Is Nothing Sacred?
Usually at the beginning of a new year I write all about the previous year. Everything we did on the farm, the successes the failures and the lessons learned in both. I have not been able to gather all I received from 2020. Recently it hit me. I can not write about it yet because all the circumstances of 2020 are still with us. The calendar may have changed, but really, nothing else has. As we get into 2021 and the circumstances change , hopefully, for the better.. then I will be able to write about it.
Instead, I am going deep. I am getting personal about something unrelated to the pandemic and politics of 2020 ~ something that began happening to me in 2020. Menopause. Peri-menopause to be more specific (ya know the FOUR TO TEN years before actual menopause.
STAY WITH ME! No matter who you are reading this, you or someone you love or know has gone through or is going through this and we need to talk about it!
Is nothing sacred? Isn't this just too personal? Geez! Just take some hormones and deal with it.
YES YES YES and NO NO NO.
Well, yes it is sacred, normal and natural, which is why we need to open talking about it. Yes it is personal and a part of me doesn't want to be viewed as a peri menopausal woman. Yes, some people do HRT (hormone replacement therapy.)
No, not so sacred that it isn't worthy of lots of discussion. No, not so personal that I won't share my experiences because my higher self, the one that's not worried about judgment and wants to help myself and others, knows this has to be out there. Lastly, no, not everyone can take HRT.
Come with me for a little bit and read about my path in this journey of peri menopause so far.
"The change?" How about "The Changes" that seems a lot more fitting. It is not one fell swoop of some hormone changes and no periods then it's magically over. No. It's a lot of changes over a lot of time. There are about as many symptoms of peri menopase as the number of our age when these symptoms begin. Oh how I wish I was trying to be funny in that last line, I'm not. there are A LOT of symptoms, from head to toe.
I am fifty, so why didn't I see this coming? Well, I did. I truly believed that "the change(s)" meant your periods stopped and every once in awhile, a hot flash. Sounded pretty good! No periods and for a hot flash, maybe I could would get or make some really cool feather fan. I would be making the "change(s) stylish.
For the record, I didn't even know about the peri part until recently. The Greek word for "around" or "about"
Peri menopause ~ the time around or about the time of menopase, give or take four to ten years!
A few months ago I began getting up at midnight.. then again at 3am.. THEN AGAIN at 5am. Each time it was difficult to fall back asleep. I was on some kind of new born baby schedule! UGH. Initially, I thought "Wow! I am having some kind of spiritual epiphany!" Then I thought maybe it was too much caffeine. I have already cut back my coffee consumption, I refuse to give it up all together, I love coffee!
I STILL did not really think this was "the Change(s)" Until... my first night sweat. Lordy, even then, since after all this was during a pandemic, my denial was deep or I was just too naïve. The first night sweat that woke me up was accompanied with the thought "OH SHIT I HAVE A FEVER!" No fever. No sleep, no deep sleep anyway.
I just wanted cry and I did.
At this point I thought night sweats and hot flashes were the same thing. NO THEY ARE NOT! Whew, hot flashes came next (I now call them the "fire within.") It feels just like the heated seats in my vehicle, except I am on the couch and I am not cold. The heat radiates from my hips on up, then it's gone. Guess that's why the call them a hot flash.
I am, no I was a person that didn't talk about personal things going on with me physically. Clearly, as this is now on the internet for all to read, this has changed. I have also been really open about it to those around me, especially the man I have been with for over 20 years. I tell him "Whoa, here comes the fire within" when we are just sitting on the couch together. I am sure in his head he's saying "oh crap, what does she mean? Here comes a mood swing? Here comes something I said or did 15 years ago?" He inches away. I remind him " the fire within, you know, a hot flash." Now he's a few feet away and I have to say "it's already over, come closer with that blanket, I'm cold." He just sits there, unsure what to say or do. That's okay. I don't know what to say or do! I just go with it.
I have been reading a lot on what is happening to my body, it would probably take less time to read about what's not happening to my body. This affects almost every aspect of my body, hence every aspect of myself. I only have a handful of the symptoms right now, from what I have read, there's a LONG list of more to come. With a family history of estrogen fed breast cancer, I can not take HRT (hormone replacement therapy.) My searches have been on natural and safe alternatives. As necessity really is the mother of invention, I have created an amazing magnesium lotion, launching that soon, stay tuned!
I am okay with not having periods. Actually, I am great with not having periods! But wait... there's more! More periods, not less, sometimes. They come two times a month on occasion then not for a few months at all other times. Talk about a wild ride!
It is indeed a wild ride and one I have no choice to be on or not. It's happening. The only choice I have is how I react to the changes. I can fight it, deny it, curse it.. but it's still going to happen. I have chosen to go with it, to ride the waves, learn more as I go and for certain, to be kinder to myself during this time. I have bumped up my self care routine to a self love routine. To love myself through this, not despite of it, not because of it, but through it.
I am seeing myself for who I am, honoring the blessing of getting older, a privilege denied to many, as they say. I still feel 30 ish, most days. I still touch up my grays. I stay active, again, most days. I am somewhere between "aging gracefully" and "fighting it each step of the way." It's an odd and (mostly) wonderful place to be.
I am still me. I still enjoy my life and create it intentionally. I am good and I am tired. I am also hopeful, always hopeful. I will find what safely works for me.
My hopes in putting all this out there is that we as women, WILL talk about this more with each other. There is NO shame in a part of life that happens naturally to women. We need each other. We are usually the primary care takers, we are conditioned to suck it up and move on. Maybe we need to love it up rather than suck it up and move through, not on.