Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Little Meno Pause

Barbara: Today I don’t have an in-depth issue I need to get off my chest, I don’t have an idea or a rant or a plea or a story for you. I just have my own little real-life experience and I want to share it with you. Mostly in the hopes that you will share your stories with me, or that in sharing our stories we’ll help our younger generation see that it ain’t so weird or scary or verboten to talk about this.

If you’re wondering why I use the adjective “little” in the same vicinity as “meno” (because how can a “meno”-anything be “little”??? Menopause means another life-changer, another milestone, another major turning point, right?). Well, I’ll tell you why. Right now at this moment, it feels little. It feels subtle and gentle and mostly like an unassuming thing behind me, politely tapping my shoulder to let me know it might be barreling by in a moment.

Okay, so here’s the scoop. I am 48 and I just missed my first period. Or rather it was 10 days late. Now I am totally accustomed to a short, robust cycle: every 25 days, announced with potent PMS (a foggy, vulnerable fatigue in my case), in and out with reliable predictability. To wait 10 days for it was a bit disconcerting. The 2 periods before that—while right on schedule—were milder forms of my usual. I feel … okay. By that I mean, I feel fine, but not as light and easygoing as I am used to. But that could be any number of things. That said, I am actually going through a really nice time right now, with my beloved daughters both home, with some very exciting work prospects developing steam, and with my sense of worth feeling pretty stable. For all intents and purposes, I should be feeling GREAT. But … but … to be honest, there’s this strange pervasive … melancholy? No … restlessness. Or … uncertainty. I don’t know if there’s a connection here, but I thought in fairness I should throw that truth into the pot and mix it around. I’m not scheduled for my regular doctor’s checkup for a couple of weeks. So what do I do in the meantime? I turn to you guys, of course!!

I have 2 massive “women and their bodies” type books sitting on my bedside table. But who has time right now to read a 600 page TOME? I just want a short and sweet discussion of what your own experiences have been like when you approached this stage of your lives (or when someone you love did). Is this a slow change? Or will it happen so fast I won’t know what hit me? Please, any words of wisdom, wile or comedy would be greatly appreciated!

Deb: Oh where to begin? You know my mind raced when I got this email. What do I tell her? How do I support her? And then I thought, you know it is soooooooooooooo individual, so different for each woman. But I will say this—my menopause was not good and not easy, but it was very fast—two intense years. Yes, I was sure I was losing my mind. Still. Yes, I was sure I was losing my mind.  And so I owned it and I worked it. But now, even wayyyyyy before now, it was a distant memory. I am available, my darling friend, for private coaching. Not only available, but sitting and awaiting your call. So let’s do it. In the meantime: “it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your....”

61 comments:

  1. Well, for my mom it happened quickly and easily. She really didn't know that it happened until she went to the doctor and they told her that she had went through it. She also went through it a bit younger than you, Barbara, so I think that may have been one reason she didn't notice it; she just wasn't expecting it to happen yet. I did notice a few mood changes in her during that time but nothing major.
    I don't remember when my grandmother went through it. I think it was either a few years before I was born or around the time I was born. From what I have been told, it was a bit more intense and difficult for her.
    I hope it is an easy and smooth event for you, Barbara! xo

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    1. Thanks, Steph. Very interesting. And I was just telling Deb that I did read in a book that there are tribes where the women don't experience ANY symptoms of menopause. They think it's because they're so open and accepting of it. No weirdness. Could this be a key???

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  2. Barb, funny you mentioned a feeling of melancholy. I had that same feeling too, kind of the end of something very wonderful (ability to produce children) and the beginning of another phase in your life. It made me sad in a way. Yours sounds very similar to mine, in almost every way. And you know, it was not big deal. I never saw a doctor, I never took anything for it, I just felt it was a natural cycle of life. I do remember sitting in the ballet, getting a hot flash, and thinking, come on Jo, you can't die from this.....so you're hot (& boy, was I hot)
    I know some friends have had a really hard time with it......but that was not my experience.

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    1. Hey, Mary-Jo! Wanted to welcome you back too :) This is so nice to read and kind of goes with the thing I said to Steph about some tribes. I know many women can't "help" how it manifests, but I do want to try an open approach and hope for the best...

