Thursday, August 2, 2007



I am 43 and I have entered into what experts call perimenopause. The premenopausal stages when you start to notice some troubling changes. I have to say the fatigue and weight gain came first. You know, when your body starts turning into that resembles that of a sharpea, you know, the little dog with all the wrinkles and rolls. Unfortunately for us, it's just not as cute. I have noticed over the last couple of years that I seem to be a little on the warm side, I sweat more than I ever have. I noticed last winter that on those really (rare) cold nights that I don't necessarily reach for the long flannel pants, fuzzy slippers and a robe and get underneath two blankets and a comforter the way I used to. No, thanks to my new internal heater, a light blanket will suffice, and chances are during the night, that will be tossed aside. My husband even noticed the change one freezing night as he sat next to his space heater and I got up and turned the thermostat down. He asked me if I was going through "the change".

A couple of nights ago I had what I think must have been my first official hot flash. I have occasions when I complain of being unusually hot and break out in a sweat and stick my head in the freezer. This however, was something different. I was getting ready for bed when I felt it coming on. It was like someone had flipped a switch, my face felt like it was on fire and the heat engulfed my entire body, I began to sweat and said to my husband, "It is so hot in here!" He of course was fine, it could be 80 degrees in our room and he'd be complaining it was too cold. I climbed into bed and pushed all the covers aside. After about 10 minutes, I felt a bit of a cool down pulled a sheet over me, only to toss it aside again a couple of times during the night when I woke up warm and a little sweaty. I was talking to my husband about this the next night as we were going to bed and he responded, "Oh, Goody!"

That's not the only problem I'm having. I was in the middle of making a pitcher of tea the other day, when I went to the pantry to get the sugar I forgot what it was I wanted. This sort of thing happens all the time now. I frequently go to another room in the house to retrieve something,
only to forget what it was I wanted when I get there. Heck, sometimes I forget to go to the bathroom, I get to the point where I can no longer hold it and think, "Oh, I meant to do that an hour ago." The issue of forgetting where I parked my car, especially in the Super Walmart parking lot, as been resolved. I park on the same aisle every time, straight out from the entrance. I had to resort to this after spending about 15 humiliating minutes roaming around the parking lot with a full cart of groceries searching for my car.

The big joke around our house is my lack of ability to keep track of my reading glasses. I walk around the house searching for them at least a dozen times a day. It is a running joke around here and my husband swears he's going to get me one of those chains you attach to your glasses and wear around your neck. I don't think so! I might as well hand a sign around my neck that says, "I'M OLD, BLIND AND FORGETFUL!"

Speaking of bad eyesight, yesterday I had to look up a phone number in the phone book. I grabbed my readers and stared at the page then pushed the book a little further across the table. I got very frustrated as this did no good at all. It has happened, I can no longer read the phone book! Do they make a large print edition of the phone book? I'd like to speak to whoever is in charge at the phone company and explain to them that I live in state that is heavily populated with aging baby boomers and senior citizens with bad eyesight. I am sure they would argue that this would not be cost effective, so I guess I'll have to get some stronger glasses or purchase a good magnifying glass.

There is a more serious side to this stage of life. It's the mood swings. I'm sure the people around me must have whip lash from my ups and downs. I'm sure they think I'm crazy. Sometimes I feel as if I am in a constant state of PMS, except now I think instead of pre-menstrual syndrome, I'll call it perimenopausal syndrome. I get very moody and depressed at times and feel like I'm losing my mind. I want to get in my car and drive as far away from here as I can. Then the feeling subsides and I start to feel like my old self again.....but for how long?

I have an older sister who has been complaining for the last few years about the weight gain, the mood swings, irritability, the heat. I told her last year while visiting her that she was probably in the early stages of menopause. She'd had a hysterectomy a few years earlier, but they did leave one of her ovaries. I never occured to her that she could be going through this at her age.
While at a doctors appointment recently for a physical, she told her doctor what she was experiencing. He did all the necessary tests and bloodwork and confirmed, as she said to me,
"I'm not crazy, I'm in menopause."

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