Lately, I’ve read blog entries and articles about menopause, this transitional time to be embraced as a rite of passage, a right of womanhood. But menopause is not embracing me. It’s kicking me in the backside.
There’s no idyllic shift from my childbearing years to a stage where I feel stronger, more independent, more womanly. In fact, I had no childbearing years. My body refused to do what it was made to do then. So shouldn’t I be spared what it’s doing to me now?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. After all, being perimenopausal since my early thirties, I’ve had a fickle relationship with my hormones, sometimes in a skirmish, while at other times resting in a rather peaceful cease fire. Depending on when you asked. And who asked. Okay, so I had severe mood swings. There was the occasional night sweat. My periods became less predictable. And over the past few years I’ve often gone months without a period, during which I had fairly frequent hot flashes. Or so I thought.
But in the past three months menopause has opened fire in an all-out battle, causing my personal thermostat to totally malfunction. One moment I am red-faced and dripping with sweat, and then five minutes later I’m shaking, bundling on a sweater and winter socks. In the middle of the night I bounce from one extreme to another, kicking off the covers, walking barefoot onto the tiled bathroom floor and pressing my palms and face against the granite countertop letting the chill seep in while my body adjusts. Within minutes of climbing back in bed I’m shivering and adding an extra blanket. And this repeats four, five, six times a night until I lose count. Come morning I often wake bone-cold, my muscles contracted and trembling so much I can’t bear to strip off my pajamas to get dressed. Until I have hot flash, which will inevitably come, but maybe not for half an hour or more.
My whole being is tense, tight, the fight to stay at an optimal temperature taking its toll on my body, and the lack of sleep, like the mother of a newborn, taking its toll on my heart and my brain. Are these swells of emotion from disrupted nights or fluctuating hormones? Is my inability to recall simple words or what’s on the calendar because of little sleep or from growing older?
Eventually, I seek advice from my doctor, afraid to try anything that might awaken my endometriosis from its long slumber. I fear an estrogenic prince and his kiss may wake the sleeping monster. Which limits my options.
Enter progesterone cream. Not progestin. But bioidentical progesterone cream. Which I’ve been using now for a few weeks after scouring the internet for dosage information, the safest ingredient lists, creams with good reviews. The thing with more natural remedies, though, is that they take time.
So far, my not flashes have diminished from an inferno to more a feeling of being singed, and instead of an average of about 18 each day (and I’ve counted, because believe me, they aren’t something I can sleep through), it’s probably closer to around a dozen. Rather than waking five or six times, I’m face planting on the icy bathroom counter an average of three times a night now. I wouldn’t say I’m sleeping well, and the bundling and unbundling is still part of my workout for the day, but I can see there might be light at the end of this tunnel. If I can stick with this long enough to see if this option can provide all it promises. I’ll keep you updated. For now, I’m off to bed, to hopefully wake fewer times each night than the night before.
grace for each moment, one moment at a time