Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Countdown Starts!

It's finally arrived, a countdown I can officially start counting down from to my GRS! Ok, I've been counting down since I got my date but today sees me start something that I must do in preparation for it.

Oddly, I have used the term start when it should in fact be stop. Today marks exactly six weeks to my surgery and this is the point at which I have to stop taking my feminising hormones. It's with mixed feelings that I do this because I am now moving on towards that date but also now have to deal with no oestrogen in my body. I also have to wait three weeks after surgery before I can resume it.

The reasons for this are the risk associated with HRT and anaesthesia. There is reportedly a greater risk of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) because of this and the associated bed rest that occurs after GRS.

So what effects does this potentially entail? I have spoken to quite a few people and researched this deeply on the Internet. This is what I can expect:
  • Hot flushes - this is by far the most common effect and is experienced by every single person I have talked to or read about.
  • Increased body hair growth - again this seems to be a very common effect and facial hair seems to be the more prominent effect.
  • Reduction in breast tissue - This is not so commonly reported and it does vary in amount with those that have experienced it.
  • Emotional changes - This is to be expected but surprisingly, many seem to report being more tearful and getting upset. Some suggest that this is down to the calming effect that can come with taking estradiol dissappears.
  • Scalp hair loss - This is rarer but I have heard one person discuss this.
  • Change to body shape - This is also rarely reported and when it is, they are very small changes.
Something that should be considered in my case is that during the 18 months or so that I have been on hormones, I have actually managed to suppress my testosterone without the need for any type of blocker at all. The downside to this is that having stopped my estradiol, the dreaded T is going to start being produced again. Quite how this will feel and present itself is a mystery because I have not yet found anyone in the flesh that did not need a suppressant at some point in their treatment. I seem to be very rare in this regard. I did consider the option of having a blocker for this period. I took on board advice and experiences and made an informed decision to not have anything. Blockers have side effects of their own and one person has reported it laying her low for at least a week with some severe symptoms. I also talked it over with Linda at the Laurel's and she seemed to think doing it hard-core so to speak was a good option because of the fact I will get more erections. This sounds a bit bizarre to seem like a good thing but they will have the effect of stretching the tissue I have in readiness for surgery. At least it gives me an opportunity to reflect the side effects of the dreaded testosterone and relay it on for others in the future.

The whole subject of hormone withdrawal has led me to find some very interesting debate on the subject. Many disagree as to whether it is necessary. citing the fact that cis-gender women still have the same levels of estradiol in their bodies but are not asked to take any form of suppressant for this. Some have even advocated ignoring the advice and just continue without telling anyone. Myself, I take this on board but this is probably the only major surgery I am likely to have in the immediate future and I can take the 9 weeks of hot flushes, hair growth, erections and anything else it throws at me. In six weeks, the source of the testosterone will be removed anyway, never to return!

Because we are fast approaching the big day, I will be updating a couple of times a week with thoughts, feelings and more. Come back soon x


  1. The period without hormones shouldn't be as bad as you imagine and just think, after one more little blast, the T you produce won't be more than any other female...:)
    I am excited that you have gotten to this point Lucy, and rather quickly after your HRT journey finally began. I'm 10 weeks post op now and can honestly say that recovery is not bad at all and you will benefit from this surgery, even in the short, term, in ways you never imagined. I wish you all the best in the coming weeks and beyond!

    1. Thank you Tammy :)

      I appreciate your comments about the hormones. I'm sure it wont be too bad, but nine weeks is a fairly significant amount of time. At least there are only 6 of them with the dreaded T, and even 36 hours since my last dose of estradiol, that has reared it's ugly head! Waking in the middle of the night I found something was as it hasn't been for quite some time!

      I have been keeping an eye on your blog over time, and also have a close friend who had her surgery 3 weeks ago. Both experiences have made me aware of things, including not pushing it too much to start with. Seeing the experience happening in front of me has been very useful and helps me make decisions now that will benefit me post-op.

      Lucy x