To HRT or Not To HRT.
That is the question I have been asking myself for a few months.
I have pored over the evidence. Well, if I am being totally honest I have been checking what celebrities have been on HRT then watching programmes like Loose Women and This Morning carefully to see the effects. So it is research, but perhaps not as, say a Medical Scientist, would recognise it.
Andrea McLean, Davina McCall, Lorraine Kelly, Jane Moore – all take it and all looking utterly fabulous and don’t forget what they are saying every day – so they make me feel very pro HRT. Gloria Hunniford boasting that she didn’t also made me very pro HRT.
It was in 1966 that HRT started to come to prominence with Dr WIlson, in his book ‘Forever Feminine’ describing the menopause very much as a disease that could be treated. He advocated HRT as a way to keep your husband happy. My Menopausal Monster hackles rose reading this – and tbh reading many articles written even in the last year or two which seem to think that the driving force for all women seeking help is to ensure their husband/partner can get a good shag. Indeed I have yet to read anything that says if you can’t be arsed (due to sweating your tits off, being utterly exhausted and worrying about the possible consequences of telling a work colleague this morning to feck off) then you should just say you can’t be arsed, go to bed and tell your partner to bring you some wine, a bar of galaxy and a cool compress then feck off to the spare room so you can watch Netflix in peace.
In fact how about GQ mag or one of those Gadgety Mags that men read having a wee article on how to look after a menopausal woman. And they maybe explain that when a menopausal woman is lying in bed and suddenly rips off all her clothes it is unlikely that his luck is in and instead of leaping on top of her, he should open a window, bring out a large fan then go and get some chocolate for her.
Anyway back to the point – it turned out his book was funded by one of the biggest manufacturers of HRT – which pissed me off even more than the content of the book. Though tbh my socks were really pissing me off that morning – so it doesn’t take much.
I have played about with fanny magnets and magnesium but tbh I have pretty much been self medicating with Jack Daniels, white wine and Family Sized Galaxies. And I have to concede that this does not seem to be helping my ‘disease’. So maybe it is time to try something else.
I expand my research outwith the confines of OK and Closer – but end up more confused than ever.
‘Go on it’ advocates say. ‘Your risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer will reduce. Your insomnia and hot flushes will go. You will be a sparkly happy sexual being again’.
‘Don’t go on it’ say the detractors. ‘You may end up with endometrial cancer, gallbladder problems, breast cancer and dementia’.
I mean – talk about a rock and a hard place.
I am not sure how I feel about pumping my body full of unnatural hormones. And I suppose if I am honest – it feels like a ‘failure’ to start taking them – after all, isn’t this just another phase of life?
I told that to my friend and she asked me if I could remember what I told her when I visited her after she had her first baby. I can’t actually remember what I had for my breakfast – so unlikely tbh.
She reminded me that she had been devastated as she had to have a c-section and had cried her eyes out to me explaining she felt like a failure for not having a natural birth.
I am still looking blank and panicking slightly that I have no recollection of this.
‘You called me a fuckwit and told me I cooked a gorgeous baby girl and who gave a shit if it came out my fanny or belly button or even got delivered by a bloody stork’
I still don’t remember.
‘You also brought two fantastic chocolate eclairs’. I have a glimmer of recall now – I do remember them. They were fantastic.
So she calls me a fuckwit and tells me that no one gives a shit if I take something that isn’t natural. She also reminded me that it was synthetic cream in the eclairs coz neither of us liked ‘natual’ cream.
So I decided i was doing it – HRT for me. I want to be gorgeous like Andrea McLean and springy and jumpy like Davina and have a big smile like Lorraine. And I have a pal that claims her marriage and job and sanity were all saved by HRT which made her feel herself again. And if HRT can make me feel like me again – then I don’t care if it isn’t natural. I miss me a lot. (though Google says that some HRT has the Urine of Pregnant Horses in it – and that seems fairly natural).
So off to the Doctors I go, happy that I have made a decision.
Except I haven’t. In the five minutes I take to get there I change my mind. I absolutely don’t want to go on them. But when I arrive – I am absolutely sure that I do. Then I am not sure again. Then I decide absolutely not. I do some googling and find some information on Menopausal Clinics who can give you more in depth help than a 10 minute consultation with a GP. So I decide to ask for a referral.
In I go – but the GP isn’t for it, She is super keen I try HRT before referring me. But now I don’t want it. So the Menopausal Monster decides it is time for me to cry. I try to control it but the Monster is too strong so I cry quite a lot. This leads her to suggest anti depressants. Between sobs I tell her I am not depressed but can understand totally how she may have drawn that conclusion. She looks at the clock and clearly thinks ‘fuck it – lets get her out of here’ and finally does the referral. Then insists that I get all my bloods done at least to rule out anything else. I nod happily.
Three days later I get a call telling me to come into the surgery. Oh no…. OH NO… What is wrong with me? There must be something. I go into meltdown and try to call the surgery back but it is closed. I try desperately what all the blood tests were for but I have forgotten them all. I call my nurse friend in panic.
‘Did they ask you to bring someone with you?’. ‘No’ I reply. ‘Well it probably isn’t that bad’ she reassures me.
Next day I go back and am advised I have an Underactive Thyroid. I almost leap out my chair and punch the air. The Doctor asks me if I know what it means. I am so excited …. ‘it’s why I am fat and knackered’ I explain ‘and you just give me tablets and I will be thin and energetic again’. The Doctor says this is a bit over simplistic and not 100 percent accurate and proceeds to give a more medical description because she needs to prove that she has done 7 years at medical school. I barely listen as I imagine joining the world of the thin and wide awake club! I bounce out of the surgery clutching my prescription with the GP no doubt writing ‘possible bi polar’ on my notes.
I have 3 months til the Menopausal Clinic – and I have decided if I still feel this crap even with the thyroxine then I am most definitely going on some kind of HRT.
I get my prescription then nip in to Greggs for two massive Chocolate Eclairs filled with synthetic cream. I try to give the impression that one is for me and the other is for someone who has just had a baby – but I know she knows that I know that one is for now and the other is for when I get home to have with a cup of tea.