Davina McCall I salute you.

Last night I watched a documentary on Perimenopause and Menopause. Five minutes after I began watching, I posted on Facebook urging my friends to watch it. I knew that it was going to help so many women.

Sex, Mind and Menopause was a documentary with Davina McCall aired on Channel 4. If you did not see it, I urge you to watch it on catch up whilst you still can. It will bring you an understanding of what women around you may be going through and may encourage a more empathic approach instead of just brushing off things which might seem out of character. It was incredibly informative, heartwarming and emotional at times. Not only did it give us the brutal facts, but it also gave hope to people. https://www.channel4.com/programmes/davina-mccall-sex-mind-and-the-menopause/on-demand/73406-001

After watching this documentary to its conclusion I couldn’t help but think What a total eye opener! Thank you Davina McCall for bringing this subject to the fore. Sharing her own experience of this made me see this presenter in a down to earth and relatable light. I suspect that this will be a day when women all over the UK are doing alot of research and thinking about what was shown. I have had several lightbulb moments, thinking about what was said. The neuroscientists who spoke made complete sense, the image of a 43 year old brain at perimenopause was shocking. Going through much of what was discussed myself and not knowing what the cause of these symptoms actually might be has been difficult. Yes, we all hear about menopause equalling hot sweats and decreased libido, but I had never heard of perimenopause until recently. My own personal suffering with three long term health issues can complicate things and as a consequence, we do not necessarily think outside of the box. I will freely admit that up until now I haven’t either. A new symptom is just put down to being something else that may or may not be part of an existing illness, whilst all the time our health and wellbeing is going downhill. After a full hysterectomy 13 years ago, I mistakenly thought I had been cured of Endometriosis, I went to the gynaecologist who was an Endometriosis specialist and in my eyes a magician six months later and he told me he could not find any more Endometriosis. Since I had all of my reproductive system removed, how could it be possible that I would get it any more? Oh how naive I was. Endometriosis is incurable I later found out and attaches itself to scar tissue, which I have plenty of as well as other organs in the body. I experienced all kinds of similar pain just in different places. It also affects the immune system long term and since it takes at least 7 years to diagnose, has a huge impact on the mental health aswell.

I began taking HRT via Estraderm patches, the day after my surgery. At 35 I did not want to have brittle bones, hot flushes etc and thankfully they seemed to agree with me. I did not suffer any noticeable side effects from them. My hysterectomy like many other people, rectified the cyclical symptoms, but to the detriment of other things, it was as though someone has flicked the switch on my libido almost overnight. In the early days, I just accepted that this was a response to major surgery and that it would return along with the healthy sex life we had. After a couple of years, I mentioned it to the Doctor and nothing was discussed further… No suggestions were made. It was assumed for the better quality of life following the surgery, sacrifices had been made. But I was not happy about this at all and it has over the years put a strain on our loving relationship.

But, back to this documentary…

What was a total eye-opener is that so many people feel that they have no one to talk to about this, in the days before social media, I am guessing even less was mentioned about what is actually a massive issue for a huge percentage of women. What a wonderful realisation that No, we are not all crazy after all.

To find out 13 years later that it is highly likely that a simple application of Testosterone gel might rectify the lacking libido, help clear the brain fog, the frustration, the fatigue, the lack of strength, insomnia and excruciating joint pain I have suffered over the past few years has left me reeling. I am also asking the question, why on earth was this never mentioned? Having had a medically induced menopause so long ago, my unquestioning acceptance of all these changes as being the norm, or something else is making me feel a little bit foolish. So this afternoon I have done some more research and found so many more women like me who have also had medically induced menopause from Endometriosis and have eventually benefitted from the addition of Testosterone gel to their daily routine.

So, today I, like many more women in their 40’s I suspect, have contacted my own doctor. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks time, with a female doctor who I can discuss candidly what has been going wrong. Who knows but I suspect that many of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia may be reduced if this treatment is offered and I am looking forward to getting some answers. It has occurred to me though, that the percentage of Fibromyalgia symptoms in women of perimenopausal and menopausal age may be drastically reduced by simply getting their hormone levels right for them.

The statistics for suicide in women of menopausal age are frightening and should not be ignored. If I can urge any women over 30 who are affected by sudden changes in their mental or physical health to discuss this with someone, anyone actually it might just save a few lives. But if nothing else, it will make you realise that there are others who have gone through this too and who are prepared to help you. Do not suffer alone.

I had never heard of “Body identical” Estrogen until last night, I for one will be asking far more questions about this going forward. It’s a learning curve. Medical science is ever changing, what suited 13 years ago may not suit so well now. My body has changed so much over that time why would I not think that metabolism had stood still. Time certainly hasn’t!

International Women’s Day.

Since it is International Women’s Day, I thought I would head back to my childhood for this, little did I realise as I wrote it, the effect that it would have on my day and my loved one.  The journey into womanhood is not always easy, there are scars you bring with you and I am trying to heal as I go. In two minds as to whether this should be posted, at his suggestion, today is the day! I am thankful that he is alongside me and continues to offer support even when it is unexpected.

As We Grow.

For an afternoon, we get together.
Seems as though it’s been forever
It’s not often that you go out to eat
To sit and talk, a proper meet.

It gets me thinking of younger years
And suddenly I’m choking tears.
Growing up when times were fraught,
Don’t seek to blame, not always your fault.
To push and push and test and test
You only felt you were doing your best.
Taken to church on every Sunday
Ridiculed yet again on Monday

During the week off to school,
Often made to look like a fool.
When sometimes to the house they came,
I would hide myself in shame.
Of what had passed when out to play,
Just wanted to hide myself away.
Did I do wrong? Was I meant,
To hold in all of this torment.
I may have brought it upon myself
A thought when later it affects your health.

Time has passed and strength has grown
Since venturing out all on my own.
They say the times of sand have shifted
Sometimes I see the dark clouds lifted
And sadness takes such time to feel
The memory blurred enough to heal.

Should not be where your thoughts lay
What happened when you went away?
Life’s so different should you return,
But if you stay here you’ll have to learn.
Made to feel bad for a mistake
As your life you try to remake.
It’s strange that it comes flooding back
You realise there’s something you lack.

You didn’t know him well, or understand,
How to make his point, he’d raise his hand.
Wished sometimes for a slap in the face
Instead to put you back in your place.
But without this life, as they say
You wouldn’t be the same person today.
But down where these memories reside
Is where it still hurts deep inside.

A chance for a coffee, for a chat,
Not time to talk about all that.
Decided no longer to be a slave,
But as innocent, don’t try to behave.
For all those things in time gone by
To the back of your mind you must try
For it is now time to move on
Even you can’t undo the wrong.
Don’t dwell upon the past they say
It’s in the past, it’s gone away.

We don’t understand we have to forgive
Once we leave home, our lives to live.
As it’s been a long time since,
We now celebrate our difference.
Although in some ways we are alike.
I can’t get up or sing on a ‘mike‘.
But as enthusiasm starts to show,
For all the things that we should know.

Hope that forgiveness is to me
All that it’s cracked up to be,
I’m not as though heaven sent,
But glad we are so different.