HRT or not? That’s the question for many women. My gynecologist is a strong HRT advocate. Yours may not be, or you may, for many reasons, choose not to take it. I love to present your stories on this blog. Here’s part of Michele’s menopause journey and her experience with HRT. Take it away, Michele and thanks!
There is a life on the other side of menopause, but getting through the menopause fog can be one of the scariest rides a woman will ever take. If you are reading this and you are like me, chances are you may feel like you’re driving in a car that is going to derail and end up in the gutter. Or you have just bought a ticket for the scariest roller coaster ride you’ve ever been on, and you want it to stop so that you can get off.
The desperation that I felt earlier this year was undeniable, and I just wanted to feel like I could stand on solid ground again. I knew that something in my body was terribly off balance and something was definitely wrong within me. I was convinced that it was a chemical imbalance, but none of my health care providers even gave menopause a mention or a second thought even though I was menopausal. One of them even suggested that the recent death of my father could be the cause of my symptoms, stating that grief often affects people in strange ways.
After months of a myriad of tests and a ton of out-of-pocket money, I never got a definitive diagnosis. One doctor thought it might be complex Lyme Disease causing my brain fog. Another doctor suggested that it could possibly be my thyroid causing my issues, and yet another doctor quickly prescribed an anti-depressant drug (that I did take to the pharmacy but never took a pill) because the diagnosis was attributed to grief.
One afternoon, after having yet another episode of sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. I sat down by my computer and turned to Google with a question, “I’m a 50-something year old woman who is losing her mind, and I do not know what is wrong with me.”
I was overwhelmed with over 2,000,000 hits on the topic of post menopausal symptoms and HRT replacement. I ended up on the Hormone Health Network and began reading about HRT replacement as a remedy for my symptoms.
From that site, I discovered Barbara Younger’s blog. I knew that it was an answer to my prayers for help in getting back to my normal self again. I quickly fired off an email to Barbara saying,
“Hi – I found your blog thru the Hormone Health Network when I was searching for HRT alternatives to deal with the brain fog that I believe is being caused by Menopause. I’m a 50-something yr old (ruptured brain aneurysm survivor) who thought she was losing her mind or worse. For the past several months I’ve had anxiety, mild depression, trouble sleeping, profuse sweating, etc. I’ve had CAT scans, blood work, etc and no one suggested it may be Menopause. Yikes! Anyway, I have scheduled an app’t with a gyno and an Endocrinologist doctor but in the meantime, I’m wondering if you used HRT and that led to your endometrial cancer? I truly feel like I am in need of HRT.
Looking forward to your response (and praying that this “roller coaster” comes to a halt before I jump off!)
Here’s one line from Barbara’s email reply:
Menopause causes lots of body/mind changes, and that’s just what your case sounds like to me.
I made an appointment with an endocrinologist, and he ordered blood tests. Within 2 days, he personally called me to say that my estrogen levels had tanked. Because my uterus was still intact, he thought that the best course of treatment would be the Combi-Patch which contains both female hormones: an estrogen (estradiol) and a progestin (norethindrone). The application is twice a week, and he mentioned it would be low dose for a short period of time until my body responded. The doctor assured me that we could monitor my progress together.
It has been one month since I began using the patch, and I can happily share with you that I AM MY HAPPY SELF AGAIN! Yay!
What a difference a month and a little hormone replacement can make. I got a part-time job at a farm market, where I love to shop, and my marriage is back on solid ground. My friends have even begun to invite us to social gatherings again (now that they realize I’m not a crazy person).
I’ve decided to share my story with others because I’m alive to be able to do so. Two months ago, I was actually considering whether or not it was worth going through another tortuous day. Imagine that!
Just yesterday, I took the dog for an early morning walk and looked up at a beautiful sunrise and thought, “thank God for Google leading me to other women like Barbara who were brave enough to share their story.”
I’ve decided to share my menopause story because I want to be “brave” and save others from crashing like I did.
I am also going to write it all down so that one day our girls can read all about it just in case they come face-to-face with the menopause demon and get stuck on a scary roller coaster ride. They will realize that HRT replacement can help them bring that roller coaster to a halt and get them back on solid ground again.
Much love to all of you from a sister who no longer suffers from menopause side-effects,
Michele Starkey is a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild and has written several devotionals and Bible studies. Her stories have been published by Adams Media, F&W Publications, and Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Since rediscovering life post-menopause, she is currently working part-time at a family- owned produce store where she loved to shop.
After living the world over, she resides in the Hudson Valley of New York with her beloved husband, Keith, and their rescued dog, Duffy. They are all anxiously awaiting the birth of the first of many grandchildren who will bless their lives.