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  3. Mary-Jo, I wish I could say that mine was just a sense of melancholy. I am always so happy to hear when lovely women I know did NOT suffer with their menopause. This is the thought I am keeping for Barbara, that she will breeze through it. My "darkness" for that is all you could call it was real and deep and frightening and relentless. It was as if I would wake up in the morning with hope in my heart and someone would through a blanket over my head that I could not get off. And I would spend the day pulling at it to no avail. I mourned so deeply the fact that I was no longer able to have children. Some people call it "real woman syndrome". But I did get over that one very quickly. My menopause was intense and frustrating but mercifully, mine was very quick. My symptoms fell away mostly after two years in Menohell. See what I didn't want to comment? The phrase "I've said too much" comes to mind!

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    1. Awwh sweetie!! *BIG HUG* for you now...and I'm going back in time and giving hugs to the Deb in menopause.....everything you write always touches my heart darlin'!! I wanna come there and HUG you and Barb (and anyone who is in Menohell and needs one)tightly..
      I wish those JET PACKS come soon...so I can ACTUALLY do it! Until then I'm squeezing you all virtually here .....so feel it k ?

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  4. Oh Deb, that sounds awful. I know women who suffered as you did, what an ordeal women have to go through throughout their lives......I am glad it was only two years, but what a two years for you. Frightening is the word you used that stays with me, to be frightened is a terrible feeling. Barb,I think from what you have said already, that you might be a breeze through. Regardless, you have lots of support around you now that you have open the subject up. Usually the unknown is frightening, if we discuss all the angles on this one, maybe nothing will surprise you. You'll just say to yourself "oh yeah, there is what they were talking about, no big deal...onwards"

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    1. Exactly my hope and the idea behind this!! I remember childbirth was less scary than it might otherwise have been because I just became so informed and talked so openly about it that I could breathe into my pain and KNOW it was all "normal" and I was okay.

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  5. I cnt really say anything on this one so i will just read and learn, on this.

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    1. I really want to welcome you young women and men into this discussion -- because you will all be affected by this in some way. We might as well be informed, right?

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    2. Very true. I will take the info and learn frm it.

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  6. Commercial break: I HATE THIS NEW BLOGGER LAYOUT!!! >.< Ok, back to regularly scheduled Kelly...

    My mom started menopause on my 16th birthday. I remember this. She hasn't really had many "menopause" issues with the exception of a few here and there hot flashes. So THIS is what we all get to look forward to? Goody. Bring it!!

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    1. Bring it, yes!!! PS what new blogger layout??? It looks EXACTLY the same to me!!

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    2. The blog outlook is the same (well you can change it too), but the so called admin pages have been updated. I changed mine already months ago, so I actually like it. :)

      So Don't worry Kelly, it'll grow on you, like all the facebook changes that I hate first but always love them in the end.

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    3. Oh, yeah, right! I changed my layout many months ago. Very used to it now. And quite like the clean lines.

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    4. I'm not fond of the new layout either. It's erased several of my posts after they appeared to have "taken". It's kind of why I quit responding. One of my responses tonight disappeared but I fiddled around and got it back by signing in to the blog with my ID. Fortunately I remembered my account info or I would have owned a Dell Frisbee.
      Hugs,
      Karen

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  7. YOUNG GENERATION IS HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh shit I thought I was the first one...I had a speech prepared... :P Hey Lyndsie and Kelly !!

    Well...I really don't have anything to say about this...And I dont have a TARDIS to I cant travel forward in time and see what happens with me---- I'm sorry I just watched the last Doctor Who episode, I'm still in that dimension....*sobs*
    But....its my job to write a very LOOOOONG comment so I'm gonna YAP ANYWAY..!!!
    In my case its the opposite....My periods began just a few years ago so my hormones are SERIOUSLY GOING CRAAZZZY !!! You know the whole medical thing right.....My period just didnt come for two months after last august (Why the hell do bad things always happen IN AUGUST ??!?!?!!!) then whole october went in the stupid blood tests and blood reports and all sorts of doctors.....and then I end up with the hormonal issue.....Ive been feeling really weird emotionally after that....So I KNOW what you mean atleast in the emotions realm....and one thing you gotta know....Its ok !! whatever you are feeling is ok...!!! Its just a phase it will pass.....Its change, you are still trying to get familiar with...and its ok....you dont have to do anything....just relax chill...!!! and most importantly be easy about it...
    I mean just the day before...I started crying...and trust me ...I HAD NO IDEA WHY !!!! but honestly the key is you gotta be easy about your emotions...Yes they are pervasive and very attacking sometimes...but be your own best friend, don't be hard on yourself for thinking them..they are just thoughts...its ok!!
    And its complete----HANG ON...My moms giving some advice...she said do more "PRANAYAM" its a type of yoga...you probably know it...(almost like the meditation tracks I gave ya...but with more work) But lemme know I you want more info. It helps calm you head. and My mom didn't get menopause..for a long time so they had to operate and take her Uterus out.... NOT as SCARY as it sounds she had something called Fibroids..crazy little buggers, they also caused complications for her when I was a fetus.... thats a WHOLE OTHER STORY....so anyway...Just RELAX....and this comment is long enough to be recognized as "THE SHALAKA"
    Oh and Btw honestly have no worries about my menopause....Coz I'm just gonna call you and Deb....and be weird and concerned SCARED TO DEAT----that doesn't sound like me does it ???? BUT STILL you are my Menopause Gurus...so BE prepared !!!

