My Transition Team

clintonobamaI’ve been hearing about Barack Obama’s “transition team” over the past few weeks (and always crack a grin), and in honor of America’s Big Day I thought I’d do a quick post about My Transition Team.

Transition is NOT something you can do in a bubble, that’s for sure! I still like apples, but a daily quotient of said fruit is not going to keep me from having to go to the doctor—not anymore. I have a veritable army of medical and other professionals that play a huge role in me learning the art of becoming me.

The Battery

Family doctors: Dr. T. and Dr. M. were the first players on my squad. I first consulted with Dr. T. about getting the required referrals to get a top surgery date, then to an endocrinologist to get started on T. While Dr. T. gave me my first shot, I was then transferred over to Dr. M. (since Dr. T. is semi-retired). I now see Dr. M. whenever I need prescriptions or have questions. I did one more recent consult with Dr. T. regarding local OB/GYN docs, since she has more familiarity with local surgeons and women’s health issues.

The Infield

Psychologist: I first saw Dr. Preece in Vancouver for a surgery and hormone assessment. She has since provided me with letters of support, and I make a point of trying to see her when I go over to Van. She has a lot of experience with trans issues, and always provides solid feedback.

Endocrinologist: Dr. van den Berg in Victoria, BC designed my testosterone treatment plan after I saw her for an assessment. She provided that plan to my family doctors, and while she still receives my blood test results, I don’t think I will need to consult with her again.

Plastic surgeon: Dr. Cameron Bowman performed my top surgery, and I’ve seen him a couple of times for check-ups since then. I have a revision surgery booked for this February 13. Additionally, he’s trained in FTM genital reconstruction procedures. He’s not able to obtain OR time for these, but he has been a helpful source of information nonetheless.

OB/GYN surgeon: Dr. Matthew Bagdan will be performing my laproscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy later this spring. He was very nice and helpful when I visited him for a consultation in the fall, and I’ve heard excellent things about his skills from other doctors.

The Outfield

Phlebotomist: Kathy takes my blood every three months to check T levels and other key blood metrics. I have only one more scheduled blood test before the standing order expires, but I will request that my doctor order another regular series of tests if/when I start using DHT to ensure that my T levels don’t get too high.

Psychiatrists: I was required to see Drs. Gail Knudson and Oliver Robinow for a surgery funding assessment for the hysterectomy just last week. They are very involved with trans health (Dr. Knudson is the President of CPATH). They will also be providing me with one of the support letters I will need for bottom surgery.

The Bench

Stylist: My hair dresser is awesome! I need to see him every 4-6 weeks (my hair grows insanely fast!), and always enjoy our visits. He’s gay, so we share a strong interest in masculinity and always have great conversations. I value getting to ask him questions about some of the finer details of being male, such as bathrooms, mannerisms and style.

Frame stylist: When I got new glasses, I wanted to have someone help me who understood my goals. Wow, did I pick the right place! Adele was genuinely interested in my story and was excellent at helping me achieve the look I wanted (but didn’t really know how to define.) I imagine most people might not list a frame stylist on their transition team, but the experience was great and proved to be important to me.

The MVP

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My girlfriend: Wow, what can I say? She’s been wonderful. Things aren’t always easy, but she’s 100% supportive. She never stumbled on pronouns, and since she’s the one who often hears other people slip, she’s usually the one to make the correction, and never fails to. She’s my Florence Nightingale post-op. She puts up with my endless time in the bathroom (mirrors have become strangely important), and my frequent requests to “look at my new chin hair!” She’s the best, my Most Valuable Player.

Pitchers, Bunters, Coaches and More

A few players who I have on my radar but have not yet engaged: Speech Pathologist, Urologist, a tailor.

This is where the list of players starts to get long and diverse, but the value of these players’ contributions to my Team is not diminished. In no particular order: my sisters, my parents, my friends—both local and afar, the surgeons (and their assistants) I have consulted with about bottom surgery, my chiropractor, my masseuse, the folks at Come As You Are, bloggers, vloggers, mailing list contributors, the woman at the BC Access Centre who cheerfully changed my driver’s license, Max Wolf Valerio, Jamison Green, Kate Bornstein, the woman who changed my name at the local voting center prior to the Canadian federal election, the folks at the pet food store (“Are you PACKING?”), my new tattoo artists, my new trainer, the woman at the health food store who calls me “beefy”, the transwoman who built things on my property and later told me she knew she’d met a man when we first met, those people who use the right pronoun without knowing a thing about me, the folks who use the right pronoun even though they originally knew me as female, transmen everywhere… the list goes on.

Who’s on YOUR Transition Team?

A couple of songs this post reminds me of:

Chocolate City by Parliament

Dream Team by Spearhead

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