Coming Back Strong: Wellness after Surgical Menopause

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This post is from Lori Ann King, best-selling author of Come Back Strong: Balanced Wellness after Surgical Menopause.

I went into surgery, hoping and trusting for the best-case scenario: the simple removal of an ovary, cyst, and fallopian tube. I was excited to erase the pain that was burdening me. I didn’t expect anything else to happen.

I awoke to learn that the worst-case scenario had happened: I had received a full hysterectomy as well as a double oophorectomy. Uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes—everything had been removed due to the severity of endometriosis that had been found.

I expected to be pain free when I woke. It didn’t work that way. I was in severe pain. I was tired. I was afraid. I couldn’t pee or poop. My body felt and looked swollen and bloated. This was uncharted territory, and I had no idea how to fix it.

I suddenly experienced all the symptoms that many women report in natural menopause including weight gain, slow metabolism, low energy, fatigue, insomnia, lack of focus, and a roller coaster of emotions that leave us feeling overwhelmed, highly stressed, and out of balance.

In addition, hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness affected my health, relationships, and even my passion and sense of purpose. The more symptoms I had, the more hopeless and powerless I felt.

The worst part was that these symptoms hit me all at once. And, in spite of following a strict diet and exercise plan, I gained 26 pounds in 26 months.

In the weeks while I was at home recovering, I found myself explaining and clarifying and justifying to family and friends. Conversations would go something like this:

Friend: “What’s new? I haven’t seen you in a while.”

Me: “I had a hysterectomy.”

Friend: “Oh. Wow. What else is new?”

Me: “No. I had a full hysterectomy.”

Friend: “Okay. And?”

Me: “I had a full hysterectomy. They took everything. Nothing’s left of my womanly parts except my va-jay-jay.”

Friend: “Oh. Okay. So that’s simple these days, right? An in-and-out procedure? Laparoscopic? Barely a scar? When will you be back to work? Wait, why are you crying?”

This experience had turned my world upside down, and it would feel as if my friend was saying “So what? What’s the big deal?”

The big deal was that I was struggling physically and emotionally, and I didn’t know how to help myself feel better again.

As my doctor worked with me to find the right dosage of bioidentical hormones, I learned that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not an exact science. In fact, it seemed a bit like a guessing game as we attempted to balance my hormones and emotions and help me feel good again. The hardest part, perhaps, was that it simply took time to get it right.

I discovered that wellness is more than a state of health where you are free of illness. It is a state of well-being that is the result of deliberate effort.

In the months that followed, I found solutions for my symptoms through complementary medicine and lifestyle changes. I worked on improving my thought life and my emotions turned toward the positive. Overall, through the journey of surgical menopause, I found hope in my ability to come back strong.

For more information or to purchase Come Back Strong, visit www.LoriAnnKing.com.

Amazon: Here’s the link to Come Back Strong on Amazon.

Giveaway: Lori is offering a copy of Come Back Strong to one Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by April 1. Thanks!

Lori Ann King is a best-selling author, speaker, blogger, certified sports nutritionist, and wellness coach with over eight years of experience in health and wellness.
Lori is also a cyclist and body builder, and was a runner for over twenty-five years, competing in races ranging in length from two to 26.2 miles.  She has an undergraduate degree in Recreation from Western State College of Colorado and an advanced certificate in Information Management from Syracuse University. She currently resides in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband, Jim.

 

Grandmas Take Note: A New Picture Book about the Potty!

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A post by picture book author and mother of four, Laura Gehl:

One of the things I am looking forward to about being a grandma is getting to revisit all the stages my kids have outgrown. Like the stage when a baby falls asleep on your chest. And the stage when a little one holds on to your hand and toddles unsteadily along. And the super-fun stage of potty training.

Wait. No. I’m NOT looking forward to revisiting that one. And I don’t know anyone who has enjoyed potty training the first or second time around.

But I am truly excited to have a new book out that might make potty training a little more fun for parents and kids alike: PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT USING THE POTTY.

In this book, the fourth in the PEEP AND EGG series, Egg is absolutely determined not to use the potty. And no amount of lemonade, running water, or toilet paper tutus is going to change her mind. Until things start to get a little uncomfortable….


Amazon Link: Here’s the link for PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT USING THE POTTY (which will  take you to Laura’s other wonderful books, too).

Giveaway: I’m giving a copy of the book to one lucky Friend for the Ride winner. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by March 20. Thanks!

Coloring sheets for this book, and all four Peep and Egg books, are available on Laura’s website: http://www.lauragehl.com/free-activity-sheets/

Laura Gehl is the author of popular picture books including ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR (illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld), MY PILLOW KEEPS MOVING (illustrated by Christopher Weyant), and the PEEP AND EGG series (illustrated by Joyce Wan). Her next release will be I GOT A CHICKEN FOR MY BIRTHDAY (illustrated by Sarah Horne), a story about how an unexpected and unwanted gift may turn out to be the Best Present Ever! Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www.lauragehl.com.

LauraGehlBooks

Be Yourself-Everyone Else Is Taken

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Do you like your name?

I’m not wild about mine. Didn’t like it at all when I was a kid. I’ve grown into it a bit. I do like that Barbara has lots of nicknames, and I’ve always admired Beaver’s mother, Barbara Billingsly. I think June Cleaver has lots more chutzpa then the world gives her credit for.

Barbara Billingsley

Sometimes, when I sign my name during a credit card transaction, I say to myself. “Slow down. Write your name with happiness and confidence. Be pleased and grateful for who you are.” So I write slowly:

Except that it doesn’t look as nice as that font because my handwriting isn’t great. In fact, I’m not happy with my handwriting.

Or my singing voice.

Or my dinner entrees (I’m better on side dishes).

Or my fingernails.

This takes us to the topic of self-esteem. They say menopause brings confidence once you get through the thick of it. I do find as I get older, my self-esteem is improving. And I’ve learned it’s okay to have lots of shortfalls.

Someone once asked my dad what his talents were. He answered, “I’m really good at edging flower gardens.”

I like that!

I can make a teddy bear talk like he’s the most fascinating bear in the world, and I know the names of all the state capitols.

Maybe that’s enough.

I snapped this photo in a funky coffee shop in Kentucky:

 

Yep!

And check out this article on the Positivity Blog:  Tips on self-esteem.  

What about you? Are you happier with yourself than you were twenty years ago?

And do you like your name?

Top Photo:  I saw this sign in a Cinque Terre village on our trip to Italy. No clue what type of business it is.

Bottom Photo: I found this name bracelet among the treasures I saved when my daughter Laura was born. I wonder if hospitals nowadays give mothers such pretty bracelets.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: An Update from Science News

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I received this note from the Society for Science & The Public on the topic of Hormone Replacement Therapy:

Hormone Replacement Therapy and how it impacts women’s bodies during menopause has been a longstanding debate. This week, Science News, features a piece called “Menopause Heats Up informing audiences about the biological workings of menopause and a discussion of the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy.

In this article, Science News cites a number of reputable organizations that stress the benefits of hormone replacement therapy on the surge of hot flashes that present during menopause, but ultimately suggests treatment is a unique personal decision for all women.

The article’s author, Aimee Cunningham, is the biomedical writer at Science News. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

Me again: The article is clearly written and helps dispel some of the incorrect assumptions made after the release of the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study. (My gynecologist called the day the study came out “A Black Friday for women’s menopausal health.”)

Do read Menopause Heats Up” to learn more about the pros and cons of HRT. So many women decide against HRT without really understanding the facts.

Follow Science News on Twitter.

HRT