Updates galore!

There have been a lot of exciting developments in the past few weeks. First of all, I’m happy to announce that I’ve sent out all of my MD/PhD applications. I originally planned on going to medical school two years ago, and got into a few schools, but decided on finishing my M.P.H. first. It just wasn’t the right time for me emotionally, and looking back, I’m so happy I decided to wait. I am fully ready for the challenge now and my research interests have blossomed, so if I started school two years ago, I probably would have ended up in something I didn’t truly enjoy.

I’ve applied to: Boston University, University of California-Los Angeles, Harvard University, University of Southern California, Michigan State, University of Arizona-Phoenix, University of Arizona-Tucson, University of California-San Diego, University of California-San Francisco, University of Colorado, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington.  I applied to all MD/PhD programs, and I’d like to do the PhD in Nutrition, Immunology, or Molecular Biology. Cross your fingers that I get in and have a few to select from. I will be chatting with a professor at Boston University in Medical Nutrition Sciences next Friday about his research. Let’s hope that goes well, too!

In terms of my transition, everything has been going flawlessly. Things are so routine that I almost forget that I’m trans and that my appearance is induced by biweekly testosterone shots. I just feel like the usual guy next door.  This can get a little awkward sometimes, however, because if I start stories with something like: “when I was a little girl…” people look at me like I have five heads. When I finally remember that everyone is confused about why a dude with facial hair is sharing a story about when he was a little girl, I just chuckle in my head and move on.  The only “big” thing coming up is my name change—my court date is on the 19th of this month, and I’ll officially be “Alex M.” instead of “Allison Marie.”

This is the first semester that I’m “officially” transitioned at work (use the men’s restroom, male pronouns, etc.) and everything is going wonderfully. My students all use male pronouns to refer to me, and I don’t think any of them even know I’m trans. Like I’ve mentioned before, I have the most supportive and amazing mentor/supervisor/friend that I teach for and work with in my independent study. Every day, I feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such supportive people; I know what some others go through when they transition, and compared to that, my transition has been a cake-walk.

I do have some incredibly exciting transition-related updates, but they’re about my boyfriend Tracy. (drumroll please). Tracy has both started testosterone and has a date for his top surgery. On November 21st, Tracy will finally take a surgical step towards being himself to the fullest extent. I’m so happy and excited for him that I tear just thinking about it. I will be teaching that day, and I know I’ll be a hot mess, but excited nonetheless. We are thankful that my mother-in-law will be coming out for a week and a half to help with post-op care. That way, I can meet my teaching commitments, which is necessary for paying the bills while Tracy recuperates. Plus, then I get to cook Thanksgiving dinner for three instead of two! Well, I’m sure our cats, particularly Andy, will try their hardest to partake in the feast, too.

Our cat Andfluf Onwheat, whose girth is increasing daily..

The only “bad” thing that has been going on lately is a minor change in my health. Thursday night, I experienced blood sugars around 400mg/dL. If you’re not familiar with normal values, they’re generally between 80-120mg/dL, but it is okay if they go up to 160-180ish after a large, carbohydrate meal, providing they come back down to the normal range. Prior to Thursday, I had problems with inexplicable low blood sugars, but never with high blood sugar. Thursday night, my blood sugar shot up, my vision blurred, I started vomiting, and felt very ill overall. I eventually had to go to the emergency room on Friday morning. I was nervous about how things would go in the ER, being trans and all, but luckily, my care went beautifully (as least from a transgender perspective). The employees all used the correct name/pronoun, and there weren’t any problems at all. I feel spectacular, and I am incredibly thankful for Humalog, a synthetic form of insulin. My highest blood sugar was 137 and lowest 81 yesterday—absolutely gorgeous. I am also lucky that my mother-in-law and boyfriend both have Type 1 diabetes, as well as my friend Andrea, because without having people who are resident “experts” in problem-solving with blood sugars, I’d be lost right now!

Other than those updates, everything is business as usual. As the fall is approaching, I am a little home-sick, and miss the New England fall. I felt the same way last fall, but my slump went away once I heard horror stories involving numerous feet of snow.  For now, though, I do miss New England. I love “hoodie” weather, crunchy leaves, and the autumn dusk. Who knows, maybe Tracy and I will end up back east when I go to medical school.

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