Friday, January 30, 2009

And now a word about the big "M"

Listen, if you are male, or under the age of 35, you probably won't give a crap about this post, so STOP reading NOW! I didn't care 20 years ago. Although I probably should have..

Let's just say that I have become increasingly aware of the fact that I want to break up with my gynecologist that I have been seeing for 15 years or so. He has thrown hormones at me for years, with never really listening to me and my symptoms of the big "M". I found some office samples of this in my medicine cabinet today which I never took. I had no idea what they were, why he was giving them to me although I had a vague idea it had something to do with hot flashes 3 years ago. I have dabbled in HRT over the years, although there were always males involved in my decisions of what to take. The "expert" in bio identical hormones at the local compounding pharmacist (male), although a phone conversation about my symptoms just didn't do it for me as far as following my progress as I lathered on the hormone cream everyday hoping for a miracle for the "7 dwarfs of menopause":

Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All Dried Up.

I coined this phrase from Suzane Sommers, who was on Oprah yesterday and discussing bioidenticals HRTs as if they were the second coming...If every middle aged woman in America does not go out and get these hormones today as result of her testimony, I would be shocked. She (and Robin Mcgraw, Phil's wife) said that she has NEVER felt BETTER in her LIFE, EVER! And she is 60 years old...

So I am on a quest to deal with my own hormonal issues this year, 2009. The hormones Dr. D has given me in the past have either
A: not worked or
B: made me gain weight.
B does it make me feel fantastic because our wonderful culture has decided that skinny is good! Now why can't I live in this culture, where fat is beautiful? OK, that is a bit extreme and these women are abused and suffering health risks but why do we have to feel like we are fat if we are over 20 BMI?
This may be something I never get over..

So back to my quest to deal with menopause. I went to see a Nurse Practitioner this week who specializes in HRT, bio identical hormone replacement to be exact. She actually ordered blood tests? Imagine that! I asked that the test results be sent to me also (you can do that you know-a little known fact). I have my own medical file with notes and test results for other things. It is time that we all become in charge of our own health care, as we watch the HMO's take over the world. Just give a menopausal woman a reason to be pissed and here I am pissed at the health care system! Do you know that doctors are expected to see 5 patients an hour?.I digress..

Oprah is waking up all women of the world to this issue! I LURV Oprah! She and I are the same age so each year she gives us info about whatever stage in life she is going through so all I have to do is follow her along and I get all the ideas and info I want for whatever life stage I am in.

Along with my new medical approach to the big "M" I am armed with new books:

"The Wisdom of Menopause" by Christiane Northrup, MD-the guru of menopause
"What's Age Got to Do With It?" by Robin McGraw-yes Dr. Phil's is actually quite good and yes she is my age too.
I am about to get Suzanne Somers book: "Breakthrough" also...She is a bit extreme and has gobs of money to invest in supplements and doctors but I am like a sponge right now around this issue.

Also found this website, where women seem to contemplate the latest menopause issues as well.

I have been having symptoms of "perimenopause" for probably 20 years but the real deal crept up on me about 3 years ago. I have been to many different medical professionals about the symptoms but never really have gotten to the bottom of all of it. Maybe this is a fantasy that hormones, vitamins or eating differently will cure me-I would like a quick fix for my sleepless nights and hot flashes!

Tune in for more on the "Big M"..


Esther said...

It is such a big job to figure out what makes you feel better. For me it's been: yoga, acupuncture, flower essences, imagery, self-care time, more fruits and veggies and whole grains and my beloved zoloft, which I prescribe based on how I feel. 1 pill daily, or every other day for awhile, or 1/2 pill every 3 days...whatever. But I have learned that even with all the other "healthy ways" my beloved zoloft must remain part of the plan. Good luck Debi, let me know what works for you.

21stCenturyMom said...

I had a woman OB/GYN who put me on HRT immediately and immediately my body shut down and never made another horemone of its own. Not happy about that.

I just use the OTC stuff (Pro-Gest) and take DHEA which is a precursor to testosterone. Seems to work fine. I suppose I'm violating some rule of racing but I'm so far from winning I don't thing it much matters.

I do know women who use the bio-identical compounds from the compounding pharmacy and they love it.

RBR said...

I will be very interested to see what you learn as well. I am struggling with periomenopause issues for the last year or two. I am only 39 but my mom went in at 41 and I have never had a child which, from what I read, can sometimes send you into early 'M' as well.

Exercise has helped some, but the extreme periods and sleeplessness persists.

Calyx Meredith said...

I too am dealing with perimenopause (and maybe not so peri-) issues. Very timely post Debi. With a maternal grandmother who had to have a radical hysterctomy at age 23 and a mom who had one at 40 - I've been hoping to change the family trend with new options. Mostly I have been confused by/scared of some of the conflicting information out there. Thank you for sharing your research and being willing to talk about what's going on for you! It seriously helps.

LBTEPA said...

I am keeping track of your journey for when it's my turn!

Anonymous said...
Check this out, Debi. I'm sure you are already researching everything, but just make sure you look at "both sides" of the story.
Love you


Debi--I'm right there with you. At 53, I've been going through the big M for several years now. Last year I saw a new OB/GYN who put me on the pill--I hated it and quit ASAP. I REFUSE to take anything where weight gain is an issue--I'm so struggling with that already. I'll be reading to see what you find. I just don't have the energy to do any more research. Good luck!

Susi said...

Bless you and all the women before me who are willing to look at the alternatives and pass along their learnings!! I have a few friends going through the big M and I listen very intently on what's going on with the hopes that when it's my turn I'll be armed with good information!

By the way, what does HMO mean?

SWTrigal said...

HMO=Health Maintenance Organization. US's version of health care monopoly..They control the Dr's and how much they are paid, etc...

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

I totally love that line, except for me it's mostly Sad, Needy, Hyper, Anxious, Bloated, Forgetful, and All Dried Up, since I internalize everything. I'll be watching, oh yes. My doc is pretty good and usually after discussing pros and cons he'll go with whatever I'm interested in trying, unless it's just flat dangerous. So let me know what you discover.

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

PS: You are far, far, far, from fat. What do you weigh, like 8 pounds or something?

cindy said...

Great post Debi...I've been behind on blog reading since I stopped blogging, but I am going to keep tabs on this one and what you find out. I'm going through the peri-M right now. Thanks for sharing priceless info with us!!

jedishoney said...

I agree with you. It is important to have all that stuff figured out. I have my thyroid checked often actually.. and so far so good.. but I haven't ever asked them to check other hormone levels. I think that would be a great idea because I know that my pain level is worse the week before my cycle. Thank you for being you! I love you!!