It took five months for the last helping of HRT to impact my menstrual cycle and the symptoms that are combined with it, three months to entrench themselves into my psyche and well-being. It has taken fourteen days to change it back. How do I feel ? Remember the 1990 World Cup: Tears in Turin, Gazza got booked , all hopes were dashed as we lost to the Germans. Like that. I feel like my body has given me a red card. I’ve been sent off the pitch. And I am not happy…Why? Although the incessant tiredness was a right royal pain in the arse, I am not overjoyed to regain the resemblance to a sumo wrestler on steroids. Its reminiscent of a barrel; has all of the attributes of a beer drinker’s belly. This is ever so sweetly coupled with the return of my period. For those that are squeamish look away now; skip the next sentence, there is no easy way to say this. I have gone from no flow to free flow. You know the song ‘ he aint heavy , he’s my brother ’? Well this is like ‘she is heavy and she’s in bother’ . If only my skin was as thick as my uterus wall. Note: there are some interesting reads if you type ‘ I hate my uterus’ into Google. Interesting , and disturbing simultaneously. You may be picking up on what mood I am in – sorry. I did think “I won’t write today”. Too tired, too emotional, too angry; I feel like I’ve been through a mangle. But then isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why I started this blog, to share this process ; warts and all? Just to be absolutely clear; I have no actual warts, ok? Moving on.
Another addition in conjunction with the other hindrances to add to my ailments is ‘the hot flush’. This however, is one of the many symptoms of peri-menopause that I feel is not as cataclysmic as the rest. No, I am not mad ; bear with me. I believe myself to be quite an optimistic person, there are moments where I am positively buoyant. This includes wanting to see the best in people. If people make mistakes at work which affect me I would rather be the founder of the lessons learnt than be delighted in their demise. So with this in mind: Ta-da! I give you reasons not to be melancholy about the flushness of hot, the ever ‘Eternal Flame.’
1. Save a fortune on heating bills 2. No need to purchase a winter coat 3. No need for blusher 4. Tights are a thing of the past (even when the temperature drops to -10). The only thing that there is no escape from; and this is not for those in the A team, this is for you sweater stretchers out there, do you suffer from Boob Tash? I do, terribly. I used to call mine ‘Bob Tash’ but I found out the actual Urban Dictionary meaning of this today. It suddenly made sense why Ian looked appalled when I told him I had Bob Tash. I genuinely thought that’s what it meant. I assumed that Bob was short for boob and Tash akin to sweat on your upper lip. I’m glad that I found out the real meaning before popping to Boots and asking for some ‘Bob Tash absorbing pads….’
Yes you can get sweat absorbing breast pads, who knew? I just went on YouTube to see if there was some comical advert for these, alas, not. I might invent some though in the shape of a tash, a variety of colours and sizes that you stick under your boob for any sweaty occasion.
I witnessed another woman having a hot flush recently, Dr Feel Good. She is around the same age as me, she means well and tries her best during our sporadic rendezvous. I say sporadic as I usually wait for Dr Down Under, however on the few occasions when I have needed an imperative evaluation or a hit of HRT then Dr Feel Good is next best dealer. The only issue I have is, where I deem Dr Down Under to be a small time dealer, Dr Feel Good is more of a pusher; and a pushover. She dishes out anti-depressants faster than you can say “heads fucked,” her pen poised for the composing of a fit note the minute you say “I’m not feeling well.” A cracked toe nail can get you a good two week’s grace. And though this may work effortlessly for some, I don’t want more pills; not going to work is not an option. And I need someone to challenge me, not to nurture me.
In I went to notify her of my current situation. Imagine the scene. Liken it to the worst speed date you can imagine or may have been on and you’re still not close.
“Hi Mollie, how can I help?”
“ Dr, I don’t feel well. “
“Feel tired all the time, sometimes feelings of dread, don’t want to leave the house, sleeping too much etc. etc.”
“I don’t think so, this only happens when I’m due to ovulate.”
“I can increase your anti-depressants.”
“I’m not depressed… I don’t feel depressed… I know what depression feels like this isn’t it.. I’m tired irrational… hurt… confused…suicidal… fat, un-healthy… can’t sleep… I don’t feel depressed…I feel unhappy all the time… Bloody pills give me IBS.. I’m sure that they affect my organs.. Is my thyroid playing up?… Can you do a blood test?”
“I know how you feel.”
“Do you…? Are you going through the menopause.. ? Are you depressed..? Do you feel like crying…? You’re not fat.. Are you taking HRT..? Depression pills.. ? What do you do….? Can you help.. ? What can I do..? Do you have night sweats…. ? You’re dead skinny… You haven’t put weight on…. Have you lost your sex drive…? How do you cope with your hubby…..?”
