I have a need to dive deep.

I have a need to really start sharing my story with people. I have a need to really get awareness out there because of HOW LITTLE IS UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THIS CONDITION AND HOW ANGRY THAT MAKES ME. Sorry for shouting, just..when you make some calls to doctors and you consistently get replies like “I guess we will see if this works” or “there’s not really much we can do about that” or you tell people how/what you’re feeling and they look at you like they don’t believe you or appreciate the seriousness of how it’s affecting you, you tend to get a little mad.

It’s been months, I know. I’ve been wanting to write the whole time, but I think I’ve been scared to admit to some of my feelings, and I’ve wanted to give my estrogen patches time to work up in my system before I start laying blame or not laying blame on them for my emotions as of late. 

Spoiler alert – I blame them. I’m staring to think I’ll never find the right HRT. I thought it was helping at first. But I’m not sure.

Also, my job has been incredibly stressful for a while and it’s been intensifying my symptoms, esp my moods. In my support groups, a lot of topics have been covered in recent weeks, and I want to bring them to light here. Because early menopause is not just the almighty hot flashes and sweating in bed that most people immediately picture. So I’m gonna go for a nice hike today, think about some of the feelings I want to get out, and tap them out later tonight with a glass of wine.

Stay tuned!

Well, I never did go for that hike because of weather, unfortunately. So instead, I angrily cleaned all day..and I’ve had a few glasses of Reisling..so forgive me if I don’t make sense occasionally or misspell words. 

My world has been crumbling for awhile and I don’t know how to piece it back together. I thought I had a hold on all of this and I am so far gone. I pretend in front of my family, and friends, and acquaintances, that I feel like I have something to offer. When I even GET the courage to go to get togethers, I feel insignificant inside. Everyone I know has children. Everyone I know is completely and utterly adored by their husband or boyfriend, and mine barely even touches me anymore. Everyone I know seems to have their life mapped out, and I’m just floating in my semi-menopause.

I call it semi-menopause because of course my body can’t even get that 100% right. Premature Ovarian Failure isn’t a normal menopause because your body can still experience a period. Your body still has a 1-5% chance of spontaneous pregnancy. Semi-menopause because here I am, experiencing a “phantom period” I think for the second day in a row. So I get cramps and spotting and acne and bloating and a bad mood, but really it’s all brought on by my progesterone and not my brain signaling a real period.

My body has no control over itself. It’s not just the periods. The emotional toll this has taken on me is beyond words. I obviously experience hot flashes when and where they please. I sweat all the time, not just at night. I suffer from headaches constantly. With those flashes comes an obscene amount of “fight or flight” adrenaline. I don’t sleep well, even with unisom. When I sleep, I dream terrible things. I dream of infants, of pregnancy, I dream that my boyfriend has cheated on me, finds someone else who can have children, finds someone who is more attractive and sexy, and isn’t experiencing menopause at 31. Her bones aren’t weakening. She has the energy of her real age. I dream of past relationships, and the families they have now started. Some with multiple children.

I feel like I have nothing to offer, all the time. (Except at work. I am damn good at my job, I love what I do and it’s the only time of my day that I feel like I am meant to be there, doing what I do.) And then I leave and come home, and all the negative stuff I dream of comes back to me. And then at the same time, with all these hopes and dreams I have…I feel UNCOMFORTABLE around children, and moms. I feel WEIRD around married couples because I feel like I don’t belong in their world. I want to SCREAM when people tell me there’s always adoption or IVF.

No, there’s not. 

Adoption doesn’t fix my broken ovaries or inability to biologically have children. IVF doesn’t always work, and both are extremely and disgustingly expensive. Neither one of them are a bandaid for the real issue here.

I just wanted to have my own child, who looks like me, who has my beautiful red hair, and freckles, who I could name Penelope or Desmond or Oliver like I always planned, ever since I was a little girl.

I feel like I am in this weird detached state from everything. Like I don’t belong. Lately I can’t get out of this funk and I don’t know how to fix it. I take my hormone replacement therapy every night at 7:30 and I wonder if it really even makes a difference. I get to do this for the next 20 years and I don’t feel any different than I did the day I got this fucking diagnosis. I try to lie to myself about how somewhere out there, there’s some little baby or kid waiting to call me Mom. 

