I’m Half Way There…by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
July 29, 2013. The last time I got my period. Exactly six months ago. A blessing of bliss.
I am only “half way” towards reaching full menopause. Three of my doctors and my lab reports all indicate that my “childbearing” days are far gone. Full bliss.
I have heard from friends that they know of women who got one last period thirteen months after their last one. Or got it on the cusp of the twelve-month “waiting period.” I know my body well, and I truly don’t believe that will be the case for me.
I am already seeing signs of menopause: thinning, dryer hair, dry skin (this is the first winter I have ever needed thick moisturizer on my face and any moisturizer at all on my body), subtle body shape changes, etc. None of these changes bother me in the least.
My body has hated hormonal fluctuation from puberty up until last July 29th. Every day, every month, every year brought on a myriad of frustrating symptoms that could never seem to be “controlled” in any way. Raging PMS, unreal bloating, immense cramping, never-ending periods.
I was put on birth control pills at an early age due to ovarian cysts and my mother dying at age 56 of ovarian cancer. It tempered the “beast,” but never came close to regulating my periods. I then was given a “water pill” to ease my immense bloating. Sometimes five to eight pounds of fluid build-up practically overnight. The medication relieved some of the bloat, but several pounds of it always continued to plague me.
Once I reached my early thirties, I realized through an article I read in a magazine, that I quite possibly could have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I searched out an expert physician on PCOS, who I still see to this day. He ran tests that no other doctor ever thought to run. Sure enough, I was a PCOS patient. Albeit an atypical PCOS patient. The fact that I was “atypical” really doesn’t have much relevance now. But I found a physician who understood my years of suffering and was able to calm the “beast,” to the best of his and my own body’s abilities.
Many PCOS patients find out that they have PCOS because they discover fertility issues when they try to conceive. Since I found out that I had PCOS years before my husband and I tried to conceive, fertility never became an obstacle. When I found out that I was pregnant and my doctor asked if my “conception time” was lengthy, I explained that I became pregnant on the very first try. He smiled. Then he hugged me and said had I not been diagnosed and treated for my PCOS as early as I had, I might have had a much more difficult time conceiving. I am now blessed with a healthy, amazing ten-year-old son!
After I gave birth, I started slowly noticing peri-menopausal changes. Night sweats galore, migraines and debilitating dizziness right before or on the first day or two of getting my period, random raging PMS, a return of unreal bloating issues and maybe two distinct incidences of “hot flashes.” This went on for years. And the symptoms were completely random. I remember the dizziness to be the worst, since I never could pin-point when it would arrive. I would bump into walls, the room would spin, and any plans for the day needed to be rescheduled or cancelled. It was beyond irritating. I remember at my Gynocologist visit right before my last July 29th period. I pleaded for medication to reduce, if not eradicate the dizziness. My Gynocologist was hesitant. I explained that the only time I ever became dizzy was when I got my period. There was an absolute hormonal connection. Still, she wanted me to get a “work-up” to rule out everything else that could cause dizziness. That could take a year in itself to do! I tried herbal and homeopathic remedies that I thought might help, but they never truly “handled” the dizziness. And the last time I became mildly dizzy was July 29, 2013. So much for needing medication for my dizziness.
I am now getting ready to celebrate. I am planning the biggest “Menopausal Bash” this world has ever seen! My friends are divided as to how they feel about a woman wanting to celebrate the end to her childbearing years. Some have gone through, or still are, experiencing hellish peri-menopause. These friends truly understand my desire to celebrate the end of “the curse.” Other friends of mine are somewhat perplexed. They have asked me why I would want to celebrate a milestone many women would “mourn.” I can understand that if you never had hormonal problems such as I, their comprehension would make perfect sense. I believe, though, that they would have had to walk in my shoes for the past forty years to fully grasp my decision to rejoice this “milestone.” Forty years of suffering is forty years too many. I deserve at least a few hours of unbridled glee to usher in a new, more physiologically stable time in my life!
No more raging hormones! No more uncertainties and embarrassing episodes of periods coming when not at all expected! No staining through clothing or bedding! No putting on pants as you are racing to get out the door to find your thighs grew three inches overnight! No pads, no tampons, no standing in the drug store isle trying to figure out whether you need mostly “light days” feminine products, “regular,” “heavy days” or post-maternity size “overnight” pads! Those days are over! Done! Goodbye! And no looking back!
So, I’m making plans. I have the date picked out. I have the place. I have a few months to put together the guest list and decide on festive and appropriate party decor. I have just enough time to plan my “Menopausal Bash!” This time, I’m officially half way there…but there is no turning back!