night sweats

I hate to revisit an old disturbing medical issue but…..I continue or have resumed having night sweats and/or afternoon hot flashes also.

In medical terms the differential diagnosis would be something like:

menopause v. alcohol v. TB v. some scary leukemia

I have at times felt like I am~~ a.) melting….b.) going crazy….c.) having a nervous breakdown….d.) all of the above.

not a good place to be when A.) your adult son(s) are struggling in a shitty economy B.) you are a very experienced bedside but academically challenged nurse pursuing a masters degree C.) degree is required for a desired promotion.

most nights I just kind of toss and turn….blankets on~blankets off

the other night I had a distinct jolt awake at 3am…no reason just like someone kicked me awake.

open to suggestions…

mental pause

as i am fast approaching my 53rd- YES! 5-3…fifty-third birthday –  i am still victim of estrogen…why? i have no idea…everytime i relax and think…this is it…the end of my life as a fertile woman…my ovaries manage to prove me wrong.

i am having slightly more hot flashes-i have woken up dripping in sweat a few times but mostly my overwhelming symptom is lethargy….extreme tiredness… bordering on being comatose. i NEVER feel awake and alert and ALWAYS feel like given a comfy chair in a warm room i’d be out like a light in a matter of minutes…and regularly do exactly that.

this is a major hurdle to my current cross country uk tour-even though i haven’t posted much about it lately-mostly due to the reasons stated above- i am currentl- as we speak –  sitting in portsmouth . can’t say much about it yet as it was dark when i arrived but tomorrow i hope to get down to the harbour before i head to the hospital at 8.30 am.

this comes after i went to telford this morning…shropshire on a sunny, early spring morning was absolutely gorgeous!!! sheep and fields and horses here and there….i actually got off the train in wellington and took the bus to the hospital. the meeting was much shorter than i expected and so i was able to have a short wander down the high street.

it’s sad to report that instead of quaint little tea houses, bakeries, unique boutiques and houseware shops…there were at least 10 charity shops, a handful of pawn and pound shops.

the recession has got a grip on everyone…one last comment…my boss told me “the voltage was low” in that part of shropshire…he was right but they have a lovely low voltage glow about them~~~

here’s a new map of my travels around the uk-i am currently on the green leg…way down on the south coast~~

5am

well, sometimes 4am….my recurrent awake time. not just open one eye, peek at the clock and roll over time. i’m wide awake and thinking about what i did yesterday, what i’m doing today and everything in between.

what’s really spooky is usually when i look at the clock it is exactly 5am. not 4.50, not 4.17…exactly 4am or 5am or sometimes even 3am!

sleep, at least at night is getting problematic for me. it’s the menopause stuff. i am hot and cold all night….blankets on and blankets off. a pretty familiar story from most of the stuff i read. i am now experiencing night sweats, i was vaguely aware of them previously but last week i woke up in a state (having vivid dreams also) and my hair was moist but i felt a puddle of sweat on my chest…been feeling creepy and worried ever since.

so if you want to call and chat, forget some reasonable sounding time like 12pm or 4pm…try 5am! that’s when my brain is awake~~ 

the living room floor is all finished, the very nice young guy came back yesterday and put the skirting board (aka baseboard) all through the living room and tile floor in the dining room. here’s a pic of how it comes together.

let’s face it, the weather has been horrible!! cold, cold, cold….windy and sometimes even rainy! i had big plans to work in the garden so i ordered this

who knows how long before i get:

  1. the time
  2. the energy
  3. decent weather

so i can weed the beds and put down some bark chips. everything now for me is an experiment/research. i am planning to monitor whether snails and slugs like or dislike bark chips. i would guess it doesn’t repel them or they would be marketing them as a slug repellent but who knows maybe MY s/s will feel differently. i have another little snail experiment planned for this summer…you’ll have to wait and see.

just a few pics of cleo…being well, cleo!

just to explain those two. the garden is piled up with junk from the floor and she is laying on a piece of rolled up carpet that is laying across the arms of the lawn chair…she sat there for a few hours.

there are a few indents, holes in the garden (long story) cleo likes to lay in them so she is pretty much hidden…yeah, i know my grass needs cutting, i’ll add it to the list!

my wish has come true

wow! yippee! yahoooooooo!!!! why am i so happy??? because when i went to london yesterday for an all day meeting…we were all informed that the communications witch woman is leaving the project!!! she wasn’t there, won’t be there thursday and hopefully i won’t see her again!!

it was kind of announced like she had died, no explanation of whether she resigned or she was told her services weren’t needed any more or what but it was pretty quiet and nobody made a single comment….just silence.

later, my boss just said he’d hoped they’ve learned their lesson and don’t hire another one! 

