Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello Menopause ~ A Brief History

I would say I was quite normal, physically, until I was 19. That's when I started having extremely heavy and irregular problems. Let's say I should have invested in the right stock back then -- but I didn't! From 19 to 43 I never had a normal cycle, I was always carrying tampons and overnight pads with me and I felt that there had to be a better way.

For about seventeen years I saw doctor after doctor and had responses that ran the gamut from "it's all in your mind" (would you like to see physical proof??) to "well, there really isn't anything we can do about it." Then one day I was making my annual (ok, sometime bi-annual!) doctors appointment and was told that my doctor (who I didn't really love anyway) was on maternity leave and would I like to see the nurse practitioner. I of course said yes, since over the years I always had a twinge of optimism every time I was able to see a new medical professional. Always that spark of hope that someone would be able to help me.

I went to my appointment and was about to leave when I stopped, sat down, just started bawling and told her about my history and my frustration with everything. She listened, asked a few questions and said "You have PCOS" and promptly sent me for testing to confirm her diagnosis. So now I had at least a reason for everything that was happening, but still no solution.

I went back and forth between acceptance, frustration and being just purely numb. I just started to physically and mentally shut down. I closed myself off to the world slowly but surely and there was no place I would rather be than at home, alone, with the door locked and the phone turned off.

Then at 42 I met the love of my life. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. Since I hadn't had to deal with long term birth control for a while we talked about our options and I decided that I didn't want to take the pill, mostly because of my age, so I opted for the IUD. What started as an appointment towards that ended up with so much more.

First they recommended and prescribed progesterone. I didn't know it for several days but it literally made me psychotically paranoid. When the uterine biopsy results came back they took me off progesterone and recommended a D&C and some alternate birth control pills. After two months on the pill I was having uncontrollable bleeding (while taking the pill) -- in other words, the pill was doing nothing to control my cycle, which was the main reason they prescribed it. Which took me back to the doctor, which led me to a gyn. specialist who heard my story, read my records and said “you are having the D&C today.”

The results of the D&C showed four different levels of precancerous growth and after going over all my options my doctor recommended a hysterectomy. After further research and some deep thought I scheduled the operation.

I discussed possible side affects with my doctor. I discussed HRT and natural alternatives with my doctor. The pros outweighed the cons at every turn. I knew for sure that I was making the right decision. I talked to several women who had gone through this and they all said the same thing: You will not believe how good you feel! More about that later, but for now I will say, they were right!

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