Relief from Hot Flashes: A Book Giveaway


Front Cover_Elkins

 Hot off the press!

Relief from Hot Flashes: The natural, drug-free program to reduce hot flashes, improve sleep, and ease stress

Here’s what the publisher, Demos Health, has to say:

Whether going through menopause or suffering from the side effects of breast cancer treatment, hot flashes are an uncomfortable and often embarrassing aspect of over 25 million women’s lives. Based upon a decade of his own research and proven to reduce hot flashes by 80% on average, Dr. Gary Elkins is finally offering his revolutionary, step-by-step, 5-week hypnotic relaxation therapy program to the public.

How do patients describe Dr. Elkins’ hypnotic relaxation therapy program?

“It’s like a spa. It’s wonderful…It’s my “me” time. Sometimes I have trouble calling it hypnosis because [it’s] just helping us relax our bodies…helping you get control over your own body.”—Sally, program participant

“Control is the key thing. You can control your body, your temperature, your attitude, anything, you can control it… You don’t have to go through a hot flash. You can actually stop it and make it go away.” —Linda, program participant

With five accompanying audio recordings to guide readers through relaxation practice, Relief from Hot Flashes is a new and innovative program, emphasizing deep relaxation, which will help every woman overcome hot flashes without the potentially harmful side effects of hormone treatment, including:

•A personal hot flash diary to track frequency, severity, and daily triggers of hot flashes

•Questionnaires and forms to help rate and improve quality of sleep

•10 Essential steps to successful practice of hypnotic relaxation for hot flashes

•How to relieve other symptoms of menopause and improve your mood, relationships, and quality of life

Front Cover_Elkins


Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of Relief from Hot Flashes, simply enter a comment by October 15 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!


Three Years! Happy Anniversary Friend for the Ride!

Friend for the Ride in the Sand

Happy Three Year Anniversary to Friend for the Ride!

I like to write her name in the sand.

I write yours in the stars because you’re the world’s most wonderful readers.

Since the blog began, with the help of guest posters, I’ve published over four hundred posts. 




Thanks to those of you who leave sparkling and insightful comments. One reader recently wrote me: “Never thought I’d get so hooked on connecting with others this way!”

And thanks to everyone for reading!

Happy fall and on to Year Four…





My Cancer Story: Remember the Caregiver

Barbara and Cliff

Soon after Dr. Fried gave me the cancer diagnosis, I thought about Cliff.

He’d need to come to appointments, stand by me during surgery, and take care of me afterwards, possibly during months of chemo. He’d do the money and most of the insurance stuff. Cancer would curtail our summer plans and maybe the plans for the rest of our lives.

As the days went by, I knew it was my cancer. The burden was on me (In me! My uterus to be exact).

But I tried to be mindful of how this would affect Cliff, too.

Cliff’s mom and I used to talk for hours. Many of her pronouncements on life proved true, but one didn’t. “When you go into surgery, you go alone,” she told me, recounting the story of her thyroid operation at age forty. Nope. Not me. I took her son with me. I never felt alone.

Our good friend Lisa Flinn wrote Cliff this note two weeks after my surgery:


Lisa's Note

Others too, thought of Cliff. Visitors arrived with a favorite beer for him to enjoy while we all chatted. Those who prepared food sent plenty since they know my husband chows down with gusto.

I’ve made a new vow: Remember the caregiver!

Photo Top: Cliff and I at Mazen’s first birthday last fall. Note the grins of grandparents.

Photo Bottom: Lisa’s note. The “clear to see (even for me)” is in reference to her macular degeneration. Lisa’s a cancer survivor. Read her post, “Tai Chi Brings Balance after Breast Cancer” on Friend for the Ride. 

She’s one of my cancer role models! Others include Frances, Lisa W., Vibeke, Karen, Linda, Mark, and Haralee (Check out her sleepwear line!) Thanks, friends.


Happy Menopause Awareness Month!


September! Do you believe it? We’re more than halfway through.

But while you’re thinking about fall sweaters or football (love it/hate it) or apples, apples, apples, pause to remember that September is National Menopause Awareness Month. That Silent Passage isn’t so silent anymore.

