When I found out in June 2014 that I needed a complete hysterectomy, I asked my oncologist if I should expect mood changes.
“Most likely not,” she said, “since you’re well into menopause. But if you do, they’ll start at three weeks. That’s when all your residual estrogen will be gone.”
I stood in the shower three weeks later, tears running down my face. This has been hard, I thought. I’m probably just reacting to all I’ve been through.
But gradually, as the weeks went by, my mood darkened and the crying increased. By the time Cliff and I arrived on Bald Head Island for a four day vacation in October, I was experiencing what I can best describe as a deep gloom. The gloom would sometimes envelop me for an hour or two; other times it lasted for several days.
Our first night on the island, we stepped into one of our favorite haunts, the bar in the Bald Head Island Club. Soon we were chatting with a couple celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary.
Ten minutes later, the husband called out, “Heck, we’ve been married 53 years. We don’t need to sit with each other. Let’s switch places!” The wife jumped off her bar stool, and Cliff traded places with her.
The wife was quirky, sending out sentences that were difficult to interpret. I struggled to converse with her. I looked over at Cliff, laughing away with the husband. The tears started to roll. I slipped of my stool and headed for the the ladies room.
Now an important part of this story is that the ladies room at the Bald Head Island Club is just about the prettiest ladies room I know. A visit there makes for a festive bathroom trip.
But no matter. Not tonight.
I cried as I walked into the stall.
I cried in the stall.
I cried at the sink.
I cried in front of the seahorse print.
And that’s when I knew.
If you cry in a beautiful ladies room while an eccentric couple and your husband gab at the bar, you are not a happy person. I like quirk. I love characters. I can make conversation with a flea, and I’ve never thought husbands and wives need to stick together like Velcro. This was not me!
Hormones (or lack thereof) had transformed me into a sad shadow of my former self. I needed help.
Photo Credit: Thanks to my new friend Margot for the stunning ladies room photos!
(The story will continue in the next blog post…)