A few months ago, I received a lovely email from a shmirshky in Mississippi requesting her Shmirshky Party Hostess kit (a fabulous, cozy robe and sticky notes). I was delighted to e-meet a new party hostess. I grew curious when I noticed two letters in her email address: M.D.
As luck would have it, our new friend turned out to be Dr. Catherine Brett, an OB/GYN at Wayne General Hospital in Waynesboro, Mississippi. She’s a spitfire young doc whose work to speak out about perimenopause and menopause symptoms (I call it PM&M for short) has inspired all of us at team Shmirshky. I asked her to share her story – what it’s like to be the ONLY gynecologist in her area and how finding Shmirshky has led her to create an upcoming party of over 50 women in rural Mississippi (some gals are even driving in from Alabama!). Here’s what she had to say:
Q: I know that you did your residency at Georgetown University. What made you choose to leave D.C. and work at a rural health clinic in Central Mississippi?
A: Well, to give you some background, Wayne General is a multi-specialty clinic with family practice, pediatrics, and midwifery. When I joined, I added Obstetrics and Gynecology services. We serve several surrounding counties and for the women of my service area. I am the only gynecologist- and the only female gynecologist for an hour or more. This is the reason that I chose to come to this area of the country – to bring some basic women’s health services to women who once had to travel far to get them.
Q: Wow! Thank you so much for all that you do! It’s so important for ALL women, regardless of where they are, to get the help they deserve. Now, you’re a young Shmirshky, how did you get so passionate about helping women with perimenopause and menopause symptoms?
A: Actually, seeing friends, family, patients, even my own mom, having to struggle through PM&M with no help is one of the reasons I went into gynecology. There isn’t a reason why there should still be so much misinformation or the “grin and bear it” attitude that is out there.
Q: So true! When I wrote Shmirshky, I felt the need to create a guide to perimenopause and menopause that did not support that daunting attitude and instead, busts open the conversation! How did you find the book?
A: In trying to find resources for my patients, I stumbled across Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness and thought it was funny and frank. Then, I found your website and decided to have a Shmirshky party. The idea fell right in line with my plans to educate women about the time of change without lecturing or boring them. I think women all have questions about this time of change and are excited to have a forum to express their questions, their fears, and -hopefully- some of their war stories to help other women going through this time in their life.
Q: Shmirshky parties are a great way to do just that! What has the buzz been like so far?
A: Our party is on August 16th. I’m looking forward to our night and can’t wait to see how it turns out! I have received the sticky pads and the robe- my staff has treated them with – laughter, bewilderment, but mostly excitement for the future event we are having. Patient interest was bigger than I had initially thought, so we had to find a bigger space and we’re now holding the Shmirshky party in our local library! My one concern is that the sticky pads are disappearing from my desk, so I don’t know how much will be left by the event! :>)
Dr. Catherine Brett’s story is a fantastic reminder that: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT. The Shmirshky Party for the women of Wayne General Hospital will take place at Wayne County Library on August 16th. If you’re in the area and would like to attend, call (601) 735-5151 for more info.
Are you interested in joining the Shmirshky sisterhood and connecting with other Shmirshkies online? “Like” us on Facebook and share stories and questions with other Shmirshkies on our Facebook wall! Follow @Shmirshky on twitter to keep updated on the latest news about menopause symptoms! Also, check out the Shmirshky Parties section on our website to learn how you can host one of your own!