Hot Flashes, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood

From the Muck of Menopause

Menopause is mucky. Periods so weird they would scare a lady swamp monster.  Breasts that feel like water balloons ready to pop.   Sleep?  In a bed all night long?  Impossible!

The emotional stuff is even more mucky.  Muck . Muck.  Muck.

When I walk on the marsh boardwalk at Bald Head Island, I get really close to the muck.  The muddy swampy squishy kind of  muck.  I like to lean down and study it.

Then I look up again and see the expanse of marsh in front of me.  What beautiful grasses rise from the muck!

I’m not as lovely as the  marsh, and  I’m certainly not that fresh and green, but from the muck of menopause grows me.

And from the muck of menopause grows you.  Wiser.  Tougher.   Braver.  Smarter.  And even though my kids (or yours) might not agree, we’re cooler too in our own way, despite any hot flashes.

When my daughter Laura was in first grade, she loved a book in which the barnyard critters proclaim, “O lovely mud!”

I won’t go so far as to say, “O lovely menopausal muck,” but I take heart when I think about the green swaying grasses of the marsh.

Aging, Hot Flashes, Menopause

Menopause the Musical

I just saw Menopause the Musical.  What fun!  The show is witty, insightful, clever, and well-staged.  Although the script is somewhat lacking in plot, the cast of characters is oh so darling and spunky.  The playbill lists them as a professional woman, a soap star, an earth mother, and an Iowa housewife.  The actresses who portrayed them did wonderful jobs.

And could they sing!  The songs move so fast, it’s hard to catch all the lyrics  but no matter as any sixties girl will love songs about the Great Change set to olden goldies like “Good Vibrations,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Puff the Magic Dragon,” and “Don’t Say Nothin Bad About My Baby” (changed to”Don’t Say Nothin Bad about My Body.”)

Menopause the Musical touches on so many aspects of menopause that the audience hooted and clapped through most of the show.  I was surprised there was no mention of periods and the end of  periods (and their sometimes reappearance after a few months).

What was as much fun as the show itself was realizing I have a husband brave enough to go.  When the usher seated us, she said to Cliff, “Do you feel intimidated?” (I counted about ten men in the audience.)  Happily, he answered, “No.”  I suppose if you sweat through menopause with a real live woman, it can only make you so nervous watching stage women acting, dancing, and belting it out.

So do see Menopause the Musical if it comes to your area.  Send in your thoughts, those of you who have seen it.  To add to the girly atmosphere, the show is set at Bloomies!

Hot Flashes, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Perimenopause, Periods

Guest Post: The Early Bird

A guest post from my good friend Edna Brown:

On the playground with kids during my fifth grade summer was not the ideal time to “become a lady” as grandma would say. I remember hurting in my mid-section for no reason at all. I did not recall falling or being hit in the stomach or eating anything that would have made me sick. I was confused and in agony.

I was still trying to play a game of tag football with my cousins and her friends at my aunt’s house. I was pushed down and tackled and I felt something that was unusual.

I got up and ran inside to have my aunt check me over.  She told me to go into the bathroom and she would be right in to see what was wrong. I went into the bathroom and almost fainted. I thought that the world had ended and my Tomboy Days were long gone. She was shocked as well but she tried to keep me calm as she explained to me what was going on with my body.  She fixed me up and gave me the “Talk”.

She called my mother – her sister, and we all cried. I thought it was too early to deal with such a thing, and my aunt could not explain why this was an issue for me at the age of eleven. She taught me all about the pads and hiding them from the boys. The purse came into my life. What a drag!

I went from competing with the guys to worrying about where I could sit my purse where they could not discover the new “issue” in my life. I started sulking and lying around the house because my life had changed so drastically. I started to have to physicals which included pap smears and other female related gynecological procedures.

My first few menstrual cycles were the classical four to five days with a light flow, so it was not a lot to manage compared to some of the other girls that I witnessed whose lives came to a screeching halt during their time of the month.

