Menotox, Menopause, Mending.

I’m in my 4th week of the Menotox Challenge – and tonight I had a little wine. Don’t panic. You know what’s weird? I feel like it wasn’t even that good. But I worked sooo hard at exercising, getting some errands done, cooking, meal prepping, and seriously cleaned my apartment this weekend, and I really just wanted a glass to relax.

I didn’t even miss it.

I ๐Ÿ‘ didn’t ๐Ÿ‘ even ๐Ÿ‘ need ๐Ÿ‘ it!

[I literally never had a moment in my life that called for clapping in between words like everyone else does, until just now]

But ohhh snap, sure enough after a glass and a half, I did feel like blogging.

I’d like to talk about what this challenge has done for me mentally, in just a few short weeks. It has reminded me that I’m capable. Capable to set my mind to something, and realize the positive changes I can make by sticking with it. I was happier going for a walk/jog this morning, than I was having a glass of wine. Usually, I hate being sweaty, it makes me self conscious..and this morning I didn’t let it bother me or make me feel weird. I know that sweating while I’m exercising is just a sign of how hard I’m working to achieve my goals. A year ago I would have thought, oh my God do those people see me sweating when it’s not even that warm? They’re gonna know I’m in menopause and having hot flashes, and then they’re gonna be like HA, you’re too young, c’mon, stop. I just want to go back and hide in my room. I just want to hide under layers of clothes, because if I show too much they’re gonna see something’s wrong.

Mentally, this challenge is really lifting my spirits. Dealing with premature ovarian failure, I’ve realized some days it’s so incredibly hard to find light when your whole world becomes dark. It’s hard to explain the days that I feel so fatigued or down about myself that I don’t even want to get out of bed. Or like I’ve lost my purpose.

My grandmother and I were talking about grief the other day, and she shared something another women told her about the 2nd year after a loss being unbearingly difficult. You go through all the really nasty emotions like anger, resentment, depression. And this diagnosis brought a different kind of loss to me. I lost my ability to have children. I didn’t feel like a woman. I just…I really have no way to explain that feeling. I lost myself. And she was right – the first year for me was a total blur and I still hadn’t let it sink in till the 1st year anniversary of my diagnosis came and went and then wow, year 2 was a bad, bad time for me.

It became real. I officially hadn’t had a period for over a year which meant that yes, it was really and truly menopause, and I was only 31 years old. I gained 25 lbs. My hair was in terrible shape. Not only was I getting menopausal symptoms, but I was getting puberty like symptoms as well. Oh hey there acne, you again….I get medication side effects from hormones like swollen lower legs, easier bruising, anxiety, headaches, indigestion, heightened allergy issues, bloating in my stomach and feet. I was really angry inside about all of this. I bottled a lot of emotions up. I cried all the time. Sometimes I would cry before clocking in at work, and then the minute I clocked out ran to the nearest bathroom to cry again. I cried in the shower often because I was ashamed. I took a lot of terrible moods out on my poor boyfriend. I couldn’t even explain to him that I wasn’t actually upset with him, just upset with myself. I didn’t feel pretty enough. Exciting enough. I didn’t get exercise. I felt like a failure constantly, even for stupid, normal stuff like not cooking chicken perfectly. I cancelled plans with everyone, a LOT. I just didn’t want to do anything. So I could go out and hear about how much everyone was progressing with their lives and not be able to share how my life had menopaused? I was ashamed of what I had going on, and downright scared to tell people just how much it was affecting me. Also because, before my diagnosis I didn’t really know much about menopause, or at least what to expect, aside from classic symptoms. So when I was experiencing things that felt a thousand times worse and different than what I’d heard about, I thought holy shit, everyone’s just gonna think I’m weak, or off the reservation! But it really is difficult to live with, every single day.

The 3rd year is about making the promise to mend and heal myself emotionally and physically (at least the parts that truly can be fixed, because ovarian failure is irreversible) The Menotox Challenge has definitely opened my eyes to the things that affect me by way of diet/sleep pattern/exercise or lack there of. The 3rd year is about reaching out to others through social media, and being completely open to everyone. I can’t know that there could be another woman out there somewhere who feels like she is a compete failure, who feels like she isn’t a woman or has nothing to offer because of this diagnosis. I have a responsibility to help them learn to mend, too.

#menotoxchallenge #mentalhealthawareness #prematureovarianfailure #menopauseandmerlot #selfimprovement

So hey, does anyone want 3/4 a bottle of Cupcake Angel Food wine?