I hate that people don’t know or understand what I’m feeling. I hate that when I do tell people what’s going on, they minimilize it..or look at me like I’m crazy..or tell me they totally know what I’m going through with my hormones cause, “they like, totally have bad cramps” too. 

I hate that I can’t even paint a picture of this condition. That I’m always exhausted and want to sleep. That I’m always self conscious about my redness and sweating, my breakouts, my quickly drying and translucent skin, my brittle and damaged hair that sometimes falls out. That my estrogen patches make me itch and I can’t get the stupid glue off for like three days after I remove it. That sometimes it actually takes every fucking ounce of energy I have left in my body to pick up a gallon of milk at work. Or if I make the silliest mistake or spill a cup of water or can’t get my hair in a bun to my liking, I actually do feel like nothing inside. And I never would have felt this way about myself before this. That for the life of me I can’t lose the weight I’ve gained from me medication, no matter what I do. There is so much MORE to this condition than hot flashes. I feel so small. I feel like I don’t know how to get people to listen or understand me. I feel like my boyfriend hates me sometimes, because I don’t always like to be touched. I feel like people don’t believe me when I tell them my situation, because I’m not 53 years old. I feel weird when people want me to hold their baby. I feel odd around other kids, because I don’t feel like I have a “mom” gene. I get angry when I hear people say you’ll never understand real love until you have a baby and become a mother. Or how moms are just super humans, because of just that, they are moms on top of everything else. How goddamn unfair is that?! 

I’m scared of this medication. I’ve been tempted to stop HRT because of the side effects I think I experience from it because without it I’m at risk for osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues. And on it? I’m at risk for breast cancer and I think uterine or endometrial cancer. I can’t even keep track. At the beginning of my diagnosis stage I also was told I had “minor” Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. So not enough for [even more] medication, but enough of a red flag to need to keep that in check. 

Also, I hateeeeee taking medication. Hate it. I hate swallowing pills.

I am just so tired right now. Tired of feeling the way I do. Tired of feeling insignificant or like I don’t measure up. And not just to everyone else but to myself. I have never felt more raw and real from this damn condition than I do right now and I have no idea how to begin fixing it. I just want people to hear me. I want doctors to hear me. I want scientists to figure this one out. I want people to stop questioning why I haven’t gotten married yet and why don’t I have kids yet.

I want to feel my age. Inside and out.

I want to write blogs about happy things.

I want you all to share this because it needs to be shared.

New year, new me…nopause treatment plan

I hadn’t really planned on writing anything to welcome 2017, but I’m currently bed ridden with a seriously gross sinus infection and found myself binge watching Catfish on MTV and was like Kim, you could maybe be more productive right now, get some coffee, prop up your pillows, go pick up your new prescription because CVS won’t stop texting you until you do….

I’m starting HRT patches this weekend (versus the oral form I’ve been on since April) in the hopes that my migraines will get better. I’m not crazy about taking pills or vitamins. Which I’ve been strict about with myself for the last 8 months and dutifully swallow my multivitamin, hair skin and nails vitamins, fish oil supplements, Calcium + Vitamin D, HRT medicine and my occasional Unisom to combat sleep problems due to sweating like a pig at night. Phew! That was exhausting to type. So to take at least one yucky tasting tablet out of my routine would be nice. I also got a lot of positive feedback from other women who battle migraines in my support groups on the patches helping to supply a more continuous dose of the hormone throughout the day, that it not only helped their menopausal symptoms, but the headaches were better.

And I was thinking, instead of reminding myself every night at 8pm when my medicine alarm goes off of what I am dealing with, I’ll only have to face that once a week when I switch patches.

