Menopause

Menopause: Choose the Right Perspective (and a Book Giveaway!)

A guest post by health writer and menopause advocate Lori Ann King. Take it away, Lori, and thank you!

I believe perspective plays a huge role in how we enter menopause, regardless of whether it is natural or surgically induced, as well as in how quickly we heal.

Think back to when you first got your period. What was your perspective? Did you view it as an honor as you stepped into womanhood, like my friend Susan? Or were you more like my friend Stephanie, who viewed it as terribly embarrassing—always having accidents and not being able to go in the water at the beach for fear of bleeding through? For me, I understood that getting my period made me a woman and enabled me to have children. With my young naïve mind, I thought that the day I got my period I would become pregnant. Silly? Or the power of a child’s brain who takes things literally?

What is your perspective on menopause? Is it a time of distress and discomfort? A signal of aging? Do you fear the best years are behind you? Are you focused completely on your symptoms? Or do you see this transition as a rite of passage and a time to discover or rediscover your power, purpose, passion, and authenticity?

I love that the Chinese refer to menopause as the second spring. They consider it a time to reflect on life and turn our focus inward to nurture ourselves. That rings true for me, as this season of my life already has had an ongoing theme of self-love, self-care, and self-reflection.

Just like surgery may have benefits of alleviating pain or risk of disease, menopause can be a wonderful transition with positive side effects such as:

  • No more periods, cramping, tampons, or pads.
  • We can finally wear white pants again, any time of the month.
  • We can enjoy sex without risk of pregnancy.
  • We may have greater confidence and self-assuredness.
  • We don’t have to schedule our sex lives, athletics, or vacations around our periods.

After my surgery, it took time for my body to heal physically. It took even longer for my mind and emotional health to stabilize.

There were times when I felt broken. I had to constantly remind myself that I was in a state of healing and change. Even though I felt broken, I told myself that I was whole, strong, and valuable.

Surgery and surgical menopause can be both frustrating and exhausting. The last thing we need to do is to beat ourselves up. And isn’t that one of our greatest strengths as women? We think we should heal faster, we shouldn’t cry for no reason, and we should be able to do it all… even right after a surgery. The only thing we need to do is cut ourselves some slack and remind ourselves that this too shall pass.

That’s a perspective I can embrace.

Book Giveaway:  Win a copy of Lori’s excellent and very readable book, Come Back Strong: Balanced Wellness after Surgical Menopause. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by September 20. Thanks!

Lori Ann King is a writer, speaker, certified sports nutritionist, and wellness coach with over eight years of experience in health and wellness with Isagenix. Lori currently resides in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband, Jim, a certified personal trainer & sports nutritionist and wellness/business coach.

Menopause

Coming Back Strong: Wellness after Surgical Menopause

 

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.

 

Menopause

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.

Amy

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 theshrubqueen.wordpress.com.