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Questions From An FTM Needlephobe

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by iiimee, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. iiimee

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    Hey guys, Chase here! ^_^ So, after my dad got fired for narcolepsy and I had to stop seeing the phobia/gender identity therapist, which really sucked because it was super lucky of us to find a therapist who specialized with both of those things AND specialized with working with kids/teens, so she was definitely one of the best therapists I could have hoped to find, especially in a conservative state like this. Anyway, now I'm a little bit older, and testosterone is becoming exceedingly more important to me. I mean, technically I could survive without it, but honestly I am worried that the longer I'll go without it, the harder it'll be to transition later in life, which is why, with me being in my late teens, I finally summoned up the courage to ask my mom about resuming my needle exposure therapy AND getting either hormone blockers or testosterone... I'd prefer testosterone honestly, but I suggested hormone blockers just because my mom might have worries about my dad trying to stop me from getting testosterone, and overall testosterone comes with a lot of health risks, and since I already have the slightest bit of hypothyroid (Very, VERY slight, almost nonexistent) she might worry about that, ya know? Anyway, I have some questions about all of this, and I hope you guys will help. I've tried to research most of these things, but haven't found really direct answers for any of them.

    Regardless of what I get, where would you suggest I get the shots? The two places I can get testosterone is my butt and my thigh, while a third option is available for hormone blockers: the stomach. The muscle has to be pinched up while the shot is being injected apparently, so please consider that.

    What health risks come with taking hormone blockers? I know the risks for testosterone, but what about hormone blockers?

    Will hormone blockers permanently affect my bone development? Also, am I at higher risk for any issues that come with either one of these because of the fact I'm Anemic? I can't find anything that even remotely affects that, but I don't like taking chances...

    How long do I have to wait before I can receive a letter of recommendation to get testosterone or hormone blockers in Kentucky? Is there a certain number of months or appointments I have to attend before I can get one?

    Do you guys think that being on testosterone will prevent me from trying out for sports? Just curious, because I don't know if testosterone would be considered a "performance enhancer" despite the fact I'm using it for a medical reason and most teammates produce a lot of it naturally... Also, weight gain could be an issue for how they rank me by my weight class...

    Finally, does anyone just have some good methods for getting rid of my anxiety while I get shots/blood drawn? I am doing some of my exposure therapy on my own and have gotten better, but I'd like tips for how to remain calm "in the moment".

    ---------- Post added 8th Jul 2016 at 10:04 PM ----------

    Oh, and fat distribution: Will being on T affect how my fat distributes at all? I can't find a straight answer for that either... >_<
     
  2. Daydreamer1

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    Note: Sorry if there are any spelling/grammar errors, since I'm typing this from my kindle.

    If you're afraid of needles, see if you can do your shots via subq rather than IM; since the needles are shorter and they only have to go into the fat under your skin.

    As far as blockers go, I don't know much about them. You shouldn't run into problems if you opt for them, assuming your doctor thinks they're a good idea. With letters of recommendation, your experience will vary. I've seen people get their letters after one or two sessions, and some people had to wait months. So no, I'd say there is no set in stone number of appointments you'd need to have to get evaluated.

    With sports, I'd check in with your school or where you are, since laws vary from place to place--even if it's a medication you need. With relaxing while drawing bloods and/or injecting, I find that having a good distraction helps. I have a moderate to somewhat severe needle phobia, and I thought I'd never get myself to do my own shots after relying on someone to help me for the first two months. But nbow I'm 17 months on and I've been doing them on my own.

    Something I feel that has helped me is having music on to help me relax. I'd throw a record or playlist on and it did wonders to help. I got in the swing of things so well that I'd have my shot done in under two minutes most days. Also try having a reward system in place; like a movie or snack to congratulate you on a job well done. If I had to go out on shot day, I'd reward myself with an iced coffee.

    And don't worry, I understand your worries. I have hypothyroidism as well, and it was a concern of mine before I started. Thankfully my endo was understanding and kept an eye on it, and was cool with refilling my thyroid meds if I needed it.
     
