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The Zen of


My First Day of Hormone Therapy

I was incredibly nervous as I prepared to venture out as Melanie for the first time in nearly a year. I had made arrangements with my dad to watch the kids for the day, and had taken my old clothes, make-up and wig out of plastic bag storage in the garage. Earlier in the morning, I had used my old supply of "Nair" to get rid of the hair on my legs and arms.

It took a long time to get everything just right, but eventually, I was satisfied that even if I looked awful, it was enough to convince the doctor that I was serious. In truth, I needed to make the breakthrough into the mainstream of actual medical care so strongly, that I would have walked a gauntlet or red-necks in three-inch heels to latch onto a program that would lead where I wanted to go.

I checked my appearance one final time. Hair - ratty, make-up - cakey, skirt - laughably short, high-heeled shoes - preposterous. In summary, I was ready. I sneaked out of the house, slunk into my car, and boldly set off to find my destiny. Driving through the city and down the freeway was exhilarating. I knew that I was a woman to all who saw me, and I anxiously hoped with every fiber of my being that the doctor would see fit to make that dream a reality.

The medical center itself was a modern ten-story facility, not the sleazy back-room affair I had anticipated. I parked across the street and (after some hunting) found the front entrance. I went looking for room 1009, but there were only two levels in this part of the building. I had no idea where to find the office, nor the certainty that I could (with my nervousness) pull off a conversation to get directions.

Just when I was feeling most distressed, a ten-year-old boy showed up out of nowhere, took one look at me and asked if I needed some help. I told him, in a breaking voice, the number of the office I wanted. He said it was in the other building, and asked if I knew how to get there. I replied in bad falsetto that I didn't. He said, "Do you want me to show you?" I gagged out, "Sure..." He said, "Come on..." and bolted down the hall.

I don't know if he was the son of someone who worked there, or perhaps a patient himself. But he darted down the corridors and around corners like he had designed the place. The only question he ever asked was, "Are you going for plastic surgery?" Thanks a lot, kid! Anyway, after two minutes of mind-boggling twists and turns (him run-walking and me trotting gracelessly down the slippery floors in high heels) we arrived at the elevators. "Tenth floor", he said, smiled, and left as mysteriously as he had arrived. "Thank you!", I croaked as he disappeared around a bend.

Fortunately, the elevator was empty, and I was unmolested, embarrassed or ashamed on the way up. The doors opened revealing the tenth floor: the location of my destiny. I stepped into the hall and checked the office listings until I found the prescribed number. Gripping the knob with a sweaty but determined hand, I gave it a turn and stepped inside.

The room was small, but well decorated (by waiting room standards). There was one short, round lady sitting in the corner and the reception desk straight ahead. I walked up, asked for Ann, as I had been instructed to do, and was told to sit down and wait.

No sooner had I lowered myself, as lady-like as possible into a chair, but the plumpish, weathered woman began to speak. In broken English, she told me the story of her life; her days in San Francisco, her stint as a land-lady and run-in with the Housing Authority, the death of her husband and how she coped. All the while, she rarely required a reply (thank God!) content to have a live body as audience that had not been initiated into her life previously.

I nodded with sympathy and understanding, peppered with an occasional "uh huh...", and she seemed not only satisfied, but almost euphoric. Once, the nurse caught my eye and smiled knowingly, in empathy with my ordeal.

Finally, my name was called, and I stood to the window to fill out information and answer questions. Then, out of nowhere, the nurse asked if I wanted to buy the pills today. I was shocked! Suddenly here was another human being, a qualified, legitimate medical professional just GIVING them to me! "Yes!", I stammered, fumbling the required twenty-two dollars out of my purse.

Bill paid, the door opened and I was beckoned inside so meet my future. I flushed from head to toe as I crossed that threshold into the unknown.

I was ushered down the hall to an examining room, where the nurse sat me down, handed me a bottle of 100 2.5 mg estrogen pills, "Take one a day, and don't miss any!", and took my blood pressure. I just kept staring at that bottle, unable to take my eyes from it, transfixed to the reality and weight of the decision I was about to make.

The doctor came in, asked some routine questions and told me to "bend over the table." for a prostrate exam. I hardly noticed the pain.

Finally, Ann came back with two syringes, one for vitamins and one, the fateful one, with a mix of estrogen and progesterone in sesame oil for slow release. She asked me to stand and raise my skirt. I complied, my heart racing as I contemplated the path I was beginning, the reality of a lifetime of dreams.

I stared out of the tenth floor window, across the city, bustling with thousands of ant-like people, going about their daily routines, unaware of the change of life that was about to occur 100 feet above them. I stared out toward the ocean, across the universe, across the years, as my entire life collapsed into an abstract desire whose fulfillment would begin with the sharp prick of the needle that hovered behind me.

And then, I felt the tiny pain as the steel shaft slid into the tissue of my derriere, then slowly deposit its cargo of womanhood, rushing into my system, realigning the workings of my entire anatomy, so that its new responses would ultimately transform me into a true and undeniable woman. That brief moment lasted an eternity for me as I savored the upwelling of emotion, knowing that I had the courage to take that first step. And, now that I had, there would be no going back. I was on the road to womanhood, and I would not stop until I reached my destination.

I fixed my clothes, left the office, and felt incredibly feminine as I sashayed down the hall, riding the most pleasurable high I have ever experienced. Down the elevator and back to the car. Onto the freeway and across town. Into the driveway and the house. It all blurred together with the knowledge that the hormones were working already. Carrying their undeniable commands to all parts of my body. Telling my most basic systems, "This is a woman, do your job!"

I didn't come down all day, and I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

From my Transition diary


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