Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Man’s Miracle Cure for Menopause!

One beautiful sunny morning during the summer of 2011, my then doctor shoved me, metaphorically of course, into my very own Twilight Zone and since that day I have been fighting to escape it. I wasn't going to go down without a fight, I had no intention of being hurled into the abyss, and aged before my time. No, this intrepid explorer of hormones was on an expedition to find my way out and nothing was going to stop me. Like many women (I am absolutely 100% sure about this) I was not going to take the news that I was post-menopause lightly. For heaven's sake, I wasn't even 45, had only missed one period, and this news implied that I was ultimately over the hill, dried up like a shriveled prune, no longer of service to the reproducing human race. As you can tell from my descriptions I wasn't too happy about the news, but you can't argue with blood tests and a sarcastic YOUNG nurse now can you!. 

I cried for days, checking in the mirror sporadically just in case the excess water loss from my tears was making my parched state even worse, I couldn't afford to lose any more body bits! All I could think of was Samantha in the movie, "Sex in the City 2." I had always dreamed I would grow old like her; disgracefully running around enjoying being sexy, wise, and beautiful (yes, I get top marks for having a vivid imagination). For God's Sake, I did not even get a chance to use hormone creams, pop placebo pills, or eat humongous amounts of Hummus due to its medicinal properties. I felt cheated, I wanted to stamp my feet, and scream loud at everybody. The only problem was I was too embarrassed. It felt like I had menopause engraved on my forehead, I didn't want to go out or communicate with people.

I started to notice things too, changes on my body. I was convinced my boobs were sagging, my waist was disappearing, my stomach was growing flabby, and yes the ultimate blow, I saw the dimples appearing like chicken pox on my thighs. What a nightmare. I spend hundreds on the strongest-you-can-buy skin creams, applying a thick layer each night, which quite ironically make me look like a zombie according to my husband. Obviously, I was hoping by the morning my cheeks wouldn't have dropped into large jowls and my neck wouldn't resemble the turkey we serve at Christmas. My Twilight Zone was a living hell, but what made it worse was that each month I was having pre-menstrual symptoms. My weight would increase by at least seven pounds, my hunger was out of the universe, my boobs became swollen, which of course delighted me as they didn't sag as much, and I got the occasional pimple or two. On top of all this my under-active thyroid symptoms steadily got worse. My thyroxin pill strength was increased every four to five months, but to no avail. I began to feel like a physical wreck!

I ventured out to others for help. I was desperate. By this summer (2012), I knew something was not right. I had done my homework and had, on two occasions, a little light breakthrough. I saw an Endocrinologist who told me in not so many differing words to these, "Get used to it. You have gone through menopause, you can expect to put on five pounds of weight approximately each year, and no, you are not too young for this. Sorry you have wasted your money coming to see me." Nice lady (can you hear the sarcasm?) She is definitely not on my recommendation list of doctors. I also went to see a Chinese doctor. She took me off wheat, introduced me to coconut oil, and gave me instruction to hold an incense candle to my ankles twice each day for five minutes at a time. In addition, once a week I would go and have at least 20 needles placed in certain parts of my limbs and torso to alleviate my symptoms and to improve my circulation. To be fair, this was at the time, the best result. I did lose a little weight, I did feel a little better, and I wasn't so 'hormonally disturbed'. But, I have to admit, I love wheat, and this was diet was not sustainable. Naturally, I failed and this added to my post-menopausal feeling of uselessness.

My road to redemption started quite unexpectedly at my once-a-year ladies check up. The doctor, a different one this time, but very nice all the same, innocently asked me how I was feeling. That was her mistake, fourteen months of frustration, anger, and humiliation let rip. After about 45 minutes, she sat there with a look on her face that said "Looney" and to appease me, she sent me on a referral to another Endocrinologist. Four weeks later, I was sitting in his office.

Now, for a moment, let me take you on a visual journey. Close your eyes and imagine Mr. Magoo, with yellowy wax like skin, and a creepy smile of a serial killer. Got it? Yep, I was ready to run. I found myself quite suddenly accepting of my situation. But, would you believe it, I wasn't quick enough to escape. Obviously old age had slowed me down, and I was there, stuck in the room face to face with THE DOCTOR! 

I was somewhat distracted but managed to relay my story to him. I got a bit, well actually a lot, creeped out when he stood behind me massaging the front of my throat with both hands. I gulped literally and he told me to relax. Instinctively, I pulled away and he chuckled asking me if I liked being choked. Um, hello? The room instantly just got smaller; I was with a psycho, trapped and convinced I was going to end my life as a not-wanna-be-post-menopausal victim of a modern day Dr. Jekyll. As it turns out, he was a good listener, wrote many notes, and looked at my book of blood tests that I had  brought with me. He explained he had seen many cases just like me, and that he would perform some tests (an ultrasound and blood work), but he felt sure the problem was with my medication. He explained that if you are on a generic medication, especially of thyroid replacement, there can be a 20% swing in strength from one supplier to the other. Therefore, if your pharmacist is in the habit of switching suppliers your medication can be unbalanced. Five days later, after my results were in, I switched to a slightly higher dosage of the brand named drug. 

At first, there was no change in my condition and it seemed Dr. Jekyll had failed, but after ten days, I began to feel nausea, a bit like morning sickness. This went on for some time but I knew I couldn't be pregnant, after all I was post menopause. I made an appointment at the doctor, but soon cancelled it as I found my answer to my problem. My period had arrived, and then four weeks later another period, and today four weeks after the second, another. My cycle has returned, normal and healthy. 

What I have not told you is that two weeks after initially seeing Dr. Jekyll, a blood test was re-performed to confirm my hormonal state of play at my original doctor's surgery. Funnily, I got a call from that surgery during my second period. The nurse, nicer this time, was ecstatic, she was proud to announce I was not menopausal at all. In fact, it didn't look as if I had started the process. I told her I sort of figured that one out on my own, but thanked her for her information. Oh, I was so proud of myself for not losing my religion with her. I mean, seriously, had my husband not had a vasectomy years ago I could have been, once again, barefoot and pregnant, rendering me an eternal slave to the kitchen and washing machine into my old age. Oddly enough, I now recognize that I don't want another baby and now miss my non-period days. 


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