Tag Archives: peri-menopause

Types of Fatigue

Doctors talk about “fatigue” like it’s a single entity and it is listed as a symptom in dozens of diseases and conditions like we all are experiencing the same problem, when we most definitely are not.  It’s a bit like headaches.  You can get tension headaches, concussion headaches, hangover headaches, seizure headaches, migraines and hormone headaches to name but a few, each with different causes and characteristics and needing different treatments.  Yet for some reason fatigue is treated like it’s the same for everyone regardless of cause, when it actually differs widely and needs various management and coping strategies.

Fatigue is a symptom of 4 of my diseases and conditions (menopause isn’t a disease though it sodding well feels like one some days!) so I thought I’d have a go at explaining how it differs for me and how I manage each type.

M.E. Fatigue

The term “fatigue” is so inappropriate when trying to explain this M.E. related symptom that I hestitate to use it, but so far I haven’t been able to think of a better word so it will have to do.  M.E. fatigue is the easiest for me to recognize.  It is totally unlike the normal “tired” or “exhausted” that everyone feels and much more like the fatigue you get when you’re poorly.  My body feels poisoned and ill, a bit like the feeling you get just before you vomit.  That weak, clammy feeling where the blood drains from your face, you are green to the gills, your legs buckle from under you and you end up lying on the bathroom floor groaning, unable to move or think as the weakness and sickness consumes every ounce of your being.  Only it’s like that 24/7.  And it’s not a fatigue that you can push through, at least not for any length of time.  I just hit a brick wall and it is absolutely impossible to carry on.  If I try I either collapse, faint, have a seizure and/or end up puking.  Depending how severe your M.E. is, this brick wall can come about after walking to the shop and back, talking on the phone for 15 minutes, taking a shower or simply sitting upright to eat a meal.  The fatigue doesn’t just affect the muscles, it also affects the brain which feels like it’s permanently stuffed with cotton wool.  Any act of thinking, eg. writing a shopping list, reading a book or making a decision about what to eat for dinner, robs the brain of energy and makes it even more fuzzy to the point where it can be physically painful and thought becomes impossible.

It is not a fatigue which responds to rest.  You can sleep for 20 hours and wake still feeling utterly and absolutely wiped out.  I have felt completely wiped for over two decades and not for a single second of that time have I ever feel well, rested or energized, either mentally or physically.

The fact that M.E. was re-branded Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an absolute travesty.  M.E. has nothing to do with fatigue, at least not the fatigue that healthy people recognize.  The word “malaise” is much more appropriate, though I still think we need to invent a word which describes the poisoned, weak, collapse which epitomizes M.E..  I even take issue with “post-exertional malaise” which makes it sound like you only get symptoms after activity, which definitely isn’t the case.  I have felt weak, poisoned and ill every second of the last 23 years.  Yes activity makes it worse, but the absence of activity doesn’t mean the absence of symptoms – if only!  When I see people online query if they have M.E. because they are chronically tired I want to scream.  If being fatigued was the only diagnostic criteria for having M.E. half the world’s population would have it.

The only way to manage the fatigue of M.E. is to lie down.  Sitting won’t cut it.  At the severe end of the spectrum you have to lie down every second of the day and at the more mild end of the spectrum you have to lie down for portions of the day, but if you can remain upright for the entire day I’d query whether you have M.E. at all.  Having “rested” you don’t feel recovered, you just feel like you’re not dying or about to pass out, which is a bonus.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

The fatigue associated with my hEDS (and I can only speak for myself) is a totally different kettle of fish.  It’s more akin to normal, if exaggerated, fatigue.  Imagine you’ve just climbed to the top of Ben Nevis and back.  Everything is hurting and aching, your muscles feel strained and overworked, stiffness is setting in and you’re desperate to collapse into a warm bath or onto a soft couch.  That’s what my hEDS feels like, only every second of every day.  There is no ill feeling or feeling of weakness, seizure or collapse, and I can push through the fatigue if I really need to although it does get to a point where the pain is so bad I have to stop whatever I’m doing.

Rest does help and in particular the avoidance of activity.  It doesn’t make the pain, aching and stiffness go but it becomes less severe.

