File under “Don’t Do What I Do” – it should be a fairly large folder by now…..
Please note that this article is educational in nature. I am not endorsing the use of TRT or Clomid nor am I am medical expert. I am simply documenting and relating my personal experience with both treatment modalities.
OK, so as some of you know, I started with self-diagnosed Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) just after Christmas of last year. (If the term “self-diagnosed” doesn’t give you a tragic foreshadowing of what is to come, I don’t know what will….). On June 9th , I took my last shot and have since been waiting (and praying) that my own system (that is, my balls) will eventually full restart. But before we get into all that, let’s take a little trip down memory lane…
Die young! Die hard! Dianabol!
I have only used steroids twice (two ten-week cycles) in my lifetime. The first was when I was in the Army and the second was after I completed my term of service. Back then it was all about Rugby Test and Dianabol and the needles for the thick, oily test suspensions were NASTY big. My first cycle was uneventful – I gained a good amount of strength and size and didn’t have any side effects that I can recall. The second cycle brought me mentally to a very strange place that I wish I had fully remembered when I decided to get myself on long-term TRT. I won’t get into details, but it definitely had an effect of my general disposition…
The next time I messed around with my hormone system (never recommended, by the way) was in 2016. I had been in the Philippines for a while and I noticed that I was constantly feeling tired and put out. A buddy of mine told me that he had been taking low doses of Clomid (clomiphene citrate) successfully for low testosterone and being about the same age, I got my own levels tested. A short morning blood test at Silliman Hospital shortly thereafter revealed that my testosterone level was 410 – not awful, but not great either. Sick of feeling tired all the time, I decided to start my own little therapy with Clomid.
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) is sold over the counter in the Philippines. One 50 mg pill costs 100 pesos (about $2 USD). It has been around for a good long while and is primarily used as a fertility drug for women. For guys, it was traditionally used by men coming off steroid cycles in order to ‘restart’ or give a significant boost to their suppressed organic testosterone production. The secondary, ‘off label’ use of it in increasing men’s testosterone levels over a longer period has been around for less than a decade.
So, having done a bit of research, I decided to give it a shot. I already had a pill cutter, so slicing the 50 mg pills into the suggested 25 mg doses was ez-pz. Tossing the cut pills into my weekly pill tray so that I was only taking them Monday, Wednesday and Friday was even easier. Price wise, this “poor man’s test booster” was very cost effective, coming in at only 600 pesos a month ($12 USD).
After 90 days on the low-dose Clomid treatment, I went back to Silliman and got another blood test. All indicators were fine and surprisingly, my test level had more than doubled, having gone from 410 to 840. I knew it had been working as I had been having more energy and better workouts, but I honestly didn’t realize it was going to increase the test level that much. Whoa. For some reason, I stopped doing it after I went back to the US last year – I think I had forgotten to bring the pills and didn’t bother getting back on it when I returned to the Philippines.
Keep in mind that I was only able to get a ‘total testosterone’ test and not a ‘free testosterone’ test at Silliman Hospital. The latter is actually more accurate in terms of ascertaining the actual amount of bioavailable testosterone. If given an option, always go for the ‘free test’ work. Finally, the great thing about Clomid is that it boosts your own body’s natural testosterone production. This is in great contrast to long-term TRT therapies which actually REPLACE your body’s endogenous test production (from your testes) with exogenous testosterone. In short, Clomid doesn’t shut down your balls….
Enter the Cypionate
My decision to start TRT was rather short sighted and more than a bit misinformed. Short sighted in that it was an impulsive decision and misinformed because I didn’t realize two things: 1) Once people go on TRT, they are usually on TRT for the rest of their lives and 2) TRT completely ‘shuts down’ your testes, and if you want kids, it’s going to be an uphill battle. A fun battle, but one that you might have to wage for quite some time….
Yep – hindsight is such a bitch.
I started my TRT on the high end – 200 mg of testosterone cypionate a week. Ten vials cost 2500 pesos which is about $50 USD. Yep, that’s cheap and it’s real stuff and it was costing me less than $25 a month. Most doctors will start their clients on 100 mg/week and test their levels after six weeks or so, making adjustments from there. I was special so I figured 200 mg was good enough. The shots were pretty much painless, and the results over time were quite noticeable, especially after around week four, where my energy went through the roof. All the other benefits of boosted T also came to fruition as well: Lean muscle mass increased, fat levels rapidly dropped, motivation was rising and libido was over the top. I mean, I was really feeling good. Unfortunately, there was something I wasn’t keeping in mind – that this SUPER POSITIVE response was slowly going to diminish over time as my own production of testosterone diminished (and finally died). See, here’s the thing: When you first get on testosterone injections the injected test is COMBINING with your own body’s natural levels. It’s a super-heady mix and VERY noticeable. Then, as the weeks turn into months, your balls slowly dry up until they are production virtually no testosterone at all anymore.
And now we are getting to the problem…..
People respond differently to their own testosterone production shutting down. For me, it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all – I was getting increasingly moody, disaffected and depressed. And to make matters worse, it had a strange effect on my … errrr…. performance in the old boudoir. For some reason, my libido was down and getting to … ummm.. completion was getting a bit onerous. I had done my bloodwork (test was at 1394 on 200 mg/week) and all my lipids, liver and E2 levels were fine. My LH was ZERO and FSH was .3 (signaling that my testes were shut down) but everything else was OK. So, why was I feeling so shitty? Thankfully, a bit more of research on the interwebz revealed that TRT can indeed result in some strange side effects such as the ones I was experiencing – especially when one’s own hormone production finally and completely shuts down.
The mental stuff in particular was becoming a problem. The moodiness, the anger, feelings of disassociation …. It was becoming an issue, not just for me, but for people around me. In short, the TRT was hurting me and – even worse – hurting others. Add to this the fact that I really want to have kids at some point, and it became pretty obvious that TRT a this time just wasn’t for me. Deciding to stop wasn’t easy though – the energy, physiological changes (muscles) and aggressive motivation were going to be sorely missed. But – despite that – it was time to give it up….
So, I took my last injection on June 9th. Or should I say Nurse Lyn gave me my last shot on that day. My gonads were completely dry and nonproducing at that point, the shrunken little raisins hugging up against my groin. Testosterone cypionate has a long half-life, so I didn’t start with the Nolvadex and Clomid until two weeks after that last shot. Thankfully, Nolovadex (Tamoxifen) is dirt cheap in the Philippines, costing only 17 pesos per pill. So, after two weeks since the last injection, I started with 40 mg of Nolvadex every day and 50 mg of Clomid on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After two weeks of that, I will drop down to 20 mg of Nolovadex and 25 mg of Clomid for another two weeks. Then, after another 30 days, I will get my bloodwork done again.
Today is June 30th and I still feel like absolute garbage. My test level right now is probably in the single digits, my mental health is even worse than it was on the TRT and the world around me is painted in the most scintillating shades of absolute shit. I have no motivation, I am alternately anxious and depressed and I can’t seem to sit still (or do anything). In short, I was a fugging moron and I am experiencing exactly what someone who messes with the incredibly complex human hormone system is supposed to experience. Thankfully, my balls seem to have descended and are apparently regaining some semblance of their former self.
Here’s hoping they will soon get back to work.
I didn’t fully cover all of the bloodwork testing that you should be getting done while on roids or TRT – lipids, FSH, LH, livers, E2 etc. etc. If you are considering TRT or Clomid monotherapy please do your research, find a competent doctor and keep checking your levels. Finding all of these tests in the Philippines isn’t always easy – I couldn’t get the critical E2 level in Dumaguete so had to get it done while I was visiting Cebu.