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    1. Ha! We always call Deb my Meno-Yoda!! Thanks for this -- this is actually pretty darn good for a young'un :) I am totally prepared to embrace and breathe and relax through this. Because, like you say, it is absolutely NORMAL. The more stories and experiences I gather, the more normal I will feel, so I thank all of you for that. Shalaka, I think it'll be pretty similar to your own experiences that you describe here...

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    2. Oh...then that would be fine...coz I'll know how to handle them..I am living them now :P
      Yep baby....its ok.....just RELAX....and I'm here if you wanna talk :) xoxo

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  8. I haven't yet seen anyone go through the menopause, so I have no reference for this. I don't know if my mother has gone through this or not. It is possible that she has. I think she has (she is over 50 yrs, I'd say 53 in few weeks). I could ask her, but I would still be none the wiser. Well, before I freak out totally, I better do the same as Lyndsie; read and learn. My brain will be ready for roasting in few hours. *goes back to class*

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    1. Are you scared about it??? Even if it's faaaar in the future??? Funny, huh, how we do that. Anyway, come join us here and let's get over it :)

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    2. Well I am not scared about it per say. I have a plan that I have been following. I am more scared of not following through with my plan. I try to get ready for every possible option that comes about. I am able to use both my hands (writing etc), even though my right hand is really dominant. I try to think that what ever comes tomorrow (in the infinite tomorrow), I will be able to handle it. So I plan, gather information and plan some more.

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    3. Yes, this is Deb's advice to me too. She is the queen of "plans" and recommends them for peace of mind. Let's keep talking!

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    5. Deb could be my mentor! I do love my lists and plans. I have had this one plane since I was 13 yrs and it has kept me going through all ever since. I decided that I wanted to travel and see the world, so I chose my schools so that they offered that chance. It's been a good plan, if you ask me.

      //It was a bit too long for my taste. So I shortened it a bit.

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    6. There's good and bad to be had from reading up on MP. I was looking forward to it until I started reading up on it. After that I got scared for awhile. I finally decided that knowing what was going on was better than unpleasant surprises, and forewarned is forearmed or elbowed or whatever the heck I'm trying to say...ugh ;)
      Enjoy your life. It sounds exciting. Leave the worrying about the big MP until you hit at least 40. You're really gonna LOVE all those hormones when you're in your early to mid 30's. WOOHOO...That's when women are in our prime. Cosmic joke of all time is that men reach their sexual peak at 18 or 19, women around 34. I was insatiable :D >sigh<
      Ah-HEM, anywaaaaaay. Happy traveling dear. ENJOY!
      hugs,
      Karen
      >sigh again<

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    7. I do have to say that in live in one of the best countries to have hot flashes... We only have like on or two months of really warm weather (even though if you ask us the summer is three months). This year we had some trouble with snow... Only 4 months of snow :/ It came down so late. Oh well there still are snow left up north. You could go skiing there. But anyway, Lots of cold weather here. If you feel hot, just open the window or pop outside.

      My prime is just ahead of me, so I think I have still some time to find someone to enjoy it with ;)

      Traveling is the best invention ever! I will definataly enjoy it :))

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  9. I had a forced menopause at 49 when I had an emergency hysterectomy. I have stayed on Hormones (just estrogen) since then except for one 6 week period that my sister convinced me to try without. After I killed her, I went back on hormones. I have never had an issue and my doc says it is a quality of life issue and my quality works with hormones. No vaginal dryness and no pain during sex as my lining at 63 is fabulous. FYI.