Some people with EDS complain of brain fog but this isn’t part of the diagnostic criteria.  As I already have brain fog from my M.E. I have no idea if I’d have this with EDS or not if I didn’t have M.E. too.  I do think that some people with EDS may also have M.E. and go undiagnosed and that some people have brain fog due to POTS or some other type of dysautonomia rather than EDS per se (POTS & dysautonomia are common secondary symptoms of both M.E. and EDS).

Managing this type of fatigue requires planning and pacing, including switching to different kinds of activities and not doing anything repetitive for long periods of time.  I find it the most simple to treat of all my conditions as it does respond to rest and careful pacing, making the fatigue easier to manage although obviously not cure.

Mast Cell Activation Disorder

Again I can only speak from my own experience but the only time I have fatigue associated with my MCAD is when I’ve had an anaphylactic event.  The fatigue which follows makes me very weak and drained and can sometimes make me sleepy while other times not.  I absolutely have to lie down, often for several hours, and it can be days or even weeks (depending on the severity of the anaphylaxis) before I return to some semblance of normality.

I don’t really get brain fatigue with MCAD.  After an anaphylactic event I feel totally spaced out and my brain feels kind’ve battered and bruised, but not foggy like with M.E.  It’s hard to tell to be honest, because having anaphylaxis completely buggers my M.E. up and causes a flare which can last for months, so then it becomes impossible to tell which symptom has been triggered by which disease.

The only way of managing this fatigue is to rest in bed until it passes.  Antihistamines seem to have zero effect.

Peri-Menopause

I am in year 6 of peri-menopause.  For the first 5 years I didn’t notice any significant fatigue but this year I’ve been poleaxed by it.  It came on out of the blue in the new year and literally overnight I felt like I’d been coshed over the head.  Having researched this online it is fairly common and the name given to this symptom of menopause is “crashing fatigue”.

It’s different again to the fatigue mentioned above and feels much more like I’ve been sedated.  My eyelids feel like cement and are permanently down to my kneecaps, my body feels relaxed and heavy and I just want to sleep, sleep and sleep some more.  However, having slept for 9 hours I wake feeling no better and could cheerfully go back to sleep only 2 hours after getting up.  And then again in the afternoon.  Having slept half the day away, however, I still can’t keep my eyes open past 9pm at night.

This fatigue definitely affects my brain not to mention my memory!  But it’s not so much foggy as sleepy and confused, a bit like I’ve been woken from a deep sleep at 3am.

I haven’t found anything which alleviates my menopause fatigue and can only hope it settles once I’ve gone through The Change and come out the other side.

Having written this blog post I’ve realized how difficult fatigue is to explain and how easily it can be misunderstood by healthy people who have only ever experienced normal tiredness.  I’ve never been asked by medical staff to explain my fatigue, how it feels or how I manage it – they just hear the F word and assume it’s akin to being tired all the time, when it’s anything but.  I’ve thought for a lonnnng time that we need a new word to explain the malaise-like weakness experienced by M.E. patients, so that it can be differentiated from other types of “chronic fatigue” and more importantly from normal fatigue, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

 

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Anaemia update

Last Christmas I realized I was feeling ropey and had been feeling extra rubbish for quite some time.  I was dizzy, constantly.  I could be sitting watching TV and all of a sudden the room would lurch to the left and back again, and there were days when every time I moved my head the world tilted on its axis.  I could sleep for 8 hours straight which is unheard of for me and two hours later need to go back to sleep (I’ve never slept during the day no matter how ill I’ve ever been not least because ME has given me horrific insomnia).  My brain was so fuzzy I literally couldn’t form cohesive thoughts and I had exhaustion so profound some days I couldn’t get off the couch.

Of course, all of these are symptoms of my pre-existing conditions but this felt totally different to my normal rubbish-ness and I knew I wasn’t having an M.E. relapse or a mast cell or EDS flare.  No, something else was going on and I instinctively knew it was related to my iron levels particularly as when I had my period I was absolutely poleaxed.

As outlined in my first post on Anaemia back in February I have several risk factors for iron deficiency and, coupled with my peri-menopause and worsening endometriosis, I knew I needed to get my ferritin levels checked.  They unsurprisingly came back at 17 which according to the lab results was right on the bottom rung of ‘normal’ (17-291), though realistically in order to feel well you should have a ferritin level of at least 50 and preferably above 90.  My vitamin D was also considered sub-clinically low, ie outside the normal range.  My GP dismissed anaemia though because my red blood count was fine and basically just fobbed me off, however she wasn’t the one feeling so crap she couldn’t function so I started on some over-the-counter supplements.

