Menopause, you hateful bitch…

Warning: the following blog post contains mildly graphic tales of menopausal woe. Men, you may want to move along…quickly. If not, you’ve been warned. I mean it. Girls, read on…

When I was young and heard older women talk about menopause, I would think to myself “how awesome – no periods!” Now I’m 47 and in the fourth full year of my own menopausal experience and I think to myself “I’d gladly have a period if it meant no more hot flashes.” Sometimes, ladies, the grass is greener on the other side and sometimes it’s not. “Be careful what you wish for” has never been so evident in my life. The ugly truth is that menopause sucks. Here’s what your mother or friends never told you:

• Menopause is not just for little old ladies. My symptoms started appearing at the age of 42. Sometimes life is not fair.

• Imagine sitting in your oven on the “warm” setting and thinking, “wow…it feels toasty and wonderful in here.” Now imagine that someone locked the oven door and turned it up to broil. You can’t escape, the heat is unbearable, and your skin starts to melt and pool in the bottom of your oven with that lasagna spill-over you forgot to clean up. Welcome to my hot flash.

• In the past, I could expect a visit from my “friend” around the 5th of each month. Like clockwork. Our visit would last 7-10 days, and while it wouldn’t be what I’d call pleasant, it wasn’t unbearable. We’d hang, sometimes we’d argue, she’d leave, and I’d be happy again. Now I may go for 6-7 months with no sign of said friend. She may show up for 4 or 5 days randomly or she may drop in for 44 days and almost put me in the hospital. Hateful…evil…bitch.

• Cranky? Of course I’m cranky! My body is turning on me! I have a right to be cranky!

• I’ve never had dry skin in my life, but now I have a bottle of lotion in every room of my house and in the glove box of my car. And I live in a city known for 98% humidity. I can never visit a desert again, at least not until this is all over. I’d look like Phyllis Diller at only 47, and that’s unacceptable. Sorry, Phyllis.

• For you youngsters, the answer is YES: when you go gray upstairs, you go gray downstairs.

• Speaking of gray hair, I’ve been plucking out the more obvious offenders – especially around my face where I can see them in the mirror more glaringly. One of these days, I’ll have to accept a new mantra and move on. My choices are “gray is sexy” or “bald is beautiful.” And yes, that goes for downstairs, as well.

• If they can make Grecian Formula for men that can be combed in and cover gray in 10 minutes while looking completely natural, why do they still expect women spend $150 and 3 hours getting our hair colored? Where’s our inexpensive but extraordinarily effective 10 minute comb in formula?

• I have insomnia issues now. Sometimes I sleep like a rock for 8 straight hours, but most nights I sleep for 20 minutes at a shot, throwing covers here and there, and begging for mercy from the sleep fairy. A few times a month, I find myself awake until 3:00 or 4:00am. I should tell you that The Complete Package and I do not have cable. For the record, basic channels suck like a Dyson after 1am. Once Craig Ferguson goes off, your choices are infomercials for appliances, miracle investment advice or phone services for singles who want to mingle. I’m beyond mingling, I already own a Shark Steamer, and if that investment advice is so stellar, why are you still hosting infomercials for a living? Really.

• My fingernails are forever splitting and peeling into a million thin layers. Forget manicures. Why would I want to paint my nails a color that would actually draw attention to my hands? Ugh!

• In my youth, I’d heard women speak of episodes of excessive sweating due to menopause, but I never understood it. Now I pray for blissful ignorance again. While it doesn’t happen nearly as often as regular hot flashes, it is 100 times more intolerable in my mind. Imagine randomly exploding into a sweaty dock worker. For 15 minutes, you are completely drenched in places you didn’t know had sweat glands, and your clothes look like you just ran through a sprinkler. Men have done this for centuries. Women were not made for this. I can’t claim to be “dewy” when it’s running down my shin bones. Please, someone shoot me.

