It snuck up, it slithered, and then boom — an invisible blanket that cloaked me in heaviness. I'm tired, heavy, my head is buzzing. I'm dizzy. And then there’s the flashing, flushing, sensitive skin, and sore muscles. This generally happy, positive person has turned into a slug. I like to think one sheltered by a beautiful rose bush, but still a slug. What am I going to do? I realize I'm not alone or unique in any way. It's clear after 50 years of living that the world does not revolve around me (as much as I'd like to think so). Where can I find clear, definitive answers or at least a comfortable sense of wellbeing?
Let's begin with Mom, whom I refer to as Wow upside down. That's right. Take the word mom, turn it upside down, and it spells the word wow! I adore her. In simple terms I love her more than words can express. The artsy type, I like to say "almost hippy," she’s got a fun “out there” personality - a blast to talk with. My biggest challenge or concern with her has been her health. Between her 20s and her 40s she could smack a soft ball out of the park, run the bases, swim like crazy, lift, and push. She could take on just about any physical challenge life presented her. In her 50s and 60s, I witnessed her natural decline with endurance. But it was disturbing to watch how her body responded to years of health abuse. She, like millions of middle-class baby boomers, fell victim to smoking and highly processed foods. Sure, these are choices, but it was "cool" to smoke. It was "healthy" and cost effective to eat bleached, fake foods laced with antibiotics and pesticides. Is it too late? Of course not. It’s never too late, right? Well, she is short a toe due to diabetic complications, has suffered a heart attack, at least one stroke, and now is desperately trying to figure out why she is not able to control most bodily functions. All I can say is wow.
I'm sure that some of my sluggish existence could be the result of a few of my mothers influences, but you would think that there could be a clear explanation for head buzzing, dizziness, and some of these miserable, mysterious symptoms. Surely our medical professionals have had ample opportunity to study, learn and practice the more in-depth challenges of menopause. What about our ancestors? Was this subject a secret? Did our past place shame on us and dictate that a woman eventually loses her sexy, sensual existence? Is it nature’s way of discarding us so that the male is able to seek those who are better able to reproduce? Either way, the subject seemed to fall category to the hush, hush.
I've made healthy choices, especially during the past decade of my life. Whole foods, exercise, less professional and social stresses, and a flourishing relationship. My husband is a “rock.” Solid. He seems to hang on my every word. He’s concerned about what is going on and extremely supportive. He champions my confusion with suggesting possible resources. After all, he's here too. Right here. As I'm sliding into the big, white tube with a facemask clamped down, snapped tightly into place and no more than an inch from my nose. "Don't move," they say. "This takes approximately 45 minutes." And then: "Move and we have to start over." Tears begin streaming, and I feel anxious, claustrophobic. Five, seven, eight minutes go by. Clock ticks, loud clanking sounds as the MRI scans slicing images of my brain. I'm buzzing. The machine is buzzing. I'm going to lose it! There it is. His hand on my ankle. It’s a warm reassurance that all is fine. He taps with one finger the last few seconds of five-, seven-, and eight-minute increments. "We need to rule this out," he whispers. "You're going to be okay." Rule this out? Brain tumor, mini-strokes, heart-related complications. My gynecologist doesn't want to take any chances. Brain appears healthy. Whew.
So I find myself here — dizzy, buzzing, confused, desperately seeking answers. Frustrated between my “rock” and a hard place.