Ouchies and Happy Birthday

So I was at work and thought to myself – this is going to be an easy day. Had a great co-worker who I really trust and know she’s a hard worker and the clinic was short. I was looking forward to a breezy day and heading home early. Well, mid-way through we got this 60 pound akita who I could tell was nervous from his body language. I squatted down to introduce myself and pet him, going slow since I could see he wasn’t keen on being there. He started to move into my body, accepting the pets and was distracted enough to allow me to turn his body around so I could be in position to wrap him into a hold for blood work. At the last minute, however, the doctor opted to have the dog put on the table and when I went to attempt to lift the dog shot back and sunk his teeth into my right arm. When I released the hold and went to jump back he spun and got me again in my left arm.  Needless to say it was a trip to the hospital for me. Management came to help out with the clinic and drive me to the hospital where I was, surprisingly, in and out pretty quickly.

Thankfully, though, the bite on the right arm was high up on the forearm because I was scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery a little over a week later. When I went for medical clearance the doctor seemed to think there would be no issues so on April 21 I went into the surgery center (that I used to work at) and went in for my surgery. When I came to it was nice to see old friends that I worked with before there to say hello. I got stellar treatment but, what impressed me the most – they labeled my chart as male (even though, legally, they had to use my legal name). When they called me to give me the pre-op instructions the night before they asked my preferred name and then used that the rest of the day.


I spent the rest of the day sleeping off the anesthesia and healing but other than a little tenderness and getting antsy with my dressing I had virtually no pain. Like an idiot, though, I almost immediately started using my hand but apparently that worked to my favor. It kept the muscles from cramping up and acted as therapy allowing me to get right into fine motor skills before my second week post-op. My surgeon is still keeping the stitches in until the 13th because my job creates too much of a risk of opening the incision site. So yes, I’m typing this with stitches and a vet-wrap bandage.

I purposefully planned the surgery for the 21st so that I could take that Thursday and that weekend off from work and celebrate my birthday that weekend. Saturday was the day for dinner. My brother and his family had a soccer game so they weren’t coming until 7-730 that night. My sister and her kids kept me company most of the day as we just putzed around the house and played some cards (which was interesting trying to hold). My brother’s clan arrived and we had a nice dinner. I got some gift cards and the router I really wanted (yes, I’m a geek). The important thing I want to note here – the best present that I received from everyone – was the card I got from my brother’s family was made out to “Uncle Jude” my sister’s card was made out to Jude and my mother posted this to her facebook (the first time she ever referenced to me as male):


The following day was the day of my birthday but that seemed to be a busy day for everyone else. My sister, for some reason, made plans to spend the day with her in-laws instead of me for my day. My parents were busy and given that it was a Sunday everyone I know was working. My parents called me that afternoon around 4 to ask if I wanted Krisch’s (an ice cream/food place). I told them I had just made something to eat for myself and wasn’t that keen on Krisch’s anyway, but thanks for the offer. If they were up for Friendly’s or even Carvel I would be interested. When they got home my father kept asking to go to Krisch’s to which I said I really didn’t want to go there, but if they wanted it by all means don’t let me stop them from going. By 7 it was decided that we would, in fact, go to Friendly’s and we headed out. Mid-drive there my father said he wanted to watch the season finale of the previous Game of Thrones season before the new episodes started that night so we would not be staying at Friendly’s we would just get ice cream and head home instead. So, we went home and I ate my ice cream while watching GoT and then went to bed.

So right now I’m still healing. The bites have left some scars although they seem to be healing pretty nicely and my stitches from surgery will hopefully come out in a little over a week. I can’t wait to take a full shower and scrub my hand. It’s funny how you miss even the smallest things like being able to take a shower without wrapping up in a plastic bag and juggling yourself to minimize how wet the hand gets. There’s lots of fun stuff on the horizons as we get into the summer – if this weather would just knock it off with all this miserable rain and cold days and realize we’re in May already.