    #2 Daydreamer1, Jul 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  3. InfinityonHigh

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    How old are you? If you're over 15 (potentially even 13-14 would be the upper limit; I nearly got denied when I tied to start them a few months after reaching 13), it's safe to say that no doctor will prescribe you blockers alone. (they are occasionally prescribed in addition to testosterone) A study on trans kids about a year or two ago proved them to be "safe and effective." (It shouldn't be hard to find that study) But none of this would be relevant if you're over that age. If you're under that age, I can give you more details if you need any.

    Testosterone comes not only in shots, they come in gel and patches as well. (And pills and pellets but those are less popular, and also because pills are illegal in the US) You'll still need regular blood tests to check for your levels (and before getting on it as well), but they'll be much less frequent than with injections.

    Fat redistribution does happen on T, and it's almost always listed in the changes of T no matter where the source is coming from.
     
  4. iiimee

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    Oh wow, I hadn't even heard of SubQ! I'll definitely consider them! Do you know how often I'll need to take Subcutaneous shots compared to IM ones? Like, I'm fine with once a week or less often, but I read about this guy who takes Subcutaneous shots just now and he takes 2 a week! X_X

    Yeah... my school's extremely welcoming to trans people, but idk how they'd feel about a transitioning transgender person playing for them... I don't think it'll be a huge issue...

    I'd listen to music, but I don't have a phone or mp3! XD Maybe I'll have my sister come with me and I'll steal her music...

    :/ I don't need thyroid meds, and hopefully that won't change once I take testosterone.


    What about bloodwork? During my first visits, how much blood should I expect for them to draw from me? How long does it usually take you guys? I've only had my blood drawn with butterfly needles before, so I'm already scared. X_X Heh, as long as I don't need to see my blood I'll be okay...

    ---------- Post added 8th Jul 2016 at 11:25 PM ----------

    I'm barely over that limit. :/ I might be able to get blockers still, so just in case I'd like all the info I can get. Thanks. Also, I know about the gels, but I also know they're less effective and more expensive around here, so I wouldn't want those. X_X
     
  5. iiimee

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    Oh, and maybe I'm worrying too much, but is one better if I want to play sports? I'm not sure how true it is, but I heard that injecting testosterone IM can lead to muscle problems...
     
  6. InfinityonHigh

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    [/COLOR]
    I'm barely over that limit. :/ I might be able to get blockers still, so just in case I'd like all the info I can get. Thanks. Also, I know about the gels, but I also know they're less effective and more expensive around here, so I wouldn't want those. X_X[/QUOTE]

    Well then, I'll give you the info I have and some personal experience. I'd usually suggest reading the wikipedia or drug reviews when it comes to any kind of medication, but for this one I'd highly advise against that. They make it seem a lot scarier and worse than it actually is. Also, avoid any articles from anti-trans sources.

    Also, I wanted to say that the limit I mentioned is a rough estimate from me, and I don't know about what individual doctors will say. The reason that by the time you're 15/16 you won't be allowed on blockers alone is because
    1. Puberty is mostly complete by that time and the effects won't be that great. One of the reasons that blockers are used is to stop any further changes from happening. I'm paraphrasing what I hear a lot, but most people will say that it doesn't take away any changes that already happened. (I do want to note that I've noticed shrinkage in the chest area and my endocrinologist said it was an expected change, not sure if you count this as "reverting)
    2. You're allowed to go on T by that age. One of the other reasons puberty blockers are used is because they don't want you making "permanent" decisions at such a "young" age and they're used to buy time. It's a transphobic reasoning in its truth but it's what we have right now.

    If needles is one of your problems, puberty blockers come in an implant that work for 12-18 months. The effects are more or less the same. Apparently it's also a quite simple procedure.

