Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Maiden, Mother and ass

Menopause.  Yep, if you’re female and my age you just quickly gasped and held it at just seeing that damn word.  If you’re male, just run along; this doesn’t concern you.  Go on.  Don’t doddle.

While on my lunch break, McK and I were watching TV and Poise has out a new line of menopause products.  Having never seen the ad before I paused the TV.   Puzzled, I look at McK and ask ‘Wait, roll on cooling gel, what am I supposed to do sit in CC’s with my friends and roll that shit on my face when I feel hot?!  Panty fresheners. What the hell is that and why will my panties need freshening?!’  McKenna flips open her laptop and pulls up the info.  “Panty fresheners, discreet feminine… oh my gosh it’s a scented sticker you stick on the outside of your panties.”  Shocked, I shriek “why am I going to need scented stickers on my panties?!?!”  

Laughing, she also pulls up a list of the 34 side effects of menopause.  Let me point out that July is the first month that “Ruby” ditched my ass.  So here I am in what I’m convinced is the beginning of the menopausal spiral and although menopause was just a word other women used, I’m finally faced with it wondering if this is really it and feeling a little fearful of what lies ahead.   I mean, seriously…how is it fair that when men age and have a midlife crisis they get to buy a Harley car and date a 25 year old and when I get to midlife I have to put scented stickers in my underwear?  Where’s the justice in that?

Anyway, as McKenna reads the list I’m literally sitting, well, in my mom’s glider rocker apparently practicing for my twilight years as well, and I start to cry.  34 side effects.  Thirtyfuckingfour.  3. 4.  34.  Dare I elaborate on why the tears?

Common Symptoms
1. Hot Flashes
2. Night Sweats
3. Irregular Periods
4. Loss of Libido  -  WHAT?!  Just kill me now.
5. Vaginal Dryness – But I’ll miss my responsive hoohaw.  This can’t be!
6. Mood Swings – Puhlease, I timed having a baby so badly, I’m giving driving lessons to my 15 year old while menopause is knocking on my door.

7. Fatigue
8. Hair Loss – Okay I have really thick hair so I’ll view this as an upside.
9. Sleep Disorders – I love my sleep.  I already get up in the night to pee.  Do I really need to add a ‘disorder’ to my life?
10. Difficulty Concentrating – Good gawd, I already work with kids half my age who don’t even need to crack open a book or manual.
11. Memory Lapses – “What did I come to the store for again?”
12. Dizziness
13. Weight Gain – Bitch please…
14. Incontinence- Good gawd I hope not.  I am in a constant state of Kegel hoping to prevent it!
15. Bloating
16. Allergies
17. Brittle Nails – You mean it gets worse?!
18. Changes in Odor – WTF?!  I like my smell just fine thankyouverymuch.  There’ll be no stickers in my panties!!!
19. Irregular Heartbeat – My high cholesterol helps with that already I’m sure.
20. Depression – Not before reading this list!
21. Anxiety – Only at the word menopause.
22. Irritability – Just ask McKenna.  Zero to 60 in .05 seconds.
23. Panic Disorder

24. Breast Pain
25. Headaches
26. Joint Pain
27. Burning Tongue
28. Electric Shocks
29. Digestive Problems
30. Gum Problems
31. Muscle Tension
32. Itchy Skin
33. Tingling Extremities

34. Osteoporosis

All I could do was choke back tears and say aloud (hoping the Universe was listening) “I don’t want all that to happen to me.”

McKenna being the amazing kid that she is, gets up and gives me a hug and tells me it’ll be alright.  Then in a flash (not a hot flash, more like the Road Runner) she grabs her laptop again and says ‘let’s see what it says about how to make it better.’  Goddess I love that kid.  So, she continued reading.

“How to lessen the effects of menopause…[long pause]…exercise.”  WHAT?!  We both bust out laughing.  That’s it?  Exercise.  I can fix 34 things that could put me in prison if someone approaches me sideways and exercise is the answer!  That’s all they’ve got to give me?  If I exercised now I wouldn’t be overweight so let’s just pile on the fact that if my menopausal experience sucks it’ll be because I didn’t put forth enough effort.

I know in all my Pagan ways I should embrace the Crone part but seriously.  There should be a box that you check somewhere “No longer using uterus” – check.  And that’s it.  Ruby loses my address and I’m good to go.  My mom and older sister were both through it by their early 50’s – no hot flashes, no sleeping disorders, no stinky va-jay-jays (and yes we talked about it back in the day with plenty of humor and margaritas).

I guess my only option is to approach this like I approach everything else – like I just rolled down a flight a stairs and popped to my feet.  HERE I AM!!!  Laugh or cry.  I choose laugh (hopefully).  What is it they say?  The only thing you have through a crisis is how you behave through it.   Here’s hoping I have friends around to laugh with me through it.  (Oh, and to fan my face with a magazine if I need it).