Medication Shit-Show

When the average person is prescribed a medication by their physician it’s sent to their local pharmacy like CVS, Walgreens, or any other number of places. From there it’s filled either instantly or usually within the day. This is not the case, however, when you live in New York and you’re a trans person on HRT, especially one that requires injections. So this is how my newest adventure in maintaining my HRT has gone.

I went to an endocrinologist (now that I’m insured I could do that). I had called to schedule the appointment and was clear about why I want making the appointment and asked if this was something they could do, which I was surprised to hear that they do. The appointment was timed just right because I was almost out of the emergency 1mL vial Callen-Lorde called in for me after their constant debacle. Turns out, however, that the doctor didn’t feel that he could provide me with the medical care and monitoring needed. While he was willing to attempt to take me as a patient it was clear he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the various monitoring and regiment I would need. He gave me referrals and a prescription so that I could maintain my HRT while I’m looking for a doctor who could provide me regular prescriptions as the time comes. The doctor was speaking to the ladies in the office after I left and expressed that he was disappointed that he couldn’t help when one of the ladies called and advised me that her son went to school with someone who transitioned from female to male as well who was local. She gave me his facebook page name and recommended I pick his brain about local doctors who are capable of handling trans-related care. (I left a message on his page but have not yet heard back).

I immediately sent it in the mail to Strohecker’s Pharmacy in Portland, OR where I’ve used them before. While I was entirely unhappy that they still cannot compound (therein be cheaper) I was happy to tell them I’m not insured. When they called to finalize my order I gave my insurance information but was told it was coming back as declined for coverage. If I wanted to pay the out-of-pocket costs it would be $99 (as usual). I advised I would call them back on pay day if I was going to do that but I was going to call my insurance to find out why I wasn’t covered when I specifically asked if it was covered before my insurance went into effect.

My insurance company advised that it was covered but because it’s considered a controlled substance and because I’m in NY I would have to go through their specific pharmacy. I called their pharmacy to find out how to get my prescription filled through them and was speaking to their Orlando office. I was advised, though, that my medication would be filled through the Queens, NY office and was transferred there. I spoke to Queens and gave them my information and after that entire process was advised that they’re still updating their systems for a while and my medication will actually be filled (for now) through the Orlando office and I would have to do my intake all over again with them and was transferred back. After completing my information for a second time they gave me the address, phone, and fax number that the doctor will need and advised that they need a hard copy prescription mailed to them.

After getting a feeling that this pharmacy was not going to make things easy for me I called Strohecker’s and left a message for them on Friday to go ahead and process my order with my credit card on file and ship it. A few hours later I get a message from them telling me that all of a sudden they can’t ship to NY. When I called back demanding to know why I wasn’t told this when I spoke to them earlier in the week they said they’re changing locations and that’s why they can’t compound yet and it’s changed their licensing abilities on where they can ship.

I called the doctor’s office and was told that NY law changed and they can no longer send prescriptions in the mail and everything is now digital. They sent the prescription in accordance with that law. I get a call the next day from the insurance company saying they need all kinds of additional information. When I called back they advised they had everything they needed and were just waiting on the prescription. I called the doctor and left a message to follow up. So today I got the doctor’s office on the phone and they told me that it was sent, digitally, on March 30th. I called the pharmacy and was told that it wouldn’t be in their system that fast it probably wasn’t even received through the mail yet. I advised that it wasn’t a mailed one it was digital. The nasty lady told me it has to be hard copy to which I said NY law said they can’t send hard copies. The lady actually had the balls to say the doctor doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I said right back to her “You’re telling me that as a random person in FL you know the law better than the doctor in NY who is from NY and deals with this all the time?” I just hung up on her and called the doctor back where the lovely ladies there took pity on me (or were just as tired hearing from me as I was of calling) and she called them directly. She called me back and said they are all squared away but they need my insurance information added to the file (yes, that same information I spent hours doing the other day back and forth).

