Wednesday, October 16, 2019

There are many kinds of therapy.

I have not done a shot of Testosterone in 5 weeks. The medication has been on back order, apparently, and to say that my system is going haywire is an understatement.

I was told today that my prescription should be ready tomorrow. I have been flip-flopping between absolutely livid and creepily calm about it for over two weeks now. I know that there isn't anything to really be done about it, but long story short I was told it was available at another CVS and then it wasn't, twice.

Sorry it's been awhile, I would say that I am doing better - but my hormone changes have made that hard to track for a few weeks. I've been thinking about using a bullet journal to keep track of that a bit better, but that's still just a barely formed thought that needs more research.

I presented my workshop for Altice while we were in NY for a friend's wedding, which they recorded as a webinar, and it was the first one I had done in while so it was a lot of fun and I really hope the people who tuned in considered it worth their time.

I figured since today has been a pretty good day despite some outside factors (I jogged, the dog came with me, I had a protein shake for lunch, I started the process of booking appointments with a PCP and a nutritionist, and I finalized some plans for our San Diego trip next month), I would make a post and use this experience to talk about HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).

Let's start with the basics.

Every human body produces hormones.
Typically, the human body produces both Estrogen and Testosterone.
When sex hormones levels rise, during puberty, differences start to become obvious between typical male and female humans.
If the body is producing more Estrogen than Testosterone, that person will develop female secondary sex characteristics, and therefore male secondary sex characteristics if the body produces more Testosterone than Estrogen.

Let's make a small list of these characteristics.

Female secondary sex characteristics may include (but are not limited to):
Growth of breast tissue
Growth of body hair, prominently pubic hair and underarm hair
Widening of hips
Body fat distribution increases around the breasts, hips, thighs and buttocks

Male secondary sex characteristics may include (but are not limited to):
Growth of body hair in the following regions: pubic, underarm, abdominal, and chest
Growth of facial hair
Adam's apple increases in size and voice deepens
Increase in muscle mass and strength
Increase in secretions of oil and sweat

When someone utilizes Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), they are using hormones to adjust their bodies in some way. There are plenty of cisgender people that utilize HRT, for a number of reasons.

When transgender people utilize HRT, it is usually to aid in their process of transition. For example, someone who was assigned female at birth (like myself), they may start taking hormones so that they can present more like a cisgender male. Depending on when someone starts HRT, it can essentially cause them to go through puberty again.

Everyone's dosage of hormones is different, there is no standard prescription of hormones that someone starts and sticks with throughout their entire life. Yes, you read that right. Most people who are transgender utilize HRT for their entire lives, or until they decide to stop - based on their own reasoning. Different people produce different amounts of hormones naturally in their bodies, and the point of HRT for someone who is transgender is to override the amount of the hormone that their body naturally produces using the hormone that they wish to be dominant.
Again, an example.
I was born female, therefore my body naturally produces a certain amount of Estrogen. I inject just enough Testosterone, on a cycled basis, to override the Estrogen levels in my body, which causes my body to develop and maintain male secondary sex characteristics.

That is the basis of HRT.

My dose, as it stands, will change after I get a full hysterectomy - as my body will produce less Estrogen after my ovaries are removed, and then my Testosterone does can also decrease as I will not need as much to override the Estrogen that my body will be producing at that time.

There is of course more that I could go into on this subject, but that is the basics.

I hope that this helped explain a bit more about HRT, and as always, feel free to email me (akircheim@gmail.com) with questions or other topics you think I should cover.


Thanks for tuning in, and hopefully I will be back again sooner than last time! 💓


Monday, June 10, 2019

Self-Reflection and NY Trip

Let's get right to the point: I've played it off well in these posts (I think) but I've been struggling with down spirals of depression for some months now. 

I don't know the exact root of the issue. 

