Journal Entry # 89
It took me 4 days to recover from a 30 minute workout. The good news is that I am back on my feet and feeling like I can get back to work and life. I was able to get in to see Dr. Katrina to boost my nutrients and immune system – this always seems to help me. Also, Tim seems to have beat Dengue Fever. It is all systems go around here right now.
For that, I am grateful.
Today, what I need to offload relates to hormones.
Or a lack thereof.
I remember in high school writing a thesis on Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy. My mom had been surgically induced at age 36, so, as a family we were shifting our diets to support a more natural approach to balancing her hormonal levels. I guess that is where the inspiration came from when I wrote that paper. I’m educated on the effects of hormones and the endocrine system as a whole. I know the signs of menopause and have listened to women complain about these symptoms over the years. But never, never, did I realize just how intense and derailing these symptoms can be.
We have been wondering if the symptoms that I am experiencing have been related to Chemo-pause? Since Miltefosine is a chemotherapy used primarily for breast cancer patients in Germany and other parts of the world, maybe there is a component that influences hormones too? The only way to know where I am in this process, is for me to go off of the Visanne (progesterone therapy) that I have been on for about 5 years. After fighting the natural cycle of my body for more than 20 years by taking birth control, at 35, we finally did extensive testing only to discover that my body was built for making babies. I naturally drop eggs every 2 weeks. Which means I cycle every 14-16 days without intervention. Which means that I bleed 12-14 days a month without intervention. Hence, progesterone therapy. However, at this stage of reclaiming my body and my life, in order to know where my body naturally stands in hormone levels, I need to go off of the Visanne for a minimum of 30 days to do bloodwork. I’ve been putting this off since the fall. Before Christmas I just couldn’t take any more poking and prodding. Then I didn’t want to deal with anything else while I was preparing mentally for travel. Now that I am home, it is time. Time to figure this out. So, I have been off of the Visanne for 2 weeks now.
Yesterday, I had to change three times…I sweat right through my clothes all day! It was like one hot flash on top of the next all day long! Cooking from the inside out! Peppermint oil on the back of my neck will help diffuse the heat, hanging my head out the window of the truck like a dog brings some relief, dressing in layers makes it a little more manageable to accommodate these fluctuations. But this is unbelievable! Don’t even get me started on the chills or the night sweats, the insomnia, the brain fog, the weepy, emotional rollercoaster ride or the sandpaper vagina.
Hold the phone!
How is it, with all the women who have gone before me, that there isn’t a fix for Menopause?! How is it possible that millions of women have gone through this change and there aren’t more warnings or advice or information about it? How is it that I have been so ignorant about what was waiting ahead for me as a woman? Why is this not a mainstream conversation? How is it that women are not talking about this, sharing information with what works and what doesn’t? I know it’s early for me – I am not yet 41 years old – and none of my peers are going through this. I don’t know anyone my age that is going through this. I have been feeling lonely in this weepy place. Not to mention, I feel like I am slowly alienating my husband and kids. So, I have done what every curious woman would do. Tonight, I Googled it.
And then I laughed.
If someone were to look at my search history right now, they would see some of the following ridiculous questions:
- What are the usual signs of menopause?
- What does a normal discharge look like for menopausal women?
- Why does my discharge look like egg whites?
- Is it normal for my vagina to feel like sandpaper?
- How do I lubricate a menopausal vagina?
- Does menopause change your personality?
- How can I help my family cope as I go through menopause?
- How long do menopausal symptoms last?
Turns out, I am not the only woman Googling this topic. So, I’ve learned a lot. By the sounds of it, I am totally normal and what I am experiencing is totally normal. So, that is good news.
The shitty news is that I still have to wait another 2+ weeks to be able to do the blood work to see where in the process I am. And, even then, it is a waiting game. Like all the other women before me, we each have to pay our dues and go through “the change.”
This isn’t something to look forward to. And if I could find a way to shield other women from going through this, I totally would. Alas, all I can offer are my sincere condolences to all women, everywhere.
What I know to be true is this. WOMEN ARE AMAZING CREATURES. Women are POWERFUL. Women are STRONG. Women are FEARLESS. Women are INCREDIBLE. Women are MAGICAL. Women are RESILIENT.
Regardless of age, culture, race or any other “identifying factor”, women are women and without exception, every one of us will go through this in varying degrees.
Every. One. Of. Us.
Knowing this, makes me feel a little less lonely tonight.
I guess, I have Google to thank for that.
Let it be known, that I have yet to find gratitude for a sandpaper vagina.