(k)erimenopause

One broad's reluctant journey to the dark side of womanhood.

5 Pissy Problems of Perimenopause January 21, 2015

Filed under: Normal Not Hormonal — kerimenopause @ 7:52 pm
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#1  I don’t want a period, period.

Last July I had a period, short and forgettable. September I had another. Then, blissfully nothing. I was delighted to be done, done, done. Then I had lunch with a friend who was complaining about her heavy periods. I was a little arrogant about my 2 periods in six months. She looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Oh, you’ll have another.’ Bitch. She was right. She ordained my period to return. She summoned up the bloody goddess of menstruation. It started the very next day. It has now lasted for six days so far – that’s two days longer than the longest period I have ever had. I don’t want to have my period any more. I have always considered them a pain in the ass (and the uterus) and a huge inconvenience. Well, except for the time or six when I was single and I really, really, really wanted that period to start. Truth is, not only is a period bothersome, I absolutely hate the smell of menstruation. It is vile. It’s what I imagine how rotting waste in the streets of some third world country smell. I don’t want to smell that again, ever.

#2  The sharp moments of mental clarity are great until I can’t remember the name of the person I’m talking about to my best girlfriend.

I pride myself on remembering pretty much everything. Ask my friends from 40 years ago. I can quote them from 6th grade. I can remember high school minutia including who lost their virginity, when, and the names of the deflowering boy. I can remember the near exact words of co-workers who effed me over. I can’t quote movies or remember song lyrics but I can reiterate the exact words my husband used when we broke up back when we were dating, and the words he used to get me back. But, lately, I can be having a conversation and suddenly can’t remember the name of my dentist, or the star of a movie I just saw – even if I’ve lusted over him for years. There’s a very scary early Alzheimer’s thing that happens when your brain turns to mush because your body has decided to mature.

#3  The creative high is amazing. The fall afterwards, sucks.

With or without a period, I’ve noticed for the past two or three years that I have the most amazing creative ideas about a week before when my period is supposed to start. It is rapid fire. I am exploding with enthusiasm and conviction that my ideas are not only great but are going to turn into something otherworldly. Fortunately, I now know to take a lot of notes (see #3). And just as soon as bleeding starts ( or what should be the start of my period) the creativity slowly drains out. With every tampon change, I am literally flushing away all that glitters and was gold. Within a day or two, I am so low that getting off the couch is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. I put on a happy face to get my kid to school and my husband out the door. Then I sink into the couch and into a mini depression. I’m only allotted six to eight hours because I need to pretend to be amazing and on it when son/husband return from their day of mind challenges and social interaction. It’s during this time that I start to question my worth as a woman, a person, a mom, a wife, a friend, a functioning part of normal society. It’s when I start surfing the internet for a ‘real job’ because producing/writing is sporadic at best and I have a big credit card to pay, and a kid to send to college, and dogs that need to go to doggy daycare. What I usually discover very quickly: I’m not really qualified for anything else. At least not anything that will fit into my schedule so I can drive my kid to school, have coffee with a friend, not work out, go to the dog park. Sinking. Further. Into. Perimenopause. Abyss.

#4  These hips don’t lie.

This will be brief. I’ve always had an ass. One I have been proud of. One that has been admired by more than my husband back in the day. What I didn’t have is the flop that rides above my jeans. I wasn’t always stacked like one of those old Fisher Price stacking toys. You know the one that has all the different color rings and you stack them by size. That’s what I see now, only when I’m dressed. Naked, it is more like a weeble. Yes, the ones that wobble but they don’t fall down.

#5  Night sweats vs freezing extremities.

