Judging Books….

You can judge a book by it’s cover – so the saying goes.

I told you in my last blog about Waterstones not having a single book on the menopause! Not one!  And I need answers to a number of questions.  So I decide to look on line for a book to help me.  And am surprised.  But not pleasantly so…

It’s the covers.  If they are to be believed then the menopause is a time when your hair will become thick, shiny and glossy.  You will have a wide smile showing even white teeth.  Your body will be slim and lithe.  According to one cover, when you enter the menopause your husband will start giving you piggy backs through meadows while you both laugh gleefully.  One even referred to the menopausal years as the ‘sexy years’.  This made me laugh so much I wee’d myself a bit.

Well menopause authors….Sarah Raynor and Christine Northrup amongst others…I beg to feckin differ!!!

Menopausal women do not tend to have glossy hair, cheery smiles and have piggy backs from their partners before a rampant sex session.  On account of their hair falling out, grumpiness, weight gain and diminishing libido.  Here is a picture that is a more accurate reflection of what a menopausal woman looks like.

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Also the titles….titles like ‘The Wisdom of Menopause’.  Seriously! Trust me .. you do not get wiser with the menopause.  You get thick …. thick as mince!!

And this for me is one of the worst things.  I was the smart one of my friends when growing up.  It was my ‘thing’.  My ‘tag’.  There was the ‘wild one’, the ‘pretty one’ and the ‘quiet one’  (though it turned out the quiet one wasn’t so quiet as we discovered when we visited her in the wee Highland village she settled in.  Suffice to say that the weekend we spent there proved that  old adage ‘the quiet ones are the worst’ and that everything that happened in Forres that weekend we agreed will stay in Forres unless the ‘not so quiet one’ decides to do her own blog – and trust me it would be worth a read if she ever does!).

Anyway back to the point (menopausal women waver from the point quite a lot – deal with it!!).  I was the ‘smart’ one.  I was.  I’ve got a degree and a post grad degree to prove it.  I used to be able to absorb things quickly and could beat an elephant hands down in memory games.  Not now.  Now I forget everything.  Everything.  I can’t remember if I cleaned my teeth… if I rinsed the conditioner out my hair ….. if I turned the straightners off.  The straighteners one is a biggie.  I now have to take a photo of the plug socket so that I can refer to it when inevitably I panic and think I have left it on after I have left the house.

 

I used to read books – loads of books – one after the other, devouring and getting lost in every single one.  But in the last year I have read just two – I just don’t seem to have the focus or concentration.  As I type just now there is thick fog outside.  Pea Soup weather as my Granny used to call it.  Pea Soup brain is what I have.

Anyway – back to the books.  I have ordered one of the books.  Menopause for Dummies.

I am keen to find out:

  • Should I have HRT?  What are the benefits?  What are the side effects?  What happens when you come off it?
  • If I had a hysterectomy – would that get it all over and done with?  Or do you still have to go through it all?
  • What are the natural alternatives to HRT?
  • What is the longest time anyone has ever taken to go through the menopause?
  • How can you tell how long it will take you?
  • If you were to commit a crime, would being in menopause be considered a ‘mitigating circumstance’

Mainly though I am debating whether to go ‘au naturel’ or whether to pump the missing hormones in….

 

 

Definitely Menopausal!

Officially menopausal. Our protagonist has the diagnosis and needs to find out more.

It’s official… I am menopausal…..

Probably have been for over a year.

But I didn’t know.  I have been at the doctors so often over the last year I actually just dropped a Christmas card in for the receptionists (my surgerys receptionists are lovely unlike the stereotypical dragons you often hear about).  The doctors are lovely too – showing great patience as I regularly popped in convinced I had one or a combination of:

  • Altzheimers (as can’t remember anything)
  • Early onset Dementia (as above)
  • Underactive Thyroid (gained 20lbs in a year)
  • Diabetes (craving sugar)
  • Vitamin D deficiency (muscles weak – am so tired)
  • Depression (just want to lie in bed all the time, lost my ‘zest for life’, cry a lot)
  • Bi Polar Syndrome (am manically high then so low)
  • Ovarian Cancer (my belly is so swollen I look 6 months pregnant)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (I don’t feel like me anymore – someone has taken over my body and my mind)

It was a locum that finally suggested I may be menopausal.  I was highly offended.  ‘Very much MENSTRUAL, thank you very much!  Every 26 days without fail’ I told him.  But the blood test we did ‘just in case’ finally showed a positive result.  Though I can see nothing positive about it.  Perimenopause they call it.  The worst of both worlds.  Still having periods but menopausal at the same time.  A bit like a practice for the real thing the doctor said – less than helpfully.

