Yesterday I had my first negative experience with a GP around my gender identity and choice to be taking Testosterone.
I went to my local GP, who I’ve seen a handful of times, to try and get to the bottom of my extreme fatigue. I normally travel into the city to see a trans-aware GP at Northside Clinic (and I can now understand why one might be unable to see their local/normal GP). My local GP would have most of my records since 1995 and I still utilise them if I have a bug/virus or other concerns not relating to taking T.
A few month back I visited another local clinic where I go to the physiotherapist and who share their records with the other medical clinic, and started seeing a new GP. Dr R, who I had explained everything to, was initially surprised by me informing him that I was on T and asked questions like “Why do you take testosterone?”, “Was this done though a reputable GP?” and “Where do you get your prescription for T from?”. Although he wasn’t too up to date with individuals who transition or are taking T, he was friendly and willing to explore this ongoing tiredness that I was experiencing. Just recently Dr R left the medical practice and I was left to try and find another GP to continue these investigations with.
So yesterday I made an appointment to see a GP I felt I could open up to and talk to about this fatigue. I got in to see the Dr at 10am and from when I sat down I felt something was a little odd – he wasn’t making eye contact with me or seem to be very interested. I explained why I was there and that I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism since approx 2012 and have been on the same dose of medication for the past year or so. His first question was to ask about my diet, “Do you eat meat?” he asked, to which I replied that I am mostly vegetarian and had a balanced diet and no history of anemia. The second question was about my menstrual cycle, which I explained I haven’t had for the past two years. Well that set him off on a tangent of “Well that isn’t normal! What do you mean you haven’t had a period?” etc. I was of course quick to explain that I have been on a low-dose of T for the past 2.5yrs and that my menstrual cycle stopped shortly after that. I had obviously said the wrong thing as he began to become very agitated and stated that “That shouldn’t happen, even on a low dose” followed on by “Why would any GP prescribe a normal health woman with testosterone?” and how over time it would have masculinising effects, which is where I said “Yes I know, it is what I am wanting”. From there the GP didn’t settle and seemed unable to hear anything else I was saying. It was then when I felt this huge wave of panic, wondering why I hadn’t just gone to Northside and avoided being treated like an ignorant person with no common sense.
Throughout the consultation I explained that I had gone through a GP, seen an endocrinologist and had regular blood tests. He eventually got up from his seat and rather exasperatedly stated he had only seen me a handful of times and knew nothing about this kind of stuff. After a quick poke and a listen to my lungs he seemed to focus onto my sleep and suggested that if after blood tests, an ECG and X-ray there was no clear cause to my tiredness that he would order a sleep study. Here I was inquiring about my Thyroid levels, wondering if I could tweak my medication and all this GP is obsessed about is my sleep, not having a menstrual cycle and taking T!
I did some investigating today and received some very useful advice via some of online blogs I visit and post to. I will be getting all my results yesterday and will raise the possibility of me changing my Thyroid medication dose a little – even a small tweak could help.