Truth is I hate to be cold. I have hypothyroidism (since 6th grade) so I’ve dealt with the cold fingers, toes and the end of my nose for a long time. Unfortunately it has gotten worse. Even worse than when I was pregnant and I’d sleep in sweats with a scarf wrapped around my head like I just got in from the mid-east. Now I sometimes go to bed wearing yoga pants, a top that wicks away sweat and a hoody… covered with extra blankets that stay tight because I make my corgis snuggle in for the extra body heat. On a good night, the cat sleeps on my head. Sometime in the middle of the night, the dogs are kicked out of bed. The blankets are tossed in a heap between my husband and my overheating body. The yoga pants are stripped off. In the course of a good 8 hours, my husband can experience heat fluctuations that are like traveling from the Arctic to the equator.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “There is no more creative force in the world than a menopausal woman with zest.” I suppose that is true. But no more true than, there is no more frightening woman than one who sees you as the only thing standing between her and the last Oreo. No more true than, the woman who still bleeds is excited to be participating in this personal gift of womanhood. Seriously, and I speak only for myself and the multitude of voices that live in my head, I/we think forty years of a monthly bleed-fest is enough. It sucks. And… it stinks.

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Days 1-25: My quest to release my inner Kerri before my 54th birthday January 14, 2015

Filed under: And so it begins,Losing Ground — kerimenopause @ 6:07 pm
Tags: , ,

It started out how it always does: Great hope, great anticipation, great intention, great conviction. I suppose the bigger question is how I got here in the first place. I’d like to think I am unique some how and by some crazy twist of evil fate pounds packed on my ass. My thighs grew. And, don’t get me started on these damn boobs. But alas, that is not the case. The truth is the lure of food filing some void I was feeling superseded every desire to not gain any more weight.

For the sake of perspective, I’ll give you the Cliff notes on how I got wide, depressed, wider, more depressed, and finally ready (again) to find the skinny girl trapped in multiple layers of fat. First of all I’ve been very aware of my weight my whole life. I’m the youngest of four sisters. My mom, now 83, has been on a diet my entire life. Her mother criticized her weight every chance she got, including in front of us four. Actually, I was the ‘fattest’ sister when I finally graduated high school. I was 130 pounds at 5’6″ – yes, in my family that was fat.

I went to college and gained the obligatory 15-20 pounds my first year. But then I got it off, got really hot, and wavered between 130-140 for the next twelve or fifteen years until I was 35. That’s the year I got married. That’s the year I quit my very demanding, high pressure TV job to freelance. That’s the year I spent a lot of time alone during the days fretting about how I’d blown my career. That’s the year I confided in Wavy Lays and Vanilla lattes. I put on 5, then 10, and then 15. Then I got pregnant at 36. And then I ballooned into scary land.

I remember crying in the dressing room the day I had to buy double digit pants – who cared that I was creating a whole human in my body. I refused to get out of bed for two days when I looked down and couldn’t see my feet any longer. The day I went in to deliver our son, on one hand I was praying for a healthy body but, and I hate to admit, I was also praying for that immediate weight loss people talk about from breast feeding. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

For the next several years, I went down… then up… then down… oh, yeah, the up plus. Around the time my son was in 5th grade, I got super motivated and dropped down a lot. Partly because my husband was in Haiti two days after the earthquake. No contact for 2 weeks. I just worried and worked out. When he came home, I looked amazing! Then life kicked in again and our son’s move to Middle School was not as easy as I expected. I stress ate for the next 3 years. Tied in knots over his grades, his social status, his everything – while in his mind everything was perfectly fine. I misjudge his state of mind… or I guess I can admit I allow my state of mind about him form my neurosis. Now he’s in 10th grade and 25 days ago I weighed more than I have in 16 years. I can’t blame the baby weight any more. Sure, sure, I’m peri-menopausal. I have hypothyroidism. I”m sure my metabolism is shot due to the yo-yo dieting. I’m 53 (until May). None of that even registers for me.

Here is my truth: I am fat and that is all.

Just over 3 weeks ago I embarked on a new program for me. I decided after getting down to two pair of pants I can squeeze my Kim Kardashian-ass into;  it was now or never.  The ‘never’ in that statement is not an option.   I am not one of those really evolved women who is comfortable in her own skin, no matter what the weight.

