Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inflection point

Seems like I've hit another big inflection point. Or maybe a couple of them, clumped right together.

I've long thought that the doctor who was originally managing my hormone replacement was not doing a very good job, so I found another doctor, and have seen him a couple times now. Our first visit was an extremely affirming experience, and it made me immediately glad that I had finally made a change. I saw him again a little over a week ago, for a six-week followup appointment, to see how things had changed or progressed.

He went over the results from my first blood tests, and described the main parts of interest. My testosterone level is 6.7, which is about what we would expect, he said, given my current physiology. My estradiol level was 80, which he said was very low; ideally it would be around 200. Levels of the two precursor hormones, FSH and LH, which are produced by the pituitary gland and signal the body to produce the main sex hormones, were very high. This indicated, the doctor said, that my body is not seeing enough sex hormones, and it was trying to spur my body to produce more. I don't have the right body parts to produce a whole lot of estrogen, of course, so what it actually indicated was that my hormone replacement dosages were too low. He had placed me on a different estrogen medication, which he hoped would increase the levels. This office visit was to confirm if this actually happened. So, he sent me over to the lab, and they drew the necessary blood, and off I went.

A few days later, I called back for the results. My estradiol level was apparently still very low, and the doctor wanted to double my dosage. Gulp! So, all this time, I've been on such a low dosage, and have had less-than-stellar development; I chalked that up to my being almost 40 years old, and my body just reacting less to the new hormones that were coursing through it. Everyone is different, of course, but it seems that older bodies typically react less-well to transition. But with this new information, it seems like my depression and nihilism might have been a side effect of my body trying to tell me something: more, please! So, ok, more estrogen.

It's only been a few days on the new dosage, so it's still really early to tell if I'm feeling different, or if I'll see another spurt of development. Maybe in a few weeks, I'll have a better idea.

The other big change is regarding my career. I've been working in the IT industry for many years now, and despite the fact that I am good at what I do, I just can't generate any interest for it any longer. I mean, like none.

Looking back, programming and system administration was something I sort of fell into. I had aptitude and ability, and it was something that I had done since I was a child, but there was never a desperate desire to do it. There are aspects of the job that I enjoyed: one must continually learn new things, and a lot of the job is governed by logical cause-and-effect. That is how I approach most things, so it seemed a perfect match.

All except that I don't care anymore. If I ever even did.

I like to make things. When I was little, my favorite toys were LEGO. Most of my current hobbies involve some sort of craft, and some act of creation. And as time goes on, the physical aspect of creation seems to have become more and more important; I enjoy photography, for example, but the modern moving-bits-around instead of standing in the dark and making something, seems too much like work to me.

And then there's another large aspect which never seemed important before: I like working with people, and it turns out that I like it when people are happy, and especially if I can make them happy with something I've done. Now, it seems like this aspect has grown more important than feeding my brain. I get excited when I know I'll have a chance to make someone happy, and I find myself drawn to doing that, as strongly as I've ever felt anything ever before. Here is that deep need, that desperate desire that I've always wondered if I had.

I keep feeling nudges here, and seeing signs there, and hearing people talking about change, and it seems like this is all conspiring to tell me something. Now is the time. Just as there was a time in which I had to say I will now become who I need to be, this seems like the time when I need to say I will now do what I need to do.

It is time to take another leap.


Anonymous said...

I'm chuffed for you! I've found it a strain keeping two life-changing attitudes afloat, especially as both rely heavily on help from others; I can only transition so far on my own, in the same way that I need someone to give me a leg-up into the games industry. Both do give me a reason to wake up in the morning, though.

As an aside, good grief you look good for someone approaching 40. :D

Jerica Truax said...

Hey girl

Just a note. I have seen my doctor a total of 4 times including the first where he originally prescribed HRT.

Estrogen on the 2nd visit was: 490, 3rd visit: 450, 4th visit (most recently): 81 and took blood again and it was: 88.

What was the difference? Well for me it was the time between when I took my last dose of E and the time they took the blood.

The first 2 times I had my blood drawn an hour or 2 after my dose and the last 2 times it was more liked 12 hrs (so about when I was supposed to take my next dose).

Not sure if that's happening here, just thought I'd mention it because I was a little worried at first when I found out my E was at 80.

Anonymous said...

Sinnyo, thank you for the lovely compliment! You make me blush. :) But, this new direction that I'm doing a lot of thinking about... Every time I think more about it, it seems like the right way, and gives me some excitement and, as you said, a reason to wake up in the morning. So, I'm going to start moving in the direction of happiness, rather than remain in the area of expediency.

Jerica, that's definitely something to think about. My first appointment, it had been about 26 hours since my last dosage of estradiol; I took it in the morning with my breakfast, and I wasn't sure how much food and/or taking the medication so close to the test would affect the results, so I had neither that day. The second visit was in the early afternoon, and also after the doctor had switched me from estradiol to estropipate. The new medication is supposed to keep a more consistent level over a 24-hour period, than the estradiol, which causes a spike, and tails off pretty quickly (as clearly shown by your test results). I had eaten that morning, and taken my medication (perhaps 5 hours earlier), and he was still unhappy with the level. The tech who called did not relay the actual value of the second blood test. So now I'm taking the estropipate twice daily. It hasn't yet been a week on the new dosage, so any differences have not really shown themselves.