Sometimes Your Wishes Do Come True!

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #104, Winter 2004.

by Stasha Goliaszewski

Can a male develop breasts because of some natural function or medical problem? Here is the story of one Stasha Goliaszewski. She developed B cup breasts as a result of a medical condition known as Conn?s Syndrome, which put her in the painful, agonizing, excruciating, distasteful, heartbreaking, and overwhelming position of having to choose between possible death or feminization.

How many of us have wished the Boob Fairy would visit us and we would wake up with a nice set? Even a cute B would do. The intensity of the wish may wane, but every time you fill that bra with birdseed or water balloons, it comes back in full force. If only they were real! Well, in my case, it happened. It didn?t happen overnight, but it did happen.I hope you will endure with me while
I present a little history: I was born in Philadelphia in 1947. The first time I can remember crossdressing was when I was about five years old. My crossdressing continued until I was about ten. My mother found me fully dressed. Over the next few years, she tried to show me the correct path by daily beatings and mental degradation. So, I learned to repress?and I repressed so deeply that I took no overt actions to express the feminine feelings that still existed.

When I tried typical male activities, I was a dismal failure, and it left me with an uneasy feeling. To compensate for my lack of physical prowess on the athletic fields, I put all my efforts into studies. As with most adolescents who are different, I had no social life. I felt no one would ever understand my state of being.

I went through high school with a wall full of awards in science. I went to college and got my bachelor?s in physics. I received two fellowships in engineering, but I wanted to go study astrophysics. I was already in a grad program at the University of Pennsylvania; to pay for my education, I had to go to work.
During this time I met Marysia. She had, and still has, a view of life that is unique and her way of thinking was close to my own. We were wed in 1969.

I had to stop my studies when my employer sent us to Utah for three years. As time passed, various companies employed me until 1980, when I got a
job at MIT?s Lincoln Lab as a physicist-electrical engineer-programmer in their radar design group. Here I felt really good about myself. I had finally found
a job where I could use my talents in physics.

It was at this point that my crossdressing re-emerged. It started with an offhand comment by Marysia. It was very cold; the daytime temperature was -20 degrees Fahrenheit. She told me I should wear pantyhose under my longjohns. I did, and it worked well?but when I got home, then came the bra and the slip and the dress and the nightgown. Marysia thought it cute at first, but soon I was dressing almost every day, and she was not amused. Still, she was supportive in a grudging way. My three daughters didn?t seem to mind.
Then we moved Kwajalein, to a small island 2,000 miles west of Hawaii, where we lived for five years. The environment on the island was that of a small town military base. I had to prove and refine the software and hardware I had developed.

It was on Kwajalein that my small steps of self-expression started. I had my hair permed and had my ears pierced. Later, when I told this to my gender therapist, she kept saying, ?Does this tell you something?? No one said a word, at least not to my face?but through our kids, we got the word that various parents thought I was gay.

It was at this point that I started to dress every day. Because of some very personal events, I started to hate being
a male. My wife went into a period in which, to validate herself, she needed reassurances that she was still attractive. This resulted in affairs that were sexual and some that were both sexual and emotional. My reasoning mind told me she needed to do this and I should accept it?but my emotional mind, clouded by testosterone, was screaming to get her to stop it.
My inner conflict shattered me into a million pieces. I coped by heavy drinking.

When we returned to the U.S., I started to go to various crossdressing get-
togethers. I knew I wanted to go down the transsexual path, but, again, my concept of husband, provider, and caretaker prevented me from going any further. I was deep in repression again. My family and I had gone through a long period?nine months?of unemployment, as a result of layoffs at General Electric. At the time, G.E. laid off about 2,000 engineers. Times were tough, and it was difficult to find a job for anyone in engineering or related fields.

I drank heavily during this period. Then I found a nice job with a brokerage house in their data feeds area. Again, I was feeling fairly good. Then ?it? happened.
Sorry for taking so long and taking you through such an arduous journey, but I needed to bring you to a point where you would have a basic understanding of my background so you could appreciate my past and understand my present.

One day, I felt really strange. It felt as
if there was a heavy weight on my chest.
I called my physician, and she told me
to go the emergency room. I knew it couldn?t be heart related, because I was going up and down stairs without any symptoms. I went home and got Marysia, and we went to the hospital. They took note of my symptoms and put me on an EKG machine. They kept asking me, ?On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your pain level.? I kept telling them 1 to 1.5. I guess they weren?t listening, because the next thing I knew was a physician placing nitro tablets under my tongue. I still felt it was not a cardiac problem, but because of the nitro, the pain level in my head went to 8-9; I had never felt such a headache!

