This is what my Barbara Johnson calendar said for January 21:
“Have you heard about the new Barbie dolls? Hot Flash Barbie: Press Barbie’s bellybutton, and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead. Comes with handheld fan and tiny tissues.”
Boy can I relate! I didn’t even know I was having hot flashes when my menopause started. That’s because I would ‘flash’ intermittently while at home on holiday (this was in December of 2012) and so I assumed it was a result of living in the tropics and being away from my air conditioned office.
Fast forward to September last year. I was hot, sweating, moody, tired, cramping, bloated, nauseous and confused. I told my doctor when I went to see her that I would have to be very ill; something was seriously wrong. After the initial examination she told me it was menopause. I insisted it was not! And so, she agreed to perform a series of blood tests. Two weeks later the results were back and my doctor called me.
“Yup, it’s menopause”, she stated (with a big smile I was sure).
“What? It can’t be!” I exclaimed. “You mean all of those pretend flashes were real? And why didn’t mummy tell me?”
There you have it. I am going through menopause and not resisting it, but not loving it. I sleep on a big beach towel with a smaller towel at hand because hot flashes wake you up constantly during the night leaving you with soaked sheets and clothing. I do not leave home without my fan (a cute one similar to what sweet little old ladies use to fan their faces with in church), a wad of Bounty paper towels and a large bottle of water. I have a standing fan at work all to myself but laugh with my co-workers when I have to hurriedly whip out my fan to cool off – in spite of a super huge AC unit. I wear two shirts in a hot country now, and do not care how fat I look. I can jump right under the fan at home to cool down and then dive under two blankets to warm up – yes, you are either very hot or very cold; there is no nice in between. My son does not understand why the littlest of things will upset me the most, and retreats to the safety of his room whenever I lose it.
I do however worry about fitting into my clothes ever again because no matter how much I exercise or eat right, I cannot get rid of the bloating or looking as though I am four months pregnant. I will admit too that the Evening Primrose oil with flaxseed and the Omega 3 supplements have helped a lot and instead of flashing on the hour (for five minutes each time), I flash less frequently; there is hope!
I know I am closer to the end than I was at the beginning of this journey and I am thankful; I just wish I could sweat less and smile more during this interesting change of life.
Leave a comment if you can relate.