The men-all-pause

09 Sep

I was really concerned about my surgical menopause, after having my ovaries removed in the second surgery. Everyone talks about hot flashes and night sweats (which are apparently hot flashes but at night) and moodiness. Among other things, of course, but those are top issues that women report. I wasn’t sure how soon I’d be feeling the effects of the surgical menopause, as anecdotal reports varied, depending on the individual. I figured mine would be slightly delayed, because of my weight–fat around your waist especially is full of estrogen, and that would likely keep me from falling into the surgical menopause immediately. But even women who are overweight often have menopause symptoms immediately after surgery, so you just never know.

I had one hot flash (so far), I think. I’m not sure if it was because I was getting a fever from an infection, but it felt like what I’ve heard a hot flash feels like. But beyond that, I haven’t had hot flashes, per se. I just…get hot. And then I get cold. And then I got hot again. Especially at night, I go through this cycle of having the ceiling fan on and an oscillating tower fan right next to the bed, and I start with my sheet and comforter on top of me. Then I get hot, so I throw off the comforter, then I throw off the sheet. Then I get cold, so I pull the sheet over me, but that’s not enough because the oscillating fan is blowing RIGHT ON ME, so I have to pull the comforter over me to get rid of the chills. But then I got hot, so I get rid of the comforter, but I’m too hot for the sheet, so I throw that off again. Then I’m cold, because FAN BLOWING ON ME, so I yank the sheet over me again, and then the comforter. And then I repeat this cycle. At some point, I know I fall asleep, though I don’t think there’s been a pattern of whether I have the sheet and/or comforter on or off me. I just know that repeatedly through the night I wake up and go through the cycle of hot cold hot cold sheet comforter sheet comforter hot cold hot cold. And no matter how many times I wake up and go through the cycle, it keeps me awake for about an hour as I cycle through the hot cold sheet comforter routine. I don’t really SWEAT like a lot of women talk about (sweating through their night clothing and/or sheets), my internal thermostat is just messed up. But really, I don’t sweat too much anymore unless it’s really humid out and I’m working my ass off at something, then it’s like face sweat and, well, boob sweat, but not all over sweat. So maybe I just don’t sweat enough to have night sweats. Either way, this hot cold cycle is annoying and unfortunately affects my sleep, but it’s manageable. Because I don’t sleep well most of the time anyway, so this is nothing new.

I thought for a while I was having dry mouth from the SM, but that went away about a week after my last round of antibiotics (from the incision infection). I am having some headaches, which could be the SM or it could be allergies. I’m pretty new to these spring and summer allergies, so I’m still trying to figure out what is an allergy symptom and what isn’t. My hair isn’t falling out, yet, and I’ve had no moodiness. None, zip, zero, nada, zilch. I thought that would be a big thing for me, because I do trend to moodiness, but nope. No crying jags, no anger, no swing from happy to sad. I’ve been pretty okay–moderate–and I keep wondering when it’s going to hit me. More than the hot flashes, even, I thought it was going to be moodiness. I warned Hub, and apologized before I even went into surgery. My fingernails, though, are bad. I’ve always had issues with my fingernails, but over the last ten years or so, they’ve been pretty good. They would grow fast, and if I kept them trimmed to a certain length, they weren’t too prone to breaking. And they grew at a pretty good pace. Now they’re breaking all over the place, and not growing back very quickly.

What is most distressing for me at this point is the fact that I’m losing words. Or not being able to find the words I want. Hub has found himself jumping in to try to finish sentences for me when I stop to try to find the words I want. The words that might be just out of reach, or totally out of reach. I find myself pausing a lot, searching for words when I speak, searching for words when I’m writing something (an email, a blog post…doesn’t seem to matter). I feel like something is wrong with me. I mentioned it to Hub who suggested it might be the hormone shifts, and I think I read that somewhere, but I’m not 100% certain. Whatever it is, and I hope it’s SM, it’s scary and frustrating and distressing. I’ve always been someone who thinks thoroughly before I speak, but I’ve never had this much loss for words.

I have had much more muscle pain, which can also be a SM symptom. I saw the massage therapist last week and she beat the hell out of me. I was actually hurting for three or four days before it started to recede. But again, I do have myofascial pain syndrome, which is a muscle disorder, so it could be that I’m in a flare because of all the hormonal changes (and the physical stresses I’ve been under because of the surgeries and because of the care I’ve had to give to Butthead after HER surgery). It’s so hard to tell what is SM and what might be something else.

I’m having lots of dreams and nightmares…much more than before. Prior, the dreams would generally happen in the morning, after Hub got up but before I would get out of bed. Now they’re happening all night, and when I wake up and go back to sleep, I fall back into the dream/nightmare again. They’re vivid and uncomfortable dreams, and they generally leave me feel unhappy and distressed.

