Archive for February, 2016

#hormonewar 2.0

Posted: February 29, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So today I got a reply from the consultant’s office. So much for the call back.

Firstly, completely skated over the reason I am angry — that I have been separated from all the ‘normal’ patients and can only be seen one day a month because I’m transgender. Nope, that’s still all totally acceptable in their eyes. We’ll just ignore that part,  shall we?

Secondly, I will be ‘kept in mind’ if there’s cancellations. Yeah, okay, sure. Given your staff couldn’t be bothered to ring me back after typing up this letter (and it’s a paragraph long, by the way), I very much doubt you will do anything of the sort.

Thirdly, and this is the bit that really hacks me off…

“One possible solution would be if your GP were prepared to start you on testosterone treatment in advance of you attending clinic on the basis that I will be seeing you shortly and can discuss ongoing hormone treatment with you at that point in time.”

Er.

What.

Right, so…my next GP appointment is in March. I will not see this consultant until June. So potentially, I could be on T for three months before I even see the so-called specialist whose so-called expertise is supposedly ‘required’ to get hormone treatment IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And given I first approached the gender services about how to get testosterone in DECEMBER, had that been said then instead of referring me to him just to be referred right back to my GP, I could be celebrating three months on T now.

So let’s just summarise that, folks.

The doctor who has quite probably never met a trans patient in his life (the GP) has treated me with the respect.

The doctor whose expertise is in trans patients has treated me like dirt, delayed my treatment for months unnecessarily and based entirely on my status and not on my patient needs, is passing my care knowing back to a doctor with no expertise in this area of medicine whatsoever, and is still refusing to see me within the timeframe set out by the NHS.

This is not fucking over.

Advertisements

#hormonewar

Posted: February 23, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So right now my transition priority is starting HRT: hormone replacement therapy.

 

For a transman, that basically means taking testosterone for the rest of my life. As male hormones do their thing more-or-less irrespective of whether or not you have a bunch of female hormones floating around, the testosterone will slowly stop the production of female hormones, and take over. Then I go through puberty again, with the random hair, voice breaking, and acne. Not fun, but once it all settles down, boom. Hello, passing, no more periods, and finally being able to get on with my life.

 

Now, as I have ranted and raved before, gender identity clinics are the slowest motherfuckers on the planet. They get zero fundings, have zero staff, and thousands upon thousands of people churning through a ridiculously slow and backward-ass system. The people in the clinics are generally trying to help you, although asshats still exist, but they’re crippled by their own system.

 

Way back at the end of December, I called my local clinic. The pathway on the NHS is very much real life experience to hormones to surgery to more surgery to discharge, takes up to ten years to complete, is extremely rigid, and the waiting list to even begin was three and a half years. I rang them to explain I’ve been diagnosed, so I don’t need that, I’ve had all the surgery I plan on having, so I don’t need that. I literally need hormones. And once prescribing my hormones has been safely passed back to my GP, I will wave goodbye to gender clinics forever.

 

Simple, right?

 

At first, yes. The clinic sent me a letter to explain to my GP what to do, as GPs frankly haven’t got the first clue. My GP read it, said, “Right, I’ll do that then,” and sent it to the endocrinology department that the clinic recommended, and–

 

Stop.

 

Four weeks later of hearing nothing, I rang the hospital. “Oh!” said the receptionist. “I can’t find you on our system!” You’re fucking kidding me. Actually no, several rustling noises later, she unearths my referral and says, “Oh I see, it’s from the gender clinic.” No it isn’t, it’s from my GP. “You’ll have to go the monthly clinic, the next available appointment is in June.”

 

June. Six months after the referral was sent. Well over the 18 week target to start treatment. I’m not even going to see the consultant until the 19th week, and given that apparently he can only see transgender patients once a month at a special clinic (instead of, I don’t know, seeing us and treating us like regular patients), it’ll be July or August before I get my first hormone shot.

 

In this exchange, mostly done through gritted teeth, I learned the following:

  • It’s okay to separate transgender referrals from cisgender referrals and stuff all the transgender patients into once-a-month clinics, as opposed to letting them have regular appointments like everybody else.
  • It’s okay to breach your rights as a patient — 18 weeks doesn’t matter, because your other option (going through the GIC) is worse.
  • It’s fine for staff to not actually read your referral and have no idea where it’s coming from, because hey, you’re only a transgender person, it’s not like you have a real thing needing real treatment.

 

Unfortunately for the staff at this particular endocrinology department, I managed to go from referring myself to a psychiatrist to having surgery in six months, something that usually takes year. I am not going down that easily.