Category Archives: just life

Dealing with Perimenopause is not easy

I have written about Perimenopause before.  Looking back over my posts I have written about it twice.  Once in October 2012, and again n October 2013.  Not sure whey October seems to be the month to write about it, other than all this crap started the week of my birthday the year I turned 46, so maybe my birthday month (October) triggers something.  Not sure.  But I suppose if that is true than writing about it today makes me a month early.  And for those of you who may be squeamish I will warn you in advance that this article is filled with details about mine and other women’s bodily functions, so if it is TMI, I apologize in advance.

Perimenopause is a bitch.  Truly.  For any woman dealing with it, and that can be ANY woman in the mid to late 30′s until actual Menopause sets in, the time (which is often years) is full of unpleasant, and even painful or embarrassing situations.

I told someone recently that every month that I get my cycle I rejoice because that means I still have enough female hormones to induce a menstrual cycle.  However, while doing research about perimenopause what I have found is that I was dead wrong.  In fact some scientists believe that  perimenopausal women have an increase in Estrogen and a decrease in Progesterone, which is what causes us to have increased symptoms of bloating, cramping and breast tenderness. These scientists also believe that FSH is a major culprit in causing a change to our cycles from a regular 15 days to 10 days plus or minus 4 days.

GREAT!  So instead of being able to plan (somewhat) and count the days between cycles now we have a shortened cycle and can be on either side of our “due date” by 4 days.  Are you kidding me?

These symptoms are also noted to happen to perimenopausal women:

New heavy and/or longer menstrual flow (yep)

• Shorter menstrual cycle lengths (≤ 25 days) ( so now we have to carry feminine hygiene products ALL the time because we NEVER know when we might start bleeding)

• New sore, swollen, and/or lumpy breasts (This has definitely happened to me to the point where it hurts to even work out)

• New or increased menstrual cramps (I know this is TMI, but now I start cramping days before I start my cycle…..YAY)

• New mid-sleep wakening (this has not happened to me, but I do wake up in the middle of the night sweating….)

• Onset of night sweats, especially around flow (see above comment.  This can even happen in wintertime)

• New or markedly increased migraine headaches ( This has not happened to me, but I do have friends who have noted an increase in their migraines as they have entered their 40′s)

• New or increased premenstrual mood swings (Ummm, I have always been a bit moody. However, since I turned 46 I definitely cry more often and want to cut people more frequently…. not sure if that is perimenopause or just lack of tolerance for stupid people. )

• Notable weight gain without changes in exercise or food intake (That has been my ENTIRE life, so nothing new there)

Image from : www.rottenecards.com

Image from : www.rottenecards.com

I mean honestly, is this fair in any sense of the word?  We have to deal with these symptoms, and more I wager. For my own experience I have the lovely experience of having cramps for days before I even have a cycle and wish I would just start already so I can stop having the cramps and bloating.  Also, I never know exactly when I am going to have a cycle.  I will be “regular” (meaning a cycle every 28 days) for three or four months, then I will have two cycles in one month, then I will go back to “regular”.

I never know how long my bleeding will last.  Some months it is 4 days, some months it is 7 days, some months it is 10 days. And according to these scientists and doctors this shift from pre-menstrual (meaning normal 28 day cycle every month). And my gosh, (super TMI) the bleeding can be so heavy at times!  Seriously, the flow can be so heavy you think you are bleeding out.  And then, you realize nope, it is just my stupid perimenopause.  (well that is what I think anyway, not sure what other women my age call it)

I know my peers are experiencing these symptoms and others.  I know because we sometimes talk about it.  I don’t know why it is not a more open discussion.  Why don’t we talk about these things more?  I mean seriously come on, these symptoms affect EVERY woman at some point in her life. Even if you have a surgical removal of organs you will have a “surgical” menopause.  Karol had a hysterectomy due to cervical cancer and removal of one ovary and she still has symptoms.  One of my BFF’s only has one ovary and she has symptoms.  Since millions of women deal with this why don’t we talk about it more?  Why isn’t there more research to find treatments or ways to make these symptoms less intrusive for women?

I know part of the answer is because women’s medical issues are not as important to the medical community and researchers as medical issues affecting men. Part of the answer is because it is “impolite” to discuss these things.  It is not “nice”.  Really, that pisses me off because I can see commercials on tv for medications to help men with their erections (or lack of erection to be more correct), and that is mainstream conversation about men’s health issues as they age.  Why can’t women’s health issues about aging be a mainstream conversation?

