As is my norm, I am sitting in front of this keyboard, with absolutely no idea where this post is going, only that I am trying to work something out, within myself, and this is the best way I know how. Writing always seems to draw it out, lay it out, and get it out, and saves people around me, from me unintentionally taking things out on them. Hopefully that is the case today. Forewarning some of you guys out there, there is definitely going to be some dialogue about lady parts, lady issues, and HORMONES! Back away, very carefully, if those topics scare the heck out of you, or if you just think you already know everything you need to know on this topic. You’ve had your spoiler alert, so don’t say you didn’t know what you were getting into!
Every step and stage of my development as a woman, has been ahead of the scale, if one even exists. I had to start wearing a stupid bra, at 11, before most of my friends, and when I started my period at 12, I seriously thought I was dying, because no one had ever had “the talk” with me. I was unprepared, and terrified, and it didn’t take long before I realized why it was called “the curse”. My mother was quite antiquated in her ideas on how this thing should be handled, and I was not allowed to use tampons, or even the pads with adhesive backing. I was forced to use the VERY old fashioned belted pad contraption! Horrifying, uncomfortable, and just downright nasty. Remember boys, I did warn you, and some of you ladies probably have no idea what I am talking about, but that’s OK, I’m not going to delve any farther into that. That’s what Google is for, if you really want to know.
So, to recap, I got boobs and my period early, which led to extra male attention. Do not get me wrong, I have loved boys since I knew there was a difference! My first peck of a kiss was behind a portable, in primary (kindergarten) with a little blond boy named Billy, and my first REAL kiss, was at a ski lodge in the French Alps, on a class trip when I was in grade seven, with a freckly faced, dark-haired young man named Robert Lenz. Hmmm, just realized right now, that school was my playground in more than one way! I find that interesting, and this story could get novel in length if I continued recounting all my escapades, so I will put that little gem in my “for another day” file, and jump on ahead!
It probably goes without saying, that I also started having sex early too. I am not going to name names, or dates, or ages, to protect the “innocent”. OK that made me chuckle a little. I did have to be home from the prom at 12:30, when it ended at midnight, and we lived 20 minutes away, even though, at the time, I didn’t know it, but I was already about 9 weeks pregnant. Prom was the day before I turned 18, and the bursary I received for my good grades in high school, to go into the nursing program at a hospital in Halifax, would go unused. I have absolutely not one single regret about being a teenaged mother, but the pregnancy was brutal. I was in and out of hospital and on bed rest for high blood pressure, diabetes, toxemia, you name it, I dealt with it. Anyone who knows me, knows I have no hips, and this body was not particularly designed for “birthin no babies”! I had an almost 9 pound baby, and over 75 pounds of weight gained, including fluid retention in basically every place there could be, so after 20.5 hours of labour…and hell yes I need to add that half hour, I had to have a C-section. Don’t feel bad for me, I was right back in cosmetology school, within 2 weeks, so I bounce back quickly.
I didn’t have many lady problems from that point, for a good many years. I did get married, and had a very early staged miscarriage when my first son was about a year and a half. I still believe, even though that was very tough to deal with, that it was for the best. I was in an abusive marriage, and I don’t know if, being pregnant, I would have gotten out when I did. Nor would I have met husband number two, or had my second son. I again say, this body wasn’t meant to be pregnant! The second go around, I had trouble eating meat, I was nauseous the entire 8.5 months, couldn’t make it to the top of the stairs without having to lie down from my heart racing, diabetes, again, and when my doctor suggested we try labour before booking a second C-section, but only for 6 hours, I told her no way! If I couldn’t get one out in 20.5, 6 just wasn’t going to happen, and I knew it. When the doctor, in the operating room, told me I had a matched set, and asked if I still wanted my tubes tied, at 22, I said YES! THAT’S when most of my female issues started!
The next 7 years were Hell, and you might noticed I used a capital “H”. Periods that were once like clockwork, went to a whole other level. They were long, close together, months apart, heavy, full of clots. They tried birth control to regulate them, and they still weren’t normal, and the hormones made me a total bitch! They tried shots, surgeries, including D&C, and endometrial oblation. (Google again, people). Nothing worked, and I always had to carry an entire change of clothes with me everywhere I went, because I just never knew, when I was going to need them. I am sure I don’t need to explain why. I spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms. On one such visit, while in excruciating pain, and bleeding profusely, after not having periods for nearly a year, after the oblation, and a bunch of tests, a doctor calmly told me I was a pregnant. My response was, my tubes are tied, and you guys burned off the lining of my uterus, explain to me HOW???? A few hours later, it was one more surgery, to remove the ectopic pregnancy, and BOTH fallopian tubes. I was not chancing that happening again. Oh, and that was on my 28th birthday!