My mast cells seem to hate tablets of all descriptions, so my options are limited to liquids and syrups which are few and far between.  In addition, many of the liquid iron preparations such as Floradix contained all sorts of ingredients I didn’t want or need such as apples (to which I’m mildly truly allergic), spinach, nettles and CoQ10.  So I opted for the ‘Get More Vitamin D mango & passionfruit‘ drink and ‘Spatone‘ natural iron water both of which I could have delivered with my groceries from Tesco.

I have about 200ml of the Vitamin D drink each day, which tastes OK but not brilliant, and gives me 80% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D.  According to my GP, the lab won’t re-test Vitamin D for 12 months so I’ve no idea whether or not my levels have improved after nearly 10 months of supplementation.

Spatone is a sachet of naturally iron rich water which I take mixed in pear juice (the vitamin C aids absorption of the iron and disguises the awful metallic taste).  Iron supplements are, however, notorious for causing nausea, reflux, constipation or diarrhoea and I must admit after 4 days on Spatone I felt sick 24/7 and had awful colic-like stomach pain.  So I had a break for a week, then re-started the sachets but just taking a teaspoon per day and gradually working up to a full sachet.  This worked fine and I had no side-effects whatsoever 🙂

Within a week of starting Spatone my dizziness almost disappeared and I did feel a bit less tired which was great, but unfortunately for me the effects haven’t lasted.  By September I was starting to feel battered by exhaustion again, wanted to sleep for England, was as white as a sheet and feeling constantly dizzy.  In addition I seem to have developed tinnitus, which is a constant low level high pitched ringing hiss in my ears, and I’ve noticed a change in my toe nails (but not my finger nails!).  One of my toe nails has split and despite the nail continuing to grow it just keeps splitting in the same place, while the other nails have started to flatten at the ends.  Spoon shaped nails are a sign of anaemia, but when you Google images you only see horrendous photos at the severe end of the spectrum which bear no resemblance to my mildly flattened nails.  So here’s a couple of pictures of what’s happening for me:


I doubled my dose of Spatone but it didn’t help.  In fact, my symptoms continued to get worse so I rang my GP again, who tried to fob me off by saying that as I already have ME the peri-menopause is going to knock me about, but I tried calmly to explain that I know what ME feels like and this is completely different.  I insisted I wanted my bloods done again, in particular my ferritin and thyroid, although I’m sure my thyroid is fine as I’m not cold and have had no weight loss or gain issues other than that expected of going through The Change.  The first appointment for a blood draw I could get isn’t until 7th December (!), then of course it has to be sent to the lab, analysed and the results sent back to my GP by which time it will be sodding Christmas and everything will grind to a halt until January when it will be so busy getting another appointment with my GP to discuss the results will be impossible.  So I’m now trying to find a different liquid iron supplement to take but am so far struggling.  The thought of feeling this awful for at least the next several weeks, and in particular over Christmas, is pretty depressing.

When you have a chronic disease doctors do tend to put every single symptom you have down to that and it’s often a fight to get them to investigate new symptoms.  But investigate them you must, because it’s been my experience that all the new symptoms I’ve developed over the years have been down to hitherto unknown diseases and were nothing to do with my pre-existing M.E.  In particular, trying to get my chronic pain recognized was a mare because all the doctors I saw simply put it down to part of parcel of M.E. or tried to diagnose me with Fibromyalgia when I knew it was something else, which of course turned out to be Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Then my stomach issues were put down to my EDS, when they turned out to be Mast Cell Disease.  And now my rubbish-ness is being put down to the peri-menopause or my M.E. when it’s going to turn out to be anaemia or at the least iron deficiency.

It’s so hard to fight the medical profession for treatment when you are this exhausted and there are days I feel like putting up and shutting up, but unfortunately that’s not an option when I am so floored I can barely get through the day.  So I shall keep on plugging away until I find out what’s actually going on and come up with a solution.