I called the pharmacy back and they said they have my insurance information they’re just waiting on a hard copy. I went through the entire saga again and she told me that she was aware of the law and that a supervisor is trying to see if they can expedite my medication with a digital script but to make sure I really can get it just have the doctor send a hard copy. So, yet another call back to the doctor and they agreed to just send out a mailed copy to put this whole shit-show to rest.

So now I wait anxiously for my prescription to get there and filled and hopefully to me by Friday because I’ve just used the last drops I had left. I’ve under-dosed myself for 5 shots so far because I knew I was going to have to stretch it until I could see the endocrinologist but did not account for the outrageous insanity that ensued with the two pharmacies.

Moral of the story? Next time you go pick up a medication from the pharmacy – count your blessings.


Surgery Fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/5b2ya8c4

Where I’ve Been (Again)

I know I’ve disappeared again but at least it’s for mostly good reasons. First and foremost my job has been keeping me busy so it’s always good to be employed. It’s with a really great group of folks who (I think all of them) know I’m trans and don’t make any fuss about it and treat me just like any other guy. It’s a job that I really enjoy and laugh a lot during the day and have a pretty good time with the vast majority of the people there. It is physical and I was hoping that it would help me get into better shape but I’ve actually started to feel worse and lots of things started to really hurt, badly. I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of weight and by the time I’m done with a day I’m trashed and just want to curl up in bed. The job is NOT that physical and shouldn’t be draining me and causing me to be in so much pain. It’s a major concern.

Although my time with Callen-Lorde was short-lived and left a bad taste in my mouth I did manage to get decent insurance at a decent price through their assistance. As a result I made appointments with damn near every kind of specialist I could find. While I continue to get chest pains and shortness of breath my heart has checked out to be in good shape (the pulmonologist appointment is coming up). My left hand as carpal tunnel but they feel it can be saved with the use of a brace and increasing my various vitamin B’s but my right hand they feel pretty sure is shot and will require surgical correction. This makes sense as it’s been increasingly difficult for me to do even the most basic tasks that I used to do, including typing because I have numbing sensation loss in my fingertips which makes doing things like typing tricky. Due to previously being struck my a car I suffered permanent nerve damage in the upper right side but going to a chiropractor weekly has provided amazing results and I can now sleep through the night (mostly) without waking up in paralyzing agony. The pulmonologist will tell me if there’s lung issues and get my CPAP machine reconfigured so that will also help with my sleeping through the night.

But I’m still concerned about the extreme lethargy and that it just seems to be getting worse over time. Now that I’m insured and my insurance will cover trans-related surgeries I began speaking to a counselor in preparation for surgery down the road. In the course of our conversation it was mentioned that I may be suffering from Dysthymia and will be following up with that shortly. If this is the final diagnosis and it works out that we can treat things I’m truly looking forward to getting my mind and body in true alignment. I’m hoping that with this being treated, combined with the continued back care, the correction of the carpal tunnel, and the CPAP being fully operational I will be rejuvenated. I’m looking forward to working out and getting my body in shape again. I hate how it looks right now and I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m tired of feeling sluggish – there’s so many things I truly enjoy doing that I’ve had to give up or never even try because I know I wouldn’t have the follow-through or the energy to do it. I’m looking ahead with a renewed sense of purpose in life and maybe even get to experience life in all its glory.

Here’s to hoping….

Surgery Fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/5b2ya8c4

Callen Lorde is Terrible

After my previous doctor would constantly dead-name and misgender me I got aggravated but I was willing to bite the bullet and keep trying to educate and correct him as long as he would keep giving me my testosterone. After they screwed me with a massive bill and the continued lack of growth regarding being trans-aware I opted to discontinue using them and made my intake appointment with Callen-Lorde (for the second time.)

When I first arrived in NY I made an appointment with them desperate for a prescription renewal and was bounced around and my appointment was canceled at the last minute. This year I tried again and made my appointment. I called ahead of time to confirm the appointment date and time and they verified that I was, in fact, scheduled and confirmed for me.

