19 - Jan 2022
It’s exactly 1 month since I tentatively popped my first progesterone pill and slathered odourless, clear jelly-like gel up one arm. I wondered if I’d be able to ‘feel’ the oestrogen absorbing into my skin. Of course not! I didn’t really expect to feel anything.
My doctor had started me on the very lowest dose, ‘We can increase it if necessary’ she assured me.
First night anticipation
I had secretly been hoping for a good night‘s sleep. Now I regretted listening to various comments by women claiming they’d slept like a baby from the very start of their treatment.
The next morning, following my 6th hot flush in 10 minutes, I realised this wasn’t necessarily going to be the miracle transformation that I was expecting.
It didn’t help when, later that day, I excitedly told a friend about the treatment and said I was a little disappointed that my sleep hadn’t been good and my hot flushes were just as bad as ever.
‘The gel’s crap love’ she snapped. ‘You want the patches like me.’
Gel or Patches?
Well I specifically didn’t want the patches. I’d discussed both options and the gel fitted my lifestyle better. I reminded myself this was only the first night. I could be patient. I would take things slowly from now on, step by step. After-all, I’d persevered with severe symptoms for two years, hadn’t I? What’s a few more weeks.
Was the Pandemic disguising my symptoms?
Blimey, two years of ever increasing menopause hell. Think about it.
Living life in a pandemic. Lockdown. Working from home. The advantage to that when having hot flushes, was being able to adjust the room temperature and my clothing. Not having to rush around a building no doubt helped.
I guess I was ‘coping/managing my condition’ well because of the unusual circumstances we’d all found ourselves in.
Needless to say, with my return full-time to the workplace, menopause began to hit me big time.
Not just hot flushes
People hear menopause symptoms and think only of hot flushes. It’s so much more.
In a previous post, I mentioned there are 34 symptoms. Take a look if you need reminding.
Every workplace needs a menopause Tzar - that’s what I read recently. And before this novel ’appointment’ what workplaces need is knowledge and understanding.
It isn't acceptable to disregard the very real difficulties some women are having, or will go on to experience, as an inevitable part of growing older. Cognitive dysfunction for example, can be both debilitating and embarrassing.
I shudder as I recall the self-deprecating humour I would use to explain my loss of memory, forgetfulness, confusion, slowness and general brain fog. I vow to stop doing that.
As women, we should support each other and stop making light of menopause suffering. That behaviour needs throwing in the bin, along with mother-in-law jokes and other misogynist put downs.
1 month in. How am I doing?
Very, very well thank you. I woke up ecstatic this morning because, for the first time in over 2 years, I slept in the nude.
It was more of an accident than planned. My hubbie was already in bed and I didn’t want to wake him by turning the light on. I couldn’t find my nightie in the dark so I crawled into bed naked.
I slept naked and felt a huge sense of achievement
I no longer have night sweats or hot flushes in bed. The sheets stay warm and dry all night. It may be something most people take for granted. When you’ve lost that experience and you rediscover what that feels like, you want to jump for joy.
I can enjoy reading fiction
Another first for a long, long time was I read a book. Not all of a book. Just a chapter. I haven’t been able to pick up and enjoy reading fiction since the beginning of my menopause hell. This afternoon I broke that pattern.
All-in-all a good day.
Small steps. Massive changes