• If you’ve had children, you know you get mentally fuzzy just before and after giving birth. We’re hard-wired for it. It’s a part of the science of being a woman with raging hormones during the blessed event. Newsflash: it comes back during menopause. Those same hormones that made you feel like an idiot as a new mother return for round two when you experience “The Change.” I find myself pointing at the dishwasher and barking at TCP “don’t forget to put your plate in…..that…..that THING where the dirty dishes go.” Wow. Really? How am I supposed to sound tough or bossy when I can’t remember that the lump on our curb is called our mailbox? The good news – it only happens randomly. The bad news – it happens.

• The Complete Package and I used to snuggle in bed. It helped me fall asleep, feeling all warm and cuddly like that. Now I’m too hot and uncomfortable to be touched, and TCP is bringing marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars to bed. Oh, well. He might as well take advantage of the raging inferno coming from my side of the bed. He’s clever like that.

• I hesitate to admit this, but I have a peach fuzz beard. This is my most embarrassing menopausal side effect. I admit this only because I don’t want to hide the awful truth from you, my friends. TCP says it’s not noticeable, but I notice it. When I look up close in the mirror, I feel eligible to apply for Santa Clause at Macy’s this Christmas. It’s short and soft and colorless, but that doesn’t make me feel any less of a fuzzy bunny. It has me wondering…whatever happened to Nad’s. Remember Nad’s? It was a sticky honey-like substance similar to a home waxing kit. Where is Nad when I need her?

• Did you know that menopause is actually ONE DAY? Menopause refers to the last day of your last period…or the first day of your period-free life. The time leading up to that one day is called peri-menopause. So I am peri-menopausal. That’s medical speak for hormonal female freak.

I’m telling you here and now – I am marking my calendar and counting the days until this is all over. I’m dreaming of the day when I’m over this speed bump and looking at it from the other side. I’m four years in, I’ve put in my time, and I’m ready to get off this bus. Menopause is a bitch, and I’m ready to give her a good slap in the face or put a boot up her ass. Sorry, my crankiness is flaring up again. Until then, I am your sweaty, fuzzy, graying, sleepless friend. Pray for me. Pray hard and pray often…because you could be next.

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28 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

28 responses to “Menopause, you hateful bitch…

  1. TCP

    Pray for me too. I live with a sweaty, fuzzy, graying, sleepless … and sometimes cranky (by her own admission) woman.

    But I love her more each day.

  2. OMGoodness! I am cracking up. Consider it laughing with you, not at you. That is if you are laughing. I am 39 (for 3 more months) and I have started having symptoms, already. I just weaned my youngest baby a few months ago, and now peri-menupause starts. My friend stayed for a record 18 exceptionally heavy days last month, and I thought I was going to die. But 44 days?! You poor gal!

    • Thank you for laughing with me. And yes, I am laughing about it. It’s laugh or cry, and I refuse to let it bring me down! I keep telling myself that it has to end some day. I just wish that day was today or tomorrow!

  3. Big Sis

    Oh sis, let see, family history – Grandma quit having mother nature visit her at 35, Mom had a complete Hysto at 36, I had a partial at 39! But I found out the other day from my Dr. that I’m half way through it all, after ripping St. David a new one!! ;) Welcome to the “Hormonal Freaks” club!!!

    • If this is a club, it better come with some perks….gourmet coffee, free bottled water, clean hot towels, free chocolates and 1,300 cable channels at no additional charge. And I want it retroactively for the past 4 1/2 years. Oh, and I want valet parking.

  4. Bama Boy

    Please enlarge the font of any and all future warnings… I encountered some of the scariest things I have ever seen… Things NO son-in-law should ever read about their mother-in-law!

    But since we are on the topic, is your new pirate name “Gray Beard”?

