Be Adventurous! / Be Prepared! / Health/Fitness

Becoming… Menopausal, Part I

Men, you may wish to avert your eyes, unless you’d like a glimpse into the issues facing the middle-aged women you love (or feel like hating).

This has been one of the rougher summers for this Big Scout. So rough, in fact, that I just had no choice but to take a few weeks off from blogging (perhaps you noticed, perhaps not), to find my footing.

Sure, there’s been more than the usual amount of travel for work, and that was tough. Sure, down here in Austin we’re only a handful of days from breaking the record for the number of days above 100 degrees (today will make day 67… 70 beats the record), and we’re pretty ornery right about now. And sure, this has been the driest 10 months in central Texas since 1895 when records began to be kept.

But I seem to have finally fallen victim to the inevitable fate of all women who live to this age: perimenopause.

Let me define some terms.

Menopause is that moment at which a woman has been free of menses for 12 full months. Perimenopause is everything leading up to that day. Everything after that day is, well post-menopause.

So yes, technically speaking, menopause lasts a day, even though it’s the word we’ve almost always associated with the symptoms of perimenopause — hot flashes, night sweats, adult acne, weight gain, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, fatigue, forgetfulness/fuzziness, irregular periods, heart palpitations, irritability/anger, anxiety, and depression.

Gosh, what a lovely cocktail, isn’t it? No wonder they call it “the change” — I feel like I’m turning into the Incredible Hulk.

Some women start feeling perimenopause symptoms as early as in their 30s, and for them, my heart breaks. Until the past few months, I’ve had only mild symptoms, at least anecdotally compared to other women I know, and they didn’t begin until about 18 months ago.But this summer I’ve been smacked upside the head by ’em.

So what the hell does my crappy perimenopause have to do with this project? Well, kiddos, there’s this badge in the Jr. GS handbook called “Becoming a Teen” in which scouts have to learn all about the fun changes their bodies are going through.

A fine exercise for them, but not particularly applicable to me. So for this one badge, I’m asking Virtual Troop Leaders to let me do a rewrite. Damn it, I want to do a badge called “Becoming Menopausal,” and I’m suggesting the re-write right here. Apologies for what might appear to be small type:

For those of you who just can’t seem to find your reading glasses right now, the revised tasks would involve some research into “the change” (and I should really look up the history of this lovely euphemism), some discussion, some observation, and some action. The tasks are to be delivered with sincerity, levity, and the occasional dose of snarkiness. Once the Virtual Troop Leaders have given their blessing, I shall begin the work.

For better or worse, the subject actually matters. Pretty much half of us go through it, and the other half have to live or work with us while we do. I expect to engage in some full disclosure, which might make a few readers uncomfortable — but just don’t read those posts. I’m thinking this subject rates right up there with religion and politics as conversation topics which most souls choose to avoid.

But that is not The Way of the Big Scout.


5 thoughts on “Becoming… Menopausal, Part I

    • I think it was my sister Vic who described it the exact same way to me. I think the difference is that we don’t (or I didn’t) really get that I was changing when I was a kid. I get it all too well now. Makes me think of those words: ignorance is bliss… sigh…

  1. fantabulous–both this and the cookie baking posts are making this enforced day @ home (courtesy: Irene) lots o’fun!

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