I for one will do what I can to enlighten women and talk about these issues.  Hopefully in my very small part and my very small sphere of influence I can open a conversation that women will participate in with each other, with their health care providers, and with society as a whole so this topic becomes less taboo and more “normal”.

Women who are dealing with this I would love to hear what you are going through and whether this list is all you are dealing with or if we need to add to it.

What blogging means to me

I started blogging in 2008. My first post was on a Blog called The Glass Half Full, and my first post was on September 27, 2008.  That was 6 years ago!  When I look back at those first posts, they are interesting.  Actually, they aren’t.  They are pretty boring.  I was just writing to write, and I didn’t know anything about monetizing, or an audience, or “how” to write.  I just wrote.  I think I enjoyed it.  I never really got too personal, and I didn’t many many years ago.  Most of my blogs were very short, only a couple of paragraphs, and they were quite sporadic.  I didn’t write very often at all.

Then I met a woman at the church I belonged to and she wanted to write together, so we collaborated.  She had been blogging for awhile also, and had read books on blogging and websites on blogging, and despite whatever happened that was not positive I will say that she definitely taught me a lot about the mechanics of blogging. It was her idea to apply to BlogHer.  She maintained the blogsite with backgrounds, and themes.  We both paid for the domain name and any the expense.  We had weekly “meetings” to plan and collaborate and share ideas.  We actually worked very well together when it came to business.  In the end it was a personal issue that drive us apart, and to be honest it was me who left her.  I needed to walk away and that is a story that I will never tell because it involves confidential conversations I had and situations I was in while I was an employee at a church.  However, she did teach me a lot so when I went back out on my own and created this bog I had much more knowledge about what to do.  So for what it is worth, thank you for that Susan.

When I started this blog, I did populate it at the beginning with blog posts I had written at the other site because I was emotionally drained.  I had no will to write, and just needed some time to heal.  But that has changed over the last two years I have been blogging on my own. My first blog post here On Coffee, Clutter and Chaos was on October 17, 2012.  Since then I have blogged 151 times.  I wrote 48 times in 2012 between Oct 17 and Dec 31.  I wrote 63 times in 2013.  Of those a couple were featured, a couple were syndicated and I was enjoying writing.  Then something happened.

I didn’t write between 3 December 2013 and 31 Jan 2014.  When I did write again I was really wondering if I should continue or not.  My mother had sharply criticized my writing saying what I wrote was “too personal” and “why did I have to write so much” about LGBT stuff? She thought I was being dishonest because I never talked about the father of my kids and how he and I were married for a long time, that I only seemed to focus on my life now with Karol.  I must say that really deflated me.  But when I out that post on Facebook I received a lot of positive comments, so I decided to continue.

However, apparently I was not feeling completely convinced, because I only wrote three more times between 31 Jan and 1 June.  Then something happened.  I was leaving work and driving home and just happened to put on my local National Public Radio station, WHRO, and a man was talking about a book he had written.  He was a comic and just happened to be blogging.  He really wanted to write a book, but also wanted to be paid, so he decided to just write every day for 100 days to see what happened.

During the 100 days of blogging, someone read his work and offered to publish a book if he wrote it. Now I have to apologize, even after researching it, I cannot find the name of the author or the book.  But I decided that I would try it.  I would write for 100 days and see if it took me anywhere or I had any monetary success, or if I even still wanted to write after I was finished.

Well, life happens, and I was not able to write every day, but I did find out something interesting.  I found out what blogging means to me. I found that I began to really enjoy writing.  I had ideas all the time.  I even out a recorder on the “front page” of my phone so I could just hit a button and record ideas when they came to me.  For some reason I think about a lot of topics while I am driving…..  I put a white board on the wall next to my desk so I could write down ides I got while I was balancing my checkbook or doodling around on Facebook.

But more important I found that I started NEEDING to write.  That it became soothing and cathartic.  That if I was not able to write I became cranky and felt compelled to get to my computer so I could write.

This week was no exception.  My bff the Newyorican needed my help this week, and since she is my sister of course I went to her aid.  But in doing so I missed my “writing time” which is in the morning as I sip my coffee.  This seems to be the best time for me to write because my mind is fresh, and the boys are sleeping or at school, and the house is quiet.  It is before classes, or homework, or other distractions.  I put on Pandora, and I write. I noticed I was cranky because I missed writing.  Hmmm, I didn’t expect that.

So what I have found is that to me blogging and writing have become a release.  a way to get things out that are swirling around in my head.  To ask questions and put things out there that are personal, and sensitive, and possibly divisive.  That may upset people, or cause some folks to get mad at me.  Or possibly cause someone to think, or learn something new.  I have written about my concerns about racial issues, about lesbian bed death, about my kids, and about my partner.  I love to write and have found something that feeds me emotionally mentally and spiritually.

