Recently I entered the unknown realm of what the experts call perimenopause. Peri, according to the Encarta dictionary, means “a graceful and beautiful girl or woman.” Let me tell you, sister, this is quite the opposite of what this time in my life looks and feels like. My hormones are absolutely whacko, and my doctor had some serious work on her hands to get me back in line. For the first time in my life, I could not fall asleep well. And once I counted the darn little sheep, they crept back over the fence and I woke up in the wee hours of the morning.
If that was not enough, my skin started to break out again. That hasn’t happened since I was a teenager. I had a zit farm on my face that I could have entered in the county fair. My hormones were freaking out all over the place. All I can say is please pray for my poor husband! He has to put up with me and I’m sure it’s not exactly a trip to Disneyland since I’ve hit this bump in the road of life.
Some friends who have already travelled this road tell me that soon I will gain weight, and it only gets worse. I have been eating a strict diet of humble pie the past seven months or so. Recently I started quilting, and just bought what the fabric store calls, “fat quarters.” What the heck? Is that some sort of a cruel joke, or what? Why does the fabric store have to get involved in my personal life and my body image issues?
Okay, so I decided not to take it personally. But fortunately they have stocked the shelves by the cash register with loads of chocolate. Ever since my doctor told me that dark chocolate is good for me (she did say small amounts, but what does she know?), I have embraced living life with more chocolate. What the heck? It looks like I’m gonna end up with more fat quarters anyway. If I can’t beat them, I might as well be one. Right?
As far as I can tell, after researching perimenopause, the following are common symptoms: (Obviously I am not a physician and you should consult with a naturopath and/or physician if you are having these issues.)
- Night sweats as well as day sweats. You will sweat like a Hawaiian kalua pig over a fire pit. (I lived on Maui for a few years, and attended lots of luaus with kalua pigs. Check out my entry about living on Maui in my post called, “My Body Image Story, Part I.”
- Ugly skin break-outs, which I think are caused by the sweating from the lovely hot flashes
- Weight gain, which often ends up around your thighs and waist (Oh joy, oh joy!)
- Anxiety and/or depression, which became an issue for me due to my hormonal imbalance and not getting enough sleep
- Sleeping problems
- Dry skin and/or hair loss
Holy moly! There are others too, but I have hit on the major ones. As I ponder this, I am wondering why God designed us to go through this. It is one of those situations in which I would much rather watch the DVD than experience the symptoms myself. But the last time I checked, God is in control and not me. Not that I don’t have choices or play a role, because I do. The basic good habits of eating well, cutting out caffeine, sugar, and alcohol if you drink, can help a great deal. Also regular exercise helps significantly, as well as taking a high-quality multi-vitamin. Thankfully today we have naturopaths and physicians who are well versed in this area.
For me, entering into perimenopause has been a humbling experience. I know that God hates pride, and that Satan is a fallen angel who fell because he wanted to be like God. He originally was a beautiful, good looking stud of an angel, but wanted to be even better. Going through perimenopause is humbling and pulls away pride. I have noticed that perimenopause involves eating truckloads of humble pie because of the weight gain and the skin breakouts, particularly. My dependence on the Lord has increased as I realize that I need help in dealing with the symptoms. Thankfully, my physician and naturopath have experience in treating perimenopause issues, and I also play a role in my story as I choose how well I want to take care of myself. Sometimes loving my neighbor as myself involves the assumption that I will choose to take care of myself and to look at my own needs and choose to love myself well. So buckle up, put on your seatbelt, grab some dark chocolate, and get ready for the ride of perimenopause.