Tag Archives: Menopause

Marylou Falstreau: My Menopause Story (and a Giveaway!)



P-30 Possibilities

 A post by artist Marylou Falstreau:

Menopause was different than I expected.

I thought I’d be sitting in a comfortable easy chair looking back on the life I created; a loving home, financial security and children who had been raised to be uncomplicated little birds, always ready to fly home and adore their perfect mother.

I thought it would be a time of ease with a hot flash thrown in from time to time.

It didn’t happen that way.

Just as I began to experience menopausal symptoms my husband was unceremoniously fired from a job he’d planned to retire from. He found employment several times after, but the jobs were short lived and eventually we had no options.

Selling our family home, we moved to an apartment on the Central Coast of California with our two elderly cats. Gone were the dreams of sharing our country home with family, particularly grandkids.

I am an artist, and at the time I was selling my work at outdoor art shows and leading mixed media workshops, part time. After we moved, creating art became my full time vocation while my husband worked for a food service company in the neighboring town.

Life got crazy and I felt like I was going crazy too.

Painting non-stop and getting up at 3:00 in the morning to travel to art shows didn’t promote sound sleep. I began feeling like someone else inhabited my body and that person was in survival mode.

Was I sleepless from hormonal imbalance or because my life had changed in a way I was not physically or mentally prepared for?

I tried to find answers by spending hours in our natural food store, looking for helpful supplements.

The best anti-cure I found was a chocolate, peanut butter Twister from the Foster Freeze across the street. My symptoms became worse but for a brief, fleeting moment, I was happy.

The hot flashes began incognito. Yes, there was heat but mostly there were electrical currents pulsating through my body, holding me captive. It’s as if I’d been plugged in to an electrical socket that produced such intense anxiety that it was shocking, quite literally! So this is what it feels like to be loosing your mind and your body all at the same time!

Looking back from the vantage point of a 62-year-old post-menopausal woman, it is impossible to know when the “change” began in earnest. Nothing in my life was the same, everything had changed, but something beautiful was born as a result.

Here is the rest of the story…

Hi, my name is Marylou Falstreau, and I am creator of the Women and the Hourglass” series of inspirational art for women.

My cards and prints and other assorted items have made their way around the world, helping women connect with their own wisdom and their longing to be free of patterns that no longer serve them.

While living in the amped up world of out-door art shows I began connecting with the story within.

My painting style shifted away from whimsical… to whimsical with a theme.

Women became my focal point and then things started to fly. Chairs left the ground, so did people and trees and strange creatures that looked like hybrids of a dog and something else.

In my own way I was exploring spirituality, and that meant breaking rules of gravity and pushing the boundaries of common sense.

Around this time, I had a dream that changed things forever and was the motivation for my series.

In the dream, I was in conference with a group of women, listening intently. When I woke up, the words women and hourglass remained in my consciousness. It’s been my journey to integrate these two words and understand what their connection is.

What I’ve learned is that it’s time to wake up to our own potential and to understand life is an inside job.

We innately have the power to change what is inside.

We have the power to forgive and the power to be happy.

We most certainly have the power to count our blessings and laugh out loud, if we choose.

The Hourglass is a wonderful symbol for time passing, but it also can be turned over at any moment, stopping the flow of sand, and beginning anew.

We have the same power; it just takes a little more awareness and commitment.

Now is the time.

My life has changed in every way, yet again.

Something beautiful has grown out of those challenging years, a beauty that would have seemed impossible if considered before. I can see that growth and creation are always possible, even as we age. I can see that our purpose is revealed, sometimes at the latest hour.

For me, menopause was like a large bag of sand tied to my ankles as I navigated my way through treacherous terrain. I am proud to say I survived and am now thriving.

If I had any advice for women who are just beginning menopause, I would say try not to give in to the symptoms too much, but ask for help if necessary. Stay active, eat good healthy and natural foods and keep your eye on the gold.

Gold is always hidden somewhere in the story. Often it is revealed in perfect time; when the storm has cleared and there is a new, fresh perspective.

Everything in our lives has purpose and so does Menopause.

Card Deck

Giveaway:  Marylou has offered an Affirmation Card Deck and an  8 1/2″  by 11″  print,”One day she woke up and considered new possibilities,” to a lucky Friend for the Ride winner.  To enter, simply leave a comment by September 15 saying that you’d like to win. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks, Marylou!  You’re the best!

To learn even more about Marylou and her art, visit her website here.




Estroven’s Summer Giveaway! Keep Cool!



Estroven is offering one Friend for the Ride reader their summer giveaway!

They wrote to us:

Menopause is already a tumultuous time for nearly half of women in the United States, and between hot flashes and night sweats, it can seem like an uphill battle to beat the heat: especially in the summer.

As the temperature rises, so do the number of beach days, and for these women, a trip to the beach could feel like a trip to the sauna.

