Forgive me if I start writing erratically and what I’m writing about has no bearing what so ever on this perception. Yes you’ve guessed it, the menopause has been a very unwelcome foe that has been patiently residing inside me and decided it was time for some action, roughly around the time I was approaching the big 50. It was like it was just hanging around, all tooled up with its ammunition, eagerly anticipating its long awaited attack. My first indication that something was adrift, was my menstrual cycle which up until now, was as regular as clockwork. I had the usual indication that the red coats were on route, only had to check myself out in the mirror, and see the proverbial bright red spots doted all over my face. They must have a good memory, for every single month they appear on the exact same place on the skin, like they have never left the month before, it’s like they become invisible waiting for the next cycle to start. With all the usual symptoms of P.M.T, bloated stomach, sugar cravings, insomnia and the psycho mood swings, the pre-menstrual party in full swing, knowing that the party could come to an abrupt end at any time. Only this time, it was different, throwing all the pre-menstrual party guests into complete and utter confusion, for the party had been extended for another long extra month.
Being rather concerned, I paid a visit to the doctor he took some blood to check if I was menopausal. Mortified, I left the surgery in total denial, menopause, stupid man, what does he know. Eventually the results came back, I have started the menopause, bloody marvellous, I had this warped idea I was an exception to the rule, how deluded was I. My life now had become one big guessing game, will the P.M.T revellers have an extended party this month, or will it be cut short, their guess was as good as mine.
One year on and the menopause has given me a full physical, mental and emotional make over, but not one to write home about. Physically, my appetite has gone through the roof and food seems to be forever present on my mind. Before my lunch has even been digested, my mind is going ten to the dozen, planning what I’m going to cook for dinner, it’s like I have become obsessed. I have always loved my food and in some areas I have to protect myself against myself, especially when it comes to chocolate, crisps and cakes, basically everything that you should eat in moderation. On many occasions when I have been round the supermarket, I’ve picked up a packet of biscuits, a pack of four mars bars or a nice country manor fruit cake, convincing myself I will only have a little each day and that they will last me three or four days. Well, once I’ve settled down for the evening and all couched up on the couch watching the box, the sweet tooth demon enters my head and reminds me what lovely treats I have awaiting me in the fridge. He doesn’t need to remind me twice, I’m up like a rocket and in that fridge like grease lightening, trying to undo the chocolate wrapper like a woman possessed. Come bedtime I retire to my bed in disgust, I’ve managed to devour three out of four mars bars and I’m aware there is still that country manor cake in the fridge. Take no chances Gaynor, I thought before turning my night light out, so a quick bolt out of the bed, pulled the cake out the fridge which was still in its wrapper, threw it down on the kitchen floor and jumped up and down on it until it was reduced to millions of crumbs then launched it in the bin. Well done Gaynor, you done the right thing, I thought as I was drifting off into my slumber. 3am in the morning, I’ve woken up and found myself rummaging through the bin to salvage those cake crumbs that I crushed earlier to spare me more guilt and shame for pigging out, to no avail, I had eaten the whole crushed cake.
So you see, to safe guard myself against myself, for the evidence is clear to see, I cannot be trusted to purchase more than one single chocolate bar at a time, neither can I buy a whole cake, or a six pack of crisps, I have no mental defence against that first bite of anything that taste good and is bad for your waistline, I’m afraid the little food gremlins are waiting to strike every time I pass the cake, biscuit and chocolate isle in the supermarket, hopefully they will not catch me out too often, the little rascals.
I have always been one of those people that if I even so much as look at a cream slice, I have gained a pound or two, I have from far back as I can remember, always been on a diet, never been happy with my figure. Mind you, way back even in my thirties, if I needed to lose half a stone in a couple of weeks, if there was a special occasion and needed to squeeze into that little black number, it was pretty much achievable. Now, absolutely no chance what so ever, in fact at this present moment, I can’t envisage myself ever squeezing into a size fourteen jeans ever again. I have always been a size twelve – fourteen up until the menopause started, so you can imagine the shock horror a few weeks ago, when out shopping for some new clothes, I took a couple of pairs of jeans to the changing room, both pairs size fourteen. As I happily yanked the denim up just passed my knee caps, I thought ‘oh yes, plenty of room in these, you’ve still got it Gaynor’, in a split second my joy turned to sheer horror, the bloody jeans refused to move, well not exactly refused, they had no choice. I yanked and I pulled, determine to get into these babies, one more yank then I’m in. Next thing I knew, I’m on the deck, half hanging out of the changing booth with the jeans wedged into the skin of my knees. The jeans were that tight, if someone does not come to my assistance to help cut me out of them soon, my blood circulation will be cut off. My face was the colour of my legs, beetroot red, when the lady in the next cubicle appeared by my side, need some help ‘she said, I don’t know what was more embarrassing, my belly flab rolled up inside my thong, oozing out at any small opening it can find, or the sad sorrowful sight of my jeans lodged into my skin half way down my legs. I mumbled I’m fine, which seemed like a life time, I eventually made my rapid escape, thought sod the food shop and headed home.
So, I have obviously come to the realization that I have gained weight, big time, up until this point, I had been wearing these elasticated leggings, jeggings or whatever their called, and a size fourteen, I’ll have you know. Maybe the jeans I tried on were wrongly sized, it does happen you know, maybe I will go back to the shop and try another pair of jeans on, just in case.
