Stumbling Through Menopause

16 05 2008

Boys, I want you to go here and look at this picture while I and the women folk talk about some important stuff about our lives.

As I get older, I find myself going through the same thing my mother did about 20 years ago. It’s called, da da dummmm, menopause. First of all, it exists. I’m not going to be one of those women that says “Menopause was never a problem for me.”

I cry foul on that one.

Our bodies are changing, we see that we have lived more than half our lives and while we are not old, neither are we young. We are. It’s a transition.

And, my friends, we are fabulous but it’s part of the process of life.

By the time women, and I guess I’m just speaking for myself here, hit my 40s I started pondering the meaning of life a bit more. I could honestly only think about what I had not done in my life not the accomplishments I have fought tooth and nail to get done. I got a bit tired, I wasn’t feeling as well as I did even five years ago. I found myself somewhat detached from who I was really was.

Who was I? Who am I now?

And, as I’ve said before, I’m too tired for an affair and too broke for a red sports car. Yes, I had, and still do sometimes, hit the middle-aged crazies. Of course the middle-aged crazies hits men as well. It’s pretty much a non-gender thing.

We talk about here on the tubes about different waves of feminism, of how women and men’s lives differ as they grow older and the fact that our bodies completely, or at least it feels like it, betray us. It’s a bond women have. Men have bonds too but I’m not a guy so I can’t comment about that.

It’s like our bodies say “Hey make a baby” when we are in puberty and we learn to deal with that part of being a girl and then when you hit 40 it turns right around and says to us “I changed my mind” and on top of that I’m going to make you feel all nutso for awhile. KThxbai.

I have talked extensively to a couple of woman who are going through the same conundrum of juggling emotions, our professional lives, our sexual identities and feeling like poo all at the same time. It’s good to have conversations about real things instead of ignoring them. The reality is that it’s a messed-up thing, that emotions are different and that it’s almost like we find ourselves wondering what we are going through much the same way we did during puberty. And we don’t have the lives of our mothers and our grandmothers which were so different than what we go through now. We have to take care of ourselves financially. There is no white knight on a steed coming into save the day.

And, women need to take care of each other even if it’s just listening to the grim fact that we ain’t getting any younger.

And it’s not all bad.

The uterus is a weird thing campers. I don’t have mine anymore as she was a bit bitchy but we’ve talked about that before.

Now with all of that said, for anyone who hasn’t experienced all this stuff, it’s not fun.

I don’t think people can understand how daunting it is to wake up in the middle of the night sweating like a goat until you’ve been through it. I can’t explain how I was sitting at my desk doing some work earlier this week and felt like my body was being microwaved from the inside out. It’s hard to convey in words to people who haven’t gone through it.

Why do I bring this up? It’s on my mind, that’s all.

I have to tell myself although I’m aging and there is gray in my hair, I’m pretty groovy. I may not look like Cindy Crawford, but I never did anyway.

I am just me.

There’s only one of me so that’s of the good.

And I’m not dead yet.

H/T of the photo to the lovely Aunt B.

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21 responses

16 05 2008
Sarah Dobbs

I’m glad you have women to talk to about all this stuff. I’m feeling some of it already – and I’m 24! The whole what-am-I-doing-what-have-I-done-is-it-good-enough thing might just be a constant feature of life. Yuck.

You are pretty groovy, though. 🙂

16 05 2008
newscoma

You are groovy back, Sarah. Hell, I think we go through phases. At 24, I was all “Ms. Career.” Now I’m all “When can I go home to drink beer and hang out with my dog Mabel.”

16 05 2008
Klinde

Stands and applauds….

Coma, I too am having the internal body battle. The wonderful things in my 40s far outweigh the volcanic hot flashes and the drenching night sweats, I won’t even mention the mood swings though I am quite certain the German has PLENTY to say about them.

Thank you for bringing to light what so many of us feel but do not necessarily discuss openly. Although I have no calms in doing so….