personally, i think she was nice, perhaps slightly snobby but as soon as she came on the project everything changed and i can’t say i will miss perfectly decent decisions being ruined by that single comment…”so A what do you think…from a comms perspective, that is?”

the meeting yesterday was lovely!!! absolutely relaxed, collaborative and productive!! the 2 new “service improvement facilitators” chipped in suggestions, the project manager was slightly outnumbered on most things and everyone (including me) had equal input…*happy dance*

so, just to add to that bit of good news…i got my £40 that i won at work on the grand national

did you notice the “E” in tracy??? gawwwwd….5 years i’ve worked there!!

and for the first time mr a has bought me flowers and carried them the 200 yards home (not had them delivered) they are beautiful!

the only red spot on an otherwise stuning few days was that i was finally able to take advantage of the free and easily available tampons at the wallace space….i tried to explain to mr a the no brainer-carefree difference between having tampons sitting there in the toilet (just like home) and having to fumble in your bag and discreetly (or not, in my case) tuck one in your pocket before you go or carry your bag with you to the toilet…he didn’t get it….the ladies will though…now i just have to reset the menopause clock…..

all muddled up

i don’t think my previous post made much sense even to me but that’s exactly how i feel…i can’t concentrate, my thoughts are all over the place and i don’t know what i want/need or even weirder what pisses me off!

that’s one thing i am reliable for…being really annoyed at something! but just like nothing really excites me~nothing really gets me angry anymore.

matt is coming in just over a month, that is the only thing that makes me perk up…on a scale of 1>10 in my current state it only hits about 5…and it’s nothing to do with him…

i was looking at around the world plane tickets just to get an idea for the paper i’m writing…something that in the past would have sent me into hours of blissful daydreaming…nothing-nada…couldn’t really think of someplace i’d like to go and just felt it would be so much hassle to carry bags around through all those airports….

i was standing by my front door waiting for a taxi to work sunday morning, looking at the piece of glass hanging there (that i made)…clear, textured glass surrounded by blue, green and yellow…do you think i was inspired? proud?admiring how it sparkled?? nope….all i could think about was the crappy frame and how i used two slightly different colours of green…no joy at all…

i know everyone will say it’s the mental menopause  or just plain middle age or some other crap…maybe it is but this is what i always thought being on anti depressant would be like…feeling flat…..no ups and downs….and i never wanted that. i thought menopause was all ups and downs and mood swings…other than my big waterworks last week i’ve been amazingly without drama….although maybe i should ask mr a about that.

so, today i am up at my usual insanely perfect wake up time of 8am…i will be attempting t least a partial canal walk to town (barring rain) to collect yet more articles that julie has printed out for me, i will be looking for a nursing research book to have for myself, i need a notebook to put the articles in and i may look for a pair of sweat pants….

where does all that hit on the aforementioned excitement scale??? about 1.5

above average again

a month ago i was in vienna, i don’t even have to count the days because despite being 51years and 7 months old…that’s the interval since my last period. i was curious what the oldest age for a woman still having a period…you know the oldest recored menopause because i thought the average age was 50….

In the Western world, the most typical age range for menopause (last period) is between the ages of 45 and 55 and the average age for last period is 51 years. In some developing countries however, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, the median age of natural menopause is considerably earlier, at 44 years.

In the Western World, a woman’s last period occurring between the ages of 55 to 60 is known as a “late menopause”. An “early menopause” is defined as having the final period somewhere between the age of 40 to 45.

 okay…..so that officially puts me above average, so i googled it and found some interesting tidbits~~~

A study from Norway showed that the older a woman stops menstruating permanently, the longer she lives.

A woman is born with about four million eggs. Each month, a single egg ripens and pops into the uterus and 10,000 eggs deteriorate until she finally runs out of eggs and goes into the menopause. A North American woman goes into the menopause at the average age of 52. Women who go into menopause later than that are at somewhat increased risk for breast cancer, presumably because increasing the duration of exposure to estrogen increases breast cancer risk. However, estrogen does good things also. It thickens the bones, skin and vagina, protects blood vessels and improves mood, and this latest study shows that women who go into menopause later than age 52 live longer than those who go into menopause earlier.

Age at natural menopause and all-cause mortality: A 37-year follow-up of 19,731 Norwegian women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003, Vol 157, Iss 10, pp 923-929. BK Jacobsen, I Heuch, G Kvale. Jacobsen BK, Univ Tromso, Inst Community Med, N-9037 Tromso, NORWAY

that’s the good news~~~

Studies consistently have indicated a link between later onset of menopause and increased breast cancer risk. Reports show that women who go through menopause after age 55 have twice the risk of breast cancer as women who experience menopause before age 45.