Menotox Challenge, Week 2

I made it through the first week! Well, I guess technically 2nd since I prepped. I feel good still. Especially my mood. I think more so than weight or other physical changes, my positivity is the real winner in the challenge so far. I guess it’s cause I’m finally motivated enough to eat well, sleep well, be well…even if it means giving up some things that I love – or the crutches.

Week 2 – It’s not without difficulty. I have some tough moments here and there. I’ve wanted all the sugars. You ever see that scene in the movie Matilda, where the kid demolished the principals chocolate cake? I’ve daydreamed about that moment, a few times if I’m being honest. I haven’t wanted a drink pretty much since day 2 or 3, that still proved easier than I thought it would be to give up. I think easier also because I have a godfather who has been sober for over 30 years, and I am sticking to this part of the challenge like super glue to honor HIM being able to do that for himself. Dealing with the emotional ups and downs of POF is a challenge itself, and it’s been easy to fall into the spell of anything that will help me forget it for a little while. That doesn’t just go for wine. That goes for the comfort foods I scarfed down while I just stayed in bed doing nothing. Both temporarily “fixed” me. Doing nothing was also a fix. If I sleep, I don’t have to be awake to think about the pain of dealing with this. But then I dream, so I’m not running away to anything better.

I think I’d much rather face my issues walking on a beautiful trail, doing push-ups against fallen down trees, breathing in the smells of dirt and a creek and listening to the peaceful sounds. Now THAT makes me feel better.

I think mentally and emotionally I’m really gonna come out on top from challenging myself to change. I think this will improve my chances of making this an acceptable, and normal part of my life. (Remember, that’s the goal!) Take this quote I just read this morning from an Instagram page I follow – “loving ourselves as we are is one of the most rebellious things we can do.”

As for physical changes I’ve noticed – my face looks less tired, I think. And I’ve had maybe one or two hot flashes in the past two weeks. I have less anxiety since I’ve cut caffeine and sleeping better, which also means less hot flashes. I’m not so sore from tensing my muscles because of the anxiety, too. Less headaches, because I haven’t been drinking. And my boss even said he can tell I’m dieting because I lost weight in my face (though I didn’t recognize that myself) I don’t feel as bloated at the end of the day. I haven’t noticed a real change in energy, but then again this whole exercise thing is kind of fresh for me, so I’m pretty wiped out from it. I had a doc appt the beginning of last month for a sinus infection, and since that weigh in I have lost 7 lbs. So I’m doing something right! I’ll check again this coming Sunday.

Stay tuned as I occasionally add to this entry during the week. And again, thank you to everyone following and supporting me ๐Ÿ™ And if you’re also taking part in the May Menotox Challenge, comment with your progress!

Today (May 11) marks two weeks without caffeine, almost three weeks without sugar and alcohol, and I’m still holding strong. Every moment that I have a craving, every second that I feel a little frazzled and want that glass of wine, and every time I smell fresh baked cookies..I remind myself how good I feel inside right now and not to damage that hard work. It’s easier to fall back in to that routine than it is to stick to this diet, and they don’t call it a challenge for nothing! I’m still averaging about 15,000 steps a day, my most was over 21,000. I’ve developed a good workout/walk that really pushes me – and tires me out enough at night that I can read a few chapters of my book and fall asleep without needing a drink or a ZzQuil. I also mentioned to my boss the other day that maybe I could shoot for an eventual goal to maybe join a Tough Mudder in the future.

I don’t have to let ovarian failure make me believe I can’t do anything. And now I am taking the necessary steps to take care of my bones and my heart, which is fiercely important with this condition, even on hormone replacements. I think for far too long now I have let myself fall apart, physically and emotionally. I felt like overnight, I aged 40 years inside. Can’t have children. I gained 25 lbs. I had some hair fall out. I was tired constantly. All I did was obsessively look at peoples Facebooks and feel like I would never “get there.” I just wanted to lay around and do nothing, and drink wine.

Eating right and getting some exercise has vastly improved my state of mind and how my gut feels in a matter of just a few weeks, and I should have done this a long time ago. I have people reaching out to me through Facebook, Instagram and this blog and asking my advice, and I feel incredibly proud of that. This is my purpose. I don’t think bad things happen for no reason, I think they happen so you can help someone else face it when it’s their time to experience it.

