My Menopause Story is Nanna Cee story on her journey through the, The big ‘M’….. and The ‘Change’…..
Before I had a total hysterectomy I had quite a bad time of it, but post surgery, I did really well. What I didn’t realise was the expectation I put on myself to recover well and quickly, because a) I have a strong independent streak in me, and b) ‘everyone else’ said it would be so. Well, I did do well, but far better than I should have, considering how ill I’d been. I was able to drive after a couple of weeks, and picked up the threads of my life fairly quickly. And I was thrilled to get a full night’s sleep.
But, it never occurred to me before the hysterectomy (because I just wasn’t able to think coherently) that I was going to go headfirst into menopause sooner rather than later! Consequently, when I visited my gyno for a post-surgery check up, and he talked to me about menopause, the symptoms, and what could be done for it, I was more than a bit gung-ho about it! I took the prescription for oestrogen patches that he gave me (I had progesterone cream at home to counter balance it) reluctantly, with the intention of never using it. That intention stemmed from the huge media storm about HRT and the supposed link with breast cancer some years ago, and it set up negative thoughts about any HRT in my mind. Anyway, I was feeling great, no problems in that department, or so I thought…
Then suddenly, the hot flushes hit, and oh boy, they hit hard. I was now waking multiple times per night to throw my covers off, and then waking further multiple times a night to cover up again. And during the day, well, they just kept on rolling! And I found that caffeine, alcohol and spices made it worse, thus removing most of the joy in my life. But I told myself that it was tolerable…
And then the mood swings started, and my poor husband was treading on eggshells while I was trying really hard to control them. But I told myself that it was tolerable…
And the incredible forgetfulness which I convinced myself was caused by the anemia. But I told myself that it was tolerable…
And the weight started creeping up….
I started taking some high potency herbals, and they helped, and I found I could tolerate the symptoms better. But then the vaginal dryness started oh. my. goodness. It was more than uncomfortable, it was very painful. So I used prescription vaginal cream, which gave me some relief, but nothing more.
And that was when I seriously considered the options of the script that my gyno had given me. Of course I thought about possible side effects down the track, but, I had to weigh up my considerable discomfort, versus the risks of oral HRT, versus the risks of externally applied HRT. I looked at the risk factors, and after a lot of considered thought, I chose to use oestrogen patches in conjunction with progesterone cream. Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t! And after a couple of months, the worst of the symptoms were gone, and a couple of months later saw marked improvement.
You know, it really is a matter of personal choice. If you are amongst the women who go through menopause with no symptoms at all, half your luck! But, if not, then it is up to the individual to research their choices, define their options and then decide on the best course of action for them.
Without external judgement!
Nanna Cee is the devoted Nanna to 3.5 grandchildren, has gone on to make a complete recovery and is in better health today than for a long time.
If you would like to seek more information about menopause symptoms and treatment, visit the Australasian Menopause Society website.
If you experience any concerning symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, fainting spells, severe abdominal pain or very heavy vaginal bleeding with clotting, please seek immediate medical attention we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/