Is it hot in here, or is it just me…?


I was 44 years young when a blood test confirmed that I had begun Perimenopause (the transition into Menopause).  I had been having irregular periods and hot flashes so I went to my primary physician, who did lab work to check my hormone levels.  A few days after my visit, I received a call from a way too cheerful nurse saying, “Congratulations!  You’re in Perimenopause!” Congratulations? Really? I didn’t feel lucky, I just felt tired and old.  A month or two after this windfall, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.  As I was going through the process of diagnostic tests to determine more about my cancer (MRI’s, PET scans, etc.), they found a grapefruit size cyst on my right ovary.  No one said congratulations this time, they said “let’s get that thing outta there!”  The doctors were concerned that it might be malignant, so the cyst – along with my ovary – was promptly removed. Thank God it turned out to be benign.  However, it was not all good news.  When I was in my 20’s, I had my left ovary removed due to another benign cyst – which now left me with no ovaries.  Goodbye Perimenopause, hello full-blown Menopause.  I was miserable.  Then on top of that, I started chemotherapy, which enhanced the effects of menopause.  I would walk around with a wet rag on my bald head and was never without a paper fan to cool me down.  It’s now 4 years later and I still have hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and fatigue.  The symptoms have lessened somewhat, but they can still be extremely frustrating and exhausting.  What’s worse is that my cancer was Estrogen positive, so I’m on a 5 year hormone blocker (Arimidex), and can’t use any hormone replacement meds or over the counter menopause remedies (they contain soy, which acts like estrogen in the body).  I have no choice but to just live with it – and pray my air conditioning never breaks down!

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