    As for the side effects, I've heard "basically none" to "menopausal symptoms." (you can find out what menopausal symptoms are online) Anecdotally, hot flushes don't seem uncommon. I personally haven't experienced them but it's not to be unexpected. I've also heard of weight gain (usually people who report this say that it's significant, >15 pounds) Then again there aren't any statistics on how often this happens. There might be more but I can't exactly remember them. The one side effect that it's almost certain to happen is pain/soreness around the injection site (the same will happen with the implant). Lasts about a day or two, but it's bearable and avoiding any pressure on the site will help a lot. I got the option of doing it in the butt or in the thigh, and never with the stomach area. Not sure where that came from. If your problem is with seeing a needle, then with it going in the butt area, you'll probably be fine.

    I asked my doctor recently, and I got the answer that there really aren't any conditions that can stop you from going on hormone blockers. It seems to be a generally safe medication. I know it's a pregnancy category X drug (meaning you absolutely cannot use it when pregnant), but I'm quite certain that it's not something relevant to you.

    Bone development is related to sex hormones and blockers will affect that. However, going on HRT will solve the problem with bone development. As long as you don't remain on them for too long, do weight-bearing exercises, and get enough calcium. You should be fine.

    That's what I know. If you want more just ask or even message me on my wall.

    Testosterone will aid in muscle growth, so it'll be the most beneficial to sports performance. Note that you won't be allowed to play on an all-female team if you take that. The muscle problem thing is why you switch sides every time you inject. The muscle problems you're referring to is probably scar tissue forming. It can be avoided.
     
  7. Daydreamer1

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    With doing shots, they're the same as IM. It will depend on what your endo thinks is best for you; like once a week, every ten days, every two weeks and so on. In the US, we have something called Aveed which is similar to Nebido (which is in Europe) which is a certain form of T that's done only a few times a year--making shot days fewer and farther between. From what I understand, four shots are done at once, and then you go back to see your doctor three or four months later.

    If you don't have a phone or mp3 player, how about a TV? You can have your favorite show or something on in the background. I've found that helps too, and I'd get my shot cleared before the opening was done.

    When you first see your endo, you'll have some standard papers to sign like you would if you're meeting a new dentist or you're at a new doctor's office. You can mention that you may have hypothyroidism, and they can see if it's anything to be worried about. Your bloodwork can also be helpful in helping them determine if it's something to keep an eye on.

    With general blood work, less than five minutes or so if you ask me is how long it takes. They only take a few small tubes and that's about it, and the needles are pretty small from what I remember. It's honestly not too bad. If you're that person who gets pretty lightheaded when you get blood drawn, see if you have to fast the night before. If you don't, check in with them to see if it's okay if you eat something before hand. Sometimes going in on an empty stomach can make you more prone to having that kind of experience, though not everyone is like that. If not, bring a snack with you to eat when it's over to perk you up.
     
  8. thepandaboss

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    I inject IM (that's what's so nice about being fat, I don't feel the needle :astonished:) but haven't noticed any muscle issues. In fact, I'm already starting to see some nice development (biceps and legs)
     
  9. iiimee

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    Well then, I'll give you the info I have and some personal experience. I'd usually suggest reading the wikipedia or drug reviews when it comes to any kind of medication, but for this one I'd highly advise against that. They make it seem a lot scarier and worse than it actually is. Also, avoid any articles from anti-trans sources.

    Also, I wanted to say that the limit I mentioned is a rough estimate from me, and I don't know about what individual doctors will say. The reason that by the time you're 15/16 you won't be allowed on blockers alone is because
    1. Puberty is mostly complete by that time and the effects won't be that great. One of the reasons that blockers are used is to stop any further changes from happening. I'm paraphrasing what I hear a lot, but most people will say that it doesn't take away any changes that already happened. (I do want to note that I've noticed shrinkage in the chest area and my endocrinologist said it was an expected change, not sure if you count this as "reverting)
    2. You're allowed to go on T by that age. One of the other reasons puberty blockers are used is because they don't want you making "permanent" decisions at such a "young" age and they're used to buy time. It's a transphobic reasoning in its truth but it's what we have right now.

