We are officially stariting the next chapter of our son’s transition. I use the word we lightly.
🎶 there ain’t no we – in hormone therapy🎶
Fun Fact: Repeat the phrase three times using a beat and snap your fingers. DO IT!
I have terrible song writing skills I know, but this has been my survival song. Although a complete 180 from my preference to Opera, this Rap melody has kept me on track. Everyday I remind myself, this is not my life and I don’t get to make these decisions. Why?
IT’S NOT MY LIFE.
It has been suggested to me many times that as I am the parent, these are my decisions to make. It has been suggested I slow down the process for Josh. I’ve been told my child is too young, at almost 16 he can’t be given the profound responsibility of knowing who he really is. It has been suggested to me that hormones are dangerous and should never be messed with. If I could count all the times I have heard somebody say “well, my doctor told me…..”. I don’t know how many times I have heard “what if he changes his mind?”
Oh yes, and let’s not forget about what God might think about all of this blasphemy. For myself, Theology plays no part in my decision making process when it comes to Josh’s advancement.
Fun Fact: God doesn’t make mistakes people!
I have spent hours and hours and hours contemplating this stage of transition and the changes that are to come for Josh. Once again, we are venturing into unchartered territory. It’s easy to feel anxious when your child is transforming his physical and hormonal being. I have asked all the questions I should ask of every professional I have met with. I am betting you would probably consider our household conversations shocking. Oh if the walls could talk!
As a parent I have done my due diligence. Will I ever completely understand? Probably not, but again I revert back to my go to phrase….IT’S NOT MY LIFE. I don’t need to understand everything. I need to be supportive, loving, protective, caring and funny and for these acts I turn to my humanity, my faith. For this part of our journey I will compartamentalize all the information into the “scientific me” file in my brain.
As I woman I don’t understand why a person would want facial hair. Seriously for the most part, man or woman, don’t we all just want to wax or shave it off? I do however, understand my womanhood and I can turn that around and grasp the urgency of my son’s need to be himself. Let’s be honest here, I really only have one choice. Manhood is a drive pricklier than facial hair.
It would be abusive of me to deny my son his identity. Personally I consider it a honour to be able help him in a way that only a few parents will ever experience. We are unique.
With that being said……
Gas, Timmies…and off we went. (Typical Canadians, eh?)
Calgary bound, one of my favourite Canadian cities.
With Josh as our Road Captain we navigated our way to the Alberta Children’s Hosipital to meet with the Endocrinologist. Our previous specialist appointment was almost a year ago. Those past appointments were all for mental wellness. This is different.
The Alberta Children’s Hospital is a refreshing environment compared to most of the professionals offices we have been in. Ironically, most of the mental wellness facilities we have been in are dilapidated and depressing. This place is modern and state of the art. The building is wrapped with windows and everywhere you glance your eyes meet beautiful views. The walls and furniture are bright, cheery colours and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Oddly, the happiest environment I had been in for quite a while was a Children’s Hospital.
By the time we arrived Josh was bursting at the seams with excitement. Josh has also done his due diligence and he knows exactly what to expect.
As Josh’s appointment began we met another fabulous specialist and began our new life lesson – Hormones 101.
I took in a lot of information that day. This is not medical advice and I am not a professional, however here is my understanding of the Science of Hormones.
In every human there is a Hypothalamus Gland which gives direction to the Pituitary Gland. These glands are located in the brain behind the eyes. The Pituitary activates puberty when the Hypothalamus says “it’s time”. The job of this Pituitary is to send the message of Estrogen or Teatosterone to our male and female Gonads.
Fun fact: Gonads is the term the professionals use. Truth!
Visualize Estrogen being emitted as a wave. If you are into Theoretical Physics you could compare it to String Theory as that is where my mind immediately went. Oh yes it did! Radio waves also travel in a similar fashion with peaks and valleys communicating their intent.
I have to admit as I was sitting listening to the doctor I actually thought…..”look at that wavy line, that’s why we are so crazy”. Another “Aha” moment perhaps?
