Nature’s Way of Thinning out The Elderly?
I am a fan of understanding the biological imperative behind life stages.
When my teenage son treats me like the Wicked Witch of the West because I suggested he….(insert any action a mother might request of a son; they all end the same way)……..I like to remind myself that this is natures way of ensuring survival of the human race – because I can’t wait for him to move out and move on. If he still behaved like the 3 year old I used to adore, I’d never kick him to the curb. With his lofty new attitude though, college can’t come soon enough.
The same goes for discomfort in pregnancy (makes you willing to go through labor and delivery), teenage hormones (pregnancy), and so much more that I used to know but currently can’t think of.
Why? Because I am half way through my 6th year of raging hot menopause, and I have lost all sense of normalcy, intelligence, calm and patience.
What could possibly be the biological purpose of –
hot flashes, that leave me perpetually confused about how to dress. Shorts and tees in the winter? The few times I’ve tried to wear a sweater I’ve regretted it immediately. I might just get rid of all my winter clothing, even though I live in PA. At least now I understand my teenage boys wearing shorts to school in snow storms, although I don’t think this could be a biologic imperative.
Fatigue. Loss of Interest. I can, and do, spend days lying on my sofa watching ridiculous reality shows. Not because I’m interested in them; simply because I can find no reason or energy to move. One day out of every 5 I’m up and moving. The rest of the time I’m like a hibernating bear; that is if bears ate while hibernating. If I didn’t have a dog to walk and a teenager to feed, I would never get out of bed. I have a whole new relationship with my bed, as in I Love My Bed.
Diminished focus I am currently chuckling to myself because as I started to type this I forgot what I wanted to type. Literally. I have spent hours searching for the cell phone I’m talking on, the car keys in my hand, the present I bought and carefully wrapped; what they hell did I do with that? I wear bifocal, photo-chromatic lenses that I put on before I get out of bed and leave on till I go to sleep. Sometimes I only wear them an hour a day. The point though, is that I would no sooner attempt to have designated glasses, like reading glasses AND sunglasses, than I would walk around in a bikini. Or wear a sweater!
The only reason I’m writing this is because I feel like it is part of acknowledging the fact that I am the epitome of a cliche. I was determined to not be one of “them” – the middle aged whiners. Menopause is temporary, and women have dealt with it for centuries, so I could too. Except……have they?
Most women I know of “that age” are taking some type of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The problem is that they don’t talk about it, which I find puzzling and annoying. It is annoying because I am walking around feeling like I am the only one carrying on about the misery of menopause when in fact, most women are so miserable, they go on HRT.
I am more disturbed though, by the puzzling nature of women’s silence. Women I am close to, like my sister, start estrogen treatment and never say a word. I’ve watched women engage in conversations about aging and menopause, during which I bemoan my fate of early, unrelenting and unbearable menopause, yet never admit they are taking hormones. People more readily admit they are on anti-depressants than HRT. I can tell you everyone I know and which anti-depressants they take. HRT? Not so much.
This silence, this unwillingness to disclose the use of HRT, in and of itself demonstrates the truely horrific nature of menopause. HRT carries with it the risk of blood clots, breast cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease and stroke, and apparently, social stigma; yet women flock to it. This is how miserable menopause is. Women would rather increase their risk of death than live with the symptoms of menopause.
In all honesty, I agree with them! I am told I am not able to take HRT because of my ovarian cancer, but I am now on a mission to find someone who disagrees with this and will prescribe me HRT. Why? Because right now, I’m not really living. Right now, I’m plodding through each day, trying to force myself to do something – like shower, or brush my teeth. And more often than not, I fail. So yes, risking death, even by recurrence of cancer. seems acceptable.
I’ll let you know if I have any luck. Or, maybe I won’t?
PS: Today I showered, wrote this blog, will grocery shop and return some Christmas presents (mostly sweaters). This is a tremendous day! Of course, I will make up for it by laying on my sofa for the next week. Grrrrr.