The Darling Menopause

The Darling Menopause

United States

Comedy meets womens health in Deborah Crowe’s menopausal world. I go from thinking I was suffering from Alzheimer’s, to learning that “the change’ lasts 10 years.


Hot Flush on Selander Bridge – My Very First Blog One Year Ago  

My daughter has started a new school. This involves me in a drive across Selander Bridge to collect her. Mornings are fine as it is very early. Pick up at 2pm - a killer. At 35 degrees and in an old Toyota land cruiser with broken air con, I felt my hot flush starting in my toes and working its way slowly upwards. To add insult to injury, the windows are supposed to be kept shut in case someone grabs anything.  "Bugger that", I thought. "They can have the bloody shopping and the car seats covered in dog hair".

There is always a traffic jam on the bridge - it is the only road in and out of the city. I didn't have my sweat rag on me, so I had to wipe my face on my top; the collar to be precise.  I know that is gross but my hands were dirty. I got to school and phoned my husband, to let him know that I had done I my blog piece in my head.    "I don't have a blog to put it into straight away".   Pause,  "ah yes", he says, "I said I would set it up for you".   "Yes",  I reply,  "I have a HUGE need to rant about the menopause AND share it".

Coming back over the bridge – the drips of sweat collected under my chin.   I need to do something about this soon or I will pass out on one of these afternoon pick up runs. It is not even the hot season yet either.

I am trying to get sympathy. Frankly some of it is my own fault. The heat isn’t; but even the broken car is partly; I am unable to multi task anymore.  I do try and get my husband to do everything with the car; he tries his best but with 2 old cars; it is a constant battle to have one working at any one time.  I could have simply called the mechanic to collect the car and repair the air con. It sounds so easy, but if you read on, you will see how the simplest things TAKE ON a life of their own when you are peri-menopausal.

Back to why it is my fault? Well I stuffed up with the dosage of my HRT patch. I am on my THIRD type of HRT. THIRD. This one, which I recently got in July – is a drip feed of estrogen into my body to “smooth” out my moods. In other words to stop me being a complete cow, to anyone who was previously in my way at roughly 8am till 12 and from 5pm till 8pm.  For the mornings I would call my husband and tell him who I needed to murder at that particular time and he would suggest I went to the gym first. My poor child got it every night at 5pm. The guinea-pigologist said, yes, children suffer when their mothers go through the menopause; AND that she would remember it.   HRT is therefore not only for me, but for her and hubs, and the rest of the family and the world in general.

I am still digressing, it shows what a grasshopper mind I have. Anyway I didn’t bring enough evorel 25s back from the UK. I didn’t tell anyone because it is not the first time I have done this and I don’t know why I did/do it. I know the months of the year and the days in each month, but I seemingly can't count; as well as the usual long list of symptoms of menopause; that are kept a closely guarded secret until you think you have alzheimers, arthritis and heart failure all at the same time.

I will never forget 4 years ago going to the doctor in dar here and nervously telling him I had chest pains and swollen legs and thought to self; that I was going to die;  I stayed awake all night to make sure I didn’t die.   How irrational is that?    Staying awake wasn’t hard, insomnia is part of IT.

The doctor looked at me in a new light and said suddenly, "how old are you"?    When he realized I was 51 he muttered,  "I think you need to see our guinea-pigolosist" and ushered me out of his office as quickly as he could.   I THINK I heard him say phew, but I can't promise.   I duly made an appointment to see this retired specialist.

He explained to me that I was in the peri-menopausal period of my life. I had never heard of it. I asked how long it would last, genuinely thinking he would say a couple of weeks now that I had found him and he would give m...

The One Eyed Monster  

Today is Wednesday.  Congratulations, you say, I did get the day of the week correct.  This makes a change. To be fair to me, though I haven't made any day errors since….hmm I was going to write last week, but I double booked yesterday evening.

Moving on swiftly.  So this is Yoga day as well as aerobics.   At 9.45am, I was so busy imagining a lie down, that I simply couldn't bring myself to do even one more abdominal crunch.  By 9.50am, I had a plan, I had decided I was going to scarper, before the yoga teacher got to the gym and therefore wouldn't see me.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that I am 53 nearly 54, and not 10 and constantly in trouble at school.  I had my shopping list in my head and thought if I do yoga and shopping that leaves very limited time for lying down before I collect my daughter.     My days are governed by how soon I can get home and lie down again.

I left class just when the fabulous instructor was doing a torturous exercise which I decided I didn't need to do and prepared my escape.

