Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just Wondering...

Up and down tonight in the glory of hot/cold, extremely crazy/not quite so crazy, bizarre hormonal fluxuation, and I'm studying my product insert for the nice little new estrogen patch I'm sporting just below my belly-button (Vivelle-Dot 1.0, if anyone has any input; vegetable-derived estrogen), and one of the warning signs at which I am to contact a doctor ASAP is "unusual vaginal odor." Ummmmm...OK. Like, say, Pine Forest? Mulberry? Ylang-Ylang? Heck, I'm not even sure I'm that flexible, so it had better be obivous and downright weird.

"Yes, uh, Medical Exchange? I, uh, have an emergency, I think, because I use the Vivelle-Dot patch, and the removal of my underwear today released a distinct patchouli/sweet orange blend, and I had not used my hemp soap recently..."

And yes, until I can be sane and sleep through the night and not panic every other hour or so, you can expect this sort of thing. I apologize to all the children, and members of my family. Of course, members of my family are not surprised, so there ya go.

Also? Someone please tell me that I'm NOT going to have breast cancer, a stroke, heart attack, or blood clot now that I'm taking estrogen. Please. I'll believe you. I don't have to worry about the other symptoms, like uterine, ovarian, or gall-bladder cancers, because I don't have any of those things. I do, however, still have breasts and a heart.

ONE OTHER THING, sprung from the comments of the previous post: Something I think we as women need to mount a crusade about is the misleading quality of terms like "hot flash" and "night sweats." I mean, they just sound so...BENIGN. You know? Even I thought, when it was discussed previously, that I would have to suffer through "hot flashes" and "night sweats," Hey, no problem!" I mean, how hard does THAT sound? A "flash" obviously lasts mere seconds, and a little sweating at night? BIG DEAL.


So obviously, something must be done about this obviously male-originated terminology. I am offering, as my suggestions, "rapid-cycling temporal agony" and "the seemingly eternal misery of the swamp-fevers." I'm taking any additional suggestions for appropriate renaming of "hot flashes" and "night sweats." Any takers? I'm ready for a revolution. SOMEONE besides Caroline Myss has got to talk about this stuff, for real.

Oh, and those of you of child-bearing age, with NORMAL female parts and working systems? Stop griping about your PMS. Seriously. Relish this pre-menopausal time in your lives with everything you've got. I kid you NOT. I am, after all, the IDIOT who used to say, "How long until menopause?" Of course, I wasn't dealing with your run-of-the-mill symptoms, so perhaps I can be excused my ignorance. Perhaps.

I feel like I might even work up a poop for tomorrow--how's THAT for news? Stay tuned...things are sure to be riveting around here.


  1. It's beyond wonderful... but we don't need photographic evidence, and would be happy to take your word for it.

    Can I just say how lovely it is to have you back? You were so missed! :-)

  2. Well, as you know, I've got thru the "Change" the natural way...I grew old and shriveled and gray in places I didn't know you could GET gray... but that's another side effect of menopause.

    The hot flashes are akin to a serious bout of malaria. I've been known to run outside in a snowstorm because I'm dying of the heat. I sleep with a fan by my bed, which I use all year long. Even the cat can't stand the fan in winter and he has a built in fur coat. I keep a fan in the living room all year round, and one, no..that's a lie, two next to my computer. One at my feet, one by the window. Plus I own two personal fans for the car and if I happen to be someplace where it's too hot.

    The night sweats. They're more like night drentching. You wake up with sweat dripping all over your body, your hair is totally dripping with grease, and you just cannot cool down. Sometimes I go out on our screened in porch just to cool down. It's horrible.

    And then, my favorite side effect: the insanity. I seriously went nuts. It happened so gradually that I didn't notice it until I was screaming all day long I was just so anxious. AD's have helped with that one, but I still have a tendency to fly off the handle when annoyed.

    Hmmmm...maybe that's what Dave2 is going through with all his traffic nightmares....

    ANyhow, I totally commiserate with you and I didn't do the estrogen replacements...I just went through years of hell. My friend Nina had a chemical menopause caused by chemo for Hodgkins and she said it was worse than the years of natural meno. She's my age. Maybe I should hook you up? She's wonderful.

  3. I'm so glad you're feeling up to posting again and that your hormones are somewhat more regulated. I think you should hold out for a few weeks, if you can, until your body adjusts to everything that's just happened. Then you can start figuring out what's long term and needs to be addressed and what has leveled out some and probably will continue to do so. But gosh, I feel for you. The first month or so after major surgery is SO ROUGH. Hang in there, girl!