Menopause.  Yes of course I had heard of it – and I knew I would probably have to go through it at some point.  Jean from Finance at work was going through it last year, she called it ‘the change’  and bored the arse of anyone who shows even a vague interest.  She used to  sweat profusely, regularly pull a fan from her drawer and whizz it dramatically in front of her four or five times a day.  She then went off sick and we were told not to ask why.  But she was old – with grey frizzy hair. And elasticated beige trousers.  So although I knew at some point I would go through it – it seemed a very long way into the future.

When I did think about it – which was rare – I suppose I felt I would be a bit more ‘Helen Mirren’ about the whole thing.  Elegant and Slim.  Floating my way through it gently like a summer breeze.  I certainly wouldn’t be like Jean.

Except I am now like Jean.  Not the grey frizzy hair.  My hairdresser and my straightners are very much still in use.  But the sweats are there – I thought I was just coming down with things and that was my body fighting the infection.  And I also have the need to find out more and talk about it.  I want to talk about it – a lot.

I went off to Waterstones – one of the last bookshops in town – to find out more.  I was raging and sweating when i got there.  I had forgotten where it was despite having been there several times in the last few months.  I reassure myself that at least I know now (thanks to google) that this is a symptom of the menopause and not Altzheimers (which incidentally I aced the test for at the doctors – defo not altzheimers!!).  For the last year I thought I was going mad – I would get calls from friends asking where I was – I’d just totally forgotten to meet them.  At work I’d be half way through a meeting and realise I’d forgotten what happened at the start of the meeting.   I’d get half way through a book and forget what happened at the start.  I regularly got lost travelling to familiar destinations.  I was sweating just because that happens all the bloody time despite having done zilch exercise but walk 200 yards from car to the shop.  I was raging because I had caught sight of my reflection looking a lot more like Jean then Helen Mirren.

Found the health and self help section no problem as I had regularly visited it over the last year desperately looking for new meaning in my life.  But never to find books on the menopause.  But yet here I am.  And there is nothing.  NOTHING!  Thats right – NOTHING.  I am now more raging.  (I have been getting raging a lot over the last year).  I can find out how angels can help my life.  I can discover the power of crystals.  I can even learn a bit about the Kama Sutra.  Apparently I can make myself happy, feel the fear and do it anyway, cleanse my aura, learn the rules of love and get slim on a million different diets.  But I cannot find out about the menopause.  The sales assistant (male and about 20) is ‘working’ ie reading books on cars nearby.  But I can’t bring myself to ask.  I scan the shelves again – every woman in the country will go through this – surely there is a demand for books on the topic.

I give up and go to meet my pal for lunch.  Am a bit late as I forget where we are meeting and need to scan through whatsapp then my texts then my emails and finally find the location on facebook (thankfully she is facebook obsessed and checks in everywhere she goes – it is a big help).  She is the same age as me – in fact 2 months older!  I am going to ask her and am looking forward to a long chat about our symptoms (I am realising I am more like Jean than I would like).  We get wine and settle down and I ask if she is menopausal.  She almost drops her wine.  ‘We are in a restaurant’ she whispers looking around in horror.  ‘But are you?’ I say… desperate to find out and talk about it.  ‘No’ she says and then ‘Lets decide what we are having to eat’.  I am dismissed.  This is the woman who 30 years ago told me in great detail in Macdonalds about her genital warts diagnosis and treatment while referring to the guy who gave her it as that ‘fucking riddled cunty bastard’ in a voice loud enough to be heard a mile away.  And now…. she can’t bring herself to talk about the menopause!! I am about to remind her of that story but I stop myself.  I am finding myself in trouble a lot for not filtering whats in my head before it comes out my mouth.  I think now is one of those moments where silence might be the best option.

But it isn’t just me .. is it?  And thats why I am doing this blog.  For everyone woman out there who thinks she is going mental and can’t find a book or blog or someone to talk to.