Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not aging gracefully

I'm sitting here in my little office wearing no top at all. Stark nekkid from the waist up, right in front of a window. Why? Because it's hot flash time. I go for days, even weeks without any hot flashes, just enough to make me think that I'm over them finally, but then kaboom! The worst thing about it is, I can't cool off no matter what. I've tried about everything, and the only thing that seems to work at all is to sit directly in front of a fan turned on high.

I thought when my doctor told me 10 years ago that I was entering perimenopause that it would be long over and done with by now. I've had every single symptom of the 'change', including the aforementioned hot flashes, skin eruptions, excess facial hair, hair loss in all other places (which really seems unfair, doesn't it?), bizarre periods, flagging periods, cycling with the Girl but not getting periods at all, just the bloating and PMS. I started going insane, just like those women on situation comedies do during this special time of life. Mostly I'm over the hump with all this crap, but the hot flashes just keep reappearing. My skin has changed drastically. It's gotten much thinner, all sorts of disgusting things pop out here and there, and it's so damn dry. I've now got a patch on my back that I refer to as 'the itchy spot' because it itches all the time. There is nothing there, it just itches nonstop. It's been going on for well over a year now, and it drives me bonkers.

I've lost all the hair on my legs and arms. That's a plus as I never have to shave my legs anymore and my arms look so much more pleasant without that black hair on them. However, my arms now have spots on them, not really liver spots, but just weird patches where I didn't tan evenly. Not freckles either.

What gets me most about all this aging crap is that at the same time I'm watching the Girl bloom into womanhood. She's not doing it gracefully either. She's got wicked PMS and she gets so bloated her clothing doesn't fit a couple of days a month. She gets bitchy and mouthy and argumentative, her skin breaks out... the poor kid is a walking ad for Midol.

The Boy, he's stuck in the middle of a menopausal mom and a premenstrual sister. He's learning to spend more time barricaded in his room playing his guitars. I don't blame him one bit. I'd like to hide from us, too.

What saddens me about my experiences through menopause is that I had no idea of what to expect. It's the last taboo of discussion amongst women, I think. My mother never talked to me about her experience, although she was a raving bitch for many years during her time. Most of my friends are a few years younger than I am. My one friend who is exactly the same age was surgically altered due to cancer, so she hasn't had the same experiences as I have. I want to talk to people who have gone through this, but in my life, so far, there hasn't been anyone to relate to. I hope that will change with the Girl. I've talked to her about it and they both tease me about it a lot. I'm trying to make it as normal as possible, but I'm not all that sure my experience is normal. What do you think?
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Anonymous Carrie said...

I have no idea if your experience is normal or not, but I just wanted to say that I am not looking forward to menopause at all. My mom started it when I was in high school and she was hell to live with. I avoided home as much as possible because all she did was yell. Finally her doctor put her on something for her mood and that helped a little. She is still getting hot flashes. I thought they were supposed to go away after a few years. When she was here visiting she had it so cold in the house that Mike and I were walking around in our winter coats.

2/11/05 11:27 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Sounds just like our house. I like it COLD, kids like it warm. The Girl wears her UGGS all summer long, with sweats and covered in blankets. Me, I'm wearing shorts in midwinter.

2/11/05 2:59 PM  
Blogger Happy Mama to Three said...

Welcome to my overheated world, This menopause thing SUCKS ROCKS.


3/11/05 8:50 PM  
Blogger melinama said...

I'm going to be 52 in a few days and am still waiting for menopause to hit. I've always been overemotional (reading your blog for the last half hour or more has ended my crying jag...) so I can't tell if that's getting worse or not... my mom died when she was 50 and we didn't really speak for the last few decades of her life, so I have no idea what it was like for her. I don't talk to anybody about this stuff.

26/12/05 12:28 AM  

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