This season, Estroven®, the safe multi-symptom menopause relief supplement, is helping women ditch the discomfort associated with menopause so they can feel good about bathing suit season, with “Beat the Heat with Estroven” Summer Survival Kits.

The kit includes a 50 ml. spray bottle, an ice sphere mold (perfect for fruit-infused refreshments), beach towels, sunscreen, a water bottle and a sample of Estroven’s newest product, Estroven Weight Management which helps provide relief for hot flashes, plus helps women manage their weight.*

For a chance to win, simply enter a comment by July 10. Sometimes, readers have trouble finding the link to comments. It’s at the bottom of the post, right here:



Thanks, Estroven! Neat kit. Love the colors!



Just Over Yonder: A Poem for Menopause and Other Times Too


Just Over Yonder

As I went through The Great Pause, I kept asking older women about it.

“Menopause? That was ages ago! I’ve forgotten,” they’d reply cheerfully.

Their responses were happy but not helpful.


Their forgetfulness inspired me to start this blog, so I could encourage others.

Yes, menopause, among other maladies, can bring on gloom and self-doubt.

But raise a glass to the tincture of time!

Sometimes, it takes patience. Ya just gotta wait.

A new you is sprouting!


I wrote this poem for my friend June Cotner. June, who’s the editor  of thirty anthologies and counting, sends out a call for submissions and that gets the words spinning. “Just Over Yonder” will appear in BACK TO JOY: Little Reminders to Help Us Through Tough Times  (October, 2014 by Andrews McMeel Publishing). Pre-orders of Back to Joy are available now.


Flying Up the Stairs: Menopausal Arthritis (and a Book Giveaway!)


Phyllis Two

A post by Phyllis Rickel-Wong, author of  Flying Up the Stairs!  What You Need to Know About Menopausal Arthritis to Break Free:

I am not quite sure when exactly the change happened.

No, not “The Change,” but rather the change in my body’s physical strength!

Right around menopause, though, my body was undergoing subtle changes that I was not aware of; hence, the reason that I did not take action then to correct them.

At one point in perimenopause, I had been walking for hours nearly each day (in an attempt to lose weight through the “calories in – calories out” rule).That is, any calories consumed by me such as a heaping plateful of spaghetti topped with bolognese sauce, I would then work off through a couple of intense hours of very fast walking.

This was precisely calculated to burn off my guilty culinary pleasures!

Well, the calories in – calories out equation didn’t work.

Not only did I not lose weight this way, but I also was not really exercising my body in a way that would bring strength to the muscles in my legs and feet, and knees and ankle joints. You might be wondering how can this be, and I’ll explain shortly.

It was sometime a few years later, right around menopause, when I began to discover that something was wrong.

I simply began to stumble and fall on more than one occasion without warning!

The last time this happened, I had turned around to enthusiastically wave goodbye to family as I descended a small sloping sidewalk. Turning front to continue walking to our car, I went instead careening through the air! I sailed right into their yard, and landed squarely in a hedge of rose bushes!

So, this brings me to the actual topic of my post, and that is “menopausal arthritis,” or the joint pain that is associated with the menopause!

It turns out that the supportive athletic shoes and the incredibly comfortable clogs that I was wearing didn’t allow my muscles to really work! Weakened muscles led to a gait that produced knee pain, and what I thought was arthritis! Also, my inability to lose weight, was related to a changed metabolism that is actually associated with developing osteoarthritis!

My husband, a martial arts master, developed a program of exercises to strengthen my muscles and tendons, and I began to use many anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and supplements.

After healing from my own “menopausal arthritis” (and, indeed achieving a body strong enough to “fly up the stairs!”) I wrote my book so that others might not have to go through what I had in menopause and after. I hope that if you are experiencing joint pain associated with the menopause that my book will help you become pain-free!


GIVEAWAY: Phyllis has kindly offered one Friend for the Ride reader a copy of her book, Flying Up the Stairs! What You Need to Know About Menopausal Arthritis to Break Free. For a chance to win, enter a comment by June 30. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks!

Phyllis Rickel-Wong is a researcher and writer in the fields of health, medicine, and psychology. She has a long-standing interest in alternative and complementary medicine, and more recently, integrative medicine. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan, and her Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University.

Ms. Rickel-Wong is currently writing a series of books to address physical and psychological health in menopause, of which “Flying Up the Stairs!” is her first. Through her work base and company, Transforming Menopause, Inc. in San Ramon, CA, she hopes to help women transform the experience of menopause into a “Welcomed Change!”

Photo of Phyllis: The photo credit goes to Herb Wong (Phyllis’ s husband) who had to assume a somewhat “supine” position in the landing of the Walnut Creek Library’s stairs to compensate for their lack of a sophisticated camera lens that would have rendered him a whole lot less amusing to library  patrons.