I’m a firm believer in sharing. When we share our stories, we help others who are in the same perimenopause and menopause boat. If you’d like to share your story, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Here is Jill’s Story:
I’m fifty-six, married seventeen years with a sixteen-year-old daughter. I was in my late forties, early fifties, in therapy at the time, when I started crying a lot and feeling a lot of anxiety. I have a very high-pressure career. I couldn’t juggle it. I kept saying I hate my life, I hate my life.
It affected my relationship, because I would get angry so easily. I never really had the hot flashes. It was more anxiety and feeling like somebody had taken over my body. And I grew a big gut. And it wasn’t a slow thing at all. It all seemed to happen overnight.
I’d have deadlines and cry. I would drive to a client meeting and sit in the garage and cry. I didn’t want to meet the client because sometimes, things would come out of my mouth that I didn’t mean. I couldn’t control it.
I prayed, “Please, God, take this out of my body. Please take this out of my body.” And I’m not even someone who prays. I would cry, I can’t take this anymore.
After a while my therapist said, “I think you need to go see a gynecologist who specializes in menopause.” I went to see a noted hormone doctor in Beverly Hills who does his own bioidenticals. He met with me for an hour and a half. He put his hand on my arm and said, “You’re at the right place. I will take care of you.” He was a thousand dollars for the first visit.
And every time you order creams and vitamins, it was another two hundred fifty dollars every month. I left with a bunch of creams in little bottles where I had to twist the little capsule and the cream squeezes out a little bit. I was so confused how to do it. I just wanted to feel better.
I was so desperate I turned the capsule a whole notch. At a stoplight, I opened up the bag, put the cream on right in the car. I got home and took a bath, and then I thought, oh my god, I washed it off. So I put it on again. I put it on like lotion. I was wired like you wouldn’t believe. I couldn’t sleep all night. I must have put on a tablespoon.
I am a person who thinks more is better. If I use more, maybe I’ll feel a little better. I called the doctor, so confused, asking all these questions. Which one’s the progesterone? What’s the pink color for? Which one is the green? I just kept getting them confused, because I was so confused, and so that was a disaster.
Every visit was seven hundred dollars, plus all the pills and the creams and all that stuff. I spent five thousand dollars before deciding to try something else. I just didn’t feel any better.
I went to my acupuncturist, who put pins all over my lower abdomen. After every treatment, I’d leave relaxed, but within an hour the anxiety would rise.
I tried intravenous vitamins. No one had done any blood tests until I finally went to see an endocrinologist. She saw my hormone levels and put me on Premarin, but it just made me really crazy, just cuckoo.
Then I was connected with a menopause specialist in Newport Beach. I felt like I was walking a tight rope. Each time I tried something new, I just thought, Okay, maybe this’ll work. So it was sort of like slapping wet spaghetti on the wall, hoping maybe it’ll stick. For five years, nothing really worked. I didn’t feel right in my body. It was really hard.
Someone recommended a naturopath, who put me on all kinds of little tiny pills that you stick under your tongue and let dissolve. I must have spent a thousand dollars on those things and all kinds of other supplements.
I tried estrogen patches, from the lowest to the highest dose, and nothing worked. I went on anti-anxiety medication. I tried everything. I had two drawers filled with all the useless stuff.
After six doctors, I ended up with a nurse practitioner who is great. I’m on bioidentical capsules, and estrogen I and II. I’m still on anti-anxiety medication, and she doesn’t want to take me off until I’m out of school. I feel pretty well balanced except for the big gut thing. I don’t have the emotional swings. I don’t have my period anymore. But my libido is crappy. That’s probably the toughest part.
It was a long, expensive journey to find the help I needed.
I used to say, “I just want to jump off a bridge,” not to commit suicide but to scare the crap out of myself so it would change my hormones. Crazy, right? I even thought about a lobotomy.
I had an interview recently, and the guy asked, “What is one of the biggest feelings of success you’ve felt in your life?” I didn’t say it, but part of me wanted to say, “Getting through menopause.”
I think most women think doctors have all the answers. But I learned that if what they are doing is not working, you need to fire your doctor and try another one. I never gave up on myself. I knew that there were answers, and I finally found them. Everyone’s going to have their own process, but the most important thing is that you cannot give up.
Click here to download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause.
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!