    If needles is one of your problems, puberty blockers come in an implant that work for 12-18 months. The effects are more or less the same. Apparently it's also a quite simple procedure.

    As for the side effects, I've heard "basically none" to "menopausal symptoms." (you can find out what menopausal symptoms are online) Anecdotally, hot flushes don't seem uncommon. I personally haven't experienced them but it's not to be unexpected. I've also heard of weight gain (usually people who report this say that it's significant, >15 pounds) Then again there aren't any statistics on how often this happens. There might be more but I can't exactly remember them. The one side effect that it's almost certain to happen is pain/soreness around the injection site (the same will happen with the implant). Lasts about a day or two, but it's bearable and avoiding any pressure on the site will help a lot. I got the option of doing it in the butt or in the thigh, and never with the stomach area. Not sure where that came from. If your problem is with seeing a needle, then with it going in the butt area, you'll probably be fine.

    I asked my doctor recently, and I got the answer that there really aren't any conditions that can stop you from going on hormone blockers. It seems to be a generally safe medication. I know it's a pregnancy category X drug (meaning you absolutely cannot use it when pregnant), but I'm quite certain that it's not something relevant to you.

    Bone development is related to sex hormones and blockers will affect that. However, going on HRT will solve the problem with bone development. As long as you don't remain on them for too long, do weight-bearing exercises, and get enough calcium. You should be fine.

    That's what I know. If you want more just ask or even message me on my wall.

    Testosterone will aid in muscle growth, so it'll be the most beneficial to sports performance. Note that you won't be allowed to play on an all-female team if you take that. The muscle problem thing is why you switch sides every time you inject. The muscle problems you're referring to is probably scar tissue forming. It can be avoided.[/QUOTE]

    I'm on a dominantly male team, so I doubt that me injecting testosterone in me will be an issue then. XD

    I actually misspoke- I have HYPERthyroid, I just found out... I already have "menopausal symptons" because of that and I think I might have a whole list of problems with my ovaries. >_< And I could still go on puberty blockers I think, just because bone development-wise I'm not quite finished, though my breasts and added fat from puberty is definitely done.



    I don't think they have TVs at the doctor's office. What's Aveed like? I've never heard of that before, though I live in the US. Does Aveed make the effects "less" than what they'd usually be?

    X_X A few... small... tubes... Man, you're already making me queasy! XD Well, at least it won't be a whole pint or something crazy right? When people talk about bloodwork I already assume they're going to take so much more than they do... I guess they're not gong to be able to use butterfly needles though, if it's several vials... I have very big veins that stay in place, so I should have no issues with them finding my vein.

    Awesome! Yeah, overall it seems to help, but somebody on another site mentioned what is basically muscle necrosis so I sort of flipped when I read that. XD Heh, I'd be terrified if that happened to me.
     
  10. iiimee

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    Not to be an attention hog, but can somebody help me figure this stuff out? I used to have a gender and phobia therapist in Louisville KY. Unfortunately, that insurance got canceled. Now, my mom and me are looking for another therapist, but the issue I'm seeing is that I need separate therapists for my gender issues and my phobia probably, which really isn't that much of an issue... but can I make sure I have the "process" down right? I mean, I'm not sure if certain therapists are qualified to write me letters of recommendation for HRT or not... Is every gender therapist qualified to do that, or should I be looking for something specific? Just curious, thanks!
     
  11. iiimee

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    ^ Okay, figured that out, but now I have ANOTHER question. X_X What blood work will be needed? Like, I sort of got an answer, but not really. I'd like to know people's experiences basically: When getting blood tests, how many vials did they take from you per visit? I also kind of need to know how often your shots were though, so that I can get an idea if I'll need to give, idk, 4 vials of blood in one session ever. :/ I mean, I guess it's not a big deal if I schedule them on different days, right? It's not like I can just recover from my needlephobia instantly. X_X