Sunday, 16 March 2014

Menopause (Moi) Health – Don’t Assume You Know What’s Going On!

Now, if only I had taken my own advice (sigh)!

As you can see, I’ve been away from the blog for a while.  There are a couple of reasons.  The main one, and the subject of today’s missive, is because I've felt like crap!

I knew what was going on though.  My hot flashes were keeping me awake.  I went for weeks, maybe even months without a decent night’s sleep.  But it’s menopause, right?  Many women go through periods of night sweats, hot flashes and lack of sleep.

I do have MS though, and with fatigue being one of my worst symptoms, the lack of zzz’s was a concern.  But I’ve lived with the condition for over twenty years now and have learned to recognize when things are going awry and adjust accordingly.

Despite having less and less energy every day, I tried every trick or aid to sleep that I could think of.  I kept doing my workouts, thinking that would help.  I took yoga classes.  I drank sleepy tea or hot milk at bedtime, tried meditation, took melatonin – you name it.  Nothing helped.

I was cold all the time (it’s Canada in the winter, I know!).  I have a hard time staying warm at this time of year anyway, but this was extreme.  I get cold when I’m over-tired however, so I assumed that the two were connected.  Add to that the fact that January (and February) often has me coming down with a case of SAD.  This year was no exception, but I put worse-than-normal blues down to - you guessed it – lack of sleep!

I had body aches.  Yeah – I’m getting older!  Foggy thinking – duh! menopause - and lack of sleep.  Dry skin – it’s winter!  Yep, I had it all figured out.  Kept telling myself ‘if I could just get a couple of good nights, I’d be back on track’

In the end I couldn’t stand it.  I was exhausted and depressed.  I cried constantly and didn’t give a rat’s ass about things that had been, just a few months earlier, the most important in my life.  I made another doctor’s appointment (like Number 7 buses, none for ages then a bunch all at once!) to ask for what I had previously resisted – Hormone Therapy!

He was certainly willing to discuss that option, but first he wanted some blood work done.  A simple blood test – that was all it took to prove that I didn’t have it figured out after all!  My problems were, in fact, due to hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid).  As the doctor reeled off the symptoms, I realized I was a classic case.

My symptoms were all connected, of course, just not in the way I had thought.  So, with a prescription clutched in my (cold) fist, there was light at the end of the tunnel.  Within a few days of taking the pills, I felt, oh, about a million times better!

And what’s the take-away from this?  For me, it’s not to assume anything about my health.  I’m usually pretty savvy about this, but menopause  is messing with what I think I know about myself and my body.  It can make you doubt your own sanity (and I have a tenuous grip on mine on the best of days!).  As a result, I spent time in unnecessary misery.  And at this point, life’s too short for that.  Best to get everything checked out, if for no other reason than peace of mind.

If this is you too, and you'd like to read more about it, I found this article from Ellen Dolgen, a lady whose blog I have visited several times for excellent information on menopause and perimenopause.

Now that I’m feeling more like myself, I hope to be back here on the blog on a regular basis.  If you’re still with me, thanks for your patience, and for having me back!




  1. I had a think about this - though I am beyond menopause, I am experiencing similar symptoms to what you describe; especially the sensitivity to cold and feeling exhausted. Anyway am seeing a Nurse Practitioner tomorrow (with our new health centre, we don't get to see our Doctor anymore, not unless we happen to be dying!) and will ask for the blood test to check my thyroid. Good Blog!

    1. Thanks for the comment & the compliment. Glad to hear you're getting the blood test - better safe than sorry! Good luck tomorrow