Hard to believe I’ve been on HRT for one month already. When I took my first dose of three little pills I was ecstatic. Finally! I would start down the road of aligning my body with my mind, and I went into it with zero preconceived notions of what would happen first, or how it would affect me exactly. I certainly had hopes or a wishlist of sorts in how it would begin to change my me, but to anyone who has been on it for a month or a year we all know that there are many factors that will determine how we are affected and how fast things begin to happen.
Now, in general most professionals use the following chart or similar guidelines that detail the:
It should be understood that these are only generalizations, and as stated genetics, age, starting dosage, and absorption of blockers and hormones will all impact this. Environmental factors such as the use of nicotine (which is known to inhibit the absorption of estrogen), diet, etc. may also have varying degrees of impact on medical transition.
I can state without a doubt that some of the effects and changes discussed in the chart have very clearly begun to happen in my body while other things have not.
Going down the list I want to touch upon each as it relates to me, and most of what I mention has been observed by a friend, my wife, or I have been able to measure it, and so can be confirmed. At the end of talking about the list I will discuss changes in measurements from Day 1 to the start of my second month on HRT.
Now, on to the chart!
- Body fat redistribution, 3-6 months? For me, this started to make an appearance in my third week, and mainly presented in my abdomen on the right side and just a little bit on my butt. The right side of my midsection has narrowed at my waist and my abs there appear to have an extra layer covering them which makes them less pronounced than the left side when I flex my abdominal muscles. It is clearly visible, and when I asked my wife if she could see what has changed, she was able to point it out with out my needing to give her any hints. As for my ass, very slight rounding to the bottom of my butt. I’ve always had a typical flat “white man’s ass”…it is no longer “flat” but it certainly isn’t where I want it to be yet. Yet, all the same, even the slightest change makes me happy on this front.
- Decreased muscle mass/strength, 3-6 months? Nope, again three weeks was where I began to notice an increase in muscle fatigue. In addition, there has also been some muscle loss, although I haven’t noticed a huge decrease in muscle strength as of yet, except in a couple areas. My forearms are noticeably sleeker and smaller. My feet have also narrowed/begun to thin out, something my wife pointed out just a couple days ago was how my feet no longer look like “Fred Flinstone” feet. Instead, my toes look much thinner as do my feet. Shoes are looser, but I still think this has to do, in part, with weight loss as well. My shoulders have gotten smaller as well, but I’m not ready to claim this is HRT, and may very well simply be the result of not using those muscles anymore. However, I can say that my pectoral muscles are shrinking, but are receding outward from my breastbone. A month ago I could pinch my hand by flexing them. I can no longer do this, and can a see a visible difference when flexing those muscles in the mirror. In addition, measurements also support that I am losing muscle mass in many places.
- Softening of skin/decrease of oiliness, 3-6 months? Yeah, this guideline is bullshit as I know many girls who noticed a softening in the first month. The skin on my face, my hand, and my whole body is softer. My kids notice it, my wife notices it, and even friends have said to me they can see it in my face. Oiliness has definitely decreased as well on my face. If I do not moisturize, the skin around my eyes almost becomes chapped.
- Decreased libido, 1-3 months? Mmmm, maybe, and I say that because the way I see sex has already changed, but not sure if that is my libido. Regardless, I don’t think about sex as much as I used to, and the urge to take care of “business” is not the same. I still masturbate, but as I’ve discussed before, there is no urgent need to do it. If the urge strikes and I have the time and inclination I do it. If the urge strikes and I am busy, then I move on. I also don’t think about sex all day long anymore. In fact, when I do it is often to chuckle that I haven’t been thinking about it.
- Decreased spontaneous erections, 1-3 months? Again, maybe. I still get morning wood, often when I have to pee in the morning, but otherwise at 43, these don’t happen anymore for me. Being older I don’t have those problems, and am at the point where manual stimulation is needed. I can still get erect enough for penetration, but physical contact is needed or nothing happening.
- Erectile dysfunction, variable? Probably, I don’t have ED yet, and so I cannot comment as to when this will happen.
- Breast growth, 3-6 months? For me, this was week two, my nipples clearly changed. At three weeks, it was obvious that I had a small amount of breast tissue on the underside of what were my “pecs”, and as a good friend said to me, “Hon, you don’t have pecs anymore, you have breasts” This is clearly evident when comparing my chest to a picture I took of my naked torso a month before HRT. My lower chest is most definitely drooping more, even though I have lost ten pounds since the pre-HRT pic was taken. In addition I have definite breast buds, with breast tissue spreading out to both side from my nipples. I had my wife not only look at, but also feel them. She confirmed that I definitely have breast tissue. I will also admit on breast development that it is completely random as to how fast development will occur and when it will begin. There are girls like me who see breast growth earlier, and then there are those who see little in the first year. Perhaps my size, existing fat, and genetics gave me the perfect storm, and while I have tissue, my breasts may not grow much in the next month. Regardless my days of going shirtless in public are past me.
