Two weeks ago, I opted into a Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy thingy.
(insert standard marketing photograph of healthy older folks being in love and being happy outdoors doing something active)
Here’s the idea. I’m older now. And a lot of the things that go along with being older, are associated with reduced levels of testosterone – at least for me. Women, it seems, can suffer from both reduced levels of testosterone AND estrogen and other female-type thingies.
For guys these symptoms include mood changes, brain fog, inability to concentrate, reduced strength and muscle mass, increased body fat, reduced stamina.
Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.
My T number was 500; that’s low normal for males. My gynecologist* (how many guys do you know who could start a sentence like THAT?) said that for treatment, she wants it up closer to 1000-1100.
So, after some months of discussion – and even prayer – I let my gynecologist make a small incision at the top of my right buttock, put in eight tiny pellets of testosterone, and then close it up. The idea is that these expensive little Cheek Chiclets would slowly dissolve and raise my T-levels. I should feel some benefit in 7-10 days.
That was two weeks ago.
Today, I’d like to just lay down in my hammock. I did my morning ride, but put off my elliptical and core work until after work, because I would like to maintain some level of effectiveness at my job.
The only real effect I can report is that that little spot on my buttock is still a mite sore, and I can feel a small lump where they put the Performance Pez. So all I got for my $600 was a pain in the butt.
No, that’s not true. One thing I got is that at least I won’t be wondering if the problem is low testosterone. Like Edison inventing the light bulb, I can check off one more thing that didn’t work.
It’s also possible that I might need more pellets. I’m supposed to go back for more blood work at some point.
I was sort of hoping – I admit it – that these pellets would turn me back into a 40 year old Jim Puckett, who could run 18 minute 5Ks, run straight up mountains, and train at 70 miles/week while being smart and productive at work, skiing chair to chair on the weekends, and a “sexual tyrannosaurus“. (If you don’t know the origin of that phrase, I suggest you click the link 🙂 But that is not to be, I reckon.
Since what we’re really talking about here – again – is growing old, either gracelessly or with some composure, I leave you with these last lines of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”:
…Come, my friends,‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.Push off, and sitting well in order smiteThe sounding furrows; for my purpose holdsTo sail beyond the sunset, and the bathsOf all the western stars, until I die.It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’We are not now that strength which in old daysMoved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;One equal temper of heroic hearts,Made weak by time and fate, but strong in willTo strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I’ll bet that Ulysses would have at least tried the butt pellets.
*“my gynecologist” – insurance won’t pay for these treatments, and most doctors won’t prescribe them. But my wife’s GYN – and her Internist husband – both use this therapy, and when Ethel was describing my issues, the doc strongly suggested that I do the blood work. And then she did the procedure.
So that makes me her patient, and her being a gynecologist, and me being her patient, makes her “my gynecologist”.
And I just love using that phrase 🙂