Health, Wellbeing, Happiness

When you feel too much

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.

iamanemotionalrollercoasterA 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:

Hormone Clinic

http://www.hormoneclinic.com.au/

A paper written by Dr Sandra Cabot

http://www.sandracabot.com/pdf/hormones/kent_hrt_article.pdf

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! 🙂

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Linking up with Jess’s #IBOT

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18 replies »

  1. I love that you are talking about these issues. There are plenty of bloggers covering topics of interest to women in their 20s and 30s, we need more bloggers in their 40s and 50s! I am early 40s, but l’ve been around long enough to know that my late 40s will be here in about, oh, 5 minutes! So I am very interested in what you have to say.

    I would be so happy for you to start a thread on our forum about these subjects if you wanted, because I’m sure there are other mums of teenagers who have experience in what you are talking about.

    Good luck with the treatment – so great you have found the right health professional for you. Hang on to her! x

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    • Thank you so much! As I said on my FB page – I’ve been so nervous about this post. I hovered over the publish button for quite some time before I could hit it. I couldn’t agree more – there are so many blogs that focus on the 20-30 year age group but very little that I have seen for the 40-50 year age group. I would love to start a threat in your forum. Perhaps I should add my blog post first and see what kind of reaction I get? I most definately will be holding on to this doctor I found. I have hunted for years to find someone like her. She’s a keeper! xo

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  2. As I read this I felt like I could have been writing it – it applies to me as well !!!! I turned 47 in July this year.
    While I am sorry to hear that you are suffering, I am so pleased to have found someone else who I know understands EXACTLY what I am feeling / going through without me feeling like people think I am making this up or exaggerating how bad it can be.
    I am seeing a naturopath who is a qualified nurse and works in conjunction with a doctor practicing western medicine. Between the three of us we are trying to work out what is the best option for me.
    At one point the merina was suggested for me but I chose not to go with that option. I am also using a progesterone cream but not with a syringe – 1/4 tsp once a day on my arms. Is it helping ? I’m not sure.
    I too am on the emotional roller coaster – sometimes sitting at home or in the car crying but not really having a reason to cry – just crying because that is all I can do.
    A has been so patient and gentle with me – he really has helped so much. My mood swings have been huge – poor bugger doesn’t know which ‘wife’ will come home every day – the nice one or the one who loses the plot at the drop of a hat.
    Right now I am trying to just take things one day at a time. I have never been an anxious person but since this hit I have anxiety attacks, periods of feeling scared to drive my car, being scatter brained to the point of buying an $80 waterproof phone cover for K for Christmas and taking all parcels except that out the trolley – so someone scored an early Christmas present (and it wasn’t K !!!).
    Hopefully we can find some other ‘older’ bloggers out there who are suffering similar fates and we can all support each other.
    Love, hugs and positive energy !
    Me

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    • Hello – please don’t apologise for a long post. I am thrilled to get your long post! 🙂 While I wouldn’t wish these symptoms on anyone, I am so glad there is someone out there who can relate! I have had anxiety and panic attacks associated with all this too. I have never had such things in all my life. My poor husband never knows which me he will get either. I am also more nervous about driving to places I am not familiar with. Lots of weird things that are not how I usually am. I would love to get a community of us older bloggers (though we are not OLD) together so that we can support and help each other through this unfortunate but unavoidable phase of life. I wish you all the very best of luck with your treatment. Fingers crossed we will both feel more like ourselves soon!! Big hugs and thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it! 🙂 xo

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  3. Very interesting Min. I hope it all works for you. I was lucky that I got away with just hot sweats (which was shocking enough), but I know some people go through so much more.

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  4. Yay Min! Not only are you just a stone’s throw from me, but I will be 46 in January 🙂 like you I have been hoping to find more … “mature”… bloggers shall we say?! I so wish blogging had been around when I was a SAHM in the 90’s!

    Re your health issues, mine were a little different. After YEARS of being dangerously anemic, and the last couple with heavy heavy and did I say HEAVY periods, I was *finally* diagnosed with uterine fibroids and had a hysterectomy in June. Of course I was one of the 1% that have a bad reaction to the anesthesia and nearly died. Gave my family a hell of a fright but thankfully I am still here to tell the tale.

    I still have my ovaries so can still tell “that” time of the month by the killer headaches, so I have a way to go til menopause by the look of it.

    I’ve heard of applying wild yam cream to your arm to assist with menopausal issues so it must do the same thing.

    My kids are 18 & 16, I used to blog about parenting teens a bit on my old blog (http://footprintsaustralia.com/blog) but it got to a stage where I had to respect their privacy and no longer felt at liberty to share from my heart about the parenting journey. From what I’ve heard, other mum bloggers of teens feel the same & that’s why you don’t find too many out there.

