Saturday, December 22, 2012

the tides have changed...

The tides have changed.  I've turned a corner.  Somehow I feel like I flipped a switch.  Crazy.

I started this blog when I had my hysterectomy because I wanted to document my experience, my research (as it were), and have a place to put my feelings down on the proverbial paper.  But as I was living through menopause I realized that it just wasn't going to work.  Frankly I think I was just too close to the subject to be any good at sharing in a productive manner.  Some times were fun, some I would rather have done without.  But what a huge experience to live through.

I often wonder why we don't discuss menopause, or many things in life for that matter.  The women who came before me never told me what to expect.  And that's probably okay, but sometimes it's just nice to know that what you are experiencing is normal.  That your partner may think your crazy, but this too shall pass.

This Christmas it's just nice to be enjoying the holidays, no stress, no worries. Well, other than the "normal" ones!  It's a good way to end the year.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Can allergies be menopause related?

I found an article that talks about developing allergies during menopause. I found this to be fascinating because since I hit menopause I have developed somewhat "severe" allergies, but instead of hives, wheezing, sneezing, or other unpleasantries in reaction to my surroundings I seem to have developed allergies to food groups.  Three years ago I became terribly allergic to anything that contained cows milk.  Sadly I had to give up cheese, milk and therefore cereal, and so much more.

Imagine going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering enchiladas, and then asking them to please hold the cheese.  It was difficult at first, but once I went without dairy it became very easy.  I tried lactose pills and that helped for a short time but not always successfully.  In the past year I have had 2 slices of Swiss cheese and possibly 4 bites of sour cream.  Oddly enough the only dairy product that I had NO negative reaction to was frozen yogurt. Interesting!

Somewhere in the last year I realized I was having a reaction to wheat as well, so I am taking wheat out of my diet slowly but surely.  Although I won't give up pizza, it's been hard enough to not have cheese on my pizza.  But pizza with no cheese AND no crust, well, that's just not right!

Two weeks ago, after three solid years of no dairy, I got fed up, tired of missing a few of my favorite things, and bought a small wheel of brie.  Pre-dinner we enjoyed some French brie with some rice crackers, and voila, no reaction.  A week later I tried brie again.  And again, no reaction.  The next day I had cottage cheese, no reaction.  So I bought some milk and some cottage cheese at the grocery store yesterday.  And I will slowly add in some select dairy items back into my diet and see how it goes.

Is this menopause related?  I don't know.  To be honest, maybe and maybe not.  But for 45 years I have had not one allergy and now I am definitely having negative reactions to food groups, so I think the chances are pretty good that it's menopause related.  I hope so, and hopefully it will pass as well.

And now going wheat free, well that's just a new adventure!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

to each her own!

By far my biggest challenge with menopause has been my short temper, my inability to stay cool in almost ANY situation.  And while it's not fun for me I think it might be worse for those around me.  They never know when it's going to hit, what is going to set me off.  And when I feel the anger start, it almost feels better to feed it than to control it.  Sad but true.

After doing a hormone test, both my doctor and I were quite surprised to find that everything was well within normal ranges, except my progesterone levels were a "tad" low.  And by a tad I mean that if normal is 80 (as an example), my level was a 78 or 79.  Somewhere I have those test results so please understand that I have no idea if 80 is even a realistic representation, so I am just going with it.

I tried progesterone cream, pretty low levels, and like the last time I took estrogen, it sent me far over the edge.  Much farther than I would ever want to go.  Unlike last time when it took me about three days to realize there was a problem, this time it took me over a month to realize I was in deep, deep trouble.  And I went in with my eyes wide open, knowing the signs I was looking for from my bout with progesterone four years ago, and I still missed them.  And that slow onset of what I call psychotic paranoia is a terrible thing to experience.  When I finally realized what was going on I stopped the cream quickly.  After about a week I started to feel a bit more normal.