As a sidebar, I feel very compelled to mention that anyone who feels they need to advise me on self-acceptance, or for those who know me who want to assure me that I’m great, beautiful, whatever, please don’t. I know those things. I actually believe them. I do think I’m amazing, beautiful, dynamic, smart, etc. I just want to present all of that to the world in a much smaller package.

I’ve listed all the million diets I’ve done before and won’t do it here. The reason I’ve decided to write in this format (sadly 25 days after I started) is so I can just puke up all the crap in my head that I don’t want swirling around as I try to stick to a program and get rid of my ass and ridiculous boobs. So let’s just get to what’s happened since I started…

First week – great. Easy to follow. The typical quick weight loss the first couple of days. Then, the ‘I know better voice started.’ Then, ‘just one ___________ won’t hurt.’ I actually not through the holidays and our son’s birthday without any weight gain. But you know what happened next… you’ve been there… we all have. The plateau. And here is where I’ve sat, on the plateau, for several days. you know how self defeating that is. So, what’s a glass of wine going to hurt?

Here I am now… 25 days from the day I started. I’m less than Day 1 – finally started losing again as of this morning. And then the greatest thing happened:  I went to the clinic where my program is monitored and had a long talk with Tara. Tara is beautiful, blonde, a size 4, about 5’11” – you know the kind of girl you don’t want to like. She opened her heart to me. She used to weigh 215 pounds. She’s lost 80 pounds and is raising two kids by herself. Suddenly she was just like me… an overweight mom, who just wants her health and her body back. Then she told me about her mom who has lost 100 pounds on the same program. *I won’t be sharing the name of the program here – unless they want to pay me for blogging about my success.

I’ve come full circle. I’m convicted. I’m committed. I’m hopeful. I can see the ‘other’ Kerri clearly and she is ready to come out of the layers of whatever. To that end, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to be accountable to myself via this blog. I promise to be funnier as we go along. But, hey, I’m 25 days behind so I’m just trying to get caught up!

 

When a ‘slender’ tampon is meant as a compliment February 18, 2014

Filed under: Necessary evils — kerimenopause @ 1:10 pm
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“Are we the last normal, boring couple we know?”  my husband asks after I tell him about another one of our couple friends has hit marital rock bottom.  And when I say another, I mean there have been A LOT.   In the 20+ years we have been together, we’ve watched couple after couple break up, divorce, become roommates, and/or just disappear from our lives as ‘couple friends.’  This has become such a regular occurrence that we are reluctant to become friends with new couples lest we some how influence the end of their marriage.

Save yourself the time speculating that we influence their demise on some weird, kinky level.  This isn’t 1970 and we are not swingers.  We don’t make suggestive invitations to take our ‘friendship’ to some web-cam level relationship.  No, no.  Our big crime is that we are ridiculously happy with one another.  Not only does our kid have parents married to each other,  but he has parents who actually like each other.  On some level, we consider ourselves freaks.

The undeniable truth is this:  Everyone (read: women) loves my husband.  Could this be the reason couples disintegrate before our eyes?

You can ask any of my friends – male or female – about my husband and they will tell you he is ridiculously kind.  This is the guy who will wait on you hand and foot if you visit our home.  He asks every woman he meets a million questions and makes them feel like, well, a million.  And that, my friends, is why I think so many couples we know end up splitting.  It’s my husband’s fault.  After an afternoon with us, women go home and start thinking ‘why can’t my husband be like that.’  In fact, I had a friend tell me once that, “He is the best husband I’ve ever met.  You better take a lot better care of him.”  Was that some kind of threat?  Or what? You’re going to take my man?  Please, whatever I am doing, or not doing, he’s been around for two decades so I think I got this.  Incidentally, it is so weird to get marital advice from a person whose marriage is imploding.

And since I’m already off the subject traveling down a side road, maybe I should just air the dirty laundry about what a rotten person he truly is at home.  Here it is, the ‘worst’ I can come up with.  My husband is a guy

~who begrudgingly agrees to pick up tampons at the store for me.  Then brings home ‘slender’ because he thinks it is a compliment.

