Hey everyone, I started TRT about 3 months ago and have been reading here for the last month or so. I’ve really enjoyed reading the experiences of others and have learned quite a lot, so I thought my experience could possibly do the same for others. Also, any guidance from this group can only help.
This will be long. My feelings won’t be hurt if you skim or skip all together. I plan on using this as a diary of sorts.
I first started feeling low-t symptoms around 15 years ago, maybe longer (I’m 49 now). At first my main symptoms were lack of motivation and general malaise. An overall feeling of blah. That and a fat body. I went from fairly fit in my 20s (never an athlete, but active) to fairly fat in my 30’s. At 6 feet tall I’ve fluctuated between 210 – 285 pounds for years. I used to joke about being able to gain and lose 50 pounds every year.
Around 15 years ago I started reading about low-t. That was also the around first time I went to my to get my levels checked. Back then I didn’t know about anything other than total testosterone levels, so that’s all I checked until recently.
At age 34 I had my first test and my total testosterone was 205 on a 200-800 scale.
Reenactment of conversation with my PCP.
Me: Doc, that seems really low. Is that what is causing me to feel terrible and continue to gain fat and not muscle even when I’m going to the gym all the time?
Doctor Dummy: Not at all. You are in the normal range. This is not your issue.
Me: Are you sure? I feel really bad and I’ve been reading a lot about how low-t can make men feel like I’m feeling.
Doctor Dummy: (please note, this is a direct and literal quote… seriously) You don’t have to worry about your testosterone, you are in the normal range. Plus, there is too much testosterone in the world anyway.
Doctor Dummy: But, if you are really feeling that down, then I can prescribe anti-depressants.
I’ve always been anti medication (which is why it took so long to take the plunge) and scared shitless of anti-depressants, so I declined and went back to my life. That started years of trying to boost my T naturally. I tried every herbal t-booster on the market (I’ve spent thousands), every workout plan, every diet. I would say I had varying degrees of success. I hit a couple points over the years where I felt pretty good. Well, good compared to when I felt the worst. Now I’m learning that I was in a much worse place than I even knew.
Very long story short (less long), I spent the last decade and a half faking it. I was pretending to be the man I wanted to be, or wanted other to think I was, while feeling completely exhausted and miserable. I had ideas, but lacked follow-through. I started projects, but never finished them. I started workout programs and diets, but never stuck to them. I frustrated my wife with not doing the things she asked of me and put a strain on our marriage. Sometimes this was from lack of motivation, but often from a brain fog driven forgetfulness.
Over that time I went through some stuff. I lost my first wife in a car accident 5 years ago, which led to a couple years of depression fueled poor health choices.
4 years ago I had my T checked for the second time. Just total T again. It was now at 284. Those herbal remedies were really working! My doc gave me a prescription for androgel. I ended up getting nervous and decided to give it one more shot naturally, so I never filled the prescription. You don’t know what you don’t know…
Then I started dating again which lead to a few years of working really hard to look good and feel good. Went a little crazy for a year or so and then somehow met a wonderful woman, now my wife, who is beautiful and fit, which also motivated me (and gave me some insecurities). I felt really good for a while, boosted by the new relationship and renewed sense of hope. I think new sexual partners is the one way that actually increases testosterone naturally, but that method is finite.
Over the past year things got really bad, symptomatically. Worse than ever. The overall funk got harder to fake. Motivation was non-existent. The afternoon slump was nearly unbearable, even with a ridiculous amount of coffee. The brain fog and forgetfulness was almost debilitating. I was having a hard time even formulating thoughts. And, libido went to almost zero, which led to more issues.
Regarding libido / sexual function. When I started dating again I started using Viagra, “just in case”. I have had short bouts of ED over the years, mostly driven by performance anxiety, I now know, so I wanted to make sure my new dating life was successful. It worked great at first. Really great. But then it became a crutch. Instead of just occasional use, I started using it every time and gradually increasing my dose. And then one day, it just stopped working. It turns out that when your libido is so low that you have no interest, the blue pill is worthless. So that led to 6 months of consistent ED, which is not the best thing for a new marriage. That is the thing that finally had me take plunge and start TRT.
I had read enough to know that my PCP wasn’t going to be a good option, so I found a clinic.
Pre TRT blood work:
TT: 326 (264-916)
FT: 7.3 (6.8-21.5)
E2: 30.9 (7.6-42.6)
(They tested a bunch of other stuff, but not SHBG. I didn’t learn of its importance until I started reading here. I will add it next time.)
They put me on the typical clinic protocol. 200 mg test (100 every 3.5), HCG and .25 arimidex with each injection.
10 week post TRT blood work (day before next shot):
TT: 1371 (264-916)
FT: 26.9 (6.8-21.5)
E2: 33.1 (7.6-42.6)
Some thoughts on my first 3 months of this journey:
Overall – I feel pretty great. My head is clear for the first time in so many years. I feel motivated and focused. I feel like a fucking man! I didn’t know how bad I was feeling until I started feeling good. This is truly lifechanging / life saving.
Training – Increased motivation has led to results in the gym. I am getting stronger putting on slabs of muscle, for the first time in decades. After the typical first couple month weight gain, I have now started to shed some fat as well. I’m excited for the changes that are starting and will continue.
Libido – after month 1 it was amazing, like in my teens. Then the next month it fell off again, close to zero. Now I’m in a good place. Not teen levels, but pretty damn good and consistent. If I stay here, I’m a happy man.
AI’s – at first based on listening to Jay Campbell (who I find very unlikable for some reason. Anyone else?) and others, I did not take the AI’s at all. I wanted all those benefits of estrogen that they advocate, unfortunately about week 8 I started feeling really weird. Not pre-TRT bad, but not great either. I started getting really emotional and my libido tanked, leading to an unwelcomed bout of ED again. I took the AI for the last month before my shot (.25 twice a week) and started to feel amazing again. So, I’m not saying anyone is totally right or totally wrong, but it appears the AI helped me. My plan now is to back that to once a week and see how it goes. Ultimately, as I continue to lose fat, I hope to not need it at all. For now, I am feeling really good, so…
So there you have it. I don’t expect many made it through all that, but thanks for reading. I’ll post updates as I go.