Sunday, December 26, 2010

Woah hormones...

The obvious distractions aside, you know what the really difficult thing about menopause is? The *#(&*(& hormones!!! Its horrible! I'm supposed to change my estrogen patch on set days throughout the week. I forgot to take a patch out of town with me recently and you would've thought I turned into Sybil (for those of you new to this world Sybil was the first person diagnosed with multiple personality disorder in the 1970's). It was horrible. I cried more than I have in a long time, gave my husband a hard time about trivial issues and felt like the world was coming to an end.

That, my friends, is one of the most difficult things about menopause; feeling like I'm going crazy when I don't have a hormone patch to change. My girlfriends and relatives of the same age are thinking about breast-feeding and fertility issues, maybe losing weight, training for a marathon, not hormones. So I had my little 5-minute pity party and tried to get over it.

Then, I woke up this morning. It was probably the 115th-120th morning I've woken up feeling like I'd done a dance marathon the day before. Problem is, there was no dance marathon yesterday. It doesn't matter if I do anything, I wake up sore more than half the time.

Frequently when standing up after sitting for a long time, I have to get all the kinks out, its like I'm 90 ($*&* years old and I hate it.

My doctor says these are all issues we have to work out with my hormone levels. I think its horseshit that I literally have the body of a 60 year-old. When I say it, I'm not exaggerating or being funny, I literally have the body of a 60 year-old.

Lack of estrogen and other hormones for as long as I was without, causes long-term damage and effects to the body. Some of the symptoms of that damage is the fact that my back and hips hurt, my knees crack and sometimes I just feel old and creaky. Like stairs in an old Victorian mansion. Beautiful and aged, yet old and creaky.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You can still talk about children around me.

Hey you - you can still talk about having kids around me! And you - you can still talk about trying to get pregnant in my presence! And you - please keep telling me about your doctor visits I love living vicariously through you!

And you, especially YOU...please ask my husband how he is doing. And you, over there, who doesn't like me, please still talk to him, he needs to know people care too.

And you - don't be afraid to talk to me or ask me questions. I'm fine with everything and frankly, it would be nice to know you cared.

That's all for now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When trauma brings about love and new friendships

For every tragedy there is a triumph...for every loss of friendship there is a new one...for every lost battle there is a lesson learned...for every girlfriend of my husband's who I wasn't 'too sure of' when we first started dating, there is a new good friend.

The past months have been difficult to say the least. Certain people have bent over backward to make sure I'm ok, see if I need anything or anyone to talk to. I'm a private person by nature. The fact that I write two blogs, a dating column and have a Facebook page with more than 2,000 friends is completely out of character for me. Let me repeat - I am a private person by nature.

Just because I am okay with the whole world of blog readers to know I am prematurely post-menopausal doesn't mean I share anything beyond that easily. The inner-workings of my mind, my insecurities, my hopes and fears, my dreams and secret guilty pleasures. The people I spend too much time thinking about, the elephants I cry about and the dogs I pray for. Very few people know any of this.

So, I found it strange that during what I will (someday) affectionately refer to as 2010, I became close to the least likely people in my life.

That's really all that needs to be said. There's something to be said for strong, independent and confident women who will reach out to another woman when she is in pain. There is something to be said for people who embrace people because they're good people, not for any other reason. There is something to be said for people who are able to not think about themselves for a brief period of time and during that time, put someone else's feelings before theirs.

I love good people. You guys know who you are. Thank you for letting me open up to you and thank you for not giving up. Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that while I am powerless to change people's opinions and actions, that doesn't mean it has to be a reflection on me.

Monday, December 6, 2010


My mom sends me a text message last night "Look at the front page of the Gazette." The Gazette, (the Cedar Rapids Gazette) is my home-town newspaper. I googled it, and saw the front page was a picture of a dog at the Cedar Valley Humane Society (yay for the Gazette helping the animal shelter!). The dog was precious, just adorable. Her following texts were about how cute the dog is, and how she wanted to run right down there and get one.


My mom is a wonderful mother, grandmother and grand'dog'mother. She really is. She has come a long way over the years. One of my fave pics is of my mom (all 100 pounds of her) snuggling up to Stella, my extra-large black pit mix. They're snuggling. So cute! Well lets just say my parents travel A LOT and a dog does not fit into their lifestyle. So, my mom gets her 'dog fix' whenever she comes to KC to visit me and Kurt.

I reminded her of this. I included an invitation to come to KC next weekend if she needed her dog fix. The great thing is, she is really making strides because we were just home for Thanksgiving with our 150+ pounds of dog in tow!

So, I get to thinking about this. And I thought how sometimes its really difficult to be around my pregnant friends. Or to talk to them. Ultrasounds are kind of hard. But really, I can live vicariously through them. I had a good friend over for dinner last night and she brought her BEAUTIFUL baby girl. Her daughter is five months old. She has the most amazing blue eyes and a smile to die for. I just wanted to eat her she was so cute.

