You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been the past ‘few’ months—why for two years, I’ve been consistent in spewing my ‘dogma,’ and then poof, I’m a one-hit wonder.
So where have I been? Good question. The details are a bit fuzzy and last week’s migraines did a real number on me. Pain and paralytic indecision are a dangerous mix, although despite feeling like a tortured, incompetent ninny these last few weeks—er, months, I feel compelled to purge my soul, or at the minimum give you the CliffsNotes version of my so-called life the last year. Some of the visuals may be inappropriate for small children.
It had all been so sudden. One day I’m walking on cloud nine, hormones surging, confident in my new found, ‘I’m 50 and fabulous’ mindset, and the next, BAM! My body was waging war against me. From the ringing in my ears to the slew of unfamiliar symptoms, my reptilian brain went into survival mode. WARNING. GET OUT NOW. EMERGENCY!
Nothing would have made me happier than for this episode to turn out to be one of those out-of-body experiences, one which I anxiously came out of with a sigh and a bit wiser. The fear of my 10 year old son finding me on the floor unconscious, terrified me and quickly grew into this gnawing, aching certainty. At a time when a little calming oil or a Valium would have done me good, there was none to be found. Not an ounce of zen within my reach. No Dalai Lama whispering insightful verses into my ear. Not even a damn quote.
What the hell was happening? Time seemed to stand still and speed up at the same time, and I didn’t understand any of it.
It went something like this. Wake up in middle of the night in sleep stupor. Walk into living room for something. Twirl feebly like expiring butterfly. Can’t remember what ‘something’ was. Go back to bed. Remember. Walk to living room. Rinse and repeat.
One minute I’m agreeing to stop by at a friend’s for dinner, “Sure, count me in,” I say. The next day, she calls (clearly agitated) to make sure I wasn’t dead, and I couldn’t remember what the hell I did the night before. After full throttle brain-racking, I remembered making dinner for my son in the evening, and about midnight, zoning out in front of my computer screen, with full-fledged writer’s block and a mind filled with useless clutter. No, not my proudest moment. I’m way too young for dementia or Alzheimer’s and I’m pretty sure I didn’t wander out of the house and commit any felonies—at least I haven’t had a need for any alibis yet.
My symptoms: memory lapses, loss of diction, easily distracted, absent-mindedness, walking into things (mostly walls and tables) and falling down a lot, among the others—were dangerously close to the ones I experienced during my second and third trimesters. And although it didn’t take me peeing on a stick to know that pregnancy was out of the question, given the many curve balls I’d been hit with in my life, Immaculate Conception would not be out of the realm, but that’s a TLC show in the making.
It had occurred to me, the genius that I am, that given my depleted egg supply and lack of hormones—not to mention the sudden mood swings, hot flashes, random weeping and insomnia (naturally, I’m a Jew), that I was the next baby-booming sap to suffer the shameful plight of menopause.
” You can no longer make babies? Why are you still alive?”
As if the symptoms weren’t bad enough, the looks of dread I’d get from those wretched 20-somethings, would put me over the edge. Talk about vitriolic hostility. Just about brought my Naomi Campbell phone throwing rage to the surface. Good thing my coordination was off.
Somehow, my pseudo-rational side would prevail and I’d manage to laugh it off, but under that sweet sarcastic exterior, I was muttering obscenities—and I wasn’t holding back.
I knew this bitch of a change was inevitable, and on a path of destruction. But like so many of us who look good for our age because of hard work, dedication and suffering, the mere thought of my body going to shit, was hard to swallow—even in bite-sized chunks.
Apparently you are not officially experiencing menopause until you haven’t had your period for a full year. Lucky for me, my uterus is a team player and was willing to put in the extra mile for me to get the job done. So as I approached the ten-month mark without my period, my loyal friend revisited me. And God said, let there be blood—and all was good.
And just like that, I was able to stave off early menopause. The way Crocodile Dundee would stave off a rattle snake attack. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky the next year. Twelve months had come and gone with no period in sight. Damn uterus went the straight and narrow! Menopause was here and showing no mercy. Striking like an unpredicted tsunami and sucking me into an endless funnel of confusion and terror. A bit over the top, but true.
It really puts you to the test when the symptoms not only affect your outward appearance, but your inner motor has lost its torque. When your psyche and self-worth take a hit, you feel depleted and useless, despite the fact that others see you in the brightest of lights—as a champion… a sassy power keg of ideas. If you’re not feeling it, all the wisdom of Deepak, Oprah, and Dr. Oz combined, ain’t gonna do you much good.
Nothing like the darkness of an unfamiliar experience to shake you up. One peek into your future is enough to instill that fear of regret needed to push forward, persevere and keep that fire alive. That, and a pair of cojones.
Lucky for me I have a spare. Along with brass knuckles and a few black ensembles. I’m so glad I’m from New York.