But with  normal came the symptoms I was trying to "cure".  This time I turned to Amberen. I talked to my naturopath about it, and she said it couldn't hurt to try, there didn't seem to be anything harmful in this, and neither of us really found any stories of problems.  So with a little hope and bit of trepidation I started the combination of a little white and a little orange pill every morning after breakfast.

Within less than a week I felt better.  By the end of the first month I would barely loose my temper at something that might really deserve it, and I was laughing. A lot more!  It felt great.  I took Amberen for a straight 90 days, and when I ran out I decided to see what would happen if I stop taking it.  It took about a month for me to really feel desperate, but I am back on it and happy to be feeling so great again!  I believe that each woman must find her own best fit, and I am sure this will be a great solution for so many.  I am so happy that it's working for me.

And who knows, I may still try some of the other solutions out there, and I will tell you when I do, but for now I am feeling better than I have in years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

good grief, it's been two years!

When I started this blog I felt I needed an outlet for my menopausal musings, a place to record my hormonal findings, and basically, just a place to say my piece.  I like to tell my story.  But life got in the way, as it often does, and here we are two more years into my fabulous menopause, and I have lived through so many changes.  I just haven't documented them.  I feel every woman can tell a story that will help another woman somewhere in the world.  And believe me, the highs and lows have been quite a challenge, but I have found a fabulous balance, and I will share that in the next post.

On a side note, my uncle died today.  He was 68 years old.  He would have been 69 this December.  Another of my uncles (I am fortunate enough to have three!) called to give me the news.  Then I called my mom, and my heart broke for her.  This giant of a man, who survived multiple strokes 7 years ago, and has had some struggles since, who gave us all so much, who was always a shining light in my life, is gone.  And I miss him terribly.  

Good-bye Lee, I will be looking for your rainbow!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Hair. Growing up I had stick-straight, super thin hair.  I remember using my mom's hot rollers to curl it one time.  Within an hour it was stick-straight again.  So I did what I could with curling irons and blow dryers and, for the most part, enjoyed my hair.  My hair dressers have all fawned over it.  As I grew older it got thicker, but was always straight.  Then about five years ago I started to develop single waves.  There would be random waves in one little spot on my head.

After my hysterectomy I noticed that one little spot turned into a few little spots.  Since I always blow dry my hair I don't often know what my hair would do if left to it's own devices.  Tonight after a little color update I got out of the shower, towel dried my hair and decided to let it dry on it's own.  What you see above it the current state of my hair, as of 10 minutes ago (I love technology!).  And I have to say, not a big fan of these curls. 

I have had friends with curls.  Gorgeous, silky, bouncy curls.  Mine are not that variety.  Mine are random, uneven, and not user friendly.  So I will continue with my usual routine, and quietly forget that I have these funny little curls.  Until the next time!

Gotta love those hormones!

Monday, September 28, 2009

working on a menopause friendly diet...

My biggest menopausal struggle seems to be my weight. I admit I am not militant about what I eat, but I am conscious and I only indulge once a week. And by indulge I mean I might have a frozen yogurt. I have been going to the gym for the better part of the past six months. I usually go about three times a week, and at first I was doing the treadmill/weights routine, but lately I have been doing a half hour of laps three times a week. I love to swim, and although the first ten laps are all about me telling myself I can stop at 20, laps 11 to 36 (or more) are pure joy. After I do my laps I do about 10 minutes of stretching and yoga poses while I am still in the pool. I feel great and it gives me a fantastic start to the day. I would like to go five or more days a week, but I will have to work on fitting that in to my current schedule. My intention is to add some weights to my routine in the near future. I know that strength training pays off big, and that is really what I need.

So despite my efforts I seem to be gaining weight. Frustrating, but I believe not all that uncommon. So I have to go back to square one. I am documenting every bite I take, I will double my fruit and veggie intake, I will continue swimming, challenging myself to more laps in the same half hour of time, and I will add strength training. In my premenopausal days I was successful at losing weight by eating well and exercising. Again, I wasn't militant but it worked. So I am revisiting all that I know and hopefully I will have a positive outcome by this time next year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009