Hugs!

16 05 2008
chez beziat

As a follower of rules, I, being a man, only looked at the picture. It was funny.

16 05 2008
newscoma

Thanks guys. We are who we are. Let’s talk about it. No shame in being just us.

Chez, sweetie (heh), you are awesome. I’d even talk to you about it over a Bass. I think you’d get it more than most.

16 05 2008
manicmanicurist

I am enjoying my 40s. Although the mood swings and such are really a pain in the butt.
I haven’t had a hot flash YET, but my sister has and I heard ALL about it lol.
Glad to know we have other women out there..going through the same things.

16 05 2008
GingerSnaps

And, women need to take care of each other even if it’s just listening to the grim fact that we ain’t getting any younger.

Amen.

I have to tell myself although I’m aging and there is gray in my hair, I’m pretty groovy.

Yes, you certainly are.

16 05 2008
newscoma

Actually, I’m loving y 40s because I don’t let people take free room and board in my head like it did 20 years ago, MM. I still do some but not as much. Ahh, the flashes have only happened to me a few times but when it happens, I have to take a drive or just get away from people. I try to remember it’s not other people’s problem, just my body acting funky.

GS, indeed. And thank you. I hope I go a cool gray.

16 05 2008
Donna Locke

Physically, menopause is hell for many women. I cannot function and will not function without estrogen replacement. Emotionally, I stopped putting up with things and people I don’t want to put up with. Life is shorter now, and I guard my time and energy. Mentally, and in other ways, you can be at your peak, and life for many women really begins in the middle. My advice: Get yourself a female gyn, preferably one has been through it or at least has a nurse who has.

16 05 2008
Donna Locke

Physically, menopause is hell for many women. I cannot function and will not function without estrogen replacement. Emotionally, I stopped putting up with things and people I don’t want to put up with. Life is shorter now, and I guard my time and energy. Mentally, and in other ways, you can be at your peak, and life for many women really begins in the middle. My advice: Get yourself a female gyn, preferably one has been through it or at least has a nurse who has.

17 05 2008
kate

Does induced menopause count? Cause it’s a bitch at my age, and I don’t have half of your ladies’ wisdom.

17 05 2008
Frank Strovel III

Far be it from me to let you gals have all the fun. Allow me to remind you there is such a thing as male menopause.

http://men.webmd.com/guide/male-menopause

17 05 2008
GingerSnaps

Kate, ooooh yes…yes, induced menopause counts.

Let me tell you… OY.

17 05 2008
captainkona

“I’m pretty groovy.”

No, you’re very, very groovy.

😉 Luv ya, kid.

18 05 2008
Lee

Didn’t read the post, but checked out the picture. I was hoping for some nudity… tastefully done, of course.

18 05 2008
Sharon Cobb

What Donna said, though I’ve settled on a compound cream with 3 hormones mixed together.
Email me if you’re interested. Your doctor has to call it in to a compound pharmacy, but they mail it to you.
I use one in Columbia, Tn.

18 05 2008
Donna Locke

Hey, Sharon. I’ve heard of some women here who use the compounding pharmacy and like it. I’ve done so well on estrogen only that if it ain’t broke, I don’t want to mess with it. Some women do use estrogen drops or something from that pharmacy. I’m on the bioidentical-estrogen skin patch, for many years now. Transdermal is great. Even, consistent, constant delivery. When your estrogen levels fluctuate, that triggers migraines, so you want steady delivery, no ups and downs/crashes. The female brain is very sensitive to estrogen, and estrogen affects more than 300 functions in the female body. Some women seem to get by with low-dose or no estrogen. Their bodies may make some form of estrogen after menopause, particularly in the fat cells if they’re overweight.

I recently read a study that showed that women on .075 dose estrogen replacement do better healthwise than women on higher or lower doses. That is my dose; I figured it out myself years ago. The doctors are often no help.