Busted.  There she was as I got downstairs.  "Morning, see you in a minute" she called out to me merrily.    Back up I trotted, avoiding the instructor whose class I had just left.   I had mouthed to him as I had headed for the door, "I have to go to work".   What a fibber.

Yoga was wonderful, it always is.  It was also absolute HELL on this earth.   SO, SO painful, although I am fit now, I am as stiff as an old board and only do neck breathing.  I haven't breathed from my diagraphm since well 1900 and …….I am far too highly strung for that.

We were doing these extended hip stretches.   I know they will be good for me when I finish, but fuck, are they sore when you are in the middle of them.   I also manage to get myself in a pickle with the devil/angel conversations I have.   Angel self is in a meditative state breathing into my stretch.  Have you seen that happen?   Have you?  It doesn't exist; it is called grunting with pain, masked as breathing into your stretch.  Devil self is running through the shopping list, and added digestive biscuits to it to make a cheesecake.

After that I skipped off literally, and DID go to the shops.  It was so successful, I think because of yoga.  I DID have my list, as it is now on my phone, but I didn't have my glasses so I couldn't see it.   However I just went aisle by aisle trying to remember everything.  That is quite a dangerous way to shop frankly but I didn't have any temper tantrums or abuse anyone or get grumpy with the fact that the oat cakes are still not there.  I even remembered the nutella.

I got home feeling good and smug.  First thing the housekeeper says to me was,"mama, we need toilet paper".   Had I bought toilet paper?    Of course I bloody hadn't.

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Internet Search With Caution  

Internet search with caution on the PMD - don't do it; unless you really, really have to; or are a sadist. I have always taken a head in the sand approach to ghastliness in relation to bodily functions.  The best and only way as far as I am concerned.

I did make the mistake of looking up my meds I was on last week.   JUST so I could get the names right for the blog.   The information is contradictory, that is why I hate reading about them.  One jolly medical menopause site says oestrogen only tabs are high risk for heart disease.  Fine, all you have to do is go to the gym for at least 4 hours a day to counteract that. No probs - we all have time for that.  Do we hell.

Then another of the darling medical menopause sites said the opposite; oestrogen only tabs protect you from breast cancer BUT does that mean you will still die of heart disease?    Oh yippy doo.

The list of side effects cover absolutely everything including sneezing and shopping.  The latter is highly dangerous and life threatening.  Side effects also seem to include all the 50 PM symptoms.  How are you supposed to know what is a symptom and what is something you are about to die of?  HOW?

Anyway obviously I couldn't sleep last week.    I want to, no I NEED to be awake when the stroke starts, so I can bitch slap it into submission.

In summary;  all tablets you take have the potential to kill you.




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After The Appointment  

It was as if she had joined up the dots.  Linking precursors to family history with actual symptoms I had by diagnosing based on test results and analysis. After the appointment, I skipped into the car feeling so much lighter.   The key for me, was first being taken seriously; but more importantly was the fact that SHE had not compartmentalised my head, body and tackle.  SHE had looked at the whole picture.

I had several calls to make.   2 friends and several family members were waiting with baited breath.

First my father, then mother in law, then sisters; the list went on.   Little daughter was anxiously waiting with grandpa.  She had never known BOTH parents go off together to an appointment with the doctor.

I started the tablets immediately.  I was conscious that my husband, father and daughter were watching me closely for signs of instant character upgrade.

The next morning my mother in law called, "how was I?"

SHE HAD said that it would take till at least October to feel more balanced; what with adjustments to the dosage of the patch and the tablets in tandem to a reduction of the "other" tablets.  It had to be done slowly and carefully.  Of course it did.

Only I couldn't wait.

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The Hunt Is On  

The hunt is on. "Is this the tablet we had to go round the country to find for you mum"?

We were leaving the next day to return to Dar.   I had now run out of Xanax, I had been taken higher doses on holiday as it was all deeply unrelaxing.  I hadn't checked, thinking I had brought plenty with me.  Oh no, I did my usual of taking my last one, before checking if I had more.   I called HER.  She said her pharmacy would issue the prescription and we could collect it.  PHEW.

No, not that easy, even in the UK.

Hubs with kids went to collect prescription from private clinic on the other side of the town.

They wouldn't give it to him, as he wasn't me.  They were nervous as it is strong.  "She has been taking it for ages," he shared.  "She knows all about it".     Not sure if that was the best line.  They decided they needed to speak to me.  They couldn't get through they told him.  Where was I?  At my father's.  On the loo, in the garden - who knows.  I called them back immediately.  I got an answer machine. I called reception I got an answer machine.  I called husband.  One of the kids answered, "we got it, we're shopping and will get it later".  And then hung up.