It could be because of any of the following reasons:
-I feel stuck at home most days (working remotely has serious pros, but this is major con) 
-I don't eat enough (something I came clean about yesterday to Sarah about)
               I really do not eat enough. I know this. Sometimes I just skip meals because it seems like too much to just go and make food. Which is hard for me to admit because I can clean the entire apartment for upwards of four or more hours without eating or drinking and that is relaxing but somehow making and eating a sandwich seems like a mountain I just cannot climb, so I skip it. This is something that I am working on, and it's going to get better.
-I don't drink enough water (let me go get some... there we go)
-I'm sure that I have some form of ADD and an auditory processing disorder and between making people repeat themselves and (sometimes) debilitating executive dysfunction I feel like I'm a failure and can't just do something - no matter what it is.
-I have pent-up stress and the best action is to work out but my motivation has tanked lately.

You would think that as someone who wants to go into the counseling field I would gone to someone already. I'm not sure exactly what is stopping me. I make so many excuses instead of just doing it (there's that executive dysfunction again), and I think that once we get another car I will feel more inclined to do something about it because I may not feel as stuck as I do now at home every day. 

We shall see.


          *          *          *

One thing that seriously helped me was visiting NY for the past month. I was there from May 7th to June 4th and let me tell you, it was a great reset button. It helped me just chill and self-reflect a bit. I missed Sarah terribly but I was helping some of my best friends with their newborn (my Godson) and it was nice to help and feel needed. It was nice to always have something to do that wasn't the same shit I have been doing for a year, and to have someone else in the house with me all day - and as someone who enjoys doting on other people, it was nice to be able to do things for them and feel like I made a difference in their day. Instead of sitting here feeling useless (even though I don't stop doing shit here, it was just different when it was other people), and lonely.

Now, I have some immediate goals:
-Don't skip a meal for the rest of the month
-Workout at least 2x a week
-Complete my 3 Marvel 5k runs (by August 1st) for the Disney Summer 5k event that I signed up for
-Administer my shot on time for the next 3 shots (I was a few days late this time and I felt it)

We can do this, fam. I know it. We got this.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

How did I get here?

My life has turned into something that I did not envision.

I'm living as who I truly want to be, even though 'who I want to be' changes from time to time (and I'm fully okay with that).
I'm separated from the exhausting drama that used to be a daily part of my life in New York.
I have an amazing wife that I love more every time I reflect on our relationship, even when I'm sure I couldn't possibly feel any more love for her. It's the only time that being proven wrong feels uplifting.

While growing up, I never saw myself living past 25. I was sure that it would end, somehow. Either by my own hand or otherwise. I just... couldn't imagine it. Not my wedding, not my spouse, not raising kids, buying a house...nothing.

Now I'm just thankful every single day of my life for what I have. Although there are times that I still struggle with envisioning my future.

Some days, I'm convinced I just got lucky.

Other days, I think about all of the shit that I went through to get here, and I realize that I worked my ass off - and I deserve this.

Today, it doesn't matter how I got here - I'm just overwhelmed with my current happiness.

I'm flying back to NY later this week to be at one of my best friends' baby shower and help paint the kid's room, and I couldn't be more excited.

In this moment, life is pretty damn good. I know that won't be the case at some point - so I wrote this to be able to look back on when I need it.

          *          *          *

"Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism... It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile." -Bernard Beckett

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year, Same Old

It's been awhile since we've stayed up late enough to see the ball drop in NYC. This year, we made it! Pay no attention to the fact that we are on PST now and it happened at 9pm our time... or the fact that we don't have cable anymore so we didn't even really get to see it happen... but I'm still gonna take that as a win. Needless to say, I was asleep by 11pm local time that night - same as every other night.

No less than 3 people expressed how they "wished they had done that" instead of whatever they did on New Year's Eve after I told them how our night went, and I hope they remember that next year when the night comes. Just stay home and get some damn sleep, we all bust our asses every other day of the year. New Year's Eve is the best reason to just chill and get some extra hours rest. Spoken like a true old man... maybe it's because no matter what day it is, I'm up at 5:30am to feed the dog and let her out. She doesn't know when it's New Year's Day, or a weekend - so maybe I'm just used to it now.

New Year's Day was quiet, I got to play Minecraft and listen to The Adventure Zone - which was glorious. Then we had dinner and watched Brooklyn 99. As far as great days go, it was up there. 