To understand why women who begin menopause later in life are at a slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer, one must understand the role of estrogen. Estrogen alone does not cause cancer. The hormone, estrogen, is an essential part of a woman’s physiology. However, estrogen’s principal function is to speed the process of cell proliferation. Therefore, estrogen can increase the chance of a mutation occurring and/or encourage the growth of cancerous cells once they appear.

The more estrogen a woman is exposed to during her lifetime, the greater the opportunity for the hormone to promote the growth of a tumor. The reason why women who go through menopause later in life are at greater risk of developing breast cancer is because these women have had a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen.

that’s the bad news….i thought this was an interesting hypothesis even though wikipedia says it is not well supported with research …

The grandmother hypothesis is an informal hypothesis meant to explain why menopause, rare in mammal species, arose in human evolution and how a long post-fertile period could confer an evolutionary advantage.

G.C. Williams was the first to posit that menopause might be an adaptation. Williams suggested that at some point during evolution, it became advantageous for females to stop “dividing [their] declining faculties between the care of extant offspring and the production of new ones” (p. 408). Since a female’s dependent offspring would die as soon as she did, he argued, older mothers should stop producing new babies and focus on the offspring they already had. In so doing, they would avoid the risk of dying during childbirth and thereby eliminate a potential threat to the continued survival of current offspring.

i think this is perfectly reasonable, supports my theory that 60 year old women should not be going to clinics in italy to get pregnant..of course i am no where close to being a grandmother ….

Alternatively, the debilitating symptoms that usually accompany menopause in Western cultures could be seen as a natural cull of non-reproductive members of a species. Hot flashes, loss of short term memory, decreased ability to concentrate and difficulty in the learning of new tasks would, in the wild, leave the sufferer at greater risk from predators and topographical dangers such as falls from a height. This natural cull would leave more food, usually in relatively short supply, for the reproductive members of a species whose youth could mean that they are less experienced at finding it. However, cross-cultural studies of menopause have found that menopausal symptoms are quite variable among different populations, and that some populations of females do not recognize, and may not even experience, these “symptoms” (Melby). This high level of variability in menopausal symptoms across populations brings into question the plausibility of menopause as a sort of “culling agent” to eliminate non-reproductive females from competition with younger, fertile members of the species.

The grandmother theory appears to work because species continue to recognize, value, and therefore protect, closely related members of their species who would otherwise fall to predation. Only with this protection is the grandmother available to take a mentoring and supportive role.

i don’t particularly enjoy being described in the same paragragh as the word “cull” however….natural or otherwise~~~

if i never have another period after today, which seems highly unlikely as i still haven’t missed one single month yet….i will still be 52 and 7 months when i officially enter the green pastures of “the menopause”. scarily close to either living longer or being at high risk of breast cancer depending how you look at it.

all i can say is that my new motto….the more you do, the more you can do seems to be working as i have been really busy and in fact worked at home today from 8am-5.30pm (except for the 45 minutes when i had to lay down).

 i sent my first group email to about 100 people, got it wrong the first time but succeeded on my second try. had an urgent teleconference where my boss won an disagreement over something that he wanted to change and the londoners were opposed to.

i’m off to london on weds and thursday for another round of meetings, so all in all everything is going well…if only mother nature would have mercy…..

julie spotting

i went into town today with a few specific things to do….pick up my ticket to canterbury (check) and get a passport type pic for the interview(check).

sorry to be crude but after a post menstrual time of about 24 hours i was distressed to get off the bus in town…well, how should i say this…i’m glad there weren’t any piranhas around. perhaps i have a rare disease where the lining of the uterus is only shed at work, on public transportation or in public places…

to qualify this, i haven’t used my very scary tablets for two months but still…. i am on the verge of 51 fucking years old!!!!! when i am i going to have the menopause????

i was too hot and caught my reflection in a window looking really pale…or is that just my british self? my savior, the man rescued me and gave me something to lean on. we had an unusually alcohol fueled meal at cafe rouge, lots of good discussion. thanks, dear…

walking down new street i saw a fast moving figure who looked very familiar, i called “julie…JULIE!” she didn’t hear me and the man questioned whether i was sure it was her….i was sure and when i ran up and tapped her shoulder… it was her!

i am always amazed when i see someone i know in my adopted city….since i only know a handful of people here.

seeing julie was a real treat, she had plenty to say about her in laws, the new baby and the thank you card and the man was able to see it’s not just me who talks funny and has a short fuse….

by the way, for all those who think all i do is complain….

let me just say

i have not had heat or hot water for over a week!!!

did you hear one word about that???  NO!!!!

wednesday 0930 the repairman is due to arrive….if it’s not fixed after that i will be bitching like there is no tomorrow. every moment will be an eternity and every conversation will be recorded here in detail.

do you think he knows the pressure he is under???