FIVE hours later they turned up, brandishing the familiar white paper bag with the "gold bars" inside.  They had tried 6 different places and ended up finally getting them in Tesco up the motorway.  I felt so bad for them.

It was LOVE, wasn't it?  Or at least the knowledge, that it was equally in THEIR interests that I had that tablet that day, if they wanted their own lives to be worth living.

Back to the quote at the top.  When we were back in Dar,I collected my daughter and told her we were nipping to the pharmacy as I needed to get some more Xanax.  "Is this the tablet we had to go round the country to find for you mum"?

"Well yes, but county not country".

"It felt like the country to us," she replied.

"Fair enough", I agreed.    Who was I to be so pedantic, with my little knightettes in shining armour?

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The Dream  

"Call security quick…"

A siren went off. Two burly men came into the room. They grabbed me.  "Lavender doesn’t work", I yelled at the guineapigologist. "Hot baths and a glass of warm milk don’t work either."

"It's been three years I can't try lavender and come back in 3 months…… I need something stronger NOW, I want to get some sleep like other people".   I was screaming at her and trying to hit her.

I woke up. It was 2am. I was shortly due to go for a Well Woman Clinic appointment.   Well at 16.00pm.   I couldn't get back to sleep - would you be able to?  I got up and had some warm milk; no just kidding; I had a cup of coffee.  The dream showed my levels of anxiety around the possibility that she might not take me seriously.  I got my list ready, and then re-did it, at least three more times, trying to be as concise as possible.   I needed a potted history of what I had been on and how I had reacted to each different med and what my current symptoms were.

My got my opening lines ready so she knew the deal;

I had felt terrible for three years.

I had to be able to work.

I had to be able to sleep.

I had to be able to be pleasant to those around me, especially my child.

Lavender and hot milk were not options.



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Google Search  

Who exactly invented Google search? Should I know? Was it a bearded chap from California? I love them whoever they are.  They are how I found MY guineapig-ologist's clinic.

It was true to say that I was in a bit of a state when I loaded myself onto the plane in June.   I had been guzzling Xanax as my new alternative self - prescribed drug of choice to replace my rapidly diminishing hormones.   Trouble is though, they are not gender specific.  I did offer them to my husband once, so you see - they can work for everyone.  They are a bit like the proverbial blunt instrument.   THAT I realised is the issue with the PMD.  Why did it take me three years to realise?

Well I can't say, but we are all different.  I know such a short sentence yet so profound.

My symptoms were different to other women's.   One friend started having very irregular and heavy periods.  This became somewhat of a liability as you can imagine; on the train going to work. She had to start carrying extra clothes with her.  She also had visible hot flushes about every 20 minutes.    I have never had either of those symptoms.    I have had ALL the others.  My hot flushes sneak up on me at night time, little bastards.

Having decided I couldn't leave my father's postcode area, I googled lady gynaecologists with my postcode.  Up SHE popped or rather her clinic did.   What sealed the deal for me, was the list of symptoms and issues.     I then read the history of the clinic.  SHE had set it up as  SHE had felt that there was a gap in services for women in the PMD.  Too bloody right I thought.

They had a Q&A.  I think it was especially designed for me.  One of them was; do you find it hard at 9am and 5pm?

I gasped - they knew!

There was also an elegantly diplomatic sentence about GPs needing more support to deal with the differences in symptoms and tailor them to specific women and to link it into family history and risk profiling.  I didn't even know her but I loved her as well.

I rushed to tell my father that it wasn't my fault I was horrid.

Poor man he has a wife and THREE daughters.  Even the dog was a girl.    Can you imagine the hormone excesses and depletions he has dealt with in his life time?



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Abandoning The Bridge  


Hurrah!   My daughter has a place on the school bus.  I do feel guilty but the relief of abandoning the bridge out weighs it tenfold.   Out of 10 trips, I now only do 3.  Admittedly they are all in the afternoon and so at the hottest time, however that is a small price to pay.  I can now work from 6.30am till 8.30am and again after the gym from 11.00 till 14.00pm.   That is a 5-hour working day.  It is SO short compared with any other working day I have had since I was 21.   In early September, I actually felt lazy,  so I had to give myself quite a SERIOUS talking to.

My big focus is HEALTH as well as work for the rest of the year, the rest of my life actually.

