I began hormone replacement about twenty or so weeks ago, and I have to say, there are a few things no one really warns you about. Yes, yes, I heard all the cautionary tales up front from my peers and therapist about all the gloomy catastrophic consequences and such. That I’m not seeing so much. If people at work notice I’m filling out my sweater a little more, no one is saying anything. In ‘Under the Radar’ I talked about a former co-worker who was sporting some generous B’s under their shirt and very long hair and no one thought much of it, and if they do, so what? What I’m talking about is a dark new relationship with food and my body that goes virtually ignored in guy world.
I was talking with my friend Dave on the phone and began complaining about my weight. You might not know it to look at me, but a few years back I was rocking the scales on a Homer Simpson level. I developed my own weight loss program and dropped nearly 90 lbs in a little less than a year. A somewhat modest diet and a little weekly exercise and the fat melted off my like Frosty in a boxcar. Here I am on a few months of hormones, and winter is back baby, and apparently just a little pissed. All I need do is draw breath in the same building as a 5 Guys burger and I’ve gained four pounds. Because I haven’t been on the hormones for quite long enough, it still doesn’t go to my hips and ass where it belongs, but the old gut. Nice and effective for achieving that ‘man in a dress’ image we all try so hard to strive for.
When Dave said, “ah don’t worry, you’ll take it off in no time”, I went a little hissy on him. OK, maybe not just a little bit, but he had no idea. “Look buddy, you have no idea what you are talking about OK? My whole life I’ve heard men bitching about women and their obsession with weight. Do you have any freaking idea how hard it is? Things that used to just taste pretty good are now incredibly delicious. I can be in the worst mood ever and a pint of ice cream or a few pieces of chocolate ever and I turn into little Mary Sunshine. What do you know? To you it’s just ice cream, but to me all of a sudden it’s like filled with uppers. Of course all I have to do is breath near it and I gain a hundred pounds. I used follow my plan and lost 5 pounds ever two weeks and now I’m lucky if I drop half of one eating the exact same thing. Plus I’m in a horrible shit mood the entire time! Do you have any idea what it’s like eating raw green peppers all week and losing nothing for it? Sure, you joke about women but you have no fucking idea how much work goes into it. Ass clown!”
For the record I think he was just trying to be supportive, but his male view foolishness was pushing my buttons. Men. Men with their svelte muscle building testosterone and ability to eat cheese fries all week without being consigned to some fat boy store. I will admit that used to be me before the hormone changes that ensured a small fries at McDonald’s meant a trip back to Lane Bryant for pants that could be closed. Anyway, I let it go. He’s a guy and didn’t know.
Since we are on the subject, my whole hissy fit to begin with is sooo uncharacteristic. It seems I stumbled on another effect I was not at all expecting. Suddenly it seems that during certain times the tiniest little things drive me bonkers and I just want to tell everyone off. WTF? How can I have PMS? I can’t ovulate and I can’t get a period, both mainly because I lack ovaries and a uterus that sheds it’s lining on a monthly basis (more on my feelings about this in another post). It doesn’t seem at all right that I should be getting PMS, but yet here it is happening. One would think it came with the correct internal plumbing, but apparently all it needs is the juice to drive it.
The real message here is that there many more effects of hormones than you often read about. For the record I’m OK with this. Surprising yes, but it doesn’t feel at all wrong either. It’s as if there were dry stream beds running through my brain that I understood where there on a very esoteric level, but now that they are filled and flowing, things seem much more right than they used to be. Sure, there turned out to be a lot of life under the rocks I was unaware of, but even though it surprises me, I know it is supposed to be there and always was. I have no doubt further changes are coming and I welcome them. It’s not easy going through puberty again, but I also wouldn’t trade it for anything. Far better now than never.