Aging Gracefully

Menopause, To Replace or Not to Replace

Almost to the day of turning 50 I went through menopause. Like I said in an earlier post, I wanted to do this naturally, without having to be on medication.  I thought that natural was the best.  I am slowly learning that it is a choice that each individual should make on their own. But for me, doing it naturally was not the best. 

At first I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.  I had survived the night sweats and the daily bouts of bursting into flames from the inside-out.  And I was proud of myself for experiencing this phase of my life.  In one of my favorite books, Woman at the Edge of Two Worlds by Lynn Andrews she spoke of women being on that edge, between youth and wisdom.  According to Lynn, women should use this opportunity to sit with the flames, feel our bodies burning away the old to make way for the wisdom.  

I had thought this was a great idea! I did welcome each hot flash with the intention of making space for my new journey. And it helped me feel as though I were in control of my body.  At one point though, the sweat soaked clothing at work wasn’t a great idea so I started taking  my AM/PM Menopause Formula to get through it.  

Making It To The Other Side

After the flames died down though,  I bragged about how I had gotten to the ‘other side’ and was ready for the second half of my life. 

It started happening slowly.  The libido disappeared, the skin became drier, older looking.  I remember waking up one morning and freaking out when I raised my arm off the bed and it looked like crepe paper hanging from my inner arm and elbows.  And no matter how much lotion I rubbed on my legs, they also looked like they were wrapped in crumpled up crepe paper. 

Next it was my joints. I was limping and hobbling down the stairs every morning as though I were 100 years old. My joints were always aching. One day I woke up and my thumb was stuck in one position and it clicked when I moved it. It was so disgusting to me that I wore a splint on my thumb until the chiropractor told me to take it off and throw it away because I was supposed to be moving that joint, not cementing it into place.  I am squeamish, so it was really hard having to feel my stuck thumb clicking as I tried to make my fist into a ball to move the joints.  

And then I found myself always tired and having short term memory loss.  This went on for years!  I had accepted the fact that I was officially old and had to deal with it. I tried taking many different supplements. Nothing seemed to make a difference. 

Bio-Identical Hormones

A good friend mentioned  bio-identical  hormones to me.  My first  reaction was from fear. I had heard how there are side effects to hormones. So I let my fears keep me from researching this more. After researching more thoroughly I found out that it was the synthetic hormones that were dangerous. So I called a place that I found online that treated women with bio-identical hormones. I was almost sucked into a huge expensive journey. They wanted $2400 upfront for lab work, etc, and then required that I purchase the hormones through them as well as come into office for blood work every three months.  Luckily I was not able to afford it or I would have scheduled my appointment.  

I found that if I called the local Compound Pharmacies (The only places that will fill bio-identical hormones) they would suggest doctors in the area who would help me.  I was able to find the doctor that would start me on my quest for health.  She took my insurance information, my blood work and got me started on my hormones.  Within one week I already felt more alive than I had felt in 8 years. It took me 8 YEARS to think of myself and to get help for my body, which seemed to be breaking down slowly.

The skin on my body is no longer crepe paper, my joints don’t hurt anymore, I have energy again and I am no longer forgetting what I said two minutes earlier (except when I am busy or stressed).  My body is being replenished but with natural methods, not synthetic.  The only problem was that the office I was going to those few times a year was not easy for me to get to.  Back to the drawing board.

Finding The Right Help

One day I was on a Facebook group where women were asking for suggestions about local doctors. One name kept coming up over and over and had great reviews by most of the women.  So I called them to see if they helped with the bio-identical hormones.  I spoke to the Nurse Practitioner who ran the practice and she was incredible. She made me feel very cared for, even on the phone. She asked about my life and my needs and before I knew it I was making my appointment.  

Best thing I ever did!  I found my forever treatment.   Athena Health & Wellness, Women’s Center is incredible. Carrie took much time with me, asking what my past treatment had been and what my needs are now. She adjusted a few things, added some chewable tablets that will help me in the middle of the night when I wake up, and is not charging me an arm and a leg for her treatment.  

To all of  my siblings, cousins and friends who are on the ‘edge of two worlds’… I hope this post helps give you options so that you don’t have to wonder what comes next.  It’s funny, I am the oldest sibling and the oldest cousin, so I am like the pioneer, creating the path of options for those of you who are approaching this incredible second phase of a woman’s life. 

Good luck and enjoy the journey!!!


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