Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Menopause and Hot Flashes - Part 2

my cashmere sweater
.
"Oh, I'm a little warm - must be a hot flash," as I laugh and say to my friend Renee. Husband is sitting with us, watching TV, as we catch up after not seeing each other for over a year.

In a surprised and hush-hush voice, she says, “You’re in menopause?”

“Yes. I AM fifty-two,” as I continue to smile.

“Really?” (not responding to my age, but to the menopause)

Now I’m feeling awkward. My smile is fading. Was I not supposed to say that? I’m lost in figuring out what the big deal is.

Husband doesn’t say a word – just keeps his eyes on the TV.

Seeing this, I assume he doesn’t want to get in the middle of this conversation, so I change the subject.

Our hour long visit goes well. We have fun talking about as many topics and people we can think of until she has to leave.

As we stand in my driveway saying our last good-byes, she says something about the current status of her life. Divorced a couple years ago, she’s still adjusting. I go into my encourager role, telling her to keep doing things that interest her. I bring up menopause again, saying one good this about it, is a renewed sense of freedom; an entry into another phase of life that solidifies you as a fully grown woman...blah, blah, blah

Quickly, she says, “Oh, I’m not in menopause.”

In my normal tone of voice, I say, “Oh, I know, but you’re almost forty-eight. You’re probably perimenopausal. That can go on for years.”

“No, I’m not. I don’t have any symptoms.

“Well, I hardly have ‘symptoms’ (sounds like we’re talking about a disease), but your body is preparing to stop having periods. Those eggs don’t last forever,” trying to bring in some humor.

“I think it’ll be a long time before I’m in menopause.”
“Oh, did your mom have a late menopause, or your sister?”
“They had surgery, so I don’t know.”
“Well, why do you think so about yourself?”

“I don’t know…I just know…I’ll be sixty!”

“You don’t want a period THAT long!”


And so on…until I say…

“Trust me, eventually you won’t miss your period.”
I don’t think she believed me.

Followers and readers of ALL ages…guys, too…
How do you feel about the menopause conversation? Does it make you uncomfortable?


Ps. Since my first Menopause and Hot Flashes post, the hot flashes have decreased considerably. I wore my cashmere sweater this past winter without having to strip it off in a panic because of a hot-flash. Yay!

36 comments:

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

Maybe she's in denial about aging?? lol

I was in perimenopause for 10 years and finally hit menopause when I was 48. Had every symptom in the book. Now I'm just tired.

Menopausal New Mom said...

OMG, if menopause made me uncomfortable to talk about, I don't think my handle would be "menopausal" new mom :)

Honestly, I don't feel a bit embarassed by it or feel I need to apologize for hot flashes or any symptom I'm feeling.

I think your friend equates menopause with old age and I can tell you, that is not the case unless you allow it. I mean seriously, I'm running around after my own naturally conceived 4-year old and I'm 49 and POST menopausal. Big deal, do you think I have time to care?? Loll!!!!!

Aging Mommy said...

As someone already experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms typical in your 40's I would say your friend is in denial - maybe if she is hoping to find a new romance she feels this will put a new guy off?? Maybe she fears getting older, or is just embarrassed about it all?

I don't find it embarrassing at all, it's just part of life, but I do wish it was something you could just get over with quickly without all the annoying "symptoms"!!!

My Aimless Infatuation said...

copaHey! I've been wondering where you've been,missed ya. The menopause conversation doesn't bother me,we all have to go thru it,heck I'll talk about any subject,I had my last period at 46,I didn't have the hot flashes like you and my Mother did. With me it was more of an emotional breakdown but there was also alot of bad things happening in my life at the time. I also felt like I was suffering from a never ending PMS episode. I got back on track with the help of hormone therapy. I had to chuckle at your friend because I have one that's in denial also. She will turn 60 in July and still claims "no menopause". Funny tho because she no longer has periods.....and there was no surgery! Glad your back.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

Don't know where the copa came from!

Trish said...