BRING IT ON MENOPAUSE, BRING IT ON OVARIAN FAILURE, BRING IT ON DAYS THAT I FEEL DOWN, and yeah…BRING IT ON MENOTOX CHALLENGE WEEK 3, BRING IT ONNNN.

Menotox Challenge – Week 1(ish)

Thanks to the Menopause page I follow on Facebook for this one..

Get Ready For May Meno-tox

30 day challenge

It starts this Tuesday ladies!

Nothing complicated, easy to follow rules, just 100% commitment is required.

Itโ€™s time to deliberately make the choice to make things happen, rather than being a powerless bystander!

So get yourself ready this weekend.

Plan your menus, buy your supplements, treat yourself to a nice new journal and dust your trainers off ๐Ÿ˜Š

Tuesday May 1st Begin – Write down:

* How youโ€™re feeling emotionally and physically

* What symptoms are troubling you most

* What do you want to achieve from this challenge? (I.e more energy, weight loss etc)

For one month commit to:

* Eating clean/healthy (fish, lean protein, vegetables, beans/legumes, fruit, nuts & seeds)

*Reduce portion sizes – Divide calories throughout the day – Aim for:

400 breakfast

500 lunch

600 dinner

(Tweak this to suit your lifestyle)

* Incorporate 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed in your diet per day

* Reduce (or cut out!) caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake

* Walk briskly for at least 20 minutes every day

* Manage stress levels with a daily meditation session of at least 10 minutes

* Take a good quality multi vitamin & mineral supplement

* Take Phosphatidylserine supplements daily (RDA 300 mg per day)

Keep a daily record of what you have done and how youโ€™re feeling. After one month summarise how you feel compared to day 1.

Pay particular attention to which symptoms have gone, which are more controllable and which ones youโ€™re still having trouble with. The ones you are left with may need more specialised treatment, either from nutrition, supplements or hormone therapy.

By โ€˜Meno-toxingโ€™ and following a healthy lifestyle regime for one month, you will be giving your body the best possible chance to tackle and reduce your symptoms.

To be successful, you must be mentally ready to commit 100% for a whole month – and no cheating!

It’s Day 1! – I started to prep myself for this challenge a little over a week ago, in an effort to get myself emotionally and physically started.

I’m not gonna lie to you. I love my wine. Probably a little too much at times. I have loved it especially at my darkest times, of which there has been plenty since I left the reproductive endocrinologists office on January 11, 2016. The past two years has been….a rollercoaster. They aren’t kidding when they compare life’s twists and turns to that. And Jesus, I hate rollercoasters. I am terrified of the loops, speed and stomach drop feeling you get on it. I’m more of a…slowly tour the amusement park on the tour train rider.

The fact that I even had to question if stopping drinking for a little while was something I could personally handle, was enough for me to challenge myself, and recognize that I didn’t want it to become a problem. Alcohol definitely increases the duration, severity, and number of hot flashes that I get. It also silently disguises the emotions I need to get through in order to accept this diagnosis as a normal part of my life and the person I am. And sure, it’s great to relax after a stressful work week of which I have many or enjoy a few brews for a night out with friends, but I’ve found in the past two years I was seriously just finding reasons to have a few drinks so I didn’t have to think about POF and how it is changing me. It would be 8am and I’m thinking about whether or not I have enough wine left in the bottle to have three glasses later because 1 or 2 wouldn’t be enough to cover the distress I felt throughout the day, wondering how many pregnant bellies I would see, or announcements on Facebook, or whether anyone notices when I have a hot flash and look like I’ve had an allergic reaction. I usually have bad headaches in the morning, and more easily obtainable hangovers than I had in my 20s. And one of my oddest and new discoveries to date – the skin around all of my tattoos raises when I got a hot flash from drinking. I have plenty of good reasons to cut back. It’s been 9 days without any alcohol and I feel great about that. It’s a lot easier than I thought, actually. Easier than the coffee and sugar so far.

As for the sugar, I started to cut that last week as well. Like cold turkey. I’m a nut..but honestly cold turkey is the only way that will work for me. I quit smoking that way too, it’s just the best way for me to stick to a game plan. I’m still eating fruits though, because they’re delicious and since I’ve cut sugar, fruit is my sweet treat. Today was probably my hardest day, so hopefully it’s only gets easier from this point. In fact, I’ve noticed I unintentionally have avoided bread and starch, too. My stomach has been so happy with me!