That sounds very dramatic.  I clearly don't have a dramatic bone in my body; BUT I have learnt that all your girly hormones which protect you from cancer and heart disease etc. simply stop that protection during the PMD as the darling hormones diminish.

PLUS any family history medical time bombs you may have; and been ignoring or unaware of; can start rearing their heads.  Just about now I would say.

Where do the wonderful, good hormones go I wonder?   Is there a hormone heaven?  A special cloud where they all retire to and look down at us gals struggling along without them?  Or are they recycled?  I wonder.


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Cold Turkey  

I recommend that you don't try going cold turkey at home.

What a disaster.  Having brought 6 months worth of HRT back from the UK, I found them at the Oyster Bay chemist.  I live a hand to mouth; always running out of tablets; sort of existence and so never bought 6 packets or anything sensible like that.

Imagine my horror, when I went to the chemist when I had taken my LAST tablet only to be told that they had run out.

"Run out", I squeaked, 'what do you mean?  Will you have some more tomorrow?"

"No Madame, we don't know when more will come".

I called my reinforcements - husband - and first had to confess that I had run out of HRT.  I then explained that life would be catastrophic for all of us, if I stopped taking them just like that from one day to the next.   He got the message.  He asked me what the chemical compounds were in the tablets.

"What"?  I asked, I thought he was joking.  "I have no idea".   "Well find out" he said.

I looked it up for the first time since I had started taking them.  I have always been a head in the sand kind of gal.   Never read anything when I was pregnant as it all sounded very unpleasant.  Didn't  WANT to know what I was taking to get through my PMD.

He went to lots of different chemists and drew a blank in each.  Finally he found Ellesse Solo, he had found - would that do?

"Yes', I said gratefully and took a tablet.   The Ellesse bit was the same, it was just the darling little Solo bit that was different to the Duet bit.

Hmmm can you imagine the consequences?


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The Pill Period  

Like the painters.  Yes, I always aim to sound elegantly insane. For the year that I was on different contraceptive pills, my darling moods didn't alter much. Then, I was SO, SO lucky to meet MY friend.   She was hilarious, and shallow, with hidden depths.  My perfect chum. Unknown to me at the time, she was also a secret tablet guzzler. Enter the pill period.

I had no idea she was peri-menopausal, but when we DID discuss IT; furtively at first and more vigorously from then on; WOW it was another world.  I had a partner in crime.

She told me that she had been given anti-anxiety/depressants for mood swings.  This I now understand, is common.   The little darling white tablets were called Ciprolax.  I trotted off to the doctors with my words ready; not the fanny doctor; the other one.  He explained that this tablet was meant to take the edge off anxiety as mood swings started.  I couldn't wait to get going with them.    Within 10 minutes of taking the first one, I wasn't sure where the ground was in relation to my feet.  It was fabulous once I had learnt not to fall over.

Within 2 weeks it was great, I was just floaty enough to sort of get through the day without yelling, tiny downside; terribly forgetful.  Can you imagine what it was like working with me?   Scary, very scary.

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“It Will All Be Fine In 20 Years…”  

My friend's mother said that she had much more energy in her 60s and 70s, than she had had in her 50s.  That is such a great, cheery thought isn't it?   I am nearly 54 so not much longer then eh. It will all be fine in 20 years..

By "coming out" that I am menopausal, it is first interesting to watch people's reactions and second great to hear all the stories from women of different ages.  Older women recount the secrecy and depression and the relief of finding others who were going through THE DECADE.   Younger women in their 40s are shocked that it is a DECADE and really don't know what will hit them - poor darlings. Even younger ones in their 30s remember their mothers having IT and without exception, their mothers being quite mad.   Mood swings are up there as a major feature.

Looking back now, I realise that my mother also seemed to be quite potty at times.  Alternately yelly and lovely.   That is so familiar these days for me; but at the time I thought she was just ghastly.  As my daughter does with me.   The only thing that is better is that I am more informed and therefore so is my daughter.  The yelling is the same though.  Better though now as I take my tablets regularly, aided by my phone which beep alarms and reminders at me all day so I don't forget.

I remember my mother muttering from time to time; "I won't let "them" put me on valium for three years and end up like Auntie Ida".

"Whose them, mum" I recall asking?   "Doctors, male doctors, that's what they do to women", she replied with some vigour.   Well now I think maybe Auntie Ida had the better deal and floated through her decade. I certainly wouldn't blame her.

