Friday, April 30, 2010

The "H" Word - by Robin

What is it about hormones that have the power to dictate how you feel?  Who granted them that right?! 

I never gave much credance to hormones.  Did mine feel neglected all these years, and now they're making themself known much to my chagrin?   I've always know they're there.  I've always known they're important.  But, I guess I mostly took them for granted.  They did their job, but now they are taking somewhat of a hiatus or at least making a shift.

I've always had regular menstrual cycles that I could count on to the day.  Raging estrogen led to my having fibroids that were once dealt with surgically, only to grow back.  I remain challenged by them, but I'm not inclined to pursue a hysterectomy unless I have no choice.

Of late, I feel like I'm in hormone hell....if they are in fact the cause for how I feel.

Ever since Seth and I returned from our spring break trip to Asheville (we had a great time), I've been having headaches on 'n off.  And, I've never been a headache gal.  After over a week of frustration, I decided to see the neurologist, and I'm getting a brain MRI to check things out.  My impression of my doctor visit is that he's anticipating things will be fine on the scan, but that said, I don't feel great.  Hormones came up in our discussion.  That dreaded "H" word that has become part of my almost daily vocabulary and the bane of my existance.

It's become quite the topic of debate in my social circle.  Partly led by me, and also broached by others in peri.  We're members of the Peri Club...and it's an active one, yet it's not one we opted to join.  It's not an easy phase of life for everyone (though some seem to breeze through it).  In fact, it's downright confusing. And, not just for me, but my husband and potentially my son.

With its emotional highs and lows, I had two hysterical cries this week.  Both were thankfully when my husband and son were out of the house, so that was good.  What each was about exactly, I'm not sure.  But, it felt necessary at the time.  A release.  I know that waterworks is often part of peri, so I'm keeping the Kleenix at hand.  I don't want to take out my mood swings on those nearest and dearest to me, and I don't want to turn into "wife the weeper" or "mommy meanest."  So, I'm trying to have a higher consciousness of little things that push my emotional buttons and to give myself some space when I feel particularly frustrated or out of control (not easy for a Type A gal).

What's happening to me?!  Who is this 40 something unstable person who has invaded my body?  And, more importantly, what to do about it?  I much prefer the notion of natural supplements vs. hormone intervention.  And, in general, I'm the sort to "tough" it out, until I can't take it anymore.

But, will it get worse?  I saw the show Menopause the Musical, and it didn't make me laugh.  It made me fearful.  Menopause survivors, of which there are many, will tell you their tales and immediately get an empathetic look on their face if you ask what it was like for them.  They'll share their woes, and you secretly hope it doesn't happen to you.  My beloved mom, unfortunately, passed away, so I don't have her to talk to about female matters.  I have not had hot flahses, and I pray that's not part of my fate.  I have had sleepless nights, stomach upset, among other amorphous symptoms that can easily lead you to the doctors office and perplex any competent MD...all while making you feel like a total hypochondriac in the process. 

I have often used the phrase "the joys of being a woman," but now, more than ever, it's on the tip of my tongue.  I don't want peri to take over my life.  And, I don't want to be hyper-focused on hormones.  I could easily spend half my day researching them on the web.  I already bookmarked WebMD.

Instead, I'm going to stry to devote some quality downtime to hanging with my new cockatiel Smokey.  She relaxes me.  Get some exercise, which will help me sleep.  Pop my newly prescribed anti-inflammatory pill, and hope that helps.  And, cross my fingers that the MRI goes well this week (It's hard enough getting one of those tests.  If you've ever had one, you know what I mean.).  I'll close my eyes, while the pulsating clicking of the machine reverberates in my head, and envision myself laying on an exotic beach in Bali or some place where raging hormones need a passport of their own (and I didn't invite them to join me).

It's supposed to be in the 80s this weekend in NY, and a little Vitamin D sunlight is good for the spirit, and hey, maybe it's good for hormones too?!

It helps to know, as 40 something women, we're in this together.  Somehow everyone gets through it and lives to tell.  I know I'll eventually come out the other side.

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