How I found out I had low testosterone

As I hit middle-age, I experienced a confluence of events which drove me to completely uproot my life and eventually move across an ocean:

  • I wasn’t getting anywhere in my career
  • I had spread myself too thin, amidst too many pursuits
  • I was profoundly unhappy in my day to day work
  • My health began to fail in disturbing ways

I didn’t know exactly what what happening but I could feel my energy flagging and I knew that I needed to make some changes. I had very little energy and could barely pull myself off the couch. I quit my job. I came back from the winter holidays and gave notice. I had health insurance through the remainder of the month and decided to book a doctor appointment while I still had coverage, because I wanted to try Viagra. No major ED issues, just my friend swore by it and it was on my list of things I wanted to try. The doctor ran bloodwork and it turned out I had low testosterone. I had no idea what this meant at the time, or that such a thing even existed. I didn’t own a television so I didn’t see all the ads for ‘anti-aging’ bullshit. It had never occurred to me that I might even see a doctor about my flagging energy… it didn’t feel like something that could be treated. That’s part of the problem with low testosterone. You don’t think clearly.

I did my due dilligence, read and researched as much as I could about it, and a month later, set and appointment and went back to the doctor and got my first shot, now paying out of pocket for treatment, as my insurance had ended. They say it can take effect differently for different people. I remember hearing an story on public radio about a woman who had started testosterone replacement therapy and became obsessed with solving math problems, and my own experience reminded me of her story. Testosterone is not a psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t immediately affect the brain function. It’s much more subtle. That night, I found myself horny beyond anything I’d experienced in a long while, and found myself cracking open an egg and masturbating with the slimy contents. It was one of the best times I’d ever had by myself.

When I went to bed that night, I wasn’t able to fall asleep right away, because my mind was churning over a differential equation model for how long the medicine would stay in my system, based on absorption rate, half-life, etc. I’m trained as a chemical engineer and this was a very natural way for me to think of this. What’s notable is that I discoved that I actually had the energy to get up and write out the differential equation model. I hadn’t had the clarity of thought or the energy in quite a while. But what really threw me was when I tried again to sleep, and five minutes later got up and worked through and actually solved that differential equation model. That was a level of focus and enthusiasm that I had been lacking for quite a while. I knew I was onto something.

I don’t know if it was excessive distance running that did me in (I ran my first marathon on my own at age 18), too much soy in my diet, too much BPA from drinking out of water bottles, or just some vague effect of a feminized western culture, but I was a classic case of low-T. Testosterone levels of American men are down some 20% over what they were just 20 years ago and we don’t really know why. I’m just glad I figured it out. I don’t like jamming a needle in my ass every Sunday, but it sure beats not being able to do anything.

I quit my job, sold my houses, got rid of most of my things, and packed what remained into a small storage unit and moved to Taiwan. And in my mid-forties enjoyed one of the best years of my life.

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