Menopause

Breast Pain in Menopause

Statue Lady

You might guess the lady above is thinking poetic marble lady thoughts.

Nope.

She’s in a grump because her top hurts.

She hasn’t had a period for over two years, but the other day her top starting hurting like it did in her PMS days.

And so our marbled friend, while pleased about her hair and her complexion, is in a stew about the state of her boobs.

Same thing happened to my in the flesh human friend.

“To my surprise,” she wrote to me,  “2 years after no menstrual cycles, I was struck with breast tenderness! It scared me at first but then I quickly realized the all too familiar sensation. Yikes. It was a not so gentle reminder that hormones are still present.”

Consult with your doctor about any breast pain, but more often than not, it’s the result of hormones.

There’s a bit of info here, on the site 34 Menopause Symptoms.

My own pain seems to get worse after a salty restaurant meal.  I’ve never been sensitive to salt, so it’s taken me a while to figure this out.

They do say a good bra can help, although finding a good bra is a struggle in itself.

I told marble lady I’d see what we can find for her at the mall.

Now that will be an interesting shopping trip!

Anyone else experience menopausal breast pain or swelling?

Any remedies?

Any suggestions from your doctors?

Capture

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Space Age Foods!

Modern Foods

Modern baby raising techniques fascinate this grandma.

Note the space age foods above.

Jane Jetson might have served these shiny pouches to Daughter Judy and Son Elroy when they were tiny tots.

Jane Jetson

No glass to break!

Which brings back the beach trip when Laura Younger, age 18 months, dropped a jar off the balcony of our rental condo in the Outer Banks.

images

Said jar shattered on the pool area below.

Cliff spent a good vacation hour picking up tiny shards of glass.

He’s still recovering. That’s why he hasn’t taken me swimming in Mykonos yet, as Laura just got to do on her honeymoon.

wpid-IMG_24124

Back to baby food.

No breakage with these pouches. Parents can feed baby from the pouch, and in time, baby can hold it.

How easy and safe is that?

I have split seconds when I declare,  “Not fair!  We didn’t have those.”

Good grandma egg that I am, I mellow fast.

Three cheers for clever baby world inventions!

And speaking of  a clever baby, look who now eats table food.

Capture

Just like Pebbles Flintstone learned to do in the age of the dinosaurs.

Pebbles

YABADABADOO!

Menopause

ReJuVey: Help For Vaginal Dryness and Atrophy (and a Survey)

ReJuVey GIF Logo CroppedI was recently contacted by Jana Morrelli, an MBA student who is completing an internship for a new women’s health company called ReJuVey and she has asked for our help! Would you consider filling out the survey listed below? It looks like a good way to have your voice heard in the development of a new menopause solution.

Jana writes, ““ReJuVey is developing a sonic-based device (similar to a sonic toothbrush) and non-estrogen based proprietary gels to help relieve women of the symptoms associated with vaginal dryness and painful intercourse due to atrophy.

As we develop this product, we want to make sure we are addressing real women’s needs so we’re conducting a survey! We would love to survey women age 45 plus – those approaching menopause, peri-menopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women are all welcome.

The survey is completely anonymous – but if you would like to receive information or would like to help out with testing just enter your contact information at the end of the survey and we will add to our upcoming Newsletter list! Also, we’d love you to stop by and like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rejuvey.

Please take the survey by clicking on this link:   www.rejuvey.com

Thanks!  ReJuVey is keeping the survey open until October 1, 2013.

About ReJuVey:

ReJuVey was founded in 2012 by three dedicated women who felt there had to be a better way to solve the problem of vaginal dryness and atrophy due to menopause.

Kathy Johanson, PhD. CEO. Kathy is a life-long business professional with a passion for connecting women together to share experiences and find solutions to challenging problems.

Tracy Girolami, MD. Chief Medical Officer. Tracy is a physician with thousands of female patients, so she sees the struggles women face with menopause every day.

Rhonda Rhyne, MBA. Chairman, Co-Founder. Rhonda is a Life Sciences professional with a degree in pharmacy and a history of developing extremely successful medical technology companies.

