Chemotherapy Takes Everything
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Chemotherapy Takes Everything

Chemo Takes more for a transgender man

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Chemotherapy Takes Everything

When we hear the word "chemotherapy" we often associate it with cancer patients. We imagine hair loss, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, etc. But how much more can chemo take from a person? It takes a lot more than what we can imagine. As someone who identifies as a transgender male who recently went through chemotherapy, I can assure you it takes more than what doctors claim.

I was four years on HRT, I finally had facial hair and started to look more masculine. I finally was beginning to feel like myself until I got diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The doctors told me it would be fine to continue my HRT as they saw there wouldn't be any complications. They were completely wrong. In the coming months, I lost a lot. I lost all my hair, my ability to eat, the ability to bend down, or walk, I even had complications with staying awake. About three months into chemotherapy, I noticed that my face started to feminize itself. My weight started to redistribute to my hips, thighs, and buttocks. It was as if my testosterone was being killed off by the treatment that I began to de-transition. The realization hit me like a brick wall. I started to have panic attacks and had low self-esteem over it. It was a nightmare that came true. Nobody warned me that this may happen. It threw me into a deep depression, I started to cover up mirrors in the house so I wouldn't have to look at myself. By the end of my treatment, I couldn't even recognize myself. I was a stranger within my own body.

Once my treatment finished, I went to Planned Parenthood for a yearly check up and to talk to them about the possible de-transition that chemo had caused. I wanted to make sure I wasn't losing my mind, I wanted to make sure that I was right. After talking with the doctor at Planned Parenthood, they confirmed my fears. They confirmed that I had de-transitioned due to the treatments. That's when they increased my dosage of testosterone to catch up with what was lost.

Now that I have been in remission for four months, I now know that this little bump in the road does not mean the end. Instead, I will pick up where I left off and continue my transition to become my true, authentic self. I know that I will be where I once was. This was only temporary, not permanent. Nobody truly knows how much chemotherapy can take from someone. I lost a lot, but I'm slowly picking up the pieces.

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