On and on. Questions spilling out my mouth like an FBI agent interrogating a murder suspect.
As I stopped for air, Dr Feel Good looked up whilst fanning herself with the ‘Talking Therapies’ leaflet that she’d picked up.
“Oooh Mollie, you’ve given me a hot flush!”
As I made my apologies (in between laughs) I asked her again, “Seriously though what can I do?”
“You’d be best seeing Dr Down Under, this is her area of expertise. And here’s a prescription to increase your anti-depressants,” as she also handed me the leaflet she’d used to diminish her hot flush.
“Doctor, one more thing I need to ask” (Ian’s words ringing in my head) “my partner wants to know is there anything more we can do about the lack of libido?”
“Tell him to join my husband at the back of the queue!”
I haven’t picked up the courage to ring the ‘Talking Therapies’ number nor have I had the full results of blodd test or completed the five-page questionnaire on whether I feel down or worry a lot, yet…
P.S – that is not my nipple and mine are not hairy, yet…
I had hoped to make this blog, my story, linear. However there are a few reasons why that won’t work. One, as I previously shared, I am now into my third year of Perimenopause. Two, my short-term memory is so bad these days that if I don’t tell you now then you won’t find out until for a good couple of years. Ask me anything about last year and I can recite the details no issues, ask me anything about last week I’ll have to get back to you. I forget doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, days out, birthdays, you name it; I forget it. The forgetfulness has varying degrees of verve. Normally influenced by a motley crew of components: HRT – Hormone Replacement Treatment. To date I have been on five different types of HRT, 2 types of anti – depressants, the contraceptive pill (even though I am sterilised) and the Mirena coil. I was going to request a timeline from my doctor of medications I have had bestowed upon me to include in this blog. But I forgot to ask.
Anyway where was I? Oh yes, memory loss. This has afforded many a source of hilarity and befuddlement for friends, family and co-workers over the last few years. I work as a Floor Manager in a Contact Centre. My job involves dealing with people, process, customer service, industry regulations and policies aplenty. There is a lot to remember, and I have been in my current role for one year, Support and Controls Manager. You can probably see what I am eluding too. I NEED TO REMEMBER THE DETAIL. I am known for my organisational skills, being a bit of a control freak and I love developing people. A perfect match. But memory to me is like summertime to the British, mostly cloudy with the odd breakthrough of sunshine. Not all doom and gloom though, many people have had lots of fun with it: no mum I definitely paid you back that £20.00, yes love you definitely drank the last of the gin, and yes I did ask you to complete that task. I am like a stand-up comedian with no come back, a singer with no song, a writer’s mental block and dare I admit it – my mother. I have a question for all those women out there reading this, either Perimenopausal or Post. Does your memory make a comeback, is a revival on the cards, can I expect to be as excited as I was when Take That announced their reunion??
A previous boss (I am going to call him Amin, this is an Arabic name, ‘meaning faithful and trustworthy,’) took to keeping a tally sheet of things I had forgotten to do. Oh how we laughed as the finishing touches to another five bar gate were completed. I never told him but I hated that chart. It was akin to a list of ex-boyfriends that had rejected me (not to brag but there are not that many thank you). Have you ever watched ‘Meet the Fockers’? Fockers parents are so proud of him despite him being terrible, that they proudly display all his trophies of his under-achievements. Well that’s how this made me feel. Now please don’t think ‘ What an arsehole‘ about my boss. He wasn’t, isn’t, couldn’t be: not in his DNA. This was his way of dealing with me and to be fair I do joke about my menopause a lot. It’s how I cope. You will get to know lots more about this wonderful man, he’s a great friend, wiped away many tears, and is now au-fait with the over 40-‘s physical and physiological functions of a Perimenopausal woman. Much to his dismay. The vagina monologues is not top of his list of ‘plays I must see’. If you get what I mean. Why would this bother me, if I make fun of myself shouldn’t others be allowed to participate. Of course and here’s the thing; the logical me embodied deep in my spirit, laughed, nay roared at this amusing undertaking. It’s the emotional me who scrutinises, dwells and distorts. The hemispheres of my brain mimicking the act of a contortionist.
I have never been a worrier, always been a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl. I think people who meet me assume I am confident, very confident. I was. Before HRT. Before menopause. My younger carefree self is screaming at me to ‘get a grip’. Take it all in my stride. Wear my Teflon coat with pride. The simple fact is, I can’t. Well not all of the time. The things I agonise over are; am I going to lose my job, does my boss hate me, does my boss like me, do my friends like me, am I useless, am I uncaring, am I too honest, not honest enough, the list is exhaustive and exhausting . And I am powerless to stop it. I can at times control it depending on the magnitude, and the time of the month. Yes it gets worse as I near my ovulation. ‘ I may be ovary acting.’
