oh yes, that high metabolic rate that came with Mr. T has gone - to be replaced by a much lower need for calories. Don't eat like you used to, girl, because it will be noticed. As Auntie Marlene used to say "A moment on the lips - A lifetime on the hips!"
My legs, once a forest of hairs, are now mostly hairless as are my arms. Sadly, the facial hair didn't follow suit and hair on the top of my head hasn't grown back (HRT isn't a miracle drug). But both Coline and I are confident the loss of hair there has stopped.
Everything (including my own urine!) smells stronger than before to me, while Coline feels exactly the opposite has happened. Sadly my appetite hasn't been diminished (darn!). And on the subject of smell, we both agree body odour has all but disappeared. If you have reassignment surgery, be aware that feminine hygiene is a whole other subject that you can research on your own ladies. UTIs are real and more frequent now, and, yes, cranberries do help a lot, but only use real cranberries and pure cranberry juice - not the fake cocktail stuff. There is a capsule supplement of concentrated cranberry that worked well - recommended by my pharmacist.
An important caution - do not self-prescribe any drug, especially one that can cause damage to your body. Only an endocrinologist can make sure you are staying healthy while on HRT.
As Coline says, and I cannot agree more heartily, the most important result of hormone therapy - we are just so darned relaxed and happy!