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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ovarian Adventures at Urgent Care

Note that this post talks about going to the doctor as a trans person, outing myself, and medical issues.

So on the 19th of last month (I know this because I quite actively monitor my cycle, something I might go more in-depth about in the future) I ovulated and had some blood.  It's not uncommon for me to spot a bit, and it wasn't period-level bleeding by any means, but it was a significant amount just for ovulation.

This brought me some relief as a couple of days earlier I had some sharp abdomen pain in my lower right quadrant.  I'd been thinking about those stories of women who don't get appendicitis checked out thinking it's just period cramps, and the extra blood confirmed it probably was something less serious.  I should have gone to the doctor right away, but I was too afraid.

The pain went down significantly, but it didn't go away.  So yesterday, in a fit of anxiety, I drove off to urgent care.  It was the second time I went to urgent care for possible uterine issues, and I was crossing my fingers it didn't go as annoyingly as the first time, in which a cis male doctor basically refused to test anything and seemed to believe I was trying to score a free hysterectomy (But he did have trans patients and was happy to meet me so I could educate him. Yeah.).

I'm happy to report that this was definitely one of my better doctor experiences when it comes to reproductive healthcare.

It started with the nurse.  When she came in and asked what was going on, I said that I was transgender, that I had a uterus that was functioning, and that the "abdominal pain" I reported at reception felt like it was related to that.  She was very matter of fact and friendly about it, and wrote everything down respectfully.  She even filled the doctor in on the whole situation which I've never had anybody do (so I didn't have to come out twice this time).

The doctor was not great on the language front, but not in a way that I interpreted as malicious.  He was extremely confused that I still have a beard and I had to explain that it keeps growing and doesn't fall out; in retrospect he may have been thinking it was PCOS (which is a definite possibility).

To his credit he seemed worried that he was going to say something that would offend me and was trying very hard not to.  He ran a bunch of tests (all relevant to the situation) including a pelvic exam.  He ruled out appendicitis and a couple other infections, said it was probably ovarian, and that I would need a transvaginal ultrasound but that they only have a technician on site for that two days a week.  He scheduled this for today, and I had it done at 10:15AM.

I showed up thinking that it would be the same folks as yesterday, but instead the technician was somebody I'd never met before and who also was clearly filled in on the situation and quite friendly and respectful.  I had an external ultrasound first (this, it turns out, is miserable; I had to have a full bladder so they could see things properly and it just felt terrible) and watched her highlight colored lights after colored lights on the screen (I have no idea what this means, but she said she "saw a lot").  Then she did the transvaginal ultrasound, which was super boring because the screen was shifted away.  It's unclear when I'll get the results back; they're going to a radiologist and then back to the doctor.

Right now the most likely explanation is that I have an ovarian cyst, although obviously I'll need to wait for the doctor to get back to me with the results.  I'm kind of pre-preparing by looking into some natural therapies for benign ovarian cysts as well as PCOS (which is not a distant possibility with my history).  But I'll write more about that when I get to it.

Happy Trails,
-- Jackson