The day of my appointment I get a call telling me that they had to cancel and reschedule because the intake person was not available that day. Livid at having my appointments screwed up again I demanded to be seen ASAP. I was “squeezed” in for a couple of days later wherein I had to rearrange my schedule to make sure I could get the appointment in.

When I arrived I was confirmed, filled out my paper work, and told to head up to the fifth floor to check in there. I checked in and waited for about 15 minutes before I was called into the office. They took basic vitals like weight and height and asked if I wanted STD testing. The clinician came in and when I explained I was already on HRT for a year in the half and just need a physician to maintain my HRT she told me I was in the wrong place. Now I’m being escorted out and to another floor where I had to wait, again. Finally I was taken in an had to go through a full interview of medical history and had several vials of blood drawn (which I assumed was to check my hormone levels so they could accurately prescribe my testosterone.)

After all the intake I was told I have to make yet another appointment just to see the doctor (who I was in the room with previously but was told I was in the wrong place) before I could even get a prescription. I had accounted for this, however, given the run-around I got before so I made my appointment and advised them, specifically, that I would need to have that appointment kept unlike the last two times they canceled on me and that it’s important we stay on track because I would be out of testosterone shortly thereafter.

Between that appointment and when my doctor appointment was scheduled for I had to call their lab results line 5 times because I wanted the results of the blood tests and wanted to know what was being tested since I was never told why they took blood. I finally called the main line and spoke to the woman who did my intake and was told they don’t check for hormone levels unless specifically requested so they just did a normal blood check for cholesterol and so forth. So, essentially, a waste of time.

The date of my appointment arrives and I, once again, had to rearrange my work schedule. I drive a town over just so I can get a spot at the train station, spend $23 on train tickets, get up to the platform and see the trains headlights coming down the line and suddenly I have a voicemail telling me they have to cancel because – yet again – the person I’m supposed to see didn’t come in. I march down the platform and manage to get my refund easily enough with no fees deducted and call the clinic back extremely upset that I’m going to miss my doses now as they tell me the next appointment isn’t available for almost another 6 weeks.

Due to THEIR mix up they called in a 1mL vial prescription for me to my local pharmacy and that, with the little I had left from my other vial held me over. The one good thing that came from them, however, was they filed for me to apply for insurance and they got back to me with a really great plan at a price I could actually afford. Since my insurance was going to kick in starting March 1 (and their appointment wasn’t available until March 25 or something like that) I started making appointments with all local doctors and dropped Callen-Lorde since they’ve done nothing but waste my time.

I would never recommend them for any kind of services since you never seem to actually see anyone. Even when you do manage to get in they don’t know what the hell they’re doing anyway. New York needs a better LGBT Health Center (and one on Long Island would be nice too.) Don’t bother with these idiots.

Surgery Fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/5b2ya8c4

Surviving Thanksgiving Part 2

Last year (2014) was my first Thanksgiving back in New York and the first one since I started my transition – and it was a rough time overall

While I’m definitely not happy with where I am still with my life but at least it’s on the upward swing of where I was last year. I am fully employed in a job that I really enjoy and, therein, can continually afford my T. I have “fired” my regular physician so I’m going to give Callen-Lorde a shot and have my first appointment with them in January in the hopes that they’ll take over my care.

But let’s get to the holiday. The high-anxiety and nerves associated with family gatherings isn’t as intense as it used to be but I was surprised to see how much of it I still have in relation to my transition. While many movies and TV shows depict the holidays and the season in general to be manic and overwhelming (and the cause for lots of drinking) that was never the case with us. Despite being a pretty large (and loud) family with lots going on whether it’s a birthday or something holiday-related we have our own little groove. But for me it always seems to take the anxiety up a notch because I can’t help but wonder and worry about family focusing on my transition or feeling like the odd-ball out.

As usual we went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for Thanksgiving and, just as it was last year, no one made any comments or even seemed to care. It seemed the anxiety was all my own creation. The exciting part, however, was while we were sitting and eating my 90 year old aunt (My aunt’s mother) was talking beside me and rolled right with it referring to me as a he without even a stutter.

