Another year come and gone, and another year of my peri odyssey completed! Yay! Now, if I only knew how long this witch is planning to stay around…

 

Since it seems like she plans to stay awhile, I was encouraged to see several new entrants and voices emerge in the menopause community last year, like the National Menopause Foundation, Perimenopause Hub, and perry., an online community that “wants to unf*ck perimenopause…” (you already know that I’m down with that). And the impressive growth of some more established players like MegsMenopause and Gennev (which has raised more than $5M on VC circuit), is a positive sign for the future of women’s wellness and menopausal health.

 

While these are all different resources with different value propositions, they’re ALL GOOD FOR THE CAUSE because it means that the conversation is growing and awareness – and support for those of us who need it -- are on the rise. The more attention and light we can bring to the topic, the better, and I’m excited to see what new contributors will emerge in 2020.

 

Speaking of 2020, while I tend to reject New Year’s resolutions (it’s really just to be counter), the first of the year is inarguably a time of reflection for most – and of course, I’m no different.

So, while they’re not resolutions per se, I have been thinking on a list of things I’m absolutely going to do more of -- and at the top of the list: continuing to be proactive in managing my own experience with perimenopause, and trying new solutions that address my symptoms and improve my overall quality of life. This includes experimenting with things like, seed cycling (look for an update to my 11/17 post in the weeks ahead), intermittent fasting (bloat be gone!), and CBD oil (sleep is possible!), while still struggling to conquer some pretty vicious night sweats and bouts of rage (though, noticeably less frequent…thanks to the seeds).

 

Anyway, I wanted to wish a Happy New Year to all (five) of you that have been tracking with me on my journey. It’s been an interesting ride… Here’s to a better menopause in 2020!

 

 

 

Admittedly, I’ve been pretty good about venting about what’s going on with me, but not so great at actually doing something about it. Honestly, that’s my life M.O. – so, not so unique to this whole perimenopause thing. But when I think about what’s keeping me from doing something, anything, to feel even moderately better, I keep coming back to fear. Yeah, the ghastly and dreaded “F” word that holds so many of us captive from the well-being and happiness we deserve. Even so, with his familiar and seductive hold – it’s getting pretty old.

It’s the tail end (I think) of my menstrual cycle, and pretty much like clockwork, I’m feeling inappropriately hostile. Things were going along pretty well on days one through three…but then, day four hits and oh boy, WTF?!?! EVERYTHING IRRITATES ME…and I’m over it. So, while I think I’m ready to do something about it, the question I’ve been wrestling with, is what???

 

On my last visit to the OB-GYN (seven months ago), I talked to him about the hostility and the night sweats. He assured me this was normal “for [my] age” and probed about the extent to which these things were affecting my everyday quality of life. I told him that I was concerned about the intensity and consistency of them both – the hostility was affecting my engagements at work and the relationships in my personal life. And the night sweats, well, the night sweats were keeping me from getting a restful night’s sleep (along with a full bladder), and on the worst nights actually break my sleep altogether, because I have to get up and change the sheets…

 

He offered that EstrovenTM might be a good option for me, or some other OTC drugs that include estrogen and progesterone. I ask him about supplements next, and it’s pretty clear he has a strong bias against them -- although his reasoning about “the countless number of unregulated supplements that lend themselves to counterfeit,” made pretty good sense to me. I then asked him about low-dose birth control pills. And he paused for a minute, and said that he hadn’t recommended them before because of my history with fibroids (I’ve had two myomectomies in the past five years). But he quickly follows up with, “you’re older now” so the propensity for fibroids lessens with age…”Let’s try it. And if the fibroids grow, we’ll address it then.”

 

So, I’ve had the pills for six months now…in fact, they auto renew every three months and for some reason, I recently picked them up when the pharmacy called to let me know that my next 90-day supply was ready for pick up. And now I have a six-month supply of low-dose birth control pills, which I’m scared to take (ah! My old friend, Fear), because the notion of ANOTHER myomectomy or worse, a HYSTERECTOMY, completely stifles me.

 

Well, last month I attended a women’s summit in Northern California (an "un-conference conference") where I was introduced to the concept of seed cycling by a naturopath during a workshop on women’s hormonal health. Basically, it entails adding seeds – pumpkin and flax during the first 14 days of menstrual cycle and sesame and sunflower during the second half of the month -- to balance your hormones.

 

I was intrigued by the concept and have decided that, despite the fact the discipline this practice requires (it can take up to 3 months to recognize the benefits) just adds another thing for me to think about and do EVERYDAY. Even so, I’m going to give it a try... “Do or do not! There is no try!” – Well okay inner Yoda! I’m going to do it for at least 90 days. If nothing else, it’ll be an action I’m taking and something to write about along the way. I’ll also reap a range benefits of adding “healthy” seeds to my diet…YUM! And, if, at the end of three months I feel the same as I always have, I have a stockpile of low-dose BCPs to try next. Will keep you posted.

 

 

Lately I’ve been feeling like The Mother of Dragons, and not in the sexy “Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons”, kind of way…(#RIPGoT). NO, this is more like Godzilla gone mad, indiscriminately bounding around the city, crashing into people’s feelings, setting them ablaze with a fiery tongue and ZERO EFFS TO GIVE. Aside from the fact that people really do have too many feelings, not so deep down I know that it’s not OK to be mean and hurtful. But sometimes it’s JUST SO HARD to be kind and considerate. I mean, the compulsion to “go for the jugular” at any given time may not be rational, but everything about it is PRIMAL.

 

I appreciated validation of my recent insight as I was reading an excerpt from Darcy Steinke’s relatively new book, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life. “Menopause brings the sense of being animal,” she writes. Um, you think? No crap lady, but do go on… Seriously though, I’m half way through the book and for the most part, I’m down with what Darcy’s preaching. We need more voices like hers, so I hope she can help spread the menopause gospel and sell a lot of books.