Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Dr. Metzger and blockers
A couple years ago. Anneke became very depressed. S/he had chronic headaches, stomach aches, and missed a lot of school. Many doctor visits later we realized s/he was very depressed and anxious. Much of it had to do with the subtle changes her body was going through that indicated the onset of puberty. To her, her body was betraying her.
"I don't want boobs mom. I just don't." S/her would fervently state.
As if by miracle of fate, my student that year told me about an endocrinologist at BC Children's Hospital who helped 'gender variant' children block the hormones of puberty until they felt ready to adopt the gender that fit them best. For some that meant starting testosterone, and never developing into a female body.
When I told Anneke about his doctor and this possible therapy, s/he immediately said "When can we see him?" About a month later we were in Dr. Metzger's office. He began our visit by asking which pronoun Anneke preferred to use - he or she. S/he said she. He asks this question at every visit. He also asks if Anneke is still the name s/he prefers to be called. He really understands our child. He asked Anneke at that visit what she wanted, as he said most kids who came to him had a clear idea of what they wanted from him. In her own words she said s/he had heard he could prescribe a medication that could prevent her from 'growing boobs' and developing other female characteristics. By the end of the appointment Anneke had her first injection of Lupron a hormone 'blocker' that is now largely considered a community standard in treating trans-gendered children/adolescents.
Anneke has been taking blockers for the past 9 months and has never been happier. No more headaches, no more missed school. As a parent it is a huge decision to make on behalf of your child. While there of no dangerous long term side effects, it feels like a huge step to block puberty in your 12 year old child. Now that we see how happy s/he is, however, it feel like a no brainer. I give Anneke her monthly injection. It cost over $500 per month. A small price to pay for your child's happiness.
At New Year's our family goes around and states what the best thing about the past year has been. For Anneke it was meeting Dr. Metzger - go figure.