To my men friends, this may be an important educational read for you. To my women friends..most likely you will relate and hopefully find it slightly amusing.
No one ever told me what would happen when my body aged. When my Mum went into peri-menopause, she was more or less silent about what was going on, except to say that very soon she would be saving a little cash because she no longer would need to purchase cardboard tubes stuffed with cotton.
I went through peri-menopause for a couple of years. I recall that I insisted my doctor tell me one way or the other if I was for sure starting menopause. He looked at me like I was asking him to perform some sort of magical voodoo. He sent me for blood tests. When they came back, he relayed to me that I had normal estrogen levels.
I disagreed, stating that I must be going through peri-menopause. I was losing what felt like a litre of blood an hour and my moods changed faster than a whore’s drawers (an expression that he didn’t find even remotely funny).
I rushed on to say that I had started growing random hairs…Not just normal hairs, but super sonic grow-an-inch-an-hour hairs and in places that never grew hair before! I confided that I had begun to take tweezers with me everywhere I went in case one decided to grow while standing in line at the grocers or while having a drink with a friend!
After taking a deep breath, I then confided the following:
-My feet would sweat but my arm pits were dry. I hadn’t used antiperspirant in months…except on my feet.
-My breasts had taken an obvious downward turn-no longer small and perky-they were now more pliable than a brand new jar of playdough.
-My ass (which was never round to begin with, but looked respectable in a pair of jeans), had flattened and fallen overnight! If that wasn’t bad enough…
-I stated that I may have a small tumour growing just over my pubic line…like a large tube had been inflated…
-I pointed out that I may be growing jowls. There was a definite puppet line happening and I inquired whether he thought I should have a face lift (he responded that it was entirely up to me…a charmer that one).
-I was waking at random throughout the night. Wide awake. Sometimes I thought I walked in my sleep and had taken a bath because I would be soaked. I had taken to wearing my partners extra large t-shirts to bed because I was tired of constantly washing my pajamas. I asked him how many pajamas his wife had. He didn’t answer…
-I explained that my eyebrows were disappearing and while some women were proficient at attending to their brows with pencils and such-when I tried it, I invariably looked surprised…all the time…in a constant state of surprise (I lifted my bangs up to show him. He smiled…).
-I told him that at times I thought I was going a little…well..crazy. But then I told him I’d always been a little…well..crazy and that I wasn’t sure if it was my normal crazy or a new ‘what the hell is happening?’ kind of crazy (I didn’t appreciate the look he gave me).
When I started on about sex he sat back in his chair, apparently listening intently while staring at the ceiling.
He sent me for an internal ultra sound for the massive bleeding and suggested I exercise more.
I eventually got a new doctor. I told her my symptoms. She said in her Scottish brogue that it was fairly apparent to her that “I would be going through ‘the peri-menopause’ and then onward to ‘the menopause’ ”.
She suggested a few things-none that I could remember by the time I got home, either because my memory was spotty at that point of my menopausal journey or because I went to the grocery store afterward and the cashier asked if I qualified for the seniors discount.
At any rate-menopause eventually came. I saved money on the plastic tubes with cotton stuffed in them and spent it on beer and wine.
I grappled for years with the thought that men, no matter how in tune they think they are to a women’s emotional and physical well being, will never really know what we go through. I can vaguely remember my partner telling me years ago that men and women were exactly the same…I was going through peri-menopause when he stated this.
He is still alive after that statement…I needed his extra large t-shirts.