Menopause is not for wimps.
|This show makes so much more sense now.|
It's also not for me. I don't enjoy it. At all.
I thought, arrogantly, with all my surgical experience that I could bounce back from this surgery just like all the others. After all, this was supposed to be a quick, 45 minute laparoscopic procedure, a couple of hours in recovery, and home by dark. Except the 45 minute laparascopic procedure turned into a four hour abdominal surgery with two nights in the hospital. But still... I've had worse. I thought I could bounce back.
Oh. Oh, how wrong I was.
You see, unlike the simple but excruciating dead gall bladder or the whimsical breast reduction, the hysterectomy brought side effects. I was unceremoniously dumped into full menopause at the age of 37. I thought, arrogantly, that the thyroid cancer had prepared me for the effects of menopause. Hormonal imbalances, temperature swings, crazy moods-been there done that, right? I refused hormone replacement treatment because I thought I could handle it. Also because I don't need the increased cancer risk and because I already take enough pills every day.
Oh. Oh, how wrong I was.
I don't know what menopause is like for others. I only know what it is like for me. I don't care for it.
Some of it is interesting. In a way, menopause is like a fast, backwards pregnancy. It started with the post-partum depression, then went into nesting. Then mood swings and food cravings. I'm expecting the morning sickness any day now.
|A very Benjamin Button pregnancy.|
Hot flashes. No matter what the sitcoms have told you, hot flashes aren't funny. They're hot and uncomfortable and unpredictable. I'm not a fan.
Worse than the hot flashes, though, is the hormonal imbalance. That post-partum-like depression? It didn't stop when I started nesting. It just got worse and worse. As my estrogen plummeted, it seems the menopause had a nasty interaction with the thyroid stuff and I got depressed. Not sad. Depressed. It was very dramatic and tearful and miserable and I look back at it with embarrassment.
I can't describe the experience of clinical depression better than Ali Brosh did, so I won't try. I'll just say, it was bad. I had a very involved doctor and a good support system in place. Not sure what would have happened if I didn't. As of now, I'm ok. Yes, I've still got the support system in place, and yes, I'm still being monitored by the doctor. It's going to be fine, I think. I haven't cried in days now.
I'm on a lot of hormones now. I mean... a lot. My doctor started me on a dose... then doubled it... then doubled it again. Being on quadruple estrogen is weird. I'm suddenly enamored with all things pink and I can't believe how much flannel I wore while I was depressed. Hello Kitty is suddenly adorable (in a non-ironic way) and I really want to get a pedicure. And babies. I want to squeeze or steal all the babies that come into the bakery. Also, that crepe-y skin that was developing on my neck is getting firm again. And my nails and hair are stronger. It's all very strange. But better.