This week’s writing challenge is the perfect time for me to discuss an issue with which I have dealt for the past 10 years.
It cost $350 in air-conditioner, service calls to discover that those periodic waves of extreme heat were in fact, emanating from inside my body. A normal person of this technological age would have searched the internet for answers. Not me. I drove straight to the nearest Barnes and Nobles and began perusing the various medical books, looking for symptoms to match mine. When I finally found the description that matched my symptoms perfectly, it was a complete shock. I thought, “No way. I’m only in my 30’s”. A quick call to my mother as I sat in the aisle of the bookstore. “Mom, how old were you when you went through menopause?” She replied, “Oooh, I was very, young,… in my 30’s and 40’s”. Wow. Thanks, Mom. If I had known I should have been concerned about my biological clock, I might have made some different choices, especially when it came to pursuing a career over dating.
Early menopause is the death diagnosis for someone whose childhood dream was to become a mother of 6. I went from being the youngest in my circle of friends, to sharing the experiences of women twice my age. Even today, a friend my age, 46, relayed over a text, “Really? You have hot flashes? I still have my periods like clockwork; every 29 days.”
I wanted to say,
“I am so glad that I no longer have to make those inconvenient, late-night runs to the pharmacy. The checkers these days think they are so witty when you purchase nothing but feminine hygiene products, ibuprofen and a bottle of wine. I would much rather worry about bone loss, weight gain, bloating, irritability, depression, digestive issues and memory loss, than have to purchase those things again. And it’s too bad that you haven’t gotten to experience the menopause, polar bear plunge. You have no idea how exhilarating it is to soak your entire bed with sweat. Only after you’re completely sopping wet, the air-conditioner, which you have previously set to the lowest setting, will blow like the icy waters of Lake Michigan and give you such a rush.”
Instead, I say nothing and decide to engage in one of my favorite activities, eating. Five minutes later, I’m still standing in front of the refrigerator trying to remember why. Yes, this is my life, about 10 year’s ahead of my time. And yet, I still feel relatively young and confident in myself.
I saw a video, today, Jennifer Hudson’s Emmy winning performance in “Dreamgirls”,
This performance gave me goosebumps. Being forced to accept circumstances she didn’t want, her character is relatable to all of us in some way or another; the person diagnosed with cancer, the person going blind, the person that has always wanted children yet experienced early menopause… Yet, as heartbroken as she was, she ended the song telling us that no matter what, she was gonna make it work. She was gonna be okay. And that’s a message from which we can all draw strength.