It’s been a long time since I was inspired to write an article about myself, but I have some “stuff” that I need to get off my chest.
With all the recent demonization of TRT in the combat sports community, many men may feel less inclined to seek it out as a solution to some of their health issues, and that is exactly what we don’t need, another roadblock to a method of treatment that is difficult enough to get already.
I’ve been on testosterone replacement therapy going on two years now. I had all the classic symptoms of low testosterone in abundance. It turns out that my Low-T was a result of an issue with my pituitary gland. Of course when my journey started, I had no clue what the cause of my issues was, and it was only through countless hours of research and reading the work of people like Victor at BoldandDetermined.com, Mike from DangerandPlay.com and our own Luther Pain here at KS, that I began to formulate an idea that perhaps I really was suffering from low testosterone.
I went to my doctor, whom I had been seeing for about 6 years, and he was quick (without any testing whatsoever) to offer me multiple choices of anti-depressants, which I tried with no success. In hindsight, am I the only one who finds it odd, that a medication that causes over 40,000 deaths a year in the US alone and has been implicated in numerous mass shootings is handed out with no need for bloodwork?
I went back after several more months of research and said: “Listen I have been looking into this and I think I may have low test, I would like you to test me and see what we find?” Now at this point I should mention, that my doctor was aware that I had performed as a pro-wrestler and I had several years ago used anabolic steroids when I was trying to increase my size and performance in the ring. I may have appeared to be in slightly better than average shape, but I certainly did not have anything close to a bodybuilder’s physique.
At first my doctor protested and said there was “no way” I could have low test, based on the fact I was still pretty big, looked like I worked out and was only 34, but I was suffering and I needed help, so I was persistent. It took about three visits until he eventually agreed to check my testosterone levels.
When the results came back, my doctor said I was not low, but was “perhaps at the lower end of the normal scale”. What constitutes normal can range wildly from lab to lab, for example, a lab may use a reference range of 348 – 1197 ng/dl, but the problem is that reference range consists of a wide variety of men who tested with the lab: 85-year-old men and 20-year-old men; obese men and super fit men; men with pituitary gland problems and men with glands that work perfectly. Sure, a 400 ng/dl may be considered normal, but normal compared to whom? An 85-year-old man with diabetes & pituitary gland problems?
I asked for my numbers, but my doctor was unwilling to give them to me. He reluctantly agreed to place me on a low-dose of Androgel. However since I had no insurance I managed after much haggling to convince him to place me on the less expensive (and more effective) testosterone cypionate.
Well, needless to say I though I had hit the jackpot, after about a month on the testosterone cypionate shots, I noticed my depression, energy level, general outlook and libido all getting better. This was no placebo effect either, this was the real deal. I figured if basic TRT did this for me what else could I do to keep improving, how could I be a better version of me?
Well I began doing more research, I discovered that many sources were saying that if I am on TRT I should be using an Aromatase Inhibitor and perhaps Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in addition to my TRT. Well I made the mistake of asking my doctor if an AI or HCG were something I should be considering, I also asked if I could see my numbers when I had blood-work done, as I wanted to be able to keep track of how I was doing.
It turns out, the doc thought that I, or anyone else would be unable to decipher the complex magical numbers the lab had sent. He immediately told me that based on the “excessive research“ I had done, and the questions I had asked, he felt that I was micro-managing my treatment and he was no longer comfortable on treating me. I’ve since found an endocrinologist, who is better equipped to deal with TRT. Note: this is not always the case, many endocrinologists are simply diabetes doctors and nothing else.
What I found so ridiculous about the entire process, was the double standard in how TRT is perceived and handled here in North America. We have laws and a culture that say your are free and even encouraged to destroy your body with alcohol, fast food, fluorinated water and cigarettes. Yet, testosterone, which in spite of the media’s best efforts, has never been proven to have directly caused the death of anyone, is treated like the most dangerous substance on the planet.
In fairness testosterone is only treated as the most dangerous substance, depending on who is asking. As Mike at D&P points out, if a woman walks into a doctor’s office and says she feels like “a man trapped in a woman’s body” her doctor will likely respond “We will get you a prescription for testosterone right away. We also need to schedule surgery to have your breast tissue removed. You will have many operations, as a matter of fact. Also, here is a pamphlet discussing hate crimes you might face. Here is an article on how to get the government to pay for your sex change operations.” Whereas a man feeling all the effects of low testosterone will be told “Male ageing is a normal process. What you’re going through happens to every man at some point in his life.”
So maybe feeling like shit is “natural” and “to be expected” as the doctors will tell you. Or perhaps there is a nefarious conspiracy against masculinity, but whatever the case, it’s my opinion, that every guy over the age of 25 should be getting educated on the subject and getting checked, because eventually those numbers and your quality of life will begin to drop.
In today’s cowardly, politically correct environment you will likely have an up-hill battle, but don’t take no for an answer. Men were not meant to be mediocre, we all have goals and dreams, the first step to reaching them is taking control of your health because with out that you don’t really have any life at all.
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