The Hormone Health Network designed the fun bra graphic above. (Here are some of my thoughts on droop and The Girls.)

The network’s Menopause Map helps you determine where you are in the menopause journey.  Check it out here.

Menopause Map

Click here to read their comprehensive guide to menopause. Don’t miss this excellent resource.


Thank you Hormone Health Network!


And no matter where you are on the menopause road, Happy Menopause Awareness Month!

I’m always looking for guest posts, especially posts about menopause. Please email me (address at right) if you’d like to write one.  Let’s share our stories! For as Todd Stocker tells us, “Stories give color to black and white information.”

Giveaway Winners! I’ve been lax this summer about posting the names of giveaway winners, but here’s the latest list. Congrats to Kay Lynn and Jo, who won Menopause Mops; Stephanie who won Susan Gabriel’s Fearless Writing for Women; and to Audrey, who won an Affirmation Card Deck and print from Marylou Falstreau.


The Twelve Days of Hormones (and a Giveaway)


Here’s an excerpt from Anne Bardsley’s How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood, and Menopause. Take it away, Anne!

I went to my doctor to get my hormone levels tested and found out that my progesterone was very low. I’m convinced that this is the hormone responsible for working out, keeping the house tidy, and creating delicious gourmet meals. I think it may even have some control over sexual desire.

I should’ve known something wasn’t right. I was feeling horizontal lately—as in, I laid down at every opportunity. No gym, no vacuuming, no exotic dinners … no thoughts of wild times under the sheets.

In addition to my progesterone, I was told that my testosterone was also a tad low. My doctor said I needed hormone replacement therapy, but he warned that I may grow hair, my voice may get deeper, and my libido may increase with my new hormone routine. Hairy with a manly voice and amorous tendencies … the combo was sure to be my husband’s worst nightmare!

After thirty-five years of marriage, we’re really pretty good together. We talk about anything and everything. There had never been any secrets. Until those little hormones came about. Did I really want to tell him what could happen to me once the hormones kicked in? Maybe he wouldn’t notice. There was no need to scare the poor man away.

So I quietly began the hormone replacement therapy.

On the first day of hormones, there was no change.

On the second day of hormones, I felt a bit amorous.

On the third day, I noticed more hair in my armpits.

On the fourth day, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I said, “Looking good, Baby!” in a husky voice. This cannot be happening.

On the fifth day of hormones, I felt the need to tug at my netherlands.

On the sixth day, Scott said, “Your voice is getting deeper than mine.”

On the seventh day of hormones, I bought a set of barbells.

On the eighth day, Scott asked, “Is that a mustache on your face?”

On the ninth day, I told Scott he was acting like a girl.

On the tenth day, he asked, “Were you staring at me in the shower this morning?”

On the eleventh day, Scott woke up with a sunburn. Apparently, I had a hot flash that night.

On the twelfth day, we were at a nice restaurant and I asked, “Want to arm wrestle?”

I knew my testosterone was in high gear when I asked, “Can you teach me to field strip an M-16 and put it back together blindfolded? I really want to go to the shooting range.”

His response was short and sweet. “I want that doctor’s number and I want it now!”

Here’s to hormones and husbands!

Giveaway: To win a copy of Anne’s witty and insightful collection of musings, simply leave a comment below saying you’d like to be the winner. Please post comments by October 1. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks!



Anne Bardsley is a humor writer, blogger, and author of How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood, and Menopause.

Over the years, her work has appeared in several publications. More would be available if she was not so busy pondering ways to firm her thighs. This uses a huge amount of her already limited brain cells. She barely survived raising five kids. They were all worth the labor pains in the long run and have given her wonderful grandchildren. Anne currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband of thirty-five years and two spoiled cockapoos


My Cancer Story: The Circle


I’ve been touched by your comments and emails thanking me for my honesty in my cancer posts. Many of you wrote that I’m brave to share my story. Nah. I’m not really that brave; I just like to tell stuff.

But one aspect of the experience does feel extra-personal.