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    • Doubly Yay – so pleased you are not only close by but close in age 🙂 I was a SAHM in the 90’s too and there was no such thing as blogging then or at least that I was aware of! Far out – you have most certainly been through a scary time!! I am also glad that you are still here to tell the tale! I think I still have a way to go till menopause too, so I want to try and get myself as stable and comfortable as possible in the meantime! My kids are twin boys aged 20 and a daughter aged 17. Thanks for the wild yam tip! I’ll try anything natural! I’m not so much wanting to blog about my teens…(I want to respect the privacy of my kids too)…more so about how we as mum’s cope and manage with the transitions experienced when they get to these ages (eg: waiting for them to get home at night, when they get their licence, that sort of stuff). Thanks so much for commenting 🙂 xo

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  5. I’m so pleased you stayed away from the Merena. I went on it and had the most hideous experience, weight gain and high blood pressure and huge hormonal emotional problems. IN the end I came off it and haemorraged (I have Von Willebrands bleeding disorder) which convinced the doctor to do a hysterectomy when I was 38. I kept my ovaries but think I’ve been going through perimenopause too with one really annoying feature sweating at night time! Keep talking about this stuff I may be a few years younger than you, (44) but I’m going through the same stuff. Vxx

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    • Hi V, OMG what an awful experience you had! I’m so glad you got through it and are ok! I had never heard of Von Willebrands bleeding disorder. I hope it doesn’t intefere with your life too much? I don’t have the sweating at night time (yet anyway). I am just ALWAYS hot! This post was a tester really – to see what kind of reaction it’d get and if anyone was interested. I was nervous about it. I’m so glad that I have had the comments I have had, including yours! It has given me the confidence to keep talking about it and similar topics. All women eventually reach this phase of life and there is so much unknown about it. Everyone’s experience is different but if we talk about it, then we are more aware and learn more – which means we would recognise the symptoms for what they are when they come and and are better equipped to make decisions for ourselves when we need to! Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂 xo

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  6. Hi Min. I’m a little bit from pile ‘A’ and a little bit from pile ‘B’. An older Mum (48 too) but with younger children so I follow a broad spectrum of blogs. I haven’t even begun to think about my health after the year I’ve had this year. My latest menopausal symptom is itchiness. Its driving me crazy. I thought I was getting bitten by sandflies while on holidays but there was never any bites the next day. I just recently googled it and its a symptom of menopause. My period is all over the place. Sometimes it goes for a week, heavy and painful and then it could be months before I get one. I’m also very emotional which doesn’t help with you’ve got an 8 and 6 year old. I’m doing all in my power to stay on top of things but some days I think I’m just teetering on the edge of a breakdown. Mental health is stable but need to keep on top of it, deep relaxation, need to get started on some serious exercise and find a good women’s health expert to start talking about women’s health issues for women of our age. I’m happy for you to talk about it on your blog.I’ll always listen. Just can’t help you with the teenager stuff except to tell you that I was one and know all about it. LOL Thanks for getting it out there Min.

    Anne xx

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    • Hi Anne, yes you definately are a little bit from pile ‘A’ and a little bit from pile ‘B’ lol. I certainly admire you raising little kids at this age…and you do such a beautiful job of it. You are a great mum! I’m not sure I could do it…but then again, we do what we have to do don’t we! I have the itchiness too and it drives me crazy also! The newest itchy thing is little spots on a couple of fingers where the skin has gone hard and red and itchy as hell. Re sometimes feeling close to a breakdown – I can completely understand that. Looking after yourself is important for any mum, but particularly important for for an older mum (not that you are old!!) who is experiencing menopausal symptoms! I hope you have a support network so that you can get a break now and then and a bit of “me” time. I think it is a good idea that you find a good “women’s health issues” doctor who can advise on some ways to help you through this rollercoaster ride we have to go through (tho some are lucky enough to get through it easier than others). Exercise is important – there’s no escaping the fact. Even regular brisk long walks is better than nothing 🙂 Good nutrition is important also. Thank you for commenting Anne. It means a lot to me as I was shaking in my boots about publishing this post – not sure what the reaction might be. So, its a huge relief to find that people can relate and are interested in talking about it. I’m always here if you want to chat! 😉 xo

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  7. Well I never !!
    Never imagined that by popping by to say hi that I would find many symptoms the same as mine…..although I am only 38 my Dr has diagnosed me as Pre Menopausal, lucky for me to have a diagnosis, unlucky that because of my “age” he is reluctant to treat my symptoms 😦 I feel quite isolated in my house of boys (though I love them dearly) and because of my age feel to awkward to speak about it to any friends. Thank you for being brave enough to explore these issues and be sure that I will be keeping in touch with you and your wonderful blog xxx

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    • Hi Beck – so glad you came on by! Imagine that – you are 10 years younger than me and experiencing symptoms the same as mine. The age certainly varies for all women! I would highly recommend that you find an integrative doctor such as mine – they have a broader mind and think outside the square. You shouldn’t have to suffer just because you are not at the usual age for these things to start happening. Thank you so much for your comment and good luck! xo

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  8. I’m about to turn 45, but have had really heavy periods for a year or so now. I asked about them (there’s a lot of flooding which causes problems when I’m out plus they’re often really painful) and she said the fact I was still getting a period meant that I wasn’t yet menopausal, so there was no need to worry.

    I get the hot sweats in bed sometimes (though I am a sweater anyway). My mother tells me she went through menopause early.

    Am seriously not looking forward to what it holds!

    Deb

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    • Hi Deb – most doctors I’ve been to tell me I’m not menopausal and not to worry about it too! That makes me so angry! It all boils back to that comment of “your hormone levels are normal FOR YOUR AGE’. Doesn’t mean we should have to live with the effects of what hormone levels for our age do to us!! If your symptoms really are bothering you – I’d recommend finding a doctor that investigates further and provides you with some options to make your life more comfortable!

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