~who helps me get ready for a party of 50 (his family) by cleaning the gutters.

~who hears me complain about my weight daily and then offers me Wavy Lays potato chips when I say I’m hungry.

~who wonders out loud, as I walk out the door, if the price sticker or, worse, size sticker on my new jeans should still be on them.

Are there things about him that drive me bananas?  Of course!  My step-daughter asked me one time if there were things about him that drive me crazy and if I ever tell him.  My answer: Yes and No.  Sure he can get on my nerves.  But my theory is this:  If I point out all the little things that bug me, than I am giving him permission to tell me all the things that bug him about me.  And I do not want to open that floodgate!

Truth is, I think there are so many unhappy women out there that I could bottle up my husband and sell him out of the back of my car  like a modern-day Snake Oil Salesman. I’d call it ‘Hubby Hooch.’   I would bedazzle a former food truck.  Hit the road.  Sit in the parking lots of places that hold all those mom’s meetings… after PTA meetings… at soccer fields.  From the loud speaker I could announce: ‘Ladies and women… step right up.  Get your self-sacrificing-loves-your-thighs-no-matter-what-size-they-are-tells-you-you’re-beautiful-every-day-man-right-here-in-a-bottle.’  All the while, Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back will be pounding in the back ground…

I’m bringing sexy back
Them other @$%! don’t know how to act
Come let me make up for the things you lack
‘Cause you’re burning up I gotta get it fast

So, are you asking yourself ‘What is the point of this blathering?’  It’s pretty deep and philosophical actually.  I suggest to you today that maybe the secret to marriage is simply saying ‘thank you’ for the slender tampon and realizing sometimes a man’s actions are the words you aren’t hearing.

 

40 Pounds of Resentment April 21, 2011

Filed under: Ephiphany Inc. — kerimenopause @ 6:30 am
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“You always look mad.”

First of all, none of us always do anything.  I am not a fan of absolutes, ie. ‘You never…’, ‘you always…,’ ‘every time….’  Not to propose that I don’t say those things to my husband, my son, my dog, the cat.  Just saying that I don’t like it when it refers to me. But it is quite possible that I really do look mad, almost all the time. Part of that comes from the perma-scowl that I have decorating my brow line.  This feature is so prominent that not even a Botox treatment I bought at an auction could eradicate the crevice – that looks more like a crevasse – found on my forehead.  Seriously – both that it didn’t work, and that I bought Botox at my son’s school auction.  Yes, for nothing more than the promise of a smooth forehead, I was willing to risk complete embarrassment (mine and my husband’s… son is oblivious to me, my life, and what I do – he’s 12).

By the way, the ‘line’ isn’t from worrying.  It, in fact, debuted about the time I started working in TV news about 20 years ago.  There is something about going ‘live’ every night to a mass of humanity you do not know while your boss is sitting at home making a note of every thing you screwed up.  Not a profession for anyone who wants to keep a youthful glow about them.

Back to the topic that is actually furthering the depth of the abyss found mid-brow line… I mentioned a few days ago I had an epiphany that my new business should be me when it comes to finally getting this extra weight off my voluptuous figure.  Well, today’s epiphany came when I was making my third trip to my son’s school ~ which is a story for another time.  Basically, I started wondering if maybe, just maybe, every extra inch was really some unresolved resentment.  And if that were possible, couldn’t it be equally possible that the reason that I ‘always look mad’ is because maybe I am… just not for the reasons most obvious.

One of the reasons I came to (or jumped to) this conclusion is that I always lose my ‘eating right’ battle if I go home to some family gathering.  Dare I say, that perhaps there might be some unsolved resentment that comes bubbling to the ugly surface with the mere mention of a trip to the homeland?  Ha!  I am here to tell you there are a whole lotta resentments in that realm for me.  Each and every one is quite frankly based on some harbored hurt feeling from when I was a kid. Stupid? Absolutely. Change anything that I know it’s stupid?  Absolutely not.

