Merry Menopause

Did you catch the irony of that title? Menopause or perimenopause or whatever this is that is taking place in my 43 1/2 year old body is not so merry. In fact, it is quite literally, the least merry experience of my life. Seriously, what is this holy hot and cold hell?

*This jacket was provided to me for the purposes of this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Some women who have come through this stage of life share similar stories of bodily torment. Others claim to have breezed through it unscathed. Now, I know that all women are different and we all experience hormonal fluctuations in various stages of intensity with a variety of side effects. So I can only speak from my own personal experience of what is going on here. And right now, the oxymoronic happenings are these…Mentally and emotionally, I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. I have that confidence that comes with age and wisdom. I have a firm and unwavering sense of self. I am dedicated to my mission in life without skepticism or doubt. But physically, dear God, I all too often feel like I have been rammed by a freight train.

*Jacket: Plus Size Double Breasted Checked Swing Coat c/o Rosegal. Also available in a black plaid (which I have and will be sharing soon on the blog).

My biggest complaint is the debilitating fatigue that sets in about 20 days into my menstrual cycle. This is not just any ordinary level of tiredness. It is DE-BIL-I-TA-TING. Fatigue that requires a self-imposed mental pep talk to put one foot in front of the other. Fatigue which makes me fear getting behind the wheel of my car because I very well may drift off into blissful slumber at any given moment. Fatigue that no amount of sleep is enough sleep to cure. Fatigue that cannot be erased even with all the world’s caffeine.

*Necklace: c/o Chico’s (No longer available. View all of their necklaces here).

I mentioned blissful slumber right up there.  As if that is a thing during menopause.  Slumber, blissful or not, is quite hard to come by. Actually, falling asleep is not really the issue.  Debilitating fatigue takes care of that problem.  It’s the waking up at 3:25 every freaking morning.  Yes, 3:25 exactly.  Every morning.  And not being able to lose consciousness again.  Then fighting through the fatigue all damn day because I didn’t get those last few hours of much needed sleep.  Yawn.

My next complaint is the hair. Not the hair on my head. I actually am quite happy with that hair…for the first time in my life. But the hair on my face. Where the hell is it all coming from and why does it grow so fast?! Every time I look in the mirror, there is some sort of new sprout greeting me, taunting me, laughing at me. My tweezers have become one of my favorite accessories…I carry them everywhere…because you never know when a new quill will germinate from beneath my skin, pointing at me in the bright sunlight of the rearview mirror with derisive mockery.

Speaking of my skin. For a woman who never really experienced skin issues, these cyclical acne outbreaks are quite difficult to take. And it’s not even your traditional pimples that afflict me. Rather, they are deep subcutaneous cysts that never quite come to the surface, but they hurt and they itch like crazy. And they come and go exactly in sync with my cycle like beacons of the impending onslaught of menstruation.

I don’t know if you are looking at the pictures at all or how much you are enjoying the beautiful snowscaped backdrop in them. But let me tell you this…I was freezing. Because who wouldn’t be…the temperature was in the teens with violent whipping winds when we shot these photographs. But wait…with no warning at all, my armpits began producing enough sweat to quell a fire right in the midst of my violent shivering. Every night, I climb into bed shaking with chills from the inside out and I wake up hours later lying in a pool of sweat…which in turn leads to more shivers. Yeah. Sweat, shiver, sweat, shiver, sweat, shiver, sweat. The story of my life.

By the way, this amazing jacket that I am wearing is actually made of a lightweight flannel which is perfect for any woman in the throes of heat flashes.

*Boots: Shoe Dazzle Hedda Heeled Boots (You can become a VIP member by joining here).

As I was attempting to accept all the craziness going on, I began reading Radiant Again & Forever by Prudence Hall, M.D.. I am only 50 pages in, but I actually started to feel somewhat “normal” for whatever that’s worth. Her book is filled with the true life stories and struggles from real women who suffered from crippling side effects of perimenopause and menopause. Women who were told by their doctors that they were too young to be experiencing menopause. Women who voiced their complaints and were essentially told to ignore their own intuitions. Dr. Hall believes that we, as mature and intelligent women, are the best source of insight into our own bodies when it comes to discovering an accurate diagnosis. We need to become proficient in reading the messages that our bodies send to us.

I leave you with this from Dr. Hall:

“I believe that true health is supported by three pillars: your physical body, the power of your mind with its thoughts and emotions, and your connection to your authentic self and your true life’s purpose. When each of these is addressed, we become full of life, leaving any deadness behind. The results are explosive, igniting new vitality and union with your true self. You deserve to be fabulous!”

Indeed, Dr. Hall, we all deserve to be fabulous!  My readers of the female persuasion, what has been your experience with this stage of life, if you have reached it yet? And any male readers, if you have your own experiences to share of your menopausal loved ones, please join the discussion.  None of us needs to embark on this journey alone.  I would love to open the conversation and unite us all in this adventure called womanhood!  Let’s be fabulous together!

Merry Menopause, my friends!