 

 

 

 

The hormone bitch from hell

It’s finally happened.  I’ve turned into the exhausted bloated frazzled dippy hormone bitch from hell.  Y’know, the bad tempered middle aged woman whose husband and kids you pity cos she looks like no-fucking-fun to live with?  Yup that’d be me.

My peri-menopause is somewhere in the outer stratosphere as my ovaries desperately churn out hormones so exhausted their tongues are hanging out.  They feel beaten, like a whipped dog, yet refuse to lie down in the corner and just die.

My day started with period pain.  In fact, my week started with period pain.  It’s been 7 days of cramp riddled hell but no fucking period.  What’s up with THAT?!  Aunt Flo will no doubt arrive at 2am after I’ve gotten up to pee for the 4th time in four hours, passing clots so huge the toilet bowl will look like a blood bath.  Yes my friends, I now have periods which look like a crime scene in which I am the victim.

I have pimples.  It’s like being a teenager all over again but without the taught, lean body and hours of heavy petting.  I can’t believe my 17 year old self had more sex in one year than I’ve had in the last decade.

I’ve lost my car keys.  Again.  I go into the kitchen to look for them. Why am I in the kitchen?  Think woman, think!  Ah, yes, car keys.   Where the fuck did they go?  Hmm, I’m thirsty maybe that’s why I’m in the kitchen.  Oh, car keys!  What the hell are they doing in the fridge?  Er, why am I in the fridge?  Maybe I need to get something out for dinner tonight.

I am evil.  I can hide it until 10am when I need to get my dog into the car.  “Bertie” I call sweetly “time to get in the car baby”.  He ignores me and continues to sniff other dog’s wee on the bush at the corner of our drive.  “C’mon fluffy child, I’m late.”  He cocks his leg and moves a good foot further away.  “Bert” sounding steely, “get in the sodding car.”  He disappears round the corner out of view entirely.  I stomp off down the drive screaming like a banshee “get in the goddamn car you fucking disobedient German fucking Schweinhund!” and unceremoniously help him back up the drive with my foot, at which stage 5 Ramblers walking past my house consider reporting me to the RSPCA.

I set off into town.  I am the only person driving correctly and everyone else is an arsehole imbecile who has obviously never heard of the Highway fucking Code.  What the hell are they doing on the roads in the middle of the morning anyway, don’t they have jobs?!  Idle fuckers.

I go into Sainsburys for a pair of jeans a size bigger than I’ve worn for the past 30 years.  I only have to look at a Ginger Crunch and I’ve gained 3lbs and am so swollen with water you could use me as a beach ball.  I ignore the skinny stretch because lycra and I are no longer friends, and choose the pair with the elastic waistband which look reassuringly comfy.  I need a new bra but they don’t make them big enough.  They don’t even make a tape measure big enough.

I have frown lines between my eyebrows that 100 years of botox couldn’t fix and jowls that look like Schnorbitz.  Only Schnorbitz has more hair.  Wayyyy more hair.  I wonder if Sainsburys sell eyebrow pencils?


On my way home I drive 5 miles past the petrol station before I realize my tank is on red.  I must remember to do a “need petrol” post-it note and stick it on the hall table.  Remember Jak, petrol post-it.  Petrol post-it.  Petrol post-it.  As soon as I’m through the back door I reach for a pen.  Hmmm.  Why did I need a pen?  Was I supposed to be writing something down?

It’s 2pm and I crawl into bed for a nap.  Not a rest, an actual drool-on-the-pillow old fogie’s nap from which I wake bathed in sweat and with armpits which smell like death.  I’d dreamt I was being arrested for some heinous, but unknown, crime like forgetting to pay my council tax bill even though it’s done automatically by direct debit, or stealing invisible plans to the rights of way on the local footpath.  I wonder if my phone is bugged or the government are spying on me through my TV.

I slob under the duvet, chomping like the hungry caterpillar and binge watch 3 hours of Bake Off to combat the anxiety and paranoia.  I prefer Pru to Mary.  Mary was nice and nice people are irritating.  I forget I used to be one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet another year of Peri

Even though we’re only half-way through 2017 I already have an entire year’s data on my ever changing menstrual cycle.  That’s because my cycles are now regularly shorter than 28 days, so I’m managing to fit in double the amount of periods than I used to.  Lucky me, especially bearing in mind I have endometriosis and adenomyosis and they are excruciating.

When my periods first started to change back in 2012 at the age of 44 and I realized I had probably started peri-menopause, I wanted to know about other women’s experiences.  There were legions of horror stories online, very little about the positive and hardly any actual hard data.  “It’s different for everyone” was a common theme, which is all well and good but I still wanted to know what was physically happening to other women to give me some companionship in my own journey through The Change.

Being as though I didn’t find a single story which tracked progression through peri-menopause I thought I’d track my own, so began compiling data on my menstrual cycle.  I’ve been a regular 27/28 day cycle person my entire life but in 2012 my cycle length started to subtly change and I initially experienced slightly longer cycles than usual.

MC2012

In 2013 things went totally haywire.  As you can see from the chart below I basically had alternating long and short cycles, with a couple of very short cycles (for me at any rate).  I had my first daytime hot flush this year, but only the one, and no other real symptoms.  I did have my hormones tested and they came back as “normal” which isn’t at all unusual in the early stages of peri-menopause.

MC2013

In 2014 my cycles were still abnormal, but not quite as erratic as the year before.  Again, no other symptoms of peri-menopause that I could put my finger on.

MC2014

The start of 2015 saw my cycles even out, only to become erratic again in the second half of the year.  I also saw a couple of symptoms appear – vaginal dryness around my period, which doesn’t half make your ladygarden itch and is well uncomfortable as your undies rub against your bits, and changes in my mood.  I had sudden and inexplicable rages which were absolutely overwhelming.  Having never suffered from PMT I found being so out of control of my emotions really difficult, though thankfully the hooha only usually lasted a day or two around my period.

mc2015

In 2016 I continued to have vaginal dryness and mood changes, but the dreadful rages I felt in 2015 thankfully disappeared.  I did still have a short fuse at certain times in the month but it was nothing I couldn’t control.  I also had some really weepy episodes, usually in the few days before my period started and by the end of the year was starting to feel quite overwhelmed.  As someone who usually has very stable moods this was unusual for me.  I didn’t know how much was down to the perimenopause and how much was down to what was going on in my personal life, ie the situations with my parents and my Mum’s drinking, so decided to see a therapist to help me work through it.  Three months later and I was feeling much calmer, so you really shouldn’t put everything down to your hormones!

mc2016

This year as you can see from the chart below, my periods are becoming even more erratic.  I don’t have a clue when The Curse will arrive, which makes planning difficult.  I am grateful my moods have fairly much evened out and I’m back to feeling more like myself, though I have periods of anxiety for no apparent reason which is fairly common for peri-menopause.  I still haven’t had any hot flushes though my sleep has definitely been affected and there are times I struggle with insomnia.  My migraines around ovulation and menstruation have definitely become worse and can last for days which is crippling.  My energy levels have taken a nosedive and my brain fog some days is dreadful, however this may be due to the fact that I am borderline anaemic and now on supplements for my iron levels rather than being solely down to my hormones.  The biggest two things I’ve noticed this year have been weight gain and painful, itchy breasts which have been checked out via mammogram and are fine.

I’m definitely having symptoms of peri-menopause but they’re so far nowhere near as bad as I was expecting and nothing like the horror stories I’ve read about online.  They can be annoying but are manageable and it helps that I know what’s happening and that it will all eventually pass.  Everything that’s happening to me is normal and to be expected – very few women just stop their periods with no symptoms at all and I’m happy for nature to just take its course.  This all may change as the actual Menopause arrives and I may end up eating my words but so far so good!

A full 5 years into peri-menopause and there is absolutely no sign of Aunt Flo packing her bags.  Due to my endo and adeno my monthly cycles are incredibly painful and debilitating, and I have to say I’ve been ready for some considerable time for the monthly torture stop.  So, periods, if you’re listening I am over you – feel free to leave the building!

