Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Field Notes from the Pause

I was going to post and warn you about this place. DO NOT GO THERE. It's like Chuck E. Cheese on crack. We were there for a birthday party on Saturday and I left feeling damaged. My ears may still be ringing but this could be a slight exaggeration, you know, for effect.

Then I was going to post about our neighborhood association block party where the representative from the association jokingly called our neighborhood "the ghetto" because our little houses share the same zip code with some pretty fancy mcmansions on the other side of the school district. This offended me, because it trivializes the concept of ghetto by calling our very safe and tidy little neighborhood one. It trivializes the fact that there are real ghettos in this city where it is not safe, where children are victims of drive by shootings and where danger is real and ever present.

I was going to be all funny and sardonic and indignant, but then I got sidetracked by this: My hot flashes and night sweats have returned with a vengeance. The last few nights have been a grueling mixture of damp tank tops, tossing, turning and very very little sleep, leaving me sort of dazed and unraveled during the day. It's kind of like being very hung-over, without the party the night before.

For those of you who've been around awhile, you may remember I've gone the alternative route with supplements and acupuncture and though these things worked for a while, they've stopped working completely and the little estrogen pucks I agreed to last month may still not be enough. Although I swore myself to a natural perimenopause and that I would not treat it like a disease but like a natural transition in my life, I may be looking down the business end of Hormone Replacement Therapy because I'm one of those people who has to get a good's night sleep every few days or I am a wreck and not just a little fender bender, a full on hazardous chemical spill train wreck.

I am still terrified of the carcinogenic possibilities of HRT. Conceiving a child at 38 years old requires a certain amount of hubris, of feeling bullet-proof. And now that I'm a mom, I'm defenseless. I cannot risk cancer because I have a child to raise. Yet I can't be the mother, wife and human being I want to be if I'm thrashing around in a pool of sweat all night, every night.

I'm hoping this is just a hormone fluctuation and that it will get better. Every night I go to bed, hoping to sleep, hoping to not wake up drenched in sweat every two hours.

I have an appointment with my gynecologist at the end of the month.


  1. You've got my sympathies. I'm not there yet, but it's coming. And I don't even know what to say about the HRT--I so understand--talk about conflicted!

    Sending positive vibes your way...

  2. I started having a few hot flashes two years ago. More like night sweats-I would wake up and my shirt and sheets would be sopping wet. Anyway, my ND suggested a soy product called Revive-all (I had to get it online) and a few drops of blue cohash in water each morning. I haven't had more than a couple since.

    I really like Christine Northrup's Wisdom of Menopause and all of Susan Weed's books.

    Hope it gets better.

  3. Thanks, Wisdom of Menopause is beside my bed at this very moment. I actually slept better last night and feel a little less freaked out about things today.

    I guess I'm going to be the first one in my family to go through menopause on the internet!

  4. Laura, I found that eating differently makes all the difference for me. Lots and lots of raw veggies and fruits. My (blurry) vision is better, my joints are better, no night sweats at all

    I don't WANT to eat like this, and I still have days of bingeing on carbs, but it just doesn't make any sense to me to take a prescription drug, when I know that lifestyle changes will help my "symptoms". Like a smoker going to the doc for a prescription for cough medicine. (This is from my lecture to myself.) Plus, at my age, I am sick and tired of handing my life to doctors and therapists and waiting for them to "fix" it for me. I'm almost 50 years old, and it's my life. I'm taking it back and fixing it myself!
    (Ahem! This is my grouchy, old opinion -- you can, of course, take it or leave it!)