I floated through some of last year very nicely on the upgraded version of valium called Xanax.   The doctor here prescribed it to me when the HRT wasn't working but the yelling was.  I think a strip of them should be in every girls handbag.   When I was particularly forgetful on my old HRT, and couldn't count; my very lovely friend; always had some for me if I had run out.  Especially on Sundays and at events when I suddenly realised I couldn't guarantee that I could control myself.   What more could a friend do than share her last few Xanax's?

Sunday lunches for example when we were all out; would became highly stressful events for me if we didn't get the order in quickly enough.  The drinks order would be all wrong, the children's food order would be all wrong.  Whingey, hungry children - not good.

Once she asked me if I had taken a tab as I was getting VERY visibly twitchy and grumpy.

"No" I replied,

"You must", she advised, "for these sort of events, I can't get through them otherwise".

I had never thought of it.  She was SO right, 15 minutes later I didn't care who was eating what as long as I got my gluten-free pizza.






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Big Boobs to Big Bum  

Well, some interesting tit and big bum bits to share. One was from a friend who asked me would she get the menopause as she is on the pill. What a good question. I don't know. She then told me that one of her friends had decided to stay on the pill till she was 90 just to avoid anything - menopause, ageing etc.   Sounds brilliant to me. Keep your head down and keep taking the tablets.

I went to see the new doctor in Dar about IT and she put me on the contraceptive pill to even out my darling little moods swings.  Unfortunately, what it did to me was make me a big, fat bastard - overnight,  just like my boobs with the gel.  I couldn't believe it, I had to wear tents as nothing fitted. My bum was huge. If you say that with a Scottish accent it is better and more dramatic.

I am not being size-ist, BUT if you are used to being 55 kgs your entire adult life, then it comes as a bit of a shock when you suddenly gain 10kgs with no warning.

I went back saying I couldn't bear it.

So bugger me, she gave me another contraceptive pill, swearing that it wouldn't make me put so much weight on, and that, the one she had given me was known to make you a fat bastard.  Apparently it is the one they always start with just in case.

I know;  there is really only one response to that. I didn't say anything to the doctor, even though I really wanted to slug her one. I needed her more than she needed me.

I tried that pill and was still a BFB.  Just fat and no pleasanter, this was NOT a good deal.  I then got another pill; a pill-lite even - that I would NEVER be a BFB with.  But, it was ghastly; side effects galore, sore everything, like PMS all the time.  What WAS the point? For some reason I persevered thinking that she must be right because she was a doctor and I wasn't.

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The Gym Bunny Returns  

Having had 2 bad gym days because of dosage problems, my arms, legs and brain connections were back with a vengeance today.  The gym bunny returns! Hurrah!

I couldn’t believe it though.   SHE was also back.   It was a step class, with weights.   Holy Smoke - even more accessories for her to turn into dangerous weapons.   I was wrong though, having a step meant she stayed in front of it and didn’t wander off. Brilliant.

As for the weights, well she only dropped them – both – once. Yes simultaneously but they were light. The floor remains intact to live for another fabulous class tomorrow.

Feeing human and pleasant I even asked her how her leg was.

I saw the good.


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From M&M&Ms to the Gym  

I can't believe I've only just noticed that menstruation, miscarriage and menopause all begin with M. I know you thought chocolate. Much more pleasant, I do agree. Interesting how nobody talks about any of them much. All to do with women's bodies. I think I'm onto something here.

But not today, I Can't Be Bothered - CBB. Have you heard of that? It is the polite version of CBA, I will leave you guessing on that one, till tomorrow or when I remember to tell you.

No.  Today I want to tell you about what happened at the gym yesterday.

First you have to understand, if you are not a gym bunny, that you don't mess with someone else's floor space. NEVER. That means you cannot be a space invader. If you do by accident, because you are doing a high kick or moving forward or back, you must immediately apologise and then get back in your own spot. If you are a high level gym bunny, like me, then you wouldn't of course do that, but a lot of "them" are average.

Yesterday something catastrophic happened. There was a jumping bean in the class. It must have happened by accident. I swear she must have been there by mistake, thinking it was a nightclub and I also swear she was still on something. She barely made contact with the ground. I have only seen Maasai's jump higher. Worse she was knocking into people. ME INCLUDED.

Now, this is where the bloody peri-menopause comes in. Mornings are not great for me before 10am.  I know I use menopause, peri-menopause and all those words interchangeably, but you know what I mean. I am waiting for the tablets to kick in, I have been up since 5am or earlier. Possibly 3am or 4am -  waiting for it to be 5am. Worried I will sleep in and not have my daughter ready for her 6.15am pick up, or worse that I fail to collect the raft of other children, when it is my turn for school pick-up.