  4. B~~~ How about "excrutiating nocturnal combustion" ? According to my mother, it's appropriate. You can always tell a "hot flash/sweat" night with her. You go by her room one time and she is all curled up under her blanket, snoring like a truck driver. A little while later, you pass the room and the scene is one of disarray. The window is half open, blinds askew, her blankets are half on the bed, half on the floor, one leg is hanging out from under the sheets, the fan is whistling away on high and she is mumbling something about " a damn oven". I can't wait! I'm next!

  5. I glad that you are getting back to yourself. Again, I have no advice. Although I have been watching my mom go through them and it is hard on us when she does:o)

  6. I went through the same thing in my late 30's without ever being able to bear children. Had the same andenomyosis, fibroids horrible pain each month that finally became just one long period. The hot flashes started the day I got home from the hospital after the hysterectomy. I ended up keeping men's v-neck, white t-shirts piled by my bed at night so I could swab up the water and change shirts without getting up all the time. I kept extra pillows also since I would soak through mine every night. Had to buy extra sheets to keep up on clean ones. Thought it would never end. It took about a year to get everything regulated. I would go through the surgery and the aftermath all over again to feel the way I do now. Your life will get soooo much better. No more scheduling trips and parties and events around your monthly. No more moaning in bed and heating pads and endless new medications(that never worked) and vomiting from the pain. You Will feel better soon. I like to think of post surgery as going through menopause in fast action. Enjoy the help and attention of those around you and remember, even when you feel better and think you can; "Do not try and vacumn for a long time".

  7. As a woman of a certain age, i prefer the term "Thermal Meltdown Event" over hot flash.

    Either way, it sucketh.

  8. When "anonymouses" make me cry, I NEED TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE!

    Thanks, guys.

  9. Did you see the Simpsons episode where Patty/Selma (can't remember which) goes thru menopause? She throws herself into a snowbank and makes a sizzling noise as she sinks to the bottom. Then you hear her say, "I'm still hot!"

    I remember watching my mom break into a full-body sweat over the course of a minute while standing still. She had a hysterectomy at 35 and didn't start meno until 45 (she kept her ovaries). She said it was the best medical decision she ever made. I think you will feel the same way soon.

  10. I understand the worries, last year when I went in for my annual and asked my gynocologist if taking the pill was really that dangerous he looked at me funny and said, "Pregnancy is dangerous!" I hadn't thought of it that way. So you know you do whatever works and don't worry too much I think.

  11. I went through menopause at 22(hysterectomy)-- before I was married or even thought about having a child. I remember thinking this isn't a flash-- it's a rather long event. One time I had an event at the store and my long hair was wringing wet. ( I pretty much only sweat on my head to this day). Anyway a clerk in the next aisle said he could help the next person in line, but when I moved my cart to checkout, I looked up and saw a woman who looked like hell. I felt sorry for her so told her to go ahead. Then I looked around. When I looked up again and began to go, she was still there. So again I told her to go ahead. As I began to look around again, the clerk looked at me as though I had 3 heads and said "M'am, there's no one in front of you, can you come check out?" I then realized every time I looked up, I was looking in a mirror.

    Menopause is not for sissies sister, but you can do it! and on the other side, life is a bowl of cherries! hang in there. With so much support and heart, you can't lose

  12. Just so you all know? The "it was the best thing I ever did" stories really are helping. I've been feeling bad, emotionally, today, and I understand that the emotional rollercoaster is part of it, too. And even though I already have the patch, Mom called the 800 number and they said to expect 4 weeks before the hormones really make a difference.

    I have so many obligations in October (including having to attend continuing education in order to retain my professional license, that can't be rescheduled, next Tuesday), I'm kind of sinking, trying to figure out how I'm going to make it.

    And Bella wants a birthday party so badly. WITH full pony-involvement, which means full Mommy involvement.

  13. Good golly -- continuing education next week? Can't you get a medical postponement?
    Re: the pony party -- I hope your family allows for a small, family celebration on the real birthday and the friends and activities party on the first Convenient date. You need some more rest before spending an hour or two trotting around in circles leading happy little girls on a pony.

    You can't hold me to it, but here goes: You will not get breast cancer, a stroke, heart attack, or blood clot from the estrogen. Statistically speaking, you've had your share of health woes, and you just can't have any more.

    We are still praying for you, and I'm glad to hear that the prayers of your friends have been helpful.

