Finding the nuggets of humor that live in the swampland of hot flashes!
I’m standing in front of my bedroom window A/C unit because I feel like I am on fire! Literally, ON FIRE. But from the inside out and without flames shooting out of the top of my head because obviously if anyone could see how hot I was, they would rush to my side with sufficient amounts of ice along with soothing words to calm my anger and panic.
And yet I stand here alone, with my face directly in front of the A/C as it hums along and spews out life-saving cold air. And then it’s over. Just as suddenly as it started, it stops and retreats into the night like a bad one night stand that has overstayed its welcome by about 4 minutes.
I’m standing in the kitchen on a lazy summer Saturday morning, making breakfast while my two boys watch TV. And suddenly, out of the blue, it begins, and I know in that instance that we will need to pack our backpacks and head for the mountain air because today is going to be too darn hot and I am DYING of heat! I scream for them to, “grab your bags, we are heading to higher elevation where the air is sure to be cool and crisp” but not before I make sure to grab my coffee that I had to reheat on high for three minutes in order for it to reach the searing flesh melting temperature that I require from my coffee. I know, weird, but true that one can be melting from a hot flash yet require scalding hot coffee before they can deal with the hot flashes.
The medical textbooks call this phase of my existence perimenopause. I call it, WHAT KIND OF BULL SHIT HAVE I DONE IN A PAST LIFE TO DESERVE THIS?
“Perimenopause- the natural and healthy transition into menopause. This can start in your 40’s and take years to complete the transition.” Well, here I am at 51, and I haven’t been able to wear white pants in over a year. Why? Because as soon as I start to think about wearing anything white, my body decides to show me who is boss and blesses me with 28 days of a period. Truth! Last year I went over five months without a period, and as a result, I was lulled into the false sense of security as my body whispered, it’s ok honey, go ahead and wear white. You haven’t had a period in five months. So I listen, damn it why do I continue to listen? I should know that my ovaries lie to me as a toddler lies about putting gum in their hair — bullshit liars. And no sooner than I put on my fancy white pants, do I get a period. WHAT THE HELL! I thought that if I changed into the traditional black for mourning the loss of my period pants, the period would be satisfied and go on its way after three or four days. Nope, not a chance. This period was pissed, and therefore she was determined to last 28 days! Twenty-eight days of super plus tampons that seemed as tiny and ill-equipped to do its job as a Q-tip would be if it were called upon to perform the duties of a tampon. Twenty-eight days of me craving red meat and as a result spending over $400 on ribeyes during the month of what is now known as the Red Seas period.
Twenty-eight days of me begging my gynecologist to remove ALL OF IT, only to have to listen to her use her inside voice as she gently tried to explain that, “umm, I’m so sorry, but that’s not how any of this works. You can’t just remove your ovaries and your uterus because you hate your period.” BUT WHY, WHY, WHY won’t you take them? Think of it as a tip for all the years we have been together in this patient gynecologist relationship! PLEASE!
I am the boss of my body, and I say that I want it all out. And besides, even if I had to pay out of pocket for the entire surgery and then the stay in the hospital, it would still be less expensive than what I’m spending on rib eyes and super plus tampons! PLEASE MAKE THIS STOP!
I was ill-prepared for perimenopause, and I blame that on most of the women in my friend group. I have heard more than one person say, you know what Deb, perimenopause, well it’s kind of like a butterfly kiss. Just a flutter of the wings and a sweet little kiss and then poof no more periods! You will hardly know it’s happening and one day you will realize that you haven’t had a period in over a year and that my friend, elevates you to the status of MENOPAUSE. Obviously, I need new friends! I have yet to chat with one friend who said, oh HELL YES, I know what you are talking about. That feeling you get, the pain that feels like a pterodactyl is clawing its way out of your uterus? I got you, girl, I experienced that same pain. Oh, yours lasted 28 days? Consider yourself lucky. I once had a 39 day period that decided to spread itself out over two months. Where are these people? I need these people in my life.
I am, however, lucky enough to have friends who have or are experiencing the emotional surges of changing hormones. We have a rule that we can text each other at any time of the day or night. Send out an SOS and the other with respond with a simple, I am here for you, whatever you need, I’m right here. My experience has been out of control with wild swings of joy and depression. The thought of even trying to date is hilarious because one second I think I can tolerate humans and the other second I wish I had the power of Thanos and could just snap away 50% of the population. And don’t even get me started on the topic of sex. Ok, let’s get started. I was told my desire for sex would diminish. Well, I must be going through some sexual desire age reversal because I feel like a teenage male who just discovered porn and his parents are out for a date night leaving him by himself for at least three hours! My challenge isn’t a lack of a sex drive; it’s the fact that I am unsure if post-sex I will feel like I want to cuddle OR I will channel my female praying mantis energy and have no choice but to murder you as I eat your head! I was told that vaginal dryness would be a thing I would have to deal with. Well, I have yet to experience any dryness; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. If I walk naked across the bedroom, while aroused, I leave a snail trail of arousal evidence in my path!
I have gained 15 + pounds during perimenopause, and quite frankly, I AM PISSED! It has taken me too many years to make nice with my body image issues, all of them unrelated to weight and now THIS! I just gave away all of my work pants. ALL OF THEM! Perimenopause is forcing me to look at my body and love it in an entirely new and different way. It sucks; it is uncomfortable; it has caused me a lot of sorrow and yet it’s a weird and oddly therapeutic experience to write a new ‘love your body story’ at the age of 51. My anxiety and depression have reared their ugly selves (I say selves because it’s way more than just a head) more times than I would like to admit. Getting off the booze train over a year ago, while it helped my sleep and my overall health; it for sure pulled back the curtain on my anxiety and depression. What was once used as a tool to mask all of my ‘shit’, is no longer available so all of my ‘shit’ just shows up uninvited (how rude!), and stays for as long as it wants (also rude!) The highs and lows of perimenopause have caused me to seek out ways to balance out my life. I have been a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation for over four years, and while that has been amazing, it is only one small piece of a very complex puzzle. And sadly, I feel like the puzzle is missing a few pieces and no matter how hard I look, I can’t seem to find them.
Having been someone who has danced the dance of depending too heavily on prescription drugs, I knew that I needed and wanted to find something that would help my overall mental and physical health, not be addictive, and be affordable. Well, two out of three isn’t so bad. High-quality CBD is not cheap, and that sucks because everyone should have access to it. I am still relatively new to life with CBD, but so far it’s been like finding a new best friend when you are in your 50’s, and you thought that best friends were only found in college, some 30 +years ago. CBD is the newest addition to my, how do I take care of this changing body, routine and I’m planning on keeping this relationship going for a very long time.
And so here I sit now 52 and counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until I can ring the bell on the menopause stock market exchange! The journey to Menopause has been paved with shards of glass that have caused emotional and physical pain. But like all shards of glass, if you hold it up to the light just right, you can see a shimmer of something quite beautiful and then while you are admiring that beauty another wave of cramps set in and you accidentally poke your eye out as you drop to the ground in pain while reaching for another super plus tampon.
ABOUT DEBBIE SCHEER
Debbie Scheer is a humorist speaker in Denver and she is also an event emcee in Denver as well as across the country. She is also a professional speaker, humorist, emcee, and auctioneer whose mix of heart and humor brings inviting energy to every event she hosts. Her magnetic presence draws in audiences and makes a room come alive with purpose, connection, and laughter. If you are interested in hiring Debbie, please contact her today!