My blood test results are here. I have my fourth gender clinic appointment next Monday and, if all is well with them, the clinic will write to my GP to tell her to start prescribing estrogen. But there could be a hitch – one of the hormone results is off the scale.
They arrived a couple of days ago – eight sheets of A4 paper with headings like Serum Lipids, Hormone Analysis, HbA1c Levl – IFCC Standardised (catchy, that one) and Full Blood Count.
And then there are literally dozens of results, most of which mean nothing to me. I would make a terrible nurse or doctor – I have no stomach for blood, and even just the sight of these test results spooks me a little. What if they reveal something, ya know, nasty?
One good thing I noticed, though, was this: Liver function: normal. After the amount of wine I drank over Christmas and January, that’s good to know!
Quite a few of the results have little exclamation marks before them. This caused me quite a bit of concern when I first read them.
But after consulting with two trans girls on Twitter, one of whom is a nurse, they soon put my mind at rest.
The discrepancies arise because I am registered with the NHS as female – I have been for quite a few months. However, because I’ve not yet started HRT, all my hormone levels are still very much male.
That means that while many of my results would set alarm bells ringing in a cis woman, they’re to be expected in a trans woman who’s not yet started HRT. Does that make sense?!
So while my “serum testosterone” levels and “free androgen index” levels would be really high for a cis woman, they’re perfectly normal for someone whose cajones are still producing testosterone – no estrogen yet, and no anti-androgen.
My main concern is my “serum prolactin level”, which is really high – about double the maximum range (for a cis woman). The male range is even lower. I don’t want to put the figure here, but it’s a miracle I’m not lactating!
The results sheet states:
Please note raised total prolactin. This may be due to a benign condition where prolactin binds to IgG forming macroprolactin. Further investigation to follow.
Never Google medical problems, the experts say. So I did anyway. High levels of prolactin in biological males are associated with a condition called prolactinoma.
Prolactinoma is a non-cancerous tumour on the pituitary gland, which produces prolactin. The symptoms in male bodies can include:
- Unexplained headaches
- Visual impairment
- Reduced sex drive or fertility problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Abnormal lack of body and facial hair
So, headaches, nope. Visual impairment, nope – apart from that for which I’ve worn glasses for years. Reduced sex drive/fertility problems, nope. All good down there (for now!) Erectile dysfunction, nope. Abnormal lack of body/facial hair, nope, apart from what the laser’s done to my face (nearly all gone now).
So, although I’m a tad concerned, I’m not overly concerned. I also read that the kind of antidepressant I take can cause a spike in prolactin, so it’s probably just that.
I expect more tests will be carried out, just to make sure I’m OK. My main concern is that these could delay my estrogen prescription. Of the two trans girls I spoke to, one said it was unlikely to, while the other said it might.
I really hope it doesn’t delay things. I’ve been waiting the best part of two and a half years since my GP referred me to Nottingham GIC, and I just want to get cracking now.
I shall know more next Monday and will, naturally, update the blog then.
In other news, my head hair is growing back really well – I’ll do a thread on that soon; and my facial laser course is now finished – I just need to zap the remaining (mainly white) hairs with electrolysis.
I’ve also just been taking time out – having a bit of a career break – which has been fab to recharge my batteries, especially after being struck down with the flu for so long. I’ve been out loads and caught up with friends, which has been lovely.
Last weekend, I saw my pal Diane and we had just the best day in the town where I live, starting with coffee, then getting our nails done, then cocktails at a new cocktail bar here, followed by an amazing dinner and then a movie at the local cinema.
It was a brilliant day, especially as we hadn’t planned anything. And the nail bar is AMAZING. It’s run by a Vietnamese lady, who’s absolutely lovely, and the job she did on my nails was incredible.
Got my eyebrows done, too.
I shall definitely be going back. Right, you’re up to date. Be good, everyone. And be nice to each other!