Heading off straight to the shops, via the gym, feeling a little lighter after my five mile track on the treadmill, straight to the jeans rack I went. I grabbed the same size fourteen jeans and just to prove a point, pulled a size sixteen of the rack which obviously I thought, are going to drown me.
Feeling rather self- assured, I thought let’s try the sixteen on first, just for a laugh. Up the legs they went no problem, just as I thought, breaking out into a little grin to myself. The grin was short lived when then button of the jeans was about an inch away from the button hole. My world now had fallen apart, I’ve gone from a size fourteen to a size eighteen in a year, I was devastated, beyond belief. How did I get to this stage, why did I not do something sooner, how come I have ignored this, I asked myself, that’s it, I’m going on a crash diet starting tomorrow.
For me personally, I believe my weight gain is mainly down to the menopause, for I have never and I mean never had a huge belly, neither have I had fat round my back, it just happened to build up since the signs of the menopause first started. My relationship with food as I mentioned earlier has
always been problematic, I would not say I gorged on fatty foods, but have always put on weight easily. I have come to the realisation that I comfort eat, which has been forever present since my hormones have been all over the place coupled with my increased appetite which I get before my menstrual cycle. Due to the fact my cycle is all over the place now, I am forever craving food. Food addiction is like no other addiction, the reason is, that an alcoholic and drug addict has to abstain in order for them to get well and recover. For someone who has a problem with food, they can’t completely abstain, for they will starve to death, they have to eat to keep alive, its more about controlling what they eat, which makes it so much harder.
Another little novelty that has presented itself since the menopause began, hot flushes. I was informed about these tropical moments, shouldn’t be much of a big deal I thought, I’m pretty much used to them back in the day when my drinking was out of hand, the sweats were part and parcel of withdrawing from the amount of alcohol I used to throw down my neck. Wrong, yet again, the only way I can describe this is like, one minute I’m lying in bed yanking at my duvet trying to get warm, the next minute It’s like I have just stepped off the plane and landed in the Caribbean. My face is on fire and my hair is drenched, all in the space of a second. At least with alcohol withdrawals, you know what to expect, this is a whole new ball game, blankets on, blankets off, lying on top of the bed, legs dangling out of the side of the bed, legs back under the duvet. My god, now insomnia kicks in, now I have gained a membership to the wide awake club, is there no end to this menopause business.
As time went by, I had resigned myself to the fact that ok, it is what it is and there is nothing you can do to combat this change of life business besides taking hormone replacement treatment, which is a big definite no. I have heard some bad reports about this and being the kind of person that worries about not having anything to worry about, I thought better of this solution and decided I had no choice but to accept this and battle through the best I can, It’s not as if I am the only woman in the world who has to endure this menopause business after all, this too shall pass, we live to fight another day.
I recall one morning, I woke from a blissful night’s sleep, this menopause business is not too bad of a deal, my jovial mood might have some bearing on the fact that for once my monthly cycle resumed back to normality, bang on time and no middle of the night in and out the bed with my legs dancing to the Hokey Cokey and no spur of the moment travel plans to the Caribbean. Being as I felt so energised, a visit to the gym sounded like a good idea. After an hours weight training work out, I decided to run a few miles on the treadmill, I had half a mile to run to complete my five miles, when all of a sudden I sneezed, I could have died, I’ve only gone and peed myself, how am I going to escape out of the fire exit without all these people seeing me. There was nothing I could do except take my sweatshirt off, thank god I had a tee shirt on underneath it and tie it round my waist to hide the embarrassing wet patch.
The next day, riddled with embarrassment I found myself in the supermarket putting a packet of tenner ladies, for those little ‘whoops moments, in my shopping basket. It appears that sneezing, laughing and coughing has now become problematic, whatever next and they say that life begins at forty, umm.
Well I don’t know about the reader, but I am now getting on my own nerves, whittling on about this hideous menopause business, as I mentioned earlier, like everything else in life, this too shall pass.
Six months later
Sorry readers but things have changed just a tad since writing about the menopause, when I said this too shall pass, I was wrong my mental, emotional and physical health unfortunately took a huge turn for the worse. I belligerently dragged my sad carcass to see my G.P waving the big white flag of surrender the bloody menacing menopause had beaten me to a pulp. The fear of taking hormone replacement medication was a thing of the past, for the fear of being sent to jail for actual bodily harm and that’s just for not smiling back at me when I smiled at you, when I passed you in the street kind of thing, I think you know what I mean ladies, that’s all it could take to send me into a blind rage, enough was enough, the streets have enough psycho’s running loose without me joining in.
I was prescribed a low dosage of H.R.T and abracadabra, passport has been put away for my intermittent trips to the Caribbean have been cancelled, the tropical moments just disappeared into thin air. As for the pre-menstrual revellers well, party’s over I’m afraid, the red coats are as regular as clockwork, I’m sure they will not be party poopers for long, there are plenty of other women who are out there enduring the delights of the menopause that they can gate crash till there little hearts content. Sanity has been restored, well as much as what it will ever be I guess.
Well Ladies, if you can relate to my post, I hope now you know your not on your own in this Menopause melarcky and hopefully you had a bit of a chuckle too.
If you enjoyed this post, maybe you would enjoy my book Fifty, But Who’s Counting? The link to Amazon to purchase this is under BOOKS IN MY BLOG LIST.