Just remember, I don't write this stuff - OK.
Flash! Change in life hits you with new set of rules
Vivian Smith, Times Colonist Published: Monday, June 23, 2008
I 'm in Vancouver on a cool June morning, in the middle of a pleasant business meeting with an older woman and a younger man, our chai lattes steaming.
Nothing in the conversation suggests that taking off my clothes is a good idea, but that is what I start to do.
Well, they don't call it "the change" for nothing.
"Hot flash," I say to the pair, ripping off my corduroy jacket and silk scarf. It feels as though my head is too close to a campfire, while the rest of me is stuck inside a Swedish sauna, and there is no pile of snow to run into. The man seems grateful when a BlackBerry message suddenly summons him. He shakes my soggy hand and bolts before anything else comes off.
The woman smiles understandingly. By the time our hour-long meeting is finished, we've covered hot flashes -- or, more accurately, flushes -- and night sweats, and how it might be possible to reduce their intensity and frequency without drugs, through deep breathing, cutting out sugar, getting more exercise and eliminating hot drinks -- like my latte.
How typical of life's endless dirty tricks: You stay as healthy as you can for years, and then along comes menopause, rewarding your vigilance with even tougher rules on diet and exercise. Immediately, I wanted to lie down, eat a doughnut and drink more hot chai.
I should be more specific: Along comes perimenopause, that cockeyed stage in life that you don't know you are in until you are nearly out. A woman hits her stride in her late 40s, operating smoothly at work and at home, balancing relationships and activities, hardly noticing the signs.
Nothing fits together at first. The periods go wonky, the kinks in the neck seem worse, a nap is always a good idea. Occasional, mild headaches become pounders. While incidents like these are unsettling, other changes feel good. Situations that would have made me nervous before become fun. Confidence, energy and creativity are up. It's no accident that so many middle-aged women return to university to start new degrees or finish abandoned ones. They are hot to live for themselves again.
This is perimenopause, several years of hormones ricocheting around, rising here and falling there, affecting different women in different ways. Once you have gone a year without menstruating, though, you are done. So you won't know you've hit menopause itself until long after it hits you. Since I am a late bloomer in all aspects of life (got married late, had kids late, still don't know what I want to be when I grow up), I've noticed various physical and emotional changes over the years and wondered about their connection to menopause. But it has taken until now to really get the message.
My sleep pattern was the wakeup call, you might say. Normally, I fall asleep quickly, never worrying that I might not be able to turn off my galloping brain. It skids to a halt nicely, ready to plug in for the nightly recharging.
But recently, I have lain awake, churning through the day's events, fixated on the possibilities of the next one, obsessing about deadlines and duties. The numbers on the digital clock start to mock me, in lurid green. The gentle sound of my husband's breathing starts to thunder. In my fevered imagination, his slightest movements are actually an outrage of insensitive, gratuitous flip-flopping.
At 4 a.m., after what feels like only an hour or two of rest, I awake, face hot and clammy and covers thrown off. My husband continues to exist and to sleep. How can he be such a jerk?
The poor man, meanwhile, has simply been trying to stay on his side, and to keep his backside warm. He even rolls over onto his less-favoured right side in anticipation of me pushing him that way, aggrieved by his lightest breath. His kindness does not stop me from stomping off to the guest room in full martyr mode. If I am not sleeping, ain't nobody gonna sleep.
My plan is to try non-pharmaceutical approaches to improved sleep, using recommendations on a website called www.cemcor.ubc.ca. The acronym "cemcor" stands for Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, which is at the University of British Columbia. The site offers up-to-date information about the stages of pre-, pari- and post-menopause, and addresses the myths surrounding them. You can print off a daily perimenopause diary, and monitor everything from sleep problems to appetite to "feelings of self-worth."
But if I try less sugar and more exercise and still can't sleep, maybe I will try hormone therapy. It's controversial: but as with any major decision, I rule nothing out until I read enough conflicting information to make myself insane.
Not even "the change" will make me change.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
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Thread: Flash - One For The Ladies
06-23-2008, 09:50 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Flash - One For The LadiesIf you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
"I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD
"Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)
Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!
impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto
IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.
06-23-2008, 04:30 PM #2
Hot flashes PBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!
Altho black cohosh and soy isoflavones do help.
06-24-2008, 08:49 AM #3
Hot flashes? My mom used to be cold natured, which led to the house being a balmy 80 degrees here in North MS. When she started having 'hot flashes' it was great for me. The thermostat came down to around 70 degrees, and suddenly, I could sleep again, without waking up covered in sweat. I've always been a believer in air conditioned sleep. Give me two heavy quilts, and bump that thermostat down to 'hybernate.'I fish for a living, but I have to work for money...
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