Keeping it on the edge,

Shelbee

Also, be sure to check out my article, Running On Overdrive: How To Avoid the Crash, in the Winter Issue of Resilientista Magazine as well as all of the other amazing contributions. Lots of great tips are provided for living your best life!

Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.

Follow shelbeeontheedge@gmail.com:

I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

32 Responses

  1. Love to see you feel comfortable with yourself. Every woman should be confident, nevertheless the passing of time.
    Merry Christmas, Shelbee.

    XO
    Miri
    https://currentlywearing.com

    • Miri, thank you so much! Confidence is what gets me through the days! Every woman should be confident and fabulous through every little crazy hormonal change! Merry Christmas to you, my friend.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  2. Oh don t even start with me about menopause. I hate it! And it is there for almost two years now. The thing I hate the most are the hot flashes. And you can t hide it because the face looks like a ripe tomato! Awfull! I hope it will disappear in the new year😂😂😂😂 Merry Christmas love.

    • Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your torment with me! It is all so annoying! I am only just at the beginning so I won’t even begin to hope that it will disappear this year, but I sure do hope you get some relief soon! Merry Christmas to you as well.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  3. Oh no, that’s so not fun! but the jacket is fantastic!!

  4. Ugh, I am not looking forward to this part of my 40s. I pray that I’m one of those people who breezes through it, although based on my mom and sister’s experience, that’s probably not going to be the case! Here’s to aging as gracefully as possible—and looking fabulous while doing it!
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

  5. I’m 43 and was officially diagnosed with perimenopause a year and a half ago, although, looking back, my symptoms started about a year before that (when I was 40-41). I, too, experienced the, what I called, the fatigue that has no cure. Like clockwork each month, I lost an entire day (sometimes thus having to take sick day from work) confined to the bed and/or in the recliner unable to do much more than just “be.” The worst symptom I experienced was the personality changes that kicked in about a week before Aunt Flo would arrive. Typically, I’m a very even keeled person. I rarely experience extreme highs or lows and am very easy going. All bets were off during the PMS week. I was loosing my cool at work, going from 0 to 10 on the anger Richter scale over the most stupid, trivial things. Luckily, I knew something was up and my OBGYN listened to all my concerns and symptoms. Progesterone to the rescue! I tell ya what, I was very skeptic, but that little pill has been a life changer (maybe even a life saver). Seriously, within a few months after starting I felt back to my old self. My personality stabilized and the extreme fatigue has been significantly reduced as well as the severe cramping (that a whole story in itself!). It is a shame that so many of us have to experience this hormonal chaos just as we enter the stage in our lives when we feel the most comfortable in our own skins.

    I wish you the best during your menopause journey.

    Visiting from WW

    • Ericka, thank you so, so much for sharing your story with me. I am also 43 and these symptoms started for me right around 40-41. At first, my doctors just kept telling me I was too young, it must be something else. Finally, last year, my OB/GYN said I was definitely at the beginning of the perimenopausal stage but did not offer to do much for me. I had a tubal ligation at that time and a uterine ablation. Both of these procedures did lessen my stress especially since (finally) a year later, my period is down to a few days of very minimal spotting. But the mood swings are a beast of their own volition! I hear you on that one. I get so incredibly irritated with the smallest things. And try as I may to stop myself and control it, I just can’t seem to get a handle on it. And of course, the fatigue. I also didn’t mention the horrendous body odor that I experience during PMS. Not any other time of the month though. It makes my eyes water! Ha. So gross. But I really appreciate your sharing with me. I am going to make an appointment right after the holidays and get things moving. I am glad I wrote this post because I am getting so much great feedback and encouragement to seek help. I wish you many blessings in the new year! Let’s stay fabulous through this crazy ride!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  6. I know it’s not for a lot of people, but HRT has been my saviour. I tried all the natural remedies but nothing worked. If you’re in a tough work environment where you need to be 100% all the time (and sleep well), I can’t recommend it highly enough. Happy New Year Shelbee!

    • Gail, thank you for sharing this information. I will look into this, for sure. I think I am going to make an appointment next week to get some referrals going and see what I can do to alleviate some of these symptoms. I wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  7. Hot and then cold and then hot and then cold again?! Fatigue?! Etcetera?! Ufff, it sounds really so utterly horrible! I hope your symptoms stop as soon as possible.

    (Nature is not at all feminist! Why do we have to suffer that much?!)

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I have to say, I know women that have gone through menopause, but they don´t really talk about. Women issues are always a taboo unfortunately.

    P.S. I read your article in the Resilientista Magazine, very interesting! Also, I have tried meditation many times )I even read a book about how to meditate) but it is always hard for me to concentrate. Have you tried it successfully?

    • Helen, thank you so much for reading this post! I love your comment about Nature not being feminist! So funny. And I know women don’t talk about these issues which is why I feel it is so important to be bold and put it out there. How can we possibly get through all this chaos without the support of others who are going through or have gone through the same thing? It is silly really that these topics still remain so taboo. I guess I will just continue to break down those walls!

