Today’s post is a guest post by Debbie Lamedman. Debbie is a playwright and freelance writer who found her way to The Perimenopause Blog when it was featured at MSN Health. I thought it would great for Debbie to share her story and experience with perimenopause. With great style and humor of course! Be sure and check out Debbie’s blog at www.thingsdebbieneedstosay.blogspot.com
I’m standing in the shower. Sweating. Seriously. And it’s not a hot shower either. It’s a cold shower. So I’m standing there, in a cold shower and did I mention it’s the middle of winter? I’m standing there sweating and holding a clump of hair in my hands.
A big clump. Of my hair. Every time I try to rinse out the conditioner, more seems to come out of my head in clumps. And then of course I proceed to cry because, really…what else is there to do?
It seems irrational to burst into tears over my fluctuating body temperature and the natural shedding of my hair. But of course, these days, irrationality is my middle name. Because, you see…I am a woman coping with the symptoms of perimenopause.
I was late…..But Not to the Party
It has been going on for awhile, but the symptoms have gone up a notch these past six months. Up until this past December, my periods had been pretty regular. I’ve always been one of the lucky ones who had a regular 28 day cycle ever since the early days of menstruation.
I went 71 days without a period, and then when I did get it, she seemed to be making up for lost time. I won’t even go into the horror of what happened during those 71 days. Okay…I’ll go into it a little bit.
I was late. And then I was very late. And then the pain started. Ridiculous pain and bloating. Breasts so tender I was coming out of my skin. Anything gently brushing against them caused me to wither in pain. I felt like I was going insane.
And then of course, it occurred to me, that maybe I was pregnant. A friend of mine suggested it after I told her about my symptoms and I was highly indignant about it. “Don’t be silly. Of course I’m not pregnant. I’m too old to be pregnant. It’s menopause. I’m sure of it.”
But then the doubt started to creep in and I began to do intense research. I’ve never been pregnant…didn’t know what it felt like. But I’d never gone through menopause before either, so how could I know what was happening to my body?
I took two OTC pregnancy tests that turned out to be invalid. That did nothing for my self-esteem. I couldn’t even seem to pee on a stick correctly.
I was crying uncontrollably every day, and since I am like many Americans without health insurance, I was investigating local clinics to see if I could get my questions answered.
Eventually, my period arrived complete with a very heavy flow and debilitating cramps. But I was very relieved to see her anyway. I wasn’t pregnant. Thank goodness for that. But I was undoubtedly entering my menopausal phase. There seemed to be no question about that.
I Didn’t Sign up for This
Who knew stopping something would be so painful? Would it have killed Mother Nature to ease us into this change of life? But no…we literally have to move on to this next phase kicking and screaming. Well, some of us do. I’m trying not to, but believe me, I’ve been doing my share of kicking and screaming.
It does no one any good, and doesn’t particularly make me feel any better, but sometimes it seems like the only way I can let off some steam. My body feels like a traitor. I don’t recognize it. Belly fat and cellulite seem to emerge overnight even after eating healthy breakfasts like yogurt and fruit and nutritious dinners like veggies and chicken.
I’m tired all the time, and it’s not the kind of tired you feel after a long eventful day. It’s an ache in my bones and a thorough and total lack of energy. Attempting to accomplish the simplest of tasks seems arduous and inconceivable.
My brain is always achy and fuzzy as well. I’ve always had a sharp mind and a terrific memory. But lately? Achy and tired and fuzzy…oh my! My only question these days is “when is this going to end?”
Oh, YES! It’s Real! And I’m NOT Going Crazy!
I felt very fortunate to discover The Perimenopause Blog. I didn’t have a lot of people I could discuss these problems with, and to realize that so many women were struggling with the same issues as me was reassuring.
Not to say that I was happy to hear of all the suffering women…but just that I wasn’t alone in my misery. That I wasn’t going crazy and these symptoms were real and not something I made up in my head.
Some days are worse than others. I have noticed that exercise definitely helps my mood (though it doesn’t seem to do much for those annoying hot flashes.) I figured if I was going to sweat, I might as well get some exercise out of the deal too.
I am researching herbal remedies and things I can do to help ease the symptoms. I’m about to start drinking apple cider vinegar as it appears to be helpful in remedying the hot flashes. I’ve tried ACV in the past for other health-related issues and it did seem to work. Maybe it will work again!
I remain hopeful. There’s nothing else I can do. Coming to terms with middle-age may be the hardest issue of all to deal with. I don’t know where the time went, but here I am and boy…I’m being ushered into this phase of my life with a vengeance.
As of now, I continue to sweat when its 32 degrees outside. I continue to cry over the most minimal of circumstances. My memory is not what it used to be, and my thighs will never look the same again. But it’s life. It’s my life. I will find a way to get through this challenging time even if it’s with a clump of hair in my hand and sweat persistently running down my face. I shall prevail. You can too!