COFFEE. My boo. My delicious sweet energizing nectar from the Gods. My life is built around this beautiful bean. Literally, I’m a barista, coffee IS my life. From the first moment I ever drank it when my mom let me around 12, I fell in love for the first time.

Coffee has also been giving me a lot of extra anxiety on top of menopausal anxiety. Menopausal anxiety probably deserves it’s own blog post. I think this was the part of the challenge I was most afraid of, because of the withdrawal symptoms. That’s given me a new anxiety. And I’ll tell ya…the struggle is REAL. I’ve had a persistent, nagging little headache since Sunday afternoon. I’m drained. And I don’t mean like hey, I need a power nap, I mean like..I could probably sleep for 7 days straight and it still wouldn’t help. And though I am doing my besssst to keep my attitude under control, I have a feeling my facial expressions aren’t pleasant this week. Especially when someone says or does something dumb. It’s starting to get better though, just like the sugar, I am reaching the top of the hill where I think it’s about to get easier for me to do this.

My intentions for this challenge are this: to be a healthier, happier and more accepting version of me. I would like to lose some weight, and hopefully increase my energy. By no means am I obese or anything, but since I got diagnosed I have gone up 6 sizes, and I’d like to get back to where I was. Maybe a part of me is also holding on to hope that if I got healthier and more in shape and stopped drinking wine and coffee and did pushups and squats and didn’t curse as much and was nice to everyone and spent more time talking to God, that I could reverse this condition.

I believe they call this the “bargaining” stage of grief?

Whatever my reasons are, I’m happy for the change. If it means my symptoms will become more manageable or went away completely even, and if it meant I was an overall happier person at the end of this, and more accepting of this diagnosis, than this challenge is worth everything.

So Day 1 (or kind of Day like 5, 6 and 7 since I started early) – this morning was hard. I wanted all the unhealthy things..for about an hour. I stayed strong. And I got over the bump and continued my healthy eating. I also doubled my Fitbit step goal and walked over 20,000 steps! Drank lots of water. Enjoyed a nice walk at the trail. I feel positive, motivated, determined and exhausted. And I look forward to powering through this challenge, and sharing my experience with everyone. Stay tuned!

Day 2 – decaf earl grey tea is pretty good. Now as a barista with my plentiful knowledge on the subject, yes I am aware that decaf is not technically caffeine free and has like 3% caffeine. Cold turkey is hard, you guys. I did get some great sleep last night, though. Probably my 20,000 steps yesterday. According to my Fitbit it was the least amount in a week, but felt the best to me. I’m noticing I’m less jumpy, too.

Day 3 – I feel really great this morning! I had my absolute best sleep last night. Over 8 hours and didn’t wake up once. Only 3 times restless according to my Fitbit app (assuming its on point lol) I will say, my walk last night was tough, though. My energy seemed a little lower and I’m not sure if it was physically related or heat related since the temps began to soar this week. Humidity, heat and menopause are not exactly good company. I’m feeling better about my diet. Sugar cravings are dropping. Haven’t wanted a drink at all. Caffeine has quickly become an old friend that pops up on Facebook under “People You May Know,” that you don’t need to click on.

Today I have an appt with my OBGYN, who is the primary doctor who manages my treatment. I’m excited to tell her about this challenge, and ask her for advice and suggestions. Like how to reach my newly realized goal of lose enough belly fat that my stomach no longer sticks out past my boobs.

Day 6 – Sorry! I skipped blogging a couple days. Super busy. Busy being healthyyyy ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ฏ

I had a rough Friday night. I wanted more fulfilling food, and a glass of wine. Surprisingly, the coffee has moved up to first place as far as easy detox ๐Ÿง I also had a bad headache that day and a smoothie or celery sticks was not gonna cover it. I got myself a lentil soup, and I wasn’t certain on the ingredients honestly, and I also did have a small piece of cornbread to avoid vomiting from the headache, which helped immensely. Went for my walk the next morning and threw maca in my smoothie and boom – felt like a new woman! I’ve tried maca before, but I don’t recall noticing much of a difference, so maybe without all the caffeine and sugar now…it showed itself? I’m gonna try it for a good couple months at least this time. Last time I gave up after like 2 weeks. I shopped for a LOT of healthy stuff yesterday. Veggies/fruit/fish and picked up my flaxseed. I was a little late on that! Also picked up hand weights and a scale. And speaking of scale – as of a doctors appt I had last month for a sinus infection, I’ve lost 7 POUNDS! I also hit over 21,000 steps last night! That really amped up my motivation for this ๐Ÿค—

Thank you for following the journey so far, stay tuned for a new post as I head in to week two of my May Menotox Challenge.

