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“Relax…” Part Two

25 Jun

A lot of things have been going on here that I haven’t blogged about, mainly because I am tired. So very tired. All you men can just stop reading here unless you want way too much information about the workings of the female reproductive system.

Okay?

Those who are squeamish have left, right?

Good. That leaves the sympathetic and the curious. Perfect.

So. I’m 46 this year. We all know what that means, right? I’m of the age where all those wonderful Changes start happening that herald the end of my child-bearing years and the beginning of Real Freedom from the plagues of women. Right? What a load of horseshit!

I want to lodge an official complaint to who-the-fuck-ever informs society about the “most common” symptoms of menopause. Dude, you suck!

Oh, sure, we’ve all heard about Hot Flashes, right? Great news – only about 30% of women experience hot flashes, and that’s the most common symptom we all hear about. Hot flashes and night sweats. I’m usually cold, so those don’t sound so bad. And, no, that’s not what I’m talking about today. Nope.

You occasionally hear that your periods will get lighter, irregular, and then stop altogether. When you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, you’re officially in menopause and done with all that messy business. Right?

WELL! The symptoms no one talks about (except women on various internet boards who are all shocked and horrified, apparently) are the two I’m experiencing at the moment – flooding periods and peri-menopausal rage. I don’t know if one isn’t caused by the other, but I suspect they go hand-in-hand.

I’ve had regular periods all my life. Like you could set your watch by them. Seriously, totally predictable. A few years ago I went in for my usual Yearly Exam. The doc told me I could expect my periods to get erratic and likely much lighter in the next few years. It’s like the words went from her lips directly to my uterus and the irregularities began. Nothing too shocking, just not on schedule, but lighter, so that was a great bonus!

Not long after I left the narc, I missed completely for three months. There was no way I was pregnant, so I counted my blessings and was a bit disappointed when they started up again, slightly irregular, but back to my normal.

I missed February, March and April this year and was pleasantly surprised, but since there was no way I was pregnant, I didn’t think too much about it. In May it  came back a little more severe – more PMS than usual, heavier bleeding, but nothing too strange.

But then! June 7 (about a week early) it started. With a vengeance. At first I didn’t make much of it. Maybe it was a little heavier than usual, but no biggie, right?

And then it was quite a bit heavier than usual. No panic, this never lasts more than five days and I can do five days of pretty much anything.

That was when the flood began. It went on and on. And on and on. A full week. Still, no biggie, this is to be expected at this stage in my life. But it didn’t stop. It was heavy and oh-my-god-surely-I’m-dying heavy. Then nothing overnight. Whew! It’s over, right? Nope. It’s freaking Niagra Falls down there, if Niagra Falls were prominently featured in a slasher flick.

Today marks Day 18. A bit of online research reveals that it can go on much longer or stop at any time. It can never happen again or start up again at any time. Either/or and/or both at once. Lovely. AND I can expect this to go on for 4-10 years! Halla-freakin-looya. Being female sucks.

Besides the irritation of going to the toilet and having it look like a crime scene, there’s the expense of all the pads I go through.

From a website (they all agree on this info):

The usual length of menstrual bleeding is four to six days. The usual amount of blood loss per period is 10 to 35 ml. Each soaked normal-sized tampon or pad holds a teaspoon (5ml) of blood. That means it is normal to soak one to seven normal-sized pads or tampons (“sanitary products”) in a whole period.

Srsly? So I pay way too much money for pads that only soak up a teaspoon of liquid? How many drops is that? I’ll save you the Googling – one teaspoon equals 76 drops. Okay. So each pad soaks up 76 drops. Lemme tell you this – Flooding Periods can produce as much as 2 cups! How many drops is that? Yep – 4,732 drops per cup, for a total of 9,464 drops. Divide that by 76 and you get 124.52 pads. I wish I was kidding. Two pads per hour sometimes and it shows no sign of stopping. It’s a laugh riot around here, lemme tell you.