I was admitted to the cardiac floor. Here, they put in an IV. I noticed they were pumping potassium into me. One of the physicians told me I might have Conn?s Syndrome. He explained to me that my potassium level was 1.8. A normal person has a level of about 4.0. Anything under 3.0 is considered a problem; under 2.0 is life-threatening. Later, another physician told me that he was amazed I was able to walk.

I should explain: if there is too little potassium in your system, the electrical signals in your body are unable to travel. If potassium goes low enough, your muscles and nerves stop working and you die. If you have too much, your muscles and nerves ?short out,? and you die. What happened to me was that my heart was starting to fail electrically.

In the human body, the level of potas-sium is controlled by a hormone known as aldosterone. If there is too much potassium, your body generates higher levels of aldosterone and your excretory system starts flushing potassium. In Conn?s Syndrome, a tumor develops on your adrenal gland and stimulates the gland to produce aldosterone, even when there is no need. The result is low potassium levels.
After a week of testing, including a
cardiac catheterization, I was told my heart was fine and I did have Conn?s Syndrome. Just before I was released, I was given a small supply of a drug that blocks aldosterone. The nephrologist told me it was the only drug that does so.

I was released from the hospital on my 50th birthday. I still had to have blood tests three times a week; then twice a week, then once a week. The medication worked as promised. My potassium level returned to normal levels. All was good with the world. However, after about three months, I noticed that my nipples hurt. Later, I noticed that a mass was developing under each nipple. I went to my physician and she told me my breasts were developing normally. ?It?s due to
the medication you?re taking.?

Some of you might have guessed by now the name of this magical drug that was keeping me alive: a transsexual?s friend, spironolactone. As some of you know very well, spironolactone not
only blocks aldosterone; it also blocks testosterone.

Later, my nephrologist told me I might want to find a surgeon to see if the tumor could be removed so I would not have to take the drug for the rest of my life. I found a specialist at the University of Pennsylvania who removes adrenal tumors. He reviewed my case and told me that he could remove the tumor, but in my case there would be no guarantee that the problem would go away. The only way to do that was to remove both adrenal glands. I would then, for the rest of my life, have to take handfuls of very expensive drugs to replace the hormones the adrenal gland produces. So in effect, my tumor was inoperative.
After about four years on the meds, my breasts were a small B in size. My physician asked me if I had ever had a breast exam. I said no. She gave me an exam and found a lump. I had a mammogram, then an emergency ultrasound, and was then sent to a surgeon. He told me, ?How lucky do you feel??
Two weeks later I was on my back and a lumpectomy was performed. The mass removed was 7 x 4 x 3 centimeters. Luckily, it was benign.

With that taken care of, my mental problems came to the forefront. I was still repressing, trying to talk myself into being a transvestite for the sake of the family. At the same time, my body was changing in ways I had always wanted. In a state of total confusion, I started to drink heavily again. I gained a lot of weight. Soon I weighed 350 lbs.

I knew I had to do something. I found a gender therapist, Dr. Escovitz of Willow Grove, PA. She and I went over my past, my current conditions, and my feelings. Through her guidance, I realized I could no longer hide Stasha. After a few months, I went to see the physician she recommended for hormone replacement therapy.

I wanted to see if the Conn?s would prevent me from going on hormones. The doctor gave me a physical and said, ?You?re already there.? I was a full B and everything down south had stopped working and shriveled up like the Wicked Witch of the West when doused with water. He ran some tests and found my testosterone was a little high and my estrogen a little low for a female; both were low for a male.

A month later I was on hormones. Today, my testosterone is less than 28 and my estrogen is 525, which is higher than that of most females. I have been working on my weight, which is now 290. As some of you know, I will have to get down to 200 or so in order to be a candidate for sex reassignment surgery.
So what is the moral of the story? There is a medical condition which in older males will cause a condition similar to Androgen Insensitive Syndrome. The spironolactone goes to each cell in your body and blocks the receptors, so you can no longer process testosterone. In my case, I was faced with the decision of not taking the medication and dying or taking the medication?which would feminize my body?and living. I not only chose to take the medication; I went down the TS path.

All my life I had wanted to be a female. To a certain degree, my medical condition forced me to so something I always wanted. It also gave me?and if you are developing, you might want to use it?
a reason to explain why I was going through body changes without getting into an explanation that generates social and religious comments by others. You can tell them you have Conn?s Syndrome. Or, you can simply tell others the Boob Fairy visited you.

Stasha Goliaszewski is a 56-year-old
pre-operative transsexual. She has been on HRT
for a year. She is married and has three daughters. She has a B.A. in physics and did graduate work
in astrophysics, engineering science, and computer science. She has worked for MIT, RCA, CSC, GE,
and Saronoff Labs. Sasha has published more
than 200 technical articles in the technical area.
She is also a member of various interfaith groups, NOW, IFGE and Renaissance. She can be contacted via e-mail at