Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summers of all kinds...

I'm home. Its good. Everyone was very happy to see us, and we, they. There were a few obvious signs of my absence, but in general, it appears the house and all residents survived quite well without me. That's nice. And I've come home without the pressure of turning everything around to head back to work in an office... how very nice.

School's Out
or it will be tomorrow at noon. I am *very* excited as are all of the girls. Not so much Rob, but he's not impacted that greatly anyway. We spent this evening crafting some lovely gifts and cards for teachers; I'm really pleased with them.

I've decided to structure our summer days with morning chores followed by neighborhood play; lunch followed by quiet time (when I sincerely hope Lindsay will fall asleep...) with group reading (I have the third Septimus Heap book in addition to Little Women and Wicked). Afternoons will be pool-time most days; after supper will be a nice time to go to the library or free concerts at the local performing arts center (we are so spoiled!), etc or play with our neighborhood full of friends. I have some light academic exercises that we'll do pretty regularly in addition to weekly letter-writing projects. A closet full of new crafting supplies.... hmmm. Its going to be a great summer!

My personal summer
I wish it weren't true for many reasons, but.... I was greeted in Indianapolis by the realization that the copious sweating, emotional lability, sleeplessness, increasing headaches of recent days all mean.... perimenopause. I have more than one thing to say about this but I will begin thus: Shit.

I know, I know, I hear all of you shaking your head in disbelief---but she's so young! so vibrant! so cool! Let me tell you, kittens: I couldn't agree more. A thorough scouring of the internet tells me that I qualify as "too young for this" by about 1 year and 7 days.

I actually found little else out by looking on the web. That seems perverse to me. After all, at this age, women represent far, far more than half of the American population. I did find lots and lots of discussion on male "mid-life crises" and certainly plenty about prostate cancer...

After all, I wasn't looking really for clinical information... I wanted to know something of what this experience might be.... like should I really expect to have hot flashes twice every single day that leave my hair completely drenched and wash away all traces of my makeup? Will I ever be able to fall asleep again on consecutive nights and sleep all the way through? Could it happen that I might have a sentimental conversation without crying? For how long will this continue?

And I found..... zip. Nada. Nothing helpful. There's enough information out there about the relative value of hormone replacement therapy, the risks of heart disease and cancer, all kinds of herbs you could brew up like a witch in your kitchen.... not helpful. So, as uncomfortable as this might be for you guys, I think I'm just going to have to document things here.

So far today, I've had only one "hot flash"... at about 9:15 am at Lowe's (charming). It lasted about 30 minutes and soaked my hair, and drenched through the waistband of my shorts. Damp. I was damp. And it made my glasses slide around on my face; I hate that. I actually did sleep completely unassisted last night and without any awakening---from about 11pm till 8am. I'd love to believe it might happen again tonight but I'm pretty certain it was mere exhaustion from the many sleepless nights in Indy, preceded by the many sleepless nights here. But it felt GREAT.

A treasured and trusted friend with experience in this arena has recommended magnesium supplements and although I can't find much to support its effectiveness, I don't find any reason not to. Taken in the right proportion to calcium, magnesium is good for maintaining bone density so it can't hurt. She reports it helped her flashes and sleep disturbances. I'll begin tonight, adding it to the melatonin I've been using lately. Cross your fingers....


Debbie said...

Kathy, I don't usually respond to people's blogs that don't know me but since you have a relationship with my husband "Don" & my son "Drew" I thought I'd give you a little bit of insight on your "perimenopause". First off, it sucks!!! I am now 52 and have been going through it for a long time. I am in hopes that the peri is now gone and that menopause is soon over. I have tried everything to help eleviate the symptoms and although nothing I took has completely gotten rid of the "YUCK" what I did find after going to a nurse practitioner, who believes in other things besides traditional medicine, that most of us have a slight thyroid problem. She put me on a natural thyroid (small dose)and also sent me to a compounding pharmacy for a more natural hormone. I can honestly tell you that it got better, not gone but better. Good Luck and welcome to the club.

Kathy said...

Thanks so much, Debbie. I spoke with my GYN today; he doesn't think I'm too young (not quite 44)...rats! At any rate, I'll see him next week for test of estrogen and thyroid levels...sigh.

I'm glad to hear that natural hormones have helped. Was it hard to find a pharmacy to compound them for you? And were there insurance issues or were the costs covered under your major medical plan?

Thank you so much for speaking up. Its nice to include you among the blog-Thompson's with whom I'm acquainted!

Debbie said...

Kathy,I have found it is easier on me when I talk to someone who is going through it too. If you need someone to talk to,or have questions, let me know and I will send you my email address.

In answer to your question, insurance companies frown on compounding pharmacies but they are getting better. I had to file it my self and they didn't pay as well but I did get some of the money back. I think here in Indy there are 2 compounding pharmacy stores. My meds weren't to costly and my thyroid med, I was able to get at a regular pharmacy.

I also had a saliva test instead of just the traditional blood work. A lot of drs. don't believe in it but after mine was done my meds were tailored for me.

There is a web site: that I like. It is cute plus gives some good information.

Take a good multi vitamin and a B complex in the morning and your magnesium at bedtime. It will help.

Hang in there!! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Special K said...

V. brave of you to chronicle your experience - hot flashes sound like a nightmare - I'm not looking forward to it. I'll let you know if I hear of any resources.