My Journey with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – Part 5
Time to update you on how things are going with my ongoing TRT (testosterone) program. With one hiccup that wasn’t related to the TRT, everything has been wonderful.
If you’d like to get up to speed, you should read the first four parts of this series if you haven’t already. Most of this won’t make sense if you haven’t read the prior installments.
This part 5 will probably be my final installment in this series, unless anything unusual happens. It really has been smooth sailing.
As of this writing it is almost exactly one year since I started TRT last October and about seven months since my last update on this blog. Why so long? Because everything is going great! I’m feeling good, and all the benefits of TRT are still rolling along, as consistently as ever.
The only problem I encountered was something that had nothing to do with TRT. Earlier in the year my shoulders started to hurt, and I discovered I had calcium deposits in both. During this time I had to stop lifting weights, which means I’ve probably lost some of the gains I was experiencing.
No problem. Muscle mass wasn’t the reason I went on TRT in the first place. Plus, between the TRT and my very endomorphic body type, I’ll gain them all back once I start lifting weights again, which I did in mid-September now that the deposits are gone, so I’m not concerned. I wrote about this shoulder problem in more detail over at the CJ Blog, specifically here and here.
My free testosterone levels are now the highest they’ve been throughout the TRT process. My last blood test, which I still take every 60-90 days, reported the following:
Free Testosterone (Direct): 18.3
Estradiol (Estrogen): 21
Those are some fantastic numbers. The testosterone figure might be a little confusing so I’ll explain.
Usually when guys talk about “testosterone,” they are referring to total testosterone. This is the total amount of testosterone in your system, often measured by a three-digit number. Guys with 200 or 300 are low-T guys. Guys with 700 or 900 are high-T, and guys with 1200 or higher are super high-T (and possibly unhealthy). My total testosterone levels have gone between 750 and 950 throughout this process.
The problem is, this figure everyone brags about is not very meaningful. A sizable percentage of that testosterone is bound up by proteins, making it impossible for the body to use. The real number you want to brag about is free testosterone, which is a much smaller number. This is the amount of testosterone your body can actually use and benefit from. If your total T is 750 but your free T is 80, that kinda sucks, and bragging about your 750 testosterone is meaningless.
This is further complicated by more medical industry bullshit, in that free T is measured in two completely different ways, using two completely different sets of numbers, even though both types use the same units of measure, which is pg/ml. (As usual, it’s almost as if the medical and fitness industries purposely try to make this shit more complicated than it needs to be.)
You can measure free testosterone or direct free testosterone. They’re different. (Yes, stupid I know.) Free T falls between a range of 46 – 224. Direct free falls between a range 6.8 – 21.5. Yet both tests are measured pg/ml, making reading your blood tests really damn confusing unless you know what’s going on.
Direct free testosterone is a more accurate way to take the test since free testosterone (non-direct) is test result based on various assumptions and formulas. Earlier I was measuring free T. From now on I’ll be measuring direct free T (as well as total T, since that’s no extra cost).
As you can see above, my current direct free T is 18.3, and that’s within a range of 6.8 – 21.5. In other words, it’s awesome; around the level of a healthy 18 year-old teenage boy. Not bad for a guy who’s 43. <flexes muscles, adjusts tie, smiles>
You can also see that my PSA, which anti-TRT people always freak out about, is a ridiculously healthy 0.9, and my estrogen is at 21, which is exactly where you want to be for maximum masculine health and sexual performance. Too much estrogen and you won’t do well in bed, but too little estrogen and you won’t be able to get an erection at all. Low 20s is exactly where you want to be (if you’re a man).
On top of all this, my lipid panel, c-relative protein, and homocystine are all at 100% optimal levels, which means my arteries and cardiovascular health are equivalent to an active man in his early 20s who eats a near-perfect diet. TRT is a big reason for this, though my new ultra-low carb diet I started in August is also a strong contributor.
Even when I had less body fat in my early 20s, I still ate garbage on a regular basis, so it’s not a stretch to say that now, at age 43, I’m literally the healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.
