I sent all the emails on Friday that told everyone who needed to be told that I’m dropping out for my health.
I’m too sick to be in school and on campus so I’m dropping out. I have been stuck in a shame fueled depression since I made this decision even though I know it’s the right one. School has been so hard but also so good. I miss it and I feel lost. I haveotherprojects but my depression ate my motivation and I need it back.
Most of last week I spent trying to come to grips with it, and talk about it in a way that wasn’t utterly depressing. Everyone at school has been super supportive and not angry at all, which is the anxiety that was eating me alive. But I’m still really sad and really devastated about it.
I don’t have the energy to get into those feelings right now, but the words will come soon.
As you may or may not know, my health has utterly tanked since finals last semester. I was hoping that the summer would provide some answers but instead it resulted in surprise trips to the ER, more questions and specialists, and to be honest, none of that is letting up. I’ve been candid about the impacts being on campus has had on my health since I started the machining program in 2017. Getting the signs changed on the single stall bathrooms would have enabled me to eat and hydrate throughout the day; but as you’ve probably gathered, things move pretty slowly on campus. In the 2 years I’ve been working on it, my health has deteriorated exponentially – apparently the stress of school/grades/homework combined with not being able to eat because there is no conveniently accessible and safe bathroom to use will completely annihilate a person’s health.
So it is with a heavy heart that I have realized I need to take a break from school to focus on my wellbeing. To be completely honest, writing this is devastatingly hard and I was hoping all summer that I would be able to avoid this very moment. School has been fulfilling and life giving in as many ways as it has been a trigger and a nightmare. I take solace in the fact that I’m leaving it better than I found it. Starting the Laney Queers and bringing it to a place where it can continue on without me is something I’m super proud of.
Pres. Gilkerson has committed to getting the signs changed and installing gender neutral restrooms in all new buildings. The next year of Brunches is already scheduled and paid for, the Lavender Project is already working with our sibling colleges on next year’s queer dance. Coming Out Week next month is a joint effort with all of the schools and will be amazing. I have full confidence that the Laney Queers will carry on just as well (if not better) in my absence. We, collectively, have created something big and powerful and amazing on campus, and even in the district. We have made a space for ourselves to exist and be, and we aren’t going anywhere.
I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to organize the ICC and spend some time in the Student Government. I’ve learned so much and made so many friends, I’m really sad to close this chapter of my life to deal with the agonizing process that is our healthcare system. But as many many people have reminded me, this is just goodbye for now, not forever.
On 8/23 we appointed our ASLC Secretary, Alycia, and on 8/30 Zach was appointed Club Affairs officer. At both meetings we discussed ideas for fall events, which will be followed by an internal brainstorming session.
The Wayfinder and Latinx clubs were chartered and re-chartered in time for club rush on September 5th.
We are currently in the process of re-evaluating our regular meeting times and location as the 3rd & 4th floors of the student center are closed for elevator repairs.
On the 26th we had a special meeting with President Gilkerson to discuss possible locations for ASLC offices and meetings while the Student Center is inaccessible. In the meantime, Follow me on twitter or watch this page for updates about when/where the next ASLC meeting will be held!
My semester begins tomorrow. I’m very anxious. My body has been tense all day…all week, really. I’m not anxious about my classes – I’ve re-evaluated them thrice now and I’ve taken my health and spoons into account so I’m only doing one in-person class (US Government), and two online classes (English 5, and Cultural Geography) in addition to my Student Government & Laney Queers organizing and my independent study (which is essentially writing down what I learn in the student senate).
I’m anxious because this is the first week of school and on Wednesday I get snake cameras and sedation instead of doing fun Welcome Week activities, on Tuesday I meet with my department chair and have my first class while on a liquid-only-diet and then get to drink the colon cleanse “juice”.
I think I’m more irritated that my first week as a senator is going to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it than anything else. I’m realizing a lot of my life is going to continue to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s really just…. quietly devastating.
That knowledge hangs on me like a heavy jacket twice my size. It’s with me every moment of the day. It envelops me when I struggle to put together a meal because I can’t get out of this fatigue and brain fog regardless of how long I close my eyes. I’m quietly haunted by my own ghost that I can’t figure out how to release.
I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next semester. I don’t know if my body will hold together or if I’ll have to drop out. Everything feels so precarious and I’m so so exhausted.
So tonight I managed to make myself some Gluten-Free low-ish-fodmap peanut butter energy bites so I can at least have something to munch on during the days I can eat solid food. Doing post colonoscopy Kieryn a solid.
Today we held a special meeting off campus at 2044 Franklin street (my default-world office). We appointed Armani Taylor to the position of Vice President, settled among ourselves which of us will be tabling during welcome back week next week and when, and designed a welcome back week survey that will guide our priorities for the year.
We will be distributing the survey on Thursday during the party on the quad! We’ll also be holding our regular meeting on the quad rather than our room on the 4th floor of the Student Center.