Triggered, unfriend, rinse, repeat.

I meant to blog just about every night for the last three weeks, but I’ve been so busy and I’ve been having such a good few weeks, and I don’t usually want to pour out emotions or anger if I’m in such a good mood…however, I was triggered by something the other day and it brought my attention back to what this blog originated for – awareness/attention/takethisinformationandapplyittopeopleinyourlife.

Triggers. Now there’s something I never thought I’d have to create a secret full time job for, in order to avoid them. I remember just a few years back, joking with people about when they would have babies after they got married. Egging them on. Slightly fist bumping their shoulders. Tee hee hee, I would say. Or following celebrities through social media and CVS front aisle magazines after a birth or pregnant announcement. Seriously, what is Jennifer Aniston waiting for? Talking up unique names with friends because I couldn’t wait for my little “Penelope or Desmond” to have play dates with their kids someday. Don’t judge me, I like Criminal Minds and I’m Irish. Couldn’t wait for them to play football, or cheer like I did. That is until all that got ripped out from under my feet, and everyone else’s lives kept moving forward.

An old coworker of mine, who knew my situation, sent me one of those chain email messages on Facebook. You know the ones. Send this to 25 of your friends and you’ll receive good news tomorrow. 199,433 likes and this child’s heart condition will disappear. You’re a gorgeous, beautiful mom and you’re doing a wonderful job – send this to 10 wonderful moms you know.

Cool, just what I needed was a chain message reminding me of my forever empty womb. I mean, not only can I not have children and she was aware, but I didn’t have children already, and she was aware. That message has actually plagued me now for five days. And I feel like my emotions are valid. I won’t allow anyone to tell me (including myself) that her message, or a picture, or that statement, should or shouldn’t bother me. I’m not saying everyone I meet, or everyone I know, should be a mind reader. I’m angry with myself for all the years I didn’t consider what others could be going through. That applies to everything, too. Sickness, trauma, loss. I can’t believe all the times I fist bumped people without knowing whether they could have been shelling out thousands of dollars for IVF, adoption, or maybe grieving a miscarriage and they were too embarrassed to even say anything so they just politely smiled at my ignorant humor. I haven’t even reached a point with my own story to have decided on how to go about becoming a parent or not. Which sometimes, makes it even harder. Especially when I’m being egged on. How dare I do that to others, years ago. I know, I know…”everyone is so damn sensitive about everything these days.” But this one can be pretty simple. Don’t continually bug people about their plans. Don’t nag. Don’t prod and poke.

Almost everything is a trigger, I can’t prevent most. Sometimes it’s the smallest things, like chain messages. Healing is hard when the wound is constantly reopened. Facing those damn gossip magazines, while waiting in line to pick up my estrogen patch and progesterone pills. A trip to the mall. Pregnant women surrounding me in the OBGYN waiting room. The fucking Pampers commercials. I’ll more than likely never be that mom in the diaper commercial holding her infant right after they were born. I wince every time I see a pregnant belly. You won’t see it, I fight like hell to keep that hidden. I’ve been triggered. When strangers, family or friends talk about their children, or plans to have them, no matter what age, I’m smiling and laughing with them on the outside, and on the inside I’m a dead, blank stare. I’ve been triggered.

I feel detached from them in that very moment. I can’t share what they all share. I can’t relate. I’m missing this connection with everyone that I had planned for since I had barbies and baby dolls. People form a bond with others through their children.

Mother’s and Father’s Day come around, and there’s celebratory brunch specials everywhere. Cards, flowers, golf clubs. Strangers wish me a happy Mother’s Day. I’ve been triggered.

And then there’s April Fools Day. Brace yourselves, the ultrasound and fake pregnancy posts are coming. Facebook is the mother of all triggers.

I quickly, without even a thought towards her defense, unfriended the woman who sent me the chain message. Sometimes, I know when it’s just time to snip a person out of my life. It wasn’t a big loss, we weren’t close at or outside of work. But it hurt enough that I could drop her just as hard as my heart dropped when my doctor said I was in menopause. I was triggered.

