I was thrown into menopause at age 26 thanks to the recommended drug treatment for endometriosis at the time. This drug causes rapid onset of menopause with all of its honors, titles, and accolades. To say that my body was in turmoil was an understatement. At the time, before Facebook (gasp!), support groups, and the like, it was so difficult for me to find good information on these quiet internet streets.
It was hard to fathom that before I could even conceive (and conception was now a serious question considering my stage 3 endometriosis diagnosis), I was going to have to deal with menopause.
I feel as if I had all of the symptoms all at once. For 6 months I battled with insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, and the thing that bothered 26-year old me most visibly, loss of breast tissue. I didn’t have much to begin with and it wasn’t until I went to the beach with my girlfriends that one of them exclaimed, “Oh my God, what happened!” that I realized I was wasting away. Not just my boobs.
I’d lost weight, I’d battled depression in silence and secretly hid the fact that it felt like I’d Amazon Primed for my libido but it happened to have been put on backorder never to be shipped again.
I didn’t feel comfortable talking about any of these things. My mom had a hysterectomy and was dealing with her own untimely menopause with hormone patches and still experienced some of my same symptoms. Outside of her, I didn’t know who else to talk to.
As women, we are conditioned to hide the things that happen to our bodies. Somehow, it’s not kosher to discuss the fact that my vagina feels like the Mojave and needs an oasis of moisture. It’s not appropriate for me to ask someone what the hell they’re doing to handle the night sweats. I was supposed to quietly lie awake at night without a voice to ask “what can I do to help me fall asleep?”.
I’m glad that there are now more resources online to handle the questions many women have during various transitions in life but I feel, quite strongly, that we should still share our experiences with one another. And normalize what we have been through so that other women won’t have to go through the same.
I’ve had the pleasure (sarcasm font) of undergoing this treatment again in 2014. So basically, I’ve gone through menopause twice now. TWICE. There was a lot more out there for me to learn, I had a great family doctor that I was able to talk to freely with about the depression and we got me on medication as I underwent treatment.
In the realm of “the glass is half full” I will say this: as someone who is always cold, there were days when I could sideways appreciate a hot flash when it meant it kept me from freezing in a cold doctor’s office. Outside of that, all I have for you are my stories, my lube, and my foot sticking out of the sheets at 3 in the morning.
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