Between+XX+and+XY:+Intersexuality+and+the+myth+of+two+sexes

I know i have to worry about things and i know it has

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Unformatted text preview: e that I overproduce, which makes for some really high cortisol levels when I’m under stress. What has me so perplexed is that I thought overproduction of cortisol was Cushing’s syndrome. While at twenty-two years of age, I didn’t show any signs of Cushing’s, I was fairly fit, even with the screwy hormone levels. Kailana does not take this lightly. She has learned a lot about congenital adrenal hyperplasia and pediatric as well as reproductive endocrinology. Still, getting regular and accurate information about her condition is a problem. “I often wonder why 5 percent potassium chloride is added to my IV solutions, apparently a normal IV solution causes my body to go into ketonuric shock or something like that. I don’t even know if that is the right term.” Overproduction of cortisol interferes with normal glucose metabolism. Normally we derive the majority of our energy needs from blood glucose. If high levels of cortisol prevent that, then we switch to digesting fats. Digestion of fats produces a group of compounds including acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. Collectively these are known as ketone bodies, and the acidic character of some of these can cause the blood pH to drop dramatically—the blood quickly becomes too acidic to support life, and the patient goes into shock. As the process proceeds, large amounts of ketone bodies appear in the urine— ketonuria—and the patient is said to be ketonuric. What everyone doesn’t get is that doctors don’t tell me anything, and I find out afterward that they have a plan to use 72 Between XX and XY different meds if I go into seizures or if I go into the ketonuric shock; you see, my medical records state things that [the doctors] won’t actually talk to me about. I know I have to worry about things, and I know it has to do with my one adrenal gland, I assume it’s to do with CAH, but I really don’t know if it is, in fact, CAH. The military doctors were, [and still] are the only doctors to acknowledge what I have, what I am. The rest, well they’re not much help. And I really worry sometimes, that as they see me as male, they aren’t particularly worried about the CAH condition, I’m not on a treatment plan. So at thirty-six, I am showing signs of things that are kind of common to both CAH and Cushing’s, yet none of them will do anything to help me explain which it actually is. I know my right adrenal gland was removed as an infant, and [I] suspect some penile reconstruction with other genital cosmetic alterations. But I really don’t know the exact dates or why [these things were done] other than being told my sex was changed from female (what I looked like when born), to male (how I was assigned on [my] birth certificate) a month later. I would imagine that those surgeries were much later. I do have some really odd illnesses that kept me extremely underweight as a toddler. I have MRI scans that show how I am formed, how the phallus is shaped, and it is not normal for a male. . . . I have spent a great deal of my life being teased about how I am developed. Lots of jokes; it has pretty much left me with a low acceptance of myself as a male. . . . I have had a life of questioning my gender—gender identity disorder [GID]. As a young kid, [from] ten years of age on, I have known I should have been a girl. Constantly being questioned by my mother and family pediatrician about being happy as a boy, and me telling them over and over that I am one of the most miserable people on this planet. [That] I should have been a girl made absolutely no difference to them. They just ignored me. I am almost thirty-seven, I am still single, I have never mar- Where Our Sexes Come From ried, and I do not date. I am a little over fourteen years celibate, which is probably my biggest complaint. I am terribly ugly looking. I am extremely [camera shy], I don’t look even close to having a female appearance. Yes, my breasts are developing [she is now taking estrogen supplements], but a great deal slower than I had expected. My body hair is a lot lighter as well. Other than that, though, I have way too much muscle, lots of body fat, I’m slightly obese. My neck is as thick as what you would expect on a three-hundred-pound linebacker, my chest, extremely broad. My family relationship is extremely strained. I don’t go to family events—Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday parties—nor do I celebrate my own birthday. I feel as though I am the black sheep of the family. . . . Losing family over the way you’re born isn’t right, but the philosophy doctors keep preaching on how we should be raised, treated, have our medical records withheld from us. The lack of information and acknowledgement of what we are has made me a very bitter person, especially when dealing with doctors. In a way, being intersexed, true hermaphrodite, has given me a reason to transition with confidence . . . that this is what I should have been [a woman] all along. I guess having a genetic disorder that says you’re...
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