Some of the estrogen patches don’t give even delivery. The original Vivelle big patch was the best, in my opinion. It has been discontinued, and there is no generic for it that I know of — please, some drug manufacturer, pick it up (the patent has expired) and make an equivalent; I will love you 4ever. The Vivelle Dot patch is not an equivalent, though the manufacturer claims it is; don’t believe it; that patch is too small and has a different adhesive with silicone, which can’t be good for you. But some women think it is better than nothing. If you are having hot flashes and migraines on the patch or any other replacement system, you are not getting enough estrogen or the delivery is uneven, and you may even be getting too much at times. Every woman is different. You have to experiment till you find the right replacement system and the right level for you.

Some women need the other hormones. I don’t seem to. If your body makes a lot of androgens, you may find you especially need estrogen replacement at menopause to counter that. After menopause, your body may no longer make progesterone either. I tried natural progesterone early on and found it really messed me up and made me depressed. The artificial progesterone, progestin, is a killer. Not good for your body at all. If you still have a uterus, you won’t be able to do estrogen only. You’ll have to have progesterone, too. Get the natural and don’t over do it.

EstroGel is bioidentical estrogen in a gel, by prescription. You rub it on once a day. This is a good product if you need a supplement to what you are using — say, you got a flawed batch of patches; it happens — but you don’t get the steady delivery. In my case, my body quickly uses up a gel or cream, and I get a crash and a migraine. I have to stick with, no pun intended, the skin patches. I went to the Alora patch, but it is not as good as original Vivelle.

18 05 2008
Donna Locke

By the way, your FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) level as tested by a doctor and lab, is the indicator of whether you are in menopause for sure. But your physical symptoms will tell you the truth long before you get tested. FSH rises during perimenopause and shoots way up at menopause and will continue to rise for a while after that. It is a signal from your brain and glands that your body no longer responds to, so your brain and glands keep signaling and will do so for the rest of your life, though your body will never respond because your eggs are gone and your body is through preparing for reproduction.

19 05 2008
Sharon Cobb

Donna–
Good Lord you know your hormones! I remember how helpful you were to me when I had my hystie.

The compound cream really helps my night sweats. I was on the patch you are on, and I became an emotional wreck…crying at the drop of a hat. The cream I use has 3 hormones, and that seems to work fairly well, though I still can’t take hot days.

19 05 2008
Donna Locke

Oh, them night sweats … And yeah, even on estrogen replacement, you will sometimes get hot flashes in a hot room or in hot weather. You may have a night sweat occasionally. You shouldn’t have more than that if you are getting enough estrogen replacement and your delivery system is even and continuous.

Your body temperature regulator is thrown off at menopause and never really goes back to the way it was. But hormone replacement should get rid of just about all the hot flashes and night sweats. The hot flashes are the least of what is happening to your body without estrogen, though. At menopause your estrogen level drops to little to nonexistent. This is a shock to the female body, which has depended on this hormone for 50 years, if you go through natural menopause. Be advised that your bones quickly start to lose density and essentially dissolve without estrogen. All the calcium supplements in the world won’t help, because the bones need estrogen to use the calcium. Some relatively new drugs supposedly help the bones even without estrogen; I don’t know. My mother has osteoporosis, so I’m not taking any chances. She’s 75 and still has hot flashes, by the way.

I’m taking the time to comment here, because when I went through natural menopause, I was clueless and really needed better information than I was able to get at the time. I wasn’t expecting to go through menopause until around 50, but it hit at age 47. So learn what you can before it happens.

Beware of the herbs and “natural” estrogen alternatives. They do not do what estrogen does in and for your body.

27 05 2008
compound pharmacy

Compounding pharmacy is the long-standing process of mixing drugs by a pharmacist or physician to fit the unique needs of a patient. For example, a patient allergic to the dyes or gluten-based excipients used in a pill can obtain a doctor’s prescription for the necessary medicine to be compounded without the offending ingredient.
http://www.greatearthpharmacy.com

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