Wow...thats an odd response your friend had. Im still young and for as long as I can remember, aging has not frightened me. Ive always longed to grow old with wisdom....dont ask why. So menopause does not scare me, Im actually hoping that after Im done having kids, I can get these darn ovaries out of me. Im looking forward to a life with no periods which is probably why I keep having kids and breast feeding until I get pregnant again, NO PERIODS! haha , just kidding. I guess we all are different. Which is why some ladies like to lie about their age and get plastic surgery, different strokes for different folks.

Betty said...

I have NO problem whatsoever talking about menopause. It´s totally natural, like getting your period, when we were young. I´m 48 and already don´t have my period anymore, and DON¨T miss it! I think this person was just in denial.

Always Nesting said...

Bother me. No way. The symptoms bother me although I have to say I'm on the downside of those and I feel mostly wonderful. The only tough part is my meno-middle that makes me look puffy. I told hubby that if my tummy has to be round then I expect a baby at the end of this road. Hot flashes and night sweats, not much anymore. Crying for no good reason, not much anymore. If we don't talk and laugh about these years, it'll just make it all worse.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I'm not in denial at all. I know that it's on it's way. I'm almost 47 and trust me...I believe it! I am willing to take as much info as I can. I know that I will totally celebrate the no more periods.

Bernie said...

My sister was 63 and would deny menopause, kept saying she wasn't in it and hadn't gone through it but we all knew she had, (it was easy to tell with her) anyway when she was 67 I just about fell over when she said she thought she was beginning menopause....LOL
I don't mind the conversation, and I certainly do not miss my monthly visitor.........:-) hugs

Tabor said...

I don't mind talking about it and can't remember when I went through it. I tdo remember it took a year and the symptoms drove me NUTS! But I didn't take anything and just shouldered on. Yes, it is fear of old age and fear of not being attractive that makes women deny it.

Georgiana said...

LOL, she was in denial! I never thought this subject might be taboo for some. Interesting.

Tammy@ A Doctor in the House said...

That conversation was hilarious! It's hard for some of us to accept we're getting older. It's not the menopause for me, it's the getting older part. But I don't have a problem talking about it. I actually look forward to saying goodbye to periods.
On another note, just want to thank you for your kind and encouraging words you left for me. Needed that today! ~Tammy

Southpaw said...

I think Cindy is right, it's not the menopause it's the aging.

Erin said...

Well, I'm not there yet. But my mom was in perimenopause for a few years and I think her periods stopped when she was about 50, or maybe just prior? Can't recall for sure...I will be SO EXCITED to stop having periods, even if I end up having to have surgery....

Abby said...

The menopause discussions don't make me uncomfortable. In fact, I'm kinda curious as to what to expect. Some of it, I'm not too fond of hearing about!

I will admit to wanting to put off the aging thing, and the thought of menopause is just a reminder that I'm getting "old". Maybe your friend has the same thing?

Joanne said...

I don't mind the conversation, as it seems to be just another phase of life we all experience. And isn't it nice to share the journey. I'd agree with others here that it seems like your friend might have associated it with aging and getting old, and didn't want to face that.

Robin said...

Not at all..I dont have tooo many symptoms anyway..but I dont mind talking about other peoples symptoms.....LOLOL..!..Im with Oprah...life begins at fifty..Im 49 so ill be starting my new life next year...Ill be "born again"...and Im not wasting any of my new childhood on worrying about symptoms...Wooo Hoo..!

Rebecca S. said...

My mother was in her sixties when she went into menopause because she had 8 pregnancies (six children). The more children you have the longer menopause is delayed because the eggs are not used up as quickly. (As you can tell, I'm not uncomfortable about discussing it - but I'm not sure I look forward to it, either :)

Hilary said...

When my mom turned 50, my brother gave her a card that said there was a new superhero just for the 50+ age set -- the Hot Flash-- and it was an old woman in a cape and mask saying, "Holy Heat Rush, I gotta lie down." 15 years later we still laugh about it. I figure when my time comes, it'll come. I'm not uncomfortable talking about that stuff; I want all the gritty details from all available sources. Keep it coming!