Aging and chronic illness

As most of you know, I turn 50 shortly and while that’s not exactly old it’s not exactly young either. In the decade since my 40th birthday my joints have starting subluxing, I’ve developed stiffness so severe at times I can’t even walk to the loo, my back pain is so bad it both scares me and stops me sleeping, and my previously unknown MCAD has reared its ugly head, to the point where at one stage I actually thought I would die from multiple anaphylactic events every day.  Make no mistake, getting older when you’re already chronically ill sucks.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who works for a charity having done it myself for many years, and know I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the wonderful people working for EDS and M.E. organizations, however I do have a bit of a beef with them and it’s this: all their information is aimed at either kids or young adults (and by young I mean pre-menopausal).  Their magazines are full of young folks doing sports, fundraising by whatever means possible and generally being positive and not letting their disease beat them.  Which is great.  But speak to them again in 20 years time and they might be telling a very different tale.

Did you know there is not a single piece of research that’s been carried out on older people with either EDS or M.E.?  There is loads of info on possible complications in pregnancy yet not a thing on the Menopause, despite the fact that not all women will have babies yet all women will go through The Change!  I find this utterly shocking, particularly in the case of EDS where patient forums show that many women aren’t diagnosed until their forties because that’s when their symptoms seem to go nuts (as did mine).  Consequently there are no information leaflets from the charities on what to expect as we age, which is actually quite discriminatory.  I should really sue, if I could find a solicitor to take the case 😀

Due to an absolute lack of information on aging with my diseases I have no idea what to expect.  Even healthy women can struggle with joint pain, exhaustion, dizziness and stiffness at Menopause so when I have these symptoms I don’t know if they’re normal or part of my hEDS.  I don’t know if they’ll pass or if I should be concerned and ask to see a Rheumy.  I don’t know if I have a greater chance of wear and tear arthritis, though I assume I must have.  I have no clue if the extra exhaustion I feel is part of my waning hormones or whether age is negatively affecting my M.E.  Will my decades of inactivity adversely affect my heart and, if so, why is that not being monitored?  Am I more, or less, likely to have a stroke?  What’s the deal on osteoporosis?  Skin thins with age, so will mine be worse as a result of having hEDS?  Am I more likely to bruise as my veins, skin and capillaries weaken?  And 200 other questions I don’t know the answers to.

Health in general seems to be all about either children or pregnant women.  No-one seems to give much of a stuff about issues which affect the middle aged.  It’s almost like we don’t exist, and it’s not until we’re in our seventies and at risk of old age diseases like Alzheimers that the medical profession starts to give a stuff again (my Dad’s dementia care, for example, has been excellent yet I’ve never once had my memory problems evaluated let alone treated).

At the moment I feel like I’m dropping to bits, but is that a normal hormone-induced dropping to bits or is my hEDS actually deteriorating?  Should I be pushing for a referral or just putting up and shutting up?  There is an urgent need for studies on chronic illness in the older age bracket.  We need to know if there should be more regular monitoring of our conditions, whether treatments which are affective in younger adults are still as effective in older adults, and most importantly what the normal progression of our diseases should look like as we age because unless we know what’s normal we can’t know what’s abnormal.

Of course, the lack of information on hEDS and M.E. is nothing in comparison to the lack of information on MCAD, particularly in the UK.  Peri-menopause has caused my mast cells to go off the charts bonkers yet I haven’t seen a specialist since I was diagnosed 4 years ago.  I’m not being monitored in any way, am having to treat myself in the best way I know how, and am basically white knuckling it with no idea what my post-menopausal future will hold.  Which is scary considering MCAD may pre-dispose me to leukemia and other cancers and carries the daily risk of sudden death from anaphylaxis.  Or MCAD may not predispose me to cancer – noone knows, which is kind’ve my point! It seems that, in respect of the middle aged, no-one knows much of anything when it comes to my diseases and that, as a matter of urgency, has to change.

 

 

 

Carry on Matron

My peri-menopause has definitely ramped up a few gears this year (OMG, when is it going to end?!).  I’m getting some of the more common symptoms like dizziness, insomnia, emotional ups and downs and itchy skin but also things which aren’t much talked about, like what’s happening to my breasts.

When I was in my early twenties I wasn’t exactly well endowed, wearing a 30C bra size.  I referred to them as fried eggs cos that’s just what they looked like – they were quite round but didn’t stick out very far, which was fine by me.  I was a size 8 (US size 4), am 5ft 2″ and weighed about 7½ stones (105lbs) so they were in proportion to my small frame.

