Slammed into Menopause

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A post by blogger and landscape architect Amelia Grant:

Women in my family tend to go through menopause later than usual. My mother was 56 years old and claimed ,“It only took one day!” My cousin is 54 and my sister 57, and  neither of them have any symptom of ‘the change.’

Last year I was diagnosed with a fibroid the size of a cantaloupe and an ovarian cyst the size of an orange.

I was looking somewhat pregnant and feeling a bit, um, large. The gynecologist was none too happy with me when I, at age 51, said,“Let’s give the things a little time. Maybe menopause will naturally shrink them.“ (This is possible –estrogen causes them to grow and lack thereof causes shrinkage).  51 is the average age of menopause.

Needless to say, I found myself having a total abdominal hysterectomy 3 months later, as I was still producing plenty of estrogen and the things were getting bigger instead of smaller. I emerged from the surgery thinner and happy my ovary had not exploded .

Things were not too bad at first. I was (and still am) reluctant to take hormone replacement therapy.

However, one night I awoke to find more fluid coming out of my body than I had ever experienced. Primarily, my neck for some bizarre reason.

It was as if some gigantic pores had opened below my hairline; the pillow was soaked, and I had to get a towel and sleep with it.

Then I decided to start counting the hot flashes; it was exceeding 10 a day, most of them requiring a wipe down.  Living in South Florida and the time of year being Summer did not help matters. I called the gynecologist and asked for some help.

“Is your sleep disturbed?” they asked.

Only by waterfalls of mysterious fluid leaking out of my neck..followed by frozen clamminess.

I am not sure if disturbed is even the proper word. Defiled is more like it.

So, I got the horse dose of HRT in a transdermal patch. The patch does help but I am still not out of the woods and menopause has definitely lasted more than one day.

Amelia Grant is a very experienced Landscape Architect/Designer who a few years back left the big city of Atlanta for an idyllic life in a small town in South Florida. The ensuing experiences led to a blog and new found pleasure in writing and sharing information online.


She lives on the Treasure Coast with her husband, two retired racing greyhounds and a fluffy  white cat. Landscape design and consulting are her primary occupation with writing, gardening, and cooking as sidelines.

Amelia’s  blog,The Shrub Queen, may be found at


Hysterectomy: Leslie’s Story Part One– Before the Surgery

When blog reader Leslie Lockwood told me she was scheduled for a hysterectomy, I asked her to record her experience for Friend for the Ride.  She’s presenting her story in three parts.  This post recounts the symptoms and medical advice that led to the surgery.  Thanks, Leslie!

As I look ahead to a few days from now, I’m really not sure how I feel.  You see, I am about to part with my uterus.  I guess I’m ok with that.  No more bleeding or spotting 15 days a month….  No more pain (endometriosis)…

Until recently I thought I would never have a hysterectomy.  They were for people of my mom’s generation, or people with health issues.  Not me, I was pretty sure I’d be hanging on to it forever.  But here I am today, about to have surgery soon, and  I am pretty sure that  I am in denial about this whole experience.

Here what lead me to make the decision:  Until the last few years, I was a pretty healthy person, with rarely even a cramp each month.  Then one day I had this pain that I thought surely must be appendicitis; it turned out to be a ruptured ovarian cyst (talk to anyone who has had one, the most excruciating pain ever).  I had it happen twice before the doctor scheduled a laparoscopic procedure and took out my ovary.

When they took my ovary, they discovered that I had lots and lots of endometriosis.  Interestingly, right before I had my ovary removed, I had this pain in my side and shooting down my leg– this has continued every month for 1-2 weeks.  I often have bleeding or spotting accompanying this.  But I did not want a hysterectomy, so I decided to try and deal with it.

When it wasn’t getting any better ,they put me on The Pill.  I continued to have bad pain and yet another ruptured ovarian cyst (on my remaining ovary).  I have figured out that constant pain is exhausting!  I was tired all. the. time.  (Me, the diagnosed insomniac since age 10, has to take a nap each and every day.)  So after my last trip to the ER for the ruptured cyst, I went to my doctor.  He basically said to me, “It’s time.”

Now that the time has come, I have tons of questions:  *Will they take my ovary?  *Will they put me on estrogen?  What will I feel like?  *What will the recovery be like?  Is this really going to happen?  So much is unanswered at this point.

And still, I wonder if this is really what I should do?  I have actually felt ok in the last month and a half since that cyst ruptured. So now what do I do? Do I discount the 2.5 years of pain, bleeding, etc. because the last month has been ok?  Or is it sort of like when you can’t stand your hair, schedule an appointment, and then get tons of compliments (before you even have your hair cut)?

I’m not sure.  Time will tell.

I am hoping and praying that I made the right decision.

*This part really is an uncertainty because the doctor will not know what he has to do until he get in there with the scope and sees how much damage the endometriosis has done.

Photo Above:  Leslie as a baby!

Photo below:  Our guest blogger now.

Leslie Lockwood has been married for twenty-four years and is the mother of two teenage daughters. She’s a southern California girl who’s been in Oregon for the past eighteen years.  Leslie teaches music to preschoolers. She loves her book club, girls’ night out, and trips to the beach.