Now the holidays are over, every commercial or ad is for fitness gear or classes, and it's back to normal. Whatever that means. 

It's actually cold here, which a few friends were surprised to hear. It's fantastic. We still haven't turned the heat on, and I don't think we will. We're living in sweatpants and hoodies and snuggling under blankets and it's absolutely everything I have ever wanted - just me, the love of my life, and our dog - 3,000 miles away from family drama. I miss our friends, though. More lately, it seems. Maybe the "moving across the country" high is settling down and I'm really feeling it now. Or maybe it's seasonal. 

I'm a proud person, but not too proud to admit that I miss people. Or that I do still wonder if we'll end up back on the East Coast. It crosses my mind, if I'm honest. And I'm always honest

We love it here, it's really growing on us - but I understand what people say now about staying close to people you know, or family, especially now that one of my best and closest friends is pregnant. How far away do I really want to be from that? Then again, short of moving back over there, anywhere we live will be a plane ride. It's just... it's sad. 

I don't want to end this on a down note, so I will say this: don't stress over resolutions or goals that will be unfulfilled if they take longer than 365 days. Just be good to yourself, whatever that means for you. More baths and face masks, a mini vacation if you can't afford to go on an expensive one, paying for someone else to clean your house every once in awhile, buying that new mattress, learning a new skill or hobby... do things because they make you happy not because you have to complete a checklist this year. 

Screw what everyone else thinks or does, just do what makes you happy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Holidays, Reflections, and Life Lessons

The holidays are usually a time for people to see family, reconnect, and show each other how well you know the others based on your gift-giving skills. At least, that's pretty much what it was always about for me. Also church. A lot of time in church.

To be honest, I'm pretty excited to just spend the holidays alone with Sarah. Usually on Christmas day we would go to three or four houses, and it was absolutely exhausting. This will be a nice year to just hang out and recharge.

For me, the holidays are usually about reflection.

So, as I was reflecting on... I don't remember exactly.... but I also happened to be cutting carrots. I was moving just a bit too fast, and next thing I knew there was blood on the cutting board and a bit of the tip of my finger was gone. It really could have been much, much worse if the knife were actually sharp (but it's currently as dull as ditchwater).

Nevertheless - I cleaned up, wrapped my finger, and went back to cutting without pause as one single thought crossed my mind, as if in the distance of my brain... a thought that I have been living by for years and was not even fully conscious of until that very moment. One single phrase that I have since realized has been probably one of the most important lessons I have ever learned...

"Get back on the horse."

When I was young, my parents sent me to summer camp. A day camp out east on Long Island where the taxes are less and the properties are large. A horse camp - the definition of my summer. I would count the days until it would start, and knew that pretty much as soon as it was over I had to get my ass in gear and finish my summer reading before school started again.

I attended this camp for over a decade: first as a camper, then as a Counselor in Training, and eventually as a Lifeguard. Despite all of my other available activities, the hour that I could ride a horse was the best hour of the day. Not swimming, not arts and crafts, not archery, not even playing cards under Shady Lane as a CIT and skipping other daily responsibilities. None of that mattered when I was riding - it was just me and the horse.

A shared understanding between me and this majestic beast.

An unspeakable bond.

That would sometimes end up with me slamming into the mud from upwards of 5 feet off the ground.

There were many rules at camp, none of which rang more true than 'You're not a real rider until you've fallen off at least three times'. This rule was immediately followed by, 'every time you fall off, you must bring brownies for your entire riding group'.

Needless to say, I made quite a few batches of brownies over the years.

Of all the things that summer camp taught me (too many to count), the most valuable lesson of all was 'get back on the horse'. You fell off, you got back on. That was it. If you let the horse win in that moment, the chances of you getting back on, ever, dropped dramatically. We had kids fall off in their first week and quit camp - never to be seen again. There were those that had bad falls and waited a few days but ultimately recovered and reclaimed their saddle, but many were lost within the first few weeks, their tears falling all the way to their parents' cars and probably continued as we watched them drive away in a cloud of dirt.