Rhonda and Kathy

Rhonda and Kathy

Tracy

Tracy

Aging, Menopause

This Body: Gratitude Prayers (and a Giveaway)

This Body

Ever since menopause set in, I’ve gotten grumpy about my body.

Aging makes me sad.

Shocks me.

Worries me.

The vanity issues.

And the bigger issues.

Eyes.

Mobility.

Teeth.

Balance.

Girl stuff.

I’m determined to keep in the best shape I can, but alas, time is the Great Winner in the battle of the body, I suspect.

Janine Canan’s poem, “This Body,” socked it to me on first reading.

How dare I not appreciate Body Barbara until her very last day?

Thanks Janine.

What about you?

Are you a body ditzer or a body appreciator?

“This Body” is part of June Cotner’s latest volume, Gratitude Prayers:  Prayers, Poems, and Prose for Everyday Thankfulness published in February 2013 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Gratitude Prayers

I’m giving away one copy of this lovely, upbeat volume. If you’d like to be the winner, simply enter a comment by August 5  saying that you’d like to win. I’m pleased that two of my pieces are included!

 Lyle, Lyle, The Crocodile:  Congrats to Penny, who won the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury.

Aging, Menopause

Down the Rabbit Hole and Back Up Again: Part Two

Alice finding door

In Down The Rabbit Hole Part I, you may have walked away with the idea that falling down the ‘rabbit hole’ of depression is inevitable.  Well, for many of us it is, to some degree.  That’s why I’m back today.  Yes, I find myself depressed during certain times of the year.  The good news is, there’s a way out.

There are several things I do to get out of that rabbit hole, and none of it is as crazy as the stuff poor Alice In Wonderland faced. Through years of counseling and years of experience, I have found a formula that works for me.

These ideas may or may not work for you, but they are worth trying.  Of course, if depression doesn’t lift after you have done everything you can to help yourself, seek professional help.  With that said, these are my thoughts about ways in which I have found my way out of that dang rabbit hole.

Recognize Your Season

Falling down the rabbit hole is something I know is inevitable for me during certain times of the year.  Knowing this is part of my salvation.  As they say; “forewarned is forearmed.”

Depression is like many illnesses – the more we know, the more prepared we are, the more likely we are to recover.  When the dates approach, I talk about it with my family.  It’s coming.  I know it.  Saying it out loud with those who know me best (and most likely are going through the same thing) is a way to prepare.  Pretending this time isn’t coming does absolutely no good whatsoever.

Accept Your Feelings

It’s true that the years have softened the blows I feel from the losses I’ve suffered.  But what happens to people like me who have “situational depression” is that even small situations can trigger the FEELINGS of a bigger situation.

During the times when I’m most likely to become depressed, I recognize the small triggers and give them the same respect I do the big triggers.  This helps bring about the same result – lessening the depression or quickening the recovery.

Accepting the importance of these smaller triggers also validates feelings, and validated feelings are the only kind of feelings we can work our way through.  Unvalidated feelings get stuffed and land us back in that rabbit hole.

Remember Your Recovery

Each time I end up down the rabbit hole, I remind myself that it’s a temporary situation.  I remember the times I thought I’d never smile again; then I did.

I remember that even if I am depressed at times, I very often laugh at the same time.  I guess what I want to say is a good life full of laughs does not exclude depression, and depression does not exclude a good life full of laughs.

I am a happy person who also happens to get depressed.  I do not have a cloud following me around.  I am not a sad little stick figure on a commercial for anti-depressants.  Sometimes I am very happy and I still want to go to bed.  But, I know I will get up again. That’s what recovery is like for me.  It’s important to remember that.

Reach Out And Renew

I have people I love who know about this darkness and care about my recovery.  I have learned to reach out to them instead of pulling the covers over my head.

Make a phone call, write a note, contact someone to say; “Yes, I am in bed today, but tomorrow I’ll call you again.”

Making that connection is a big part of moving forward.  Then, you’ll be ready to take the next step; perhaps get together and walk.

