Am I Having A Hot Flash?
By Carol Rood I have been healthy my entire life. I have never had a broken bone, and have only had the flu once that I remember. However, since I was pregnant when I had the flu that should count as if I had it 3 times. I mean really, it was pretty awful that as soon as I was done with the first trimester nausea, puking nonsense I came down with the flu so I was right back to puking. TOTALLY not fair….. Seriously, being healthy is a good thing. Karol has many, many health problems she has had to deal with. She has had cervical cancer, eye surgery, surgery to put a prosthetic ear drum and ear bones in her right ear, a Radical hysterectomy, knee surgery, and since she had the hysterectomy she now has lymphadema in her right leg. Oh and lets not forget that fact that she has a brain tumor. Not only have I always been mostly healthy throughout my life, I have also always had regular periods. Yes periods….I went there. Ladies, you know how important it is to have a regular menstrual cycle. To know when that crap is coming makes life so much easier. Being able to plan for the bloating, cramps, mess, etc is always a good thing. Although, that really makes me think that the whole thing really isn’t quite fair. I mean what do men have to deal with? Women start out in their early teens dealing with a menstrual cycle, then we have to deal with birth control (which brings it’s own brand of bullshit into your life…weight gain, acne, etc etc), then we have babies if we choose and then deal with the physical aftermath of pregnancy, (which for most of us means weight gain and for those of us with c-sections flabby tummies for LIFE). THEN after childbirth and all the “loveliness” and the pain free experience of that (note the sarcasm), we go back to having our menstrual cycle on a monthly basis, and THEN, when you are in the middle age of your life, and you are through having babies, and by all rights you should just casually and calmly stop having your menstrual cycle, is that how it happens???? HELL NO! My friend Rikki gave me a birthday card with these ladies on it: My new best friends!!! (thanks Rikki) After a lifetime of dealing with bleeding on a monthly basis that also includes cramps, bloating, backaches and a million other kinds of nonsense, the Universe is kind enough to have women go through MENOPAUSE. Oh, but you don’t just get to “go into” menopause, nooooo, that would be too easy. Instead of gently just going into menopause, we have this whole period of “perimenopause”. Which in non-medical terms just means your body is going to mess with you and make your life even MORE complicated……. oh, and just to make it a little more interesting, this “perimenopause” can last up to 10 years!! What a cruel joke!! And oh yeah, by the way, the Universe has a sense of humor, and likes to gain amusement at my expense, it isn’t enough that I have started down this slippery slope of perimenopause, nope, my body decided it was a good idea to start the crap the week I turned 46. Really??? Thanks!! Like I needed that not so gentle reminder I am aging….. NOT!! I am telling you the truth when I say that unless I was pregnant my cycle has come EVERY 28 days. I was always one of those women who could circle the day on the calendar and KNOW when my cycle was going to start. A few months before before my 46th birthday (two years ago), my cycle was a couple of days early, then the next month a few days late, then I was right back on track. So I thought nothing of it. THEN the month before my birthday, (September, 2011) I started getting the typical PMS symptoms. Bloating, water weight gain, tender breasts, some mild cramping. The day my cycle was due came….and went. Then it was day after day after day of waiting. Two weeks passed by and still no cycle. So I called a friend who is a couple of years older than me and has gone through this already to get some advice. And what did my wonderful compassionate, loving friend do? She laughed……..LOUDLY! To be honest, she was helpful, after she finished her cackling… I decided I was not going to let this perimenopause stuff beat me, so I went to my local health food store and bought an herbal supplement that had the most milligrams of every herb I knew to be associated with menopause symptoms and plant hormone regulation and I found a bottle of pills called Mensosense that has Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, and Chaste Berry. After taking these every morning for a week I felt MUCH better, and lo and behold, my cycle started!! Coincidence? Magic?? Herbs?? Probably some of all three. Whatever, I started taking those magical beauties every day…….. In October 2011 after I had that horrible experience in September I had my annual physical. I love my doctor. She is amazing. I told her what I was going through and asked for advice. Did I mention I love my doctor?? Her answer to me was, “Every woman is different, perimenopause can last up to 10 years, and you just have to be prepared for the unpredictability. Carry an extra pair of underwear and all the feminine hygiene products you will need in case of a surprise.” Wait, that’s it??? All medical science has to offer is “carry extra undies, pads and tampons” ????? That’s it??? So in other words I need a bigger purse than I already have?? Shit! I still do love my doctor though! Fast forward two years. My symptoms have all but disappeared, except for the fact that my bleeding issue is all over the map now. Worse than it was two years ago. When I went to my physical this year, my doctor told me the same things about the menopause issue, and this time added, “well, your blood pressure is great but even though you have lost over 20 pounds your sugar is still high and we will need to check that again in three months.” I am surprised my blood pressure was so great to be honest. I live with two teenagers and two non working young adults, am taking Statistics this semester in college, and am also facing the prospect of 10 years of perimenopause, to which the answer is: carry extra undies and period accoutrement. Seriously??? My blood pressure should be higher than 120/72!! To be honest, given what is going on in my life right now 120/72 is amazing blood pressure, not just great!! Maybe the mensosense is helping my moods enough that it is keeping my blood pressure down…..they truly are little magical pills!!!