Yes, Really! At the ripe young age of 48 I am heading into menopause. Don’t ask if it is peri-menopause or menopause. I have been too paralysed with fear to do any intelligible research. I didn’t even know there was more than one stage. I did try to do research. Really. I googled “symptoms of menopause” and in the search results was an article on “38 symptoms…” At that point I truly wished I drank alcohol so I could drown my fears, sorrows and anything else. I refused to read further. The symptoms I have include random memory loss, fuzzy thinking and a huge, almost crippling inability to focus. And, as if that isn’t enough, I am spending the entire night on a rolling wave of hot AND cold flushes. My mother has some serious explaining to do. This part of my life was left out of the “Talk” we had when I had meno-start.
Now I must say I was relieved to discover that the brain fugue is part of menopause. Even if it was delivered via the oh-so-not hilarious taunts of a friend on Facebook. Well, okay, they were funny taunts but that is not the point. I had been starting to think I might have an early onset of Alzheimer’s so I was glad to know that I would stop forgetting important stuff, of course I can also continue to remember dancing on pianos when I was younger. Perhaps I can organise a selective forgetfulness? I was also pretty okay with the flushes. Although my sleep was disturbed, I was waking feeling rested. The flushes started of as mildly warm and stayed that way until about a week ago. Now it is total strip off time. This is all fine and good until you are a guest on a bed in the lounge room and wake to find yourself with blankets kicked off and no t-shirt! My son assures me he doesn’t have to burn his eyes out!!
And again, all that I could have coped with, until I started getting more than one or two mild flushes through the day. Now I get several through the day and they require me to strip off my outer layers. And I have many layers as just before hand I would have had teeth-chattering cold and bundled up. Fortunately, being a born and bred Melbourne girl I am used to dressing for 26 seasons in one day, but I have to tell you on my recent flight back from Sydney on a tiny plane there wasn’t much room for on again off again clothes. Well, not unless I wanted to elbow my fellow passengers, which I confess is something I have thought about on previous flights but these fellow travelers were nice people.
Anyway, after the son nearly burning his eyes out incident, I had decided I needed a Plan. I find things work better when you have a Plan. Even if you can’t stick to it, you still have an idea of where you are meant to be heading and what you are meant to be doing. My plan – always wear a t-shirt and jacket instead of sweaters. Simple! I thought I was so clever. Well the weather was not conducive to the t-shirt and jacket so I had to wear a sweater. On one occasion, Sydney got a lovely eyeful of my middle-aged pale midriff as I ripped my sweater off. My daughter-in-law at least had a vague idea of what I was going through so did not die of embarrassment at the feral stripping off on the busiest thoroughfare in the city.
Time to change tactics. This was when I decided that a fan would be a lovely complement to my plan. Do you have any idea how stupid you look fanning yourself in freezing cold weather? I do. Especially when all the trendy young hipsters surrounding you have no clue as to why you would be fanning yourself. I suddenly felt awkward and gauche. Not something that is foreign to me, but it has certainly not been something that has caused me concern for decades. I rarely give a toss what strangers in crowded restaurants think about me. I dress for me and behave for me and choose to have the friends I have. And quite frankly I can’t be bothered with people making vapid judgements. So why the insecurity? Or rather, anxiety? Ah, yet another symptom. Something I also know nothing about. I actually had some anxiety two weeks ago and had to phone a friend to ask what was wrong with me. When she told me I laughed and told her I didn’t get anxiety. Guess I was wrong on that count.
So, where does that leave me? Well, I wasn’t planning on going through menopause until I was 55. Guess that schedule needs reviewing. So I thought, oh well, no biggy, I’ll just suck it up and get through it. I mentioned to a friend how uncomfortable the symptoms were. She told me she has a friend who has been having the symptoms for 10 years. 10 years!!! Another woman I spoke to mentioned that her Aunty has been having symptoms for over 15 years. So NOT A HAPPY CAMPER people. What next? I have decided I need to do some research and I went to see the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Dr. I have had a treatment of acupuncture and started taking a herbal remedy. I’ll let you know how it works out. And any interesting tidbits from my research. Hopefully I’ll have my happy dancing feet back on in no time at all.