My Brain on Menopause

Two very valuable lessons were reinforced for me yesterday. The first was that if I have an idea to write about, I must jot it down immediately, preventing anything from getting in the way of that one task, lest lesson two promptly take affect. This is a lesson I should damn well be following like boy dogs follow girl dogs as the second has been bitch slapping me for several years now.

People, I had a fabulous thought trail to share with you yesterday. It hummed in my brain while I was getting the kids ready for school, practically singing the prose I would write for you. It percolated and simmered as I showered. While I was driving to work, the landscape of it shifted and coalesced into a riveting tale that I couldn’t wait to get into my journal when I had two minutes to make word love with a pen and paper. When I waltzed into my office with the intent to quickly scribe those luscious thoughts onto my journal pages whilst my PC got whirred into action, work needs interposed themselves immediately into my day as this is the job that actually pays me. So I put those wonderful words on a backburner of my mind so they would germinate and grow to be brought before you in gestatory triumph.

Later, when the dust settled from the crazy ass day and I was able to bring my head back around to the personal, I discovered not a snippet of what I had been thinking of so juicily that morning. Not a wispy tendril of the idea could be found. Not even a shred of the words, just waiting for me to organize them, could be gathered together. Completely empty and singed was that saucepan of thought. Hmmm, perhaps the idea fairy flew in and took it back, deciding someone else would better handle it. Nasty bitch.

I poked and fished around in my brain for a time, somewhat rattled by the loss of what had surely been an intoxicating thought concoction. Was it this, reeling in a word thread of a kid forgetting her homework a few times? No, not that. Was it the roast we made the other day? No, toss that one back as well. Could it have been the meeting with the principal about teacher’s not correcting the dyslexic child’s spelling? Nope, can’t touch that one now, too slippery. Toss that one back in, too. Gone it was, I feared, into the murky depths of my graying head.

And so, with resignation, I accepted lesson two and realized that once again menopause has been eating my brain.

Several years ago, my gynecologist happily informed me that my ovaries had stopped working a tad earlier than most women experienced. As it had been almost two years since I had had a period, this announcement was neither news nor a shock given my history of bizarre menstrual cycle behavior. Actually, I thought I’d turned this corner already but there is physical evidence to suggest it but then there is hormonal evidence needed to back up the claim and clinch the deal. The Doc and I discussed all the possible treatments I should consider if I start to extremely exhibit any of the usual symptoms and what vitamins and supplements I would now force-feed my menopausal self. Since we are of similar minds that the more natural the better, we agreed to forego any of the hormone therapies and stick with supplements unless otherwise needed. Off I went, confident in my ability to handle this changing body and enter a new metaphysical stage of life. I was a woman transformed. Or not… it just felt like it for a few official moments.

Many women view entering menopause as a time of celebratory transition and I tend to lean toward that camp. Hey, no periods for me!! Fuckin’ A plus! Other women find it a time of turmoil and identity crisis and for those that do, I feel for them but I was not so burdened by this change in my body. Except I tried not to antagonize my sister with the fact I didn’t have night sweats or daily raging hot flashes as she had endured. She gets seriously mean about shit like that. I was also accustomed to the concept of menopause, having believed I was there, and really what is there not to like about not having monthly cramps or finding that the dog had, once again, raided the trash can in search of the used tampons? I did not fear entering years of non-functioning reproductiveness, but then again, I had already birthed two kids and planned no others. Oh, don’t get me wrong; there are drawbacks within the change of womanly seasons. I can definitely do without the slower metabolism, the weight gain with the damned widening waistline. Unpredictable hot flashes can certainly be a panty twister; particularly when they occur in a crowded meeting and you start to fear the cinders from your burning innards will start floating out of your mouth when you speak to the room at large. Insomnia that inexplicably chose 2:14 am as an internal alarm clock for months on end, thereby turning me into a sleep deprived, bleary-eyed, drooling goon by 3:00 pm. The change in my sex drive requires some extra special attention, but that’s a conversation not for blogging. After all, I did promise SuperHubby some personal privacy when I started Catootes.

The shifting of the hormonal landscape in my body was also talking place during a very challenging emotional time, the short horrible illness and death of my mother and the cancer diagnosis of my father two months later, so my mental state resembled that of a crack whore in high withdrawal with no fix in sight; weepy, needy, clingy, dismissive, irritable and aloof all within short spans of time. My stress level was increased due to these events colliding like a perfect storm of clusterfuckedupness so my temper was short, combustible and up front and center. I visibly cringe whenever I recollect the ravening angry beast that would rip through my skin to lash out at the unlucky target of my temper. I am very grateful that my children have forgiving hearts and seem to have forgotten that a maniacal slathering beast with fangs, wild hair and bulging eyes once possessed their mother. Truly, the fact they still hug me and tell me they love me is a miracle rather than them running in fear that I might eat them at any given moment.

What EVERYONE neglected to clue me in on was that short-term memory loss could swoop in out of nowhere and whisk away thoughts before you even know you had them. For fuck’s sake, why is this some deep level secret, people? Is it possible that everyone is forgetting they have menopausal memory loss? Holy fucknut's, it’s like my brain is a sewage drain and the things I need to remember just gurgle out like so much skanky wastewater. The kids would tell me something one moment and I was certain it was filed in the necessary Mom Memory Bank and the POOF!! Like that…gone. Never even made it past the second thought. Attend a meeting, pay close attention, write down some notes, absorb some corporate shitwad of need to do’s and by the time I’m back at my office that shitwad has literally been flushed like a toilet bomb. SuperHubby reminds me of such and such thing we need to do or get at the market and by the time I turn to write it down on the list, it’s as if we never knew each other. Who the hell are you, strange man in my house telling me we need to buy more hemorrhoid pads?
I did the research and I know most authorities believe that there is no link between menopause and memory loss. That the memory loss is a symptom caused by the symptoms of menopause, such as lack of sleep, mood swings, hot flashes and stress. Okay, I’ll accept that premise when I can expect those same pompous male fuckwits, who have never had their periods or experienced menopause, to tell me why in all that’s sacrosanct it’s been four years and I still forget why I’m in the damned kitchen with the pantry door open?

Which leads me right back to the unsatisfying point that I forgot I needed to write down some seriously wondrous thoughts I had yesterday to share with you all and now you’ll have to settle for this instead.

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