And now it’s begun

Updated 19 Oct 2016 to show that the website for Translog is once again available.

One thing that many, if not most, male-to-female transgender folk want is to see their body changed to agree with the woman that’s inside them. The best way to do that is through hormone therapy (HRT), a combination of medications that generally add estrogen and progesterone to their bodies while blocking the production of testosterone. Back in June I was finally able to begin my first bit of hormone therapy, and early this month I was prescribed the rest of the therapy hormones. My body has finally begun to change into the feminine body I’ve wanted for over 25 years.

Back in June, I was able to get a prescription from my primary care physician (PCP) for Finasteride to treat an enlarged prostate, and one of the side effects of the drug is the possible enlargement of the breasts, something that I have no problem with, of course. The change wouldn’t happen quickly, though. Like the changes in a woman’s body when she hits puberty, the changes are gradual, and it will probably take a year or two to make all the changes in my body. As with so many things, the best things in life always take time, and I was told that the changes would probably be so gradual that people who only see us every week or so may notice the changes before I did.

In April I had a referral to see an endocrinologist, a doctor that’s been treating transgender patients for years. While he agreed that I was a good patient for HRT, the standards of care insist that a patient undergo therapy before starting hormone therapy and that they have a letter from their provider before hormones are prescribed. There are changes being discussed for the standards, including some flexibility in who qualifies for hormone therapy, but those changes haven’t been approved yet and he’s sticking with the current standards.

My PCP and I talked about the hormone therapy and he felt there was another endocrinologist in my PCP’s network that he thought would be willing to start me on the HRT without the provider letter. I finally saw the new doctor at the start of September, and after talking to me a while he agreed to start me on HRT immediately. He put me on Estradiol patches, a topical form of estrogen that I would change twice a week. He also prescribed Lupron depot injections, a form of progesterone that is injected once every three months that decreases testosterone and increases estrogen. He said to continue taking the Finasteride until I ran out since the Lupron takes about a month to kick in but not to refill it. I took my last Finasteride last night so now I’m just on the Estradiol and Lupron.

Among the changes I’d see with HRT include

  • Development of breasts
  • Distribution of fat in more feminine patterns (my belly grow smaller, but I’ll get hips and an ass! Finally!)
  • Reduction in body hair to a more feminine pattern
  • Reduced muscle development and a loss of strength as my muscles become feminized
  • My genitals will shrink (no big whoop, to be honest with you) and my libido will decrease, but since I never use it that’s fine with me

As I started hormone therapy I looked for good ways to measure and track the changes to my body, and I found the program TransLog. It takes measurements of the chest, bust, ribcage, waist, hips, bum, left thigh and weight, and lets you see how your body is changed over time. It doesn’t suggest how often to take the measurements, so I settled on taking them every Monday. I figure the beginning of the week is a good time to do it, and since I tend to take Sundays as a sleep in day I decided Mondays were the better day to take the measurements. So every Monday morning I roll out of bed, and before I put on my clothes for the day I grab my tape measure and laptop and take my weekly measurements. (The scale lives in my bedroom since that’s where I can weigh myself best before putting clothes on.) Yes, measurements are taken without clothes on so I’m measuring my body, not fabric.

TransLog also has fields for the medications you’re on, a general impression ranging from no change to significant change, medication changes or even adverse reactions or lab work. There’s also a place for notes, and I use it to note anything about the week’s measurements, like the fact that the bust area measurement increases were probably due to putting on weight.

My boobs have started developing!When I took measurements last week it looked like I might be seeing an increase in my bust measurements, but I had also put on a little weight back on so I wasn’t sure if that was it. It was less than an inch of difference, and the measurement had increased when my weight went up before so I wasn’t sure if that was the reason. When I took my measurements today the weight had gone back down, but the bust measurement was up another quarter of an inch, now up a full inch over two weeks ago.

The picture on the right shows me without my breast forms, a way I never show myself. Yes, I’m a bit fat, and I’m hoping to lose 10-15 pounds by spring, but I can’t begin to say how happy I am that my body’s finally changing. The hormones probably won’t get me to the C cup I am with the forms, but one day I’ll need to buy new bras and I’ll get to decide whether to simply buy bras the size I really am or to look into getting something to slip into my bras to bring me closer to a C cup. But I figure I have quite some time before I get to that point. For now? I feel like if I’m not wearing my forms it may finally be time to get a training bra. It only took what, 40 some odd years after I started puberty? At least I’m no longer as flat chested as a 200-pound teenage boy.

A Note About TransLog

You may notice that I don’t have a link for the TransLog program. I found TransLog on the TransGender Care website earlier this year, and the site is a great resource for transgender people. Unfortunately, when I went to the site this evening to double-check some information I discovered there’s a problem with the site. Now the TransGender Care home page is just a blank page and all the pages I have bookmarked on the site return 404 errors. Hopefully the TransGender Care site will be back up at some point, and if it is I’ll post the info on this site. The TransGender Care website is back up and running as of Wednesday, 19 October 2016. If you’re trans or care about someone who’s trans you should check out this great website.

TransLog itself is a Windows program that I was able to install on my Linux laptop using PlayOnLinux, a tool for installing and running programs designed for Microsoft Windows that uses the WINE compatibility layer software. WINE and PlayOnLinux don’t work with all Windows software, but if you run Linux they’re great tools to try to run Windows software without installing Windows itself.

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