ANYWAY, back to the gym - the above was necessary for background to understand my mood.

Well, not quite back to the gym, I have a confession, I forgot to change my patch.   I have a little alarm that goes off to tell me to change it every 3 days.  Problem is, it went off when I was in the car the day before yesterday. I should carry them with me, but I don't and of course I had completely forgotten by the time I got home.  24 hours later, holy crap - my patch.  I only remembered because I was talking about a patchwork quilt.  I need a better patch reminder back up system.   My husband has filled my phone and computer with alarms and reminders and asked if a 5 minute warning before I had to take a pill was ok.  I need a reminder about the reminder.   I have confidence  he will sort.

However, a missed patch is a depletion of hormones by 24 hours and that has an impact for 48 hours. I think you are probably getting the picture.  I was already incredibly grumpy, fire breathing actually.  You may also be thinking that I am dis-organised and stupid and bring many unnecessary mood swings on myself.  I agree totally with you on that.  I get on my own nerves so much.

While we are on the subject.  I had also ran out of my darling xanax.  They sound like something from star trek.  They are better though than something green and yukky from outer space.   I am coming off them, but slowly, they are given to lots of woman to "smooth" out "those" moods.  I thought I had another packet in my bathroom drawer but didn't.  It was scary to see the reaction I had when I suddenly had less in my pm dose than I was supposed to and no morning tablet at 6am as usual.  I had a cloth brain, ok I'm used to that, but it was much worse than usual.  The withdrawal side effects of just a small, missed dose - half a gram, also meant I had no messages from my brain to my arms and legs and felt terribly faint.

NOW, all of you will know, that messages from brain to limbs is quite important for a good gym session; and for the rest of the day's activities as well,

34B to 36DD  

34B to 36DD I kid you not. Do you want to know how you too can achieve this? Remember I told you about the first guinea-pigologist I saw four years ago? The one who mentioned in passing the ten year change process…IN PASSING, AS IF IT WASN'T THAT BIG A DEAL.

One paragraph in and I'm ranting already.

Anyway, he prescribed estradiol transdermal gel and told me to use it on my legs once a day. I duly trotted off to the pharmacy and bought a tube; and all the other 6 tubes remaining in stock; in case they ran out. It is Dar es Salaam after all.   I had to go to the cash point for the second lot, as they cost lots of USDs.

I rushed home to apply it and waited. It seemed that within about half an hour, my boobs took on a life of their own and were straining at my bra. Fuck though, the pain was tremendous. I had to wear my maternity bra in bed -  (imagine bringing your maternity bra with you in your container from the UK)?   Well, I say it was a good thing I did.

If my daughter touched me anywhere between my tummy button and my neck it was so sore. Cuddling was like torture. Going to bed was torture, breathing was torture. Being was torture. My boobs were rock hard, huge and agony. I thought I must have used too much, so I assumed that if I used less, it would be fine. In hindsight, the words - very stupid - come to mind, but at the time I never thought to go back to the doctor.

I carried on for 2 weeks. I am ashamed to write this, then I FINALLY called the guinea-pig-ologist. Only he wasn't there. My main man who said he would be available to monitor me when I really needed it wasn't around. Not only was he not around, he was not in Dar, he was in the UK, having surgery as he was elderly and had in fact retired. I went to the "ordinary" doctor, who said "oh dear", we will pass on the information. I never heard from either of them again.

This was the beginning of my interaction with front line medical services in relation to being peri-menopausal.

I stopped the gel, my boobs went back to normal and I was able to breath, walk, cuddle and go to bed and other activities that normal people engage in during the course of an ordinary day.  But I still had all the peri-menopausal symptoms - so I changed doctors.

By the way, if anyone needs any estradiol transdermal gel I still have 6 tubes of the stuff, complete with the little plastic measuring applicator device, which is unfortunately not very precise.

There is no rush, they expire in about 2084.

The post 34B to 36DD appeared first on The Darling Menopause.

Many Paws  

Many paws. I do hope you all get it.   It is so great.

My daughter asked me again about the  "many paws" last night. She is only 9, and does so well to remember the list of symptoms and that none of it is her fault; blah, blah blah.    For her, of course it is really simple, the nice mum and the evil one. She then noticed that it sounded like "manypaws" and laughed her head off.  We have three dogs you see.