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

I was so HAPPY to start perimenopause because I knew that I was on my way to not having my period anymore! I began my journey around the age of 42.At my recent doctor's visit my GYN told me my uterus is small and thin and I should stop menstruating soon...YAY!! Maybe she is afraid of aging and has not accepted it yet...I talk about it all the time to women my age and many actually seem relieved to have someone to talk to that is open and honest about it.

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Well, I keep saying that I wish I'd get hot flashes because I'm cold all the time, but I know that I'd be miserable the first time one hit. I haven't heard of anyone I know going through it at 60, but I'm sure looking forward to no more periods!
Blessings,
Marcia

Farila said...

I am actually waiting for the Menopause to come fast (I am 43)
because I am damn sure I would not miss my periods

Anita said...

Hey GIRLS...you all have "NOT" disappointed me with your stories and opinions! :)
The consensus seems to say that no one "loves" the physical side of having a period; although many of us have been glad to see it at some point in life...in other words, it could have been an unplanned baby on the way instead.

But back to this post...Those of us that have been through menopause or are in the middle of it, have either sailed through it, or hated it, or felt something in between.
So those of you that have not experienced it yet, you will just handle it when it comes; hopefully you'll sail. :)
Personally, a mild hot flash is nothing in comparison to the monthly PMS I use to experience. I was sooo irritable for a few days.

Glad you all are so willing to talk about menopause...I hope others will too.

FOLLOWERS AND READERS, JOIN US WITH YOUR STORY OR OPINION. THANKS.

Buckeroomama said...

Hmmm, menopause is a part of life... While I would not be walking down the street wearing a sash announcing to all that I am in menopause, it's not something about which I would feel uncomfortable talking or discussing.

gayle said...

Except for the hot flashes...I love it!!

yonca said...

I doesn't make me uncomfortable. There is nothing wrong to talk about it.I'm not there yet. But very close:)
Hope you had a great week Anita!

Jacqui said...

HAHA you are to funny!! thanks for the comment! hope you are doing great! hope you have a great weekend!!
Jacqui

diney said...

I went into menopause as soon as I had my daughter when I was 45, and have been on HRT since. I don't feel at all in denial about age or menopause as what's the point - I would rather celebrate that I was able to have a baby at 45, and embrace my 50's with grace and humour. Perhaps your friend is afraid of age creeping up - she'll have to get used to it!!!! Awkward conversation for you indeed!

~Carrie from Cottage Cozy~ said...

Bio-identical hormones are working for me...

arlee bird said...

I would probably be shutting this conversation out for the most part-- definitely a female topic.

Lee
May 3rd A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post

My name is PJ. said...

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt!"
That's just plain sad.

Menopause is THE BEST THING EVER!!!! And, no, I'm not joking!

Once I had my kids, I was ready to send menstruation back from whence it came. What a pain in the, well, everything!!!

I was at menopause at age 48 and in perimenopause from my mid-thirties. Forty-eight couldn't come soon enough.

Does your friend know that one day she's going to die? Okay, that's my sense of humor, but, sheesh!!!

Jen said...

People aren't comfortable talking about women's cycles, or lack thereof, in general. I wish they would discuss it more. I have no idea what to expect or if I'm already perimenopausal. I'm done having kids, so I'm not going to get too upset when it happens - unless the hormone flucituation messes with me...

Jenny said...

It's funny how some people can perceive things so differently isn't it?

My daughter is very candid about all aspects of anything physical.

I just shout it out!

Tracie said...

She is def. in denial.

I was convinced that I'm in perimenopause and my dr. told me that I'm "much too young" for that to be happening. (39 - I don't think so.) Anyway, she ran some bloodwork and it turns out that it's just The Crazy not Menopause. Go me.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

I think there are women who are in total denial about aging. I too have a friend like that. But like you, I'm rockin" it! 58 is great!

PS: A friend suggested a Chinese herb called Fo-Ti. It works wonders on hot flashes.

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography