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Friday, October 23, 2009

My thermostat is broken!

Now, I’m sure in light of the colder temps outside your first thought is "call the furnace repair guy", but in fact I’m talking about my body’s thermostat. In March 2008, I began to have hot flashes. At the ripe young age of 38, my body begins perimenopause. Not long after Doug had a vasectomy. God truly does have a sense of humor. Anyway, I had called my doctor to verify. She told me that women can start to have menopausal symptoms up to 10 years before they actually begin menopause. 10 years!! What?!

So, of course, I call my mom. We chat for a while.

Kim: “Hey, Mom. How are things?”

Mom: “Good, dear, how about you?”

K: “I’m good. By the way, how old were you when you started having menopause symptoms.” Nothing like cutting to the chase.

Mom (surprised): “Um, I never did. I just stopped having periods one day.”

K: “Seriously?!” my voice raised an octave or two.

Mom: “Yep. They just stopped. No problems.”

K: “Okay, I hate you.” {jokingly, of course! I love my mom!} I then proceed to tell her what’s been happening.

Mom (chuckling): “You’ll get through this. Just hang in there.”

K: “Yeah, right. Okay.”

I had hot flashes and messed up cycles for a few months, then appeared to get straightened back out. Or so I thought.

Fast forward to today. Hot flashes started again in May. I’ve now gone 3 ½ months without a period (yep, nothing since June!). That part I can handle. And since Doug had that vasectomy two years ago we don’t need to worry about baby #4, so no, I’m not pregnant! Don't even go there!

But I’ve found that now I don’t know how to dress. The once always-cold-if-the-temp-drops-below-75-degrees-outside person is now hot most of the time. Long sleeves are pushed up to my elbows ... if I even wear long sleeves. I don’t even consider wearing a sweatshirt in the house. Outside I’m okay; inside – no way!

So here’s how my days usually go:

I wake up … have a hot flash.

I get out of the shower … have a hot flash.

I get dressed … have a hot flash. Wishing I could strip back down to nothing, but then I’d just have to get dressed again. Too much work.

I start to put on my make-up … have a hot flash. (It is hard to put make-up on when your brow is sweating.)

Later on … I sit down for dinner with the family … have a hot flash.

I lay down in bed at night and cover up … have a hot flash. So the covers get thrown off … only to pull them back on a minute later when I get cold from sweating.

I wake several times a night from night sweats. Hot, cold, hot, cold. Geez! How I long for a good night’s sleep.

So I walk around and fan myself with whatever I can find. I need to buy one of those little battery-operated personal fans. (I’m writing that in my notebook that I carry in my purse so I will remember.)

I was sitting in Sunday school last week between two other ladies. I had made the mistake of wearing my Steelers sweatshirt. I had a hot flash during class and thought I was going to die! I was trapped … nowhere to go. Nothing to fan myself with. I tolerated it, but the teacher was probably wondering why I had sweat running down my face and why I had the pained look on my face. Or maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she’s been there. She is older than me after all. She was gracious enough to not say anything.

I was checking out a website that has advice on how to handle hot flashes without HRT. It is entitled “Hot Flashes: Open a Window or I'll Scream”. It is actually a really a funny article. Check it out if you have a few minutes. In the article, she gives six approaches to dealing with hot flashes.

1. Watch what you are wearing. Heavy sweaters or jackets and certain fabrics can hold in the heat. Skip nylon nighties or PJs and avoid satin or all polyester sheets. So I need to sleep in the nude in my all-cotton sheets. I’m sure Doug won’t object to that one. :)
2. Exercise as much as you can. Seriously? Okay, so I go to aerobics 3-5 times a week. Check.
3. Use cool water to cool down. Can I stick my head under the faucet at the grocery store?
4. Take a deep breath – and relax. Um, when, exactly would you like me to relax? Three kids, husband, house, dog, volunteer work, etc. Actually I do relax ... prop up my feet, read a good book or watch a favorite TV show. Check.
5. Stop and smell the roses. Certain scents can calm hot flashes (roses, lavender, vanilla, lemon grass). So Doug needs to bring me roses more often. Hmmm. “Really, honey, it is for therapeutic reasons.”
6. Stop smoking. I quit 20 years ago. Check.

So I’ve got three out of the six covered for the most part. I will work on the other three. In the meantime, if you see me fanning myself or stripping off my shirt or sticking my head in the ice at the produce section of the supermarket, you’ll know why.

1 comment:

LAURA said...

"Can I stick my head under the faucet at the grocery store?" hahahaha. NICE!