Within hours of my diagnosis, I saw a circle closing in around me. A real circle. No joke. No figurative talk. I saw it. Many times. It looked like the circle above.

The circle closed out everything in my future but the cancer. No new house. No grandchildren-to-be. No travels to Prague or Costa Rica. No finishing the novel my agent has been patiently waiting for.

The circle squeezed out bad stuff too, stuff not related to cancer. No thoughts of old hurts or unresolved issues. No worries about projects left uncompleted or what ifs looming ahead.

There was no space. The circle was that tight.


After my surgery, I heard good news. Really good news! The cancer had not spread. Within minutes, I saw the circle open up. Even now, I can close my eyes, put myself back in my hospital bed, and watch it grow.




For the first two or three weeks, only good drifted back into the circle. Then, as a bit of post-op funk sank over me, some negatives drifted back in too.

The other day at  a Duke alumni event, I met a wonderful cancer survivor. (I’m finding that all cancer survivors are wonderful, with stories to tell and intriguing lessons learned.) I told her about my circle. She nodded her head. “Yes,” she said. “I saw it too.”

Like the beckoning white light when we die, maybe circles represent some universal experience with the Big C.

But you know what?  I love round things like polka dots and happy faces and the moon and pie. But I don’t want to see a circle around my life again. Not a tight one, for sure, but not a bigger one either.

No circle, no black lines, letting stuff in or keeping it out.

No limits.

Just life.

Happy FaceThe American Cancer Society’s website has some  excellent resources on dealing with the emotional side of cancer. Check it out here.




Naked by Betsy Franco (and a Giveaway!)

Naked cover


When I visited the Rodin Museum in Paris two falls ago, I was struck by the statue, Maturity, by sculptress Camille Claudel, who was in love with Rodin. Camille lost out to an older woman, Rodin’s long time lover, Rose Beuret.

Without knowing the full story, I cheered for the older Rose and wrote this post (after all, this is a menopause blog.We champion ladies of a certain age.)



However, I shouldn’t have necessarily cheered for Rose because I didn’t really know the story.

But writer Betsy Franco researched and wrote the story in her novel, Naked  (Tryus Books, 2013), 

When Naked came out, Betsy sent out a call for photos of Camille Claudel’s work. I sent her the shots I took that day at the Rodin, along with the link to my blog post. She was kind of enough to write us a few words of reflection on the sculpture and her take on the love triangle.

She writes:

The triangle between Camille Claudel, Rose Beuret, and Rodin, as portrayed in Camille’s sculpture Maturity, has a great deal of meaning for me–Camille is one of the protagonists in my debut adult novel, Naked.

The Mature Age

I was able to view part of the sculpture, The Implorer, which represents the young woman in the triangle, when the Metropolitan Museum in New York allowed me to study it in their storage area.



The look on the sculpture’s face and the fact that Camille is in my novel made me sympathetic to her, but Barbara Younger’s take on the triangle gave me a new perspective.

Although I believe that Rodin’s love for Camille was more passionate than for Rose and that their shared genius in the area of sculpture drew them closer, perhaps part of the reason Rodin ultimately chose Rose was the wisdom, security, and depth that can be found in a relationship with an older woman.

Beuret and Rodin

Me again: Look who we see reaching into the photo of Betsy below. (Photo credit Claire Kirch.)


author photo Claire Kirch

You can read more of the story behind Naked in this Publisher’s Weekly article about Betsy.  Naked is an adult book, but here’s a wonderful quote from the article on how Betsy got started writing:

“…she could not continue to paint with young children in the house, because oil paints “were like poison.” So she decided to write children’s books—first as a freelancer for educational publishers, and then books under her name for the trade. “I took all the energy I’d put into painting and used it to write. It was an experiment. And it worked” she says.

Back to Naked. Here are some snippets from two of the book’s stellar reviews:

“The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Midnight in Paris”

–Mercury News

“a seamless blend of fiction, biography, and contemporary culture” –Publisher’s Weekly


Giveaway: I’m giving away two paperback copies of Naked. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by October 1 saying you’d like to be a winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

To learn more about Betsy and her work and to see some great family photos, check out her website at BetsyFranco.Com