- Decreased testicular volume, 3-6 months? Mine still seem the same size, but they are reacting differently to stimulation. I notice that they are more sensitive in a pleasurable way, and that just before orgasm, while they’ve always moved up, now they not only move up, but they climb up into my body as I’m about to orgasm. This is something new, and I don’t know if it happens to others, but I just want to make note of it.
- Decreased sperm production, variable? I think this has started, but am not measuring it, just my own “scientific” observation. I still have production, but it does seem that what comes out is a little less than before HRT. In addition, I only have noticed a decrease beginning in the fourth week on HRT.
- Hair in general, 6-12 months? I can’t speak to this at all. I haven’t noticed anything on this front. In addition, I begin laser hair removal this coming Friday, and so that will obviously skew anything I do notice.
- Male Pattern Baldness: I don’t have MPB, and so I can’t speak to it, although I do have an area in the front of my hair line that hasn’t receded, but has thinned a little. I am hoping it eventually comes back. Girls I know, who have seen hair regrowth, have told me they didn’t see this happen until around the seven month mark, so I will keep an eye on my hairline, and report when I do notice something, if anything.
Now, as for measurements…well, I think there has been a significant change based upon measurements taken on day one, and at the end of the first month on HRT.
Day 1, Month 1 measurements:
- Weight: 244lbs
- Chest: 42.5 inches
- Waist: 38 inches
- Pant/male waist: 40 inches
- Hips: 43 inches
- Neck: 16 inches
- Bicep: 15 inches
- Wrist: 7 inches
- Ankle: 9.5 inches
Day 1, Month 2 measurements
- Weight: 238lbs
- Chest: 41 inches
- Waist: 36 inches
- Pant/male waist: 38 inches
- Hips: 41.5 inches
- Neck: 15.5 inches
- Bicep: 14.25 inches
- Wrist: 6.75 inches
- Ankle: 9 inches
Up until my first month on HRT, I had been averaging over ten pounds lost a month, but this past month I did not lose as much weight, and saw a significant loss in inches on my body. I found this fascinating, as again, I literally lost an inch in some places going from week three to week four, at around the same time I noticed a change to the right side of my mid-section.
As for my face, other than skin I haven’t really noticed any changes. It is possible that my chin is more prominent now, but that could also be due to weight loss, or simply to having had a beard for the past ten years. My point is I don’t jump up to claim HRT did it, but I can’t argue with the difference in measurements. I really am in awe of my body right now.
All this talk of body, and I haven’t talked about my brain at all, and this is where I am most happy with the changes from HRT. The first week on HRT I felt awful, and then during the second week my brain began to right itself. By the third week it felt like the storm in my brain had ceased, and for the first time I felt “right.” It’s hard to describe, but I do see the world differently, and I’m more thoughtful now in how I might react to something said or done, and before I speak or react…most of the time. My emotions are available to me, and sometimes they react before my brain, but I don’t mind this. I have cried more in the past month than in the past ten years, and I wouldn’t give this up for the world. A week ago, for the first time since I was a child, I had a cleansing cry that left me feeling lighter afterwards. It was wonderful, for someone, who for most of her adult life was not able to cry even when she desperately wanted to.
Subconsciously, I have caught myself physically moving or expressing more in a feminine manner at times. One of the first things I noticed is how I now cross my arms. I realized about a week ago that I no longer cross my arms over my chest, and without conscious thought started to cross my arms under my chest. This simple change amazed me. Other things I’ve noticed might be the way I stand, sit, or hold something while walking, or simply the way I walk. Whenever I notice something, and realize I wasn’t consciously doing it, I find myself laughing in amazement. I only catch it maybe 2-5 times in a day, but the point is that these things aren’t happening with conscious thought.
I also am finding that I have to work harder to mask Allie, and be “him”. It’s a chore I do not enjoy, but I do it for my job and family. However, I do find myself wanting to avoid situations where I have to play “him”, and if it isn’t necessary I avoid placing myself in those situations. I’ve even started cutting certain things out of my life in order to avoid playing boy.
I also finding a desire, at times, to battle my timetable for transition. It’s the pubescent teenager in me that desires to run when the right thing to do is to walk. My body is changing, but has a long way to go, and most of my changes can not be seen when clothed. I’m not stupid about this, and luckily I have a wife and friends who are accepting that I am female, and who treat me as the woman I am.
I now find comfort and joy in female friendships. I feel free to express as myself around friends I am out to, and I am lucky to have made some new friends in the past month. It means so much to be accepted as myself. While I have many wonderful friends on social media, and feel free to express to them, it is not the same as being able to get together to talk and spend physical time with other women. Physical contact/presence really does affect me on a new level now, and in a way that is definitely positive for me.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how things are progressing on HRT, and am so happy that I’ve accepted myself and am moving forward. The fact that my brain feels “right” is all the validation I need to know that transition is what I need most right now. I can’t wait to see what “Month Two” has in store for me, and future months as well. I will admit I can’t see myself in the mirror yet, but there have been a couple moments where I thought I almost could. My body is another matter, and while still very masculine in build, there are also definitely feminine elements that are showing up when looking at my naked body, and that does help me to feel more feminine. These positives often give me the gas I need to move through another week with a positive attitude.