"Get back on the horse" was my mantra from a very young age, and I didn't realize as it crept into my subconscious and became one of the strongest reactions in my arsenal. Looking back now (don't worry I'm not currently chopping vegetables), I realize how many times I've used this lesson. I can remember times in the past where I have told myself to 'get back on the horse' and it's like a second wind rising up against something that I refuse to let beat me, or hold me down.

So if you're struggling with something, or it feels like the universe if fighting against you - don't just sit back and take it.

Get back on the fucking horse.




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I Was a Special Guest on the 'Super Normal' Podcast!

Hey everyone!

Two posts today - aren't you lucky?!

I completely forgot to post this when it dropped, so I'm doing it now. OOPS!

I was contacted to be on a podcast called Super Normal, and it was a fantastic experience that I hope at some point to repeat for other topics.

Have a listen and share around so this great podcast can get some love!

Super Normal
EPISODE 46: LGBTQIA PLUS NOW THERE’S LIKE 3 MORE LETTERS…WITH AIDAN K.
Click here to listen!

Here's a bit of a description for the episode:
"Queer, Gay, LGBT, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQQIAAP. The name for the community has evolved over time and so have we. And the perception of the queer community has evolved as well. But who is moving things along? Today we talk to Aidan, a queer educator who is doing just that."

Thanks everyone! 💙

When September Ends

Things that happened this past month:
- 10 year relationship / 1 year marriage anniversary
- Destiny Forsaken dropped (nerd alert)
- Sarah went to her first music festival ('Life is Beautfiul' here in Vegas)
- Took a long weekend trip to NY for a friend's wedding which included a life changing dinner experience one night at Morimoto NYC

Since I already posted about our anniversary and I'm pretty sure no one reading this wants to hear about Destiny (please correct me if I'm wrong on this) - I'll start with the music festival. 

I have been to Bonnaroo in the past, twice, and it was glorious both times. Although one year was significantly more windy and dusty than the first year we went, they were both amazing. There's something about parking you car and camping out for a few days with complete strangers who all just want to have a good time that is attractive to me. Most people wonder how someone who doesn't do drugs (I barely even drank alcohol there, actually) could have fun at one of these events, and I wouldn't blame them. From the outside it can just seem like an excuse to trip out for a few days, but really the culture and atmosphere of a music festival can be like no other experience on earth. 

Sarah had never been to a music festival but once I saw that Florence and the Machine were playing, I knew we had to go. I have been a fan of Florence for a long time (her cover of Stand By Me was my vote for our wedding song because it is phenomenal) but I knew that Sarah had followed her for much longer than I have. I also know what it's like to be less than 30 feet from the stage and feel the crowd energy at an outdoor festival. So, I got us tickets. 

We only went for the one day, and the festival is relatively small compared to somewhere like Bonnaroo (I'm sure not a fair comparison) but Florence was the last show and holy moly was it worth it. She was incredible. We were in the presence of a Fae goddess and no one can convince me otherwise. Needless to say, Sarah walked away with a bit more of an understanding about festival culture...

          *          *          *

We just got back yesterday from our trip to NYC for a friend's wedding and although it was nice to be home, in no way was it a vacation. Filled with doctor appointments and visiting with other friends while we were home, it was a lot of traveling and scheduling but thankfully it all worked out. We got some doctor appointments out of the way, saw family, got to visit closing day of the NY Renaissance Faire with friends, and Monday night got to have dinner at Morimoto in NYC.

Friends, it was life-changing. We went with a friend who is a chef there, and once the staff saw who we were eating with, food just kept showing up at the table. We ordered 2 appetizers and got 6 or 7, our sushi platter was amazing, we ordered 3 desserts and got 4 - one of which was a chocolate sphere with coffee cream inside that was melted with flaming rum, and a few rounds of drinks. Combined with the company of friends, it was definitely a night I will remember for many days to come.

          *          *          *

September has ended, and now it's time for spooks!

I wonder if we'll get trick or treaters in our complex...




