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On Menopause

Date October 7, 2013

A quick update.  Several of you have asked me how the meds are working and I thought I would post an update.  I’ve only been on them a little over a week now, and I can see improvements.  I think that when the doctor and I formulated a “plan,” I immediately felt better (in my head at least) because, oh look!  Light!  End of tunnel!  Maybe??

The hot flashes appear to have slowed down a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I still get them, but they are not back to back like they were.  I have some breaks in between.  The night sweats appear to have diminished a bit as well.  I still have trouble sleeping, but there are nights when I sleep better than others and it’s been a few days since I have woken up soaking wet, immediately causing me to get up and change my night shirt.  And the towel I have wrapped around my pillow.  You get the picture (if you don’t be thankful).

I still have a great deal of trouble focusing.  Not unusual when going through menopause, but let me be honest.  Drives. Me. Nuts.  No longer am I able to multitask.  I jump from one thing to another and have trouble finishing anything.  I make lists.  And lists to keep track of my lists.  And I use post-it-notes.  And then can’t figure out what the post-it-note is for.  I’m in a high stress job that requires me to be able to do several things at once.  I know this will get better, and in the mean time, I just have to do the best I can and remember to write down everything.  I’ve managed to make it work so far, but it makes me somewhat of a basket case.  Which brings me to the next topic.

Out of control emotions.  Hoo-boy.  Ugly.  Look, I am a sensitive person, who tends to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I get that.  I probably cried at least once a day.  I was so ANGRY.  So IRRITATED.  All the time.  Over stupid stuff.  Things that normally would roll off my shoulders would make me so mad.  I fought the anger.  I scraped the fury off of my shoulders, but it was sticky.  And I could never get rid of it all.  I would fall asleep in tears, completely unable to cope.  My husband and I went to brunch a few weeks ago, and an adorable little girl was sitting with her family behind us, softly singing her ABC’s.  The former Laura would have smiled and enjoyed it.  She was being so good.  I had to fight tooth and nail not to turn around and tell her “JUST SHUT UP!  SHUT. UP!”  So not me.  I’m not nearly so angry now.  That part seems to have calmed down a bit, and I am so grateful for that.  Don’t get me wrong.  The anger still simmers beneath the surface, but I appear to have a lot more cold water to douse the heat.  And  a lot more strength to keep the tears at bay.  But I still have one more battle to conquer.

I am still fighting the lack of motivation.  The emotional and physical exhaustion that causes me just to not care.  About my appearance.  About cleaning the house.  About paying the bills.  About other aspects of my health.  My mantra?  I’ll do it tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and goes, and I continue to push back the date.  I’m getting there.  But I’m nowhere near where I should be.  But  I still have hope.

This was supposed to be a quick update.  Obviously, I needed to get some of this out.  To write it down.  Perhaps by sharing it with you, I can convince myself I’m not crazy.  That what I’m going through is not “unusual.”  I’d like to close by presenting you with a list.  Perhaps it might help you (or your loved ones/friends) understand what you are going through.  And that you are not alone.  And you are not crazy either.

