Monday, June 11, 2012
Perimenopause... this one is for you, ladies.
So I am 54 and still having periods. I just looked up the average age of menopause (no period for 12 months) and it is 51. Some women even go into their late 50's, occasionally early 60's. Shoot me now.
I am definitely in the perimenopausal stage, with a vengeance, and I can't fathom going through this for another 5 years or so. What's the big deal, you may ask? (You are not asking this question if you are anywhere near my age... or anywhere near a woman my age.)
Well, let's see. Topping the charts, and topping the scales, there's the creeping weight gain! Even though I am doing nothing differently in nutrition or exercise (still work out a ton and usually eat well) I have gone up a size and I am having a hell of a time trying not to gain more much less lose what I have put on. It feels like one step forward, two steps back, and there is a pile of jeans in my garage calling my name. My ass, however, isn't answering.
Of course, then there's everyone's favorite, the irritability! I have always considered myself even-tempered, even non-reactive. Now I can feel extreme rage sweep over me in a nanosecond. I feel like I should have business cards made to hand out to everyone in my path that say:
I am so very sorry that I (circle one)
a. gave you the finger
b. said "Fuck you!!"
c. plotted your murder
d. all of the above.
And then there are the fluctuating periods! 28 days, 21 days, 43 days, 14 days, 80 days (at that point, I thought it was over, but NOOO). And of course the varying presentations of said periods: no cramps, or dear-god-I-am-14-again high intensity PAIN; flowing like a stuck pig, or (only occasionally) barely there.
Oh, and not to mention the premenstrual symptoms which are (cue music) New! Improved! Not only stronger, but last much longer! Like the fatigue. Right before my period I feel like someone slipped a Quaalude in my Quaker Oats. I am secretly thrilled when a patient cancels or doesn't show up so I can lay down on my couch and take a nap. I just have to sleep on my back so I don't have sleep lines on my face for my next appointment. And remember to check the pillow for drool.
Of course, the irritability then becomes a constant buzz in the back of my brain. My poor husband and son. My most accurate premenstrual indicator is how I am at the dinner table. When I look over at them eating in disgust, and wonder what the hell was I thinking when I married one and gave birth to the other, I know what joy tomorrow will bring.
And the never-ending charms of the fuzzy brain! I have always been a little, well, not ditzy but let's say tending to exist on a plane of reality about five degrees askew. Now I feel like I need to put aside time in my daily schedule for the inevitable and interminable searches for misplaced glasses, keys, and whatever it was that I just had in my hand. Last week I confirmed an appointment in the morning with a workman at my office, being very clear that he had to come at an exact time between patients, and then two hours later I totally forgot and went out to lunch with my son instead.
I have to say that the hot flashes have not been so bad yet, except that a few weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night with cramps AND a hot flash. Really? Really?? But what I truly love is my face breaking out at the same time that my wrinkles are deepening, a geo-facial anomaly of epic proportions. Think Mount Etna atop the Marianas Trench. Charming.
Ah well, I feel a little better now that I have vented, but I need to go take some more Advil. So to all my sisters of a certain age out there, all I can say is let's muddle through this phase of our lives with a little grace and good humor.
To everyone else, fuck you.