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  10. Sorry I mean to say at 39. I was not even close to menopausal.

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    1. Thanks for the laugh, Madge!! Yes, I was just saying, I wouldn't take hormones unless it was screwing with my quality of life too much. Certainly I don't want to sacrifice my sex life if I don't have to. But it would be a last resort, I think. Fingers crossed!

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    2. If you do end up taking hormones, Barbara, don't use the synthetic ones. I keep reading that they have more problems associated with them than the other natural kinds.

      I laughed at "After I killed her". Too funny. :D
      hugs,
      Karen

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  11. For my mother it was a very gradual and relativly painless thing. It just kind of tapered off, each month was a little bit lighter and a little further apart. Perhaps because it was so gradual she had very few ill effects and seemed to handle it well. That said I'm not looking forward to it myself.

    I know I'm a little young to have really considered this subject but after my youngest was born I had "issues" which nearly led to a full hysterectomy. I adamantly refused, I determined that I'd rather live with the problems for the rest of my life than go through instant menopause before my 30th birthday. Which is probably not very encouraging to say but for some reason the idea of going through menopause naturally at some point doesn't scare me the way this did/does. I can't help but believe that it would be easier to go through at the same time other women in my life are going through the experience. This is something that beyond any other fears is something I don't want to feel alone in. When the possibilty first came up I didn't have anyone to talk to about it and I think that was the hardest part. My husband doesn't understand the difference between this and having had my appendix removed. Thankfully a less extreme solution for my problems was found but the chance of those problems returning is very real and so the subject is never that far from my mind.

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    1. Wow, Erin! I am hoping and praying for you that you can hold out til then! When you talk about "feeling alone", my refusal to do that is why I am so committed to talking openly and honestly about this. So I don't feel alone, so you guys don't feel alone. As for the difference between a forced menopause and a natural one, I totally relate to this. Not through my own experience but through that of a friend -- who ironically faced a hysterectomy in her late 40s, right around the time that she might've gone into menopause naturally. She felt really terrible about that. But it had to be done. And she ended up having very few symptoms (that is just her own experience).

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    2. I had a specialist tell me to have a hysterectomy at 22. I never thought I wanted children but I didn't want to lose the option unless I had cancer. I have had a lot to deal with as a result of not doing it, including surgery to remove tumors, twice, and dealing with the pain of endometriosis. Family and friends encouraged me to have a hysterectomy but I didn't because like you I wanted to go through the process naturally. Hindsight being what it is, I sometimes wish I had done the surgery but it is what it is. I stuck it out all those years and hopefully the MP will be over soon and all that pain will be in my rearview mirror. :D
      Good luck with your issues and don't let anyone make that decision for you. It's YOUR body.
      Hugs,
      Karen

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  12. Jeez women really do have to put up with a lot of crap.. it's lucky we're tough!
    My mum thought she was going through an early menopause at 40, but it turned out she was just pregnant with me. :) Then when she did go through it years later, she found the biggest comfort was talking to women who'd been there. She said trying to talk to my dad (as lovely as he was) was like banging her head against a wall- and that the best thing was talking to someone who could relate.
    I find it scary that hormones are such a huge part of how we feel and behave. I've only felt depressed 3 times in my life, and they were during a big hormonal shift- a few months after having a baby, stopping breastfeeding, and when I had a misscarriage. Each time I had a huge identity crisis, thinking "Is this the real me? Am I really a depressed short-tempered un-motivated bitch, and I was just pretending to be happy and functioning before this??". I talked a bit to women who'd been there and could tell me I wasn't going crazy. And my mum kept telling me to appreciate the good bits in every bad day and remember that this too shall pass. xo

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    1. Wow, Samara, Deb was just saying the EXACT SAME THING!! She felt so not herself -- and then wondered if it was her real self!! This is what I really want to hold on to: yes, this is me, everything else is hormones.

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  13. Darling girl,
    I am right there with you. Same age, same foggy feelings. I will say, though, that exercise and yoga have stabilized me. I now exercise, not for vanity as in younger years, but to keep myself from feeling awful and sweaty and unstable.
    If i go a week without exercise, the feelings come back immediately.
    Like Deb said, every woman is different, but the books do acknowledge exercise as a healer, and I'm here to testify.
    (And don't forget, i got pregnant last year. your cycle gets wacky so watch out!)