On the same note as connecting, we sometimes need to accept a new challenge – to renew.  I’m not talking about something gigantic, just something outside of what we are currently doing.

I have been working at home for many years.  When the woman who does my facials called to say she needed someone to take charge of her appointments and phone calls, I knew it was something I needed to do.  The call came at the height of my depression.

I embraced the opportunity to get out of the house and do something new.  It was time I made a change.  I was outside my comfort zone, but only slightly, which was good.  Small changes are still good changes.

What I Know

I have what my counselor calls “situational depression.”  For this reason, I know that certain times and certain events will trigger my depression.

But, it’s alright.

Because there’s a lesson I can take from Alice In Wonderland.

Just like Alice, I will find that little door… and open it.

I am reassured once more that my depression is just a season in my life – not the entirety of my life.

Thank you, Barbara, for letting me share my thoughts with you and your readers.  I hope my experiences with depression will help clear up some of the confusion that so many have about this complicated issue.

p.s.  For more about the signs of depression, the dichotomy of depression, and how it affects us at our age, please read my blog post – Depression In Baby Boomers – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed.  And don’t forget to leave a comment.  I love the company here in the blogosphere!

About The Tiny Door: 

Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage… she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains…

Discovering that little door, and finding your way through it and into that lovely garden with bright flowers and cool fountains isn’t necessarily easy.  Poor Alice went through hell and back to find her way.  I can feel the excitement of pulling that curtain back to discover that tiny door, and the hope that I might find a lovely garden and cool fountains when I work my way through that door.

Alice finding door

“Alice Finding Tiny Door Behind Curtain” – The Tenniel Illustrations for Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel

Visit Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org to see over 42,000 ebooks, free for your viewing and downloading pleasure.  Enjoy.

Patti school pic

About the Author:  Patti Winker has enjoyed reading and writing ever since she can remember.  She likes sharing stories of growing up in the 50s and 60s on her blog RemarkableWrinklies.com You’ll also find her stories in our collaboration – Tangerine Tango

In addition to waxing nostalgic, Patti also writes about aging well.  Part of Patti’s journey through life has been her battle with depression.  This two part guest post is her way of telling others that depression doesn’t need to defeat a person, but it isn’t always easy either, especially as we get older.

According to the CDC, the highest rate of depression occurs between the ages of 45 and 64, then drops off again after 65.  In her blog post – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed Patti explores this problem that many ‘baby boomers’ are experiencing right now;  reaching a perceived perfection, but not feeling the joy.  I hope you find some useful information and support in these posts.

About the Picture:  Patti said she laughed right out loud when she found this picture of herself and knew immediately she had to use it for this guest post.  I think she looks rather “Alice-ish,” don’t you?   Patti estimates this to be her 2nd or 3rd grade school picture, about the time she would have been reading Alice in Wonderland, and wondering what kind of crazy person Lewis Carroll was.

Menopause

Down the Rabbit Hole and Back Up Again: Part One

Alice pool of tears

A post by writer Patti Winker:

“The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.  Down, down, down!  Would the fall never come to an end?”

Let me start off by saying I’ve never been a fan of Alice In Wonderland.  It was always kind of creepy to me, both as a kid and as an adult.  Although, as an adult, I can appreciate the twisted dark thoughts and innuendo.  Or am I reading more into it than I should?

Anyway, I digress.  For whatever reason, the whole story is just weird to me.

That said, Alice In Wonderland has felt like a familiar friend to me at times… times in which I fell down the ‘rabbit hole’ of depression.

I know, I know.  The commercials all say that this is supposed to be the time of our life.  We’re all supposed to be happy as skylarks, singing glorious notes as we fly off into the azure shades of early evening on our way to our vineyards, sailboats, horse ranches, and fat retirement checks.

We’re supposed to all be planting seeds for our sunset years, while enjoying the vim-and-vigor of this quasi youth.

It doesn’t always work that way.

I learned from a counselor many years ago (during my first marriage) that I had what he called “situational depression.”  Sometimes this is referred to as “adjustment disorder.”  It is covered in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), so I guess I can accept that.

