Trans* in the Healthcare System
As trans* people, we often find ourselves in the healthcare system in order to access testosterone or gender confirming surgeries. We also need doctors the way the rest of the population does, because we get sick just like everybody else. Even when we aren’t seeing the doctor for trans* related care, our trans* status can come up and complicate things. What if you’re otherwise stealth and experiencing uterine problems? What if you’re worried you might have diabetes but feel uncomfortable going to the doctor to find out? A lot of us have had negative experiences with the medical system that makes us uncomfortable accessing healthcare, and even if we haven’t we may worry about having a negative experience. Here are some tips:
1. Know your rights. If this seems like our #1 piece of advice with almost anything, that’s because it is incredibly important for a lot of different issues. It is illegal in the United States for a health care provider to turn down health care to a person because they are transgender. This doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it does mean that the law is on your side in these types of situations.
2. If you can, find a doctor who is supportive and understanding of trans* people or at least someone that you feel comfortable with and who you can trust. A good doctor should not make you feel uncomfortable about your anatomy or treat you differently than a cis patient. You may want to find a doctor who has experience with trans* patients, even if you are not going to see them for trans* related care. A GP who has experience with trans* patients may be more knowledgeable about the effect hormones can have on your health and be on the lookout during your check-ups for potential issues. You also might just feel more comfortable with a doctor who is used to trans* bodies. Remember that your doctor is providing you with a service that you are paying for (even if insurance is covering your visit). You do not need to put up with a doctor who is treating you poorly or who makes you feel uncomfortable. You can look up reviews of doctors on sites like healthgrades.com or ask around for more trans* specific reviews and recommendations on sites like fuckyeahftms, fuckyeahmtfs, Laura’s Playground, etc.
3. Be honest about the medications you are on and about other information you share with your doctor. You never know when your hormones could affect or be the root of a medical issue you are having, particularly if it involves your liver. Your doctor just isn’t someone you want to lie to or keep things from because it keeps them from doing their best job keeping you healthy. This is another reason to try to find a doctor that you trust and who is understanding, because it is important to share things with them (even sensitive information as it relates to your health). Remember that your doctor is obligated to keep this information confidential.
4. On the flip side, recognize that there are certain questions that are NOT medically necessary for your doctor to know the answer to that you don’t have to answer if asked. It’s definitely your doctor’s business if you’ve had bottom surgery if they are recommending an exam of that area, but not if you’re at the podiatrist. Doctors should know better, but sometimes they ask rude questions. You DON’T have to answer questions like those, and should let your doctor know (if you feel alright doing so) that they are making you uncomfortable.
5. If you can, bring someone who is supportive with you to be your advocate. If you are going to a new doctor or going to the hospital, it can be a good idea to take someone with you who can help you make sure you are treated appropriately and given the best care possible. Medical situations can be incredibly stressful for some trans* people, and so it can also just be nice to have a calming and supporting presence with you.
Tips On Running a Half Marathon
Here are some no-brainer tips on how to not run/walk/crawl a half marathon.
- DO NOT not train.
That’s all. Train. Training is important. Training helps prevent injuries. Training helps better prepare you for what you are taking on. No matter how seasoned of a runner you are and no matter how many races you have ran, if you take a break from running, it doesn’t mean you can still handle it.
That’s something that I struggle with. I know I can do it. I’ve done it. But running, or working out in general isn’t like “riding a bike”. You don’t just lace up your shoes and run 5 miles after a hiatus. You may remember how to do it, but it doesn’t mean your body does. You have to start somewhere and build from there. Fitness isn’t about building and taking a break and expecting to start where you stopped. Often times your knocked down some notches. That’s what’s frustrating. Starting over.
For me, starting over is worse than starting the first time. Because, you’re used to what you could do, and now you can’t. And every workout feels like it’s not what it should be. Because you took a hiatus, now you have to work to get to where you were.
I’ve learned my lesson. Keep a base. Train! It’s easier to build off a foundation than to start in the mud.
Alternative Game Grub Ideas
Because hey, who has the time to prepare a whole meal inbetween raids or 12 hour grinding sessions? When you’re beginning to feel hungry and drained, you need to find something filling and, preferably, easy to make so you can get right back in the game without feeling like reheated death hours later. Here are some cheap, easy, and overall healthier options to pick up the next time you’re feeling drained and in desperate need of a quick and easy snack.
- Apple Slices (okay, yeah, this can take some time to prepare because it will take some chopping. but apples are sweet, crunchy, and super filling when paired with almond butter. plus, everyone knows apples mysteriously taste better when they’re sliced)
- Whole Wheat Pitas and Hummus (an alternative to chips and dip. hummus comes in a variety of flavours, such as roasted red pepper, garlic, edamame, olive, etc, just to name a few. protip: pitas almost always taste better when they’re warmed up briefly in the microwave before eating.)
- Tea (go for black/mate tea if you’re looking for a small caffine boost as an alternative to coffee or energy drinks. go for oolong/green teas if you’re looking to boost your metabolism. go for white/green teas if you’re looking for a boost in antioxidents. or just go with whatever flavour you like best at the time!)
- Dried Fruit (this is really all about what you prefer here. I personally cannot stand dried apples or bananas, but I absolutely adore snacking on dried mangos.)
- Yogurt (specifically greek yogurt that is high in protien.)
- Trail Mix (I usually just have a simple mix of almonds, yogurt covered raisons, and dried cranberries. again it’s all about what you prefer!)
- Hardboiled Eggs (you can prepare these ahead of time and just keep them in the fridge until you want ‘em. eggs are high in protein and make an amazing snack.)
- Unsalted Popcorn (if you can find some of that smart pop no butter/salt added microwave popcorn, then this makes a wonderful alternative to chips and other munchies.)
- Fruit (just any old piece of fruit you might like. bananas, pears, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, strawberries, oranges, etc are all great for snacking on.)
INVENTION OF THE WEEK: Utopian Massage Table with ABC System (VIDEO with Rebecca Savich, Founder)
This is an amazing invention by my friend Rebecca Savich, which provides several benefits, especially for women getting a massage in a face down position. The key innovation: a section of the Utopian table (the movable pad) can be lowered or raised, depending on the type of massage being done. When the pad is lowered, the chest area now has space to rest comfortably and the spine achieves proper alignment. When raised, the pad can serve as a headrest so the massage therapist can access areas around the head and neck much easier. Check out the video to learn more; once you see it, other massage tables will seem obsolete by comparison.