Back at the start of February, my appointment at the gender clinic ended in signing consent forms for hormones, and going home to wait for the letter to request the blood tests (which I wrote about here) from my GP, to send to the clinic for checking, and if all was well it would be time for hormone treatment.
Well that turned into a saga and a half.
I took my copy of the letter to my GP surgery (knowing that’s the fastest way to get it on their system), and they told me to take the letter along with me to a different clinic.
This clinic is about 8 miles from me, but I don’t drive, so it’s actually an hour and a half or so on a couple of buses away. I was just starting a new day job, which had me in training 9-5 for a few weeks, and that was the only time the clinic was open, so I sat on it all for a month and waited until my first day off in the week.
Come the day off, I took those buses over to the clinic, to be told that I needed a sheet with barcodes on it, which my GP office would be able to give me.
Soooo I took the buses back to my GP office to ask for it, the receptionist spoke to the phlebotomist, who said actually they can do the tests there after all, so I made an appointment for the following week.
Next week came and in I went. I came out minus a few vials of blood, and plus the embarrassment of having been misgendered by the phlebotomist loudly and in front of the entire waiting room.
This was around the time I changed my mobile number, and hadn’t informed my GP office of this, so the next thing I got a while later was a letter saying there was an issue and the blood needed to be taken again. So I made an appointment and saw the phlebotomist, who apologised, they had tried to contact me, but the lab had thrown away my blood because my details didn’t match – turns out my details hadn’t been altered on that system so I was down under the wrong name and gender. Phlebotomist told me they had really tried to get my details changed in order to fix the problem but the records office needed written proof from me.
So, fair enough, details wrong and only I’m able to change them – my last two day jobs have been heavy on the data protection laws, and it was my fault for not updating my mobile number. I got the name and address and wrote with a copy of my deed poll. Then I waited some more.
A couple of weeks later, I got a confirmation that details had been changed and made another appointment, go get blood taken again. The one bright side to this was that phlebotomist is now really, really aware of my gender, so much so that she comments on how much happier I seem.
Anyways…the next day I got a call from GP surgery asking me to go in that afternoon due to one of the blood tests showing raised prolactin levels. So, after some googling to remind myself what the hell prolactin is (oestrogen hormone, connected to lactation, raised levels of which can be caused by anything from stress to brain tumours) in I went to see a doctor, who tells me it’s a couple of hundred points high. This isn’t super high, but verges on the levels of something to be concerned over. Doc asks me if I’ve been stressed…at which point I admit I started laughing, and agreed that I probably was…
So, another week, and I got that test done again, and am assured and promised that results will be sent to the gender clinic.
All of this has taken up to the first week in May. 3 months, folks. 3 months. And it’s time for me to go back to the gender clinic!
So I did, and when the question of blood test results comes up, I did a quick version of the saga and the doc hunted to see if she had the tests anywhere – which she didn’t. Either they didn’t get sent, or they’re nowhere to be found, either way, doc said don’t worry, they will call my GP office and get the results.
So now I continue to wait for the letter that hopefully gives the go-ahead for treatment.
Then I have to somehow juggle a way to get an injection every 3 weeks, and regular blood tests every few weeks that need to be taken right before the injection. If all slots into place, this could be as simply as phlebotomist giving injection every 3 weeks, and every so often taking blood before doing so.
I know that phlebotomist is supportive, enough so that I forgive the earlier misgendering, so I’m hoping that if I approach it with this as a suggestion, that it’ll be doable. But given the way the rest of this has gone, I’m not expecting this to be any easier…
But hey, I’m still me, right? So it’s not like I’ve sat and done nothing while waiting.
I’m very aware that going onto hormones is going to cause a lot of changes, and some of those changes are likely to weird me the fuck out!
So, with the extra time, I’ve taken up taekwondo, and started running the Zombies 5k – both things which help my continued efforts be in tune with, and more accepting of, the body I have. I hope that this will make it less freaksome, and allow me to be more comfortable, when those changes start to happen.
It’s also helped me to quit overthinking what’s going to happen by giving me something else to focus on (even if that something else is just the PAIN from doing the strenuous things) – always good.
Here’s a thing I do know: no matter how ready you think you are, there’s always another level of ready to get to. Delays can make you lose it, or they can give you a chance to reach higher.
I’m no paragon of patience. I can put my calm face on and stroll my way around the track, and I’m fine – I’ll even enjoy the journey, as a rule. But as soon as I hit that last lap, I just want to get there as fast as possible. And when that last lap gets repeatedly extended beyond my reach, I can get very agitated.
But I still have to keep going until I reach the new finish line, wherever that may be. I do that by finding other ways to keep my cool, and other things to progress with, until I get there.
OK sure, I’ve also had a months-long bout of major insomnia, but I never said my system was perfect…I’ll sleep when I hit that finish line. And when I wake, I’ll be ready for the next marathon.