    Aye Aye Captain!
    Bama Boy

    • I’m sorry son, but I stand by the posted warning. It was right up front, it was bold, and it warned all men to consider reading something else. Life is all about the choices we make, and you chose to continue reading even though you were clearly warned. You should have opted for the “ignorance is bliss” approach. Now you’ll just have to deal with it. On the up side, you now know what to expect from My Baby in 15-25 years. As for my wrestler name, The Complete Package has suggested “The Silver Eagle” which would also work with other adjectives. Like bald.

  5. underflow

    OMG! I must share this with my mother, who has been going through “The Change” for what seems like a decade. And for me, nearing 40, this is scary because I’m not there yet but can already relate to some of these issues. What does that mean for me in a few years???!!! (By the way, I stumbled on to your blog when looking for Germany Christmas Market pics. Your photos are so good!)

    • That’s so awesome! I’m glad you found me. I wrote this menopause story when I was experiencing some particularly wicked hot flashes accompanied by monster sweats. I was more than a little peeved I wasn’t told this was going to happen to me some day. Somebody should warn a girl, and I think it should be the other females in your life (mom!). I wanted to put it all out there so others wouldn’t be caught by surprise. I have 4 sisters and a daughter, so I felt it was my duty to inform them. I’m thrilled you stumbled onto my blog. Hope you enjoyed the Christmas Market photos. I sure as heck enjoyed the trip! Please tell your mother hello from me, and that I hope she survives the change with dignity and grace. As for me, I’m just hoping to survive it, and so is The Complete Package! hahahahaha

  6. underflow

    LOL! Well, you have no idea how helpful this is. It is so helpful that you might soon have additional readers. ;) My mom loved it.

  7. Wendy

    Hi there! I found your blog thru your comment on PW’s site about HER graying beard pic…LOL She is so hilarious and you are awesome too! I’m only 39 and I’m already experiencing some of these symptoms. I drive my family crazy complaining it’s too darn HOT, turn on the overhead fan! (when it’s 32degrees outside…) Hopefully they’ll stick it out with me! ha! But seriously this was comically funny and dreadfully insightful, a good mix really! My mom passed 2 years ago so I really DIDN’T know all the joys of my impending menopausalhood. *yes, that’s a word .. cuz I said so!* :)

    I’m definitely going to keep reading thru your blog. I also LOVE your phrase on the header about the junk drawer!

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday! I’ll be back for more!
    ~Wendy

    • Thanks, Wendy! It’s so nice of you to drop in and read a while. I appreciate the visit, and I appreciate the comment even more. I’m sorry to hear that your mom passed. I dread that day. I have 4 sisters, and we’re all very close to our mom. I also sympathize/empathize with your hot flashes. And ‘menopausalhood’ can be a word if you want it to be. In my opinion, if you’ve lived it, you can use it! The truth is menopause is not fun. The key is to try to get through this “phase” of our lives with dignity and humor, which is not always easy. I’m lucky to have a great husband who puts up with my flashes, my bouts of insomnia, and my episodes of the “hormonal stupids.” Good luck on your journey, and thanks again for dropping in. You’re always welcome to visit any time! Happy holidays to you, as well, and my best wishes for a wonderful 2011. -NB

  8. Wendy

    Aww, well thank you! I bet it’s wonderful to have all those sisters as well! I have 2 MUCH younger brothers and lord knows, THEY don’t want to hear anything about THIS topic! lol Just keep the humor, it’s what makes life so much more bearable thru the rough patches!!
    ~Wendy

  9. Claudia

    Oh Jeanne, you had me into fits of laughter with this post. I’m right smack in the middle of one of those hateful periods and just this morning, I was thinking “I’m 41, my mom was an early menopauser (39), I hope this is the last period I’ll ever get” . Now that I’ve read your post, I’m not so sure anymore… especially since I suddenly remember that my mom has been having hot flashes ever since… and that’s 24 years of swabbing and sudden bolts of randomly discarding bits of clothing. Come to think of it… I think I’d like to take this opportunity to solemnly declare that I’ve decided to love my periods from now on. For which I thank you :-)