So it’s going to be a new year in a little over 24 hours. I know I know. I’m doing that new year, new me post thing that everyone hates and most probably never follow through with. I am really going to give it a solid effort though. The last year has been…without a doubt the hardest year of my life. When I said that the year my dad passed, I thought I meant it. When I said that when my mom and brother left, I thought I meant it. But no. Not even those two very difficult and sad moments in my life have really come close to being diagnosed with POF. (In case your new to this blog, POF stands for Premature Ovarian Failure. My ovaries have stopped functioning properly, and because that happened by the age of 30 my body has been thrown in to early menopause, and my chances of biologically having children are 1-5%)

This time two, even three years ago I remember everyone asking me if I thought my boyfriend might propose. I remember laughing and joking all the while just smiling and thinking ha..soon..and then we can plan a family, maybe get a puppy, who we would name Bowie whether my boyfriend likes it or not. We would live our beautiful, wonderful and nerdy lives together. We’ve even discussed names. I liked Penelope. He liked Corrine. We both liked Desmond. (We’re both heavily Irish) I would teach them all about Hogwarts at an early age. We would spend weekends at his family cabin in the mountains hiking, fishing and swimming in the lake. I would finally feel included in all the visits with old friends who have little ones of their own. I could text them about crafts on Pinterest for a children’s party, or share my recipes for picky eaters. Post the first day of school pictures. Record their reactions when they see what Santa brought on Facebook. Watch my kids grow into independent, smart and funny little red headed Hufflepuffs. (Because yes – they will totally be sorted into the same house as their mother) Because that’s what life is all about. At least..it’s what I was always kinda taught. It’s certainly what I’ve always been surrounded by. Not to say that there aren’t speed bumps on the road there but from the time I was old enough to play Barbies and have life all figured out it was go to school, get a job, fall in love, get married, have children, have grandchildren, retire, move to Florida, die old and happy and content with the life you lived. Yes?

So back to 2017 coming up pretty fast….sorry I feel like this blog entry is jumpy. I think my ultimate resolution is to find my purpose. POF took some big chunks out of my “Barbie life” equation. The last 12 months of my life I have questioned everything about myself. My purpose. My self worth. My life’s path from here on out. I’ve questioned myself as a women, and as a friend. I’ve even questioned whether I was worth loving. Don’t worry, I do know I’m worth loving. My boyfriend reminds me several times a day, everyday.

I may not have the answer of who I am or what my life’s purpose now is in 2017, but I’d like to start the research on it. I’d like to focus more on taking care of myself. Maybe try yoga again..I never really did put 100% in to that. I’m not gonna stress about when my boyfriend will propose. I’m not exactly in a biological rush for anything now. And he loves and adores me and hasn’t left, even with the knowledge that it may just be me and him. I’m gonna put everything in to my job that I love and enjoy, and hopefully start setting myself up for better opportunities in the future. I am going to drink less, and walk more, and find the motivation to do more weight bearing exercises to keep my bone scans looking good. I hate exercising though, man that one will be hard. I’m going to do a better job at recognizing and writing down what foods worsen my symptoms. I’m also not gonna allow myself to feel embarrassed  if anyone were to recognize a visible symptom. I’m not gonna let myself feel ashamed of what I’m feeling, or how I look at any given moment.

I’m also going to try very, very, very, verrrry hard not to take things so personally. Not everyone in my life knows my deal, and that’s not their fault or mine if I haven’t shared it with them. They don’t know that their pregnancy announcements bother me. They don’t know that I’m sweating because I’m having a hot flash and not because I ate something spicy or the thermostat is too high. Or that I’m flushing because of the hot flashes and not having an allergic reaction. But I also need to be kind to myself and not force myself into a situation that WILL cause me a little pain, like baby showers or kids birthday parties. Excuse myself from a discussion that possibly points in the direction of my future plans for a family. And hopefully the people I have confided in will understand. I’m gonna try to avoid Facebook lurking, too. We are all guilty of that and I think we all cause ourselves unnecessary pangs of jealousy and worry that everyone is doing better than us. I have even considered deleting Facebook one day, as I have once before. But then I’d reaaaally miss my support groups. So maybe not haha. And more than anything, I’m going to search deep within myself and hopefully by December 31, 2017 find true meaning to my life.

So a Happy New Year to you all, I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend, don’t wildly overindulge, and don’t drink and drive. And to my POF sisters out there reading this, I am sending positive vibes and lots of love your way. And I pray that you all find peace within yourselves, as much I plan to this year.

Xx