So the new HRT is called Femoston, my partner swears I have had a variation of this one previously and that ‘I was a f****ing nightmare’. I can’t remember, one plus to memory loss. There are 50 types of HRT according to the ‘Women’s Health Concern’. That means I have 88% of potential amalgamation’s to try. Hip Hip Hoorah. I saw my favourite doctor at my last appointment – waited 14 days for an appointment with her. I will call her Dr Down Under. She is my dealer, I rely on her for my hit, she has control of my emotive and physical being. Last visit I advised her that I had progressively been feeling worse, taking to my bed more, needing 10 hours sleep minimum and my cycle had recently only lasted one day. Don’t get the ‘congratulations your transition is over’ banners out just yet. She proceeded with the usual checks, consulted her screen then hit me with findings. I was on a HRT for a woman over 50 that was post-menopausal, the HRT had tricked me and my body into thinking that I was a 55-year-old woman. That explains the recent temptation to Sky-plus Loose Women!
This has lead to the change in medication, I have been on it now for eight days, no new symptoms yet, tiredness still prevailing, Libido still oscillating. However I remain hopeful, try to eat well, much less alcohol, hope to be back to the gym once my energy returns. And rely on my memory to not serve me well. Sometimes I do want to forget about me.
As I previously said my experience started a while ago. How did I first know something was amiss? Well aside from the fact I had started to cry too ‘Come dine with me‘ other noticeable changes were coming to the surface. After confirming with my partner that a vital part of our relationship was lacking I booked an appointment at our doctors.
Ian my partner does actually have the patience of saint, he put up with me sans menopause which at times is no mean feat. However this rebellious addition to the menopause clan did have the potential to ‘rock the boat’ or not; as the case may be.
Speaking of ‘rocking the boat’ I will give you some background. I /We didn’t just come to this conclusion (see what I did there) it was after much soul searching, some squabbling and mulling over the options that eventually led to acceptance.
Soul searching – this involves looking at yourself and delving into the deepest darkest parts of your sexual psyche. Am I too fat, too thin (fat chance), too old, too moody (not sure any of these would have put him off ) too frigid, unattractive. These are some of the endless possibilities of why the carnal desire is no longer there. Ladies try looking at yourself first before your partner on these ones – it cuts out the waste. I’m joking. Once all vows confirmed, yes I do still love you, no I don’t want anyone else, no you’re not too fat, of course I don’t prefer the women in porn videos (we have all asked right) then it can only mean one thing, Houston we do have a problem.
Squabbling – I would like to say that my Ian and I don’t do this, no need, we can talk about all our issues like the adults we are. Forget it ladies all rationale is going to go out of the window. If I had a fiver for every time I have threated to leave. Which is ironic because it is normally me being the TWAT. (sorry there is no non swear word equivalent). Anyway we did and it got nowhere, well I say nowhere it did cause what was sometimes a welcome distraction to the silence.
Mulling over the options – this has included the consideration of the following in no particular order: Chinese herbal remedy – booked an appointment, chickened out at the thought of snorting tigers tail or inhaling elephants husks. Discussion with the friends. All my friends are either too young or are not perimenopausal, yet. And some of them (not naming names) are quite happy to give up on a sex life all together. Sorry not for me. I am not dead yet.
I remember discussing sex life in your forties with my mum. I have a very open relationship with my mum, much to her dismay. She doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, has only had one sexual partner her whole life and her main relationship is with Jesus. So the expression “ you’re just like your mum” doesn’t leave many of her church going friends lips.
Anyway I once asked her A. Did she and my dad still have sex. B. Why did they give up. C. Had she heard of the ‘ Rabbit’. I have a funny story that will give you some insight to the prompting of such intimate questions.
My dad was diagnosed with diabetes, type two, many years ago. He and mum were probably my age now at the time of this story. Anyway let’s just say this interfered with certain aspects of my dad’s anatomy that impacted both of them. I was at the time of this story living at home and would have been in my early twenties. As a family we were used to seeing all sorts of meds and syringes in the fridge due to my dad’s illness and normally I wouldn’t have taken any particular notice. However on this occasion I noticed a weird looking contraption, a bit like a needle with liquid in; I assumed it was a new type of hypodermic for dad’s daily injection. The same weekend I came home from a night out earlier than planned to find my dad lying on the sofa with cold, wet towels wrapped around his ankles. Was he ok, did he need medical attention I was genially concerned, anyway he waved me away telling me he was fine and to bugger off. RUDE.
