I have become aware in the last few days that the fact is that once I lose my ovaries and uterus, mostly ovaries, I will go into what is called surgical menopause. In other words instant menopause. Or meno-screeching-halt.
For one thing, I am finding myself a little bit sad that I’ve already had my very last period with very little ado.
I’m also wondering how my traditionally hormone driven migraines are going to respond to this hormonal change. I’ve read it could go either way: they get completely better or they get much, much worse. I am certainly hoping for the former.
I have also been having what one might call warm flashes already. Between what is going on with my left ovary and the fact that my other ovary may have been compromised by chemotherapy, I am feeling more of that temperature fluctuation than I have before. Historically, I’ve always been too cold. And they say that cancer patients often have a history of having been too cold. So it will be an interesting thing to be not too cold all the time. However I’m finding that the swinging back-and-forth between hot and cold is not so fun. I know millions of women go through this. I know it’s normal. That doesn’t make it any more fun.
The other thing to be aware of with going into menopause at this point is that I will be at a higher risk for osteoporosis and I’m already at a higher risk for osteoporosis because I have a fine, small-boned frame. So that is also exciting. Weight-bearing exercise, here I come, as soon as the doctors OK it.
That all being said, Grant was reminding me that the fact that I can have medical attention for this condition, that I can have chemotherapy, that I can have surgery, that I can have integrative health care, is a luxury. There are plenty of women in this world who don’t have that luxury and it is very nasty and excruciating experience. So if surgical menopause is the least of my worries then I will just deal with it.
If any of you have experience with surgical menopause and what helps and what doesn’t help, I would be glad to hear about it.
Today, due to a bureaucratic insurance thing, I had to drive down to Denver, which is a three hour round-trip, just to get a shot, rather than being able to have it taken care of in northern Colorado which is where I’ve had any number of minor issues like that taken care of. In fact semi-major issues have been taken care of in northern Colorado like the CT scan, drawing blood for blood work, and in fact I could have had chemo in Fort Collins if the doctor that both my PCP and the oncologist were comfortable working with had not been out of the country. So it was a little annoying today to drive that much for a 30 second injection.
But it is an important shot. It was a shot in order to boost my white blood cell count so that I will better be able to fight off infection from the surgical process. So therefore I was willing to do it.
And while in the Denver metro area, I stopped by and visited my friend Kelley, who has just had surgery for a kidney stone. We were remarking about how it seems all of our bodies are falling apart now. I know I’m close to 50, but I perpetually feel 17, so it’s a little odd to have that disconnect. The “vehicle” has some miles on it now. Time for a tune up, or an overhaul.
In any case, a little more than one day left with my basic female organs. Might have to have a ceremony.
1 thought on “Surgical Menopause”
I empathize with your view of the end of your child-bearing years, even if you (any woman) never planned to carry a child into this world. There is something finite about going through the removal of those organs. I went through it 10 years ago and have unfortunately no advice to impart. I simply took hormonal replacement orally for 9 years, then told my doctor I wanted to stop. She agreed. However, I may have to go back on them next year (logistically aligned with my next annual in December, nothing more to the timing). I feel my skin, nails, hair, etc. need them. I go through periods where my body cannot seem to regulate temperature. I can be freezing, then burning up, back to freezing, etc. All day long. I keep a blanket and a fan at my desk at the office. I never had the typical menopausal hot flashes, though. Hope someone else has useful advice for you.
I talked to Grant last night; he told me you were doing very well, and that the doctors were extremely pleased with the surgery and with the way things had gone before the surgery to allow it to take place at all. This is no mystery or miracle, but the logical outcome to a lot of hard and dedicated work on your part and a perfect performance by your medical team and support group. Big pat on everybody’s back is in order.
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