    In the meantime, you HAVE read Any Ferris's book on menopause and midlife crazy- 'Marrying George Clooney" - haven't you? It's a must-read at this time in your life.

    xoxo

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    1. You bet I read that book, Hollye! Loved it! It should be required reading. And yes I actually really think that exercise is so important in these situations. It always makes me feel better. And I always forget it. So thanks for that XO

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  14. I am totally with the younger crowd here and am just going to sit back and soak it all in and then store in away for when I need it most : )
    But Barbara I must say timing is everything. My mom and I dont have the perfect mother daughter relationship you think of normally so I havent really discussed much of anything with her on these tipes of topics. She was willing and let me know she was there if I wanted to talk I just was embarassed and never did. Admittedly I should have asked more questions but I am VERY stubborn! (we are talking I used the trial-on-error method to teach my self to use a tampon instead of just asking my mom! I am that stubborn...and maybe crazy LOL)
    But just yesterday my mom and I somehow got to talking about such things and she told me she is thinking of going off of her birth control this summer to see what happens in re: to Menopause symptoms. As I said I am rather shy with these topics so all I ended up saying is that I will do the laundry and cook dinner more often to help out.... LOL Maybe not the best response, but we will end up in the same boat as you guys soon so I will learn here and apply it to make my mom's time a little smother : )

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    1. I think it's wonderful that you and your mother sat down to talk about this, Kelly. I really think you should give into that, try it more often, open yourself up to that. You'll be amazed and surprised and impressed with just how much that kind of talking helps. Especially with your mom. Good luck! And thanks.

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  15. It is interesting to read about everyone's experiences, as I am entering the age of 'maybe' - maybe this is it and maybe it isn't? My periods seem to be just fading away, and I've had very few hot flashes. I had terrible female trouble when I was younger, so quite frankly, I'm thrilled!

    I think my mother had trouble with hot flashes but not much else. I was talking to her about mid-life changes recently and she was less worried about body changes and more worried that I was going to buy a red sports car and date younger guys. XD

    I hope you have a good transition, and an exciting new chapter in your life!

    Moe

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    1. What's wrong with buying a red sports car and dating younger guys I ask?? Thanks for the laugh, Moe. We can have each other's backs through this.

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  16. I know my mother went through an unpleasant "change of life." She was somewhere around her mid 50's. She had to go through several D&C's before things finally calmed down. I remember her telling me at one point that, for the first time in his life, my dad went into the "feminine hygiene" aisle and BOUGHT HER STUFF FOR HER. She gave him part of the cardboard box and the trip was a success.
    She had hot flashes to beat the band. I described her as part reptile, because she needed to be in the sun to be truly warm. She's almost back to that, but still retained some body heat since the flashes.

    She takes no extra pills or does anything different. I think she should have started calcium pills at least, but she doesn't like to take ANY pills, so it would have fallen on deaf ears had I suggested it.

    I have occasional "flashes," but nothing serious enough to get my hopes up. My PCP handles my gyno stuff, too, and has confirmed that no, the hormones aren't changing. (Damn). At 44, I can't realistically expect anything yet, but I really wish I could. My periods are such that for a couple of days I don't think bed pillows would be sufficient to the task. The pads/tampons industry has NO idea what "heavy" can really mean. (It's the same way clothing companies think that one size fits all.) PMS means carbo-loading and a heavy feeling in my legs and feet, and it lasts about a week. Post MS lasts for more than a week. Basically, what it comes down to is I don't have to worry about anything for about one week during any month.

    I'm WELL past the point where periods are doing me any good, as I AIN'T getting pregnant anymore. (Unless you can get pregnant sitting on a toilet seat.) I'm too old to go on birth control pills. My doctor says the risks outweigh the benefits. Side effects of psych meds include decrease in or lack of sex drive. They're not kidding.
    Long story short, I WISH I was heading into menopause. "ALWAYS" is glad I'm not.

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    1. So sweet about your dad. I think we need our sympathetic forces around us. Your MS sounds yucky indeed. Maybe you have a free pass for meno??? A woman can dream...

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    2. Hey Dawn, I hope you've talked to your doc about taking iron supplements. I had the same issues. I'm still trying to recover from all those years with less than half the red blood cell count than we're supposed to have.
      Hugs, Karen

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  17. This will be an interesting thread to follow. (They all are!) Both my mother and sister had hysterectomies and so they claim to not have had any really defined symptoms of menopause. I think they may both be taking hormones.

