12 Weeks On Testosterone - HRT Update
12 Weeks on T... It honestly seems unreal that I've arrived at this point but I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be on hormones. I'm one week away from 3 months and am looking forward to that big milestone. The last 2 weeks since my previous update have been a little up and down. For the first 10 weeks of hormone replacement therapy, I can honestly say that my dysphoria was doing really good. Going on T definitely has helped ease so many aspects of my gender dysphoria and I know that I am on the path to elevating it even further. In the aftermath of coming out to my professional network... some stuff got stirred up and my dysphoria has been creeping in lately.
These waves of uncertainty have nothing to do with doubting that I'm on the right path, they have to do with feeling anxiety about the speed at which I'm traveling it. There are days where I worry that I'm not taking care of things quickly enough. My anxiety centers around the next big phases that I will be completing. I didn't feel a rush to change my name and gender marker legally... but now I do. I also didn't feel a pressure to pursue top surgery until about my one year on testosterone mark... but lately that seems way to far away. In general, I just feel a need to be very on top of my transition and have a plan. Currently, I do not have a plan in motion for either my name/gender legal change or my top surgery and I am now seeing that I need to set up a clear step by step for both.
On days where my mental wheels keep spinning, I'm glad that I have a comparison record to go back to. It has been a great encouragement and help to trace back what I've done so far and realize that I'm moving along at a good pace. Sometimes I worry that I'm pushing my body a little too much, but I'm so goal focused on my physical outcome that I can't deviate from those efforts. Transitioning is a whirlwind of highs, lows, and monotones... just like any change in life. There are days that seems clear and purposeful. Then, there are days where I am just getting by and feel exhausted do to all that I am dealing with. I'm learning to be open to it, but the past 2 weeks I have felt more tired that I have ever felt since starting HRT. The fatigue coupled with the dysphoria coming on has forced me to do something that I always avoid.... slowing down.
Weeks 11 and 12 brought about more physical changes. My body is starting to feel the toll of growing so quickly and fatigue is setting in. I struggle with continuing to push it at the rate I have with training, eating, and gaining... but I have a goal in mind and feel determined to get there.
My voice has continued to deepen. This is couple by a persistent sore throat which is worse on some days than others. I'm looking forward to recording a voice update at the 3 month mark to be able to compare how it is changing. Since coming out to more people, I notice myself being hyper aware of how I'm speaking. I wish I didn't care what others think, but it helps my own comfort in social situation to focus on speaking from a deepen point in my stomach. Using a lower voice has helped me feel a little more comfortable in presenting as masculine to those that I do not see that often.
Week 12 marked the end of my first bulking phase since starting testosterone. I will be writing up a detailed report soon on the results of that program. To view the details of that plan and where I started, click here.
This bulking phase brought on big changes to my body composition. I am 16 pounds heavier since starting testosterone and the bulking plan. It is very important to emphasize that this is not just because of being on hormones. I have put a ton of effort into my training and nutrition during this bulk. I also have been consistent and dedicated for the entire 12 weeks. The 16 pounds that I've put on are mostly lean mass. There is a little fat gain, but that is to be expected. My body is bigger, fuller, firmer, and the shape has definitely changed. My shoulders, chest, and back have grown the most and the circumference around my shoulders is about 6in larger than when I started this program.
I'm thrilled to know that I am capable of putting on size at this rate. I went right into the second phase 12 week bulk and expect to come out the other end of this phase even larger. All this growing though is one thing more than anything else... exhausting. My body has to work to build and repair my muscle. I have felt very depleted lately. Not so much in the gym, but just in daily life. I try to sleep 8 or more hours a night, but I might need to take that to 9. I'm hoping that my energy levels will come back up, but if they don't I will need to take more measures to help stay well rested so that I don't run myself into the ground.
In the past 2 weeks, my face continues to widen. My jawline is really starting to elongate and take shape. My chin continues to grow more and more square. I also think in general, my face just looks larger. I still have very little difference in acne which is a huge blessing and fingers crossed that my good luck in that area continues. I do think that my pores seem slightly larger though and more prominent, this may be due to more oil production on my face. The changes in my face are allowing me to start to feel more and more my age. I hope to grow out of having such a young looking appearance.
FACE AND BODY HAIR
It's hard to see in pictures... but I have some pretty prominent chin hair going on and I've been letting it do it's thing lately. The hair on my chin has almost doubled since the 10 week mark, so I'm letting it grow in to see how long it will get. At the 12 week mark I also noticed that it was finally creeping down my neck and that I actually have neck hair coming in. I'm pretty please with it and am curious to see where it will go to next.
My upper lip is thicker than it was but it is still very blonde. I had been shaving that, but have left it to see what it will look like at the 3 month mark. Even though it's faint, my mustache is noticeable in the right lighting and it helps give me confidence to rock it.
My body hair has really come in during the last 2 weeks. It is spreading across my whole stomach now. Even the the hair is fine, it's new and noticeable. My upper leg hair is also appearing more prominently now and my lower leg hair is longer. My arm hair is coming in too. It's hardly noticeable but week 12 was the first week that I noticed a change in it's appearance / texture.
The past two weeks are the first time since staring HRT that I have sort of hit a lack of motivation. Things are starting to catch up with me and I'm getting worn out. As much as I want to charge full speed ahead and blaze a trail of productivity, I need to check in spiritually and find out why I've hit this wall. There are so many things changing at once, but there are some things that still need to change in order for me to not feel mentally depleted.... I'm in the process of defining those road blocks and getting them out of my way because I want to sore. I want to feel that I'm living to the fullest and there are some factors holding me back from that right now... but I'll get there.
Slowing down is so hard for me. I've waited so many years to have true self love, worth, and confidence. Now that I have those things, I just want to be out there in the world soaking everything up. I feel like I was asleep, barely existing. But now, I don't want to rest since it feels so much better to be alive. It's a back and forth battle with myself. One area of growth I'm still working on is the ability to feel ok with giving myself permission to rest. It's important that I learn that sooner than later.
I'm looking forward to checking in with a video update at the 3 month mark. That milestone will be a true celebration... I'm on my way and it feels so right.
Thanks for joining me on this transition journey. Please feel free to leave a comment or browse the other sections of the blog. My goal in sharing my experiences is to provide personal information to anyone seeking out advice on gender transition, mental health, and wellness. People's personal stories have been a huge inspiration and source of information for me, I'd like to pay that forward. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or just need a sound board.
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