I read my blog posts out loud to her last night.  Not your average bedtime story I would say, but she asked.   I warned her that I had used some rude words.  She was riveted and I have to say she loved all of them and thought that I was very clever.   The very nice mum finished putting her to bed.   Actually I was asleep before her.  Squeezed into her single bed, I was vaguely aware of some sort of noise in my ear.  It was her talking, but I simply couldn't answer.  I woke up at 3am, with my leg half out of the wooden frame; and with what felt like wooden slat marks etched into my body; where, I had squashed the foam mattress down into the bedframe with my weight.

It took what felt like an hour to move her off me, collect my bits of body, disengage myself from parts of the mosquito net, and get up. Mindful of seeing the good and all that stuff, I decided that I was going to meditate and have deep thoughts.

BUT, I am afraid I saw my husband's computer just looking at me. Before I knew it, Episode 1, Season 4 of Game of Thrones was on, fantastic.  I settled into the comfiest part of the sofa.

Not for long sadly.

Busted.  My husband was up and wandering around and told me to get back to bed - my own this time.   I knew I couldn't say no, as I had buggered off and fallen asleep again last night and not seen him.

The post Many Paws appeared first on The Darling Menopause.

Be At One With Nature  

Be at one with nature. My yoga teacher, who I admire greatly, used that phrase yesterday.

We both had sore bums, from holding our poses for so long the day before.   She asked me, if I had felt different emotionally after the class.  I said I didn't know because I was on HRT and so couldn't tell what was me and what was medication..

She replied that, humans fight nature every step of the way, and that menopause was part of a natural cycle of life and that I shouldn't take tablets.   I don't doubt her at all, my dilemma though is that the phrase "be at one with nature" evokes positive not negative thoughts.  How come then that the screaming habdabs because of lack of sleep are also part of that lovely, darling natural cycle of menopausal life as well?

But those very habdabs aren't very nice for me or my family or anyone left still talking to me.  Bring on the drugs I say, unfortunately, I am not convinced they work for me completely either.  Maybe I am just one in a million.  Or another way to look at it is, I am totally snookered.

We didn't have much time to talk more and she has now left on a trip. I will ask her when she gets back, what you are supposed to do instead of the tablets to "smooth" out those darling little mood swings.

Oh yes, and how to get some bloody sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time; and just to be really greedy;  in bed and at nighttime, rather than on the sofa, in the car, on a chair or just about anywhere else.

The problem is that, IF she mentions lavender oil, hot milk and lots of "me" time, I just might freak out. I don't WANT lots of me time and massages; I just want to be able to finish a fricking sentence without gazing into middle earth.  Or have someone ask me gently if I am alright.   I want to walk down the corridor and know why I am bloody doing it.  And I want to NOT yell at my loved ones.

Is the peri-menopause "new"?  Is it because women are living longer?   Was it better when we all died off young - a rather drastic way to avoid it I admit.    I will wait and see what the teacher says and then share.

The post Be At One With Nature appeared first on The Darling Menopause.

See The Good At 4am  

Yes well, I have been trying to see the good.  But sometimes I just forget, often for several days. This morning, I was awake at 4am and trying to find the good in that.

It was hard, as frankly, I was pissed off.

It seems wrong, to start the day feeling cross about being awake when you don't want to be.  I lay there thinking about seeing the good and really was challenged to find any.   Then it came to me.  I realised that if I got up and went into the living room I wouldn't get bitten by mosquitoes.  It is the cool season and the house is wonderfully free of mosses at the moment.    I think that is a good attempt at seeing the good at 4am.  Shallow but not bad.

As I've mentioned before;  difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, difficulty returning to sleep and waking up too early in the morning;  these are all part of the FUN of the peri-menopausal DECADE before you reach fully fledged menopausal - dom.    I googled, "why does menopause give you insomnia" and the long, JOLLY list of articles and books is wonderful.

Full of titles such as; The Change Before the Change: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Healthy in the Decade Before Menopause by Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn · BANTAM DELL · Paperback · 448 pages · ISBN 0553380311

Could It Be Perimenopause?: How Women 35-50 Can Overcome Forgetfulness, Mood Swings, Insomnia, Weight Gain, Sexual Dysfunction, and Other Telltale Signs of Hormonal Steven R. Goldstein, Laurie Ashner · Vermilion · Paperback · 242 pages · ISBN 0091816696

I have read neither, I am sure they are brilliant.   BUT don't the titles make you want to run from them screaming?   I still can't get over the fact that I DIDN'T KNOW peri-menopause was coming to get me - and thousands of others.

How come I didn't know?

I feel sure that a hint, an idea, a warning, a clue  should have been given to me by someone, a doctor perhaps?  I should have seen something, a glossy pamphlet or brochure?