  14. So good to hear from you again Belinda! The biopsy news was certainly the answer to many prayers.

    I use the term "power surge" hoping that giving it a more positive connotation would help. I've been having them for years (I can't do HRT) and about the time I think they are gone, I'll have one. But being thrown into menopause in a day makes yours much worse than the natural transition.

    I also hate the short-term memory loss that goes along with the big M. Seeing someone on tv that you know you know but can't figure out from where, or even worse when this happens in real life and the person is talking to you! :o))

    Each day should bring you better balance though with the anxiety and once the patch starts working, what a relief that will be.

    No more pain woman! Think about it---how wonderful is that?

  15. oh, belinda. i haven't had any experience with hot flashes or the other joys of menopause. but i am quite familiar with the i-am-positive-that-i-am-about-to-die brand of anxiety attack. i am also familiar with the joys of xanax. right now i'm on paxil and i love it. the fact that it goes against tom cruise's beliefs makes me sure that it must be a good thing.

    you and your family are in my prayers.

  16. Good point about the difference between surgical menopause and natural menopause--I hadn't considered that!

    Today is kind of rougher, pain-wise, which is weird, because my surgical pain has really been negligible up 'til now.

    And yes, ANYTHING that flies in the face of the church of The Cruiser is my kind of logic.

  17. Ohdearlord...I hated going through instant menopause! And I didn't take HRT because when I took the pills they literally made me crazy. When given the choice, feeling as though my head was going to burst into flames was better than sitting in the corner of my sofa and crying ten hours straight.

    It'll get better. Promise.

  18. Oh, goodness! Ever since I found out that I had endo, I've been joking about having a hysterectomy as the final solution. It's not sounding so good, now! I am SO not ready for the atomic hot flashes and the torrential night flashes.

    I am really, really glad that they didn't find any endo in your abdomen, though. That in itself is wonderful news. Hope you're feeling better today!

  19. Belinda
    I've been coming by for awhile via the Arkansas Times, I'm any*mouse over there. I'm glad to see you made it through the surgery and the endo was not all over the place. I had to have a hernia repaired last year and tried to get my Dr. to do it with a local, he said no. I really, really, really hate being put under.
    My Dr. recently broke the news that he thinks that the only thing that will help me is a hysto.
    I so don't want to do this. I want to fix (polycystic ovarian syndrome) what is wrong....myself. I want the horrible periods and craziness and all the other stuff to just get better with a pill.
    It won't.
    I fear all the things you did and all the things you are experiancing now.
    Lord, I'm already a total bitch, I fear for my son and husband.
    BUT I want you to know that reading you last few posts are helping me get a handle on my issues and move forward with what I need to do.
    Not this week or maybe even this month, but soon.

  20. Hey Belinda,
    I'm anon 10:43. I visit you from the AT blog. The Hogs did great today. Hope after this week that the pain is under control and you are starting to settle down anxiety-wise. All I can say is that "it will get better". Love reading your blogs.

  21. "Blast furnace" is more like it.
    "Power surge" doesn't say enough - "meltdown" is more like it.

    I've started to assign degrees of severity to mine, but it seems that they are all Level Three, the most extreme, so I had to give that up.

  22. Just now catching up with you! I hope you're feeling some better now.

    I've been living with "nocturnal spontaneous combustion" for years now. It's gotten sporadic, so hopefully I'm nearing the end of this 10-year-long perimenopause.

    At their worst, the NSCs felt like I was being cooked from the inside out. I got in the habit of sleeping on several layers of thick cotton beach towels, with a nightstand full of cotton tank tops. After each drenching, I'd discard the tank I was wearing and the top towel (or two) and put a dry top on. I also kept a huge glass of ice water by my bed, both for drinking and for swabbing myself with. And a floor stand fan with a remote control is worth its weight in platinum. Oh! And ALWAYS put your hair in a topknot for bed. It's horrible to awaken soaked with sweat and a snarl of hairsnakes stuck to your neck.

    I'm really glad you're back, Belinda!

  23. You guys are the absolute best. And I'm so glad to have the AT folks coming over! And oh, Julie, and prayers are with you that you at LEAST get everything you want/need out of your uterus before it has to go, IF it has to go. (Oh, and Julie? I had a double hernia repair WITH my "big" endo surgery several years ago. Ahoy, sister!)

    Thanks to Dixie (you rock SO much) and Laura and Bob (now you KNOW I'll have to be going there)...and SJ, you darn well KNOW I love you. Thanks for all the support, everyone.