This brings me to the question of if maybe it is time to purge the resentments of my life!  There is a rumor going around that in the not too distant future I maybe celebrating a milestone birthday.  It seems to me that a woman of 50-that’s-the-new-30 should probably get over herself and deal with her demons.  It may even be time to set free the annoyances that have me creasing my face!  Ahhhh… but how? I have read you should make a list of things that you need to ask forgiveness for as an act of purging your demons,  then burn the list as a way to set yourself free. Seems so… anonymous and private.  Oh how utterly bourgeois!  In this day of reality TV, facebook, twitter, isn’t it so much more vogue to tell all?  Now if I was a true coward, which I am most certainly not, there is also the option of the website tellingsecrets.org – seriously, you can share those confidences that are dying to be told… all anonymously.

My inner debate is about how honest and candid I should be here? Should I really list my resentments to make a point? (I mean to free my pounds?)  Perhaps a happy medium can be found…  list them in somewhat vague terms ~ friends, family, former boyfriends ~ read into it what you will.  In the interest of you, dear readers, I am not going to bore you with my perceived ‘wrongs’ here.  At least not yet…

Instead, you tell me… does laying it all on the line really ‘lighten’ your load?  Should I write a list? Public or private?  Guide me my wise readers!  If you want to see the list, let me know in the ‘other’ column in the poll!  (English gurus – I know there is an error in the question below, but my Polldaddy skills are not quite refined.  No need to point it out, thank you;)

 

For Crying Out Loud! Am I normal or hormonal? August 25, 2010

Filed under: Normal Not Hormonal — kerimenopause @ 12:07 pm
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With somewhere around 35 potential symptoms for perimenopause, it’s hard to figure out if it should get the blame for what used to be normal stuff.

  • Am I cranky because of hormones, or am I just cranky because ________ (choose: I’m married. I’m a parent. my pants are tight. we are out of coffee. I want chocolate).
  • Is my scale up five pounds because of middle-age water weight gain, or because I ate a half a bag of salty chips last night?
  • Am I shunning my husband’s passes because my libido is affected, or because I need to fold the laundry?
  • Is this a hot flash, or am I over heated because I just watched Bradley Cooper on the A-Team movie?
  • Am I exhausted because peri-men hits you with crushing blows of fatigue, or because I had lunch with my peeps and drank a margarita?
  • Am I emotional because that’s what happens to women at this age, or because I have a damn good reason to be or no reason at all?

Hmmmm. Emotional. That might be the one I do have any answer for. Don’t get me wrong I often get tearful when I don’t have a good reason. I am just wired that way. Truth be told, I’m basically a boob. I cried during my HS graduation. I was tearful when they tore down our house to build us a spectacular new one. I shed a few when my son was accepted into the schoo0l of our dreams. I have grabbed a Kleenex for: A good Hallmark Card commercial… watching my son receive an honor in school… saying goodbye to house guests… or the ‘never-fails’ moments, when my husband tears up over something. Seriously, is there anything more touching than seeing a man show emotion? Now, I don’t want him to be a blithering idiot. No wailing, please! But red-rimmed eyes, holding back the waterworks, pretty hard to take.

Today I got a note from an old HS classmate:

“Thank you for being you! I so appreciate your honesty and humor and insight.”

And yesterday from another:

“So proud of how you handle yourself and also so proud of your accomplishments.”

What? Really? Wow! Cue the water works. Let the tears flow! There is a joy in shedding tears over the unexpected. I say: Bring on the hormones if that’s what it takes! Enthusiastically embrace your inner basket case.Cry openly when someone touches your heart! Cry until your eyes swell shut!

Now let’s see, where was I going with this… I’m told that forgetfulness is also a symptom.

Oh yeah…as Tom Hanks once said, ‘There’s no crying in baseball.’ Well, Tom, my life ain’t nothin’ like baseball! There’s lots of extra innings and I am the only designated hitter. So like real life – and reality TV – there is crying and not just in peri-menopause. It’s OK – really, it’s normal.

