Recently, a friend on Facebook responded to a post I made about being peri-menopausal, asking if I was having my own personal summer already. In fact, I am. Last fall, a visit to my gynecologist confirmed my missing period was in fact, pre-menopause. Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome since the age of 12, having 4 surgeries in 20 year, losing my left ovary and fallopian tube during the last surgery – I always suspected I would start menopause early. It was always just a matter of when.
I’m still ovulating, but my periods have been 6-8 months apart. If it weren’t for my grandson sleeping in between my partner and I, this would be an AWESOME time for maximum snuggles. Because of my history with Ovarian Cancer, traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT,) is not an option for me. Studies show women with a history of reproductive cancers are at a greater risk for breast cancer due to HRT treatment. My doctor and I agreed on an estrogen vaginal cream called Premarin to treat vaginal dryness and atrophy caused by the shift in my hormones. My testosterone levels are very high, my estrogen levels are low… so of course, I’m horny as shit, extremely aggressive, and have ZERO fucks to give about most people and their feelings. I tried the cream for awhile, and definitely saw positive improvement in how my body reacted to it. However, the cost, ($285/ month and not covered by my insurance,) and side effects caused me to stop using it. There were warnings of the estrogen seeping into the male partners system via skin to vaginal contact – and reports of men growing breasts after prolonged sexual contact with their female partner using the cream. I blinked. I like breasts, but I am definitely not interested in my man growing them. I decided to purchase a herbal menopause tonic instead. I put one dropper daily in my water and it works better than the cream for vaginal dryness.
Of course, some of the other side effects of peri-menopause are merely annoying as shit.The worst of them… hot flashes. I don’t have it nearly as bad as stories I’ve heard other women express. At least I’m not drenching my clothes in sweat. The worst I do is kicking the covers off in the middle of the night while I am sleeping. Like, completely off the entire bed. Then I wake up hours later and have to search for them and put them back on. Poor Jarobi is so patient with me as he knows I can’t control myself. I recall my mother always turning the AC up really high when she was going through, “the change,” and the arguments between she and my dad. Knowing that despite the temperature rising as spring settles into a weird summer heat wave, I know sometimes, it really is just me.
I frequently ask my partner for confirmation as to whether its really hot in the house, or if its just me. Every time, its just me.
Imagine my joy when on my way to brunch in Soho last Sunday, when getting off the train on Canal Street, I found myself staring at a tourist trap full of silk Chinese fans. I walked 5 steps back, then turned around and walked right back.
“How much are they?” I asked the older woman with the fanny pack on.
“Five Dollars,” she replied.
I quickly looked through them, picked out a white one with purple flowers – then remembered Art is at the stage where everything goes directly into his mouth. I looked again, and found a lovely purple one instead. The lady handed it to me, and I promptly opened it up and fanned myself with it. The huge gust of air brought back memories of rollerblading on Venice Beach at 16. I was enthralled. Slipping the fan into my Louis Vuitton, I smiled and pushed the stroller down Grand and on to brunch.
If I absolutely must go through this, its going to be in style.