I’ve started seeing a therapist at the trans* clinic in DC and I will have a letter supporting my decision to get a hysterectomy by August! My therapist, (who is a really awesome trans man) also recommended two more surgeons for me to get in touch with, one in DC and one in Maryland. Things are moving along faster than I ever expected and I’m really excited that this is going to be possible for me, but I’m also starting to really stress out over the financial aspect of it.
If my insurance covers my surgery at all, I will still be on the hook for up to 5,000 dollars before the insurance starts paying, and I just can’t afford that. I will also have to be out of work for 6 weeks. I can’t really afford that either. If they refuse to cover it at all then I’ll just be have medical debt for the rest of my life.
On an equally stressful note, my mother just found out that I’m doing this and is being totally unsupportive because she believes that “what [I’m] doing is wrong” and that I might change my mind.
TLDR: I’m making more progress than I ever thought possible and that’s exciting, but I’m still poor and my parents still don’t get it.
At the Philly Trans Health Conference in June of 2013 I met two med students who were presenting a workshop about hysterectomies. Later I talked with them via email to see if they could recommend any nearby OB/GYNS who were trans* friendly and might be willing to give me a hysterectomy or an endometrial ablation and tubal ligation. They recommended four doctors, most of them in Washington DC and Maryland. I also talked to a friend of mine, fellow blogger Karen of trans*forming family and she recommended three more doctors. Of the seven doctors that were recommended to me only three are “in-network providers” (covered by my insurance) and none of those three are in my state. I also found on doctor in Pennsylvania who is considered an “in-network provider” by my insurance on the WPATH website using their “Find a Provider” search.
I called two of the doctors and emailed the other two. One doctors’ office told me straight up that they do not provide care to transgender patients. Another had an automated phone system with no option to ask a human some questions (their website was also very pink and had lots of flowers). I crossed them both off my list.
My emails got much better results. A doctor in Winston-Salem, NC emailed me back saying that he does provide care for transgender patients and what he would need from me in order for me to get surgery through him. The Doctor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania also emailed me back and asked me to call him. I talked to him on the phone today and he also said he was willing to see me and told me what I would need to do to get surgery.
Unfortunately, both doctors believe I am a trans man, and require a letter from a mental health professional in order for me to get surgery and that’s not the least of my problems. My insurance deductible (the amount of money I have to pay before my insurance starts paying) is $5,000 dollars, and I don’t have that kind of money. Despite all that, I am pretty excited. For the first time it seems like a hysterectomy might really be possible for me!