You don't need to read anything, except THIS blog; because I will tell you, why you can't sleep for 10 years.   Your flipping ovaries decrease the production of progesterone - which is a sleep-promoting hormone.

I know in time that, I have to come to terms with my lot; but not yet; no bloody way.  I am still outraged.   How come I knew so little about these wonderful hormones?    I never appreciated them when I had enough of them, as I thought they were mine to keep.   Enough to snore sweetly through the whole night.



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Hair Loss IS Sexy  

Of course hair loss isn't sexy, but I thought that might catch your eye.   I went to the gym today and did 90 minutes of Yoga. Fabulous, absolutely fabulous.  My yin and yang were doing what they were supposed to do; I was breathing properly without feeling faint; all marvellous.  When I got back home we still had power.  Unusual for this time of year and we have no generator.   I turned on the hot water switch and decided to splash out (pardon the pun) on a full body shower and hair wash.

I know that makes me sound rather unclean.  I am not, I promise but when there is no power, there is no water, as the power is needed for the water pump.  I hear connections going off in people's heads and them thinking ahhh….I see.   No problem to have a cold wash using the water from the bucket in the bathroom kept specially for those occasions.  However, I have to confess, despite my hardiness for washing with a jug and living without hot water; this doesn't extend to washing my hair in cold water.   In my view, people wash their hair far too much.  Once or twice a week is plenty even for sweaty children and models.

I am so lucky, I also have another reason.  I know, I know, you have been waiting for that Menopause Moment - an MM.

Yes, hair loss is another of those darling little symptoms.  So you can understand now, my own very good reason, NOT to be rushing for the shampoo each day.

Mind you, I have never checked with the doctor.  Does all the hair WAIT until you wash it; and then come out in a larger clump in the weekly wash, just to spite you?

Oh well as I am shallow, I will leave that train of thought well alone.

My shower today with hot water was lovely, and so is my hair.



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Which is What and Dangerous Lifts  

The problem, or one of them, with the menopause is that you don’t know what are stress related symptoms and what are menopausal symptoms.

I started thinking I was getting alzheimer's again, when I suddenly felt panicky getting into a lift recently on holiday. I don’t like lifts, I got stuck in 2 when I was young, and the image is still strong. I have also lived and worked in far too many developing countries with poor or no electricity supply to ever trust any lift anywhere.

The problem in posh hotels is that there are only lifts on offer. The emergency stairs are hidden - not sure why. We stopped in Istanbul en route to UK in June. We stayed at the Hilton - posh, lovely food. Mirrored lifts - they help with the impression you are in a room not a lift. I did still go to the loo each time before, I got in the lift in case we got stuck. Those are the sort of lifts that you are supposed to never get stuck in.

Bugger me of course we did.

For about a nano second, but that is enough for a chest pang. We were on the 24th floor and it stayed on the 16th and wouldn't let us out. I called the help button and said we were stuck.  The door opened and they said they would send an engineer.  Meanwhile as I was with my daughter, I was pretending it was fine and that these things happen. She wasn't fazed, but neither of us really wanted to spend the day on the 16th floor lobby. I had to call twice more before the engineer came. He took us to the 24th floor and told us that we had to use our room card when we got in the lift and then press our floor button.

I was indignant - why hadn't they told us at reception when we'd checked in?

I then read on the website of a well woman clinic;  the one where I finally saw the doctor; and it listed agrophobia and claustrophobia are also symptoms of menopause. I thought I had bottomed out on the list of symptoms and was becoming seasoned.   But NO.

Back to today. I just gave my husband a lift to his office. Remember the 2 car family, with one car operational at any one time. I overshot the turning to his office. I rarely get anywhere without doing that, he is not usually in the car though, I have to say.  It is more often children; who thankfully are often not aware of where they are or where they are going to.  Such is their faith in the grown up driving them.   Poor darlings.   They don't know the risks they run with peri-menopausal women.

I tend to have to suddenly swerve into lots of dirt roads to turn round.  Never an elegant 3 point turn, a hot sweaty 7 point turn with no power assisted steering is my norm.

Bird brain could be both stress and menopause. Or stress of the menopause?  Who can tell?

I did watch the birds this morning. Having stopped working 18 hours a day, since I closed my business in June, has certainly made that possible.  Maybe I should stop wondering when and how stress merges into the menopause and vica versa. I need to stop over-thinking – and become more shallow. I will see how I do for the rest of the day.

The post Which is What and Dangerous Lifts appeared first on The Darling Menopause.

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