Guys, I’ve got kind of a long story to share with y’all. Not many will probably care or have it matter to them all that much, but it’s been a pretty big deal for me, so here we go.
I went to the doctor today for the first time in probably five years. I was diagnosed diabetic over seven years ago when I had my leg surgery and only have had help managing it for a couple of those 7 years. Because several years ago, I pretty much wrote off going to the doctor full stop. My insurance only covered Kansas and the doctors I had been to in Kansas were so quick to dismissive of anything that I brought up about my health as a trans man. So I said eff it why bother. And since then have been managing (or not, as the case may be) my diabetes by doing what worked for me when I first got out of the hospital. Admittedly, for a long time I didn’t do anything about it. I was in a spot where I just really didn’t care because none of it was going to help me feel more validated. Not that I *wanted* to die or anything, but whatever happened happened.
Since I’ll be 40 in another month and a half, though, I’ve been thinking about getting back to a doctor and giving this one more effort to be heard and seen and try to get things done. I finally have insurance this year that will let me see doctors in Missouri and the endocrinologist that I wanted to go to is in Missouri. But since it had been so long since I’d seen him, I had to get a new referral from my PCP (which I hadn’t had one in 5ish years).
I had no idea who to go to. I’d talked to my mom about it and she suggested that I go to the Dr. Williams here in town and though I was hesitant, I was like, okay. It’s like three blocks from my work and he’s a young guy, so what the heck. I’ll give it a try and we’ll see if this destroys my view or if it brings me hope.
So I get there and weigh in (which my scales at home are three pounds heavier than at the dr office, so that was victory #1), they take my blood pressure, which was high because yay anxiety, and then I wait. He comes in and says hello, introduces himself, and I said “Well legally I’m Heather but I go by Heath.”
Sidenote: First time I’ve ever been confident enough to not just roll with being called Heather. Win #2.
He goes “OK Heath. I can get on board with that.” And immediately, the walls that I’ve been building and buckling down started to crumble. For the first time in YEARS I feel like a doctor actually listened to me. He asked me all about my history with diabetes and how I’ve been treating and taking care. And I was 100% honest with him in everything. He didn’t lecture me, just took the information in, took some notes, and said “OK well first I want to get your A1C so we have a starting point and we’ll go from there. And I want to check your blood pressure again now that you’ve been here for a bit see if it’s come down any.”
He leaves, the nurses come in and prick my finger and stab my arm to get vials to check organ functions and vitamin levels and blah blah blah. He comes back in and he goes “Well it’s not great news.” I said “How bad is it?” He goes “It’s 8.2.” I was like “OH! Well that’s better than I thought it’d be!” (Win #3!)
So we talked about my diet and I told him that I’d just joined Weight Watchers again with some friends and I was getting serious about changing how I eat for life and not just a diet that will fail me for a 157,000th time and how this and that. He goes, “So are you still wanting that referral to Dr. Hamlett or are you wanting to just have me help you manage it?” I said, “Well…” (deep breath) “I’m totally cool with you managing my diabetes and helping me get all that in check, but I’ll need a referral to Sean eventually because I’d really like to start T soonish.”
Dude didn’t bat an eye. He didn’t laugh, he didn’t scoff, and not only did he not do all the things that I’ve gotten as reactions before, but he goes, “Well excellent then! Because I can help you get your diabetes and other things under control before we send you to him.” I said, “Cool. Because every other doctor I’ve ever talked to about it has just dismissed it or even laughed at it when I bring it up.” He goes, “Listen, I’ve helped a few people start their transition and I know doctors around here aren’t always super open to being helpful. You are who you are and what I care about is your health. And if things don’t work out at Hamlett that he helps you with it, then I’ll send you to KU. But we’re going to get this done.”
Y’ALL! It took everything I had to not jump off that table and hug him and start crying. This is the cooperation and effort from a doctor that I’ve been searching for for SO LONG. In that moment, I just smiled so big and I was like, “That’s amazing.”
So – I’ll get results back Monday from my blood work and I go back in 3 months to check A1C again and see where we’re at.
Everything happens in its own time. My parents and I are finally at a good place with me being Heath and not Heather so that we can do this transition together instead of me feeling like I’m alone when it comes to having their support. They don’t always get it right (more often not than so, actually) but one of these days, they’re gonna look pretty ridiculous calling me their daughter when I have a full beard! LOL
This is finally happening. FINALLY! What a way to enter my 40’s.
Here’s to the next 40 living perfectly as myself, who I was perfectly created to be. Thanks for being here with me. I sure do love y’all.
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