Oh, and the hormonal acne shit is driving me a bit batty. I thought with the lack of hormones, the monthly acne would go away. Nope, instead it has gotten worse. It’s all along my jawline, my chin, along the sides of my nose and nostrils, and around my mouth. Prior to the surgery, I would have one or two pimples per month, but now I’ll have several at a time. It’s frustrating because I don’t know what to do for it. Before I would wait it out because, well, hormones. Now, if I don’t really have hormones, when will the damn things go away? Bleh.

It’s still possible for other symptoms to crop up at any point. I have my fingers crossed that nothing gets worse and everything gets better, but I’ll do my best to cope no matter what comes.


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8 responses to “The men-all-pause

  1. joey

    September 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Well, I don’t know how old you are, and I’m still sorry you had to go through this surgically and abruptly, but remember it got rid of cancer. πŸ˜€
    After childbirth I had shifts that led to horrible night sweats. The first time I woke up wet, all I could think in the dark was, omg is that milk?!? LOL But no, night sweats. Had several in the last few years as well, with frequently itchy pimples on the jawline before I start and hot flashes quite consistently after. Try the emu cream on those jawline bastards.
    Aside from the panic of being suddenly hot and wet, I’ve handled the hot flashes pretty well. I’m usually at home and can put freezer packs all around me. Moo will bring them to me πŸ™‚
    As for your nails, there are two vitamins that boost nail and hair strength. I think they’re B’s, but I forget which. Also, Two Words: Sally Hansen.
    I’d chalk the pain up to stress, but it really could be SM.
    I began losing words during pregnancy, so I believe that’s hormone related as well.
    I am 41 and have plenty of fat in my belly, so after reading this, I suddenly have the urge to take up shakes, strap weights onto my body, and run to California quick!
    The good news is that menopause only lasts about 15 years.

    • meANXIETYme

      September 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      I’m climbing up on 44. And yes, cancer is gone and yes, it was worth it, no question. I’m not complaining, honestly, because so far I don’t think things are so bad. I suspicion I was already having some minor peri-menopause symptoms prior to all this, so this all isn’t so major.
      I used to use ice packs a lot when I was still dealing with gluten. I’d have no idea what was going on but my face would flush so hot and I’d be so uncomfortable that I’d be putting ice packs directly to my cheeks (and ears and upper chestal area). With the discovery of the wheat allergy, most of that has disappeared (except when I accidentally ingest wheat).
      I’ll have to look into the vitamins for hair and nails. And HAHAHAHA I have Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Extreme Wear on my fingernails right now! LOL I was testing colors for the upcoming wedding.
      That losing words thing is really getting me down. I feel dumb. I know I have to get over it, but I feel like I’m constantly struggling to communicate.
      Yeah, I partly thought “oooh, more ice cream and gelato means putting off menopause symptoms…a win-win situation!” LOL
      And thanks for the 15 year encouragement. πŸ˜›

      • joey

        September 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

        Sally Hansen is awesome. I used to buy a lot of Revlon and OPI but in the last year or so, I find I only buy Sally.
        I hope this is the worst of your SM trouble for a good long while. One of my friends felt like she was still cycling in every way but the actual mess. It’d be nice to avoid that. πŸ™‚

      • meANXIETYme

        September 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

        I buy a lot of OPI but stayed away from SH because I figured it was cheap and would chip. At this point, I’ve seen that most of the polishes chip no matter what…but what I like or don’t like is the brush with the polish. I LOVE the OPI brushes and I found that I like the Sally Hansen brush. I tried Essie but their brushes are TEENY tiny and I hated it. Sally Hansen is inexpensive though, so that’s good. πŸ™‚
        Thanks, I hope this is the worst of my SM, too. Not like I haven’t dealt with temperature issues before, or acne, or sleep issues, or nail problems, or joint pain, or muscle pain, or…well, yeah.

      • joey

        September 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm

        I think Moo has an Essie she likes. I may curiously examine the brush πŸ˜‰

      • meANXIETYme

        September 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

        LOL I didn’t know I was partial to a brush until I used the OPI brushes. Then when I tried the Essie just yesterday, I was disappointed in how small the brush was. Who knew?

  2. April

    September 10, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I think we are all just different. I couldn’t stand the perimenopausal symptoms but once I reached menopause everything seemed ok. Not sure I understand all the peri/post menopause. Other than the hairs on my chin, and some memory lapses (especially with words), I haven’t had much to bother me. I’m not thinking about it and hope that I have already been through the worst with the perimenopause.

    • meANXIETYme

      September 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

      I agree, we are all different. I hope you’re through the worst, too!


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