Welcome Back Week will feature a movie night on Monday, Taco Tuesday, resource fair Wednesday, and the party on the quad on Thursday.
I will be on the quad Monday morning from 9-10, and that evening from 5-6:30, Tuesday from 12-2, and Thursday from 12-2! Come say hi!
Today we decided on the swag we’re going to acquire for welcome week, allocated a food budget, and met with potential new ASLC Members! On Tuesday (the 13th) we will all have a district wide training, and next Thursday (15th) at 12pm is the regular ASLC meeting.
Today we voted on allocating funds for Welcome Week, sponsoring students to go to the Congressional Black Caucus in September, contributing to the Peralta District training in two weeks, and approving Queer Brunch for the 2019-2020 school year!
On Monday, August 5th, we will be meeting to discuss what materials to get for Welcome Week, and that Thursday at 12pm will be the next regular ASLC Meeting.
Everything has been a whirlwind since school let out for the summer and it starts up again in 3 weeks but I am still reeling.
The rug was pulled out from under me in June when I went to the ER and was diagnosed with Colitis but couldn’t see a GI Specialist until the middle of July. As it stands, I have an endoscopy & colonoscopy scheduled for my first week of school when I’m supposed to be doing Senate-y things, but it was the soonest they had available so here we are.
My new PCP is helpful and working with me on the diet changes through this process, I am emailing her a weekly check-in on symptoms which is very helpful considering her next available appointment for a followup is in September.
I have learned that, apparently, what my body needs right now is to be Gluten Free, LowFODMAP, and vegan….which feels impossible even though it isn’t actually. I was miserable all last week because I stopped eating normal bread, but on Sunday I found some ($$$$$$) Gluten Free bread mix (and then had a minor breakdown because needing to be GF is breaking my budget). The bread I made (with this recipe from the bag and some rosemary) turned out surprisingly well and now I need to acquire better baking equipment and supplies so I can get through this semester in one piece.
On top of that fun health spiral, my degree program is unlikely to survive, and all of my degree classes were cut for this semester. Additionally, Peralta is not doing well financially so most of this week I’ve spent in a mild panic talking to Deans and coming up with a plan for graduating by next December.
After talking to the Dean of the department I’ve decided to switch majors from Labor Studies to Political Science, this way I can get my AA and transfer to a 4-year that has a Labor Studies equivalent.
My next steps are: Meet with a counselor to get an updated SEP, and then meet with the Department Chair to go over both an Independent Study plan and figure out how to get my LABST classes to count towards my Political Science degree.
Aug 1 is my first day of being an ASLC Senator, which is a 2 semester term. I’m having a lot of feelings about changing majors, and being a senator, and gender feelings about how my problem was immediately addressed without my having to over explain the situation entirely because I was being read as male, and being sick and how that’s going to go down this semester (and how am I going to get through the first week of school while doing colon prep?), and and and…. I want to write more about that later but I am too exhausted and more importantly….
Last March I wrote a 15 month synopsis of what it’s been like on HRT:
I wanted to write another in December when I hit my 2 year anniversary but that occurred over finals week and never happened, so here we are. 30 months on T!
After my Hysto I lost about 4lbs, and have been hovering between 104lbs and 110lbs since, partially due to my testoterone being too high. I really don’t like being this weight. I’m trying to gain but can’t put any on – although that is not entirely the testosterone’s fault and may have more to do with whatever is behind the colitis diagnosis I got in the ER last week.
Mental & Emotional Health Changes:
I’ve continued to become more at home in my body in some ways. Getting my uterus out did worlds of good for my dysphoria. It was like this war that I had always been fighting suddenly ended. This introduced me to another war that I didn’t know I was having between my body and my brain and trauma which is good, unrelated to testosterone, and really difficult. But what is amazing is having a base-level of okayness with myself that I’ve never had before.
I see myself as objectively hot, and kind, and confident, and smart, and capable. Which are things I struggled to see myself as before when I was so caught up in how wrong I felt. I don’t have that as much anymore, and it’s wild and liberating.
My voice deepened by at least 3 octaves after my hysterectomy. Apparently removing all your estrogen making components will do that to you. My skin has also become rougher and dyer (which also makes it greasier, weirdly?!). The angst is also a thing that comes and goes and is really irritating and sometimes jarring.
Immediately after my Hysto, while I was taking 150mg of T a week, my hair spontaneously created cowlicks e v e r y w h e r e. It became utterly ridiculous to shave. After dropping my testosterone this year, the cowlicks have calmed down a bit and now it’s only the usual bit of unruly instead of intensely absurd. Overall, it’s also thickened quite a bit (I didn’t think it was possible but here we are), and my beard is coming in nicely. It almost reaches around from my ears to my chin, but not quite. There’s also a set of patches on my cheeks that are trying to be mutton chops but haven’t quite figured it out yet.
