I have been thinking a lot about what I would like my blog to be about. What can my blog offer that will set it apart from other blogs? What will be its main purpose and focus? At the moment, particularly with my 365 Grateful Project on the go until September 2013, I want to use this first year to absorb the blogosphere and learn. My blog needs the chance to evolve naturally as I learn more and get the feel for where my place is in the blogosphere.
Having said the above, I know that my blog will be about many things, but one thing that I have become certain about is that I would like it to be about life, issues, health and joys for women of my age. To do this, I have to be willing to divulge some stuff about myself. This I have struggled with. I’m a very private person, but have come to the conclusion that I must be open (within reason) in order to be honest, true and relatable in my writing. I also believe that some of these things need to be more openly discussed and shared.
In the short time I have been part of the blogosphere, I have seen a wonderful supportive network of bloggers who are young mothers and I love it. I so wish that there was this blogosphere when I was home with little kids. It would have helped so much with those bouts of loneliness. I’ve also seen fashion and beauty blogs, craft blogs, healthy living blogs, fitness and weight loss blogs, blogs that inspire and more.
One thing that I have noticed that is missing in the blogosphere, or maybe I just haven’t found it yet, is women bloggers around my age who talk about life from our perspective – subjects such as when you no longer have any children at school, or when your babies are suddenly 18 year olds and young adults who may be close to leaving the nest, the anxiety of waiting for teens or young adults to come home from a night out, or talking about being on the precipice of ‘the change’ (peri-menopause) or going through ‘the change’ (menopause) and how this affects us (more on this a bit further into this post) …. and so much more.
Talking about some of the stuff I mentioned in the paragraph above may alienate some of my younger blogging friends, but I hope not. One day, they too will be here, and knowing what to expect and learning from what we (who are here now) learn would be a good thing for arming them with information for the future.
So – in this post, I am getting the ball rolling by talking about a couple of health symptoms I have been dealing with. These are issues that women my age, younger and older will deal with, so why not talk about it?
If any men have read this far, it’s up to you whether you want to read any further, but if women’s issues bore you or if you are a bit squeamish, don’t say you haven’t been warned! 😉
Firstly, I will come clean and reveal that I am 48 years of age. I will turn 49 in May 2013. I had revealed that I was in my late 40’s but there you go, now you know exactly how late 40’s I am!
It’s no secret that I have been having some health issues. I’ve said as much in various blog posts. None of them are life threatening (as far as I know) thankfully. I don’t really want to reveal them all, at least not yet, and anyway it would bore you to tears! Regardless, I can say that I think they all inter-link. The more I learn, the more I believe this to be the case.
A couple of these issues are that (1) I have become quite emotional. Embarrassingly emotional. Uncomfortably emotional. It is like living on a roller coaster of emotions for which I have no control. (2) My periods are more regular, much heavier, and more painful than ever before.
Being so emotionally unstable has prevented me from attending two funerals that I should have (I would have sobbed uncontrollably and made it harder for the grieving family members – not to mention embarrassing for my poor husband). It means that I have to turn the TV off frequently or at least walk away from it and I tend to avoid newspapers. It means that sad or bad news makes me cry and sob and is absorbed by me to the point of affecting my ability to sleep, and the tragedy and emotion of these events lingers with me for quite some time. It means I can embarrassingly tear up mid-conversation with someone, particularly if we are talking about something sad OR even if we are talking about something incredibly wonderful and happy!
I have had many visits to doctors looking for answers. I had guessed that perhaps it was a hormonal imbalance and I was peri-menopausal. Blood tests have been done in the past and always the doctor tells me “your hormone levels are normal FOR YOUR AGE”. I swear if I heard that one more time, I would not be held responsible for my actions!! I was also told – no you are not peri-menopausal. They may be doctors but I am the one living with this body and I know they were wrong!
The only option ever presented to me was to use a ‘Merina IUD” – supposedly this would lighten my periods and lessen the associated painful symptoms. Merina IUD’s contain a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel that is often used in birth control pills. It is not a natural hormone – it is synthetic. Merina IUD’s are mostly used for birth control. An IUD was never an option that appealed to me when I needed to think about birth control so it’s certainly not an option that appeals to me now! I mean no disrespect to anyone who has chosen to use a Merina IUD – it just isn’t something that I am personally comfortable with. So, I walked away from their advice and continued on with my suffering.
Recently, I found a doctor who practices integrative medicine, combining western medical training with other modalities and natural therapies. Exactly what I have been looking for, and she is so close to home. Hooray! She sent me for a blood test and tested me for far more things than any medical doctor ever has. She has thoroughly investigated my health from every possible angle and found out so much! I am forever grateful to her. She wondered how on earth I have managed to live like this for so long. I wonder how I have too? But what option did I have when mainstream doctors could only offer one option that was not acceptable to me?
Amongst many other things (perhaps another post at another time), my progesterone hormone level is next to 0, whilst I have oodles of oestrogen. You need these hormones balanced in order to have bearable periods and to feel emotionally stable! Well HELLO!!
I’ve done a little research myself and also found out that as the precursor to cortisol, testosterone, oestrogen and several other hormones, adequate amounts of the steroid hormone progesterone are important to reproductive health, brain cell development, fat metabolism and thyroid hormone function. Symptoms of progesterone deficiency may include premenstrual syndrome, weight gain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, headaches, fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts. These symptoms develop when a person shows signs of oestrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that places women at risk of breast cancer as well as cancers of the ovary and the uterus.
Finding out this information is lighting lots of light bulbs for me because many of the things mentioned in the paragraph above apply to me. Remember how I said many of my issues seem to be inter-linked?
Focussing now on the fact that I have next to zero progesterone hormone, I’ll go on to tell you that this new doctor I have found immediately wrote a prescription for a specially compounded mixture of bio-identical progesterone cream for me. It was made up by a specially trained pharmacist at a local pharmacy. Here it is – it was my 365 Grateful – Day 85 photo – mystery solved! 😉 I am to apply 1ml per night in the wrist/forearm region. It is drawn out of the container with a syringe and applied directly to the area and then I rub both arms together until it is absorbed. No cream ever touches my fingers. Not a drop is wasted! I have been applying it now for four nights. It is too soon yet to feel any difference but I am very hopeful.
My research has shown me that this is a very controversial subject. There are many differing opinions. It appears that bio-identical hormones are much more accepted within the USA than here in Australia. The majority of mainstream doctors here in Australia do not support nor prescribe them.
I have done a lot of reading over a couple of years and I am convinced that bio-identical hormones are the way that I want to stabilise my hormone levels so that I can live a normal functioning life. It may not be every woman’s choice but that’s ok. Every woman has a right to have all the information at hand and make a decision that feels right for them.
Regardless of which option a woman chooses, no woman should have to suffer with ridiculously heavy and painful periods and unstable emotions (and all the other effects!!), particularly in these modern times. And no woman should be told “your hormone levels are normal FOR YOUR AGE” when quite obviously what is normal for their age is not an acceptable way to live!
I am not a doctor, so there is no guarantee that all that I’ve stated above is 100% correct. If you’re interested in reading more from medical experts about Bio-identical Hormone Replacement, here are just a couple of the very informative resources I have come across:
A paper written by Dr Sandra Cabot
I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has used Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream to hear of your experiences with it and how it may have helped you. I have to be honest and say that I am not interested in receiving bio-identical hormone bashing comments. So if you are anti bio-identical hormones – depending on how your comment is worded – it may not be approved to appear on this page. Meanwhile, I’m hoping my rollercoaster rides will end soon! 🙂
Linking up with Jess’s #IBOT
Categories: Health, Wellbeing, Happiness