Okay, I don’t like to think I have a “Mental Disorder” but, hey, something was terribly wrong.  With or without a diagnosis, I was falling down the rabbit hole.

“Situational depression,” by its very nature, comes and goes.  Depending on, well, the situation.  Coping is possible, but there are times when it becomes difficult to face even the simplest challenges.

For me, those times are tied to anniversaries, seasons, and memories.

At our age, we have all suffered trauma – loss, abuse, pain, and illness.  At some point, all those issues converge and create a palate that colors our life.  Someone or something at some time will most likely trigger a reaction.

There are times during the year that I ‘re-suffer’ some of my most difficult losses. There are birthdays, wedding anniversaries, holidays, death anniversaries, more birthdays… and the list goes on.  Every date on the calendar that has memories attached gives my heart another opportunity to suffer.

I am not alone in this.  What happens to me isn’t uncommon.  As we reach a certain age, as I mentioned, we are bound to have some sort of loss, some trauma, that can send us into that downward  spiral.  For people who deal with any form of depression, these unavoidable dates on the calendar can loom large.

For baby boomers, this time in our life can be great, but it can also provide some of the biggest challenges we will encounter.  These challenges can cause severe stress, sadness, illness, and depression.

And, just as Alice worried that she would be “going out altogether, like a candle,” I have moments where I struggle with believing that things will ever be okay again.

The good news is, there are things we can do to keep from pulling the covers over our head and disappearing from the world.  I know I don’t want to waste even a couple months out of the year, hiding in the dark, away from all the people I love.

In Part II, I will share a few thoughts about climbing back up and out of that rabbit hole.

Stay tuned…

About the Pool of Tears:

 “Things are worse than ever,” thought the poor child, “for I never was so small as this before, never!”  As she said these words, her foot slipped, and in another moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt-water… in the pool of tears…

Depression can feel this way; beginning with hopelessness, then a sinking feeling. Some people describe depression as a feeling of being over your head in a pool of water, unable to reach the surface, or to even see the surface. I can feel the struggle, the hopelessness in this illustration.

“Alice in Pool of Tears” – The Tenniel Illustrations for Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel    

Alice pool of tears

Visit Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org to see over 42,000 ebooks, free for your viewing and downloading pleasure.  Enjoy.

About the Author :  Patti Winker writes about topics that she and others of “a certain age” are concerned about.  In her blog, RemarkableWrinklies.com, you’ll find thoughts and information on aging well, health and fitness, having a bit of fun, a few debates, and some nostalgia thrown in.

She likes to cook and eat good food, spend time with her family, including two grandchildren, ride her bike, walk, swim, go to the beach, and enjoys simple living surrounded by nature, but also appreciates a big city.

Patti is a contributing writer in our Tangerine Tango collaboration, and you’ll often find her here joining in the discussion and guest posting from time to time. To read more of Patti’s guest posts, click these links:  Pushing Fifty or Pushing Puberty and These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Patti

Menopause

La Pause at La Brioche

La Brioche

Hello from hilly, funky, charming  Montpelier, Vermont!

I’m  in town for a writing retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

The activities start soon, but right now I’m hanging out in a favorite haunt from my student days,  La Brioche.

The cafe is run by the New England Culinary Institute.

Young folks in tall white hats are learning to create the world’s finest confections. Let’s hear it for a new generation of bakers!

Back to me and my generation.

When I began the two-year writing program here in 2006, I was in the throes of peri-menopause.

I planned this post to be musings on returning to Vermont College now that I’m in The Great Pause.

How menopause has changed me.

Shaped me.

Altered me.

But siting here in La Brioche

Inspired me to write about another kind of pause.

Pausing to ponder, to relax, to take in the funky scene, and to forget those menopausal pounds and select the  best looking cupcake in the entire state of Vermont.

Cupcake

I’ve made a Vermont vow to dedicate more time to creative pausing when I get home.

What about you?

Do you allow enough pauses in your busy life?