While I’m pretty excited about the acceptance I can’t help wonder how an 90 year old woman could be so much more progressive than the younger generations.

However, later that evening as we were getting ready to leave – which is a long process as you make your rounds – I was saying goodnight to my Uncle and he asked “What name do you prefer” and I answered “Jude” and he said “Goodnight Jude, Happy Thanksgiving.”

Maybe this will be an interesting New Year ahead.

Surgery Fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/5b2ya8c4

Danish Girl

This more of a pre-review since the movie, Danish Girl, is set to release in another week. When the initial announcements were made that Eddie Redmayne was going to play Einar/Lili (based on the true story of) many felt insulted and betrayed. Many in the trans community felt this was a movie ploy that was simply riding on the Oscar Winning coat-tails of Redmayne’s work as Stephen Hawking in the Theory of Everything that also generated mixed reviews as a docu-drama and how it veered away from the reality of Hawking with a little too much creative license. Not only were trans people the world over concerned that Hollywood would take too much creative license with the sensitive subject of transitioning but that they’d be utterly clueless with how to handle the complicated (and still shunned) subject of being transgender. Despite Lili being a ground-breaking pioneer for transgender people as far back as the late 1800s into the early 1900s, including being among the first identifiable transgender person to undergo gender reassignment surgery the stigma attached to anything trans-related is still incredibly strong today, about 120 years later.

But society being against trans people isn’t the only battle Danish Girl had to fight. The announcement that a cis-man (a person assigned male at birth who is comfortable with and still fully identifies as male – i.e. non-trans) was cast to portray a trans person sent shock-waves of anger across the trans community. All too often trans people are portrayed by cis people, something we’ve seen most recently with the Amazon show Transparent that has Jeffrey Tambor portraying a trans woman. The LGBT+ community in general is very wary of Hollywood right now after the calamity that was Stonewall when our history was distorted, destroyed, and dehumanized for the sake of a quick-buck. What trans people seem to forget is that shows like Transparent or Orange is the New Black do employ trans men and trans women as appropriate for the character. In Orange we’re presented with the character of Sophia who is already post-surgery and therein most appropriately played by Laverne Cox while the story behind Danish Girl is one that starts with your standard cis-man who is married and happy, living the life of a painter/artist on the cusp of the new century. It slowly develops into the story of how Einar discovers their true self and the journey that follows in becoming Lili.

An acting role should go to the actor/actress best suited for the role. That’s not always the case when you get “blockbuster” actors shoved into parts just for the sake of “bankability.” Kevin Costner as the non-British accent Robin Hood in Prince of Thieves? Or even more recently the heavily Scottish-accented Gerard Butler and British-accented (although from Denmark) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (or better known as Jaime Lanister from Game of Thrones) very white men playing Egyptian Gods in the upcoming… Gods of Egypt. But sometimes the casting choices are accurate and sometimes that means having cis men and cis women portraying a trans person because they are pre-HRT or pre-surgery. Being “post” may not mean that the life is done or that the story is over but it is the journey that draws us into these tales. I have no doubt that if a trans woman was selected to play this role and then had to go through the process of re-masculinizing themselves to portray the character “before” it would infuriate plenty of people not to mention could easily be psychologically damaging to the trans actress to have to undergo that reversal.

I previously blogged about “Transface” and how it may be better (or worse) than not being represented at all especially from Hollywood. Furthermore, I think we need a break from the shenanigans of Caitlyn Jenner (while she’s giving us press it’s not necessarily good press) so that people can see we’re not a new trend or the next step for a publicity stunt that so many people seem to think Jenner is. They need to realize that trans people have always been around and that regardless of the time in history or place in the world we face very real and very dangerous struggles.

From what I can discern from the trailer (below) the film appears to be done beautifully from a cinematic standpoint. The glimpses we see of Redmayne as both Einar and Lili are astounding in the transformation. It gives the impression that the film is not a gimmick, ploy, or farce but rather a very serious docu-drama done in an elegant style that not only highlights the era and geography but appears to being out powerful performances from the entire cast. In a sea of remakes, revivals, and reboots headed our way over the next year this is one film that I’m genuinely looking forward to watching – not just as a trans person, but as a person who can appreciate craftsmanship and quality which this movie seems to provide.

