Peri-menopause is when you haven’t had your period in so long that your Natural Family Planning app thinks you’re pregnant.
I’m not. My body temperature chart looks like a heart rate monitor: up, down, up, down. 44 days and counting. That’s nothing for me the last few years. I had a stretch from Thanksgiving to Easter with no visit from my good friend Lu. I finally went to the doctor because I was terrified to end up on a segment of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant!”
And no period doesn’t mean no hormones. It doesn’t mean no cravings, no weepiness and no PMS. In fact, it means MORE cravings, weepiness and PMS.
Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls in my home right now—it tolls for you until further notice. The best bet is to stand still.
There are headaches. I refuse to call them migraines because I know some chronic migraine sufferers and this is nothing like that. More like a hangover without the wild night to show for it, or even one alcoholic drink.
And nausea, reminiscent of morning sickness. I have peed on pregnancy tests when my rational mind knows I am not pregnant but my first trimester PTSD is screaming “Holy Mother of God! Here we go again!!!”
It’s also hot flashes in the middle of the night in January. Last week it was 28 degrees outside and I was sleeping with the windows open and no covers. Sometimes I think I’m going to burn up into a tiny ball and frrrp! disappear.
It’s itchy skin. Mad, itchy skin. CRAZY ITCHY SKIN.
It’s repeat mammograms, which will take a few years off your life.
It’s gray hairs in the oddest places and less hair on the top of your head. Well, my head anyway. This is probably exacerbated by my thyroid issues, but hair loss is a symptom of menopause so I can’t offer any real hope on this one.
It’s brain fog so thick that reasonable conversations are almost impossible. I used to wonder about women who talked with their hands. But now I know that talking with your hands is a menopause coping skill. It invites others to supply the missing words in your sentence, like a giant social game of $100,000 Pyramid–everyone ends up red-faced and screaming, but all you have to show for it is a lousy finished sentence.
When my mom made this journey, I was a late teenager. Made for some interesting moments in our home.
My girls are young still and my fervent prayer is that I complete my trip on the hormonal rollercoaster before they get on.
Otherwise, to paraphrase Betty Davis: buckle up—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.