So please ladies.. go for it and Weep with reckless abandon!

Hey, if nothing else, your family will think you are nuts and give you some alone time… besides think of the water weight you’ll get rid of!

 

Shock & Ahhh (or mammograms & facials) August 20, 2010

Filed under: Necessary evils — kerimenopause @ 8:46 am
Tags: , ,

I am one of those people who loves making lists and checking off items on my ‘to do’ list. OK, OK, I didn’t say I exactly DID all those things on the list. Often my list is just an exercise in practicing my penmanship. Oh but I do so love good office supplies. I’d rather go to Office Max than Victoria’s Secret. The feel of a great pen that fits your fingers perfectly, filled with ink that effortlessly glides across a crisp sheet of wide rule paper (I write big and bold, no college rule for me). Oh… I’m sorry.. what was I talking about…

Yes, yes, list making, more specifically the checking off of something. As part of this obsession, I also look forward to those great milestones in life as a woman. I seriously couldn’t wait for my period to start (now I can’t wait for it to end). After all the arrival of ‘Uncle Charlie’ (which is what we called menstruation when I was in middle school – I do not, to this day, know why) meant I had arrived. I wasn’t a child anymore. The real importance of my period: I finally had something in common with the popular girls. Tough crowd those 13 year olds in Conrad, Montana in 1974… I’d take any common ground.

I knew when I went off to college… I’d ‘get’ to have my first my first appointment with a gynecologist. Again, I’m from Montana. It was the early 80s and you didn’t send your teenager for a pelvic until they were out of high school back then! Well, at least, my mom didn’t and she raised 4 daughters so seems like she knew what was best. (Yes, my sisters, I am laughing at that line.) Anyway, whoohoo, I could get a prescription for birth control pills. Mom, it’s not that I needed them. Really. I promise. Check, one more ‘big moment’ done and, wow!, I was only 18!

When you are on the verge of serious womanhood – at 18 – there is a certain amount of yuck that you feel as some old geezer doc (probably at least 30) pokes around your breasts looking for lumps in an annual exam. By the way, I never really call the ‘girls’ breasts, but I thought I’d take the high road for a moment. Is my moment done? Good. Anyway, it was quite another to consider the idea of the dreaded mammogram. Good follower of rules that I am, I put it off until I turned 40 as is recommended. Honestly by this time, after breastfeeding a really fat baby two years before and having my perfect 32B go to a 40D, and back down to something in between, perky boobs were really not part of the picture. Squish my boobs? Honestly, not much of a stretch, so to speak.

I have had mammograms for almost 10 years. I am well aware what happens. Is it painful? No. Is it unpleasant? YES. But, ladies, c’mon, think about it. Now here is where I veer off the path of popular thought. It is 30 minutes all about me. It is a half hour of being the Royal Highness of Boobalot. The Queen of Tata. How often in your daily life do you get to have all the focus just on you? And just so you know, if I can make something all about me… well…

Today is my day for my annual check. It is also my opportunity to say, no scream: IT IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE! I like to extend my ‘all about me day’ with a special after squishing treat.

The facial. The hundred dollar experience. The hour of having your pores magnified to the size of small craters. Paying to have a flawless skinned woman ask you, do you exfoliate? I say, ‘yes, of course.’ I am not about to tell her that sometimes my pillow case is my makeup remover!

Schedule that mammogram – do it for all the people who love you. Then, schedule that facial or massage – do it for you. Do the one, knowing what awaits. Lie down on that warmed table. Wrap in that clean, white, cotton towel. Listen to that soft music. Relax in that quiet, dimly lit room. As you are flat on your back, having your skin cleansed, scrubbed and moisturized, your breasts have ‘stepped’ to the side for you to relish this moment. And, face it, if you are a woman of a certain age, without implants, flat on your back… the ‘girls’ are going to slide to the side for you… they’re generous that way.

—-

Want to shake up your friends and make sure they are taking care of themselves? Host a ‘Check Your Boobies’ party! No joke. Let me know when and where!

 

 
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