Friday, May 25, 2012

Flame On - Sharing The Heat

I've always been a curious observer.

Maybe it's in my nature to question.

Maybe it's 20+ years of talking to patients, but I'm always observing and dissecting symptoms in others and therefore in myself.  Whenever something happens in my body I think "Huh...what's up with that?"  Then I research the crap out of it.

Over the past few months, you've probably seen more than just a few posts about me discovering the joys of being a 50 year old woman with menopausal symptoms.  Like everything else, I just can't seem to help wanting to learn more. 

I'm on a mission you see.

Thermostat control.  My internal thermostat is wonky for sure and getting worse.  One second, I'm a Fry Baby, the next I'm chattering like I've got the flu. 

For some reason "Flame ON" at home is acceptable.  No one is there to see it except SM who, perhaps because of the newness of it, is very sympathetic.  He feels bad for me.  And while I do appreciate it, I'm trying to just shrug it off, to ignore it, which I manage to do unless it's a really, really bad flash. 

The other night I took a hot shower, mostly because I was grungy and also because of the CHILLS after a daytime flash I'd had.  Boy, was that a mistake!  Hot water and menopause don't work well together do they?  Who knew?  I didn't cool off for about an hour.  With a bright red face, I broke out the frozen peas for my neck and ate ice cream to cool off my internal thermostat.  (Like that's gonna help the spare tire I've got growing around my waist.)  Geez!

"Flame ON" in front of patients is still few and far between but I told one young guy I was working up... "Hey, if I turn beet red and start sweating I just want you to know it's not you."  He laughed. 

And if I work up a woman my age or older we vear off into war stories and tips on how to keep cool. 

I tease the girls at work that I'll likely be walking around with one of those portable battery operated fans (do they help?) and sticking my head in the lunchroom freezer before too long. 

SM was talking to his older brother, Ronnie the other day and told him that he doesn't think he'll be able to take me to the beach anytime soon.  (I hadn't thought of that.)  Ronnie told SM "Oh, they're ALL like that.."  SM laughed.

Since this is all still new to me, I've been "googling" around and found a pretty good site called FlashFree: Not Your Mommas Menopause which is a great blog name (but seems to be a bit of an oxymoron...I'm already getting the drift that there's no such thing as "flash free") and offers up posts and articles about everything menopausal. 

This is right up my alley.  I've already spent the better part of 2 hours today reading past articles.  I've been looking into wicking sheets(?), Chillows and gel pads called Coldfront.  Looks like the hot flash industry is alive and kicking in the good ol USA.

For all that these products tout salvation for up to $50 bucks a pop, I still get the feeling that none of it really helps.  Cotton sheets, some kind of fan blowing on me and a bag of frozen peas.  That's what's getting me through right now.

I'm also beginning to understand the appeal of a pill whether it's herbs, bio-identicals or HRT.  Who am I to judge what pushes one woman off the edge and keeps another one still clinging to it? 

I'm a pill-a-phobe though.  I've told SM that the only way I'll take something for this crap is if I go off the deep end.  As in I turn mean and nasty, get depressed or if my panic attacks come back.

Yeah, I gained 5 lbs overnight.  So what.  It's my new Mee-Maw shape.

Yeah, my bald spot is getting bigger.  I'm letting my bangs grow out and doing a comb over.

Yeah, I have those sleepless nights but that's why God created the Internet.

Yeah, I'm spinning hot and cold so fast that it makes SM's head spin.

All of that I can take.  Just let me keep my sense of humor. 

All in all though, I recognize this as just a passing phase, a novelty that will eventually become so normal that I won't even think about it.

Until then, please pardon me if I wax poetic about all these changes on the blog now and then.  I don't mean to annoy...just sharing the heat.


  1. I'm in my thirteenth year of it. Yes--you read that right. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll EVER sleep again. Good luck. I hope yours passes much quicker
    (hubby jokes I must be setting a record for the most hormones in any one person)

  2. Tami, your wonderful, wacky sense of humor is better than any "pill" you could take. Yes, some of us do suffer (and it can be suffering, there's no denying that) more than others and there doesn't seem to be any rational explanation of it. Concerning menopause and all of it's gloriously delightful (not!) symptoms, it always reminds me of something I heard years ago: You know what cranky, old women were when they were young? Cranky, young women. We can choose how to handle what we find ourselves going through.

  3. Tami - 9 years and counting. But, PLEASE, rather stick to the frozen peas and cold showers - if at all possible :)

  4. It only will get worse.
    12 years and counting. After no sleep for 12 days, I broke down and will be starting the pills.

  5. Welcome Qwaynt! Gosh 12 days and NO SLEEP! I'd be starting the pills too!