Hormone Therapy for Josh will consist of three stages.
Stage one is to level the Estrogen wave. I always thought the process involved removing Estrogen as the commonly used term for this stage is Blockers. It is much simpler than that. There is a new drug available now for transition. What this drug does is balance the wave of Estrogen into an eventual straight line by comminicating a different signal to the Pituitary. When the Pituitary receives the communication the signal it sends to the Gonads is levelled out.
Fun Fact: The Pituitary doesn’t discriminate!
The Pituitary doesn’t care which message it sends, it just wants to send a message and is capeable of sending both the Estrogen and the Testosterone message to anyone.
Josh will require three injections to completely achieve Pituitary Hibernaton. One 30 day shot, one 90 day shot and then one shot when he begins Testosterone injections. These first three injections are very complicated and we will have to travel to Calgary for this.
As our lesson continued and the doctor detailed three or four pages of information outlining the risk and side effects of Josh’s treatment to us. Duh! I actually giggled and about page two I interrupted and said…
“Wait a minute, are you telling me, eventually Josh is going to turn into a man?”
Fun Fact: No one laughed. I thought I was hilarious.
As for other side effects, Josh will never be at risk of breast cancer (especially after top surgery) and he will never ever have another menstrual cycle. He also may experience hot flashes, acne, mood swings. So……basically, there are going to be two of me in the house. The difference between us being…presently I have more facial hair.
Not So Fun Fact: Total treatment cost for three injections is $1500.00. The great news is these costs are covered through our fantastic health care system. Thank you Canada!
Stage Two will be the state where hibernation of Estrogen production is achieved. This stage also includes the introduction of Testosterone. Stage two will begin on July 7. Stage Three will of course be to advance the testosterone regime and we will learn more about this in July.
After a rigorous education, a physical for Josh and a trip to the pharmacy, Josh got his first look at his injection. He couldn’t wait to open the package and meet his new best friend. He carefully opened the container which was about the size of my IPad. We were all gathered around him like it was Christmas and he was opening his gift from Santa. He lifts up the lid and Suprise! That sucker was huge! You should have seen his face. For the guy who knew exactly what to expect he sure didn’t see that coming.
Fun Fact: I told Josh to take it like the man he is!
You know those rare parenting moments when you get to sit back with a concealed grin on your face and think “ahhhhhhh, payback”.
That was me! Bahahahahahah!
The injection is very complicated. It is made up of two parts, a dry mixture and a liquid that must be mixed precisely based on Josh’s weight. The lovely nurse was kind enough to change to a smaller needle and Josh received the first dose of his new miracle drug.
Fun Fact: True confessions from a nurse…..Men are bigger babies then women when getting needles. This made me reevaluate my previous Fun Fact and now I was a bit confused. Should he take his injection like a man or like the woman he isn’t? Lol.
To transition hormonally from female to male is a simple process in explanation, but the science of it is surreal. Surreal isn’t even a good enough word to describe it. I am constantly amazed at the medical advances we have today. Science can actually change a person from a female to a male and back again. Science can pause the menstral cycle of a 5 year old girl and then restart it when the time is right. Science can help a woman who’s menstral cycle never stops. Science helps millions of men who suffer from low Teatosterone, Science can help my son be the man he is. Our bodies are biologically tuned to accomplish that and more with a little help from science.
Think about the global ramifications of this not only for the Transgender generation but for the human species as well. Like so many other beings on earth we too are capeable of altering our biology to ensure our survival. Isn’t that interesting!
Fun Fact: Hey ladies, if men go extinct we can just make us some more.
Can you believe it?
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit some nerves on my part but this isn’t an issue of faith or understanding. The first part of our journey was plagued with mental wellness issues and the hopelessness, griefand fear. The anxiety I experienced during that time was almost unbearable. This is science and I like science. Science is proven.
I trust science and most importantly, I trust my son.
To answer the interesting and catchy title I have written to entice you into reading my blog.
Hormone (OMG I need more) Therapy? Hmmmmmm do I?
I have a son, his name is Josh