    • That’s awesome, Claudia. Thanks for making me laugh in return. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. Part of me feels I should apologize for the brutal honesty, but the other part of me believes every woman should know what she’s in for! I wish someone had shared all this with me before it started. I, too, started exhibiting symptoms around the age of 41. I’ll be 48 in March, and I was really hoping I was about done with this nonsense, especially the hot flashes and sleepless nights. Now that you’ve shared that your mother has been dealing with this for 24 years, I’m ready to sit down and cry. But then I’m going to get up and nominate her for sainthood. Anyone who puts up with hotflashes for that long without killing random strangers deserves a special place in heaven. Thanks for sharing, and best of luck to you. And I really mean that!

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  12. I stumbled upon this post by calling Menopause by her rightful name. Commiserating is a good thing!

    • And to think I was afraid some would be offended by my language. I guess those of us who know her personally know she’s quite the B-word. Thanks for the comment, Shoozles. I hope you’ll visit again! -jeanne

      PS – This Thursday, April 26th, I am officially a menopausal woman according to my doctor. My opinion on the entire matter has not changed one little bit. Best of luck to you!

  13. Dana Turner

    Wow, I am almost 53 and have been in meopause for about 2&1/2 years. Also, at the same time, I went through breast cancer, double mastectomy, 4 reconstructive surgeries (not finished yet) & awoke to the fact that I”ll NEVER have a child. I am also a VIRGIN. I would love to just deal with hot flashes (on 2 meds to control them). Menopause isn’t just a BITCH, it’s just the CHERRY on top of a mound of misery. Not even my Therapist understands. All I hear is, “It takes time”. What happened to all the time before? Where did life go? Sorry this is such a downer but, why didn’t Someone tell me that Life doesn’t get Better, it just gets Harder. I appreciate this Avenue to vent, maybe if it had been available, oh say, 15-20 years ago, I could have prepared. Hopefully, our younger Sisters are listening. DCT

    • Dana,
      I am so sorry your journey into menopause has been so incredibly rough. No one should be subjected to all of this at once. If it’s true that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, you are a warrior, my friend, and destined to rule the world. I am a mixed bag of 1.) I want to hug you, 2.) I want to bake you cookies and tell you it’s going to get better, and 3.) nominate you for Woman of the Year.

      Stay strong, Dana. It does actually start to get better. I will be 53 in March, which means I’ve been experiencing menopausal symptoms for 11 years now. The upside is that I no longer experience constant hormone-induce migraines. My skin is not nearly as dry and itchy. The mental fog has passed and I am finally thinking clearly and rationally again, which means the hormone surges have also decreased. I do still have extreme hot flashes, but they are much fewer and farther apart. I am still rocking the peach-fuzz beard, but that is easily tamed with my husband’s beard trimmer. (Face it, the truth is not always pretty but neither is a lady beard.)

      Young women need to know what’s ahead of them, it’s true. Being informed means being prepared. It’s also true that none of us will experience menopause in exactly the same way. Your story is a good reminder that while some of us are uncomfortable and able to approach it with tongue-in-cheek humor, there are those who are truly suffering. I pray you find relief soon, my menopausal sister. Stay strong, Dana. You are not alone.

      Sending hugs & hope,
      Jeanne

      • Dana Turner

        Thank you Jeanne, I appreciate your sympathy and accept your hugs & cookies. Since my initial blog comment, I have experienced another backlash of what you call “The fog of menopause”, I have been fired from my job of 8 years. Without mentioning names, it was a Fortune 500 company that terminated me for using a Holiday Promotion Coupon without any warning or write up. It happened because I just plainly didn’t remember that it wasn’t allowed but, to my defense, they gave no training or instruction before the Promotion began. So, I’m dealing with loss of Insurance which means my last surgery has been canceled along with my Therapy Sessions. I’m trying to be strong, need your thoughts & prayers. In Sister Love. Dana

