I was catapulted into menopause at age 40 when I had a full hysterectomy. All of my (internal) womanly parts and pieces, below the waist, were gone in one fell swoop. I was left with nothing but a giant slit in my bladder and a catheter that came home with me for several days. The bright side was, I could pee off the back deck like many Maine men I had met over the years. The other bright side: Premarin.
For many years, I was on full strength Premarin, a hormone replacement therapy, and then switched to a lower dose, and am just now weaning myself from it. I understand the risks and potential fallbacks to hormone replacement therapy and naturally every woman needs to decide what is right for her. For me, this has worked pretty well. The goal, of course, was to silently go through menopause while on the drug and never experience the full impact. I think the goal was almost met. But now, as I slowly break free of the drug, I am experiencing many low-key effects of menopause.
Like Kathy Eliscu describes in her piece on page 17, I am almost always hot and sweaty. And, it’s not the good kind. The heat starts in my face. I am usually convinced that whomever I am speaking to can see my face go from flushed to crimson to on fire, in a matter of seconds. Then, I sweat. The sweat starts at my boobs – in between, underneath, and all around. I want nothing more than to jump naked into an ice bucket (lucky for me, pouring ice over your head has become quite popular lately). This happens several times a day, often for no apparent reason. And at night, I have the air conditioner set on 60 degrees with another fan blowing directly on me. My husband is sleeping in his snowmobile suit and I am sweating. Well, I am sweating when I am not freezing – which is approximately every other 15 minutes.
This has been the worst of it for me, though I am probably a little more impatient at times, and maybe less tolerant of all of the stupid people on the planet – but other than that, and, oh, not remembering stuff – all is good. I do think that certain aspects of menopause can be freeing. Not having a period, and not worrying about forgetting to take your birth control, are both liberating parts of life. They are an indication that I have “changed.” Change is good.
Whether you are embarking on your change, in the middle, or have finished changing, I think you will find something great to read in this issue of Maine Women. From recipes for good food, to recipes for great sex – we’ve got it covered. Finally, I leave you with a great quote:
“You can do this (this thing, where your body will cease to produce hormones and your skin, hair, muscles and bones … basically every part of you will notice, go into withdrawals, and stage a coup). Be prepared for this mentally, and you’ll own this ‘thing.’”
– Lisa Jey Davis, “Orchids: The New Black. How to Get Over Your Ovaries & Make ‘The Change of Life’ Your Bitch.”
– Lee Hews, Publisher