Tag Archives: Menopause Symptoms

Michele’s Story: HRT to the Rescue


headshot for Barbara

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!)
Sincere love,

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 and Family

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.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/contributor/michele_starkey/

Menopause: Hello Blank Stare


Jen bling from Zoe

 A post by Jennifer Delabar

I want to thank Barbara for inviting me to share my tale of woe about menopause.

What can I tell you about menopause that you don’t already know? My story, I’m sure, is a common one. It started with my missing a period here and there starting around age 40 (when my gynecologist advised me that I was just “getting old”), to the present day, when I’m 48 and not too happy with Mother Nature.

I’m too young to be in menopause” I kept expressing to anyone who would listen! I was under the mistaken belief that only women over 50 had to think about menopause.

No one can prepare you for what happens to you when your period finally stops coming. You actually miss those horrible cramps, ruined underpinnings, Dorito binges and black rage weeks. At least with the menstrual cycle there was an end in sight. With menopause there is no hormonal drop at the end of the cycle. It’s crazy-time all the time.

I had gone to my mother as most of us do, for some answers. She told me “I don’t remember going through it”. Thanks, mom.

Back to square one. I was desperate to talk to someone about what was happening in my life. I would be in line at the bank or the grocery store, beads of sweat forming on my forehead and under my eyes, and look at the person behind me and say, “They should really turn up the air conditioning; it’s so warm in here.” Hello blank stare. It was January.

Garage sales were always a big draw for me. Lots of people milling around, there must be other menopausal women there that could commiserate with me! But the only comment I ever received was a disheartening “Oh yeah the hot flashes never go away.”

So alone with nowhere to turn! It’s been three years and countless buckets of sweat have escaped from my pores since my last period. I no longer look for answers from strangers. I have found that most women don’t want to talk about it. We are like a secret society that no one wants to belong to!

I tried to talk to my friends about menopause.They were still getting their periods, and they couldn’t understand what I was going through. They didn’t know how to respond. I could feel their fear and pity looking back at me. Secretly in my evil menopausal brain, I couldn’t wait until they entered menopause and then they would come crawling to me, looking desperately for the answers to those “why” questions.

Why so many hot flashes, why the crying without cause, the depression, why the loss of a sex drive, why the loss of feeling feminine?

I will look at them lovingly and say “I don’t remember.”

Jenifer Delabar is the divorced mother of one awesome son, who is 22 years old. She’s a student of Buddhism. She lives on Long Island and works as a legal secretary and has a degree in funeral service.  Jennifer loves to read, learn, practice yoga and never stops asking questions.

From Barbara: I too, found that many women either didn’t remember menopause or didn’t have much to say when I asked them. That’s why I started this blog. I thank all of you for chiming in with your own experiences!

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.

Cancelled! You Heard it Here!





News flash!

Menopause is cancelled.

You heard if first on Friend for the Ride.

All those symptoms.


I got it straight from a Menopause Fairy.



And she got it directly from the Menopause Queen.

So toss your menopausal woes to the April winds!

The bad news is you will now be having your period for the rest of your life.


But your skin will glow,

Your bones won’t creak,

And you’ll sleep like you are sixteen.


Menopause is


No fooling!

I think, in some ways, I’m going to miss menopause.

What about you?