A few months after I healed from that, I went to my doctor and said I’d had enough, and I needed, not wanted, but needed, a hysterectomy. Nothing had worked to regulate anything, I had two beautiful boys, and no intention on ever being pregnant again, so why did I need to suffer any longer. It didn’t take much convincing, and by the time I was 29, I had a partial hysterectomy, which means they left behind my ovaries, so I wouldn’t have to go thru early menopause, or hormone replacement therapy. Best decision, medically, that I have ever made, and one of the easiest recovery periods, of any surgery I have ever had. It was amazing to be pain-free, period-free, and no chance of a baby! I felt liberated, and re-energized right away. I have never looked back.
Over the next couple of decades, I had some medical challenges. Diabetes became a permanent fixture in my life. It’s common for that to happen to women who have gestational diabetes. It shook me because I was no longer obese, I didn’t over-indulge in food or alcohol, and I was pretty active. It changed a lot. I changed a lot. That is an ongoing and permanent fight I wage with myself every single day, and have recently decided to consult with a specialist, regarding the possibility of going the insulin pump route. I can’t seem to gain the control I need, on my own, so I recognize it’s time for some help. First step, right?
In the last few years, I have had numerous scares, when it comes to the big “C” word. I had half of my thyroid removed, as a precaution, when they found pre-cancerous cells. I have had two mammograms come back with abnormal results, which required rechecks. I have been back and forth every few years with ovarian cysts, and currently have one that the doctor calls “abnormal”, and requires further tests. I haven’t shared most of these with many friends or family because I am not fond of scaring people when things generally turn out to be nothing. Hopefully, my string of good luck, in this sense, continues.
Now that I have rambled on for what seems like an awfully long time, I finally get to what’s going on and what has prompted my ramblings. I have been very out of sorts the last 24 hours, and I want to try to explain it. I have had sleep issues for years. I fall asleep fairly well, but I fail to stay asleep, and very often, I can be wide awake for what amounts to hours. Very frustrating, and exhausting, obviously, and to that end, I started taking low dosage sleeping pills. Half worked for a while, then I eventually graduated to a full pill, and now, that barely works. I have also, in the last year, suffered horrendous night sweats. I wake up and everything is drenched, bedding, night clothes, pillow. Everything. I bought some organic sage, and started taking that about a year or so ago, and it worked wonders, for a while. Then, it didn’t.
I brought it up recently on an unrelated trip to my doctor, and she sent me for a battery of test. It’s the only symptom I have, that I am aware of, but she believes I am entering into the wonderful world of …I’m sure you’ve all guessed it…pre-menopause. Dun Dun Dun! I met with a pharmacist who works in my doctor’s office, yesterday, and we discussed all kinds of options, but I finally agreed to try a transdermal gel, that is applied to either my arms or legs, once a day, to try and regulate my hormone levels. There are minimal risks with this particular treatment, and aside from worrying about mood swings, which were the result of birth control pills years ago, I am not afraid of what the actual medication will do to me, and I look forward to relief of my night sweats, and sleeping issues, but I have felt a bit depressed since I decided to go with this treatment, just yesterday. It certainly feels a lot longer than 24 hours, I have to say. I truly was not prepared for how absolute OLD, I would feel, accepting this as my “fate”. Yes, I am only 2 years from 50, and yes, it is a bit young, but everything for me has started early, so this should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially me, but it feels like just one more betrayal from my body. I am not ready to be old, or feel old. I have always said that age is just an attitude, and the brain side of me understands that better than anyone, but the stupid hormone side of me, is flipping me out right now!
I guess what I am feeling, is that loss of control, similar to the diabetes thing. My body is making changes I’m not ready to accept. A close friend of mine told me something very wise last night when I tried to explain it to him. He told me I am not old, it’s just time to rebalance, and I know that is entirely the correct way to look at, it’s just going to be part of the process of adjusting, and it will take some time for my head to catch up. I should really just force myself to repeat, over and over, to myself, that as long as I don’t look my age, I shouldn’t worry! However, it’s just a wee bit tougher when my body is telling me …move over granny, it isn’t just gray hair you need to hide! (I don’t have gray hair by the way, just sayin’). Someone suggested I take up yoga, and I am seriously considering that. It might help a lot with finding that “balance”, mentally, because if I can get my mind ahead of this thing, maybe it won’t feel so chaotic, and scary. I’m off to research yoga studios! Thanks for “listening”!