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.

To the Childless Woman at Christmas…

Really wanted to share this post. It’s my wish and prayer that everyone in this position finds a happiness they can burst at the seams with everyday. If it’s a childlessness life. If they adopt. If a miracle happens. I wish I could hold the hand of every women who feels sad during the holidays – and every other day of the year – and tell them how much I relate more and more each day that I live this. I wish I could take their pain away. Today, a coworker came in with holiday treats for all the staff members with children..and boy did I feel out of place. It was a weird moment. Ran to the bathroom and shed a few tears and when I got out of work today, I read this post and remembered I am not alone.

Somewhere tonight there is a woman, sitting next to the twinkling lights of her Christmas tree and staring at the fireplace mantle.  Year after year, her heart tells her head, “Here’s a…

Source: To the Childless Woman at Christmas…

Thanksgiving

I’m sitting here enjoying my maple vanilla bourbon coffee from Saxbys and watching my local news station, and the anchors are enjoying their Thanksgiving breakfast, each announcing the things they are grateful for. I’d like to do the same. Let me start by saying, I’ve had a lot to be angry about. Angry with God, angry with doctors, angry that my ovaries broke and no amount of soy milk or chick peas or hormone treatment will put them back together. Angry that I am about to face my first holiday season with the knowledge that it is going to be a difficult uphill battle to have my own children for future holidays.

But I’m really grateful, too. Grateful and lucky that this isn’t the death sentence I felt it was in the beginning of the year. Grateful for those same doctors who sure, may have given me a lot of bad news..but I’m also happy they found out what was going on with me. And they have really been a huge part of my support system since January. Even the other day, I had one of my routine exams at the OBGYN and we talked about changing my hormone treatment and method because of my migraines and other symptoms. She had a lot of good advice to give me and took time to comfort me when I got upset. She really cares about what I’m going through. She calls me back quickly even when I feel my questions are dumb and that means the world to me. This is a bit of a learning experience for her too, because of how rare Ovarian Failure is.

I’m very grateful for the small handful of friends who I have shared this condition with, some of who are mothers. I may not have that to share with them, but that would never exclude me from their lives. 

Trust me, I’ve read a ton of horror posts where people lost friends and family over their inability to feel part of the discussion.

My best friend, most of all, has helped me remember how strong I am, and that what I’m going through doesn’t change the person I am. For 15+ years not a day goes by that I don’t constantly know how lucky I am to have her in my life. Even if we don’t see each other as much as we would probably like! And if I do get the chance to adopt in the future, or maybe by my 1-5% miracle chance get pregnant naturally – she’s the first person I will call.

I’m grateful for my boyfriend, Mike. I fell in love with him the first time he took me to his families cabin in the Poconos. He is caring, loving, supportive and funny..and just so understanding of me on my good and bad days. He always sees the good in me when I don’t. Especially now. I know this diagnosis hit us both really hard, and there’s been times we have both emotionally struggled in our own ways this past year, but it has brought us even closer. I remember how broken hearted I was when I found everything out, because he comes from such a large and wonderful Irish family with so many kids, and I really looked forward to adding on to that someday. I was so afraid he wouldn’t be able to deal with this. But the day I came home from the doctors, he told me it didn’t take a child to fall in love with me, and it wasn’t going to take not having a child to fall out. I’m truly blessed, and no matter what happens I look forward to whatever adventures we get to experience for the rest of our lives, even if it’s just the two of us.

I’m grateful for my aunt and uncle, who most people know I consider to be my parents. (I moved in with them when I was 17) Growing up, I’m not sure I ever got the proper idea of well..a lot of things. Family life, mainly. It took a few years to get used to it but I know they play a major role in who I am today. They let me be a teenager when I needed to be, and they let me learn from my big mistakes when I had to, and they have always stuck by my side when the going got really tough. They aren’t shy to share when they have made mistakes, and I value every opinion they give me, whether it’s something as simple as a dill carrot recipe – or advising me on huge life decisions.

I’m grateful that I’m alive. Things could have been worse than they are for me. Honestly. I have had a good 31 years so far and I’ve struggled through a lot of difficult times – I lost my dad when I was 15. My mom and my brother moved to another country just 2 years after that. I may not always feel like I have my life together, or make the best decisions, or have a lot of money..but I am a good person and have a lot to offer, and that’s something I’m thankful for regardless of all the adversity I have faced. I could have let facing early menopause bring me down to a dark place I couldn’t escape from. I almost did. I could have let it turn me in to a bitter human being. But I’m not going to. I’m glad I have made some great connections with other women who are going through the same thing. I’m glad I’ve been able to lend my advice and share my story and LEARN from those women, too. So tonight, while I swim in a sea of potatoes, stuffing and gravy..I will also remember how thankful I am for all of these things, and more.