It's become something of a joke within our family that when things don't go as you would like you exclaim "Blah Egg!", The Dave will never live this one down, he first stated this when he was frustrated and couldn't be bothered to say anything more. Since then it's become sort of a family "in" joke which we express at odd times when nothing else seems to fit, much to confusion of none family members.
My situation at this moment in time is somewhat "Blah Egg!" what with menopause, stress and possible ME looming, it's a confusing time. YET there are so many other things to be chipper about too ~ so this is not a moaning blog, just a kind of working things through really. The issue for me is that I'm simply not right, which is affecting how I wish to live my life and care for my family. So to be pretty honest it's damn inconvenient and if there is any kind of "quick fix" then I'm all in. I'm seeing my GP (again) on Friday to see what they think about it all but I'm not expecting any miracles as I fully understand their dilemma as all my blood tests come back normal and to all intent and purpose their is nothing they can diagnose me with outright.
So I am sort of compiling my own list of what to discuss and things to go through with the GP ~ although going through it I am still as confused as when I started ~ any thoughts from you about all this and your experiences/suggestions/opinoins would be appreciated in the comments and may help me clear my mind.
So menopause...medical definition of menopause is when you have your last period, then no more because the ovaries stop producing eggs and your oestrogen levels drops. Before that you are classed as perimenopausal. Well, I have been perimenopausal since 2006 and now *touches wood* think I may be entering menopause (finally!) as I have not had a period since beginning of May. Although part of the perimenopausal stage is erratic periods so could just be my body playing with me right now! However, definitely on the final road with it all, which will be a relief to stop flushing like some kind of puce water fountain.
So what are the symptoms of perimenopause?
- Hot flushes and sometimes in addition night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Tiredness and sleep disturbance.
- Mood swings.
- Forgetfulness or lack of concentration.
- Loss of interest in having sex.
I experience all of the above (much to my poor husbands consternation) and so will be hoping against hope that I have seen my last period and the barren stage has commenced.
So onto stress ~ we all suffer from stress at different times in our lives, it's perfectly normal. Although sometimes it can become too much and affect your life, emotions, behaviour, thinking ability and physical health. I have been diagnosed for well over a year with stress and this has made me become anxious too. My lovely GP prescribed sertraline 50mg to combat the anxiety side of things which has definitely helped enormously. BUT as stress can affect any part of the body it can also be very similar to other conditions (hence the ?ME part of potential diagnosis).
So, lets look at the signs of stress
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated & moody (well that's the normal me anyway!)
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control.
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind.
- Low self esteem, depressed.
- Avoiding other people
So far, yes to all the above, we continue...
- Low energy.
- Upset stomach ~ either diarrhoea, constipation and/or nausea.
- Chest pain and/or rapid heart beat.
- Aches, pains, tense muscles.
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear.
- Cold or sweaty hands and feet.
- Excess sweating.
- Dry mouth/difficulty swallowing.
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth.
Again yes to all of the above apart from I don't get the nervousness and shaking part or dry mouth - have tinnitus anyway (wonder if it was the loud music from my youth causing that?) and just been to the dentist who noticed internal cheek damage and scalloped tongue due to clenched jaw biting and catching both inner cheeks and tongue although this could be a result of my long term TMJ Syndrome. So having night mouth guard made to combat that.
We continue once more...
- Constant worrying.
- Racing thoughts.
- Forgetfulness and disorganisation.
- Inability to focus.
- Poor judgement.
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side.
- behavioural symptoms such as appetite changes (eating too much or too little), procrastinating & avoiding responsibilities, increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Also, sometimes nail biting, fidgeting and pacing.
Well, from the above I have constant worrying, but that's just my personality and I feel the forgetfulness is part of ageing. I do procrastinate though but try to be optimistic where possible. I have been drinking too many glasses of the wine to be fair, don't smoke or do drugs though. So not too many of the above apply.
So we move on to the ?ME/CFS ~ which has been raised on a few occasions. These are the typical features of ME/CFS...
- Triggers can be illness or infection, OR toxins, vaccinations, major trauma or ~ which is what applies to me ~ STRESS.
- Although sometimes there is no trigger that can be pinpointed.
- Severe fatigue following mental or physical activity. Full extent usually becoming apparent 24/48 hours later.
- Exercise intolerance.
- Short term memory issues, concentration and maintaining attention issues.
- Difficulty finding the right words.
- Sweating episodes
- Feeling faint (usually due to dropping in blood pressure).
- Sleep disturbance.
- Sore throats.
- Enlarged glands.
- Joint Pains
- Issues with controlling body temperature.
- Intermittent flu-like feelings.
- Bowel changes.
- Mood swings.
- Fluctuations of above symptoms usually occur.
So looking at the above list I tick almost all of them ~ I have chronic depression and anxiety, I have become lactose intolerant over the past few months and I have insomnia on top of the other symptoms which mesh with both stress and menopause. It's no wonder my GP is confused ~ I am too!!
So what to do eh? Well, put my head together with The Dave and my ME suffering girls and Keisha and decided there is really only one solution. Pace activities (as they do with ME) and adapt my lifestyle. I have joined a health club at my local hotel where there is a lovely warm small quiet pool where I have started swimming. I have little stamina, which is a shock to me being someone who not long ago could do 5-7 mile walks without any issues. BUT, I am building up very very slowly and tentatively, just a little swimming with some walking and gentle stretches in the water.
DIET has changed too - now lactofree, low sugar, low fat with lots of fresh fruit and veggies. No more crash or fad diets, just normal sensible eating instead.
We have also removed Aspartame from our home as feel that could possibly be poisoning us too. I have *sigh* also stepped away from the wine a few nights a week and reduced my intake (but not altogether ~ that would just be IMPOSSIBLE for me as it's my luxury item so to speak).
My weight needs to come down too. Yes, I know I am a firm believer of loving the body you are in but I am also an advocate of doing all you can to maintain your health and keeping your body in the best condition you can. So this is a tricky one as with all of the above symptoms exercising (which was my weight control method previously) is not really viable, the small amount of swimming doesn't really address it. I am embracing my current body but also accept it's not a healthy one and am looking at that and trying to change it. So hopefully with everyday healthy diet and careful portion control this will too come down over time, no crash diets, or tablets etc will be used as I firmly believe my body needs to do this slowly and safely.
I also seem to have started to suffer from hayfever (bugger!) ~ so if anyone knows how to reduce the decibels of sneezes please get in touch as currently I am deafening all around me.
|Hayfever portable tissue dispenser|
So folks, whatever tips, advice, similar stories you may have, please share as I am positive I am not the only person facing these issues. My personal thoughts now after writing this blog is that my symptoms are due to the combination of transition from perimenopause to menopause along with stress, looking at all the facts I don't think it is ME after all and will see what advice the doctor can give me on top of what I am already doing.
HUGE EXCITEMENT!! Unrelated to all of the above ~ I have just purchased my first pair of shorts since having the children (I KID YOU NOT!). Admittedly my pins aren't skinny but are more sturdy and efficient BUT I have some and am wearing them, along with the floaty top given to me as a gift from my lovely sister Chloe. So, no matter what your shape or size, just say buggeritt and get those legs out because it's just too damn hot not to!
|Me in my SHORTS! with Loki wondering what all the fuss is about|
Together we can support one another, what you say?...