Now, being smarter than the average bear, I use a FemmeCup, which holds 7.5 – 15 ml, so more than two pads, which makes it a bit more convenient, but it still has to be emptied every couple of hours and if I miss that, well, it gets really messy, really quick. Good thing I have a good stain stick for the laundry!

If all of this becomes too inconvenient, I can opt for birth control pills (which may or may not work to bring my cycles back to a predictable rhythm and which have many terrible side effects, naturally much more severe considering my age and that I smoke) an IUD (with more side effects and which may not work but could result in a host of really nasty problems) a D&C (which may or may not work and can result in severe pain and other side effects) a hysterectomy (just what I need – invasive surgery which will knock my hormones into all kinds of insanity but will bring on menopause proper) or various other drugs that may or may not work but will have side effects that may or may not make life unbearable.

All the websites agree that I should go see the doc and have a host of tests done, some invasive, some not so much, all of which will confirm that I am indeed Peri-menopausal and this is just the beginning of the next chapter of my life. With the wait to see a doc around here, I think I’ll pass on that one.

ALSO, I’m probably anemic, which can lead to a bunch of complications, including fainting. Yay! I bought some multivitamins and iron tabs today at lunch time to try to head that off before it becomes a problem. It does explain the fatigue, though.

Which brings us back to the Peri-menopausal Rage that I mentioned. Yeah. That’s not something anyone warns you about. My moods are all over the place and I would cheerfully choke the life out of my own child if it meant my uterus would quit gushing blood for just a few hours. I’m not even kidding. So far I haven’t acted out, but I think I chipped a tooth biting back words that I really didn’t want to speak to someone with a penis who was being especially stupid in that moment. Or maybe he wasn’t being stupid. Who can even remember? It was…something…whatever. The rage has passed, for now, but I know it will be back.

The good news is that I haven’t had any hot flashes or night sweats! Yay?!? Or will that be the next cross to bear?

Oh, but wait! There’s more stress. Tune in tomorrow for Part the Third.

 

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20 responses to ““Relax…” Part Two

  1. goldfish

    June 25, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Ugh. I am not looking forward to any of that. I have PMDD, so I can only imagine how festive menopause will be. The good news is that it will eventually be over altogether and we have decades without Aunt Flo at all. We just have to make it through.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 26, 2015 at 8:24 am

      I know, right? Trying to keep the end game in mind…

       
  2. JackieP

    June 25, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Oh wow, I feel for you sistah! I went through what you did when I started menopause, which I started in my mid-thirties! Yes, I was about 34 or so when I started, maybe a year younger. I had the rage….oh boy did I have the rage. And the flooding periods. I had those for close to ten years before it just stopped. The rage, can be controlled, thank goodness. Get you some St. John’s Wort. Way back then, I used Black Cohash. Can’t get that anymore, because it worked too damn good. But St. Johns works almost as good. Give it about 3 weeks to build up in your system and take it EVERY SINGLE DAY! It will save you from murder.
    The flow though, well that’s just something you live with unless you want to go those drastic measures. I didn’t. I just stuck with Mother Nature and bought lots of pads. Mine lasted almost 10 years, yours might not. As for the hot flashes and night sweats, yes I got them. It was toward the end and it was no big deal. Pretty light compared to the rage and the flow. Didn’t last long at all either.
    I had a dr tell me when I was in my late 40’s that I would be beginning menopause soon and it would last for only a couple of years, if that. I laughed at him. Yes it was a him. I told him male drs haven’t a clue. I had it, lasted for more than 10 years and I’m done. Needless to say he wasn’t happy with me for laughing. I went to a different dr after that. lol
    Good luck, and I sympathize.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 26, 2015 at 8:27 am

      If I’d had the rage 10 years ago I would likely have avoided a relationship with the narc. No use crying over spilled milk, though, right? 🙂

      I really wish more research was being done and the docs had better advice to give. It’s like no one wants to talk about women’s bodies unless they’re budding, pregnant or HoTTT! There are so many more stages and the amount of easily-obtainable info is laughable.