I am a writer.

Jessica Hinton really says what I feel in my heart.  Thank you Jessica for these words!

Photo credit: http://www.jessicafhinton.com/

Photo credit: http://www.jessicafhinton.com/

What #NMOS14 means to me and my 15 year old son

I have always been more of a Facebook person than a Twitter person.  I didn’t often check my Twitter feed.  But for some reason last Tuesday, 12 August, I woke up and while laying in bed talking myself into getting up to make a cup of coffee I opened my Twitter and looked at the feed.  I saw that my 15 year old son “The Genius” had been tweeting….

a lot….

all night in fact.

He was tweeting angry things, and tweets with “bad” words. It was all about “#ferguson” and “racial injustice”.  I had not been watching any news shows the past few days, and I was not aware of what was going on in Ferguson.  So I went to some of the articles on his Twitter feed and I was shocked!

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  A young black man killed while he was unarmed?  Witnesses said he had his hands up in the air, yet he was still killed? Tear gas was being thrown at “rioters”? The images of the militarized police were astounding to me.

I couldn’t believe this was happening.  These pictures and videos were not from Gaza, or Israel, or Syria or Iraq or  any other place that is in the midst of a military  and humanitarian crisis.  It was happening in a small suburb of St. Louis!

I couldn’t look away from Twitter.  I started following Antonio French on Twitter so I could keep updated.  I couldn’t get myself to leave Twitter.  I was watching history unfold right before my eyes!

Then The Genius told me about #NMOS14.  This was an idea for a National Moment of Silence  started by @feministaJones on Twitter.  She wanted to get the whole country together to have vigils and a moment of Silence to honor victims of Police brutality.  To talk about what is going on in our country.  To honor those slain by police unjustly and unarmed.

My son and I knew immediately we would be attending this vigil.  Something happened to us at that moment. We became partners in a cause.  We didn’t even have to discuss it.  We just knew.  We knew that we would do whatever we could to help make a change.

We attended the vigil at Old Dominion University on Thursday August 14, organized by Rachael Payton, an ODU student who is passionate about making a change.  As the event started, she recited a poem she wrote that was inspiring and moved me to tears. We briefly chatted amongst ourselves and then at 7:20 we had a moment of silence together. A moment to honor those slain by police unjustly. A moment against police brutality.

photo credit https://twitter.com/13EricKane/status/500060050120257536/photo/1

photo credit https://twitter.com/13EricKane/status/500060050120257536/photo/1

Then Rachael opened the floor for comments, stories, whatever people wanted to share.  A young man (about 19 or 20) stood up and talked about an incident in his life where he walked from his house to a nearby 7-11 to get some claritin because his allergies were bothering him.  It was 12:30 am.  He purchased his items and walked home.  As he approached his backyard a police cruiser rolled up and stopped.  The officer in the vehicle shone his light on the young man.  The young man froze and did not move.  He remained that way for several minutes with the light trained on him.  He could see his house, the tv playing in his sister’s bedroom, the fence around the backyard.  He was no more than 40 feet from his home.  He said all he could think was that he might be shot, he might be killed.  Because he was a black man who had the audacity to go out late at night.  To get medicine.  He said another police cruiser rolled up behind the first one.  After a few minutes the light was turned off and the police officers simply drove away.  No words were spoken.  He was not addressed by the officers, just bathed in the white light of their scrutiny.  He continued on home.

There were more stories like this.  Stories about members of their families, or their friends, or themselves being targeted or questioned, thrown onto the hoods of police cars.  Detained for no reason.  Simply because of the color of their skin.  This MUST stop.  We MUST stop it.

I was moved to tears more than once by the stories I heard that night.  Stories both frightening and uplifting.  The solidarity in that room was palpable.  We had come together determined to make a change.  To affect our world in a positive way.  White people, black people, brown people.  Older people and young people.  None of that mattered that night.  What mattered was that we were human beings who shared a sense of obligation to affect a change!

On the way home my son told me that he wanted to continue working towards making a change.  He wanted to get involved in whatever way he could.  He said it wasn’t fair that as a white male he didn’t have to be scared walking down the street like black boys his age did.  He said he didn’t want to have his friends grow up and have to teach their children how to behave with police because of the color of their skin, due to fear for their lives.

I will continue to actively seek out ways he and I can work together to make these changes.  Because #NMOS14 is not about an event in history to me, it is about what we can do everyday to make this world a better place for ALL of us. This is what #NMOS14 means to me and my 15 year old son.

Will you join us?