And sure, I could delete Facebook. But I have deeper connections on there through my network of family and friends and a support group I NEED, and can’t easily be without. And I love memes, let’s be real. But April Fools is the worst. There’s a few token days throughout the year that I have to protect myself from my triggers. I’ve found in the last two years how much I’ve LOVVVVEE pressing the unfollow button. I’m glad they have that option because I can safely follow updates if and when I feel like it. It’s not that I didn’t care about your Cinnamon Toast Crunch and feta cheese cravings at 2am. Or your child’s first birthday photos. Or your baby shower album.

It’s just…I’ve been triggered. And I need you to understand that on some days, 95% of Facebook is excruciating and painful for me as I learn how to navigate through this diagnosis and I need to know what’s going on with people on my own, guarded terms. If I take awhile to respond, or if I didn’t respond at all to the pictures you sent me, please don’t take offense. It’s just I saw my future self in those posts, annnnd then I remembered. If I seem to distance myself sometimes, or am silent, don’t think I don’t care, I always do, I just don’t always know how to behave when I am triggered, so I tend to avoid it altogether if I can. It makes me feel lost to not have that connection with you. I don’t know what words to say. I don’t know how to act around parents and small kids and I’m absolutely terrified of holding babies. I fumble with my hands and get anxiety because I am learning how to cope without running to the bathroom to cry or hide. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day I don’t even know how to talk to people. I get weird. When I experience the anxiety, I get my hot flashes. Sometimes crippling. My heart goes erratic at the most abnormal times. It’s draining to feel like that inside and still force yourself to laugh, joke and smile in spite of it.

Rinse, repeat.

Fertility and Football

Yeah, I’m aware that sounds really weird, but I’m going to explain.

My football team won the Super Bowl andddd let’s just say I’ve been indulging in unhealthy choices since well before the playoffs and my body and hot flashes are not exactly thanking me for it. ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ d’oh.

So…football and fertility and how those two things seemed to be brought together in the same sentence, recently. As mentioned above, the Eagles FINALLY brought Philadelphia a championship trophy, and as most sports fans know, we have been waiting a longgg time for this.

We also like to give our fellow conference fans of other teams, a lot of shit when we can (any Giants fans reading, I’m talking about you) and it’s all in good fun, of course. This rings true at my job, I’m a barista and a lot of my customers talk football with me…it’s always a lot of fun during the season.

Two weeks ago, Super Bowl hysteria was in full gear. Like beast mode in my coffee bar. I loved every minute of it, until someone related the hopes and dreams of an Eagles win to that of a couple desperately wanting to have a baby, and not having luck. And deep down that day, I fell the fuck apart. I kind of just want the Eagles to win she said, because I’m just so damn tired of them complaining every year. You know, it’s like a couple going through the infertility process and trying to make a baby. It’s like you’re just so tired of hearing about them trying.

Did….did you..you just compared complaining football fans to a couple who desperately pray to start a family and physically….can’t?

To be completely honest with you, I didn’t handle that part of the conversation well. I mean, I did at the time because it was a customer, I wasn’t about to lunge over the counter screaming obscenities about how completely messed up that comparison felt to me..and I am sure it wasn’t meant to sound as hurtful as it did to me, but it truly did bother me. I like this particular customer, she’s a sweetheart. But, it made me feel exposed all of a sudden, because I couldn’t take what was really meant as a light hearted jab in anyone else’s eyes, as just the jab, and it really got me thinking, is that how people view infertility? It made me wonder, is there an appropriate time to make light hearted jokes about infertility? Do you take that risk with someone you don’t know? Is it okay to not BE OKAY with those jokes? Where is the invisible line drawn for it?

Maybe I was extra sensitive that day. I often try to poke fun at myself for experiencing menopause in my early 30s because sometimes it does make me feel better, and helps me transition in to a conversation explaining to strangers what I experience on a daily basis. But, the infertility part, I feel like that’s my no fly zone. Hell, it would be a no fly zone when I talk to strangers. I couldn’t bring myself to compare touchdowns and two point conversions to IVF injections and temp checks.

I don’t believe infertility, or what lead to it even, should be this unspoken, uncomfortable and weird elephant in any room – but I also don’t think it has a place in jokes, either. I would love to hear input on this. Have you ever experienced something similar? Or reacted like I have? Am I crazy? Don’t be shy…Lord knows my hormones do put me in some off putting moods. But this normal, football poking fun of a conversation suddenly had me asking myself a lot of questions. And made me realize how uncomfortable the topic of infertility can be, and how much I really wish it wasn’t.

