Sunday, May 25, 2008

T plus One Week

All the authorities say that you should expect T therapy to show results after about three weeks. This seems really reasonable to me. Even in this era of fiber optic Internet, PayPal, and instant gratification, some things just take some time.

Nevertheless, I've seen some interesting psychological changes even in the short time since my one injection.

I guess the first thing I noticed was the morning after my injection, hanging around waiting for everyone to get ready to start our English century. I saw an acquaintance walk up with my friend, and the unbidden thought, "hey, she's pretty!" came to mind. Not that I ever lost my appreciation for the fairer sex, I just didn'

About four days later I was sitting in a deli when an attractive woman walked in and my eyes tracked her as she walked up to the counter. Guys, you know what I'm talking about. It's pretty much involuntary, sort of like sneezing. Your girlfriend/wife hates it and thinks there's something wrong with you. You and I know it's just part of a normal healthy well-adjusted adult man. Only I'm guessing it's been somewhere between six months and a year since the last time it's happened to me.

As of today I'd call my sex drive "low normal", which is to say that I would be satisfied and could cope if it stayed at this level. It really does feel like it's come back after a hiatus, so things really aren't "normal" yet. I'll call it normal after it's stabilized for a period of time.

My mood has also improved. Toward the end of the week I found myself just grinning for no reason. Not that I'm that downbeat in general, but I could tell that I was just in a really good mood. I wouldn't characterize it as "manic"; the pshrinks use that term when your elevated mood interferes with your life. I was definitely more productive than I'd been in a few months.

Late in the week we had a fairly active meeting at my work. At one point a woman (a terrifically bright engineer and a competitive bicyclist to boot) asked a question and about two other workers (men) talked over her so her question got drowned out. I wanted to hear her question and the answer.

ONE MEETING! I yelled. (That's an Intel term by the way when there's too much side talking so that ideas are getting lost.) Embarrassed silence. Not the least of which was myself. I belatedly realized I'd just out-testosterone'd everyone in the room. Oops. At least it was in the defense of the testosterone impaired.

Towards the end of the week: I was eyeing this woman I was familiar with, one that I really enjoy looking at since I see her around regularly. (Such a simple pleasure in life!) I got a shock. Eewww!! Yucch! How did I ever think she was attractive?

This was a definite surprise. Over the last oh, five or ten years I've gotten a lot more universal in my appreciation of women. My understanding is that this is pretty common in men as they get older, and I've considered it a side benefit of being married: I don't have to be picky or choosy in my appreciation of women. I can enjoy them all since there's absolutely no intent and no decisions to be made. I don't remember being so picky about women since my early 30's. I'm not characterizing this as good or bad, I'm just reporting it.

Moving away from mood issues, the injection site was sore for about three days. I really didn't like it being achy for so long. Part of it might have been all the biking on Saturday. However, I think I may have had some weight on my leg when I got the injection. I will make a point of relaxing that muscle before the next shot to see what happens.

After my English century, I noted that my resting heart rate (RHR) was in the high 70's. This seemed a bit high, so I've been waiting for it to go back down, and it hasn't dropped to its previous levels. That's the one interesting physical effect so far. Allow me to explain that my RHR is higher than average, and my physician says a lot of that is genetically predetermined. However, since I've started biking I saw it drop into the low 60's, and in the last year or so I've seen it drop into the low 50's. Since the injection it's now somewhere in the mid 60's. I now suspect that my metabolism was starting to tank. Perhaps now I can start to lose some of that weight I've gained in the last three years.

The bottom line is that so far I'm very pleased with the treatment. We have to be very careful that my blood doesn't turn into molasses due to overproduction of red blood cells, and other serious physical side effects are still possible. However, I am very optimistic that this is going to mean a significant improvement in my quality of life.

I even found out that my bicycle racing aspirations might not be over. There is a procedure called a "therapeutic use exemption" by which I can get formal dispensation to allow me to race even though I'm receiving treatment. Of course, it's way too early to consider it. I need to adjust to the treatment and lose about fifteen pounds. Also, there's no guarantee that USADA will grant it; I'll have to demonstrate that I'm not enjoying an unfair advantage because I'm being treated. But, hey, perhaps I'll be able to get back on the race team!

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