  1. When I finally gave in and cried “Uncle,” several of my good friends told me to write EVERY SYMPTOM down on a list.  From the mundane to the glaringly obvious.  Even if you don’t think it is important, put it on the list.  I had 15 different things to talk about.  It turned out that all but one of them were symptoms of what I was going through.  Who knew?  This list will ensure that you will remember what to talk to your doctor about.  I don’t know about you, but I always go into an appointment with a list of questions in my head, only to walk out of the appointment realizing I had forgot to ask most of them while I was there.
  2. Do NOT give up.  When you get a treatment plan, it’s going to take a while for things to happen.  You didn’t get where you were in a day, nor will things you are going through go away just because you have taken your first pill, or applied your first patch.  It takes time.  Keep a log for your next appointment.  What is getting better?  What is staying the same or getting worse?  If, after a bit of time, you do not appear to be getting better, go back to your doctor.  Take your log.  Be proactive.  Lord only knows I suffered a lot longer because I just kept telling myself things would be better soon.  Be ye not so stupid.
  3. When you start your treatments, be conscious of things you can do for yourself to help.  Don’t rely completely on your meds/treatment.  Take steps to help yourself, even if you have to force it.  I love to cook.  I started to try new recipes.  I made weekly menu plans.  To make getting ready in the morning easier, I laid out my clothes the night before, up to and including the jewelry I would wear.  Make little lists for yourself for things you need to do when you get home, or during the day.  A load of laundry?  Put that baby on the list.  And cross that puppy off when you are done.  It’s amazing what accomplishing even the smallest of tasks can do for your mental state.
  4. Do not listen to people when they tell you to just stick with it.  That things will get better.  That you need to pray harder or just get over it already.  That you don’t need medication to help you.  You don’t need to suffer through this on your own.  There is so much help out there.  Learn to embrace it so that you can feel better.  I once had a doctor tell me that just because all of my blood work (hormonal) came back in the normal range, didn’t mean that it was normal for me.  Everyone is different.  Just because you need “outside help” doesn’t mean that you are weak. My present doctor also told me that some of my previous depression issues probably came from the fact that I had started this menopause thing early (perimenopause).  Go figure.
  5. Regardless of what I said in #4, I am a firm believer in prayer.  Talk to God, light a candle or whatever it is that you do.  I talk to God a lot.  Sometimes I yell at him.  Sometimes I simple crumble and ask for his help.  I talk to a star that I see every night.  That I believe is my Dad watching over me.  I talked to my stuffed elephant, that I sleep with.  The whole point is,  find an outlet.  You don’t necessarily need to talk to a human.  Punch a pillow. Write about it in a journal.  Just let it out.  It’s ok.
  6. Lastly, believe that it is going to get better.  If one treatment doesn’t help, try another.  And another.  Do not give up until you find something that works for you.  We are all different.  What works for me, may not work for you.  If your doctor says he cannot help you, go to another one.  Do not give up.

You can do this.  It will get better.  It’s just going to take some time.  And tears.  I promise.

 

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Meanwhile on Facebook

Date October 8, 2012

Odd things to hear in this household:

“Eureka California looks like it’s at the top of the boob in the northern part of the state.”

-Theresa

Lord I love my readers.

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18

Date October 4, 2012

mags18Eighteen years ago you came into my life.  Has it really been that long?  It seems like only yesterday when I first held you in my arms.  You were so long, and had an adorable “Buddha” belly, and prehensile toes.  You were perfect.  I fell in love immediately.  I remember when everyone went home, and it was just you and I in the hospital room.  I laid you on my tummy and marveled at the size of you, and how just hours before, you were in my womb.  I didn’t sleep much that night.  I kept touching you, and kissing you.  I thought my heart would burst with emotion.  From the beginning, you were such a good sleeper and eater.  You started off feeding at about every four hours, and by the time I went back to work,  you were sleeping through the night (6 weeks).mags18a

I remember the first day of Kindergarten, and how excited you were!  Honestly, I think it was much harder on me than you.  You amazed me at your immediate ability to adapt to any situation, and you are still like that.  Change rarely bothered you then.  I think that you must have gotten that from your Father and I am thankful because, even at my age, change gives me hives.

mags18bFor several years, you loved softball, and then you discovered dance.  You started off with one class, and it has escalated to six.  And while you took a break for about a year, you ultimately came back to it because you missed it.  Dance has been such an integral part of your life.  I have seen you come home absolutely exhausted, and head straight for the bathtub to soak.  Despite that, you had the biggest smile on your face.  And now, even though you have graduated high school, you are taking multiple classes again, and teaching the little ones to help offset your tuition fee.  And you love it.  And I love it when you come home and tell me what all the little kids do.  I even love the earworms I end up with after those moments.

You experienced so much in your last year of high school.  You were in the Miss Wildcat Pageant and won the title of People’s Choice.  I couldn’t have been more proud of you at that moment.  When they announced your name, you were so surprised that you burst into tears.  The reaction that you had, was the same one I had.  It was the same reaction I have every time that you go up on stage, and it doesn’t matter if it is you doing a solo in dance, or singing with your grade school class for the Christmas show.  My reaction is always the same.  Thankfully, Daddy knows this.  He always brings the Kleenex.

I am so proud of the woman you are becoming.  It has been such a blessing to watch you grow.  I’m excited for what your future holds.  You will be starting college this mags18cMonday to earn your CNA certification.  One step closer to becoming an RN, and perhaps a Midwife.  You have always been a natural caregiver.  Even when you were little.  You LOVE to take care of people.  You have always been so nurturing.  I remember after my surgery, you would sleep on the couch next to my recliner so that you would be there in case I needed anything.  Apparently, according to you, daddy wasn’t up for the job.