    I've had a couple of hot flashes at 46. They're hot like I felt when I was in labor. That kind of hot. And overall, I notice that I'm warmer than I used to be. In fact, I was in the computer server room in the office yesterday and it occurred to me that it would be a delightful place to hang out if another hot flash happens at the office. It's nice and chilly.

    The thing I'm most noticing is the menopause brain. Sometimes words are a struggle. Completing sentences can be a chore. I'm much more forgetful. At first I thought it was having going back to work and being busy, but my husband kindly pointed out that I've been sliding in this direction before my job started. He's right, if I remember correctly.

    Here's to healthy, mild menopauses (menopausii?) for all of use yet to experience it. The upside I'm looking forward to is sex without worrying about pregnancy. Bring it on!

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    1. Oh, yeah! this reminds me (no pun intended) that I spoke to an actress yesterday at an audition and she talked about the memory thing. Said she couldn't remember her lines anymore! But then when menopause was over, her memory came back. So there's that!! (I haven't had to worry about pregnancy during sex for a looong time -- thanks to my honey taking one for the team ;) )

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    2. Lol @ "taking one for the team". :)
      Mentalpause: The brain-eating beast from HELL.
      Boy wouldn't that make a good horror movie/documentary.
      teehee
      hugs,
      Karen

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    3. Yes! A horror movie, lol!! xo

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  18. meredith (howdy!)May 2, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    not going to claim to be any kind of expert on the subject (especially since i have yet to hit that point in my life), but it seems to me i remember reading something about menopause being a point in time, not a process. that it occurs one year after a woman's last full menstrual cycle.

    because we are more in touch with our bodies than anyone else, we tend to think of it as a process leading up to the point of "pause."

    i personally am very excited about that point in time as i've been waiting for it since i was 12 and starting the process, hating every minute of it and knowing i was never going to be able to get any joy out of it.

    so i have a few more years of waiting, which CANNOT come soon enough for me. the only thing that freaks me out about that time in the future is that i either won't have a clue (hot flashes? what a joke!) or my internal/external thermometer will freak out even more and i'll find myself in the middle of the Sahara with 120 degrees F on a daily basis. BARF!

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    1. Not everyone gets those nasty hot flashes... wishful thinking, wishful thinking... :) Thanks for weighing in, Meredith!

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  19. A point in time. I wish that for everyone. My experience was a point in time, but it lasted two years. So I would say that looking back it was indeed a point of time. But in the throws of that point of time, it was an endless eternity. So my wish for everyone who comes after me, is "a pinprick in time". May it be for each gal.

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  20. I love it when women share their experiences about this kind of thing, including those of us who are younger so we can learn by listening.
    On the other hand, younger people can commiserate too. I for one am very familiar with hot flashes. I get them with almost every period for the first couple of days of said period. And of course there's other stuff where I can only imagine the trouble. Best of luck to you for whatever comes next!! I have my fingers and toes crossed for you that it'll be a fairly smooth transition :)

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    1. Thanks, Aimee. And I really do believe in the benefits of "listening and learning", even if it's far in the future. It's nice to have some idea of what to expect...

