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Aches and Pains

'Why are you always ill?'

Sound familiar?

Women of a certain age and their battles with the big M!


My husband is always accusing me of being unwell lately! 'Go see a doctor' he says! Tablets fix everything for him! I say 'okay, I will write my symptoms down, all 405 of them and see how they cope'!

I mean it's funny, but its really not. I still grieve for my pre menopause body, not the monthly visits from satan and all that malarky, of course, but still. I'd also cut off my right arm to have my energy back, oh and whilst we are at it, I'd sell my other arm for my cheeks back, last seen sliding down my face into my neck!

Ain't ageing grand?

When we were out and about at Easter, my MIL said 'its awful really, everything gets dry, sore and broken, then bits start falling off'.....we howled, but internally I died a little, it gets worse than this?

I love ageing in many ways. I give not a toss, about a lot of things that bothered me back then. There's a lot to look forward too, sure, but the physical effects of being post the big M are often debilitating and the mental challenges come along just for the hell of it. I know it's hard for our chaps to understand and thats exactly why we should openly share our journeys with them.

If you are like me and have not been able to take HRT, then you will feel my pain, literally! I do worry about my heart, the increased risk of diabetes and cancer, amongst the many things HRT protects us from. I mean if most of us can take HRT and be protected, fabulous, but what about me? How do I protect myself from an early death and or disease?

I just have to try harder!

I guess cutting out as much stress as is humanly possible, exercising and eating well can help, obviously. Stress is dangerous and most of us humans are constantly in flight or fight mode these days, not relaxed at all. I suppose the key to a long and healthy life, is how we react to stress in our lives. Learning to relax our breathing, not to feel like we are always in a cage, fighting our way out of a spreading fire.

Pick your battles carefully ladies!

I want to be uber positive about being post menopausal and tell you, that eventually all the horrid symptoms die down and then there's that glorious period of ageing disgracefully, but I can't! However, I do look at the changes that have happened as the new me. Same girl, different vibe and no my left hip doesn't like me sitting like a frog anymore and thats okay. We adapt and adjust the sails best we can.

What does help me these days, is making sure I take care of my looks whilst they are still hanging around. It makes me feel instantly better mentally. I also like to be able to look forward to something, an adventure or two, hence why we bought the RV! Just gotta keep moving forward!

I was in a salon recently and chatting with the aesthetician, who at 24 had very bouncy lips and smooth plump cheeks, as expected. We chatted awhile about the various treatments one can have to keep the face going. I'm not yet convinced and prefer to keep going with a good old fashioned monthly facials. She wanted to persuade me to book something and asked one of her clients if she would be happy to show and tell. All she did was put me off! The lady had had far too much work done! Her eyebrows were an odd shape and far too high up! She looked very surprised all of the time, no emotion in her face at all! Her look actually scared the life out of me. Her cheeks looked smooth but hard and her lips had that awful blow fish/blow up dolly look! Everything looked just bizarre! She asked me how old I was and I happily shared my age. Then she asked me what I'd had done thus far and I said nowt! She looked shocked. Her age? 44! I'm sorry, but the work done had not taken years off, it had added some! Thats the danger with botox and fillers, they can actually make things much worse.

I'm not against 'tweakments' or a mini face lift down the line and I think I will know when, if ever, but faffing with ones face is a bit of a lottery isn't it? For now, I am just not unhappy enough to do anything about it and frankly, natural lips are perfectly beautiful without being pumped up like an airbed! I just think faces are meant to be lived in. Those laughter lines are part of our journey here on earth and anyway, a good lippy does wonders for the boat race!

At 54 and rising, I want to live my life well and as there are no kids at home (for now anyway), I can be a little selfish and indulge in my passions without the mum guilt. It's a balancing act really. We need to rest more. I do not suffer insomnia, thankfully. We need to walk more. If you live a sedentary life, then you'll suffer the consequences I'm sure. Adopt a dog! They do not let you lie in or sit down!

At the end of the day, the top gift Mother Nature gave me was that I can't get pregnant any more! I mean, thats something to celebrate right? No more periods. No swinging moods from black to blue and all the way back again. No swollen boobs. No crazy moments, where I loose my shit over nothing much! I don't want any of these back, thanks! I'm glad they are gone.

Yes, I have lot of new unwelcome issues to deal with and yes, it's often overwhelming, but crying about isn't helping. I need to accept, welcome the changes and keep going the best I can. There is no cure for me, just like there isn't for my Celiacs disease. All I can do is aim to stay fit and healthy and keep smiling!

I've gotten through the worst of it now, but I don't know how my husband did or my kids for that matter! Just as the kids start entering their late teens, it all starts! I mean how cruel is a woman life? When I hear of the mid 40's/50's family breakups, I have a good idea why! The woman in the family is in meltdown mode and just about surviving the onslaught of the Big M, sadly and often way before anyone realises it, let alone her! The issue is just such a surprise to everyone around her! Who is this woman? I get it! We hardly recognise ourselves and still have to keep the family moving in the right direction. I don't know the facts and figures, but I wouldn't be surprised if most mid life marriage break ups are just the Big M raising its ugly head!

Men, boys, families need educating sooner rather than later! They need to help their partners/mothers rather than chuck around 'she crazy' all the time. We aren't crazy, we are in transition to the next part of our lives. The part where fertility ceases. I do rather prefer 'the change' label over 'the menopause' really, don't you?

We do need all the help we can get, as we enter the autumn of our reproductive lives. It needs to be taken seriously and we need Menopause clinics in every community! Why we stop supporting women's reproductive health so early after the last child, I just don't know! It should be normal to start testing a women blood at a certain age, so that help can be given from the very off! Have your smear and have a blood test at the same time! Let's get those pesky hormones balanced earlier! Yes please! Women's sexual health and wellbeing doesn't just end with the last baby, or final period for gods sake, it needs to be whole life cycle, cradle to the grave.

We must be kinder to ourselves and each other, at the work place and at home, don't you think? And one day hope that we have some sort of relief much earlier, but for now the best form of help is for us to help each other by talking about it.

As Rylan said 'cheers, here's to your periods, no more'.


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