How to tell your mother that you’re going through menopause (again), that it’s making you crabby (again), that the HOT FLASHES are crazy (again), and that you’re really, really, REALLY sorry that you complained about the incredible heat in her house the first few days you were visiting ….
Well, if you’re me, first you tell the internet.
Then you hint around for a couple days.
Then you wait until everyone is gathered at the table for a big, friendly, family dinner.
And then your husband tells everyone.
Hi, internet. I’m in menopause.
Yes, I’m still 35. No, I’m not in chemo again. But I am taking tamoxifen, an oral chemotherapy agent that prevents my body from using circulating estrogen and using it to feed any remaining cancer cells. It does wacky things to the body, including inducing menopause.
All this is making me not worry so much about the oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries) that looms on the horizon. I mean, if I’m already in menopause, and I’m not going to have any more kids, what’s the big deal about losing my ovaries?
Losing something is always still a loss. But, I’m sure all will be ok.
For some women, an oophorectomy is not a big deal. Doing something drastic fuels their sense of empowerment and helps them regain a sense of control.
For others, oophorectomy is a huge deal. Rationally, they believe that oophorectomy is the best of only terrible choices. They feel vulnerable and powerless, forced into unwanted change and loss.
What matters more than WHAT you feel is WHAT YOU DO with what you feel. If you find yourself feeling sad or mad about the oophorectomy, find a safe and supportive place to express and experience this normal reaction that helps you accept and adjust to the unwanted change.
And if you are fine with the oophorectomy, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.
It means you can move onto other issues.
Whatever you feel, you are demonstrating courage when the right thing to do is a difficult thing to do, and you do it.
With hope, Wendy
My dr. talked to me about whether I would not feel as womanly before he removed my uterus and ovaries. I found no difference in how I felt except that I didn’t miss my period at all. Otherwise it has felt great! Hope all goes well with you.
I stumbled upon this blog via the front page. You have an excellent writing style. Great blog!
And no more periods!
The bright side? The money you save on tampons can go towards shoes!
I think it’s okay to not want to give up your ovaries. Just because you don’t need them anymore doesn’t mean you won’t miss them.
The meds I have been on have not been of that exact type, but I too know from drug-induced crabby/uncomfortable. I generally tell the internet and tell people in person. Recently I have taken to telling people BEFORE I take the meds, as a warning. That seems to work well.
I had my ooph 2 years ago at age 39. I had more hot flashes on Tamox than after my ovaries hit the pan. So do not assume the worst! Of course I was upset at losing one more dang thing to the bc beast. But I told my onc I wanted the works and I am definitely glad I did the ooph.
Now I enjoy swimming any time, one mood most of the time, and white pants are possible (but not probable due to butt size and number of small children within spill range….)
Hope your hot flashes subside soon!
I’m with you on this! I’m just starting on my third month of tamoxifen — what a hot, hot summer it’s been so far…. When visiting my parents last month, I repeatedly had to stick my head in the freezer — which I can’t do at home since we have a fridge with a bottom freezer. And, combine a hot flash with a tantrumming two-year old (or two) — yowza!
As for the ooph, that’s still part of the plan for me, too, but I’m just not ready to start thinking about it quite yet. Someday, probably soon, but not quite yet.
If only we could harnass the power of hot flashes for good…..some way of reducing our energy dependence…. sort of like a solar panel collector….
And, we are reading the Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle at our house — with that in mind, ponder this thought — there are lots of us mommies hot flashing out there — your blog is one way that we can find each other, so we are not so lonely. Thanks, again, for writing.
M — mom to 2.5 year old twins. 7 month breast cancer survivor.
I’m with Meg. You and your science-minded friends should figure out a way to harness the power of hot flashes. And toddler tantrums, while you’re at it. There’s a lot of energy there just being wasted every day!
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to go through all the hot flashes and other symptoms. I remember when my neighbor went through it. She used to say to me, “I’m never coming over to your house, you don’t have A/C.”
I told her I’d fan her with palm leaves and feed her grapes. She just laughed. I hope the flashes dissipate soon!