Day 3: Nice and Sweaty

Today I rubbed a handful of testosterone gel onto my shoulder for the third day in a row.

It feels a little bit surreal still, like a happy dream that I could wake up from at any moment. So far I’m still here, though, and I’m feeling more and more like myself every day.

The biggest change I’ve noticed so far has definitely been in my mood and anxiety levels. I’ve got autism, ADHD, and CPTSD, so let’s just say I’m pretty well acquainted with being on edge. Since starting T, however, I’ve felt a lot more stable than usual. My mood doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as I’m used to. Instead I seem to be hovering around in a neutral-pleasant mood.

I’ve also felt a nice boost in confidence. That may be an effect of the T or it may just be that I feel good about finally starting HRT, but either way it’s a welcome change. Adolescence and early adulthood really knocked me down a few pegs in terms of self-esteem and assertiveness, but the past few days have brought in a little bit of a rebound from that. I actually feel good in my body for the first time in a really long time.

The one side effect I’ve identified so far that I don’t find super pleasant is the sweatiness. I noticed yesterday that I was getting these sort of mild hot flashes, where I’d start sweating uncomfortably despite not doing too much physically. Normally I am an extremely unsweaty person- I’m chronically cold-blooded, and even when I do get hot I rarely progress past a light sheen. But the last couple days I’ve found myself wiping sweat off my forehead while doing minor tasks like getting dressed or carrying a few bags inside.

I shot a quick message to my prescribing NP through Plume, and was really pleasantly surprised to see she answered right away despite it being a Sunday. She said that sweating occasionally comes up with T and also has been known to be caused by finasteride, but it should be harmless. She told me to keep an eye on it and report back if it was becoming a real inconvenience, but as long as it wasn’t affecting my quality of life I didn’t need to be concerned.

Honestly, if the trade off for feeling this good is a little sweat, I’ll take it. Not a bad exchange. Plus, I could swear my leg muscles are already more defined, so… All’s well that ends well.

My First Entry

My name is Finley Taetum (Finn for short), and I’m a 28-year-old non-binary person in the middle of medical and social transition. On February 25, 2022, I started a combination of HRT that I have never seen written about or shared publicly, so I decided to create this blog to document my journey.

I am AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth), and I experience a good deal of gender dysphoria. I was “blessed” with a very feminine figure: relatively short and pear-shaped, with a large chest. I plan on getting a mastectomy (AKA top surgery) to flatten my chest, but I’m currently in the midst of a battle to get it covered by insurance, so that change is not yet on the horizon. In the meantime, I struggle immensely with being perpetually perceived as female, despite my best efforts at binding and diminishing my curves with my clothing.

Me on 2/26/22 (5’6″ and 165lbs)

I had researched testosterone therapy a great deal, but up until very recently I never thought it would be for me. That’s because, like many other non-binary folks, my transition goals don’t really fit into traditional binary outcomes. In other words, I don’t really want to be perceived as a cisgender male any more than I want to be seen as female. I don’t want a beard or moustache, and I’m not particularly interested in “bottom growth” (clitoral enlargement). Really, all I want is a leaner, more muscular, frame, with more ambiguous/androgynous features. Some people are able to achieve this effect with a strict exercise routine and diet changes, but due to health issues and a complicated past with anorexia, that wasn’t the best route for me to choose.

All the information I could find about T, however, indicated that even in low doses, the changes that I did not want were inevitable and irreversible. I decided that it simply wasn’t for me, but I never stopped looking out for some sort of miracle solution to the conundrum that is non-binary transition. Finally, I learned about the existence of DHT blockers- specifically finasteride- that, when used in conjunction with testosterone, can prevent or at least greatly reduce some of the effects. Not even a week later, I met with an NP who prescribed me my first month of HRT.

My HRT regimen: One pump per day of T gel, and 2.5mg of finasteride every other day.

According to the NP, I could expect the finasteride to prevent the thickening and darkening of body and facial hair, bottom growth, and possible male pattern baldness (all of which can come with testosterone). The remaining effects should be a slight deepening of the voice, an increase in lean muscle mass, and fat redistribution away from my hips and thighs. Essentially, the expected results of this cocktail are exactly the things I want to happen, and none of the things I don’t.

I took my first dose yesterday (2/25/22), and so far I feel great. I don’t know if it is actual effects of the T or if I’m simply feeling extra euphoric, but I’ve noticed a big increase in energy and mood stability in the past two days. For a long time I had been falling deeper and deeper into depression, convinced that I was trapped in a body I did not want for the remainder of my days. This therapy is a beacon of hope for me, a light at the end of the tunnel, and I cannot wait to see what is in store.

I decided to create this blog to document not only my progress on this HRT combo, but all of the various aspects of transitioning outside of the gender binary. It’s my sincerest hope that, whether you are looking for examples of transition for yourself or purely for educational reasons, my story will have some sort of positive effect on your life.