All of this is to say that I love you, and I’m so glad that God gave you to me.  A can’t WAIT to see what the next 18 years bring.  I love you baby girl.  Don’t ever forget that.

mags18dmags18emags18fmags18gmags18hmags18imags18jmags18kmags18l

Love,

Mama

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Meanwhile, on Facebook….

Date October 3, 2012

Her: TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY.

Me: Wait, I forgot to tell you. I double checked the date on your birth certificate and it’s not until NEXT month. Sorry about that.

Her: Nice try!  :)

18.  She will be 18.  I still can’t believe it.

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On growing older

Date October 3, 2012

Me at 50

They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.
~ Unknown

A couple of months ago, I reached a milestone in the age department, which, on the one hand, doesn’t really bother me, but on the other, I’m freaking out because, OH EM GEEZ!  I am 50.  FIFTY.  The big FIVE-O.  Didn’t I just graduate from high school?  Wait, that was my oldest daughter.

Do you remember having the ability to go out until all hours of the night and then get up the next morning (provided you even went to bed), go to work and do it all over again?  I’m afraid that if I tried that, I would be doing face plants on my keyboard and have &#!!**^^@@’s permanently embedded upon my forehead.   I’m not sure how I would explain that to my doctor.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
~ Jennifer Yane

I used to be able to get down on the ground, and then back up again with relative ease.  Now getting up requires something of a Herculean act, whereby I have to roll over to my knees and look around for something to pull myself up with or someone to pull me up.  I generally accompany this with some grunts and groans to mask the massive crackling of my joints as well as the occasional barking spider who likes to make its presence known whenever I attempt to exert myself.  You’re welcome.

All of this is not to tell you that I think I’m old, I really don’t.   It just feels odd.  I cannot seem to wrap my brain around the fact that I have lived over ½ of my life.  So far, it’s been a great.  I’m blessed beyond belief that I have a wonderful family, a nice home and a great job.  This is only the beginning of the list.  There are a lot of goals I would like to reach this year, and I’m well on my way to getting there.  Be that as it may, there are a couple of things I would like to know:

  • Where all this hair is coming from?  Not the hair on my head but the stuff that is sprouting up on my face.  It grows so fast!  I pluck it one day, and the next I’m curling it and adding some beads.
  • What happened to my bladder?  I used to be able to hold up to about 22 gallons before casually making my way to the restroom?  Now?  Not so much.  And may the good Lord bless you if you are in my pathway.  My friends and I joke that we now can laugh, cough, sneeze, fart, and pee all at the same time.  When I heard things like this in my younger days, I would just smirk.  Now, I just make sure I bring a change of clothes with me.

All in all, I’m enjoying it.  Of course, it’s only been a little over a month.  I’ll keep you posted.

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When to let go

Date September 26, 2012

As a parent, you do your best to raise your children right.  The funny thing is, even if you do raise them the same way, the results are not always the same.  I think we are all aware of this but it confuses us just the same; when one child falls more upon the difficult or challenge spectrum than the other.

My problem is that I tend to take the job of Mom very seriously (don’t we all RAWR).  By that I mean, if my child isn’t performing up to my expectations, then I have failed as a parent.  All kids are different and all kids will respond to various suggestions, threats, disciplines, you name it, in vastly different ways.  That fact is something I find difficult to comprehend.  And it has been eating me alive.  At what point do I let go, and let the child experience the consequences of their actions?  At what point do I say, “the onus is on you, and you alone?”

That being said, I realize that my constant harping and reminding is not going to help my child in the future.  When said child does not want to listen or do what they are expected to do to succeed in school, and I have bent over backwards to help, I come to the conclusion that the only thing I can do is let them find out what will happen on their own.  How many times can I offer help and be refused?  How many times (by the child’s request) can I get a detailed list of what is needed to pass a class from the teacher (bless their heart) only to be told that they (the child) are taking care of it?

I have passed this task on to my other half now, because I was going insane.  And my health was suffering.  And I was self medicating with wine to help me hold my  composure in the face of defiance, attitude, and downright disrespect.  Was this decision easy?  Heck no!  Do I still feel that I need to interfere when I don’t think my other half is doing the right thing?  Heck yes. I’m really trying to keep my mouth shut.  It’s not easy.

