I’m fifty-five, and according to my gynecologist, I’m not even in peri-menopause yet. I told her I thought she was mistaken because I had started sprouting chin hairs and my knees had started to wrinkle. She said that those weren’t a sign of menopause. They were signs I was turning into an elephant.
She was actually very happy that I still got my period. Joyous, in fact. She said the hormones kept my skin soft and my bones healthy. I agreed that those were all good things. The problem was, my old ovaries had to work so hard to release my ancient eggs that I ended up feeling really miserable for two weeks each month. I was cranky enough about my wrinkly knees without having to deal with cramps, too.
I decided my ovaries were like the Mel Gibson of the reproductive world. Nobody wanted them around anymore but they just kept producing.
Personally, I didn’t understand the point of a uterus and ovaries once you were done having kids. I thought once you made up your mind that the kitchen was closed, your lady parts should just fall out so you didn’t have to deal with them anymore.
Of course, I did know there were some good hormones associated with having all my reproductive parts intact. But my hormones were not happy anyway. While all my friends’ hormones were moving on to a retirement community in Florida, my hors were moaning about having to keep up production this late in the game.
While all my friends’ hormones were moving on to a retirement community in Florida, my hors were moaning about having to keep up production this late in the game.
When I complained to my menopausal friends about this, they said, “Well, at least you’re not having drenching hot flashes and horrible night sweats.” They seemed eager to out-symptom me, like we were in some kind of hormonal competition. It was a fight between the Early Menopausal Gladiators and the Forever Menstruating Militants, like myself. I thought, “Hey, we’re all in the same midlife bucket. Can’t we just get along?” But then I started getting everything – pimples and wrinkles, periods and pauses, cramps and crows feet, like a cross between a 55 year-old and a tween. The only good thing about this was I had all the Early Menopausal Gladiators beat. I was clearly the winner of The Hormonal Olympics.
Eventually a friend took pity on me and told me about this Chinese ointment made from seaweed that she bought on the internet that cured everything from night sweats to athlete’s feet. She swore it would help me with all my transitional symptoms until my body stopped freaking out and figured out which uterine team it wanted to be on.
I followed the directions religiously for two weeks… and now I still have every symptom I did before I started, with one addition.
I smell like kelp.