Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'll get through this...

After yet another incredibly tragic loss of a good night's sleep, I'm moved to write a piece about this lovely condition we call menopause, peri-menopause... the pause that is giving me fits at the moment. Hopefully, letting out all the frustration associated with it will give you some comedy and me some well-needed comedic relief. At least until I go to bed again tonight.

Today, I will be like a woman who has the ability to look forward to delivering more children even after experiencing the pain of labor and delivery. Like them, I will distract myself from recent hardships endured until it's time for bed and then realize, all over again, what I will be forced to 'labor' through about two hours in to the recurring experience.

The disruption of the sleep cycle and the many, many nights I experience them, is the hardest part of dealing with this change in my life. Lack of good sleep is creating, literally, a monster. My poor husband is usually the benefactor of 'the face', the grumblings and lack of intelligible communication I put forth, what little I do after experiencing yet one more night of sweating, heart palpitations, dreaming about entire other lives and obviously not sleeping.

For you ladies out there who are or have gone through what I'm experiencing, you will be sympathetic. If you've already cycled through this part of your life, you may even just chuckle and respond with a 'been there, done that, glad I don't have to do it again' smile. Up and coming young ones, take heed you could very well end up repeating my adventures.

It goes a little like this....

Tired from the restless night before, I'm looking forward to sleeping deep and uneventful. My husband rolls over to kiss me goodnight and is hopeful for me that tonight is the night that it will happen. As I lay there, I yawn and rub my arm and touch my chest and wonder if I will ever just feel soft again or am I destined to always feel sticky at  night after many, many rounds of hot flashes experienced during the day.

Falling asleep is not a problem for me. Count to ten and I'm there. My problems usually start after about two hours. Angrily, I wake up to a really ridiculous dream, where I'm inevitably in a situation where a hot atmosphere is surrounding me. I know what is about to play out and my wish is that my body and I aren't fighting with this all night long.

Upon awakening, the covers are immediately thrown off and I realize that my ceiling fan above isn't working at plane engine speed. Groan, groan, groan... heat pours over my face, my arms and down my body after rising up from deep in the middle of my chest. Sweat dribbles off my forehead and I feel slightly moistened over the rest of my body. After the initial explosion of heat, my face slowly gets cooler along with the rest of the body, back down to a normal temperature. This seems like an eternity but in reality is usually all over in a few minutes. The prickling that comes after the burn, or as I like to call it, the agitation of my poor blood vessels and sweat glands, is yet another experience that adds fuel to my ever deteriorating cheery disposition. Next up, the heart palpitations make an entrance, as the receding heat and sweat evaporate from my body. This, thankfully, also lasts a very short period, but brings with it a spiked feeling of anger. As the palpitations lessen, the heat is replaced with a chill from being exposed to the fan rotating above me, necessitating blankets being pulled up again. As I bundle up, I await the next venture into slumber and hopefully, this episode being the last one for the night.

On a good night, it will only happen once, but during a particularly bad phase, I can be up every 2 hours. Each episode making me crankier and less lovable after I wake up. Oh joy.

To be fair, definitely not as intense as hard labor, but still as intrusive, oppressive and really not necessary. Seriously, I'm stopping the ability to have a period every month, why must the resulting symptoms be of such discomfort. Why can't the periods just stop? Really. Just go away and be done with it, no need to drag this out! I'm seriously fine without all this shit.

Of all the things that burn my ass the most, though, it's that during this time in my life where I'm experiencing more peace and ease within myself, my kids are grown for the most part, I'm mature, I've learned a lot and I'm just in an all around better mental state; my physical state threatens to overturn all those wonderful milestones that have been achieved. Aargh! Enough already! I want to get back to enjoying my life!

These pissed off feelings about my situation will last a few moments longer and then I will do the dance of accepting, go about my day, muster up the strength to forge ahead and make the best of it. I'll be okay by dinner time, maybe, if it isn't at the end of a seriously long week of dealing with it. Today, it will be a bit of a struggle. Thankfully, most of the time, my body usually does realize when enough is enough and gives me what I need right when I almost can't deal with it anymore. And if not, drugs will do the trick and keep me out from the time I hit the pillow till the morning light. Yeah, modern medicine!

I've read that it could be a year or two AFTER the last period that women still experience these personal short trips to the tropics, so I'm thinking 2012 will be my year! Oh, no, but the world is supposed to end December 21, 2012... or was that October 21, 2011? Either way... fuck me.

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