“What if I was truly alone?” This thought hit me on the way to work this morning, and it terrified me. “What if my wife told me to leave?” I haven’t told my parents or my brother that I’m transgender yet. My wife and kids know, a cousin knows, friends at work, but not the people I grew up with in the same house. Why haven’t I told them yet?
I keep telling myself that I’m waiting for more changes to happen first, but is that really going to make the shock easier to bear for them? Is it going to make it somehow easier for them to wrap their minds around, or to dispel forty years of the person they thought/believed they knew? I don’t think there is anything that makes it easier, but it is something they have to accept if they want to be in my life, and I really would like that. I really would like them to know the real me. I really want my parents to get to know their daughter, and my brother to get to know his sister. I hope they can get to a place where they want that as well, and I hope that it will come sooner rather than later.
Yesterday, I spoke with my mother, and every time she asks me what is going on with me, I want to tell her. Heck, I’ve been calling her less than I usually do, because it is so hard to not tell her, and then I feel like I’m lying because I don’t. I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had. It’s hard, and even now I fight back tears as I think about my relationship with her. I grew up closer to my mom than my dad. I was more bookish, like her, and more open with my feelings. I also wanted to be like her, but never shared that with her. My mom has become far more liberal and open as she has gotten older, and so I think she will be the first to get past it and accept me, but she may also have it even harder as I’m her first, her baby, and sometimes that makes it really hard for mothers to let go. I can only hope that when I write her letter, it will express in such a way that when she calls me to talk, the first words out of her mouth will be that she loves me and she is there for me.
As for my father? I grew up striving to be like him, seeing him as image of what I was supposed to be as a man, and I fashioned my adult male persona after him, at least as much as I could. I always wanted his love, and even more his respect and admiration. If he ever reads this, I don’t say the next part to hurt, it’s how I felt/feel. I love him so much, so I don’t want him to ever think I thought he loved me any less, but I did feel often while growing up that my brother was his favorite. I know as an adult that he related to my brother better, and duh, that should be obvious why, especially now. However, growing up I often wondered what I could do to change that, but never could figure it out. As an adult I figured it out to a point. Work hard, be a good parent, make good decisions and I earned his respect. By forty I finally felt like I had earned what I always sought. At least that’s what I thought/how I felt. I will say that I know he has always loved me to death, and would do anything for me. He doesn’t always say it, more as he’s gotten older, but his biggest concern in life is that we are safe. I want to believe this will be his biggest concern when he finds out. One of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories are when he’d wrap me up in a hug, the smell of his cologne, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me. Dad would make sure everything was OK. He’d always keep me safe. Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job. His love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe. I think he will come around. It may be weird at first, but my hope is that my slow transition will make it easier. I can’t know for sure, but I want to believe like that little kid so many years ago…My daddy loves me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.
And then there is my brother. Three years younger, he has always been somewhat easy going and accepting. I think it may be easiest for him, but I could also be wrong the opposite way as I was his “big brother” and all that went with it. I’d look out for him, be protective of him, bail him out when he’d get in trouble, and we’ve had some great adventures together in our younger adult years. I love him to death, and would drop anything if he needed me. I love his kids to death as well. I have to think his worries will about how his kids and wife take it. He will think of his family and how they will explain it to the kids. Both are still young, and so I think the handling of it won’t be bad, but one can never know for sure. If I know my brother, I think I will get a call one day telling me that he may not get it, but that he loves me and if that is who I am then it may take a little time but he accepts me and will have to get used to it.
Now, if all this goes south, and they go in a direction I can’t imagine, I’m not sure what I will do. I know my wife will be protective of me on this matter, and that she will be there for me, but to be rejected by those you love is never an easy thing. In this case could be earth shattering on some level. I have to be ready that this could happen, and so it is another reason I choose to send letters. It gives them a chance to process and reach out when they are in good places, and if they’re not…well, I can always hang up the phone. My father taught me to only put on paper that which you are willing for the world to see, and so I will put to paper my authentic self, and my love of my family. I am happy to share those things with the world.
If the letters I will eventually post can help one other trans person navigate their own coming out in a positive way, then the sharing will be worth it. This is no easy thing, and I anticipate the writing of the letters to be a major cry-fest. This has, by far, been the most emotional post I have written to date, and I get why. It’s the most emotional thing I have grappled with since freeing my emotions, and I’ve been in tears throughout the writing of it, having to stop several times as I wrestle with my feelings. That’s how it should be, isn’t it? We should feel emotional about those we love, and hope they feel the same about us.
In the end, I believe this is just a reboot to the relationship with my family. They will get a better me, a more engaged me, and a me that no longer feels she needs to hide her real self. The positive me can’t help but think, “How can they not want to know the real me?” I’m so much a better person than “he” ever was. I am actually happy with who I am for the first time ever, and what’s not to love about that?