  14. Wanda Interlichia

    Your blog sounded like my life almost word for word. When I turned 50 I had my last period, when I turned 60 I experienced my first EVER hemorrhoid. I also could not remember the word for everyday items, started putting my clothes on inside out and my husband, “MCP”, MY complete package, (I love your idea of calling him TCP… by the way!) does not notice, nor does he notice my mustache or the black hairs on my chin. (WHY do we get white hair but any new facial hair has to be black?)
    MCP gets to have his prescription of Cialis but the vaginal dryness I get to endure has no easy fix….yeah, we’ve found a great lube but it’s AFTER sex that leave me feeling like I have just had an open flesh wound ripped open again. It takes 2 to 3 days to feel normal and MCP is so randy he’s always asking, “can we do it yet?” I’m not even looking forward to “it” anymore because I know how it’s gonna feel afterward. I’ve told him how it feels, and he feels bad but he’s also a guy who HAS to have sex.
    I blame Eve in the Garden of Eden, because of her we have pain all our lives!!!!

    • Hello, Wanda!
      So glad you found my blog post and stopped to comment. Because of you, I now look forward to 60. Ha! I love your candor. If we can’t discuss menopause with our fellow sufferers, well then who can we turn to?

      Let me just say this first: our lady business is not a bag of Wavy Lays or a box of Krispie Kreme donuts. We do not rip it open. While I understand your husband may have needs, so do you. So maybe on some nights, “doing it” can mean ordering pizza and binging on Netflix until you’re in a more giving space. If that ever happens. Of course, medical professionals have options, but sometimes we just need a rest. For real.

      As for the other side effects, I can say that six years in I have found mine still fluctuate. I am again experiencing hot flashes, which had abated for a few years. Am I disappointed they’re back? You betcha. But in an odd twist of fate, the frequent migraines have lessened, so I’ll take flop sweat over auras & halos any day. I still have a peachfuzz beard, but am thankful TCP allows me to share his beard trimmer. #truelove My memory has also improved, which I am thankful for. Not sure it TCP is enjoying it as much, as I’m not catching him forgetting things as he ages, but there it it. Sometimes you’re the giver; sometimes you’re the taker. LOL.

      In closing, I send you hugs and well wishes in your menopausal journey. (If this were The Bachelor, you’d have to do a shot now.) Hang in there, sister. I hope you find peace soon. Until then, know you are not alone. None of us is alone. -jeanne

  15. Tracy Jo Ehlers

    You just wrote my life with this witch! Started around 42, 47 now and a raving b/t <h!

    I have gone from "sweet girl", as a coworker called me, to snappy, crabby, and downright mean at times. So NOT me. The hot flashes came first and immediately the cuddly factor died a sad ending, which broke my heart. Oh ya! Laying in bed, sweaty, crying, burning up, then freezing cold due to soaking. Sucked! But this "mean" side of me is so insanely NOT ok. I am caring for my best friends mom outta state and next month I see my doctor for panels and a talk. Now let's talk about my fear of hormone therapy and how sensitive my body and I are. Sadly, wanting a small team of children I have never been able to have them. Actually was part of a devastating divorce with the live of my life when he changed his mind about kids so he "set me free". Just shoot me! Still no kids, 19 years later. Baldness in large patches under gorgeous long hair from the day he left. Hair just dropped out and continues to after 2 treatments of steriods. The last one causing my scalp to dent in! Huge crater. Go bald?! Not an answer for this crater head b/t <h! Menopause and being a woman!

    Look at me go… that felt good. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Jo

    My peri started with an anxiety attack and a short stint in a psychiatric hospital, i kid you not…I have turned into one of those bitch women ive always hated being around!
    My poor husband. We’ve threatened to divorce each other so many times. We should be settling down and looking forward to retirement by now. Im wearing him down 😞
    Ive been like this for 3 years & i hate myself for it, although now im officially on the menopause it is settling down a bit…The lady magnet seems to help a bit and 5HTP suppliment.
    I feel for anybody who is starting peri. Hang on in there, youre not cracking up, it will pass ✝

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