Saturday, November 25, 2006

stick 'em up

Been a while- I've got a couple of half-formed posts lying around that I might try to finish up, but in the meantime, a few more things have been boiling around in my head.
I'm trying to decide whether to ask my doctor if I can start self-injecting. The protocol would have me waiting a year, which would be April, but Callen Lorde, bless its heart, is genuinely flexible, and my therapist has hinted that I could bring the topic up for discussion and it would be well received. There are a number of factors to consider.

Pros: No more time spent (wasted) trekking to and from the clinic every other week, not to mention time spent in the waiting room, etc. Being able to switch to a weekly or 10 day cycle instead of my current 14 days, which I suspect (though through anecdotal evidence only) might help with mood swings and acne issues. In general, having more control over my shots- not having to plan my weeks around when appointments are available, and not having to be late for a shot if I'm out of town for more than 2 weeks in a row.

Cons: I have to stick the needle in my butt myself. I wouldn't have thought I'd be squeamish about such things, but the thought is honestly not appealing. I'm sure it's something that would get easier with practice, but still, it's not something the I'm bouncing up and down eager for.

Though I am pretty eager to mitigate this acne of mine- it wasn't really a component of my first puberty, and I have to say I think it's my least favorite component of this one. Really makes me feel unattractive and juvenile to have an oily, pustulent face.
Other than the acne, other T-related stuff is progressing just fine. Hair keeps coming, muscles keep firming. It's been pointed out to me several times by now that if I'd just work out, I could easily build quite a bit of muscle, since I've got muscles now that are scant but definite. Amazing what hormones can do for you. If I took advantage of my newfound muscle building abilities, and worked out, I could become, as they say, jacked.

My motivations in that regard are somewhat suspect, though. Why do I want to be more muscular? Mostly to more definitively code my body as male, and I'm not sure that's something I need or want to do anymore. I mean, muscles are useful- I'd like to be able to sweep my lover into my arms more easily, or hoist the suitcases up to the top shelf of my closet with slightly less huffing/puffing. And well defined shoulders and a flatter stomach would let my clothes hang on me in a more pleasing way. But a big reason I want muscles is because manly men have muscles, and I'm starting to let go of the idea that I'm going to be a manly man. I'm going to be me, Eli, man, and I've got some muscles and they're great, but why do I need more? If I do, I want the muscles for the suitcase-hoisting, not for the ego-boosting.
Although if I had more muscle on me, it might keep me from having silly ridiculous moments like this one. For...oh, I don't know, two months or so, I was a little bit worried about the left side of my chest. I'd been healing nicely from surgery, but when I was lying down and playing my fingers over my left pec, I could feel a hard edge at the end of the muscle, just above the scar. I was worried, maybe there was some intense scar tissue under there, or an adhesion? It was definitely something I'd never felt before surgery, and I was trying not to worry, but was definitely a little anxious about it.

Until a few weeks ago, when I was standing in front of my mirror checking out my chest, and I felt that hard lump, and I happened to move my arms up and down a bit...and realized that the lump didn't move with me. In fact, I could see the lump staying still under my flexing skin, and I could see similar lumps above and below it on both sides of my chest. It was my damn ribcage! I'm so scrawny that since I no longer have breast tissue in the way, I can feel my freakin' ribs when I'm poking around my chest. God, I felt like an idiot.
Speaking of my chest, it's doing well. There's been a subtle paradigm shift sometime in the last month, and I'm not sure when it happened, and I wasn't even aware of it til it shifted, but my chest has slowly become normal to me again.

It's been what, three and a half months? I didn't realize how much I was feeling the sudden absence of my breasts, but I was definitely getting used to the new landscape of my chest. It's no longer a new landscape. It feels normal to me, instead of new and exciting. My scars no longer seem like remnants, but rather like features of my body in their own right. They're fading, but not as quickly as I might've hoped. In fact, they almost seem pinker now than they did a month ago, and they've definitely wider. They've spread some. I hear that scarring generally looks worse before it looks better- something about blood flow to the area making scars look reddened, but that'll stop as the healing continues. I woke up the other morning and forgot that I had scars til I looked down and remembered- that was nice. Not to forget that I've got a trans body, but to forget about the trauma I put my poor torso through in order to shape it like I wanted.

And really, that's one of the more taxing things I've ever put my body through. I had that heart surgery in 7th grade, but that seemed easier, somehow, because it was so minimally invasive, and deliberately kept lowkey. These are certainly the biggest scars on my body. I've never broken anything (except that pesky knee, but that seemed minor, too) and so this has been my major wound.

My nipples are healing well, and sensation is returning, but it does seem like the pain nerves are the first ones to come back, because they go from numb to stabby with nothing in between. I'm hoping that'll stop, which I think it will...already my incisions are less tender than they used to be, so that bodes well for the nips.

So anyway. It's very nice to feel like my chest is my own- a totally new feeling, I think. It used to feel like breasts, which didn't make sense as mine. I mean, I knew it was my skin, but it didn't make sense as my body, which is why my body freakouts were so often centered around my chest. And then after surgery, it was doubly alien for a while- unfamiliar, and also unfeeling. It was a Brownstein chest. Now,, I think it's mine.

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