      I am glad that you liked my article, too. I think the trick to meditating successfully is to definitely start in a quiet place. I have been able to successfully meditate on a crowded city subway, but that was years ago when I did it much more frequently. It definitely takes lots of practice to tune out any outside noise as well as the inside noise. Guided meditations are really helpful for beginners as well because they help you focus on the words being spoken making it easier to concentrate. I would say try to find a guided meditation audio and see if that helps. It is a very cleansing activity. I should probably do it more than I do!

      I hope you had a lovely Christmas, my friend. Many blessings to you in the new year!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

      • Hi Shelbee! I feel the same way about sharing experiences. It really makes a difference talking about taboos.

        I will take your advice and try to find a guided meditation audio. I have tried the guided meditation twice, with traditional Chinese medicine doctor and it was great, but then alone I could make it. Let´s see if an audio guidance helps!

        ▼(´ᴥ`)▼

        On another happy note, our dog just had 5 babies!!!!! It was a surprise pregnancy, we had her separated from our other dog during the estrus (the reproductive days of her cycle) but somehow they managed, well, to make babies (now I understand why people neuter their dogs!I honestly found it cruel before, now I see how nature always finds a way!) and we only realized she was pregnant just 10 days ago! We just thought she was eating a lot in order to get some extra kilos and fat to keep her warm during the winter! She had her yesterday and they are incredibly cute!!!!! I am a proud ¨grandma¨ now, hehe!

        🙂

        Hugs!

        • *I couldn´t

        • Aw, Helen, that is exciting! Congratulations on your new grand-puppies! What a fun holiday surprise. So funny that you thought she was just trying to fatten up for the winter though! And do let me know how the guided meditation works for you. And send me some picture of little pups, please!

          Happy New Year!

          xoxo
          Shelbee

          • Helen C.

            Thanks! 🙂
            I will send photos! For now they are sleeping and eating at their dog house but with no light as they are still sensitive in the eyes. So I have to wait a few days before I take some photos in the light! And all I want to do is take them in my arms and hug them all day long…but I have to be patient 🙂

          • Aw, that would be awesome, Helen! Yes, definitely wait until they are ready! Thanks so much!

            xoxo
            Shelbee

  8. This is a very cool coat. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. I wish you and your loved ones a happy New Year.

  9. Great post … although it seems odd to say that I enjoyed reading it (good subject, not your suffering). I suppose that for now it’s a bit like childbirth in that you remember that it happened but not all of the painful details. I can recall experiencing all of the same symptoms but maybe not as intensely. The hot flashes were infrequent and random except for the daily one at 4am and a topical ointment helped with the skin issues. It’s all part of life and a sign that we are indeed alive.

    Rena
    http://www.finewhateverblog.com

    • Rena, thank you so much for your honesty and insight on this topic! I love your attitude about it, too. It is a sign that we are alive and I am trying to embrace it for just that reason…however, the hormones are raging right now and my poor family is suffering the brunt of it! I do hope this episode passes quickly. Wishing you a a very happy new year, my friend.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  10. Merry Menopause oh great one in the most beautiful plaid coat I’ve seen! Here’s what’s great about Menopause (and remember, I have no filter)
    You can phuck all night into day and not worry about getting pregnant.
    The money you save on tampons and maxi pads and buying new panties to replace the bloody stained ones will allow you to buy a great pair of shoes and a leather Longchamp bag.
    You save money on heating bills because the heat that eminates from your body will keep the entire family warm. And if they don’t like it, they can wear a sweater.
    Yeah. Menopause isn’t that bad–the worst part is that you need a tweezer at all times because of those chin hairs that pop up at any time during the day!
    Happy New Year my little buddy and the best of success for 2018!

    • Oh how flattered I am that you, oh great unfiltered one, have called me “oh great one”! I love how unfiltered you are! Thank you for this amazing comment that made me laugh out loud until I shed a tear or two. You call it like it is…all the time…and that is so completely endearing to me! I am so excited to see where the new year takes us and our no bullshit blogs! Love you, my friend.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  11. I’m not sure if I’m quite there yet but I do get the sweaty/shivering episodes in the night. I guess it doesn’t help that I often wear PJs and a cardigan in bed! I remember my mum starting to get horrendous symptoms in her very early forties so I’m hoping I don’t follow suit. It’s no fun being female sometimes is it? And I’m convinced I’m getting more facial hair lately…my tweezers are always close by! Love your plaid coat btw!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    • Oh, Emma, it does sound like the beginning of it for you, too! I loved a comment posted by Rena though…she said even through all these horrible symptoms, it reminds us that we are women, fabulous and alive! So I guess that’s how I need to approach this whole awful transition. Thanks so much for stopping by, for the lovely comment, and for sharing your personal experience with midlife changes! Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  12. What a great post Shelbee!
    You’re always so inspirational and positive.
    Each stage is a big bonus for us who didn’t think we’d make 30!!

    Thank you for linking up to #fakeituntilyoumakeit!
    Samantha
    XXX

    • Thank you so much, Samantha! I try to keep it positive even through the ugly times! Each stage really is a bonus…and here we are at midlife, the best stage of life on so many levels. Thanks for all of your positive words as well! Together we are stronger.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

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