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  21. Oh my. I'm currently in the throes of Mentalpause myself, though 'pause' is an understatement. More like MentalbreakdownlaststoodamnlongwhyamIsofreakinghotandgetthehelloutofmyfaceIloveyoucrycryFOOD
    I have had problems with my...girlie bits...since they began when I was 13, and looked forward with great anticipation to going through "the change". Then...>lightening strike< it happened. What was 'It"? A mental breakdown at the office in front of 2 of my bosses and my entire work team. Uncontrollable sobbing. SpecTACular. Took me awhile to get over everyone thinking I was a loony toon. Those fits of losing control at work, combined with increased forgetfulness, AND Aunt Flo really overstaying her tenuous welcome, clued me into the fact that I had started my descent into temporary H E double hockey sticks. I went right away after the meltdown and was tested. Sure enough, I was indeed in mentalpause. Doc decided that in order to keep my job, it was best if we increased my anti-depressant dosage. That helped a wee bitty bit. Not enough, however, to keep me from, in the middle of a big meeting with my upper, upper, UPPER level management, from getting mad and saying "Oh alright, whatEVER". Oh yes, I DID. Indeed NOT my finest moment at work. Fortunately for me I was highly respected and my immediate boss was female and understood when I explained my erratic behavior. We got a good laugh out of it (me with a red face), and that was that. I had a few other episodes of mentalpause at work but a further increase of drugs helped, and probably saved my job for a few more years.
    I was finding out what exactly came along with the mentalpause, and they were things I had no idea occurred, and frankly they scared the shite out of me, and still do. We have a choice to live through the power surges and all or take HRT-hormone replacement therapy. Read up on it. It's one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios. With HRT we have an increased chance of getting breast cancer, which runs in my family. Without it we have higher chances of getting osteoporosis. My mom got that. Your bones become so brittle that they actually collapse from your weight. Many women have their spines collapse. CRAP. The odds of heart attacks also raises after mentalpause. If you take HRT you feel better, with fewer power surges and mood swings but oh those side effects. So far I'm not taking the HRT but I may change my mind. It's really hot in Texas already and with my power surges...well, I'm thinking I could easily melt the polar ice caps. I have a theory that baby boomer women going through the change is a part of the reason for glacier melts.
    Oh, and do take iron, especially if you are fatigued. Have your doc give you that test too when you go for the MP test.
    Having said/written all of that about my horrors of it, I have to say that my mom...hers lasted about a year. She cried a bit more and I'd sometimes catch her blowing spit bubbles. (don't ask). She had lots of hot flashes that continued long long after MP was over.
    My advice to you, dear, apologize to your family and close friends ahead of time. Remind them it doesn't last forever. Stock up on cool clothes, a fan like a japanese one that you can easily whip out of your bag when you need it...and you will, keep a large stash of dark chocolates on hand for you only, and come up with a "safe word" for times when you're really having a bad MP day, so the fam will know to keep out of the way, and most important of all, remember...
    IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT, it shall pass.
    HUGE hugs and cool flashes :)
    Karen

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    1. *writing down all the hints*

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    2. I remember my husband telling me about his mom "going crazy". My mom did not experience a difficult time...just a slow down to a stop. I have been having a very difficult time over the past two years. I am 50 now and had experienced 3 weeks on - one week off for about a year before I had surgery, which put me back on a 3 weeks off, one week on "normal" cycle. My periods for the past couple of years were and still are VERY heavy, and by that I mean I would go to the restroom, get to my desk and turn around and go back to the restroom. I used to wonder why they sold super-sized feminine products, and now, I know why. I have to use both at the same time. It's difficult to plan any vacation excursions, because I must be certain to have facilities available. Even mild exercise like taking a walk, can lead to, well, "worrysome" moments. I don't have hot flashes, but do get moody. Usually I just tell everyone to stay away from me and keep a box of tissues close at hand. Although I try to eat iron-rich foods, I must supplement. When tested, the doctor almost put me in the hospital for a transfusion! Ah, at least I knew the reason why I could sleep all of the time! That being said, I'm a little nervous about what is in store for my body and mind. I do have a grandson now, which allows me to take the focus off of not being able to conceive. I wish everyone well in their personal journey. Here's to the next milestone! Nancy

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    3. Thanks Karen and Nancy!! Karen, your hysterical/horrifying experiences reminds me of a screenplay Deb and I wrote about a woman going through menopause. The public breakdown can be very... scary-slash-funny (not laughing at you, darling) I will remember your hints re calcium and iron. Especially iron. I think I might have issues with that. And, Nancy, I have a friend who resorted to Depends for the heaviness...Happy thoughts!

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    4. It's quite alright to laugh at it now. I had to laugh at myself back then too. Crying sure wasn't helping. :) Oh, and I was in customer service, which means I talked to a lot of gritchy people all day. I didn't lose my temper ever. I have NO idea how I managed that, in my tender condition. ;)
      hugs

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  22. I've never really thought about it...and now that I think about it, it scares me...
    I'm young, and I haven't had a real life as a woman, yet. And knowing that my time is limited is scary...

    Anyway. I don't know how it was for my Mom. We don't talk about such things. I never asked. I know that she had a surgery, but I don't know if it was necessary...

    Some of the women I play Korbball with are over 50 / 60, and they moaned, when they weren't feeling that well...

    I wish you patience and less stress and pain. =)
    *hugs*

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    1. Don't be scared, Becki. Most times we just want someone to pat us and make us feel better. Most people don't really feel that bad, they just want the pity. Sometimes I think about making a velcro wrist holder for my forehead. My hand gets tired from me having to hold it up there unassisted for so long. ;)
      hugs

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