Lastly, my average monthly income has shot way up since starting TRT last October. Much of this is due to my book being published and an unrelated business project I finished earlier this year, but a lot of this is also directly attributable to my further enhanced focus and drive due to the TRT (not that I needed much help in that area to begin with, but with TRT it did improve!). I’m not going to tell you exactly how much my income has improved, but it’s a lot. It has far more than paid for the cost of the entire TRT program, making my TRT yet another profit center for my financial life.
In other words, TRT. IS. FUCKING. AWESOME.
I am now an official believer and fan, and highly recommend it to any man who could use it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made (and that’s saying something).
How Much Does This All Cost?
I get a lot of questions regarding ongoing costs of TRT, so I’ll give you a breakdown of the monthly costs you can anticipate if you intend on going this route.
Much of my personalized TRT program involves stuff that’s entirely optional. So I’ll give you the breakdown of mandatory costs and a second one of the optional costs that I utilize, but that you may not want or need.
Average Monthly TRT Costs – Bare Minimum Budget
(To the nitpickers, the time frames on how long these things last is an estimate. Also, these are numbers for the United States; if you’re international your numbers may be very different.)
– 1 vial of 5ml of testosterone cypionate: $60, but lasts about 5 weeks, so monthly cost is about $48
– 10 syringes at 20 cents each: $2
– 10 doses (half-pills) of Anastrozole (to keep estrogen from rising; most men will need this): $35
– Minimal blood tests every 90 days: About $180 per test once your health insurance stops paying for it, so divide that by three: $60 per month
– Doctor visits or consults: About $100 every 90 days once things are rolling and all the initial stuff is done, so divide by three: $33
Monthly Total: $178
That means that you’ll spend at least $178 for the bare-bones program, perhaps less if you don’t use a doctor which I do not recommend. (Please use a doctor, guys. At least when you get started. Don’t be stupid.)
Additional monthly items that I have for my own TRT program that you may or may not want or need:
– 1 vial of HCG (helps retain your natural T, improves sexual sensation, and reduces testicular shrinkage, not that I care about that last one because I have big balls, literally): $60, but lasts about 5 weeks, so monthly cost is about $48
– 1 vial of Vitamin B compound (provides near-100% absorption of vitamin B via injections instead of taking pills which are only 30% absorption): $149, though often “on sale” for $99, lasts about 5 weeks, so average monthly cost is: $99
– Further blood tests to check things like thyroid, cardiovascular health, DHEA, vitamin D, and other areas important to long-term health: about $40
– DIM+ (natural supplement to help maintain ideal estrogen levels): $15
– Vasectomy test kits to regularly check sperm count, if using TRT as male birth control, which I am: $40 for two kits, one needed every 60-90 days, so about $9 per month. (I also use a microscope but that’s a one-time cost.)
Extra Items Monthly Total: about $211
Blackdragon’s Grand Total Average Monthly TRT Costs: $389
So I personally spend $389 a month on this stuff, though you may end up spending less. Again, my average monthly income has gone up by thousands of dollars a month since starting TRT, so I don’t really care about an extra $389. Also, at some point, when I’m very comfortable that I have 100% of everything figured out, I will (nicely) drop my doctor and self-manage the program, saving me about $33 a month from that total.
Unless something usual happens, which I doubt since it’s been smooth sailing for a year, this will be my final entry in this TRT series. I hope this information has been helpful. While every man’s body is different and reacts differently to things like this, TRT has certainly worked out great for me in every respect. My health, energy levels, work focus, muscle growth, sleep, sexual prowess, and monthly income have all dramatically improved since I started the program. On top of all that, my sperm count is still verified zero so I can’t get anyone pregnant; another HUGE benefit of doing this and one of the main reasons I started TRT in the first place.
While your mileage may vary, I now officially recommend TRT, or at least talking to a doctor about it, for any guy who has lower-than-average T levels. It’s certainly worked out for me.