The next day I noticed that the weird looking medicine was in the bin; all of it. Concerned and being a nosy bint, I asked them both why? Sheepishly they said not to worry. I pressed on, worried dad was abstaining from a vital med, but he wouldn’t give an inch. Later on with dad out the room I asked mum again (she’s a terrible liar). Turns out it was a new sort of male enhancer aimed at men with diabetes. Did it work? No she said. The only bloody thing to swell up had been my dad’s ankles! And he was never trying again. Poor mum. If only she knew about the Rabbit.
Ok where was I, oh yeah, Chinese medicine – tick. All of the obvious; new underwear, nights away, new clothes for Ian, role-play, diet, no alcohol, loads of alcohol – tick, tick , tick. The problem was it wasn’t the want; it was the will, the desire had gone. Trust me Tom Hardy could’ve offered up his services and there would’ve been no point. (Tom if you’re reading this, I would, for research purposes be willing to test out this theory now). In the pursuit of ruling out all options I tried to see if I was able to turn on my own lamp, so to speak. Nothing! not even an industrial sized generator could ignite a spark. Trust me I know, I’m still banned from all building sites in Gateshead and the surrounding areas! Recently I was trying to describe it to some friends and the only way I can is this. It’s like switching on a light switch but the bulb has gone and you can’t replace it.
Ok acceptance – off to the doctors I went. Took a while to get here didn’t it. In the interest of DPA (remember my profile, I work in a contact centre) I will call him Dr Beat. For those of you similar age to me, you’ll get why. If you’re too young to understand the connection, file this away for a few years. This doesn’t concern you.
Dr Beat was/is; he’s not dead, a Jewish, grey haired man in his mid-50s. Nothing wrong with any of this unless you are a mid-40s, dark haired woman, wanting to discuss why you feel dead from the hips down. I say hips as the urge to dance has diminished due to the constant tiredness. Buts that another story….
“What seems to be the problem Mrs De-Camp”
“ MISS it’s MISS!.” Off to a good start, “I don’t think I am well” .
“Good, good he said you’re in the right place.” Pause for laughter.
“I seem to have lost my sex drive, I am constantly crying for no reason and am very irritable for no apparent reason.”
“ Mmmm let me see, how old are you”
“ Perfectly normal at your age; and you’re probably depressed”
“Sorry, you are saying it’s perfectly normal to not want to have sex at 43, and for the record I have never suffered from depression, have no reason to be depressed and have no worries.”
“ Yes, yes, we just have to accept some things will change once we hit a certain age”
“ So do you not have sex anymore?” I always ask doctors if they have or had suffered symptoms the same as me, I’m not sure why. But sometimes you get some interesting answers. Dr Beat didn’t miss one.
“ Irrelevant he said, do you want anti-depressants?”
“Why, so the fact I don’t feel anything downstairs will counter act the fact that upstairs won’t know or care”
Was what I should’ve have said. I didn’t; I skulked out and booked the next available appointment with a female doctor.
Hi name is Mollie and I discovered about two years ago that I was going through early menopause. I thought to myself I must start a journal. So here I am.Now you might be thinking what, 2 years later.
To be honest it could be 3 years
but I’ve never been that good at timekeeping. ‘Why now? ’Well when the doctors fed up of listening, your partner switched off; mmm let me see about 2 years ago.
(The only time Ian pricks up is when he hears, ‘love the doctor’s trying me on a new type of HRT’ , he knows from experience this could lead to an intermittent flash flood of libido) and none YES none of your friends are joining you on this journey. Then the time feels right to open up to complete and utter strangers who might just empathise and enjoy a light
hearted giggle in the midst of this all this impending doom. I did think about joining a help group but the thought of putting on a woolly cardy and not waxing my beard for a week terrifies me
Ok, I will tell you a little bit about myself, one it will ease us in gently and two I can use it for my bio on the bloggers site I have just registered for. YES; you read that correctly, I have just signed up to a bloggers site about 10
minutes ago. I have never read a blog, reviewed a blog, or wrote a blog. What could possibly go wrong!
Right back to me, I am 46 years old, live with my partner of 10 years Ian, have one grown up son aged 29 and 2 beautiful grandchildren. I sometimes wonder if the early onset of menopause is a punishment for ‘starting too early’ I
can almost hear the deadly whisper of Mother Nature now, “become a single mother at 17 will you, become a grandma at 45 will you” . No more sex, drugs or sausage rolls for you , your nights will be spent eating Pumpkin not Pastry, necking Rennie , not Ecstasy and abandon all hope of any Rumpy- de -pumpy !
Thanks for joining me!