The Apothecary Contingency


I had not thought to begin this blog entry about my HRT until I had sat down to write it. I am not concerned about what I am being administered, but how much it is costing me. My insurance apparently only knocks off about $20 from the price of any prescription. While the Spironolactone is relatively inexpensive, only $11 for 45 pills, my Estradiol patches are greatly more expensive going for $67 for 8 patches. I know that patches are inherently more expensive, but this isn’t the worst of it.

My doctor’s office called wanted to go over my bloodwork, my testosterone went from 101 down to 12, which is great but my Estrogen lowered from 90 to 64.3.  So, she wants to double my patches (.1mg), which I was all for except I was worried about the cost doubling. She called in my prescription and I waited for Walgreens to get it so I could see the cost on the app. 16 patches would cost me $271 a month, that is a 222% increase in cost! I have done a bit of research on this and it’s not uncommon for increases in medicines so that middlemen get cuts from the cost. I sacrifice to afford the $67 a month, but if we are talking about $271 a month, it’s just not possible.

So, I have transferred both my meds to the WNCCHS pharmacy in the hopes this will be cheaper. If it is still outlandishly expensive, I will have to look at more dangerous (for my age, etc) and intrusive versions of Estrogen, pills or injection. Neither of these things are ideal, they both come with issues, but I may not have a choice. The clinic pharmacy cannot tell me the cost until they process the meds, so I am waiting for the automated call informing me of a ready prescription so I know I can call the pharmacy and get a cost.

Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash

I am starting my name change process, thanks to Allison S. who took the time to run down everything I need to do to complete the long and tangled process. Once I live through it myself, I will post about it, so that others can see what it involves. I will try to provide good links for further information at that time. The timeline I am looking at is four to five months, which gives me also a four to five-month timeline for coming out (fully) at work. My HR manager thinks that it won’t be as bad as I believe, but I have managed to stay alive in life by always assuming the worst-case scenario. I don’t want to live that way anymore, but it’s a hard habit to break, like always sitting facing the doorway or window. Trust is something I don’t do, much, but I am really trying. Who knows, perhaps the four individuals, ranging from senior managers to engineers won’t turn on me and search for ways to get me fired without implicating themselves in harassment, but I’m not betting on it.

I need two surgeries right now, the orchiectomy and FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery), those will be where my focus is in the coming months. Both can be done in Charlotte, NC by two different doctors, so not terribly far from where I live.  Both doctors come highly recommended by several other trans women that I know and respect. It’s about the money, can’t do this on hopes and dreams and my insurance won’t cover the FFS, though I am hopeful that that the orchi can be “massaged” into being covered. That was an unfortunate phrasing… The time it takes to get these surgeries are directly dependent upon my ability to pay for it.


As I was finishing this post (the next day), the WNCCHS pharmacy called me and told me that the insurance would not cover the patches… But that the cost was $7!!! So about 3800% less than what I was going to have to pay at Walgreens. I was astounded and grateful, I was relieved and just giddy. I was so worried yesterday that I had a panic attack and had to work through that. I cried on the drive home. I don’t know why I am not open about my panic or emotions with my family at home, I may tell them I am worried, but I never fully divulge how freaked out I am. Perhaps its due to the mask I wore before, or I just am not that open with anyone. I don’t want to out that on my wife, I don’t want my children to worry. Anyway, I was so relieved I almost cried at work. I go to pick up my prescriptions on Monday at lunch. I am so thankful to WNCCHS. If you have the inclination, please donate to these wonderful non-profit centers, they are helping people that often don’t get help, that may get overlooked. DONATE


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