The following is my very raw account of my perimenopausal journey so far because I no longer give a fuck about what anyone thinks.
Half a year ago had you caught me during one of my hormonal moments I might have filled you in on the fact that I feared something was terribly wrong but I was unable to build up the courage to find out the truth.
Most people in my family have had some type of serious illness that they have had to learn to deal with. From cancer to debilitating forms of diseases I am incapable of pronouncing let alone spelling them or remembering the names of. I on the other hand have made it forty something years with not much more than severe food allergies. I should clarify that by severe I am probably exaggerating, but it is rather depressing at times to think about not being able to eat bananas or avocados. Poor me.
Seriously though, I had convinced myself it was my turn. I made it this far virtually unscathed and it was time for me to get a taste of unhealthiness.
For starters, my life time struggle with insomnia got worse. Instead of the five hours of sleep I had grown accustomed to throughout my thirties had quickly shortened into three or less. I was so tired on my commute to work that I would have to pull over for ten minute power naps on the side of the road. The lack of sleep lead to more coffee than the disturbingly risky amount I already drank. How many shots of espresso are too many in a twenty-four hour period? Now this was the question to keep me awake. My tough girl conclusion: It must just be the coffee. Lay off the fucking coffee.
Next up, hair loss. Just google this for yourself. So many possibilities. Stress. Anemia. Hypothyroidism (my moms guess because half of my family has it.) Lack of protein (are all those fucking bacon eaters right?) My conclusion: Stress. Yes, stress. That has to be the cause. Must do more yoga. Must find my ZEN!
Then the combination of a weird feeling in my legs, or actually the veins in my legs and swearing that I could feel the blood flow through them coupled with bloating. Serious bloating. My belly looked like it was ready to deliver. So bloated that a button flew off my favorite pants and rocketed across the room because my belly was just too fucking big. Yeah, and this did wonders for my issues with bulimia! My conclusion: Drink more kombucha. The probiotics have to help. They fix everything, right?
This lead to a series of shitty events. Depression. Heart palpitations. Bleeding gums. Dizziness. Bowel trouble. Painful boobs. Pissing my pants at the slightest movement. More depression. Anger. Memory lapses. Conclusion: Must find a fucking doctor. More honestly, I must beg my husband to find me a doctor because I am too scared.
Wait to see the doctor: Two and a half months.
In the mean time the sex thing. My poor husband. Feast or famine. Either the never-ending period, or my insides hurt so please just hold me, to I need you to fuck me now. I don’t care if you are half asleep. I need it now. Never mind. I will just take care of myself. Conclusion: I have always been a bit on the crazy side. It has nothing to do with any thing else. My husband is my hero!
Oh and then the thing that had me convinced that I had something seriously wrong with me, the electrical shock from the inside shooting through my clitoris. At first it was a fun ride until it didn’t stop and became painful, then just absolutely scary. Try looking it up on google and see if you find anything besides links to adult porn sites. Conclusion: This is freaky. I must be dying. Maybe I should take out my piercing?
In the final stretch, the week before my doctor’s appointment it all became much clearer. The first night I woke up clammy, feeling like I was on the verge of sweating. Like I was running a fever. I layered more blankets on even though I was extremely hot thinking that I could break the sweat and it would all be better, but that never happened. Over the next few days, I got this same feeling throughout the day and night. No warning. They just hit. At one point even though it was 40 degrees and raining outside, and I had the air conditioner in my car cranked full blast at 62 degrees, I couldn’t get comfortable so I opened the sunroof and windows. I wasn’t comfortable until I was soaked. Two nights before the appointment I realized that I was experiencing hot flashes. Conclusion: I am perimenopausal and don’t need to go to the doctor. My husband did not agree and drove me to my appointment so I wouldn’t miss it.
My final conclusion was accurate. I am perimenopausal. Before finding out I was vegan my doctor recommended that I up my estrogen intake with foods like tofu. I got that covered. The hot flashes are still around. My husband kind of likes them because I will strip naked if I am at home when they hit. My daughter finds it hysterical. It sucks when they hit at work but fortunately there is a walk in freezer that I step into for a few so that I can literally chill out. This shit can last for up to two years they tell me.
This is a journey that I would not have volunteered for, but I am here so I might as well share it, and see if anyone else wants to share parts of their adventure. Building a tribe makes everything better even if it is built around a center called perimenopause.
Are you going through the same thing? Have you already passed this phase? Any tips? What about diet? Did you or are you taking supplements? Let’s start a conversation. Any advice is helpful.
***Two years later this post still gets a lot of view so I decided it was time for an update. Cutting out coffee (I still drink other forms of caffeine) was a huge help. Hot flashes only visit me now if I indulge in a couple cups. Many of the other symptoms only happen now right before my period. My cycle is obnoxious. Sometimes I have them two weeks apart, other times I bleed for too many days straight (52 being the longest,) and currently I haven’t had one for six weeks but feel like it’s coming on.
It ultimately has gotten better so if this is just the beginning of your journey, don’t lose hope!