So now I wait.  And I chew my fingernails down to the nubbins.  And I bite my tongue.  And I stay the hell away from it.  I know that is the right thing to do, but man, it is so hard.

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The Idiots Guide to Raising Kids

Date August 24, 2011

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to find a manual for raising kids.  I’ve searched bookstores, googled the topic until my thumb turned blue and visited what feels like thousands of parenting sites all purported to be experts on the subject.

Um..right.

Here is what I have learned.  While gathering advice is good, it really depends upon your child and your parenting techniques.  There is no “right” way to raise a child and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you different.  Even those well meaning friends.  I’m not saying that doctors don’t know what they are talking about.  All I am suggesting is that you take the advice, and mold it into something that works best for you and your child.  The hair on my chest curls when I read about “parenting methods” that are fail proof.  Maybe they are for other children, but certainly not mine.

On a side note, don’t you love the parents that talk about how perfect their child is?  How they certainly NEVER experience what you are going through, which translates into “you really suck as a parent.”  I just got another gray hair, thanks.  And they are full of crap or on crack.  I vote for both.

My husband and I have finally figured it out.  Our method?  Fly by the seat of your pants.  Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and for goodness sakes, don’t forget your seat belt.  I guarantee you one thing.  Once you think you have figured it out?  It will change.

In the mean time?  Just love them.  They are really cute when they are asleep.

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Fitting in

Date November 11, 2010

There are days when I am so homesick for California I feel as though I will snap in two from the force of emotions.  I’m not so sure it’s the people I miss (though I do miss my brother and his family, and my Robin “PHO!”) as much as it is the familiararity.  The feeling of acceptance.  A comfort zone, if you will.

The south, at least where I reside, is a hard nut to crack.  We live in a Naval town and also a place where people have lived their whole lives.  They develop social circles where you dare not attempt to cross the line or you will face contempt which knows no bounds.  Bless their hearts.

We have Military vs. Non-Military, Black’s vs Whites, Baptists vs any other religion (does your Bible thump?), and many women who do work  outside the home are constantly slammed up against the Good Ole Boy network and sent scurrying on our way, wiping our hands on our aprons as we go, as if we should know and agree with “our place.”

Despite all of that, I (actually my whole family) really love living here.  We’ve managed to carve a little niche out and the girls have made plenty of friends.  I guess it’s much easier when you are young because your friends have no preconceived notions about how things should be.

Most days, things don’t bother me.  I can let them slide off of my back much like the jello slides off of my spoon and on to my shirt.  Some days, I can’t ignore it. 

Some days I have to fight it.

Like today.

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Yesterday

Date October 13, 2010

amyhero1

Yesterday, while preparing for a huge meeting I have today, I received an urgent text from my daughter Meelie, who was at school.

Her:  Come get me right now!

Me:   What’s wrong honey?  Are you sick?

Her:   No, I just don’t feel like being here.

Me:  ………….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday, I was working on huge report that is due by noon today.  I had it nearly 3/4′s of the way done.  I  had to be home by 5:30 in order to take Meelie to practice, so I packed up all of my stuff, intending to finish it up at home.  I dropped the girls off, and fired up the work laptop and opened up the file.

It was the one I had downloaded that morning (raw data).  None of my work had been saved.  None of the formatting, comments or updates.  NOTHING.

Me:  ………………  I purposefully blanked out what I said at that time because my mom reads this blog and I don’t want to have to wash my mouth out with soap.  I will say that I overheard my oldest tell my youngest:  “Mom’s pretty mad, I hope it wasn’t something we did.”

So I put on my big girl panties and got down to work.  I’m nearly halfway there.  I think I can make it.  I’ve got five more hours.

What do you think?  Think I can make it?

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Rah! Rah! Rah!

Date October 11, 2010

Goooooooooooooo team!!

img_2768

Mom…would you turn the camera on already?

img_2769

Thinking, thinking, thinking……

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Rah, Rah Ree, Kick ‘em in the knee!

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Rah Rah Rass, Kick ‘em in the ass! other knee!

img_2799

Come on Mom!  My bloomers are giving me a wedgie!

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Can we go now?  I see Dairy Queen in my future.

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We lost……..

img_2858

Badly…but the Cheeleaders were HAWT!!!!!!

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