I was ecstatic about 3 months ago when my doctor thought I was going through the menopause. I had been in the shyer, younger sister stage of perimenopause since I was 35 and at nearly ten years later the doc and I thought my intro to all things menopausal had gone on for long enough. I had all the signs that the Big M was thundering down the pass towards me – night sweats, palpitations, hot flushes (or is it flashes), an irritability so great I could fell an ox one-handed, and of course, no period.
I was excited because menstruation and I have not been friends. The thought of that chapter of my life being over for good left me with a feeling akin to winning the lottery. Friends expressed their dismay.
But you’re only 44.
It means you won’t be able to have any more children.
Don’t you think you’ll start to feel old now?
I’ll tell you what makes me feel old. Endometriosis makes me feel old. The incredible pain. The nausea. The anaemia. The aching legs. The bruising on my legs that looks like someone has attacked me with a hockey stick. Putting up with it every single month for years and years and years. That makes me feel ancient. The thought that I might not have to endure that anymore was such a tantalising one I spent days salivating.
But one thing I have learnt in my short time on earth (or very long time according to the friends who think I am old) is that nothing BUT nothing is written in stone and that just when we think we’ve jumped the river safely we realise a reed is wrapped around our ankle and is pulling us back into the water.
It looks like the Big M isn’t quite ready to upstage her younger sister and that I am back to my monthly bouts with the gladiators in the arena. However, a new friend has come along to challenge me in that same arena.
Remember last week when I had the bad stomach flu? That flu continued into this week. Over two weeks in total. It has been going on so long that I put a new message on the answering machine –
I’m sorry, I can’t come to the phone right now, I am in the loo.
What I didn’t tell you was that I have been experiencing that same stomach flu every month for the past few months. Turns out it’s not a flu at all. It’s a result of my hormones reaching 9.5 on the hormonal Richter scale and being able to shift several continents at once. Apparently, if I could manifest all this hormonal energy into some kind of striking force I would be my very own weapon of mass destruction.
The erratic hormones are affecting my ability to digest food and, in the words of my doctor, I am voiding with unusual force. Why do clinical terms that are meant to sound innocuous often sound so sinister and just a little bit dirty? Am I the only one who thinks of Richard Gere and gerbils when someone utters the phrase voiding with unusual force?
I am trying to laugh about all of this because it is a part of life and it happens to many people but I will confess that it got me down earlier this week. I already have irritable bowel syndrome and quite significant allergic reactions to lactose and shellfish which I have to monitor all the time. I really don’t need another intestinal problem thrown into the mix. But it’s happening so I have to deal with it.
I am going to go the natural route and will visit a naturopath next week who no doubt will give me something unpronounceable to drink that resembles dirty dishwater but I will drink it and make the best of it all the while praying it doesn’t make me void with unusual force.
I will carry on as normal. You may find me working, writing, blogging…
If not, you can find me in the loo.