They spent a good several hours at the house...I held the babygirl...played with her and walked her around the house. We looked at the Christmas tree. It was wonderful.

So mom, I guess we have yet one more thing in common - you can't have dogs so you come stay with me anytime you need your fix. And I can't have kids so I will call upon one of my many amazing friends or my brother and sister-in-law whenever I need my 'baby fix'.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family dynamics, oh how thee change

I wrote and rewrote this article only to come to the conclusion this is definitely a two-parter. In discussing family dynamics, there are just so many different themes that arise. The theme of the sibling dynamics changing throughout the years, the theme of parent-child dynamics changing throughout the years and the all-important and oftentimes highly dramatic issue of when a member of a family brings in a significant other.

Family dynamics change over the years. Siblings mature and move into adulthood. Therefore, these relationships can become strained or closer based upon the type of relationship. The relationship between a big brother and little sister or may stay just that, a big brother and his little sister or may become more of a friend to friend relationship.

The relationship between myself, an older sister and my younger brother has gone from sibling to close friend throughout the years. Parental relationships with kids change as well. Kids who are dependent upon their parents during adolescence may remain so into their 20's and 30's. These same kids may become entirely independent after adolescence, which allows for a relationship based on equality and friendship with their parents.

Now, combine these changing relationship dynamics with a marriage or relationship.

When the son goes off and gets married, his relationship with his mother changes just as it changes with his siblings. I gained a friend when my brother married his wife. When he got married, everyone in the family gained a sister/daughter and years later, nieces and grandchildren.

When a daughter marries, oftentimes her relationship with her mother takes a turn. Mine took a turn for the better and my mother and I have never been so close. Many girls fight with their mothers during this time, thus changing the mother/daughter dynamic for the worse.

The relationship between a father and daughter changes a great deal when the daughter gets married, just as her relationship with her brothers and sisters do.

Unfortunately, I have noticed in many relationships that the significant other gets the brunt of the blame for these changing relationship dynamics. In fact, I remember a painful time when my family blamed my sister-in-law for my brother's "changes." In hindsight, these changes were simply maturing.

Why are people so eager to blame the significant other for changes in the daughter/son/sibling/friend? Is it really too difficult to admit that, over time, our relationship dynamics change, we grow up and move on?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Does the Honeymoon Have to End?

As of late I've participated in numerous conversations with people in regards to the "does the honeymoon period have to end" issue that seems to plague many relationships.
Does the honeymoon period end in all relationships?

Does the honeymoon period have to end?

When your significant other displays symptoms of laziness of selfishness, does this mean the inevitable ending is near?

In my experience, relationships ebb and flow. They are like riding a roller coaster - you may have a really good ride followed by a slump, followed again by a really good ride. But, the whole time, you are on exactly that - a ride, an experience.

Friends of mine are predictable in their ebb and flows. They are happy and on the same wavelength for several weeks, then they have an off week.

Another friend of mine has learned to pull away from her partner whenever her partner starts acts irritably. The whole, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing.

I have a framed print in my house - it used to be in my bathroom so everytime I brushed my teeth I read it. Now, I have it memorized. "Think about the destination but don't worry if you stray, because the most important thing is what you learn along the way." So, while we think of "forever" and celebrating our 50 year anniversary, it isn't only the destination that is important...its also the little things you learn about each other every day. And, you can't learn those little things if you only concentrate on the destination itself. Don't get distracted thinking about the ultimate goal because the little every day things will pass you by, and those are the most important parts.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Side effects of hormones or...ulcer?

Last night I suffered what was quite possibly the worst stomach ache I have ever had. This has happened a few times before (each time of course was the worst stomach ache I've had) where the pain was so severe I was in the fetal position, propped up on my knees and elbows in bed. Weird thing is, each time it has happened we've been traveling. Unfortunate for us!

Kurt and I took a careful look at my lifestyle and routine last night, in an attempt to self-diagnose what was going on. The only major changes are a) I eat a LOT more fruit than ever before (a smoothie every morning and fruit at night) and b) I am under an exorbitant amount of stress.

Kurt said, "Ulcer. You have an ulcer." He is positive it is an ulcer. When I got my first stomach ache a few months ago, we thought it was a side-effect of one of the two hormones I am on. Although, a stomach ache is not a potential side-effect of either of the hormones, it was the only thing that made sense.

I've kept a journal (food, side effect and lifestyle journal) over the past couple months. So, since I was in the fetal position crying for 3 hours last night my first chance to google "ulcer" was this morning. My sister always makes fun of me for self-diagnosing on the Internet but, I have to say the symptoms and causes really do match my symptoms and recent lifestyle choices and events.

I have a doctor's appointment that I intend to bump up. I can't handle another of these stomach aches. They're indescribable. Anyone out there know anything about ulcers?