The older I got, the skipping or missed menstrual periods started. I would miss a month or two and have a cycle, miss a month or two. I questioned the doctors about this, and they said that it was normal for some teens. They suggested that I go on birth control pills to regulate my cycle.

This worked for years as far as making my cycle predictable; when I got to the different color pills it was like clockwork.  When I entered my twenties and got married at the age of twenty-two, the skipping started again and this was while I was taking the pills.

Back to the doctors with more questions, they suggested that I use a different dosage and prescribed  contraceptives with a stronger dose. Those pills were the devil in disguise! My cycle became more uncontrollable. I stopped taking them altogether .By the time I reached my thirties, I experienced menstrual periods only a few times a year. I asked my gynecologist if I was going through the change early, and she laughed at me.

I had started experiencing hot flashes after I drank or ate anything sweet. Sugar seems to make a personal sauna moment for me. Each time I asked a doctor about this, there were no answers and always an offer of more contraceptives. One doctor did finally say that the hot flashes and night sweats happens when the level of estrogen decreases and the body temperature rises, which meant menopause to me.

Now that I am in my forties, no children, and hot flashes galore, it is clear to me that I understood my body better than the doctors did. I rarely see a menstrual period, but I am always prepared for one just in case it happens.  Since I started this rollercoaster early, maybe I will get off of it early.  Then I can help others who have questions about the rollercoaster ride of their lives.

Edna Brown works her job as an Academic Success Center/ Academic Computing Support Technician at Piedmont Community College.  She is also enrolled at East Carolina University as an Industrial Technology student studying for her BA degree. She is married, and she loves to travel with her husband any time that they get a chance to get away. Edna also loves reading and exploring new adventures.
P.S from Barbara:  Edna and I work together at Piedmont Community College, and she’s a gem of gems, hormones and all!  Join the discussion!  Post your early bird or any kind of period or menopause woes by clicking “Comments” below.  Thanks!
Gratitude, Hot Flashes, Menopause, Skin

Turtle Thoughts with a Slight Link to Menopause

The other night, I had a dream I was wading through dozens of  enormous turtles.  And so the next day I tried to figure out the dream’s message for this menopausal blogger.

Should I up my efforts to declutter the house so we can fit into a smaller shell in a few years?

Do I need to increase my walking pace?  Wear stronger sunscreen to prevent leathery skin?  Buy some funky placemats in an earth-toned geometric print?  Eat more greens?   Be more patient?  Be less patient?

Should I tuck in my head, think deeper, and write harder?

Or does dreaming of turtles suggest I am behaving much too turtle-like?  Do I need to stop writing with such intensity and abandon my semi-turtle shell life?   More party and less keyboard pounding?

Is the dream urging Cliff and me to put our shells in gear and get going on the world travel we long for.  (The dream was vaguely set on the Galapagos Islands.)

Was the dream’s purpose to teach me, once and for all, that I need to get over the frustration of not being able to solve the world’s mysteries?  I’ve always wondered how it feels to be a turtle, and I will NEVER have the privilege of knowing.  Chill, Barbara.  But I still wonder:  Do lady turtles go through menopause?  Bless their turtle hearts if they do.  Menopause and a shell can’t be a great combination.

OR (and I promise this is the final “or”) does my dream mean, plain, happy, and simple, that I’m lucky, very lucky, to live in a world graced by amazing and intriguing creatures?

And now a hypothetical question for you, my dear human readers:  What would you MOST like to ask  one of the world’s creatures?  Leave a comment by clicking on “Comments ” below.

Photo:  I found this lovely turtle, who is really a tortoise, on Mongabay.com.  I’m pretending she has in-shell access to the Internet  and is a fan of Friend for the Ride.  I’d love to have some readers in the Galapagos!

Change Your Life!  Learn once and for all, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise by watching this SHORT video.