#saythefword

This isn’t my first attempt at blogging, but the first time I gave it a go I was a little discouraged, and I also hadn’t been ready to really go public with my story. I was still feeling a lot of shame. Still feeling uneasy about both the M word and the F word or the I word or the collective letters of POF…and no, I don’t mean the social dating network.

Last fall, another page I follow on Facebook posted a video on World Menopause Day. Yes, in case you hadn’t guessed yet by my blog name, I am going through [early] menopause. (and love merlot, I am actually surprised to not be writing this after a nice courage glass or two) I admired her voice and courage to post a video about pretty much all the embarrassing, emotional, physical and juicy details of being so young outside but feeling so old inside. Premature Ovarian Failure isn’t exactly your typical or traditional menopause.

I was diagnosed 2 years and 17 days ago at the age of 30, and I’m not likely to ever forget that date. (Unless menopause brain kicks in, I’ve learned there’s such a thing). I don’t recall ever being in the top 1% of anything, but this one I really nailed. It took almost a year for a lot of specialists and tests and MRIs and other acronyms to figure out what was wrong with me. My symptoms began with a weird vertigo, I walked around everyday for months feeling like I was on walking on a boat. Nobody understood that, and I’m pretty sure most people thought I was off the reservation. I also stopped getting my period after several months of actually getting it two or three times in a single a month. But everyone, including me, dismissed the lack of period to stress from the vertigo – it should have been the first thing we looked at. They thought labyrinthitis, mal de debarquement syndrome (that was a curious one), migraine associated vertigo, severe sinusitis, maybe an inner ear infection, multiple sclerosis…pregnancy. I had vertigo, constant migraines, no period, weight gain, very emotional mood swings, brain fog..sometimes I couldn’t even think of a simple word like “pencil.” I started feeling anxiety at times I never would have before. Every time I got nervous or anxious I was filled with dread and red splotches of heat flushing all over my body. I chalked that one up to being a pale skinned Irish redhead, but this was different and I knew it. I also never had a real problem with anxiety before. I was always extremely outgoing and not someone who crossed her arms a whole lot out of fear and discomfort being around other people all of a sudden. I’ve never Google diagnosed so much in my life. In fact I Googled POF and diagnosed myself about a week before the actual diagnosis. Kind of just, knew it in my heart. I finally saw my OBGYN after having zero signs of a returning cycle over a 9 month period (oh the irony of the number 9) and received a call from my doctor while I was on my lunch break at work. Dude. Do they always manage to call with bad news while you’re at work? Thank God my manager and I had grown close enough that I just ran to her for support, because I had no idea what words I just heard or what it meant or if it was a false read. My blood work showed post menopause, and I had to see a reproductive endocrinologist to start hormone replacement therapy. Post menowhat? Hormones? What is a reproductive endocrinologist? Post meno..I literally just turned 30 years old not even five minutes ago.

Last time I tried blogging, it was sort of a fake comfortable, if you will, as I wrote each word. I felt like I should be this super strong woman the second I got diagnosed, mostly because I felt dismissed by a lot of people and even doctors who didn’t know what POF was. Family, friends, everyone.

You’ll get over it. You’re strong, you’ve been through some shit, just take your hormones, you can always adopt, it’s just a little sweating, oh yeah I get hot all the time too, I probably have hot flashes hahaha, my mother got early menopause at 50, my coworkers brothers mailman’s daughter and her husband just prayed and a miracle happened, you don’t look sick, you look fine, but imagine if it were like ACTUALLY something bad, at least it’s not anything truly that bad, ugh you’re so lucky you don’t have a period, ugh you’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with kids, or Elf on the Shelf, math homework, ugh it’s so hard being pregnant you’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with body changes like this, you can borrow one of mine, you’re too young for menopause, have you thought about adoption, do you realize how many children out there need a family, have you prayed to God, have you asked His forgiveness for all your wrong doings, at least now you can travel, what are you two going to do with your lives without children?

After two years of that, I really do feel better talking about it now, and I really do hope I can connect with others who are going through the same, or similar. I’ve also started an Instagram – menopauseandmerlot, because what’s life without a little humor and night sweats ammirite? ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿคฃ

I have plenty of responses, and I don’t need anyone to minimize what I am or what anyone else, is Feeling. So I’ll blog about my Fears. What I see for my Future. As hard as it will be to talk about…Failure, and when it feels as if what I go through has been Forgotten. I want to talk about Family and Friends and Finding my voice through my story. Those are all my F words. What are yours?