Fast forward to my early forties, by which time I’d been unable to exercise for 15 years.  Inevitably my body shape had changed and I’d gained weight, now wearing a size 10 (US size 6) and weighing 8½ stones (120lbs).  My boobs had also increased in size to a stupendous 30DD and I was into the realm of having to wear supportive (code for fucking uncomfortable) bras, with straps an inch wide and underwires so painful they were like a form of torture.  Thank God the Belvia bra was finally invented without which I fear I would just have let the puppies run free 😉

Ten years on, and in my fiftieth year, my boobs seem to have taken on a life of their own.  Pre-perimenopause I’d ovulate mid cycle, my breasts would swell and be achy and sore, I’d have my period and they’d go back to normal.  Not any more.  Oh no.  They swell and are achy and sore, I have my period, and they fucking stay swollen achy and sore.  I have what feels like two water melons on my chest which disappear under my armpits making waving impossible.

So I Google “peri-menopause + larger breasts” and discover, to my horror, that 1 in 5 women during their Menopause years get significantly bigger boobs.  OM-flippin-G.  At 5ft I don’t need to be bigger than a DD and simply can’t imagine having to wear bras to fit an E, or god forbid, EE or F cup.  Gravity would pull me over and I’d end up flat on my face 😉  And if that weren’t bad enough breasts also start to sag in middle age, in some women up to 4″.   When my floppy boobs meet my spare tire my belly button might disappear forever.

“Quit moaning” I hear you cry, “women pay good money for big boobs” and I’m sure they’d look fabulous if they sat above a flat stomach, lean thighs and a perky arse.  But they don’t look quite so alluring sat above back fat, a muffin top and a tummy so swollen I look five months pregnant.  No-sir-eee-bob.  My scales no longer say 8 stone something they say 9 stone something and my size 10 clothes have been at the back of the wardrobe for so long they’ve been eaten by moths.

This peri-menopause malarkey is a right old carry on.  I started off as Barbera Windsor and have ended up as Hatty Jacques.  Ooo err Matron 😀

 

 

 

Weekly roundup

This week has been dominated by my hormones so I’m guessing my period will arrive shortly.  My cycles can be anything from 19 days to 31 days so I can no longer just look at my diary to know when it’s due and have to go off other clues.  Tuesday morning I woke up fine, got up and fed Bertie, made a brew and took it back to bed to watch the news.  I’m sitting there minding my own business when the world suddenly lurches to the right like I’ve been kicked in the head and I spend the next hour with the room spinning.  I hate shit like that!

I panicked a bit, because that night I’d agreed to do a talk to my Camera Club’s beginner’s class which I knew I couldn’t do if I were dizzy, but luckily it wore off and I was able to go although I felt spaced out for most of the day.

Wednesday was the first warm, sunny day we’d had in weeks so my friend and I decided to visit a nature reserve where she looked at plants (she’s doing a botany course) and I sat and photographed dragonflies.  We were the only people there the entire afternoon.  The birds were singing, the insects were buzzing, we took a picnic………..and it was heavenly.  I swear, days don’t get much better than that in my world and it did me the power of good even if I did get sunburnt.
My friend: do you want some suntan lotion for your arms?
Me: No thanks, my arms never go red.  #lookinglikealorrydriver

Friday I woke with a migraine which is still lingering this morning.  I had a really busy day planned and just carried on regardless, which was hard work when it felt like there was someone in my brain with a pick axe, and I was so sick Friday night I couldn’t eat a thing.

This morning I’ve woken with endo-related period pain, the dizziness is back and I feel generally fluey and crap.  I am SO over this peri-menopause malarkey.  It’s not like I’m having a horrendous time compared to the horror stories I’ve read about online, but it’s been 5 years of symptoms now and I’ve just had enough.  I’m over the hormone induced migraines.  The feeling extra exhausted.  The joint pain.  The forgetfulness and confusion.  The nausea.   The nipple pain which feels like I’ve been stung by bees.  The swollen stomach which makes me look pregnant.  The ravenous appetite which has made me gain 8lbs in six months.  The never-ending peeing.  The constantly swollen breasts that feel like bowling balls.  And I’m absolutely over the endometriosis, which I know won’t go away after Menopause but which at least won’t ramp up every 3-4 weeks until I feel like my entire pelvis is on fire.  I’m 50 shortly and after 5 years of declining hormones surely to God the end can’t be too far off.  Can it?!