Elaborate – Menopause take 2

I have mostly just mentioned my menopause in passing. There certainly aren’t many times when I have tagged the word. But this post makes reference. This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt asks us to elaborate on a story or blog post from before. My Wicked Wednesday then is about my experience of the menopause first time around and how it feels to be going through many of the symptoms again.

First time

I was approaching my 50th birthday when the first signs appeared. Hot flashes and night sweats were the main symptoms. Of course, my age told me exactly what was happening. I was reluctant to see the doctor and ask for HRT straight away. Firstly I thought I should see how things panned out, but also at the back of the mind were thoughts about links to breast cancer.

Almost immediately my periods stopped. Dead. Just like that. To be frank, that was something of a relief. Already they had reduced down to a day or so, though had remained regular. One day though, I had a period and never had one again. But I continued to suffer from PMT for a while longer, until that too disappeared. So far so good.

The main issue really was the number of hot flashes I experienced in any day. Plus the fact they came on rapidly as soon as I was under the slightest pressure. That might be a meeting, but equally could be when my boss approached me for a report. I didn’t even have to be particularly anxious for one to descend. Then there were the ones at other times, in the shower, eating dinner, just minding my business watching TV. But at least they weren’t keeping me awake.

At night I would struggle to sleep, then as soon as I drifted off, I’d wake with perspiration dripping off me. I got myself something called a cool pillow which worked, but wasn’t comfortable for sleeping. Looking back I managed with broken sleep most nights for months and months. If a baby had come along unexpectedly, I’d have been ready! But there was also the vaginal dryness and pain when having sex I’ve spoken of before and will link to when I find the posts.

Gradually over the past 18 months though the symptoms disappeared, or certainly were too infrequent to worry about. Then I got breast cancer.

Menopause take two

My breast cancer was hormone, especially oestrogen dependent. I had assumed that being post menopausal and no longer menstruating that I would no longer produce oestrogen. That wasn’t the case and while levels are lower, women continue to produce the hormone after the menopause.

So once I had recovered from surgery I was started on a tablet called Letrozole designed to completely stop the production of oestrogen and so prevent a recurrence of the tumour. These tablets have many potential side effects, including joint pains. Thankfully for me the effects are restricted to menopause type symptoms.

This time round the hot flashes and night sweats are pretty mild. I have noticed I feel hotter in general than I used to and prefer to be too cool than too hot. I have a low threshold for taking my coat off when in a shop or coffee shop for example. The feeling of being overheated is very unpleasant. I don’t get as many hot flashes as I did in the midst of the menopause but enough to be annoying. And while I don’t wake up with a soaking pillow, I do find myself outside of the covers more than I am under neath them.

Of course it is a small price to pay and I would rather do all I can to minimise the risk of recurrence. But that doesn’t mean these symptoms aren’t irritating and sometimes embarrassing. But, oh well. Menopause take two it is.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Zeal

Zeal is defined as: great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective.

If you read my first few posts my excitement and enthusiasm for the future was palpable. I didn’t know what would happen, whether my foray into the unknown would be a short lived thing. But I embraced the experiences and wrote about them in this blog. It would be impossible to write for 7 years without some zeal and I tend to approach most projects with the same enthusiasm. But this can be tiring and can’t be sustained over a long period. So many times over the years my words have dried up and I have questioned the blog’s purpose. I’m sure that will continue to occur from time to time.

Purpose

In the past I was always heading in some kind of direction, there were goals to achieve, decisions to be made. Things are different now. This blog has become a record of the here and now, it’s a place to write my thoughts and feelings and post photos of those experiences.

My breast cancer experience gave me a new reason for writing. I was angry and scared. Writing about what was happening helped me process and articulate my thoughts. As always it has also produced a lasting memory. The next part of that journey will be my breast reconstruction, which I intend to write about in depth. And Zeal will be required to see it through to a conclusion, since it requires major surgery.

Readership

I still try to write for myself, but know that others read what I have to say. I participate in memes, mainly to help with inspiration. But also because I want to take part, to join in. Of course this could lead to a loss of focus on the main purpose of the blog (if there was one), or the quality of what is published. I hope that isn’t the case.

My main reader is Master. He still looks back at old posts as well as reading the new. He and I have many discussions about my blog content, which I think is healthy. Otherwise my readership is growing and I love that is happening. I guess it gives me permission to branch out into topics that people would like me to write about.

Zealous to the end

This has been my 4th year of participating in the A to Z of blogging. As always I started with zeal and even planned ahead. I think my choice of using the 7 years of material on the blog was a good one. But I underestimated the work involved in finding the right links for each post. It involved reading an awful lot of old posts, some of which I would rather have left alone. However, it is done and there is really only one post (UVW), a 3 in one post, that I’m not happy with. Time, the fact I have written about topics before and a small amount of apathy, played a part. But I have made it to Z with zeal.

I am not sure there will be a 5th year though. I think I have run out of energy for this one.