So here it is. This is my first post, and the best idea I had for an introduction was the same thing I typed up for my “about me” section. Which I’m not even sure where to locate, because I’m not sure how to properly blog. Or navigate sites. Or my app. Forgive me for the self training! Also forgive me because I’ll probably keep editing this post until I ultimately am content with the whole “Hello! This is me!”
Right! So. A little about me..I’m a lead barista at a coffee shop. I’m a huge Harry Potter/Criminal Minds/David Bowie/Jaws/Walking Dead nerd. I’m a people pleaser and a highly anxious introvert. I’ve had some dreamy long term goals that pushed me back to school a few times, but mostly for fear that everyone would think I could always be doing better than I am. I have recently decided, I’m okay with exactly who I am and what I do. I serve coffee to thousands of pharmaceutical lab techs and scientists everyday, and I take that responsibility pretty seriously. I’m good at what I do, and enjoy what I do. And I have a loving family, small circle of friends and a wonderful boyfriend who accept everything that make me..me.
In January 2016, at the age of 30, I found out I was going through early menopause. Premature Ovarian Failure. For months I have had it in my mind to maybe blog about my experience with this, but I have never blogged before. Until I realized it was essentially a diary – just, an open to the public one. And I was always pretty close with my Lisa Frank and Disney diaries as a kid, and writing things down always worked for me. To unleash. To share happy memories. To doodle. To make someone out there aware, even if it was just my mother snooping.
The journey to this diagnosis was grueling, discouraging and long. It took several specialists and doctors visits, 4 different diagnoses, and probably $50,000 or more worth of tests and scans (praise Jesus for great medical benefits) to go from labyrinthitis, to 3 months of physical therapy for the weird vertigo, to maybe you have multiple sclerosis, to yes, we swear it’s migraine associated vertigo…to finally, my body had officially grown older about 20 years too soon. The irony was the first thing my primary care doctor assumed was I could be pregnant.
It’s okay, you can chuckle at this.
My final stop was a reproductive endocrinologist after it was shown in blood work that my hormone levels had me in the menopause range, which for a 30 year old woman and her 456 year old gynecologist was pretty remarkable..and not normal. So I sat in the REs office with my aunt (who is like my mom – not the diary snooper mom, but I’ll save that story for another day maybe) and she sat with me through one of the scariest appointments I’ll probably ever experience in my life.
“Your only options are donor eggs or traditional adoption.” And annually, I will have to go through routine blood work, keep a close watch on my thyroid, keep up with bone scans, and take hormone replacement therapy for the next 20 years of my life. That first sentence was the only thing I heard though, understandably enough. Because to be told you can’t do the one thing that you were born to physically do, that separates you from men..it’s enough to make you drink all the wine I have drank in the past 11 months.
But that stops now. Well I mean, I’m still going to enjoy wine, but not to mask my pain. I just don’t want to go down that road, I truly don’t.
This has been a really hard year. And it’s something I’ll struggle with for the rest of my life. And I may not be okay some days…but other days I AM. I have a lot of other things to be thankful for. And I realized the other day that aside from taking care of myself right now, both physically and emotionally, and not with the help of wine, that the most important thing to me is getting awareness out there, and connecting with others going through the same things I am. How scary it has all been. How emotionally and physically draining it has been. How to better handle hot flashes. Night sweats. Brain fog. Migraines. Insomnia. An overwhelming fatigue sometimes. Weight gain. Emotional outbursts. Acne, AGAIN. Oily skin. Brittle hair. Hair falling out. Greasy scalp. Vertigo. Loss of feeling..desireable. And Lord, don’t even get me started on the hormone replacement therapy side effects like sore boobs and legs that feel like I’m made of concrete.
Emptiness. Bitterness. Sadness. Jealousy.
But above all, hope. That there still is some.
And you know, maybe I’ll throw in a couple positive entries about Harry Potter, or Jaws..or my abilities to make a layered caramel macchiato and genuinely feel that I accomplished something great that day. I just want this blog to be not only my first attempt to blog, but to be there for others even if it’s in a small way. Even if it’s just to show someone that I am here! I get you! I understand it! And I really want to focus on posting information about this condition, because in the past year I’ve realized how rare and misunderstood it is. Obviously it must be if I went from inner ear infections to menopause in a matter of 8 months of medical professionals.
Just knowing that someone else is out there and feels what you are feeling is therapy enough.