I will never forget that day.
As I walked into the oncologist’s office and took a seat, I felt the energy of a place filled with fear, anxiety and sadness. The women in the waiting room all seemed to be communicating telepathically. Almost afraid to make eye contact with each other. It was as if I couId hear their thoughts. I looked well. I knew what they were thinking. It’s only a matter of time … you have so much to go through.
I saw women in varying states of dis-ease … some so thin, so sick. Scarves covered lost hair. Paramedics called to transport a woman to the hospital who was in crisis. I could only think of my girls. Too little to watch me morph into these women who were waiting there with me … too little to be without a mom.
“Dear God, please do not let this be where I need to be.”
I waited. It was my turn. Examination confirmed a large ovarian mass, but the doctor said, “I do not think you have cancer.”
I breathed. It wasnʼt over… I was referred to a surgeon. Another memorable day.
“How did you let this go so far?” He said.
Guilty as charged. I ignored symptoms that would have made a rational person take action. But I had this unique talent of ignoring my body signals so I could keep going. Keep working. The best part was when I was sent to schedule the surgery. I needed a total hysterectomy. Uggh.
The woman who was scheduling my surgery went on and on about how it was going to be so great. No more hemorrhaging, no more pain. She actually said it was the best thing she had ever done. I looked at her face. She was a little older than me. She looked ancient. So wrinkled, so dry. She had to be lying. I knew what was ahead.
I wondered how I was going to wrap my head around this one. My lifeʼs work spent supporting women in childbirth was all about the uterus and the ovaries. Now I would be losing mine. I knew too much, perhaps.I was aware of the unnecessary surgeries done on women. I knew that my body was about to change, drastically. I knew about all of the physical possibilities. I understood the emotional aspects. I knew that I was about to change. I was scared. I had always been strong, healthy, athletic, able to outwork most men in my younger days. What the hell was I going to become?
It was done.
All sorts of crazy thoughts came up for me. My behavior was definitely out of the ordinary. It was like PMS on steroids. The things that would come out of my mouth were frightening. I could hear myself saying them but couldnʼt quite stop myself. My emotions were all over the place. My memory was foggy. I wandered in parking lots looking for my lost car. I left the water running and flooded the kitchen. I went to a movie and couldnʼt remember seeing it a few weeks later. Everything seemed so foggy … even my vision seemed cloudy, and my brain certainly seemed muddled. I joked that the blood transfusions I received must have been from a dog lover. I let my kids get a dog, and I even loved the dog. I was secretly thinking that.
If I didnʼt make it, I didnʼt want them to remember me as the mom who didnʼt let them have a pet. Crazy.
My body felt so dry. Everywhere! My skin began to age rapidly. Lines appeared where they had never been before. I felt like a dried up prune. Important parts of my body were disappearing. They called this vaginal atrophy. Seriously?
The libido I once enjoyed had totally disappeared. Sex was painful. Not everything disappeared, though, there were a few unwelcome additions. The paunch that I vividly remembered from my mother’s silhouette was now mine.
The night sweats and hot flashes were extra special. There were rogue hairs sprouting out of my chin like a Chia® pet. Not exactly the greatest thing that ever happened to me. But, I was alive. Grateful to be alive.
I consulted my OB friends who thought taking Premarin® could be helpful. I knew it was a drug made from the urine of pregnant horses and associated with an increase in breast cancer. No thanks.
So I decided to look at alternative treatments. They have been life changing! Nutrition, chiropractic, exercise and bioidentical hormones have been my saving grace. Meditation, affirmations, and laughter have been the best medicine of all.
I may have gained some wrinkles and a few pounds, and I still donʼt remember the details of the movies I saw last month. Iʼm no sex goddess but my libido occasionally shows up, and I feel great. I am healthy, happy and grateful to be alive!
10 Tips for Easier Menopause
1. Take a walk.
Better yet, find a friend to walk with routinely. Walking & talking with a friend is much cheaper and more effective than therapy.
2. Drink a green drink every day.
My favorite is Nanogreens. Better yet, buy a vita mix and create your own with fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables. Here is one recipe to try: http:// juicerecipes.com/recipes/dr-ozs-green-drink-47.
3. Eat well.
Cut out refined carbs, white flour, sugars & fried foods.
4. Buy organic coconut oil.
Great for moisturizing everything!
5. Invest in a good pair of tweezers.
Ever notice that when you get in the car, the light is just right? Itʼs amazing how you can see those rogue hairs everywhere. Why didnʼt somebody tell me?
6. Find a hobby.
Do something that gives you a sense of satisfaction & joy.
7. Take time for you.
8. Investigate bio-identical hormone treatment.
It can be a life-changing approach to increasing your vitality.
9. Learn to Meditate.
The mind- body connection is so important in creating a healthy lifestyle.
10. Start a yoga practice.
Say positive affirmations daily. Post a list on your bathroom mirror. Each time you brush your teeth, you can affirm your health and well-being.