       
      • JackieP

        June 26, 2015 at 8:45 am

        So true. Docs need to educate themselves on womens bodies more, seems they don’t much care. The best advice I’ve gotten is from women who have been ‘in the trenches’ so to speak.

         
      • Sofia Leo

        June 26, 2015 at 8:49 am

        Once we’re past the “fuckable” stage we become invisible – that’s the sad truth.

         
      • JackieP

        June 26, 2015 at 8:50 am

        Oh, truer words were never spoken. It is sad too, because we have so much more to offer.

         
      • Sofia Leo

        June 26, 2015 at 8:53 am

        Old(er) people are not respected in this country and I don’t see that changing any time soon 😦

         
  3. Carrie Reimer

    June 25, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Excuse me for laughing, I was laughing with you, not at you promise. But I have been there and am so frickin glad to be done with all that shit!! I used to put in 2 Extra extra size tampons (no rude comments !! I do my kegels (sp?)) and use a extra absorbent pad. The rage? the emotional roller coaster? I don’t know, i was with James at the time, hard to know; I wasn’t allowed rage or emotions.
    Wait for the hot flashes! I don’t own a sweater, always dress in layers. I used to always be cold but not any more; even though I am done with menopause my thermostat stayed set at high.

    more than once I was driving down the road, got a hot flash and had to get the sweater I was wearing off, NOW, I mean NOW… I have crossed 3 lanes of traffic, double parked with the 4 wyas flashing and gone running into a clothing store, grabbed a light top off the rack, push past the line up for a dressing room and run in, changed my top and come out and calmly explained “I am menopausal and had a hot flash; sorry. Carry on”. and they parted like the Red Sea to let me through. I went to cashier and paid for the top, threw the sweater I had been wearing in the garbage and went on with my day.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 26, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Oh, my! I really hoping to be spared the hot flashes. Of course, if I end up choking the life out of someone I’ll be living Orange is the New Black and I figure those jumpsuits are pretty breezy…

       
  4. Scott

    June 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I wish I had something other to say than sorry, but that’s all I’ve got.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

      It’s more than enough. Go thank the Universe you were born with a penis 🙂

       
      • Scott

        June 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        I’m quite thankful for that.

         
      • Sofia Leo

        June 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm

        🙂

         
  5. Kristine @ MumRevised

    June 26, 2015 at 5:57 am

    I ended up anemic and it is no fun. After three months of Niagara Falls and testing I went with a progesterone IUD (I think it is called Minerva). I can’t tell you how much better I feel! No period. No side effects. Ask your doctor please! My iron is normal for the first time in 13 years. You don’t have to suffer.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Well, it appears that it might be over for this round. I will go see the doc, it’s just that getting a timely appointment is impossible here – you would think with all the doctor’s offices in this town it wouldn’t be a problem, but appointments are usually at least 3 months out, more for new patients. Dentists are the same but you wouldn’t guess people around here even go to the dentist by the state of their smiles! Sigh. This, too, shall pass.

       
  6. Jana

    June 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    The same thing happened to me. I was put on hormones to stop the bleeding, but that only worked for one day. Finally, I opted for a hysterectomy (but first I had to have an iron infusion because I was so anemic). I work in an OB/GYN office (although I am not a nurse) – we routinely tell our patients if they are changing a pad more than once an hour, they need to go to the ER. Also, having a hyst won’t throw you into menopause unless they take your ovaries, which they usually don’t unless you are having problems with them. I didn’t have to go on hormones or anything after mine.

     
    • Sofia Leo

      June 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      The Flood has stopped. I can only hope this was an anomaly but if it starts up again I will go to the Doc.

       
  7. Nyssa the Hobbit

    June 29, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    I’m only 42 but going through something like this, ever since I had a few polyps removed from my uterus last fall. The surgery should have made my periods normal and predictable again, but instead they’re worse than before. My mom also had heavy perimenopausal periods. So I suspect that’s what’s happening. I plan to bring it up at my next appointment, in October. I started using some monster-sized pads from Always, like I used after giving birth. And then, sure enough, my periods turned light as if to spite me. 😛

     

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