All the rest of the hair on my body has also intensified. When I shave my legs or pits (never super close bc the growing back period sucks) it looks like someone has sheared a poodle in my bathroom.
I dropped out of Ballet before midterms but, damn my legs. My body grows muscle like no one’s business apparently. Just doing floor and barre stretches for 6 weeks really strengthened my core and my legs in heels are fantastic. Most of the growing pains have subsided, though my hips are still trying to shrink.
I have zero tits to speak of. I keep thinking they can’t get smaller and then they do. I can actually get away with going topless which is wild.
My dick can reach things now(!!), and I have more pubic hair than is reasonable. I am actually considering laser on some of it because it’s just….not okay.
After my hysto I started dropping my dose from 150mg/wk to 120mg/wk, then in February all hell broke loose because we never checked my hormone levels after removing the estrogen producing organs. My doctor at the time put me on a schedule (after initially making me drop from 100mg to 50mg) to drop by 20mg every two weeks starting at 100mg. I literally couldn’t show up to school more than half the time for like two months. In May I found a new PCP who has me dropping by 10mg every 6 weeks. I’m currently taking 80mg/week after self-dropping on my own for two months based on what felt better.
I was unable to gain weight because my body was just feeding on the testosterone and I wasn’t feeling hunger. So I’ve been using “feeling hunger” as my signal about whether or not the dose I’m on is low enough. 100mg turned off the hunger feeling, so I dropped to 90mg and stayed there until I stopped feeling hungry, and now I’m at 80mg.
I still desperately need to switch to patches, that’s what started this whole thing to begin with. I’m hoping to talk to my PCP about that at our next appt.
I’ve been having friends do my injections for the last year and a half. This is why I desperately want to switch to patches, but in the meantime, I’ve been using 5/8″ needles (basically insulin needles) and doing an IM injection into my thigh because I have zero fat. This has stopped the nerve poking which has also made me realize that I’ve had chronic leg pain unrelated to shots which is it’s own thing entirely. Such fun.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR TESTOSTERONE especially if you remove both ovaries
If you don’t do close shaves, you can have all the joy of less hair without the aggravation of it growing back
As I’m laying in bed to write this I’m warding off an anxiety attack, nausea induced by adrenaline, and so much adrenaline. I started talking to myself a few minutes ago when I felt my body go tense and my chest tightened and I decided to take a hydroxyzine, take a hit, and use my inhaler to give myself a chance to breathe deeply and stop for a second (Still no luck finding a psychiatrist, and I really need some kind of anti-anxiety med right now).
I got freaked out because I have been a spiraling mess since I had to email my ballet teacher about not being able to perform and told my classmates in case my teacher missed the email. I’ve been out of class for a whole month because I have not had the physical capacity to practice or make it to class at 10:45am.
I realized I was getting anxious while I was trying to go to sleep tonight because tomorrow is Tuesday and I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it in again. I’m worried and anticipating that I’ll have to drop the class, the last day I can drop with a W is April 26th. I’m worried about what this means for my financial aid since that would drop me to 8.5 credits. I’m taking 9.5 this semester which is ~3/4 time…(I wonder if I could get my student organizing job to count as like 3 credits for union organizing, and then I’d be more okay?) I need to talk to disability services about that this week.
I’m really devastated that I can’t perform this semester. I’ve been wanting to get back into ballet for years and never had the opportunity or ability to do it until this year, only to have my body nope out on me. Ballet has always made me feel strong and graceful and grounded. The stretches are meditative and something about moving in unison with a group of people on stage is just satisfying.
I love how doing ballet feels. I just wish I would stop waking up too tired and in too much pain to be able to do it. Some part of me feels like I should just go do it anyway and push through the aches, but my body feels so precarious right now with my hormones and health and immune system up in the air.
The other portion of this anxiety is worrying about what happens if I show my face again. I’m embarrassed that I’ve missed so much class and been such a flake on the ONE THING I TOOK FOR SELFCARE (and at this point my back is starting to ache as if I am literally a hitting a nerve). I’m really angry about it. I feel betrayed by my body and disappointed in myself and I know it isn’t my fault, but I feel so ashamed.
I don’t want to face the reality of my meatcage right now, or ever, really. But if there’s one thing I learned over spring break (which was bookended by health problems) it’s that my body currently has no chill and it is running on almost nothing.
So maybe what I do is give myself this week back, to try and get into the groove of school (and queer prom!) without pushing myself (read: going to ballet in the morning when I need to make sure I’m still sleeping and eating). Then, maybe with my body’s nutrition getting sorted, some of the pain will subside enough to do ballet again next week?
This was a long way to get to talking myself out of pushing myself tomorrow, because it feels like pushing right now, and honestly…I need to not. MAYBE, just maybe, that makes me smart and not bad.