Monday, September 10, 2018

A Decade + One Down, and many more to go

September 6th, 2008. Ten years (and four days) ago. Somewhere between the hours of 11pm and 2am, I kissed a girl I had been in love with already for four years prior. It was one of the most terrifying things that I have ever done, and believe me there are many other things in my life that I have done that I should have been scared of. I have done things that most people would find way more terrifying than that. Nonetheless, I was scared. We had been flirting that whole summer, and although I think my heart knew that it would be fine, my brain (as usual) was in the way. I don't remember anything after that awfully delivered kiss, but I'm sure we snuggled and (eventually-I was panicking) fell asleep like we had been doing that whole summer while she was out east at her summer stock and I could visit her a few times before starting my first year of college.

The next two weeks were absolute agony. We spent every night on the phone, (as I went back up to Albany over three hours away) mostly me talking and her adding in a word or two here in there, debating on what we were doing and if we really had feelings for each other and where this was going. We finally decided that we would date, in secret. I had been keeping secrets my whole life, so this was nothing new to me, and over the next few months I spent over a thousand dollars on weekend trips to go see her either on trains or buses, and to this day I wouldn't change a damn thing. They were the best weekends of my life up to then, and I finally felt like I was sneaking around for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones which I had been doing for years. Something in me let me know that this was the right thing to do be doing, and I trusted my gut for the first time ever in those months - deciding to finally listen to it. We kept our relationship (mostly) a secret for four years.

One of the emotionally hardest nights I remember was when same-sex marriage was legalized in New York.

Sarah has been with me through so much over the past ten years (and more since we were friends first) - and I honestly have no idea how I could possibly truly thank her but I am hoping that continual love and support in all that she does and wants to do will come close.

A year (and 4 days) ago, we got married. It was small, quick, and perfect - and then we got to spend a long weekend with our close family and friends which was even more perfect than I think we both imagined it could be, and declare our gross, mushy, nerdy love for each other. It was the most 'us' thing I think we have ever done. The whole weekend was relaxed, casual, and fun - and I cannot wait to repeat it one of these years.

Sarah, I have loved you for over 14 years now, and as much as I desperately loved you back then - it was a love that I had felt would never come to be. A love that was denied not only by my religious upbringing and society, but also because I had felt that you would never feel the way that I did. No thought makes me happier than knowing now that I was wrong. I knew that I loved you fiercely back then, but now the love has changed and grown in a way that I never thought possible for me. I was sure that I would never attain a love like this, simply because I felt so undeserving. You not only changed my life, but the way that I perceive it - as well as myself - and I am everlastingly grateful.

I love you more each year, month, day, hour, down to the infinitesimal second. I have no idea what the love will become over our next ten years - but I am looking forward to finding out.

Thank you for loving me, sticking with me, and supporting me through the last decade. You are my everything, and I cannot imagine this life without you.

"I'm not half as good at anything as I am when I'm doing it next to you."

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Vegas Craps and Birthday Snaps!

My best friend since birth came to visit this weekend for his birthday. Besides the usual "catch up on each other's lives" bit, we also had amazing Korean BBQ food and learned how to play craps together. First craps game, Sarah was making the whole table money (except us, since it was our last $15 she was rolling on) for about 10 minutes, and we had such a great time. Craps is actually not as intimidating as it seems, and can be a lot of fun. Next time, we'll have to take a taxi/car service because craps seems to be much more fun when drunk, as displayed by our fellow table mates. 

It's always strange when we stay out late (late for us is past 10pm to be honest), but we had a lot of fun especially when we stopped caring about spending a bit of money. We never go out, our bills are taken care of this month, and we both get paid again (twice for me) before we have to restart the bill/rent cycle. Once we just accepted the idea that it was going to cost some money, we actually had more fun. Judging from the amount of money we saw tossed around just last night, there are lots of people who are much better at accepting this than we are - so it was a nice small life lesson to just let loose and have fun once in awhile. 

Overall, we had a great weekend and even though we lost a bit of money, it was worth it. 

Shit, is this what having disposable income feels like?

No definitions today, but I wanted to update. 😃

Until next time!