It Wasn’t That Hard… Not

For anyone who has been following the saga thus far (thank you for that, by the way) you know that the biggest area of contention in my life at this point is that absolute, steadfast, stubborn refusal of my family to get on board with my transition and use proper pronouns and name. It’s like nails across a chalk board every time I hear it and I do my best to just ignore them. I’ve made my statements. I’ve explained. I’ve offered time to learn and process. I’ve gotten mad. I’ve gotten sad. The one thing I haven’t gotten yet – happy.

So my sister asked me to go with her to the vet office because the dog can be a little spastic and she has a 2 month and a 2 ½ year old that she has to bring with her. Of course I would go to help. So we’re sitting in the office and in comes one of those “crazy pet parents” who just LOVES to gush about her golden and all about the breed. Gush, gush, gush. My sister is trying to be polite and speak to her while doing the paperwork and I’m holding the dog keeping the 2 ½ year old occupied by reading books they had in the lobby. The lady mentioned that she used to work with Bide-A-Wee to which my sister said “Oh, she used to work there too” and made a vague gesture my way.

The lady looked dumbfounded. “She did?” the lady asked, and my sister just said “yeah, she did.” The lady said again, “her?” thinking that my sister was referring to my 2 ½ year old niece and couldn’t fathom how a toddler “worked with Bide-A-Wee.” I knew what was happening, I see it all the time because I live through it all the time. They don’t see it. Most of the world doesn’t see it, but I knew exactly what was confusing the woman.

I sighed and said, “She means me,” and the woman did the “oh…. OH” thing and sat back. At least she shut up for a while, but needless to say it was awkward silence which I did my best to ignore as I kept encouraging my niece to keep reading. When we got into the exam room my sister apologized and said “It’s just such habit.” I wasn’t going to get into a fight with her then and there about how almost 2 years later it shouldn’t be habit anymore and if they even just tried one fucking iota it wouldn’t be such habit. It wasn’t the time or the place.

When the vet came in and we were speaking about concerns and such my sister indicated me and, without a hiccup, said “He works in the field.” It was the FIRST time ever that any one in my family used a male pronoun.

Stupid me – I thought it was a big step towards progress and learning. It was a short lived moment of elation. Tonight when I was sitting on the couch helping my sister with something on her computer she said “yes, ma’am” and once more my world shook and the anger raged.

I talk a lot about how close we are as a family. It’s hard to understand how I can be so angry and hurt by them and yet still feel close to them at the same time. It may just be that I’m a world-class idiot but I feel close and I enjoy all the many things we together all the time even though I feel like an outsider a lot and will just sit back and watch everything going on. I also talk about how much I loved living in the south. Don’t get me wrong because there are assholes there too but I felt incredibly independent there. I had no family there so I was my own person. I was always Jude there, I had no history pulling me down. I was around open-minded people and those who accepted me for any way that I identified. It’s funny that most people see the south as being the backwoods, redneck, ignorant, or Bible-thumping wackos while New York is supposed to be so progressive, tolerant, and inclusive. Meanwhile, I was more truly and fully accepted in North Carolina than I ever was here in New York. My desire to return south is not just because it’s warmer there, but because I can have that break from my family again. I can be my genuine self and be among people who “get it.” Not that everyone here in New York is ignorant – there’s a surprisingly good amount of folks who are aware that I’m trans and fully respect that (the occasional ignorant ass pops up but that’s to be expected). It’s just one thing when it’s family especially one’s that “claim” to love you and will support you in whatever, but who openly defy your personal life decisions.

It’s an on-going battle. It just had a glimmer, a tiny spark of hope that I was finally going to get some support so it made the let-down even harder.

One day at a time, I suppose.


Surgery Fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/5b2ya8c4