#DrewsViews: Needlephobia on T

by Drew Adams

People often say to me that we should really appreciate the little things in life. A few days ago, I did my intramuscular testosterone shot, all by myself, alone, for the first time.

I’m a transgender man, and I’ve been on T for two years now, so I am no stranger to needles or my weekly dose of vitamin T, but for a year and a half, my shots were subcutaneous (in my fat), instead of intramuscular (in my muscle).

The testosterone, however, wasn’t absorbing properly, so my doctor switched my to the intramuscular shots. There isn’t much difference between the two injections, except for the size of the needle.

I had been doing my shot in my stomach with a tiny less than an inch long needle for a year and a half, but I struggled the first time I tried to stab myself with the big two inch needle in my leg, so my mom did it for me in my arm. That’s how my shot days have been ever since.

Six months later, she’s not here and it’s shot day. I finally got the courage to do the shot myself. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I was so proud of myself.

But then later that night, it started hurting. I figured it would be a little sore for a day or two, but I was not expecting it to cause me to limp for three days.

I did some research and concluded that it was probably because I had opened up a new injection site, because that tends to hurt a lot more, and because I tensed by muscle a little while doing my shot. I was planning on seeing a doctor if it got worse, but thankfully, it got better pretty quickly.

Because of the pain I’ve experienced with my most recent shot, I’m more anxious than ever for shot day. I’ve never been fond of needles but I thought the worst of my shot anxiety was over when I got used to the small needles, and then again when I got used to the bigger ones.

Eventually I will get used to these shots too, now that I’m doing them myself.

For anyone who struggles with needles, even after being on testosterone for a long time, you are not alone. We will all be okay.

About the Author:

Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.

Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.