This past year has been a life changing, profound experience. I walked the plank. I put myself out there. I became vulnerable to my core by sharing my story with testosterone replacement therapy and creating an advocacy that did not exist. It has humbled me, challenged me and empowered me.
Now, a year later, I know I need to continue this journey even more so.
In the past two weeks I have met two women both who have been overdosing on testosterone and one of my friends who shared her story about her physician, who’s actually being responsible.
I see testosterone replacement therapy almost like a networking marketing platform, People who start taking testosterone say, “It’s the best thing ever.” They tell all their friends they need to start taking it and they’re off and running like a wild horse galloping across the terrain in Wyoming. I know this because I was one of those people until my life crashed. It almost killed me.
I met a woman a couple of weeks ago when I went in for a blood draw. Her colleague and I struck up a conversation. I said, “Oh, they aren’t testing for free testosterone, I guess that’s okay because it’s been three years since my last pellet therapy insertion.” He looked at me and yelled, Sally, get in here right now. (I changed her name) Sally comes waltzing in and he looks at her and says, “I have been telling you those pellets are BAD. You have got to listen to this woman.”
I said, “So you’re doing pellet therapy. Are you on testosterone and estrogen?
She said, “Just testosterone.”
“What were your levels when you first went in to the hormone clinic?” I asked.
“They didn’t take my blood,” she said. “They just inserted the pellets and gave me a book.”
I looked at her and said, “That’s criminal! They didn’t even check to see if you needed it?”
She then told me, “I tested it myself and my testosterone level was well over 200 with the pellets.”
“That is criminal!” I said again.
“How are you feeling?”
“I feel okay.”
“How is your sex drive?”
She looked at me wide eyed and said, “OMG, my husband and I have sex in every room, every day all the time and I want him to start taking testosterone.”
I said, “That’s a problem.”
She said, with frightened eyes, “Our sex life was great before I went on testosterone.”
I said, “Now it’s not enough, is it?”
“No. I have these bad thoughts and I think about things I shouldn’t. I think about sex all the time now.
“Sally, the physician prescribing is overdosing you.
There are no lab reference levels for women that say your testosterone levels should be over 200. They should be no more than 40 to 50 MAX and really around 15 to 25.
When hormone clinics use words like “optimal” it’s simply the code for “OVERDOSE” and they are taking you beyond the reference levels.”
As I was leaving she looked at me and said, “I believe God brings people into your life for a reason and he brought you to me. I’ve known I didn’t need to be on testosterone and now I am going to stop taking it.”
Another woman I met last week worked for a company that was doing a study on a testosterone gel. She was in her early 40’s. She had been on testosterone for 9 months, when all her hair fell out, she had to get hair extensions, she became aggressive, agitated, and violent. She said her personality was changing and becoming a different person. Then, when her Mom was on her death bed she looked at her and said, “Promise me you will never go on testosterone again.” She promised! And she is in such a better place now.
Now here is a refreshing story. One of my friends has a doctor who’s doing this right. She is a beautiful, middle aged, post-menopausal woman. She is on testosterone, estradiol, and prometrium, which is progesterone. She takes the testosterone shots and her physician has her levels at 20 ng/dl. That is what a healthy middle age woman’s level looks like. It doesn’t look like 200 to 500 ng/dl, which is where most of these hormone clinics are taking women.
As I sit here writing this I am glad to hear we have a responsible physician out there who is not in the business of creating addicts. I know, I was one of those testosterone addicts. Once I started on this, my levels went from 28 to 500. I thought I knew what I was doing and remember telling my physician I like myself better when I am 150 to 200. I had no idea what I was talking about. I was afraid to stop taking it because I liked the intensity it gave me, I thought my relationship would fall apart. Well it fell apart because I was taking it. Who knows if my relationship would have lasted without testosterone? I don’t. What I do know is September 14, 2012 was the last time I had testosterone and estradiol replacement pellet therapy and it took 28 months for my body to completely release them.
If you know someone who is considering testosterone replacement or if you are, ask yourself why?
What am I missing in my life?
Do I need to see a therapist?
What do I need to heal?
Join me in raising money to fund research around the behavioral health impact on testosterone replacement therapy. Specifically around pellet therapy, hypersexual disorder and personality disorders.
Here’s to you and living your best life ever!
Love & Miracles,
Lisa Marie Shaughnessy
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